25th Anniversary Best Of Re-recorded

Molly Hatchet

SPV Records, 2003

http://mollyhatchet.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/28/2004

Strange. Molly Hatchet is celebrating its 25th anniversary together, and the present lineup (or, as I call them, the second iteration of the band) has three studio albums under its belt, all recorded as Bobby Ingram and company try to find their own unique voice. So what would compel them to re-record a whole slew of songs from the Danny Joe Brown era of Molly Hatchet?

25th Anniversary Best Of Re-Recorded most certainly lives up to its name, taking songs from every studio album up to Lightning Strikes Twice (the last featuring Brown as lead vocalist) and gives them the new lineup's spin on them. There are no surprises here, and the covers of these songs are respectable enough. But one does have to wonder just what the entire point was.

Vocalist Phil McCormack, the hand-picked successor to Brown in Molly Hatchet, sounds uncannily like Brown on these tracks, even if he doesn't have the vocal range for some of the higher notes. (In his defense, he compensates well for this.) Ingram is undoubtedly the flashiest guitarist the band has ever had, and that's not a bad thing, for he keeps the band's heart pumping.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Long-time Molly Hatchet fans will undoubtedly hear differences between the re-recordings and the originals, but even the diehards among the crowd will have to admit that the covers are delivered quite well. Sure, tracks like "Flirtin' With Disaster" and "Whiskey Man" are familiar opuses, but the level of respect the newer incarnation of the band has for the material is evident. And it is pleasing to hear such favorites as "Fall Of The Peacemakers," "Bounty Hunter" and "Dreams I'll Never See" again, even if two of the three were given the acoustic treatment by this lineup not terribly long ago.

There are some stumbling blocks, as well. The version of "Satisfied Man" doesn't quite measure up to the original from The Deed Is Done, while "25th Anniversary Song" is an absolute throw-away number which should have been left in the vaults. Likewise, "Goodbye To Love" doesn't spark the excitement that one would have expected, while "Beatin' The Odds," a marginal song in its heyday, doesn't leave the starting gate.

Yet one has to wonder why Molly Hatchet chose to revisit the past so blatantly on 25th Anniversary Best Of Re-Recorded instead of offering up a platter's worth of new material. After all, the band had just delivered the live set Locked And Loaded, which covered some of these bases already. Molly Hatchet's place in the annals of rock history is secure, even if they haven't made it to the main hall just yet. Wouldn't it have been great to hear McCormack, Ingram and crew to put out a disc featuring material which flirted with those glory days, rather than continue to re-tread the same paths?

Don't get me wrong, 25th Anniversary Best Of Re-Recorded is a pleasurable enough disc, and it should have the power to draw in new fans as well as re-introduce older fans to some material they may have forgotten. But the cynic in me is thinking that this disc is the ultimate experience for those who don't want to leave their homes to see Molly Hatchet in concert, since all the tracks you'd want to hear are on this disc.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of SPV Records, and is used for informational purposes only.