CD Review of Bad to the Bone 25th Anniversary Edition by George Thorogood & the Destroyers
Recommended if you like
Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, vintage J. Geils Band, Fabulous Thunderbirds
George Thorogood &
the Destroyers:
Bad to the Bone
25th Anniversary Edition

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD


ids, gather 'round the campfire and let me tell you about rock in the 1980s: It was a desolate landscape. The lifestyle felled some dudes from AC/DC, Zeppelin, and the Who. Ultimately, the latter two never recovered, sentenced to the purgatory of the Reunion Circuit. Steven Tyler was drifting from one chemical haze to another at that point. Blues legends were dropping like flies. Punk had become the rage, clearing the musical culture's collective sinuses of disco, but also making it hard for rocking blues devotees to find work. Out of this landscape the young George Thorogood--fresh off a stint in pro baseball--and his Delaware Destroyers mates rocked their asses off and shamed the Eddie Moneys and John Caffertys of the era into hiding. "GT&D," as their fans call them, played ballsy blues with as much Bo Diddley attitude as white East Coast boys could screw through their PA circuits, which turned out to be quite a bit.

With the title cut from this record, Thorogood also took the then-newfangled music video medium out for a spin, in the process making an all-time classic clip starring Diddley and billiards legend Willie Mosconi. That move made this album the most well-known Thorogood recording. The music was probably his finest, too--and worth revisiting 25 years later. Not much to say about the tunes, except that Thorogood put Delaware on the rock map with this set of songs, and also Wentzville, MO—the hometown of Chuck Berry, which Thorogood canonized in "Back to Wentzville." Of course, this record features a sped-up cover of "No Particular Place to Go," also a loving (and flat-out-rocking) tribute to Berry.

The 2007 reissue features the complete original album, an E-Street-Band-style instrumental bonus track from back in the day titled "That Philly Thing," and six current re-recordings of Bad to the Bone songs. The new "Blue Highway" is cleaner-sounding and features some bluesier slide guitar, while a new "Boogie Chillun" sounds meaner and rawer, worth the time to put on the reissue. The new version of "Bad to the Bone," however...let's put it this way: If the original was a classic-rock radio staple when you were growing up and that's the version that rocks you right, the new version sounds like a bad cover. Kinda like Styx re-recording "Lady" in 1995. Not really necessary, and a little annoying. For the most part, however, you gotta give Thorogood and Capitol credit for working hard and trying to please the rock fan with a Rykodisc-generous helping of bonus material. Whether each bonus track is perfect or not, they get an "E" for effort and applause for understanding that in this post-vinyl era, the fans want more than some half-ass reissue of something that came out in the pre-CD era. This one's a full serving. Amen.

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