After the long layoff that followed their groundbreaking debut, Mommy's Little Monster, Mike Ness and Social Distortion dropped another seminal punk offering, Prison Bound, in 1988. Slower and more song-driven than their previous disc, this sophomore outing is an absolute triumph. The epic stories of hard living and regret that became Social Distortion's trademark fill Prison Bound's track list. Right off the top, the band adds Ghost Riders-like surf/country guitar riffs to "It's the Law," proclaiming a commitment to their rootsy punk direction. Cautionary tales like the title cut foreshadow future monster hits like "Ball and Chain" off of the group's self-titled 1990 release. Other highlights include "Like an Outlaw" and a raucous cover of the Rolling Stones' "Backstreet Girl." Fans of Social Distortion who have somehow neglected to pick up this gem are encouraged to do just that at their very first opportunity, as the list of West Coast punk offerings more influential than Prison Bound is extremely short.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Vincent Jeffries