George Thorogood

The Dirty Dozen

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After more than a decade of recording for other labels, George Thorogood & the Destroyers moved back to EMI/Capitol for the release of 2009's The Dirty Dozen. Split into two sides (just like a vinyl album!) and consisting of covers of classic blues songs, some bar band favorites, and a couple of lesser-known tracks, the album showcases the current sound of the band and digs back into the archives to uncover some buried tracks from the '80s and '90s. What's uncanny is that apart from the tinny sound of the recordings from the late '80s/early '90s, the band and Thorogood sound exactly the same almost two decades later. Just as they sound virtually unchanged from the first time they stepped into a recording studio. George still has the same ferocious slide technique, his growling vocals have barely aged, and the band still has the feel of skilled musicians who know how to play it simple. In other words, GT & the Destroyers still rock, and if you were ever a fan, you still should be. The only real problem with this record is that as cool as it is to hear the band's 1991 take on "Six Days on the Road" or their tumble through Howlin' Wolf's "Howlin' for My Baby," it'd be better to hear more of the new tracks. They have a more immediate feel and the group sounds like they're playing for fun rather than chasing commercial success. There's a fire in "Born Lover" and a bounce in "Run Myself Out of Town" that the old, muffled production can't reproduce. Not that the old tracks are bad by any means, and longtime fans of GT will be glad to have them. Just as they will be glad that he and the Destroyers are still around and still rocking out.

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