George Thorogood & the Destroyers / George Thorogood

George Thorogood & the Destroyers

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It's easy enough to trace the lineage of every one of the ten cuts on George Thorogood & the Destroyers' self-titled 1977 debut. Even the originals, of which there are only two, wear their influences on their sleeve, so there's not a minute of this album where the presence of Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James, Bo Diddley, and John Lee Hooker loom large. Not one of those bluesmen ever played with much finesse, and Thorogood picked up that thread and ran with it, playing so hard the group seemed like a gang of primitives. No wonder they chose the name "the Destroyers": they ruined everything in their path. This brutal attack is one reason George Thorogood & the Destroyers feels distinctive, even when the lifted Elmore riffs, Bo Diddley beats, and wild, careening Houserocker rhythms are blatantly obvious: as he hammers away at his guitar, Thorogood plays with personality, his enthusiasm for making noise readily apparent. No matter how hard the Destroyers ride "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," this album isn't about groove and it's certainly not about virtuosity -- it's about bashing out the blues at a punishing volume, and their lack of subtlety is why this 1977 debut still sounds powerful years after its release.

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