Molly Hatchet

Locked and Loaded

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They're not as universally known or respected as Lynyrd Skynyrd are, but Southern rockers Molly Hatchet have been on the road for nearly as long and continue to rock on-stage, as evidenced by the 2003 double-disc set Locked and Loaded. Unlike their "big brothers" in Skynyrd, though, Hatchet contained more apparent ties to heavy metal -- especially in their album cover artwork (which often depicts Conan-like warriors doing their thang), as well as in their guitar riffs. Locked and Loaded is a faithful document of latter-day Hatchet in concert doing what they do best -- laying down tough blues-boogie, and to borrow a line from the late great Ronnie Van Zant, "singing songs about the Southland." Standouts include such biker favorites as the set-closing "Flirtin' with Disaster," "Bounty Hunter," and the surprisingly melodic "Fall of the Peacemakers." Molly Hatchet will never be credited with trailblazing the Southern rock genre, yet they should be given props for sticking to their guns and flying the Southern rock flag during the late '70s, when such big guns as Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers were out of commission. And as evidenced by Locked and Loaded, they're still at it all these years later.

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