When Open All Nite was first released on LP in 1976, the Nighthawks had only been together for four years -- little did they know that they would still be together in the 21st century and would celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2002. Some young bands sound like they still have some growing and developing to do, but the Nighthawks never sound the least bit undeveloped on Open All Nite. The blues-rockers always sound focused, and they know exactly what they're going for on gritty performances of "Nine Below Zero," Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man," and other Chicago blues staples. The Nighthawks were never innovative, but they were always sincere and honest, which is why they bring so much enthusiasm to these performances. Over the years, the Nighthawks have often been described as a "bar band" -- and most of the time, it is meant as a compliment. In most cases, people who call the Nighthawks a "bar band" are celebrating their rawness and lack of pretense. In fact, Open All Nite and other Nighthawks albums of the '70s sound like a rebellion against slickness -- the blues-rockers sound like they're downright proud of their raw, rugged, bare-bones approach, and they seem oblivious to the glossier sounds of the '70s. In that sense, one can see some parallels between Open All Nite and the punk bands that were starting to make their presence felt in 1976. The Nighthawks were never a punk band, but they did share punk's love of rawness and believed in keeping things simple, emotionally direct, and straightforward. This album, which Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissued on CD in the '90s, is a fine document of the Nighthawks' early period.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson