Various Artists

Sucking the 70's: Back in the Saddle Again

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The success of Small Stone's first Sucking the 70's compilation in 2002 made a sequel almost inevitable, but the lack of other labels dedicated to new bands mining this rich old vein of music also made it a necessity. Who else was going to get it done? So it is that 2006's Sucking the 70's: Back in the Saddle Again raises the stakes with not one, but two discs crammed with no less than 31 reinterpretations of timeless tunes, many of them far from obvious selections. Among these, standout efforts include Sasquatch's take on Grand Funk's "Are You Ready," the Brought Low's bluesy romp through Big Star's "Don't Lie to Me," Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned's acid trip creep-out of Donovan's "Season of the Witch," and Fireball Ministry's impressive swipe at Joe Walsh's "Turn to Stone." Other covers are worthy of attention for re-imagining the original songs' arrangements -- namely Halfway to Gone's heavy metal bitch-slap of Elton John's "Honky Cat," "Dixie Witch," and Acid King's doom-ification of Montrose's "Rock Candy" and Steve Miller's "The Stake," respectively, and Whitey Morgan & the Waycross Georgia Farmboys' country-fried version of Van Halen's "Running with the Devil." Others still simply boast top-notch performances of acknowledged classics; for instance, Novadriver's surprisingly vicious "Sin City," Alabama Thunderpussy's raucous "Man on the Silver Mountain," Red Giant's metallic stab at "Saturday Night Special," and Roadsaw's gutsy treatment of "When the Levee Breaks." Hard rock is hardly the only item on the menu, either, as witnessed by Puny Human's Sensational Alex Harvey Band-based cover of the Osmonds' "Crazy Horses," Clutch and Five Horse Johnson's collaboration on Funkadelic's "Red Hot Mama" (one of two tunes here originating with George Clinton's legendary funk crew), Throttlerod's stoner rock swipe at Willie Dixon's blues standard "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," Dozer's amp-distorted spin on Devo's "Mongoloid," and Valis' lysergic Frankenstein-ing of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver." And, if you're anal about exact dates, there are some '60s stragglers to be found on disc two: Los Natas' part-Spanish interpretation of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," Scott Reeder's daring and slightly botched attempt at the Beatles' "Two of Us," Orange Goblin's mega-riffed crunch through the MC5's "New Rose," and the Muggs' Humble Pie-derived rendering of the perennial "I Don't Need No Doctor." Together with the remaining tracks not mentioned, the above make up over two hours of retrofitted hard rock and metal that are not likely to be challenged or equaled by any other '70s (and a little '60s) compilation anytime soon.

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