"Live in Hamburg" DVD/CD (SPV / Steamhammer; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Throughout "Live in Hamburg," the Southern Gentleman known today as Molly Hatchet seem to be having a great time. They rock through twenty of the band's biggest hits, including "Whiskey Man, "Beatin' the Odds" and, of course, "Flirtin' With Disaster," and, for the most part, they deliver the goods. 

Unlike others, I've got no problem that this band isn't the "original" Molly Hatchet. I'm just glad somebody's out there, keeping some great music alive. And, I believe that those in this version of Molly Hatchet, are doing a pretty damn good job of it.

But I've seen this version of Molly Hatchet live and I can tell you they've been livelier than they are on "Live in Hamburg." Although they rock strong enough throughout this DVD and deliver a solid musical performance, I can honestly say it's not the best performance they've ever given. Still, with the bonus of getting both a CD and a DVD for one low price, this is a hard package to turn down for any fan of these classic Southern rockers (even though "Flirtin' with Disaster" only appears on the DVD and not the CD ... Oh, well - can't have everything).

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"25th Anniversary: Best of Re-Recorded" (SPV; 2004)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

When the term Southern rock comes up, the Bic lighters get sparked and endless cries of "Freebird" ring out from whiskey-soaked voices as bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers generally garnish the most accolades for the genre and its success. 

However, the long-running outfit known as Molly Hatchet also can stake a claim in the foundations of the genre, as the band, now celebrating its 25th anniversary via this 17-track offering, and its contributions are not to be overlooked. In celebration of Molly Hatchet's quarter century mark, the band decided to re-record their classic tracks, usually a risky move, but in this sextet's case, it really works. 

By giving both longtime fans and new ears alike the chance to hear what the current lineup sounds like, the band emphatically keeps the flames of good old Southern rock'n'roll alive and well. Honkytonkin', two-steppin', and a howling-out-loud, feel-good time is what this veteran act is all about, and Molly Hatchet's dirty rock boogie - which incorporates gospel, blues, country, and of course, raucous, wide-eyed rawk and roll - is sonically captured for the 21st century. 

If you like to crank your freedom rock up, this is the album to do it to.

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"Greatest Hits Live" (King Biscuit Flower Hour Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The legendary King Biscuit Flower Hour program has been releasing some of their most popular radio concerts on CD. This is great for fans who have only owned bootlegs of the shows in the past (made by bootleggers who taped them off the air and then burned them to CD and/or vinyl).

For some reason, the King Biscuit CDs now bear the title "Greatest Hits Live" (pushing "King Biscuit Flower Hour" to a smaller font) which is overly generic and downright silly if you ask me, but I guess some marketing person thinks otherwise. Maybe today's audiences aren't that familiar with the Flower Hour, but I'm willing to bet those of you who are interested in the bands these CDs feature will.

Okay, onto to Molly Hatchet's "King Biscuit Flower Hour Archive Series; Greatest Hits Live." Anyone who's ever seen Molly Hatchet live will tell you they put on a terrific show. The musicianship is sharp, the band has a good time and their music kicks you solidly in your rock'n'roll ass. And this CD, recorded in 1982, captures a little of that magic. The tunes are great: "Beatin' the Odds," "Lady Luck," "Flirtin' With Disaster," "Bloody Reunion" - just to name a few. And the band is in fine shape, too.

Unfortunately, the CD sounds a little flat. It sounds like a radio show. And there's more than a fair share of feedback glitches. (I understand that those things happen in a live setting - but should they be preserved forever on CD?).

Maybe it's because the program was originally taped for radio or maybe it was just a rough night for the technical crew. Or maybe the CD is just in dire need of some digital remastering. Whatever the reason, the CD just doesn't sound great. It's too bad, too, because it was recorded before the original bandmembers started peeling away, leaving only the band that's still touring today - which contains no original members (still a great band; just no original members).

Fans of Molly Hatchet may want to add this to their collection for posterity's sake but there are better live Molly Hatchet albums out there. I'd suggest picking up one of those instead.

Molly Hatchet: Jimmy Farrar - vocals; Duane Holland - guitar; Steve Holland - guitar; Dave Hlubek - guitar; Banner Thomas - bass; Bruce Crump - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07 Aug 2023 20:46:38 -0400.