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Molly Hatchet - Justice

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band were all progenitors of the southern rock sound and they all had their share of hits. Right there with them was Molly Hatchet, a Jacksonville-based blue collar outfit that fit the southern rock mold to a tee. They had the ferocious multiple guitar attack sweetened with slide guitar, lyrics that often name-checked people, places and things of the south and a somewhat boozy-voiced lead singer to rock the airwaves with songs about excessive partying like "Flirtin' with Disaster" and "Whiskey Man." The late Danny Joe Brown sang those songs but he quit the band while it was at the height of its popularity. Brown's departure was the beginning of an endless cycle of member changes for Molly Hatchet and they even tried putting out a straight rock album (it flopped) when southern rock fell out of favor. The band eventually called it quits but then regrouped a few years ago and they've been regaining their fan base slowly but surely ever since. Justice finds the current line-up of Molly Hatchet fully living up to their pedigree with great party rockers like "Been to Heaven, Been to Hell," and "American Pride" and the album's obligatory anthem, "I'm Gonna Live 'til I Die." Original guitarist Dave Hlubek is on hand and sharp as ever, Bobby Ingram adds plenty of stinging slide guitar and singer Phil McCormack does an admirable job of carrying the torch that was originally lit by Brown. If you liked the Molly Hatchet of days gone by you will not be disappointed with Justice. Or if you've ever wondered what this thing called southern rock actually is Justice is a perfect place to start your research. Justice even carries on the Molly Hatchet tradition of featuring cover artwork by fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta, the recently-deceased artist whose paintings of warriors have always added a little mystique to the band's album covers. The days when southern rock ruled are long gone but records like Justice will make sure they're not forgotten just yet.

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