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"Flirtin' With Disaster" is the 2nd studio album by US southern rockers, Molly Hatchet. It was released in 1979 on Epic Records and produced by Tom Werman. The line-up for the album was Danny Joe Brown (vocals), Dave Hlubek (guitar), Steve Holland (guitar), Duane Roland (guitar), Banner Thomas (bass) and Bruce Crump (drums).
Although Molly Hatchet have always been heavier than most of their contemporaries, they were one of the last southern rock groups to stay true to their roots. Punk and new wave were having an effect on southern rock, as a genre, during the years immediately leading up to this album and their influences were changing the sound of southern rock. Most bands were leaving the style they started out with. Not Molly Hatchet, who stayed true to form.
While their music has no frills or outrageous concepts, there is no need for it. The three guitar attack approach they took enhanced the power of their songs, although most southern rock groups used three guitars for nuance and musical layering of their sound. Molly Hatchet's sound has always been heavy and certainly not subtle. Also, while most of other bands in the category seem to feel a need to drag a brilliant guitar solo on long enough to make it become a chore to listen to, Molly Hatchet seem to have a knack for knowing when to stop while it is still brilliant. There is a fine line between showcasing your talent and showboating to the point of bordering on the ridiculous. Lynyrd Skynyrd frequently fell into that trap.
"Flirtin' With Disaster" is easily the most widely known album of Molly Hatchet's discography. The album cover art is a painting by Frank Frazetta, with the title of "Dark Kingdom". With boogie guitar riffs and bluesy undertones, they manage to kick southern rock up a notch.
"Whiskey Man" starts the album off with a bang, letting you know the party has started. The chorus is fantastic, not just for the words but the entire feel of it. The track contains a brilliant guitar solo that proves the point a solo doesn't have to be extended to be great.
"It's All Over Now" is a memorable version of a much covered song. A look at the list of people who have performed it shows it has been done many different ways, but Molly Hatchet put their own spin on it and made it stand out. It is a fast paced, classic soul rocker.
"One Man's Pleasure" is, of course, about women and love. With a funky rhythm and great guitar solo, it manages to save itself from the fact it is sliding toward country music. If Molly Hatchet weren't so heavy in their tone, this song wouldn't have worked as well as it does.
"Jukin' City" is a musical nod to the Allman Brothers. It is a bit of a foot tapper, as southern rock has been known to be. The song has a very catchy rhythm and the vocals really shine on this one.
"Boogie No More" is, of course, a fun bit of boogie rock. The song builds as it goes along, but the melody is sustained without losing momentum or wavering. The last half of the song contains an incredible guitar jam.
"Flirtin' With Disaster", the title track of the album, is worthy of being the title track. It has a brilliant rhythm and the vocal melody is perfect. The guitar riff is an instant hit, and sticks in your mind. Although it is technically southern rock, it is almost heavy enough to satisfy metal fans.
"Good Rockin'" is underrated by most people, and certainly overshadowed by a lot of the other songs on the album. The verse melody is what really makes the song. With a clean guitar riff, and understated playing, the song is a hidden gem.
"Gunsmoke" is another boogie rocker. The use of piano adds to the song, giving it depth and added dimension. This one is not as heavy as the others on the album, and stands out more as southern rock than their other tracks. Danny Joe Brown's vocals fit this song perfectly.
"Long Time" has one of the best guitar intros on the album. Every album needs a song about longing for lost love, and this one fits the bill in a great way. The passionate vocals really do fit the song.
"Let the Good Times Roll" is an all out fun, party song. Filled with great guitar riffs and solos as you would expect from Molly Hatchet, it is rocking and funky. The drum beat is almost bouncy, compared to their other songs, but it works for this one.
In summary, this album is fun to listen to because it isn't overly complicated and doesn't require heavy thought. At the same time, the stunning guitar work makes it a joy to hear. Although Molly Hatchet's songs invoke a sense of wanting to grab a few beers and have fun with friends, their lyrics aren't all about booze and floozies as you'd expect from southern rock. It is true their sound is bordering on heavy metal. That may be why they took their name from a 17th century prostitute named Abigail, nicknamed Hatchet Molly, who allegedly mutilated and decapitated her clients. If you're looking to get into southern rock this is the place to start, because you won't be getting all the unbearably long guitar solos the other bands offer. If you're just looking for great music, this is also an album for you.
1. Whiskey Man
2. It's All Over Now
3. One Man's Pleasure
4. Jukin' City
5. Boogie No More
6. Flirtin' With Disaster
7. Good Rockin'
9. Long Time
10. Let the Good Times Roll
My rating: 8/10
Flirtin' With Disaster, Molly Hatchet, 1979
Being named after a prostitute who mutilated and decapitated her clients isn't the best start for an aspiring Southern Rock band. But for Molly Hatchet it seemed quite appropriate.
Appearing at the tail end of the demise of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band was championed by another up and coming Southern Rock band - the excellent .38 Special. In fact Skynyrd's lead singer Ronnie Van Zant was slated to produce Hatchet's debut album before being fatally injured on that infamous plane flight.
Hatchet developed a similar boogie / blues / rock sound that immediately found them at the forefront of country rock at the tail end of the 1970's.'Flirtin' With Disaster' turned out to be the band's most recognised album and firmly placed them at the top of the Southern Rock mountain.
Flirtin' With Disaster is an amazing album and certainly Molly Hatchet's greatest piece of work.
The whole album comes across as a Skynyrd tribute / rip-off which is a real shame to those with untrained ears. The musicianship of all involved is really excellent - especially the guitar work from Dave Hlubek which adds a real solid sound to the whole album. The vocal style from Danny Joe Brown is certainly reminiscent of Ronnie Van Zant but is distinctive enough to be his own.
Credit has also got to be given for the album artwork which is superb (Molly Hatchet albums are known for their reliance on Viking inspired war scenes - strange really that Southern rock and Norse legends would fit so well together!). This one is by Frank Frazetta who was renowned for his science fiction and fantasy book covers.
Their cover of Bobby Womack's (and The Rolling Stones version) of 'It's All Over Now' is really excellent and strangely appropriate for a Southern Rock song. It too boasts an amazing guitar solo and driving rhythm section. In fact, this song has also appeared on Rod Stewart's 'Gasoline Alley' as well as covered by AC/DC and Tom Petty.
If there is one song that any self respecting southern rock fan should have of Molly Hatchet then the title track is certainly. Its unrelenting hard rock sound picks you up, throws you about the room and then eventually turfs you out of the window - it's that great!
Molly Hatchet should definitely be considered as second only to Skynyrd and anyone owning any one of their albums should certainly seek it out.
1. "Whiskey Man"- 3:38
2. "It's All Over Now"- 3:40
3. "One Man's Pleasure"- 3:24
4. "Jukin' City"- 3:46
5. "Boogie No More"- 6:08
6. "Flirtin' with Disaster"- 4:58
7. "Good Rockin'"- 3:17
8. "Gunsmoke"- 3:11
9. "Long Time"- 3:19
10. "Let the Good Times Roll"- 2:56