Album review: George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Maverick (1985)


By Steve Newton

George Thorogood hasn’t changed much since his first album was released in 1978. On that LP he recorded an eight-minute version of John Lee Hooker’s homage to alcohol, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”. On his new record, Maverick, he begins side two with Carl Perkins’ “Dixie Fried”, another song about getting wrecked and partying till the break of day:

Now on the outskirts of town there’s a little nightspot/Dan dropped in about five o’clock/He took off his jacket, said “The night is short”/He reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart and hollered: “Rave on children I’m with you, rave on cats” he cried/”It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone. Let’s all get Dixie fried.”

An excellent boogie tune, “Dixie Fried” is just one of a number of old covers by the likes of Chuck Berry, Johnny Otis and–once again–John Lee Hooker.

There are four Thorogood originals on Maverick, two fast-paced rockers (“Long Gone” and “Gear Jammer”), one low-down blues stomper (“I Drink Alone”), and a tender, sentimental ballad “(Woman With the Blues”). GT’s razory slide pops up on most of these songs, and he’s ably assisted by bassist Billy Blough, drummer Jeff Simon, and saxman Hank Carter.

But George is still at his best when he’s recreating old blues gems like Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake” and Otis’ “Willie and the Hand Jive”. His hero Chuck Berry gets double coverage on Maverick, with versions of “(Let’s) Go Go Go” and a rather lengthy (5 minutes, 48 seconds) “Memphis, Tennessee”.

The album closes with its title track, a country and western ditty that was the theme song from James Garner’s Maverick TV series. It’s a nice finish to an LP that’s basic boogie ‘n’ blues. Recommended for parties.




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