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Molly Hatchet - Greatest Hits [Expanded]

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  • THE BAND: Original members – Danny Joe Brown (vocals, R.I.P.), Dave Hlubek (guitar), Steve Holland (guitar), Duane Roland (guitar), Banner Thomas (bass), Bruce Crump (drums & percussion).

    THE DISC: (1985) 12 tracks originally clocking in at approximately 59 minutes. Included with the disc is a minimal 2-page foldout with song titles/credits/times, and what songs came from which albums. Re-addressed in 2001 with unreleased tracks being shuffled to the end of the disc, plus 3 additional songs from the Danny Joe Brown era included. Digitally remastered sound. Label – Epic / CBS Records.

    ALBUM REPRESENTATION: 1985 version – Molly Hatchet (3 songs), Flirtin’ With Disaster (3), Double Trouble – Live (3), No Guts, No Glory (1), Unreleased (2). The 2001 version adds 3 tracks – 1 each from their debut, Flirtin’ With Disaster and The Deed Is Done.

    COMMENTS: If you grew up on the east coast in the 1970’s and 80’s, you probably experienced the southern rock movement first hand. Molly Hatchet fit nicely between the main players – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, 38 Special, Charlie Daniels Band, The Outlaws, Blackfoot, Marshall Tucker Band, etc. I won’t dare compare them because I always felt as long as Danny Joe Brown was singing, Molly Hatchet could stand on their own. THE GOOD: As for the music, most of the early staples are here – “Bounty Hunter”, “Gator Country”, one of my favorite remakes in Gregg Allman’s “Dreams I’ll Never See”, “Flirtin’ With Disaster”, “Whiskey Man”, “Beatin’ The Odds”, “Fall Of The Peacemakers”, etc. The digitally remastered sound is clean and sounds far superior to the original albums. THE NOT SO GOOD: Nothing wrong with only featuring the songs of Danny Joe Brown, but it’s only 1/3 of the total picture. Even if they can’t match Brown’s presence on stage or in the recording studio, the 2 other singers deserve some credit (and they did have some good songs). Perhaps a 2-disc release is needed for the full effect… because Jimmy Farrar (“Beatin’ The Odds”) and Phil McCormack (1996-present) deserve some kind of mention. Even the live songs from Farrar’s tenure are sung by Brown (this stunt reminds me of several of Iron Maiden’s compilations – with Paul Di’Anno’s songs being sung live by Bruce Dickinson). Even Sony’s “Essential” release (a mere 14 tracks on a single disc) is lacking in the same respect. This “Greatest Hits” package takes songs from 4 studio albums… meaning there is no song representation from “Silent Reign Of Heroes”, “Take No Prisoners”, “Kingdom Of XII”, “Lightning Strikes Twice”, “Locked & Loaded”, “Warrior’s Of The Rainbow Bridge”, and “Devil’s Canyon”. There’s room on the disc for more songs… so with the unused space I would’ve liked to have seen a few semi classics that were missed – “Jukin’ City”, “Big Apple”, “On The Prowl”, “Sweet Dixie”, and “Dead & Gone”. Hatchet’s early album artwork was always cool – thanks to Frank Frazetta lending some of his gorgeous old artwork. The album cover illustration on this “Greatest Hits” by Richard Kriegler is average at best. In my opinion, something from Frazetta was surely needed here. OVERALL: Decent collection of songs but it ultimately left me wanting more. “Greatest Hits” is nothing close to a career spanning package. This should be considered a “Volume I” compilation only. The songs from their 1st two albums are well represented, but there’s too many songs from too many albums missing to make this a complete collection. (3.5 stars).

    Posted on March 3, 2010