Party Of One George Thorogood
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- 1I’m A Steady Rollin’ Man02:53
- 2Soft Spot01:45
- 3Tallahassee Women03:11
- 4Wang Dang Doodle02:43
- 5Boogie Chillen03:20
- 6No Expectations03:57
- 7Bad News03:04
- 8Down The Highway03:27
- 9Got To Move03:13
- 10Born With The Blues02:15
- 11The Sky Is Crying04:11
- 12The Hookers (If You Miss ‘Im…I Got ‘Im)03:03
- 13Pictures From Life’s Other Side02:48
- 14One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer (Live From Rockline)03:28
Info for Party Of One
After 15 million albums sold worldwide, more than 8,000 live shows, and an uncompromising catalog of hits that has certified him as one of rock’s most relentless entertainers, the bad-to-the-bone icon has returned home to Rounder Records to release the first solo record of his 40+ year career. Party Of One is Thorogood’s long-awaited tribute to the artists that shaped his musical consciousness. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines – known for his work with John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as several of Thorogood’s biggest discs — the 14 cuts on Party Of One are a potent platter of traditional blues, classics, and modern blues benchmarks. The album sees Thorogood covering blues masters such as Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, and Elmore James, as well as other legends, including The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan. The primarily acoustic instrumentation – including slide, Dobro, and harmonica – is performed entirely by Thorogood live in the studio with minimal overdubs. As Thorogood himself says, "This record is what I was, what I am, and what I always will be.”
Fans of Thorogood and his hard-rocking band, The Destroyers, might be surprised to learn that he began his career as a solo acoustic performer. "I was a street musician for a long time,” Thorogood explains. "And three months can seem like three years when you’re on the streets of San Francisco in the winter. But I finally scored a gig opening for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, the greatest blues-folk act of all time. The club owner hired me on the spot. Brownie and Sonny wanted me to succeed, so every night I went out there and played better and better.”
Thorogood continues, "During that time, I also played with Hound Dog Taylor and Robert Lockwood Jr., who was taught how to play by Robert Johnson. I was kind of ragged in those days, but these were the kind of people who were in my corner. They all kept saying to me. ‘You’ve got the right idea, kid, but you’ve got to stay with it. You can do this.’ All these years later, that’s what this album means to me.”
Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines – known for his work with John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as several of Thorogood’s biggest discs, the 15 cuts on Party Of One are a potent platter of traditional blues, classics and modern blues benchmarks. The primarily acoustic instrumentation – including slide, Dobro, and harmonica – is performed entirely by Thorogood live in the studio with minimal overdubs.
Thorogood brings a distinctive intensity to standards by Willie Dixon ("Wang Dang Doodle”), Brownie McGhee ("Born With The Blues”), Robert Johnson ("I’m A Steady Rollin’ Man”) and the CD-only "Dynaflow Blues”), Elmore James ("Got To Move” and "The Sky Is Crying”) and John Lee Hooker ("Boogie Chillen”, "The Hookers (If You Miss ‘Im… I Got ‘Im)” and a blistering revisit of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”).
Thorogood also brings his interpretations of tracks by Hank Williams ("Pictures From Life’s Other Side”), Bob Dylan ("Down The Highway”), John Hammond Jr. ("Tallahassee Women”), Johnny Cash ("Bad News”), Texas songwriting legends Gary Nicholson and Allen Shamblin ("Soft Spot”) and The Rolling Stones (Jagger/Richards’ "No Expectations”), Thorogood delivers the full spectrum of modern blues masters.
"Didn’t Bob Dylan start out playing blues?” Thorogood asks. "His first gig, he opened for John Lee Hooker in Greenwich Village. Johnny Cash and Hank Williams all learned by listening to blues. People everywhere can relate to pain more than any other emotion. That’s why the blues will always be timeless.”
George Thorogood, Gitarre, Gesang
In 1973, a barely-out-of-his-teens Wilmington guitarist piled his gear into the drummer’s Chevy van to play their very first gig at a University of Delaware dorm. More than 4 decades, over 8,000 live shows, and some 15 million albums sold worldwide later, that same maverick guitar-slinger is still making electrifying music, still thrilling audiences, and still the most bad-to-the-bone performer in rock.
It’s 2016, and George Thorogood & The Destroyers are Badder Than Ever.
For George and his longtime band – Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) – their new Badder Than Ever Tour is indestructible proof that staying true to yourself and the music can still mean something. And with a catalog of classics that includes “Who Do You Love”, “I Drink Alone”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, “Move It On Over”, “Bad To The Bone” and more, being able to share it with audiences is what will always matter.
“When I was 16, I was going to school and playing Little League but nothing felt comfortable to me,” George says. “The first moment I picked up the guitar, it felt so right that it almost scared me. The fact that I couldn’t sing, play or write a song didn’t matter. I’d learn to do all that soon enough. But by having a knack for this thing and feeling relaxed doing it, I knew I was halfway home. I love to perform live, and I’m lucky to be able to do it on a level that our music and reputation have taken us to. To this day, I consider my job description to be ‘live rock performer’.”
Surprisingly, Thorogood began his career as a solo acoustic act. “I was more of a Robert Johnson/Elmore James type country-blues player,” he explains. “I wasn’t very good at it, but I’d gotten enough feedback from artists like Brownie McGhee and Willie Dixon who thought I had something going. But I knew I needed more.” George called high-school friend and drummer Jeff Simon, and with the addition of a bass player – as well as Jeff’s van – the electric trio soon graduated from basement rehearsals to local gigs. “We knew there was still time for one supercharged boogie-blues combo to make it. We relocated to Boston, and toured New England and the Delaware Valley non-stop. Crowds loved us. The acts we were opening for, like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, loved us. We were playing great, but still couldn’t get a record deal. Back then, a band without a record deal was like an actor without a SAG card. We couldn’t earn more than $200 a night.”
As Big Bill Broonzy said, the blues is a natural fact. If you don’t live it, you don’t have it. “1974 to 1977 was rough,” George remembers. “Everything seemed stacked against us. We were always getting ripped off, our gear got stolen, our rent was doubled and we were evicted from our band house.” By this time, Bill Blough had joined The Destroyers on bass and the band signed a deal with the Cambridge-based independent bluegrass label Rounder Records. “But the album sat on the shelf for 18 months. And the day it was finally released,” George says with a laugh, “was the day Elvis died.”
Nevertheless, that self-titled and now-classic debut would soon be certified Gold. And for audiences and radio alike, the band instantly embodied – and continues to define – powerhouse rock with bar band roots, unchained attitude and a fierce love of its country, blues and R&B history. Over the course of sixteen studio albums (including six Gold and two Platinum discs), they would storm the charts by putting their own stamp on nuggets by Hank Williams, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and more, while simultaneously delivering hit GT originals that crackle with humor and swagger. “I’ve always balanced one against the other,” George explains, “and I follow my heart as far as what I can do. You don’t ask Woody Allen to make a western and you can’t expect Clint Eastwood to do Shakespeare. You find what you’re good at and stick to it. Let’s face it; ‘Get A Haircut’ isn’t a song for Carly Simon. It’s for Thorogood.” As for his signature certified classic “Bad To The Bone”, George knows the simple truth of his definitive badass anthem. “It’s the ultimate fantasy of the cool tough guy,” he says. “I wrote ‘Bad To The Bone’ to perform it live for the rest of my life.”
In fact, ask anyone who’s seen a GT&D performance – from that first show at Lane Hall, through legendary appearances on SNL and Live Aid, the opening slot on the Rolling Stones historic ’81 tour, their own record-breaking 50/50 tour, or any of their current 100+ shows per year – and it’s ferociously clear that the band’s reputation as worldwide road warriors remains untouchable. “When we play, whether it’s a great old theater, a shiny new casino, an outdoor festival, wherever, we have fun on stage. We give the fans a great show. Most of all, we’re making a living doing what we love and people love what we're doing.”
Ultimately, the 2016 Badder Than Ever tour is 50% celebration, 50% declaration and 100% Thorogood throwdown. But after 4-plus decades as one of the most consistent – and consistently unique – careers in rock, can a guitar-slinger still at the top of his game choose a moment that brings it all home? “Stan Musial was once asked, ‘What was the greatest day of your career?’ And Stan said ‘Every day when I walk onto the field is the greatest day.’ I feel the same way,” George says. “Every night when I walk out on that stage is the highlight of my career. I hit that first chord, the band kicks in, and we hear the audience respond. That’s the rush. Over 40 years into this, and every night that's still the only moment that matters.”