Bart Walker sings like Gregg Allman mixed with the late Danny Joe Brown, Molly Hatchet's original vocalist, or even the recent Phil McCormack, who was a great choice of replacement, but plays like a cross between Les Dudek (only sometimes, as in the opening cut—and, God, whatever happened to that guy???, he coulda been one of the greats!), any of Hatchet's axehandlers (take your pick of their crunchy chopsters), Kim Simmonds' funkier side, and the frets-throttling groove of quintessential Southern rock. Big Bart knows how the rough side drags and tells it like it is in Took It Like a Man, owning up to his fuck-ups but carrying on regardless, like a man, y'all. His work is prevalently dark, hardtack, no nonsense, and with more than a little of the brontosaurus stomp to it (well accented by drummer Steve Potts). Things get really thick and meaty when he dubs in a slippery slide atop his own churning chord work, Girl You Bad a devilish example.
There's smoke and fire everywhere in this disc, swampy nights and blazing days, as well as a detectable Confederate rebel undercurrent, a don't-give-me-no-shit-goddammit! attitude that pervades everything. The choice of Jim Gaines as producer was exactly the right decision, as that cat knows the great shit from the shinola when it comes to this sort of material, having worked with as overwhelming an array of heavy hitters as would choke a bull. Adding Pat McLaughlin and Gary Nicholson as writers to bottom-line main man Brandon Gower wasn't a bad idea either, as every track here comes across like tempered steel still glowing red hot. As the CD closes, Walker slows the celebrated Whippin' Post down below the Allmans' tempo, basting it more fully in its own blues sauce, then tosses in a number of gritty solos to drive the nail deeper. By the time your speakers fall silent, yer gonna notice you're puffing and panting like you just got in a street fight or spent the night as a roadhouse renegade with the boys.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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