guterman.clips.George Thorogood

This was my first review for Rolling Stone. The naivete behind it may amuse you.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Maverick
EMI America
(review appeared in Rolling Stone, 20 June 1985)

Every year George Thorogood used to take time off from rock'n'roll to play semipro baseball, which provides an unfortunate metaphor for his music: like a minor-league player, he has studied all the masters' moves, but the best he can do is echo them without adding much of his own. As with all of Thorogood's albums, Maverick is essential for a keg-party playlist but of doubtful value elsewhere.

Thorogood has excellent taste, covering such all-time greats as Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, and John Lee Hooker, but his is taste without imagination. His cover of Berry's "Go Go Go" lacks the sly humor of the original, a crippling omission. Although he is performing something of a public service in bringing this music to a new generation of listeners, he is too reverent of the classics he resurrects to consider rethinking them. Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers are much more comfortable performing his own blues-based songs, like "Gear Jammer" and "I Drink Alone," and the party atmosphere they create is infectious. If they can transfer the same kind of looseness to the old songs they love, they may one day be more than a glorified bar band.

 

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