“So I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I sure saw Molly Hatchet”. And with that one line, courtesy of Patterson Hood in the Drive-By Truckers’ Let There Be Rock, I had to hear what Molly Hatchet was all about. Which I did, via Molly Hatchet.eroes to Zeroes.
OK, full disclosure, before pressing play on opening track Bounty Hunter, I assumed Molly Hatchet was one chick. One chick who sang country music. Now I know how all those dopes feel when they get laughed at for thinking Lynyrd Skynyrd was actually a bloke named Leonard, or that Jethro Tull is some singer song writer. But it doesn’t take long to get over my embarrassment, because, Bounty Hunter is a chunky slice of ass kicking southern rock that could improve any mood.
The ‘southern’ in southern rock really gets a workout in Gator Country. String’s are a-pluckin’, accents are a-drawlin’, and I assume plenty of moonshine is a-consumed by the kind of people who inspired this song. And in the tradition of southern rock, Gator Country (and later Dreams I’ll Never See) proves that there’s no such thing as a guitar solo that’s too long, as long as it rocks hard enough.
With a boogie rhythm, blues inspired guitars and a plenty of honkey to be tonked, Big Apple is the kind of song that could be a genuine example of its genre, or a big piss take of its genre. It all just depends on who’s performing it.
When I hear a song like The Price You Pay or I’ll Be Running, I know why this band was influential enough for Hood to reference them in one of his own songs decades later. The characters of songs like these are the same kinds of characters who populate so much of Hood’s music. Guys from the wrong side of the tracks who revel in excess and have no interest in getting to that better side.
A lot of Molly Hatchet lives and dies by its riffs. All of the highlights are built around the guitars and everything they have to offer. Cheatin’ Woman has so much attitude and swagger, long before a single lyric is sung. The guitars in Molly Hatchet have just as much personality as the lyrics.
With Molly Hatchet, Molly Hatchet delivers good, driving, solid southern rock. And really, it’s a simple formula that works best when kept to its simplest. Which these guys deliver. Noodling solos you can chug beers to. Sometimes, that’s all you need.