Great Rock Albums of 1983: Molly Hatchet- No Guts No Glory
One Southern Rock band that did still get some attention up North in 1983 was the great Molly Hatchet. What excited many Hatchet fans north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line was the return of lead singer Danny Joe Brown to the band to record the “No Guts No Glory” album. For those who are new to 80smetalman, it might be a good idea to have a crash history lesson. Danny Joe Brown left Molly Hatchet after the magnificent “Flirtin’ With Disaster” album, actually he was kicked out because of his drinking, and replaced by lead singer Jimmy Farrar who sang on the next two albums, “Beatin’ the Odds” and “Take No Prisoners.” While there was nothing wrong with either of those albums and Jimmy Farrar is a very capable singer, there seemed to be something missing from those albums. It was hoped that Brown’s return would re-ignite the chemistry that brought them fame with “Flirtin’ With Disaster.”
The old chemistry certainly does return on the “No Guts No Glory” album from the very first song. Things definitely feel very upbeat on the first two songs and at the time, I wanted to scream, although I did inwardly, “Welcome back Danny!” While the first two tracks set the pace for the entire album, it is the third track that propels things into the ionosphere. “Sweet Dixie” is one of those Southern rock boogie tunes that has me bouncing in my chair whenever I hear it. Unless I’m walking, then it makes me quicken my step. Even when I returned north after I got out of the service, the lyrics reminded me of the good things about being down South.
“Just give me those stars and bars, Willie on the radio
A good cold beer and that rebel cheer
And man I’m ready to roll
That sweet sweet Dixie music really gets into my soul
So Mr Deejay won’t you play that Southern rock and roll.”
Of course the guitars of Dave Hlubeck, Duane Roland and Steve Holland are all over that song as well as the entire album but the song where they really shine is the best known song from the album, “Fall of the Peacemakers.” Written as a lament over the murder of John Lennon although I always saw it as an anti- war song, the three guitarists lay down some killer solos in the style of “Freebird” or “Highway Song” on the final five minutes of it. “Fall of the Peacemakers” has been said to have been Molly Hatchet’s own “Freebird.” The guitars are certainly good enough.
Having originally bought “No Guts No Glory” on vinyl, actually my first vinyl purchase upon leaving the service, the songs mentioned were side one. Side two is definitely not filler. There are five awesome tracks on it that keep the party going very well. Of those five, the standout for me is “Kinda Like Love.” They do throw in something a bit different at the end as the closer, “Both Sides,” is an instrumental. Some more great guitar work on it to end the album just right.
Other interesting facts about the album are the fact that this is the only Molly Hatchet album not to portray a Franzetta painting on the cover. Another is the use of keyboards. Danny Joe Brown was wise to bring John Galvin over from his Danny Joe Brown band to play on the album. The album also features a completely new rhythm section with Riff West on bass and Barry BB Borden on drums. They work very well here.
- What Does it Matter
- Ain’t Even Close
- Sweet Dixie
- Fall of the Peacemakers
- What’s it Gonna Take
- Kinda Like Love
- Under the Gun
- On the Prowl
- Both Sides
Danny Joe Brown- vocals
Dave Hlubeck- guitars
Duane Roland- guitar
Steve Holland- guitar
Riff West- bass
Barry BB Borden- drums
John Galvin- keyboards
Jai Winding- keyboards
*Note- Steve Holland would leave the band during the tour for the album and John Galvin would replace him and become a permanent member
Thanks to the return of Danny Joe Brown, many would say that Molly Hatchet was back. I know they never really went anywhere but the “No Guts No Glory” album in my mind, returned them to former glory.
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