Archive for Born to Be Bad

Great Rock Albums of 1988: George Thorogood- Born to Be Bad

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

Yet, another great American artist who didn’t quite make it over in the UK. Here, George Thorogood is most known for “Bad to the Bone” and that’s a shame because of what a great guitarist he is. On account of that, it would be several years down the line before I learned of his 1988 album, “Born to be Bad.”

Compared to his previous albums, George doesn’t go full blues rock. Don’t get me wrong, that sound is still there and many of the songs have his trademark opening riffs, like the opener, “Shake Your Money Maker,” originally recorded by Elmore James and covered by many other artists. George’s version does the song justice, especially how he nails the guitar solo.

A number of the songs have a 1950s vibe which would have made Jerry Lee Lewis proud. That sound comes in the form of “You Talk Too Much.” I can easily picture the characters of “Grease” jiving along to this one. Heck, maybe if this song was in the film, I would have enjoyed it more. However, Hank Carter is the star of this track as his sax solo is superb! But he goes back to traditional blues territory on “Highway 49.” His guitar licks are just super cool on here and give full credit to the rhythm section as well.

Things go back to the 50s vibe with the title track and it’s very catchy. Even George’s guitar solos is in the vein of that decade but it still sounds great. That vibe continues on the cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me.” Billy Blough’s bass line is what solidifies this song, it reminds me a little of Johnny Cash and of course, we get another cool guitar solo from you know who. And the 50’s party continues on with “I’m Ready,” which sounds like something out of “Happy Days.” While George and the Destroyers are jamming away on the song, I get visions of The Fonz riding past on his motorcycle. We also get another great sax solo from Hank.

If George had been around in the decade which seems to heavily influence this album, then I could definitely see him playing “Treat Her Right” on American Bandstand. The song would have been huge. It is an original from the band has another cool guitar solo. It was released as a single but failed to chart.

For the last three songs, the last two, the best on the album, George and his band go back to their more traditional blues roots. “I Really Like Girls” is a fast, fun jam. “Smokestack Lightning,” is slower but has a great blues sound to it, which even a no rhythm person like myself can follow along with. However, the best is saved for last as “I’m Movin’ On” is what I have liked about George Thorogood all of these years. A good blues number with a tight rhythm section, the best vocals on the album and some great guitar solos.

Track Listing:

  1. Shake Your Monemaker
  2. You Talk Too Much
  3. Highway 49
  4. Born to be Bad
  5. You Can’t Catch Me
  6. I’m Ready
  7. Treat Her Right
  8. I Really Live Girls
  9. Smokestack Lightning
  10. I’m Movin’ On
George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, vocals

Hank Carter- saxophone, vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums

Steve Chrismar- guitar

I have always wondered why George Thorogood wasn’t successful in the UK. He did bring a unique sound to music back in the 1980s and did very well in America. “Born to Be Bad” did hit #32 in the album charts, proving you don’t always need a good single to have a great album.

Next post: All About Eve

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