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Blackfoot - Highway Song - Live

Review: 167
Date: 27 Feb 04

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Ricky Medlocke - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Jakson ‘Thunderfoot’ Spires - Drums and Vocals
Greg T. Walker - Bass Guitar and Vocals
Charlie ''Daddy Long Legs'' Hargrett - Lead guitar

Tracks Listing:
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Every Man Should Know His Queenie
Good Morning
Dry Country
Rollin' and Tumblin'
Fly Away
Road Fever
Trouble In Mind
Train Train
Highway Song
Howay The Lads

 


In 1982 Britain was invaded by four men from Jacksonville, U.S.A. Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, those four desperadoes of Blackfoot swept across the British Isles taking all before them. This Dog was lucky enough to take them on at Newcastle City Hall, where part of this recording came from. Until that night I had heard of Southern Rock, and was the proud owner of several 'Lynyrd Skynyrd' albums. I had seen them blow my beloved ‘Rolling Stones’ off the stage at Knebworth, and then touring as support with ‘Golden Earring’. I had seen 'The Skynyrd' just about finish off the career of the Dutch band. I mean how do you follow ‘Freebird’?

But on that dark and windy day in Geordie Land (man, it blows a gale up there, freezing my Southern English bones to the core) seeing Blackfoot in the flesh, whipping the notoriously difficult to please Newcastle crowd into a frenzy, made me understand what it was all about. Attitude. Before I met Blackfoot I thought Jack Daniel's was the President of Texas (well, I got that bit right); Snakebites were what you got from angry Anacondas; pussy was an affectionate name for next door’s moggy; and Tai-Wan, Tai-Pei, and Thailand were all the same place. It was also about that time that I realized how much my parents had learned in between me being 14 and 21. (I just hope my young daughter learns that her parents cannot actually be as stupid as she thinks). Blackfoot were the band that made a generation of Geordies grow their hair long, wear Cowboy boots, start drinking alcohol other than Newcastle Brown Ale, and realize there was a Rock 'n' Roll world out there aside from ‘The Animals’ and ‘Lindisfarne’. In other words it was an education, a privilege, and a revelation to see these guys go about their business. You knew it was going to be a special night when you arrived at the City Hall to see the Blackfoot tour bus outside emblazoned down one side, in big red letters, was the legend ‘Liquor in the Front and Poker in the Back’.

As soon as Blackfoot hit the stage they owned the place. Unlike the neutron bomb this bunch knocks the building flat and leaves the people standing stunned in awe. There was no warning. They just hit the stage, plugged in, and mugged you.

In the middle of the stage was the huge Ricky Medlocke - part redneck, part God - as he belted out the lead vocals ripping solos out of his axe with the venom mixed with joy only a man completely in charge of his Karma can do. Next to him sharing lead guitar duties (there was no rhythm guitar in Blackfoot, definitely two lead guitars) was Charlie ‘Daddy Long Legs‘ Hargrett, high stepping out to the edge of the stage to grin, nod, and leer at the bewitched rabble. All out of our seats, drunk on the heady intoxicating cocktail of Rock 'n' Roll, Blackfoot was letting us have.

As with all good bass players the most sinister member of the band was the silent, but deadly Greg T. Walker, who locked each song down with his gut wrenching bass. Then behind the bins was Jakson ’Thunderfoot‘ Spires, and if you really need to find out why he was called Thunderfoot, just listen to opening song 'Gimme, Gimme, Gimme', and you know.

When you’re around these dogs you do not want to come out with silly words. So if you need to say anything spell it like B.A.L.L.A.D.S., because there is nothing like that in this band’s repertoire. This is music to rock out to, let your hair down, and let go - enjoy yourself. The music has more teeth and venom than a pit full of rattlers and once you've been bitten you never want to find the antidote. Do not expect any words of wisdom in the lyrics, it’s all about being on the road, drinking, passion, sinning, and having a real good time. All of ‘Blackfoot’s best songs are on this disc, on what has to be the ‘livest’ recording ever released, the audience becoming the fifth member of the band. The final two songs of the set 'Train Train' and 'Highway Song' (Blackfoot's own version of ‘Freebird’) clocking in at 15 minutes, are unstoppable and impossible to follow, leaving the Geordie fans singing the Newcastle anthem ‘Howay the Lads‘ to their new found heroes.

Wounded Bird Records have finally got the rights to release this album worldwide. Amazingly it was only given a limited release back in 1982 as a British first-time round on vinyl, but it has finally been released on C.D. and a very good job Wounded Bird have done with the production. It still sounds as fresh as if it was recorded yesterday. A must have for any serious lover of Rock 'n' Roll.

Of course it was too good to last, but that tour in 1982 Blackfoot's only headlining tour of Britain will remain in the minds of all that were lucky enough to see them. Ricky Medlocke has now joined his brothers in the re-formed ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’ while his old band mates play under the banner of ‘The Southern All Stars’, America's version of ‘Pop's Pattaya all Stars’. Get some Blackfoot, we are unlikely to see their like again.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Re-mastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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