Wonder & Mystery: Flirtin’ with Disaster

You know what I love about Molly Hatchet?

Frank Frazetta.

Frank Frazetta was a master artist of the highest talent. Frank started in the Golden Age of comic books, working on titles and characters like L’il Abner with Al Capp, Flash Gordon, MAD magazine, All-Star Comics, World’s Finest Comics, The Shining Knight, Vampirella, (turned down work from) Disney and Buck Rogers who the studly Frank looked like. Most important of all is that Frank worked on Conan the Barbarian and created what are considered THE definitive images of the character. Everything that comes after Frank (Marvel Comics, Arnold, Dark Horse Comics) is all because of Frank’s art. I am a Conan nerd in no small part to some of Frank’s paintings of everyone’s favorite Barbarian.

Frank is known for his paintings, several of which were used for album covers  by many bands and in particular Molly Hatchet’s second album Flirtin’ with Disaster, which used his painting of a wild eyed, red haired, axe toting Viking titled Dark Kingdom as the cover.

This album is from the same year as last week’s album Loose Change, and it has the just the right seasoning of hiss and pop. Though the first song on side two, the title track and the song Molly Hatchet is known for, has seen some miles.

My first look at the cover makes me want to think of some kind of epic, kick ass, melodic metal (Blind Guardian) or sludge metal (Red Fang) or something very prog (Mastodon) but what I get is something that is very, very Southern Rock. I’m not much of a Southern Rock guy, I used to be “back in the day” but like the typical pissing and moaning about Classic Rock stations in Central Indiana, most of it just got overplayed.

So this awesome cover has inside a series of songs about honky tonking – hard traveling – town hopping, whiskey sluggers; you know, Southern Rock. The first song is even titled, “Whiskey Man.”

The thing is this album is all of these things and then some. When Lynrd Skynrd took a header in Mississippi it kind of opened the door for Molly Hatchet, not unlike how the demise of Nirvana really allowed Pearl Jam to… you know what? I’m really just talking out of my ass.

The album is definitely Southern Rock but it is also a bit more blues-y than it gets credit for. This could probably be said for a great many Southern Rock bands. However, as I lamented earlier many Southern style bands get their singles overplayed and the album tracks get no love.

The “deep cuts” of this album are fantastic. “One Man’s Pleasure” reminds me of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem though the subject matter of a cheating woman and divorce are decidedly country isn’t it also very blues?

“Now I’m home all alone, worth a paper that says I’m free.

I guess I’ll hit the road again, and do what I do best.

To hell with her, to hell with him, to hell with all the rest.” 

Boogie No More” leaves me flat at first then it rolls on in a bit of an extended jam and I change my mind.

I’m also a sucker for what I call “Gunslinger Rock” and “Gunsmoke” is just that.

It’s not rocket surgery, it’s just good rock n’ roll that isn’t deep fried but served with a nice helping of gravy.

Sometimes the guitars (because of the old fashioned tube amps?) remind me of a Boston kind of guitar sound.

And Boston is not Southern Rock.

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