Ride 'Til I Die

by: George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Fans of George Thorogood & the Destroyers would probably stage a minor rebellion if their man strayed from his well-worn path of bloozy boogie. Luckily, there is no need to take up arms anytime soon, as Thorogood's sound remains unchanged on Ride 'Til I Die. Good-natured, guy-at-the-end-of-the-bar vocals, buzzing slide guitar, and solid American blues-rock are still the order of the day. The album is the usual mix of covers (Thorogood adds only one original, the forgettable "Sweet Little Lady") played with a barroom-friendly wink and smile. Songs like Eddie Shaw's "Greedy Man," J.J. Cale's "Devil in Disguise, " Nick Lowe's "That's It, I Quit," and Chuck Berry's "Move It" are perfect for Thorogood's good-time persona, and he plays them with energy that has been lacking on the last few records. Best of all is his cover of Eddie Cochran's strutting "My Way," which Thorogood delivers with a punch that puts the song right up there with some of his early classic work. Less successful is the slow blues number, Elvin Bishop's "Don't Let the Boss Man Get You Down," on which his voice is strained and the energy level dips precipitously. The gospel nugget "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water" is another failure, as his emotionless vocals and the lifeless performance let down the side. The last track, a cover of John Lee Hooker's "Ride 'Til I Die," is a nice addition to the record. Recorded at a soundcheck before a show in Texas in early 2002, it shows that while Thorogood's strength will always be good-time blooze 'n' boogie, he can do a credible job on acoustic blues too. The sound of the Ride 'Til I Die album is not a surprise; the surprise is that the record is as good as it is. ~ Tim Sendra

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