Album Reviews

George Thorogood

Party of One

Artist:     George Thorogood

Album:     Party of One

Label:     Rounder

Release Date:     8/4/2017


On his first-ever solo album in a 40-plus year career, legend George Thorogood is out to prove that the twang’s the thang—both in his sound and in his voice.

Relying on just his axe and distinctive vocals to tackle the works of blues gods, Thorogood unleashes a strong individual effort that proves entirely he’s as much Delta as he is Delaware.

Thorogood’s mission on Party of One is unlocking the groove, wherever it lies. He succeeds and then some: just listen to “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man,” “Tallahassee Women,” “Wang Dang Doodle” and “Boogie Chillen” as he seamlessly noodles away on his guitar and shifts his vocals to fit whatever the mood of the piece might be. It used to be Thorogood would turn up his amps, bend his strings till they all but cried out in pain and sing as hard as he could to get his points across. He doesn’t have to do this anymore; “Down the Highway” is a spot-on Johnny Cash impression while “The Sky is Crying” gets a more emotive reworking here, sounding noticeably sweet compared to the version he first popularized in 1978.

But Thorogood knows when to have fun too. Usually it’s whenever he sets about covering a John Lee Hooker tune. “The Hookers (If You Miss ‘Im…I Got ‘Im’)” is a sly delight while “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” keeps things simpler and straightforward. There’s no backstory, no build-up, just a tell it like it is track that still sounds great coming out of Thorogood’s mouth as he manages to update it with subtle nuances (was that a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughan I heard in there?).

You aren’t getting Thorogood at his commercial finest here, but rest assured that even though this may be a party of one, it’s still a great musical shindig you’ll want to be invited to.

—Ira Kantor


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