Back in 2002, Small Stone Records put out a 2-CD compilation called SUCKING THE 70s. It featured a bunch of their roster bands and some similarly styled acts covering a ton of great ‘70s era rock standards – “Black Betty”, “Travellin’ Band”, “Doctor Doctor”, and “Communication Breakdown” to name a few. The concept was highly successful artistically, so the label decided to go to the well once more with this companion/sequel release. Once again featuring a huge amount of Small Stone roster bands, along with some new friends, BACK IN THE SADDLE is another 31 songs of ‘70s rock goodness.
Right away, I’ll say that both discs kick ass. They’re packed to the brim with awesome songs, and some truly great cover versions. However, overall I would say that the first disc has more standouts. Beginning with Sasquatch’s rollicking cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “Are You Ready”, it’s all guns blazing to the end. Highlights include Puny Human’s metalized take on the Osmonds’ “Crazy Horses”, Dozer’s stomping cover of De-Evolution obscurity “Mongoloid”, and Gideon Smith’s creepy vamp through “Season of the Witch” by Donovan.
Not to be outdone, disc two sports The Glasspack’s revved up version of AC/DC’s “Rock ‘n Roll Singer”, Fireball Ministry’s run through of Joe Walsh standard “Turn to Stone” and Amplified Heat’s boogie take on ZZ Top’s “Neighbour Neighbour”.
As with all compilations, there are some clunkers. For example, Los Natas’ interesting bilingual take on “Born to be Wild” has none of the energy or power of the original. Whitey Morgan’s acoustic countrified take on Van Halen’s classic “Running with Devil” is an interesting curiosity – for one listen. And let’s face it, W.A.S.P. pretty much owns the definitive cover version of “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, making The Muggs’ sterile version both boring and redundant.
These missteps aside, BACK IN THE SADDLE is an overwhelming success, front to back. If you’re at all a fan of ‘70s hard rock, you owe it to yourself to check out this set.
1) Are You Ready? (Sasquatch)
2) Crazy Horses (Puny Human)
3) Red Hot Mama (Clutch & Five Horse Johnson)
4) Rock Candy (Dixie Witch)
5) Don’t Lie To Me (The Brought Low)
6) Sin City (Novadriver)
7) One Way Or Another (Colour Haze)
8) Man on the Silver Mountain (Alabama Thunderpussy)
9) Mongoloid (Dozer)
10) The Stake (Acid King)
11) Honky Cat (Halfway to Gone)
12) Those Shoes (Antler)
13) Outlaw Man (Brad Davis)
14) Season of the Witch (Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned)
15) Running With the Devil (Whitey Morgan & the Waycross Georgia Farmboys)
1) I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Throttlerod)
2) Saturday Night Special (Red Giant)
3) Bonie Maronie (A Thousand Knives Of Fire)
4) Rock ‘n Roll Singer (The Glasspack)
5) When the Levee Breaks (Roadsaw)
6) Super Stupid (Greatdayforup)
7) Turn to Stone (Fireball Ministry)
8) Born to Be Wild (Los Natas)
9) Two of Us (Scott Reeder)
10) New Rose (Orange Goblin)
11) Garden Road (Mos Generator)
12) Snortin’ Whiskey (Honky)
13) I Don’t Need No Doctor (The Muggs)
14) Neighbour Neighbour (Amplified Heat)
15) Parchment Farm (RPG)
16) Dreamweaver (Valis)