Party Of One is the first fully solo album from George Thorogood, a country and blues legend who has previously released an extensive list of 16 albums with the Destroyers; that date way back to the 1970s. Thorogood’s unarguable pedigree shines throughout Party Of One, letting people know that he doesn’t need a band to make him shine.
Thorogood tackles iconic songs from days gone by, playing every instrument you can hear throughout – no mean feat for a man whose years number some 67. We’re introduced to the growling style of Thorogood with I’m A Steady Rolling Man, which perfectly channels the grit and soul that has kept the country music dream alive all these years. Soft Spot follows, sounding straight out of an indie film score. Thorogood has multiple sides to his musical personality, and this track displays his empathetic side for those on hard times. A subject matter that wouldn’t go amiss amongst those lucky enough to have hefty sums of money in the back, that’s for sure!
Never did I think I would be reviewing a track by the name of Wang Dang Doodle, but here I am. It’s slightly less bonkers than it sounds, but takes all of the moonshine soaked fun of the genre and channels it into just under 3 minutes of almost incoherent yet rhythmic mumbling. Boogie Chillen follows in much the same vein, although thankfully a more stomach-able kind of nonsense. It’s clear all the way through this record that Thorogood lives and breathes rhythm and blues. A stalwart of the genre he loves so much, there is nothing that can damped the man’s passion for what he does.
Down The Highway is the answer to the question – what would happen if Tom Waits moved to Nashville in the 1950s? Well he would walk down the highway with a suitcase in his hand, and it would sound like George Thorogood. His ability to transform a simple acoustic guitar into every instrument needed in a track is second to none. His one guitar acts as drums, bass and lead – driving the tracks along, guided by the animated tales of those who have come before him.
The Sky Is Crying isn’t as emotional sounding as the title would suggest, but Thorogood’s crooning is clearly coming from some place of woe, potentially diluted by a heck of a lot of whisky. At times, the guitars twanging become a little predictable and hard to swallow, but here they are merely a slightly too aggressive vehicle for Thorogood’s tale of loss. The record is brought to a close by a live track by the name of One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer which sounds like a recipe for a good night by today’s standards. It’s good old country living soundtracked by good old no nonsense melodies, something that is few and far between these days.
There is nothing contrived about George Thorogood, you can feel the stories he tells throughout Party Of One, that this really is the life he leads. Despite these tracks coming from the lives of others, Thorogood too has been there, done that and got the t shirt. The world is a different place to the one Thorogood started out amongst, but you can guarantee that his existence is still exactly the same as it was way back in the 70s.