Sucking the ’70s – Back in the Saddle Again – Review

va-suckingthe70s2200Sucking the ’70s

Back in the Saddle Again (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney

I dunno how well these things sell, but in my circle, it seemed as if the first Sucking the ’70s was fairly well-regarded and successful, so the appearance of a second volume is perhaps not surprising. It was a good idea the first time around, and it’s a good idea now, although four discs worth of ’70s covers does seem to be pushing things to the saturation point.

As a result, Back in the Saddle Again is less consistent than its predecessor. The concept remains the same: Heavy rock bands, most of them carrying a marked ’70s influence, cover some of their favorite songs from that hallowed era. When it works well, as on Alabama Thunderpussy‘s “Man on the Silver Mountain,” RPG‘s “Parchment Farm,” Clutch & Five Horse Johnson‘s “Red Hot Mama,” or the Brought Low‘s “Don’t Lie to Me” (my personal favorite on the entire set), it’s terrific. There are also a few instances of absolute failure – my beloved Halfway to Gone‘s attempt to metallize “Honky Cat,” and the utter “what the fuck?” catastrophe of VALIS‘s “Dream Weaver,” but at least these failures are the result of bands attempting to reach beyond their means.

Don’t get me wrong, the highlights I’ve listed above are not the only ones this set has to offer. Novadriver, Honky, and Fireball Ministry, just to name the first three that come to mind, also contribute strong tunes. The majority of the compilation, though, is just kinda OK. Some covers are pleasant but fairly unimaginative, and some are textbook examples of a band not knowing its own limits (hint: If your band’s vocalist cannot sing, do not attempt a straight cover of a band with a really good singer). Overall, I’d still say the good moments are worth your purchase price, but I’d recommend the first Sucking the ’70s before this one.

Also included: Sasquatch, Puny Human, Dixie Witch, Colour Haze, Dozer, Acid King, Antler, Brad Davis, Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned, Whitey Morgan & the Waycross Georgia Farmboys, Throttlerod, Red Giant, A Thousand Knives of Fire, The Glasspack, Roadsaw, Greatdayforup, Scott Reeder, Orange Goblin, Mos Generator, Muggs, and Amplified Heat.