With his first solo outing, George Thorogood has gone back to his roots.
Prior to forming the Destroyers in the mid-1970s, the fledgling Delaware destroyer was an aspiring acoustic bluesman. So, while the all-covers Party of One's primarily acoustic instrumentation — performed entirely by Thorogood — may not what be long-term fans were expecting, there's a true reverence for the blues (not to mention Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and the Rolling Stones) across its 14 cuts. Thorogood and the Destroyers have always transcended the bar-band reputation that's preceded them, and while Thorogood himself has often downplayed his own abilities in interviews, there's no denying that he's helped keep the blues tradition alive.
Here, gritty and raucous takes on Robert Johnson's "I'm a Steady Rollin' Man" and Elmore James' "Got to Move" are formidable showcases for Thorogood's killer slide work, while the Stones' "No Sympathy" and Gary Nicholson's "Soft Spot" are rendered with a sensitivity that Thorogood has rarely embraced. Elsewhere, Johnny Cash's "Bad News" and Hank Williams' "Pictures From Life's Other Side" are given creditable tear-in-the-beer treatments, but don't surpass the originals.
Party of One closes with the John Lee Hooker-penned "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," a classic rock staple thanks to the Destroyers' 1977 cover. Its sparse, acoustic instrumentation here approaches the darkness of Hooker's original and is the set's finest track. (Rounder)