"Slavicsky's Smorgasbord"

by Al Slavicsky
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 Molly Hatchet - Silent Reign of Heroes

CMC International Records
Veteran Southern rockers Molly Hatchet prove that good old fashioned rock and roll still can make rebels. Delivering some of their best music in years, Molly Hatchet really outdid themselves with ten tracks of American pride. Hard to believe that this is the same band who recorded Gator Country and Flirting With Disaster. This is totally 1990s Southern rock that really cooks. "World of Trouble" deals with the timely issues of the Persian Gulf War, while the ballad "Just Remember (You're the Only One)" reminds one of the old April Wine tune "Just Between You and Me," but Hatchet's tune is more of a tear jerker. "Junk Yard Dawg" reminds us of Jackyl, and "Dead and Gone (Redneck Song)" could easily be a Skynyrd tune. Molly Hatchet continues to make music history, and these rebels would never be destroyed.

Tempest - The 10th Anniversary Collection

Magna Carta Records
The Celtic rock band Tempest celebrates its tenth anniversary with a compilation of 12 rearranged and re-recorded tracks from their past. Rarely has a band decided to do a compilation this way, but they did it, and the results are literally a masterpiece. Tempest makes one want to get a bottle of Scotch and drink with the band's tunes. Fusing original Celtic instruments with progressive rock overtones, Tempest redefined the Celtic sound into a sort of like Yes-meeting-a-jig. "Captain Morgan," about the famous pirate, looks at the life of the famous buccaneer and the rum that is named after him. "The Sleeping Highlander" proves that a little bit of Scotland is in us all. Overall, musically, Tempest is far above the norm, and they expand the barriers between traditional Celtic music and progressive rock.

Fiendz - Cole

Black Pumpkin Records
New Jersey's Fiendz have become a fixture in that growing punk and hardcore scene. By playing some power pop punk mixed with an occasional horn section every now and then -- this can be demonstrated with the song "Is This All a Dream?" -- on Cole, Fiendz are able to give their listeners 15 tracks of catchy, uptempo punk riffs a la distorted guitars and hard-hitting drums. Songs that stand out include "Spent," "Scene," "Jack's Bistro," and "Gropper." Also keep listening after the song "All My Own" to hear one of the best surf-influenced rock tunes ever to come out of New Jersey.

Sunnyland Slim - She Got a Thing Goin' On

Earwig Music Company, Inc.
Highlighting Sunnyland Slim's career through the 1970s and early 1980s, She Got a Thing Goin' On proves how much of a blues genius he really was, especially on his unique honky-tonk piano playing. What Sunnyland Slim could do on the ivories has set standards for all blues players in the future. Most of the cuts heard here come from Earwig masters, which have been preserved very well. These include "Sad and Evil Woman," "Rockin' My Blues Away," and "Goin' Down Slow." But a couple of the tracks had to use recreated master tapes due to being lost by Sunnyland Slim, so there is a digital flaw in the records, which include "See My Lawyer," "Done You Wrong," "She Got That Jive," "Feel Like Stroking," and "Bus Station Blues." If you want to hear someone who really influenced the blues, listen to this release.

Rock Bottom & the Cutaways - Shake Your Boogie Leg

New Moon Blues
In the vein of the late Sonny Boy Williamson, Rock Bottom dishes out some of the best harmonica playing to be unleashed in some time. Rock Bottom makes you wanna Shake Your Boogie Leg, with 13 tracks of various degrees of the blues and rockabilly. If you don't get up, baby, and move your funky butt to Rock Bottom, then you must be dead. This man really knows how to jive via tunes like "The Tampa Grind," "In the Alley," and on the Johnny Brunette Trio-styled "Get Up Baby." Blues harpists take note of this release.

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