Arguably more Chuck Berryesque than Chuck Berry himself. George Thorogood is a kind of sensei of rock’n’roll, a Zen master of boogie. Had he never written a song himself (and he hasn’t written many), Thorogood would be deserving of honours for his interpretations of the music of John Lee Hooker (One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer), Bo Diddley (Who Do You Love) and Berry himself (just about everything).
It makes sense that GT’s records came out on the folk-preserving Rounder Records label, because his entire career is based on saving rock’n’roll for the nation. Which is not to say, as this astonishing live album is testament to, that his efforts are dull and worthy: Thorogood and his aptly-named Destroyers are, like AC/DC, like ZZ Top, like Dr. Feelgood, a bar band to end all bar bands.
From Thorogood’s own Bad To The Bone to the astonishing cover of Berry’s It Wasn’t Me (‘I met a German girl in England who was livin’ in France/She said we danced The Mississippi at an Alpha Kappa dance’), this album – extended from its original release to a butt-thumping 24 tracks and two and a half hours – is entirely superb, a master class in live performance and whipping up crowd excitement.
The music – even a 13-minute One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer – flies by, and at the end the sated listener is forced to conclude that this may well be one of the great live albums.