It is in the nature of this column to chose the non obvious and flirt with the outsiders. It sounds a bit more promising than Flirtin’ With Disaster as Molly Hatchett have done, after their first singer Danny Joe Brown left in 1978 making the title of their big hit sound prophetic. Of course, those of you who read us regularly could guess Beatin’ The Odds, let’s remember that from Black Sabbath’s vast discography we chose to deal with Born Again. Molly Hatchett took their name – that story should bring in metalheads’ minds the equivalent one of Lizzy Borden – from the 19th century prostitude of the same name that was killing her clients-lovers with an axe. They were formed in 1971 from Dave Hublek and Steve Holland. Their first singer, Danny Joe Brown, whose excessive performarnce put a long-lasting mark on the band (he joined a bit later in 1974). The experience they were picking up on the road, their superfluous talent and a much wanted contract with multinational Epic, plus the help from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant, who was the producer in their first album, were forming the best conditions for recognition for the young band. Skynyrd’s accident in 1977 took Ronnie Van Zant’s life, but not MH’s connection with the legendary group. Molly Hatchett’s sound was influenced a lot by Lynyrd Skynyrd, was blended with old fashioned rock, Blackfoot, Ted Nugent, Allman Brothers and the traditional southern blues and created a very strong mixture of classic rock that was bridging the gap of generations and genres that some spoiled ‘English kids’ were starting to do in the other side of the Atlantic (and of course, they did well). After 7 exhausting years on the road, a lot of booze, 2 successful albums in their bags and intention to change-take turn in his career – and also a very good medical justification in the back pocket – Brown departed exactly the time when Molly Hatchett were ready for the top in the crossroads before the release of their third album. Many draw a parallel of this change – of course at a later time and comparing unequal things – with other equivalent in Heavy Metal/Hard Rock: Dio instead of Ozzy, Sammy Hagar instead of Lee Roth, Brian Johnson instead of Bon Scott, the list goes on. The only constant factor is that the band moves forward in spite of the change behind the mic. Jimmy Farrar, the substitute, combined blues’ melodies with Hard Rock roughness, the direct and storytelling performance with the numerous influences, simplicity with a voice made for arenas in a totally personal style and an approach entirely different than his predecessor. In that helped the production made by Tom Werman (renowned A&R and producer that was working for Epic Records from 1970 until 1982 and is involved in 23 golden and platinum records from bands like Mother’s Finest, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet, Blue Öyster Cult, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, Stryper, Hawks, Kix, L.A. Guns and Poison). Which was crystal clear giving emphasis on the guitars that were keeping up on the same aggressive motif and maybe even more making the sound more accessible to the average Heavy Metal/Hard Rock fan of the time. Let’s not forget that we are standing at the doorstep of the ’80s (album was recorded in 1979) with music going more to the extreme by the day, so the expansion of extreme sound geographically, through classes and ages was unavoidable. Hardcore fans, even forty years later, don’t accept that record (not even the next one, essentially denouncing the Farrar period in MH) in an adulterating crescendo of their memories, turning them into convincing devices. Staying close to their southern past, with Beatin’ The Odds, Molly Hatchett expanded their audience without betraying their principles. One million sales of the album testify to that. The compositions have something addictive and at the same time arousing that urges you almost to dance. They are well written and well taken care of with the second side of the vinyl shining. “Few And Far Between” with the exceptional slide guitars, starting “Beatin’ The Odds” with the catchy, even though simple, chorus and the beautiful solos, my favourite and storytelling “Double Taker” which is made to be a single, “Poison Pen” where Farrar gives his best plus the great solos, the southern “Sailor” and “Get Her Back” (again great slide guitars), the cover on Creedence Clearwater Revival bluesy “Penthouse Pauper” (written by John Fogerty) and the more Lynyrd Skynyrd song of the record “Dead And Gone” with the second female vocals are constituting a very neat effort that stands proud since 1980 in Molly Hatchett’s legacy and discography, even though the touring members, none of them original (after David Lawrence “Dave” Hubek in September 2017) that tour (and record with their most recent work being 2012’s “Regrinding The Axes”, a covers album) with that name they rarely trust anything beyond the title track in their setlist. The cover is of course made by Frank Frazetta and is entitled ‘The Berserker’. It was released in 1980 through Epic Records and went up to no.25 in the Billboard.