Back in the mid 1980s, I used to frequent a little music store in town that specialized in importing so-called “alternative records.” The store owner, knowing my tastes, suggested I pick up a six song E.P. by a brand new roots rock group called The Georgia Satellites.
Little did either of us know that by 1986 the band would get signed to a major label and release a full length album containing the built in classic rock radio staple, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” This, coupled with the album’s relatively clean and straight production, effectively killed their indie standing in the alt rock community, and I moved on in my search for cool rock ‘n’ roll bands.
But time heals all wounds, and the Satellites became one of my all time favorite bands anyway, despite what I considered their initial stumble out of the gate. Going back to their first, self titled album, I’m still not happy with the production – the thumping cannon blast of the snare doesn’t flatter drummer Mauro Magellan, who’s otherwise part of an effective rhythm section along with bassist Rick Price.
Lead guitarist Rick Richards also gets slighted in the mix: it only hints at the industrial strength boogie ‘n’ blues guitar racket he would practically patent one day. At least lead singer/songwriter/troublemaker Dan Baird, who wrote mast of the album’s ten songs, gets a chance to show he’s capable of more than just “Hands to Yourself.” And the cover of Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” puts a different spin on the song, equal parts retribution and reinterpretation.
Some would say Dan Baird and company would go on to make better music elsewhere. One thing’s for sure: whether you consider this to be alternative rock or mainstream, if you like this album, you really owe it to yourself to check out their subsequent releases.