George Thorogood and The Destroyers burst into public consciousness 36 years ago with their self-titled first album. Their bruising blues rock style and Thorogood’s ability to fill some pretty big blues shoes had fans primed and ready for late 1978, when Move It On Over came out. and immediately proved itself worth the wait.
Now, Rounder Records has reissued a remastered Move It On Over and, if anything, it seems to have just gotten better over the years. This second recording draws from the same blues and roots influences as the first one did, with the addition of the best, most rocking version of Hank Williams Sr.’s “Move It On Over.” That song immediately sets the bar for excitement and fun very high. The next song, the exuberant cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” meets that bar again and the rest of the CD never fails to generate a joyful noise.
Thorogood’s version of Elmore James’ “The Sky Is Crying” may not have the technical fireworks of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s later hit version, but it has all the raw emotion and drive the song could possibly hold. The same is true for “Cocaine Blues,” which many people will know from the great Johnny Cash version. Thorogood keeps it simple and lets the story shine through.
Then there’s the hard-rocking cover of one of Chuck Berry’s lesser-known tunes, “It Wasn’t Me,” which gives all the band members a chance to show what they can do.
Every song here is worth listening to over and over, but the other highlights for this reviewer are the country song “I’m Just Your Good Thing” and the amazing slide guitar on “Baby Please Set A Date” and “New Hawaiian Boogie.” Of course, every song benefits from that amazing slide, which along with the bad boy attitude and the just-about-to-laugh quality of Thorogood’s vocals set the sound for the band for the next 35 years.
Certainly, Thorogood and The Destroyers went on to much more fame in later years with the huge hit, “Bad to the Bone” and their riveting stage shows, but even in this early recording they had already established themselves as a band with an instantly recognizable sound that appeals to a wide audience. Hearing this CD will take many people back to some very happy memories and should delight fans of blues rock and “roots” music as well. Grab it and get ready to fall in love with George Thorogood and The Destroyers, whether it’s all over again or for the first time.