Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster Remember Southern-fried rock? Legacy does. The label has just reissued Molly Hatchet’s 1979 breakthrough Flirtin’ With Disaster – with bonus tracks – as well as their 1990 Greatest Hits collection (also with bonus tracks). The latter disc title is something of a misnomer, since the band never actually landed a Top 40 hit (their biggest single, "Flirtin’ With Disaster" only reached #42 on the Billboard singles chart). The original version of Greatest Hits also didn’t include their other three singles besides "Flirtin’" that did crack the Top 100 singles chart (though the reissue does include one of them as a bonus track – 1984’s "Satisfied Man"). But for a couple years at the end of the ‘70s and early ‘80s, the members of Molly Hatchet were flagbearers for the hard-driving southern rock and boogie sound. Interestingly enough, the band is in the midst of a 25th anniversary tour promoting a new album (which features guest appearances by fellow Southern rock icon Charlie Daniels) and yet today’s Molly Hatchet doesn’t include a single original member of the band that wrote and recorded Flirtin’ With Disaster. The longest-running member of the current Molly Hatchet is keyboardist John Galvin, who joined in 1983. But if you want to relive those early, successful days of the band (and hear some stuff that never got released before) pick up these two Expanded Editions of the original discs from Legacy. For more information on the current activities of the band, check their web site at www.mollyhatchet.com.

 

Shea Seger - The May Street Project Shea Seger
The May Street Project
(RCA)
½


Somewhere between Poe, Fiona and Suzanne Vega skips Shea. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter has produced an irresistable debut that strolls through gardens of folk, R&B, pop and techno backdrops to create a varied and inventive disc.

Seger sings with astonishing surety of love, loss and childhood trauma, sifting some of her Texas porch heritage into the simple but beautiful duet "Always," and Alanis Morisette dangerousness in the crunchier guitar-based "Twisted (Never Again)" where she digs: "you’re a very special person/a most interesting person…and you really make me wanna go to sleep/that’s why I never wanna see you again."

At 18, Seger left behind small town America for England and over the next couple years matured as a captivating performer. The result is an album that finds her mixing the downhome influences of rural Texas with the cosmopolitan production sense of the London music scene. "Wasting The Rain" is a perfect example of her ability to merge musical streams. With quietly soulful background vocals, a steadily driving acoustic guitar riff, and vocals just barely touched by whiskey and heavily steeped in sensuality, she paints a swirling entreaty for making use of the romantic backdrop of a thunderstorm.

And then there’s "Isn’t It Good," which lifts an R&B mood no doubt inspired by her Vietnam vet father’s record collection (he used to pull her out of grade school to sit and listen to music with him). This setpiece rests on a slow bass groove, melancholy strings and keys and a lazy vocal about getting home and mellowing out after a crazy day.

There’s honky tonk bar rock in "I Can’t Lie," trip-hoppin’ bass and string backing in the urgent "Last Time," about ending one love affair (If I wake up with you, it will be the last time") and bass-driven pop about lustful obsession for another in "Clutch" ("let me in your world/let me in your world for awhile").

The May Street Project introduces an artist whose inventive and wide-reaching palette promises a long career. I’m looking forward to following it.