MEDECINE HAT: Blue Moon Bootlegs (2022)

01 - Cold Hearted Woman
02 - Lightning
03 - Indian Rose
04 - Bad Boy Boogie
05 - I Still Bleed
06 - La Grange
07 - Cmon Here
08 - Fire In Muskogee
09 - It’s A Long Way To The Top
10 - Six Ways To Sunday
11 - Highway To Hell

Medicine Hat :
Mark Jackson : chant
Jon ‘JB’ Brown : basse
Chris Borsberry : guitare
Steve Gough : guitare
Steve Cook : batterie

Invité :
Barry ‘Snakeoil’ Warren : harmonica sur « La Grange »

Lovers of tender sentimental pieces, go your way ! Here we don't do music for f... As you will have understood, the core
target of this live and very rough production does not include the Wham fan club ! But at RTJ, we are always happy to see
that a group like Medicine Hat remains active (almost 30 years since their first album !), faithful to its principles, and
manages to release from time to time a CD still vibrant with energy. No surprise then, apart from the arrival of a new
drummer (Steve Cook, with a particularly vigorous drumming): we still have this fascinating mixture of supercharged
southern rock, “classic” hard-rock and country influences, conveyed by the two founders of the group, Mark and Jon, and
traditionally led by a duo of guitarists with different styles: a follower of country-rock operating more on Fender and a
shredder preferring Gibsons. For several years now these positions have been held by Chris Borsberry and Steve Gough.
Mark Jackson's band this time decided to take us to one of their high-intensity musical evenings at the Blue Moon in
Cambridge. And it’s going to rock! The group attacks head on with an explosive “Cold Hearted Woman”, taken from the
2001 (already !) album “Bone Dry”, their second album which revealed to the world this band of furious people led by a
colossus arriving from New Zealand. Show no mercy ! We continue with "Lightning", taken from the splendid "From
Nowhere To Here" from 2005, then we very momentarily calm the debates with the superb ballad "Indian Rose", also from
"Bone Dry", an album very represented in this live since two other titles also appear on the program: “I Steel Bleed” and
“C’mon Here”. “Fire In Muskogee”, the last original track on this album, comes from “Firebird”, the big comeback album in
2017, and all these tracks are propelled without weakening on your delighted eardrums.

And the rest ? Well, these are covers. Is it because of its ties to the southern hemisphere? Mark Jackson has this time
chosen to favor more than usual his love for AC/DC, Bon Scott version, with first of all the "Bad Boy Boogie" also
appearing in "Firebird", and which fits like a glove to our singer, then the incredible "It's A Long Way To The Top", where
he doesn't risk imitating Bon Scott and bringing a bagpipe: the guitars take care of the job ! The album ends with the
classic “Highway To Hell”, always furiously delivered and perfect for giving the audience the right dose of endorphins to
leave them with a blissful memory of the evening.

So what about southern roots? Two covers pay homage to the American South. We start with Texas, with the unmissable
"La Grange", where originality is brought here by Barry 'Snakeoil' Warren, harmonica player invited to participate in the
party, and wells, his contribution proves wise for going out a little well-trodden tracks, with in particular an improvised
friendly harmonica/guitar duel and well-targeted interventions. Then, no Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Point Blank or even
Bob Seger, artists that Mark Jackson appreciates, but a Blackberry Smoke from under the counter, “Six Ways To
Sunday”, in a well-drilled version, with a guitar solo that seems to start off a little adventurous before everything lands on
its feet.

We come away from this very authentic CD with the sweet regret of not having been able to be present at the evening,
even if we can deplore the absence of more emblematic titles from “From Nowhere To Here” like “Forever Survive” or
“Too Far Gone,” but you can’t have it all. This disc, which doesn't really go into detail, already has eleven particularly
intense tracks, delivering a furious and unpretentious energy, on tracks sounding like anthems, with all the endearing
aspects of live: it's certain that the group doesn't deliver an impeccable note-for-note version of each title, to the point
where it feels like you're in the studio. It screams, it bangs, it sweats and above all it plays ! The musicians want to share
their passion by giving their all on stage, you can feel it, you want to be with them. In these days when auto-tune and click
for drums reign, and where this sincerity is not really required, such an approach brings a lot of pleasure to the listener.
You like the spirit of Dan Baird, big, well-constructed rock, played hard and without concession: rush to this “Blue Moon
Bootlegs” !aird, le gros rock bien construit, joué à fond et sans concession : précipitez-vous sur ce « Blue Moon
Bootlegs » !

Y. Philippot-Degand


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