Friday, June 08, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 57: Social Distortion - Self Titled

Album - Social Distortion
Artist - Social Distortion
Key Players - Christopher Reece - Drums, John Maurer -bass/backing vocals, Dennis Danell - rhythm guitar/backing vocals, Mike Ness - lead vocals and lead guitar
Produced By - Dave Jerden

Release Date March 27, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Recently heard the new track from the band on Sirius and it got me to thinking it had been a while since I gave this, or any SD a spin.

Overview - Social Distortion had been making music for 12 years before releasing this, their first major label release. In 2008 the band will be making music for 30 years. This record is probably their most well known of the lot.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - "So Far Away" opens the album with the trademark guitar and drum riffs. Ness has a distinct vocal delivery. What he lacks in vocal range he makes up for in sheer grit. His throat is raspy and he delivers the lyrics as quickly as the tempo of the song. Its a formula that is repeated over and over again, yet somehow remains refreshing to the listener. "Let It Be Me" chugs along with a heavy guitar solo at the start and strong work on the ride cymbal by Reece. The band also has some good call and response on the chorus. "Story Of My Life" clocking in at close to six minutes this is the longest track on the record and a far far cry from "punk rock" as you can get. The track has a strong rock-a-billy feel too it. The bass line is almost a standard 12 bar blues riff and the drums keep a steady, and unchanging beat throughout. A trademark sound and track from the band. "Sick Boys" opens with some guitar distortion but quickly changes to a very bright and chiming guitar sound. Four tracks in and we haven't broken out of the "sameness" of a 4/4 time from the drums. Hell the Ramones did it for years as well and we love(d) them too. The production value to this point has been great. Each instrument stands out, even to the untrained ear you can hear the bass line, or the bass drum. "Ring Of Fire", a cover tune made famous by Johnny Cash was actually written by his wife June. This is a terrific cover tune. It does justice to the original while putting just a touch of Social D in to the mix. Listening once more (today) I think its fair to say this is one of the best cover tunes ever. There I said it. Check the download section and tell me I wrong. "Ball and Chain" yet another "classic" Social D song. Chances are even if you had no idea who Social D are/were you've heard this tune. Still a rocking song musically, the band seems to slow down. Ness delivers the lyrics with a punch and one is left to decide what the "ball and chain" are. Drugs? A woman? You decide. "It Coulda Been Me" restores the listener to the feel of the early tracks on the record. As an added touch Eric Von "Jailhouse Blues" Herzen plays harmonica on this track (as well as Drug Train). If there was a track to drink a beer to, and light up a cigarette in a dingy bar, this is the one. "She's a Knockout" comes in hard with drums and guitar chords. After a few bars the guitar pick slides on the strings and the band is off to the races. Ness sings the verse line in to a chorus of "shes a knockout" at the end of each line. The song cooks right along. If in the car, be careful of your speed. "A Place in My Heart" this, per the norm has great drums and really crunching guitar parts. If you toes are not tapping to this track I am not sure what I/the band can do. The album closes on a swampy feeling, and heavy blues feeling "Drug Train".

Where are they now? - Dennis Danell died in February of 2000 from a cerebral aneurysm. John Maurer left the band in 2004 to pursue other interests. Christopher Reece remained in the band until 92-93 and left to open a restaurant. Mike Ness is still fronting Social Distortion and the band and has released two solo records. The band plan to have a new cd out in 2008, but in the mean time (at the end of June 2007) the band will release a best of collection.

*image from this site

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The band has been at it for close to 30 years yet somehow I have yet to see the band live. **hangs head in shame**.

FDF Overall Take - First to admit that this is not a hard record to rave about. For all the punk rock asthetics of it all this record gives the speed and tenacity you want from a punk band but on a bigger budget. The band embraced the ability to put out a quality record and they delivered with a solid effort that gained them many new fans. For better or worse their music was heard by more and they continue to hold true to their formula that has been and influence, and paved the way for so many.

Social Distortions Official Site

Further viewing - Try to track down Another State of Mind for a very young look at Social D and other punk bands from the early 80's. Its a great watch. When we first got cable TV, USA Network used to air this (anyone else recall that?) For more a straight up Social D show you can go with this live concert DVD.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

******MP3's HAVE BEEN REMOVED August 2, 2007 5pm ET*************

Let it Be Me
Drug Train
Ring of Fire
Story of My Life

All the tracks taken from the cd which you can buy -
here and even here. There are lots of options..get on it.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 1:43 PM, Blogger Sharon S said...

love Social D - excellent choice for FDF....
oh yeah, I never thanked you for the CDS - thanks for all of them!!! Good stuff.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Rinjo Njori said...

I own this CD, would buy it again if i lost it, and hope my son will love this album as much as I do.

USA Network and Another State of MInd? It's the first place I saw it-- Man am I getting old.


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