Blackfoot – “Southern Native” (Loud & Proud Records)
Rooted in the 70s, Blackfoot rose to fame in the early 80s through a series of hit albums like “Tomcattin” and “Marauder”. Although labelled a Southern Boogie band, I’ve always seen them somewhat differently given the various band members Native American heritage in guitarist / vocalist Ricky Medlocke, the late Jackson ‘Thunderfoot’ Spires on drums and bassist Greg T Walker. Joining them was guitarist Charlie Hargrett, and together they brought tales of whisky, women and the wild on the road through the gigs I remember. As the big time loomed, commercial pressures saw changes to both the line up and sound, along with Medlocke’s alternating commitments to Lynyrd Skynyrd, ultimately leading to the disbandment of the band. With a brief reunion of the above members less Medlocke in 2004 prior to Spires passing the following year, Medlocke recently reformed Blackfoot with a completely new line-up, himself acting as the producer and leaving the ex members including Walker and Hargrett to form their own band! “Southern Native” is the new band’s first release and in Blackfoot’s discography, their first studio album for 22 years. Although in the back seat these days, Medlocke still has the blood in his veins to lay down additional guitars and some mean slide work on ‘Love This Town’ – and folks, he hasn’t lost his touch! The 10 tracks present an interesting perspective in bringing the roots of 70s and Southern Rock into a contemporary sound while keeping it authentic like on ‘Whiskey Train’ (complete with cowbell) and under Medlocke’s guidance I have to say the album succeeds from the Santana like spanish guitar rock of ‘Diablo Loves Guitar’ right through to their cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s ‘Ohio’. I can’t think of many bands doing this especially under the mentoring of such a legendary maestro and while we’re not quite at ‘Train, Train’ or ‘Highway Song’ heights, Medlocke has definitely set the foundation to re-ignite something special for a new generation.