Album Review: George Thorogood’s ‘Party of One’ (Rounder)


Boogie King’s acoustic and resonator guitars shine on true solo album

Musical trends and fads come and go, but 40 years after the release of his still-fresh-sounding debut album, George Thorogood continues to play pretty much what he’s always played: blues in every shade, from raunchy to delicate; screaming slide; simmering boogie; primal rock ’n’ roll chunk; and front-porch fingerpickin’—all delivered with his characteristic passion and authority. Party of One is a stripped-down affair, just Thorogood’s vocal and a selection of mostly acoustic and some electric guitar, on 15 diverse tracks, some by the usual suspects—Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Willie Dixon—but also inspired and adventurous choices by the Rolling Stones (“No Expectations”), Hank Williams (“Pictures from Life’s Other Side”), Johnny Cash (“Bad News”), and Bob Dylan (“Down the Highway”; GT has a long history covering Dylan). Only a few are songs he’s recorded previously: “The Sky is Crying,” the Robert Johnson–penned CD-only track “Dynaflow Blues,” and his longtime concert favorite “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” stark and gritty as a solo acoustic number.


Thorogood’s trusty hollow-body Gibson ES-125 TDC appears on a couple of songs, but most are dominated by Gibson Super Dove or Gibson J-200 acoustics, one of three resonators: a Hohner HR-100, a Dobro 33C, or a Gretsch G9200 Boxcar round-neck. There are just a few tunes with overdubbed second guitar (and one with harmonica), but the overall vibe is unadorned, intimate, and live; like a private concert in Thorogood’s living room.

Below, Thorogood and his long-time co-guitarist Jim Suhler rip through an acoustic version of John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” a few year ago. On Party of One, Thorogood plays all the leads himself.


This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Blair Jackson
Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson is the author of the definitive biography Garcia: An American Life and was senior editor at Acoustic Guitar before retiring in 2023.

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