Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes finds Social Distortion, the long time Punk Rock group, in fine form. The group was formed in Fullerton, California in 1978. The single “Machine Gun Blues” is a fine example of how catchy Punk Rock can be. The song “Bakerfield” is slower, yet hard driving, with a stellar guitar. Certainly worthy of the 6 minute length and my favorite song on here. ”Can’t Take It With You” and “California (Hustle And Flow)” has female singers bleating out compelling backing vocals that stay in your head.
Sounding more produced than a lot of Punk Rock, the background vocals across the board give it some polish without compromising the edge. “Diamond In The Rough” is also a strong track. There really are no clinkers on this. Not to be forgotten are the bonus tracks “Take Care Of Yourself” and “I Won’t Run No More”.
There is also a nifty instrumental called “Road Zombie” with some excellent lead guitar. Constant member Mike Ness (vocals/guitar) shows past issues have not interfered with creating top notch quality, showcased musically in the song “Still Alive.” Mike Ness took on the role of producer for Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes himself. Along with current members, Jonny Wickersham (guitar), Brent Harding (bass), and David Hidalgo Jr. (drums), Social Distortion has put together a solid 4 star effort for your edgy listening pleasure — showing life is more interesting riding off the road than on the freeway. Let’s hope it’s not 5 plus years until the next one.
Contact the Author: KennethEOquist@ArtsandEntertainment.com