Blackfoot – Marauder
Rock Candy Records
By 1981 Southern Rock was failing to keep the attention of younger rock fans. Blackfoot was in a tough space as they released the album Marauder, another in a long line of hard rock-meets-southern rock music nuggets. The timing was just not the best, as the times they were a-changin’. Blackfoot did a lot right on this release, starting with the cover…that’s one mean looking bird on there! The attitude was correct, as they still looked like they were equally at home buying you a beer or smashing your face into the bar, depending on what kind of attitude you gave them. The songs, while not quite as nasty and grimy as on earlier releases, were certainly acceptable enough, and at times just as good. It just seemed the genre was running out of steam with the listening public, whose fickle ears were moving from ‘hell yeah’ southern rock to the skinny tie world of New Wave. It’s a shame, really, as Marauder is a quite good album. The best of this bunch is easily “Rattlesnake Rock ‘N’ Roller” complete with Rickey Medlocke’s uncle Shorty providing the intro and the southern comic relief. The song is pure heavy southern metal boogie rock and the solos and foot stomping drums prove Blackfoot were still riding a creative wave that began in earnest with 1978’s Strikes. Where that album had songs that became classics, this one saw songs that damn near, shudda, cuddda, wudda, been classics. The difference between Strikes and Marauder was that Blackfoot was starting to show the tiniest chinks in their rock and roll armor.
Some of the tunes, however, still sound grand all these years down the road. “Good Morning” and “Diary of a Workingman” contain all the piss and spit one would expect from these four roughnecks. “Fly Away” was a minor hit but even this melodic rocking tune could not keep the band on the top. The album closer “Searching” is another epic tune with a tale that is very telling for a band that was now looking down the other side of the mountain…you know, the side that takes a band away from the top.
At the end of the day, this is a must-own for hard rocking southern rock fans, but it is not as much as a must-own as the couple of albums that were released before it.
The band would stay together, but subsequent albums saw Blackfoot chasing the sounds of the day and losing their identity, making Marauder the last purely genuine southern rock album they ever made.
By Jeb Wright
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