"These are hard-livin', whiskey-drinkin', gun-totin' Southerners who eat grits for breakfast, fried beans for lunch, and an entire raw buffalo for their dinner": Flirtin' With Disaster by Molly Hatchet

The double-platinum Flirtin' With Disaster was the second album from the triple-guitar southern rock band from Jacksonville who weren't Lynyrd Skynyrd

Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster cover art
(Image: © Epic)

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Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster

Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster cover art

(Image credit: Epic)

Whiskey Man
It's All Over Now
One Man's Pleasure
Jukin' City
Boogie No More
Flirtin' with Disaster
Good Rockin'
Long Time
Let the Good Times Roll

Purveyors of southern boogie, but with a definite metallic edge, Molly Hatchet were big hairy brutes of men who would put the fear of God into anyone who crossed their path. Fortunately their music, hard hitting and fired with southern passion, was more attractive, and reached its peak on 1979’s Flirtin’ With Disaster.

The second album from the Jacksonville band who seem to have been doomed to live out their career in the shadow of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Nevertheless, the group’s altogether more metal approach, allied to such monumental songs as the bullish rocker Whiskey Man and Boogie No More – a juggernaut of a track that back then made UK boogie merchants like Status Quo and Foghat sound like mewling kittens by comparison – helped to make this their biggest seller in America. 

The late Danny Joe Brown’s mountainous voice and their trademark triple-guitar frenzy gave Hatchet a real edge, both live and in the studio. And the unmistakable Frank Frazetta artwork also helped to get the band attention. They came close to matching the record on 1983’s No Guts... No Glory, but this is still their standout.

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Other albums released in September 1979

  • Siouxsie and the Banshees - Join Hands
  • Foreigner - Head Games
  • Jethro Tull - Stormwatch
  • Rory Gallagher - Top Priority
  • Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Act I
  • Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East
  • Foghat - Boogie Motel
  • The Police - Message in a Bottle
  • The Stranglers - The Raven
  • Leonard Cohen - Recent Songs
  • Wire - 154
  • The Slits - Cut
  • Buzzcocks - A Different Kind of Tension
  • Bonnie Raitt - The Glow
  • Santana - Marathon
  • U.K. - Night After Night
  • Sammy Hagar - Street Machine
  • Eagles - The Long Run


What they said...

"The album slowly builds from Whiskey Man into the classic soul rocker It's All Over Now and peaks with the brilliant title track – largely considered by many to be Hatchet's finest moment committed to analog tape. It's a hard driving rock record, plain and simple with no frills or lofty concepts. Just ten songs designed to keep rocking until the sun comes up over the Florida swamplands. And it does the job better than most of its contemporaries." (AllMusic)

"Some doctrinaire new wavers see the rapid success of this Jacksonville sextet as a reactionary portent, but as an old Skynyrd fan I can't get upset. They do boogie better than, let's see here, Missouri, Bama, Crimson Tide, .38 Special, Wet Willie, Atlanta Rhythm Section, or (mercy sakes) the Charlie Daniels Band. Really, they sound pretty good. Only one thing missing: content." (Robert Christgau)

"Yet for all of its successes – and this record has many of them – Flirtin' With Disaster is a tiny step backward for Danny Joe Brown and company. While they do find themselves taking a few more chances with their music than they did on their debut, the overall sense of the disc is that, while it's very enjoyable, it doesn't do quite enough to build up Molly Hatchet's case to become the next leader of the Southern Rock throne." (Daily Vault)


What you said...

Mike Canoe: Listening to the album this week, I realised my opinion of Molly Hatchet as a rougher, tougher Lynyrd Skynyrd was based on two things: The song Flirtin' With Disaster and those repurposed but still amazing Frank Frazzetta album covers.

Danny Joe Brown's likeable growl is still a highlight and the three guitar attack is pretty cool but the indebtedness to Skynyrd becomes more apparent over a full album. Brown's storytelling on songs like Gunsmoke and Jukin' City is entertaining enough but can't help but draw losing comparisons to Ronnie Van Zant.

It's pretty enjoyable southern rock, even if nothing tops Flirtin' With Disaster as the best track on the album. Boogie No More, Whiskey Man, and Long Time are my new faves.

The three live bonus tracks, especially their version of Cross Roads Blues, make me wish I had seen Molly Hatchet in their prime. Unfortunately, I saw them about six years later at some exposition sponsored by a Dallas radio station and it was sad to watch them play to a crowd more interested in checking out the latest in car stereos and home entertainment systems. In a few short years, Flirtin' had turned to hurtin'.

Uli Hassinger: I've known Molly Hatchet since the late 70s and I own all of their albums except the last one from 2012. Even though this is their most successful album I don't think it's their best, but It certainly contains one of their best songs, which is the mighty Boogie No More. It's a song were their strand out triple guitar assault is dominant. Good Rockin' and Gunsmoke are of the same kind, whereas Whiskey Man is a slower, more Skynyrd-like song. The other songs don't reach that level and are a little bit lame.

I reckon the following two albums with singer Jimmy Farrar as their best ones, even if I belong to a minority. I also appreciate No Guts... No glory, Lightning Strikes Twice and Devil's Canyon (an insider tip). 8/10.

Gus Schultz: What can you say about a band whose lead singer yells out right at the beginning “ Hell Yeah!” on the first track from their first album? I was actually thinking about recommending a Molly Hatchet album last week, so this comes as a surprise to me. Flirting With Disaster was the first song I heard from the band on that LP. They didn’t get a lot of airplay in Canada and didn’t seem to be too many own their albums. That peaked my curiosity to check them out further back then. I liked this album and some of the tunes on it, but the constant boogie beat wasn’t all that appealing to me in my younger days. 

A couple of years later I bought Take No Prisoners and found the harder rock sound much more appealing, I prefer the Jimmy Farrar material to Danny Joe Brown’s. That beingsaid it’s an enjoyable listen with the three guitar lineup, where I can almost hear Allman Brothers like riff trade-offs, just not as long or intricate. The lyrics – like the boogie – get a little long in the tooth, and I was getting a little listening fatigue near the end on a recent listen. 

Definitely good whiskey-drinking, hell-raising, shit-kicking music, and I think they lived what they sang because none of them seemed to live longer than their sixties. I understand they are are still touring, but is it really Molly Hatchet? Maybe more like a tribute band, perhaps. I do recommend listening to Beatin’ The Odds and Take No Prisoners: I think most here would enjoy the harder, more rock-like sound.

Daniele Purrone: A solid album, though I prefer No Guts No Glory, possibly because it contains one of my all-time favourite songs (Fall of the Peacemakers). Still, I like Flirtin’ a lot when I listen to it, though I don’t put it on very often.

Dean Cauley: As with many artists, their best known work is not their best work. I was a fan before this album and was not as impressed as I was with earlier stuff.

Michael Morse: Although the artwork is superb, I feel that it just doesn't reflect the style of music (southern country-oriented rock) played by Molly Hatchet. Scandinavian death metal, yes!

Darren Burris: The debut and this one are classic hard southern rock! No duds in my opinion. Boogie No More. The title track. Whiskey Man. A lot of great tunes on here! 8/10.

Terence Saunders: Hearing Boogie No More at the HM Soundhouse was my introduction to southern rock. Thanks Neal Kay!

Gary Claydon: Inevitably, any southern rock band will be judged by the Lynyrd Skynyrd yardstick and will, more often than not, come up short. I've always thought that Molly Hatchet are another one of those 'best of' album bands. They have produced some real gems down the years, but in-between there is a lot of formulaic, southern-boogie-by-the-numbers. 

Flirtin' With Disaster is a perfect illustration of that. Album opener Whiskey Man tells you all you need to know while the title track and the riotous guitar-fest of the brilliant Boogie No More are the other stand outs. Elsewhere, though, there is a distinct feeling of sameness, nothing bad, just nothing that really grabs you by the 'nads. Having said that, Flirtin' With Disaster'is still a pretty enjoyable affair, an easy 7/10. They were an excellent live band as well.

Much as I always liked Frank Frazetta's album art, I never actually got the connection with either the band, who took their name from a prostitute who supposedly killed her clients with an axe, or their style of music. Eye catching, all the same.

Adam Ranger: A solid album of southern rock. I prefer the. debut album from The previous year, or No Guts No Glory from 1983. 

However this is a good album. It sounds very Lynyrd Skynyrd at times. No bad thing, and it's done very well here. My criticism of the album is that it's all a bit samey. Most songs could maybe run into the others and you wouldn't know. Other albums had a little bit more variation on the country/blues/southern rock theme.

Best tracks for me are Boogie No More (a great guitar workout), Jukin' City, and the opener Whisky Man, even if it does put me in mind of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Whisky Rock And Roller.

Martin White: Molly Hatchet are one of those bands that I have been aware of since I was a teenager, but I have never listened to. The fantasy viking warrior imagery of the album cover did not prepare me for the southern boogie woogie style of music. I was expecting something more NWOBHM. Unfortunately, this really isn't my cup of tea, and I had to turn off after six songs.

Chris Keeley: Great album and band. Double Trouble Live is just brilliant and one of the few live albums I actually play.

Philip Qvist: Another group that I heard a lot about but had only listened to a few of their songs over the years. So Flirtin' With Disaster is probably my first proper introduction to Molly Hatchet.

And my first impressions? Well they were from Jacksonville, they had three guitarists and they were clearly influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd - and probably took up the southern rock mantle following that 1977 plane crash.

It would probably be unfair to call them a poor man's Lynyrd Skynyrd - as there is nothing wrong with the album - but it does have an inferior feel to it when compared to Skynyrd's 1970s output (as an aside, Skynyrd guitarist Ed King didn't have much positive to say about them).

That all said, the album is pretty solid with no obvious duds, apart from their cover of It's All Over Now (nothing beats the Stones' version); singer Danny Joe Brown has a decent voice for the songs, while the three guitarists are on top of their game. I see all six band members (who are all no longer with us) all had a hand in the songwriting as well.

My favourite tracks were Boogie No More, One Man's Pleasure and the title track. A solid 7/10 from me.

Ray Liddard: I knew I had this LP in my collection but was surprised to find I actually have their first four albums! I was right into southern rock back then (late 70s/early 80s) - not so much now, although I still have time for the pre-crash Skynyrd.

So I've stuck Flirtin' with Disaster on the turntable with a little scepticism and, surprisingly, it's quite listenable for a few tracks if you don't listen too hard. The three guitar interplay works well and the rhythm section are workmanlike and do the job. However, it quickly begins to sound formulaic and predictable.

The songs deal with stereotypical Southern themes such as whiskey, ma woman, fightin', gamblin', and bein' a travellin' man. These are hard-livin', whiskey-drinkin', gun-totin' southerners who eat grits for breakfast, fried beans for lunch, and an entire raw buffalo for their dinner - all cooked for them by their no-good woman who gone done them wrong. The lyrical macho posturing is toe-curlingly embarrasing - particularly when coupled with the back cover image of six beer-bellied rednecks in Walmart jeans , one of whom is wearing flip-flops.

Good fun for a few tracks but my tastes have moved on. This one will probably stay on the shelf for another 40 years if I don't sell it on.

Mark Tucker: Southern Rock at its best. Worth buying for the title track alone.

John Davidson: I liked a few of Molly Hatchets songs , but I don't think I ever owned an album.

Boogie No More was a highlight on the largely forgettable Killer Watts compilation album but I'm sure Bounty Hunter had been on another compilation or released as a single (albeit one now lost in the mists of time).

As an album, standouts on Flirtin' With Disaster are Boogie No More and the title track. The rest of the songs are decent if a bit repetitive.

I liked the covers back in the day, at least on their first two albums, but never really understood how they related to the music, but that's a minor quibble. 7/10.

David Ferguson: All killer no filler, no skips on this one. For me, the best southern rock album to come along since Eat A Peach.

Tony Bickerdike: What a corker of an album. Liked this band a lot for a long time and managed to get to see them live (pre Covid) in Liverpool Academy 2, which is a small but brilliant venue.

I was stood adjacent to the bar and watching the support when a guy with a Stetson hat piped up and commented that the guitarist wasn’t too bad. Had a short chat with him (really nice fella) then saw him singing for Molly Hatchet, I thought he was a roadie. He’s sadly no longer with us but rocking it up (there) with the other southern rockers.

Alan Price: I bought this album when it first came out. One of my all-time favourites. Definitely a 10.

Rich Tuttle: Great album. Saw them at the Reading Festrival on a Sunday (1979) and they were excellent.

Russ Converse: Saw them in Tempe, Arizona in October '79. Thumbs up!

Greg Schwepe: Southern rock is a far-ranging genre. There are bands driven by triple guitar attacks to bands that are known for flute passages and some for fiddle showdowns. The guitars can be electric, acoustic, or even a little dobro or mandolin. And sometimes two drummers are better than one. But one thing these bands seem to have in common is that they and their fans like to have a good time. A real good time. A little whisky drank while listening to some southern rock just seems to be the beverage that puts you in the right frame of mind.

Molly Hatchet’s Flirtin’ With Disaster gets placed in the “Kick Ass Boogie” section of the southern rock seating chart. A little west of Lynyrd Skynyrd and just slightly east of Blackfoot. Even before you put the album on the turntable you knew they mean business. The Frank Frazetta fantasy-themed artwork on the cover literally showed you this band was out to kick your ass. And if you did some more research, you found that they took their name from a 17th century prostitute who removed her customer’s heads with… wait for it… a hatchet!

If you listened to nothing other than the opener Whisky Man and Jukin’ City, you’d totally get the vibe and mindset of Molly Hatchet. Boogie, party, and have some fun doing it. The lowdown and dirty vocals of Danny Joe Brown seal the deal. And like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Outlaws, they adhere to the rule that in Southern Rock two guitars aren’t bad… but three guitars are better. Solos out the yin-yang on the title track and Boogie No More. That title is kind of a misnomer, because they do boogie on that one. Good Rockin' is just that. A nice guitar solo from Duane… Roland, that is, gives this one a nice crunch.

I can guarantee that back in 1979 this album was cranked from an aftermarket cassette deck complete with dual 6 x 9 speakers mounted on the back deck of a “not quite sports car.” All while maybe enjoying a few legally purchased beverages on a Friday night. Again, this genre is all about having a good time. 8 out of 10 on this one. You don’t have to be from the South, but if you listen to some Molly Hatchet, you’ll feel like you’re there; kicking back in a juke joint having a great time. I did get to see them in the front row in the "pit" in an arena show (while pinned against the crowd barrier!) and the roof was slightly off kilter after the show.


Final score: 8.00 (157 votes cast, total score 1257)

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