REVIEW: The Muggs - Born Ugly

Blues Rock from the USA
The Muggs - 6 To Midnite

It's 1972 and I've got my Plymouth Road Runner ready, she's packing a 440 CID engine with a 4-barrel carburetor under her hood, she's gassed up and ready to go.  We've booked a special appointment with an old friend.  Let her fuckin' rip, she burns her tires down the roadway, the streetlights are a blur to my eyes, everything I see just flashes by, asphalt tearing up behind me.  Can't keep my old friend waiting. Turn right, I head south, way down Washington Blvd, where my old friend lives tonight... Look for number 1, Cobo Hall.  Ladies & Gentleman, we are proud to present, in support of their new release, Born Ugly, The Muggs.........

Born Ugly begins, fuckin' groove slays, the crowd has already risen off their asses, already feeling electric, wired, if there was a perfect song to start an album off with then, this is it.  We slide right into Blood Meridian, another guitar heavy groove, like Humble Pie of old, the Muggs, have the head nodding in all directions.  I see the crowd move in unison, heads banging, smoke filled air, that sweet smell.....  Numb the body has become, my ears slaves to the music filling up the hall, can I say it's knocking me out cold.

We hit Home Free, a more melodic song, all three instruments take you down this path to enlightment, slower, relaxes the mind...then it hits you with this sweet soaring guitar solo...that just brings me back in my seat, crowd air guitaring, hands contorted in odd movements.. Spastic motions...almost beautiful like, then it just falls into that trance that melodic sweet sense again.  This show, so far, is above and beyond what we expected...the crowd just mesmerized.  We feel like we are right up there with them, the band, the Muggs.

Clean Break Blues up next, slide guitar frantic, infectious, this romp is another burner, although this time they throw in some sweet melody interplays between the band.  It's a slide workout which gives this song something of a twist over the first three...then right into Notes From The Underground, a real hard rock stomper, short yet sweet, the we  segue into Dear Theo , with another beautiful slide workout.  These trilogies of songs complement each other so well, you would could easily think of it as one long great song.  It certainly kept the crowd outta their seats.

Losing End Blues is a simple melodic number, with yet another stunning guitar line.  The melody on this number shines once again. Certainly the Muggs have this formula down pat.  It adds a nice dimension to the songs. It certainly has the feeling of some of the great 70's bands; LEB would not look out of place as a song on any one of the "classic rock" bands we grew up listening to. 6 To Midnite is another rocker. Great interplay between the drums and the guitar, the jam in the middle is like foreplay, just before the action begins again, climax.  You can see, feel the crowds adoration for the band tonight.  The Muggs are putting on a display of retro rock, done the right way.

After a brief second to compose myself, we are introduced to Sturm Und Drang, which starts as a by the numbers rocker. Which isn't all bad, but up until this point the songs have been stronger, however the song quickly segues into Hats Of Mr. Beardsley, which has a riff to rock, its dark, and it gets the crowd up on their feet again, it's a killer, and the audience has bought in.

All eyes on the stage, an acoustic number sets off on song number 11.  World Around is the most beautiful song on this album, in this show, to my ears. The musicians are top notch on this song, the background melodies are outstanding.  This is a real keeper.  After this short number, the Muggs get the crowd moving again, with another hard stomper, Kitchen Sink Blues.  I can't but feel like I'm hearing some older Humble Pie influences (the Pie being one of the greatest boogie/rock bands around).  Kitchen Sink Blues does not let up, the perfect follow up from World Around.  Stamping my feet, the ground shakes, the all walls feel like they are ready to crumble.

We have now reached the end, you can feel the disappointment.  Last Words ends the album off on a high note.  Just a riveting song with a stupendous guitar workout.  Hard to see how anyone will leave here disappointed.  Sold out show, sold me out, solid solid stuff.

The Muggs (Born Ugly) is without a doubt one of the best retro hard rock releases I have heard in a very long time.  If you like the first two releases by them (S/T & On With The Show), then you will not be disappointed at all.  I found this to be there strongest album yet. It is a pleasure to the ears, to any fan of hard rock with a retro twist.  If you like the Pie, James Gang etc... then you will absolutely need this for your collection.

My only question is, how is this band not signed to a record label?  Especially when there is one in their hometown that the Muggs would easily fit on their roster.  It's a shame, a band with talent like this, goes unnoticed and does not get the recognition they deserve. Do yourself and the band a favor and buy this release.

Easily in my top 5 releases of the year if not the top right now.
by William Bissonette

Track List
 01 Born Ugly
02 Blood Meridian
03 Home Free
04 Clean Break Blues
05 Notes From Underground
06 Dear Theo
07 Losing End Blues
08 6 To Midnite
09 Sturm Und Drang
10 Hats Off To Mr. Beardsley
11 World Around
12 Kitchen Sink Blues
13 Last Words
Born Ugly!  Deluxe Edition LP, on Bellyache Records, , Bonus AUTOGRAPHED 7 Inch Single (only available in this package) Limited to 500
Bellyache Records

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