Album of the Week: Sedona Guitar Quartet | The Artistry of Molly Hatchet

I can still remember the first time I heard Flirtin’ with Disaster as we cruised down the interstate back in ’79.

It was a cool September night, the first chill of Fall blowing our hair back in my friend’s Dodge Dart convertible as we raced into the heart of darkness, headed west.  We were young, reckless, and goin’ nowhere fast with a cold 6-pack of Bud tallboys between us while Molly Hatchet’s new album, Flirtin’ with Disaster, blasted through the Sparkomatic 8-track.

I’m travelin’ down the road
I’m flirtin’ with disaster
I’ve got the pedal to the floor,
My life is running faster
I’m out of money, I’m out of hope,
It looks like self destruction
Well how much more can we take,
With all of this corruption


The trouble is, Flirtin’ with Disaster is not an audiophile recording. Not by a long shot! So the record has seen very little play, which is a shame because so much of my life was informed by the music and message of Flirtin’.

You know what I’m talking about, baby

Speeding down the fast lane, honey

But every cloud has a silver lining and thanks to the Sedona Guitar Quartet, I can listen to Molly Hatchett in audiophile sound quality! I first heard SGQ at a recent hifi show, where The Artistry of Molly Hatchet was playing in 58 rooms. I counted! I bought the SACD as soon as I got home. I’m hoping it will get the full Dolby Atmos treatment some day (soon). A guy can dream!

Beyond the magisterial sound of classical guitar, which is captured to perfection with close-miking—I recommend using a tubed amplifier to get all of the midrange magic—if your system is up to it you can also hear well into the recording as the resolution seems to go on forever. There’s exquisitely captured chair squeaks that offer a nice sense of the space of the recording, especially if you have ribbon tweeters and a DAC that can handle at least quad-rate DSD. On track 2, “Gator Country”, it is evident—if your system can reproduce low bass with force and clarity, a hard trick to pull off if you’re not using a subwoofer and good cables—that the second guitarist from the left had too much chili before the session.

I’m sure many of you are thinking—this is too good to be true! I still feel the same way after listening to The Artistry of Molly Hatchet 639 times. I counted! Thank goodness SACDs don’t wear out like vinyls!