By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
Back in 1991 the iconic Southern Rock group Blackfoot released their ninth studio album titled “Medicine Man”. It was produced by Al Nalli, Stephan Galfas and Rickey Medlocke. It consists of nine tracks and was released on the UK based label Music For Nations.
“Medicine Man” was released during what I would consider to be a crucial time in Blackfoot’s existence. At this time Rickey Medlocke was promoting and touring to continue boosting Blackfoot's following. Releasing "Medicine Man" was a start in the right direction but was it enough for the band to grab mainstream attention? The answer should be obvious. Most likely this is the first you’ve heard of this album or maybe you have heard of it and since forgotten about it.
“Medicine Man” doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves due to a number of reasons in my opinion. I’ll admit, it isn’t their best work but it was an honest effort by Medlocke to try and keep Blackfoot alive. One of the reasons I think “Medicine Man” isn’t too popular among the masses nowadays is because of its Hard Rock sound. When people listen to Blackfoot today they expect hammer down Southern Rock and "Medicine Man" isn't that. At the core the band is still Southern Rock but in an effort to keep with the times the album kind of emulates the heaviness of bands like Skid Row and Guns ‘N’ Roses. “Medicine Man” also features a glazing of commercial friendly Pop additives like the common partying and love lost themes of the era and synthesizers.
Another reason I think “Medicine Man” isn't considered a classic of theirs has to be because of the fairly unknown band that's backing Medlocke. I personally don’t know too much about the credited musicians and because of that I loose some of my connection to the music. The production and playing are both good but the strongest element of “Medicine Man” is Rickey Medlocke’s singing. His vocal range and tone sound more mature which I found to be pleasing. I enjoy all the tracks but the ones I tend to favor the most are the opener “Doin’ My Job” and track seven “Runnin’, Runnin’”. Both songs capture some of the early Blackfoot hard-driving energy.