Dan Baird’s ‘Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired’ a politically incorrect charmer

Former Georgia Satellites frontman impresses with 1992 solo debut

When the Georgia Satellites burst onto the rock ‘n’ roll scene in the mid-‘80s, they brought a refreshing, straight-ahead brand of Southern Rock to the airwaves at a time when the only rock in the musical mainstream was hair metal. The Satellites had a couple of hits on their 1986 self-titled LP in “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and “Battleship Chains.” Their frontman, Dan Baird, quickly emerged as a fun, irreverent and distasteful face of rock ‘n’ roll as a result of his antics in the video for the former track, the band’s best-known tune (which was later covered by Hank Williams Jr.).

The group’s second solo effort spawned a hit with the remake of “Don’t Pass Me By,” released in 1968 by the Beatles and the first song Ringo Starr wrote for the Fab Four. Sadly, though, after “Hippy, Hippy Shake” from Tom Cruise’s “Cocktail” and just one more album, it was Splitsville for the Georgia Satellites.

Baird re-emerged on the rock scene in 1992 with his first solo effort. “Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired” packed a sound that brought back memories from his days with Rick Richards, Brendan O’Brien and Mauro Magellan. Former Satellites collaborator Terry Anderson (who penned “Battleship Chains”) wrote or co-wrote many of the songs on Baird’s first solo LP, which gave listeners a glimpse into the world of outlaws and trailer parks.

Magellan and drummer Keith Christopher also appear on the LP, which was produced by O’Brien for Rick Rubin’s Def American Records.

The tone for the compact disc is set early with the opening track, “The One I Am,” where Baird emerges as a loveable redneck as he sings, “I can’t afford to buy you no four-star dinner, but by God, honey, my love’s a winner.”

Then Baird chronicles the trials of “Julie + Lucky,” a couple which no doubt hails from a trailer park in Appalachia or the Mid-South. The pair embarks on an extended road trip marred with crime, and they get married while on the lam in Colorado. The tune is spirited, of course, especially when the kids from “Wasteyourtime, Kentucky,” prepare for the arrival of Lucky Jr. after Lucky serves his jail time.

The album also features “I Love You Period,” the work’s top single in which Baird recalls being in love with his high school English teacher. He writes her a love letter, which she corrects. The song is a hilarious rock ‘n’ roll romp.

The album packs plenty of punch and even exhibits a funky edge at times. The highlight of the disc is “Knocked Up,” a tune which takes an irreverent look at teenage pregnancy through the eyes of a boy who impregnates a girl whose family runs a one-horse town. Her daddy is a preacher, her uncle is the town sheriff and her granddaddy is the county judge.

The song’s chorus, “Well, you got knocked up, and I got locked up / I guess you’d say we both got screwed / Well, you got locked out and I got knocked out / And I guess you’re going to miss a lot of school.”

Other tunes like “Baby Talk” and “Look at What You Started” make this a Southern Rock classic. Baird may be politically incorrect, irreverent and distasteful at times, but he skirts the line without coming off as truly offensive on this underrated rock gem, which was the best rock CD since the Black Crowes’ “Shake Your Money Maker” in 1990, another Def American release.

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