I know that a lot of the music I like is probably not the taste of The Horror Times, however I continue to thank Baron for the permission to develop my own style, exploring the music fully. I’ll leave all that pure metal to his judgement, the reviews of Rock/Hard Rock I do is similar to what he plays on the podcast show Hard Rock Madness.
There was a time way before tragedy struck the band (later about that), that they rocked plenty of clubs and venues, enjoyed the phenomenal success of their double platinum certified 1989 album ‘…Twice Shy’ especially thanks to the cover of Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”. Their sound founded with a rich bluesy guitar riffs, still possessed the friendly hard rock, an element of sleazy rock existed but more suggestive than balanced. Therefore, what to do as a follow-up, face with two options continue to roll-out radio friendly material or return to their core of hard rock. Simply they went old-school, and brought the vintage style of blues meets hard rock for a good grinding time. The overall album is considered underrated by many fans, but the industry dismissed it because it lacked any radio friendly songs for the commercialism of music, ugh!
Honestly, “Hooked” is nowhere as strong as “…Twice Shy” but that doesn’t mean it’s a slouch either, it still brings their standard blues influence front and enter on many of the songs yet achieved only certified gold. The very good, polished sound quality shines throughout the album, with the first song “Call It Rock N Roll” which is really a copy of the last song “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” off the previous record is very cool and gets one in the right mood, but similarly it’s kind of reaching for a radio hit, of lightning striking twice. Then “Original Queen of Sheba” is pure blues rock with the sounding of AC/DC, great vocals, something ideal for a small club, which ideally, they were, the big arena never their crowd that tight interaction worked for them the best. “Cold Hearted Lovin’” starts off slow, then swings into an uptick like ZZ Top, also in a passing note this song might sound familiar to some of the glam rocking fans of Ratt’s “Way Cool Jr.” the similarities very close. The Angels cover “Can’t Shake It”, they did was very cool, unsure why it doesn’t get more attention, but sets the tone for the rest of album, especially when it launched into ninth song “Desert Moon”, all classic Great White. The longest song is “Congo Square” nearly 7-minutes, it contains some long solos and musicianship distortions, yet there’s an interesting hint of an organ playing making you think of Deep Purple’s style. Now I must admit, perhaps it’s just me, but the opening music for “South Bay Cities” sounds eerily similar to Sesame Street’s theme song (yes, I hear it from my kids watching it), listen to both for your own opinion. As typical there’s ballad track called “Lovin’ Kind” originally, I did not find it memorable but listening to years later, listening intently to the lyrics, Jack Russell does the song justice; however, this around they included a second laidback ballad as the close-out song, “Afterglow” another cover track from Small Faces, it failed to attract listeners yet now it’s more meaningful as it’s all about soulmates.
Another thing I wanted to mention, as a fan of vinyl, is artwork, records allow vast designs, all little details, however the art on this was too much for the sensitive eyes of the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PRMC). It was originally done by photographer John Scarpati, featuring a nude female model hoisted out of the sea by a large hook, showing partially exposed right breast and carefully place long hair over the (oh dear) nipple. Otherwise, nothing can be seen, but that’s too risqué, so they opted for the model submerged with only head above water. I’ll never understand the overcautious and easily offended critics of art, its barely erotism, and far from porn. Idiots!!!
Call It Rock N’ Roll
The Original Queen of Sheba
Cold Hearted Lovin
Can’t Shake It (The Angels cover)
South Bay Cities
Afterglow (Small Faces cover)
Jack Russell – lead and backing vocals
Mark Kendall – guitars, backing vocals
Michael Lardie – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Tony Montana – bass
Audie Desbrow – drums
Often when a band covers another artist’s song, it can lead to insanely popular avenue for them to crawl their way out of the several other bands vying for club headlines, that song mentioned preciously really did for the band; Sadly, though with fame and fortune there’s heartache they suffered as did fans some with their lives. Remember that tragedy? Well, the one song on the album called “Desert Moon” shall always be associated a Rhode Island Station nightclub blaze, affecting everyone permanently, but allow this review to remain on the music and not of that fateful night, we can always keep the memories of those lost alive. I sincerely like the band’s music and the influenced they carried over from others in the mid-to-late 70s, namely Led Zeppelin.
Vincent’s rating: 4.0/5.0