Friday, August 31, 2012

Ted Nuget - Out Of Control

One of the greatest parts about the early 1990's was the release of the CD boxset. The very first one I remember was the Led Zeppelin box set, which was even advertised on television. After that followed various other ones by other artists. Aerosmith had released two in less than five years even.

This review is about the 1993 boxset Out Of Control, by Ted Nugent. This is the only boxset I've ever owned that only has two albums. Most have three or more. But, two discs are all you need to cover The Nuge's career from start until 1993. This is one of those packages I highly suggest if you can find it, and love Detroit Rock.

Out Of Control opens with Baby Please Don't Go, as covered by The Amboy Dukes. This is a classic song that I've heard covered by countless bands, and I've even made sure to learn the simple rhythm section in case I should ever need it. I don't care either way about this cover. It's solid, but Ted's guitar work isn't all that impressive. He wasn't Double Live Gonzo yet. If I had to pick a cover of this song to listen to, I'll go with the AC/DC version.

My favourite Amboy Dukes' song is Journey To The Center Of Your Mind. This is my third favourite Ted Nugent song over all. This is when you start seeing Deadly Tedly coming into being as the guitarist we all know. On top of that, this song sounds very 60's hippy trippy, which is odd in one way. Since Nugent is against drug use. It's the chorus that makes this song for me. "Come along if you care / Come along if you dare / Take a ride to the land inside of your mind / Beyond the seas of thought / Beyond the realm of what / Across the streams of hopes and dreams / Where things are really not."

I find it funny that in the day of Digital music that a song is left being mono. You Talk Sunshine I Breathe Fire is specifically listed as being mono, right on the CD. I don't understand why they would do something so silly, except for being lazy and not wanting to take the time to re-produce the song. Personally I think this was a bad call, and this track suffers for it. Also the fact that it sounds pretty much like most of the other Amboy Dukes stuff.

There is a cover of the classic Gloria on this collection. It's okay, and if you like the original you may enjoy this one too. This is the first track on this disc to be listed as previously unreleased. The set lists this as being an Amboy Dukes song, Ted Nugent disputed this on his radio station 102.7 WWBR, with his ego claiming this was not done by the Amboy Dukes. I guess he wanted all the credit like normal.

I think Ted is a fantastic guitarist, and he has written some amazing songs, but I really think he should be loaded on a bus with Gene Simmons and Eddie Van Halen, then sent plummeting off a cliff. Just so we won't have to hear about their overly inflated egos anymore.

Call Of The Wild is the first song on here to be a Ted Nugent song, eventhough it's still the Amboy Dukes. The music is no longer sounding like a 60's California hangover, and instead like a Midwest Rock band. This is a good tune, and I'm all for cranking it. It's a bit of a filler, but only as a box set track. As an album track, it's great.

Number four on my list of top five Ted Nugent songs is The Great White Buffalo. You want to talk about Steve Vai, Joe Satchriani, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, or any other high speed guitarist you can go right ahead. I've seen this man play this song live and his hands are lightning fast. He isn't just working the strings. During the playing of this song he is also constantly switching back and forth between pick-ups, augmenting the dials and he never loses a single beat. He also sings at the same time. This song is just wild. Oh yeah, there's also a great message in the song. "Well,it happened long time ago, / In the new magic land. / The Indian and the buffalo, / They existed hand in hand.... / The Indian needed food, / He needed skins for a roof. / But he only took what they needed,baby. / Millions of buffalo were the proof. / Yeah,its all right. / But then came the white man, / With his thick and empty head. / He couldnt see past the billfold, / He wanted all the buffalo dead. / It was sad...It was sad. / Oh yeah...yes indeed."

This marks the end of the Amboy Dukes and the start of solo Ted Nugent.

Every band has that one song that I can never figure out why it's so popular. For Ted Nugent the song is Stranglehold. It's a good solid song. I won't deny that, but it's a little boring from a Ted Nugent point of view. It's a bit too much in the way of guitar wanking to be enjoyable. It's like Ted opted to go all Pink Floyd, without understanding what being all Pink Floyd is all about.

Stormtroopin' is a pretty decent song. It reminds me of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal in many ways. I can hear a lot of Diamond Head and even some early Def Leppard. But just to clarify, I mean that I can see how many N.W.O.B.H.M. bands took their sound from this song.

After that is Hey Baby. It has a great swing to it and the guitar lines are pretty kickin'. This is one of those songs that you have heard and never knew that it was Ted Nugent. Over all it's not a song that I care for, but I see why many like it. This one sounds very Motown influenced.

If you like high octane blues riffing Motor City Madhouse is the song for you. Lyrically it's a pretty typical song, but it's at least honest. "Woh, those fortified motor cars, / High energy, and it’s all ours / Ha ha ha ha ha / Dig this / Woh, such a heavy place for the boys and girls, / It’s the murder capital of the world / Yeow! / Well, Detroit city, she’s the place to be, / Mad dog town gonna set you free / I say. " This is such a typical Nuge song, but it's a really good typical Nuge song.

Free-For-All is one of those songs I just love to crank. That opening riff is just wickedly contagious and groovy. Mixed with Ted Nugents vocal performance which was very Rap like, in the same way as Steven Tyler, this song is just exciting. I also enjoy these lyrics. "Never before have I turned on you / You looked too good to me / Your beady eyes, they can cut me in two / And I just can't let you be / It's a free-for-all and I heard it said / You can bet your life / Stakes are high and so am I / It's in the air toni-i-ight / I see you there with your cheshire grin / I got my eyes on you / Shake your tailfeathers in my face / And there's no tellin' what I'll do / Well looky here, you sweet young thing / The magic's in my hands / When in doubt I whip it out / I got me a rock 'n' roll band / It's a free-for-all".

I don't care for Dog Eat Dog. I don't even know what to really make of this one. I mean it's okay, but nothing special. It's very N.W.O.B.H.M., and very typical of that style as well. If you are into the earlier, more rock oriented stuff from that time period, you may enjoy this one more than I do.

If you want to hear some great guitar please listen to Turn It Up. If you want to listen to music that sounds very high speed 1950's Rock N' Roll turns heavy 70's Rock, then returns back the the previous format, you may want to listen to this song as well. If you're like me, you can just skip this one.

Street Rats is a previously unreleased version. The notes say that it's an alternate version with Derek St. Holmes. I'm not familiar with the original version, so I don't know what the real difference is. I can say that this sounds like a well produced demo, so it may just be a take with Derek singing instead of Ted.

That makes me think of something I didn't think to mention before. Most of the songs that are performed during the post Amboy Dukes days, that are on this first disc have Derek St. Holmes as the vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Some songs feature Ted singing, but not as many as you may think.

The second previously unreleased song from the first disc is Magic Party. I see why it was never released. What I don't understand is why it was recorded. It sounds like it may have been recorded for one of those 70's shows like The Great Space Coaster. This may have even been recorded for that specific purpose.

Hammerdown sounds like it could be Iron Maiden or Judas Priest without even trying. Well, if you ignore the vocalist. I mean you could easily confuse this song as being very N.W.O.B.H.M. The only thing is it causes a big problem that many of those albums suffer from as well. The production sucks.

Okay, it's not fair to say the production sucks. The problem is that these songs weren't digitally remastered from the original recordings. Instead they were just copied over directly from the master tapes and so it sounds flat, unless you crank it up. The only way to get around that is to find the original songs on vinyl.

The second disc opens with Cat Scratch Fever. This is tied with Stranglehold for best known Ted Nugent song. The only difference is I really dig this one. First off, I love when Ted sings. No offense to Derek, but all my favourite songs are Ted songs, except for Journey To The Center Of The Mind. This is song five in my top five.

I have a few problems with Ted Nugent. The first is he is a gun toting, ignorant, egotistical, jackass. The second is he has a only three types of lyrics. Hunting animals, which are some of the best, hunting beaver, or skinning and eating beaver. Which is why I find Wang Dang Sweet Poontang just ridiculous. I can't give it any type of real attention, and that's the same way I've felt as long as I've owned this collection.

Live It Up is pretty cool. It's one of the better produced songs so far. It seems that by 1977 they were finally figuring out how to record Ted properly. It's amazing how much the sound quality changes on the second disc.

Homebound is a fucking awesome instrumental. I mean this thing is totally worth cranking right the fuck up. This is Rock N' Fucking Roll played in style. It's everything that Ted stands for as partiotic American rolled up into a musically kickin' song,, that doesn't have a bunch of bullshit "We love America crap." Anyone can feel great about their country while listening to this one, as long as you are out in the wild.

Out Of Control is kind of typical Nuge. There's nothing different or unique about this one, so if you like Ted you should like this.

After that comes a block of four live tracks. Two are previously unreleased and two are from Double Live Gonzo.

The first previously unreleased live song is Oh Carol. It's very Chuck Berry. After that comes the two tracks from Double Live Gonzo, Just What The Doctor Ordered and Yank Me Crank Me. The first song is originally from Ted's first album. I don't mind it, but it's not a favoutire of mine. The second was an exclusive new track played live at the show. It sounds a lot like Dog Eat Dog. I will say that the production kills this track. If it had sounded better, I may have enjoyed the song more. It has a great Blues sound to it.

Walking Tall is the other previously unreleased live track. It's introduced as being a new song for the album, but it never made it to an album. I don't mind this one, it's okay, but I would have liked to have heard a better version of it. I will say that there is some crazy stuff going on with the guitar on this one that is worth checking out.

Need You Bad is totally forgetable. It's a background song that you hear, but don't really pay attention to. Luckily Weekend Warriors follows that up, and is totally enjoyable. At this point it's back to studio tracks, and production that should have been done better. This song sounds like they were trying to recapture the Amboy Dukes sound instead of continuing down the awesome path started on the Cat Scratch Fever album.

At this point I really start to tune out on the songs. It took until 1979, but even Ted started playing with a sound that was a bit New Wave, much like everyone else started doing to try and stay relevant. All I can do is shake my head and wonder why. Not a single one of them ever got it right.

I have the same opinion about Sate Of Shock, and if it wasn't for Wango Tango being impossible to ignore I would just suggest hitting the skip button until you hit the last song. However, Wango Tango is fun in a Frank Zappa kind of way. In fact saying that this song is Ted Nugent meets Frank Zappa would be a great description for this song. Also you want to talk about Rapping? Holy crap does Ted get crazy with it, and his twisted lyrics. "I got salivate late, salivate late, salivate late / I got the droolin', droolin', get all wet, salivate, salivate / Got salivate, salivate, salivate, salivate, heh heh heh / Yeah you look so good baby, I like it, I like it, I like it / You know what I been talkin' about honey / It's a nice dance, we gotta a nice dance goin' here / Now what you gotta do, I'll tell you what you gotta do / You got to pretend your face is a Maserati / It's a Maserati / It's a Maserati / It's a gettin' hotty / It's a Maserati, Maserati, Maserati / It's a fast one too man, that thing's turbocharged / You feel like a little fuel injection honey? / I'll tell ya about it, I'll tell you about it / I gotta get that hood scoop off, shine and shine and buff / I'll check out the hood scoop / I gotta buff it up, buff it up, buff it up, buff it up, buff it up," and that's a litte piece from the middle of the biggest on running sentence ever.

If you've heard one Ted Nugent song you've heard Scream Dream. To be honest it sounds like he ripped of Stranglehold to do this one.

Terminus Eldorado is one fo those songs that Ted just should not have done. It's like he heard ZZ Top start doing this weird Blues, Disco, New Wave sound and wanted in on it. The thing is he didn't do it as good. Instead it sounds like a Blondie song.

The second last song on the album is a live track called Jailbait. This is a pretty decent tune. I don't care for the production, and the lyrical content is completely asenine, but it's some of the more enjoyable music from this period. This was recorded originally for the Intensities in 10 Cities live album.

I feel I should mention the gap between 1980's Scream Dream album and the 1986 album Little Miss Dangerous. I can only imagine that those songs must have really sucked if they didn't make it on here.

The last song on the album is the title track from Little Miss Dangerous. This is also in the top five of my favourite Nugent songs. This song just blows my mind every time I hear it. It has me dreaming of lace and leather, and in this day and edge it has me fantasising of a Gothic beauty. "In the midnight hour / about the stroke of twelve / She'll be steppin' out / she's gonna raise some Hell / And it's her move / she's holding that wild card / Gotta make her move / she'll make your life so hard / High hell sneakers / head to toe in lace / Such a dangerous body / with a little girl's face." Musically this song just has me busting a nut. The bass line is hypnotic, the drums are mesmerizingly steady, and the guitar is so Tedly.

If you've been paying attention you'll notice that I've only mentioned four of my Six top Ted Nugent songs. The list goes like this; Little Miss Dangerous at number two, Journey To The Center Of the Mind at number three, Great White Buffalo at number four, and Cat Scratch Fever at number five. The very first song on that list is not on this collection for reasons that are beyond me, because the song had been recorded just never "officially" released, at that point. Fred Bear, is by far the best of all the Nugent songs as far as I'm concerned.

If this collection had contained that one extra song instead of the last couple of tracks I didn't care for this review would end with a higher score than it does. The biggest problem with this colleciton is the fact that no real care was put into putting it together. So, the production is completely ass over half the time, and unless you really crank it up, the sound also is very cold.

There is another Nugent two disc collection that was released in 2002 called The Ultimate Ted Nugent. Most of the tracks are the same, with a few exceptions, and if I knew that the sound quality was better I would almost suggest it over this one. The only thing is that it doesn't have any Amboy Dukes, and it doesn't have Fred Bear either. That's the only reason I would still lean towards this one instead. The one thing I will stress about this collection is that it is great when it is mixed in with a bunch of other CDs. I find I enjoy these songs more when listened to separately, as opposed to listening to the entire collection straight through, over even just one disc.

7/10 - content

5/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

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