This album contains some of the greatest Rock songs to just have a good time to. That is the best way to describe this album the whole way around. It's a good times album.
The album opens with Mountain's Mississippi Queen. This was the first reason I bought this CD. I love this song, but the band was more or less a one hit wonder, and I never wanted to pick up anything else from them. I probably should and would now, but back then I wouldn't have.
Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back in Town is next. This song is everywhere. I own at least three separate CD's, one of which is actually a Thin Lizzy album, and unless the album is just playing through or I'm not paying close attention I tend to skip this one now a days. I've just heard it too much, and Thin Lizzy have so many better songs.
All Right Now, is the second reason I picked up this disc. This has been a favourite of mine since I was a wee lad. I don't know where I first heard this song, but it was most likely on WRIF, WLLZ or WCSX. I mean this song just makes me feel three kinds of awesome and at ease with the world, and that's a pretty nifty thing for me, since I generally hate the world.
I love that there's just a little CanCom on this CD, and they put it all together. First there's Kim Mitchell's I Am A Wild Party, and as much as I don't mind this song, I will admit it's a bit cheesey. However, if you listen to the song and really pay attention, you'll see the music and production are actually really cool, and worth a more attentive listen.
After that is Bachman Turner Overdrive's You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. I don't like this song. It's a really good, solid song, but I just don't care for it. I find it's been over played, and over rated. But to be honest I'm not much of a BTO fan. I would have prefered that Takin' Care Of Business had been on here instead, even though I know it's even more commercial and over played.
I really like Nazareth. They are one of those bands that I think I'm going to have to go back and buy more than just a greatest hits from. I mean these guys are amazingly talented music writers. They only have one song I don't like and that's Love Hurts, which is not on here thankfully. Instead we get This Flight Tonight. This is just a wicked song. I love everything about it, including the rough, Brian Johnson-esque vocals.
Black Betty is one of those songs that's stupidly simple, and it makes it that much cooler. The best songs are never the complicated songs, it's always the simple songs that make the best Rock songs. However, that's not even the best part about this song. The best part is the fact that the song is pretty much a four minute song, with three minutes of kick ass jamming.
One of my absolute favourite songs of all time is Radar Love from Golden Earring. This song is just so cool, and bad ass, even if it is all about the longing for a woman. "I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel / There's a voice in my head, that drives my heel / It's my baby callin', says, "I need you here" / Ans it's half past four, and I'm shifting gear / When she's lonely and the longing gets too much / She sends a cable comin' in from above / Don't need no phone at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a wave in the air, radar love / The radio's playing some forgotten song / Brenda Lee's coming on strong / The road's got me hypnotized / And I'm speeding into a new sunrise / When I get lonely, and I'm sure I've had enough / She sends her comfort, comin' in from above / Don't need no letter at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a line in the sky, radar love / No more speed, I'm almost there / Gotta keep cool, now gotta take care / Last car to pass, here I go / And the line of cars drove down real slow / And the radio played that forgotten song / Brenda Lee's coming on strong / And the newsman sang his same song / One more radar lover gone / When I get lonely, and I'm sure I've had enough / She sends her comfort, comin' in from above / We don't need no letter at all / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a line in the sky / We've got a thing that's called radar love / We've got a thing that's called radar love". Now once you get past the coolness of the lyrics you have to prep yourself for the music. I know most of it sounds simple at first, but by the time you hit the mid section, with the kickin' drum break, you know these guys are serious musicians, playing some serious music. Oh yeah, this is also one of those songs I love to karaoke as well.
I feel I should mention that there are three songs in a row that suck up almost a third of this album on their own. The first was Radar Love, clocking in at 6:24, then Paradise By The Dashboard Light at 8:24, and finally Don't Fear The Reaper at 5:05. All of which are fantastic songs, no matter how much some people may complain about the length of the songs.
Meatloaf's Paradise is one of the best Duets ever recorded. Not only does it border on musical genius, but the production is astounding. My only complaint is I find the "Let me sleep on it part" runs a bit longer than I care for. However, the performance value to this song is through the roof. It's one of those songs that I'm a bit bummed I've never been able to at least Karaoke. Not enough women know this song in this day and age I find, and that's sad, because they might learn something. Like don't use sex to try and trap a man.
Blue Oyster Cult is one of those bands that I have only developed more and more respect for over the years. I started out loving Godzilla, then creamed myself after discovering Don't Fear The Reaper, then it was on to more and more craziness. However, if there was ever a song about love that was meant to blow your mind, it was Reaper. Forget that creepy, scary, ominous mid section that's meant to strike fear into your soul, and is a masterpiece of music in it's own. Look at the lyrics. "All our times have come / Here but now they're gone / Seasons don't fear the reaper / Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper / Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper / We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper / Baby I'm your man... / la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la / Valentine is done / Here but now they're gone / Romeo and Juliet / Are together in eternity...Romeo and Juliet / 40,000 men and women everyday...Like Romeo and Juliet / 40,000 men and women everyday...Redefine happiness / Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper / Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper / We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper / Baby I'm your man... / Love of two is one / Here but now they're gone / Came the last night of sadness / And it was clear she couldn't go on / Then the door was open and the wind appeared / The candles blew then disappeared / The curtains flew then he appeared...saying don't be afraid / Come on baby...and she had no fear / And she ran to him...then they started to fly / They looked backward and said goodby...she had become like they are / She had taken his hand...she had become like they are / Come on baby...don't fear the reaper". That's just so much beauty and death wrapped up in one.
If it were not for one more song on this album, I would stop it after BOC's classic. I don't care for two out of the last four songs, and one of the two I like is just way too much of a joke song to ever take too seriously.
Let me start with Trooper's Raise A Little Hell. Which, is a good song in it's own right, but to me it's a skipper. I also feel the same way about Teenage Head's Let's Shake, but I wouldn't say it's good. It's an okay New Wave/Punk hybrid sounding song, but not as good as the bands that perfected that sound, like Blondie, Devo, or The Talking Heads.
The album finishes with Chuck Berry's My Ding-A-Ling, which is a giant, fun, overkill, innuendo. It's great for a laugh and it makes me smile everytime. However, I don't generally bother to listen to it, unless it's just playing on the CD player. Back when I didn't own more than a five disc CD player, I normally never made it to My Ding-A-Ling because I stopped the CD after track thirteen, which is Grand Funk Railroad's version of The Loco-motion, which is pretty much like any other version you've ever heard, except it's by Grand Funk Railroad. I've DJ'ed a few events in my time, and I've busted this song out everytime, and the reaction is always one of true excitement. This version is just so lively, and energetic. Not to mention it sounds like a real rock song, instead of Girl Pop, like the other two more popular versions.
If you ever come across this CD, I suggest you pick it up. That is unless you own these songs on other albums. However, this disc is just about the best mix of greatest, yet sometimes overlooked, classic rock songs I have ever come across. Even if all of the songs don't tickle my fancy.
9/10 - content
7/10 - production
9/10 - personal bias