Saturday, July 5, 2014

Great White - Hooked

I never have and never will buy a Great White CD. That being said the album I am reviewing I own only because it was given to me by my uncle Greg, after he got it as a freebie from Columbia House. It was the monthly promo disc that never got returned or cancelled and here I am twenty years or so later doing the review for it.

The copyright on the album is for 1991, I'm pretty sure I didn't get it until 1994, and I listened to it more in the last two months than I have over the entire time I've owned it. If this album had come out anywhere between 1984 and 1986, Great White would have probably been bigger than Bon Jovi. Alan Niven and Michael Lardie produced a very decent sounding commercial album. They just made it way too late.

This had to go up against Gun N' Roses Use Your Illusions, Metallica's Black Album, Ozzy's No More Tears, plus Nirvana, Faith No More, and every other band to get lumped into the Grunge/Alternative category. This album didn't stand a chance. However, upon much later listening, it really isn't that bad of an album. There's a couple of songs that I think would be radio friendly, and I would sneak in from time to time if I were a DJ, going for off beat Rock songs.

I also discovered during the time that this album has been in the cd player that Drew must be a Great White fan, because all he needs to hear is the tone of the guitar on the first note and he knows who it is. Luckily I can't say that on all the tracks yet, and after this review is done, who knows how long before I ever hear this album again. Maybe if by request.

The album opens with Call It Rock N' Roll, which is pretty much Once Bitten revisited. It's always good to have some familiarity with the music you are presenting, especially to kick off an album. That's about all I have to say either good or bad. It's a "whatever" kind of song.

If I didn't know better, by the first few little measures that make up The Original Queen Of Sheba, I would have thought it was Damn Yankees. Then quickly the song is corrected and it's clearly Great White. I find the solo very predictable, and uninspired, but it works within the song.

The one good thing that could be said about Great White, at least on this album, is how much they keep the Blues groove going. Cold Hearted Lovin' is dripping in some upbeat whiskey soaked cocksure Blues. Like the last three songs it's pretty basic but it works.

The very first song on the album I actually will admit to enjoying is Can't Shake It. This track has a vibe to it that really reminds me of The Rolling Stones. This could have easily been a post heroin Stones track, or Aerosmith when the heroin was taking it's toll. It's one of those songs that would be loved live, but forgotten the second it was done being performed. A track for the hardcore fans. However, this is Great White, and this could have been a good radio single in around 1986, give or take. There is some resemblence to AC/DC's Fly On The Wall album on this track as well.

Ah, it's time for a Power Piano Ballad with Lovin' Kind. You know how Elton John's Piano sounded on Lion King, well add that to a Glam Rock band, and you get the idea.

Heartbreaker is up next and reminds me of Accept's Balls To the Wall. If you like that song you should enjoy this one, sort of. I make no promises, but if it wasn't for the harmonies in the song, it would actually be an okay song. It's decent stock, and with the run time of 6:44 it provides time for a pee break. I will say that otherwise it runs a bit long. Most of the songs on this album feel that way.

Congo Square seems like a more Boogie Woogie Blues song than the last track, but other than that it's pretty much a continuation. I do like this track and all the ways they play with it musically. It's the longest song on the album, but I find it one of the more enjoyable. It's the type of track that would get your toe tapping in a bar, and with subtle changes in tone, it could be played in a Country bar or a Honkey Tonk or a Blues bar, and of course a Rock bar.

South Bay Cities sounds like they ripped off the Sesame Street theme song. I've sung the lyrics, and it works. That being said, you get a good idea what to expect from this song, especially with the title. Musically it's a fun little jam, lyrically I wouldn't bother.

If I were putting together a driving movie that reflected the Rock N' Roll mentality Desert Moon would be on it. I even like the lyrical content, if you ignore the over use of the word "baby."Let's shake this town baby / Come with me / I need a little lovin' company / C'mon now / I know where we can go / This is the time / T'stay out all night / I've gotta fire / Like a heavenly light / C'mon baby / Let's take a drive / C'mon baby / Let's do it right / Time to dance / In the magic light / Of the desert moon / Let's lay it down / Under a cactus tree / Give a little lovin' ecstacy / C'mon now / It's time to go / Little baby / You're a beautiful sight / I've got the love / And we have the night / C'mon baby / It's time to fly / C'mon baby / Let's do it right / Time to dance / In the magic light / Of the desert moon / Come on honey / Let's get it right / Make romance / In the magic light / Of the desert moon".

I think ending the album with Afterglow was a bad idea. Desert Moon would have been a much better choice, but if this song had been placed anywhere in the last four tracks it would have killed the mood and the flow of the album. At least it leaves the album with a bit of a good vibe.

There are three songs on this album I may have a use for, and I would possibly put on my Mp3 player, outside of that this album makes for some decent filler in the random mix. It's a stock album for the most part, but only because it came out in 1991. If it had been released five to eight years earlier, there would have been no need for The Black Crows, or Bon Jovi after New Jersey.

5/10 - content

8/10 - production

4/10 - personal bias

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