HardReviews
by Martin Popoff
www.martinpopoff.com

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Fresh Metal

WHITESNAKE
Good To Be Bad (SPV)

Hey, I'm really agreeing - boring as that is - with everybody else on this one. There's something frustrating about it. On the surface, everything is there, and repeated plays keep beckoning, but nothing sticks. One comes away vaguely glad (to be bad) that it's no pooch, but then somewhat disconcerted o'er the safety of it, the bases covered. Production is in the same damn boat. There's something bad (to be good) about it, a vague synthetic-ness, but then again, it sounds expensive and warm - what the...?! Let's not forget that there's only one Whitesnake guy in the band, now that half-member Tommy Aldridge isn't even there. But yeah, man, there are cock rockers, grinding Slip-style things like 'Best Years', those insipid ballads (swear to god, Whitesnake did about the worst job of that ruse out of any "hair" band, which they never were... until the goddamn ballads!). But see, I can't really fault it either - 'All For Love' links nicely Slide It In to the self-titled, and all the glue between the parody/touchstones is pretty good. Did I say parody? Well yeah, together, 'Call On Me' and 'Lay Down Your Love' use all the tricks of 'Slow An' Easy and 'Still Of The Night', and then 'Got What You Need' is 'Crying In The Rain' pt. II. Cripes. I mean, this is Whitesnake by rulebook, which... the damn thing is, it's probably what the fans, maybe even me, would request, if Dave came down out of Lake Tahoe and asked us... and then we complain like a bunch of old ladies. Version-wise, there's vinyl, plus a limited edition double CD that contains a raw, smokin' eight track live CD (plus a video), Dave sounding good (but sadly, I've been to a few shows, and I've seen him both good and bad).
Rating 7.5

JACK BRUCE & ROBIN TROWER
Seven Moons (Big Daddy)

Been out for a while, and I've been meaning to talk about it for a while, but man, OK, I bought this at a transcendental sold-out Robin Trower gig in Buffalo, great venue, the Tralf Music Hall, drummer Pete Thompson and bassist Glenn Letsch (Gamma - yeah!) laying down the hi-fi jam band rhythms, Robin desert bloozing, and then (key to my enjoyment), the incomparable Davey Pattison singing soulful fer miles. Did I say incomparable? Well, save for Jack Bruce. I mean, both those guys are Trower's singular guitar sound in voice. So it was cool to hear Bruce and Trower back together for this CD, the guys going for a consistently organic, Trower-lite sound, not exactly unplugged, but half-plugged. The songs are open, they breathe, they rock like a regular Trower composition, but like I say, are played minimalist lightly and recorded "jazz clubby." Necessary comparatives to Gary Moore can be made, the heady trio-ness of the band, and its pedigree of gravitas, rife with integrity, Bruce a joy to hear, still a source of dept in his late 60s.
Rating 8

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