Reviews roundup – Foreigner vs. Hogjaw vs. Dixie Republic vs. The Blues Mystery vs. Nick SImper & Nasty Habits
Greatest Hits Live
Oh, c’mon! Or as it was previously known “Can’t Slow Down – Special Edition, CD 2 Live in ’05”, which came out in 2010. The cheek of it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Foreigner, even the regurgitated version, but they really are taking the piss these days. At least they tell you on the rear of the sleeve that it was “Previously released as part of the limited edition of “Can’t Slow Down”, which is sold out due to the great demand, these recordings are now available as standalone CD for the first time.”
Even though you can still buy the limited edition on Amazon for less than they’re charging for this. Sighs. The music is peerless, as it always is, but Mick Jones can’t be that desperate for money, surely. It’s a good live recording, only six months after Kelly Hansen joined the band, so it’s still fresh and exciting. Unless you’ve heard it a hundred time before.
Rise To The Mountains
Any band that says they’re influenced by the Capricorn Record bands of the 70’s is always going to be alright by me, as I sit surrounded by Cooper Brothers and Stillwater albums. And here come Hogjaw with their fifth album (albeit their first with new guitarist Jimmy Rose) to keep me happy.
To be honest, they kick more ass than most of the bands in the seventies did, so it’s more Molly Hatchet than Cowboy, but they make a mighty fine noise regardless. And with “Rise To The Mountains” they’ve certainly done a grand job, with songs like ‘Fire, Fuel & Air’, ‘Where Have You Gone’ and ‘Leavin Out the Backside’ an absolute treat.
It’s a fine mix of southern rock, country and classic seventies rock, which boogies out in all the right places.
They call themselves hard edge country, which may be a polite way of saying southern rock, but Kevin Beard – Vocals / Piano / Drums, Gary Stephenson – Guitar/Vocals and Chris Haithcoat – Drums/ Bass/Vocals kick up a mighty fine storm on this here record.
You can tell where they’re coming from when they list influences like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Van Halen and the mighty Kiss, so it’s no great surprise that they know how to kick some country ass.
And they’ve got some good songs to go alongside it, with the title track, ‘Me Time’, ‘Metro Cowgirl’ and ‘Son Of A Gun’ straight out of the top drawer. It’s an album you should definitely be buying if you’re looking for some good new country music, and if you tune into Rockin’ The Country in July on http://www.getreadytorockradio.com/ then you’ll be able to hear it for yourself.
THE BLUES MYSTERY
Off to Switzerland now for some blue-rock, and a rather enjoyable slice it is too. There is a touch of seventies ZZ Top in there, which is always welcome, and some good songs to go with the groove. They’ve been on the go since 2009, and seem to be regulars on the European blues circuit, hence their second album being up for grabs.
Elsewhere, they veer into seventies rock territory, with some hints of the Stones and their ilk, and on songs such as ‘The Motorbikes Are Roaring’, ‘Half a Man’ and ‘With Just One Look’, they give every indication of going on to bigger and better things. Frontman Willy Matt puts on a good show, and with the rest of the band lighting a fire underneath him, it’s definitely a worthwhile listen.
NICK SIMPER & NASTY HABITS
De La Frog Conspiracy
Septuagenarian Nick Simper may have knocked touring on the head (bar a promo show for this record), but he has got back together with Austrian band Nasty Habits to record his first studio album n 18 years. Of course, he knows the band well, having toured the Deep Purple MKI Songbook with them for a few years, as well as releasing a live recording.
But this sees him and the band performing eleven original songs, and if mid seventies styled rock is your thing, then songs like ‘Mad Dream’, ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘On And On’ will be right up your street. There is some excellent guitar and keyboard work, and there is the occasional hint of Warhorse in the mix.
It’s solid without ever tipping into brilliance, but it’s nice to see that Mr Simper had another record in him.