Thursday, March 10, 2011
Ted Nugent – s/t 1975
1975 was a weird year for rock. There were new releases from behemoths like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd but overall things were getting a little soft. People were mellowing out and wearing a lot of brown corduroy. But not Ted Nugent. In 1975 he decided to put The Amboy Dukes to rest, pull up a loincloth and unleashed his self titled debut album, which stands tall as his best studio album.
Side one begins with the guitargasmic classic “Stranglehold.” This song has the power to cause Elvis Costello fans to whimper in fear as soon as the needle hits the monster groove of the opening riff. “Stranglehold” is Black Sabbath heavy mixed with pure Detroit R&B and delivers the knock out punch that the MC5 were unable to fully unleash on society. An 8 minute orgy of glorious Gibson Byrdland guitar tone, Electro Harmonix bass balls, backwards cymbals and revenge lyrics, “Stranglehold” contains everything you need when you absolutely, positively need to destroy every little thing in your room. And if there’s anything left to break when it’s over, the next song “Stormtroopin’” will guarantee that you finish the job in style. Containing another killer riff (partially lifted from Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour” and later used by Judas Priest in “Hell Bent For Leather”), “Stormtroopin’” contains some of Ted’s best playing. The break in the middle when Ted blazes over Cliff Davies very in-the-pocket drumming is pure rock & roll guitar playing at its very best.
After the onslaught of those 2 songs, the pace relaxes a little bit with “Hey Baby,” a loose boogie with powerful vocals from Derek St.Holmes. I guess a song like this was necessary so the chicks wouldn’t get too scared when you blast it in the car on the way to a keg party in the woods. But then it’s followed up with the fiendishly intense “Just What The Doctor Ordered.” There’s not much to say about this one other than it KICKS ASS!! This has always been one of my favorite songs to play when I take command of the stereo at some lame party. The opening guitar licks are a call to arms that it’s time to start rocking hard and I’m going to play the stereo louder than hell and I don’t care who doesn’t like it. “I found a cure for my body and soul, I got me an overdose of ROCK N ROLL!” Hell yeah I do!!
Side two is also great, but no real match for the perfection of side one. “Snakeskin Cowboys,” “Where Have You Been All My Life” and “Queen of the Forest” all rock pretty hard and the ballad “You Make Me Feel Right At Home” is decent. But the jewel of the side is without a doubt “Motor City Madhouse.” Derek does most of the singing on this album, but Ted’s the only one who could deliver the lyrics on this one. Yet another classic riff and steamhammer groove reminiscent of the MC5’s almighty “Skunk,” this a brain damage inducing noggin rocker. Somehow it sounds incomplete without the sound of breaking glass and M-80’s but not everything in life can be perfect. The 1999 CD remaster contains BLISTERING live versions of "Stormtroopin,'" "Just What the Doctor Ordered" and "Motor City Madhouse" from a show in London and a really lame studio song called “Magic Party” that should have remained unreleased.
Ted’s big mouth is a turn off for a lot of people, but most die hard rockers agree that his 1970’s output contains some of the most high octane music you will ever hear on this planet. In the mid-90’s I had the great pleasure of being invited to a conference room at Atlantic Records where Ted was going to play some of his new songs for the staff. It was after hours and most people were unenthusiastic so a friend asked me to be there because he knew I would be thrilled to meet him. Ted did not disappoint. He came running into the conference room screaming, waving an acoustic guitar around and called the hip NYC staffers “a bunch of pastrami eating motherfuckers.” In rapid fire succession he claimed to have invented the middle finger and short skirts. I believe him. The proof is right here on this album. PLAY LOUD.
Buy here: Ted Nugent