|JOE LYNN TURNER
Under Cover 2
Who better to head up a king-sized portion of monster cover tunes than Mr. Joe Lynn Turner? Most of his career hes been covering other peoples songs, from Ronnie James Dio and Graham Bonnet (Rainbow) to Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen). On Under Cover 2, Turners voice unlocks the true meaning of passionin some cases doing a better job than the original (Lady Double Dealer and Lost In Hollywood).
Turners vocal style is a mix of soul, blues and rock. His years of training are evident in his versatility to handle classics such as Rock Bottom (UFO), Mississippi Queen (Mountain), and the dynamic Waiting For a Girl Like You (Foreigner). His ability to take a song and make it his own digs in deep with Wishing Well (Free), Movin On (Bad Co), and Fool For Your Loving (Whitesnake).
This is a tougher set of recordings than those featured on the first Under Cover 1. Its obvious that Turner enjoys the opportunity to explore a song and convey its meaning. The production and packaging are first-rate and the song selection is well-rounded showcasing a brilliant singer.
Now & Then
Ted Nugent sidekick and star vocalist Derek St. Holmes belts out a clean selection of home-brewed wonders on his first solo disc, Now & Then. St. Holmes, last seen on the 1997 Nuge tour, is not one to sit on his laurels as songs like Sunsets, Standing in the Rain, and Dr. Love so clearly point out. St Holmes deep R&B roots bathe this ten-track CD with traditional Motown (including a nod to Stax singer Otis Redding) while tearing it up on the guitar front.
Nugent himself considers St. Holmes a soul brother both in delivery and style. Together they conquered a corner of the world, and with Now & Then, its obvious where a lot of the shared talent comes from. Dereks Michigan roots flood the disc along with lyrics that reflect a sultry swagger winding its way through each track: Im the prescription for your affliction / Forget rejection Ive got the affection / Just call Dr. Love.
Its been a long time comin, but St. Holmes is ready to step out of the Nugent spotlight. With ease he embraces the lead role creating a disc that nurtures and caresses his voice. Just an Illusion, In Too Deep, Sometimes, My Turn to Cry, and Sheila propel the listener to an old smoke-filled Chicago/Detroit blues club.
Ark 21 Records
Comedy has a way of sneaking into tragedy. Shakespeare figured that out years ago. Ark 21, Miles Copelands label, takes it one step further signing an Elvis impersonator (Jim Brown) who covers famous dead guys as only the King could with amazing originality. Graveland, though cheeky, is a big top production of Browns road show featuring familiar radio all-stars done as if the pelvis were still with us. The first time through, its all giggles and smiles, but with repeated plays it becomes quite infectious.
Vegas Elvis was known for his souped up renditions of the hits of the day and this is where Graveland takes flight. Nirvanas Come As You Are, Sinatras New York, New York, and Otis Reddings Dock Of The Bay all get a decent treatment leaning on the baritones R&B element. Sweet Home Alabama fits in perfectly with The Kings southern drawl. AC/DCs Whole Lotta Rosie gets a full-blown Vegas workup complete with a 2001 Space Odyssey refrain. Can't Help Falling In Love sneaks into the very reggae No Woman, No Cry, and Voodoo Child is a wicked little chiller.
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Here Comes Trouble
Buckle in for a keyboard-laden blast from the past. In 1976 Charlie started off as a rather soft-rock outfit releasing Fantasy Girl on Polydor Records. With each subsequent release they gradually introduced hard-edged guitars into their material. They hit with a minor single off their second album, No Second Chance, called Johnny Hold Back, and toured with the Doobie Brothers, increasing their popularity. Doobie engineer Shep Lonsdale joined the group in 1978 solidifying the groups sound as a superior slice of North American pop hard rock.
Here Comes Trouble was the bands sixth release and settled in comfortably with fellow 70s AOR heavyweights Firefall, Ambrosia, and the Little River Band. Renaissance has acquired the rights to release all the bands back catalog giving the Charlie boys one more chance at a royalty check. Pre-Journey three-part harmonies layered over catchy hooks and decorated with over-the-top keyboards endeared fans. Choice moments are Five Years, Take The Money, Only Dreaming, Zero, and Dont Let Go.
Bigger Than The Devil
Nuclear Blast Records
If Hell spawned a bastard seed, SOD (Storm troopers of Death) would be its name. Fourteen years after the bands first release, Billy Milano (v), Scott Ian (g), Danny Lilker (b) and Charlie Benante (d), decided to record album number two just to see who was left of the 900,000 folk who snapped up their first album, Speak English or Die. Bigger Than the Devil doesnt skip a beat in reacquainting its listeners to what made SOD a cherished hunk of riff-age. The songs, all 25 of em, come at ya hard, fast, and heavy. The Crackhead Song, Kill the Assholes, Evil is In, Free Dirty Needles, and Shenanigans envelope the bands hardcore backbone and slapstick humor.
The band is something of an eternal enigma which shows its ugly face from time to time, admits screamer Billy Milano on the bands web page. We all felt that if it didnt seem natural we wouldnt do it. It was and still feels fresh and alive. The bands last tour was in 1992 where they recorded Live at Budokan. It marked one of only a handful of shows SOD has ever done. With Bigger Than the Devil, the foursome plan an extensive North American tour this fall.
From the vaults of Leviathan records comes the long awaited reissue of the two CJSS classics World Gone Mad and Praise the Loud. The vinyl versions have been vastly appreciated for nearly 15 years as cult favorites. Their release on CD marks a just reward for a band whose day was overshadowed by its famed guitarist, David T. Chastain. CJSS (David Chastain, Russel Jinkens, Mike Skimmerhorn, and Les Sharp) was formed in 1984 when members of two local Cincinnati bandsSpike and Prizonercollided. Spike had gained quite a reputation, so when the new group (CJSS) debut at local haunt Bogarts, over a thousand rabid fans showed up.
CJSSs first recording World Gone Mad (1985) introduced the vast talents of Chastain to a worldwide audience. The chainsaw burn of Destiny and Welcome to Damnation, as well as the eloquent Run to Another Day, paved the way for the 1985 masterpiece Praise the Loud. Both records wrote the blueprint for a host of bands to follow in the next decade of metal. Production on this release is top-notch adding clarity and punch to a choice piece of rock history.
Running with the Wind
Kevin Chalfant has one of those voices built for radio. Like Jimi Jamison of Survivor and Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Chalfant radiates the essence of pop rock. First singing for 70s rock trio 707, Chalfant cut his teeth opening the Super Jams tour in 1981. The Super Jams lineup consisted of FM heavies John Cougar, Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Huey Lewis and the News, Loverboy, and Foreigner and performed to 50,000-70,000 a night. 707 hit with the single Megaforce which rocketed to #11 on the Billboard chart.
Ten years later, Chalfant formed The Storm with Journey rhythm section Ross Valory and Steve Smith, and adding Journeys keyboardist Greg Rolie in an all out effort to rule the airwaves. In 1993 The Storm was invited to join a reformed Journey for the Thunder Road benefit. Steve Perry was unable to attend the event, so Kevin stepped in to sing many of the bands chart-topping hits. After two monster records with The Storm, Chalfant has recorded his first solo effort, Running with the Wind. Jam packed with gutsy radio-friendly gems, the records Save Me Tonight, Love Changes Everything, Wild Thang, and Learning to Fly push the singer to the forefront of his genre with polished vibrancy.
Cutting Edge contributor and gruff-voiced leader of Dead-End Kidz, John Erigo has made good on his promise to bring the world a dyed-in-wool assault on the tympanic membrane. The Dead-End Kidz have been kicking around for the better part of three years in one form or another. As enormous Kiss fans, its not surprising their self-produced and financed debut has a familiar ring to it. The Power (of Rock and Roll) and I Gotta Know could easily sit next to a Gene Simmons bit complete with comedy-laden lyrics as a bow to the bat-winged one.
Heartless, Lost in the Darkness, and I Know What I Want, kick ass with a solid guitar crunch and anthem-like choruses. Kicked In the Head turns it up a notch or two with real fire-in-the-belly resolution. Guitarists Scott Carlson and Michael Lo Bianco join rhythm section Kevin Edell (b) and Tom Mahalko (d) to give Erigo a thick bed of power-rock tonnage for casting his vocals. A compliment to Long Islands rock history.
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Currently, K-Floor is defining Philadelphias blues scene. They are four guys barely out of high school tearing it up at the local haunts with true conviction and complete respect for the blues. The band take their name from the time-worn Howlin Wolf classic Killing Floor and put a surprising aged stain on their first recorded outing, Non-Filtered. Formed in Kansas City in 1996 by Nick Schnebeien (guitars and vocals) and Chris Schutz (bass), the roots of K-Floors direction were vaguely mapped out. Both were keen aficionados of the blues, but as the duo became a trio, they gigged out the momentum of a twelve-bar structure, giving them an anchor.
By 1997, K-Floor relocated to Philly and added drummer Zil and Justin DiFebbo (piano and organ). The band dug in playing three to four nights a week eventually winning the title of Phillys #1 Blues Band. Their self-produced CD Non-Filtered is the best of their live set including the brilliant Thieves Journal, Ticket to Hell, and Break Of Day. Seven originals and three covers fill the disc. Closing the CD is a heated eight-minute plus bonus track following the bands cover of Eddie Boyds Five Long Years. Every night they play, K-Floor steals the spotlight with a hotter-than-hell live show thatll blow you away. Dont miss these guys live!