Top positive review
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Ted's best because of group effort
on March 12, 2006
This is Ted Nugent's best album. It's also interesting because of the diversity of involvement including vocals from Meat Loaf, Derek St Holmes, and Ted himself and some diversity in the songwriting credits. Ted writes 6 songs by himself but other band members cover the duties for three others. It helps because Ted's writing has always been somewhat limited by his habit of writing everything in the key of A minor because of the advantages this gives to guitar players. A number of songs on this album are in this category as were a few on the first album. The other songwriters bring different structures to bear which I think actually better showcase Ted's guitar playing by providing a better backdrop for his solos. The other reviews refer to the Derek St Holmes departure and return while this was being made. St Holmes was back some for Cat Scratch Fever, but was gone for good after that. Ted had taken over all control at that point and the lack of any real creativity is sadly evidenced on all further albums. But, back to this album:
1. Free for All - One of Ted's songs but a little different than his usual structure. An excellent opener.
2. Dog Eat Dog - Ted's A minor stuff but very solid. Lyrically, he had not yet degenerated to writing all the rhyming yank me crank me garbage. There's some interesting visuals conjured by the song.
3. Writing on the Wall - Son of Strangehold but more diverse and filled with powerful vocals from Meat Loaf.
4. Turn It Up - Ted's again but this is a fun little ditty.
5. Street Rats - Ted's A minor stuff again but again really solid. As above, he was putting some efforts into lyrics and I have always remembered the phrase "post-war anti-social" as a reference point for a more realist and cynical opposition far beyond the idealism of the anti-war hippies.
6. Together - Best song on the album. A proto power ballad. Written by the drummer, Cliff Davies, and the bass player, Rob Grange. Some great work by Ted on guitar. Great vocals by Meat Loaf. Very un-Ted-like but it's a beautiful song.
7. Light My Way - A Derek St Holmes / Rob Grange rocker that gives Ted a great backing riff to solo against.
8. Hammerdown - A heavy rocker written by Ted (in E minor another guitar friendly key) with Meat Loaf providing very strong vocals.
9. Love You so I told You a Lie - A Cliff Davies tune that is a great closer to the album. Meat Loaf again does great work.
Overall, this is the last album when it appears there was any counterwight to Ted's ego. Ergo, it's the last really good album. Cat Scratch Fever had a few moments but it was pretty much downhill from there. I am reviewing this because I recently purchased the remastered version of some Ted songs to make my own personal best-of and realized that I was buying every song from this album. And, they still sounded fresh to me. It's a shame that there wasn't a way for the band to co-exist because the other members had complementary talents that made it posible for Ted's guitar work to be highlighted better.