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Women And Children First Remastered
Colored Vinyl, 180 gram, Remastered
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Women And Children First
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Van Halen s 3x Platinum third album. Mastering engineer Chris Bellman, who remastered the original albums at Bernie Grundman Mastering Studios, was enlisted for this new version. In order to produce the original sound the band intended, Bellman cut straight from the quarter-inch tapes for CD; for 180-gram vinyl; and for the digital versions.
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The overall material on this release seems slightly weaker than, for example, their debut release. There are a few outstanding songs such as And The Cradle Will Rock and Everybody Wants Some. Alas, there are a few weaker spots such as In A Simple Rhyme and Could This Be Magic - not that they are bad songs. Overall content sounds a bit rushed with a little filler. For Van Halen's masterpieces, go check out their debut and Fair Warning as well.
Three and 1/2 to 4 stars for this one.
The vinyl is standard black.
The album was recorded in two weeks in January of 1980 but the way that lead singer David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, his drummer brother Alex Van Halen and bass player Michael Anthony played here it doesn't sound it. The album was also produced again by Ted Templeman and also engineered by Donn Landee. The Women and Children First album was the first where the band wrote all of the songs on the album (and had no cover tunes). What was the result of recording and mixing in a two week span and recording all original material, find out like I did when I first got the album for Christmas in 1984 on cassette tape.
The opening rocker "And the Cradle Will Rock..." had a killer keyboard riff which sounds like an electric guitar but was a distorted Wurlitzer piano cranked through a Marshall amp and stack and two killer Eddie Van Halen guitar solos in the middle and guitar effects on the right speakers. David Lee Roth's vocals were killer on this album. "Everybody Wants Some" is next with Alex's superb drum intro and an awesome song and all I can think about is the claymated hamburger singing this song in Better Off Dead but a killer song nonetheless with stellar bass work from Michael Anthony and more guitar work from Eddie whom just rocks on this entire album. "Fools" follows and is an awesome track which starts out with just Diamond Dave and Eddie's guitar before going into a full throttle rocker. The first half closing rocker "Romeo Delight" is a killer and sounds like proto-thrash with its punkish drumming and metal riffs.
The second half kicks off with the killer guitar effect fanfare "Tora! Tora!" before rocking out to the speed metal sounding "Loss of Control". Next is the bluesy rocker "Take Your Whiskey Home" which may have started out as an acoustic piece at first and then rocks out for the rest of the song. Next is the acoustic blues of "Could This Be Magic" with Eddie doing some killer dobro and the late Nichollette Larson supplying some uncredited backing vocals towards the end of the track alongside Michael Anthony. The closing "In a Simple Rhyme" starts out as an acoustic piece before it rocks out then slows again then rocks for the solo then slows for the end like in beginning. After the song ends, there is a hidden 30 second instrumental at the end of the album.
When Women and Children First was released, it became the band's first album to storm into the US Top 5 and was another Multi-Platinum hit for the band.
Solid guitar hooks, a couple of hit tunes and just general typical Van Halen raucous rock and roll. Roth helped Edward create what I now look back on as Rock Noir, gritty street lyrics with a film noir edge to it all, pushed forward by Eddie's unique guitar style overall and his brother supplying excellent drumming skills. I don't think they should suffer much with Wolfgang now on bass, although Anthony will be missed.