Last years debut album from former L.A. Guns guitar player Tracii Guns new project League Of Gentlemen, The First Record, was a huge surprise and ended up being one of my favorite releases of 2013. His new band of unknowns and their reverence for 70’s rock were a treat. They have returned with the appropriately named The Second Record. I pre-ordered this from Amazon and was giddy like a kid at Christmas when the UPS guy dropped it off.
When I looked at the CD I noticed a lot of familiar song titles. Now The League are no stranger to covers as there were 2 of them on the debut. It was then I realized this was a covers album and my giddiness soon faded. I do like a good cover but after suffering through that Enuff Z’Nuff one recently I was a tad reluctant. I did like the fact that they did not do a bunch of obvious covers and only a handle full are “hits”.
Into the player the disc went and my hesitance slowly ebbed. The Second Record opens with “Anywhere We Want To Go” and I thought it was one of their songs. It fits perfectly for them. Singer Scott Foster Harris has this frantic style at times and that was upfront here. Plus John Bird’s keys establish that it is not just filler but an integral part of the band. The theme to this album was an homage to 70’s inspired psychedelic rock and that was the prefect opener. “Sunshine” a song by the recently passed Dick Wagner is a great selection. The song has a poppy psychedelic quality that is highlighted here. It has that 60’s loose jangly feel to it while still sounding modern. That’s followed by “Days” by The Kinks, another overlooked of song that gets a great treatment. Another song I hadn’t heard before was “You Get What You Deserve” by Big Star and features a pseudo surf guitar sound from Tracii. The band went deep into the vault and found “Strychnine” a track from The Sonics. Like the first song, the band made it seem like it was one of their own.
Some of the more well known songs are Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” and Buffalo Springfield’s“For What It’s Worth”. Both are fine, they did put their touch on them but since they are so well known you can only do so much. You could say the same about “Hey Bulldog” by The Beatles but since it’s one of those tracks that you hardly hear it works. To me one of the highlights is the cover of “White Rabbit”. The band does a great job of tweaking it with a spooky bass line and Scott’s swirling echo vocals. This might be seen as sacrilegious to some but the cover of The Rolling Stones “Citadel” is a lot better than the original. This version is a lot more coherent and tight but has more of that psych-pop feel than the Stones’.
My copy has two bonus tracks of 50’s songs “Devil Or Angel” and “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe”. Each have a similar feel to Guns N Roses’ “Since I Don’t Have You”. The pair were a fun way to finish off the album. I usually like covers songs but a full album of them can be daunting. Especially one that has 14 tracks. However, Tracii Guns League Of Gentlemen did a stupendous job on The Second Record in song selection and execution.
Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-but it as a used CD
$1.00-streaming it on Spotify
$0-Not worth the drive space
No video but here are samples