Tag Archives: paul shortino

Herman Rarebell & Friends-Acoustic Fever

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I guess it’s fitting that Herman Rarebell, the ex-drummer of The Scorpions, would do something so Scorpions. What I mean is that band has the tendency to release lots of unnecessary material. Others might say milking the cash cow. There are probably more live/best of albums from the Scorpions than there is original albums. That being said, Herman did give an interesting twist in releasing Acoustic Fever. The album is13-tracks of songs he co-wrote done acoustically and features a different singer on each song.

 

At first glance this does have Deadline Presents written allover it. There is Jack Russel, Don Dokken, and, Paul Shortino singing and they were staples of those awful “tribute” records. However, since Herman wrote these songs there is a strong attachment evident and he does a real nice job in converting the songs to acoustic. Accompanying him are guitarist Robby Lochner and Dario Seixas both of Great White. The Jack Russell version, as he takes the helm on “Don’t Make No Promises” from Animal Magnetism. It’s a good interpretation, retains feel of the original but nothing earth shattering. The title track from that album is done by Michael Nagy. Seemingly a local California guy Herman knows. It gets a flamenco makeover and comes out quite nice.

 

Some of the other highlights are “Loving You Sunday Morning” with Michael Voss of MSG. It’s like if Sheryl Crow did the version and I mean that in a good way. Someone apparently pulled John “Naughty Naughty” Parr out of his cave and his version of “Passion Rules The Game” is perfect for a soundtrack to St. Elmo’s Fire 2. He does a nice job in making the song fit his style and making it his.

 

The real standout of the album is “Is There Anybody There” with Alex Ligertwood of Santana fame singing. There is some orchestral accompaniment but his voice and Lochner’s guitar makes you forget about the original. Just a tremendous mix of power and lament.

 

As unnecessary as Acoustic Fever may have seemed, Herman Rarebell did a great job in making this album enjoyable. A lot of energy was done in remaking these tracks and it delivered. The problem is that while it is quite good at times it just makes me want to go dig out my Scorpions albums and listen to the originals.

 

I guess he wins either way.

 

 

Final Rating, I would be happy paying…

 

 

$14.99-Regular priced CD

 

$9.99-get it from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding it at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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King Kobra-II

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Boy does King Kobra have an interesting history. Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice and four peroxided L.A. unknowns, their debut Ready To Strike was tremendous with hits “Hunger” and “Ready To Strike”. Then came the second album Thrill Of A Lifetime. Granted it did have bad-ass album art and a big hit in “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)”. However the rest of the album was very synth heavy and shed any resemblance to the hard rock from their debut. Plus it had “Home Street Home”, the first rap-rock song EVER and it is atrocious. I mean absolutely horrendous. I m ean old people using slang to sound hip bad. The band was done and the revolving door opened. The big shock was when singer Mark Free announced he was having sexual reassignment surgery and became Marci Free.

 

Yowzers.

 

Times being what the were, Carmine got the original band back together and reportedly offered Marci the position of singer again. She turned it down so they got Paul Shortino, ex-Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot to man the mic. They put out King Kobra last year and it was pretty good. Shortino’s blues based vocals suited the bands’ new stripped down direction.

 

On their newest release II, odd since this is their 5 studio album but whatever, King Kobra maintains the back to basics approach. It starts off with “Hell On Wheels” a great fist pumper that really sets the tone. What is surprising about this track is that it is over 6-minutes long but does not get old. A lot of this album defies rationale. The second track “Knock Em Dead” is in theory a very cliché track but it is done so well that you can’t help but like it.

 

Same can be said of the ballad “Take Me Back”. It is not something we haven’t heard before but its sincerity is off the charts and really propels the track. There’s also a couple of real nice poppier tracks in “The Crunch” and “We Go Round” to lighten the mood a bit.

 

You have to give King Kobra a lot of credit. They could have done the easy thing and put out albums of re-recorded material or a “covers” album but they buckled down and have made a good album in King Kobra and a great album with II. Very rare that a band is able to remake themselves and release a career defining album in their 25th year.

 

Kudos.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Beggars and Thieves-We Are The Brokenhearted

If you’re like me, you have a vague remembrance of Beggars & Thieves. They were the band that bassist Phil Soussan joined after leaving Ozzy. The glut of comparable acts along with a horrible cover sent Beggars & Thieves to the delete bin. The band never called it quits and have been making albums since. Their latest, We Are The Brokenhearted shows that maybe we missed out the first time around.

The avenue that helped lead Beggars & Thieves to re-recognition was a post on Blabbermouth featuring the video for “We Come Undone”. It was noteworthy because the video featured the reclusive guitarist Jake E. Lee. While curiosity may have caused people to push play, the song is what kept people til the end. It is a very catchy AOR track that is tailor made for a soundtrack. Ironically it has an uplifting lyrical theme which seems in contrast with the rest of the album.

The remainder of Brokenhearted maintains its’ AOR roots but has a dark/melancholy feel to it. Not that it is goth or alternative, it just has the different feel to it. It’s immediately noticeable on track #2 “Oil & Water”. Normally it would be a paint by number power ballad but here it contains so much more emotion. Having a near 6-minute running time also helps distinguish it.

The rest of the album is as strong as the opening two offerings. From rockers like “Beautiful Losers” and “Seven Seconds” to softer fare of “Stranded”.

You have to give credit to singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso for trudging along and never quitting. Their hard work is evident with this terrific album so hopefully it pays off for them.

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