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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Styx – Regeneration Volume 1 and 2 album’s review

Styx – Regeneration Volume 1 and 2 album’s review
Released through: Eagle records. Release date: Out there now!

OK, now here’s the thing, I previously received all the tracks from ‘Regeneration Vol. 1,’ from one of my helpful PR sources and reviewed that release at that time and I have to tell you, I do stand by that review, no matter how much the blinkered Styx fans of yore have already complained to me about that review.
You can still read that review right here:
Volume 1 is still well done. the one thing I would add though, about both Disc one and disc two is the lack of songs ...
Disc one is just seven tracks, disc two, just nine ..., why?

A lot of the old fans say they don’t like Lawrence Gowan’s vocals and prefer Dennis DeYoung’s. Well folks I’ve got news for you, the majority of Styx fans speak with their feet and turn up to ‘still’ see the band in their droves, because THEY have adjusted to how Styx is today and I have to say, I think they do a great job live and I stand by them.
I’ve seen Dennis DeYoung with his band and with his band and orchestra live too and in each case, they were great shows!
I like both and yes .., I can deal with it!

I do kind of struggle to accept Tommy Shaw doing a bluegrass album and I draw the line there and have no plans to pay attention to that. His Shaw / Blades releases with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, have both been good albums but sorry, bluegrass is not for me.

Anyway, to the ‘Regeneration Vol. 2’ edition that has been added to the availability and has in fact now been added to Vol. 1 and issued here as a double set 'Volume 1 and 2.'
This features the lineup of longstanding Styx members James ‘JY’ Young (Guitars/ vocals), Tommy Shaw (Guitars/Mandolin/ vocals), Lawrence Gowan (Keyboards/Vocals), Todd Sucherman (Drums), Ricky Phillips (Bass) and also a guest appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who often joins the band live, with a cameo appearance on a song or two towards the end of the band’s live set usually.

The album opens with ‘Blue Collar Man’ from the ‘Pieces of Eight’ album originally and yes it’s a little different, but I think it benefits from a more modern recording, although I still enjoy hearing the original too from time to time.
Tommy sings it well enough if you ask me and how does he keep doing it?

JY takes the lead vocals on ‘Miss America’ next and I have to say, I really don’t buy his presentation recorded here. I know he doesn’t sing too many lead vocals, but how he’s trying to change things around a little especially where he screams, yes, screams ‘Look at you …’ I just don’t take to it. Otherwise, the track is played well.

‘Renegade’ next and Tommy Shaw steps up again and for the most part I enjoy it as much as I always have, but there are moments, where Shaw tries to throw some curves on the vocals, as JY did on the latter track and it’s how it’s done that to me possibly detracts from the songs a little.

Lawrence Gowan takes the lead vocal next on ‘Queen of Spades’ and I really think he does an admirable job here.
I even chuckled with the laugh before where he says, ‘You lose!’
A good all round band performance on this classic Styx number, good one guy’s!

‘Boat on a River’ from the ‘Cornerstone’ album is pretty much true to the original here. No complaints, but it’s almost to the point where you might say, what’s different?! Perfectionists will perhaps say to me that there’s a couple of chord changes that weren’t on the original!
Go ahead folks, knock yourselves out ..., say what you will!

Next track ‘Too Much Time on My Hands’ always comes across great with the current lineup live and sure enough here, they play it sweetly!
It’s different, as they’ve mixed it up a little since the ‘Paradise Theater’ version way, way back now.

‘Snowblind’ sounds great too, certainly no complaints from me here. I really think it benefits overall from being re-recorded.

Then to perhaps the two surprise tracks on this compilation. Surprise because only Tommy Shaw from Styx was ever in Damn Yankees, but sure enough Styx has gone ahead and recorded their own takes on ‘Coming of Age’ and ‘High Enough’ that close the second disc here.
If they had perhaps pulled in Ted Nugent or Jack Blades here for fun, then perhaps it would make sense, as Night Ranger recently recorded ‘Coming of Age’ as a bonus track and invited Ted Nugent in to help out on the track.
By the way, for trivia freaks out there, in case you didn’t know it, Night Ranger drummer / vocalist Kelly Keagy was actually recording with Damn Yankees at one point, but then the band called it a wrap and so that material will probably never see the light of day.
 Don’t get me wrong in what I’ve said here, as both tracks are very well presented, well played by the guys, but vocally neither Gowan or JY are close to Jack Blades! Still, I guess it makes the disc interesting.
Overall it’s a pretty good album, with great musicianship, so only a couple of moans and groans.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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