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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jack Blades – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride album review

Jack Blades – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride album review
Released on: Frontiers records. Release date: Available now

With input from Night Ranger band mates Brad Gillis, Kelly Keagy, Joel Hoekstra and Eric Levy, as well as a special guest appearance by Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, it's clear Night Ranger fans everywhere will be picking up this new one from Jack Blades. Former Night Ranger keys man Christian Matthew Cullen is also present here too, as is Jack’s son Colin Blades.
Drums throughout are shared between Kelly Keagy and Brian Tichy, isn’t that something?!

Last year’s 'Somewhere in California' was an excellent new Night Ranger album, that got praise worldwide from so many reviewers and fans alike, to bring the classic Night Ranger sound right up to date song wise. With this new one from Jack, he's certainly captured all elements from Night Ranger, Shaw / Blades and of course Damn Yankees.

It's a very strong album which I'm so happy to state, as Jack's last self titled solo release from 2004 didn't really grab me, as much as I would’ve liked.
I've loved the Shaw / Blades stuff, as different as it is from any of his other work and of course, I thought Damn Yankees were fantastic but too short lived, but that said, Night Ranger is such a strong live band and studio - IMO - that I'm happy they are still around! 
Opening with the very strong ‘Back in the Game,’ the Night Ranger front man has got my interest without any question!
It’s a steady catchy pop rocker that sets up the album nicely from the get go.
The AC/DC like - even down to the almost Bon Scott like vocal - ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride’ then gets into Night Ranger like territory too, excellent stuff! 
No question on the hook driven ‘Born For This,’ it’s sheer class! As catchy as Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams’ best work, it’s a complete winner in this reviewer books!

‘Hardest Word To Say,’ is an excellent modern power ballad, keeping it very contemporary indeed. Not unlike say something 3 Doors Down or Goo Goo Dolls might come up with. The great songs just keep coming. Brilliant!

With ‘Anything For You’ Jack pulls in Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander to share the chorus vocal and this track is really not unlike the Shaw / Blades material. Very poppy and I’m guessing Tommy Shaw wasn’t available and Robin was! ;-)

A nod to Damn Yankees as well as the current Night Ranger sound – ala ‘Somewhere In California.’ - with ‘Love Life,’ really enjoy this one … Well, OK, I love them all so far. Great album Jack and it’s only six songs in!

The Shaw / Blades sound is certainly the direction of ‘West Hollywood,’ it has a kind of different rock twist from the Night Ranger material, but it still fits in well here. Rocking, but yet rootsy in places …
‘Say You Will’ is Night Ranger through and through, with both Joel Hoekstra and Brad Gillis throwing in their excellent guitar solo work. It’s …, well, it’s like everything else here, class!
The laid back ‘Don’t Give Up’ is a nice touch, easy going pop rocker. Really tasty guitar solo here, very nice indeed!
‘Rise and Shine’ starts as an easy going number, then pretty much laid back though the first verse that then picks up and kicks into a real groove with the chorus, then it just picks up a little more as the song progresses step by step.
Almost an AC/DC kind of riff, once it get into it. Good one!

Closing number ‘Hey Now,’ is a laid back starter and almost has a kind of rootsy feel to it, a little Faces, even (Rolling)Stones like feel  about it at times too and then it rocks out as it gets into the final third, before easing back again in the last quarter.
 Jack, you should every right to feel good about this album, it’s a winner, no question!
OK, now we’ve had an excellent Night Ranger last year and now this one is out, let’s have a Damn Yankees reunion, but just for a year or so … I’d miss Night Ranger too much!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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