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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Various Artists – Rick Springfield Working Class Dogs Tribute album review

Various Artists – Rick Springfield Working Class Dogs Tribute album review

Released on: Melodic Rock Records. Release date: Available now


Andrew McNiece ( has never hidden his perhaps, unrivalled admiration of Rick Springfield’s musical abilities and to be honest, I don’t blame him, as I often feel a very similar mindset. Of course, let’s not forget that both Andrew and Rick are both Aussie music lovers!

I got over the fact that the guy did the TV Soap Opera ‘General Hospital,’ respecting the fact that the guy was a musician first and foremost and long before he started doing ‘General Hospital’ in the early 80’s. He actually started his musical career in 1969, so if you’re thinking the guy got on the musical bandwagon after his TV success, you’d be sorely mistaken!

Anyway, enough on that, I just wanted to set the record straight, before rockers start questioning why I would give anything Rick Springfield related, the time of day.

You can also check out my review of the man’s ‘Venus In Overdrive’ review, from when I wrote for, right here:

The man has some serious, rockin’ musical talent and has written and performed some great songs, cue this release.


Andrew McNiece and Shawn C. Lane (Fastlane Records) have called upon the services of many of their ‘world of rock’ contacts and some very respectable ones at that too, to play on this tribute to Rick Sprngfield.

For example, James Christian (House of Lords) takes on perhaps one of Rick’s lesser known songs in ‘Right Planet, Wrong World,’ Eric Martin (Mr. Big) and Vic Rivera (Ted Poley) cover ‘Souls,’ Steve Newman (Newman) and Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Steve Overland) play ‘Human Touch’ and a host of others, provide their interpretations on some great Springfield material.


US rockers Waltham, who were some years back tipped for great things – I still think that ‘Waltham’ CD/DVD was a winner! – open proceedings with ‘Light of Love,’ which was always a good live track for Rick and these guys rock it well!
Good opener indeed!

Possibly the guy’s best known hit, ‘Jessie’s Girl’ is covered by the lesser known American Anthem, who come across a little like Green Day, a little punky, but it certainly throws an edge at the song. Sung and presented well though.


‘Love Somebody’ next is covered by Handsome Devil, a Californian punk band, who have actually been around for a while and they actually cover it well, although at the very end it cuts off a little funny.

Gary Schutt (Jeff Scott Soto) covers ‘Carry Me Away’ really well and it actually captures an almost Styx like sound. Sweet!


For ‘I Get Excited,’ we get another borderline punk edginess about from CJ Szuter, who is another artist I really know very little if anything about, except that he was once a part of Ohio band Magna-Fi. Still not too shabby at all though.


I have always loved the song ‘I’ve Done Everything For You’ dated back to hearing Sammy Hagar playing it live in the 80’s, but here we get another band that I have no previous knowledge of, The Meddling Kids.
Once more, an unknown artist to me surprises me!

Springfield’s band backs Tom Cinefro for ‘Kristina’ and it’s very classy actually.
Seriously, this tribute has done nothing but pleasingly surprise me with hearing a bunch of artists I’ve previously known nothing about, pay tribute musically to Rick Springfield’s back catalogue.  

This tribute continues with some big names in the AOR game next, with Mr. Big vocalist Eric Martin, joined by classy guitar slinger Vic Rivera (Ted Poley, Adriangale) for ‘Souls.’ To this reviewer, Eric Martin is one of those vocalists that never seems to sing anything wrong and Vic is no slouch either. Nice one guys.

Argentinian band Hardway are joined by Trillion vocalist Thom Griffin for a very Toto like ‘Stranger In My House.’
This just sounds so slick … Would love to hear more from Hardway. Very good indeed!

House of Lords main man James Christian is joined by Jeff Silverman for an ‘interesting’ version of ‘Right Planet, Wrong World,’ kind of electronic sounding ala what John Parr and many others back in the day would put out. Think of some of the sampling sound of ‘Naughty, Naughty,’ and you’ll understand perhaps where I’m coming from.

Slick production is generally present throughout this album, that is until 7th Heaven’s version of ‘Affair of the Heart’ which at times sounds distorted. I know they’re messing with the speaker to speaker effect, but that’s OK, it’s just sad when a band of their talent, doesn’t get a good overall sound. Shame, as I really do like these guys.

Steve Newman (Newman) is joined by Vinny Burns (Dare, Ten, Burns Blue) for ‘Human Touch’ and of course, Steve Newman is no beginner to the studio and has done some great work on engineering / producing his own Newman work and others and this track sounds spot on for performance. Of course, Steve Newman does not sound like Rick Springfield, but it’s certainly got the energy!

‘Calling All Girls’ is significantly different, edgier, punky metal type edge, from Brand New Machine.

Keith LuBrant (?), another stranger to me to be honest, but he takes on ‘Rock Of Life’ and he can certainly play some guitar though and vocally it’s good.
Really makes me think of Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’ though. More so than when Rick plays it ...

Well, Paul Sidoti was another name that didn’t ring any bells, but then if I’d taken notice of Andrew’s (McNiece) press release, I would’ve realized he was Taylor Swift’s guitar player. Well, I guess it kind of shows on ‘What Kind Of Fool Am I?’
It’s a very well presented, easy going pop rock version of Rick’s song.

‘Tear It All Down’ by Mitch Malloy and Vinny Burns is a pretty cool song, I hadn’t heard the original from Rick before actually – No I don’t have ‘Rock of Life.‘ – so it was kind of new to me. Likewise to be honest, I am very guilty of not being familiar with Mitch Malloy’s previous work, so didn’t know his voice and yes I know he’s released a bunch of albums and worked with some great players … Lack of time and money previously.
Sorry Mitch, I do like how you sound, so I must investigate more!
Vinny I know and have always respected. Nice one guys!

Barely Pink cover ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers,’ in fact very well.
They are apparently often compared to Cheap Trick, I think there’s a little City Boy about them too actually. Not bad.

Who is Fig???! Band?! Solo artist?!
This guy’s voice, very much reminds me of Robbie Williams.
You could probably be a big hit over in England!
‘Wasted’ is the track covered here, one of Rick’s lesser known tracks, from his ‘Shock, Denial, Anger, Acceptance,’ album.
This really sounds alternative / indie like, but then that album was quite the mix itself. It’s OK.

Another pretty much unknown player – to me – Clay Howard covers ‘Beautiful You’ and it doesn’t do too much for me really.

Wrapping the album up, ‘Living in Oz’ is presented by Endway …, no, I hadn’t heard of them either, but I do like what they do and this really rocks along in a very modern rock style.
Good stuff guys, I’ll have to keep an ear out for these guys in future.

So overall there’s more good and very good music here, than simply ‘ok’ stuff and for a tribute album with twenty tracks on, to give a nod to Rick Springfield, its worth checking out for sure and I for one will be looking into finding out more about some of the acts here too!
So, hat's off to Andrew and Shawn for pulling this off!
Enjoyable release.

Rating: 4 out of 5



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