Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent

Epic Records, 1975

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/31/1997

In his two decades-plus time in the public spotlight, Ted Nugent has worn many hats - hunter,NRA spokesman, PMRC opponent, and reportedly once almost the owner of the dreaded Muzak. Oh, yes - he's also been an influential musician and, aaah, unique stage persona.

So when you pick up one of Nugent's albums, you expect to hear him living up to his reputation as the "Motor City Madman." So, if you pick up his 1975 solo debut,you may be disappointed at how controlled the playing is. In retrospect, this was a smart move - Nugent allows us to see that the groove is the thing to watch. (Editor's note: Since this review was written, a re-mastered version with four bonus tracks has been released.)

From the opening chords of "Stranglehold," Nugent and his bandmates are out to to show that they can not only carry a tune, but make you want to get up and groove. Maybe the guitar solo lasts a little too long on this one, but Nugent demonstrates his talents withoug jumping into the deep end - and this control is what makes the track noteworthy. The vocals of Derek St. Holmes also shine - not just on this track, but throughout the album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While "Stranglehold" is probably the best-known track on Ted Nugent, it's not quite the best. I've always preferred the rollicking "Snakeskin Cowboys," which I first heard in the glory days of Z-Rock. The bass work of Rob Grange adds a solid backbeat to the rhythm, and Nugent again turns in a solid, controlled guitar solo. (In all fairness, I don't think Nugent ever was a flashy soloist - though he did have some that were a little too chunky throughout his career.) Close behind this one on my best-of list is "Stormtrooper," which has a guitar riff that is damned near impossible to clear from your head once it burrows its way in there.

The greatest surprise on this album is a short delve into jazz on "You Make Me Feel Right At Home," complete with vibes provided by drummer Cliff Davies. It is an unexpected curve ball that Nugent et al. throw at you, but a very interesting one.

While a good portion of Ted Nugent ranks as some of the best music he ever created, the Nuge does make some minor mistakes. "Just What The Doctor Ordered" is an okay song, but nothing special (and one which probably was not the best choice to open Double Live Gonzo a few years later). "Motor City Madhouse" has a bit of a groove to it, but just fails to take off. And the closing track, "Queen Of The Forest," is the only true throwaway track here.

It's interesting to note that one track on this album, "Hey Baby," was covered some 15 years later by blues legend Koko Taylor - showing how the two genres could overlap at times. I still prefer Nugent's version, but Taylor did an admirable job on her version.

It's also amazing how well this album has aged - 22 years after its release, it still sounds fresh, and is one that awaits discovery from new fans just getting into Nugent. With a re-release due from Sony Music, it will be interesting to see how they plan on tweaking the album for the '90s.

Ted Nugent is a solid effort from an experienced musician and band, and despite one or two slips, is still an enjoyable listen that deserved to be re-discovered by rock fans of all ages.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Comments

Outstanding ear-burn!








© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.