ROCK AND ROLL RIDE
I have to admit it – I’m pretty much a fan of whatever Jack Blades does. I loved Night Ranger back in the day (and as recently as their last album SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA). I couldn’t get enough of his band Damn Yankees. I even love his stuff with Shaw/Blades, specifically his covers album called INFLUENCE. Inadvertently, I was a big fan of the TMG album he did with Eric Martin as well. So, a solo record from Blades is more than welcomed on my desk.
Interesting though, ROCK AND ROLL RIDE really hasn’t struck a cord with me like most of his other work has. That being said, I wouldn’t call this bad as much as I might point to it as fairly standard fare. While it’s a bit more stripped down musically than Blades’ work with other projects, it’s the fairly generic tunes that made ROCK AND ROLL RIDE a fairly bland listen. Songs like “Born For This” have a big, anthemic sound, but there’s something that doesn’t feel right. In parts of this song, it feels like Blades is trying to wedge words into the lines to make them fit. Further, the chorus has a much more modern vibe that Blades is known for. Finally, he’s doing something with his voice here to try to toughen it up. It doesn’t work. Instead it comes off like a bad version of Myles Kennedy meets Gary Barden, which is kind of annoying to be honest.
Again, it’s not all bad at all. Whether it’s intentional or not, the sound and the music just don’t represent what Jack Blades’ generally does as a musician. That said, it still has its moments. No Blades’ recording would be complete without it’s “Sister Christian” moment, and that comes on the simply gorgeous “Hardest Word To Say”. Had this song come out in Night Ranger’s heyday, we’d all still be remembering it, and every 80s compilation would be considering adding it instead of the aforementioned “Sister Christian”. “Rise And Shine” is another standout track for Blades on ROCK AND ROLL RIDE. Once again, it’s got a much more modern vocal sound than Blades generally showcases, but it’s a winner.
PITRIFF RATING – 64/100 - ROCK AND ROLL RIDE is a decent effort that really did nothing more than make me pull out SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA and INFLUENCE so I could hear Blades the way I like him to sound. Being fair here, if you are reading this you are probably a fan like I am, and you won’t be disgusted with the purchase. It’s shelf life in your IPod just won’t be that long either.