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Jump on It

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★★★★☆
(6 Reviews)

Montrose Biography - Montrose Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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Montrose was the hard rock band lead by Ronnie Montrose. They issued numerous albums in the 70’s on Warner Bros. Records. Jump On It from 1976 rose to # 118 on the Billboard charts. Wounded Bird Records. 2002.

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  • “Jump On It” was the band Montrose’s 4th and final album, and the second release after Sammy Hagar’s departure. This 1976 release followed the much darker, Deep Purple-influenced “Warner Bros. Presents”, which is also a fine piece of mid-70’s hard rock. After a series of solo projects and forming the great band Gamma, Ronnie Montrose reformed Montrose for a single album in the 80’s entitled “Mean”, employing a third vocalist.

    Bob James was the vocalist on “Jump on It” and I feel that he does a fine job on it. His voice has a higher timber and somewhat less of a hard edge compared to Sammy Hagar’s classic rock voice, but I enjoy it all the same. The songs are well-written and feature some very fine guitar playing. I believe that this record was overlooked and saw relatively poor sales due to the controversial and somewhat tasteless album cover. It’s too bad, because the music itself is far more sophisticated than the cover would suggest. The fact that it has been reissued again on Wounded Bird I think attests to the quality of the music.

    1. Let’s Go: Starting with a driving, tribal-sounding drum beat, this song features a very catchy chorus and melody, as well as Ronnie’s electric slide guitar used to very good effect. This is one of the very best songs on a great album and it was also featured in Rhino’s “the Best of Montrose” compilation.

    2. What Are you Waitin’ For?: Listen for Ronnie’s guitar tone and the echo-drenched, melodic and expressive solo. Technically Ronnie is a great player, but I am probably most impressed by his incredibly tasteful note selection on all his solos. I feel that his playing here was near his peak (Gamma 1 may have been the peak) and his timing, phrasing, speed, and taste are always so impeccable. Guitar solos should only add to a song. On this album, Ronnie’s always do. In fact, they are an integral part of why each song is so great.

    3. Tuft-Sedge: you may have heard this moody instrumental piece on public television, where it served as a theme song for a certain program for awhile. This is a unique piece of music that still sounds fresh today, combining a catchy sythesizer hook that almost sounds like a horn with bongos in the background and light, airy acoustic guitar accompaniment. It also breaks up the album nicely, adding some diversity to the otherwise straight ahead rock songs. Bravo!

    4. Music Man: Wonderful rock ballad with some soulful, expressive singing by Bob James. I am glad that he was featured on this cut, and Ronnie seems wise enough to allow the song to be piano driven. Once again, it breaks up the album nicely. But guitar fans need not worry– Ronnie ends the cut in classic rock fashion with an expressive, soaring solo with wide, utterly controlled bends and just a beautiful, lyrical expression of longing and pain. This is what guitar solos are for. The break at the end gives me chills.

    5. Jump On It: I believe this cut opened the second side of the vinyl slab back in the day. A fast-paced romp with a driving drum beat, this song once again features a guitar solo that starts with a classic hard rock tone and builds and builds as Ronnie works his way up the neck and at a certain point is presumably run through a special effects processor to somehow be transformed into a jittery, watery, blurry sort of sound.

    6. Rich Man: Ronnie and Co. slow it down after that blistering number for another rock ballad, this one driven by melodic synthesizer and– as always– tasteful acoustic guitar accompaniment. As it was mentioned in an earlier review, this song was written by the late great Dan Hartman, who was one of Ronnie’s bandmates in Edgar Winter’s for “They Only Come Out at Night”. Ronnie wisely keeps it simple during the guitar break in the middle, and the song closes ascending on a mixture of synth, acoustic guitar, and wonderfully melodic guitar soloing for an emotional high.

    7. Crazy For You: a driving, organically pulsing piece saturated with synth and a couple of guitar track accompaniments, this song is a classic example of how hard rock can be melodic and still rock. Ronnie’s solo is relatively simple, but so effective. He can play fast, but he knows that he doesn’t have to play fast all the time to be most effective. What was needed here is a simple, catchy, melodic solo with perfect, subtle bends and once again he delivered. This song may have been intended to be the pop hit the band was reportedly under pressure to produce. I don’t care. I like it anyway.

    8. Merry Go Round: This song clocks in at over 5 1/2 minutes, opens with nothing but a beautiful acoustic guitar line and Bob James’ plaintive voice, and features an interesting middle break of carnival/circus noise before resuming its catchy main riff. I just love this song because it is a perfect example of melodic hard rock, with soaring vocals, overdubbed guitars, and an admixture of synth that holds it together and fleshes it out. It’s a dense, interesting song with a lot going on. Listen to his guitar tone on this one- the fuller, more distorted rhythm guitar track here is classic overdriven Les Paul. Hearing that sound is like going to church for me. Listen closely into the mix for how the bass line drops in and out of the riff, making for an interesting, varied rhythm accompaniment. Ronnie is also the master of the extended solo, tastefully and seamlessly going multi-bar with endlessly imaginitive, adroit, and tasteful soloing. Dig the symphony in the mix towards the end, too!

    I love the first self-entitled Montrose album with Sammy Hagar. It’s a classic, classic piece of 70’s hard rock and it is rightfully iconic. In comparison, this album is not as straight-ahead simple rock, employing substantial synthesizer and even bongos and strings at times. But I love it even more than the first one. I feel that musically it is more sophisticated in arrangement and melody, but it still rocks. Bob James is a fine rock singer and I would argue is even more effective than Sammy Hagar would be on the ballads. I think “Jump on It” is criminally overlooked. Ronnie Montrose’s guitar playing on this is stellar, and both his and the rest of the band’s musicianship is evident.

    Posted on November 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A great album frequently overlooked because Sammy Hagar was no longer in the band. However this album is a good rock album from Montrose and finally available as a domestic print cd. Also now available are WB presents and Open Fire, both great albums.

    Posted on November 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • as you will notice most of my reviews are geared toward great 70’s and 80’s rock.it is my intention to give our young music lovers a chance to experience the true roots of hard rock,acid rock,metal,or whatever you care to call it.
    montroses 4th release,is by far the best album since their debut,and tightens up a spot very close to it.bob james’ vocals are absolutely spot on.
    i saw ronnie in buffalo,with mahogany rush opening.by this time ronnie was into his gamma instrumental days,but he broke into the classics,and killed the crowd.
    what is particularly exciting about jump on it is the song selections…the boys do great driving rock mixed with beautiful ballads,and an instrumental,a successful mix .
    “let’s go” opens rockin your brain out,”what are you waiting for” comes next and doesn’t let the pace stop,”music man” is a gorgeous ballad that boils your curiosity,and won’t let you go to skip ahead,because “jump on it”,the title track is up next,and again the band doesn’t fail to please.
    hagar was not missed,and he has done some great work since his departure,fronting van halen for a few cd’s,until michael anthony could not stand to share the stage with him,and left.halen have suffered alot of blows throughout there mind numbing successes,but the troopers that they are,keep coming back at you.
    in a nutshell ,this cd jump on it didn’t get the exposure it needed,nonetheless,a classic,and a must have!!!!!!

    Posted on November 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A great album frequently overlooked because Sammy Hagar was no longer in the band. However this album is a good rock album from Montrose and finally available as a domestic print cd. Also now available are WB presents and Open Fire, both great albums.

    Posted on November 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A lot of fans say that this album, and other subsequent Montrose albums, were overlooked because Sammy Hagar left the band. Well, I actually lived through this period – I was 18 when “Jump on It” came out – and trust me: no one didn’t buy a Montrose record because Hagar had quit the group. We hardly knew who he was then.

    The debut self-titled Montrose album is considered a classic and featured Hagar on lead vocals. The band stumbled through its second release (“Paper Money”) with part-time help from Sammy… and then he was gone. The point is, Sammy Hagar was not the icon back then that he is now. He was a good rock singer but when he left Montrose no one batted an eye. If subsequent Montrose albums didn’t sell as well as the debut, it is simply because they just didn’t have enough quality songs on them.

    Bob James was Hagar’s replacement… I had never heard of him at the time and haven’t heard from since. Nonetheless, he was a fine vocalist — not as rough and growl-ly as Hagar, but blessed with some nice rock ‘n’ roll pipes nonetheless.

    “Jump On It” is the fourth Montrose album and the second one with James on vocals. And to me, it’s the second best Montrose record overall — after the initial debut album.

    The CD opens with “Let’s Go,” a pulsating, driving rocker that is infectious and features some blistering guitar work from Mr. Montrose. The song begins with a propulsive drum beat and bass line that causes an almost Pavlov-like response in bringing you to your feet. James sings the hell of it. It’s one of those perfect summer-time rock songs to play in your car at full volume with the top down! LET’S GO!

    The title track is another great rocker, frentic and frantic, with the band playing as tight as they can get.

    “Jump On It” also contains some very fine rock ballads. “Music Man” gives me goosebumps, even to this very day… James’ plantive vocals (“Let me be your music…man”) hit you squrely on the solar plexis. And “Rich Man,” written by the late/great Dan Hartman, is just a perfect little piece of pop rock — somewhat a precursor to what we would hear from Van Halen 10 years later.

    Anyway, if you admire the guitar work of Ronnie Montrose, you probably already have the first album. For me, this is the next one you should add to your collection. (Unless you’re still hung up on that Sammy Hagar thing.)

    Posted on November 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now