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.)