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Live at Hammersmith '79

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  • Ted Nugent’s career can be thought of in five slices: pre-75/Amboy Dukes, 75-79 golden years, 79-mid 80s in the pop wilderness, Damn Yankees, and elder statesman. Everything put out by the first incarnation of “Ted Nugent” the band (75-79), co-led by wildly underrated singer, songwriter, guitarist Derek St. Holmes is great, classic rock (the albums Ted Nugent, Free For All, Cat Scratch Fever, Weekend Warrior…). The grooves groove, the screams scream, and these records and a stunning live presentation made Nugent the #1 livedraw in the US for several years. Artistic differences led to the split-up of the original band just before the Hammersmith concerts which were recorded for this album. New crooner Charlie Huhn did yeoman work, but over the ensuing albums the vibe was diminished and so soon was Nugent’s popularity. While the studio stuff with Huhn was mostly blah (a few tracks on State of Shock and Scream Dream do kick though), the London concerts were a coup de grace and the resulting recording is exciting, powerful, fast, distorted and ridiculous — in other words, vintage Nugent. Not a good intro to the Motor City Madman for new listeners (try Great Gonzos or any of the recent re-compilations for that), but for fans and casual fans, a highly worthwhile document of a great entertainer in his manic prime. The preposterous bombast of the liner notes, rife with arrogance and humor, are worth about half the CD price on their own to those who love or loved the Nuge. And by the way, as of the late 90s Derek St. Holmes and Nugent are together again — check out Ted’s radio show in Detroit on which Derek guests often, or the Spirit of the Wild album.

    Posted on January 1, 2010