Cinderella followed its debut Night Songs with Long Cold Winter, which featured some improved instrumentation, distinct songs instead of the same sound throughout, and a more blues-based song infused with their usual metal. The opening “Falling Apart/Bad Seamstress Blues,” has some classic acoustic blues before launching into metal blues in the second part, including some superior electric blues guitar. As in their first album, they put forth a sound that should’ve put Warrant, Firehouse, and Winger on alert to what metal should’ve been.
The heavy rocking “Gypsy Road” is this album’s “Shake Me.” Strangely enough, the video for this song was released before “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” as that song charted first. As it turns out, this was released as a single after the success of the first three singles. It peaked at #51, and I put this to the order when it was released. Why not release it as the first single as it was in the UK?
Probably because of the success of pop-metal bands doing ballads; Cinderella’s first single (and second video) “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” bettered its previous ballad, “Nobody’s Fool,” by one place, peaking at #12. It starts as a piano ballad before going full force with the guitars and synths to give it a soaring effect, of some hope left to mend what was sundered.
The next single was “The Last Mile,” which falls into the metal blues category. This hard-driving song reached #36, which would’ve signaled them to hold off on singles, but they came out with yet another one, the mid-paced “Coming Home” which made it to #20. Some country inflections on the mellower parts give evidence that they just didn’t go for straight ahead metal. A definite asset to this album.
As for the rest, it’s mostly hard-driving numbers such as “Second Wind,” that push this album on further heights than Night Songs. “If You Don’t Like It” shows a defiant stance on lifestyle a la Billy Joel’s “My Life” but with some attitude. “If you don’t like it, I don’t care” becomes an anthem against that elite exploitative 9-5 set. “Fire and Ice” is another song on a predatory woman, with its “shake for me ooo yea” a reminder of their first single, “Shake Me.”
The title track sees them going into slow heartfelt electric blues mode, with Tom Keifer’s banshee-like vocals strangely not out-of-place, showing that Clapton and ZZ Top didn’t have the sole monopoly on blues-based rock.
Long Cold Winter also benefits from extra drumming assistance from Cozy Powell, who took Carl Palmer’s place in ELP, and Denny Carmassi of Heart, as well as session percussionist Paulinho da Costa. And given that Keifer and bassist Tom Bittingham were two of three co-producers showed that this time, they were ready to break new ground. A definite improvement over Night Songs, Long Cold Winter will warm those who are 80’s metal fans, whether rediscovering or discovering this for the first time.