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Red Voodoo

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  • This is Sammy’s second album after the storied split from Van Halen. His first, “Marching to Mars,” was driven by his feelings of betrayal, loss, bitterness, and looking forward. Touring for that album, he assembled the backing band known by this point as the “Waboritas” (later, the Wabos), and this is their debut album together.

    Clearly in a better mental space, and happy to have the stability of a regular crew again, this album is a lot more upbeat. A lot of celebration songs, like the made-for-bar-jukebox “Mas Tequila,” the overtly named “Shag” (no time for subtlety on this one, I guess), “The Revival” and the upbeat “Red Voodoo.”

    Mixed in are some good tunes in the classic Hagar style – more artistic than most hard rock, not “pop” enough for radio. These include “Sympathy for the Human” (which evokes both the obvious Stones reference and also Sgt. Pepper), “Lay Your Hand On Me” / “High and Dry Again” (which flow uninterrupted on cd), “Right on Right” and “Returning of the Wish.”

    “Right on Right” is a rocker recorded live.

    “Don’t Fight It (Feel It)” features the nifty slide guitar of Roy Rogers, a frequent collaborator these days, and the legendary Tower of Power horn section, which gives it a great crossover appeal. Sammy is always good for songs like this – it won’t appeal to his hardcore “guitar-only” fans, but it’s just good musicianship.

    “The Love” is a mix of power ballad / up-tempo number and probably would’ve dominated the airwaves during the hairband era.

    This is mostly solid, and probably the right album for him to make at this time, but I do have enough knocks to make it a 3-star:

    - Too many “borrowed” rhythms. Blatant Gary Glitter rip-off on “Mas Tequila” and “Right on Right” is too similar to the classic “55.”

    - The music in “Shag” is great but the teenage lyrics make it a guilty pleasure at best – it’s cringe-worthy.

    So that’s 3 out of 11 songs I probably won’t listen to, but the rest of the album is pretty good Sammy Hagar music.

    Posted on March 14, 2010