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Steppenwolf 7

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(22 Reviews)

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  • …in a mish-mash of super hits. Today, years after the magic, all you hear is “I wanna hear Born To Be Wild!” Or “What about Magic Carpet Ride?”. Bikers. Dope. Those are the twin images conjured up when the name Steppenwolf is mentioned, and it ignores the fact that this is a rock-solid blues band that outdid Hendrix and matched the Doors in terms of pointed social comment. Like this album, with the tongue-in-cheek pseudo-misogyny of “Ball Crusher”, the funkiest blue-eyed soul number since the Beatles’ “Come Together”. The Rolling Stones-like “Forty Days And Forty Nights”–straight out of Muddy Waters. The cautionary “Snow Blind Friend”, about how to deal with a junkie too close to you to ignore. The rare Steppenwolf instrumental with the goofy cartoon-German title “Earschplittenloudenboomer”. They don’t do instrumentals that often, and it must be because they insist on doing only good ones. And the autobiographical “Renegade”, which is sort of a prequel to “Monster”. Imagine growing up behind the Iron Curtain the way leader John Kay did, escaping to the Free World barely with your life (one of Kay’s friends got shot down by the border guards), and discovering that there’s so much noise from extremism of both stripes here in the “Promised Land” that you can hardly hear yourself think. The sad irony is that a quarter of a century after that song was written, it’s even worse than it was then. This album is the best illustration that John Kay has every bit of the iconoclasm of Jim Morrison without any of the meanness. Maybe that’s why he’s still alive today–still doin’ his thing.

    Posted on March 9, 2010