Saturday, July 21, 2007

Strummin' With The Devil

I'm always a bit dubious about 'tribute' albums. They can be either hit or miss and usually they're very miss, especially when the albums are done in vastly different styles to the originals. However in this case the results are pretty damned impressive. Strummin' With The Devil features classic David Lee Roth era Van Halen songs done in a bluegrass fashion and, well, it's worth finding. If the blurb is correct Roth himself was the one who instigated this, no great surprise there as he's always gone outside of the realm of hard rock and heavy metal (anyone remember his reading of 'That's Life' on Eat 'Em And Smile, not to mention parts of 2003's Diamond Dave) unlike his ex-band mates. Hang on, are they ex-band mates? Well no-one is really sure - the last word I heard was that Michael Anthony had finally been booted from Van Halen, Roth re-instated and Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, was in the band as bassist, all for a 'reunion' tour. Hardly a proper reunion without the original bassist, but then Ed Van Halen has always been a law unto himself. (Funny guy though, I met him here when he toured a few years back - the guy was so drunk he stood in a fountain for a good five minutes without realising it) No word on a similar volume of bluegrass style Van Halen tunes from the Sammy Hagar years though (and we just don't talk about Gary Cherone).

Back to this effort. What I've noticed is, that unlike similar efforts such as Hayseed Dixie's Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC (which you gotta hear to believe, imagine Foghorn Leghorn singing AC/DC: "Boy, I said, boy, I'm T.N.T.") or anything by Dread Zeppelin, this album doesn't grow tired easily. It's listenable, more than once, and each time you hear it, well it just makes you wanna go outside, kick back, grab a jug of moonshine and shoot some people passin' by.

Just for interest sake, here's a video of Roth singing Jump, in the good ole shit kickin' bluegrass style. Hit those notes, Zeke!

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