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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Night Ranger - 24 Strings And A Drummer Album Review



The 90s heralded a change in format for many a rock band. MTV kicked off their unplugged series, and some of them were damned good. Looking back, Pearl Jam and Queensryche were personal favourites in this MTV format. Then Tesla came along a blew away all-comers with their 'Five Man Acoustical Jam'. Just like 'Mindcrime' is the modern concept album to be judged by, Tesla followed suit with 'FMAJ'. Everyone tried it in the 90s, and I mean everyone, come with not so favourable results unfortunately.You know who you are.


So 2012, sees one of USA’s finest taking on the acoustic genre, 20 years later than the rest. Me personally, I'd rather see them come out with a live set of rockers, especially as their (and I use this term in its loosest sense) ‘UK Tour’ consisted of one gig in London, 2 yrs in succession. Go North next time!!!!!! So yes I'm jealous that I couldn’t go to London twice to see them. I'm over it now, nah I'm not!

Anywho with a back catalogue like 'the Rangers' have, it’s a positive shoe in for some of their faves, and not so faves to be converted acoustically. As a celebration of the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Night Ranger has planned a very special release: an album/DVD recorded live in an intimate all-acoustic setting, with a select number of fans at The Studio D Recording in Sausalito, CA in May 2012.  The result is compelling and exciting live renditions of the band’s classic hits with new, refreshing arrangements; tracks include “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Sister Christian”, “This Boy Needs To Rock” or “Four In The Morning.” 

Titled 24 Strings and a Drummer, it asks the question of keyboardist Eric Levy. He clearly plays a part, as he proves on his intro to Sentimental Street, so throw in the number of keys as well!!!

Night Ranger start of with some well known tried and tested faves, ‘This Boy Needs To Rock', & 'When You Close Your Eyes'. The newer and very decent 'Growing Up In California', gets an airing, but the first ‘prick of the ears’ moment is the very cool 'Secret Of My Success'. Night Ranger wouldn’t be Night Ranger if they didn’t have the golden tonsils of Kelly Keagy, and still shows he has what it takes on their mega hits Goodbye and Sister Christian. I love Jack Blades to bits, but Keagy gives them a different sound. The band really sound as if they are enjoying the gig immensely.

Don’t Tell Me You Love Me is as good as the electric version, and they close out with 2 highlights in You Can Still Rock In America, and a cover of Don Henly’s Boys Of Summer.

Despite me personally wanting a full on electric live album, Night Ranger (and Frontiers) know much better than me as the acoustic album we have here is a delight. I just wish I’d gotten the DVD to review as well, as I much prefer to see live gigs than just listening to the buggers

24 Strings and a Drummer (and a keyboard) shows what a legacy of songs that Night Ranger have in their song writing portfolio. I’d have loved to have seen them play something (nay,anything) from the very underrated Man In Motion. Again, I know nothing!

Score : 78/100



Tracklisting:
CD: This Boy Needs To Rock; When You Close Your Eyes; Sing Me Away; Growin' Up In California; The Secret Of My Success; Sentimental Street; Four In The Morning; Let Him Run / Goodbye; Forever All Over Again; Don’t Tell Me You Love Me; Sister Christian; (You Can Still) Rock In America; Boys Of Summer (Bonus Track).
DVD: This Boy Needs To Rock; When You Close Your Eyes; Sing Me Away; Growin' Up In California; The Secret Of My Success; Sentimental Street; Four In The Morning; Let Him Run / Goodbye; Forever All Over Again; Don’t Tell Me You Love Me; Sister Christian; (You Can Still) Rock In America.
Bonus feats: Night Ranger all access - Growin' Up In California(videoclip) – Making of the Album “Growing Up In California”.

 

Musicians:
Jack Blades (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass)
Kelly Keagy (Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion)
Brad Gillis (Lead Guitars, Background Vocals)
Joel Hoekstra (Lead Guitars, 12 String Guitar, Background Vocals)
Eric Levy (Keyboards, Background Vocals)

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