Back in 1976, there lived a band fronted by Stephen Pearcy called Mickey Ratt. With limited success and numerous line-up changes over the years, including the great Jake E. Lee on guitar, the band eventually found the line-up that would work. By 1982, that line-up be complete.
In 1981, one of the most crucial pieces was another songwriter to work with Stephen. That role was filled by the late Robin Crosby on guitar. Also in 1981, a young guitar great, by the name of Warren DeMartini, joined the band courtesy of Jake E. Lee’s recommendation. He would leave as he was in college and was afraid to quit school for a band with only moderate success. He returned in 1982. Finally, the band would add Bobby Blotzer on drums (ex Vic Vergeat) and Juan Crucier (formerly with Dokken) on bass and the band was complete.
Everything was in place and the band finally got a record deal in July 1983 with an independent label called Time Coast Music. The band released their first E.P. as Ratt and it was simply called Ratt. The E.P. included 6 tracks; however, the European release would give you 7 tracks which was an early version of “You’re In Trouble” that was later released on ‘Out of the Cellar’. My version on vinyl is the U.S. release. My version is also a re-release that was done in 1984 after the success of ‘Out of the Cellar’ which included a picture of the band with their more current look and was released by Atlantic Records.
Let’s take a quick minute and talk about the cover (the featured image) with those legs with the rats crawling up them. Those legs belong to one of the 80’s most famous video vixens. They belonged to Tawny Kitaen. She was dating Robin Crosby at the time. She also appeared on the cover of their next album and in a video, but that will be discussed when we review that album.
Now, I guess it is time to talk about the music. The 1984 re-release was a more polished mix, but it still sounded rough and raw which is what I like about it.
“Sweet Cheater”: The opening track starts out with Bobby’s drums pounding away. It is a fast paced rocker and showcases the mastery of guitar work for both Warren and Robin. Stephen’s rough and screaming vocals complete the package. The song sounds like a young band, with so-so productions and a very promising future.
“You Think You’re Tough”: This song was Ratt’s first single and first hit they ever had. I actually hadn’t heard it until after “Out of the Cellar” so it wasn’t my first taste of the band. The song reminds a lot of songs from “Out of the Cellar”. It was more a better overall song than “Sweet Cheater”. The video for this had to be done after ‘Out of the Cellar’ came out as it features images from the videos for that album. It was to promote the re-release of the E.P. by Atlantic Records.
“U Got It”: The final song on side one really highlighted the guitar work with a really killer solo. The overall song is okay with really simple lyrics and not my favorite on the album. It is a straight-up rock song with some great guitar work so that definitely keeps in the library and I don’t ever skip it.
Now here is where you have the song “You’re In Trouble” if you have the European version of the E.P. It was the fourth song on side one. I can’t review it since I don’t have it. Maybe someday I will get my hands on that version.
“Tell the World”: The opening song on Side Two is very raw and I like it for that reason. It isn’t over-produced and left for what it is. I also like Stephen’s scream during the song. It is a great little rock track and would later wind up on the band’s greatest hits album in 1991 (along with “You Think You’re Tough”).
“Back For More”: You might already know this song even though the version you know might be slightly different. This song was re-worked for the ‘Out of the Cellar’ album. This is very different version. It is not as sleek and shiny as the later version. It is down & dirty. There is one huge difference. There is this weird, out of place Bass note that pops up throughout during the verses. I am not sure why that note was necessary as it sounds so awkward and it was removed from the ‘Out of the Cellar’ version. Otherwise, the bass on this song is actually heavy and fantastic.
“Walkin’ The Dog”: The final song on the E.P. is a cover of the Rufus Thomas song. Rufus was a R&B, funk, soul and blues singer from the 50’s/60’s. Ratt has always had a little blues influence so this song works great on the E.P. Plus, Robin actually kills it on the guitar solo as I read it was his solo and not Warren’s. The song is also a nod to Aerosmith who released the song back in 1973.
All songs on this E.P. are worth keeping so it would get a 6 out of 6 on the track listing. The rawness of the songs and no-overproducing make this an amazingly enjoyable album for any Ratt fan and must have for the collection. Their songwriting wan’t fully developed yet, but it definitely showed promise. For that, the album gets 4 out 5 stars.
I am going to try and get to all Ratt albums before this year is out and hopefully there will be a brand new album to come out from the guys before the year is out as well. I hope you enjoyed the first one in the series. I might go back and do some older Mickey Ratt albums if I get my hands on any, we will have to wait and see. Also, I will mostly stick to studio albums and maybe one compilation with ‘Collage’. I haven’t decided it yet. I am just going with the flow and what I feel like doing. Thanks (and thanks Wikipedia for the help as well).
Update: Here are all the albums reviewed for the Ratt Series:
And the following: