Ratt – ‘Dancing Undercover’ – Album Review

Next up in the Ratt album review series is their 3rd studio album, the 1986 album ‘Dancing Undercover’.  The entire band was still in tact and even producer Beau Hill returned for his third album.  The band still consisted of the following:

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

Even though it was the same crew, things were different.  The band decided that they didn’t need a beautiful woman on the cover and opted for pictures of the band members themselves.

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This was done in hopes to be taken more seriously.  Not only that, they went with a harder edge on the album and didn’t even include a power ballad.  Sacrilege!  Even though the album still sold over a million copies (the third straight to go platinum), the critics did not look favorably on this album.  In the end, it was considered a disappointing album.  What?  I am sorry, I totally disagree.

I liked the heavier feel to the album.  I loved that DeMartini’s guitar was starting to take more of the center stage and I found it to be very satisfying.  It is what I want in a Ratt album.  And they didn’t completely go away from the beautiful woman on the album cover, she was just relegated to the back jacket.

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What is also great about this album is the tour they had in support.  This was the tour I finally got to see them live.  Their opening act was Poison and it was the perfect bill…the Ratt Poison Tour.  Never in history have two band names worked so perfectly together.  From what I remember (it was 32 years ago), it was an incredible show.   You were treated to a night chock full of hits from both bands.

I guess maybe we should get into the music.  I think that sounds like a great idea.  As always, we will start with Side One since that only makes the most sense.

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And what a Side One it is.  This might be the best 5 song combination on any of their albums.  The entire side is pure magic and will knock you on your ass.  Starting off the first single from the album “Dance”.  The song explodes at you with a great riff by Warren DeMartini and there is no doubt the band is here to rock.  This song would make for a great stripper song and I am sure it has.  “Dance” is also the only time Beau Hill takes a writing credit along with most of the band.  The video for the song is the band performing live at the Whiskey (well not really live, it is for the video only not real live footage).

They don’t slow things down at all with “One Good Lover”.  I little bluesier groove with a grittier tone.  It has all the Ratt elements needed in a song, Stephen’s raspy vocals, Juan’s grooving bass, Bobby’s pounding drums and Warren & Robin’s guitar combination.

“Drive Me Crazy” takes it up a notch with a more fast paced tempo and heavier sound.  This side doesn’t let up much and it is hard to catch a breath at this break-neck speed.  This is one of many great songs and I am not sure how this didn’t end up in my Top 20 Ratt songs post.  Unbelievable.  Of note for this song, it was one of the few times Bobby Blotzer gets a writing credit for Ratt and the only one on this album.

The second single off the album was “Slip of the Lip”.  This one comes with a little swagger from the band and another solid rocker.  A catchy chorus and some damn fine guitar work on the solo.  Another can’t miss track.  The video is a little cheesy with a lady named Kitty Galore (obvious homage to James Bond’s Pussy Galore – thanks Wiki) who winds up making out with lead singer.

The final song and third and final single was “Body Talk”.  If you remember, this song was featured in the Eddie Murphy movie “The Golden Child”.  I actually liked the movie, but I loved the song.  How much did I love it…well it is my favorite Ratt song of all time (see the link to the list above).  This is one of the fastest and heaviest songs they have done.  The speed and tempo is again out of control. Bobby’s double bass was killer. The production value on this track is amazing and what else can you say that hasn’t been said about the guitar work.  Wow!!  Just a blistering, powerful song.

Well, now were are on to Side Two and it doesn’t really slow down here either.

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“Looking for Love” opens the second half and is one of 3 songs from this album on my Top 20 Ratt songs.  The thing I liked on this song was Warren DeMartini yet again.  The guitar solo and the chorus just struck a chord with me (pun intended).  I would catch myself singing the song all the time and when it played my air guitar was screaming in full force.

Then comes “7th Avenue” which brings a pure sleazy sound they haven’t done enough of before.  The band changes it up and brings us an utterly cool song.  I really liked the direction this song takes and it gives us a little variety from all the fast paced rockers on this thing.

Where the second half of Invasion started to lose me, this album keeps my intention and with songs like “It Doesn’t Matter” are the reason why.  This is pure Ratt in every sense of the word.  It sounds like it might have been leftover from older albums, but still fits nicely in this bunch.  And you know what, it doesn’t matter when it was done…it kicks ass.

“Take A Chance” is the first real hiccup up for me.  It is the first glimpse at what feels like filler.  It isn’t a bad song, it just doesn’t come across as memorable for me.  It is too generic with no really catchy chorus or good groove.

And here we are at the end of another Ratt album.  They close this one off with “Enough is Enough”.  I like this one well enough.  It has a cool and different opening guitar style and sound. It is probably the slowest thing on the album and by this time you are exhausted so it works well.  The song makes you want to start the album over which is what you want in a final song.  And with the abrupt ending, you are left going what…start this bad boy up again.

I am not sure why the critics didn’t like it or what they were expecting, but it sounds like Ratt to me and in 1986, that is what I wanted.  Today, the album holds up even better.  I liked 9 out of the 10 tracks which gives me a track score of 90% which is awesome.  Overall content, it is right up there with Out of the Cellar for me so it will also score a 4.25 out of 5 Stars.  Now, when I do the Ranking of the Ratt albums from Worst to First at the end of this, I will have to decide which I like the best.

Go give it a listen or go buy it if you don’t have it.  If you already do have it, turn it on and turn it up and most of all…Enjoy!!

 

If you want to read up on all the other reviews in the series, just click on the album name below.

Ratt E.P.

Out of the Cellar

Invasion of Your Privacy

5 thoughts on “Ratt – ‘Dancing Undercover’ – Album Review

  1. Wicked album John…between this album and Aeros’s Done with mirrors I love the loosey goosey approach and rawness of this album. They wrote just hard rock tracks. Plain and Simple…
    So cool you caught this tour I remember reading about it in Circus Magazine. This tour never made it to Canada,why who knows but awesome you caught it.
    I caught them on the Invasion Tour in Duluth but the next time they went back in 89 they cancelled due to lack of tix sold…Great White and Kip were the openers…(me and TBone had tickets) Drag….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me and Tbone were bummed out. Than we got Tix for Poison/Tesla and that was cancelled due to someone getting sick…
        This was in the summer of 89 but all was not lost as we did see Bon Jovi/Skid Row at the tail end of that summer which made up for it ..so all was not lost but almost hahah

        Liked by 1 person

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