After the disappointing sales of their album ‘Detonator’, Ratt seemed to be falling apart. Robbin Crosby would leave the band due to his substance abuse problem and the dominos would fall from there. The band went on “hiatus” in 1992 and it felt like the band was done. Well, the weren’t just year.
In 1997, reunion talks began with the five original members. However, Robbin Crosby developed HIV due to his substance abuse problem and was in no shape to carry-on. Juan Croucier would soon afterwards decide he didn’t want to re-join the band. So that left Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer and they decided to continue as Ratt and the set out to go on tour. Before they did that, the decision was made to release a compilation album of B-sides, alternate recordings and even re-work some old Mickey Ratt tunes.
I wasn’t planning on reviewing any compilation albums in my Ratt Review Series, but this one was different as it wasn’t a greatest hits collection. Being that most of the songs haven’t been on any Ratt album, I decided it was worth getting a review of it’s own. I will warn you, this is a collection of songs that is strictly for Ratt fans.
Why do I say that? Well, first the album is produced by Stephen & Warren which should never have happened. A band should not be their own producer. They need that outside viewpoint to help steer them in the right direction because direction is surely lacking on this release. It is also lacking on production quality. The sound of most of the songs is not great. Songs seem more like demos at times and Stephen’s vocals aren’t always up to snuff. I like Stephen’s vocals, but they are a little rougher than normal. A good producer would help solve all those problems.
Also, Robbin Crosby is really missed. He does appear on a few tracks, but only as rhythm guitarist and not lead. Now, don’t get me wrong, Warren really kills it on the solos and he sounds amazing. However, the album is missing the duel guitar sound of Crosby & DeMartini that they were famous for. The sound I loved and miss to this day.
Since this isn’t a regular studio album, I am going to do the review a little different than normal. I won’t go through every song in order, but will break them up into little groups.
The first group are re-works of previously released Ratt songs. In fact, all three were on their last album ‘Detonator’ in some shape or form.
“Top Secret (Original Version)” is just that, the original version before Desmond Child got his hands into it and polished it up and turned it into a really great song. This is far from that. It has some different lyrics and is really stripped down if you like that. For me, it lacks the punch of the previous version especially in the guitars. It is little bluesier and isn’t bad, I am just attached to the other version.
“I Want it All” is basically a complete re-working of “All or Nothing”. Maybe this is the beginning of that song. It is pretty great. Not as great as the “All or Nothing” version, but it has a kick ass guitar solo and still sounds like a great Ratt song. Nice to have this different version.
“Lovin’ You…Fonic Mix LP Version” is what every glam metal, Ratt fan was asking for…a dub step remix of “Lovin’ You is a Dirty Job”. How awful!! There isn’t anything redeeming about this and I have to ask why do it? What was the point? Billy Idol can have a dub step remix, but not Ratt.
Mickey Ratt Songs
This section are songs that are from the Mickey Ratt era in the 70’s before Ratt became the Ratt we know and love.
“Steel River” opens the album and it is a rework of their song “Railbreak”. I actually like this one. A great opener with a wicked groove and an even bluesier sound. Warren is on full display and Stephen sounds good on this one. This is one of the few tracks on this I think are worth the Ratt name.
“Dr. Rock” is well, it is a Ratt song. Not one worth a single, but more like the deep cuts on any Ratt album. One that would never be a hit, but is still worth playing again and again. Oh yeah, Warren is showing off on this album since he is the only Lead Guitarist now…and he should…he is awesome!!
“Ratt Madness” is another old Mickey Ratt song. It sounds dated and like very early Ratt…which is stupid to say because it is early Ratt since it is a Mickey Ratt song. What I mean is they didn’t update the style or sound of the song, it sounds like something from the early 80’s. It has a corny song title, but still pretty good.
Arcade is the band Stephan Pearcy formed while Ratt was on ‘hiatus’.
“Mother Blues” was originally a Ratt demo that Stephen released with his band Arcade back in 1993. It is an acoustic, blues song and it is sensational. The sonics and vibe of this song shows a real maturity the band has never really had. It wouldn’t have worked on any Ratt album which is why it was never released. It is one of my favorites on this album and actually I don’t know why it didn’t make my Top 20 Ratt songs list as it should be up there. Stephen would later release this one again on his 2007 solo album Rocky Kandy.
The last three songs I think were new for the album as I can’t find anything that says otherwise.
“Diamond Time Again” is a little love song that is a little rough around the edges with vocals, but still a good, catchy little song. The song sounds a little like old school Ratt but is a little slow paced and meanders along a little too much. It doesn’t have any real punch (good producer could have helped this song in particular as it has promise).
“Hold Tight” is similar to “Diamond Time Again”. A little slower and not as rocking as it could be. Backing vocals kinda suck (which I think are just Stephens vocals layered in) and the song needs an extra something to push it over the top. Nothing to make it memorable.
“Take it Anyway” starts off and that guitar riff sounded like Great White’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, but only for a few seconds. The rest sounds like Ratt. Not overly impressed with it though so there you go.
- Steel River – Keeper
- Dr. Rock – Keeper
- Diamond Time Again – Keeper
- Ratt Madness – Keeper
- Hold Tight – Delete
- I Want it All – Keeper
- Mother Blues – Definite Keeper
- Top Secret – Delete
- Take it Anyway – Delete
- Lovin’ You…Fonic Mix LP Version – DELETE!!! DELETE!!! DELETE!!!
The track listing would score a 6 out 10 or 60% which is pretty good for what this album is. However, with the lack of production and that this is really a rough album, I am only rating the album 2.5 out 5.0 as it is really for a true Ratt fan like myself. The casual fan will not find much here to their liking I am afraid.
Let me know what you think about it or the band in general. I am sorry for lack of pictures, but apparently I no longer have this disc in my collection. I will find it out in the record shop world one day and add it back. I know I could order it online, but where is the fun in that.
If you want to check out the review on the all the albums reviewed, just click on the album name below…
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Thanks and come back soon!!