You Picked It!: Cinderella – ‘Long Cold Winter’ (1988) – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! Apparently, people didn’t like the new format as the vote count was way down. I am getting back to what my site is about and that is what is in my collection which is why I changed things. I was tired of the other way and needed to change…so I did. Get used to this way because this is how it will be for the time being. The first vote getter in this month’s picks ended up the winner. Therefore the winner was Cinderella’s ‘Long Cold Winter’. Here are the results.

  1. Cinderella – ‘Long Cold Winter’ – 5 votes
  2. Winger – ‘Pull’ – 4 votes
  3. White Lion – ‘Mane Attraction’ – 2 votes
  4. Night Ranger – ‘Man in Motion’ – 2 votes
  5. Poison – ‘Look What the Cat Dragged In’ – 1 Vote

Thanks to all for participating. The December choices will be up on Saturday! And the choices are all now from my collection and will have a loose theme of 70’s Classics!!!

CINDERELLA – ‘LONG COLD WINTER’ (1988):

Cinderella hit it big with their Glam Rock debut ‘Night Songs’ back in 1986 with a lot of thanks to Jon Bon Jovi who saw them play and helped them get a deal. Gene Simmons was interested first, but they weren’t interested in Gene. The debut album had them dressing all Glam in colorful outfits and I don’t think they were very fond of that whole concept. That became obvious with their second album when they went to a more all black and blue jean look and changed their sound to mostly blues rock. They wanted to distance themselves as much as they could from the Glam scene and I don’t think they did, but they at least sounded different. Fans of the debut, followed along with this one as well…I know I did.

The band recorded the album during 1987 and 1988 and Andy Johns was back as producer, although this time around Tom Keifer and Eric Brittingham co-produced with Andy. Keifer actually wrote all the tracks by himself except for one he wrote with Brittingham. In the band with Tom and Andy was still Jeff LaBar and Fred Coury, but Fred is only credited as in the band, he didn’t actually play drums on the album (nor did he play on the debut, but he might’ve finally played on Heartbreak Station). That was handled mostly by the great Cozy Powell and Denny Carmassi did Track 5.

The album was released on July 5, 1988 and the album went to #10 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. They released 4 singles, 3 of which were Top 40 hits on the Charts. The album would go on to sell over 3,000,000 copies making it a Triple Platinum hit. In 2019, Rolling Stone magazine even listed it as #10 of the Top 50 Greatest Hair Metal Album of All Time! And I would say they ain’t far off as this is one that has held up over time despite some lukewarm receptions from the critics at the time.

SIDE 1:

The album opens up with a pure blues track with “Bad Seamstress Blues” that goes straight in to “Fallin’ Apart At the Seams”. The lap steel guitar intro and harmonica opening tells you immediately that they have distanced themselves from the glam rock for sure. It was more Aerosmith than anything else. The song then explodes in to more of a rocker and has a Southern Rock vibe to it. It is killer opener and sets the tone. Keifer sounds really great as his gritty vocals brightly shine with this style of music as it sounds like he’s lived a tough life and that works great with bluesy material.

Then we get to the first single and another stellar track with “Gypsy Road”. This track shows they haven’t completely abandoned their glam rock roots although it isn’t full on glam either. This anthem style track really slays. That opening riff is catchy as hell and the drums are pounding strong driving the song forward. Tom’s vocals are like a hot knife through butter as it cuts through smoothly and effortlessly. A good time party track.

Then we get to the first ballad and a song that went to #12 on the Top 40. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” is one of the best ballads the band has ever done, hands down. Keifer takes his vocals and softens them and puts as much emotion as he can muster. His classic raspiness is still in tact. This song is following the trademark Aerosmith blueprint and there is nothing wrong with that. The use of the piano by Rick Criniti adds the perfect touch to the song. It was 1988, there had to be a ballad and Cinderella didn’t disappoint.

“The Last Mile” is another solid rocker and was the third single on the album. Four songs in and the album is still kicking ass…no sophomore jinx here…so far. More fantastic guitar playing from Jeff and Tom on this one. This one is more Glam with a hint of Blues as the chorus is catchy with some great harmonies from the band. But it is still different than the debut album as I think it is more mature sounding as Tom’s songwriting keeps getting better. A standout track.

The final track on Side 1 is “Second Wind” and although not as great as the other tracks on this side, there is still a bit of fun with this one. It opens with an airplane sound and then some speedy riffs. The tempo is picked up as the band seems to be in a hurry with this one. The chorus is catchy and short and sweet as it gets back quickly to the verses as that sense of urgency is in full swing.

SIDE 2:

The title track and opening track to side 2 is “Long Cold Winter” is the most epic sounding track on the album. It is full on blues and I’m talking old school traditional blues. Keifer is wearing his influences on his sleeve with this one. This is probably my favorite track on the album…it isn’t a full on rocker, it isn’t a ballad, it is somewhere in between and is pure perfection. A Glam Band? I think not! Just listen to the pain, the sorrow and the grit in his vocals…awesome!! And that guitar playing is top shelf work…so brilliantly played. Wow!! That is all I can say…Wow!!

“If You Don’t Like It” well I don’t care…should be everyone’s motto. This is the only track with a co-write as Eric writes with Tom on this one and it is a great, fun track. A big middle finger to everyone. This rocker will get you moving as that riff on here is pretty killer and the drums are fast and hard hitting. Hold on tight for this blast of a ride!!

Back to the ballads and the final single on the album. This one is bluesy and is played with a 12-string guitar and is the power behind the song. “Coming Home” has an acoustic opening and what is it about ballads with “Home” in the title, why do we like them so much. I don’t know, but we do. A simple, yet gritty ballad that had to get some air play, but didn’t do as well as the other ballad as this went one only went to #20 on the Top 40, not #12…darn…I’m sure they were disappointed…yeah…probably not!

Finally, a song that could’ve come straight off of ‘Night Songs’. “Fire And Ice” is pure Glam fun and actually might be the heaviest track on the album. It shows they haven’t completely abandoned that debut sound or maybe they just ran out of songs and this was leftover…who knows, but it is still a killer track. They show they can do ballads and they can let loose and rock it out just as great. I’ll admit I really do like this one I think because it does sound like the debut album.

The final track is “Take Me Back” and it is a Southern rocker with a blues tint. A catchy chorus and although a great little track to end the album, it isn’t as strong as some of the other songs on here, but still worth hearing. For an album that came in like a lion, it is going out with a whimper and not a roar. Maybe switch this one with “Fire And Ice” and I would be happier.

‘Long Cold Winter’ is better than the debut as it shows a band that is more than a one-trick pony. They can do blues, rock and even those power ballads. The writing is more mature, the sound is better and it is a band that is trying to reflect more of who they really are and you have to appreciate that…don’t you! This is my favorite Cinderella album and no one will ever be able to change my mind on that one. My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars as this is a band that wasn’t wanting to be labeled as a Glam band and wanted to show they were more than that and I think they succeeded! A must have if you dig the 80’s rock scene. You won’t be disappointed.

29 thoughts on “You Picked It!: Cinderella – ‘Long Cold Winter’ (1988) – Album Review

  1. Can’t go wrong with your score here. I loved everything about this record. The packaging, the layout and of course the music. Keifer is a genius and this album shows it. I never thought about switching out Fire and Ice with Take Me Back but you may have point but yeah this album is one of the best. Powell drumming is fantastic on here but you gotta feel for Fred but I guess that was Andy John’s call..
    Killer writeup

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was my introduction to the band. I didn’t know about Night Songs. I remember listening to Coming Home for the first time. I thought there were two singers. I’ve always loved Tom’s range.

    I’m happy he’s still out performing. His solo material is solid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The name and all the pink shit makes them look like a terrible ’80s band, but they’re pretty good blues rock/metal. This is their best effin’ album.

    Liked by 1 person

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