For the band’s 14th studio album they wanted to go back to their roots. They wanted to kick it old style. To do that, they decided to do a covers album of all Blues tracks! And to really make it old school, they brought back Jack Douglas as producer and they only recorded it live in the studio with all members of the band like they did it in the old days. The album takes us back to their sound of the 70’s and away from all the more recent over-produced crap that they had been releasing of late.
The album was recorded over most of 2003 as they really only recorded when they could all get together and they were all in a good mood. And you can imagine how little that probably was with this history of this band. Most of the work was done at Joe Perry’s Studio at his ranch near Boston. When they finally finished, the album got its release on March 30, 2004 and quickly sold over 100,000 copies in its first week putting it at #5 on the Billboard Charts. Today, that would easily be #1. But it did go to #1 on the Blues Chart and eventually went Gold with over 500,000 copies sold. The album wasn’t as successful as their past hits, but a Blues album to go Gold is pretty darn good. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer will still together and doing what they loved, so for them that is a success on its own.
The album had 11 covers and 1 original blues song by the band. There are traditional blues songs from way, way back to even a Fleetwood Mac song. And the title ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ is from a phrase Steven Tyler had heard but they don’t really know what it means. They thought it sounded cool and bluesy I guess. I thought Bobo might be the harmonica and honkin’ on it was playing the harmonica, but who knows. Let’s get to the music.
For My Sunday Song #259, we are going to talk about “Shame, Shame, Shame” from Ratt’s 1990 album ‘Detonator’. The song was written by Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Desmond Child who also produced the album. The song was a Japan Only single and therefore never charted in the US since it wasn’t released here. The album didn’t do that well either only going Gold in the U.S. and hitting #23 on the charts. This surprises me as this to me is one of their best albums, if not THE BEST album they had done.
Lyrically, the song is about catching your girlfriend cheating and telling them they should have known better as now it is over. It is a big F.U. to the girlfriend that they screwed up and now they need to pack their bags and get the hell out. Since the girlfriend instigated the affair, he has no remorse or doubt that she needs to go. Really no other interpretation for this one. It is pretty straight-forward and simple.
The songs opens with a little Warren DeMartini penned instrumental piece called “Intro to Shame” with its slow detuned guitar solo which then slams into the blistering opening track “Shame Shame Shame”. The song comes at you full force and the guitar work is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!! There is even a guest appearance by the super talented Michael Schenker. What more could you want in an opening track. It is hard, heavy, catchy and starts off the album better than probably any of their other albums. Stephen’s vocals are spot on with that gritty, smoked too many cigarettes, drank too much whiskey edge it screams a bluesy vibe matched with Warren’s bluesy guitar tone. It is legendary!!
The year is 1990 and we are getting to the end of the Hair Metal era, but at the time, no one knew that end was coming. Ratt released their fifth album in August of 1990 and it brings us to the end the long running stream of Platinum albums. It is also the last Ratt album with the line-up that has been on all 5 of their albums.
Stephen Pearcy – vocals
Robbin Crosby – lead guitar
Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
Juan Croucier – bass guitar
Bobby Blotzer – drums
After the disappointing reception for ‘Reach for the Sky’ (although it did go Platinum), the band needed to make a change. That change was not to use Beau Hill as producer on the next album as he had produced all previous albums to much success. The band (or label) brought in powerhouse songwriter Desmond Child. You know Desmond…he had great success writing with Kiss, Aerosmith and a few Bon Jovi classics.
And did he ever get involved in the songwriting as he has writing credits on 10 of the 11 tracks on the album. Not only did Desmond assist with songwriting, he was also the executive producer along with Sir Arthur Payson. While Ratt did maintain the classic Ratt sound which was a little bluesy and little sleazy, the songs were much more polished and contained more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box. It definitely leaned to a more Glam rock image than prior albums.