For those that missed this album the first time around in 1999, Steve Vai's Favored Nation/Jibboom records has given new life to a very tasty slice from one of the most underrated versions of this band. It is the only Guns album to feature Jizzy Pearl on vocals and flew under the radar of many except the hard core fans.
Incorporating musical styles that stretch far beyond the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, it became one of my favorite releases by these guys because of the adventurous nature they show on the album. Not only do you get some classic glam as only L.A. Guns delivers ("Girl You Turn Me On", "Shrinking Violet", "I'll Be There"), there is an ode to the roots of rock with the slow ballad "Dreamtime", churning heavy metal with searing guitar work courtesy of Tracii Guns on songs like "California" and "Cherries", then to top it off they end the studio disc with a slow blues crawl called "Bad Whiskey".
The only misstep along the road is the semi rap that is woven into the otherwise smokin' "Big Lil' Thing". Tracii goes a little wild with the wah-wah and almost pulls this one out thanks to his guitar work but the song just doesn't work as well as the rest of the disc. Still, it is not too bad and there was never a thought of skipping over it. With such a great amount of good stuff on the disc they can be forgiven for not being perfect.
Jizzy Pearl gives some of his best work on this disc. He has fronted not only the Guns but has also sang for the bands Love/Hate, Ratt and Steve Adler's Appetite but I still think this is the disc that best highlights the different aspects to his vocal ability. Jizzy could have been the catalyst that inspired them to stretch out on Shrinking Violet and I can only imagine what their follow up might have sounded like if Jizzy would have remained in the group.
This reissue also has a bonus and unlike most albums of this nature, the extra material is something that really adds to the package. Five live recordings recorded in 2009 where Jizzy reunited with the boys and tore through some of their most electrifying songs. Not only that, Tracii is on fire and his guitar work on these live songs had me looking up their next tour date in my neck of the woods.
All in all, this is a dynamite reissue of an album that should have had a much better fate the first time around. Maybe this time people will realize what they missed!
1. Girl You Turn Me On
2. Shrinking Violet
4. Barbed Wire
5. I'll Be There
8. Big Lil' Thing
9. Bad Whiskey
10. Decide (Live)
11. Rip And Tear (Live)
12. Never Enough (Live)
13. The Ballad Of Jayne (Live)
14. One More Reason (Live)