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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Riverdogs - 1990 Riverdogs
Riverdogs - 1990 Riverdogs

ARTIST: Riverdogs
ALBUM: Riverdogs
SERIAL: ZK 46021
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2015, Rock Candy Records, CANDY263


LINEUP: Rob Lamothe - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Vivian Campbell - guitars, vocals * Nick Brophy - bass, vocals * Mike Baird - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Whisper * 02 Toy Soldier * 03 Big House * 04 Holy War * 05 Baby Blue * 06 I Believe * 07 Water From The Moon * 08 Rain Rain * 09 Spooky * 10 America

This is the culmination of two excellent San Diego based musicians, who also happened to be convincing enough for guitar god Vivian Campbell to be interested in joining them for a short term. As it turned out for Viv, it ended up being long-term! The Riverdogs is a superb band, with a stripped down sound, and with a guy whose voice is one that most singers would dream of having. They have an interesting semi-acoustic flavour, and for a musical comparison, think Stealin' Horses with a bit of testosterone. But with Campbell's presence, the guitar histrionics pushes them over the edge into hard rock territory, a sound and direction they feel reasonably comfortable in. At the time, Campbell decided not to take up residence with superband Whitesnake, opting instead to work with the young duo of Lamothe and Brophy, helping to produce their demo's. So smitten was he, that he decided to join and toss out a career with Coverdale and co. What you get, is an album of Lamothe's material (originally written with an acoustic guitar in mind I'd bet), plus the sonic fluidity of Campbell's guitar, perhaps his best work ever.. not overplayed, but tasty and displaying another dimension to his already impressive six string arsenal.

The Songs
Many songs are a highlight. The rock anthem of 'Spooky' with that subtle line 'There A Fire Burnin' The Sky Tonight', the solo's from Campbell just smoke (excuse the pun!). The effortless delivery of 'Toy Soldier', or the rock/country piece which is 'Big House'. We slide into a smooth blues rollout on 'Baby Blue', while on 'Water From The Moon' we get an inkling of Campbell's next project with Shadowking such as the similarity. The guitar gets all cranky on tracks such as 'Rain Rain' and 'I Believe', while on the opener 'Whisper' the intro is slow, and the track is stop/start but still high on melodic energy.

In Summary
Unfortunately for the Riverdogs they became part of the corporate shuffle at Epic Records, for which Campbell reluctantly headed off to join Lou Gramm's shortlived project Shadowking in 1991. However, the band were picked up by the Now And Then' label for the 'Absolutely Live' and 'Bone' CD's. This debut though is very hard to come by now, so tracking it down will be a mission. Technically splitting up in 1996, they have over the years occasionally gotten together to perform, though all have their own solo projects now, while Campbell is now with Def Leppard.

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#1 | george_the_jack on July 01 2008 15:02:15
Ohhhh this is a huge album! Very glad seeing it reviewed by George!
Definitely is the one of the best two side projects ever Vivian did outside DIO and Leps.The other is Shadow King together with glorious Lou!
#2 | rostoned on July 15 2008 14:34:07
Epic US issued and sent to american radio stations way back in 1990 a promo-only acoustic CD by Riverdogs titled 'On Air' which featured unplugged versions of all 10 songs of the album plus an unreleased track called 'Pennsylvania'; all the performances were recorded live in 11 radio stations during an american promo tour for the album.

This cool item was repackaged in a reissue of the 'Riverdogs' album made as a 2-CD set by Bad Reputation in France in 2004, legally licensed from Sony Music. The french label did the same 'deluxe treatment' (2 CDs w/studio album + live promo only release) for Danger Danger 'Screw It' and Shark Island 'Law Of The Order'.
#3 | reyno-roxx on July 15 2008 15:37:50
I have the original Shark Island 'Bastille Day' live promo on CD and vinyl. A very cool record.
#4 | rkbluez on February 20 2012 21:09:15
A monster of an album...another one that makes you shake your head and wonder who really was in charge of some of these great acts CBS let go to the dogs...this album is a minor classic in my opinion and I like it a lot better than Shadow King which is also an excellent record.
#5 | jeffrey343 on February 21 2012 17:17:00
This album is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and probably other online stores. I just got finished listening to it for the first time, and it is very good. If I give it enough spins, it should end up being one that I really like. Campbell sounds quite good, and Lamonthe has a fine voice. Can't say it is as immediate as Shadow King, and some songs are more mellow than I usually prefer, but I'm glad this one showed up on my radar today.
#6 | gdazegod on July 12 2012 14:31:45
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