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Gamma - 2000 Gamma 4

ALBUM: Gamma 4
LABEL: RoMoCo Records
SERIAL: 0-2004
YEAR: 2000
CD REISSUE: 2005, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU 6644


LINEUP: Ronnie Montrose - guitars * Davey Pattison - vocals * Glenn Letsch - bass * Denny Carmassi - drums * Ed Roth - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Darkness To Light * 02 Love Will Find You * 03 Resurrection Shuffle * 04 Oh No You Don't * 05 Bad Reputation * 06 Last Man On Earth * 07 The Only One * 08 Out Of These Hands * 09 Prayers * 10 Low Road Home


The exploits of guitar legend Ronnie Montrose is well known to readers of GLORY-DAZE. We don't need to provide a lengthy diatribe of his career, it is well covered elsewhere. After an interesting period of activity beyond the last Gamma album (1982's 'Gamma 3'), Montrose had enough material to entertain the possibility of bringing the band back together.. albeit eighteen years later in the year 2000! All the mainstays of the previous incarnation of the band returned, with keyboard duties handled by Ronnie's cohort Ed Roth. Despite the passing of time, the band picked up where they left off - without skipping a beat. A point not lost on the band members, who enjoyed the opportunity to come together once again without the hindrance of record label politics. 'Gamma 4' was released on Ronnie's own RoMoCo label, so he called the shots, and allowed the band to just 'go for it'.. in the studio.

The Songs
The opener 'Darkness To Light' features a similar guitar tone to the fantastic' Four Horsemen', but that's where the similarity ends. The song shuffles between quiet verses and full-steam ahead guitar histrionics on the solos. 'Love Will Find You' is straight out of the Gary Moore cookbook circa the eighties, commercial balladry which is familiar to Moore's material a la 'Run For Cover' and 'Wild Frontier'. Taking the happy shuffle a la Huey Lewis is 'Resurrection Shuffle'. Keeping the foot on the gas is the entertaining 'Oh No You Don't', which is more brass swelled moments of melodia that'll have the aforementioned Mr Lewis poking his nose into the studio. 'Bad Reputation' has a bit of everything.. a real mixed bag. 'Last Man On Earth' is this albums version of 'Voyager', loads of depth, atmosphere and that familiar drum beat which made 'Voyager' such a winner. 'The Only One' is a gorgeous acoustic workout while Ronnie brings out the slide guitar technique on 'Out Of These Hands'. The last two tracks 'Prayer' and 'Low Road Home' feature more acoustic guitar, a slight folk edge, and when cast in a certain light, this is stuff that Tommy Shaw could haul out on one of his solo albums!

In Summary
Overall, 'Gamma 4' is an interesting listen, but don't try and pigeon-hole it alongside the previous Gamma efforts. It's certainly not as bad as most make it out to be, particularly if you read reviews elsewhere on the Internet.. it's just different - that's all, and despite my initial trepidation, I've really come to enjoy this album. And when you consider the prolific output of Ronnie Montrose over the years, making it sound the same as previous albums does not even enter into his equation! 'Gamma 4' was re-released on CD by the good folk over at Wounded Bird Records during 2005, an excellent choice.

Related Articles
Gamma - 1979 Gamma 1
Gamma - 1980 Gamma 2
Gamma - 1982 Gamma 3
Gamma - 2000 Gamma 4

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#1 | reyno-roxx on June 23 2008 10:10:19
Why no review of 'Gamma 3'? I think that's the best of the four, despite Ronnie's guitar being submerged in the mix in favour of keyboards.
#2 | gdazegod on June 23 2008 12:05:30
I agree Dave.. it is now in the review schedule - deservedly so.
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