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Gypsy Rose (Canada) - 1990 Prey

ARTIST: Gypsy Rose (Canada)
LABEL: Simmons Records (RCA/BMG)
SERIAL: 2169-2-R
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Michael Ross - lead vocals * Craig Van Gaver - guitars, keyboards, vocals * Brian Joyce - guitars, vocals * Michael Vaughn - bass, vocals * Steve Thomas - drums, vocals

Tom Treumuth - additional keyboards * Randy Cooke - drums * Rob Laidlaw - bass * Jeremo Godboo - harmonica * Mike Shotten - background vocals * Gary Furniss - 12 string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Poisoned By Love * 02 Crawlin' * 03 Borderline * 04 Blood N Sweat * 05 Love Me Or Leave Me * 06 Make Me Do Anything You Want * 07 Shiver Then Shake * 08 Wild Reaction * 09 Don't Turn Your Back On Me Now * 10 Highway - One Way

No relation to the Swedish outfit, this lot came from Western Ontario, Canada, and were signed to the Simmons Records label, home to Gene Simmons. So yes, Gypsy Rose had some big cash behind them, and their timed entry into the hair metal/rock scene was not an accident, but it was unfortunate that the band struck the industry on the twilight side of the hill, as Donny Osmond so eloquently put it. From recollection, Gypsy Rose originated from the town of Sarnia, which was also the hometown of 70's classic rockers Max Webster back in their early days. This is a pretty generic melodic hard rock/hair rock CD, but damn it's well played and enjoyable. With singer Michael Ross, Gypsy Rose have a genuinely talented guy on vocals, Ross has this Mike Tramp going on, and he sounds pretty cool for the majority of the CD. The album also features a slew of guest musicians, so no expense has been spared to achieve the right sound.

The Songs
Ripping into it, the first track 'Poisoned By Love' is one of the best on the album, a hard rockin' anthem with a high level of energy. It's very hair metal, and many have commented how good it is. The video is displayed below. The bluesy twang of 'Crawlin' was similar to many bands of this era who all thought they owed a debt to the southern delta blues genre. Why this was I have no idea, but it annoyed the hell out of me for years! 'Crawlin' has some redeeming features as it changes course like an out of control Mississippi Paddle Steamer! 'Borderline' is pretty generic stuff, but it's good for what it is, again the tempo moves at a good clip, while Mike Ross should really be singing for White Lion judging by this song. 'Blood N Sweat' is a mellow and smooth ballad, let's skip that one and head to 'Love Me Or Leave Me' which is much better, melodies galore, with big bursts of keyboards and fiery lead guitar runs.. fantastic track. After the slow start, things start firing up on the 'Slippery When Wet' era Bon Jovi influence of 'Make Me Do Anything You Want'. This one is very similar to Jovi's 'Let It Rock'. Changing style slightly, 'Shiver Than Shake' and 'Wild Reaction' are both hair rockers that use the grand-daddy influence of AC/DC in places. 'Don't Turn Your Back On Me Now' returns to a acoustic guitar/organ sound, and to top it off, the guitar solo is an absolute killer. A bluesy intro precedes 'Highway One Way', a throwaway sort of rocker which rounds off this album.

In Summary
When Gypsy Rose rock it up, they sound impressive. The mix of ballads and mid-tempo songs I could've done without, while the Tom Treumuth and Gary Furniss production shows the band in a good light. This was to be the only album by these Canadians, and interestingly enough, the last recording for Simmons Records (Gene only released four). Many years later in 2004, news spread that Michael Ross had signed to the infamous Z Records. Despite a heap of songwriting prior to a supposedly second Gypsy Rose album, nothing eventuated.. not surprising, considering Mark Alger was involved. You can find copies of this CD on Ebay easily enough, I think I might have to do just that as my songs aren't the best quality. If you like melodic hair metal, check out 'Poisoned By Love' and the superb 'Love Me Or Leave Me'.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on March 06 2010 18:59:33
This album rocks like the Saints and Sinners album. I like it a lot. Gene didn't sign anybody that didn't have talent.
#2 | TheMurf on March 09 2010 01:03:21
A decent cover of the Canadian Classic tune '(Make Me Do) Anything You Want' originally done by A Foot In Cold Water.
#3 | sabace on March 10 2010 13:52:45
excellent stuff!
#4 | super80boy on March 26 2017 19:17:16
Prey is quite the desirable one off hard rocker with hair/pop metal vibes. Absolutely the best track is melodic opener 'Poisoned By Love', but the killer 'Love Me Or Leave Me' is a close runner up, nice shredding on this one as well. I like the subtle keyboard work in 'Crawlin' and the galloping tempo of 'Borderline'. Side Two's gang chorused opener 'Make Me Do Anything You Want' is another standout. The hair metal detour on Side Two is first rate.

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