ARTIST: Travers, Pat (Band)
ALBUM: Crash And Burn
CD REISSUE: 1993, Polydor, 826 706-2
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Pat Travers - lead vocals, guitars * Pat Thrall - guitars * Pete 'Mars' Cowling - bass, backing vocals * Tommy Aldridge - drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Crash And Burn * 02 Can't Be Right * 03 Snortin' Whiskey * 04 Born Under A Bad Sign * 05 Is This Love * 06 The Big Event * 07 Love Will Make You Strong * 08 Material Eyes
1980 was a year of consolidation for Travers and his hard working crew. With a number of albums already in the bank, including the previous year's live LP 'Go For What You Know' and the single 'Boom Boom Out Go The Lights', the 80's would prove to be a harder-sell for Travers, as the industry was opting for shorter more commercial songs and albums, whereas Travers came from an era where long jams and spontaneous performances were the norm (think pre Steve Perry Journey
, Frank Marino
etc). Having only jumped onto the Travers bandwagon from 1979 onward (I acquired his mid 70's albums some years later), I became more familiar with his later material, though I will say that his 1977 'Makin' Magic' LP was a real gem when I began a back-catalogue acquisition. With 'Crash And Burn' however, I'll go on record and say that it's not one of his consistent releases, but it does contain some interesting moments, and during the time in which I was listening to the album (early 1981), it did stay on my turntable for an extended stay. So there was obviously something here which caught my ear..
For a blues guitarist, it would seem unusual for a flurry of synths to open the title track 'Crash And Burn'. Perhaps this was a start of future things to come, the track a cruisy and smooth piece, with some slight fusion-oriented elements showing through. We're back on track with the blistering 'Can't Be Right', guitars duel all over the place, Travers and Thrall delivering a mighty blow with a six string times two attack. Things get even better with the classic 'Snortin' Whiskey', it's one of the most identifiable Travers tune from his extensive discography. It feels right at home in the southern rock genre too.. 'snorting whiskey.. and drinking cocaine.. got this feeling.. gonna drive that girl insane..'
. 'Born Under A Bad Sign' is the type of song that can crawl under your skin, an understated tune with the ability to get into your head without too much problem. The slinky blues slides effortlessly, and there's no sign of David Coverdale
anywhere! lol! Of course, this song has been covered extensively by other artists over the years; the original appearing back in 1967 on Albert King
's LP of the same name. The cover of Bob Marley
's 'Is This Love' is an unusual addition to the album. I'm indifferent to its inclusion, but Travers rendition is worthy of a listen. Another unusual tune is the instrumental 'The Big Event' which reeks of early Todd Rundgren and Utopia
with its sci-fi inspired delivery. 'Love Will Make You Strong' is a semi-ballad which didn't do a lot for me, while the closer 'Material Eyes', a Pat Thrall co-write goes for the epic big-bang finish without quite setting the incendiary on fire. There are gimmicky keyboard effects among the finger-bending guitar work and overall atmospheric arrangement, but the song meanders more than it does sprint toward the finish line.
Still, I quite enjoyed this album back in the day, and it's only recently that I got back into it for a bit of nostalgia. 'Crash And Burn' would do well on the Billboard charts, initially going gold in the US, and eventually platinum in the ensuing years. Unfortunately it would be the last recording featuring the classic Pat Travers Band lineup, as Pat Thrall would hook up with Glenn Hughes
for the wonderful 1982 effort Hughes/Thrall
, while drummer Tommy Aldridge would become 'drummer to the stars' hooking on with Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz
, Gary Moore
during their successful '1987' era. Travers meanwhile continued on with releases such as 'Radioactive', 'Black Pearl' and 'Hot Shot'. Travers still continues to play to this day, and has returned his sound back to his original blues-oriented roots.
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