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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Hagar, Sammy - 2013 Sammy Hagar And Friends
Hagar, Sammy - 2013 Sammy Hagar And Friends

ARTIST: Hagar, Sammy
ALBUM: Sammy Hagar And Friends
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Sammy Hagar - main performer. Refer personnel line-up (click here)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Winding Down * 02 Not Going Down * 03 Personal Jesus * 04 Father Sun * 05 Knockdown Dragout * 06 Ramblin' Gamblin' Man * 07 Bad On Fords And Chevrolets * 08 Margaritaville * 09 All We Need Is An Island * 10 Goin' Down * 11 Space Station #5 (bonus, on Deluxe CD edition)


WEBLINKS: www.redrocker.com

The last Sammy Hagar solo venture was 2008's dreadful 'Cosmic Universal Fashion' which showed Sammy in a confused state, unable to separate his laid back beach dwelling musings from his hard rock past. Since then Hagar has concentrated on Chickenfoot, whose two albums thus far have struck me as tedious, surprising for the level of talent involved. At Hagar's age this might be considered superfluous, however this new solo release doesn't stray too far from his recent work, with the inclusion of several covers and a multitude of guests, too many to mention almost. Hagar is the latest Frontiers addition, giving the label another high profile artist to add to their roster. At least they didn't force his 'friends' to be tried and true Swedish AOR musicians who comprise eighty percent of their releases.

The Songs
'Winding Down' is a Hagar original and in line with his solo material since his departure from Van Halen way back in 1996. There's a stale blues rock vibe as Hagar pontificates about social injustices, almost a Louisiana swamp dirge. At just two and a half minutes it's fairly inoffensive yet hardly inspiring. 'Not Going Down' is darker and heavier, an attempt at capturing a 70's tone but missing the vitality of early Hagar. The first cover is a shot at Depeche Mode's 'Personal Jesus' which could be seen a strange decision, but one Hagar manages to turn into his own by utilizing his familiar sound, removing much of the originals alternative slant. Hagar is joined on this by familiar cronies Neal Schon, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith and it sounds more accomplished than Hagar's usual solo band. Hagar also penned 'Father Jesus' and again this is rooted in the bayou, with accordion work mixing with some well needed riffs. Following this relative pleasantness it's time for an obligatory heavy rocker, 'Knockdown, Dragout' featuring Kid Rock and Joe Satriani. Essentially it's a rewrite of 'Mas Tequila' and ultimately unconvincing, with a worn out pounding sub-metal tempo which has been heard too many times to mention. A cover of Bob Seger's 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man' is easily dismissed, followed by 'Bad On Fords And Chevrolets' which is co-written by Ronnie Dunn of Brooks And Dunn fame. This one has some verve at least, token boogie with a touch of Molly Hatchet about it. This is the type of driving rock Hagar majored in once upon a time and he can still pull it off as heard here (not that he wrote it). Taking predictability to the extremes is a cover of Jimmy Buffet's 'Margaritaville' where Toby Keith assists Hagar on vocals. I'm surprised it took this long for Hagar to cover this played to death track. It must have taken five minutes to conceive and record, with Hagar reverting to his increasingly labored 'beach' persona. Reinforcing this theme is 'All We Need Is An Island' with its tribal connotations and relaxed acoustic guitars. Heart's Nancy Wilson appears here and it meanders along with little to recommend it. The backing of Schon, Anthony and Smith return for a 'live' studio performance of the old chestnut 'Going Down' which is utterly routine, despite the cast of characters. The best cover of this song continues to be Jeff Beck's way back in 1972.

In Summary
There's nothing intrinsically fascinating or crucial about this album, but that was never the intention most likely. Instead it's more of the same from Hagar, with nods to all eras of his career, but not with any real conviction. The covers are kept to a minimum but the 'Margeritaville' inclusion really devalues this due to its predictability. Obviously Hagar and his chums were having a laugh in the studio recording this, giving it a novelty value but little else.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Sammy Hagar 
#1 | AOR Lee on October 02 2013 06:13:35
Sounde like one to steer clear of Alun, I reckon I'll hunt down that Thief soundtrack instead
#2 | Eric on October 02 2013 12:05:39
Remember the hype surrounding Chickenfoot? 'The next Led Zeppelin' or something as ridiculous? Eegads.
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