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Baton Rouge - 1990 Shake Your Soul

ARTIST: Baton Rouge
ALBUM: Shake Your Soul
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 82073-2
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird, WOU-2073


LINEUP: Kelly Keeling - vocals, guitar, keyboards * Lance Bulen - guitar, vocals * Corky McClellan - drums * Scott Bender - bass * David Cremin - keyboards, guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Doctor * 02 Walks Like A Woman * 03 Big Trouble * 04 It's About Time * 05 Bad Time Comin' Down * 06 The Midge (Instr) * 07 Baby's So Cool * 08 Young Hearts * 09 Melenie * 10 There Was A Time * 11 Hot Blood Movin' * 12 Spread Like Fire

Here's a band from the late 80's and early 90's that came from the same battleground as Blue Tears. From Mississippi, these boys previously went under the names Voices, Cheetah and Meridian, and came to be in 1986. The two chief instigators of BR were guitarist Lance Bulen and singer Kelly Keeling, who then moved the band to Los Angeles to be closer to the action. Going under the name of Cheetah at the time, MCA signed them up to a publishing deal, and a demo was eventually recorded. But it was Atlantic who eventually stepped up to the plate and signed them. During this phase, Vic Pepe and Jack Ponti (who had been involved with Bon Jovi and Surgin) got involved as writers and producers. It's this major label debut 'Shake Your Soul' that set Baton Rouge on their way.

The Songs
There's big hair, big sound and flash harry imagery, as Baton Rouge tear it up on the first couple of tracks. There's a bit of Steelheart in the opener 'Doctor', while 'Walks Like A Woman' is straight out of the MTV era, very catchy in its own right. There's nothing wrong with the booming 'Big Trouble', which is as enjoyable as the first two tracks. 'It's About Time' is pretty cool too, while 'Bad Time Comin' Down' is teenage anthem material from the era. 'Baby's So Cool' brings back memories of all those hair bands during the 1990 timeframe, grooving and rocking in the same instant. There's no real let-down in tempo or style, as songs like 'Hot Blood Movin' and 'Spread Like Fire' demonstrate. However, 'There Was A Time' is the album's change-up moment, a power-ballad.

In Summary
Interestingly, Baton Rouge formed and reformed at least three times right up until 2009. At the time I bought this CD, I didn't really appreciate it enough to hold onto it. Years later, 'Shake Your Soul' is getting a bit of love, and I may even seek it out again on Ebay. The band returned the following year with 'Lights Out In The Neighbourhood', before calling it day, and then re-assembling in 1997 for a new album on MTM Music, though in reality, this wasn't really an official band reunion. Just Keeling singing on a bunch of Jack Ponti demos. Of course, Kelly Keeling is back in the spotlight again too, with his new 2015 solo CD 'Mind Radio' just being released by Frontiers. I think it's high time some of you reinvestigate Baton Rouge once more.

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#1 | george_the_jack on August 02 2015 15:01:10
Agree this is a very good album. The band I saw a couple of years ago at Firefest had nothing to do with the excellent and well-polished hard rock one can hear in this album.
#2 | swazi on August 02 2015 22:59:51
That was FF 2013 and I completely agree, their performance was utter crap! Huge disappointment for me! Back in the days they were a great band.
#3 | rob garcia on August 03 2015 17:50:59
Without doubt one of the best albums of that year. Great vocalist,great songs,great production job and supreme backing vocals.It carries the whole package....if this is what you ask for in a hard rock album the this guys are right up your alley.
#4 | spawn71 on August 08 2015 15:46:30
I still like this album very much: great songs with big refrains, great singer! For me, a lost jewel from the golden era!

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