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Album review

Sammy Hagar 

Sammy Hagar & Friends

added: 15 Sep 2013 // release date: 30 Sep 2013 // label: Frontiers
reviewer: Andy Snipper

Sammy Hagar - Sammy Hagar & Friends - Printable version
This is his first solo album in 5 years and he hasn’t stinted on the friends or on his own powerful and swaggering presentation either.
When you can muster buddies like Joe Satriani, Kid Rock and Taj Mahal the result is hardly likely to fail but when you add in Mr Hagar’s noted talents as well you are going to have something very listenable to. (I make no apologies here for mentioning the guests on each track as this is a ‘… And Friends’ album and they are crucial to the sounds herein)

I have been listening to Sammy Hagar since his days with Montrose, through Van Halen and latterly with the Chickenfoot supergroup and he has never changed his full-on and all-power method of delivery but, to paraphrase an old friend, “if you have a sports car don’t hook it up to a tractor” – his style of music has been in and out of fashion for years but Hagar has remained true to himself and all the better for it.

The album covers many varied forms from the opener ‘Winding Down’ which features Taj Mahal on a roots Blues stomper with some dynamite slide to the sheer heaviosity of ‘Not Going Down’ which add his old Montrose bandmates Bill Church on bass and Danny Carmassi on drums – and we are only at track 2!
He follows that up with a surprising version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ which has Neal Schon and the Chilli Peppers (and Chickenfoot) rhythm section of Michael Antony & Chad Smith gusting – who would have thought it would make such a fine rock track?

Personal favourites abound through the album – the single ‘Knockdown Dragout’ with Kid Rock and Joe Satriani which kicks some righteous butt or a great version of Bob Seger’s ‘Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man’.
The country side is met by ‘Margaritaville’ - a surprising success with Toby Keith on vocals and ‘All We Need Is An Island’ with Nancy Wilson from Heart and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart on percussion.
The album closes on a monster – ‘Going Down’. A massive headbanger with Neal Schon and Anthony & Smith again. This was the first take and nailed it – all brio and braggadocio and just impossible not to air-guitar to!

Hagar has been around forever it seems and he has made some great (and some not-so-great albums) and I would say this ranks up there with his better work.
Please excuse me now, I’m cuing ‘Going Down’ up again.



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4 stars

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