Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 11 - Montrose 'Montrose'

No real story as to how I was turned on to Montrose. I just remember digging what I heard from Sammy Hagar with his ‘Standing Hampton’ release and I just backtracked from there.

I remember how the guitar gods of the early 80s were talking about Ronnie Montrose and all I knew was the first Gamma album that I tried with a fraction of a penny when I joined a record club like RCA/BMG or Columbia House.

I knew “Bad Motor Scooter” was a kick ass tune, but when I heard “Rock Candy” playing before some early 80s rock show at the Greensboro Coliseum I knew that I needed the first Montrose album.

The production on this album still holds up well. The stereo mix makes it quite atmospheric at times. And I love the solo that’s recorded backwards on “Space Station #5”. I dig the boogie bit on “I Don’t Want It” and the decent take on the classic song “Good Rockin’ Tonight”.

“One Thing on My Mind” is the only track that I would throw away. It sounds a bit lifeless and paint-by-the-numbers, but the mix on the lead solo that always gives me second thoughts. Thankfully, “Make It Last” closes out the album on a strong note. The song has that classic Hagar riff style and Ronnie Montrose, the highly underrated guitarist that he was, delivers some mighty fine slide guitar.

Personally, I thought Tim would trash this one. But he managed to surprise me a bit.

And just the other day while giving this album another listen I posted this on Facebook… “You know who doesn’t get enough respect? Sammy Hagar”

And he really doesn’t!

The guy is a great guitarist and an even better vocalist. And like Tim mentioned in his review, I will admit that I like Van Hagar just a tad better than the David Lee Roth stuff. For me, they’re like too different bands. The Roth years remind me of an unruly teenager that’s rude and vulgar while the Hagar years bring not only a better vocalist but, another guitarist and a songwriter that gave the band a more “grown up” feel.

The first Montrose album and ‘Paper Money’ are a couple of albums that every hard rocker should have in their collection.

And let’s not forget the greatness of Ronnie Montrose either. The day that I heard that he killed himself, I made a point of giving the first Montrose and Gamma albums a listen again.

If you haven’t discovered those gems, give them a listen on Spotify.

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