Finally a Reissue!
Michael Pope | Clinton, MS United States | 05/31/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Flashback: I bought this album on cassette outside of Dallas on a church choir trip in the summer of 1991. One of the most poignant memories of my youth was listening to "Jade's Song" and the opening to "Winter's Call" in the dead of night riding through Dallas with those lit-up skyscrapers. It lasted only a couple of minutes, but that moment has been burned into my memory ever since then...So, almost 20 years later I'm surfing around on Amazon and it just hits me: "Why don't I look up Badlands?" Of course, it's a 25-dollar selection. No matter, I bought it anyway. When it comes to perfection, money is not an obstacle.
In it's most basic description, Badlands is a blues-rock band. They can (roughly) be compared to Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin. The first Badlands line-up was formed with guitarist Jake E. Lee (of Ozzy Osbourne fame) and vocalist Ray Gillen (RIP 1993). Add to that duo the drummer Eric Singer (who will join KISS later), and bass player Greg Chaisson. They managed to eek out a second album, "Voodoo Highway", and then Gillen was supposedly fired and Eric Singer soon left. The "Dusk" album was released posthumously in 1998.
But on to the freshman eponymous album. It's a sleek and sexy piece of art with all the right trimmings. The opener, "High Wire" is a fast-paced rocker with a groovy middle eight. The next cut is Badland's commercial hook and single, "Dreams in the Dark." As far as 80's hard rock singles go, it is actually quite catchy and addictive. It's one of those songs you catch yourself humming in the elevator. The real one-two punch of the album is the instrumental ditty "Jade's Song", which I think serves as an intro to "Winter's Call". This is one of my personal favorite songs in my entire music library. Haunting and sensual, it is the cornerstone of the entire album. "Dancing on the Edge" and "Hard Driver" are two more stompers in the vein of the opening track. Listen closely and you can hear Ray's zippo flick in the opening bars of "Dancing on the Edge"..."Rumblin' Train" is a gritty, raunchy, Howlin' Wolf-inspired example of whiteboy blues. Jake E. Lee really shreds it here. "Devil's Stomp" is the age-old story of making a deal with the devil (gotta have this on a blues album - it's a staple). This song also has Ole Scratch's famous quote, "It feels so good to be so bad." The album closes with "Seasons", a 6-minute long mid-tempo number about aging and loss. The "Bonus Track" (which even the 1991 cassette I have includes) is "Ball & Chain" (great line: "The girl has got a chain wrapped around my heart; Help me, Jesus, to the promised land...Gimme that Ball and Chain"). Great syncopation on rhythm guitar during the solo.
The album cover is simple, but effective. It's a black and white band photo topped by the band's name in crimson. The image exudes one word: Attitude. Produced and managed by Paul O'Neill (Savatage guru), the sound is pretty clear. Thanks to whichever music industry exec thought reissuing this was a good idea. You should get a huge bonus."
An underrated hard rock gem is finally reissued!
Carlos A. Ramirez | Santa Monica, CA | 05/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Featuring former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee and the wonderfully gifted Ray Gillen on vocals, Badlands were poised for arena headlining status. Rounding out the band was the killer rhythm section of drummer Eric Singer (Kiss, The Cult) and bassist Greg Chaisson. While other "all-star" projects looked good on paper, Badlands actually delivered on the kind of material that their collective powers promised.
This self-titled album is essential for any fan of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and the David Coverdale lead version of Deep Purple. The 2 singles from the album, "Dreams in the Dark," and "Winter's Call," received moderate airplay on MTV, and the album went on to sell somewhere in the 400K range. That said, their next album, 'Voodoo Highway,' failed to connect with a wide audience. Badlands started having personality issues within their ranks, and the band would end up breaking up after recording a 3rd album called 'Dusk.'
While their later output is worth investing in, it's 'Badlands' that should be celebrated for the hard rock classic that it is. The fine folks at Rock Candy Records have just reissued the album in a remastered version with tons of photos and extensive liner notes. There is also a bonus song called "Ball and Chain," that is worthy of the rest of the powerful tracks on the original version of the record. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up now!"
The way it should be.
Music.Man | 06/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I use to have this on cassette, in fact I still do. Now I finally have it on disc. The liner notes are interesting, but really unnecessary. The thing that makes this release shine is the music. Four very talented musicians make one helluva record. Jake E. Lee has always been a awesome guitarist. I wish he would reform Badlands and play again. I know Ray has passed and that was a tragedy, but he would understand. BUY THIS CD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"