POISON – Crack A Smile… And More!

Poison – Crack A Smile… And More! (2000, Capitol Records)

1. “Best Thing You Ever Had” … 4:19
2. “Shut Up, Make Love” … 3:52
3. “Baby Gets Around a Bit” … 3:37
4. “Cover of the Rolling Stone” … 3:09
5. “Be the One” … 5:39
6. “Mr. Smiley” … 2:43
7. “Sexual Thing” … 3:38
8. “Lay Your Body Down” … 5:28
9. “No Ring, No Gets” … 3:27
10. “That’s the Way I Like It” … 3:40
11. “Tragically Unhip” … 2:54
12. “Doin’ as I Seen on My TV” … 2:53
13. “One More for the Bone” … 3:18
14. “Set You Free” … 3:56
15. “Crack a Smile” [unfinished demo] … 3:46
16. “Face the Hangman” … 3:21
17. “Your Mama Don’t Dance” [live] …  3:13
18. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” [live] … 4:38
19. “Unskinny Bop” [live] … 2:12
20. “Talk Dirty to Me” [live] … 4:06

Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Blues Saraceno – Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
C.C. DeVille – Guitar (Tracks 16-20)

Produced by: John Purdell, Duane Baron, Kevin Flaherty, Tom Werman

An album that was considered to be “lost” for sometime. It was recorded over througout 1994 and 1995 (sessions came to halt when Bret Michaels was involved in a serious car accident), but with alternative music all the rage and feel good party rock on the verge of extinction, Capitol Records decided to cut their losses and release a greatest hits in 1996 instead of this. Who knows how this album would’ve done had it been released when it was originally planned to, but perhaps Capitol made the wiser choice going with the hits because that particular collection, called Poison’s Greatest Hits: 1986-1996, has gone double platinum since being released.

Well, after all the bootlegging going on with this album, Capitol finally decided to cash-in when hair bands were making a comeback and finally release it. The album debuted at #131 on the Billboard charts. =( I’m pretty sure if Poison released an album today it would easily crack (no pun intended) the Top 30, given the success of Bret’s Rock of Love show. Hey, if their Poison’d! all-covers album can debut at #32, I *know* a brand new release can at least match that.

There’s not a whole lot on here that matches the band’s glory days, nothing as flashy or as catchy, but it’s still a solid album all the way through. It’s not dark like Native Tongue was, but still retains a bit of that rougher and bluesy sound but still has a fun, light-hearted vibe. “Sexual Thing” and “Lay Your Body Down” come closest to the old days, and were actually included on Greatest Hits, probably for that very same reason.

C.C. DeVille is still absent (he was replaced by Richie Kotzen for Native Tongue) as this was Blues Saraceno’s one and only album with the band.

In response to the bootlegging, Capitol countered by added bonus tracks to this release. That’s where the “…And More!” comes from. EIGHT BONUS TRACKS! Now *that’s* how you do it! The first two songs are outtakes from the Crack A Smile sessions, the song “Crack A Smile” is an “unfinished demo” for the album (Aren’t all demos unfinished?), and then we get an outtake from the Open Up And Say.. Ahh! sessions called “Face the Hangman” and then the other four tracks are from the band’s 1990 appearance on MTV Unplugged.

Overall, the album was definitely worth the purchase price when I got it, given that it’s packed with 20 songs, 8 of which are extras.

Highlights: “Best Thing You Ever Had”, “Baby Gets Around A Bit”, “Be the One”, “Sexual Thing”, “Lay Your Body Down”, “Your Mama Don’t Dance [live], “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” [live], “Unskinny Bop” [live], “Talk Dirty to Me” [live]


Posted on April 18, 2009, in Poison and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “Cover of a Rolling Stone” is one of my favorite cover songs ever. I think Poison rocked it out.

  2. After hearing Sexual Thing and Lay Your Body Down on Poisons Greatest Hits, I knew I had to have this album. I think I pre-ordered it. Anyway, I was NOT disappointed as this is a solid rock album from beginning to end. It’s hard to believe this album was released nine years ago already.

  3. I had a boot of Crack A Smile for a long time, at least 3 or 4 years before the official release. I ended up putting it up on Ebay the same day the official announcement came that this was getting a proper release. I think I cleard $75+ on that one! Capitol Records had no choice but to release this because of the success with the greatest hits disc, it still sells well, and the reunion tour in 1999. ‘Sexual Thing’ is the best song on the album for me and I’ll bet that Posion could have survived the mid-’90s if this was released on time. I have to agree with the Misfit, I can’t stand that cover song.

    Heavy Metal Addiction

  4. Luckily, Bret says NO MORE COVERS for Poison. 😀

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