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Vamp Le Stat – Bloodline

Vamp Le Stat – Bloodline [Limited Edition] (2010, XXX Records America)
Original Release: 1993

1. “Madame Blue”
2. “Swing Child”
3. “Bitch”
4. “She’s Not In Love Anymore”
5. “Guns 4 Hire”
6. “Chain Around My Heart”
7. “Madame Blue” [Studio reference mix]
8. “Swing Child” [Studio reference mix]
9. “She’s Not In Love Anymore” [Studio reference mix]
10. “Guns 4 Hire” [Studio reference mix]
11. “Chain Around My Heart” [Studio reference mix]

Jimmy Tuttle – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jeff Jones – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Brian Boozer – Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Bret Blackburn – Drums

Producer: Jeff Jones

Vamp Le Stat is a L.A. glam band that got their start in the early ’90s. In 1992, Jeff Jones (you can read my review of his RockHard ’86-’96 compilation here) joined the band and that is when they recorded and released the extremely limited pressing of 2,000 copies for Bloodline. According to XXX’s website, the full title of this album is Bloodline: Rites of Passage but I don’t see the subtitle anywhere on the CD or the packaging. Apparently, there is a loose concept to this album as it deals with a vampire stripper named Suzie. The story continued in 1994’s Bloodline 2: Thrill Of the Kill which I have not heard yet and was just finally released to the public in 2010.

Although Jimmy Tuttle is not the best vocalist his voice suits the sound of the band. Speaking of that sound, I don’t want anyone thinking they are a slick glam act like Poison or anything. There’s a bit more street cred to their sound. Vamp Le Stat comes across as a really solid rock band you might expect to hear playing in a bar or strip club. It’s a trashy bluesy glam sound, something a bit more raw than the popular commercial glam acts of the day and the only band that comes to mind for comparison is Babylon A.D.

All of the studio mixes are bonus tracks and were not a part of the original issue. I don’t have the best trained ear when it comes to telling the difference between certain mixes and with remastered albums There are some differences I’ve been able to pick up and have found myself enjoying the studio mix of “Swing Child” better than the original version. Still, it’s always nice to have some additional tracks whenever possible.

Cutting the album down to its core, there are six songs here. 5 of which stick out in their own way (“Guns 4 Hire” is a fast paced rocker but doesn’t really work for me). “Madame Blue” starts off with a bit of atmosphere and keyboards setting up the album’s concept before the guitars kick in and set forth with a trashed up bar band stomp. “Swing Child” is another good bar room rocker. “Bitch” is the song with the most groove and how can you not want to sing along to “baby, you’re a biiiiiiiiitch”? Next up is the ballad “She’s Not In Love Anymore”. It’s a good ballad but this is where Tuttle seems to suffer a bit on the vocals. I just don’t think ballads are his strong suit, he’s better off singing trashy rockers. “Guns 4 Hire” features some impressive guitar work from Jeff Jones but as a song it’s just kinda there. “Chain Around My Heart” closes out the original album is again starts off with some atmospheric keyboard work and transitions well into a dirty rocker.

Hardcore glam fans will dig checking out this obscure release.

Highlights: “Madame Blue”, “Bitch”, “She’s Not In Love Anymore”, “Chain Around My Heart”, “Swing Child” [studio reference mix]

Jeff Jones – RockHard ’86-’96

Jeff Jones – RockHard ’86-’96 (2010, XXX Records America)

1. “Gonna Get Wild”
2. “Madame Blue”
3. “Mississippi Wine”
4. “Caught In the Heartbreak”
5. “Don’t Drop It”
6. “Powerdrive”
7. “Hot n’ Love”
8. “Bitch”
9. “Into The Night”
10. “Warning From The Sky”
11. “Chain Around My Heart”
12. “No Way Out”
13. “Breakin’ Out” [EMI demo version]

Jeff Jones is a songwriter/guitarist/producer that has been in a number bands over the years. He was a founding member of St. Elmo’s Fire (formed in 1978 in California) and played in the glam band Vamp Le Stat in the early ’90s. He also has worked a solo artist and has started up XXX Records America in order to reissue his previous works and to release new material as well. This album is a compilation that spotlights his work in St. Elmo’s Fire, Vamp Le Stat and solo material.

I’ll be honest with you, I am not familiar with Jeff Jones, St. Elmo’s Fire or Vamp Le Stat. In fact, I’d never heard of any of them so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I popped this disc in. I really didn’t know where this guy got off issuing a compilation when I’d never heard of him! Truth be told, I’m happy to have this disc in my collection. This is an album that takes you back to the glory days of the Sunset Strip! The album is chock full of enough glam and hair to make you wonder just why none of these bands caught a major break. I could understand Vamp Le Stat not making it in the early ’90s but it is the St. Elmo’s Fire material is strong enough that it should’ve built up a buzz for the band in the ’80s.

Hair metal junkies will definitely get their fix on this one. This isn’t polished pop-metal, it’s no frills hair METAL. RockHard is a good collection of raw Sunset Stripped rock ‘n’ roll and I’m interested in hearing the rest of XXX’s reissues. So yes, Jeff Jones has some nerve… and I’m glad he does!

Highlights: “Gonna Get Wild”, “Madame Blue”, “Caught In The Heartbreak”, “Powerdrive”, “Hot n’ Love”, “Bitch”, “Chain Around My Heart”

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