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CINDERELLA – Night Songs

Cinderella – Night Songs (1986, Mercury Records)

1. “Night Songs” … 4:03
2. “Shake Me” … 3:44
3. “Nobody’s Fool” … 4:49
4. “Nothin’ for Nothin'” … 3:33
5. “Once Around the Ride” … 3:22
6. “Hell on Wheels” … 2:49
7. “Somebody Save Me” … 3:16
8. “In From The Outside” … 4:07
9. “Push Push” … 2:52
10. “Back Home Again” … 3:30

Tom Keifer – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jeff LaBar – Guitar
Eric Brittingham – Bass
Fred Coury – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Jon Bon Jovi – Backing Vocals (“Nothing for Nothin'” and “In From the Outside”)
Barry Bennedetta – Guitar
Jeff Paris – Keyboards
Jody Cortez – Drums
Jim Drnec – Drums

Produced by: Andy Johns

Wow, check out that cover. These guys were trying REALLY hard to fit in with the rest of the 80s glam bands. As for sound, they were doing that too. It’s still sounds like the Cinderalla I’m familiar with (Keifer’s voice is unmistakable) but with less hard rockin’ blues and more hair metal.

This is a solid debut from one of the 80s most underrated hard rock bands. It’s not the generic hair metal release that I’ve seen others try to peg it as. A few songs (“Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me”, “In From the Outside”) show what the band would later become on Long Cold Winter and Heartbreak Station.”Nobody’s Fool” was the band’s biggest hit, and it’s good, but it’s been used soooooo many times on 80s rock compilations, I think I could go the rest of my life without hearing it and be okay.

Mercury labelmate Jon Bon Jovi sings backing vocals for two songs. In addition to that, he helped the band get noticed by Mercury and Bon Jovi took the band out on their Slippery When Wet tour. This no doubt helped propel Night Songs to the triple platinum status that it has attained.

Highlights: “Night Songs”, “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Nothin’ for Nothin'”, “Somebody Save Me”, “In From the Outside”

FREAKSHOW – Freakshow

Freakshow – Freakshow (2009, Retrospect Records)

1. “Welcome to the Freakshow” … 3:27
2. “Everyone” … 2:53
3. “You Who Wins” … 2:35
4. “It’s Really Over” … 3:21
5. “Burning Me” … 2:58
6. “Four Leaf Clover” … 2:53
7. “Looking Back At Me” … 4:13
8. “Mindgame” … 2:51
9. “Mistreat Me” … 2:41
10. “Ripper” … 2:44
11. “Mistaken” … 2:48

Marcus Allen Christopher – Vocals, Guitar
Jeff LaBar – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tony Franklin – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Ronnie Borchert

Another outstanding release from Retrospect Records, which despite primarily being an 80s rock/metal reissue label, are proving themselves when it comes to new material as well (see Wildstreet).

Freakshow is a supergroup of sorts featuring M!SS CRAZY’s Marcus Allen Christopher, Cinderella’s Jeff LaBar, Quiet Riot’s Frankie Banali. Rounding out the group is Tony Franklin, who is no stranger to supergroups, having played in The Firm, a collaboration between Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page. He also has been in Blue Murder, Whitesnake and played on Rehab, the final Quiet Riot album.

Given the band members, the sound of Freakshow is not what I expected. I was expecting a more classic rock/80s rock vibe and that sound is not entirely present here. In fact, the album very much has a fresh hard rock sound, just check out the incredibly infectious, mean and Zeppelinesque “It’s Really Over”. In a world that was fair and just, that song would be all over radio right now.

On the surface, the band looks like a bit of a mismatch. Marcus Allen Christopher sticks out like a sore thumb with his face paint that makes him look like he belongs in a Norwegian black metal band, but all that really counts is the music and the music is great. I also love his voice, which can really wail and sometimes reminds me of Robert Plant.

Hopefully, this isn’t just a one-off project of Christopher’s (he wrote all the songs), because this is one of the year’s best releases and I look forward to more Freakshow albums in the future.

Highlights: “Everyone”, “You Who Wins”, “It’s Really Over”, “Burning Me”, “Looking Back At Me”, “Mindgame”, “Mistreat Me”, “Ripper”

CINDERELLA – Long Cold Winter

Cinderella – Long Cold Winter (1988, Mercury Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart At The Seams” … (5:23)
2. “Gypsy Road” … (4:05)
3. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” … (5:56)
4. “The Last Mile” …  (3:25)
5. “Second Wind” … (3:57)
6. “Long Cold Winter” … (5:22)
7. “If You Don’t Like It” … (4:13)
8. “Coming Home” … (4:55)
9. “Fire And Ice” … (3:19)
10. “Take Me Back” … (3:16)

Tom Keifer – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
Jeff LaBar – Guitar
Eric Brittingham – Bass, Backing Vocals
Fred Coury – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Jay Levin – Steel Guitar
Rick Criniti – Piano, Organ, Synthesizer
Kurt Shore – Keyboard
John Webster – Keyboard
Cozy Powell – Drums
Denny Carmassi – Drums
Paulinho Da Costa – Percussion

Produced by: Andy Johns

Cinderella, just like Ratt, are an incredibly underrated band. They’re one of my favorites from the 80s scene and they weren’t just a good glam/hair band, they were a good rock band… Period. Long Cold Winter is one of the finest releases from the whole glam/hair era. This is one of my favorite albums out of my whole collection.

Though I certainly already knew their biggest hit (and an essential power ballad), “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”, my first exposure to Cinderella as a whole was by picking up their 1997 greatest hits compilation, Once Upon A…, at Wal-Mart on cassette (!!!) in 1998 as I was scooping up any and all hair band album I could get my hands on during that time… even if that meant compilations.

Eventually, that “best of” introduction led me to picking up this album.

Highlights: “Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart At The Seams”, “Gypsy Road”, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”, “The Last Mile”, “Second Wind”, “Long Cold Winter”, “Coming Home”

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