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POISON – Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg

Poison – Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg (2006, Sony BMG Music)

1. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” … 3:56
2. “I Want Action” … 3:40
3. “Something to Believe In” … 6:32
4. “Love on the Rocks” … 3:32
5. “Fallen Angel” … 4:22
6. “Let It Play” … 4:05
7. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” … 4:42
8. “Unskinny Bop” … 3:58
9. “Nothin’ But a Good Time” … 4:22
10. “Talk Dirty to Me” … 3:56

Band:
Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
C.C. DeVille – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Richie Zito & Poison

Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg is no-frills cheap cash-in product put forth by the record label meant to be sold at supermarkets, pharmacy chains and gas stations all across America. For the extremely low price tag, it’s a really good representation of Poison’s solid live performances and their virtually set in stone setlist.

Poison is never going to win any points for precision, but that’s not what they’re about anyway. This album captures their loose rock ‘n’ roll sound perfectly. There’s always been a certain amount of charm about their slightly sloppy “fun comes first” sound. As Bret once said, “it ain’t perfect, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll!”

All of the live tracks were recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina from the band’s 1999-2000 reunion tour and the album is basically a stripped down version of 2000’s Power to the People album. The only difference is this album leaves off the 5 studio songs Poison had recorded and it also cuts out the live solos.

I picked my copy up at Walgreens on a whim for $6.99.

www.poisonweb.com
www.myspace.com/poison

Buy Great Big Hits Live! Bootleg at Amazon.com

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
BONUS TRACKS
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

Band:
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]

www.poisonweb.com
www.myspace.com/poison

POISON – Poison’d!

[A review originally published here June 22, 2007, on The Metal Misfit: A Blog of Pop Culture & Life. I have made some format changes to fit in better with the Metal Excess format, but I have left the review portion untouched.]

Poison – Poison’d! (2007, Capitol Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Little Willy” [Sweet cover] … 3:18
2. “Suffragette City” [David Bowie cover] … 2:57
3. “I Never Cry” [Alice Cooper cover] … 3:33
4. “I Need To Know” [Tom Petty cover] … 2:21
5. “Can’t You See” [The Marshall Tucker Band cover] … 4:57
6. “What I Like About You” [The Romantics cover] … 2:59
7. “Dead Flowers” [Rolling Stones cover] … 4:21
8. “Just What I Needed” [The Cars cover] … 3:36
9. “Rock ‘N Roll All Night” [KISS cover] … 3:35
10. “Squeeze Box” [The Who cover] … 2:30
11. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim (1986 Demo)” [Jim Croce cover] … 3:06
12. “Your Momma Don’t Dance” [Loggins & Messina cover] … 3:01
13. “We’re An American Band” [Grandfunk Railroad cover] … 3:09
BONUS TRACK
14. “Sexy Back” [Justin Timberlake cover] … 3:34

Band:
Bret Michaels – Vocals, Harmonica
C.C. DeVille – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bobby Dall – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rikki Rockett – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Don Was (Tracks 1-8, 13, 14), Rick Rubin (Track 9), Thom Panunzio (Track 10), Ric Browde (Track 11), Tom Werman (Track 12)

Summer. It’s that time of year where the so-called “eighties” acts release an album to get some hype going their summer tours. Usually, a greatest hits or live album will do the job so that these bands can promote & sell *something* while on the road, but cover albums are always another standby for bands that don’t feel like writing new songs. Covers albums in general are nothing to get excited about. As I said, they’re either done by a band that doesn’t want to sit down and write original material OR they’re released to fill time while the public awaits original material.

Luckily, Poison delivers with the same good time fun that their original works are known for. Sure, Bret Michael’s voice has gotten a little rougher with time, but so do calluses. That’s life. Even at his vocal peak, Bret was never going to out sing Rob Halford or Jeff Scott Soto, and he does a serviceable job here.

Poison seems quite at home covering “Little Willy” and Bowie’s “Suffragette City”, the first two tracks that get the album off to a great start. I was also pleasantly surprised to see them cover (and do a good job of covering) Alice Cooper’s “I Never Cry”. Bret’s twang has never been more present than on that song. Other top picks include a rockin’ version of “I Need To Know”, “Can’t You See”, “Rock ‘N Roll All Night” (a song I’ve long since only had a mp3 version of), and of course one of their biggest hits… “Your Momma Don’t Dance”.

For all the fun this album brings (it’s a great summertime album to go crusin’ to) I do have a few gripes here. Tracks 9-13 were all previously released songs. I would have much preferred Poison to have picked and recorded some new covers. “‘Rock ‘N Roll All Night” is from 1987’s Less Than Zero movie soundtrack, “‘Squeeze Box”’ comes from the band’s last studio album 2001’s Hollyweird, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” was released in 2006 as a 1986 demo track with the Poison album reissues, “Your Momma Don’t Dance” was a huge hit for the band from Open Up and Say… Ahhh and “We’re An American Band” comes from last year’s 20th Anniversary greatest hits collection.

“Your Momma Don’t Dance” easily stands out on this album as the best track. It’s everything hair metal was in the 80s, slick and polished and in your face. The newer covers have a more raw and punchy sound, which while it works for some tracks (“Suffragette City”, “I Never Cry”, “I Need To Know”), it feels out of place on 80s pop hits like “What I Like About You” and certainly on The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”.

If you picked up the Wal-Mart version of the album, it included a bonus track featuring a cover of Mr. JT’s “Sexy Back”, which is actually pretty entertaining and fairly heavy sounding (well, heavy for Poison covering a Timberlake song).

Call it 7 out of 10.

www.poisonweb.com
www.myspace.com/poison

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