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Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare
1975, Atlantic Records

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1. “Welcome to My Nightmare”
2. “Devil’s Food”
3. “The Black Widow”
4. “Some Folks”
5. “Only Women Bleed”
6. “Department of Youth”
7. “Cold Ethyl”
8. “Years Ago”
9. “Steven”
10. “The Awakening”
11. “Escape”

Why can I say? No knock on the Alice Cooper group but this is the best album to feature the Alice Cooper name. It’s a shame that the original band members couldn’t have carried on together but with the songwriting help of producer Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter a classic album was indeed delivered here.

I never really stopped to think about why this album was released through Atlantic Records while the original Alice Cooper group and the rest of Alice’s solo albums up through 1983 were all released on Warner Bros. Records. What I discovered is the fact that it was a solo release came into play in addition to Welcome to My Nightmare being considered as somewhat of a soundtrack for a TV special and stage show.

Conceived with live performances in mind, this album features Alice at his most theatrical. “Welcome to My Nightmare” is one of the all-time great openers for a live show. “Devil’s Food”, with its audio effects, serve to take you only further in the nightmare. “Only Women Bleed” is the type of classic ballad that Alice has tried to replicate many times throughout his career. “Department of Youth”, “The Black Widow” and “Cold Ethyl” are fist-pumping rockers, with the lyrics to “Cold Ethyl” delivering some truly sick humor. “Some Folks” and “The Awakening” take their influence from show tunes and musicals. “Years Ago” is just plain haunting with Alice giving creepy performance and “Steven” is more of the same and one of my favorite Alice songs of all time. “Escape” closes the album on a more upbeat note.

I don’t have a personal connection with this album like I do with Trash (my first Alice album) but there’s no denying that Welcome to My Nightmare is Alice Cooper’s most consistent and greatest release. There is no filler here. This is the album that solidified Alice as a legend. Definitely worthy of cranking up on Halloween!

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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper [Review]

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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper
1999, Rhino Records

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Disc 1
“Don’t Blow Your Mind” – The Spiders (1966) – 2:36
“Hitch Hike” – The Spiders (1965) – 2:01
“Why Don’t You Love Me” – The Spiders (1965) – 1:57
“Lay Down And Die, Goodbye” (Original Version) – The Nazz (1967) – 2:07
“Nobody Likes Me” – (demo version – 1968) – 3:23
“Levity Ball” – (studio version – 1968) – 4:45
“Reflected” – (Pretties for You – 1969) – 3:14
“Mr. and Misdemeanor” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 3:00
“Refrigerator Heaven” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 1:54
“Caught in a Dream” – (single version – 1971) – 2:55
“I’m Eighteen” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:58
“Is It My Body?” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:39
“Ballad of Dwight Fry” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 6:34
“Under My Wheels” – (Killer – 1971) – 2:47
“Be My Lover” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:21
“Desperado” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:29
“Dead Babies” – (Killer – 1971) – 5:42
“Killer” – (Killer – 1971) – 7:05
“Call It Evil” – (demo – 1971) – 3:28
“Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets” – (School’s Out – 1972) – 4:39
“School’s Out” – (single version – 1972) – 3:31

Disc 3

“It’s Hot Tonight” – (Lace and Whiskey – 1977) – 3:21
“You and Me” – (single version – 1977) – 3:25
“I Miss You” – (Billion Dollar Babies – Battle Axe – 1977) – 3:31
“No Time for Tears” – (Sextette film outtake – 1977) – 2:59
“Because (featuring The Bee Gees)” – (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film – 1978) – 2:45
“From the Inside” – (single version – 1979) – 3:30
“How You Gonna See Me Now” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 3:53
“Serious” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 2:41
“No Tricks” – (single B-side – 1978) – 4:15
“Road Rats” – (Roadie film – 1980) – 2:43
“Clones (We’re All)” – (single version – 1980) – 2:51
“Pain” – (Flush the Fashion – 1980) – 4:10
“Who Do You Think We Are” – (single version – 1981) – 3:05
“Look at You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear” – (demo – 1981) – 3:18
“For Britain Only” – (UK-only single – 1982) – 3:02
“I Am the Future” – (single version – 1982) – 3:45
“Tag, You’re It” – (Zipper Catches Skin – 1982) – 2:52
“Former Lee Warmer” – (DaDa – 1983) – 4:07
“I Love America” – (DaDa – 1983) – 3:47
“Identity Crisis” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 2:50
“See Me in the Mirror” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 3:12
“Hard Rock Summer” – (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 2:30

Disc 2
“Hello Hooray” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 4:15
“Elected” – (single version – 1973) – 3:43
“Billion Dollar Babies” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:39
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:07
“I Love the Dead” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 5:07
“Slick Black Limousine” – (Flexi-disc from New Musical Express – 1973) – 4:27
“Respect for the Sleepers” – (demo – 1973) – 3:48
“Muscle of Love” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:45
“Teenage Lament ’74” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:52
“Working Up a Sweat” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:31
“Man with the Golden Gun” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:13
“I’m Flash” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 2:47
“Space Pirates” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 3:30
“Welcome to My Nightmare” – (single version – 1975) – 2:54
“Only Women Bleed” – (single version – 1975) – 3:17
“Cold Ethyl” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 2:54
“Department of Youth” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:17
“Escape” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:14
“I Never Cry” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 3:43
“Go to Hell” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 5:11

Disc 4


“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Demo – 1986) – 3:20
“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Movie Mix) (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 3:44
“Teenage Frankenstein” – (Constrictor – 1986) – 3:32
“Freedom” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 4:04
“Prince of Darkness” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 5:09
“Under My Wheels” – (The Decline of Western Civilization II film – 1988) – 3:10
“I Got a Line On You” – (Iron Eagle II film – 1988) – 2:59
“Poison” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:27
“Trash” – (Trash – 1989) – 3:58
“Only My Heart Talkin” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:44
“Hey Stoopid” – (Single Version from Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:15
“Feed My Frankenstein” – (Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:42
“Fire” – (single b-side – 1991) – 3:00
“Lost in America” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 3:54
“It’s Me” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 4:40
“Hands of Death” (Spookshow 2000 Mix) – with Rob Zombie – (Remix of the version on “Songs in the Key of X” soundtrack – 1996) – 3:53
“Is Anyone Home?” – (A Fistful of Alice – 1997) – 4:10
“Stolen Prayer” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 5:35

As you can see by the wall of text (which hopefully was formatted and will post correctly) devoted to 81 songs spread out over 4 discs and, wow, this is what a box set should be. I’ve seen some labels use the box set as an excuse to release a series of albums together in their entirety or to basically do a giant-size greatest hits but The Life and Crimes… really hit the nail on the head. Sure, you get the greatest hits, the best of, the fan favorites but it’s the number of oddities and rarities that makes this a box set worth owning.

Not a single album goes untouched and this box set starts at the very beginning back when the original Alice Cooper group started out as The Spiders and then The Nazz and goes right up to 1997 when Alice released “Is Anyone Home?” as a new studio track on his live A Fistful of Alice album. Then you’ve got demos, singles, songs from soundtracks (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandMonster DogFriday the 13th Part VI!), remixes, B-sides, the previously UK-exclusive “For Britain Only”, etc. This one really has it all for the Alice Cooper fan!

The collection here features some of Alice’s best work and others would argue some of his worst (like his weird stuff from the late to mid ’80s). All told, warts and all, this is an excellent overview of Alice Cooper’s career.

For me, this was a great introduction to much of Alice Cooper’s catalog. Unfortunately, over time, I lost the actual box and booklet that came with the set. Oh well, at least I still have all of the CDs. I don’t think the price has dropped much over the years on this one. I think it was about $60 when it was first released but even if you’re paying $40-50 today, this is a worthy purchase for Alice fans.

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey
1977, Warner Bros. Records
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1. “It’s Hot Tonight”
2. “Lace and Whiskey”
3. “Road Rats”
4. “Damned If You Do”
5. “You and Me”
6. “King of the Silver Screen”
7. “Ubangi Stomp”
8. “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”
9. “I Never Wrote Those Songs”
10. “My God”

Producer: Bob Ezrin

This is one of those “Alice has started drinking too much” albums that I always assumed would be incredibly cheesy and spotty without ever listening to it fully. I already knew of “It’s Hot Tonight”, “You and Me” and “Road Rats” due to their inclusion on the Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper box set. “Road Rats” I never cared for (though the version on that box set is a remixed 1980 version), but I’ve always loved “It’s Hot Tonight and “You and Me”.

Too many session players to list for this album (which was  but just know that leading the way is Alice, Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter.

Lace and Whiskey is yet another semi-concept album with Alice debuting a brand-new character in the form of private investigator Maurice Escargot. While the whole thing comes off as very cheesy (and given that this album was inspired by showtunes and 1940s/1950s music, I’m sure that’s the point), I wouldn’t say it’s a spotty record. There’s a few duds like “Road Rats”, “King of the Silver Screen” & “Ubangi Stomp” but the rest is excellent, even if you might be able to consider most of them guilty pleasures.

“It’s Hot Tonight” is about nothing more than sex. I’m completely okay with that. “Lace and Whiskey” really hammers home the theme of being a private eye with a film noir style. A great vibe that Alice would similarly capture on the song “Dirty Diamonds” years later.

“You and Me” is Alice Cooper doing an easy listening ballad. Did the demon in the bottle make him do it or were Alice and producer Bob Ezrin looking for a big-time radio hit? Regardless, the song found itself charting at #9 on the Billboard charts as a single and the legacy continues because, as someone who used to work a day shift at Walgreens just a few years ago, I can tell you this song was played nearly every day before noon. It’s a great song but in the long run it probably did more damage than good as far as Cooper’s fanbase was concerned.

“(No More) Love at Your Convenience” is quite possibly my favorite track from this album. Such a guilty pleasure. Alice goes disco! “I Never Wrote Those Songs” is another easy listening ballad (complete with saxophone solo), but has a clever theme to it. “My God” in another fantastic piece that features a church organ.

Lace and Whiskey is definitely an oddball Alice album. He really went outside the box with this one and dropped the shock rock gimmick, but it’s a good effort for the most part and worth seeking out.

Highlights: “It’s Hot Tonight”, “Lace and Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”, “I Never Wrote Those Songs”, “My God”

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