L.A. Guns - Greatest Hit and Black Beauties

Sort of futile reviewing this, isn't it? I mean, we L.A. Guns purists will all end up buying it anyway. I mean, "American Hardcore" and "Wasted" sort of proved the point - an L.A. Guns album without Phil Lewis on vocals is sort of like - well - an L.A. Guns album without Kelly Nickels on bass and Mick Cripps on 2nd Guitar. I would have given my right arm to hear Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns, Mick Cripps, Kelly Nickels and Steve Riley together again. It turns out that the price was a lot lower.

The down side is that this is a "Greatest Hits" package. Usually, these are a complete rip-off. Since "Hollywood A Go Go" was no exception, this was pretty cool to pick up. Instead of throwing together a collection of songs with a passable live track tacked onto the end, they re-recorded the favorites. Check out the heavier arrangement of their signature song, "One More Reason", the more laid back version of "Electric Gypsy", the extra snotty "Rip N Tear" and, of course, the EIGHT-FUCKING-MILLIONTH recording of "The Ballad Of Jayne". (Couldn't they have done a different ballad for once? What about "One Way Ticket"? "Crystal Eyes"? "Kiss of Death"? Why trot out "Jayne" again?

The winner for me, though is the new material they included. It's got a lot more groove than the grind we all love, but it's still cool to hear them together on new material. (even if "Time" is too bloody Led Zeppelin for it's own good.) Cool enough, in fact, to help me forgive the mellowness that age brings. And the cover of the Yardbirds hit "Heartful Of Soul" is.

My main problem is that they seem to be holding back a bit. Remember "I'm Addicted" from Cocked & Loaded? Well that was the sound of a great guitarist and an incredible band going apeshit. This would have been the perfect release to do something like that again. And they didn't. Oh well. The last two tracks make up for it. They're a Depeche Mode-esque remake of "One More Reason" and the TOTALLYFUCKINGHILARIOUS dance re-mix of Sex Action - you can tell they just took the original mix and replaced the drums with a drum machine - good for a laugh!

Overall, very cool - I hope "Shrinking Violet". the upcoming album by the new(est) L.A. Guns lineup can keep up.

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Reviewed by Adolf Chri$t