RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Sammy Hagar and Vic Johnson – Lite Roast
Mailboat Records


Rating:  B

The Red Rocker has released his first-ever all acoustic album with his long time guitarist, Vic Johnson.  At first glance, one may want to roll their eyes and think, “Oh Sam, another album done fast-and-easy for the uber-fans.  Really?”  These are not even new songs, the tunes performed are just Sam and Vic sitting down and strumming acoustics and re-doing old songs, some more well known than others.  But… that’s kind of the point. 

Okay, Sammy and Vic will not sell a million copies of this album.  They might not even sell a tiny percent of that.  And that’s okay… at least for this album.  Yes, Sam has done another fast album for fun.  He probably just thought up the idea to do it, and on a whim said, “YO!  Vic...  Come over tonight.  You bring the acoustics and I’ll bring the booze.”  Next thing ya know you’ve got this sucker... and a tasty margarita. 

Truth is that Sammy Hagar has reached a place in life that few people -even most famous musicians- ever get to... and that is he lives life on his own terms.  He does what he wants, how he wants and when he wants. (Alotta cash helps...) The kicker is that he’s ultra-fucking-cool doing it and a nice enough guy to boot.  Can’t help but be a little jealous of the guy… he’s got if fricking made!

As this album played on, it hit me that this is pretty much exactly what it would be like, on a boring Tuesday night at my house, if Sammy and Vic showed up at my door with bottle in hand looking for a couple of barstools. This would be like Sammy ‘freakin’ Hagar coming into my house, sitting on my couch and going, “Hey, you wanna hear a killer acoustic version of ‘Red Voodoo’ that Vic and I worked up?”  And that’s why this one works.  It has charm and it has that Hagar energy that says, ‘okay, this is cool…just relax and check it out.’ 

Here is what Sammy says about the album, “I realize that when I played my songs acoustically, it made me sing different. It brought a new light to the lyrics that I’d written throughout my career.  It's very live, very personal, with Vic accompanying me on guitar and singing background vocals.  No overdubs… I think that my hardcore fans are really going to love it."

Sammy got the idea when he was preparing for the first annual Acoustic-4-A-Cure concert.  The dude was going to play acoustic to raise money for a pediatric cancer program when he came up with this idea.  Again, very cool Sammy. 

The best tunes on the album are “Red Voodoo,” “Eagles Fly” and “Dreams.”  These are well-known tunes, but some of the others stand up to the acoustic treatment very well, including “Father Son” and “Deeper Kinda Love.” 

This one is not a great album by any means; it is not slick and over-produced. But Sammy is correct: The Redheads will love this.  This one is good enough that another one would be welcome. 

Hey Sam…maybe you should let the Redheads write in and tell you what they want to hear on Volume II.  That would be cool… and, really, come by on Tuesday… and Vic is always welcome as well... my calendar is wide open, and I’m taking requests!

Lite Roast track listing:

01. Red Voodoo (from "Red Voodoo")
02. One Sip (from "Livin' It Up!")
03. Finish What Ya Started (from VAN HALEN's "OU812")
04. Eagles Fly (from "I Never Said Goodbye")
05. The Love (from "Red Voodoo")
06. Father Son (from "Sammy Hagar & Friends")
07. Dreams (from VAN HALEN's "5150")
08. Deeper Kinda Love (from "Ten 13")
09. Who Has The Right (from "Marching To Mars")
10. Sailin' (from Livin' It Up!)
11. Halfway To Memphis (from "Livin' It Up!")

By Jeb Wright