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

Damn Yankees – Damn Yankees 
Rock Candy Records

Rating: B

Okay, let’s get the stuff you need to know about this release out of the way: Rock Candy Records has re-released this classic slab of rock and roll and it sounds amazing, as it has been remastered.  It is not just all ear candy, however, as there is much to see as well.  There are new interviews with the band in which they discuss the making of the album and the songs. In addition, there are rare pictures and, going back to the ear candy, there is even a bonus track titled “Bonestripper.”  So, even if you have an old dusty CD of this earlier edition stuck in your collection, throw that one out the window of your cruising vessel and get this one.  It sounds better, looks better and will make you long for the days when super groups were actually super!

Yes, this band was a super group put together by John Kolladner and produced by Led Zep engineer Ron Nevison, so this grouping was contrived.  Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (Styx), Jack Blades (Night Ranger) and drummer Michael Cartellone were put together artificially and instructed to crank it up.  While Shaw and Blades are an easy match, and Cartellone can play drums for anyone, throwing Nugent into the mix was the wildcard.  Ted’s guitar, as we learned from his classic in-concert album Double Live Gonzo, refuses to play the sweet shit! 

Okay, we all know it worked in the end, so I am not going to build tension for artistic purposes.  Ted brought the lightning, the thunder and the balls while Blades and Shaw brought the feelings… but all brought emotion. Ted’s emotion was more raw, while Tommy and Jack were softer in places.

There were two huge hits...  A rock slab called “Coming of Age” that is so damn exciting that if you don’t like it you deserve to be peed upon.  Come on, this is rock and roll!  “High Enough” shows Ted can, indeed, play sweet shit, but only if he wants to, and is paid well.  Tommy slays this song. 

The rest of the album should not be forgotten, as it is in the album tracks where the personality of the Damn Yankees come shining through.  This is where Nugent’s wild riffage actually fits in and compliments the singer/songwriter tunes.  It’s where Shaw and Blades show they are capable of maximum riffage too and not just pretty faces.  It goes without saying the drummer kicks ass, hey, we already said he’s good. 

At the end of the day, there are two classic tracks and an album full of rock and roll attitude.  This is a damn fine album made by a bunch of damn fine musicians.  Damn straight!  These four All American boys, simply named Ted, Jack, Tommy and Mike… are damn Yankees! 

Crank it up.  They deserve it.  And so do you!

Tommy Shaw (v) (g)
Ted Nugent (g) (v)
Jack Blades (b) (v)
Michael Cartellone (d)

Track Listing:
1. Coming of Age
2. Bad Reputation
3. Runaway
4. High Enough
5. Damn Yankees
6. Come Again
7. Mystified
8. Rock City
9. Tell Me How You Want It
10. Piledriver
11. Bonesplitter

By Jeb Wright