Salty Dog 04

I live a fairly stressful existence at times but overall I like to think that I don’t let it knock on through to how I behave.  I’m an easy-going, accepting sort of guy; live and let live, you know the score.  However, it has to be said that every so often I just reach my limit and have to shout ‘Enough! It is time for you to die now!’, or some such.  Which may explain why about an hour ago in an empty house, I shouted (at my turntable),

Just Leave me alone!!

Okay so I’m not feeling very well at the moment but I was tipped over the edge by Salty Dog Every Dog Has Its Day (1990, Geffen) in general, in particular their cover of the old blues nugget ‘Spoonful’, but more of that later.  In those far off heady days of 1990 Salty Dog were the latest flash Hollywood act custom-designed to wow us yokels, the interesting bit about them, their USP, was that they were a blues-based hard rock band, hmm – been done before you say? ah yes, but Salty Dog were a blues-based hard rock band with a bit of a nautical theme.  Still wavering, yokel? there’s a song on the LP called ‘Heave Hard (She Comes Easy)’.  Come on, what more do you need? not a thing.  {sound of cash register ringing}.

Salty Dog 03

I bought Every Dog Has Its Day when I was up in Leeds for a university open day and I still remember the excitement of it, the mighty fist thrusting forth the anchor of ROCK on the cover, a potent metaphor for stuff, like, well probably …  Oh and it was recorded in Wales at Rockfield Studios where countless wondrous albums had been summoned forth into the light, surely a bit of the old magic from  Queen, Motörhead, Hawkwind, Sabbath and Rush would soak through?

In fact all bitching aside, the LP starts really well ‘Come Along’ is a good track, a really good guitar groove starting off slow and easy, before gradually upping the ante and, well there’s no other way to put it, reaching a shuddering climax.  Unfortunately, towards the end of the song the Seeds of Inevitable Sonic Doom* have been sown.  These particular seeds (Seeds?) reside in the larynx of lead singer Jimmi Bleacher, a man who can sing perfectly well within a limited pitch BUT you put him in a position where he has to go up into fifth gear … ouch!  His voice just leaves behind all melody/tone/pitch and becomes this wailing screech, something akin I would imagine to the sound that I would emit had I just been fed, feet first, into a, conveniently miked-up, combine harvester.

Salty Dog 02

Now as I said, I’m an easy kind of guy, but the annoyance mounts over the course of side 1.  It’s a little like having someone rubbing sandpaper on your knee very, very gently, for a few minutes it’s okay, then it gets progressively more irritating and painful, until you find yourself shouting at an inanimate object.  My tipping point came, as I said, during ‘Spoonful’ track 4, in which Mr Bleacher rejects all known Western definitions of melody, harmony and modality and strikes out on his own (nautical metaphor, ahoy!) for unchartered territory.  There are all manner of Belgian electronica experimentalists out there slaving away in their techno labs night and day trying to hit these notes on purpose and failing.

Now lest you think I’m being uncommonly unkind here, I am.  However I would add that there is a reason I have never sung in a hard rock band, as well as the obvious aesthetic ones is the fact that I have a range of about three notes and if I try to go beyond that, it all goes a bit wonky woo-woo.  Still, Salty Dog have made more LPs than I have, I’m just a cowardly reviewer.

Positives? I liked the cover, still and the second track ‘Cat’s Got Nine’ is pretty good too.  Other than that there’s nothing here to recommend, the playing is all fine but the song writing and the lyrics plumb the depths – most of it really does read like the results of translating the lyrics of Lynyrd Skynyrd Street Survivors on Google Translate into Portuguese, then into Polish, then into Romanian, before coming back to English.  My own favourite, entirely out-of-context line is,

Sometimes You’re here, sometimes you’re not

Sometimes you lie awhile and rot

It’s all so easily forgot

Salty Dog 01

Amen to that!

332 Down.

*well worth capital letters, I say.

11 thoughts on “Wonky Woo-Woo

  1. Wish one could add pics to Comments. I’d offer the 1969 album ‘Sea Shanties’ by High Tide. Do any 1537 crew know it? It’s rousing early heavy rock. Another sea-faring cover that springs to mind is ‘Red Sea’ by Warhorse (Vertigo Swirl, if you have several hundred dollars to spend on an average early 70s album. Enough to make you seasick, really).

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  2. Your 80s surprises always enlighten and remind me that yes, the 80s were really that bad at times. God Bless you and your collection. I remember avoiding these fellas back in the day. For good reason, me thinks.

    In all honesty, I saw ‘A Salty Dog’ and instantly thought you were discussing one of my favorite Procol Harum albums. How disappointed I was.

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