SAMMY HAGAR & FRIENDS
Without question, Sammy Hagar is one of those guys that for the most part can do no wrong with me. I'm a fan of Montrose. I'm a huge fan of his solo work early in his career. His version of Van Halen is my favorite era. Even his post Van Halen era, where he's settled into being a beach bum partier that just likes to write about drinking and partying, has been cool with me. Now though, Sammy Hagar has decided to test even my limits. Hagar has released SAMMY HAGAR & FRIENDS; a record that apparently is just him having a good time with friends. That's fine, but how about not billing back your hardcore fans for your good time party, Sam? While it's not horrible, it has no real use in the Hagar catalog. For me, I think I'd much rather see another Chickenfoot release or a serious effort with the Wabos instead of this mish mosh of songs that are pretty unnecessary to anyone but the guys performing on the songs.
Again, this is not horrible. Songs like "Winding Down" and "Father Sun" are pretty cool songs that are nice to hear...once. The problem though is that there is far too much crap fleshing this album out. While Sammy may have put together a new version of "HSAS" (Hagar, Neal Schon, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith), there was no one on this planet clamoring to hear them perform "Personal Jesus". "Knockdown Dragout", with lead vocals shared with Kid Rock and a guitar solo from Joe Satriani is fairly stale and useless. "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" should have been left with Bob Seger. Most of all, there's no need for Sammy Hagar (or any other artist out today) to do a cover of Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville". No reason at all. He does that song with Toby Keith, but it's no help. About the only place where the guest vocalist shines is on "Bad On Fords And Chevrolets", where vocalist Ronnie Dunn provides a nice counter to Hagar's vocals.
PITRIFF RATING - 42/100 - I so wanted to dig this, as I'm a huge, huge fan of Sammy Hagar. I have no use for this at all though. I completely get that Sammy has settled nicely into his "live for the party" lifestyle, but that shouldn't come at the expense of fans that want to support him making new, creative music. An album of covers that are half assed and filled with name players to try and mask that fact is just not needed or necessary. It's produced well, and there are a couple of songs that are tolerable. Ultimately, this one will sit in the cloud and will only be heard in shuffle mode.