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 Post subject: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Released: 2011
Frontiers Records
Produced by Kevin "Caveman" Shirley
Personnel:
Eric Martin: vocals
Paul Gilbert - guitar, backing vocals
Billy Sheehan - bass, backing vocals
Pat Torpey - drums, backing vocals

I remember being on the lookout for this band as early as 1988, reading interviews with Billy Sheehan after his departure from David Lee Roth's band, talking about this incredible supergroup he was assembling. Does anyone remember the syndicated radio show "Metalshop" (The ONLY show with teeth?) Summer 1989 brought a feature special on Mr. Big including a handful of tracks from their upcoming debut album. Liking what I heard, including lead single "Addicted to That Rush" and "Take a Walk," I dutifully picked the album up. For some odd reason, even though there wasn't anything I didn't particularly like, my overall impression was kind of blah. Then in '91 Mr. Big released their sophomore album, the brilliant Lean into It. I was into this album big time, long before "To Be With You" gave the band short-lived but deserved success. The band released a few more albums which to me, contained a few standout tracks along with a lot of filler, albeit well performed filler.

After a couple of turn of the decade/century albums with Richie Kotzen on guitar in place of Paul Gilbert (the 2nd of which, Actual Size, I still don't have) the band broke up. Then about 3 years ago the original lineup reunited to play shows in the country which has ALWAYS supported them, Japan. A live CD/DVD led to this reunion album, the first for Martin/Sheehan/Gilbert/Torpey in 15 years. And it's not bad!! Everything you'd expect from a Mr. Big album is here. Melodic yet hard-rocking tunes, superb lead and backing vocals, guitar and bass histrionics, etc.


1) Undertow - The album gets underway with its first single, a hard-charging and catchy number with Eric Martin sounding like he hasn't aged a day. Nice little chiming guitar melody which goes along with the chugging riff.
2) American Beauty - A double-time shuffle reminiscent of "Colorado Bulldog," and I have to say, I will never tire of hearing highly capable musicians shredding away in the context of a catchy rock song. There I said it :-)
3) Stranger in My Life - Don't know if you'd call this a ballad per se, but it's a slower paced number, one which wouldn't really sound too out of place on radio today, not that it would ever happen.
4) Nobody Left to Blame - This is one of my favourite tunes on the album, a heavy blues. Martin's vocals are really best suited for stuff like this. Neat Jimmy Page-ish acoustic/electric riff on this one.
5) Still Ain't Enough For Me - Another fast shuffle, vocals treated with minor effects here, a little echo and a lot of harmony. Fans of Gilbert and Sheehan will find much to love here.
6) Once Upon a Time - After an odd "storytime" chime, possibly the heaviest riff on the album kicks in. Whoa!! A little time-signature turnaround here just to keep you on your toes.
7) As Far As I Can See - This one's a pretty standard Mr. Big attitude rocker.
8) All The Way Up - Traditionally, this one would probably have been a single. It's a little bit like "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" but more ballad-ish. Videos for this and "Undertow," as well as a brief documentary on the making of the album are on the version I have. Strong melodic chorus.
9) I Won't Get in My Way - Another heavy one here, positive lyrics underscore this song. Listening to this album, I get a warm feeling that this band made the album they wanted to make, without ANY concessions to popular music trends. Bless.
10) Around the World - More guitar/bass interplay, but what's great about Mr. Big is they never sacrifice the song for pure wankery. Pat Torpey gets to shine here a little bit more.
11) I Get the Feeling - A simple one note riff starts this off, a melodic 80s feel here, like something Hagar would have done when he was signed to Geffen for instance.
12) Unforgiven - This is listed as a "bonus track" on my edition, but I'm not sure if any CDs exist without it. Aside from the overused title, another solid track.

If you're a lapsed Mr. Big fan like myself (actually it's more like "forgotten about them"), you should dig this album. It might not completely rock your world, but it's pretty good.

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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:02 pm 
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Not a big fan of Mr. Big but, Billy Sheehan is an absolute monster bass player. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:12 am 
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I've heard of them, but I can't say that I know anything about them. I'll put them on my long list of bands to check out.

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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:25 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Hey dudeski... Long time, no hear! Good to see you check in with us... and delivering a killer review to boot. :tup

I hope the Holidays went well for you and the home team. :B

Mr. Big is one of those hit-and-miss bands for me... I always tended to like the "filler" tracks more than their hits. They've put out some great stuff over the years, but I must admit that when I saw this one come up on the new releases, I kind of forgot about it.

I'll have to add to the list the next time I'm on an expedition to the Amazon.

Incidentally, if you like Mr. Sheehan's bass bashing, you might be interested in his early 80s band, Talas. They were basically just a slightly harder-rocking version of Mr. Big. They had a few albums before the members moved on to bigger commercial ventures, but they were good ones. In particular, the live "If We Only Knew Then What We Know Now" is a really good listen.

I only have the live disc and their first album, but you might still be able to track some of their stuff down.



:BB Steve

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"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:30 pm 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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Loved me some Talas. "Sink Your Teeth Into That!!" :bluerock:

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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:48 am
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Location: Canterbury, New Brunswick, Canada
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I've got a bunch of stuff to review but I've been beyond busy, with plenty of behind-the-scenes-at-work inner machinations drama going on. Luckily the home front is stable or I'd have completely lost me marbles. Anyway, hopefully I should be posting some more reviews within the next week or so.

I used to have a couple of Talas tapes, their self-titled debut and "Billy Sheehan - The Talas Years" but got rid of them. A few decent tunes here and there, like "Sink Your Teeth into That" and of course the original version of "Shy Boy," but not worth tracking down any further.

_________________
Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm (Atlantic time) playing a mix of old and new rock, at http://www.foxrocks.ca

To watch AND listen to me blather on, I give you Tim's Vinyl Confessions

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fi5G ... iBkLtUEWFg

https://twitter.com/TimsVinyl

https://www.facebook.com/timsvinylconfessions


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:29 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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alsworms wrote:
Loved me some Talas. "Sink Your Teeth Into That!!" :bluerock:


Yep. I only have a couple of those albums... but I like them. 8)


Canuck wrote:
I've got a bunch of stuff to review but I've been beyond busy, with plenty of behind-the-scenes-at-work inner machinations drama going on. Luckily the home front is stable or I'd have completely lost me marbles. Anyway, hopefully I should be posting some more reviews within the next week or so.


Looking forward to it... :tup

Canuck wrote:
I used to have a couple of Talas tapes, their self-titled debut and "Billy Sheehan - The Talas Years" but got rid of them. A few decent tunes here and there, like "Sink Your Teeth into That" and of course the original version of "Shy Boy," but not worth tracking down any further.


I'm a little surprised actually... I would have thought you would have enjoyed Talas' stuff.

Oh well, what do I know? I'm ordering all kinds of strange stuff these days... Sometimes I wonder if even know what I like... :lol:


Oh... by the way... Just ordered this one... :B

...and a few of it's friends. I was long overdue. Amazon's stock was starting to drop. :P



:BB "Lean Into It"

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:09 pm 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 11:40 am
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Location: Central California
Favorite Band: DIO
Found this one today at Rasputin's, some old hole-in-the-wall record store. Been listening to it all day. Can't believe this is the only Mr. Big release I didn't have. For those that are on the fence about this one, let me give you 3 reasons to buy the album: BILLY FUCKING SHEEHAN, ERIC FUCKING MARTIN, AND PAUL FUCKING GILBERT. 'Nuf said. :lol:

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When you're on your way to somewhere - But the elevator falls - Do you look for stairs to heaven - Or wander through the halls…..


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:20 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
Yeah... but you forgot the fucking drummer. Everybody always forgets the poor fucking drummer... :lol:

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:32 pm 
Heavy Metal Honey
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Location: Wisconsin
Favorite Band: Yngwie Malmsteen, Y&T
ohhhhh Talas....... fond memories of Phil Naro :mrgreen:


Mr. Big was just a band I could never get into really. Eric's voice is too annoying for me.....very much like Mark Slaughter. *shudder* just cant tolerate it, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Location: Canterbury, New Brunswick, Canada
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Well I agree with you totally about Mark Slaughter (although he is a good frontman)

Actually Sue I saw Phil Naro about 4 years ago, as part of www.classicalbumslive.com doing Queen's A Night at the Opera, and he was awesome!!

_________________
Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm (Atlantic time) playing a mix of old and new rock, at http://www.foxrocks.ca

To watch AND listen to me blather on, I give you Tim's Vinyl Confessions

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fi5G ... iBkLtUEWFg

https://twitter.com/TimsVinyl

https://www.facebook.com/timsvinylconfessions


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 Post subject: Re: Mr. Big - What if...
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:52 pm 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 11:40 am
Posts: 6015
Location: Central California
Favorite Band: DIO
RockHard wrote:
Yeah... but you forgot the fucking drummer. Everybody always forgets the poor fucking drummer... :lol:



Neal Tormey.......Pat Powell........something like that. :lol:

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When you're on your way to somewhere - But the elevator falls - Do you look for stairs to heaven - Or wander through the halls…..


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