Mostly known for his long stint as Alice Coopers ‘guitarist of choice, Ryan Roxie has to be one of the most under-rated songwriters and guitarists out there, as highlighted by the recent Casablanca album “Apocalyptic Youth”. “The Roxie Box” takes us back through the career of Roxie and is available to part you with your cash right now.
Back in 1997 the musical landscape was a confusing place for fans of rock music- the hair metal days were far behind us, grunge had passed through and in the UK we were besieged by Britpop. It was at this time that the self-titled “Dad’s Porno Mag” album was released, and having bought this at the time I can thoroughly recommend it. Mixing 70’s infused pop/rock such as “The Call (That Never Came)”, the Gilby Clarke produced “Pigeons Are Rude”, the sleazier “Rule Me” (complete with Cooper style guitars, this would be handy later on!!) and the Enuff Z ‘Nuff like “Gone So Long” with the likes of “Smell My Finger”, “Great Day” and “Freaks Come Out”- the kind of pop/punk that was becoming popular amongst bands in the US at the time.
Then in 2004 came the “Peace, Love & Armageddon” album, essentially featuring the same band but now under the moniker Roxie 77. The album is a more mature sounding affair that wears it Beatles influences firmly on its sleeve, and once again was produced in part by Gilby Clarke. From “Control Freak”, “One More Day”, the big old ballad that is “Second Chances”, through the Beatle like “On The Way Down” and “Love Is War”, the funk laden “Beat ‘Em” to the acoustic “Simple Plan”- there is not a weak track here.
So in 2009 we have Roxie 77’s next album “Two Sides To Every Story”. Now based in Sweden and complete with a new line-up the album picks up where its predecessor left off really, the frantic opening of “The Question” gives way to “Smell The Coffee”- a track that would not have felt out of place on the “Sgt. Pepper” album. Having never heard the record before, this is the one that has blown me away- each track is a good as the one before and if I had to pick highlights they would be “Choice”, “Gimme Some Groove”, “36 Hours” and “Go It Alone”. But, after you have the first 11 tracks, you get the second half of the album- the same 11 tracks performed in acoustic form, with a live feel to them this is a ploy that more bands should follow as it shows how well the songs have been put together.
The final disc in this 4 CD box-set is entitled “The Roxie Tapes” and is a 22 track collection of demos, masters and the odd rarity. Covering Roxie’s various collaborations, we get bubblegum glam pop from Bye Bye Kittie, some groove laden guitar rock from The Unbelievable Truth, the usual shenanigans from Roxie 77 and Dad’s Porno Mag and some great acoustic solo tracks. Whilst the sound quality of the recordings does tend to vary, this is none the less an impressive bonus disc to the set. There is also a comprehensive booklet which includes rare photos and a track by track notes on each song.
“The Roxie Box” is a well put together must have for anyone who appreciates his work and is also testament to what a body of work that is.
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