Hear No Evil [Release date 23.09.13 and 27.01.14]
Alice Cooper is not an artist whose back catalogue has seen much by way of remastering and re-issues and I’ve longed for Bob Ezrin to dig out the original recordings of Love It To Death and Killer and give them a tickle. But no, very strangely, all we’ve had to date are Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome To My Nightmare, with the rest of Alice’s extensive output remaining largely untouched.
So quite why Trash and Hey Stoopid have been singled out for special treatment, it’s unclear. But the pair crown Alice’s mid-career success that came after more than a decade of booze addled ‘wilderness’ years. Nobody loved Alice in 1988.
But the recruitment of Desmond Child and a host of guest musicians including Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Steve Lukather was a masterstroke and Trash (1989), with its classic singles ‘Poison’, ‘Bed of Nails’, ‘House of Fire’, and’ Only My Heart Talkin”, took Alice back to the upper reaches of the album and singles charts on both side of the Atlantic. *****
It was a winning formula that Hey Stoopid repeated two years later with an even more impressive supporting cast including Satriani and Vai, Slash, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars, and Ozzy Osbourne. And the hits kept coming – ‘Hey Stoopid’, ‘Love’s A Loaded Gun’ and ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ (which got Alice even wider exposure in Wayne’s World).
The albums rescued Alice’s career and provided a platform that underpins his continued success and re-emergence in recent years. So, if you already have the original releases, are the remasters worth getting?
There is some bonus material, but not a great deal – Trash gets a rare radio edit of ‘Only My Heart Talkin”, and a cover of Spirit’s ‘I Got A Line On You’, while Hey Stoopid weighs in with a title track edit and the B-sides ‘Fire’ (Hendrix) and ‘It Rained All Night’.
It’s hardly a clincher, especially when there’s known unreleased outtake material from the Trash sessions. As for the re-mastering, the sound’s a little brighter, but perhaps a little thinner and truth be told, there’s not a great deal in it. On that basis alone, I wouldn’t recommend re-investment. But if you have neither of these ‘classic’ albums, they’re an essential purchase.
Review by Pete Whalley
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
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