Album review: RICHIE KOTZEN – The Essential Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen - The Essential Richie Kotzen

earMUSIC 2-CD/DVD [Release date 08.09.14]

A re-appraisal of Richie Kotzen’s work is probably long overdue, and this 2-CD/DVD set – assembled by the man himself – goes some way to provide a suitable portal for the curious.

Signed to Mike Shrapnel’s legendary Shrapnel label in 1989, Kotzen joined Poison and subsequently Mr Big but has since had a prolific solo career.

‘The Essential’ brings together originals and re-recordings of key tracks, along with a couple of demos plus two new songs;  so in that sense it is wide-ranging in its scope.  Kotzen neatly sums up his music as a “hybrid of classic rock and old school soul.” as evidenced on tracks like ‘Bad Situation’ and ‘Lie To Me’.

Among the highlights on CD1 is ‘Fooled Again’, an eight minute tour de force and emphasising Kotzen’s great fluidity on guitar along with ever-present commercial sensitivity.  Of the new tracks, ‘War Paint’ is excellent too and showcases Kotzen’s soulful vocal and fusion guitar stylings.

The second CD is nearly all acoustic and includes re-recordings of several songs spanning 1998-2013 and two demos from his recent and highly-rated Winery Dogs project with Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan.

I assume that the re-recordings may have been prompted by a lack of access to the originals but, whatever, they do give the listener a chance to hear the songs in a new light, whilst the omission of anything from his two albums with Mr.Big is maybe surprising (not even ‘Shine’ one of two songs he co-wrote with Richie Zito).

This is, though, essentially a guitarist’s guitarist album.  In truth, this collection misses out his first solo decade but maybe it will tee up a second volume based on this earlier period or at least spark a renewed interest in Kotzen’s work in general.  ‘The Essential’ shines a welcome spotlight on an underrated and sometimes overlooked guitar hero.  ****

Richie Kotzen plays Islington Academy, London, 16 September

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.



 

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 22 November.

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 15 November 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 17 November 2020


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 JEFF SCOTT SOTO Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LAZARUS DREAM Alive (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 RONAN FURLONG The King Of Leaves (Thoroughbred Music)

Power Plays w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

L.A. GUNS All That You Are (Golden Robot Records)
THE DUST CODA Limbo Man (Earache)
EBBA BERGKVIST & THE FLAT TIRE BAND 68 Twin (indie)
IRON SAVIOR Souleater (AFM Records)
IVY GOLD This Is My Time (indie)



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), All Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply