Album review: ALCATRAZZ – The Best Of and Live In The USA (2 CD set)

Store For Music [Release date: 08.10.21]

It’s not the first time this Best Of Alcatrazz collection has been available in CD form, so the additional CD of live material is very welcome.

Winnowing down Alcatrazz’s “best songs” from three eighties’ studio albums is not so difficult. Everyone will have their favourites of course, but consensus seems to have been easily reached over the years.

The Yngwie Malmsteen, Graham Bonnet, Jimmy Waldo writing team on debut album ‘No Parole From Rock’n'Roll’ (1983) was much more than the sum of the parts. Hard rock melodramas, ‘General Hospital’ and ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’, driven by the raw, emotional urgency in Bonnet’s vocals, and the velvet swathed melodic hard rock of ‘Island In The Sun’ turned about to be a high watermark for the band, not just critically but commercially.

The heavier rock of ‘God Blessed Video’ and ‘Painted Lover’ bubbled quickly to the surface of follow up ‘Disturbing The Peace’ (1985), and live versions of ‘All Night Long, ‘Night Games’ and the unforgettable  ’Since You’ve Been Gone’, which come from elsewhere in Bonnet’s career, are splendid slabs of pumping, high octane rock, and hard to leave out.

To begin with, the live stuff on the second CD, bathed in sweat and testosterone, seems lazily compiled, leaning heavily on Disturbing The Peace material for its content. But the bonus tracks, albeit small in number, and the “previously unreleased tracks” are a joy to behold.

In 2012 Bonnet was guest vocalist (along with Michael Kiske) with Norwegian metallers Tomorrows Outlook. The tracks he fronted, the fiercely rocking ‘Glass Mountain’ and Lizzy Borden tribute, ‘Red Rum’ appear here. They also appear on SFM’s mammoth 6 disc, Alcatrazz-Ultimate Fortress box set, which you should aspire to if you are impressed by this package.

The unreleased tracks, different takes of two guitarist Danny Johnson/Jimmy Waldo instrumentals are odd bonuses, first appearing on the band’s Official Bootleg compilation in 2017. But they are a worthy, if quirky addition.

Back catalogues continue to be a fertile source for “new releases”. In the end, this collection proves to be so much more than the recycled, rinse and repeat, cobbled together package of reissued material that so many bands and labels fall foul of nowadays. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.

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 26 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) 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 28 September 2021.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Featured Albums w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TAO Prophecy (Tarot Label Media)
12:00-13:00 LEVERAGE Above The Beyond (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JOE TILSTON Tightrope (Our Records)

Power Plays w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ABOVE SNAKES Nothing To Lose (indie)
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS Cookin’ (Greenway Records)
LEADFINGER The Fall Of Rome (Golden Robot)
FEMEGADES Stealing Numbers (Regent Street Records)
TIGERSIDE Any Contact (indie)
INDYA Love Like Champagne (indie)
EDGE OF DESTINY Forsaken (indie)

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