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16.10.07

Neal Schon


nealschon-piranhablues1999

Neal Schon - Piranha Blues - 1999 - Blues Bureau International

Neal Schon's career has spanned from his guitar work on recordings by Santana, Journey, HSAS, Schon/Hammer, Bad English and Hardline. Piranha Blues evokes memories of classic Blues/Rock superstars like Jeff Beck Group, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Cream yet retains the strong Neal Schon signature sound which has made him a guitar legend. This is traditionally-based blues rock,highlighting both the legendary power of Schon's guitar playing and the smoothness and elegance he is famous for. Piranha Blues features contributions by Ross Valory, Prarie Prince, and Richard Ross, and is the blues album that Neal has talked about and wanted to record for a long time. Buy this album! You won't be disappointed. Also check out his brilliant album, " Late Nite ."

TRACKS

01 Whiskey, Women & Blues (3:34)
02 Gotta Get Back to You (6:32)
03 Lonesome Road (3:58)
04 Hole in My Pocket (5:21)
05 Walkin' Out the Door (5:22)
06 I'm in Love (5:07)
07 Love Trance (6:53)
08 Slow Down (5:06)
09 Play the Blues (2:55)
10 Girl Like You (5:07)
11 Hey, Hey, Babe (3:54)
12 Blues for Miles (4:55)

BAND

Neal Schon (guitars, lap steel guitar, mandolin);
Richard Martin Ross (vocals);
Ross Valory (bass guitar);
Prairie Prince (drums).

REVIEW

Neal Schon, the timeless guitarist who is the foundation of Journey, has had several excellent side projects: Just-if-I, Hardline, and several solo discs (all of which are worth checking out, by the way). On this latest solo effort, Schon goes in a different direction, putting out a Blues album.
In the liner notes, Neal tells us to "Crank this disc up LOUD!" Once you've heard the opening lick of the first track, you won't be able to do anything BUT crank it up! Schon's got his guitar fired up for this one, and the results are impressive. Throughout this disc, Neal proves (as if he needed to) that he can shred with the best of them, regardless of the musical genre.
The songs on this CD range from rough blues/rock tracks to straight Blues numbers that sound like they have heavy Albert Collins influences (track 9 - "Play the Blues"). All the tracks are original material - there are no covers on this disc. But the songwriting is strong enough that there was no need for the band to throw on a familiar track or two to keep people interested. If you like Blues even a tiny bit, I guarantee that you will find something here for you.
In addition to Schon's luscious axe-work, there is some great bass work by fellow Journey member Ross Valory, solid drumming by ex-Tubes skins-pounder Prarie Prince, and the growling vocals of Richard Martin Ross. Ross's voice is perfect for the material. He sounds like a young Jack Bruce with just the tiniest dash of Joe Cocker thrown in to crank the gravelly growl up a notch.
Here's a track-by-track look:
1. Whiskey, Women & Blues - This track reminds me of a song that Sammy Hagar might put out, only with a Blues edge. It's up-tempo, has an Arena-Rock hook to it, and should definitely get some radio play. This track really rips open the CD but it's probably the least "Bluesy" song on the disc. But it still kicks ass.
2. Gotta Get Back To You - The tempo is slowed, and the lyrics shift to the more familiar lament of most Blues songs. One thing that is not slowed, however, is Schon's soloing - Neal rips off some slick little runs in here, and the main solo absolutely shreds! Some of the best guitar work on the disc is in the last couple of minutes of this track. Excellent drumming on this track, too.
3. Lonesome Road - Whoa! Right back to the up-tempo Blues-Rock. Richard Martin Ross's vocals are perfect for this tune. He belts it out and gives this song a lot of guts. Schon's got a great little rhythm guitar hook in here - it's like a Blues/Arena Rock hybrid - and his soloing ensures that your jaw stays in contact with the floor.
4. Hole In My Pocket - I see a pattern developing here, as this track lays back into a standard Blues tempo, and a standard Blues lyrical pattern (lines repeated twice, followed by the "kicker line.") There's nothing really spectacular about this song. A lot of the guitar parts are things you've heard in countless other blues songs. But, it is the first song where Schon's soloing is a little more patient and thoughtful, eliciting that classic emotional response that good Blues guitar will get every time.
5. Walkin' Out the Door - Starts out with a hot little bass line, and some high-hat, with some subdued, soulful guitar notes. You'll think it's an instrumental piece at first (it sounds like sort of an "interlude"). But no, there's Ross, growling out the words. This is a sexy, steamy little number. It starts out soft, builds slowly, then bursts open as the guitar takes a more aggressive stance. Then it backs off for a teasing mini-solo which fades into the end of the track. This is one of my favorites on the disc.
6. I'm In Love - This song showcases the range of vocalist Ross. The guitar is backed off a bit, but Schon still manages some quick runs in the solos. Ross really carries this song, though, along with super work by Valory and Prince. A solid, enjoyable tune.
7. Love Trance - Slows it way down. Blues all the way on this one. Ross' vocals will tug at your heart, and whatever he doesn't get, Schon will with his axe. There's even a little Hammond B3 thrown in for good measure. Awesome.
8. Slow Down - The song isn't slowed down, it's about slowing down: "I gotta slow down. I'm moving way too fast. Slow down, baby. Tight skirts and a fast guitar. Sex on a telephone..." Some great lyrics, and good interplay between the guitar, the bass, and the drums. Hot and playful solos tie it all together. Cool track. Check out Prarie Prince's drumming near the end.
9. Play the Blues - As I said earlier, this sounds like an Albert Collins-style tune to me. (While you're buying this disc, pick up Collins' Cold Snap for fun. "Too Many Dirty Dishes" is a classic tune.) This is what it's all about, baby!
10. A Girl Like You - This features acoustic guitar (actually, I think it's a lap steel guitar) throughout, and it sounds great! Neal whips out the electric for the main solos, though, and for a rhythm part near the end. This is a great track. It's got that "down-home" sound to it.
11. Hey, Hey, Babe - Another song with a familiar Blues cadence to it. Some horns in here give it a Tower of Power sound. Schon wails on the solos. This is a fun tune that you will probably find playing in your head every now and then. Don't worry, you won't want to get it out of there.
12. Blues For Miles - An instrumental number, this is a soulful guitar journey. It closes out the disc well. It also features more phenomenal drumming from Prarie Prince.
Piranha Blues belongs in every Blues-guitar lover's collection. But even if you're not a big Blues fan, you owe it to yourself to take this disc for a spin, if only for Neal Schon's soloing. Enjoy! Reviewed by Shredfest Copyright 1999-2000 Kevin Ryan/The House of Shred. All rights reserved

BIO (Wikipedia)

Neal Schon (born Neal Joseph Schon, February 27, 1954 in Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and later lived in San Mateo, California[, is an American guitarist best known for his work with the band Journey. The son of a Jazz saxophonist, Schon first picked up the guitar at the age of 10. A quick learner, he joined Santana as a teenage prodigy at the age of 15. He went to Aragon High School in San Mateo. Schon had famously been asked by Eric Clapton to join Derek and the Dominos, but since Santana called him first, he decided to join Santana for the album Santana III. Schon also played in Azteca before moving on in 1973 to form Journey, a group he continues to lead today. Schon's guitar style has been described as soulful, taking inspiration from 1960s-era soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, and blending it with blues runs similar to B. B. King and fast picked phrases in the vein of Al Di Meola. In addition to his five solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, his work also includes: a pair of albums with keyboardist Jan Hammer, short-term collaborations with Sammy Hagar (HSAS and Planet Us) and Paul Rodgers, stints with Bad English (a supergroup that featured Journey’s Jonathan Cain and Deen Castronovo and Jonathan Cain's former Babys bandmates John Waite and Ricky Phillips) and Hardline (which also featured Deen Castronovo). Even as Journey’s latest lineup plays to a still-faithful body of fans, Schon has immersed himself in side projects such as Piranha Blues (1999) and "Black Soup Cracker" a funk outfit that features former Prince associates Rosie Gaines and Michael Bland, and more recently Soul SirkUS with Jeff Scott Soto. Schon can also be heard on other albums including three tracks on Michael Bolton's The Hunger, with the Schon sound most recognizable on "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay". Schon's first guitar was an acoustic Stella, followed two years later by a Gibson ES-335 which was subsequently stolen and replaced with a '56 Les Paul Goldtop reissue that he used for many years. Schon currently endorses Gibson guitars, and has a limited edition signature Les Paul model entitled the "Neal Schon Signature Model Custom Les Paul", of which only 25 were made. He has previously employed Godin guitars on his 1995 solo album Beyond the Thunder, and more recently uses Paul Reed Smith guitars. In the late 1980s, Schon manufactured (through Jackson Guitars and later Larrivee) and played his own line of guitars. Simply named Schon, about 200 of the Jackson-produced models were made. A white Schon guitar can be clearly seen in the music video for the Journey song "Girl Can't Help It", as well as a gold version in the Journey videos for "I'll Be Alright Without You" and "Be Good to Yourself".

4 comments:

KODRA said...

And this is out of stock....

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi kodra. Thanks for comment. Expect new link within 5 days.

bullfrog said...

dead link, will you please re-post, thanks

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bullfrog. Try
http://bandit59.
blogspot.com
/2009/04/neal-
schon-1999-piranha-
blues-vbr.html

Thanks to Bandit