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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Head East

Raise a Little Hell

Review by Gary Hill

There was a time in the 1970s when these guys represented classic rock at its finest. Of course, in those days we just called it “rock.” I remember at one time I had seen Head East more times than I’d seen any other band (in fact, they were at the very first concert I ever attended) and they always delivered a killer show. I haven’t seen them live since sometime in the 1990s. This live album proves that they still have the magic. This is a classic Head East show. You just can’t go wrong with this band and their live performances are always special. If you’ve ever liked Head East (and really, who doesn’t?), you should get this album. It’s a great way to catch up with an old favorite. Oh, and get out and see them live when you get the chance.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
One Night

Although there is almost a metallic crunch to the guitar on this, the song is very much a pop rocker. This is classic rock at its best and a great way to show that these guys still have it.

Getting Lucky
This Head East classic works quite well here. I love the vocal arrangement and it’s a high energy, good time rocker.
Get Up & Enjoy Yourself

I’ve always loved this one. The bass opening is great and the cut is very effective in this live telling.

Love Me Tonight

This is another Head East classic and another I’ve always loved. The acoustic guitar based number has a great crisp sound here and they deliver another faithful rendition.

Say Yeah

Based in another acoustic guitar oriented rocking arrangement, the vocal line on this is particularly noteworthy. I also love some of the melodic guitar soloing on the tune. I don’t remember this song, but it sure has a classic Head East sound to it.  The drop back to a mellower arrangement mid-track is a nice touch.

Raise a Little Hell

I don’t remember hearing this one before. It’s another high energy Head East rocker. It’s got a real classic sound, but it’s another where the guitar feels almost metallic at times. The guitar solo on this thing is particularly noteworthy.

Me & My Whiskey

The riff that opens this is very metallic. As the keyboards enter it’s closer to something from Deep Purple. This is the screamer of the set. It’s high energy and just plain rocks. There’s a guitar and vocal workout later that really brings this near to the heavy metal vein.

 
Jefftown Creek

Always one of my favorite Head East tunes, they deliver a particularly high energy version here. This has always been a magic song, and if anything, the magic is even stronger in this live performance. The first instrumental break in particular seems to have the stakes raised quite a bit. It’s pretty awesome. There are some rather progressive rock like moments in this cut. That’s quite apparent in the second instrumental break. That break includes a drum solo. That said, it also goes out into something like Van Halen for a moment or two during that solo (as it’s joined by guitar). 

Prisoner

This tune is more or less a power ballad. That said, it does have some moments that approach metallic heights. It’s got some great melodies and rocks out pretty well for a mellower tune.

Since You've Been Gone

Although they didn’t write it (Russ Ballard did), I’ve always felt like the Head East version of this song was the quintessential one. I think I like this live version even better than the studio one. The vocal arrangement in particular stands out.

There's Never Been Any Reason

It might be an obvious choice, but this has always been another of my favorite Head East numbers. Complete with the crowd singing along, this is a great version of the tune.

Elijah

The disc is closed by another of my favorites from the band. This stomper gets a great live telling here. There are powerhouse performances both instrumentally and vocally on this. It’s a real magnum opus and I can’t imagine a better way to end the show. What a killer tune this is.

 
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