JOHN CORABI – Unplugged (2012)
Known for his vocal work with The Scream, Motley Crue and Union (with ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick), American hard rock vocalist JOHN CORABI is releasing his solo debut album entitled “Unplugged“.
The CD offers 5 new original tracks, seven re-recorded songs from his past bands and in addition, features an exclusive 2012 behind-the-scenes interview with John.
Over the years, it seems there is no middle ground when it comes to people’s opinions of John Corabi, either you love him or hate him. With Corabi on vocals, Motley Crue released one critically acclaimed full-length CD. I’ve known several people who refused to listen to the album because it wasn’t Vince Neil, yet when I put the album on and didn’t tell them who it was, they loved it.
Also, there are a large number of people who won’t give him a fair shot because the CD was released in the wake of grunge, and despite a Top-Ten placing on the album chart, it ended up being a commercial failure for the label.
While this new release it’s a departure from the hard rocking stuff that you would expect from this singer, this is not a shock to anyone who has followed his career as Corabi has performed many acoustic gigs over the years.
But to issue an unplugged album as your debut solo effort is a ballsy move in my opinion. That being said, John is one of a few artists that could pull off such a feat after the career fronting the bands that he has.
A few years ago, John moved to Nashville and has been focused on writing songs for others as well as this “Unplugged” album.
The disc gets off to an uptempo start with a favorite among Union fans, “Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)”. It stays fairly true to the original with a nice guitar work. Very cool version.
Other well revitalized re-worked songs include an old ’80s Corabi demo “Are You Waiting?”, The Scream’s very good tunes “Man In The Moon” & “I Never Loved Her Anyway” and Union’s “Everything’s Alright”.
The Motley Crue tracks of what Corabi was part are “Loveshine” & “Hooligan’s Holiday”, the latter one of the best of the CD in a great version. Originally, this cut is as heavy as possible. Here, besides being acoustic, it has a real delta blues feel to it. Former Union bandmate Bruce Kulick provides the lead guitar and nailed Mick Mars parts. I couldn’t have ever imagined this song sounding like this but it works and works very well.
The brand new songs are quite good as well.
“If I Never Get To Say Goodbye” is a heartfelt ballad co-written with Nashville songsmith Gary Hannan. Sparse percussion and the harmony vocals really make this song stand out.
Lyrically, “Crash” is a tearjerker. The production and mix on this thack really shines and allows the individual parts to blend together perfectly yet they have room to breathe. Many bands these days record acoustic songs and they sound like a mess.
“If I Had A Dime” is another good new song co-written with bandmate and producer, D.A. Karkos. A lot has been said about John’s past songwriting partners like Nikki Sixx and Kulick but from his songwriting contribution here, his musicianship and production throughout, I believe John has met his musical soulmate in Karkos.
“Open Your Eyes” is actually ten years old as it was originally recorded for a project Corabi had in 2002 called ‘Zen Lunatic’. Here definitely you can hear the influence that Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith have had on John especially vocally and lyrically.
“Unplugged” isn’t just ‘a man and his guitar’ album, it features a full band in a stripped down setting. There aren’t any electric instruments or drums, just acoustic guitars and bass, hand percussion and shakers & three and four part harmonies, but all sounds full-wide and organic.
John Corabi has made a ballsy move for a debut solo album, but it does not disappoint in any fashion. I like the fact that John had Bruce contribute to non-Union songs, as it would have been easy to have Kulick re-recording his parts on acoustic guitar, but instead they went left of center and had him play on cuts from John’s previous bands, The Scream and Motley Crue.
There are songs in “Unplugged” that will fit whatever mood you are in, there is some mighty tasty guitar playing on it, the percussion adds to the atmosphere and Corabi is singing better than ever.
Musicianship, production, mixing and mastering on this album are stellar, stripped but with tons of heart & soul.
01. Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)
02. If I Never Get To Say Goodbye
03. Are You Waiting?
05. Everything’s All Right
06. Father, Mother, Son
07. Hooligan’s Holiday
08. If I Had A Dime
10. Man In The Moon
11. Open Your Eyes
12. I Never Loved Her Anyway
13. 2012 Interview (bonus track)
John Corabi: Lead Vocals & Guitars
D.A. Karkos: Guitars & Vocals
Topher Nolen: Bass & Vocals
Cheney Brannon: Percussion & Vocals
Matt Farley: Percussion & Vocals
Bruce Kulick: Lead Guitar on 7 & 10
BUY IT !