MONTROSE – Warner Brothers Presents…Montrose! [Rock Candy remaster]
Rock Candy Records has just ‘Remastered & Reloaded‘ a new batch of 3 essential MONTROSE albums, and this “Warner Brothers Presents…Montrose!” completes the series.
This is the first Montrose album released after the departure of singer Sammy Hagar, and the first Montrose album to feature a keyboardist as a full member of the band.
At the time of this recording, Montrose had successfully crafted a well respected reputation for themselves with two albums of high class hard rock, before abrasive relationships eroded the band’s central core. Vocalist Sammy Hagar was effectively forced to leave the band by an increasingly mercurial Ronnie Montrose, a man who ran the band with complete control and authority.
With Hagar cast aside Ronnie appointed new boy Bob James, who, like Hagar, was an unknown quantity, but the possessor of an extraordinary voice.
When the band began to plan the recording of their third album, “Warner Brothers Presents…Montrose!”, Ronnie instigated another significant change, by rejecting powerhouse producer Ted Templeman, in favour of assuming the production duties himself.
This led to a more eclectic record, that incorporated several moods, ranging from drawn out epics such as ‘Whaler’ and the aggressive hard rocker ‘Matriach’ to snappier cuts such as ‘Oh Lucky Man’ [written by Alan Price] and ‘Black Train’, a proto speed metal romp.
‘Whaler’ weighed-in as the band’s most ambitious composition and elaborate production to date. Evoking the imagery and atmosphere of a seafaring adventure, the song was an unexpected FM hit in Canada, resulting in Montrose moving up from second-bill to headliner status for select performances.
But the album’s stand out track is ‘Dancin’ Feet’ with its catchy and uninhibited guitar riff holding centre court (performed later as a cover song by an unknown Van Halen).
There’s also a sweet, radio-friendly ballad in “All I Need”, which alternates between soft acoustic verses and electric guitar crunch at the chorus.
When “Warner Brothers Presents…Montrose!” was released it further enhanced the band’s reputation as musicians, but it failed to alleviate their declining sales and lack of chart momentum.
It also clearly demonstrated Ronnie Montrose’s continued quest for musical development and diversity, a fact underscored by the appointment of keyboard player Jim Alcivar, helping to provide a vivid and contemporary sounding palette that indicated the direction to come (both Ronnie Montrose & Alcivar would be part of Gamma years after).
A very good record presenting a quite punchy remastering by Rock Candy, perhaps the louder of these Montrose reissues.
01 – Matriarch
02 – All I Need
03 – Twenty Flight Rock
04 – Whaler
05 – Dancin’ Feet
06 – O Lucky Man
07 – One And A Half
08 – Clown Woman
09 – Black Train
Bob James – lead vocals
Ronnie Montrose – guitar
Jim Alcivar – keyboards
Alan Fitzgerald – bass
Denny Carmassi – drums