BADLANDS – Voodoo Highway [Rock Candy Remastered] Out Of Print
And here’s the other BADLANDS album – their second titled “Voodoo Highway”- remastered by Rock Candy Records, now with a complete 16 full color booklet including rare photos and a 4000+ full essay about the making of the record.
As happened with Badlands self-titled debut, these Rock Candy reissues were on sale only few months due to Ray Gillen’s estate / family claim. So this “Badlands Voodoo Highway Rock Candy Remaster” was retired from the market and it’s now a collectors item.
After touring for the better part of a year in the wake of their self-titled debut Badlands, long-simmering tensions within the band would boil over at the end of the road.
Singer Ray Gillen and guitarist Jake Lee were determined to eject drummer Eric Singer from the fold, with only bassist Greg Chaisson speaking on Singer’s behalf… a strange turn of events as Singer and Chaisson had been at odds from day one.
Badlands found a new drummer in Jeff Martin, who had fronted Racer’s X as their vocalist and played with George Lynch and Michael Schenker.
Other changes were afoot, as the band kicked manager/producer Paul O’Neil to the curb, Lee taking over the controls for the production of “Voodoo Highway”.
Badlands’ debut album hit #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. Respectable, but the record company (Atlantic Records) thought they could do better. Among a raft of internal strife, Atlantic proposed in 1990 that Jake E. Lee co-write with Desmond Child, the hit making machine responsible for some of the greatest late ’80s successes by KISS, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Ratt, etc and so on.
Child‘s input was rejected by the band, and Badlands focused on a blues-based hard rock album instead. Soon after the “Voodoo Highway” tour was completed, Atlantic dropped Badlands. In December 1993, Ray Gillen died of complications due to AIDS.
Musically, “Voodoo Highway” is a logical progression for Badlands, showing a band looking to expand their sound. It’s expertly written and superbly performed.
“Soul Stealer” and “Love Don’t Mean A Thing” kill me every time I hear them. Many a mix tape in the early ’90s were made better by their inclusion.
The guitar riffs on “Silver Horses” or “Heaven’s Train” show off Lee’s brilliance as a writer and performer.
The album is interspersed with short tracks like the American Steel piece “Voodoo Highway”, the acoustic “Joe’s Blues” and the soulful “In A Dream”.
Some might call these tracks filler material — clocking in at roughly two minutes each — but I disagree. They act as the backdrop for bigger things to come, and sets the tone of the whole album. If it weren’t for “Joe’s Blues”, the opening riff of “Soul Stealer” would not be the boot to the head that it is.
This is darkly shadowed bluesy hard rock, and Badlands aren’t ashamed to show it off.
I find that even the James Taylor cover “Fire And Rain” is turned into a totally raw song. While Gillen’s voice lacks the warm sensitivity of Taylor’s, he does a fine job of connecting with the material, bringing a little rock ‘n’ roll energy to the lyrics while the band’s high-octane arrangement builds upon the original with emotional fretwork and a loose-knit rhythm track. Lee, again, brings out the best in the song with a nervy solo that cuts to the quick.
This performance is echoed again in the album-closing “In A Dream,” an R&B-tinged ballad with gospel undertones, Gillen’s soulful vocals carrying the song until Lee’s subtle, high-lonesome guitar strum kicks in and underscores the emotion of the lyrics.
“Voodoo Highway” is another killer album from Badlands. This recording is nothing but pure soul-driven hard rock genius
The songs here are just as good as their debut with just a little more fire in Gillen’s voice. Jake’s guitar is about as raw as you can get — he didn’t want to go commercial if he could help it.
One thing Badlands had was energy and, of course, great rhythm guitar. The solos here are unmatched and not just because I say so. Just listen to this release if you haven’t heard it in awhile. Jake’s pinches alone have been copied more times than an office memo.
As said, this Rock Candy remastered reissue was retired from the market, and only few copies were sold.
A COLLECTORS ITEM.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – The Last Time
02 – Show Me the Way
03 – Shine on
04 – Whiskey Dust
05 – Joe’s Blues
06 – Soul Stealer
07 – 3 Day Funk
08 – Silver Horses
09 – Love Don’t Mean a Thing
10 – Voodoo Highway
11 – Fire and Rain
12 – Heaven’s Train
13 – In a Dream
Ray Gillen – lead vocals, harmonica
Jake E. Lee – guitar, dobro, keyboards, percussion
Greg Chaisson – electric and acoustic bass
Jeff Martin – drums, percussion, backing vocals
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