RICHIE KOTZEN – Mother Head’s Family Reunion [remastered 2020]
“Mother Head’s Family Reunion” is RICHIE KOTZEN first solo album after leaving Poison, and one he repeatedly mentioned as favorite from his career. Now it has been remastered and reissued.
The album helped break Richie out of the stereotype of being “A Shrapnel Shredder” and put the focus on his songwriting & vocal ability more so than his six-string wizardry. Now, twenty six years later, ‘Mother Head’s Family Reunion’ is heralded by a majority of his fans as his best album so far.
Sadly, Geffen Records dropped the ball with its release in the Nineties. Thankfully MCA in Japan knew a true talent when they saw it & gave this sonic work of art a new life overseas.
The album has been out-of-print in the U.S. since its only pressing in 1994, and fetches big money on eBay and other online music outlets. You can find the 2000’s European reissue by Frontiers music, but now this remastered version is much better.
When skilled Richie Zito produced Poison’s ‘Native Tongue’ he saw a lot of potential and talent in Richie Kotzen, so resulted natural he wanted to produce ‘Mother Head’s Family Reunion’.
I think the title track captures the spirit of the album: lively, true rock ‘n roll, minimal overdubs. But maybe ‘A Love Divine’ is my favorite track. Love the “no rhythm guitar” behind the solo, which is terrific.
‘Soul To Soul” is the ballad of the album, and the vocal is believable as hell. His guitar through a Leslie is in such a great place in the song that it works great. Another highlight for me should be “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”. The rhythm of this song kills, and the solo is fantastic.
Listening closely, ‘Mother Head’s Family Reunion’ sounds a lot like Native Tongue, Phase II. It’s that album, but beyond: it’s Kotzen completely unleashed and without Bret Michaels.
You could easily imagine a track like ‘A Love Divine’ on side two of Native Tongue, among the more grooving material.
Through the last four tracks (“Used”, “A Woman & A Man”, “Livin’ Easy” and “Cover Me”) Richie and company rock it up and slow it down again with consistently impressive chops.
There are no weak songs, and Kotzen’s ballads have a genuine sound that stays timeless no matter the year. The speedy funk-soul-metal soup of “Cover Me” concludes the album by smoking your ears with blazing hot licks.
‘Mother’s Head Family Reunion’ sticks out in that it was Richie’s first major label album as musician, writer and singer. He already impressed with Poison, and later in Mr. Big and The Winery Dogs, but ‘Mother’s Head Family Reunion’ has ‘something’ special.
01 – Socialite (Remastered)
02 – Mother Head’s Family Reunion (Remastered)
03 – Where Did Our Love Go (Remastered)
04 – Natural Thing (Remastered)
05 – A Love Divine (Remastered)
06 – Soul to Soul (Remastered)
07 – Reach Out I’ll Be There (Remastered)
08 – Testify (Remastered)
09 – Used (Remastered)
10 – A Woman & a Man (Remastered)
11 – Livin’ Easy (Remastered)
12 – Cover Me (Remastered)
Richie Kotzen – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass
Atma Anur – drums, percussion
John Pierce – bass guitar
Tommy Funderburk – harmony vocals
T.F. – background vocals
Richie Zito – mellotron, bass pedals (on “Used”)