Great White (EMI) 1984
1."Out of the Night"
Searched high and low for this, their first full length album, and finally found a copy for $4.50. Wouldn't you know, even though the disc looked like it was in mint condition tracks 6 & 7 skipped! Argh! Well, I took it back to the store, who also happens to be a CD repair shop. As luck would have it, the store went belly up and I never did get my disc back. Grrrr! Oh well, eventually I found another copy.
This is definitely the heaviest and most metallic Great White disc, with a few of the songs like "Stick It" sounding a bit like Ratt's LA heavy metal style, at other times sounding a bit like Dokken. "Substitute" is a heavy cover of The Who's classic song. Overall, Great White's debut is a good Zeppelin influenced heavy metal album and still my favorite Great White disc.
Great White - Shot in the Dark (Capitol) 1986
1. "She Shakes Me"
Great White go in a little less metallic direction on this disc than on their debut. The 'Led-clone' sound, which was not the case with their debut, is a bit more apparent on this disc, although I still don't think Great White are a clone. The influence is certainly there, but they are not just rearranging Zeppelin songs and calling them their own. There are actually some fine commercial metal tracks here. The best and worst tracks on this disc are actually cover songs. One of the best is "Face the Day", originally recorded by Angel City. However, the Spencer Davis Group cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'" is terrible. "She Shakes Me" is a hard rocker that is another standout cut. "What Do You Do" on the other hand is a keyboard drenched boogie song that is one of the weak spots on the album. The title track is a pop metal number that I actually like quite a bit, although once again the keyboards are more dominant than the guitars. Apparently this disc has been taken out of print and has become rather scarce in the last few years although they still sell for under $10 on auction sites.
Great White - Once Bitten (Capitol) 1987
1. "Lady Red Light"
I had a reader of this page tell me that my CD collection would never be complete without this "classic" disc. Well, this copy had been sitting on the shelf at a local store for ages, so I decided to snag it for the bargain price of $5.99. Indeed this reader was correct becaue "Once Bitten" is a very good hard rock disc. The music is chock full of good hooks, clean production, outstanding vocals and loads of blues influence licks and riffs. "Rock Me" and "Save Your Love" were big hits for the band. "Mistreater" and "Never Change Heart" are also outstanding tracks.
On a side note, I really hate the way the tracks are laid out on the tray card on this CD and "...Twice Shy." Why the heck are all the titles jumbled together, and not even in the right order?
Great White - ...Twice Shy (Capitol) 1989
1. "Move It"
At one time I had a big prejudice against bands I considered "poser metal". Great White seemed to fit into that category and I never really gave any of their CDs a chance after their debut. The fact is, while they did move away from the typical 80's Hollywood metal sound, this isn't the wimpy music I thought it was. Actually, "...Twice Shy" is a very good hard rock album with a big 1970's influence. In particular the tracks "House of Broken Love" and "Mistah Bone" are solid rockers with an infectious hook. The Ian Hunter cover ("Once Bitten, Twice Shy") was a huge hit for the band and is another standout cut. Unsurprisingly, "...Twice Shy" sold over two million copies.
Great White - Hooked (Capitol) 1991
1. "Call It Rock
N' Roll" (3:57)
Great White followed their double platinum "...Twice Shy," with this well-crafted, bluesy album. It has the bluesy wail of Led Zeppelin and the riffs of AC/DC and the Scorpions, although without the attitude of either. Still, despite this album being a decent offering of hard rock, it just doesn't hold water to the first album, in my opinion. Of course some 500,000 people disagreed with me.
Great White - Psycho City (Capitol) 1992
1. "Psycho City"
"Psycho City" is, in my opinion, the best Great White disc since their debut, which has been the album I have compared all the rest to since it came out. This album rocks consistently from beginning to end without all the crappy pop rock getting in the way. I actually bought this after seeing the ridiculous selling price on HeavyHarmonies.com. Thinking it was somewhat of a collectors disc, I picked it up for $4.50 for that reason alone. When I got home and popped it into the cd player, I was very surprised. I guess losing popularity has done good things for this band.
Great White - Sail Away/Anaheim Live (Zoo/BMG) 1994
"Sail Away" is a rather mellow, bluesy, acoustic affair. Produced by Alan Niven and guitarist Michael Lardie, "Sail Away" is most definitely the band's mellowest moment. Songs feature mostly acoustic guitars, although several songs feature instruments such as horns and sitars as well. While it's not something I would put on all the time, if I am in just the right mood, this disc is spectacular. It really has a mood all it's own that is very different from any other Great White disc. The first pressing of this disc also featured a bonus live disc titled "Anaheim Live", which is a nice addition to the package.
Great White - Can't Get There from Here (Portrait) 1999
1. "Rollin' Stoned"
I have read that this was a reunion album, but I guess I must have been out of the loop because I didn't even know the band had broken up. Regardless, "Can't Get There" continues in the same bluesy melodic rock mode that the band had been going in for years. This album is given a helping hand by Night Ranger/Damn Yankees veteran Jack Blades, who not only produces but also helps in the songwriting department. Dokken's Don Dokken and Mick Brown also help out a bit. However, this is not a heavy album. The music is actually pretty mellow, although there are a few rockers like opening track "Rollin' Stoned." "Saint Lorraine" is also good party-rock song that sounds a bit closer to the "Once Bitten Twice Shy"-era of the band. Also Jack Russell's Plant-like howl sounds as strong and vibrant as ever. Perhaps it was the mood I was in at the time I first popped this disc in, but I really enjoyed this album a bit more than some of the other Great White CDs on the first listen. I'll have to see how this one hold up over time, but for now I can honestly say that "Can't Get There" is as good as, if not better than, the rest of the band's catalogue.
Great White - Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (Dead Line) 1999
1. "In the Light"
How much more appropriate could it be for a band that is so influenced by Led Zeppelin to record a tribute to the mighty Zep? Great White do a marvelous job covering some of their favorite Zeppelin tunes. Recorded in concert at the Galaxy in Santa Ana, CA in December, 1996, this CD contains 14 tracks that are mostly made up of fan favorites. With the exception of "Immigrant Song" and "Stairway to Heaven", much of this material was very rarely performed live by Zeppelin themselves. The band sticks pretty close to the original studio versions and doesn't stray much into the extended jams that Zep were known for. Jack Russell does a great job on vocals. His voice has always had that Robert Plant quality, so it works well here, without sounding like a carbon copy. Some of the drum parts seem a bit different from what I remember, but overall, Great White do a great job at paying homage to one of rock and roll's greatest bands.
Great White - The Best of Great White (EMI-Capitol) 2000
1. "Rock Me"
A short, concise career retrospective of Great White's biggest radio hits. It's actually quite amazing how many hits this band had in the mid-80's. I can honestly say that this disc will probably get more play time than many of the band's studio albums from my collection. The packaging is a bit minimal for my liking and I would have liked to have seen a few songs from the band's debut, but otherwise a cool compilation disc. This disc was a birthday gift from a friend, who's birthday also happens to fall on the same day as mine. (Thanks Arttie. Happy Birthday to you too.)
1. "My World" (5:26)
2. "Lil Mama" (4:26)
3. "Where Is The Love" (4:23)
4. "Hand On The Trigger" (5:18)
5. "Easy" (4:26)
6. "Pain Overload" (4:40)
7. "Lives In Chains" (6:16)
8. "Anyway I Can" (6:05)
9. "Man In The Sky" (4:37)
10. "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady" (2:44)
11. "Miles Away" (5:32)
"Let It Rock" is a straight forward, rock and roll album. In 1996, this sort of bluesy hard rock was far from popular, but Great White stuck to their guns and put one a very enjoyable album. The hard rock songs such as "My World", "Lives in Chains" and "Hand on the Trigger" are quite good. All three songs possess a very melodic quality and a simple hook. However, the majority of this album leans to the more melodic, mellow, bluesy side of Great White. "Easy" even borders on straight blues. "Where is the Love" is a blues based ballad that could have been on every FM station in the country had it been released as a single in 1988."Man In The Sky" is an enchanting ballad that is sung as a prayer from a man searching for God. Likewise, "Pain Overload" is another emotional power ballad. "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady" is an excellent Q5 cover. Overall, "Let it Rock" is a careful blend of the classic "Once Bitten" and the more melodic "Psycho City". I can't imagine any longtime Great White fan not enjoying this one.
Great White - Recover (DeadLine Records) 2002
1. "Love Removal
Machine" (4:30) (originally by The Cult)
Ahhh, so the guys in Great White do like other bands besides the mighty Zeppelin. Well, this disc of melodic covers is pretty enjoyable despite the fact that most of these songs are moldy oldies. My personal favorite being the AC/DC cover, a fine song indeed, and "Ready For Love" originally by Bad Company.
Great White - Back to the Rhythm (Shrapnel) 2007
The Great White legacy is long and filled with rich history that unfortunately includes one of the worst tragedies in the history of rock and roll. The tragic nightclub fire that stole the life of guitarist Ty Longley and many fans in Rhode Island will forever haunt this band. However, the band have prevailed and reunited their (mostly) classic line-up. As such, Great White set out to prove that rock and roll with never die. Despite the fact that they haven't released a new album in nearly eight years, the bands sound stays relatively close to what you would expect from Great White. The album opens with the expected hard rocker of the album. This song very well could have been a single, had it been released twenty years earlier when the band were at their peak of popularity. The song had previously been recorded on the bands "Thank You...Goodnight" album. "Here Goes My Head Again" is a song co-penned by Jack Blades (Night Ranger/Damn Yankees) and Michael Lardie and is a laid-back, melodic, bluesy rocker. "Take Me Down" cranks up the intensity a bit with a heavier guitar sound, though the song still retains that melodic, bluesy nature that the overall album is built upon. "Play On" was also featured on the "Thank You...Goodnight" album and is re-recorded here. This is the first of many bluesy ballads on the album. "Was It The Night" is another slow, blues-based ballad-type song. Perhaps the reflection of the "Station Fire" tragedy has the band reflecting, as this album has an overall melancholy overtone. "I'm Alive" is a slightly more modern sounding song, but still retains that same melodic nature. "Still Hungry" brings back the intensity slightly, sounding a bit like Van Halen. Without continuing to comment on each song, "Back to the Rhythm" is a melodic album that sounds like classic Great White, but with a much more somber feel, even with the heavier material. I suppose that was to be expected given that this is the band's first album since that tragic fire. As might be expected there is a heartfelt dedication to the victims and survivors of the infamous "Station Fire" inside the booklet. (Thanks Vexer6)
1. (I've Got) Something For You (4:31)
2. Feelin' So Much Better (5:04)
3. Love Train (4:46)
4. Heart Of A Man (4:27)
5. Hard To Say Goodbye (5:19)
6. Resolution (5:06)
7. Shotgun Willie's (5:07)
8. Promise Land (5:46)
9. Lowdown (5:56)
10. Just For Tonight (4:33)
11. Love Is Enough (6:05)
12. Complicated (4:16)
It seems to be something of a trend now. Band splits, band reforms, band splits again and becomes two versions of the band floating around and trying to claim themselves as "the real band". Ratt, Queensryche and Saxon all come to mind. Add Great White to the list. What we have is original vocalist, and the only member of Great White to keep the train running for decades on end, Jack Russell out and about doing his thing under the Great White name while guitarist Mark Kendall, keyboardist Michael Lardie, drummer Audie Desbrow and XYZ frontman Terry Ilous are out doing their thing under the same band name. The "Kendall" version of the band is the first to produce new music with "Elation".
Of course the first thing that always comes to mind when thinking of popular bands with a long history, will the band still be the same without their signature singer? In the case of Great White, absolutely not. Great White's greatest successes has always been the combination of Russell's soulful vocal delivery and Mark Kendall's bluesy guitar riffs. Without Kendall the band still rode high on Russell's vocal prowess, despite the band playing with him. However, with Terry Illous fronting the band, this version of Great White sounds like a whole different band.
Now that doesn't mean that "Elation" is a bad album. In fact, "Elation" is a solid, blues-based hard rock album. The performances are good and the album is, for the most part, more upbeat than "Rising" and "Back To The Rhythm". With Illous fronting the band, Great White has a sleazier vibe. He absolutely shines on the slow-blues/ballad song "Hard to Say Goodbye". "Love Train" is a bluesy song with a nice groove and a Blackfoot vibe. "Lowdown" is a slow song with a heavy groove. It is quite possibly one of the band's heaviest songs in quite some time. "(I've Got) Something For You", "Feelin' So Much Better" and "Heart Of A Man" are all enjoyable, up-beat hard rock songs. I can almost hear that groove in songs like "Resolution" that made songs like "Mista Bone" so much fun. However, despite a solid effort, the album doesn't quite have the same 'vibe' that I expect from Great White. I can't help but wonder if it isn't the lack of Russell's voice that keeps the songs from teetering over the edge from good to truly great. Perhaps not, but with the release coming under the Great White name it's hard not separate the band from their former vocalist.