Rock 'N Roll Ride

Jack Blades

Jack Blades came on the scene in the early 80s as the bassist, vocalist and songwriter for Night Ranger. Later he went on to co-found Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw and drummer Michael Cartellone. That band enjoyed heavy MTV rotation and marginal success. Blades also spent time playing with Ringo Starr and appeared on the drummer’s VH1 “Storytellers” show. And if all that activity isn’t enough, you can take satisfaction in knowing that Blades has written tunes for Aerosmith, Cher and Alice Cooper, as well as for films like Armageddon, Wayne’s World and Rock Star. Yeah, to say Jack Blades has been busy these past 30 years would be an understatement.

So how does Blades find time to make solo records? For Rock 'N Roll Ride, his second solo effort, the singing bassist got help from three of his Night Ranger band mates — Joel Hoekstra provides all the guitar solos, Kelly Keagy lends his drumming to a few tunes, and Eric Levy handles the keyboards. But at the heart of it, it’s really all about Jack Blades being as busy as usual. Opening with “Back In The Game,” the song features some captivating vocal harmonies, an ongoing element of this CD. The title track is a little light lyrically but the chorus is catchy with more tight harmonies.

Other highlights include “The Hardest Word,” which sounds like it could be a Cheap Trick ballad (maybe that’s because Robin Zander co-wrote it). “West Hollywood,” filled with even more wonderful harmonies, is such an infectious story I didn’t want it to ever end. For “Anything For Love,” Blades manages a slightly different vocal inflection with some slide support from Hoekstra, played very much in the spirit of George Harrison. Getting a little help from his friends, the ever-busy Jack Blades has turned in a solid 11-song album for the ages with Rock 'N Roll Ride.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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