Raise A Little Hell

Head East

In their four decades, Head East has certainly made its mark on good time rock and roll featuring songs with tight harmonies, rockin’ guitars and a fair amount of synthesizer. Now the quintet is raising some hell with their live release Raise A Little Hell. Led by original keyboardist Roger Boyd, the band begins this 12-song collection with “One Night,” a spirited little ditty featuring guitarist Glen Bridger’s power chords leading the way. On occasion, Head East skirts 80s pop rock territory, with Darren Walker’s range on the little-too-light-for-its-own-good “Getting Lucky” and “Get Up & Enjoy Yourself.”

Fortunately, the band heats up on songs like the acoustically based “Love Me Tonight.” Boyd adds piano to the equally acoustic mid-tempo of “Say Yeah,” for another good tune. We get some solid bass playing from Greg Manahan on the title track, plus Boyd’s organ really chunking along. “Jefftown Creek,” from 1975’s Flat As A Pancake, simply rocks with some well played orchestrated leads from Bridger and Boyd swirling round one another. “Prisoner” may be the best one here, with the band at their best vocally and another lead from Bridger that lifts the tune up to a whole other level.

Head East’s best-known hits, “Since You Been Gone” (originally recorded and released by Head East a year before Rainbow took it to the Top 10) and “There’s Never Been Any Reason,” are played pretty much note for note, though the latter does seem to be moving at a faster clip than the studio version. Walker’s vocals are especially suited and drummer Eddy Jones positively kills on “Since You Been Gone.” Of course, Boyd’s signature synth on “There’s Never Been Any Reason” is very welcomed. Are Head East truly raising hell on Raise A Little Hell? I can say that they are playing some good time rock and roll, that’s for damn sure.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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