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Poison: POISON'D

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Monday, June 11, 2007 @ 12:58 AM

Capitol Records

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One of the most enduring bands to emerge out of the 80's genre, Poison has just released their first album since their 2002’ release Hollyweird, entitled POISON’D. Actually, Poison's latest album isn't a new studio album, but a 13- song disc of hit cover songs that are from mostly the 70's era with the exception of The Romantics hit, ”What I Like About You."

I must admit I was a bit apprehensive of the term “cover album”. One of my favorite bands from the 80's is Poison and I have always enjoyed hearing new material from that genre. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the disc and heard that the band had given these 70's hits a more, punchier, more pop sound that their predecessors. Produced by Don Was at Henson Recording Studio in Hollywood, Poison re-captures the moment of these timeless anthems with an interesting new modern twist. Although, most of these tunes were recorded in the 70's, Poison makes them all sound new again.

I truly believe that Poison had the right idea in mind when releasing this cover album. In this day and age, when radio stations rarely ever play new material from 80's bands, why not rehash these hits of yesterday, and in retrospect with any luck make them a hit again. Actually, I have heard, "We're An American Band" on the radio in Boston, so it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

The opening track, "Little Willy" by The Sweet kicks off the album giving the Glam ambiance of Poison a new meaning. The songs leads the way to one of my favorite artists David Bowie, and Poison's remake of "Suffragette City". The chorus leaps out at you, and C.C. Deville's guitar shredding gives this classic hit an interesting new twist. There are a few songs on this album that I hope Poison perform them in their upcoming summer tour, and this song is one of them.

One of the most moving performances on the CD is the Alice Cooper ballad, "I Never Cry". Bret Michaels delivers a stunning performance that is truly moving. Slowing things down for just a moment, Poison then jumps into, the Tom Petty hit, ”I Need To Know”. The peppy groove on this song really gets things moving with C.C. Deville's Spartan guitar changes, and Rikki Rocket's funky drum rolls.

My personal choice of the best produced song on POISON’Dis the Marshall Tucker Band hit, ”Can’t You See?” Bret sings his heart out on this song, with so much passion and conviction, Poison really make this song their own. Honest and real, truly describe the vibe on "Can't You See?" It is my new favorite remake of a love gone wrong song with a great country twang. The melodic guitar changes in this tune, kind of remind me of, ”Give Me Sometime To Believe In." I truly hope Poison perform this song on their upcoming tour, as Bret and C.C. shine in their performance.

The band keep keeps rolling with ”What I Like About You" (The Romantics). One of the most interesting choices is The Rolling Stones cover, ”Dead Flowers". I was first introduced to this song and heard it live when Dizzy Reed's cover band performed it live. So it kind of grew on me, no pun intended.

Poison even added a Boston flavor to the release, with the remake of The Cars tune, ”Just What I Needed”. This is kind of punk meets glam, and in the end Glam always wins out, giving the song a whole new 80's version.

The band even pays tribute to The Who with the song, ”Squeeze Box”. The women in the audience will enjoy this song.

On the classic rock tune by Loggins and Messina, "Your Mama Don't Dance", Poison gives the song a new pop twist. This is what Poison is all about. A band that knows how to have a good time, and get the crowd involved in the show. I have heard the band play this tune so many times; it is a great summertime song. It kind of reminds you of when you were growing up and it is all about taking chances, being bad, getting caught, and feeling good about it. Poison takes a chance with this song, and comes up a winner.

Poison decided to end the CD with a song that sums up their career. As they perform the Grand Funk Railroad tune, ”We’re An American Band.” Poison is one of the 80's most iconic bands. Their music has survived over twenty years. Although this is a cover album, and it really doesn't break any new ground, Poison has chosen songs that remain deep in their heart, and gave the 70's tunes a whole new meaning. The key to making a good cover album is for the artist to recapture the moment in time, give it their own interpretation, and make the songs their own.

POISON’Ddefinitely re-captures the moment with their exciting interpretation of these songs. I was talking to a few Poison fans the other day about POISON’D. Most of them said they had not even heard of these songs, and didn't realize they were covers. I believe the 30-year time span from the 70's to 2007 was a good choice. I have heard a lot of the original songs on the radio recently, and I actually prefer Poison's versions on many of them. You have to give Poison a lot of credit for keeping these songs alive.

Summer is here, so roll down the top in your convertible and crank up, "We’re An American Band" and be sure to catch one of the most enduring, bands to emerge out of the 80's on tour this summer. For more info check out www.poisonweb.com ****

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