Pot Luck Review #1 - Lace and Whiskey

The ground rules are pretty simple: the item in question has to be something I've never heard or seen before. I'll briefly explain what it is and how it came about to be in my possession, and
then we're off to the races. The first one's below. Enjoy.

WHAT: Alice Cooper's Lace and Whiskey (1977)

WHY: I won't lie. There are occasions where I will download music, how shall we say, somewhat under the table, as it were. In this case I wanted to get a copy of Alice Cooper's Killer record, and came away with his first 10 records, including this one, which I had never heard of. A quick check of the track listing assured me I had never heard of any of the songs before, either.

1. It's Hot Tonight - Bluesy rock riff, where's the cowbell? This song needs a cowbell. It's got plenty of reverb, though. Apparently Alice is upset because, dammit, it's hot tonight, too hot for talking, if you get my none too subtle drift. I hate too much reverb - it reeks of over-production and everything seems a little too compressed, if that makes any sense. Good guitar solo, though.

2. Lace and Whiskey - Oh, my...this is very bad Broadway. Dinky keyboards, bad synth strings, still way too much reverb. "La-a-ace and whiskey!" Is that some background "la la la's" in there, or is that still the strings? I can't tell - this is absolutely horrible. It's only 3:13 long, but it feels like I've been listening to this for months.

3. Road Rats - Damn that is one dinky piano sound. Wait! The cowbell! It's here! Obviously this is about the road crew. This wouldn't be a bad song if everything didn't sound like it was wrapped in saran wrap - the guitar once again rocks. I know this was popular back in the 70's, but nothing jumps out and screams at you (except the solo), which is what all great rock should do.

4. Damned if You Do - Alice attempts some honky-tonk, and fails by the first chorus, clocking in at 32 seconds. Maybe it'll help if I turn the volume up. Actually, it does provide a marginal improvement, it's just that this song sucks the holy big one.

5. You and Me - Ballad time, ladies and gentlemen. This was NOT the time to turn the volume up. Believe it or not, the reverb seems to have been turned down, though. Oh, god. These lyrics might've been written by Spinal Tap. "We share our bed, some lovin' and TV..." We are treated to some sappy orchestration, and I drift off to sleep...

6. King of the Silver Screen - More cowbell. Showtune style song about a guy who loves to escape to his TV when he comes home from a long day at work. Complete with old hokey references to late might movies and music cues. Very corny, and too hokey to rock, no matter how loud it is. Wait, now it's switched to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This seems like a mini rock-opera. Is "bombastic" appropriate here? Methinks it is.

7. Unbangi Stomp - Chuck Berry rippin' rock-n-roll. Completely derivative, also so far the best sounding track on the album. You can actually hear the piano. Almost no reverb. Nice and direct. I have no idea what the Unbangi Stomp is, but I like it.

8. (No More) Love at Your Convenience - Oh, this is sooo baad! Orchestrated disco. Alice, I know it's 1977, and you need to make a buck to finance your boa constrictors and make-up, but this reeks of poor sell-out. Is that ABBA signing in the background? This has taken over as the worst song on the album, perhaps the worst song of 1977.

9. I Never Wrote Those Songs - Another ballad, nice guitar intro. But then it right back OTT sounding like a mess of Beatles orchestration with Barry Manilow. But Barry would never sing this tripe. Maybe if I play this loud enough Barry will hear it and go over and bitch-slap Alice for recording this. Oh, man, a sax solo. I have to fast forward to...

10. My God - My exact sentiments after listening to this record.

BOTTOM LINE: C- Definitely a low-point for Alice Cooper, who it seems tried too hard to be all things to all people in this record. No real stand-outs that would make me want to go out and buy this.