Sammy Hagar – “This Is Sammy Hagar – When The Party Started” (Mailboat Records)
Multi platinum recording artist, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee and Grammy winning singer and songwriter Sammy Hagar has made his legend over the course of decades in Montrose, as a solo artist and stints in Van Halen. This 14 track collection is very much a personal one as chosen by Hagar himself, including 2 brand new songs along with alternate mixes of tracks from his post Van Halen albums of “Red Voodoo” in 1999 through to “Livin’ It Up” in 2006. Reflecting a special moment in his life free for the first time in 25 years from being commercially pressured to deliver Hagar style hits for his labels, his new found zest to discover, experiment and essentially fall in love with making music again is all over the tracks here that have a strong natural vibe of free expression through the band he recruited: the Wabos. Testing the material by how many industry bigwigs hated – yes hated it – and then live at his annual birthday bash in Cabo to thousands of people who were sleeping on the streets outside of the Cabo Wabo Cantina to hang out with band, ‘This Is Sammy Hagar – When The Party Started’ is an apt title, capturing Hagar’s spirit along with a helluva lot of good rock! The material here certainly isn’t abstract or conceptual but spans the rock spectrum in breathtaking range – along with an awesome level of quality attesting to Hagar’s still very evident composing capability. If there is one constant theme across the compilation, it’s the sheer feelgood factor and let it all hang out vibe that comes across loud n clear – so let the party begin! From the southern slide lovin’ ‘Sam I Am’ to the laid back acoustic free love of ‘No Worries’ and the church organ rock of ‘Halfway To Memphis’, Hagar rocks you time and again with the deep soul and catchiness of his music, almost challenging anyone to find a blemish with his faultless work. For the rockers at heart, the acoustic AOR of ‘Tropic Of Capricorn’ or the funk rock of ‘Serious Ju Ju’ or the straight up ‘Stand Up’ with its hard n heavy riffs, blues backing vocals and rock out screams from Hagar himself should suffice. Close to 70 years of age, “This Is Sammy Hagar – When The Party Started” proves that Sammy Hagar is still very much the center of the stage.