Ted Nugent – “Shutup&Jam!” (Frontiers Records)
With over 40 millions albums sold and having played over 6,500 high-octane live shows, the Nuge or ‘Motor City Madman’ is infamous in US rock history from his decibel setting, gold fish bowl shattering records to guitar dueling with the likes of Frank Marino, who was reputedly chased out’ve a stadium – and not without controversies as a political icon being the bane of PETA to be accused of racism to sitting on the board of the NRA to name but a few! Musically the Nuge is equally regarded for his no effects, no nonsense kick ass brand of 70s American hard rock n roll and it’s no less on this 14th solo album with his raw n wild guitar sound cleanly burning thru those amps so much you can smell the smoke. Every chord, every pick, every finger slide on that fretboard is recorded with crystal clarity just as it was back in the days of the old school – you can almost see Ted’s face screw up at the mere mention of a computer lol. Enlisting old time buddy Derek St Holmes and guest vocalist Sammy Hagar the Nuge is back as the wildman of rock on his first album in 7 years and it’s been worth the wait, as both the man and his songs still resonate the call of the wild in satiating the hunger for raw meat munching rock that only the Nuge can feed with both the purity of his rock essence as well as his patriotic passion – aged 65 and apart from new knees, this old rock dog ain’t gonna quit! Just check out the dual vocal blues rock n roll of ‘She’s Gone’ an you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about man, as Hagar and the Nuge funk it out wang dang sweet poontang style with those non stop guitars. But there’s no messin’ on ‘Never Stop Believing’, a powerful rock ballad that is almost anthemic in its tribute to the nation, so much so I almost expected to hear the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the end! But if you like your fresh game served up with a cold brew then brash 80s beer chasers like ‘I Still Believe (In America)’ and ‘I Love My BBQ’ – complete with hilarious retro hippy harmonies – will get your red blood boiling as the guitar instrumental of ‘Throttledown’ is so outta control its smokin’ baby! Closing ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ style with ‘Screaming Eagles’ and the unashamed brash n just down dog heavy white boy rap rock of ‘Semper Fi’ the contrast couldn’t be any more clearer in the heartfelt and poignant blues soul acoustic version of ‘Never Stop Believing’ where the Nuge looks back on his life reminiscing ‘..I got a dream, like Martin Luther King, in my heart, I hear that man sing…and I never stop believin’..’. There may be no more amplifier leaping and no more bisons on stage but Ted Nugent still has the fire in his heart and whatever your views on his politics and persona, there’s no denying the spirit of the American Dream still lives on for this last weekend warrior out on the range.