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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Boetz

Call to Arms

Review by Mike Korn

Here is one dinosaur that is not going to extinction quietly. Ernie Boetz is one huge real-life statement of defiance, giving a stiff middle finger to the rock of the new millennium. And I, for one, am glad he's doing so. Somebody has to keep the spirit of bluesy; no-messin' hard rock alive and it might as well be Boetz. We need another band of face-painted rap-metallers or spike-hair pop punkers like a hole in the head. An artist like Boetz is in short supply these days. Virtually a one-man band, Ernie bows deeply at the altar of mighty gods like Ted Nugent, Angus Young, Lemmy Kilminster and Ronnie Van Zant. The press release proudly states that this was recorded in an analog studio and the warm, friendly tone sure sounds like it. Boetz is not original in the least, as it's easy to see where he's come from and where he's headed, and to say the record is full of cliches is an understatement but "Call to Arms" is full of rough energy and memorable hooks. Not only is it a great record for fans of 70's hard rock but it is a true "alternative" to the types of aggressive music so common today.

Fight on, brother Ernie!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Call to Arms
This is a killer opening track, featuring guest vocals from none other than Lemmy of Motorhead. You can't get a more authentic endorsement than that! This is fast, crunchy rock with a great anthemic slant. It takes you back to the glory days of hard rock.
Greenback Crack
A slower and bluesier tune, this still has plenty of oomph. It is kind of like a cross between early AC/DC and Bad Company - very catchy.
Weak in the Knees
The main riff on this track is so 1978 that it will bring tears to your eyes. Again a very simple, memorable tune, this is no-frills rock.
Rock N Roll Is Good
Well, here's one that's a bit too cliched. This crosses the line into infantile simplicity. This is based on a slow, very cliche blues riff with drumming that could have been done by a chimp. Ernie's lyrics are somewhat self-mocking, and I think there's a sly wink and a nod about the whole thing.
Shinin'
Here's a track where Boetz' songwriting really stands out. Not a ballad, this is still more melodic, with almost a trace of .38 Special on the vocal hooks. This would have been a tremendous FM rock cut back in the early 80's. It is a very good track.
Getting Over You
Somewhat reminiscent of "Rock N' Roll Is Good", this is another slow cut with a fat, bluesy riff you've probably heard a dozen times before. What makes it stand out is Ernie's excellent vocals. Pretty fly for a white guy, I'd say!
Oh Boy!
A cover of the Buddy Holly rockabilly classic, this is short, to the point and full of energy.
Don't Mean a Thing
Here's another blues riff so old it should have a long white beard, and it's starting to wear thin. I prefer more of Ernie's original tracks like "Shinin'" to this rehash.
Wish
The album's ballad, this has a good mournful tone to it. It reminds me of the haunting atmosphere of a lot of Bad Company's more down-tempo tunes. On the chorus, things pick up and even get bouncy.
Almost to Scotland
A pure, unabashed tribute to AC/DC, this track is so much like something from one of their early albums, you won't believe it. It has snide lyrics like "She found my dirk blade under my kilt/swallowed my claymore to the hilt" that would have caused even Bon Scott to grin. This is a song that acknowledges a debt and pays it off.
 
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