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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ted Nugent

Sweden Rocks

Review by Gary Hill

Whatever you think of Ted Nugent, the man has produced some of the most recognizable guitar solos in the world. I’ve seen him live several times and I can tell you (other than the time he spent half the show ranting his political views – hey he’s entitled, but I paid to hear him play, not trash politicians) he always delivers a killer show. Well, there might be those who wonder how he still holds up. This CD, recorded in 2002 is a testament to the fact that he still has what it takes. There are a couple missteps – generally very minor – but overall this is a great show. Will this replace Double Live Gonzo as the ultimate live record of Ted Nugent? No way! That one is just too strong of a disc. This is pretty darned good, though and well worth having.It should be mentioned that those with kids will probably want to avoid playing this around them. Besides Nugent's frequent use of profanity he makes several references to sodomizing people - so it's a stay away if you've got kids' ears in the room.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Stormtroopin'
This jumps right in the middle, like they started recording while the show was going on. While it makes for a high energy intro, it’s a bit disorienting. This stomper has a good performance here, but it feels like the vocals are a bit too far up in the mix. I guess it goes without saying that the guitar solo on here smokes.

Wango Tango
The mix seems better on this one. It’s always been a real screamer and the Nuge proves on the intro that he can still do his high energy, frantic speech. This really stomps.
Snakeskin Cowboys
I love this tune. The main riff on it is exceptionally meaty. While the sneering bravado in the lyrics is a bit silly, it still seems to work. The only complaint is that the track seems to lose direction mid-piece. That said, they pull it together and back out in fine fashion.

Free For All
The intro on this one feels a bit lacking in terms of energy and something just feels a bit “off.” Still, they pull it together nicely when it launches into the verse. This classic still holds up pretty well in the modern day and age. Mr. Nugent’s extended solo on this one is particularly tasty.
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
This sexually charged powerhouse emerges straight out of the previous track. It’s another stomper and still works as well today as when it was first recorded. We get another patented Nugent guitar solo here. Funny thing is, while it’s expected and a bit formulaic, it sure doesn’t fail to entertain. As they power this out into a killer fast paced jam it’s a great touch. They even throw a full on twelve bar blues (delivered with a typical Ted Nugent flair) into the mix. They can pack a lot in as they stretch this one out to over eight minutes in length.
Raw Dogs & War Hogs
You really have to wonder how this nationalist American piece of patriotic propaganda turned rock song went over with the Swedish audience. We can really tell because the mix doesn’t give us a lot of audience sound, but I’m guessing it might have fallen a bit flat. Of course, if true, that could be at least in part because this cut just doesn’t work as well as some of the other stuff here. Sure, Nugent’s soloing is spot on, but the song structure is too minimalistic and just a bit lacking. The crowd does seem to react well at the end of the track, so maybe it’s just me.
Soul Man
Here Nugent tackles this Isaac Hayes tune (made most famous by The Blues Brothers). I really like this version. It’s one part Nuge and one part Blues Brothers. It’s quite short, though.
Hey Baby
A killer Nugent rock and roller, I’ve always dug this song. It’s a great rendition here, too. Nugent’s guitar soloing on this one is especially tasty – and considering the rest of the disc, that says a lot.
Dog Eat Dog
I’ve always loved this piece and they put in a great version here. I like this one better than the studio one, and possibly better than any rendition I’ve heard before. The group were totally on fire by this point and it paid off.
Still Raising Hell
This screamer is a pretty straightforward and simplistic rock and roller, but it’s still quite strong.
Cat Scratch Fever
This Nugent mainstay is strong here, but it feels just a bit slow to me. It still rocks out quite well. It’s another that holds up, oh so well, despite the passing years and changing tastes.

Stranglehold
Ted Nugent describes this as the “number one guitar lick in the world.” Well, I don’t know if he made that up or heard it somewhere, but you can’t argue that’s it’s a smoking riff. This has always been a show stomper and nothing has changed in that regard.

Great White Buffalo
Nuge and the guys close things off with another sheer classic. Feedback starts this – Nugent left his guitar feeding back when they left the stage – it occupied a good part of the end of “Stranglehold” as he normally does. So, when they come back out for this encore we get some different feedback to start off. This is another scorching rendition. It feels a bit rushed at times, though. Still, it’s a great closer.
 
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