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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Lizards

Archeology

Review by Gary Hill

The whole concept of doing an album of covers seems to be pretty popular these days.  There's one superior thing about this one, though. The Lizards do such a great version of 1970’s bluesy hard rock in their original repertoire this seems a more obvious – and natural choice. They tackle both well known and lesser known acts here. There’s not a bad song in the bunch and this is a great disc. Each track has that Lizards stamp on it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fire and Water
Here they take on the classic song by Bad Company. I have to admit I’ve never really been a fan of Bad Company – mainly because for some reason Paul Rodgers’ voice always rubs me the wrong way. Don’t send your hate mail. It’s just one of those things. In any event, I do like The Lizards’ take on this classic track. Bad Company’s song writing was always solid. It’s just to vocals that turned me away. Now I can actually enjoy this track. Mr. Rodgers, I apologize – it’s just one of those personal preference things. I especially like the instrumental section on this. It really rocks. I also like the piano and drum section that leads to the percussion outro.
Head First
This time around it’s The Babys that is in The Lizards’ musical sites. Song writing wise this is not as strong of a cut as the opener. Still, it’s a solid rocker that should be pretty well-known to most listeners. I have always liked the knife sharp guitar stabs on the chorus.
I'm Mad
I have to admit I’ve always dug John Lee Hooker, but I’ve never heard this song before. The Lizards play it as a scorching blues jam and this is one of the highlights of the disc. It’s a real screamer.

Juke It
Another track I’ve never heard before, this one was from a band called “Boomerang.” It’s a great bluesy jam that’s got a killer retro texture and really works quite well. Both the retro keyboard sound and smoking guitar solo work extremely well, but the bass guitar adds a lot to the mix, too.
Thunderbox
A Humble Pie cover this comes in feeling like “Woman From Tokyo” by Deep Purple, but then shifts to a sound that feels like trademark Rolling Stones. I remember this song a bit from Humble Pie, but I haven’t heard it in a while. Still, this version is strong.
Tramp
Originally from Stray Dog, I’ve never heard this band or this song. It’s another scorching bluesy rocker. I like this one a lot and the guitar solo simply screams. I love the faster paced metallic romp that calls to mind early Rush, too.
The Wizard
Here they turn their attention to Uriah Heep and one of my favorite tracks by the band. This rendition is pretty close to the original, but yet it’s still got a Lizards brand right on its flesh. There’s less of a keyboard element to the track and the vocals are different. Still, the chorus’ soaring vocals are right on the money.
One More Heartache
A song originally by Detective, this comes in feeling like it could have been from Montrose. It’s another killer rocker that works quite well. The chorus has a bit of a quirky nature. I used to have a few discs from Detective (actually I still do, but no turntable to play them on – Yes fanatic that I am I had to have the ones with Tony Kaye on them), but I don’t remember ever hearing this song. I don’t remember the band sounding like this either, but I haven’t listened to them in a long time. Whether this is faithful or not, it’s a killer Lizards version and a great way to end the disc. There’s another exceptionally tasty guitar solo on this one.

 
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