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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Crack a Smile and More

Review by Brian Angotti

Are the eighties back for more? Well, with the recent success Poison has had it is very likely. Poison sold out venues all across America last year and are gearing up for another tour this summer with Union, Slaughter, Dokken, and co-head liners Cinderella. The band will see two albums released this year "Live + Five" a live disc from last tour plus five new tracks. The first release, though is "Crack A Smile and More", a highly bootlegged album with Blues Saraceno on guitar. Poison fans have labeled this the "best Poison album ever". "Crack A Smile" was originally supposed to be released in 1996 but was shelved by Capitol. With success of the tour and C.C. rejoining the band the label decided to release it with b-sides and tracks from their MTV performance.

Bret Michaels (vocals), Rikki Rockett (drums), Bobby Dall (bass), and C.C. Deville (guitars) have had their problems in the past and recently, too. C.C. departed for a short time being replaced by L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Gunns only to have him return a month later. Problems arose due to C.C.'s other band Samantha 7 who are also releasing an album this year. C.C. couldn't refuse the tour and didn't want to disappoint the fans so he returned to the fold. For the latest Poison news and tour dates check out WWW.POISONWEB.COM. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Best Thing You Ever Had
This track kicks the album off in the usual Poison fashion...Loud! It also sets the pace for the album with lyrics that are for you party rock fans. The cut features Bret's signature harmonica playing.
Shut Up, Make Love
This is the first single and truly a party rock song! It starts off with a Poison rap and kicks into aggressive rocker.
Baby Gets Around A Bit
This is very interesting music thanks to Blues' guitar style. Fun lyrics and top of the line playing prove this to be Poison at their best This track should do well on radio and is one of my favorites.
Cover Of A Rolling Stone
Featuring the band struggling to finish recording the song drunk and high, this is a cover of Dr. John's classic tune updated Poison style!
Be The One
The first ballad and, in the usual Poison fashion, featuring sentimental lyrics. This track slows things down on an otherwise sex-driven album.
Mr. Smiley
Blues again strikes out with different and exciting guitar pieces. The band has written some fresh music with Blues and it is a shame that it was a one time thing!
Sexual Thing
In the vein of "Unskinny Bop", this cut was featured on the band's "Greatest Hits" release as a bonus track. Again, hats off to Blues for coming up with guitar parts to keep us rocking.
Lay Your Body Down
Another ballad, this one was also featured on the "Greatest Hits" album as a bonus track.
No Rings, Gets
Raunchy lyrics and tight music make up this one.
Tragically Unhip
"Tragically Unhip" is a melodic and catchy track.
Doin As I Seen On My T.V.
A fun, fast-paced rocker this one features little puns towards society. Blues has out done himself once again
One More For The Bone
An unreleased track from "Crack A Smile", this truly should have made the album. Out of control lyrics and hard-hitting music make this another of my favorite Poison songs of all time.
Set You Free
Another unreleased song from "Crack A Smile", this is basically like the rest of the album lyrically. Blues has some really cool guitar licks on this one.
Crack A Smile
A demo of music from "Crack A Smile", this is a blues flavored rocker that never quite got finished.
Face The Hangman
An unreleased song from the "Open Up and Say Ahh... " days, this track features Mr. Deville on guitars. Musically this is reminiscent of "Good Love" but Bret is singing a little bit rougher than usual. This song should have made the "Open Up and Say Ahh..." album. It is unmistakably something from that era but yet a little different!
Your Momma Don't Dance
From the M T.V. unplugged, this one is close to the original version.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
From the M T.V. unplugged also, this is Poison's biggest hit done acoustically, but still quite faithful the original.
Unskinny Bop
Another from the M T.V. unplugged, this is a very interesting version of the song. C.C. does a very competent transition of an electric song to an acoustic number.
Talk Dirty To Me
One more from the M T.V. unplugged, this one is a fun and rocking way to close the album with a good old Poison standard!
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