Ted Nugent – Ted Nugent (1975)
Welcome back to YDCS! We have another rocking album this week so strap in for the debut album by the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent! After the dissolution of his first band, The Amboy Dukes, Nugent decided to go solo and release his first solo studio album that would become a driving force in the heavy metal and hard rock genres. The ‘Nuge was on the forefront of the genre during its heyday, but was definitely more second wave heavy metal/hard rock, the first generation being acts like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. Nugent’s contemporaries were later acts in a more established genre like Dio, Judas Priest, and AC/DC. Ted Nugent showed what could really be done when you put the guitar in the front, keep the band small, and let natural skills shine through.
Ted Nugent is an interesting album. On one hand, it features some of its namesake’s biggest songs and displays a great deal of skill and versatility on the guitar. On the other hand, there’s a good amount of filler material that doesn’t help the album as a whole. This is one of those albums where the highs are really high and the lows feel lower than they really are because of how stratospherically good a few songs are. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!
Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown
Stranglehold: Just go ahead and open up the album with a heavy, eight-minute long guitar solo. It certainly sets the mood for the rest of the record! Nugent didn’t pull any punches on “Stranglehold.” This track became one of Nugent’s best-known songs and is regularly featured in concerts and on the radio today. When I was a teenager, “Stranglehold” was one of the first songs to open my ears to the sound of classic rock, particularly dark and bluesy sounds. Because of that, this song holds a special place to me. The guitar work is nothing short of amazing; it manages to be both melodic and feature big, loud power chords. That’s a true testament to Nugent’s talent on the guitar. Dad’s Rating 9/10
Stormtroopin’: “Stormtroopin’” is the less-impressive version of “Stranglehold” in my opinion. It’s less melodic and doesn’t show quite the range of ability. It’s still a fun song and the drum fill in the middle before the solo is a cool piece, but it isn’t special. Give this track a listen if you’ve never listened to Nugent before since this is one of his more popular songs, but don’t expect another “Stranglehold.” Dad’s Rating 6/10
Hey Baby: Now this is a solid blues-inspired rock track if I’ve ever heard one! This song rocks. Period. You have everything that makes a great blues-rock track; screaming guitars, blues scale, half-sung, half-spoken lyrics. It’s dirty, pure, and unabashedly rock and roll. Right on! Dad’s Rating 7/10
Just What the Doctor Ordered: If “Stranglehold” was the album’s opus, “Just What the Doctor Ordered” would be the runner up. The guitar riff on this track is so catchy that it’s hard not to sing along to this ‘infectious’ song! Musically it’s not the most impressive; the guitar solo is good but the rest of the song is an average rock song. “Doctor” is a fun song because of the stellar, bouncy delivery that makes you groove. Dad’s Rating 8/10
Snakeskin Cowboys: “Snakeskin Cowboys” is one of the more forgettable songs on the record. It’s got some good musical moments, but they don’t overshadow the fact that the song is little more than album filler. Dad’s Rating 5/10
Motor City Madhouse: I like this song from a music history perspective. You can hear the beginnings of a new generation of rockers being born out of “Motor City Madhouse.” Think about groups like Jane’s Addiction and Primus that got their starts in the late 80s during the alternative rock, pre-grunge movement. I believe that a lot of their sound can be traced back to songs like this that would have been popular during their formative music years. Musically, this is a neat song and the drum solo at the end was, in fact, a madhouse. The Motor City Madman delivered on this song. Dad’s Rating 6/10
Where Have You Been All My Life: This track suffers from “Snakeskin Cowboy Syndrome.” It’s not a bad blues rock song, but it’s mostly filler and doesn’t do anything to improve the album. The album wouldn’t suffer by its exclusion. Dad’s Rating 5/10
You Make Me Feel Right At Home: This was a new track for me, and I was actually surprised to hear almost a soft rock song on a Ted Nugent album, but it works really well! This is one of the only chances we get to hear more from his backing band, and they did a great job. The keyboard work, soft vocals, and great percussion work (check out that xylophone!) add different layers to the album and shows that the band wasn’t just a one-trick pony with hard rock. Great hidden gem here, don’t skip this one! Dad’s Rating 7/10
Queen of the Forest: We finish the album with a solid rocker. I would place this song one step above the songs that suffer from “Snakeskin Cowboy Syndrome” for two reasons: First, this is musically a more progressive song (evident during the solos) and the short period where we hear a choir in the backing vocals breaks this song apart from others on the record. This is the only song where we’ve heard anything like that. Not a terrible way to wrap up the record. Keep rocking! Dad’s Rating 6/10
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