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Redd Barron - The Barron's Here to Rock

Redd Barron
The Barron's Here to Rock
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 15 August 2018, 8:51 AM

The first time I heard Chicago natives REDD BARON it was in the eighties . One of my friends was an avid tape exchanger, getting music from all over the world on mixed cassette tapes and sending out local music himself. On one tape the song "Too Good to be Forgotten"was just before a live recording of a very big thrash band (too big to mention here wink wink) and I remember it strangely because at the time we fast forwarded the tape to the meat, making fun of the title. I still wanted to do that when I heard it again more than 30 years later. The band is a classic example of your run of the mill bar bands, talented but forgettable.

The compilation actually is two demos, 1-6 one version of the band, 7-10 a later version. Both versions though follow the classic formula of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse chorus end. See, in  the eighties big business found that metal equals money and signed everything that had long hair and a stack o' amps. This produced a whole glut of clones (guilty myself on many occasions) it also produced bands like this who tried to straddle the line between Glam and NWOBHM and produced forgettable music consumed for the most part in bars around N. America. Singers were in high demand and hard to find so when most bands started the circuit, they had less than ideal vocalists who lacked true range and musical vision and that seems to be the case here. If said singer is a founding member, the line up changes come fast and furious, which usually led to a decline in abilities, and I feel you can hear it in the 2 versions of the band on this album.

To demonstrate what I'm talking about, listen to "Dow Jones" then "Kill or be Killed". The loss of bassist David Lee Van Ham and guitarist Greg Eichelberger is noticeable and the last 4 tracks feel much less polished. Brian Lee's vocals never really measured up and the harmonies feel and sound like they were thrown in last minute. The rest of the band seemed to be trying to keep up and it felt forced, like they were never comfortable playing at the level they were shooting for.

In the end, REDD BARON was one of the thousands of metal bands that tried, emulating their mentors and never really doing anything original themselves and the next time I feel like hearing mediocre bar metal, I'll just put on my own demos and imagine "If only…"

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. The Barron's Here to Rock
2. Dow Jones
3. Too Good to Be Forgotten
4. Livin' Our Life for Rock
5. Truth-Us-Justice
6. Blind Date
7. Burning Cities
8. Shadows
9. Search For Love
10. Kill or Be Killed
(Tracks 1-6)
David Lee Van Ham - Bass
Rod Gardner - Drums
Greg Eichelberger - Guitars, Vocals
Pete Alvarez - Guitars, Vocals
Brian Lee - Vocals

(Tracks 7-10)
Rick Tampier - Bass
Rod Gardner - Drums
Pete Alvarez - Guitars, Vocals
Brian Lee - Vocals
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records


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Edited 06 October 2022

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