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TED NUGENT Sweden Rocks
Eagle Vision ERDVCD049 (2008)
Politics aside, Nuge kicks ass... Ted Nugent

Ha ha ha ha. Just when you've had enough of political correctness along comes Uncle Ted Nugent to remind us all just how crass the extremities the underbelly of rock can be. That's not to write off the Detroit fireball in one stroke of the pen, after all Ted can seriously rock out and play his guitar, albeit on this show he's mixed way behind Barry Spark's bass. In fact what 'Sweden Rocks' really confirms is that when you strip away the right wing politics the blaspheming, the countless occasions on which he yells 'yeeeeaaaaah', and the avalanche of impressive gut busting screams, and exhortations to 'get down', what you are left with is a surprisingly fit 60-year old who is a couple of songs short of a hell of a rock show.

In fact, thinking about it, if you lump him together with fellow Detroit veteran rockers Iggy Pop, The MC5, Alice Cooper and at a push Bob Seger, there's a similar Michigan swagger probably born of the collective disbelief that they are all still out there rocking! In Ted's case his motormouth intro's and the spontaneous psycho babble spat into his radio mike are engaging enough for a while in a Spinal Tap kind of way, but about the half way through the show he's reduced to doing a cover of 'Soul Man', on which he makes great pains to make the Detroit/Motown connection.

More outrageously still he incorporates most of Joe Williams' 'Baby Please Don't Go' into his own limited song 'Motorcity Madhouse' and claims the entire caboodle as emanating from Detroit. Given the low mix on his guitar at this point, it's not a very good advert!

The real question is will the committed Nugent fan wish to purchase this CD/DVD double pack with bonus footage and extra curricular Nugent activities. And I guess the honest answer is yes, especially as the bonus tracks include the old Amboy Dukes psychedelic classic 'Journey to the Centre of the Mind ( a song he long ago dissociate himself from) and the title track of his current album 'Lo ve Grenade'.

As with all things Nugent you should take much of his on stage babble with a pinch of salt, but in all honesty setting self parody aside (and I'm not convinced he's playing this for laughs), Ted and his mighty power trio belt out some shit kicking rock and roll. The CD wisely leaves out both 'Klstrphnky' (try working it out phonetically) and you do wonder about the real lyrical intent of 'Stranglehold', but setting this and filler material such as 'Snakeskin Cowboys' and 'Dog Eat Dog' aside, Ted's enduring appeal resides in his unreconstructed role as a free spirited primal rock and roller.

There's a funny moment at the end of 'Free For All' when he suddenly finishes the song and momentarily stops his spontaneous rap, to glance at the crowd as if to check he's not being talking to himself, and to see if they are still there. The fact that they are and seem to be lapping up his excesses is wholly due to the high octane power trio output.

And when all is said and done Ted is still the master of the genre.


Review by Pete Feenstra

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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