(I was organizing some tribute CDs and came across this gem and played it loud. Thought I’d dig up the original review and share it as the magazine it ran in is long dead and gone…because of its low profile, this is more of an “under the radar” item than a “blast from the past”)
The Van Halen tribute Everybody Wants Some begins and ends with two diverse yet equally stunning renditions of Eddie’s finger-tapping showpiece, “Eruption”, and in-between lie fifteen of the most diverse interpretations of music found on any tribute record. Think of “E”‘s unique take on “Jennifer Eccles” on the Hollies tribute as a benchmark. Yet somehow, amazingly, there are two songs here that could be hit singles in a better world.
You have to imagine that any project “honoring” a band with front men like Sammy Hagar and Diamond Dave can’t be all that reverential, and you’re right (well, maybe that church organ rendition of “Eruption”!) Most of these Boston area bands took a wild stab and hit the bulls eye. Trona’s “Could This Be Magic” starts off the vocal selections, kicking in with a drum riff lifted from “Ballroom Blitz” and cruising through a cowpunk rendition with a vocal that’s half Roaring Twenties, half Minnie Mouse (hmm…same era). Hell, she’s still better than Gary was in VH3…
Jajuya’s “Jamie’s Crying” combines Santana and War’s “Spill The Wine”; “Mean Streets” by Elbow is all Dr. John and saucy bottleneck slide, and project head Captain Rock’s version of “Panama” can only be likened to Chicago, on acid, with Frank Zappa producing. That’s a compliment. Tom Leach gives “Dance The Night Away” a Poco-like twang spin, Talking To Animals takes “Everybody Wants Some” to Lounge land, and Red Time funks up “Beautiful Girls”.
Two songs here are so good they deserve to be bigger hits than the originals. Fuzzy’s dead-on Ronettes impression absolutely Spectorizes “Feel Your Love”, and the Gigolo Aunts’ “Why Can’t This Be Love” (despite being saddled with banal lyrics like “only time will tell if we can stand the test of time”) gets the “That Thing You Do” treatment, right down to the bad sixties’ harmonica.
These are two of the best songs I have heard all year! Unfortunately, the song that is getting the push is Mary Lou Lord‘s slow version of “Jump” – a great idea except Aztec Camera had a hit with the exact same arrangement over ten years ago. Call that radio station, kids! Vote for Fuzzy and the Aunts!!
Okay, so there’s no information on the band members and they printed the booklet backwards (or maybe it’s the first booklet made for southpaws). Nit picking – this album is a friggin’ riot, whether you love or loathe Van Halen (I’d bet it appeals more to the latter). One of the best tributes ever, and I’ve heard them all. Liner notes indicate there are enough tracks in the can for Volume Two – let’s hope so!
(Of course, that never happened)
Out of print, but you can pick this tribute CD up cheap and used.