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review

Badd Boyz - Badd Boyz

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Criss Sexx Format: Album
Year: 1993
Label: Brunette
Genre: Hard Rock
Producer: Badd Boyz / Paul Shortino
Artist discography



Review

BADD BOYZ

It's been a long while since I last wrote an album review for Melodic Net. Things happen in life - you move, get sick, have tons of trouble... Anyway, now that things are getting back to normal, my "comeback review" us about this lost gem which few people know about (the very first time I write here about a rare CD) - the only album that Badd Boyz ever released. And I am talking about an album that's got two of the best Hard Rock songs ever, "Leave It To The Law" and "Straight To My Heart". Out only in Japan in 1993, this extremely rare piece surely deserves now the attention it, for some weird reason, never had. Badd Boyz was a fresh band formed by the amazing singer Paul Shortino (formerly of Rough Cutt, and who had then left his stint in Quiet Riot), bassist Sean McNabb (who had also left Quiet Riot), guitarist Mitch Perry (who had then left MSG) and drummer Rich Carlton in 1990. Former House Of Lords's guitarist Michael Guy was said to be in the band too, and co-wrote three of these songs (by the way, has anyone heard this man play? We all know that he was featured on House Of Lord’s epic “Sahara” album and on the band’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” video, but he didn’t play a note anywhere there... Let’s face it, Michael was the perfect bombshell Greg Giuffria and Gene Simmons were looking for the band at that time, but he didn’t even tour with the band, obviously being replaced by the real bombshell that played on the album, Mr.Doug Aldrich)... There are lots of curiosities here. The second part of the album also brings guitarist Steve Fister, formerly of Lita Ford Band and drummer Matt Abts. What no fan of this style of music can ever deny is that it's a classic album. Such great line-up of talented musicians surely deserved to get worldwide recognition, just like the bands these guys were in before Badd Boyz. What impresses one even more is that, according to the little bio included on the CD booklet, the band simply had to call its quits, and did record four other songs "to complete this eight-track" album... WOW... Reading the booklet, thanks to Paul Shortino, these recordings saw the light of day. Maybe one more of those bands who weren't in the right place at the right time. Until some kind soul has the brilliant idea of re-releasing it, if you're into great Hard Rock, either try to find this one or, at least, its download. A timeless album that remains as a forgotten, rare gem. One more evidence that hard rock, melodic rock, etc. weren’t only over because of grunge. We own many thanks to the stupid music industry from the early ‘90s. Here's the track-by-track review of this amazing album!!!!

Criss Sexx

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BADD BOYZ - TRACK-BY-TRACK

 

01 - "Leave It To The Law"

 

When one first reads it, he has no doubt of how cool of a title it is, and the expectations of a great song coming are inevitable. Tell you what, it's one of the best songs that have ever been recorded. "Leave It To The Law" starts like a punch in the face. It's so energetic and powerful that makes who's listening wonder when the last time he's come accross a song like that. Mitch Perry's guitar tone and Paul Shortino's sharp vocals, backed by the not less impressive work by Sean McNabb (what's that incredible bass playing going on?) and Rich Carlton, deliver a great, perfect song, from its catchy riffs and extremely well written lyrics to its sing-along, unforgettable chorus. A great intro that leads to a predictable break before its verse. And what a verse!!! One can’t keep away from swinging to the catchy song, with amazing lyrics. After the first "Keep it cool - Leave It To The Law" on the obvious chorus, the band's got it all. Damn, how come it was never a single with a promo video? Hard to tell... The tune goes on with everything a perfect song from the late ‘80s or early ‘90s should have. Shortino’s vocals are way better than his Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot days (if that’s possible) and not for one minute anyone cannot be impressed here. After the second chorus there’s this great bridge that ends up in Mitch Perry’s super guitar solo (I still think this kind of solo was what had himout of McAuley Schenker Group – Mr. Schenker must have been jealous and worried about not being in the spotlight...). Again, it’s very hard to tell how Mitch Perry is, to this day, kind of a underrated guitarist. As we, the listeners would predict, there we have the chorus sticking to our minds over, over and over again... Isn’t that the formula every huge band from the ‘80s used to be on the radio and on MTV after all? Without any shadow of doubt, "Leave It To The Law" is and will always be among the ten best songs ever recorded. If that was one of the four songs intended to be on the never released album through Pasha Records (the label must have been really impressed by the Quiet Riot Shortino album) and, as it reads in the CD booklet, we can imagine the ones that “weren’t available” at the time of this album release. It would been monumental.

 

02 - "No Time For Cryin'"

 

The second track off this great album is more of a heavy rock groovy song – the same type of song that mosto f the huge bands made big in the early ‘90s. The killer, heavy Mitch Perry guitar riff bursts into this Aerosmith-like song, with Paul Shortino, once again, singing his heart out (he also did a great job on the vocal harmonies). A nice verse with great lyrics again, justlike the straight-ahead rocker it is, taking us really fast to its melodic and catchy chorus. Different from the previous track, it’s not a “punch in the face” song, but one that was probably written for a single release, since it’s more commercial. Mitch Perry guitar fills give the song something extra to make it worth for sure.  Sean and Rich keep it heavy and strong until the song’s chorus is repeated, ending up in another solo that, may I call it, “out of this world”. It’s a short one, but anyone can tell  how much of a guitar shreder Mitch is. The chorus comes repeatedly over, over and over again and this great tune is over. Another great track indeed.

 

03 - "I Don't Want To Hear Your Heart Break"

 

"I Don't Want To Hear Your Heart Break" is the first ballad here. A song that, once again, was surely written to become a single. It’s kind of revolting that it wasn’t... that so many melodic rock fans haven’t even ever listened to it.  Just like lots of the super famous power ballads, the amazing guitar intro with an impecable voice start this fascinating love song. Its slow beginning leads us to what any decent “power ballad” should be. I had mentioned Mitch Perry’s guitar tones before,and the same is valid if we talk about Sean McNabb’s Bass sound and, specially, Rich Carlton’s drum sound. Another perfect song here, with a perfect verse, a perfect pre-chorus and an outstanding chorus which somewhat escapes the predictable melodic formula. The song goes on without any big changes (the right decision  or so I guess) and the song structure is repeated beautifully. The second chorus is ended in a way most band wouldn’t risk it at the time, with another memorable guitar solo on the way. Mitch Perry delivers another monstrous guitar solo that ranges from melodic to fast, ending up in a double lead guitar work that must have made Mr. Schenker jealous again. As for the rest of the song, it’s just a repetition of what has been described with the usual higher parts that will lead to a noteworthy ending. "I Don't Want To Hear Your Heart Break" is another “must have been single” that was wasted away. Not by the band, but by the label and the music industry, who missed the chance of making big bucks with Badd Boyz.

 

04 - "Straight To My Heart"

 

What seemed to be another ballad, reveals to be the other tune of those I called “some of the best Hard Rock songs ever”. Just like "Leave It To The Law", "Straight To My Heart" is the song that maybe 90% of the bands from that era wanted to have, but just couldn’t. The “Nah nah nah nah nah” choir that starts the song says it all in about three seconds. Let’s talk about what a musical punch in the face is. Its instrumental kicks in heavy and strong, and its verse eventually becomes one of those epic led bass, drums and vocals ones with what I call “shy guitar interventions” – one will know what I mean while listening to it for sure. The amazing lyrics sung by the powerful Paul Shortino full of attitude pipes are just irresistible. As the song grows and we all except the inescapable pre-chorus, we crash straight to the song’s perfect (yes, I know I am repeating this word nonstop) chorus. The simple words “Your love, it went Straight To My Heart - Nah nah nah nah nah” prove to be enough. They may sound shallow but which band didn’t do it back then? The second verse, obviously, is as good as it can be too taking us again to that superb chorus... Mitch Perry’s solo on this one is, once again, something impressive. Not to sound repetitive, he does what he had done on the other three songs, but in a very original way, so that it could fit this masterpiece song like a glove. There’s also this nice bridge that takes us again to the splendid song chorus (I am running out of synonims here). Sean and Rich’s performances are not less outstanding all over the track and,to wrap this first parto f the album up, there’s another short guitar solo over the fading chorus. As it was said before, if that’s the last “available track for release” at the time, all of us wonder how the rest of the remaining recordings must have been. Well, not really. By the end of "Straight To My Heart", we can feel it would have been a huge, classic early ‘90s album.

 

05 - "You're Mine Tonight"

 

For the second part of this album, as it reads on the CD booklet, Paul Shortino and Sean Mc Nabb recruited former Lita Ford guitarist Steve Fister and drummer Matt Abts. "You're Mine Tonight", the first song in question, is apparently another ballad. But it’s not. It’s another rocker which starts heavy and slow, somewhat bluesy, once again with great lyrics. Not a bad tune at all but, if compared to the first four songs in this package, it’s a little weaker. One can feel Shortino’s attitude is kind of different here, not as powerful as on the other songs, even though his vocals are still brilliant. The same goes for the song chorus. It’s far from being a bad one, but it sounds as if something got lost there. Catchy, great melodies, everything here also sounds great. But a song that could have easily been a B-Side at the time of 7” singles. As the song plays, there’s nothing much that’s really that impressive, only clichés that we’ve all heard millions and millions of times. Steve Fister’s guitar solo is really good, short and straigh-ahead, but Mitch Perry’s playing starts being missed for sure. "You're Mine Tonight" goes on showing what thousands of other bands had already done before Badd Boyz recorded it. That’s a filler without a doubt, but it’s OK for an album that seemed to be released “by force”, thanks to Paul Shortino’s efforts. When the song is fading, listeners hope that the feel of the first four tracks is back soon.

 

06 - "This Must Be Love"

 

That’s a huge blues rock song!!!! Although its title once again makes us think it’s a ballad, we’re surprised again that it’s not. Steve Fister’s guitar intro is just great, opening ways to Paul Shortino deliver some striking and soulful vocals, performing the expected great lyrics that are all over this CD. The track’s verse is wonderful, and its pre-chorus is a nice surprise, taking us to this super chorus, which is catchy and melodic. Shortino’s harmony vocals and Steve’s guitar surely make it another special song here. Sean’s and Matt’s parts are equally impressive... "This Must Be Love"’s guitar solo is soulful, beautifully played and, honestly, the right one for the song (we wonder how Mitch Perry would have played it...). The rest of the song is just the usual repetition of a blues rock song, and the spotlight on this is really on Steve Fister’s playing. Paul Shortino, by this time, seems to have gotten back on track, showing that he’s one of the best singers of his era as well. The truth is that "This Must Be Love" may not have pleased fans as much as "Leave It To The Law" and "Straight To My Heart" certainly did, but it is another one of the best moments of the Badd Boyz album and, assuredly, the best song off this second part of the album.

 

07 - "Hard To Say Goodbye"

 

"Hard To Say Goodbye" comes next, but it goes the same way as "You're Mine Tonight" – A good song, but not so powerful as the first tracks. There’s this heavy guitar riff and opening solo and Paul Shortino’s voice and lyrics, once again, awe the listeners. Sean’s bass is also really nice on this one. But I am sorry to say that itdoesn’t pay justice to the other tunes either. Steve Fister does his best here, but now sounding just like most guitarists we have heard over and over again. The song’s chorus is nice, not that catchy, but it doesn’t make it a waste. One more of those “B-Side” songs, if you know what I mean. And I dont mean it’s any bad, just one that could be called another filler in here. Steve Fister’s solo is a good one. He’s always been a very good guitar player. But let’s face it – once a band had Mitch Perry on the guitar duties, they had to get someone better, way better, as a replacement. There are more short guitar solos in the end of the song, that are also good, but they don’t make much difference to include it in the “best songs” off it... Shortino’s vocals are at their best, and they are maybe the best thing featured on the song. "Hard To Say Goodbye" would have felt a bit better if the album were longer, since the contrast between it and the best songs wouldn’t be that clear. There’s no clue on the CD booklet if more songs were recorded with Steve Fister and Matt Abts. Anyway, maybe Paul Shortino and Sean McNabb had realized it was high time Badd Boyz called its quits by then. The magic they made on the first four songs here were somehow hard to be repeated.

 

08 - "Save Our Land"

 

The last song on the Badd Boyz album, "Save Our Land", as it reads on the CD booklet, was recorded by Paul, Sean and Steve to complete the album. It’s a short, acoustic ballad, that was crearly not recorded the same way as the seven other tracks. Shortino’s shining bright here and the good lyrics, that are totally different from the others (having a quick look at its title gives you now a clear idea of what it’s about), are nice to hear surrounded by the acoustic guitars that, apparently, were only used on this tune. The vocals are just out of this world but, other than that, I guess it can’t be really classified as one “song”. Too short, no solos... Beautiful indeed, but why not making it a four minute track? They missed a huge opportunity of writing a great ballad, let’s say, like White Lion’s “When The Children Cry”...

 

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To sum it up, Badd Boyz were meant to be a huge band. The exceptional talents of Paul Shortino, Sean McNabb and Mitch Perry would have made this band a big one, only if they hadn’t been in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the only reason all of us can ever think of for their not being one of the greatest bands from the early ‘90s. We all must give big thanks to Paul Shortino who, against all odds,  made this CD happen discretly in Japan only. It has become a costy and hard to find one, I must say, a real collectors’ piece. As far as I know it, it’s been out of print since the mid-nineties. No matter how bad the CD cover is and how “cliché” the song titles may sound, the Badd Boyz CD is surely a gem to be found and cherished. Anyway, it’s great to know that these three amazing musicians, and also Steve Fister, did lots of stuff after these recordings. Again,no matter if you have to spend good $3000 on it. Every single second of this 32:45-minute album is worth it.

 

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Tracklist:

01 - "Leave It To The Law"

02 - "No Time For Cryin'"

03 - "I Don't Want To Hear Your Heart Break"

04 - "Straight To My Heart"

05 - "You're Mine Tonight"

06 - "This Must Be Love"

07 - "Hard To Say Goodbye"

08 - "Save Our Land"

 

Best Songs: "Leave It To The Law", "No Time For Cryin'", "I Don't Want To Hear Your Heart Break", "Straight To My Heart" and "This Must Be Love".




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