Sammy Hagar - Red Voodoo Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas
Red Voodoo

Van Halen was better with David Lee Roth, and Sammy Hagar is better with, well, Sammy Hagar.

Red Voodoo is a no pretensions, straightforward party rock album, from its infectious Gary Glitter guitar riff-borrowing first song and single, "Mas Tequila," through the driving rock of "High and Dry Again" and right up until the closing slow swaying lighter anthem, "Returning of the Wish."

Thereís a lot of flavor to the songs on Red Voodoo; the title track works in a Southwestern feel as it celebrates the power of hot peppers and "Shag" rests on a bed of boisterous horns as Hagar pulls an Austin Powers and cries out in the chorus "I want to shag you, baby..." Then in "Sympathy for the Human" he nods at the Rolling Stonesí "Sympathy for the Devil" (including some guitar work and "ooo-hooís" right out of the original song) as he supports the right of people to believe in whatever they choose (and notes that thereís a lot of people out there preaching about stuff they donít know anything about.)

Recorded in Hagarís basement studio and geared towards club play in his own Cabo San Lucas rock club the Cabo Wabo, Red Voodoo is a spicy bit of classic rock thatís brand new. This could easily be the album of choice for this summerís barbeque parties.


Labour of Love III

UB40 has had its biggest successes covering other peopleís songs on its previous two Labour of Love installments — UB40ís revamps of "I Got You Babe," and "Red Red Wine" may have eclipsed the original versions in their popularity.

That neat hat trick is not likely to happen again with the bandís third album of cover songs — this time around, UB40 sounds tired, as if theyíre just running through the motions. Labour of Love III leads off with an uninspired cover of Neil Diamondís "Holly Holy" and also includes Bob Marleyís "Soul Rebel" a Motown-inspired reworking of Slim Smithís "Never Let You Go" and Delano Stewartís "Stay A Little Bit Longer." The pilot light here seems to be turned to low — Labour of Love III listens as if someone turned the Casioís reggae beat on and then let a group of people come in and drone over it for an hour or so. Itís good slightly exotic background music, but nothing jumps out at you that youíll want to put on your favorite "mix" tapes.


Citizen King - Mobile Estates Citizen King
Mobile Estates
(Warner Bros.)

Mobile Estates kicks off with its best material — a couple of hot tracks with big beats, cool sound effects and scratching that borrow heavily from De La Soul and Beck. "Under The Influence" cops a rap style from the former and the first single, "Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out)" from the latter. If the rest of the album was as sharp and catchy as these two tracks, this would be an incredible disc. As it stands though, while the rest of the CD includes lots of fun and funky riffs and raps, after its grooviní opening, Mobile Estates never quite latches onto anything quite as hip as "Better Days."

"Safety Pin" changes the mood with a riffing guitar tune that sounds like Buddy Holly channeled through a UFO and "Long Walk Home" also mines a retro C&W piano twang thatís splintered with scratches and electronic bleeps and tweaks. "Basement Show" offers a funky bass and drum line and a host of sound effects and percussive tricks to back up its "house party" rap.

Beck fans will eat the cut-and-paste style of this stuff up, and there are several tracks where I had to keep reminding myself that this wasnít a Beck album. A handful of bland offerings like "Skeleton Key" and "Closed For The Weekend" should have been left on the cutting board, but overall, Mobile Estates is a great disc to have around for loud car-booming-speakers play.



The NYNO label has released some new discs with a Louisiana focus. The best intro to the series is a collection by Allen Toussaint & Friends titled A Taste of New Orleans which sets a great New Orleans cajun feel and introduces songs from some of the labelís other cajun, gospel and blues releases by artists Raymond Myles, Grace Darling and more...the soundtrack to A Walk on the Moon offers 16 songs that reach back to the days of hippy-dom. Included are Dusty Springfieldís "Wishiní & Hopiní," Big Brother and the Holding Companyís take on Gershwinís "Summertime," The Grateful Deadís "Ripple" Joni Mitchellís "Cactus Tree," and Jefferson Airplaneís "Today" and "Embryonic Journey." There are also a number of modern artists covering older songs, including newcomers Damnations TX creating an authentic early Ď70s feel on "Sally Go Round The Roses," Morcheeba strolling with lounge organ authenticism through "Crystal Blue Persuasion," Itís A Beautiful Day crooning through "White Bird," and probably the most interesting piece on the disc, Cher and son Elijah Blue Allman teaming up on an echo-drenched run-through of "Crimson & Clover."

Dionne Warwick fans can now get Dionne Warwick: The Definitive Collection on Arista, bringing together her early hits from the Ď60s as well as her Ď70s and Ď80s singles. Included are "Walk On By," "Do you Know The Way To San Jose," "Alfie,""Iíll Never Fall In Love Again," "Thatís What Friends Are For," "Deja Vu" and "Love Power."