RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Various Artists - Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute
UDR Music

http://udr-music.com/index.php/randyrhoads-info

Rating: B

Tribute albums are never easy to review.  For starters, they contain classic, iconic songs that the listener has ingrained into their very being.  They also tend to be done by musicians ‘emailing in’ their parts. When people are not performing in the same room, usually the energy, ‘feel’ and ‘spirit’ of a band project is lost.  Tributes are hyped upon release and then, after a few spins, they sit on the CD shelf never to be played again.  One wants to love these type of releases, but usually they are more about making a fast buck than actually paying tribute to a band or artist.  That is where this release differs from its peers. 

Randy Rhoads was killed in both the prime of his life and his musical career.  While appearing on two albums by Ozzy Osbourne, he influenced countess guitarists.  He took what musicians like Eddie Van Halen and Ritchie Blackmore were doing and added a classical feel, and applied it to heavy metal. 

There was no one like Randy... never will be, both musically and personally.  Plucked from the band Quiet Riot after appearing on two albums, he is hugely responsible for resurrecting the career of Ozzy Osbourne, as well as giving heavy metal a much needed kick in the ass. 

Sadly, 33 years ago we lost Randy on March 19, 1982.  In some aspects he is more famous for that plane crash than his contribution to music.  There’s a Rhoads Marshall amp, a Rhoads Jackson and Gibson guitar, a comprehensive biography, but until now, he has never been properly memorialized by the industry.  This musical tribute is a long time coming and is very welcomed by his fans. 

Every guitarist, bass player, drummer and vocalist that appears on this album is a huge fan of Randy’s.  They took this task seriously.  They did not attempt to simply regurgitate Randy’s style and sound.  Some paid close attention to his riffs and solos, others took creative liberties.  At the end of the day, as with most things in music, some worked well and some not so well.  No matter what one may say about the song interpretations, the important aspect not to be overlooked is the influence Rhoads had on all of us. 

Rudy Sarzo and Frankie Banali get major kudos as well.  Randy was a friend first and a musician later to these men.  Frankie and Rudy poured their heart and soul into these songs.  Banali appearing on the Quiet Riot tune “Back to the Coast” and the Ozzy classic “Over the Mountain,” and Sarzo lending his skills to the entire album.  The entire cast of this album is a who’s who of heavy metal and hard rock. 

One thing that should be mentioned is that this tribute shows just how special Ozzy Osborne’s vocals were to his songs.  Other than Tim “Ripper” Owens, who provides the voice, most notably on “Over the Mountain,” “Believer,” “I Don’t Know,” “Suicide Solution,” “Goodbye to Romance” and “Flying High Again” the downside of this batch of recordings is with the vocals on the remaining three tunes; I am not saying these folks are not good singers, just saying Ozzy’s voice has a distinct flavor, is truly one of a kind, and not easy to interpret well. 

The only real shame on the album is the remake of “Crazy Train.”  This tune, the most historically significant song for both Ozzy and Randy, starts off the tribute album... and this version is probably the worst track on the disc.  Again, it is not for lack of effort, it is more the artist interpretation of the tune… it simply pales in comparison to the magic of the original.  The same can be said, with less emphasis, for “Mr. Crowley.”  I understand what Chuck Billy was going for with his vocal performance but, again, Ozzy nailed that one so good it makes it hard to even listen to anyone else sing it.

There are plenty of high points.  Doug Aldrich and Ripper own “Believer.”  Ripper and George Lynch kick “I Don’t Know’” out of the park and current Ozzy guitarist Gus G. and Ripper Owens do “Goodbye to Romance” proud. 

A bonus DVD comes with the digi-pack version and contains interviews with some of the involved artists.  There is also a feature on The Musonia School of Music, a teaching school on North Hollywood, California, set up by Randy’s mother and run by his brother, Kelle Rhoads.  The album was produced and compiled by the Grammy-award winning guitarist and producer Bob Kulick at his own studio.

Long live the spirit of Randy Rhoads, a quiet man who made a loud noise in the world of rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Full track listing with performers:
1. Crazy Train
Vocals: Serj Tankian
Gtrs:  Tom Morello
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums:  Vinny Appice
 
2. Over the Mountain
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs: Jon Donais
Bass:  Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Frankie Banali
 
3. Mr Crowley
Vocals: Chuck Billy
Gtrs:  Alexi Laiho
Keyboards: Kelle Rhoads
Bass Rudy: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
4. Believer
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs:  Doug Aldrich
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
5. Back To The Coast (Quiet Riot)
Vocals: Kelle Rhoads
Gtrs:  Bruce Kulick
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Frankie Banali

6. I Don't Know
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs: George Lynch
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen

7. S A T 0
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Rhythm guitars: Bob Kulick
Lead guitar: Dweezil Zappa
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Vinny Appice
 
8. Killer Girls (Quiet Riot)
Vocals:  Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs: Joel Hoekstra
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen

9. Goodbye to Romance
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs: Gus G.
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
10. Suicide Solution
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs:  Brad Gillis
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums: Brett Chassen
 
11. Flying High Again
Vocals: Tim “Ripper” Owens
Gtrs:  Bernie Torme
Bass: Rudy Sarzo
Drums:  Brett Chassen
 

Purchase here:
http://udr-music.com/index.php/randyrhoads-info

By Jeb Wright

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