I remember the “Unplugged” craze of the early to mid 90’s. MTV were jumping on every band with even the slightest commercial success and Unplugged albums and videos were popping up everywhere. Some of these acoustic “experiments” worked very well (see Tesla’s Five Man Acoustical Jam), others let’s just say crashed and burned BAD!
There is something to be said when a great singer/songwriter sits down with an acoustic guitar and bares his/her soul. Magic can happen and today I was witness to some of this magic when I listened to John Corabi’s new “Unplugged” album.
John Corabi is probably best known for being the singer on Motley Crue’s self titled 1994 album. An album that is arguably their most artistically creative and certainly most underrated. To call John “Vince Neil’s replacement is selling him short. John is the real deal, a true rock and roll gypsy, an incredible guitar player with an incredible set of pipes. Besides the Crue, Corabi has written quite the rock n roll resume. He has fronted the Scream, Union, ESP (Eric Singer Project), spent time in Ratt and an early incarnation of Brides of Destruction. After all that he remains one of the most approachable and friendly people in the music business.
The album opens with Union’s “Love (I Don’t Need You Anymore)” and right away the I felt the warmth of this recording. It’s recorded in a way that puts you in the same room. It really feels like John is right beside you guitar in hand, absolutely brilliant.
John’s songs are honest and real. His raspy vocals are perfectly matched to the twelve blues based compositions found here and the guitar work is outstanding. “Everything’s Alright” is one of my personal standouts with it’s lush vocal harmonies and sing along chorus.
The Scream’s heartfelt “Father, Mother, Son” literally had tears in my eyes. Custom made for an acoustic treatment, anyone who has lost a parent can certainly relate to this beautiful piece of work.
That takes us into the first of two Motley Crue songs on the album. The completely reworked “Hooligans Holiday” had my jaw on the floor. Now I love the original version of this tune, so I was actually concerned when I saw this song listed in the track listing. I wasn’t sure how this was going to translate to an acoustic version but holy shit! John kept all the dirt and grime of the original and completely revitalised this track. “Keep it swampy” John yells out as the band get into the groove. One word..WOW!
Fan favorite, the Scream’s “Man in the Moon” is such a great tune that translates so well unplugged. I would love radio stations to jump on it as a single. Such a well written song with John’s vocals at his absolute best, it deserves some serious attention.
This album just goes to show that a great song is a great song, period. Whether it be with the Scream, Motley Crue, Union or just John on his own, this guy writes some great songs and performs them with heart and soul. John Corabi’s Unplugged is not just a great unplugged album, it’s a great album period!