"Great Zeppelin II: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin'" (Deadline Music; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Except for the fact that 2019's "Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin" must have been a fairly big hit, I don't see the need for "Great Zeppelin II: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin." I mean, it's just a collection of fourteen Led Zeppelin covers performed by (Jack Russell's) Great White. They're virtually note-for-note and, except for the fact that they lack a bit of that Led Zeppelin charisma, they're perfectly fine cover versions. They're great songs, obviously, and Jack and crew deliver them with musical dexterity and craftsmanship.

But they're still just cover songs and, honestly, Great White doesn't play them any better than most of the Zeppelin cover bands out there (although there are many bands who play them worse).

So why am I granting this release three guitarsaws? Well, as I said, Jack and Great White do a quite decent job of covering some great songs. And they are great songs. I think there are more big Zeppelin songs on "Great Zeppelin II" than "Great Zeppelin I" but, of course, that's a very subjective area.  Plus, Great Zeppelin II" is a studio album, versus "I" which was (as I recall) all live.

The bottom line is that, if you're a Zeppelin fan or a Great White fan or a Jack Russell fan, you can do worse than "Great Zeppelin II" whether it has any reason to exist or not.

For more information, check out www.jackrussellsgreatwhite.com/.

"He Saw It Comin'" (Frontiers; 2017)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

According to the marketing information, "He Saw it Comin'," the new CD by Jack Russell and this latest incarnation of Great White, is: "the next phase of a legacy. Rather than look backwards and merely attempt to relive the multi-platinum hard rock entity's storied origins in Great White, Jack Russell set his sights on the future. Now, with old Great White bandmate Tony Montana in tow, this group has a sharp, soaring and slick new album ready, boasting the bluesy hard rock stomp that made Russell a star in the first place. "

Well, yes and no.

"He Saw It Comin'" is an interesting CD in that it does indeed deliver the classic Great White sound on many tracks, but it will also freak you the hell out on others. For example, I love the first track, "Sign of the Times," which is about as pure a Great White song as I can imagine. Up next is "She Moves Me," a smooth rock track that is admittedly entertaining, but surprisingly quiet, and features a rap break in the middle that just seems odd. The third track, "Crazy," is another Great White classic, with bluesy guitars and a great melody.

And the album continues like, delivering the blues-heavy guitar hard rock that we've come to expect from Great White but with tracks that are not what we would expect at all. "Do Anything For You," for example, is a syrupy sweet track that just grated on my nerves. I know hard rock albums are supposed to have ballads, but this one makes my teeth hurt. The title track, "He Saw It Comin'," reminds me of a minor Queen song. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just seems out of place. And it's followed up by "Don't Let Me Go," which sounds like a Top 40 hit from today's radio.

Thankfully, next we get one of my favorite tracks on the CD, "Spy Vs. Spy," which features awesome fretwork by Tony Montana, and that track is immediately followed by the meatiest track on the album (both musically and lyrically), "Blame It on the Night," which tackles a serious issue while delivering a menacing sound.

And then the CD ends with "Godspeed," an annoying be-bop ditty along the lines of Sha Na Na that I don't ever need to hear again.

The weird thing is that, for the 60% of "He Saw It Comin'" that I like, I really like it. Russell sounds great. Throughout the CD his vocals are a highlight. And it's great to hear the impressive guitar of Tony Montana, along with the rest of the band. I guess my problem with the album is that it's uneven, that I really like some tracks and I really didn't like others. Still, the good outweighs the bad and that's a good thing. Bottom line: If you've ever been a Great White fan, there's plenty to your liking here. And the beauty of streaming music on your computer is that you can always hit the NEXT button when a song comes up that you'd rather not listen to.

For more information, check out www.jackrussellsgreatwhite.com/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright 2021 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.