"Strummin' with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen" (CMH; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I rarely listen to music that makes me cringe but and this adaptation of Van Halen is by far the absolute worse thing I’ve ever heard. Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil for some guitar lessons; David Lee Roth must have sold his soul at 3:00 AM to an automated phone call minion who was down on his luck.

If you look outside your window, you might see the Fourth Horse of the Apocalypse galloping by; there is no other reason why any record executive would have ever approved this steaming pile. I’m sure Beelzebub had his hooves over his ears when they recorded this goofy folk version of some of Van Halen’s greatest rock hits. 

I think I saw DLR on some late night show performing “Jump.” It quickly cured my insomnia but later I suffered from nausea. Although it was painful, I did some research and the guys who played on this catastrophe actually enjoyed performing these tunes; unfortunately I didn’t enjoy listening to them ... at all.

If what you've read already isn't enough to make you hurl goats head soup, the version of “Eruption” here is played on a banjo. If that doesn’t make you want to go back and listen to the entire Van Halen discography just to get your ears straight again, I don’t know what will.

That's what I'm doing, starting with “Fair Warning,” my favorite guitar driven Van Halen CD.

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.


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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Oct 2018 19:54:49 -0400 .