19 September 2013

Pat Boone - In A Metal Mood

WHAT in all that's blessed in this God given earth did we do to deserve an album of this calibre, or rather its lack of it?! Now I realise that we should never judge a book by its cover, but seeing this album sleeve is enough for my jaw to drop to the floor and smash the timbers into a thousand pieces. I would run a thousand miles, crawl through fire and shards of glass bare chested to avoid reviewing covers albums as one, I don't really like doing covers and two, it's a cynical means of fulfilling a record contract cheaply and as quickly as possible. However, some covers do run well, for example John Lennon's Rock n' Roll album and The Clash's I Fought The Law are strong demonstrations of  how they should be conducted. Even The Carpenters' Ticket To Ride does some justice to the Fab Four. And then you have Mark Ronson, who millions will know turned the Zutons' Valerie from a standard Indie Rock number into a very catchy jazzy tune that put a rare glint of sparkle into Amy Winehouse.

For those of you under forty and have never heard of Pat Boone, I should explain that he's a very famous US singer from the late fifties and early sixties who also starred in a handful of TV roles including his own show, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.   He quickly cast himself a reputation as a squeaky clean wholesome personality that mothers would fall in love with, and his most famous track is perhaps Speedy Gonzales (You'd Better Come Home) so what on earth is this album all about? Cue the first of many headscratchings and turns of disbelief here. First and foremost, In A Metal Mood is NOT a half-assed affair. The personnel of the calibre of Richie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dios is an indicator that there will be some order in this metal/swing crossover. Erm, wrong, VERY wrong. Smoke On The Water sounds more like a Santana/Samba arrangement and it isn't catastrophically bad but Oye Como Va would've been a more appropriate setup.

It's more or less the same format throughout the album, Metallica, AC/DC, Guns n' Roses, even Led Zeppelin are not immune from the Boone makeover. Now don't get me wrong, I do like a little swing, eg Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra. but there are some things you cannot touch with a bargepole. Paradise City is just so remarkably embarrassing and Enter Sandman is making me do a few new gurning moves that I thought just wasn't physically possible. He's accompanied by Ronnie James Dio on Holy Diver but that's still not a redeeming feature either and right now three years after his death RJD must be turning in his grave. So at this point you're probably wondering are there any positives on In A Metal Mood? Actually, there is one, the cover Nazareth's Love Hurts although the original artist responsible was The Everly Brothers and has been covered by many artists since. I also feel offended by his representation of Stairway To Heaven and I can't help but think that we have better and less offensive versions out there.

Now hard rock/heavy metal/easy listening fusions aren't necessarily a new thing I am aware of, but as dreadfulness goes, In A Metal Mood takes a helluva beating. If you can imagine seeing your parents trying to disco dance at a disgracefully old age, then you can relate to what I mean. I'm left with the biggest proverbial facepalm as well as the impression that Pat Boone would've done a lot better if he took a leaf out of the book of Lennon or even Mike Flowers Pop....

2 out of ten. If only there was some quality control.

The album isn't available on any of the listening websites, but here's a link to his samples on allmusic.com
Buy In A Metal Mood here on Amazon
Click on his official website here

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