Sammy's Latest Party's a Bust

Sammy Hagar and The Warboritas - Red Voodoo
(MCA Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

Ever since he rode his bad motor scooter into the world of rock as lead singer for the band Montrose in the seventies Sammy Hagar has always been one of rock's ultimate 'good time Charlies'. Since then it's just been one party after another - from a semi-lucrative solo career, which spawned such clunky teenage anthems as "I Can't Drive 55" and "Three Lock Box", to his meteoric success in fronting the band Van Halen after David Lee Roth's departure.
Now on his 14th solo effort, his second since he left Van Halen, entitled Red Voodoo, Hagar along with his band The Warboritas are keeping the party going way past last call with an album filled with just what you'd expect from the Red Rocker - hard-rock songs that deal with heavy drinking and women, pretentious guitar driven ballads and stadium-tailored anthems.
The party atmosphere of Red Voodoo, comes from the south-of-the-border, tequila-soaked hedonism that permeates through the adobe walls of the Cabo Wabo, a rock club that Hagar co-owns in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
The album opens up with the bump-and-grind of "Mas Tequila", as the chorus chants along, "one shot, two shots, three shots, mas tequila!" which paints an unpleasant picture of Hagar's well-lubed audience, with wet lips and clenched fists, chiming along. The shenanigans continues through the forgettable cheeseburger-rock of "Shag", "Right On Right" and the predictable chug-a-lug of "The Revival".
Shades of his former band Van Halen can be heard on "High and Dry Again", "The Love" and "Returning Of The Wish", although the pyrotechnics and guitar-wizardry of Eddie Van Halen are sorely lacking, leaving these numbers as dangerous as a stick of beer-soaked dynamite.
Hagar's party isn't a total washout, however, as he proves on the title track "Red Voodoo" in which he stirs in a bit of New Orleans-flavored R&B along with a penchant for hot peppers, while guest guitarist Roy Rogers adds a mean Keith Richards-styled slide guitar over a Stonesy rhythm and Memphis-style horn section from the Tower of Power Horns on "Don't Fight It (Feel It)".
His cheesy, agave-drenched rock may work in his club down Mexico-way, but Sammy's party becomes old-hat real fast anywhere else.

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