Joe Perry Joe Perry
CD Review by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter


Track listing:
1. Shakin' My Cage 2. Hold On Me 3. Pray For Me 4. Can't Compare 5. Lonely
6. The Crystal Ship 7. Talk Talkin' 8. Push Comes To Shove 9. Twilight 10. Ten Years
11. Vigilante Man 12. Dying To Be Free 13. Mercy

Label: Sony / Release Date: May 3, 2005


A disc comes crashing through the doors with screaming melodies that are begging for Dr. Music's immediate attention. As the good doctor snaps the tight plastic glove around his eager fingers, he inserts the disc for a quick listen. Is this a disc in need of help, or is this a disc that screams with a wealth of talent from the very first listen? Dr. Music has only one chance to hear each track and give his expert opinion. After that one listen, he will declare the status of the patient as "ALIVE" or "DEAD." Will this month's patient make it out of the operating room alive?


Track 1: "Shakin' My Cage" - A blues boogie rocker. Joe has a Brian Setzer sort of vocal, which makes the tune sound like an overloaded Stray Cats tune. What's this? A nice long solo, smack in the middle of the tune. Not horrible, but nothing great.

Track 2: "Hold On Me" - Guitar riffing with Joe singing like the Simple Minds guy! This is some really stiff vocal work. Joe proves that he's not a singer, he's a guitar player. Imagine a Simple Minds or Billy Idol song with some heavy chords. Not crazy about this one.

Track 3: "Pray For Me" - Egyptian flavor with some light vocals. Laid back and pulsing rhythm.This is a strange song. Pretty cool acoustic guitar part, but the song goes nowhere.

Track 4: "Can't Compare" - This one has a big meaty chorus that tries to pump up Joe's drab vocals. Really repetitive. It seems like there's only a chorus and a guitar solo - no verses. A strange, dull arrangement.

Track 5: "Lonely" - Big, revved up guitar intro. Joe's vocal a little more sleek and dirty here, and it sounds much better. The urgency is still lost here, even though there are some jamming guitar parts.

Track 6: "Crystal Ship" - Yes, this is Joe doing The Doors' classic. I got to thinking that this was going to be 2:42 of torture, but it's really not half bad. Joe is still real stiff, but this is closer to his range and style. Pretty good cover.

Track 7: "Talk Talkin'" - Has an almost revivalist feel to it. Kind of a Stray Cats with George Thorogood song done at a Louisiana church service. Cool guitar part and style, but the song is just not written well. It doesn't stir the emotions like it should.

Track 8: "Push Comes To Shove" - Another sleek and pulsing Billy Idol-type song. It even has that vocal echo thing that Billy loves so much. Again, not a well written song. Nothing to get your attention.

Track 9: "Twilight" - This is an instrumental with layered guitars done in a dual guitar style. Starts to sound like a little too much at times, and the melody actually gets lost under all of the guitar acrobatics.

Track 10: "Ten Years" - An Eagles/Tom Petty-type of Country song that has almost a Dylanesque feel to it. Just when you think it can't get worse, the vocals slit your wrists and leave you for dead. The tune isn't bad, but the vocals kill off everything in sight.

Track 11: "Vigilante Man" - This one's a rockin' foot tapper, with Joe playing a mean slide part. Just a straight and simple Blues jam with some nice guitar parts.

Track 12: "Dying To Be Free" - A galloping rhythm that exists as just another strange arrangement. A dark chorus is the focal point of this oddball.

Track 13: "Mercy" - An instrumental with another nice slide guitar piece. Once again, we get a little too much guitar and not enough of a full band sound. Not a bad song, just not a good one.


Joe shows us over and over again on this record that he can play guitar, but you know what, we all knew that already. Joe also showed us that he sings like a grazing bovine, and he writes songs that sound worse than a bad Britney Spears record. My observation throughout this disappointing "once through" was that all of these songs are either average or below average. Perry's sometimes dazzling guitar playing saves this record from getting worse ratings and being a total loss, but it is not hardly enough to qualify this as a keeper. This one died quickly on the operating table.