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Russell, Jack: Shelter Me (Reissue)

Has there been a rock ’n’ roll lead singer who’s been through the wringer more than Jack Russell? Jail time for a shooting and botched robbery, major addiction struggles, severed ties with the band he helped found and, most significantly, years of therapy following the Station nightclub fire in 2003 -- in which 100 people died at a Great White show in West Warwick, R.I. Great White guitarist Ty Longley was among the victims after the opening pyrotechnics ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

Seven years before that tragedy, Russell released his 1996 debut solo album, Shelter Me, featuring Great White bandmate Michael Lardie playing several instruments and future Great White guitarist Matthew Johnson. (Lardie is still a member of the original Great White, which today is fronted by Mitch Malloy).

The album, full of the gritty blues rock that made Great White a mainstay on MTV in the late Eighties, no doubt got lost in the grunge scene, which had a firm grip on American rock in the mid-Nineties. Russell shares songwriting credits on six of the 13 songs, with Johnson writing the majority of them. Shelter Me also includes an enthusiastic cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog” but a pointless version of “Save Your Love” that barely differentiates itself from Great White’s original 1987 top 10 single.

While this is not as engaging or appealing as his previous work with Great White, it’s cool to hear Russell spreading his wings by incorporating strings and brass; that said, 2002’s primarily acoustic For You stands as a better solo effort. We’re not sure why Shelter Me was reissued in 2018, but it should intrigue fans of Jack Russell and Great White sufficiently enough to give it at least a few spins.

Track Listing:
1. Shelter Me
2. Take My Pain
3. Leave Me Lonely
4. Long Way to Go
5. Hey Bulldog
6. You’ll Lose a Good Thing
7. 24/7
8. The Fault’s All Mine
9. Roll With the Tide
10. Faith In You
11. Save Your Love
12. Shine On
13. When I Look Into Your Eyes

Added: January 1st 2019
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Jack Russell’s Great White
Hits: 137
Language: english

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