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Way, Pete: Solo Albums 2000-2004 (3CD)

The word legend is bandied about all too easily these days but in the case of the much missed Pete Way, it’s a fitting title to bestow on the UFO and Waysted bassist who also briefly served with Ozzy Osbourne and Fastway. Sadly, Way passed away in August 2020, but along with their recent Waysted and UFO releases, reissue specialists Cherry Red/HNE are also allowing us the opportunity to re-live the work that he did as a solo artist and through a separate box (also reviewed here on SoT) his time with Damage Control and The Plot.

For the self explanatory Solo Albums 2000-2004, this clamshell box set covers the fully electric studio offering, Amphetamine from 2000, the live Alive In Cleveland from 3 years later and 2004’s acoustic studio album, Acoustic Animal. All three were received with high praise on their release, although they undoubtedly came with the ‘warning’ that none of them were particularly connected with Way’s previous musical exploits in terms of their sound. Singing the songs himself, Way recruited Walt James to handle guitars and bolster the vocals, while Scott Phillips took on drum duties, with the results being a much more punk oriented attack. Way’s effective but uncultured vocals definitely informed that approach, but there’s an intentional rough and readiness that in many ways embodied the manner in which Way appeared to tackle life. “That’s Tuff” and “American Kid (What A Shame)”, for me, are the most convincing examples, with both bristling with energy and attitude, and aligned with an ability to stick in the mind, they really are quite something. That said, not everything here quite hits that mark, the slow and not so steady “Hole” unadventurous blues, while “Hand To Hold” never quite delivers on the promise it suggests. Running to just around the 35 minute mark, Amphetamine was a short, reasonably effective blast and here it’s rounded out by demos of three tracks that went on to make the main album.

If Amphetamine was, shall we say, a little frayed around the edges, then Alive In Cleveland is just about held together by sheer will and intent. Being brutally honest, if it’s classy vocals and polished songs that you’re after then this sure ain’t going to be for you, but if it’s high octane, potty mouthed rock n roll that’s more punk than anything else that you hanker, then this is going to be a delight. The opening trio ram that point home, “American Kid (What A Shame)”, “Hangin’ Out” and “That’s Tough” positively plugged into the mains, so electrifying is their impact. In truth, for me, from there everything kinds of slides, well not quite downhill, but just a little sideways into ‘you maybe had to be there’ territory. As live albums go, this isn’t going to bother the classic releases out there, but it’s still good fun, if just too close to tumbling in on itself to be a truly immersive experience.

The final disc in this collection, Acoustic Animal, is maybe a step too far for me, with a set of stripped back songs that contain a mix of Way solo material, a Waysted tune, a UFO number, a John Lennon cover and a reworking of a Fats Domino’s “If You Need Me” highlighting the lack of excitement in what is, admittedly, an impressively honest delivery. That said, with Way’s vocals always dangerously close to doing their own thing and the acoustic guitar arrangements lacking for anything to really grab a hold of, you’re left with the message behind it all. Now, maybe it’s because I listened to these three albums back to back, but the down on my luck, drugs, booze and hard living tales that were understandably close to Way’s heart, really do begin to wear me down.

What there is no doubt about as you travel trough Solo Albums 2000-2004 is the honesty and integrity with which these 3 albums are all undoubtedly delivered. Personally that’s not quite enough for me to really connect with what’s going on here, although there is something to recommend about each of this trio of releases, with Amphetamine being the stand out.


Track Listing
DISC ONE - AMPHETAMINE (2000)

1 That’s Tuff
2 Hangin’ Out
3 Fooled Again
4 American Kid (What A Shame)
5 Hole
6 Hole 2
7 Crazy
8 Hand To Hold

DISC TWO - ALIVE IN CLEVELAND (2003)

1 American Kid ( What A Shame )
2 Hangin’ Out
3 That’s Tuff
4 Fooled Again
5 Too Hot To Handle
6 Might As Well Go Drinkin’
7 You & Me
8 Hole 1/Hole 2
9 I Need Her Bad
10 Born Again
11 Somethin’ Else
12 Crazy
13 Hand To Hold
14 Paradise ( Bonus )

DISC THREE - ACOUSTIC ANIMAL (2004)

1 Paradise
2 American Kid
3 Heaven Tonight
4 Fooled Again
5 Hole In My Heart
6 Hand To Hold
7 That’s Tuff
8 If You Need Me
9 Hangin’ Out
10 Working Class Hero

Added: September 27th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Pete Way @ Cherry Red
Hits: 512
Language: english

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