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Hagar, Sammy and the Wabos: Livin' It Up!

Not only has the "red rocker" Sammy Hagar fronted two legendary hard rock acts in Montrose and Van Halen, but the singer/guitarist has also had a pretty damn successfull solo career as well, with a slew of solid albums under his belt. This summer's appropriately titled latest Livin' It Up features Sammy and his band The Wabos, and as you can imagine by looking at the cover of the CD, this is party hearty, summertime music with bits of hard rock, metal, rootsy rock 'n' roll, blues and pop, that is sure to be a regular play in your rotation during barbecues, trips to the beach, keg parties, or cruisin' down the highway doing well over '55.

Anthems and Sammy Hagar usually go hand in hand, and Livin' It Up! has its share of them. From the hard rockin' "Sam I Am", to the sing-along chorus of "Livin' On A Coastline", to the catchy hooks & driving beat of "The Way We Live", there's no shortage of memorable rockers here. Fans of tunes that will work well in a rowdy bar (as Sammy obvious is) will love "Mexico", "I Love This Bar", and "One Sip", all songs that probably will go over well at his place in Cabo Wabo. In addition, there are some rootsy pop songs that the girls will love, making this a pretty well-rounded rock record. Sammy still sounds good vocally, and his band The Wabos are pretty tight, making Livin' It Up! a fun record that should please Hagar fans who are used to his style of hard rock with a party attitude.

Track Listing
1. Sam I Am
2. Livin' On A Coastline
3. Mexico
4. The Way We Live
5. I Love This Bar
6. One Sip
7. Rainy Day Women
8. Halfway
9. Sailing
10. Let Me Take You There
11. Someday

Added: September 4th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Sammy Hagar Website
Hits: 4206
Language: english

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Hagar, Sammy and the Wabos: Livin' It Up!
Posted by Elias Granillo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-04 03:23:47
My Score:

There's little Sammy Hagar hasn't done since his early days fronting the Justice Bros. in the charming locales of San Bernardino and Fontana, CA. With just two albums as lead singer of Montrose, the groundwork for Sammy's own career was set in stone, which is where chestnuts like "Red," "Three Lock Box," "One Way To Rock," "This Planet's On Fire (Burn In Hell)," "Heavy Metal" and "I'll Fall In Love Again" come from. Soon after the HSAS project with Santana alumni Neal Schon and Michael Shrieve — a one-off that yielded the excellent record Through The Fire — Sammy was neatly stitched into place as the voice of Van Halen MkII. A decade later, blessed with rust-proof pipes most vocalists would die for, Sammy reembraced his red roots and embarked upon his own Second Stage — the resumption of his solo career.

Fast forward five studio albums and hard rock's self-proclaimed answer to Jimmy Buffett has thrown his fans a real curveball: Livin' It Up is the "friendliest" Hagar offering ever, a thigh-slappin' ode to the happy-go-lucky tequila-swillin' lifestyle for which everybody envies the age-defying singer-guitarist (drummer and long-time pal Dave Lauser seems to do an equally good job of looking twenty years younger than his actual age!). Produced, engineered and mixed by Bob Daspit, Livin' It Up resonates with a down-home unpretentious verve (Lauser's drumkit sounds fantastic). So — a Sammy record with pedal steel guitar, horns, timbales & congas, and a bona fide guesting mariachi band?! It's true, and believe it or not, many of these tunes rock. "Sam I Am" and "Living On A Coastline" cement the groove with references to bad motor scooters, waves, sand and "ice cold brews, they're waitin' for you." Next the main Wabo sings of his second home, "Mexico," electrified verses vivid with concrete imagery of "señoritas" and "cobblestone." The vibe is oiled further on "The Way We Live" with a call to live it up and shun the daily grind. "I Love This Bar" and "One Sip" — you get the picture. "Halfway To Memphis" and "Let Me Take You There" are closer to traditional Hagar, so to speak, the latter the hardest-rockin' cut on this outing but thematically in step. Finally, Aaron Hagar (yes, his thirtysomething son) duets with dad on "Some Day," a soulful country-tinged ballad. Take it for what it's worth, but Livin' It Up is solid stuff.

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