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Sheehan, Billy: Holy Cow!

Being from Upstate NY, as a kid I knew all about the legend of Billy Sheehan. I was lucky enough to have seen his great band, Talas, a couple of times in my early concert going childhood of the late '70's/early '80's and everyone knew then what the world knows now..Billy is a bad bass playing Mutha. And 2009 bring us around full circle to a genuinely excellent CD, Holy Cow! (Mascot Records).

Holy Cow! is a brilliant Hard Rock release that shows another talent of Sheehan's, his voice! Is there anything he can't do well? Oh, did I mention he plays guitar on this record, too?! He does enlist some great friends to special guest on the CD, as well. More on that later.

The CD has 14 tracks in all (with 3 bonus songs) and is a super solid record. From CD opener, "In A Week Or Two (I'll Give It Back To You)", with it's grooving and upfront beat, Billy Sheehan shows that this CD is a flat out Rock disc. The first thing that is noticed is Sheehan's great vocals! Smooth and with a bluesy soul, they immediately remind me of the vocal styling's of the great Kelly Keeling. Sheehan's bass work is of course outstanding and his guitar playing is a welcome surprise and on the mark. Great riffing all about. The song "A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To 'Ya Ev'ry Time" features the first special guest guitarist, none other than the "Reverend" Billy Gibbons, who pinches the strings and grooves like no one else has ever done. Next up is super shredder, Paul Gilbert who wrangles his 6 string magic all over, "Dynamic Exhilarator", the first instrumental on Holy Cow! Sheehan and Gilbert still possess a great chemistry together and Sheehan displays one of his best performances here, as well.

One of the true highlights comes in the form of the song, "Turning Point" featuring one of the most underrated singers (and bass player) in Dug Pinnick of King's X. Dug drips his soulful vocals all over this eerily too close to the Prince classic, "Purple Rain". This is a great song and shows the R&B background of Sheehan's that doesn't get much chance to come out, but it IS a bit TOO close to "Purple Rain". The similarity's are a bit too close for comfort, but it is still a good song with stellar vocals.

But the continued brilliance that is Billy Sheehan really gets to really shine on "A Bloodless Casualty" where the searing vocals, winding bass playing and his guitar prowess are all shown within a track that could have easily been a King's X tune with it's open chord work and vocal harmonies. Check out Billy's guitar solo in this one! Other great performances are "Just Another Humanoid", "Theme From An Imaginary Sci Fi", and the bass crazy, "Cell Towers".

To be honest, there really isn't a bad song on this CD. From the instrumentals to the perfectly sung tunes, Billy Sheehan puts it ALL together on Holy Cow!. You get all of the phenomenal Bass playing that you would expect from Mr. Sheehan, plus his great guitar playing and his excellent songwriting. Check out the bonus track "She Goes From Cruel To Missionary" for an excellent example of some great songwriting. This is NOT just for musician's or for those who only like the shredfest type of CD. Even the instrumentals are real songs with great playing in them and NOT just wank off, "look at what I can do" performances.

This is a true Rock CD, where the songs obviously have come first. I am, for one, very happily surprised at what is contained within this CD. I can not recommend this release enough! It's a CD that will be in your player of choice for a longtime, it is THAT good.

Track Listing
1. In A Week Or Two (Ill Give It Back To You)
2. A Lit'l Bit'l Do It Ya Ev'ry Time
3. Dynamic Exhilarator
4. A Bloodless Casualty
5. Make It To Another Day (I Keep Rolling On My Way)
6. Just Another Humanoid
7. Turning Point
8. Theme From An Imaginary Sci Fi
9. Another Broken Promise
10. Two People Can Keep A Secret (If One Of Them Is Dead)
11. Cell Towers
12. She Goes From Cruel To Missionary (Bonus Track)
13. Sweat On An E String (Bonus Track)
14. Swimming Under Water (Bonus Track)

Added: March 29th 2009
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2397
Language: english

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