Doogie White - 'As Yet Untitled'

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Doogie White - 'As Yet Untitled'

A fine album that delivers great songs.

Rather disingenuously of me when this promo arrived I had it in my head that Doogie White had a "vocalists for hire" reputation, which was soon dispelled checking his CV. I suspect that my view had more to do with the people he's worked with (including Yngwie Malmsteen and Ritchie Blackmore) than himself.

This, his debut solo album will, I suspect, go down as one of the best Hard Rock releases of 2011 and will certainly be a contender for my end of year favourites in that particular genre. There's nothing new here but who cares when the songs and performances are this good?

Right off the bat Doogie sets the bar very high with 'Come Taste the Band', the title of which is no coincidence. Originally an audition piece for the job with Blackmore's Rainbow it was deliberately given the name of a Deep Purple album that didn't feature the man in black. The keyboard and organ intro (courtesy of Tony Carey) is pure Rainbow, as are the drums when they kick in. Patti Russo (Meatloaf) duets on this one and adds an extra flavour to the sound which romps along very nicely. I defy anyone not to like this song and not have it lodge in their brain after just one listen.

With the likes of Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall, The Poodles), Neil Murray (Whitesnake et al), Paul Logue (Eden's Curse) and Carey (Rainbow) it will be no surprise that the performances are great and having Logue, Norgren and Alex Dickson (Gun, Bruce Dickinson, Robbie Williams) helping with the songwriting means the tunes are top notch. 'Time Machine' has an AC/DC vibe, albeit with Biff Byford (Saxon) on vocals, indeed Doogie at times is similar to Byford but he's no one trick pony in that regard. 'Dreams Lie Down and Die' is probably my favourite song on the album with a great melody, superb chorus, terrific arrangement and a delivery from Doogie that is simply wonderful with a tinge of the late, great RJD in the phrasing.

'Lonely' will have the headbangers and air guitarists in seventh heaven, while the following 'Land of the Deceiver' has a great bridge and chorus with some tremendous guitar solos and rollicking bass from Murray. 'Secret Jesus' has a different feel to what's gone before and again I love the bridge; it has a touch of Whitesnake to it not least on the second bridge. 'Sea of Emotion' takes the pace down with its lighters in the air opening whilst 'Catz Got Yer Tongue' recalls Saxon once more and for me it's the weakest song on the album as it comes across as being rather generic and contrived. Quality control is resumed with 'Living on the Cheap' that has Thunder overtones, particularly on the chorus. The album closes with 'Times Like These' with its fantastic swagger which I find it impossible not to move to.

So, a fine album that delivers great songs.

Gary Marshall

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