Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Were Robbed – Richie Sambora

"You Were Robbed" features artists and bands that should have gotten much more recognition and fame than they did. Check them out now...better late than never!

Richie Sambora has gotten plenty of love in the context of Bon Jovi, but his first solo record, 1991’s “Stranger In This Town”, didn’t capitalize on his fame to the extent that I expected. The record barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard charts and its rousing lead single, “Ballad Of Youth” struggled to reach a dismal 63 on the singles chart. The subsequent singles, the soulful ballad “One Light Burning” and title track, didn’t even chart. Admittedly, the choice of singles was a bit perplexing, and probably has a lot to do with why the album wasn’t as warmly received as similar melodic rock records dominating the time period.

“Stranger In This Town” contains plenty of Bon Jovi-ish anthems (for example, “Ballad of Youth” and “Rosie”), but infuses the blues and a touch of soul that distinguish it from his day job output. In fact, the one and only Eric Clapton guests on the track, “Mr. Blueman”. Sambora’s voice harmonizes with Jon Bon Jovi perfectly, but this record shows he can stand on his own vocally. His voice also has more of an everyday man’s quality to it that exudes a charm all on its own.

Two of my favorite cuts on his debut solo record are saved until the end. “Father Time” is a huge power ballad that continues to resonate with me to this day, and “The Answer” is a rare and beautiful acoustic treat that makes us wonder why Sambora doesn’t put down his electric guitar more often.

Some other cool bits of trivia – Randy Jackson (American Idol dawg judge) played bass on “One Light Burning”, Desmond Child co-wrote “Rosie” and “Father Time”, and Dean Fasano (Message/Prophet) contributing backing vocals.

Bottom line: I would take this solo release from Sambora over any of Jon Bon Jovi’s solo efforts. This record is no "New Jersey", but surely should have performed much better than it did.

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