In 1979 and 1980, the period between the end of the Dictators’ original reign and the birth of Manowar, Ross the Boss did yeoman duty as the guitar god for the French band Shakin’ Street. It’s time to give them a fresh listen.
The logical starting point is their self-titled 1980 album on Columbia. Singer Fabienne’s English as a Second Language vocals don’t always work, and there are points where the material doesn’t keep up with the playing. But RTB is killer throughout, and there are high points tune-wise, with “Solid as a Rock,” “No Time To Lose,” “So Fine” and especially “Susie Wong.” “Susie Wong” is easily the best thing here, a beautiful tune with a nicely structured arrangement that winds its way to RTB’s best bits on the LP, where he’s sympathetic and muscular all at once. It’s simply a great song, and one of the best non-Dics things he’s ever played on. The highs more than compensate for the lows here, and overall this is a pretty solid album. Continue reading