Monday, July 27, 2015

Tuff Dusts Off Some Gems With The Release of "The Glam Years: 1985-1989"

I gotta admit, I was a little skeptical about reviewing the new release from Tuff,  The Glam Years: 1985 - 1989.

This album is a collection of two groups of tracks.  The first group is comprised of songs recorded with original singer Jim Gillette who went on to front Nitro, release a series of metal vocal training cassettes, and marry Lita Ford. The second group is comprised of songs recorded with best-known vocalist, Stevie Rachelle, before the band's seminal album, What Comes Around Goes Around.

So how good can this album actually be?  I mean, if glam songs and recordings weren't good enough to see the light of day in the '80's, they really wouldn't be worth listening to today, right?


While the recordings with Gillette aren't great, they are listenable.  It's definitely cool and interesting to hear the early version of What Comes Around standout track "Forever Yours."  And the never-heard-before tracks like "Dressed For Dancin'" and "Candy Cowted" certainly have the sweet and sticky hooks that defined '80's hair metal.

Actually, that's what special about this first part of the album:  it is authentic hair metal.  No band from that era has since been able to recapture the magic from those days, seemingly forever infected by the airborne-virus-of-mediocre-music that spawned itself in the '90's.  And though today's youngsters who are part of hair metal's second coming do an admirable job of resuscitating classic glam stylings, listening to their music feels like going to P.F. Chang's to a Chinese food connoisseur:  it just doesn't quite feel legit.

But those first six songs on The Glam Years are an absolute must-have for any true hair metal collector.

Seven songs featuring Stevie Rachelle top off this album.  The better production and Rachelle's distinctive I-go-to-the-gym-as-much-as-the-hair-salon voice will take Tuff enthusiasts to their happy place.

Once again, the underground tracks are a real treat.  Understandably, the three songs that also appeared on What Comes Around - "Forever Yours," "Ain't Worth A Dime," and "Good Guys Wear Black" - don't meet the high standards of the versions that Tuff fans have grown to know and love.  But, in the context of this tribute-style release, it's easy to forgive Tuff and just roll with a good moment.

Overall, you gotta give Tuff a purple-nail-polish-painted thumbs up for releasing a worthy addition to the glam genre's body of great music.

 # of Facebook page "Likes" for Tuff at the time of this writing:  12,053.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews prides itself on discovering great artists just before they break.  We record the number of Facebook Likes to watch our favorite artists grow and to track how far we are ahead of the curve.