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The Very Best of Montrose

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Album Review

Except for a few ill-advised power ballads, Montrose was a hard-driving, head-butting, riff-rattling, non-stop rock machine whose best qualities — creative guitar playing, hooky melodies, and smart production — were arguably the blueprint for Van Halen and any number of other similar crunch proto-metalers. As the only compilation of this under-recognized band, The Very Best Of captures 15 highlights from four Warner Bros. albums spanning 1973-1976, and tacks on three difficult to find cuts from 1987's reunion disc on Enigma. While Montrose was a fine fret shredder, there's little that's distinctive about his style. But the songs he applied his fiery six-string frenzy to remain timeless rock should-have-been classics, most of which have been unjustly neglected, and this comprehensive single disc compiles the best of them. With track by track annotation from the guitarist/songwriter/producer (and on one track, singer), remastered sound, well-documented liner notes, as well as full credits, there's little that Rhino could have improved on here. The absence of any Ronnie Montrose solo material, or his work with the band Gamma is understandable, since his style for those projects differed substantially from the hard-grinding groove he pounded out with his self-named band. Although the first eight tunes that cover the Sammy Hagar years (Montrose and Paper Money) are the best known, there's plenty of solid rocking on the other ten tracks. Singer Bob James (not the jazz-fusion pianist) wasn't nearly as magnetic as his better-known predecessor, but his Lou Gramm-styled range suited the material just fine, and the band, whose members changed on almost every album, were always solid, if unremarkable professionals. Tough pile drivers like "Rock Candy," "I Got the Fire," "Let's Go," and "Dancin' Feet," with their chunky, thunderous riffs and lighter-raising yet forgettable lyrics, can get any biker party started, and hearing them all together for the first time makes you wonder why Montrose isn't more highly regarded as an early influence on countless hot guitar rockers. No matter, because this is 76 minutes of undiluted, rugged guitar rock at its finest. Leave your brain cells at home and just enjoy.

Customer Reviews

Not Ronnie's Best

I loved this band in the seventies, however Ronnie grew up and I did too. His solo work is much better technically as far as his playing and production. "Open Fire" is one of the best albums of all time. I think that it is Ronnie's best work, and some of it should have been included on this CD. Although most of my friends really liked Sammy I wasn't all that fond of him until he went solo. Gamma stunk despite Montrose. I preferred then, and still prefer now just listening to Ronnie play.

Very Best?

Most of the classics are here but not sure “We’re Going Home” is one which jumps off people lips when discussing Montrose songs with Sammy. There are those who liked Bob James but let’s face it: the first two albums were the best! However, some of Ronnie’s best guitar licks appeared on albums 3 and 4. All I Need and Music Man are two prime examples. If you’re a fan, this is a must have.

need more JAMES

Jump On It was an incredible era for this band. They were just about to burst into super star status ,with the huge shows they played. .Bob James was incredible with his knowhow to super pop star vocals. He showed the way to all Vocalists that actually had talent and a voice that really listened to him in his plight with jealous guitarists . We love him. "let's go'........................ Vocals always rule,along with great melodies...................Now that's Music.................

Biography

Formed: 1973 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

One of the first American-bred hard rock groups to challenge British supremacy in the early '70s, Montrose are remembered as, if not the most successful, then certainly one of the most influential bands of the era. In fact, many of the personalities responsible for the group's legendary, self-titled debut (producer Ted Templeman, engineer Donn Landee, vocalist Sammy Hagar) would later become instrumental players in the formative and latter-day career of the mighty Van Halen. And to his credit, though...
Full Bio
The Very Best of Montrose, Montrose
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Arena Rock, Hard Rock
  • Released: Oct 17, 2000

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