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The Second Decade of Rock and Roll - 1981 to 1991

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Album Review

Fans of live material will thoroughly enjoy this handpicked hit-and-miss 18-track compilation of REO Speedwagon's hits recorded during the band's mid- to late-'80s tours. Most of the songs work well in a live environment, with songs like "Tough Guys," "I Do' Wanna Know," and "Keep the Fire Burning" coming out on top, harnessing the most energy while keeping with their original form. Only six of the tracks are from the studio, with "Shakin' It Loose" being the most spirited, as the others are mediocre REO efforts ("L.I.A.R," "Live Every Moment," "Love Is a Rock"). As a hits package, though, The Second Decade of Rock and Roll should be spared, especially since their best song, "Keep on Loving You," has been replaced by a poorly ventured reggae version that sounds silly and out of place. While the ballads are kept to a minimum, some of their less accomplished material could have been replaced with some of their '70s work from Tuna Fish or even REO. Tracks like "Live It Up" and "One Too Many Girlfriends" represent their late-'80s disappointments in The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog, and a Chicken and Life As We Know It, sounding a wee bit uninspired. For what it's worth, Doughty's Hammond organ revitalizes much of the live material while, on the other hand, the absence of Gary Richrath's feverish guitar playing is sadly missed on a few of the newer tunes. The Second Decade shouldn't be deemed crucial, as only a few of its tracks are truly worthy of owning.


Formed: 1967 in Champaign, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Three bands were the undisputed arena rock kings of the early '80s -- Styx, Journey, and REO Speedwagon -- yet all weren't overnight success stories (in fact, each group began pursuing different musical styles originally -- prog rock, fusion, and straight-ahead hard rock, respectively, before transforming slowly into chart-topping mainstream rockers). REO Speedwagon first formed in 1968, via a pair of University of Illinois students, keyboardist Neal Doughty and drummer Alan Gratzer. After graduation,...
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The Second Decade of Rock and Roll - 1981 to 1991, REO Speedwagon
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