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Free-For-All

Ted Nugent

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Album Review

While Ted Nugent's second solo album, 1976's Free-for-All, was another raging slab of rock & roll, it wasn't quite as consistent as his self-titled debut. The main reason was due to singer/rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes' departure from the band just as recording of the album began (due to constant grappling with the Nuge about certain musical issues). To solve the problem, producer Tom Werman convinced a then-unknown singer by the name of Meat Loaf to handle the vocal chores on the songs Derek was going to sing. While it seems like a mismatch in theory, the results were not catastrophic — such rockers as "Writing on the Wall" (a virtual rewrite of "Stranglehold"), "Street Rats," and "Hammerdown" are classic Nuge stompers. But they would have been stronger with St. Holmes' contributions, as evidenced by a bonus outtake of "Street Rats" with St. Holmes on vocals and the turbo-charged "Turn It Up." But still, the title track is one of Ted's all-time best (featuring a downright vicious groove), as is the rocking tale about the 1967 Detroit riots, "Dog Eat Dog." Despite St. Holmes' absence (he would return in time for the album's subsequent tour), Free-for-All solidified Ted's commercial success, reaching the Top 25. [Note: As with Nugent's other 1999 reissues, an insightful essay on this Ted era by journalist Gary Graff is included, plus bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: 13 December 1948 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Throughout his lengthy career, guitar wildman Ted Nugent has reveled in the controversy and criticism that always seems to follow in his path. While there's no denying his exceptional talent on the six-string, his knack for penning arena rock anthems, or his standing as one of rock's top live acts, it's his non-musical endeavors that have caused the most condemnation from his detractors (his pro-right wing beliefs, pro-gun advocacy, appreciation of hunting animals, etc.). But by the...
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