Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obscure Classic : Randy Hansen 'Randy Hansen' (1981)

Every once in awhile on this site, I'll be showcasing albums which, for some reason or another, never got their proper due. The first in what will be a continuing series, is guitarist Randy Hansen's self titled album :

Randy Hansen
Randy Hansen

Review by Nightwatcher

Although primarily known as a Hendrix imitator, Seattle born guitarist Randy Hansen, for a brief time in the early 80's stepped away from the cloning to record an album of largely original compositions on 1981's 'Randy Hansen'. Consisting of 7 tracks of melodic, heavy- for- the- time guitar based (naturally) hard rock, this is an album which due to Hansen's long running career doing Jimi almost as good as the real thing, never has received its due.

Featuring incredible guitar work which although slightly Hendrix based,is decidedly more contemporary sounding, even throwing in a bit of funk metal into the proceedings with a sludgy cover of Sly & The Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher". Elsewhere you'll find frenzied guitar freak outs on lead off track "Champagne And Cocaine" and "Millionaire", each clocking in over 7 minutes apiece, that are sure to satisfy any heavy guitar freaks. This is one album which would benefit greatly by being re-released and remastered in the CD format, as the sound is a bit thin to modern ears, but most certainly one which, done the right way, would be a very welcome addition.

After this album failed to make much of an impression on the charts at the time, Hansen returned to recording and touring versions of classic Hendrix songs, which he continues to do to the present day, touring Europe and casinos across the United States. But, this is an album which hints at the potential which could have taken him much further artistically, given the right set of circumstances.

I remember seeing the guitarist on the tour for this, opening up for Head East, where he pulled out all the stops, and it was amazing. Playing behind his back, with his teeth, being carried through the crowd on the shoulders of a burly bodyguard, leaping on top of the massive stack of Marshall amps - all while displaying the exemplary playing skills which throughout the years have earned him the respect of such legends as Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Marino among many others. If you've never heard this album, and still have a turntable, one can from time to time find used copies of this floating around on eBay for a couple of bucks, but for those who long for a proper CD release of this, I suppose we'll have to keep on waiting.

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