JOHN WAITE – Rough And Tumble

John Waite - Rough & TumbleIt was ages since I heard anything from John Waite. The old Babys / Bad English singer has had a pretty successful solo career behind him that spawned hits like ”Tears”, ”Don’t Lose Any Sleep” and ”Missing You”, the latter becoming a huge hit world-wide. His solo albums were always good, but in my book, never great. The debut from Bad English must be the best record he was ever involved in. After Bad English broke up he has just released some compilation albums, but new material has been absent. Until now. The new album is a bit of a shocker in many ways. First of all, the AOR of his previous solo stuff is more or less gone, apart from a few songs. The material here is more blues based and feels crunchier and rockier. Which could have been a good thing, but unfortunately too many of the songs doesn’t really cut it and passes by unnoticed.

The title track however is great, combining groove, blues and catchiness and ”Shadows Of Love” takes him back to his AOR days and is in the vein of ”Missing You” – very good. ”Evil” is a moody blues based track that has a riff that reminds me of the song ”Hide Your Heart” (Bonnie Tyler, Kiss , Robin Beck). A good mix between AOR and blues rock. ”If You Ever Get Lonely” is a sad ballad with the broken-hearted lyrics that Waite does so well. I guess the guy is at his best when he gets to sing about loneliness and fading love. It would have fitted perfectly on the first Bad English record. ”Sweet Rhode Island Red” is a raunchy rock ’n’ roller, a great track in a style that Waite should practice more in. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is Waite’s voice. He talk-sings as usual with that saddened voice that is him, the kind of voice that you either love or hate. I love it, but it’s a shame that he never comes up with an album full of songs to match it. All in all, a good album, much rockier than expected, that starts off great, but the greatness fades in the second half of the album. An approved album, but not more.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Track list:

1. Rough & Tumble
2. Evil
3. If You Ever Get Lonely
4. Skyward
5. Sweet Rhode Island Red
6. Mr. Wonderful
7. Further the Sky
8. Love’s Goin’ Out of Style
9. Better Off Gone
10. Peace of Mind
11. Hanging Tree

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