Ex-Van Halen and Montrose frontman Sammy Hagarâ€™s Sammy Hagar & Friends sees â€œThe Red Rockerâ€ enlisting some A-list friends on covers and new songs. These 10 run through a few styles, but pretty much stay to a semi-blues stomp with straight-ahead drumming, lots of slide playing and Sammyâ€™s usual scream-singing in a slightly lower register.
â€œNot Going Downâ€ features a trashy beat from Hagarâ€™s ex-Montrose bandmates, Denny Carmassi on drums and Bill Church on bass, plus a solid blues lap steel from Dave Zirbel. (Zirbel is all over this record.) Thereâ€™s even an upside down gospel take on Depeche Modeâ€™s â€œPersonal Jesus,â€ a chunky cover featuring Journeyâ€™s guitarist Neal Schon wailing away. Michael Anthonyâ€™s bass and Chad Smithâ€™s drumming provide a solid low backing here as well. (With Hagar, Smith and Anthony, thatâ€™s three-quarters of Chickenfoot.)
This is an album where Hagar doesnâ€™t pick up guitar all that much, certainly not to play lead, which he is certainly capable of. Maybe being in bands with Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriano makes one reconsider oneâ€™s lead playing?)
Andre Thieryâ€™s accordion pushes the Cajun â€œFather Sun,â€ Kid Rock duets with Hagar on a shouting â€œKnockdown Dragout,â€ Toby Keith is featured on a slightly salsa-like cover of the Jimmy Buffett hit, â€œMargaritaville,â€ and Heartâ€™s Nancy Wilson lends her soft warble to the Hawaiian-sounding, equally soft â€œAll We Need Is an Island.â€Â Don Nixâ€™s classic, â€œGoing Down (Live in Studio-Take 1),â€ ends the album, once again with Neal Schon wailing.