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Released: 2010, Helix Records/EMI
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
This is the hardest review I have ever written, period. Why? It is because I am reviewing a disc by some friends of mine while being open minded, honest and un-biased while keeping my journalistic credibility intact. I have alway prided myself in that I am 100% honest in my reviews and write what I feel.
Over the past few years I have become real good friends with some of the members of Helix (who i’ve been a fan of since the early-mid 80’s). It is due to this friendship that writing a review for one of their albums is difficult. Since I am such a fan of the music I like nearly everything that Brian and Co. put out and SMASH HITS...UNPLUGGED is no different.
For most songs on here the unplugged aspect is a radical departure from the well known original versions while a song such as “That Day Is Gonna Come” lends itself perfectly to an acoustic version. All of the songs on here are excellent choices for a ‘Hits’ package as these are just some of the best songs in their catalog and their most familiar.
Vocally Brian just keeps getting better as time goes on. These unplugged versions really help to emphasize how great his vocals are. Musically the songs lend themselves to acoustic versions surprisingly well. When I first heard of the idea for this album I was wondering how songs like “Rock You” and “Heavy Metal Love” would sound on an acoustic. After a few spins to get a feel for it I do enjoy it, but prefer the original electric versions. The addition of Banjo, Dobro, Mandolin….etc make SMASH HITS...UNPLUGGED not your average ‘Unplugged’ disc. The band along with the help of Sean Kelly (Crash Kelly) took the time to rearrange the songs and add the different instrumentation to make for a more interesting release instead of just playing the songs on an acoustic.
A total departure from what Helix fans are used to hearing from the band. It is a completely different way to present the ‘Hits’ to the public once again while giving us Die-Hard Fans something a bit different instead of repackaging the same songs again. Next let us all hope that they will go into the studio and deliver a new album of original Heavy Metal songs along the lines of LONGWAY TO HEAVEN or WALKIN’ THE RAZOR’S EDGE which is what us longtime fans started out on.
1. "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin"
2. "Kids Are All Shakin"
3. "Heavy Metal Love"
4. "That Day Is Gonna Come"
5. "Dream On"
6. "Deep Cuts The Knife"
7. "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want"
8. "Good To The Last Drop"
9. "Wild In The Streets/No Rest For The Wicked"
10. "Touch of Magic"
11. "Rock You"
Brian Vollmer - lead vocals
Brent "The Doctor" Doerner - 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, mandolin, vocals
Daryl Gray - bass, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, keyboards & string arrangements, percussion, washboard, bodhran, harmonica
Greg "Fritz" Hinz - drums, percussion
Kaleb "Duckman" Duck - guitars and vocals
Sean Kelly - guitar, dobro, banjo
Wendy Wright - fiddle on "Kids Are All Shakin"
Cheryl Lescom - background vocals on "Kids Are All Shakin"
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