White Lion-All You Need Is Rock ‘N’ Roll (box-set)

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Reviewed: November, 2020
Released: 2020, Cherry Red/Hear No Evil
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: JP

Many casual music fans and observers have this concept of the 80’s being this time of glam and decadence, hairspray and any other clichés you may recall.  However, if you really examine the musical climate all that stuff that people point to as ‘80’s bands;  Warrant, Danger Danger, Firehouse, Slaughter, Winger, etc really didn’t get going until the very late 80’s.  White Lion already had three albums before most of those bands put out their debut, so they were just ahead of the curve.

For me, White Lion more accurately epitomizes a ‘true’ 80’s band. Founded in 1983 or so the bands debut was actually quite ‘Metal’ and as time went on they adapted quite quickly to the growing MTV video age and evolved but never truly embraced the glam ethic of L.A. likely because they were from New York.  When that glam type sound fell from favour, White Lion also fell prey to changing musical tastes and the band just…went away.  More dedicated fans like myself, knew where the various members went and hat they were doing in the music scene but for the most part it was over.   Maybe they were smart enough to not tarnish their legacy with grunge-influenced albums or maybe they just didn’t care, but the end result was they left an untarnished legacy of four studio albums, Gold and Platinum albums, a few hit singles, some fun videos and whole lot of great rock ‘n’ roll songs.   Yeah, sure Mike Tramp tried again in 1999 under the White Lion banner, but it really was a solo album with all new guys and of course, it tanked.  So to me it was ‘four and out’ and that brings us to this box-set.

ALL YOU NEED IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL is one of the latest set in a long and successful campaign by Cherry Red / Hear No Evil to plunder back-catalogues of 70’s and 80’s bands and bring them to the fore in an affordable set.  This five disc set comes in the standard clamshell box with a big fold out poster with all  the liner notes and credits for the bands four album run from 1985-1991.  The good-looking all-white style look makes it stand out from many other more ‘Metal’ red and black boxes.

Oddly enough in the early days, the band had signed to a major label outside of the US but it was a smaller label Grand Slamm that issued the debut, FIGHT TO SURVIVE.  It wasn’t even issued on CD in the US until a few years later until the success of their second album, PRIDE, prompted demand.  It is nice to hear this under-rated album (their heaviest) on CD and replace my old cassette.  The next the albums were the ‘glory years’, and the band churned out PRIDE, BIG GAME and MANE ATTRACTION  in just under four years.   All of these albums in this set comes with a number of bonus tracks, mostly singles and radio versions edited for length.  The band didn’t seem to have a wealth of unreleased material lying around.  I don’t think there is anything truly new and unreleased but a die-hard member of the White Lion pride might be able to correct me and we still get to enjoy a decent seven bonus tracks across the four studio platters.

Now for the best part; Disc five a full, unreleased live album!  The band never released a live album and I always suspected they were heavier live in concert but disappointingly never got to see them live.   Simply entitled LIVE this concert was recorded at The Ritz in NYC.  I’m not positive but I think this is the audio track of their live VHS that was filmed on February 11th, 1988 on the Pride tour. I don’t own that VHS so I can’t compare.

As I expected, the band did sound significantly heavier live. The songs are fun and up-tempo for the most part.  Vito Bratta shreds, his solo in L’ady Of The Valley’ is superb.  The bands transitions smoothly from song to song with a bit of banter in between and the screaming girls in the audience seem to like it.  All in all the sound is pretty decent as they run thought about a dozen songs. PRIDE had been released eight months earlier so the band were in their feral prime. To top to all off the Live CD has three, unreleased, ‘live in rehearsal’ tracks.

White Lion was just a little bit more elegant and classy than many of their later-era followers. They just had that slight lyrical edge it wasn’t all just sex, drugs rock and roll. While many bands were singing about girls, girls, girls, Mike Tramp sang a bit more about political issues without being preachy but still had fun and a rocking edge.  If White Lion was one of those bands that you maybe only associated with the big hits on TV, this boxset is your chance to re-acquaint yourself with their hits and get the increasingly rare debut and the unreleased live album. You can’t go wrong!


Track Listing:

DISC ONE
FIGHT TO SURVIVE (1985)

1. BROKEN HEART
2. CHEROKEE
3. FIGHT TO SURVIVE
4. WHERE DO WE RUN
5. IN THE CITY
6. ALL THE FALLEN MEN
7. ALL BURN IN HELL
8. KID OF 1000 FACES
9. EL SALVADOR
10. THE ROAD TO VALHALLA

DISC TWO
PRIDE (1987)

1. HUNGRY
2. LONELY NIGHTS
3. DON’T GIVE UP
4. SWEET LITTLE LOVING
5. LADY OF THE VALLEY
6. WAIT
7. ALL YOU NEED IS ROCK N ROLL
8. TELL ME
9. ALL JOIN OUR HANDS
10. WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY
BONUS TRACKS
11. WAIT (EXTENDED REMIX)
12. WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY (EDIT)
13. ALL YOU NEED IS ROCK N ROLL
(LP VERSION WITH INTRO EDIT)
14. ALL YOU NEED IS ROCK N ROLL
(SHORT VERSION)
15. TELL ME (EDIT)

DISC THREE
BIG GAME (1989)

1. GOIN’ HOME TONIGHT
2. DIRTY WOMAN
3. LITTLE FIGHTER
4. BROKEN HOME
5. BABY BE MINE
6. LIVING ON THE EDGE
7. LET’S GET CRAZY
8. DON’T SAY IT’S OVER
9. IF MY MIND IS EVIL
10. RADAR LOVE
11. CRY FOR FREEDOM
BONUS TRACK
12. CRY FOR FREEDOM (EDIT)

DISC FOUR
MANE ATTRACTION (1991)

1. LIGHTS AND THUNDER
2. BROKEN HEART
3. LEAVE ME ALONE
4. LOVE DON’T COME EASY
5. YOU’RE ALL I NEED
6. IT’S OVER
7. WARSONG
8. SHE’S GOT EVERYTHING
9. TILL DEATH DO US PART
10. OUT WITH THE BOYS
11. BLUE MONDAY
12. FAREWELL TO YOU
BONUS TRACK
13. LIGHTS & THUNDER (EDIT)

DISC FIVE
LIVE: RITZ – NEW YORK (1988)

1. HUNGRY
2. DON’T GIVE UP
3. LONELY NIGHTS
4. SWEET LITTLE LOVING
5. BROKEN HEART
6. FIGHT TO SURVIVE
7. TELL ME
8. ALL JOIN OUR HANDS
9. WAIT
10. LADY OF THE VALLEY
11. THE ROAD TO VALHALLA
12. ALL YOU NEED IS ROCK N ROLL
13. WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY
14. LITTLE FIGHTER (LIVE IN REHEARSAL 1991)
15. WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY
(LIVE IN REHEARSAL 1991)
16. DON’T GIVE UP (LIVE IN REHEARSAL 1991)


www.cherryred.co.uk/product/white-lion-all-you-need-is-rock-n-roll-the-complete-albums-1985-1991-5cd-boxset/