Even the most long standing Ted Nugent fan(myself included) realise he will probably never write another ‘Stranglehold’ or ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ again and his political beliefs and hunting have taken more of his time than his recorded output over the last decade or so. ‘Shut Up & Jam’ follows a 7 year gap between his last album Love Grenade and a 12 year one between Craveman but the wait is well worth it. As good as ‘Love Grenade’ is, ‘Shut Up & Jam’ is more consistent and I think is Ted’s heaviest album since the 1980 release of Scream Dream. The return of Derek St.Holmes on vocals and rhythm guitar is a welcome one as he was in Ted’s band at it’s most creative era in the mid 70’s. The rest of the current line up consists of Greg Smith on bass guitar and Mick Brown on drums. The album cover is a throwback to the 1976 release of ‘Free For All’ with Ted throwing some poses with his trademark Gibson Byrdland guitar in hand.
The album literally kicks off with the title track in a flurry of raucous riffs and a howl of feedback in the vein of ‘Wango Tango’ from Scream Dream. Ted barks out the lyrics and lets rip with a frantic guitar solo at the minute mark. ‘Fear Itself’ has an intense, brooding riff underpinning some hefty power chords bringing to mind ‘Tooth, Fang And Claw’ from the Spirit Of The Wild album. ‘Everything Matters’ is classic R&B and is the only song on the album with Derek on lead vocal. He has not lost his soulful range and hits the high notes with ease as Ted’s solos weave in and out of the choppy riffs. ‘She’s Gone’ took me a few plays to get into and is one of two of my least favourite tracks on the album. After an opening rap between Ted and Sammy Hagar, Sammy takes the lead vocal over Ted’s heavy blues riffs with some blistering soloing throughout.
‘Never Stop Believing’ is my highlight of Shut Up & Jam showing that even at the ripe old age of 65, Ted is still making great music with a career consisting of over 40,000,000 album sales and over 6500 live shows played. The song contains some of the best riffs he has written for a long time. The big chorus features some nice backing vocals from Derek. ‘ I Still Believe’ shows Ted’s pride in his country with a ‘Helter Skelter’ style main riff backed with heavy, abrasive riffs with a fan pleasing guitar solo midway. My second least favourite song on the album is next, ‘I Love My BBQ’ with a main riff similar to ‘No Man’s Land’ off the Penetrator album. The lyrics of the song describe Ted’s passion for hunting. The standards are raised much higher with ‘Throttledown’, a (pardon the pun) full throttle instrumental with Ted letting rip up and down his guitar neck for 3 minutes, showing he has lost none of his speed! ‘D0-Rags And A .45’ is another hard rocker in the vein of ‘Good Friends And A Bottle Of Wine from Weekend Warriors.
‘Screaming Eagles’ is another souped up pedal to the floor number with some intense, piercing guitar lines running throughout and yet another lightning solo midway. ‘Semper Fi’ shows again Ted’s R&B influences with some manic soloing between big riffs and another huge chorus. ‘Trample The Weak (Hurdle The Dead)’ has a main riff akin ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ in the verses with a Keith Richards style guitar solo. Final track and another contender for best song is a laid back version of ‘Never Stop Believing’. Ted has made it bluesier, with the melodies similar to ‘Spread Your Wings’ from If You Can’t Lick Em, Lick Em. The lyrics seem very personal to Ted with some hair raising harmonies by Derek and almost Gospel overtones in the choruses. A fine way to end Ted’s 14th solo studio album and is out now on Frontiers Records.
Ted Nugent band :-
Ted Nugent – Lead guitar/ vocals.
Derek St.Holmes – Rhythm guitar/ vocals.
Greg Smith – Bass guitar.
Mick Brown – Drums.
Album track listing :-
Shut Up & Jam.
Never Stop Believing.
I Still Believe.
I Love My BBQ.
Do-Rags And A .45.
Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead.
Never Stop Believing (Blues).