Released the same year as another stunning rock debut, this self-titled album by Montrose is an oddity. It’s seldom spoke about in the same sentence as heavyweight rock records, yet any self-respecting rock fan seems to be a huge fan. It exists in my collection on its own – I’ve never come across their later albums – and my copy has seen better days, with a sleeve seemingly rebuilt with sellotape by a previous owner.
It’s all good though. The most prominent aspect of this album – aside from Ronnie Montrose’s incendiary guitar playing – is the familiar voice of Sammy Hagar; this being his debut recording. Looking back from the 21st century, after watching Van Halen evolve into a middle-of-the-road nothing of a band – with the vast majority of those questionable years voiced by Hagar – it’s actually nice to hear him front something with a bit of balls.
The highlight here is Rock Candy – a rock staple of the ‘70s and ‘80s (and covered by Bulletboys on the first Wayne’s World soundtrack). The rest of the record is just as strong, and if anything if it feels a little ahead of its time. This isn’t a rock record stuck in the mire of late ‘60s psychedelia, this is a party record, the kind of which were a dime a dozen in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (or twelve for ten cents depending on where you shop).
Hit: Rock Candy
Hidden Gem: Rock The Nation