PAT BOONE -- In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy (MCA/Hip-O)

Unless you've spent the last few months under a rock, you probably know that 'Mr. Clean' himself, Pat Boone recently released a new CD of hard rock classics. Boone's long time fans aren't quite sure what to make of it. For those of you who may not have this CD yet, it's uhh . . . well, it's interesting. Are there really screaming guitars on the songs? Some of them, yes. Is it really a 'metal' album? Of course not. Imagine songs by the likes of Judas Priest, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and Led Zeppelin done big-band style, with an occasional electric guitar solo thrown in here and there, and you'll get the idea. The whole album was recorded live to two-track in the studio.

Is it as bad as everyone has said? It depends on what you're expecting from it. Some of it is truly entertaining (though not necessarily in a positive way). Boone is backed by an excellent band of musicians, some of whom played on his earliest material. Then there are the special guests. Ritchie Blackmore and Dweezil Zappa play guitar on "Smoke on the Water." Ronnie James Dio heard that Boone wanted to record "Holy Diver." Once Dio found out the song was going to be recorded on his birthday, he couldn't resist stopping by to contribute backing vocals.

One of the most memorable tracks on the CD is Van Halen's "Panama." The lyrics on this one were cleaned up a bit. Instead of the line where David Lee Roth sang about how he wanted to 'reach down.. between my legs.. and ease the seat back,' Boone wants to "reach down, and put my seat belt on." Let's say (hypothetically, of course) that you make it through "Panama." What else is in store? How about a big band version of "Enter Sandman"? I have to admit, the band really cooks on this one. This song is one that's gotten the religious community up in arms. But wait--there's more!

"Paradise City" is another 'highlight.' The band really gets a workout on this one. If you like big band jazz, you may actually enjoy this version. Unless, of course, you're not into screaming guitar solos. Boone slows it down on a couple of the songs. "Love Hurts" isn't really that different from anything else he's done over the years. He also does a cover of "The Wind Cries Mary." When you consider that the song's a ballad to begin with, it's not that bad. If you think about it being a Hendrix tune, that's another story. If you've managed to make it this far, you're in for a 'reward.' Boone saved the 'best' tracks for last.

How can you do an album of metal covers without doing an Ozzy tune? Prepare yourself. Boone does a swinging lounge version of "Crazy Train"--complete with backup singers going "crazy, crazy train.. choo choo!" Tom Scott contributes an amazing solo on the track, and several others on the CD as well. The disc winds up with Boone's orchestrated version of "Stairway to Heaven." Just imagine Sammy Davis, Jr. crooning on these two tunes and you'll get the idea.

© 1997 Steve Marshall