Released on February 26, 1991 (Capitol)
Last month marked the 25 year anniversary of the release of Great White‘s Hooked album with its controversial or at least provocative cover. In 1991, Great White were still basking in the epic success of 1989’s …Twice Shy. Boasting stellar blues based guitar riffs and the cover of Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, Great White continued to move away from their mid-decade sound into a less adventurous but more consumer friendly form of rock n’ roll.
Hooked is as much an extension of …Twice Shy as it is a new album with heavy blues influences and even more mainstream than Great White’s previous record. The most obvious example of this is the lead off track “Call It Rock N’ Roll.” This is virtually a carbon copy of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” It rocks, but you’ve heard this song before. “Original Queen Of Sheba” is another three chord driven blues rocker, but really doesn’t seem to go places. “Cold Hearted Lovin’” starts off slowly, but about half way through gets into a ZZTop groove and doesn’t look back. “Can’t Shake It”, “Heartbreaker” and “Desert Moon” are more toward the classic Great White sound, but the production is too polished to really return to the Once Bitten… or Shot in the Dark era. “South Bay Cities” is kind of fun, and “Congo Square” has a cool 12 string guitar and organ, but “Lovin’ Kind” and “Afterglow” are throw away ballads.
Hooked is nowhere near as strong as …Twice Shy, and is a major departure from the group’s mid ’80s sound. Regardless, Hooked was certified gold only two months after its release in April 1991, and peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 200 Album chart. But despite these successes, by 1993, Great White were looking for a new record company and another hit song. The rest, as they say is history.
01. Call It Rock N’ Roll
02. The Original Queen Of Sheba
03. Cold Hearted Lovin
04. Can’t Shake It
05. Lovin’ Kind
07. Congo Square
08. South Bay Cities
09. Desert Moon
Jack Russell – lead and backing vocals
Mark Kendall – guitars, backing vocals
Michael Lardie – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Tony Montana – bass
Audie Desbrow – drums
Alan Niven – backing vocals
Michael Thompson – slide guitar solo (3)
Simone Shook – backing vocals
Terry Sasser – backing vocals
Produced and engineered by Michael Lardie and Alan Niven
Engineered by Michael Lardie
Reviewed by Metal Mike for Sleaze Roxx, March 2016