Cherry Red imprint Hear No Evil Recordings has recently released a new reissue from a classic 1970's hard-rocker: Ted Nugent's second solo album for Epic Records, Free-For-All. This also follows in HNE's line of Meat Loaf reissues as the Bat Out of Hell superstar is a prominent guest on the album singing over half of the songs.
Ted Nugent, hailing from Detroit, got his start in music at a young age. After performing in several bands, he formed the Amboy Dukes when his family moved to Chicago in the mid-1960s. The initial line-up did not record an album but the band eventually signed with Mainstream Records and relocated back to Detroit. The Dukes released seven albums between 1967 and 1974 across three labels. Each album featured a different iteration of the band's lineup. By the end of their existence, the Dukes were basically Nugent's backing band. In 1975, Nugent signed with Epic Records as a solo artist. He took Rob Grange (bass) from the Dukes and added Derek St. Holmes (guitars and vocals) and Clifford Davies (drums) to form the nucleus of his new band. Nugent's self-titled debut, produced by Tom Werman and Lew Futterman, was released later that year, reaching the top 30 on the Billboard charts and eventually going double platinum. A follow-up album was quickly planned, which would become known as Free-For-All.
The same band and producers were in place and, like the debut album, the majority of the songs would be written by Nugent. However, tensions were already beginning to mount. Although stories differ as to whether he quit, was simply unavailable for a short time or Futterman didn't like his work, Derek St. Holmes would not complete all of the vocals for the album. Instead, Meat Loaf was brought in to assist. This was during the long gestation period for Bat Out of Hell, on which Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman had begun to work in earnest in 1974 but would not see release until 1977. (Meat Loaf also appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and onstage in The National Lampoon Show in this period.) Having met Nugent when he had been part of a band that had opened for The Amboy Dukes several times, Meat Loaf would contribute lead vocals to five of the nine tracks on the album. St. Holmes provided the lead on the remaining songs.
Released in October, 1976, Free-For-All would climb to No. 24 in the US and No. 33 in the UK. Like its predecessor, it would also eventually go double platinum. The single "Dog Eat Dog" hit the Hot 100 as well. Nugent released four more studio albums and two live albums on Epic through 1981 before moving to Atlantic. (The line-up from the first two albums remained in place until 1978.) In 1989, Nugent joined the group Damn Yankees for two albums before returning to solo work. His latest studio album, Shut Up and Jam!, was released last year. He has also gained notoriety in recent years due to his political views.
The new reissue by Hear No Evil duplicates the track listing from the 1999 Legacy Recordings reissue and features the same three bonus tracks: two live cuts and an alternate version of "Street Rats" with a Derek St. Holmes lead vocal. It contains a 16-page color booklet featuring liner notes by Michael Dome with new (sometimes candid) interviews from Nugent, Meat Loaf, Grange and Werman. Also included are articles from the time and photos of singles. The CD was newly remastered by Andy Pearce.
If you would like to revisit this Ted Nugent album from his prime, we've got the Amazon links and full tracklisting below.
- Dog Eat Dog
- Writing on the Wall
- Turn It Up
- Street Rats
- Light My Way
- I Love You So I Told You a Lie
- Free-For-All (Live) (previously released bonus track)
- Dog Eat Dog (Live) (previously released bonus track)
- Street Rats (Alternate Derek St. Holmes Vocal) (previously released bonus track)