REVIEW: Poison – Double Dose: Ultimate Hits (2011)

I do not currently own this album.

POIDSONPOISON – Double Dose:  Ultimate Hits (2011 EMI)

When this one slid into my hot little hands, I couldn’t help but laugh. Double Dose of Poison? Look at that cover. Someone forget to give Bret the memo, the 80’s are over. But it was summer, and Poison were touring with the Crue. The cougars were on the prowl, and if that’s not enough reason for a classic rock band to release an album, I don’t know what is.

However, let us not forget, Poison haven’t released any new original music since the dreadful Hollyweird in…God is it almost 10 years already? So when your band is creatively on ice, all you can do is repackage the hits. By my reckoning, Poison have done that very thing almost as many times as they’ve released studio albums.

Anyway, enough of my lecturing. Let’s dig into the album, a very generous slice of Poison, albeit one that wears out its welcome prematurely. The album is wisely sparked off with “Talk Dirty To Me”, their first hit, and still a firecracker 25 (!) years later. Sequenced chronologically, this is followed by the equally familiar “I Want Action”.  The lesser known (but still classy) ballad “I Won’t Forget You” is here.  So is perhaps the best single for the first album, “Cry Tough” which still has that youthful energy. The perennial “Look What The Cat Dragged In” tops off the material from the first album  It’s an inferior song, but one that has proven to have legs over two decades later.

By the second album, Poison had tightened up their chops and songwriting a bit, and the still-great “Nothin’ But A Good Time” is next. The rest of the ’88-’89 singles follow in due course: “Fallen Angel”, “Every Rose” (of course!)” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. So far, CD 1 works. It sticks to (mostly) the hits, with the ballads sprinkled about sparingly, exactly as any good rock album should work.

But the first disc ain’t over yet, although this is where the chronological concept is ditched. From album #3, here’s the dreadfully awful “Unskinny Bop” (please, nobody really likes this song)!  It’s followed by the Kiss cover “Rock N’ Roll All Nite” which was actually recorded between albums #1 and #2. But the other three singles from album #3 follow in short order: “Ride The Wind”, “Something To Believe In” (another ballad) and “Life Goes On” (wait…two ballads in a row?). Then from album #3, we jump to album #5. “Stand” is the third ballad in a row. While it is more a soul song with the great Richie Kotzen now filling CC Deville’s shoes, it still serves to slow down this disc almost to the point of skipping. Then, for whatever reason, the compilation skips to albums #7 and #8 (the worst album Poison ever did, Hollyweird). “The Last Song” from Power To The People is…holy crap…another (boring) ballad. It is followed by the cover “Shooting Star”. What the devil were they thinking? Four ballads in a row? Sure, we’re not young anymore, but we’re not comatose.

Onto disc two. Keep in mind, Poison have used up most of their hit ammunition on disc one. Disc two relies heavily on covers from the Poison’d album.  That’s five more covers for those keeping score, bringing the total of covers on this whole compilation to eight. Eight freaking covers out of 35 songs, that’s 23% covers — almost a quarter of the album! Come on, guys. We know you had all your hits in a brief period of the late 80’s and early 90’s, but what about the great album tracks? Where’s “Ball And Chain”? Where’s “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice”? “Valley of Lost Souls”? Where are all the great album tracks that prove Poison was more than a handful of singles? Well, some are here: “Look But You Can’t Touch”, “Love On The Rocks”, but mostly we’re into the covers. If you already have Poison’d, then this disc is pretty redundant. A few tracks from the underrated Crack A Smile CD (with Blues Saraceno on guitar) are here, such as the swanky’ “Sexual Thang”. A few rarities too, “Gotta Face The Hangman” and “Livin’ For The Minute”… but they are rarities for a reason.  They don’t hold up to the quality of the hits.

Highlights on this second disc are the bright and sparkling rocker “So Tell Me Why” from album #4 (the live + studio CD Swallow This Live) and a deuce with Richie Kotzen: “Fire And Ice” and “Bastard Son of a Thousand Blues”. The disc, very unwisely, ends with perhaps the worst and most overplayed Poison song in history, “Poor Boy Blues”. Bret, I know you like the blues. I know you like them a lot. But Poison are not a blues band. Never were. Never will be. The closest you ever got was when Richie was in the band. 20 freakin’ years ago.

That about sums it up. If you want a really good, solid, to the point Poison hits album, choose one of these two:

  • 1986-1996 Greatest Hits
  • The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock

Both are single discs, but are boiled down to the basics.

Let’s face it, if you’re a big Poison fan, you already have all these songs, because they’re all on the CDs. If you’re not a big Poison fan…you don’t really want all these songs.

2/5 stars

Disc one:

01. Nothin' But A Good Time   
02. Talk Dirty To Me 
03. Look What The Cat Dragged In  
04. Be The One  
05. We're An American Band  
06. Life Goes On  
07. Every Rose Has Its Thorn  
08. Stand  
09. Livin' For The Minute 
10. Little Willy  
11. (Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice   
12. I Won't Forget You    
13. Rock And Roll All Nite  
14. Love On The Rocks 
15. Suffragette City   
16. Lay Your Body Down
17. Until You Suffer Some (Fire And Ice)  
18. No More Lookin' Back (Poison Jazz)  

Disc two:

01. Unskinny Bop   
02. Cry Tough  
03. I Want Action
04. Your Mama Don't Dance   
05. Something To Believe In 
06. Fallen Angel 
07. Ride The Wind
08. Bastard Son Of A Thousand Blues
09. Sexual Thing 
10. Can't You See   
11. So Tell Me Why    
12. What I Like About You   
13. Face The Hangman
14. Cover Of The Rolling Stone  
15. Poor Boy Blues   
16. Look But You Can't Touch   
17. Theatre Of The Soul


  1. I’m with u Mike on the I currently don’t own this album.
    I bought the first 5 Poison releases even the Sareceno album but there is no need for this one. It’s just like u said..”hey were touring, let’s throw it out there to the cougars”
    Plus after the fact that I saw there live debacle on the Flesh & Blood tour ..I really did not care…well I guess I cared a bit to buy Native Tongue and Crack A Smile!
    But never to pay a ticket to see em live…..
    But than again I guess Poison is just following in the footsteps of the Kings of Hits releases ie..Kiss & Aerosmith…..


    1. Deke they are currently one of the biggest jokes in rock. Bret Michaels looks ridiculous. I too cared enough to buy Crack A Smile and Native Tongue, but not Hollyweird. That album sucks so bad and they know it. Now all they do is tour and once in a while release some kind of package of old material.


      Now Def Lep on the other hand I just finished playing Viva! Hysteria again and I’m impressed. Even the newer song Undefeated is good live.


      1. Well I bought the audio version of this and yeah it’s good to hear things like Run Riot and non played Hysteria tracks as well of course the OTTN and HND albums!
        That’s the price of admission there Mikey!


  2. Dude what are you talking about? I have always thought Unskinny Bop was one of the best songs released by all of those hair bands, bar none! Er. Not.

    I read the list of tracks there and realized I can hear most of them in my head, and so have no need to own a set like this.

    Also, who names their kid Blues? Just setting him up for a lifetime of being a bummer at parties, if you ask me.


  3. Rewind 25 years ago and you’d have thought they were going to be Golden Gods straddling the Earth and playing specially built stadiums to accommodate all their fans.

    Now – an entertaining pop-rock band that had maybe 2 1/2 good LPs in them. I may have said this before (we old dudes tend to do that) but they sound like Summer to me and make me a bit nostalgic.


    1. For me, one album sounds like summer — Open Up And Say Ahh. The rest sound like fall and winter because that’s when I got them! Flesh & Blood in particular sounds like fall to me.


  4. Well they had a real good run from from 86-91 that’s for sure with three big time sellers in tow so of course we all thought they were headed for Golden Gods and so did Poison! And than the roof caved in with the genre and the times.
    Good for them to still tour on basically those three albums 23 yrs later!
    But I have totally passed on em but occasionally I will give em a spin on my iPod esp the Cry Tough track …..but the whole Bret Micheals Schlick got real old real fast….


    1. Rock of Love…God.

      There was another show he had afterwards, I watched 60 seconds of it. I turned it off when he started cooking eggs for breakfast…like WHO CARES. It’s Bret Michaels. My eggs kick his eggs asses.


  5. The only Alice in Chains album I don’t have is “Greatest Hits” for the reasons you touch on. Well, actually that’s 3 or 4 AIC albums I don’t have.
    When I was younger I used to think that is was a common practice to put old songs on new albums because I’d see discs by The Doors, Pink Floyd and other bands that had the same songs rearranged.
    Anything for a buck I guess, but it would be better to have some new material (at least a few tracks)
    And don’t be too hard on Poison (I can’t believe I’m defending them) perhaps the record company had something to do with a new “Best Of” release.
    How was “Suffragette City” and “Cover of the Rolling Stone”?


    1. They are not bad actually. Their covers album Poison’d is actually pretty good. But even that compiles old recordings, like their 1987 version of Rock N’ Roll All Nite. I’ll have to get around to re-listening to it and reviewing it. I recall liking their cover of the Cars’ Just What I Needed.


  6. I think that Poison wrote some decent pop tunes in a rock disguise and if you take them for what they are, they’re kinda ok, even though it’s impossible to take them seriously. But hey, even the mighty Lemmy likes them, so they must have done something right. And they actually tried to get away with ripping off Swedish band Easy Action’s song “We Go Rocking” for their own “I Want Action”. However they settled out of court and had to pay Kee Marcello (later Europe) and Zinny Zan (later Shotgun Messiah) some good money for that.

    Native Tongue is a killer though and it is just as much a Richie Kotzen album as a Poison one. He must have written at least half of that records by himself. Still I can’t see any reason to buy this compilation album at all.


    1. Yes Native Tongue is their best album by far, and it’s largely a Richie album. But that’s OK — it was a great album in and of itself. It’s too bad what happened with the band after that, but at least they did make one awesome album together.


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