REVIEW: Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds – Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (1992)

IZZY_0002IZZY STRADLIN and the JU JU HOUNDS – Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (1992 Geffen)

Izzy was quick out of the gates after leaving Guns N’ Roses at the height of their success.  Less than a year after his departure, a dreadlocked Izzy reappeared with his new band the Ju Ju Hounds, a Stones-y outfit also featuring Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites.  Guns’ main songwriter and rhythm guitarist unleashed an album of songs that easily could have been released in the early 1970’s.

There’s very little resemblance to Guns, aside from a few tracks on Use Your Illusion.  “Pressure Drop” (the reggae classic) is redone here as a classic rock/punk hybrid, and it’s probably the only tune that you would think, “Yeah, that sounds like Guns.”  “Bucket O’ Trouble” also has a distinct punk rock vibe, but the Hammond organ keeps it from going all the way.  The rest of the songs are a lot more open, and far less heavy than fans were used to.  Fans who “got it” loved it, and those that didn’t probably never will.

There are no bad songs on Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, but there is little question about who this album sounds like.  Izzy approaches it like a Keith Richards album with songs suited to his raspy voice.  Izzy’s singing voice is so Stones-y and raspy that you’ll have trouble telling him apart from guest Ronnie Wood, who sings with Izzy on his own song “Take a Look at the Guy” (originally from Wood’s 1974 solo record I’ve Got My Own Album to Do, his first).  “Train Tracks” is a Stradlin original that sports some tasty slide guitar straight out Wood’s book.


The single was the still-great “Shuffle it All”, which was criticized by some for a superficial resemblance to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”.  Only the bassline has any similarity; which is admittedly a pretty significant hook.  I like “Shuffle it All” better (heresy!), which easily could have been on Beggars Banquet.  Those “ooo, ooo, ooo” backing vocals seal the deal for me.

There were also a couple mellow tracks.  “How Will it Go” and “Come on Now Inside” are both lovely ballads with piano and acoustic guitars.   “Come on Now Inside” contains a hidden bonus track called “Morning Tea”, but this isn’t really a full-fledged song of its own.  This is just a percussion instrumental outro.

The Japanese edition has a bonus track called “How Much” which was also on the single for “Shuffle It All”.  I’ll review that single on its own at a later time.  It’s an Izzy original but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an old Bob Marley cover.  Great tune — I’m a sucker for reggae.  The song is worth it if you want to track down the single or Japanese import.

3.5/5 stars

37 comments

  1. Perhaps a classic case of a member getting so little spotlight in a band that he contributed so much to. Very essential song-writer. Quit because of his newly-found sobriety, if I recall correctly. Haven’t heard this album, but I’ll have to look for it. Nice review.

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        1. Weiland was what was wrong with Velvet Revolver. I think Contraband was a great record and I even liked Libertad, but they could have been so much better with another singer. I really can’t stand those whiny grunge-singers. But yeah, VR would probably had been really great with Izzy.

          On another note, Weiland has a new band now called Art Of Anarchy together with Bumblefoot and some dude from Disturbed. Sounded ok from what I heard.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

          I spotted that he’s hooked up with that project. Personally I’m looking forward to his record with The Wildabouts – what I’ve heard from that apppeals more.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Great stuff…..you are correct sir! Izzy was out of the gate real quick witht his release. Just a stripped back short rock record not like the over bloated ego Axl spearheaded Double cd from a year earlier….
    Shuffle It All…great track!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s allowed! I have other friends who would say the same. Regardless, Izzy and Gilby made excellent solo albums. The songwriting skills of both guys could have been valued on the next GNR.

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        1. Three frickin’ songs. Damn. Yeah I need that single. By the way that was a great review on it that you did. I agree with what you said — Izzy seemed disconnected from the hoop-la and I don’t think anybody was surprised when he quit. He couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the Don’t Cry video.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah, at some award show or something? I remember that it culminated with a challenge from Vince to Axl to a boxing match. I remember that distinctly, because I made a 4 o’clock 4 play quit of “Vince Neil is a Douche” — 4 artists that had beefs with Vince.

          1. GNR
          2. Ozzy Osbourne (via Sharon)
          3. Hanoi Rocks
          4. Motley Crue!

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  3. Agree with you all the way, Mike. Shuffle It All, Take A Look At The Guy and How Will It Go appeared on many of my world famous mix-tapes. The follow-up, though, is a masterpiece.

    I couldn’t pick a winner between this and Gilby’s first effort. That’s too tough a call … the first five tracks on Pawnshop Guitars make for a killer run, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh heck yeah. But the good thing is you don’t need to pick a winner! You can enjoy bother…heck you can even play them one after another!

      I still have to review Duff’s solo album which was a mixed bag.

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        1. Definitely interesting and I think that’s partly because of the numerous guests. Lenny Kravitz and Sebastian Bach singing lead on one album? Where does that happen? Incidentally both those two guys tried out for Velvet Revolver.

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  4. I haven’t even heard this album despiteme being into Guns N Roses. That doesn’t include Axl’s useless soloband, though.
    I remember seeing this video on Headbanger’s Ball and it left me underwhelmed so I never bothered with it. Was that a wrong move?

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