REVIEW: Poison – Look What the Cat Dragged In (remaster)

POISON – Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986, 2006 Capitol remaster)

I remember seeing this album in the racks of our local Zellers store.  I didn’t know the band.  I thought CC Deville was pretty cute.

Taking the gender-bending makeup of the mid-80’s to its logical end point, Poison stormed out of Hollywood and onto the charts.  They did this with a handful of great singles, including “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Cry Tough”, and “I Won’t Forget You”.  Also huge, but barely tolerable as a song, was the singalong “I Want Action”.

Bass "rapin'?" Good god!

Bass “rapin’?” Good god!

Armed with just $23,000, Poison recorded Look What the Cat Dragged In with producer Ric Browde (Ted Nugent, W.A.S.P.) in less than two weeks.  What they emerged with was a fun, raunchy and terrible sounding album with some big hits and plenty of filler.

“Cry Tough” was a tight little opener, a hot and bright rocker about going out and givin’ er.  “You gotta cry tough, out on the streets, to make your dreams happen!” sings Bret Michaels in full-on cheerleader mode.  Unfortunately the sonics of the album leave much to be desired.  The guitar, drum and vocal sounds are demo quality at best, but that’s what you get for $23,000 and Ric Browde.

The other singles were all huge.  “Talk Dirty to Me” is now minor staple, and “I Want Action” (annoying as it is) is another.  The ballad “I Won’t Forget You” is an album highlight, well before Bret & co. had mastered the art of writing hit ballads.  Low key, basic and electric, “I Won’t Forget You” is very different from “Every Rose” and some of the later broken-hearted Poison love songs. Paul Stanley has a cameo in the road-ready music video, which didn’t hurt.

That leaves a hell of a lot of room for filler, and Look What the Cat Dragged In has plenty.  Of the album tracks, the decent ones include the saucy glam-slam rawking title track, and another song called “Want Some, Need Some”.  Both tunes could have used some last-minute tightening up, but neither are as bad as the dreck on the tail end of the album:  “#1 Bad Boy”, “Blame it on You” and the horrid “Mama Let Me Go to the Show” all suck absolutely.  “Play Dirty” on side one is also pretty awful.

Even with the quality issues in sound and songwriting, Look What the Cat Dragged In sold over 3,000,000 copies.  20 years later, it was given a fresh remastering and three bonus tracks.  The remastering could not fix the audio issues, but the bonus tracks are pretty good.  Single remixes of “I Want Action” and “I Won’t Forget You” are marginally better than the original album tracks.  Somebody realized that they were sonically deficient, and the remixes help a teeny tiny bit.  Then Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” is added to the end, a song that got more exposure on the covers album Poison’d!  The bonus tracks go a long way towards making the album a little more listenable from start to end.


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    1. For a recent song of the day, I gave the kids a hint saying it’s by one of the more handsome singers in the business (I can’t remember which one it was now) – but I do remember, a student immediately guessed Dee Snider?!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I love ‘Mamma Let Me Go To The Show’ but I can see why you’d dislike it, the lyrics are awful and that “you heard your mother” is cheesy as all-hell, but the actual song is fun in a bouncy Running-Free / Ballroom Blitz kind of way for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Geez I was just thinking about this album the other day! Ha! Fair enough review ,the songs that you said suck do as I don’t even remember them so they must have!
    Some day I will babble a review on it as well I got a great story of Cry Tough…haha!
    Good job Mikey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good call, Jay! I got 90% of my early music there. I’ve mentioned Zellers here many times over the years. I discovered single B-sides at Zellers!

      “I was in highschool, and on a weekly basis, I trekked into my local Zellers store to peruse the 7″ singles. Some you could get as cheap as 99 cents. Any time Def Leppard came out with a new video, I knew there was a new 7″ single to be had.”


        1. Wow. I am currently on the fence about buying a 2015 release on cassette for $15. I think I’ll take the plunge though. If I think about inflation I probably spent $25 or $30 in todays money on cassettes back in the day.
          It’s funny, I have less problem spending between $20-50 on new vinyl, but whine about $15 cassettes.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ha Aaron! Ok so I punched in the numbers and today I would have paid $28.48 for the Project Driver tape today!
          Holy Shhhhhhhheeeeeeit! My debut album will be called Project Sucker!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I WANTED THAT TAPE SO BAD. I looked and looked and special ordered it. Never came. Now I don’t know if I care! I am sure we talked about this before? Is it good?


        4. Too be honest it was a ton of shredding and high pitched singing ….I bought it on the fact that it had Aldridge and Sarzo ….I think I listened to very minimal! Also the production was so sterile …
          Can’t recall any songs on it…can’t even toss it as a 3/4s Filler as I don’t recall any of it! Ha

          Liked by 1 person

        5. There are so few mainstream bands recording onto cassette in 2015 I just have to buy them when I see them.
          Review coming. I’m just listening to it as I type.


  3. Oh man, those chicks are hot. Too bad they rape basses.

    I wasn’t into this stuff too much at the time, but I had a buddy who was, so I heard a lot of these guys by extension. By the time of Flesh and Blood I bought the tape and then went back but by then it was a bit too late. I was also too far into jazz to much care. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very accurate about this album although I didn’t think “Mamma, Let Me Go to the Show” sucked that much. I still have a chuckle at the end where the father comes in with, “You heard your mother, turn that shit off!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember buying this after I heard Talk Dirty To Me for the first time. It’s still an ok song and so is Cry Tough and I Won’t Forget You, but that’s about it. I also remember a friend of mine who didn’t know that Poison are a bunch of dudes thought that Rikki Rockett and Bret Michaels were sooooo hot!! We gave him such a hard time for that.

    I do have a soft spot for Poison, there are some really good songs on Open Up And Say Aaah and Flesh And Blood, but on this one, not so many.

    It also needs to be pointed out that three members of Swedish glam band Easy Action, guitarist Kee Marcello (later in Europe), singer Zinny Zan (later in Shotgun Messiah) and bass player Alex Tyrone, sued Poison for stealing their song We Go Rocking. The chorus is more or less identical, but of course Poison denied it despite the fact that there are interviews where the band admits that Easy Action’s debut album was something they all loved. They eventually settled out of court. I know Zinny and he told me they got a pretty big settlement, so I guess they did win…

    Liked by 2 people

        1. They sure did.

          And to be honest, they weren’t a bunch of innocent little boys when it came to stealing themselves. Check this out. Hello, The Sweet…


    1. Wow, good on them and I DID NOT know that. Funny though, I am sure I heard of Easy Action before but didn’t know Kee was in the band.

      Poison probably stole lots more songs that he haven’t seen sued for!


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