REVIEW: Talas – Live Speed on Ice (1983)

Second in a two-part review of the 1989 compilation CD, Billy Sheehan – The Talas Years.  Part one is here:  Sink Your Teeth Into That.  More Talas tomorrow!

scan_20161210BILLY SHEEHAN – The Talas Years (Part Two of Two)  (1989 Relativity)
TALAS – Live Speed on Ice (1983 Relativity)

When we last met Talas, they were a power trio.  On their 1984 live album, they were a quartet.  Billy Sheehan was the only remaining member of the original lineup, with some hot talent behind him:  Mark Miller on drums, Mitch Perry (MSG) on guitar, and the hugely talented Phil Naro singing.  Naro has been around, including a stint with Peter Criss.  (You can hear a number of his performances on Mitch Lafon’s Kiss tribute CD A World With Heroes.)

There is little question that Naro’s voice brings the songs to another level.  “Sink Your Teeth Into That” benefits from his young rasp.  Mitch Perry throws in a more articulated guitar solo for an extended section leaving Billy to hold down the riff.  Second in line is a new song, “Crystal Clear” which has a biting Police guitar riff.  The busy bass holds down the melodic center as Naro soars on top.  Live Speed on Ice has great value, since much of its material was actually brand new and never released on anything else.  “The Farandole” is another new one, an instrumental of jaw-dropping ability.  Dueling bass and guitars dance and parry while the drums hit the heavy blows.

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More new tunes:  “Do You Feel Any Better”, “Lone Rock”, and “Inner Mounting Flame” continue the ass-kicking streak.  Each has their own groove, but “Inner Mounting Flame” truly is live speed on ice.  A few older tracks from the album are solid winners:  “King of the World”, “High Speed on Ice” and of course “Shy Boy”, the one Talas song that people know today thanks to David Lee Roth.  Billy’s signature bass solo is also performed live (and extended), but cleverly retitled.  While “NVH 3345” meant “SHEEHAN” upside down, “7718 (3A17)” means “BILL (LIVE)”.  With the freedom of the live setting, Bill took his time to showcase some unheard of chops and effects.

Any album that has Billy Sheehan on bass is bound to include a thousand notes of pure thrills, and any record with Phil Naro is going to sound awesome vocally.  Therefore, Live Speed on Ice should be a welcome addition to the discerning rock fan’s personal library.  The easiest way to get it is on CD combined with Sink Your Teeth Into That as the 1989 compilation Billy Sheehan – The Talas Years.  Either way, you win.

4/5 stars

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22 comments

  1. Yup My intro to Talas was this live release. Sheehan was off the hook here and my mind was blown on what tricks he had up his sleeve knowing he was joining Dave’s band. Elephant Gun and Shyboy proved this thought of mind!
    Good live album…
    Billy should see these…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if it was bad timing (losing sales to glam rock). The fact that Billy already had one.foot out.the door. Lack of record company support.
    Or a bit of all of the above

    Apparently there was another album in the works called Lights, Camera Action but did not get past the demo stage since Billy left to join DLR.
    It would be sweet if it ever saw the light of day.
    Maybe a New Talas supergroup.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah I know what you mean. And they picked the right actor. I know the role was written “for” Henry Rollins to a degree but Rollins wouldn’t have the same charm that Jeffrey Dean Morgan has. Incidentally Negan is my wife’s favourite character.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post, Mike! Glad you and Bop dropped some Talas on the same day!

    Admittedly, not one I’ve heard too much about, but this is why I love the blogs. I learn things!

    And I said this over at Bop’s, I’ll say it here too: I love it when you Talas all about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Someone, can’t remember who, burned this album for me ages ago. I know I was very keen to hear how the original of Shyboy sounded so I asked that someone to burn me a copy. It’s actually pretty good even though I’m pretty sure Talas would never had become a huge band.
    The reason David Lee Roth got a writing credit on Shy Boy must have been some sort of deal because the original proves that Dave didn’t write squat on that tune. It sounds exactly the same with Talas as with DLR with only Dave’s voice and Vai’s guitar as a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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