I do not currently own this album.
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.
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