March 22, 2007

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Shaw Blades, Influence
VH1 Classics Records, 2007

I’ll have to play Tim Russert on this one, being that I just interviewed ex-Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw and he’s precisely the wholesome guy you’d figure him for (if you have a store-bought Grand Illusion around somewhere, he’s the one who looked the part of the prototypical anorexic teenage chick for whom the “Used Abused and Confused” tee shirt was invented). Nonplussed by the lack of major venues on the schedule willing to house this oldster-targeted semi-superband (the Blades part of the joint is ex-Night Ranger Jack Blades) for this tour, he may have figured Influence as a test run from the start, since it’s all AM radio covers that only cab drivers think people want to hear. Apparently these guys have wanted to do these songs since they were preadolescent boy-chicks, with all the TLC (well, as much TLC as one can beat out of a barn-sized stack of Marshall amps) they’ve given to Seals and Croft’s “Summer Breeze,” Orleans’ “Dance With Me” and Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work.” QED, it’s a K-Tel smackdown your parents will simply flip out over. So buy it and stuff. Our guest next week will be the surprisingly well-adjusted Britney Spears. B Eric W. Saeger