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GNR GUITARIST GETS BACK TO BASICS

BY LYNN SAXBERG
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN - OCT. 31, 1992
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA

Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds

(Geffen/MCA GEFSD-24490)

The first solo album by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin is a back-to-basics work that reflects the bluesy roots of rock 'n' roll.

The Ju Ju Hounds is made up of Stradlin's longtime friend, bassist Jimmy Ashhurst, former Georgia Satellites guitarist Rick Richards and ex-Dylan drummer Charlie Quintana.

With an impressive lineup of well-known guests, including veteran keyboardists Nicky Hopkins and Ian McLagan (a one-time member of Faces) and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood (also a former member of Faces), the album sounds a lot like the Stones or Faces, circa late '80s, early '70s.

Even Stradlin's voice has a familiar ring to it, reminiscent of Wood, or maybe Keith Richards on a good day.

But don't dismiss the music as overly derivative. Though Stradlin's lyrics are not entirely coherent, he spices up the music with mandolin, Hammond organ and plenty of slide guitar. The subtle touch of a reggae beat also adds texture.

Stradlin and the Hounds do a disappointing cover of Wood's Take A Look At The Guy, aided by Wood himself. It's probably the weakest spot on the disc, but the strength of new songs like Somebody Knockin' and Shuffle It All (both written by Stradlin and Ashhurst) make up for it. A speedy, punked-up version of Frederick Hibbert's reggae song Pressure Drop is also included.

Getting away from GNR was a good move for Stradlin. The new disc is solid meat-and-potatoes fare, a satisfying start to a second career.

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