Great Metal Albums of 1984: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

Guess what? For this Ted Nugent post, I’m not going to say anything about his politics. Even I know when to stop beating a dead horse. So instead, I’ll focus on his 1984 album, “Penetrator,” which was universally criticized by the metal world for his use of keyboards on the album. To my shame, even I was one of those critics. Thankfully, there’s a much older and questionably wiser me to listen to the album with a more objective mind. My thoughts: “Penetrator” still doesn’t make me want to put albums like “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Weekend Warriors” and “Scream Dream” nor any of his kick ass live albums on the scrap heap but it’s still a pretty good album.

The use of keyboards come through straight away on the opening song, “Tied Up In Love” but not until after a really cool guitar intro only which Terrible Ted can do. Before, I risk repeating myself over and over, the keyboards do make their presence known on many of the songs but they play a subordinate role on the album. Take the second song for example, “(Where Do You) Draw the Line.” This song was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance so one might be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some keyboard dominated soft rock song, it’s not. Ted’s guitar magic comes through very loud and abundantly clear. While still present, the keyboards take even more of a back seat on “Knocking at Your Door.” There are some good guitar riffs to lead the song and Ted nails the guitar solo perfectly. Even more so on the track after “Don’t You Want My Love.” Here the keys are almost non existent. Almost, but there are plenty of Nugent style rocking to be heard on it.

A curious twist comes up with “Go Down Fighting.” This is a song title that you would expect to be a belt it out of the park rocker but the keyboards make their presence known on it, almost making it a Journey type song. The strange thing is that the intro reminds me of Savatage, yeah really. Fortunately, Ted works his guitar magic so you know which side of the fence the song really is. Any doubts of that are dispelled with “Thunder Thighs.” This is a great rocker where Ted just takes control and jams and I hear not one trace of keyboards. It’s just Ted being how he always had been in albums past. However, I sometimes am reluctant to declare it my favourite song on the album because of the sexist connotations behind the title. “No Man’s Land” is just as heavy, if not more than it’s predecessor. Where you think there might be a keyboard at the chorus, there isn’t. After a couple of decent but non descriptive tracks is the closer “Take Me Home.” Again, maybe it’s me but this sounds like a Southern Rock anthem. Not something I’d expect from Ted Nugent but it’s the best song for the closer.

Looking at the credits and remembering recent posts, it turns out that Bobby Chouinard’s drum skills were in great demand in 1984. He played on some of the tracks of both Gary Moore albums I recently posted about and he plays on this entire album. It leads me to conclude that his skills have been forgotten about in later years and this is a travesty because, he’s that good.

Track Listing:

  1. Tied Up In Love
  2. (Where Do You) Draw the Line
  3. Knockin’ At Your Door
  4. Don’t You Want My Love
  5. Go Down Fighting
  6. Thunder Thighs
  7. No Man’s Land
  8. Blame it On the Night
  9. Lean Mean R&R Machine
  10. Take Me Home

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent_ guitars, lead vocals

Brian Howe- lead vocals

Alan St John- keyboards- vocals

Doug Lubahn-bass

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Two interesting notes regarding Ted Nugent, the first coming from this post. Two years on, I would see Ted Nugent live with Savatage in support. It was a great concert even if it was poorly attended. The other was after my last Ted Nugent post, I put him down on the Bloodstock wishlist. The only comment I got back was someone saying they would love for him to play Bloodstock but he has only come to the UK four times since 1988. Anyway, back to “Penetrator.” This album was far better than I remembered it back in 1984, keyboards or not.

Next post: Great White

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11 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1984: Ted Nugent- Penetrator”

  1. I’m unfamiliar with this album but I like a lot of Ted’s albums so I should check it out at some point. I know of the late, great Bobby Chouinard from his work with Billy Squier in the ’80s. He was a very talented player.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dont really know him particularly but I remember his episode of MTV cribs was fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Actually outside of Nuge and Howe the rest of the dudes on this album were from Squier’s band…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ted Nugent has some great hidden gems!

    Liked by 1 person

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