“Big Hits And Nasty Cuts” by Twisted Sister

Artist: Twisted Sister
Title: “Big Hits And Nasty Cuts”
Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: 3/17/1992
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

I had read somewhere that Twisted Sister was planning on releasing remastered editions of their Atlantic Records catalog in 2010 and since the year is drawing to its inevitable close and I’ve not yet seen them; I had to wonder if the initiative has been pushed back or shelved altogether. With that in mind I started filtering around in my personal collection of Twisted Sister music and felt like listening to the bands first ever hits compilation, the cutely titled “Big Hits And Nasty Cuts” which was originally released in 1992. I remembered that when I bought it (way back when it had just come out) how the only motivating factor in my purchase had been that the release was not only going to feature the bands songs of note but also bring to the surface some vintage live material that had never been heard before. That statement is not entirely correct because the diehard Sister fans or the SMF’s as they were called, had always managed to find Import EP’s and radio recordings that were passed from fan to fan on cassette tapes. You younger fans might not remember blank cassette tapes but they were a powerful means of sharing music back in the day and I guess in some sense the original Napster. You see, long before the days of downloading tunes, the fans used to copy and copy and copy their vinyl to cassette tape and then trade with their friends for stuff they desired. We also used to have a lot of radio broadcast live shows and if you were not at the location that it was happening at, you sat in front of your tape deck pressing pause during the commercial breaks. Now where were we? Oh yes, the Twisted Sister hits package.

The first ten songs of the CD present Twisted Sisters first three albums and the three main tunes from “Stay Hungry” are presented but a larger focus goes to “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n Roll” which was their second album. That release gets four tracks and I have to say that the title track along with “The Kids Are Back” still resonate with power. Yes the tunes from “Stay Hungry” delivered the band into larger mainstream prominence but it is also that happening which many people feel was the original end of the band as we knew it. I am on the fence about that view in all honesty. We find two songs from the bands debut CD “Under The Blade” with the ever crushing title track and “Shoot ‘Em Down” which has remained a favorite of mine for many, many years. We also get the non-album track of “I’ll Never Grow Up Now” which was a tune that was eventually worked into the bands debut recording as a bonus track. This was a very “radio friendly” tune that spoke to the elder versus youth relationship. A great track as well and fun to sing along to in concert if it’s ever played. As I listened to the first ten tracks or “hits” portion, I wondered what this release would have been like had it been a double CD focus instead of the single, but at the time of its issue such things were not as commonplace as they are today. Tracks 11-16 present the band on the turf that they know best and that is the live stage. These songs are all recorded at The Marquee club and it seemed as though some were originally available on vinyl EP imports that I still own to this day. Since they were all recorded around the time of the bands first Atlantic Records release, they only touch upon that album and leave the rest of it to cover tunes and the “Under The Blade” tracks. We don’t get the entire show which would have been nice but we do get the bands intro number “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You) and this high velocity song brought you right into the madness of a Twisted Sister show immediately. We also get killer versions of “Run For Your Life” and “Tear It Loose” which are nice and heavy as well as fast-paced. Some people hated the way that Sister did the Rolling Stones classic “It’s Only Rock & Roll” but when you check out Dee Snider’s crowd interaction and banter you will likely agree with me about how much it kicks ass. Dee speaks to the home listener in the liner notes about these live tracks and there is also a larger narration entitled “A Twisted Saga” to enjoy.

Without lying to you I would have to say that this is a terrific place to begin one’s journey into the music of Twisted Sister, because even though some other compilations have come out since this one, it remains one of the stand out issues. Perhaps a more comprehensive anthology of hits will be released or these full Marquee recordings but until then you get a firm grasp on the bands juggernaut songs and a taste of what the band was like just before they blew up. Stay Twisted.

Track Listing:
1. We’re Not Gonna Take It
2. I Wanna Rock
3. I Am (I’m Me)
4. The Price
5. You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N Roll
6. The Kids Are Back
7. Shoot ‘Em Down
8. Under The Blade
9. I’ll Never Grow Up Now
10. Bad Boys (Of Rock ‘N Roll)
11. What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You) (live)
12. Destroyer (live)
13. Tear It Loose (live)
14. Run For Your Life (live)
15. It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (live)
16. Let The Good Times Roll/Feel So Fine (live)

Official Website: http://www.twistedsister.com

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