“Nothin’ But A Good Time: The Poison Collection” by Poison

Artist: Poison
Title: “Nothin’ But A Good Time: The Poison Collection”
Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: 11/9/2010
Genre: Glam Rock/Rock & Roll
Rating: 4.25/5

I will admit that I never thought these words would come out of my mouth but at this point in my life I really enjoy the music of Poison. It’s pretty funny since while growing up I was totally on the other side of the argument but year after year of exposure to some truly catchy songs eventually made me a fan and someone that looks forward to their summer concert tours when they happen in our region. The latest release from Capitol Records celebrates the bands hits and also their work on the concert stage. Given the bands continued success and impact on the Rock music scene this was a good idea, however the album itself might strike some of the bands hard core supporters as very familiar and here is why. Broken into two discs, the first CD is the “Greatest Hits” compilation and was originally released as “20 Years Of Rock: The Best Of Poison” while the second CD is the single CD remastered version of the bands 1991 live recording “Swallow This Live”. I reviewed the original best of piece and slightly edited my copy to be a little more with the times but since I only owned the remaster of the live release only recently those will be relatively new thoughts. Dig in.

20 years ago Poison made the Metal heads cringe with their lipstick and hairspray filled brand of Rock and Roll and with this the dividing lines were officially drawn and it was Headbanger versus Poser from then on. Four years have passed since those words were written by me and the band is on the cusp of their 25th anniversary. This CD celebrates those wild and crazy years with an 18 song hits package that gives you a little bit of everything. When they first came into the public eye the band was an instant MTV hit with their fun-filled videos and cartoon character antics in them. Lead singer Brett Michaels became the girl’s favorite but drummer Rikki Rockett also was someone who found their favor. The guitar work of C.C. DeVille was fun and quirky and not something that was viewed as overly technical even though he was a relatively good player and it was all held down and together by Bobby Dall on bass. When I first heard them I said “yikes” even though I loved bands like KISS and The Sweet. At the time I was leaning more towards the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and if you were someone like that you did not enjoy Poison (at least in the company of your friends). When I look back on their history I cannot help Looking back on it there was more fun and catchiness to these songs than I would have expected back when they first hit the scene. During their popularity peak, I was one of the Headbangers and not the bands biggest fan. However when one looks back on this brand of Rock and Roll you can’t help but find yourself remembering the choruses or videos from these songs as they play since they had been given so much radio and television presence. This is a good collection of songs and it should not only please the die hard fan but also the casual listener who just has a need for a collection of the bands work. Pretty much all that you expect to find here is present from all of the bands releases and there is even a new recording presented in “We’re An American Band”. The cover of the classic Grand Funk Railroad tune is pretty good but they also feature their dismal version of the KISS classic “Rock And Roll All Nite”. The track comes from the “Less Than Zero” film and I never approved of the Poison version so I apologize to the fans who took a liking to it. In my opinion its one of those “untouchable” tunes. That being said the first ten tracks give you a majority of music from the bands first two releases and if memory serves me well every single tune had a video to go along with it. Looking back on it historically this makes sense as it was the glory days of MTV and Hard Rock/Glam Rock once ruled those airwaves.

Live: Intro, Look What The Cat Dragged In, Look But You Can’t Touch, Let It Play, Good Love, Life Goes On, Ride The Wind, I Want Action, Unskinny Bop, Something To Believe In, Love On The Rocks, Fallen Angel, Your Mama Don’t Dance, Nothin’ But A Good Time, Talk Dirty To Me, Every Rose Has Its Thorn

*** The live CD that comes with this hits compilation is not new either as we mentioned earlier but is instead the remastered edition of the 1991 double album that was released in 2004. The difference between the remaster and the original is that it eliminated the four studio bonus tracks and the drum solo in order to make it fit on one disc. Personally I don’t mind the omission of a drum solo unless it’s someone like Neil Peart or Carl Palmer. As a live album this is rather sound as a listen even despite the changes that they decided to make on it. Historically speaking the live set reflects upon the bands first three albums which as listeners can attest is the strongest body of their work at the end of the day. I think that as far as live recordings go this does successfully bring you into a Poison concert but feel that video footage of this kind of show would have been an awesome inclusion. I am not too sure about whether that was ever done for this time period but there are a few live releases on DVD that feature the band in their later years.

Let’s talk about the packaging for a moment. The release comes in a sleek black cardboard box with a slightly seductive photo on the cover and the tracks on the back panel. Inside lies a two section foldout holder for the CD’s which only features animated cover art as opposed to a band photograph. That much was a little bit of a bother because with their being a Glam Band you want to see what they are all about in all their glory. There is a booklet that spans twelve pages and features band photos but these five offerings are more recent images as opposed to historical ones which is a shame to find being the presentation in a comprehensive career piece. They are also lacking in the offering up of any liner notes or lyrics. All we get are the songs and the credits for them. That’s not too fun with a band that has relied on visuals as much as their fun filled music. There is a bonus surprise included which is an “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” bandana, so the listeners at home can do their best Bret Michaels impressions in their spare time. The bandana shows a heart with a rose but does NOT feature the Poison logo or even makes any reference to the band. If you lose track of this bandana in your laundry pile then there is a good chance that over time you will forget where it came from originally. I am leaving mine in the CD box as I am more of a hat guy anyway these days.

If you don’t own either of these releases in their original format then you might like them in one place. I liked this very much because I only had half of it before now and can easily make a gift of my original hits piece or trade it with another Rocker friend who has something interesting to me for swap.

Track Listing:
1. Talk Dirty To Me
2. I Want Action
3. I Won’t Forget You
4. Cry Tough
5. Look What The Cat Dragged In
6. Nothin’ But A Good Time
7. Fallen Angel
8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
9. Your Mama Don’t Dance
10. Unskinny Bop
11. Rock And Roll All Nite
12. Ride The Wind
13. Something To Believe In
14. Life Goes On
15. Stand
16. The Last Song
17. Shooting Star
18. We’re An American Band

Official Website: www.poisonweb.com

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