Ted Nugent

Noble Savage

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In comparing the music of Ted Nugent from the 1970s and the 1980s, some unenlightened souls could possibly be fooled into thinking that they're hearing two completely different artists. Besides the fact that singers seemed to be coming and going steadily through the Nuge ranks post-1978, the music and production went from fierce and rocking to unfocused and surprisingly limp, as evidenced by the 2001 compilation Noble Savage. As the '80s wore on, it became obvious that Ted was trying to break through to the mainstream -- going so far as to enlist Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora to co-write a song for him (a predictable piece of pop-metal fluff called "That's the Story of Love"). Three collection-closing live tracks -- including renditions of the classics "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold" -- show that the Nuge could still slay most of the arena rock competition of the era, but it's not enough to make up for the earlier forgettable material. Most rock fans can completely bypass Ted's '80s recordings and stick with his '70s classics (or simply 1981's Great Gonzos! The Best of Ted Nugent). But for those brave enough to navigate through the treacherous post-State of Shock recordings, the 2001 double-disc comp Noble Savage is worth inspecting.

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