Alice Cooper

In Session

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Produced by Bob Ezrin, Billion Dollar Babies was not only among Alice Cooper's best selling releases, it is also one of his finest and most essential. Even if you only have a casual interest in the artist's influential shock rock, Billion Dollar Babies should be in your collection. That said, it takes a truly devoted Cooper fan to appreciate a CD of Billion Dollar Babies demos, which is what In Session is. This bootleg, which the illicit Head label provided in 2000, is devoted entirely to demos that were recorded during the album sessions of 1972. The sound quality is decent (by early 1970s standards) but not great; after all, these are demos, not the final versions that became commercially available on the LP in 1973 -- and they weren't meant for public consumption. This CD won't interest casual listeners, but if you're a serious Cooper collector, it's interesting to hear how gems like "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies," "Generation Landslide," "Sick Things," and the gruesome "I Love the Dead" sounded before they were given a lot of production gloss and finalized. Nonetheless, the differences between these early demos and the master versions heard on the finished product are quite subtle -- the most obvious difference between In Session and the official Billion Dollar Babies album is the sound quality. Hearing these songs without all the production gloss is a lot like eating a cake before the frosting has been added; the cake tastes good without the frosting, but it tastes even better with it. And just as a chef wouldn't want you to taste his/her cake without the frosting, Cooper never meant for his fans to hear these demos. But obsessive collectors will want to hear them anyway, and they will be glad to acquire In Session if they're able to track down a copy.

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