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MICHAEL KATON Live And On The Prowl! Provogue PRD 7222 2 (2007)

Michael Katon

It is 15 years since guitarist Michael Katon first invited us to 'Get On The Boogie Train', and on the evidence of 'Live & On The Prowl', he is still fired up. The self styled 'boogie man from Hell' – Hell, Michigan, that is – is a throw back to the hard rocking power trio's of yore. Think of the Groundhogs circa 'Split' or a kind of heavier version of say Rory Gallagher. And with a raunchy playing style, topped by some uncompromising slide playing and a rip roaring rhythm section, he clearly takes no prisoners.

Despite the emphasis on volume and crunching riffs, Katon's previous 10 cd career is as notable for its classy production values, and supreme guitar sound, elements of which permeate this down to the wire live set. 'Live & On The Prowl, is good old fashioned bone rattling, pile driving rock and roll, boogie and hard edged blues that any self respecting rock fan would slam on the player and crank up to maximum volume levels. Hell, with an opening like this, you could unhesitatingly recommend this to Motorhead fans.

And if it's often the case that an album opener strives to make an immediate overall impression then the awesome crunching riffs of 'Guitar For My Friend' and the brilliantly titled and cleverly segued 'Yeah…But We Can Boogie/Come On back To Hell' leave you in no doubt as to what you can expect. The Katon band smokes and leaves only scorched earth in its wake.

And yet there's more to Katon than heads down no nonsense boogie, as the equally big riffed 'American McMofo' suggests, as the guitar avalanche and subsequent wild slide runs punch out an angry message against growing corporatism. For the rest Katon gives his sizeable Dutch audience exactly what they want, mining every rock & roll cliche, from whiskey, women, motorbikes, and rockers on the prowl, to 'hoochie mama's', all peppered with lashing of guitar.

On 'Whiskey Hill' the trio raise hell on an impossibly hard hitting boogie , the kind of outing that ZZ Top once made their name with before they succumbed to the dubious video aids. And as this album confirms it is playing live to a howling leather jacketed club audience that really fires Michael Katon up.

He's loud and proud, offers no concessions to either contemporary music or political correctness, and boogies like hell. If this is what is termed retro rock, then crank up the amps, and rejoice in a live album that revisits the golden days of hard rock, and of course boogie!


Review by Pete Feenstra

GRTR! Best of 2007

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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