Doogie White & La Paz / Granite
Metal Mind 2012
Several hundred years ago, I used to see La Paz on a fairly regular basis, as they played every toilet between Edinburgh and Glasgow, in an attempt to convert the world to their brand of melodic hard rock. Of course, the world decided that the Americans did that sort of thing better, and politely ignored them. They bunged out a couple of tapes before their singer headed off to join Midnight Blue, alongside guitarist Alex Dickson (that’s Alex Dickson who ended up playing with Robbie Williams, fact fans!). Of course, the singer, Doogie White, ended up in Rainbow, before heading off into a varied career taking in Cornerstone, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Praying Mantis, Tank, Michael Schenker and hundreds more.
However, a couple of years ago, Doogie and La Paz guitarist Chic McSherry got together to play at a radio shows birthday party, and all of a sudden plans were afoot to finally release a La Paz album. So, here it is. And very enjoyable it is too. Of course, I would say that because it’s harking back to the kind of music that I grew up with. Although my vague memories of the early eighties recall a lighter La Paz. Whereas this album is beefy to say the least. What they’ve done is look back to their early material, pick the best of the songs they had then, and add in three new tracks to round things off. Most of the older songs are a lot better than I remember, with ‘Too Good To Lose’ and ‘What Do You Say’ the best of them. Add in top quality new songs ‘Young And Restless’ and ‘Shame The Devil’, and things have turned out very nicely indeed.
Whereas Mr White has ended up specialising in the heavier end of the hard rock market, there is a commercial sheen to the music on offer that would have stood them in good stead back in the day. If only they’d been born three thousand miles to the west. It’s all bedded down in the sound of bands like Bonnet era Rainbow, 1979-1981 Whitesnake, with a few nods to early eighties Journey, and there are three or four songs that could easily have been radio hits across in the colonies, if things had worked out differently. The band are obviously doing this for fun, as the chances of more than six people buying it are slim. But if you like your seventies melodic hard rock, then this is a really enjoyable album, and quite obviously a labour of love.
Stuart A Hamilton