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"Stranger In This Town" Review 25 September 2000
A magical journey

A review by Fredrik /

After Bon Jovi's rock anthem albums Slippery When Wet and New Jersey, the lead guitarist Richie Sambora takes a step back to make a tremendous solo effort. It's an album with a touch of soft rock and blues, and I don't think that anyone but Mr. Sambora himself can make an album in this genre sound so good..

Even though this is a solo album it is (to me) very great to find two other members of Bon Jovi playing on the album as well. David Bryan on the keyboards and Tico Torres on the drums. Even more fun is that David co-wrote the songs "Rest in Peace" and "Stranger In This Town" with Richie. As a little side-note is that I don't think that David has never recieved the credit he truly deservs for his cooperation in songwriting. Well David, you rock! :)

The first time I put this album in the cd player I really didn't know what to expect. Having listened to Jon's solo effort "Blaze of Glory" some time before I had a feeling that Richie could come up with almost anything. He decided to go back to his roots and write some music remiscient to the kind of music he loved when growing up. The Blues...

The listening instructions on the first page in the booklet really bespeaks what the album is all about. Just turn down the lights, light a candle....welcome.....

Rest In Peace - 10/10:
When the first notes of this song began flowing out from the speakers I thought I by mistake had put on something by Vangelis. An almost orchestral feeling that rapidly turns out into a mysterious introspective slow-feel ballad. This sets the standard for the rest of the album, and it sets it pretty damn good too!

Church Of Desire - 10/10:
A wonderful atmosphere in this song! Bluesy solo guitars laid back against an almost dreamy background. The soothing vocals of Richie in this song are just amazing! One of the best ones on the album..

Stranger In This Town - 9/10:
Probably became the most popular song on this album. Also the most blues-influenced song on the album too. I do like this one, but not as much as some of the other songs though.. I remember a fun moment about a show Jon and Richie did on MTV about five years ago. They presented different videos of theirs, and this one as "Richie's greatest hit song"..! :)

Ballad of Youth - 10/10:
This song took a different turn than I expected. I thought it was going to be a slow song when reflecting on the great acostic intro. But then Richie throws in the big arsenal and smokes off a really rocking song! Utterly cool if you ask me...

One Light Burning - 10+/10:
This is one of my BIG favourites on this album! Soft guitars and tremendous vocals all over! YOU ROCK THE WORLD RICHIE!!!!!

Mr. Bluesman - 9/10:
A song that also has a quite big blues influence and kinda remind me of track #3 on this album. Just a great song with a little touch of soulful rock!

Rosie - 10/10:
This is the song that reminds most of the group Bon Jovi. But after all, this was written during the New Jersey sessions and at first intended to be on the double-album version that BJ wanted to do. Richie did re-write this one quite a lot so it'd fit better into his own solo effort. Well I take a bow once again, you did it with grace as always!

River of Love - 10/10:
Why do I get a "Guns n' Roses" flashback when I hear this intro?!? I don't know but there's just something special about it. Anyway, the song is great and I love all about it.

Father Time - 10+/10:
Another song that starts out a little with an orchestral touch, but it progresses moments later into a wonderful and soulful ballad. If you can't apprecaite a song like this then you're probably lying six feet under.

The Answer - 10+/10:
"Let's finish it off light and slowly" is the feel I get when listening to this song... A wonderful ballad and with the emotions only Richie can express. Magnificiant way to end one of the best blues inspired albums of the early 90's...

This album is so very far from what Bon Jovi is all about, and probably is that what Richie intended with it all. To do something very different and down to earth. This naturally of course helped to fuel the whole process of the group Bon Jovi, who we've by now all come to love and like so much..!

Rating: 10/10

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