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"Stranger In This Town" Review 1 January 1996

A review by Mark Bousfield /

The guitar. What a wonderful instrument! And in the hands of a true master, it becomes like an extension of your soul. Richie Sambora has captured the heart and soul of almost every Bon Jovi fan with this magnificent album, and any one who doesn't agree must hate Richie.

Stranger has it all, ballards, rock 'nd roll, and thoughtfully produced, recorded and lyriced songs. If this album cannot touch your heart at any one point, you ain't got a heart to be touched. Richie's guitar can create just as much emotion as a thousand words from a lesser artist.

The pick of the tracks, well his single "Ballard of Youth" deseved a much better showing in the charts. A message for all youngsters out there, drawn upon from his own experiances as a young artist hoping for a break, it tells of the hardships of growing up and has such a catchy tune, you wonder why you start singing along. Another marvellous track is the reject from New Jersey, "Rosie", by Richie, Jon, big Des Child and Diane Warren, really kicks some ass and is followed by another kick ass track in "River of Love". One of the tracks that I feel doesn't quite fit into the pattern of it all, is the "Mr. Bluesman" song with another guitar god in Eric Clapton. Don't get me wrong, it is an absolutely marvellous song, but I think it disrupts the flow a little.

Running through this album is a very dark, almost sombre background, with the very bluesy feel to it. In many ways it is so much different to a Bon Jovi album, but in many ways it is very similar. I think Richie sums it up the best when he said it was an Evolution of himself. It will have its appeal to all fans and non-fans alike, as long as you approach it with an open mind.

Remember.... Turn down the lights, Light a candle, welcome.........

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