Under Cover 2

Joe Lynn Turner

Shrapnel Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/05/1999

There are some things in life that can only be described as, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." You know: that sudden urge to get a tattoo, buying that Milli Vanilli album, putting New Coke out on the market. I've gotta stop here; the list is getting too painful.

Joe Lynn Turner, who perhaps is best known for stints as the lead vocalist for Rainbow, Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force and Deep Purple, could also fall under this blanket with his recent albums of cover versions of hard rock classics. It's not that an album like Under Cover 2 does any disrespect for any of these songs, but one has to wonder if we really needed new versions of these songs. Like my daddy always told me, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." (No, wait, he told me, "If it ain't broke, you didn't hit it hard enough." But I digress.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I have two basic problems with this disc that I'd like to get out of the way, before we start talking about the tracks themselves. First, I would have liked to have seen some credit to the other musicians on this album; there are absolutely no credits given. (I couldn't even find any information during a brief scan of Turner's official Web site.) Second, if you print a track listing, the least you should do is follow the order that is printed - or change the printing to match what's on the disc. After about five songs, I gave up trying to play verbal checkers with the list, and tossed it aside in disgust.

As for the covers themselves, Under Cover 2 is hit-and-miss for most of the album. Some of the versions are right on the money, like Bad Company's "Movin' On," Whitesnake's "Fool For Your Loving" (though the harmony vocals are sadly missed) and Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town". You do have to sit back and admire a job well done.

Other times, you have to wonder what Turner and crew were thinking, like on the extended jam on The Beatles's "Helter Skelter". Three words: annoying as hell. Likewise, something is lost in the translation of Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You," though I can't quite put my finger on what's wrong with Turner's rendition. And, honestly, did we really need another version of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild"?

What is puzzling about Turner's recent dip into cover tune land is that he's a decent songwriter in his own right. One has to wonder why he's passed on doing his own material in favor of rehashing other artists' work. In fairness to Turner, albums like Under Cover 2 might just raise some interest in the minds of younger rockers who, say, might not be familiar with a band like Free (Turner covers their song "Wishing Well"). If one kid decided to try and search out the original material of one of these bands, then I guess that Turner's experiment is really a success.

Under Cover 2 might leave the older rock fans (or at least those of us who know and appreciate rock's past) scratching our heads. Then again, maybe this one wasn't meant for the older generation.

Rating: C+

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shrapnel Records, and is used for informational purposes only.