Long Cold Winter


Mercury Records, 1988


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Following the success of their debut album Night Songs, one had to wonder what was next for the hard rock quartet Cinderella. Would they fall prey to the dreaded "sophomore slump", or would they put out an album that solidified their position as one of the genre's leading acts? (I'm going to try very hard to refrain from making any "fairy tale" references.)

The answer came in 1988 with the release of Long Cold Winter. Spawning a few chart successes, including the ballad "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)", Tom Kiefer and crew seemed to prove that they were no mere flash in the pan. Eleven years after its release, it's still a fun album to listen to.

Long Cold Winter was the first album where the unofficial "fifth" member of Cinderella, keyboardist Rick Criniti, was formally credited. (The band had taken some heat for not disclosing that they were using a keyboardist on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Night Songs and on tour.) One thing that strikes me as odd about the album is the plethora of guest musicians, including drummers Denny Carmassi (then of Heart) and the late Cozy Powell. Granted, I really can't hear where their contributions come into play on the album, but it seems strange that Cinderella would need such high-octane help.

After the country-blues opener "Bad Seamstress Blues" (a foreshadowing of what was to come on the band's third album Heartbreak Station), Kiefer, lead guitarist Jeff LaBar, bassist Eric Brittingham and drummer Fred Coury kick things into high gear with the groove-oriented "Falling Apart At The Seams". This is a track that I don't believe got much attention when the album first came out, but is a solid rocker which rightfully deserves your attention.

Long Cold Winter's singles - "Gypsy Road," "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" and "The Last Mile" - all still sound fresh today, though "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" is a bit syrupy sweet for my tastes. Cinderella was no stranger to ballads; they included "Nobody's Fool" on Night Songs, so it's not that they couldn't or shouldn't do ballads. It's just that this particular one sounds so much like they were following a formula laid out by other bands of the time (a la Poison).

Both "Gypsy Road" and "The Last Mile" are powerful rock tracks, though "Gypsy Road" sounds a little bit like "Night Songs" from the debut (but not enough for me to dare call it a clone). "The Last Mile" could well be the best of the singles, and remains, along with "Falling Apart At The Seams," my favorite track.

While the second half of Long Cold Winter might not be as noted as its singles, it contains some powerful rock that showed Cinderella's spark of creativity was still burning. Songs like "If You Don't Like It," "Fire And Ice" and the title track all are very enjoyable, and have lost little of their edge over the years.

Cinderella seemed like they had to prove with Long Cold Winter that they were a band of substance that deserved to be noticed among the hard rock band overflow of the late '80s. Fortunately, they succeeded - and, in the process, recorded an album that still stands strong today.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 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 Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.