[ALBUM REVIEW] John Corabi – Live ’94 (One Night In Nashville)


1 Power To The Music
2 Uncle Jack
3 Hooligan’s Holiday
4 Misunderstood
5 Loveshine
6 Poison Apples
7 John Joins The Band…
8 Hammered
9 Til Death Do Us Part
10 Welcome To The Numb
11 Smoke The Sky
12 Here’s The Band
13 Droppin’ Like Flies
14 Driftaway
Bonus Track
15 10.000 Miles Away

Reviewed by Casper of Rohan

If there was ever a challenging review to pen, its this one.  John Corabi Live ’94 (One Night In Nashville) is difficult simply because this is John Corabi live, and that experience is jaw dropping in its own right.  Do I really need to say more?  Well…yes.

One of the finest voices in contemporary rock and, for that matter, in the entire history of rock music.  His talents were immediately obvious in the rare demo recordings released when his was at the forefront of Angora, and his legacy now surpasses thirty years in rock.

So let’s get down to the material first and establish an understanding as to why it is being resurrected.

Refer to it as you will, but as I explore the recollection of those who survived these tumultuous times, emotions remain raw and the opinions of Motley Crue fans remain polarized.  Whether you refer to the original as the sixth Motley Crue album, the album mistakenly labelled, nothing to do with the Crue, or any variation thereof, this was a sensational album with fantastic riffs, vocals and lyrical delivery, rich with rock history and it failed back in ’94 for no other reason than it wasn’t Vince Neil.

A terrible fate to greet what was otherwise sure to be a soaring success of an album, but thanks to the belief and benevolence of John Corabi, he has shared the show with live audiences on a dedicated tour.   Fortunately for the rest of the world, this performance from The Basement in Nashville was recorded and can be yours to enjoy over and over.

The recording were thrown to Mr 80’s heavy rock and metal himself Michael Wagener, the renowned producer, mixer, and engineer from Hamburg, who has done a sensational job.

The results are immediately striking as opener Power To The Music confidently swaggers forth from the crowd applause. Then before long, the rusty, raspy and gritty, but golden rock voice of John Corabi blasts forth from your speakers.  It may seem that I carelessly coin a cliché, but in all honesty it is indeed like you are there, but unlike any venue I can recall.  Clear, crisp, unadulterated by aged equipment and if I want a drink spilled down my back at the barrier I’ll have to settle for doing it myself leaning on the home made bar.   But this is the type of sound you wish would emanate from your music venues speakers.  A truly superb sound.

Fifteen sensational tracks, with two of those involving the listener in the storyline, make for a true understanding of what a sensational album this always was, and what skills, style and unique genius John actually brought to the Crue.   A true treasure-trove, unrealised with this album the exception.

The creative inspiration and style exploration that John brought to Motley Crue is self-evident in the work performed by the tremendous Mick Mars and indeed Nikki Sixx on the original recording.  One wonders what would have been the result had the relationship continued.  The End may have never come at all, but certainly would have sounded tremendously different.

One track that demands special mention, at very least out of pure respect.  Contrary to the long held belief of some, Uncle Jack has nothing to do with Tennessee Whiskey.  The track could not be further from a Motley Crue track of the ere and was largely dismissed along with the ’94 album.  Idioms involving babies and bathwater are being coined even now by those who still bear a grudge against the original album.  Appearing second on both collections, this powerful narrative surrounds the horrific effects of a real life child molesting uncle of John’s and his putrid activities.  The unfortunate shunning of this album effectively removed attention from an important and potentially cathartic song.  This track is now delivered more powerfully than ever and is, me at least, an archetypical example of how true events and personal emotion make for the finest music.

Hooligans Holiday lists spirits high with marvellous melody and hard hitting raw rock elements.  Pounding drums, riffs a plenty and the powerful Corabi delivery make for a blues smacked master, the likes of which should have been a fan favourite back in ’94.

Misunderstood opens with the unmistakable opening guitar track that echoes throughout this classic tune, and it feels that new life is breathed into its well work body, and at 2.20, Ian taps an awakening and the song is up an strutting the stage in renewed glory.

Loveshine is ushered in by the crowd applause and a remark from John, “so obviously you know what’s next”.  For me this track continues to be a splendid demonstration of Corabi’s paramount skill as writer and styling master.  This track has always guided me right back to the beginning of blues in the south and, particularly, the later stages of slave trade in the Kentucky region, and sprinkled with rock brilliance. Just supurb.

After a prompt from stage front, Ian lays on the grove for the introduction of Poison Apples which pound our way to a phone Call from Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx is described by John in track seven. This lays to rest any pondering of how he was asked to join one of the biggest rock bands in the world at the time, and his monstrous crime back then, was to accept the dream offer.  Unfortunately, some corners of the market could not see past their own nose and realise that not one person in the world, would have done anything differently.

John’s dialogue also provides a brief history of the the aptly titled Hammered and finding its place with the Crue that second day of imminent Motley mayhem.

The malevolent and timeless tones of Till Death Do Us Part weave forth like a serpent intent on our demise.  This track has always been my go to song when engaged in robust discussion regarding the Motley Crue possibilities and the creative brilliance that was drawn forth from the collaboration between John and most particularly, Mick and Nikki.

A truly remarkable track in Welcome To The Numb is announced with “…even after I said we couldn’t do it…” and the reference to a sensational guitar contribution from Jeremy (Asbrock) all results I a diamond performance.  I do my very best not to interrupt sequencing, but with this track I am helpless to resist repeating immediately.   The duelling guitars are such a fantastic highlight to this number and performed by all so brilliantly.

But hold on to your hat because Smoke The Sky is about to launch you skyward again in rhythmic celebration. Before Track 12 Here’s The Band sees John introduce Jeremy Asbrock (guitar, vocals), Tommy Daley (guitar), Topher Nolen (bass) and Ian Corabi (drums).  As John describes, we first saw Ian pushing a hand mower across our screens at the beginning of the Scream clip for Man on the Moon and here he is celebrating the ’94 album with dad.  Do hard rock tales of family and kinship come any better than that?

In case you haven’t seen it, here a link to that video clip

Dropping Like Flies eases off the throttle but is no less powerful than previous tracks, before Driftaway and while pondering the work of these tremendous performers, I can’t help but reflect on what I have experienced throughout this recording.  John’s passionate and perfect performance put aside briefly, the riffs are soaring sensations, one and all.  The rock heritage of this album, shared by such experienced and esteemed members of the musical fraternity, brings a certain special quality to all elements of each track.   Listen closely to Driftaway and hear the heartfelt emotion that is musically injected into this magnificent song, truly bringing it to life. The tremendous rhythm provided throughout by Topher is nothing short of splendiferous and Ian at the kit is quite obviously cognisant of what this all means to his father and bears that weight with dignity and sensational skill.  I have no right to feel pride of Ian, but as a father to sons, I just cannot help but be appreciative of what this must mean between the he and his father.

10000 Miles Away completes this recording to utter perfection and smacks of the organic, perfectly natural sound this entire album was always destined to enjoy.

With the performance of each protagonist, the quality of the recording and mixing, and with all things considered, I believe this to be the perfect fate of this sensational album.

The ’94 album has had a rough road of its own, but it’s found a home right here, surrounded by people who adore it.  I proudly declare myself included.

A cherished collection and solid slice of rock history, flailing helpless in the winds, has been brought home and nurtured into this soaring, mighty phoenix, sure to be celebrated for generations to come.

There are many reasons why this magnificent work will be widely celebrated and belongs in every music collection in, but most of all, it always did.

You can pre-Order Used Future on itunes here:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/live-94-one-night-in-nashville/1346359488