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Ted Nugent 

Craveman (Spitfire)

This is Ted Nugent's best album in 20 years. Craveman's tracks each sound as if they were recorded in a single take, with some guitar overdubs coming the next afternoon, after six pots of coffee. Nugent is in top form here, returning his music to its blues-rock/R&B roots, with simple (but not simplistic) three-chord anthems that sound better the louder you play them. A few songs seem like explicit nods to his past, but they are intended mostly to remind the listener of Nugent's history, rather than attempting to rewrite an old hit for the charts.

Craveman is obviously an album made with little or no interest in radio play or pandering to imagined new fans. It's a gift to the loyalists. There aren't even many concessions to metal; Nugent's guitar is a little heavier than before, particularly on opening cut "Klstrphnky," but tunes like "At Home There" and the closing instrumental "Earthtones" are exactly what longtime fans want to hear. Nugent fans know he can still kick it out live. The extremely pleasant surprise of Craveman is that he can still write rock anthems when he wants to.

More by Phil Freeman

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