Review by Rick Ossian
Those of you who have read my reviews before may be wondering what I’m up to at this particular moment because I may have slagged off Doro Pesch in a recent review. Allow me to be the first to eat a large handful of crow. I may have been slightly disinterested in her cover of Ronnie James Dio‘s tune Egypt (The Chains Are On), but now is most likely the best time to re-evaluate that position. Or not. In any case, my admiration and respect for ‘The Queen of Metal’ have been most fully restored after listening to her latest covers (mostly) CD, Powerful Passionate Favourites. Not only has she fully impressed me with this latest release; she must have impressed the powers that be at her record label, as they have released a fully wicked 30th anniversary box set and blue vinyl as well!
Lets get to the tunes then: The opener, and first of the newies, It Still Hurts (featuring special guest Lemmy on vocal assistance) is a passionate, bluesy number that rocks at points, but is also a rather poignant track. It is most likely among the least Metal of the performances contained herein. That does NOT mean that it is a dud; in fact, far from it. The two voices, oddly enough, even complement each other! Doro is powerful at her weakest, and Lemmy is world-worn and weary, but still downright forceful- somehow, it still works! “I’m still weak/over promises we keep” is one of those gut-wrenching lines that makes you wonder about the subject matter of the tune itself. Of course, we know it’s about heartache – what else could it be? It is not the last of the bluesier tunes here, either. A tasty guitar solo is heard at the 3:20 mark. It is raw and gutsy and among the better vocal performances here.
Lève Ton Poing Vers Le Ciel (the French version of Raise Your Fist In The Air) is a charging rocker, and, coincidentally enough, was the title track of Doro’s previous release from 2012. There is another fine guitar solo at 1:15. Hearing the track in French was enlightening (for me at least), because I’ve not had that much of the French language spoken/sung to me in quite some time! Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, a cover of the mighty Led Zeppelin tune, is well done and is a faithful cover version of the original masterwork. I had mostly forgotten how powerful this tune was, but am thoroughly reminded after hearing this!
Nutbush City Limits is a wonderful cover of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue‘s original. I distinctly recall the live version from Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band more readily, as I grew up with that cover as opposed to Ike and Tina’s original. Sort of like when you realize that Metallica covering Thin Lizzy (Whiskey In the Jar) wasn’t REALLY Metallica covering Thin Lizzy. It goes back WAY further than that! It is an OLD, traditional Irish folk song that probably dates back centuries as opposed to mere years (although, having heard a folk band doing the song, to a different tune, Metallica really did cover Lizzy on this one – Ed)! This version is, again, a faithful rendition of the original, and a powerfully done, raw and passionate reworking of the tune. It is a bit rough, perhaps, but well suited to the occasion.
Only You, originally written way back in 1990 by Gene Simmons, of Kiss fame, for Doro is well done, as is the aforementioned Dio number, Egypt (The Chains Are On), but her vocal is lacking something somehow, can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe she was having an off day. Who knows? Both tunes work well in this particular setting. The Metallica cover, Nothing Else Matters, is another of the several high points here. It is very nicely done, and again a faithful rendition of the original. Doro knows when/where to put certain vocal inflections, and it is obvious that she is not only a student of the tunes that are reworked here – she treats them as one might treat a special child. This is especially true of Nothing Else Matters – I found myself shuddering, a chill going up my spine, just like when I first heard the original version. Kind of makes you wonder if James Hetfield has heard it yet!
The set closes out with two new numbers, written and recorded for this very LP. Warfare, the first of the two is a decent track, but the closer, New York City Blues, is quite possibly the best of this batch. It is a fierce, untidy blues that made me want the track to just go on and on; unfortunately, as I’ve said repeatedly in the past, this may be my only complaint – the tracks just aren’t long enough! Full marks!