Sammy Hagar & The Wabos – Livin’ It Up (2006, Cabo Wabo/Rhino)
- Sam I Am
- Living On A Coastline
- The Way We Live
- I Love This Bar
- One Sip
- Rainy Day Woman #12/#35
- Halfway To Memphis
- Let Me Take You There
- Some Day
Total Time – 41:17
Sammy Hagar – Lead Vocals and Guitars
David Lauser – Drums/Percussion
Vic Johnson – Guitars
Mona – Bass
Montrose, Van Halen, solo career.
Sammy Hagar has been a big part of radio-friendly Hard Rock since the mid-’70s. Sammy has a love/hate relationship with many fans, obviously due to his replacing of David Lee Roth in Van Halen, but his solo output has always been successful. Sammy always seems to get one or two catchy Rock numbers on each album that get airplay, resulting in sales. That doesn’t mean the album is particularly good. I always compare Sammy’s pre-Van Halen solo work with Billy Squier, not sure why, always have. Post-VH, Sammy has turned into a successful entrepreneur: he’s got the Cabo Wabo club, the tequila, and he finances his own albums, tours, and merchandise off of those to remain a musical success. The guy’s also got millions from his VH days but I give him a ton of credit for doing what he wants his way and remaining the life of the party.
Livin’ It Up is an album that’s a pure reflection of where the 58 year old Red Rocker is in his life: Sammy likes the beach, he likes Cabo, he likes tequila, he likes to party and do things his way. The first six songs on this album pound the point home almost Jimmy Buffet-like…..
- It’s Sam…..the Red Rocker, a Bad Motor Scooter
- He lives at the beach
- in Mexico
- He does it his way
- at the Cabo Wabo Cantina
- have some Tequila
You get the idea. The songs aren’t that bad, I really enjoy Living On A Coastline, it’s just that the guy slams home his tropical lifestyle every chance he gets. I like the acoustic and slide guitars, and the timbales and congas add that vacation vibe. I dig the different sounds and the harmonies are excellent, that’s why these songs get a passing grade.
Rainy Day Woman is totally out of place. It fits the party vibe but is it necessary? How many covers of this Dylan tune do we need? How many times do we have to hear Bob do it himself? Same thing with song #10, Let Me Take You There (the first single). Sammy changes the lyrics a bit to “bring us to Cabo” but it’s still a cover nonetheless. Sammy can write songs (see his Van Halen years), why he needs to do covers is beyond me.
Halfway To Memphis is OK, it just doesn’t keep me interested. I like Sailin’ and Some Day, less party animal and more heart. Granted these are the ballads of the album. They’re slow but good, nice acoustic guitar. I don’t feel like Sam is selling me tequila in those.
If you’re looking for Sammy and company to slam you with some Hard Rock like previous efforts, it ain’t happening. But if you want to chill, have a drink, and get in a groove…..this is the album to listen to. Straw hat and Hawaiian shirt optional…..