Girlschool – Legacy (2008)

girlschool-legacy

Girlschool – Legacy (2008, Wacken Records)

  1. Everything’s The Same
  2. From The Other Side
  3. I Spy
  4. Spend Spend Spend
  5. Whole New World
  6. Just Another Day
  7. Legend
  8. Still Waters
  9. Metropolis
  10. Don’t Mess Around
  11. Zeitgeist
  12. Don’t Talk To Me
  13. I Spy (Dio/Iommi mix)*
  14. London*
  15. Emergency*

*U.S. bonus tracks

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Band Lineup:
Kim McAuliffe – Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Enid Williams – Bass & Vocals
Denise Dufort – Drums
Jackie Chambers – Lead Guitar

Additional Musicians:
Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) - featured on ‘Everything’s The Same’
JJ French – guitar solo on ‘Spend Spend Spend’
Neil Murray – bass on ‘Whole New World’ and ‘Legend’
Phil Campbell – guitar solos on ‘Whole New World and ‘Just Another Day’
Fast Eddie Clarke – guitar solo on ‘Metropolis’
Eddie Ojeda – guitar solo on ‘Don’t Mess Around’
Lemmy Kilmister – bass, vocals, triangle on ‘Don’t Talk To Me’
Ronnie James Dio – vocals on ‘I Spy’ (Dio/Iommi mix)
Tony Iommi – guitars on ‘I Spy’ (Dio/Iommi mix)

Total Time = 50:46

Girlschool
Girlschool MySpace
Wacken Records

Girlschool is back to celebrate their 30th anniversary with a new record, LEGACY, and it is dedicated to their late guitarist Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) who succumbed to cancer in July 2007. Most bands wouldn’t have the fire after a founding member passes away but 3/4 of the original lineup is intact and Jackie Chambers has been in the band since 2000 so Girlschool is still a high octane Rock ‘N Roll machine. Adding to the celebration, the band has invited a bunch of friends to play on the record, we get performances from Lemmy, Phil Campbell, JJ French, Eddie Ojeda, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Neil Murray, Tony Iommi, and Ronnie James Dio.

Opening track ‘Everything’s The Same’ features the last performance of Kelly Johnson and the song recalls the early days of Girlschool with their Punk/Metal hybrid akin to Lemmy’s Motorhead. Same thing goes for ‘From The Other Side’, it’s a brash guitar rocker that reminds me of the band’s NWOBHM roots and Punk attitude. The gem of the album is the doom-laden Black Sabbath style ‘I Spy’ which comes in two versions: the Girlschool mix (track 3) and the Dio/Iommi mix (track 13) that is tacked on as one of the bonus tracks. Both versions are similar with the exception of Dio taking over the lead vocals and Iommi handling the lead guitar. RJD is one of the premier Metal vocalists and he continues to have a msterful command of how to present a song. The Dio/Iommi mix is much better than the Girlschool version due to the obvious Sabbath style.

‘Spend Spend Spend’ is a very catchy melodic tune but it doesn’t really sound like the original Girlschool sound (but I like it) and ‘Whole New World’ sounds pretty basic with it’s spoken word style. JJ French (Twisted Sister) makes an appearance on ‘Spend’ and Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake) and Phil Campbell (Motorhead) lend their talents to ‘Whole New World’, I especially like the main guitar riff. Phil Campbell guests again on ‘Just Another Day’ and the song goes back to the Metal/Punk style that the women are known for while Neil Murray strikes again on guest bass on the melodic tribute to Kelly Johnson, ‘Legend’. There’s a diversity to the band’s sound as they are changing from being brash to melodic and sometimes it just doesn’t work. ‘Legend’ is a good example because the band sounds like they’re holding back the power to be more melodic.

‘Still Waters’ is harder tune but with an overly repetitive chorus but impressive drum sound, not the best song but a step in the right direction. ‘Metropolis’ is obviously a cover of the Motorhead classic, complete with axework from ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, and it’s pretty good but unnecessary, let’s have another original. I like the faster ‘Don’t Mess Around’ (featuring Eddie Ojeda for the guitar solo) and the machine like pounding of ‘Zietgeist’ but the obvious connection is the Motorhead inspired ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ complete with Mr. Kilmister on vocals and bass. This is how I like to hear Girlschool sound: no holds barred, frantic, and powerful…..just like Motorhead, just like the old days.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some bonus tracks included on LEGACY. First is the Dio/Iommi mix of ‘I Spy’ that sounds like a long lost b-side from the DEHUMANIZER sessions. Second is a remake of ‘London’, a song that can be found on the full-length album 21st ANNIVERSARY – NOT THAT INNOCENT (2001)the third bonus is a remake of the classic ‘Emergency’ from the band’s 1980 debut DEMOLITION.

Bottom Line:
I have to give credit to Girlschool for coming out with a new album for their 30 year milestone, they could have easily put out a live record or another hits package or even a live DVD, but they didn’t and they created an album that has a lot going for it but also a lot you’ve heard before. Overall the sound is pretty good, especially Kim McAuliffe’s vocals and the backing tracks…..the guitars are good too but after a while you just keep hearing the same riff. There are a lot of guest stars helping out, especially on guitar and bass, and it makes me wonder if it was out of need or a gimmick. The overall record is better for it but I think the women of Girlschool can do it well without the outside musicians. Girlschool is at their best when they are in your face like their male counterparts Motorhead, I’m not used to the melodic side of the band but they do it well. Overall I’d say this is an album worth getting but it’s a grower…..after weeks of spins I enjoy it a lot more.

Favorite Songs:
‘Everything’s The Same’, ‘I Spy’ (both versions but the Dio one is better), ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’, ‘Don’t Mess Around’, ‘Don’t Talk To Me’