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Ted Nugent The Ultimate Ted Nugent

By Vinnie Apicella, Contributor
Tuesday, July 16, 2002 @ 11:05 AM


(Legacy Records)

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While Ted Nugent's well-documented modern day bow-hunting meatpacking exploits have tended to overshadow his illustrious musical career, which now spans over three decades, his groundwork laying contributions to seventies guitar-rock can never go unnoticed. So it's only fitting The Ultimate Ted Nugent 32-song collection appears as a two-disc anthology of a legendary guitar hero who did things his way and survived to tell the tale.

Mr. Nugent's big on tale-telling for sure, through his words and music, but most often on his prized blues-derived guitar licks and sexually charged Lord of the Jungle anthems that made him one of the biggest draws of the seventies. Following up on recently reissued eighties projects that saw Nuge remodeling to better fit the fashion, dictates of the time with a new label and band, and catered to the watered-down commercially founded approach, this collection is long overdue.

So here's where the listener gets the full dose of the shaggy-haired, stormtroopin' motor city madman at his absolute peak in a fat of the land "Best Of" documenting his Epic years. Nugent classics are chronologically compiled of previously released material ranging from his self-titled '75 debut on through to the Intensities In Ten Cities live album, his last for Epic, and the ensuing crossroads of the 1980s. In between, Nugent wheels and wails through prodigious cuts spanning his mighty Free For All days, the vital Cat Scratch Fever, his springboard to superstardom; Weekend Warriors, the flailing 1978 follow up, and the massive Double Live Gonzos that would follow.

The late seventies weren't as kind to Ted's animated guitar heroics, his popularity wavering after hitting such a great stride with Cat Scratch, yet his "take it or leave it" philosophy shone through -- tastes changed, his never wavered during his defining period. Parallels can easily be drawn from Stranglehold, to State Of Shock, to Scream Dream, his consistency, and some might argue, complacency, were always present, his fretwork, frenetic as ever. Scream Dream was the last studio entry for Nugent's Epic journey, featuring the classic Wango Tango, then finally culminating with the Intensities In Ten Cities 1981 live release.

The Ultimate Ted Nugent is every bit what the title suggests, a two-disc workout of full swing wild man stage and studio antics bore of sweat-dripping passion and jaw-dropping power gone out of control and highlighting the million selling ground breaking work of his earliest and best years.

****1/2


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