Saturday, April 6, 2024

Pat Travers Band - Crash And Burn (1980)

(Canadian 1976 - Present)

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Pat Travers picked up his first guitar after seeing Jimi Hendrix perform in Ottawa, and began playing in local bands Music Machine, Red Hot, and Merge beginning in his early teens. After his talents were witnessed by rock musician Ronnie Hawkins, Travers, while in his early 20s, was invited to perform with the artist, at which point he moved to London and signed a recording contract with the Polydor label. 
His self-titled album featured acclaimed bassist Peter “Mars” Cowling, who would become a mainstay in Travers' band for several years, and led to 1979's live album 'Live! Go for What You Know' – Travers' first album to crack the Billboard Top 40 – and a top-20 single in “Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights).” The blues-rock song “Snortin' Whiskey,” released on the 1980 album 'Crash And Burn', was also an instant hit for Travers, reaching the number-one position on request lists for numerous FM radio stations and becoming one of the artist's signature songs, eventually appearing on the soundtrack for 2004's Oscar-winning comedy Sideways.

Pat Travers
Over the past three decades, Travers and his bandmates have released more than three dozen additional studio albums, live albums, and compilations.

'Crash And Burn' was the Pat Travers Band's highest-charting release, peaking at number 20 on the Billboard album chart. As mentioned, the album featured the single "Snortin' Whiskey", co-written by Travers and fellow band member guitarist Pat Thrall. 

In the liner notes for Polydor's 4CD Box Set 'Feelin' Alright', Travers recollects:

"I wrote this in '79. We were rehearsing in North Miami at a studio there, for the 'Crash and Burn' album. And, rehearsals started at two o'clock every afternoon, but that wasn't hard and fast, 'cause I was usually working on something anyway. So, three o'clock came, and Pat Thrall wasn't there.. four o'clock, and still no Pat. Five, no Pat. About 5.30pm, the big studio door gets kicked open, and in comes Pat and his girlfriend, and they're looking a little rough.. And I said, "What have you been doing?" And he said, 'Snortin' whiskey and drinkin' cocaine'. I went, "Well, that sounds like a song" and I already had the guitar riff, so I wrote that in about seven minutes flat".

Pat Thrall
The album's title track was also issued as a single, but wasn't as successful as "Snortin' Whiskey". The song "Crash And Burn" was a departure from Pat Travers' usual guitar-oriented material, and was basically a keyboard song driven by the band's rhythm section of Peter "Mars" Cowling on bass, and drummer Tommy Aldridge.

Album Review (by Grampus - Rate Your Music, 2007)

'Crash And Burn' is my favourite Pat Travers album as it displays a greater versatility and diversity than his other work. He's beginning to sound as though he's tailoring himself to fit a George Thorogood-like character. The intermingling of jazz and blues into his normal hard rock brew certainly provides interesting opportunities for future development. The addition of journeyman drummer Tommy Aldridge (Black Oak Arkansas, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) has added greater depth and intensity to the overall sound and seemingly given Travers the confidence to experiment, although, even if it was a mildly successful single, I've never been comfortable with the version of Bob Marley's "Is This Love" A far better cover is the take on "Born Under A Bad Sign".

Mars Cowling
The album opens with the title track which contains a great bass-line groove. This is one of my favourite tracks from the album and it leads into a more orthodox blues rock number "Can't Be Right". Nothing wrong with stuff like this but you just can't escape the fact it sounds nothing more than filler. Luckily Travers picks the album up by its bootstraps with "Snortin' Whiskey" (and drinkin' cocaine) a killer original blues song that's one of the best things Travers ever wrote. Side one of the album is rounded off with the blues standard "Born Under A Bad Sign". First recorded (I think) by Albert King and written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell, Travers does a great job but tends to exercise the guitar swagger and braggadocio a little too much.

Tommy Aldridge
I can't help thinking that "Is This Love" was nothing more than a cynical attempt to gain wider acclaim by choosing a song as a single that people would recognise. Still it has a neat little guitar break in there. Crash And Burn doesn't finish all that well. "The Big Event" is a dead end instrumental, "Love Will Make You Strong" doesn't seem to know what it's trying to be and ends up being some sort of funk-jazz-rock mish mash while "Material Eyes" has such a weird psyched-out vocal it sounds as though everyone's pissed.

So 'Crash And Burn' is a front-loaded album but still a good one. Even though the musical quality steadily deteriorates it remains one of the better albums in Travers' catalogue.

This post consists of FLACs freshly ripped from my vinyl and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD format, along with label scans.  I distinctly remember the day I bought this album and where. I was in the Melbourne CBD in the early 80's and hitting the record import shops that I regularly frequented on my day off Uni. I walked into Gaslight records in Bourke Street and before I had a chance to start looking through the 'new arrivals' section, a thunderous wall of sound came booming out of the shop's speakers featuring a spectacular 'Guitar & Synthersier' riff. The band wasn't familiar to me, so I asked the guy behind the counter who it was.
Pat Traver's new LP 'Crash And Burn' was his response - shit hot title track, ain't it?   Now, have a listen to track 3 - it's called Snortin' Whiskey.
Of course, I parted with my precious $$ immediately and walked out thinking, that was the quickest purchase I've ever made.  Of course, I've never regretted it and still play this 'shit hot' album regularly.
No need to add bonus tracks this time folks - the album is perfect as it stands (irrespective of what Mr Grampus thinks) Enjoy!

01 Crash And Burn – 5:21
02 (Your Love) Can't Be Right – 3:33
03 Snortin' Whiskey  – 3:26
04 Born Under a Bad Sign  – 5:50
05 Is This Love? – 5:28
06 The Big Event – 5:35
07 Love Will Make You Strong – 4:04
08 Material Eyes  – 5:53

Pat Travers Band Members / Musicians
Tommy Aldridge - drums, percussion
Peter "Mars" Cowling - bass guitar
Pat Thrall - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Pat Travers - lead & backing vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards
Dawn Shahan - backing vocals
Michael Shrieve - percussion

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