Album Review: Montrose- I Got The Fire

Aaron ConnAlbum Review, MoviesLeave a Comment

I Got the Fire Box Set

I Got the Fire Box SetHard rock fans can rejoice: Cherry Red Records have released yet another box set devoted to Montrose. The box set, I Got The Fire, is a six disc set devoted to the band’s output on Warner Brothers Records from 1973 to 1976. Along with the four studio albums the band released during that time comes bonus tracks in the form of radio shows, single edits and demo recordings. As to be expected with Cherry Red box sets, I Got the Fire delivers in both presentation and value.

A Little History
Montrose were formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose in 1973 after leaving the Edgar Winter Group. In their time together, the band would go through several line up changes- with Ronnie and future Heart drummer Denny Carmassi being the lone consistent members in the band’s original run together. Montrose are perhaps best known as the first major band singer Sammy Hagar recorded with, predating both his solo work and years with Van Halen.Montrose

Given that this is a box set of albums, this review will be done album by album.

Montrose (1973)
Montrose 1973If you only need one Montrose album, make it their self-titled debut album. Even with only eight tracks to offer, the band kills it with this album. Sammy Hagar’s vocals are in fine form while Ronnie Montrose plays some heavy duty guitar riffs. While not exactly a hit album, the self-titled album is essential hard rock for any fan of the genre.

Favorite songs: Rock Candy, Space Station #5, Bad Motor Scooter, Rock the Nation
Bonus tracks:
some stereo and mono mixes of singles plus demo recordings of nearly every song from the album. There’s also a solid radio show set included from KSAN in California on April 23, 1973.
Rating: 10/10


Paper Money (1974)

Paper Money 1974The band’s sophomore effort is another solid album. That being said, Paper Money is not in the same league as the debut album. Whereas the debut album has made lists of the greatest hard rock albums of all time, Paper Money usually doesn’t. If anything, this album might be a tad bit more commercial than the debut. Even then, there’s still some catchy songs and heavy riffs on here.

Favorite songs: I Got the Fire, Paper Money, Underground, Starliner
Bonus tracks: 
stereo and mono mixes of singles plus another KSAN performance from December 26, 1974
Rating: 7/10

Warner Bros Presents… (1975)

Warner Brothers Presents 1975Singer Bob James replaces Hagar on the band’s third album. While James is a fine singer, he just isn’t Hagar. Warner Brothers Presents also sees the band expanding their sound just a little bit, ranging from hard rockers to funk rock jams. In places, it sounds like David Coverdale-era Deep Purple, which is not a bad thing.

Favorite songs: Dancin’ Feet, All I Need, O Lucky Man!
Bonus tracks: 
stereo and mono mixes of singles
Rating: 6/10

Jump On It (1976)
Jump On It 1976Produced by legendary producer Jack Douglas, Jump On It is a another middle-of-the-road album. While slightly more rocking than its predecessor, this is just okay. The band sounded like they were running out of ideas but as it is, this is okay.

Favorite songs: Jump On It, Let’s Go, What Are You Waiting For?
Bonus tracks: 
stereo and mono mixes of singles
Rating: 6/10

Conclusion
As a whole, I Got The Fire is a fine box set. While not every album is perfect, this is a nicely packaged set of the Montrose music- complete with some extras for die-hard fans. Along with this, the albums have been remastered and sound strong. If you’re a Montrose fan, getting this set shouldn’t be a debate: go ahead and get it.

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Aaron ConnAlbum Review: Montrose- I Got The Fire