As retrospectives go this timely revisiting of The Red Rocker’s favourite solo material is a rather splendid idea. As Sammy Hagar openly concedes, many of the songs here were overlooked first time around and almost 20 years after Red Voodoo kickstarted his career there’s never been a better time to reassess the former Van Halen frontman’s varied back catalogue.
Spanning seven years – up to 2006’s Livin’ It Up – Volume 1 of When The Party Started opens up in typically feisty fashion: Stand Up and Serious Juju set the tone for what turns out to be a genre-busting journey through Hagar’s post-enormodome years. Neither song screams commercial hit and yet both draw on decades of songwriting experience and supreme self-confidence. A strong sense of fulfilment runs right through this record.
Skip to the end and two new tunes are a reminder that Hagar hasn’t finished yet. No Worries and Never Said Goodbye (thanks goodness he didn’t) stand toe to toe with Tropic Of Capricorn and Sam I Am – perhaps the pick of the ‘classic’ cuts.
Whether you were schooled on Montrose, adore Van Hagar or simply appreciate honest and authentic musicianship then this first chapter of When The Party Started won’t disappoint. Red hot.