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Styx Big Bang Theory Frontiers Records
FRCD247
· Produced By: Gary Loizzo & Styx

· Running Time: 56.29

· Release Date: May 16

· Released: EU US

· Musical Style: Classic Rock

· Links: Frontiers Records Styx
88%
Songs: 85%
Sound: 95%
Ah, covers albums…an inspired reflection on one's past, or a desperate attempt to continue one's recording career?
In this case - the former – I think Styx is a valid artist to provide their own take on some classic rock songs as they really are the definition of a classic rock band.
They have been there and lived it and from what can hear on this record, still have something to offer fans.
Not every track here can be called an outright winner though and I found myself disliking a couple of tracks I thought would be sure-fire favourites. On the other hand, I also found myself liking songs I thought were left-field choices to include.
More so than any other album reviewed this year, I think fans will debate the merits of this album ad-nauseum, so I'll do my best to get to the point and let the fans deliver the final verdict – if they ever can agree…
Styx 2005 is stalwarts Shaw, Young and Sucherman, joined by Lawrence Gowan (who surely has earnt his stripes by now) and new boy Ricky Phillips (Bad English, The Babys, Coverdale/Page).
This is not the place for a debate over the line-up – everyone loves Dennis DeYoung, but this is the band as it is now and some would do well to accept that and get on with life.
Track By Track:
I'm the biggest fan Gowan as a solo artist and adore his voice, but for whatever reason cannot warm to this cover of I Am The Walrus. But, it has been warmly received and led to this album being recorded, so what do I know.
I Can See For Miles sees Tommy Shaw doing his best Roger Daltrey. I like the style of this track. The band captures the vibe of the original and has some fun with it. The songs feature some impressive guitar work and (I think) will be well received.
Can't Find My Way Home sees Tommy at the mike again, with a faithful rendition of the Blind Faith classic. As a stripped back acoustic track, the song has a feel good vibe and Tommy's voice sounds brilliant. Force of habit has me waiting for the crashing hard rock finish (ie. the House Of Lords version), but I'll get over that.
It Don't Make Sense sees James Young up front for this bluesy 70's rock track. I'll be the first to say I don't like James' voice for the most part and tend to skip his songs…but the bluesy swagger and laid back style of this song suits his voice perfectly.
Time to rock again and Gowan's back to front I Don't Need No Doctor – originally by Humble Pie. I love the fact this is a fast rocker and Gown sings his heart out. The band put an update stamp on the track and I can imagine this one will be rolled out on the upcoming tour.
One Way Out is a track I'm still not convinced by…it's a cute little boogie number featuring Tommy Shaw, who sounds very comfortable here. They take the Allman Brothers southern feel and recreate it well. This one will be down to personal taste.
A Salty Dog is a Gowan sung version of the classic Procol Harum ballad. But I'm not digging this one either – despite Gowan's vocal being strong, emotional and faultless.
Summer In The City is one track I was worried about, but it seriously rocks and I'm pleased to say is my pick of the album. Tommy does a killer job on vocals and Todd and Ricky provide the thumping rhythm section needed to carry this track into greatness.
Time for James Young again, this time on the Hendrix all-time classic Manic Depression. Once again the bluesy swagger of the track fits the voice and I'm surprising myself in saying I like the track.
Talkin' About The Good Times is an obscure inclusion – the original by The Pretty Things. Lawrence Gowan takes on lead vocals for a song which mirrors the attitude of I Am The Walrus and again features a Beatlesque vibe. It's ok – again I'm surprising myself by not being totally sold on something that features Gowan.
The dark and moody classic rock of Locomotive Breath is another song I'm not generally a fan of, but again find myself liking it due to it fitting James Young's voice and attitude perfectly.
Find The Cost Of Freedom is a mere 1 minute long – an acoustic guitar the lone accompaniment to some sweet harmony vocals. An interesting segway into another all-time classic – the Free staple Wishing Well. No one could do any damage to this great track and Tommy Shaw sound well at home singing it, with the band sounding a natural to cover it.
Blue Collar Man @ 2120 is a take it or leave it conclusion to the album. It's a classic song that would be almost impossible to corrupt. This version sees the band slow it right down for a bluesy 6 minute plus version. Tommy's altered vocal and tempo creates a strong mood and I think most will enjoy this adaptation. Different for sure…but ok. However, I know some will hate it – something about sacrilege perhaps?
The Bottom Line
I generally dislike albums that feature several vocalists, but Styx seem to be one of the few bands to alternative between singers without disrupting the flow of an album. As far as covers albums go, I think this is one of the better ones I have heard and I think if will have a solid shelf life with fans.
Those not into the band generally might find something interesting here but established Styx fans have probably already made up their mind!
Previously Reviewed
· Arch Allies
· Brave New World
· Styxworld
· Cyclorama
· Big Bang Theory

Line Up
· Tommy Shaw: Guitars & Vocals
· James Young: Guitars & Vocals
· Todd Sucherman: Drums, Percussion & Backing Vocals
· Ricky Phillips: Bass & Backing Vocals
· Lawrence Gowan: Keyboards & Vocals

Essential for fans of:
· Styx
· Classic Rock Covers
Track Listing
· I Am TheWalrus
· I Can See For Miles*
· Can't Find My Way Home*
· It Don't Make Sense
· I Don't Need No Doctor*
· One Way Out
· A Salty Dog
· Summer In The City*
· Manic Depression
· Talkin' About The Good Times
· Locomotive Breath
· Find The Cost Of Freedom
· Wishing Well*
· Blue Collar Man @ 2120
--*Best Tracks


09/04/07: Alistair - alistairc_2000@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 5
Dull, Okay I am the walrus is good and I quite like Blue Collar man but this album is so unnecessary. I really like Styx but this album has put me off them alot. I played it a couple of times last year but not since. This is a very poor album.

10/10/05: John - mowpardude@yahoo.com
Rating: 69
I was somewhat disappointed with the song selection for this album. This could have been a great album. In my opinion it is mediocre. I could think of a ton of other songs that Styx could have used on this album that would provide a lot more satsifaction to the fans. This album isn't bad, but it doesn't really pull me in as much as I would expect. The highlights are "Can't find my way home" and "Summer in the city" both sung by Tommy Shaw. Great job on both of those. "I am the walrus" is catchy and given a great treatment here. Blue Collar Man @ 2120 has a nice slowed down feel to it. Some of you may have enjoyed Styx's cover of "Wishing well", but with me it pales next to the original. But then again no one could ever come close to playing the song with the same emotion & intensity that Paul Kossoff & Paul Rodgers did on the original. The remaining tunes are okay but I'll keep my hopes up for the next studio album.

08/10/05: Alan - ajj0217@comcast.net
Rating: 50
I can't give a good covers record more than a 75. The creativity of songwriting is what gives an album and a band it's glory. A compilation of great songs makes a great album. This compilation is filled with great songs, played without any creativity. It's like going and seeing a great club band do covers. Uninspiring.

07/08/05: Rich - lovedrug_ld50@yahoo.com
Rating: 80
Styx has been putting out quality product in recent times.Cyclorama was a return to excellence as is this latest offering of Styx doing there take on classic tunes.Gowan is truly an asset to the new line up and the vision of the band is so fresh and rejuvenated.The Kilroy days are unforgivable but this is a nice make up.Would be nice to hear Gowan sing babe,I'm sure he'd work wonders.Let it happen for the Fans Tommy,great vocals on all your trax as usual dude....rock on.

04/08/05: Jim Mullen - jimmy19029@yahoo.com
Rating: 65
Nice cover but kind of a disappointment after the fantastic Cyclorama.
I dunno. It seems like the powers that be at record companies just can't stand the thought of any original music coming from our vintage bands so that's why we're constantly bombarded with all the endless hit repackagings, live albums and now our bands performing classic rock tunes......originally done by others.
I'm not adverse to a cover song or two but a whole ALBUM's worth kind of wears thin after a time. That, plus the fact that in most cases, the cover doesn't really top the original. Toto did one a few years back and there have been others as well.
Ashford & Simpson's I Don't Need No Doctor(made famous by Humble Pie) probably comes off best. I Can See For Miles has some pretty good manic Keith Moon type, though a bit muted, drumming by Todd Sucherman. But that John Entwistle bass is noticeably absent. Hey, the Who haven't even been able to replace him! Lawrence sings fine on A Salty Dog but comes nowhere near Gary Brooker's poignant performance on the original. Wishing Well isn't too bad, Summer in the City doesn't even come close to the Lovin' Spoonful's version.
Overall, like a said, a few covers go a long way. A whole album's full(by ANY band) is a bit pointless.

15/07/05: Worldwideweb - worldwideweb@katamail.com
Rating: 60
Good, professional covers record containing some of the greatest rock songs that were ever written. However take it for what it is, a covers record without a lot of diversity from the original takes. So that's the point...in my opinion, if you want to do a covers record, do it in your "music style" or don't do it. And in "Big bang theory" there's not much Styx' style inside the tracks.

13/07/05: mike - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 70
Really for the fan who must have everything by Styx (which is me, and I still wont be playing it). These song don't sound like Styx. While Styx rocks live I really think they are very difficent in the studio and desprately miss the contribution DDY did in album prodution. This sound like it was made to cash in to their new and hard won populatiy from their live shows and still hide their weakness they have in developing new material. If you are going to do covers then cover songs that the fans of your music also like and wished you would have song and sound like you(i.e. Hold Your Head Up - Argent)

12/07/05: Arney - daveandmel@kooee.com.au
Rating: 70
I must admit I am a big Styx fan & only after discovering them for myself in the last 5 years.I've always loved the "Damn Yankees" & never really bothered with Styx until buying Brave new world cheap somewhere, thats when I started buying the back catalogue which in most part I love (to all my heavy metal friends dismay).That being said, I am not all that impressed with this CD.I think they did a good job on most of the songs but the simple song choice over-all is not to my liking.The few exceptions are "Wihing well","I dont need no doctor","manic depression" & my personal favorite on the album "Locomotive breath"( being a die-hard Tull fan).This,unfortunately ,wont be a disc I'll be reaching for to play often in the future.The boys need to stick to writing & recording their own stuff, I personally enjoy that much more.

12/07/05: Mr X - nobody@home.com
Rating: 0
This album is a cry for help!!!! They need DDY back SO bad!!!! Folks, if you want to hear a GREAT cover album,go out and buy Rush's EP called "Feedback"!!! 8 songs on it which blow this garbage out of the water!!! Maybe Styx should buy it too so they can hear how a cover album SHOULD sound!! This album makes "babe" sound sooooo much better!!!

07/07/05: the rockmeister - craigiecubsfan@yahoo.ca
Rating: 1
STYX?? YOU SUCK. I WOULD RATHER SIT THROUGH 10 HOURS OF DENNIS DEYOUNG SINGING SHOW TUNES THEN LISTEN TO 3 MINUTES OF LARRY GOWAN DRIVEL. GOWAN SUCKED IN THE 80'S AND HE SUCKS WORSE NOW. WHAT A LOAD. BIG BANG THEORY??? PIECE OF CRAP THEORY. JUST BECAUSE ALL YOU OLD FARTS OUT THERE STILL THING HEARING RENEGADE BY SOME COVER BAND VERSION OF STYX IS COOL, GIVE ME DDY SINGING MR. ROBOTO ANYDAY AND TWICE ON THURSDAY. KISS MY ASS LARRY GOWAN.. YOU ARE NO MIKE RENO.

01/07/05: Eric Weik - abitaman205@yahoo.com
Rating: 87
Very good cd. I'm, a big DDY fan, and really don't care for cover cds. But the boys in Styx pull it off. Larry, Tommy, and JY all have some good songs on this, that they sing. LArry is the real star of the cd. DON'T NEED NO DOCTOR, is the best on the cd, as are the rest of Larry's songs that he sings on. Tommy's songs are good too. The Only song that really bites on the cd is JY's take on the Jimi Hendrix song. It's a very fun ccd to listen to. Would have liked a cd of new Styx songs, but this will do "for now"-ERIC

01/07/05: Greg Austin - gaustinii@cox.net
Rating: 78
I believe the best compliment you can give an artist is to remake one of his/her songs. I believe Styx does this rather well on BBT. Face it folks, remakes/cover songs have been around since the first note of music was played. I enjoy hearing different artists' versions of songs. Look at Billy Joel's "Shameless" vs Garth Brooks. Rock and Country listeners would argue whose version is best. Now more about the BBT cd: Gowan's voice is absolutely beginning to grate on me. It just sounds too nasally. I'm sorry, I just don't care for most of his songs. I immediately hit the song skip button when his songs start playing. Tommy Shaw naturally rocks and JY does a wonderful job on Locomotive Breath. I know it's a cover CD; however, I'm just happy it's not another greatest hits or live cd. I definitely would like to see DDY back, however, I don't believe that's going to happen anytime soon.

26/06/05: Craig Kuhlman - kuhlman@mts.net
Rating: 2
Outside o "Blue Collar Man" ... this album sucks. What a piece of rubbish. Larry Gowan was horrible with his crummy Canadian music in the 80's and he still sucks. Please bring back Dennis DeYoung. I cannot stand Gowan. He truly makes this record a 2.

25/05/05: Mad Mike - mike@madmikeproductions.com
Rating: 40
Those of you who know me know that I am one of the biggest Styx fans on the planet, and that's why this pains me so much to say this, but I agree with a lot of the comments on here. I won't be as hard on them as some though (been a fan since about 75 or so). I have a number one rule when it comes to cover tunes - If someone already did a "Killer" re-make of a tune, don't try to do it again. For example, House of Lords nailed "Can't Find My Way Home" so why try to do it again (and not as good). My main complaint with this CD is that the choice of songs were bad to begin with, and then there is no unique interpretation of them. If you are going to do a cover tune, listen to what Van Halen has done with some crappy songs (Yeah - Roy Orbison really rocked the original Pretty Woman - see what I mean). Maybe word can get out to Def Leppard before they release their tragedy. But then again, the Leps have been known to do a good cover song - but a whole CD? Maybe this is just their revenge for people doing tribute CDs.
Still Love You Styx

25/05/05: Stephen Bargh - stephenbargh@wightcablenorth.net
Rating: 95
I can barely believe some of the comments here. A song is joining of music and words, open to various artist's interpretation. Some may prefer an original version, that's ok but it's very hard to deny that the singing, playing and production, and the song selection, on this album are all excellent. I've been a fan for 27 years, love them with DDY and without DDY. Any fan of good rock music will give this album at least a serious listen.

24/05/05: Lori - lkkreis@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
This CD rocks! Every single song on it is awesome. I love how the 3 lead singers are so different but all so wonderful! My favorites are I Can See for Miles and JY's version of Locomotive Breath. Styx is a rock band through and through!

23/05/05: sissy - optibiz@aol.com
Rating: 0
I really like their version of I Am The Walrus. It has become one on my favs. I like their version - I Can See For Miles - I also like Talking About the Good Times. I have enjoyed listening to it. I think this shows Styx as a VERY talented band that has great versitility. But, let me add that Styx really rocks live and in person. A GREAT LIVE BAND ! I think that it you went to see them perform some of these songs live you would come away with a totally different perspective. I like the new Styx - although DDY is talented, no doubt, I think Styx is really coming into their own now. They are becoming (or have become) the rockin' band they always knew they could be. Thanks.

23/05/05: Kristen - GoMrRoboto@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
This album is a lot of fun, and I haven't gotten sick of playing it over and over again yet :) I can't wait to see some of these songs performed live. They are great performers, and great talents. Go Styx!

22/05/05: GreatHeart - GreatMan@Hotmail.com
Rating: 5
Harem Scarem title alike, but music is not good.

22/05/05: Donna Young-Edick - youngedick@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
I thought it was great, loved I Am The Walrus, Summer in the City and I Can See For Miles, they were my favorites but I thought the rest of the music was also good it just depends on a persons individual taste. Everyone sounded great and it just shows how talented these individuals are and how well they work together.

22/05/05: jackie - cute_angel61_99@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
I love this album!!! Lawrence does an excellent job on idnnd and salty dog, and all the tunes are great and well done. If styx brings Dennis back can't say I would pay to see him, I think Lawrence brings much more energy etc to the band. BBT is a great cd and I am sure the boys will do another cd soon of originial stuff.

22/05/05: styxfanNH - styxfannh@comcast.net
Rating: 90
Flow of the album is great and the songs are top notch interpretations. The guys can simply rock and the vocals are still there.

Fans of Deyoung will continue to trash this and any album without him on it. And that is too bad. There is some really great stuff on this album that simply rocks. Some say they should burry the hatchet with DeYoung, but I believe they already have.

Don't Need No Doctor, A Salty Dog, One Way Out, Summer in the City, and Talkin About the Good Times are great and the others aren't that far behind.

The album theme was requested by their record company and those that dismiss this simply don't know what they are talking about.

What is great about this album is that it brings a focus back to REAL rock and roll and not a cover of broadway tunes or a supporting orchestra. Clear and SImple the music is a rock and roll album, for those that like to rock with their hands in the air instead of holding a martini while sitting in their chair.

20/05/05: Darren Preece - dpreece11@btdigitaltv.com
Rating: 70
They do some good covers on this CD especially Wishing Well and Walrus but i would of preferred an album of new material. An earlier poster said come back Dennis DeYoung and make a real Styx record but if that record sounds like Brave New World ide like DDY to stay the hell away.....Cyclorama whips Brave New Worlds feeble butt into submission, Dennis DeYoung has not written a decent rock tune since 1981 everything since has been weak Manilow inspired slush puppies or drivel like the hiphopcrissy garbage. Now if Dennis would write songs like Queen Of Spades, Borrowed Time, Come Sail Away etc ide have him back tomorrow.

20/05/05: Ty - tysox448@yahoo.com
Rating: 25
This is just a waste of time, just because "I am the Walrus" took the classic rock radio by storm, Styx feel they have to make an entire record of lame cover songs. I am a huge Styx fan, of both the new and old Styx, I am just starting to think this band has become a sell out, I mean these songs on this album SUCK! Good thing I only bought it for $7.99, in about one month it should be selling on half.com for about $.10

20/05/05: Daniel - daniellacalle@canal21.com
Rating: 0
Horrible stuff. An utter disappointment and a waste of money. It could only have been worse if DDY had added his "Broadway influences" and we would have had a Big Crash Theory. Who on Earth tells these bands that covers albums are a good idea?. Who do they think they are to believe that they can put their trademark and brand to this?. Who told them anyone cares about their "view or "take" on other people's songs?. Worst crime of all is the insulting cover of I Can see For Miles. And I love Styx. I believe they have a right to release new records with or without DDY. I believe they have a right to release as many live records as they want. I believe they have a right to do with their songs and legacy anything they see fit. I cannot accept them reducing absolute masterpieces of modern music to lame, safe mid-80s AOR. I never thought anyone could turn Manic Depression into a bombastic bloated ball of fluff, but there you go. Styx, go back to the studio and make as many records as you want, but with your own stuff... and by the way, my opinion of this record can be extended to Toto's Looking Glass bore, Duran Duran's Thank You, Def Leppard's Waterloo Sunset/No Matter What, etc...

20/05/05: Dan MacDonald - dan_mac62@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
No need to be cruel about this record because it is professional & all that but we NEED Dennis back,please guys bury the axe for the fans ,I just think of all the great stuff they could be making.

19/05/05: Beards - dcaman@msn.com
Rating: 85
I thought Styx DID do most of the songs justice. Who would have thought Styx doing Procul Harem, Jethro Tull, or the Allman Brothers? Hilights for me are I don't need no doctor(Gowan rocks it) and Talkin' about the good times. I sincerely hope that you Dennis folks could finally let it die. I loved him too, but if has been waaaay to long. Let it go.

19/05/05: greg - dublg@woh.rr.com
Rating: 90
love it. gowan's "walrus" is excellent.
only song i dont care for is the "salty dog".

19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 0
Same 0 rating as HS ! and rightly so !
Although this is one of my all-time faves acts, this is RUBBISH and it hurts me to admit it.
Not one cover is better than the original, so what's the point ?
Making easy money ? !
Where is the respect for their loyal fans ??????????? !
Once again these guys prove who Styx really was : Dennis Deyoung !
Come back, Dennis and make a REAL Styx record again !
AVOID this !

19/05/05: IAN - ian_752@msn.com
Rating: 35
Styx oh Styx what have you done . I hate cover cd's , band's cashing in on their names . Toto did it and their cd was pants it just smacks of money grabbing at the expence of fans . I hope when i go to see them this year they do nothing off this album at all . Utter rubbish .

19/05/05: Danny A. Clark - dckiss@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
I agree with Andrew for the most part. I feel like the band pulls the tunes off pretty well I guess my main problem with the album is that the band basically just does straight ahead versions of the songs. The band does do the songs justice, with that said I've seen many cover bands in clubs do this type of material as good or better justice. I really wish bands would get away from cover albums and just write new tunes. If they just have to do a cover album than I wish they would do what many Jazz bands do and make the song their own.

18/05/05: jon - booper71@cinci.rr.com
Rating: 50

I thought this album would have some great takes on established songs, I was wrong - most of them come across as being unispired. This was supposed to be Styx's "Fun" record, the offerings here seem anything but. Highlight would be the Humble Pie track.


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