Overall, ‘Gamma 4’ is an interesting listen, but don’t try and pigeon-hole it alongside the previous Gamma efforts.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Gamma 4
LABEL: RoMoCo Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Ronnie Montrose – guitars * Davey Pattison – vocals * Glenn Letsch – bass * Denny Carmassi – drums * Ed Roth – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Darkness To Light * 02 Love Will Find You * 03 Resurrection Shuffle * 04 Oh No You Don’t * 05 Bad Reputation * 06 Last Man On Earth * 07 The Only One * 08 Out Of These Hands * 09 Prayers * 10 Low Road Home
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The exploits of guitar legend Ronnie Montrose are well known to readers of Glory Daze. We don’t need to provide a lengthy diatribe of his career, it is well covered elsewhere.
Ronnie has had ab interesting period of activity beyond the last Gamma album (1982’s ‘Gamma 3’). Montrose had enough material to entertain the possibility of bringing the band back together, albeit eighteen years later..
All the mainstays of the previous incarnation of the band returned, with keyboard duties handled by Ronnie’s cohort Ed Roth. Despite the passing of time, the band picked up where they left off without skipping a beat.
A point not lost on the band members, enjoying the opportunity to come together again without the record label politics. ‘Gamma 4’ was released on Ronnie’s own RoMoCo label, so he called the shots. The band allowed to just ‘go for it’ in the studio.
Opener ‘Darkness To Light’ features a similar guitar tone to the fantastic’ Four Horsemen’, but that’s where the similarity ends. The song shuffles between quiet verses and full-steam ahead guitar histrionics on the solos.
‘Love Will Find You’ is straight out of the Gary Moore cookbook circa the 80’s. It’s commercial balladry which is familiar to Moore’s material a la ‘Run For Cover’ and ‘Wild Frontier’. Taking the happy shuffle a la Huey Lewis is ‘Resurrection Shuffle’.
Keeping the foot on the gas is the entertaining ‘Oh No You Don’t’. This is more brass swelled moments of melodia that’ll have the aforementioned Mr Lewis poking his nose into the studio. ‘Bad Reputation’ has a bit of everything, a real mixed bag.
‘Last Man On Earth’ is similar to ‘Voyager’, with depth, atmosphere and familiar drum work which made ‘Voyager’ a winner. ‘The Only One’ is a gorgeous acoustic workout while Ronnie brings out the slide guitar on ‘Out Of These Hands’.
The last two tracks ‘Prayer’ and ‘Low Road Home’ feature more acoustic guitar. A slight folk edge. And when cast in a certain light, this could be Tommy Shaw on one of his solo albums.
Overall, ‘Gamma 4’ is an interesting listen, but don’t try and pigeon-hole it alongside the previous Gamma efforts. It’s certainly not as bad as most make it out to be, particularly if you read reviews elsewhere on the Internet.
It’s just different – that’s all, and despite my initial trepidation, I’ve really come to enjoy this album. And when you consider the prolific output of Ronnie Montrose over the years, making it sound the same as previous albums does not even enter into his equation.
Gamma 4′ was re-released on CD by the good folk over at Wounded Bird Records during 2005, an excellent choice.