The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
BEAU NASTY – DIRTY, BUT WELL DRESSED (1989)
Even those who consider themselves hardcore fans of the 80’s metal years are likely to have some band that either they have never heard of before. Perhaps there’s a chance they’ve heard the name but memories of the music have been obscured by the passage of time.
The latter might just be the most fitting explanation for the band Beau Nasty. I’m sure most people reading this article are probably scratching their head saying, “Who?”.
Don’t worry though, you are in good company. I am pretty sure that I’ve heard the band’s name before but I can’t really guarantee that. And as for any memories of hearing the music off this sole album they released, nope!
The band is pretty darn obscure to say the least. I looked them up on line and there wasn’t really much to find. There’s not even a Wikipedia page for them.
Of course, after listening to Dirty, But Well Dressed, I can’t say that I’m all that surprised by the lack of information available. The album was released at the pinnacle of metal’s golden years. And despite the band seeming to check every box on the list of what a metal album should have in 1989, the material just really didn’t catch on with seemingly anyone. Of course, the silly album cover with the band posed in Renaissance-era costumes probably didn’t help matters with those people who scoured the shelves for new material to check out.
With the passage of time and new ears to listen though, I was surprised to find that there were some interesting songs to be heard after all. When I first listened to the album, my initial impression of singer Mark Anthony Fretz was that vocally he kind of sounded like a version of Dean Davidson from Britny Fox. Whether it was intentional or just how he sang anyway, the scratchy or raspy vocals gave a bluesy dimension to his performance at times.
The first side of the album kicks off with a song called “Shake It”. It’s not the most original title but there’s a fast paced gritty feel to the song that made me like it in spite of myself. You can check out the video the band made for the song on Youtube. Of course that strong start then gave way to a couple of mediocre rockers in “Goodbye Rosie” and “Gimme Lovin’. Not album killer tracks, but definitely felt like album filler to me.
Of course, those look like pure gold compared to the dreck that was the power ballad “Paradise In The Sand”, a song so dreadfully inane that if the TV show How I Met Your Mother had tried to use it for one of their “Robin Sparkles” episodes, the network’s standards and practices offices would’ve demanded they cut it from the show so they didn’t get arrested for crimes against humanity. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of an oversell on my part but the song was awful.
Mercifully, the album’s title track close out Side One with a smoking energetic rocker that had me saying out loud as I listened, “I am really liking this one”. While that’s not going to win me any fine writing awards, it isn’t often that I talk to myself out loud while listening to an album for this series, so I look at that as a positive achievement on the band’s part.
Side two dug deep into that bluesy feel with the opening “Love To The Bone”. The song has a slow drawl to the opening sequence before a more driving rock tempo takes over and you are confronted with just a very cool song.
The song “Gemini” had kind of a ballad feel to it but there was more of a musical urgency to the song’s delivery. It gave the song some mildly interesting moments. Based solely on the title of the song, I thought “Piece of the Action” sounded like something that could’ve been on an early L.A. Guns release. However, the pain I felt and that you may feel if you choose to check out the album, returns in full force when another enforced ballad bleats through the speakers on “Make A Wish”. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t worse than “Paradise In The Sand” (Spoiler alert: It was about equal in terms of the overly sappy quotient for this song).
The album closes with a cover of “Love Potion #9”. It is vastly “rocked” up in comparison the original song but it doesn’t do much to make this version any better.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a more downwardly slanted article about one of my albums. While Dirty, But Well Dressed has a few tracks that made things bearable, I can’t really come close to truly recommending that this one go on anyone’s must-listen to list.
NOTES OF INTEREST: As noted, this album was the only one the band produced. They formed in 1988 but had split by 1990.
While Beau Hill served as the album’s executive producer, I was more interested to find that Paul Winger is listed as a producer. Paul is the brother of Kip Winger. Both Beau Hill and Paul Winger, along with brother Nate Winger also helped provide backing vocals on the album as well.
Drummer Mike Terrana would go on from Beau Nasty to play in such heavier acts like Rage, Gamma Ray and Masterplan amongst his many credits.