Y'all best be careful where you step here because there are two Great Whites. Original singer Jack Russell has started his own Great White (suitably named Jack Russell's Great White) after a bit of handbags that resulted in the original band replacing him with Terry Ilous. 'Elation' is the result of that personnel shuffle, and what a cracking little fucker it is too.
Great White has proven to be a band that's got a bigger revolving door than a down town whore house on a busy Saturday night. There are few periods where the line up has remained the same for longer than eighteen months or so and in fact, their most stable period seems to have been when the band took a bit of a break from each other between 96 and 99.
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There are those that lament Jack Russell leaving the band but to be honest it seems to have been the making of Great White with Terry Ilous proving to be a bit of a find. OK, he does not have the fireworks of Russell and his style is a little understated but for this album that works a peach; his voice being very reminiscent of Cry Of Love's great Kelly Holland.
Great White, seem to have made an album it wanted rather than what anyone else expected and it's better for it too. 'Elation' could have done with a bit more poke perhaps, as it blusters rather than booms in places but it sits in a bluesy, 'DC style groove that would suit being on the death decks as you and some pals shoot the breeze with a few beers after work or whilst you've got your head under the hog working on the clutch.
'Elation' is going to get a rough ride because Great White veterans will not take to it because there is no Russell and newcomers might find the sound a bit too redneck and boogified and that would be a shame. With the exception of the ballad 'Love Is Enough', 'Elation' has a lot going for it.
'Promised Land' has a great laid back lazy blues lope to it, 'Love Train' is a good old backwoods stomper that whispers it's fondness of the south and '(I've Got) Something For You' has the perfect kick to get the proceedings going. 'Complicated' has a great barroom feel to it that Frankie Miller would love and the Stonesy 'Shotgun Willie's' and 'Heart Of A Man' have a grand boogie groove to them. So the partisan attitude might be better off being left in its box.
Y'know, there are a lot of people who reckoned Guns N' Roses were at one time the most dangerous band in the world but it seems they figured without Great White. Trouble of one sort or another has dogged this lot since they first appeared and I suspect still does now. So whilst G N' R and its tributary acts are growing old gracefully, Great White are still down in the gutter getting their hands dirty despite a back catalogue that's sold ten million units.
In one respect it's a shame because there was a time when Great White were poised for great things; the big time beckoned with not only open arms but open legs too. However, the missed opportunities and major league let-downs have helped to inform such gritty down to earth albums as 'Elation' and that is no bad thing; no bad thing at all.
'Elation' is an album of largely mid paced rocked up straight down your throat southern tinged boogie that's specially made for saddle dogs and bar wars veterans everywhere. It will not send the band stratospheric overnight but if you are into the likes of Jackyll and Four Horsemen then you're gonna like this; a lot.