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VAN HALEN  Women and Children First 

 

VAN HALEN's Third Album, Women and Children First Review  

Edward Van Halen Plays Synthsizer for the First Time on "And The Cradle Will Rock"

 

Van Halen Women And Children First Album Review by Chris Gossett dot com

The whole album "Women and Children First" was recorded in a couple weeks time.  The bulk of it was old Van Halen material, already mastered live by the band.  Much of this album was like the first album, that it was a quick, simple process for the band. 

Innovation is always the name of the game when it comes to Edward Van Halen.  The innovation that is first noticeable on Women And Children First is from the first notes of the opening tune of "And The Cradle Will Rock".  

AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

FOOLS
ROMEO DELIGHT
TORA! TORA!
LOSS OF CONTROL
TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME
COULD THIS BE MAGIC?
IN A SIMPLE RHYME | "GROWTH"
ACT LIKE IT HURTS  (unreleased)
 

It was the first keyboard / piano work performed on an album by Eddie Van Halen.  The first sound, similar to the phase shifter and chorusing sound on "Atomic Punk" from Van Halen 1, was not a guitar but a Moog Synthesizer, played through Wurlitzer amps. 

"Everybody Wants Some!!" was written on the Van Halen II tour.  The song is absolutely fantastic from the "cat sounds" my dad said I was making, imitating the song, when I was a teen-ager to its inclusion in the scene of the movie "Better Off Dead" which has the song accompanied by the (appropriate here) fantasy "Frankenstein Creation" of a living hamburger.  Here is the 2008 live "Everybody Wants Some!!" version, complete with the addition of a drill, a la "Poundcake".

"Fools" was a song that Van Halen was performing in its entirety before they were signed to Warner Brothers.  It was also the title song of the rarely found acetate record, "Rules Are For Fools," a four sided, part live, part studio demo.

"Romeo Delight" was another one that was being played before Van Halen recorded their first album. It is a very fun song to play on guitar, if you are a guitar player.  It is definitely one that David Lee has always found the need to "forget the (*&^ing words" to.  Back in the day it was a part of his schtick.  Roth is definitely a one of a kind.

"Tora! Tora!" is named after the World War fame of the phrase.  It is a great way to start side 2 of the LP.  Using only a CD the generation that is newest and enjoying Van Halen misses the point of LPs.  LPs were intentionally made in a specific order, not just for time but for TWO openings instead of just one opening song. 

For the next track, "Loss Of Control," we will use the same reference that was made by David Lee Roth himself the Steve Rosen, also about LPs.  Dave said "Loss Of Control" is like taking that record and "turning it up to 78."  It's just like "zip!" and you're hearing everything super fast.  He likened it to Friday nights and wanting to turn everything up to 78. (33 - LP, 45 - single sized record, 78 - played faster than 33 or 45.  EPs, for instance would be great on 78.  78 quality was known to be highest. 

"Take Your Whiskey Home" is interesting to listen to from the bar days.  This song has been played largely the same since its inception but has an acoustic intro that was added for the album.  It really makes the tension thick before starting the song which has thicker tension still.  Talk of making it half way through the label in Roth's lyrics prove the man partied hard as a youngster to have gotten that understanding.  Consider the song was probably lyrically written when Dave was 17 or 18!

"Could This Be Magic" is a really obscure song in that Edward uses, among all things, a banjo.

"In A Simple Rhyme" is one of the most unique Van Halen songs in that it's got a lot of harmony and vocals.  The bridge before the solo is some of the best vocal work with David Lee Roth and the boys.

"Growth" is the riff repeated four times and ends the album, and it is an un-credited song  that is basically left as part of "In A Simple Rhyme".  This was played live on the 5150 and following Sammy Hagar led tours.  Sammy would play along on guitar with Eddie as they traded licks.  The song, live, "Growth" is longer and has more content and different chord progressions to go along with the album version of "Growth". 

Additionally "Act Like It Hurts", an instrumental recorded by Edward during the sessions for Women And Children First, is able to be heard, and it's a wonder as to why it was left unreleased.  It is truly excellent but was never used as the basis for any other song. 

Women And Children First gets an 8 out of 10.  The album was not given much time to evolve.  With more time more songs would have been added to make this a 9 or 10 I feel. 

 

 

 

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