By Bill Adams
While some records can fade, images live forever and, in Ted Nugent’s case, those images are what have always preceded their inevitable soundtrack. Think about it – virtually everybody knows Ted Nugent from television as the NRA-endorsed, gun-toting, wild-eyed Motor City maniac with charisma to burn – even if they’ve never heard “Cat Scratch Fever” or “Free-For-All.” Likewise, everyone over thirty knows the words “Double Live Gonzo” and “Intensities In 10 Cities” courtesy of Mike Myers and Wayne’s World, and know they have something to do with music even if they don’t know that they’re the names of two very-well-selling live albums by Ted Nugent. Such is the nature of the disparity between audio and visual media – but those dots get connected on Setlist: The Very Best Of Ted Nugent, as the album makes sure to include all of the guitarist’s pop culture staples with his name in plain view.
Even without any accompanying video footage too, Nugent’s Setlist translates incredibly well; culling essential tracks from the extended edition reissues of Free For All and Cat Scratch Fever as well as essential tracks from Intensities In 10 Cities and Double Live Gonzo and Live At The Hammersmith ’79, Setlist assembles a very vivid track list that does conjure the images of a wild-eyed Nugent (check out how “Just What The Doctor Ordered” leads in, and you’ll get it) relishing in the moment – the lights, the attention, the spectacle – and it is the guitarist’s element; he loves every minute. Any listener can tell the guitarist has always loved it too as the set trips through each period between 1976 and 1981 and Nugent’s demeanor remains constant every step of the way. The classic tunes including “The Flying Lip Lock,” “Stormtroopin’,” “I Take No Prisoners” “Free-For-All” and “Cat Scratch Fever” all rant and rave beautifully here and certainly recall everything that has ever been best in Ted Nugent as well as the intoxicating images of the guitarist in his prime. This Setlist compilation isn’t comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give unfamiliar listeners a gateway to test the waters of one of the wildest icons in rock history – and that’s a good start.
Bill Adams is editor-in-chief of groundcontrolmag.com