The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

TORA TORA

MISS B. HAVEN'

 

01 - Take It As You Like It
02 - Ain't Nothin’ To It
03 - B - Song
04 - Bite The Bullet
05 - Ride The Wind
06 - Can You Take My Blues Away
07 – That’s The Way Love's Supposed To Be
08 - Timer To Let You Go
09 - Serious
10 - Bad Attitude
11 - Who Am I To Blame
12 - Love and War
13 - Down On You

Tora Tora was one of the highlights of my trip out to Rocklahoma in 2008. They produced two criminally underrated albums back in the day and recorded demos for a third album that has long been available in trading circles but then just disappeared from view. On the evidence of their live show and on this CD that is a great shame.

Before we get into the review it’s worth noting that this release is one of three albums that the band has out at the moment. Some may hope for a resurrection but all the signs are that this is an exercise in tying up loose ends rather than having a final stab. “Miss B Haven’” is subtitled ‘The Unreleased Wild America Recordings’ and you get pretty much what it says on the tin – these were the songs, in demos format, that didn’t make the grade for their second CD. Even though the recordings have been cleaned up for this release there are still some variations in quality as you would expect. But that shouldn’t deter you as there are some gems in here, and for a completists it’s a must.

Singer Anthony Corder has a great voice and even on these demos he’s in find form. The big question is how does a bunch of demos stack up against today’s releases and if the songs are that good why not just re-record them? Well I can’t answer those questions but I can comment on the sound quality and confirm that it’s not the best, but if you are OK with the samples on the record label website then you’ll make it through.

There’s no ‘Walking Shoes’ on here and the sound is very much of that ‘Wild America’ CD – the Bluesier feel that made Tora Tora just that little bit different from their contemporaries. ‘Take It As You Like It’ the opening track sounds as good as some that made the album, it may be standard far but it captures the spirit of the times. The rest of the album is a little more varied but there’s nothing bad on here really.

Favourites include: ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To It’ a bluesy stomp; ‘Bite the Bullet’ which probably should have made the cut for the album; ‘Can you Take My Blues Away’ which again shows some promise. As to a favourite it would have to be the closer ‘Down on You’ which has a great groove to it; or maybe ‘Serious’. The former should have made the final cut; the latter is a pretty straight-forward rocker.

‘Mary Wants Some’ would also be a pretty cool song if the lyrics weren’t quite so clumsy.

But surely that’s the point – this is an album of songs that may have been nice sketches but weren’t really up to the final cut of what I still consider Tora Tora’s best album.

You can see why some didn’t make the cut though ‘B-Song’ sounds like a studio jam and is OK but lacks a real spark; ‘Ride The Wind’ sounds quite promising too but sounds like a song they didn’t spend too much time with and maybe could have been revisited.

Of the rest ‘Who Am I to Blame’ is quite nice, showcasing the bands more Zeppelin-like side, nice vocals but isn’t quite an ‘As Time Goes By’.

All in all it is just cleaned up drawer junk. Better than most demos you hear, but in the main you can tell why it has remained unreleased for so long. It also shows that their quality control was pretty spot on. I personally would have preferred something new or maybe a real release of what was to be their third CD ‘Revolution Day’. Tora Tora is a great band, but I hope this isn’t the last word.

Mark