This album is Volume 3 of Alan Merrill’s “collections” series, the first two albums being “The Face Of 69” and “Numbers” -
“Snakes And Ladders” follows in the same vein, a mix of new recordings and unreleased versions of previously issued material, alternate takes and remixes. The first three songs are never before released titles. The title track “Snakes And Ladders” was written in during Alan Merrill’s time as a founding member of the band Runner, and the song intended for the group’s second album but the band broke up during the sessions for the second LP. “Me, You” and “Restless Soul” are recently written songs, and although Mr. Merrill has vowed to never co-write songs with anyone ever again some years ago, he made an exception for his old friend Shinohara Nobuhiko (of the popular Japanese band The Happenings 4 + 1), who he’s known from the Japanese Group Sounds scene since 1968 and they wrote "Restless Soul" together about the passing of a mutual friend. On this stylistically disparate album, which includes material across his 40 plus year career as a professional recording artist, one can expect to go on a musical visit to many genres of popular music that Mr. Merrill has participated in, glam rock, rock, power pop, country, folk rock and more . For example a new recording of “Monitor” is included on this album, written in Tokyo in 1971 from the classic LP by Merrill’s Tokyo based glam rock band Vodka Collins, and originally on the group’s “Tokyo-New York” album which debuted in 1973. The album has recently been reissued in October of 2011 on EMI Japan. “Cat’s Eye Moon” was written for artist Peter Max’s “Alice In Wonderland” animated film in 1970, one of 30 other glam rock leaning songs Alan Merrill wrote for that project at Mr. Max’s request. The film was abandoned half way through the making of it due the phenomenal costs of animation at the time, but the song lives on. Also on this album is an out take from the album “Merrill 1” from 1971, a power pop song titled “Everyday All Night Stand.” There’s also a stripped down version of “Illusion” and other songs from Alan Merrill’s “Aleecat” album, plus other tracks from “Cupid Deranged” which are included here in different takes of the originally released music. These album collections are intended to accompany Alan Merrill’s soon to be released autobiography, and there will be a Volume 4 of the collections to complete a CD box set.
Alan Merrill is a rock music veteran who has been dubbed a "human jukebox" by BBC DJ Alex Dyke recently in England. Having been in bands of various disparate styles over the years, Alan has a broad knowledge of many genres. He uses his broad palate of colors as a singer and songwriter to put together a unique and fascinating group of songs here. However, as always with Mr. Merrill, his vocals are his greatest asset, and they're excellent on this recording. As in the past, Alan Merrill is backed by superb musicians on his recordings, and on many of the tracks he plays all the instruments and sings all the parts himself. If you liked volumes one and two of his collections series, "Face Of 69" and "Numbers," you will love this album.