Alan Merrill | Snakes and Ladders

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Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Pop: Quirky Moods: Type: Vocal
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Snakes and Ladders

by Alan Merrill

"Snakes and Ladders" is volume 3 of the Alan Merrill "collections" series, the first two being "Face Of 69" and "Numbers. This recording follows along the same theme, with both newly recorded and old remixed remastered tracks in equal measures.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Snakes and Ladders
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4:11 $0.99
2. Me, You
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4:10 $0.99
3. Restless Soul
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6:05 $0.99
4. TNTeenager
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2:55 $0.99
5. Monitor
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2:15 $0.99
6. Fire in a Wax Museum
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3:14 $0.99
7. Lost in Lust
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3:22 $0.99
8. Cat's Eye Moon
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2:19 $0.99
9. Radio
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3:43 $0.99
10. Illusion
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3:06 $0.99
11. No Speed Limit
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3:16 $0.99
12. Cold, Cold Septemeber
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5:04 $0.99
13. Rain Chasing Dreams
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3:38 $0.99
14. Freewheeler
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3:02 $0.99
15. Wait for It
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3:37 $0.99
16. Straight From Your Heart
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2:29 $0.99
17. Somebody Special
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3:22 $0.99
18. Dead End Zone
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3:24 $0.99
19. Everyday All Night Stand
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3:07 $0.99
20. Phoenix and the Renegade
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2:27 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
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.


Reviews


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Louise Hunter

Always catchy, always a new surprise
Snakes and Ladders is the third in the "Collections Series" by this versatile, extraordinary artist.
I feel the arrangement of the earlier tracks intentionally serves to tell Alan Merrill's story. He has been in the music business since the mid 1960s and has lived quite an interesting and unusual life. His lyrics can sometimes reflect ideas and situations that some people might find themselves less than easy with, but this isn't about making people feel comfortable, this is a candid view of a real life, honestly told.

The title track "Snakes and Ladders" speaks of Merrill's rollercoaster career, sometimes up, sometimes down and sometimes switching back on itself; the easy going country style making it seem like he is dealing with all of life's hard knocks with humour and good grace, but you can still feel the pain.

Moving on to the song "Me You" which tells of the agony of an unrequited, almost obsessional passion for a woman, who is playing with his emotions. It's so easy to relate, we have all been in a similar situation I'm sure and recognize the sickening heartbreak of it. This is one of my favourite Alan Merrill songs, because it is so honest and humble, but what an amazing rock song! It's empowering to anyone who is disappointed in love

"Restless Soul" is a sophisticated ballad that represents a sense of mortality, and the acceptance of change and loss and how he has to keep on moving on.. . Its such a beautiful song and coming after a country number and a rock one it really provides a mellow zone before the insane rocked out frenzy of "TNTeenager"

"TNTeenager" is a tour-de-force of crazy sparkly rock'n'roll, watching a girl dancing, celebrating the sexual energy of youth with great humour and a recognition that it's a look and dont touch situation. It is as powerful a song as Merrill's much better known composition "I Love Rock'n'Roll" (that he wrote for his "British" band The Arrows, back in 1975 and which has become one of the top rock songs of all time via famous covers by Joan Jett, Britney Spears and others.)

"Monitor" is a song written when Alan was young and it was recorded by his Japanese band Vodka Collins on their Tokyo-New York album, a classic in Japan. Monitor is a chunky slice of 1970s Glam, and like the song that follows it, "Fire In A Wax Museum"it has a great tune. The second is a more recent composition but shares that same strutting Bolan-esque feel.

"Lost In Lust" is a glorious great shout of a rock song. Basic premise. Alan likes girls. You may have worked that out already.
"Cat's Eye Moon" which follows it is another pounding slab of neo-Glam. Then on to"Radio", an upbeat simple slice of happy-go-lucky pop rock as is "No Speed Limit" Between these two is the beautiful "Illusion"
The haunting "Cold Cold September" is one of the greatest songs anyone has ever written. This one deserves to be world famous too.

"Rain Chasing Dreams" expands on the Snakes and Ladders theme of the illusory nature of perceived success, and contains the lyric "Love is lost and won by the heart, buy the gun" which appeals to me as an observation. Then comes "Freewheeler" a poetic reflection of the sinister side of city life. "Wait For It" is a wonderful song. I'd love to hear a few other acts take that on. This and the next two "Somebody Special" and "Dead End Zone" have a lot of cover potential
"Everyday All Night Stand" goes way back to Alan's first album, Merrill 1 in 1971. A lovely jangly rock'n'roll road song; and another personal favourite (Buy Merrill 1, it's amazing)

"Phoenix and The Renegade" is a class apart, a Spartan, Gene Clark inspired jewel of a song, acoustic, personal and heartbreaking.

The strength and depth of Merrill's songwriting is so evident throughout this album (and his others) that you find yourself surprised that his name is as little known as it is. This is the man who wrote "I Love Rock'n'Roll", so why isn't his catalog being raided constantly by every singer out there?
All his very commercial mainstream style songs each have a unique feature that makes them memorable above the general background hum of popular music, and all his stand-out exceptional masterpieces represent so much potential for more chart-busting smash covers to happen. People really need to wake up to Alan Merrill and dig a little deeper. I hope they will be as blown-away as I was by this phenomenal talent.