Here at rushonrock we love to dig deep into our metal closet and pull out a gem from the past – before comparing it to the current output from one of our favourite late 80s artists. This week we focus on US stars Great White who are back doing what they do best following a tragic recent history.

Now: 2007 Back To The Rhythm (Frontiers) sees frontman Jack Russell remind the rock buying public that just because you’re named after a small dog doesn’t mean you don’t boast the perfect set of pipes. Forget the jibes about barking, growling and yelping – this record reinforces the view of those in the know that Great White deserved more than their second division status at a time when the likes of Cinderella and Poison were tearing through the Billboard Hot 100.

The title track sets the tone for a slick and sleazy album which gets better and better with every fresh listen. Still Hungry isn’t anything to do with Twisted Sister but still establishes itself as a modern rock anthem and Take Me Down is typical Russell as he once again revels in his role as classic rock troubador. The UK bonus track is a belting cover of 30 Days In The Hole and wraps up a heart warming set from one of the most underrated bands in rock.

If you caught Great White at Newcastle’s Carling Academy II this year you’re a canny judge. The set rocked, the old classics were pure gold dust and the tunes showcased from Back To The Rhythm more than held their own against a strong back catalogue. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2009.  

rushonrock rated: 7/10 Back To The Great

…And Then: 1989 …Twice Shy (Capitol) went top 10 in Great White’s native America and took the band to the brink of superstardom. Featuring the pumped-up production of Alan Niven and Michael Lardie, the natural successor to Once Bitten… is chock full of glossy soft rock anthems perfect for the peak of the hair metal movement.

A competent if unspectacular cover of Ian Hunter’s Once Bitten Twice Shy was always likely to overshadow a batch of brilliant originals but at least that hit gave Russell and co. their way into the big leagues. House Of Broken Love sees the band unleash their full array of songwriting skills and The Angel Song is, to this day, one of the standout lighter-waving standards of an era when big productions and big emotions won the hearts of millions of MTV fans worldwide.

What should have been the springboard for greater commercial success ultimately became a millstone around the neck of these All-American heroes and it’s taken the best part of 20 years for Great White to recover. But without this record you’re missing a vital part of your hair metal history. Expect a reissue sometime soon.

rushonrock rated: 9/10 Shy Bairns Get Nowt