Richie Onori is angry. In fact, he’s more than angry—he’s pissed off, big time. Onori, a veteran rocker (drummer in the current iteration of The Sweet—remember Ballroom Blitz?) has released his latest album In The Name Of Freedom, and as one might imagine by the title, it’s a political album in the tradition that goes all the way back to Bob Dylan in the 60’s to Rage Against The Machine today.
In common with Dylan and Rage, Onori is an unabashed liberal, and the songs on the album reflect his decidedly leftist slant. Onori wrote the songs and handles all the lead vocals, and the common thread that runs through the album is that there’s a lot wrong with America and it’s up to us, the people, to fix it.
Power to the People opens with sound clips of Hendrix’s rendition of Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock and children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance—with a twist: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. God bless GE, God bless Citigroup. Amen.” The lyrics of the song are similarly unambiguous, railing against Big Government and Big Corporations. The music is driving, straight-ahead rock, and Phil Wooward’s screaming lead guitar kicks the song (Woodward rocks hard in every song he plays on).
Hey You (Better Think Again) calls out Wall Street speculators and pharmaceutical companies.
In a break from political commentary, Long Live Rock is a more conventional song praising the glory of rock n’ roll music.
American Fighters is not what one might think. The title is a clever wordplay—it’s not about the military, but rather ordinary men and women working hard to try to achieve the American dream.
Buffalo Nation is a nod to Native American values.
Blues Messenger features an acoustic guitar intro, an (appropriate for the song’s title) acoustic bluesy slide guitar, wah guitar (all guitars in this song are played by Onori) and a funky clavichord riff that adds a really cool, unexpected twist to a blues song.
Probably the most unusual song on the album is In The Name of Freedom. Very cool Latin percussion played by Sal Rodriguez, and Onori once again handles all the guitars. In this song, the medical/pharmaceutical industry is in Onori’s crosshairs.
Even if one doesn’t agree with Onori’s political leanings, the music, musicianship and production on In The Name Of Freedom make it a highly listenable—and enjoyable–record.
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