Published on August 15th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Baton Rouge: Shake Your Soul (Rock Candy, 1990/2019)
Melodic rockers Baton Rouge hit the scene in 1990 with their debut album Shake Your Soul. The band, which featured the dynamic duo of singer/guitarist Kelly Keeling and lead guitarist Lance Bulen, enlisted former Surgin’ mainman (and onetime Bon Jovi collaborator) Jack Ponti to assist with songwriting on this album and handle production duties. The result is an album firmly rooted in the melodic rock/hair metal sound that was so incredibly popular at the time.
Shake Your Soul is all about big guitar hooks, catchy melodies, rock anthems, and power ballads. There are some incredibly radio-friendly songs on this album, like leadoff rocker “Doctor,” “Bad Time Comin’” and “Spread Like Fire,” though only “Walks Like a Woman” was released as a single. Everything about this album – the songwriting, the production, the musicianship and especially the vocals – should have put Baton Rouge in the same category as bands like Ratt or Warrant, but for whatever reason they just never quite became a household name.
Baton Rouge may not have been a massive MTV success back in the day, but they were definitely in the same league, quality-wise, as bands like Tyketto, Babylon A.D. and Heaven’s Edge. While I prefer the band’s 1991 follow-up album Lights out on the Playground, Shake Your Soul is still an album that every serious ’80s rock fan should own, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: We finally got a proper reissue of Shake Your Soul this year courtesy of the fine folks at the Rock Candy label. They gave the album a brand new remastering, which is a nice upgrade, and there’s a thick booklet loaded with vintage photos and a new interview with Lance Bulen. No bonus tracks, but that’s OK. Here’s hoping they take on Lights Out On The Playground next.
Summary: Finally a proper reissue of this melodic hard rock gem