The critics sneered “another Asia”’ when Damn Yankees’ self-titled debut was released in 1990. It certainly seemed like a match made in a major-label A&R department, bringing together commercially declining stars Ted Nugent and Styx’s Tommy Shaw for one more throw of the dice. But, like Asia, the chemistry results had already come back positive.
With producer Ron Nevison giving it a contemporary sound, Damn Yankees – who also included ex-Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades and drummer Michael Cartellone – got the balance of heavy rock and sweet vocals just right, as the controlled hard rock of the opening Coming Of Age clearly shows. And they got that vital radio breakthrough with the melodic power ballad High Enough.
Unusually, Nugent is a relatively restrained team player here, content to churn out chords and blend his vocals in with the others – at least until the final Piledriver, by which time it scarcely matters./o:p