monoblogue music: “Shake The Cage” by Freddie Nelson

July 29, 2017 · Posted in Music Reviews 

Freddie Nelson - Shake The CageWhen I went to check out this just-released album from Pittsburgh-based rocker Freddie Nelson, for three minutes and 55 seconds I was transported back to 1987. Back then you could have taken a tape of the lead song on this CD, called Turn You On, to any A&R guy in the country worth his salt and he would have given you cash money to take you to the band’s next show.

There are a lot of great hooks like that on this 11-song set, a collection where Nelson plays everything but the drums, piano, and keyboards (but does handle the B3 organ.) Just take two back-to-back examples buried farther within the compilation: My Girl and Let You Go are both the catchy-type songs that made rock and roll what it was back in its heyday.

And if you have a lot of older rock albums, like I do, you realize there is a bit of a formula to put them together. Nelson stays fairly true to this successful way of doing things, putting in the bluesy ballad called The Show, the somewhat more mellow and acoustic song Monster In My Room, and another bluesier homage called Keep Running. It seemed like every good rock album had a few songs that departed from the norm in some little way, just to prove the artist could do it – almost as if he’s playing around with the listener, not taking this too, too seriously. After all, this is supposed to be fun here, isn’t it?

You see, this is where a highbrow music reviewer might say you can’t write a song called For Those Who Die and make it upbeat. They would whine that All Night Long exhibits too much of the alpha-male, testosterone-fueled bravado that was so wrong about hair metal, or that Light is a little too derivative of Freddie Mercury and Queen at its best, or that Never Fight Alone uses the trickery of sampling to ask the question, “Whatever happened to decent music?”

Well, guess what? I’m not that reviewer and I happen to think this IS very decent music, the way rock and roll is supposed to be. As Nelson noted in a statement accompanying the release, “The record is called Shake The Cage, because I feel that a lot of music has become one dimensional with tools such as pitch correction and formulated songwriting.  There is no substitute for hard work and honing your craft, and it’s time to challenge mediocrity.” Damn straight it is.

This is the latest video from the album, a song called Hey Doll, which leads me to one more observation.

Just listening to the arrangement and the lyrics, I would make a bet that if you worked in a banjo, changed the key, and had someone like Luke Bryan sing it, this song would sell by the truckload. To me it veers in a rockabilly, country-rock direction, and that’s not unusual for someone based out of that region.

So I think my friends and neighbors should get over their animus about all things Pittsburgh (aside from Buxy’s in Ocean City) and check it out – but don’t take my word for it, go listen for yourself.


Comments are closed.

  • I haven't. Have you?
  • 2018 Election

    The Maryland primary election is June 26.





    Larry Hogan (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter



    Rushern Baker – Facebook Twitter

    Ralph JaffeFacebook

    Ben JealousFacebook Twitter

    Kevin KamenetzFacebook Twitter

    Rich MadalenoFacebook Twitter

    Alec RossFacebook Twitter

    Jim SheaFacebook Twitter

    Krish VignarajahFacebook Twitter

    Candidates for Libertarian and Green parties will be added after primary.





    Anjali Reed PhukanFacebook Twitter



    Peter Franchot (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter


    Attorney General



    Craig WolfFacebook Twitter



    Brian Frosh (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter


    U.S. Senate



    Tony Campbell – Facebook Twitter

    Nnabu EzeFacebook

    Gerald Smith



    Ben Cardin (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Chelsea Manning – Twitter

    Jerome SegalFacebook Twitter

    Rikki VaughnTwitter

    Debbie “Rica” Wilson

    Candidate for the Libertarian Party and the independent will be added after the primary.


    U.S. Congress -1st District



    Martin Elborn – Facebook Twitter

    Andy Harris (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Lamont Taylor – Facebook Twitter



    Michael Brown

    Jesse ColvinFacebook Twitter

    Allison Galbraith – Facebook Twitter

    Michael Pullen – Facebook Twitter

    Steve Worton – Facebook Twitter

    Candidate for the Libertarian Party will be added after the primary.


    State Senator – District 37



    Addie Eckardt (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter



    None yet. I’m sure there will be.


    State Senator – District 38



    Mary Beth CarozzaFacebook Twitter



    Jim Mathias (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter


    Delegate – District 37A



    None yet. One is needed.



    Sheree Sample-Hughes (incumbent)


    Delegate – District 37B (elect 2)



    Chris Adams (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Keith Graffius

    Johnny Mautz (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter



    Dan O’Hare


    Delegate – District 38A



    Charles Otto (incumbent)



    Kirkland Hall, Sr.


    Delegate – District 38B



    Carl Anderton, Jr. (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter



    None yet but they’ll find one.


    Delegate – District 38C



    Wayne HartmanFacebook

    Joe Schanno – Facebook

    Jim Shaffer

    Ed TinusFacebook



    None yet but they’ll find one.


  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Link to Maryland Democratic Party

    In the interest of being fair and balanced, I provide this service to readers. But before you click on the picture below, just remember their message:

  • Part of the Politics in Stereo network.