MITCH RYDER-NEVER KICK A SLEEPING DOG: The underrated godfather of Detroit rock & roll, a fertile scene which spawned GRAND FUNK, BROWNSVILLE STATION and BOB SEGER, was soul-searing howler MITCH RYDER; backed by the incendiary DETROIT WHEELS, chart smashers like DEVIL WITH A BLUE DRESS, JENNY TAKE A RIDE, and SOCK IT TO ME BABY were some of the late sixties' biggest thrill-rides. The 1983 solo album aptly titled NEVER KICK A SLEEPING DOG unspooled as a sweaty testament to RYDER's hoarser but still powerful delivery and swaggering "take no prisoners" attitude. Lead off ass-kicker B.I.G.T.I.M.E, rough-hewn covers of PRINCE's WHEN YOU WERE MINE and SOLOMON BURKE's CRY TO ME, and a dark duet with whiskey-and-cigerettes-voiced contemporary MARIANNE FAITHFUL on A THRILL'S A THRILL were just some of the fiesty highlights. RYDER admirer JOHN MELLENCAMP produced this platter, providing his tight band (led by whipcracking drummer KENNY ARONOFF) and a couple of funky originals, RUDE DE TRAHIR and COME AGAIN. This near-perfect platter should have returned MITCH to the big time (ala THE BOSS' resurrection of GARY "U.S." BONDS); it certainly would have marked a loud 'n proud return to form for an all too often ignored sixties legend.
RATING: FOUR YELPS