Forgotten Gems : King Kobra-Ready to strike
It was early Summer of 1985 and I had earned $10 for helping a neighbor with farm work and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. My dad had to go get groceries and I went with him so I could run down to get a cassette from the newly opened local record store. I wanted to get a tape by band I had never heard before. I remembered seeing an add for an album by a mop topped band that looked to me like a hard rock band. That was all I knew about them, but that was enough. I plunked down my money and bought King Kobra's debut Ready to strike just based on a picture of them posing with their hair and their instruments. Got home and plopped the tape into my extremely cheap-o tape player and was definitely please with my purchase. Singer Mark Free (now Marcie Free) had a tremendous set of pipes as he showed his powerful range on the title track and other songs like "Shake up" and "Dancin with desire". Guitarist David Michael Phillips (David Henzerling) and Mick Sweda work well together creating smooth melodies and cranking out some ripping solos. Bass player Johnny Rod does a solid job. Veteran drummer and band leader Carmine Appice lays down some pounding beats and keeps the pace going. The heaviness level isn't far off from someone like Dokken. I played this cassette plenty of times back in 1985 and still do. Although I didn't know any one else back then who liked them. Their other albums never quite matched up to this one and by the third album only Appice and Phillips were left from this line-up. I think a number of people discovered this album years after it was released and are enjoying now. So better late than never. Definitely a prime example of good 80's hard rock. Soon we'll if the 4/5 reunion of this line-up (everyone but Free) can knock out another solid release on their upcoming album.