Sammy and the Wabos – Live Hallelujah (Review)

I’m not the biggest Sammy Hagar fan in the world but I particularly enjoyed the period that followed his (initial) acrimonious split from Van Halen in the mid-90s. Having put together a great backing band called the Waboritas he proceeded to bring out a trio of  joyous Rock albums – Red Voodoo, Ten 13  and Not 4 Sale. With the Waboritas, Sammy had also become a formidable feel-good live act too and following a very competitive jaunt with Dave Lee Roth (the Sam and Dave tour) it was decided to capture the fun on CD.

The first thing that has to be said about Live Hallelujah is that it is LOUD. I actually can’t think of a live album that sounds more like being in the front rows of a concert than this one. Sammy’s older tracks are bristling with the kind of unhinged guitar assault that would make Ted Nugent proud and the Van Halen-era tracks are feel-good bliss (some featuring a speaker-rattling Michael Anthony and When It’s Love features Gary Cherone). Although Sammy and Vic Johnson are fine players they sensibly chose some of the least flashy Van Halen tracks which means they sit more comfortably alongside the non-VH songs. The newer tracks like Shaka Doobie, Deeper Kind of Love and Little White Lie are also strong, fitting in perfectly with the old favourites like Three Lock Box and Heavy Metal. In fact, one of the great features of the album is how it assimilates material from a long and varied career into a really cohesive set.

This has obviously never become a classic of any description but I really enjoy this and it actually served as a gateway for me to get more into Sammy’s and Van Hagar’s albums. Overall, if your ears can take the remorseless pounding of the production, this is just great fun and one of the best examples I can think of where a live album manages to evoke the excitement and vibe of a being at a really entertaining Rock show. If I’m looking for an album to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step this would be a strong contender and there can’t be a higher recommendation than that.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

31 thoughts on “Sammy and the Wabos – Live Hallelujah (Review)”

    1. Apparently it was totally live although the tracks were taken from a number of shows. There is very little in the way of stage banter or anything like that either which is possibly a shame. There is a lot of tracks crammed onto the disc.


  1. You know, it COULD be a shame about the stage banter…but on the other hand, on any live album I own, I usually hate Sammy’s stage banter. I’m on record for hating Right Here Right Now Live…especially when Sammy says that tomorrow “might not never come”. Double negative, Sammy.

    If it’s all for the sake of cramming more tracks onto a CD, hey, at least it was a decent reason.


    1. Well yeah, I really doubt we’re missing much banter-wise if that is anything to go by! I like the way it just bangs through each track in succession but it does make it feel more like a live compilation than an actual show. But it’s a great fun listen and real mash up of 70s 80s and 90s hard rock styles!

      In the liner notes Sammy does explain all the editing choices and says if it’s successful he will bring out a 3CD Ltd Edition of “the whole nine yards” stage raps and all. But I don’t think that ever happened.


  2. Live Sammy! Sweet.

    Mike: The double negative on RHRN was probably the tequila talking. 😉

    Hey HMO, what about Ozzy’s Live & Loud? I remember that sounding pretty damn cool all those years ago when I heard a buddy’s copy.


      1. Live & Loud is one of my least favourite Ozzy albums. The lineup is great (Wylde/Castillo/Inez) but it’s overproduced, too long, and too many songs from No More Tears. My money is on Randy Rhoads Tribute.

        Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 04:09:25 +0000 To:


      2. Mike, how can you have too many songs from No More Tears? That was a great record! And since it’s in the same timeframe, it would make sense they play more from there. As for overproduced, I wouldn’t know, it’s been ages since I heard my buddy’s copy and I don’t have it myself. I just remember it sounding very HUGE.


      3. I don’t like No More Tears. Or, rather, I like about half or less than half. I was hoping for something heavier, like his previous album No Rest For The Wicked. To me the live album has too many songs from it, and the solos are too long and boring.

        Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 14:39:30 +0000 To:


  3. Haha we’ve got a bit of a debate going on at HMO! Nice! 😀

    I’m going to fall somewhere in-between you guys. A bit like Derek Smalls’ lukewarm water haha. My perception of the Live and Loud album is tainted by the fact that I watched the VHS repeatedly for years. It had a better running order and… none of the solos, which are genuinely dull!

    So, when I think about Live and Loud I’m realising I’m actually thinking about the video. I never actually listened to the album that much although I do enjoy it

    Agree with Aaron on the production, I like how massive it sounds although Zakk’s tone is a bit much at times.

    Don’t think there’s too much No More Tears stuff. I think they picked the best songs. In particular, Road to Nowhere shined on this. Great version. I do think the No More Tears album hasn’t aged very well though and would have liked more No Rest… material on the live record too because that stuff still really holds up.

    The Sabbath reunion track is a brilliant bonus too!

    I do prefer Tribute but that performance’s date excludes it from inclusion in this column. Can I complicate things by throwing in Just Say Ozzy?


    1. Oh bring the debate! We’ve got lots of opinions over here! haha.

      I just got NMT in my blood because, back in the day (uh oh here we go) when I was in a band playing drums (oh lord), I used to play along to that CD. (And played poorly, of course, but that’s beside the point.) Anyway, that record’s got a good groove, and a nice mix between fast and slow songs. I liked the deep cuts as much as the hits. And I don’t tend to compare it to other Ozzy records. It just is what it is and I liked it.

      Just Say Ozzy is also awesome. That’s not a complication, HMO. That’s another whole conversation all by itself!


      1. I was all about NMT in the 90s but I just rarely listen to it now for some reason. It does sit apart from the other Ozzy albums doesn’t it? I liked a lot of the deep cuts too… especially S.I.N. and Hellraiser. Randy Castillo was a cool drummer. I’m going to have to stick on Just Say Ozzy now!


      2. Haha Mike, OF COURSE the song you liked best from NMT wasn’t even on the album!

        Man, if I buy a record, I play ALL the songs. So if it’s a reissue and there’s extra tracks, I hear them too. Can’t imagine having a CD in my house that I haven’t heard.


      3. Haha that’s us told Mike! Actually this is one of the reasons I’m doing the blog and trying to curb my spending. I’ve got enough unheard music on my shelves to last me a lifetime so I need to stop adding to it.


      4. No no, the trick isn’t to stop adding to the pile. Who would do that? No, the trick is to play the CD in the car on the way home. Then shake the house’s foundation with it all week until it’s imprinted in your brain. THEN move on to the next goodies!

        I wasn’t out to Tell You (although maybe I should have, that’s awesome!), after all, there are books in this house I haven’t yet read. Sure, most of them are my lovely wife’s, but I keep meaning to get to them and don’t because I keep going to the library and finding more books there that I want to read too…

        And there’s one Neal Stephenson I cannot read. I’ve tried several times. I love that guy’s work. I’ve read (and own) ALL of his books, but I simply cannot get past the first 35 pages of Anathem. It’s like trying to read Naked Lunch. After a while of trying to get your head around it, you just ask yourself why you’re bothering and put it down. Again. So there’s an example!


      5. Haha, well, I wouldn’t stop adding to it… that would be no fun! I guess I’m just trying to be a bit choosier and catch up on some of the stuff I haven’t listened to enough. Like the Rollins stuff – I’ve had Weight for years and hardly listened to it. Over the last couple of weeks its been on constant rotation and going down a storm… and that even includes the bonus tracks! 🙂


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