Photo of

35 and Going Strong

Live at the Panama

Naked III (Universal)

Golden Earring

By David Lilly

Jewelry doesn't even enter the sonic picture here, unless you realize that Golden Earring is a significantly underrated jewel in the story of rock 'n' roll (at least in the USA). Remember two of the greatest driving songs in the history of recorded music: the pulsating "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone." They barely scratch the surface of the Golden Earring catalog.

The GE four-man core unit has been hugely popular in Europe and especially its own Netherlands since 1970 (dating to to 1961 with other members). As recently as 2003, they came to America (specifically, Millbrook, New York) to record an album. What we have here, however, is the third in a series of recorded "unplugged" shows (preceded by `92's The Naked Truth and `98's Naked II).

GE is fortunate enough to have two top-notch singers, including founding member George Kooymans and one of rock's greatest voices, Barry Hay. The proof is all over this CD, as is the naked proof (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) of how tight this band is.

Songs fitting well in the sensitivity-and-passion-do-rock department are "Turn the World Around," "I Just Lost Somebody," "Need Her," "The Thief," and "Lost and Found," to name a few. Not to be outdone by their softer side, full-out rockers include, "Just Like Vince Taylor," "Sleepwalking," "Paradise in Distress," and "Holy Holy Life."

The songs hardest to describe simply are "Albino Moon" and the dramatic, "Kill Me (Ce Soir)." You have to hear them, but suffice to say they're two of the album's highlights. There are even ballads here, including "Hold Me Now" and the deliciously bluesy, "Last Frontier Hotel." Since this band has a repertoire that stretches across Europe and back again, this batch of songs is a drop in the bucket. But, Hay, it's an outstanding drop.