Under the tutelage of songwriter/producer Jack Ponti, Baton Rouge released their debut on Atlantic Records in 1990. Ponti was somewhat of a hair metal guru. He had previously been in the AOR band Surgin’, but then ended up writing songs with bands like Babylon A.D. and Shark Island. It appears Ponti took Baton Rouge under his wing — co-writing all the songs and producing Shake Your Soul.
What we have here is overblown, hairy AOR that is just too darn slick and overproduced for my liking. There isn’t any charisma or personality shining through on Shake Your Soul. (I had a similar response to Danger Danger’s debut.) Lots of these songs have big, sweeping choruses — and I feel like I should like them more than I do. But Baton Rouge come off as faceless and corporate. Even the album cover is nondescript. Nevertheless, a couple of quality songs actually cut through the thick lacquer — Doctor and Walks Like A Woman. My score: C+