Big Game was White Lion’s third album. I’ve already gushed like a schoolgirl over White Lion’s first two albums; Fight To Survive (reviewed here) and Pride (reviewed here). As you can tell by those reviews, I do not hide the fact that I am an unapologetic fan of White Lion! In particular, I really love guitarist Vito Bratta. The masterful Vito impresses yet again on Big Game, though the album as a whole is not as good a White Lion’s previous two (more on that in a bit).
Big Game boasts what I consider to be White Lion’s best song ever, the amazing Little Fighter. Bratta dazzles on this impeccable tune. He peppers the song with tasty pinch harmonics, natural harmonics, finger picking, and finger tapping. The solo on Little Fighter is… (wait for it)… MY FAVORITE SOLO OF ALL TIME! God’s honest truth! An absolute gem of a song — and a classic in my house! Check it out here! (Note: Little Fighter also has meaningful lyrics. The song is about a Greenpeace boat called Rainbow Warrior.)
My second favorite song on Big Game is the album’s triumphant finale, Cry For Freedom. On this cut, Bratta takes a much more modest approach. He leaves the flash and pyrotechnics at the door — instead using a series of volume swells (one of Eddie Van Halen’s signature moves) as the song’s featured guitar “riff”. A regal drum beat from Greg D’Angelo also helps drive this heartfelt song home. Hits ya right in the cockles, this one does.
I mentioned earlier that I don’t like Big Game as much as Fight To Survive or Pride. I think the reason has a lot to do with the vocals of Mike Tramp. I regret to say that Tramp was more style than substance as a rock star. A handsome man he was, but a gifted singer he was not. Tramp had a very limited range both vocally and emotionally. You see, White Lion tried to get a little more eclectic with their songwriting on Big Game, but Tramp wasn’t really up to the task. He just couldn’t carry a fast tune or a “heavy” tune. He was clearly at his best when the song called for simple, sincere, “nice guy” vocals. It’s little wonder that I choose Little Fighter and Cry For Freedom as my favorite two songs on Big Game — both tunes were right in Tramp’s wheelhouse. My score: B