Great Punk Albums of 1981: Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc.

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by 80smetalman

Dead_Kennedys_-_In_God_We_Trust,_Inc._cover

First a confession, while I say that I was and still am a big Dead Kennedys fan, back in the 80s, the only two DK albums I listened to in earnest was their first album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” (for those who have joined recently, I did visit said album when I was journeying through 1980) and their 1985 “Frankenchrist” album and you can bet I will be paying tribute to that one. The 1981 EP, “In God We Trust Inc.” slipped past me back in the day. My excuse is and it’s a piss poor one, that EP’s weren’t something very common back in 1981 and so I didn’t pay much attention to them. That is what this album is labelled as. When I stumbled across “In God We Trust Inc.,” I thought it couldn’t have been an EP because it had eight songs on it and the standard EP has three or four. Then I quickly discovered that the eight songs on this EP take a grand total of just over thirteen minutes and most artists who release ones with three songs can be longer than that. Saying that, I’m not here to generate a debate on the definitions of EP’s and albums but to celebrate a great offering of music from a great band.

It may be only thirteen minutes but in that brief time you get totally bombarded with some loud, fast and furious in your face punk rock. Unlike the Plasmatics, this is punk as punk was meant to be. It ticks all the boxes of punk for those who like to categorise things. I don’t but there are some who do. The funny thing is that I don’t care that I can’t understand what is being sung in the opening track, “Religious Vomit,” maybe that’s what it is, but I just want to have a good scream when I hear it and that is what punk was meant to do. The next few songs are slightly more intelligible, especially “Moral Majority” and “Hyperactive Child,” although I don’t know where the last one ends and the next songs begin and frankly, I don’t care. I just am carried away by the ferocious music. It is the last three tracks that get slightly more serious and they slow down just enough for Jello Biafra to get his political message across with “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” The same goes with the next and longest track “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” a fitting song for back then and probably now. In the sense of political awareness in music, I think the Dead Kennedys were ahead of their time. Still the ferocity of the music is not lost in either track. The album ends with a very amusing punk cover of “Rawhide” showing a sense of humour in the band and it was a great way to end things.

Track Listing:

1. Religious Vomit

2. Moral Majority

3. Hyperactive Child

4. Kepone Factory

5. Dog Bite

6. Nazi Punks Fuck Off

7. We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now

8. Rawhide

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- vocals

East Bay Ray- guitar, backing vocals

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

D.H. Peligro- drums

If you want a good ear bashing but don’t have much time, then I can recommend “In God We Trust Inc.” from the Dead Kennedys. You will certainly get an ear bashing for thirteen fast and furious minutes. This may have been a short EP, but when it’s over, you surely don’t forget it and like me, starting over to listen to it again.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Bangkok Bakes, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Punk Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Beyond the Valley of 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

Beyond-the-valley-of-1984

During the mid 1980s, I was asked by some non-officianados of metal what was the difference between punk and metal. My response at the time was that metal musicians could play their instruments better. Yes, I know that was a very ignorant statement and I would gladly travel back in time and slap myself across the fact for saying it. The Plasmatics were and still are considered a punk rock band but after listening to their 1981 “Beyond the Valley of  1984,” I concede that I was dead wrong about punk bands having limited playing talent. This band can definitely play.

First of all, I would never expect a band who couldn’t play to begin their album with a complex sounding instrumental but that is exactly what “Incarnation” is. However after that, they launch into a full scale attack with the anti-right wing song “Masterplan,” which definitely gets the heart pumping. You only get a quick breather afterwards, just long enough for lead singer Wendy O. Williams to say “Come on all you head bangers,” before you are once again assaulted by the song of similar name. “Headbanger” does exactly what it says on the tin, it gets your head banging. That song isn’t the only one where Wendy entices you with a cool spoken intro. She does the same with “Fast Food Service” where she says, “If going all the way ain’t right, honey let me out tonight” before the band launches into a Ramones style one, two, three go power surge and though it only lasts less than a minute and a half, you are fulfilled at the end. But Miss Williams is more than just a smooth talker of lines, this album demonstrates that she can sign too.

“Hit Man,” “Living Dead” and “Sex Junkie” are all great tunes and are followed by the piste de resistance. If there was any doubt about the playing ability of the Plasmatics, it is smashed to bits with “Plasma Jam.” This live recording is simply killer and has me asking why isn’t Richie Stotts mentioned along with other great lead guitarists. Fortunately “Plasma Jam” is simply the climax and not the conclusion. That comes with the closing song “Pig is a Pig” which starts out with another Wendy speech ripping on journalists. Fair dues I say.

Track Listing:

1. Incarnation

2. Masterplan

3. Headbanger

4. Summer Nite

5. Nothing

6. Fast Food Service

7. Hit Man

8. Living Dead

9. Sex Junkie

10. Plasma Jam

11. Pig is a Pig

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- lead vocals, chainsaw

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar

Richie Stotts- lead guitar

Jean Beauvoir- bass, piano, synthesizers

Neal Smith- drums, percussion

In the mid 80s, punk and metal would have a love child named thrash but more said on that at the appropriate time. However, The Plasmatics were definitely one of the donors to that union as can be heard from this album “Beyond the Valley of 1984″

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Van Halen- Fair Warning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Van_Halen_-_Fair_Warning

New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) may have reigned supreme in 1981 but it didn’t mean that American metal was muted in that year and that was largely due to Van Halen’s fourth album, “Fair Warning.” For some people at the time, this album was supposed to be a redemption for Van Halen after their supposedly disappointing “Women and Children First” album. (I wasn’t disappointed with that album.) I will also agree with the critic who said that “Fair Warning” was a little better than the previous album but since neither album was as bad as some of these ‘critics’ made them out to be, I will have to say that they are both great albums. However, I will also state that neither quite makes it to the level of their first two, but come on, Van Halen I and II will always be at a level many albums will never attain so let’s give “Fair Warning” credit where it’s due.

From the opening notes in “Mean Street,” it was crystal clear that Eddie Van Halen shows why he was the ultimate guitar master in the early 80s.  The album takes you down a smooth road of great music, especially during the first five tracks reminding you why Van Halen held the flag for American metal. “Dirty Movies” and “Hear About it Later” stick their heads above the rest here with the former showing there is a sense of humour behind the metal. For years, I thought that song was called “Bitches of the Silver Screen.” I saw a video of the latter song played live and that completely blew me away. The acoustic intro quickly followed by the powerful rhythm of guitar, bass and drum, with some interesting guitar riffs thrown in around the vocals before cascading into a well played EVH guitar solo. There is little wonder why it’s my favourite song on the album. “Unchained” is more of a traditional Van Halen single but it still rocks while the rest of the album, while maybe not quite as mind blowing as the first five songs is still powerful enough to leave the listener contented once it has finished.

Track Listing:

1. Mean Street

2. Dirty Movies

3. Sinner’s Swing

4. Hear About it Later

5. Unchained

6. Push Comes to Shove

7. So This is Love

8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park

9. One Foot Out the Door

Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

In a year when Britannia ruled the heavy metal waves, it was good to see that the guns of American metal didn’t remain silent. I have always said that both countries have always benefited from exchange of heavy metal. Van Halen showed they were still a major player in the game with “Fair Warning.”

Next post: The Plasmatics- Valley of the 1984

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

220px-Def_Leppard_-_High_'n'_Dry

Up until very recently, I thought Def Leppard’s second album “High ‘n’ Dry” came out in 1982 and I was going to post about their first album. Even when a fellow blogger stated that this was a 1981, I still thought about waiting until I get to 1982 before I wrote about it. After all, I always begin each year with albums that were in fact released the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the following one. I already have some in mind for when I get to 1982 but there’s still a way to go before that. Furthermore and for reasons I’ll state when I get to 1982, that year was a very barren year for me musically so waiting could be justified further, at least in my mind. However, it didn’t seem right that I wait and therefore am going to visit this album right now.

Another great thing about 1981, which I have concluded recently, is that what is commonly called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM, was probably at its zenith that year. The albums I have covered to this point prove that. Def Leppard were another great British metal act to ride this title wave and set the stage to what was to become heavy metal’s golden decade. A few days ago was the first time I listened to “High ‘n’ Dry” in many years. I never bought it because my sister had it and we would listen to one another’s records quite often. Of course, that was after she got over her affinity for disco and the Bee Gees in the very late 70s. It was their next album “Pyromania” that was always number one with me but after hearing “High ‘n’ Dry” again, I’m not so sure.

If there was every a good opener to a Def Leppard album, it has to be “Let It Go” for certain. This song makes you want to listen to the rest of the album and I wish I had paid more attention back then because the title track would have definitely been a cruising song for the car. While it isn’t the power ballad that surpasses April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” it does come pretty close and it too kicks the ass off “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” I also found the instrumental “Switch 625″ to be very well done. I think the reason why this album is so good is that this was recorded in a time when Def Leppard were hungry and that hunger is shown here in the album. They didn’t have to worry about commercial success, they just let rip and I think producer Mutt Lange understood this at the time. “High ‘n’ Dry” is definitely their most powerful album.

Track Listing:

1. Let It Go

2. Another Hit and Run

3. High ‘n’ Dry (Another Saturday Night)

4. Bringing on the Heartbreak

5. Switch 625

6. You Got Me Runnin’

7. Lady Strange

8. On Through the Night

9. Mirror Mirror, (Look Into My Eyes)

10. No No No

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Joe Elliot- vocals

Pete Willis- guitar, backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums

This would be the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis on guitar but that’s a story saved for another time. Now is the time to enjoy a great album, arguably their best from a great band. This was the time when as far as heavy metal is concerned, Britannia ruled the waves and Def Leppard were one of the components of that.

Next album: Van Halen- Fair Warning

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Difficult_to_cure

Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Iron Maiden- Killers

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Iron_Maiden_Killers

As I reminisce about the great music that came out in 1981, I realise that I haven’t really been giving full accolades to what a great year it was musically. 1981 was great for twofold reasons. First, many of the established superstars came out with some great albums but also some of the more up and coming acts also let themselves be known in that year. One of the latter was definitely Iron Maiden. While I had heard of them in 1981, it wouldn’t be until the following year before I had actually heard them and I can’t remember which song it was but I know I liked it. I would eventually listen to and like their second album, “Killers.”

This album plays a major role in getting Iron Maiden the notice on the metal stage that would eventually propel them into the ionosphere of superstardom. There would be adjustments made in the future, especially in the area of lead singer. I’m not going into the Di’Anno/Dickinson debate but I will venture this: Listening to the track “Wrathchild” on the album and the live version on “Live After Death,” I prefer Bruce Dickinson’s voice as far as Iron Maiden goes. However, I don’t think that Bruce’s voice would be better suited on the next track “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” But enough of that, “Killers” is still a fine album from Iron Maiden.

The tracks already mentioned are good ones and I love the guitars at the intro of “Another Life.” “Innocent Exile,” another great track, is more like the trademark sound of Iron Maiden and the title track follows nicely after. The two instrumentals on the album, “Ides of March” and “Genghis Khan” are also very well done. However, as the album closes with the remaining tracks, the one that definitely sticks out for me is “Prodigal Son.” The slow acoustic intro grabs your attention and just when you think the song is going to be Iron Maiden’s token ballad, it surprises you by going harder once again proving that the guitar combination of Smith and Murray deserves to be up there with many of the best combos of dual guitarists.

Track Listing:

1. Ides of March

2. Wrathchild

3. Murders in the Rue Morgue

4. Another Life

5. Genghis Khan

6. Innocent Exile

7. Killers

8. Prodigal Son

9. Purgatory

10. Drifter

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Paul Di’Anno- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Dave Murray- guitars

Adrian Smith- guitars

Clive Burr- drums

Iron Maiden may not have been a household name in 1981 but their album “Killers” makes a clear statement as to why they would become one. You can feel their hunger on the album and know full well that they would be a force for good in the world of heavy metal.

Next post: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Girlschool- Hit and Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Girlschool_hit_and_run

Throughout the twenty eight years I have lived in the UK, there has been a lot of back and forth banter between my country of origin and my adopted country over which country did what things better. There are some things that each country will always do better than the other like the UK will always be better at cricket and the US will always be better at American football. In the world of music, neither country has been able to hold dominance over for very long. However, in 1981, one area where the UK outshone the US was in the category of all female bands. The US had The Go Gos who weren’t bad as far as rock bands go but they didn’t hold a candle to the UK’s female metal outfit Girlschool.

Their 1981 album “Hit and Run” is precisely the reason why Girlschool reigned supreme of all female music acts that year. They gave many of the male acts a good run for their money as well as they proved they could rock with this album. This is evident with the very first chords in the opening song “C’mon Let’s Go.” A great song that gets things going. Those who don’t truly appreciate metal complain that it’s the same two chords going over and over and if they were to listen to “The Hunter,” they would site this as proof. My response is that yes, it might be the same two chords but what two great chords they are. They certainly capture and hold my attention even throughout the vocals and guitar solo, so who cares? “(I’m Your) Victim,” “Kick It Down” and “Follow the Crowd all move the album along very nicely until something very interesting happens. Of all the songs, that I would like to hear metalized, ZZ Top’s monster tune “Tush” never occurred to me. I feel a fool because Girlschool metalize this song very well.

After “Tush,” things kick up a gear and stay there for the remainder. The title track has always been my favourite Girlschool song and I was disappointed that they didn’t play it either time I saw them live. Maybe one day, I’ll get to see them again and they will play it for me. One can hope. However, another song I have always liked is the pen ultimate “Yeah, Right.” This is a song that you want playing on the stereo before going to any metal event, a definite uplifter. The two tracks in between “Hit and Run” and “Yeah, Right” are also good jams and things go out very well with the closer “Future Flash.” In short and I don’t care how cliched this sounds but with “Hit and Run,” Girlschool proved they could play with the big boys.

Track Listing

1. C’mon Let’s Go

2. The Hunter

3. (I’m Your) Victim

4. Kick It Down

5. Follow the Crowd

6. Tush

7. Hit and Run

8. Watch Your Step

9. Back to Start

10. Yeah Right

11. Future Flash

Girlschool

Girlschool

Kim McAuliffe- rhythm guitar, vocals

Kelly Johnson- lead guitar, vocals

Enid Williams- bass, vocals

Denise Dufort- drums

I’ve realised that for many years I have taken for granted all the great albums that came out in 1981. To have so many great bands put out so many great albums in the same year is something truly phenomenal and there’s still more to come. Girlschool can stake their own claim to the year with “Hit and Run.” In spite of what I said about it when I posted on the album not long ago, “Hit and Run” beats the pants off The Go Gos’ “Beauty and the Beat” and that makes these fine ladies the best female artists of 1981.

Next Post: Iron Maiden- Killers

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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