Great Rock Albums of 1981: Eric Clapton- Another Ticket

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 21, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-EricClaptonAnotherTicket

When I remembered this album by Eric Clapton in 1981, I found myself wondering why I haven’t visited any other albums he might have done in the time I have covered so far. Now, I realise that I missed both his 1978 studio album “Backless” and his tremendous 1980 live album “Just One Night.” The bad thing is that I actually listened to the live album around that time and loved it, so I have no excuse. I knew that while I journeyed through time, I would miss out the odd great album but come on. No use crying over spilled coffee, especially when “Another Ticket” is such a fine album.

The reason why I am beating myself up so much over this is that I have always been a Clapton fan and really loved what he could do with a guitar. With “Another Ticket,” he plays the old fashioned blues based rock that he built his reputation on. He does this so easily on tracks like “Something Special,” “Catch Me If You Can,” the single from the album, “I Can’t Stand It,” “Floating Under the Bridge” and his cover of the Muddy Waters classic “Blow Wind Blow.” Then there is the ballad title track, which he reminds me of the similar type of hit “Wonderful Tonight” but without all the lead guitar in between. However, he also goes slightly country with the songs “Black Rose” and “Hold Me Lord” but he manages to pull it off. I love albums where the closing track goes out with great guitar playing and “Rita Mae” ends the album exactly that way.

Track Listing:

1. Something Special

2. Black Rose

3. Blow Wind Blow

4. Another Ticket

5. I Can’t Stand It

6. Hold Me Lord

7. Floating Bridge

8. Catch Me If You Can

9. Rita Mae

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton- lead guitar, vocals

Chris Stainton- keyboards

Albert Lee- guitar, vocals

Gary Booker- keyboards, vocals

Henry Spinetti- drums, percussion

Dave Markee- bass

Most sane people in the world will agree that Eric Clapton is one of the greatest guitarists in the history of guitarists. I know we may know one or two that we consider better and that’s cool. But whenever great guitarists get mentioned, Eric Clapton is definitely one that gets mentioned in that group. “Another Ticket” shows why he does.

Next post: Meatloaf- Dead Ringer

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 Rock Albums of 1981: U2- Boy

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

 

 

 

 

220px-U2_Boy

The debut album from the now legendary Northern Ireland band U2 came to my attention who gave me a copy on a cassette on which he recorded from the record. Since I had no clue on anything about the band, I had to go on the music that the tape was pumping out of the speakers on my car stereo. Listening to what some have labelled their post punk, new wave sound a picture of what I believed they looked like began forming in my mind. I saw them as the standard four piece two guitar, bass and drum type of band with hair styles similar to the boy on the album cover and wearing brown tweed jackets and ties. I guess the closest thing would be sort of a combination of The Jam meets The Knack. The image of them would remain with me for another two years until when I would see that that image was completely wrong.

Thankfully, I never cared too much about images but put my faith in the music. When I first listened to “Boy,” I was convinced by its conclusion forty minutes later that this was a good album. Even though there was no track listing, I knew the opener was a fantastic song and “I Will Follow” is still my all time favourite U2 song. I didn’t need a track listing to see how tight this band was as the songs were very good. One advantage of not knowing the track titles is that I was compelled to listen that much closer to get an idea of what a track might be called from the lyrics. So, the track “A Day Without Me” isn’t really called “You started a landslide in my ego” but that doesn’t stop it from being a great song nor did it stop it from sticking in my head for over thirty years. Other tracks that stick in my head turn out to be “An Cat Dubh,” “Out of Control” and “Stories for Boys” and I have to say that “Shadows in Tall Trees” makes for an interesting closer.

Track Listing:

1. I Will Follow

2. Twilight

3. An Cat Dubh

4. Into the Heart

5. Out of Control

6. Stories for Boys

7. The Ocean

8. A Day Without Me

9. Another Time, Another Place

10. The Electric Company

11. Shadows in Tall Trees

U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals

The Edge- guitar, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

I said in my last post that I would be visiting something that was a triumph in 1981 but is now a tragedy, but it’s not U2. Yes, in my view, they were great in the 1980s but would go weird in the 90s but it is albums like “Boy” that keep me listening. What I didn’t know when I first listened to this album is how they would go onto greater things.

Next post: Eric Clapton- Another Ticket

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triumphs and Tragedies in 1981

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by 80smetalman

As always, I like to start with the bad news first before progressing onto the good news. The biggest tragedy of this particular year for music fans of all kinds with the death of reggae legend Bob Marley who died from cancer in May of 1981.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Whether one was a devout reggae fan, Bob Marley worshipper, total stoner or none of the above, there were very few people around my age at the time who couldn’t help but shed a tear at the passing of this great legend. His music brought reggae into the mainstream for many people, me included as did his relaxed, “be mellow” attitude towards life. Something we all probably still need to adhere to these days. While Bob may not be with us and I have to agree with his son Ziggy’s philosophy that money doesn’t buy life, his music still is alive and very well in the world today. R.I.P. Bob Marley

The Round Up

The Round Up

Now onto the first triumph which was at the time a local one for me and the sad thing was that I never got to see it due to being in the service. In June of 1981, Southern Rock converged on Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium as some of the great Southern Rock bands played what I later learned was a brilliant show. Oh, how amazing it would have been to see the likes of The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band on the same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t and therefore I implore anyone out there in the cosmos who is reading this and went to this great festival, please share your experiences!

Donington 1981

Donington 1981

The second tragedy came in the form of another great music festival across the Atlantic. In the August, the second Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park took place. With AC/DC as the headliner and the likes of Whitesnake, Slade and Blackfoot on the bill, it couldn’t help but to be a great show. Of course, I wasn’t at this one either but I do know someone who was and he said it was a brilliant day. It also explains why Blackfoot didn’t appear at the Round Up.  Furthermore, the promoters did a good job in ironing at some of the things that went wrong at the 1980 festival. So, two great musical shows on both sides of the ocean, the result was two triumphs for rock and metal in 1981.

There was one more triumph in 1981 but that deserves its own billing and will be spoken about later. To give a hint, it was considered a total triumph in 1981 but nowadays, it is more of a tragedy.

Next post: U2 -Boy

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 Rock Albums of 1981: ZZ Top- El Loco

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

250px-ZZ_Top_-_El_Loco

I first listened to “El Loco” in conjunction with another classic ZZ Top album “Tres Hombres.” For me, it turned out to be a double delight getting to listen to two great albums by the same band one after another and it marked another turning point in my musical life. It wasn’t until 1981 that I listened to any ZZ Top at all. That was because back in 1977, the uncle of my best friend had one of their albums, (I don’t know which), and he said it sucked and I was dumb enough back then to let that influence my music listening tastes. That is why I never listened to them back in the 70s and why I don’t allow things like that to happen anymore.

“Tres Hombres” has my two favourite ZZ Top songs of all time on it. You’ll have to read my 1979 post to discover which ones, but “El Loco” is a very good album too. The album was also the beginning of a turning point for the band musically. It was the first album they would use synthesisers in some of their songs and I must comment that they do a grand job of it on the track, “Groovy Little Hippy Pad.” For the most part, however, they stay true to their more bluesier roots. The first track “Tube Snake Boogie” is a classic and still has me rocking away to it whenever I hear it. Billy Gibbons shows his guitar worth on that and many of the other songs here. The final two tracks, “Heaven, Hell or Houston” and “Party on the Patio” are definite standouts. The band also reinforces another dimension to their music in the fact that they have a sense of humour with their songs. “Ten Foot Pole,” “Pearl Necklace” and the fore mentioned “Groovy Little Hippy Pad” bear witness to this. All in all, I remain thankful to yet another old marine buddy who opened my eyes to more cool music in the shape of ZZ Top and “El Loco.”

Track Listing:

1. Tube Snake Boogie

2. I Wanna Drive You Home

3. Ten Foot Pole

4. Leila

5. Don’t Tease Me

6. It’s So Hard

7. Pearl Necklace

8. Groovy Little Hippy Pad

9. Heaven, Hell or Houston

10. Party on the Patio

ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons- guitar, vocals

Dusty Hill- bass, keyboards, vocals

Frank Beard- drums

I may have missed some of the classic ZZ Top albums when they came out in the 70s, although I did make up for that in the 80s, it didn’t stop me from appreciating what a great band ZZ Top are. The more I travel back in time, the more I have grateful I am to the USMC. Hard core Republicans might not like this fact but my experiences there opened a great chasm in my musical awareness and played a major role in shaping me in the metal head I was to eventually become. I can say that ZZ Top had an hand in that too.

Next post: 1981 Triumph and Tragedy

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Marshall Tucker- Dedicated

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

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I must thank Wikopedia on this occasion or I would have been totally wrong here. The Marshall Tucker Band came to my attention in 1981 through my lieutenant who was heavily into them. It was only when I did a little research that I found out they had been going on well throughout the seventies. What would have been a greater sense of shooting myself in the foot was that 1981 was when I first heard the song they were most famous for, “Can’t You See.” I now realise that the song was actually released in 1973, so thank you Wikopedia.

Still none of this hides the fact that the Marshall Tucker Band put out a decent album in 1981. “Dedicated” is another album that got over looked due to the wave of Southern Rock bands that were coming into the light at the time. Saying that, “Dedicated” reminds me of the dilemma that many Southern Rock bands faced at the time, straddling the fine line between genuine rock and country music. I remember a friend from up North calling Southern Rock nothing more than country music with a few power chords. Boy, was he naïve. Then again, he didn’t experience Southern Rock they way I did back in 1981.

Looking more closely at “Dedicated,” it is plain that The Marshall Tucker Band were one of those bands who did try harder to tightrope the line between country and rock. They weren’t as heavy as Molly Hatchet or Blackfoot but that doesn’t stop the album from being good. There are some great traditional rock tunes like “Rumours Are Raging,” “Silverado” and my personal favourite, “Tell The Blues To Take Off The Night,” which has some good bluesy guitar work on it. There are also more radio friendly tunes like “Tonight’s The Night (For Making Love) and the appropriate closer, “Ride In Peace.” There are a couple of more countrified tunes like “Love Some” although it is still a good song. The Marshall Tucker Band does a great job in taking all of these things and rolling them up into one good album.

Track Listing:

1. Rumour Are Raging

2. Tonight’s the Night (For Making Love)

3. Love Some

4. Silverado

5. Something’s Missing in My Life

6. This Time I Believe

7. Tell the Blues to Take Off the Night

8. Special Someone

9. The Time Has Come

10. Ride In Peace

Marshall Tucker Band

Marshall Tucker Band

 Doug Gray- vocals

Toy Caldwell- guitar

George McCorkle- guitar

Jerry Eubanks- keyboards

Paul Riddle- drums

Franklin Wilkie- bass

There is one note of tragedy to this album in that it was made after the death of the band’s bassist and brother of guitarist Toy Caldwell, Tommy Caldwell, who was killed in a car accident. It has been said that the closing track is a dedication to him. This album was a fitting tribute to Tommy and a good album all around. It is also probably the best one to end my series of posts on Southern Rock in 1981 as it’s popularity north of the Mason-Dixon line would decline after.

Next post: ZZ Top- El Loco

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 Rock Albums of 1981: Nantucket- A Long Way To The Top

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

Long_Way_To_The_Top_LPDue to the fact that I didn’t hear this album until the August of 1981, I have always assumed that “A Long Way to the Top” by Nantucket was released in that year. I now know that it was released in 1980. The title cut is a cover of the AC/DC classic and was recorded as a tribute to the passing of Bon Scott. It won the band a supporting slot with AC/DC on the “Back in Black” tour. That must have been one hell of a concert and I wish I wasn’t on sea duty at the time.

Like the Johnny Van Zant Band, Nantucket were yet another great Southern Rock band who were around at Southern Rock’s peak of popularity but never really got recognised outside the Southeast of the U.S. At least, Johnny Van Zant could be identified with his famous late brother but this wasn’t the case for Nantucket. I admit, if I hadn’t been down south at the time, I probably would have never heard of them either. Fortunately, for me, I did get to hear this wonderful album.

First, the tribute to Bon is a very fitting one, Nantucket do a splendid job covering this long time AC/DC gem. Lead singer Larry Uzzell does try to sound like Bon and while no one can ever duplicate Scott, his efforts are noteworthy. The rest of the album doesn’t disappoint either but is played in the great tradition that made Nantucket a name for themselves in the South. “Time Bomb,” “5o More,” “Living With You” and “Rugburn” are all great songs. The one standout track, other than the title cut, for me is “Too Much Wrong in the Past.” That is a classic rock song. I love the way that song fakes the listener in with the piano and lead guitar as if it’s going to be a power ballad and then just explodes, very nicely done.

Track Listing:

1. A Long Way to the Top

2. Living With You

3. Time Bomb

4. 50 More

5. Media Darling

6. Rugburn

7. Too Much Wrong in the Past

8. Over and Over

9. Turn On the Radio

10. Tell Me (Doctor Rhythm Method)

11. Rescue

12. Rock the 80s

Nantucket

Nantucket

Tommy Redd- guitars, vocals

Larry Uzzell- lead vocals

Tommy Downing- lead guitar

Eddie Blair- sax, keyboards, vocals

Kenny Soule- drums

Pee Wee Watson- bass, vocals

Nantucket were another band that should have gotten more world wide attention but unfortunately didn’t. This album proves that they were as good as many of their Southern contemporaries. Still, I would have loved to see them open for AC/DC.

Next post: Marshall Tucker Band- Dedicated

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Johnny Van Zant Band- Round Two

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

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Whether it was the glam metal scene in LA or the thrash scene in San Francisco back in the 1980s, of all the bands from those areas who gained world wide popularity, there were many bands who were just as good but never fully broke out of the local scene. The same thing can be said of Southern rock in the earlier part of the decade. I was fortunate to have been stationed in North Carolina during this time, so I was fully able to appreciate it when Southern Rock was at the height of its glory. It gave me a good feeling whenever I trotted back across the Mason-Dixon Line to New Jersey, that many of my friends were listening to Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws and 38 Special. Unfortunately, not so many people heard of Johnny Van Zant when I mentioned them up north. They were mainly well known just in the south.

As all my British friends would say, this was a bloody shame because the Johnny Van Zant Band were a very good band and their second album, “Round Two” bears witness to this fact. There is a definitely influence from Johnny’s older brother on this album because I can detect some Lynyrd Skynyrd sounds here. But in no way does this band simply rip off the great Skynyrd. They bring their own brand of hard rock to tracks like “(Who’s) Right or Wrong,” “Shot Down” and “Standing in the Falling Rain.” Lead guitarists Robbie Gay and Eric Lundgren  know how to play on these songs as well as others. They also do a very hard version of the Beatles classic “Drive My Car.” The album does have a ballad in the form of “Yesterday’ Gone.” I must declare that of all the Van Zant boys, Johnny’s vocals are the most attuned for singing ballads. Not that he can’t sing harder songs just as well, maybe better. It’s just too bad “Round Two” has been allowed to lay dormant for so many years.

Track Listing:

1. (Who’s) Right or Wrong

2. Standing in the Falling Rain

3. Yesterday’s Gone

4. Let There Be Music

5. Keep Our Love Alive

6. Night Time Lady

7. Drive My Car

8. Shot Down

9. Cold Hearted Woman

10. Play My Music

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Gay- lead guitar

Erik- Lundgren- lead guitar

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Morris- drums

As I progress through hard rock and metal history, I am discovering albums and bands that I took little notice of or missed completely. I can’t say that I missed the Johnny Van Zant Band because I saw them live in 1982 but that’s another story. I do regret not listening to this album more back in the time and I wish more people did as well. Here’s everyone’s chance to rectify that now.

Next post: Nantucket- Long Way to the Top

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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