Great Rock Albums of 1983: Dave Edmunds- Information

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

Dave_Edmunds_Information_album_cover

Radio can be very misleading. In the summer of 1983, the single “Slipping Away” from Dave Edmunds’ “Information” got a considerable amount of airplay on radio. Then in the November, when I started my job working the Saturday and Sunday midnight to eight shift at a parking lot in Atlantic City, the radio seemed to play his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)” at least once during my first few shifts. Naturally, I assumed both songs were from this album, which I never bought for some reason. It was only when I did my preliminary research for the post that I discovered that “From Small Things” was actually on the album prior to this one. Shame, because I really liked that song but listening to “Information,” I am not disappointed too much.

Another historical point, back in the early 1980s, there was a brief heyday for what some would call “Rockabilly” music. Rock music with a country music style vibe but unlike Southern Rock, this genre doesn’t have the ferocity of it relative. That’s the category this Dave Edmunds seems to fall in and I would site the track “The Shape I’m In” as evidence. Saying that, he is still much more rock than the artist most known for rockabilly in the very early 1980s. Here’s my weird mind at work again but the whole rockabilly thing has made me think of her again. Juice Newton, who had several hits between 1981 and 83. Hell, she even covered a Dave Edmunds single, “Queen of Hearts” and her version doesn’t stray far from Dave’s musically. ┬áConfession time! In 1981 and 2, I had a serious crush on Juice Newton.

juice

Enough of Juice for now, let’s get on to “Information. The best way to describe this album is Dave Edmunds would be the result if The Ramones played country music. Each song starts out in the one, two, three go style that the Ramones were famous for throughout the 1970s. The best examples of this are “Don’t You Double” and “Don’t Call Me Tonight.” The latter song has a guitar solo in the style of Eddie Cochran, making it sound a quite fifties but it’s still well done. Dave Edmunds is very good at keeping the tempo going on every song. Another interesting track is “Feel So Right” which has that Ramones one, two, three start and goes into the rockabilly sound. However, as the song progresses, you are led to conclude that if you didn’t know that Jeff Lynne of ELO fame had produced the album, you would have discovered it for yourself with said song. Then again, the more I think about it, I can hear a little bit of Lynne influence on “Slipping Away.” These factors combined make “Information” another album I regret not buying back then.

The Ramones

The Ramones

Track Listing:

  1. Slipping Away
  2. Don’t You Double
  3. I Want You Bad
  4. Wait
  5. The Watch on My Wrist
  6. The Shape I’m In
  7. Information
  8. Feel So Right
  9. What Have I Got to Do to Win?
  10. Don’t Call Me Tonight
  11. Have a Heart
Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds- guitar, vocals

Geraint Watkins- accordion

Jeff Lynne- bass, synthesizer

John David- bass

Dave Charles- drums

Paul Jones- harmonica

Richard Tandy- synthesizer

I think this was another hidden gem from 1983 that didn’t get the respect it deserved at the time. Maybe because rockabilly was already in decline or because of its unique sound, it was too hard rock for trendies but not hard enough for metalheads. All I know is that I enjoy “Information” and I know I would have liked the album if I first listened to it back then.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1983

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategipublishinggroup.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 1983: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

John_Cougar_Mellencamp-Uh-Huh_(album_cover)

One type of person whom most other people in the world find annoying is the guy who acts all tough but clearly isn’t. This was a major problem for John Cougar Mellencamp back in the early 1980s, especially in the eyes of many metalheads. My sister saw him live in 1983 along with Journey (who headlined,) Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. Anyway, while Cougar was on stage, ( he hadn’t reclaimed is family name yet), someone threw something onto the stage. In response, John called out, “Hey mother f*cker, throw some shit up here again and I’ll come down and stomp on your ass.” While this was amusing, I remember one friend who said that he would have thrown something else at the stage so he could kick John Cougar’s ass because Cougar was a wimp.

JCM’s 1983 album “Uh Huh” established him as a true American rock act and many of my British friends agree. My thoughts on the album was while it wasn’t a metal album, it was still hard enough for metalheads to enjoy. I have always enjoyed “Uh Huh,” even the singles, which are the first three songs on the album. “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses” and “The Authority Song” were all good tunes that stretched across the barriers that were being erected in music back then. They had a commercial appeal and a hard rock enough sound that no one who liked those songs would be accused of leaving their chosen camp. Of the three, “The Authority Song” is my favourite because it highlights perfectly the phase I was going through at the time. It was kind of and I stress kind of my theme song for a brief period.

After the three singles, there is still plenty of straightforward American rock and roll to be had. “Play Guitar” and “Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya” definitely qualify but the best song of all on the album has to be “Serious Business.” The lyrics alone make the song for me. I mean how could one not like lyrics that go :

“This is serious business, sex and violence and rock and roll.”

Hell, I’m singing those lyrics now as I type this. This is why I found “Uh Huh” to be such and enjoyable album. John Cougar Mellencamp has a bit of fun on it.

Track Listing:

  1. Crumblin’ Down
  2. Pink Houses
  3. The Authority Song
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar
  7. Serious Business
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates
John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp- vocals

Larry Crane- guitar

Kenny Aronoff- drums, percussion

Toby Myers- bass

Mike Wanchic- guitar, backing vocals

Louis Johnson- bass

Carol Sue Hill- vocals

Maggie Ryder- vocals

Jay Ferguson- vocals

When I was teaching full time, I did an American theme in a cookery lesson which the class was making sloppy joes and corn dogs. One of my British colleagues remarked at this, “Sloppy Joes and corn dogs, it sounds like a John Mellencamp song.” Yes, many people outside the US regard John Cougar Mellencamp as truly and American artist, especially with some of the topics he sings about in later albums. That was before “Uh Huh,” where while there are some hidden themes, it’s still a fun rocker of an album.

Next post: Dave Edmunds- Information

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 1983: Rolling Stones- Undercover

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Undercoverstones

If the Rolling Stones 1981 album “Tattoo You” was a move away from the band’s disco albums (at least I thought so) of the late 1970s, then the 1983 “Undercover” album moved them even further away. Saying that, when I first heard the album’s first single “Under Cover of the Night,” I thought it was a bit of a dirge. It did take me a couple of listens to get used to it. By then, the second single, “She Was Hot” came out and was, in my humble opinion, much better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, memories of the song will be forever in twined with the cheesy video for it. That was one drawback with MTV, good songs could be ruined by bad videos that stick in your mind but anyway.

A shot from the video for "She Was Hot." Cheesy or not?

A shot from the video for “She Was Hot.” Cheesy or not?

One thing about the Rolling Stones over the decades was that if I didn’t buy an album myself, someone I knew would and eventually I would listen to it. That’s what happened with “Undercover.” I listened to it and I liked it. “Undercover” takes the Rolling Stones even further back to their roots. This album is more hard rock than anything that they had put out in years, at least I thought that back in 1983. After the two singles are done and dusted at the beginning of the album, the third track, “Tie You Up” starts the hard rock off in earnest. And goes on that path for the next two songs. Then comes the track, “Too Much Blood,” which for me is a song of two halves. At first, I thought the jazz infusion, with the horns was nicely done. Then somewhere in the middle, it begins sounding like a dance track making me think they hadn’t totally gotten over the disco thing.

“Pretty Beat Up” also has horns and a bit of a rock/jazz fusion and the best part is that it doesn’t become a dance tune anywhere I can hear. For me, the best is saved for last. “Undercover” goes out on a real high with the last three tracks. All of them are hard rockers and sound like the Stones of the 1960s that I grew up on. If anything, it is these closing songs that has kept me coming back to the album after so many years.

Track Listing:

  1. Under Cover of the Night
  2. She Was Hot
  3. Tie You Up (The Pain of Love)
  4. Wanna Hold You
  5. Feel On Baby
  6. Too Much Blood
  7. Pretty Beat Up
  8. Too Tough
  9. All the Way Down
  10. It Must Be Hell
Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger- vocals, harmonica, guitar

Keith Richards- guitar, lead vocals on “Wanna Hold You”

Ronnie Wood- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Wyman- bass, percussion, piano on “Pretty Beat Up”

Charlie Watts- drums

It has been said that “Undercover” is one of the weaker albums by the Rolling Stones. I never agreed with that or really cared, I just liked it.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Thought About 38 Special

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2016 by 80smetalman
38 Special

38 Special

Something I said in my last post about the “Tour de Force” album by 38 Special has given me cause for further reflection. In that post, I suggested that the gradual but steady decline in the quality of 38 Special’s albums as a new one was released might have had to do with the fact that when each new album came out, the songs sung be Donnie Van Zant decreased while those sung by Don Barnes increased. There may be a link here but I can’t really say for sure.

38_Special_-_Wild-Eyed_Southern_Boys

My reflections have brought on an epiphany in regards to 38 Special. I now offer into evidence my second favourite of all time, 38 Special song, the title track to the album “Wild Eyed Southern Boys.” On this phenomenal track, Barnes & Van Zant both sing lead on it. They each sing a line before passing over to the other. This alternation of vocals works very well with the song and is one of the reasons why it’s so good. However, of the four 38 Special albums I have, this is the only song where they do it. My question is why the hell not? I’m not saying they needed to do it on every song but I see nothing wrong with one track on every album. See, their vocals complimented each other so well on “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” one would have thought they would have done this more. Man, I wish I had a time machine because I would go back to 1981 and point this out to them. What do all of you think?

Donnie Van Zant

Donnie Van Zant

Don Barnes

Don Barnes

80smetalman will resume normal duties in the next couple of days.

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: 38 Special- Tour de Force

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Tour_de_Force

“Tour de Force” proves what I probably said about albums by 38 Special in previous posts. Each new album is not as good as the ones before. Going back to the very first 38 Special album I listened to, “Rockin’ Into the Night” was outstanding, their best album ever. The next one, “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” was an excellent album and “Special Forces was somewhere between good and very good. However, the 1983 “Tour de Force” album was just good.

Another thing which I have said in the past was my belief that if the single opens the album, then the album may not be up to much because that has always been a trick of one hit wonders. In the case of this album, the first three tracks are the singles that were released on the album. Of those three, the middle one, “Back Where You Belong,” is the best. That song is more the 38 Special I had come to know and love back then. A good opening hard riff with a cool guitar solo, full marks there. Saying that, “If I’d Been the One” is a decent enough song but I’ve never been impressed with the third track, “One Time for Old Times.”

Here is a case where instead of one song not making an entire album, it’s two. I won’t include “Back Where You Belong” because it is a great song. However, after those three singles, things definitely turn up a few notches for the good. “See Me In Your Eyes” starts to return things to a normality with 38 Special and then “Twentieth Century Fox” is a complete rocker. The exact same thing can be said for the tracks that follow on after that. “Long Distance Affair” and the closer, “Undercover Lover” are fine rocking tracks with the latter song, when it closes out the album, leaves you with an all’s well that ends well feeling towards the album.

I must also add that “I Oughta Let Go” is more of a Southern boogie number which proves that at this time, the band hadn’t completely abandoned their Southern Rock roots. But my brain has me wondering if the decline in each album is down to cause and effect. With “Rockin’ Into the Night,” Donnie Van Zant sings lead on five songs and Don Barnes three and one cracking instrumental. On the ensuing albums, the number of Van Zant leads lessen and Barnes sings lead on more. On “Tour de Force” Donnie Van Zant only sings lead on three songs with Barnes the other six. Now, I’m not knocking Don Barnes, he is a great vocalist and I should have included him in my list of great rhythm guitarists but Donnie Van Zant definitely brings an energy to the songs he sings. So, I wonder that if they kept it as it was on the first album, there wouldn’t have been such a noticeable decline. Oh yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it remains true on “Tour de Force.” Jeff Carlisi is a very underrated guitarist.

Track Listing:

  1. If I’d Been the One
  2. Back Where You Belong
  3. One Time for Old Times
  4.  See Me in Your Eyes
  5. Twentieth Century Fox
  6. Long Distance Affair
  7. I Oughta Let Go
  8. One of the Lonely Ones
  9. Undercover Lover
38 Special

38 Special

Don Barnes- lead vocals, guitar

Donnie Van Zant- lead vocals

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar, steel guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Steve Brookins- drums

Jack Grondin- drums

Carol Bristow- backing vocals

Lu Moss- backing vocals

Jimmy Markham- harmonica

38 Special were at a cross roads at this point in time. I remember tearing my hair out trying to convince my friend that they were not a top forty band and that they were a cool Southern Rock band like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. I’m not sure if he ever believed me but while this album may lead one to think that they had sold out, there is enough on this good album to show that hadn’t.

Next post: Rolling Stones- Undercover

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 1983: Yes- 90125

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2016 by 80smetalman

90125album

When people mention great 1970s progressive rock, the first two names that come to mind are Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. To me, they were the building block on which the genre was built on during that decade. Yes classics like “Roundabout” and “Yours is No Disgrace” continue to move me whenever I hear them. That meant that when the new Yes album, “90125,” came out in 1983, my ears were definitely tuned towards them.

By late 1983, MTV had pretty much taken over as my new resource for discovering new albums and bands. Note: in 1983, MTV still actually played decent music. Yes’s new release came to my attention via the first single “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” This song was okay in my view, I loved the guitar riff introduction to the song but to me it sounded too choppy in the 1980s style and definitely not what I was used to from Yes. Fortunately, as I know from experiences good and bad, one song does not make an album.

The rest of “90125” is more of the traditional Yes we kids new and loved back in the 1970s. “Hold On” is nearly a hard rock track dominated by the guitar but “It Can Happen” is for sure Yes at their golden best. There is some superb progressive rock sound here with a little bit of everything. Some magnificent keyboard work from Tony Kaye and a little impressive guitar work compliments of Trevor Rabin. Holding all of it together is the vocals of Jon Anderson with some help from the harmonizing with the other members of the band. “It Can Happen” is the key to the album and links everything in very nicely. The remainder of the album follows on in this mold rarely venturing outside the box but still keeping the band’s creativity in tact.

“Changes” is the prime example as it follows on perfectly from “It Can Happen” and I have to say that I have always found the guitar work on the instrumental “The Cinema” very well performed. Furthermore, I prefer the second single from the album, “Leave It” as it is done in the traditional Yes fashion. That sets the tone for the remainder of the album, just some good old fashioned progressive rock from the remaining tracks.

Track Listing:

  1. Owner of a Lonely Heart
  2. Hold On
  3. It Can Happen
  4. Changes
  5. The Cinema
  6. Leave It
  7. Our Song
  8. City of Love
  9. Hearts
Yes

Yes

Jon Anderson- vocals

Trevor Rabin- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Chris Squire- bass, vocals

Tony Kaye- keyboards, vocals

Alan White- drums, percussion, vocals

After a break up in 1981, Yes came back two years later and it was still good to hear that they hadn’t lost their touch with “90125.” This could be one of the best progressive rock albums of the 1980s but that will be left for others to debate.

Next Post: 38 Special- Tour de Force

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 1983: Bob Dylan- Infidels

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

Bob_Dylan_-_Infidels

“Infidels” was Bob Dylan’s first album after his three albums professing his faith as a Born Again Christian. Now I posted about two of those albums, “Slow Train Coming” and “Saved” and like I said at the time, I have no problems with people who want to use music to express their beliefs on anything, within my personal boundaries on decency, which are quite broad. Those two albums were quite good in their own right and I remain convinced that those albums from Bob helped usher in the emerging tide of Christian rock artists that were gaining notoriety in 1983. Anyway, enough about that because it is said that “Infidels” with Dylan’s first secular album since his conversion and in many ways, it is a good album.

The first time I heard the single, “Neighborhood Bully” on the radio, I was duly impressed. To me, that song had a bit of hard rock swagger to it with a very catchy rhythm. In fact, it has taken it’s place as my fourth favourite Bob Dylan song. What also has fascinated me about the song was trying to figure out who was the neighborhood bully he was singing about. My first, thoughts was on account of the political climate at the time, that the bully might have been the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and Ronald Regan’s determination to make war on it. It could have been a Middle Eastern country and it turns out that I was right. After reading about it, (they didn’t have Wikopedia in 1983), I found out that he was singing about Israel and the persecution of the Jewish people as well as the contributions they have made to the world. The fact that this has mystery has finally been cleared up for me after more than thirty years doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still a brilliant rock tune.

It appears that Bob Dylan realized he stumbled onto something when he decided to go electric with his live “Hard Rain” album way back in 1976. For most of “Infidels,” he uses the electric guitar and his songs sound more rock. “License to Kill” and “I & I” are good examples here. You definitely can not call him a folk singer who sings through his nose on this album. However, I did read back then that some called him that old singer who sounds like Dire Straits. Well, there’s truth in that. The first time I heard Dire Straits, I thought it was Bob Dylan singing with Eric Clapton backing him up on guitar. Maybe it could be true owing to the fact that Dire Straits guitarist and lead singer Mark Knoepfler produced the album and he does a grand job in doing so. I think that on “Infidels,” Dylan sounds the best he has in years. But before anyone goes off and says that Dylan had some how changed, let me say that he still tackles relevant social and political topics of the time just like the Bob Dylan of old. He just makes the music behind his messages much more enjoyable.

Track Listing:

  1. Jokerman
  2. Sweetheart Like You
  3. Neighborhood Bully
  4. License to Kill
  5. Man of Peace
  6. Union Sundown
  7. I & I
  8. Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight

bobdylan

Bob Dylan- lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards

Mark Knopfler- guitar

Clydie King- vocals on “Sundown”

Robbie Shakespeare- bass

Mick Taylor- guitar

Sly Dunbar- drums, percussion

It would be silly of me to say that Bob Dylan was back in 1983 because he never went anywhere. He simply changed what he was singing about and went back to more traditional topics. This was still a brave thing to do in the ever increasing conservative mood of 80s Regan America. Still, he did and he proved that he could rock a bit as well.

Next post: Yes- 90125

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 828 other followers