Archive for March, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1978: Molly Hatchet

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by 80smetalman

Before 1978, the term Southern Rock was attributed to bands such as The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Charlie Daniels Band. However, in 1978, a new force came out of the Jacksonville Florida area and it was called Molly Hatchet. Molly Hatchet, supposedly named after an axe murderess, brought a fresh southern boogie hard rock sound to music and it became a favourite among rockers and later metalheads.

For many years, I thought that their debut album was actually called “Bounty Hunter” after the first track on the album and most well known one. I now know that its actually self titled and I know further that it completely kicks ass. It’s not just the music either. The album cover was a painting by Frank Franzetta and it was the first of at least four Molly Hatchet albums to use Franzetta paintings on the covers. I was so impressed with these paintings, that when I was teaching at a school seven or eight years ago, I tried to get the art teacher to teach my class about Franzetta’s work.

Track Listing:

1. Bounty Hunter

2. Gator Country

3. Big Apple

4. The Creeper

5. The Price You Pay

6. Dreams I’ll Never See

7. I’ll Be Running

8. Cheatin’ Woman

9. Trust Your Old Friend

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

Duane Roland- guitar

Steve Holland- guitar

Banner Thomas- bass

Bruce Crump- drums

A metal buddy of mine once said that Molly Hatchet was one of those bands metalheads hid under their leather when they bought their albums. I never did, I didn’t care who saw that I was buying a Molly Hatchet album. The first album from them would set the stage for better things to come as they would establish themselves as the new kings of southern rock.

Next post: Bob Seger- Stranger in Town

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Gerry Rafferty- City to City

Posted in 1978, Music with tags , , , , on March 27, 2012 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to visit this album. Instead, I was going to include the single “Baker Street” with a list of rock singles that graced the charts and I liked, but not visit the whole album. Needless to say, “Baker Street” was the main focus on the album and it’s mentioned anytime someone mentions it or Gerry Rafferty himself. For me, the song was kind of a present for my 17th birthday as I remember hearing it on the radio just days after. Even then, I knew this song was something special. That is why it still holds a place in my metal heart and many ageing rockers like myself still love it. Besides, it was probably the first song to send that old AM clock radio of mine on its way to the scrap heap.

What people forget is the Gerry Rafferty had other songs from “City to City” on the album that did very well in the charts. Yes normally, I don’t give two stuffs about the charts, but as I said before, these songs were islands of rock gladness when all around was disco. The singles “Right Down the Line” and “Home and Dry” also broke into the top forty charts, making it a hat trick for Rafferty. Furthermore, the tracks “The Ark” and “City to City” did well in Holland, Belguim and Germany. Therfore, you can safely conclude that this was a great rock album for 1978.

Track Listing:

1. The Ark

2. Baker Street

3. Right Down the Line

4. City to City

5. Stealin’ Time

6. Mattie’s Rag

7. Whatever’s Written in Your Heart

8. Home and Dry

9. Island

10. Waiting For the Day  

Gerry Rafferty- vocals, accoustic guitar, piano

Gary Taylor- bass, backing vocals

Henry Spinetti- drums

Hugh Burns- guitar

Tommy Eyre- piano, keyboards, synthesiser

Graham Preskett- fiddles, strings, mandolin

Raphael Ravenscroft- saxophone on Baker Street

The passing of Gerry Rafferty last year was another great blow to the rock world. I first learned of it from my local paper as he was living not very far from me in Gloucestershire, England when he passed on. While, like Freddie Mercury and Frank Zappa, he is no longer with us, he left us music and at least one song that will live on in the hearts of millions forever.

 Next Post: Molly Hatchet

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Frank Zappa- Zappa in New York

Posted in 1978, Humour, Music with tags , , , , on March 23, 2012 by 80smetalman

Thirty three years since my graduation, I remain convinced that it was a mandatory requirment that in order to attend my high school, students had to listen to Frank Zappa. It seemed that practically everybody who attended my school listened to Zappa and I totally understand why, the man was a genius. How else could someone sell so many records when he had practically zero airplay.

This brings me around the this live offering from Frank Zappa. The concerts from which “Zappa in New York” was originally recorded in 1976 and part released in 1977. It was re issued and released in 1978, however, Warner Bros removed the track “Punky Whipps,” which explains why it’s missing from my cassette and re-edited the best track on the album “Titties and Beer.” It was this track that attracted me to the album when an old school friend constantly went around the school singing: “I need a beer and it’s titty squeezing time.”

That song and the album itself typifies Zappa. When you look up the album on Wikopedia, it gives a load of genres, rock, hard rock, progressive rock, humourous music and jazz fusion. Not many artists other than Frank Zappa could infuse all these genres together and make it work so well. The added bonus with this album is that he does on stage in front of a live audience. Is that genius or what?

Track Listing:

1. Titties and Beer

2. I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth

3. Punky Whipps

4. Sofa

5. Manx Needs Women

6. Black Page Drum Solo/Black Page 1

7. Big Legged Emma

8. Black Page Part 2

9. Honey Don’t You Want a Man Like Me

10. The Illinois Enema Bandit

11. The Purple Lagoon

Frank Zappa- conductor, vocals, lead guitar

Ray White- rhythm guitar, vocals

Eddie Jobson- keyboards, violin, vocals

Patrick O’Hearn- bass, vocals

Terry Bozio- drums, vocals

Ruth Underwood- synthesiser, percussion, overdubs

David Samuels- timpani

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Mike Brecker- tenor saxophone, flute

Lou Marini- alto saxophone, flute

Tom Malone- trombone, trumpet, picalo

John Bergamo- percussion overdubs

Ed Mann- percussion overdubs

Lou Anne Neill- osmatic harp overdub

Don Pardo- narration

Despite of no radio play, Frank Zappa appealed to many different people due to his various styles and more importantly, his use of humour in music. He was and is still a legend among many, especially if you attended Mainland High School in the late 70s.

Next post: Gerry Rafferty- City to City

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Great Rock Ablums of 1978: Queen- News of the World

Posted in 1978, Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by 80smetalman

Yes, this is another abum, which was actually released in 1977, but “News of theWorld” by Queen was one of the albums that made my spring in 1978. The hit singles “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” spear headed Queen’s push for rock and roll dominance in the early months of that year. Both songs were used as a motivation for my high school basketball team when it want to the South Jersey final. Unfortunately, they lost that game, but those songs still were true rock anthems.

I have always liked the sound of Queen and this album was one of the reasons. The operatic harmonies were groundbreaking at the time and I’m not just talking about “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Furthermore, as I said before, Brian May is truly up their with the guitar playing elite. However, the problem I had with Queen back in 78 and 79 was Freddie Mercury and my own homophobic views. The fact that I know I wasn’t the only one who had them doesn’t justify it at all. My fears of being branded gay kept me from openly saying that I liked Queen’s music. I’m just glad I have become much more open minded in my adult years and can truly appreciate what a great band Queen are and what a great album “News of the World” was. In the spring of 1978, Queen surely were the champions of the rock world.

Track Listing:

1. We Will Rock You

2. We Are the Champions

3. Sheer Heart Attack

4. All Dead All Dead

5. Spread Your Wings

6. Fight From the Inside

7. Get Down Make Love

8. Sleeping on the Sidewalk

9 Who Needs You

10. It’s Late

11. My Melancholy Blues


Freddie Mercury- lead vocals, piano, percussion, cowbell

Brian May- electric and accoustic guitars, lead vocals on “All Dead All Dead” and “Sleeping on the Sidewalk,” backing vocals

Roger Taylor- durms, percussion, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Sheer Heart Attack” and “Fight From the Inside”

John Deacon- bass, accoustic guitar, Spanish guitar

The best thing to say about this album is that it triumphed in spite of homophobia. Not only the hits, but other great tracks like “Get Down, Make Love” and “Sheer Heart Attack” make this album such a great classic. Queen are another act that has stood the test of time and have given us great rock memories.

To prove I’m completely over my homophobia, here’s a picture of Freddie Mercury in his body stocking, which in 1978, I thought was very gay.

 Next post: Frank Zappa- Zappa in New York

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Styx- Pieces of Eight

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

It is not very common that when an artist puts out a great album, they follow it up with another great album. There are many examples where this has come close, but usually one album is usually slightly better than the other. But this is exactly what Styx accomplished in 1977 and 78. In 1977, they put out the iconic album “The Grand Illusion,” which I talked about a couple of months ago in a previous post. A year later, they followed it up with the release of “Pieces of Eight,” which is another iconic album equally as brilliant as the first.

Like its predecessor, “Pieces of Eight” has some great hard rocking tunes like “Renegade” and “Great White Hope” as well as some more progressive rock tracks like “I’m OK,” “Sing for the Day” and “The Message” and then combine both elements in tracks like “Blue Collar Man.” Of course the other tracks are strong too and takes this album out of the shadow of “The Grand Illusion” and put it on an equal standing with it.

Track Listing:

1. Great White Hope

2. I’m OK

3.Sing for the Day

4. The Message

5. Lords of the Ring

6. Blue Collar Man

7. Queen of Spades

8. Renegade

9 Pieces of Eight

10. Aku Aku


Dennis DeYoung- keyboads, synthesisers, pipe organ, vocals

James Young- guitars, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitars, mandolin, vocals

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

John Panozzo- drums, vocals

With “Pieces of Eight,” Styx accomplished what many acts have never been able to do. That is follow a great album up with another. It all takes me back to the time when this album defied the disco craze and gave us some great music to listen to.

Next post: Queen- News of the World

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Heart- Dog and Butterfly

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2012 by 80smetalman

“Dog and Butterfly” was the late 1978 follow up to “Magazine” which Heart re-released earlier that year and in my opinion was better than the earlier album. In fact, many people cite this album as their favourite Heart album, although I, personally, am not so sure. It would be a tough choice between “Dog and Butterfly” and “Dreamboat Annie.” Needless to say, it is an album that shows Heart at their best.

This album is classic Heart through and through. Classic rocking tracks like the single “Straight On” form the foundation. Then there’s the soft ballad and title track, “Dog and Butterfly” with its mesmerising accoustic guitar. I was convinced that back in 1978, only Heart could make a ballad sound this good. To final it out, there’s the track “Mistral Wind,” which begins like a ballad with accoustic guitars, only to come in with some very good rock.

Track Listing:

1. Cook With Fire

2. High Time

3. Hijinx

4. Straight On

5. Dog and Butterfly

6. Lighter Touch

7. Nada One

8. Mistral Wind


Ann Wilson- lead vocals, violin, guitar

Nancy Wilson- guitar, piano, vocals

Michael DeRosier- drums

Howard Leese- guitar, keyboards

Roger Fisher- guitar, steel guitar

Steve Fossen- bass

Rich Keefer- synthesiser, vocals

Heart were one of the most commercially successful hard rock bands back in the late 70s. Albums like “Dog and Butterfly” bear testimony to this.

Next post: Styx- Pieces of Eight

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Heart- Magazine

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by 80smetalman

Originally, this ablum by Heart was released in 1977, however, the band wasn’t too pleased with the way it sounded so after a court battle, the album was pulled, remixed and re released in 1978 and it is this version that is going to be visited here. The main reason is that the remastered version of “Magazine” sounds like the classic hard rock that Heart were known and loved for in the late 70’s.

I have mentioned my AM radio that gave up the ghost, but I did have an antiquated looking AM/FM radio as well. I didn’t play it much because the local AM station played better stuff than the local FM station at the time. The FM station played lots of disco tunes. However, when I held that radio in the right position on my knee, I was able to pick up the Philadelphia stations and they were no way disco. It was through this self imposed agony, (my knee would stiffen after an hour of listening to the radio this way) that I first heard the classic rocking Heart jam, “Heartless.”

Like I said in my posting for the “Dreamboat Annie” album all those months ago, Ann and Nancy Wilson were the first true rock chicks in the modern sense. They knew how to rock and with the rest of the band behind them, they put out some classic rocking stuff like this album. Each song has the trademark vocals of Ann Wilson (Cheryl Cole isn’t worthy to lick her boot soles)with the unique guitar sound that is them. This included the more lighter songs like the title track and the more trippy sounding “Devil Delight.”

Track Listing:

1. Heartless

2. Devil Delight

3. Just the Wine

4. Without You

5. Magazine

6. Here Song

7. Mother Earth Blues

8. I Got the Music In Me

Ann Wilson- vocals, flute, keyboards, violin

Nancy Wilson- guitar, piano, vocals

Michael De Rosier- drums

Roger Fisher- guitar, steel guitar

Steve Fossen- bass

Howard Leese- guitar, keyboards, synthesiser, vocals

“Magazine” would be the first of two albums which Heart would release in 1978, the other one will be visited in my next post. It’s no wonder with great rock songs from the likes of Heart and others, my antique radios gave up the ghost.

Next post: Heart- Dog and Butterfly

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Foreigner- Double Vision

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by 80smetalman

I have finally figured out why my AM clock radio finally gave up the ghost in early 1979. It couldn’t handle the hard rock coming out of it in the summer of 1978. First, there was the song “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh and on the same night, it belted out “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner. It is obvious now that two such hard rocking tunes were too much for a device that was used to blasting out disco tunes; it probably blew a tube from it all. For me, the summer of 1978, was a good rocking summer and this album was one of the reasons why.

The album “Double Vision,” the second album by Foreigner, has been considered by many, me included, as one of their best albums all around. It has a good rocking edge that has you rocking away from the very first song. (It does help that “Hot Blooded” is the first song.) However, the others all follow suit, especially the title track, and make this album the classic that it is.

Track Listing:

1. Hot Blooded

2. Blue Morning

3. You’re All I Am

4. Back Where You Belong

5. Love Has Taken Its Toll

6. Double Vision

7. Tramontane

8. I Have Waited All So Long

9. Lonely Children

10. Spellbinder


Dennis Elliot- drums, vocals

Ed Gagliarti- bass, vocals

Lou Gramm- Lead Vocals, percussion

Mick Jones- guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals

Ian McDonald- guitars, keyboards, vocals, reeds

I stand by my assertion that “Double Vision” is the best album by Foreigner. It is a good rocking album that after more than thirty years, has been a solid rock for many great rockers like me.

Next post: Heart- Magazine

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Rush- Hemispheres

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2012 by 80smetalman

I was warned that this 1978 offering from Rush was a bit weird. Having listened to a good chunk of it on line the other day, I don’t know if I would call it weird, however, it does seem that Rush was determined to put out another concept album. “Hemispheres” adheres to Neil Peart’s love of fantasy and science fiction and the desire to get it down in music. The result was an album which two of the songs were in excess of nine minutes, (the first track Cygnus X1- Book II, Hemispheres is eighteen minutes) filled with the type of prog rock which Rush was becoming famous for.

There are some people out there who don’t like listen to songs that are much more than seven minutes long, let alone an entire album of them. For those of us who don’t have a problem with it, this album is great for listening to when you are doing other things. It served that purposer for me the other day. That doesn’t mean you can’t just sit down and listen to them for the pure sake of doing so. Great when you are on a long drive or just sitting back and listening. “Hemispheres” is a very good album for doing just that. It has the trademark Rush sound which has defined them for over thirty years now.

Track Listings:

1. Cygnus Book X1 Part II, Hemispheres

I.  Prelude

II. Apollo Bringer of Wisdom

III. Dionysus- Bringer of Love

IV. Armageddon, The Battle of Heart and Mind

V. Cygnus- The Bringer of Balance

VI. The Sphere, A Kind of Dream

2. Circumstances

3. The Trees

4. La Villa Strangiato (An Excercise in Self Indulgence)

I. Buenos Nachos Mein Froinds

II. To sleep, perchance to dream

III. Strangatio Theme

IV. A Lerxst in Wonderland

V. Monsters!

VI. The Ghost of Aragon

VII. Danforth and Pape

VIII. The Waltz of the Shreves

IX.  Never turn your back on a Monster

X. Monsters (Reprise)

XI. Strangiato Theme (Reprise)

XII. A Farewell to Things


Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, mini moog, oberheim polyphonic, tarus pedals

Alex Liefson, guitars, guitar synthesiser, mini moog,

Neil Peart- drums, percussion, bells

As far as concept albums go, this one is one of the best. In the following albums, Rush would return to more traditional type album structure, but “Hemispheres” is still a good listen.

Next Post: Foreigner- Double Vision

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