Archive for July, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Bad Company- Desolation Angels

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2012 by 80smetalman

I earnestly believe that back in 1979, the dam couldn’t have begun to burst without this offering from the unsung founding fathers of metal. As I have previously stated in the archives, probably to the point you’re bored of hearing it, throughout t he 70s, Bad Company quietly enthralled many with a steady string of great albums and songs and it seems only fitting that they closed out their dominance of the decade with this fantastic album, “Desolation Angels.”

Usually, I’m quite skeptical when the first track of an album is the big hit single on the album and I was the same way when I first saw that “Rock And Roll Fantasy” was the opening track on the album. Because I first bought that single on 45 and it is a great single, my skepticism grew when the second track was the B-side of the 45, “Crazy Circles.” This always leads me to believe that the rest of the album is going to be all filler with mediocre songs at best. Tell you what, when I heard the album in full, I was never in my life glad to be so wrong. There are many killer tracks on “Desolation Angels.” “From great air guitar playing songs like “Rhythm Machine” and “Evil Wind,” as well as the singles “Rock and Roll Fantasy” and “Gone Gone Gone” to the more acoustic ballads, like “She Brings Me Love,” this album shows why Bad Company were the great force in rock in the 70s.

Track Listing:

1. Rock And Roll Fantasy

2. Crazy Circles

3. Gone Gone Gone

4. Evil Wind

5. Early in the Morning

6. Lonely for Your Love

7. Oh Atlanta

8. Take The Time

9. Rhythm Machine

10. She Wants Your Love

Bad Company

Paul Rogers- vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, synthesisers

Mick Ralphs- guitar, keyboards

Simon Kirke- drums

Boz Burrell- bass

Bad Company albums have all had that easy, feel good, sit outside in the summer with a beer while you listen to it appeal while maintaining their unique hard rock edge. “Desolation Angels” is no different and is classed as one of their best. Therefore, with the Olympics now happening in the summer months, take your portable CD player or MP3  and go out into the garden and have a listen to an album that made 1979. Also remember to take a portable TV so you can watch the beach volleyball.

Next post: Kansas- Monolith

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 Store in London

Great Rock Albums of 1979: George Harrison- George Harrison

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

For the more astute, I did say that this post would be George Harrison’s “Somewhere in England” album, however, as I began refreshing my knowledge in order to write this post, I discovered that that album wasn’t released until 1981. The album released in 1979, was the one named after him, George Harrison. I apologise for getting my rock facts wrong on this one and I will visit the “Somewhere in England album when I get to 1981.

When I was posting my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter, I had great internal debate on whether or not I should visit the George Harrison album “331/3.” I decided not to as the album was a real mellow out album although it does contain my all time favourite Harrison song, “Crackerbox Palace.” “George Harrison” is a little less mellow and in no way a hard rock album. I decided to include it because of the history of that time. See, in 1979 rock music was fighting off the disco invasion and some notable rock musicians, some whose albums I’ve included here, were experimenting with the whole disco thing. This album wasn’t disco and that was good enough for me. Furthermore and I’m going to say something that some Beatles fans may think blasphemous, musically George was my favourite Beatle. I’m not taking anything away from Lennon and McCartney, they are true geniuses, but I’ve always liked songs like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something” and my fave, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, (sorry once a teacher always a teacher) let’s get on to the subject of this album. “George Harrison” by the person of the same name is a good soft rock album. It begins with an introductory guitar solo from the legendary Eric Clapton on the first track, “Love Comes to Everyone” and carries through the album with a feel good factor throughout. There’s the top single “Blow Away” which, for those who take the singles charts seriously, made it  to number 14 in the US and 39 in the UK. The song “Faster” has a bit more of a rock feel to it, especially as it begins with motor racing sound effects.

Track Listing:

1. Love Comes to Everyone

2. Not Guilty

3. Here Comes the Moon

4. Soft Hearted Hanna

5. Blow Away

6. Faster

7. Dark Sweet Lady

8. Your Love is Forever

9. Soft Touch

10. If You Believe

George Harrison- vocals, guitars

Andy Newmark- drums

Willie Weeks- bass

Neil Larsen- keyboards, minimoog

Ray Cooper- percussion

Steve Winwood- polymoog

Emil Richards- marimba

Gayle Richards- harp

Eric Clapton- guitar intro

Gary Wright- oberheim

“George Harrison” for me was common ground for me and my then disco/plastic pop loving girlfriend at the time. Still it’s a good album to “mellow out” to. One I listen to on a lazy summer day, like today and shows why I’ve always said that Harrison’s work has always been underrated when compared to the other Beatles.

Next post: Bad Company- Desolation Angels

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 1979: ELO- Discovery

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by 80smetalman

This album has been dubbed “Disco Very” by some and the phrase was actually first coined by band member Richard Tandy. However, I never really considered this to be a disco album.  I don’t doubt that singles like “Shine a Little Love” probably got played a lot in discos across the world, especially that there were other notable rock stars crossing over into disco, most likely for the big bucks. Some, like The Rolling Stones with “Some Girls” and Rod Stewart with “Do You Think I’m Sexy” were quite blatant about it. Still, back in 1979, I would have much rather listened to that ELO song than either of those two or the disco tune that was popular at the time, Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell.”

“Discovery” was a departure for ELO in other ways as well. It was the first album not to feature its famous string trio with the violin and two cellos because Jeff Lynne had considered them superfluous to requirements. I often wonder if this was not a mistake as although this is a good album, it’s  not as good as the previous album “Out of the Blue.” Nonetheless, the album does contain a really cool rock sounding song, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” which is among my favourite ELO songs.

Track Listing

1. Shine a Little Love

2. Confusion

3. Need Her Love

4. The Diary of Horace Wimp

5. Last Train to London

6. Midnight Blue

7. On the Run

8. Wishing

9. Don’t Bring Me Down

ELO

Jeff Lynne- vocals, guitar, piano, synthesiser

Bev Bevan- drums, percussion

Richard Tandy- piano, synthesiser, clavinet, electric piano

Kelly Groucutt- bass, vocals

It has been said that “Discovery” was a departure from a formula that had worked very well for ELO in the past. I won’t be dragged into that debate, but I will say that it isn’t as good as the previous album. It is still a good album nevertheless with some good tracks, definitely still a good listen after all these years.

Next Post: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to 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 1979: Frank Zappa- Sheik Yerbouti

Posted in 1978, 1979, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by 80smetalman

It may have been down to the success of “Zappa in New York,” but whatever the case, in 1979, Frank Zappa put out another live album in the form of “Sheik Yerbouti.” This turned out to be Zappa’s most commercially successful album and I am not surprised at this. As was the case with his previous live album, Zappa has always been brilliant live, just ask anyone who has seen him and while a live album can’t actually truly capture the same feeling as actually being there, this one comes pretty close.

“Sheik Yerbouti” was the first album made after Zappa parted with Warner Bros records and set up his own label, Zappa Records. Not being under the constraints of a corporate record company definitely paid dividends for him with this album. He was free to record what he wanted, even if some prudes out there thought he was being too risque. As a result, many of the songs not only push the boundaries, they shatter them. I still remember the shock/horror I had when I first heard the track, “Bobby Brown,” which is about a man who becomes homosexual. However, after the intial shock, I laughed my rear end off through it. It was the same with “Dancin Fool,” a song that takes the piss out of the 70s disco scene and “Jewish Princess” landed him in some hot water, but if you don’t take it seriously, the song is a great laugh. “Sheik Yerbouti” has some of my favourite Zappa tunes on it.

Track Listing:

1. I Have Been in You

2. Flakes

3. Broken Hearts are for Assholes

4. I’m So Cute

5. Jones Crusher

6. Whatever Happened to All the Fun in the World

7. Rat Tomago

8. Wait a Minute

9. Bobby Brown

10. Rubber Shirt

11. The Sheik Yerbouti Tango

12. Baby Snakes

13. Trying to Grow a Chin

14. City of Tiny Lites

15. Dancin’ Fool

16. Jewish Princess

17. Wild Love

18. Yo Mama

Frank Zappa- lead guitar, lead vocals, arranging, composer

Adrian Belew- rhythm guitar, vocals

Patrick O’Hearn- bass, vocals

Terry Bozio- drums, vocals

Ed Mann- percussion, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards, backing vocals

Andre Lewis- keyboards, backing vocals

Peter Wolf- keyboards

David Ocker- clarinet

Napolean Murphy Brock- backing vocals

Randy Thornton- backing vocals

“Sheik Yerbouti” not only marked a major turning point in Frank Zappa’s career, it proved that, given the freedom, he could make music fun. It’s another reason why listening to Zappa was practically a requirement at my high school.

With all the many condolensces pouring in, I would also like to express my grief at the recent passing of Deep Purple keyboard player, Jon Lord. Out of respect, I made sure I listened to the classic “Smoke on the Water,” which he co-wrote. I saw him play with DP mark II in 85 and I was mesmerised by his keyboard solo that night. I only wish I did it more justice in my account of the concert in “Rock And Roll Children.”

Next post: ELO- Discovery

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to 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 1979: Jefferson Starship- Gold

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

As I said a few posts ago, 1979 was a big transitional year for me and I will probably say it a few more times as I continue to visit some of the great rock and metal albums from this year, so I ask your forgiveness in advance if I go on about it too much. It also turned out that 1979 was also a major transitional year for my favourite band from the 70s, Jefferson Starship. When I saw that the “Gold” album had been released in the February of that year, I just thought it was a typical greatest hits release from their albums from 1974-78 and didn’t realise what was going on behind the scenes. It would be a long time later before I learned that Grace Slick had said “I don’t want to play with you guys ever again,” after a bust up in Germany. She would also have to go to rehab for her problems with the bottle. Also, Marty Balin would also leave the band to persue a solo career. Therefore, “Gold” would mark a major change in the flight plan of the Starship.

First, let me be the first one to declare that I should be lined up against a wall and shot for not including the “Red Octopus” album in my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter in my tour. This was a great album that hit number one in the charts and unprecedented four times! And don’t be fooled by the three singles from the album that appear on here, althought I do really like “Fast Buck Freddie.” There are some other hidden rocking gems on this album so, it’s no wonder this album was so popular.

Anyway, back to “Gold.” Needless to say, it’s a greatest hits album so the songs that appear on here will have had some form of commercial success and be familiar to most people, that’s a given. However, this album had a little surprise for me the first time I listened to it. I had never heard the album “Dragon Fly” so when the song “Ride the Tiger” came blasting out of my speakers, I was totally amazed. This was a true hard rocking song that showcases the talents of Craig Chaquico with the ever competent Paul Kantner backing him up on rhythm guitar. As a result, “Ride the Tiger” went instantly to number one in my favourite Starship song list at that  time and continues to be up there in the top five of all time. In addition, the album featured a new single, “Light the Sky on Fire,” which also went of the grain of the more mellower songs from this time period and left me impressed by the musicianship.

Track Listing

1. Ride the Tiger

2. Caroline

3. Play on Love

4. Miracles

5. Fast Buck Freddie

6. With Your Love

7. St Charles

8. Count On Me

9. Love Too Good

10. Runaway

Bonus tracks

Light The Sky On Fire

Hyperdrive

Jefferson Starship

Grace Slick- vocals, piano

Marty Balin- vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

John Barbata- drums, backing vocals

Papa John Creach- violin

“Gold” marked an end of an era for Jefferson Starship. It put the final nail in the coffin that laid to rest the band’s reputation for mellow out love songs. After “Gold,” their sound would change forever and be the source of much debate that carries on to this day. As for the new sound, well you will have to stick around as I’m not going to tell about that til much further down the line.

Next post: Frank Zappa- Sheik Yourb0uti

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to 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 1979: Blondie- Parallel Lines

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by 80smetalman

Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson were the first rock ladies to tingle my teenage hormones and Deborah Harry from Blondie was definitely the second. I still have nice memories of when I first saw her on the old Midnight Special show in the mini skirt and green tights. The band played their most popular hit, “Heart of Glass” and while I class the song as one that’s not bad, it wasn’t the song that I was thinking about.

Musically, while most people will say that “Heart of Glass” was their best song, it wasn’t the song that attracted me to them in that way. That honour belongs to another single from the album, “One Way or Another.” For me, that song proved to me that Blondie could rock. Furthermore, there are song other cool rock type songs like “11:59” and “Will Anything Happen.” The rest of the album contains some good to passable rock tunes which makes this it all around, a pretty good album.

Track Listing:

1. Hanging on the Telephone

2. One Way or Another

3. Picture This

4. Fade Away, Radiate

5. Pretty Baby

6. I Know But I Don’t Know

7. 11:59

8. Will Anything Happen

9. Sunday Girl

10. Heart of Glass

11. I’m Gonna Love You Too

12. Just Go Away

Blondie

Deborah Harry- vocals

Frank Infante- guitars

Chris Stein- guitar, 12 string guitar and ebow

Jimmy Destri- keyboards

Nigel Harrison- bass

Clem Burke- drums

I admit, it was the fabulous look of Deborah Harry which first got me into Blondie and I know I wasn’t the only teenage boy guilty of this. But beyond the sex, there is some really good music from “Parallel Lines” and it is easy to see why it went so high in the album charts and why it’s considered Blondie’s most popular album. So, here’s a photo of Deborah Harry so those who aren’t old enough to remember her in her prime can see what the fuss was all about.

Next post: Jefferson Starship- Gold

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to 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 1979: Blues Brothers- Briefcase Full of Blues

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by 80smetalman

This album taught me a valuable lesson: Never judge an album until you’ve heard it all the way through. I first saw the Blues Brothers on the old Saturday Night Live show and seeing that the band was fronted by Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi, I expected it to be some kind of satirical take on music. After all, Gilda Radner introduced us to punk rock star Candy Slice on the show. As a result, I was somewhat disappointed at first when the music didn’t have me rolling on the floor with laughter.

That changed one night in early 1979. I was at the roller rink, skating hard in an attempt to ignore all the disco being played when “Soul Man” came blasting out of the speakers. My first thought was, “This song is good” and then I recognised the voice of John Belushi as Jake Blues. The song immediately went to number one in my mind and a week later, I got to hear the album “Briefcase Full of Blues” in it’s entirety. I was hooked!

The other thing that made me a bit wary of this album was that it was a blues album. I remember John Belushi saying in an interview that he had been getting tired of rock and roll and that was why he turned to the blues. Back then, I was way too naive to realise that rock music came out of the blues.  This album taught me different and I’m forever grateful for it. “Briefcase Full of Blues” is a bonefide classic album with some great tracks other than “Soul Man.” “Rubber Biscuit,” Messin’ With the Kid” and “Hey Bartender” all do it for me. What helps make this album so good is the fact that Ackroyd and Belushi were able to round up some of the best studio musicians that were around at the time, including Paul Schaffer, who most people know from the David Letterman Show.

Track Listing:

1. Opening: I Can’t Turn You Loose

2. Hey Bartender

3. Messin’ With the Kid

4. (I Got Everything I Need) Almost

5. Rubber Biscuit

6. Shot Gun

7. Groove Me

8. I Don’t Know

9. Soul Man

10. B- Movie Boxcar Blues

11. Flip Flop and Fly

12. Closing: I Can’t Turn You Loose

Jake Blues (John Belushi)- lead vocals

Elwood Blues(Dan Ackroyd)- backing vocals, lead vocals on “Rubber Biscuit,” harmonica

Matt “Guitar” Murphy- lead guitar

Steve “The Colonel” Cr0pper- lead guitar

Donald “Duck” Dunn- bass

Paul “The Shiv” Schaffer- keyboards

Steve “Getdwa” Jordan- drums

Lou “Blue Lou” Marini- alto and tenor saxophones

Tom “Triple Scale” Scott- alto and tenor saxophones

Tom “Bones” Malone- tenor and baritone saxophones, trombone, trumpet

Alan “Mr Fabulous” Rubin- Trumpet

This album opened my eyes to the wonderful world of the blues and forced me to appreciate its influence on rock. It also showed me that even people who have a reputation for being funny, can be serious singers too. A great album that helped me to see there are more types of good music out on the horizon.

Next post: Blondie- Parallel Lines

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle