Archive for August, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Dire Straits

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by 80smetalman

The first time I heard the Dire Straits song, “Sultans of Swing” I was in the marines listening to it with a bunch of my marine buddies. One of them stated, “It’s Bob Dylan” and another added, “And he’s got Clapton backing him up on guitar.” While I would have loved to have seen such a calloboration, I am satisfied with knowing that Dire Straits is the closest I will ever get to it. Besides, Mark Knopfler  is a much better vocalist than Dylan and on this album he plays guitar almost as good as Clapton.

In spite of the fact that “Sultans of Swing” reached number four in the US charts, this first album by Dire Straits is definitely not a one song, the rest filler album. There are many great tracks that shows the guitar talents of Knopfler and supported by the rest of the band. Of course, the forementioned song is my favourite Dire Straits song of all time but there are some other good tracks on the album as well. It’s the later tracks that do it for me like “Soutbound Again,” “In the Gallery” and “Wild West End.” However, the entire album is a good soft rock listen with some fantastic blues guitar licks compliments of Mark Knopfler.

Track Listing:

1. Down to the Waterline

2. Water of Love

3. Setting Me Up

4. Six Blade Knife

5. Southbound Again

6. Sultans of Swing

7. In the Gallery

8. Wild West End

9. Lions

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

David Knopfler- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Pick Withers- drums

I didn’t get to hear this album until 1980 and I have always concluded that it was just one of those albums that came out when I was in boot camp in the summer of 79. Furthermore, in 1985, when everyone was raving about “Brothers in Arms,” I automatically thought back to this album and remembered that it was more genuine offering than the more commercially produced one in the mid 80s. This is the album I will always associate most with Dire Straits.

Next post: Cheap Trick- Dream Police

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

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Queen- Jazz

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

Coming off the success of the 1978 smash, “News of the World,” Queen proved with the follow up album, “Jazz,” why they were a force to be reckoned with back in the late 70s. For me, “Jazz” was every bit as good as their last albums and some of the predecessors as well. Track after track on this album is consistently good and has me bobbing my head along each time I listen to it.

I remember when I heard the very first track, “Mustapha,” I wondered whether or not they were taking the proverbial. Maybe Freddie Mercury was doing a Frank Zappa bit and I had the paranoid worry that they were going disco. However, down the line of the song, the guitars kicked in and all was well after that. Then came my favourite track on the album, “Fat Bottomed Girls” and the hit “Bicycle Races” as well as some other fine songs climaxing with “Don’t Stop Me Now.” A very good album indeed and I’m glad I’m paying tribute to it here.

Track Listing:

1. Mustapha

2. Fat Bottomed Girls

3. Jealousy

4. Bicycle Races

5. If You Can’t Beat Them

6. Let Me Entertain You

7. Dead On Time

8. In Only Seven Days

9. Dreamer’s Ball

10. Fun It

11. Leaving Home Ain’t Easy

12. Don’t Stop Me Now

13. More of That Jazz

Queen

Freddie Mercury- lead and backing vocals, piano

Brian May- guitars, lead and backing vocals

Roger Taylor- drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals, electric guitar, bass

John Deacon- bass, electric and acoustic guitar

I have to confess, back in 1979, I tried very hard to dislike Queen, due to my homophobic views back then. Something I regret now. However, when I heard the singles from this album, I couldn’t help liking them. The music of Queen has the aura that is very hard not to like and today, I am a full fledged fan.

Next post: Dire Straits

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: Toto

Posted in 1978, 1979, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

 

Although I was a big fan of Wayne’s World, there was one thing in their book “Extreme Close Up” I didn’t agree with. That was some of the songs they listed in the category of “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes.” There were at least two other songs that I felt shouldn’t have been on the list, “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, down at number two was “Anything by Toto.” I don’t agree that every song by Toto is a party killer. Maybe in the case of “Georgy Porgy” but not their most noted song, “Hold the Line.” That was the song that made me aware of them and I still enjoy listening to it when I play any of the compilation CDs it appears on. Saying that, I do agree with Wayne’s number one choice, “Any disco tune.”

Sticklers for music history will point out that this album was released in 1978, but it didn’t come to my attention until March of 1979. How it did is an amusing story. An Air Force recruitment band came to my high school and played a gig. They introduced “Hold the Line” by saying that Toto had left Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz group and formed his own band. No, I didn’t find that funny either, but they did make the song sound good. Therefore, I was totally impressed when I heard the actual version by Toto.

If someone bought this album today after hearing “Hold the Line,” they may be disappointed in the fact that Toto aren’t a true hard rock band. They are more of a prog rock band with elements of hard and soft rock. I will go out on a ledge here and say they sound like 10cc with a bit of Kansas thrown in. While the album definitely isn’t party killing, it’s not a party enhancer either. This album is what I call a good wind down album. It’s great for playing when travelling home from a metal concert and you want something to bring you down. It’s also good for chilling in your big chair.

One thing I can say from this and other offerings by Toto is that they’re all talented musicians. The opening track, “Child’s Anthem” is a brilliant instrumental  intro to the album and while some of the song “I’ll Supply the Love” has that generic commercial 70s sound in some places, there is some good guitar licks and a keyboard solo to bring it up. A critic, which I’m not, might say that the musicianship makes up for any other flaws in the music.

Track Listing:

1. Child’s Anthem

2. I’ll Supply the Love

3. Georgy Porgy

4. Manuela Run

5. You Are the Flower

6. Girl Goodbye

7. Takin’ It Back

8. Rockmaker

9. Hold the Line

10. Angela

Toto

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Steve Porcaro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Toto are a good prog rock outfit, maybe not as good as Kansas in my opinion, but still good as their first album shows. And don’t pay attention to Wayne’s “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes” list.

Next post: Queen- Jazz

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

My Olympics Closing Ceremony Rant

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2012 by 80smetalman

As you can clearly see there are some photos of the Olympics Closing Ceremony which took place in London last Sunday.  There are pictures of some of the acts that played there like George Michael and The Spice Girls and here’s a shot of my favourite act on the evening, Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. I thought bringing him into to sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” was pure genius.

But from all of the act that played on the night, can anyone tell me what was desperately missing from the night? Yes, that’s right, the total absence of heavy metal bands. I won’t repeat all the things I wrote about the absence of metal at the Jubilee concert, but you can see a common thread here. In spite of the fact that Britain is the birthplace of heavy metal, it seems that the country as a whole is embarrassed to admit it. Would anyone have been offended if Iron Maiden had played on the night? Or do you agree with me in saying it would have improved things 300%?

I don’t know why the United Kingdom, which has given the world so much, is ashamed of the fact that it gave the world heavy metal. I can’t think that it’s because they were afraid of what the American religious right would have said. Most people in Britain think they’re a total joke. As I said in that last post, Iron Maiden are great ambassadors of heavy metal and Great Britain. Most of the world would have head banged away to them while they blasted one of their many great songs on stage. Maiden not being there only dampens what could have made a great ceremony and made Great Britain even greater.

So, I’ll include them here:

This is how they would have gone down at the Closing Ceremony.

See you all next time.

80smetalman

Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Cars- Candy O

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 14, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

Here it is, the long awaited visit to the second album by The Cars, “Candy O.” One term I will be batting about quite a bit here is “Sophmore Jinx.” I used it once before when I visited the “Don’t Look Back” album by Boston and I will use it a lot more when I visit the second album from any rock or metal act. Like the Boston album, this second album from The Cars definitely escapes the sophmore jinx. To me, “Candy O” is every bit as good as the first album.

When compared to the first album, there are lots of similarities between the two, however, “Candy O” still sounds fresh. The singles from the album “Let’s Go” and “It’s All I Can Do” sound unique in their own right and the entire album gives that familiar Cars sound while at the same time doesn’t get old. I don’t know any other band who can create a sound where the guitars and keyboards completely compliment each other better than The Cars. This shines through with every song on the album.

Track Listing:

1. Let’s Go

2. Since I Held You

3. It’s All I Can Do

4. Double Life

5. Shoo Be Doo

6. Candy O

7. Nightspots

8. You Can’t Hold On Too Long

9. Lust for Kicks

10. Got A Lot On My Head

11. Dangerous Type

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- vocals, rhythm guitar

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, tenor sax, backing vocals

Ben Orr- bass, vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

One thing that can never be omitted when talking about The Cars is the unique vocals of Ric Ocasek. As soon as I hear him, I know it’s definitely The Cars I’m listening to. This is another thing that makes this album so good and I now include Elliot Easton in my ever growing list of underrated guitarist. Okay, he doesn’t go into long cranking solos, but when you hear him play, it is done very well. “Candy O” is one of the more memorable albums from 1979.

Next post: Toto

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

My First Gig Review

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

I apologise now if you were hoping to read about The Cars “Candy O” album, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next post. See, I have spent the past four days on holiday in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North of England. My wife is in love with the city and I must say that I like it too. Here’s some piccies I took when I was on the open top doubledecker tour bus.

Gateshead Millenium Bridge

   The “New” Castle

On my last evening there, I did get to see a great gig at a pub in the centre of the city called Trillian’s. I had been there on my previous trip to Newcastle so I knew that it was a cool metal club. Furthermore, the manager remembered me from last year when I did a book signing there. Therefore, it’s only fair that I include a picture of Trillian’s and no the girl in the photo wasn’t intentional.

So I put out my two books and a good number of cards on a table close enough to the stage and waited for the festivities to begin. The first band out was a trio called Spook And the Ghouls. As with many opening bands, they had the misfortune of beginning their set in front of a half empty venue, but they managed to get the crowd that was there, including me, going.  They had a real catchy metal sound, at least I thought so and their masters of horror image shows a humourous side to them as well. However, I was very impressed with them and would love to hear more.

Spook and the Ghouls

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spook-and-the-Ghouls/136352206299

I must admit, when I see a horn section in what I think is supposed to be a metal or punk band, I get a little nervous. Sure, that might work for the Blues Brothers and I must say, it worked for the second band on the night, Victims of Circumstance. This five piece band which features a saxophone and a trumpet is a good sounding hard rock band. I was impressed with some of their originals, although I can’t remember any titles off hand and I really loved their version of the old Del Shannon hit, “Runaway.” Like the opener, they also kept me entertained throughout their entire set. Finishing off with a cover of “I Want You to Want Me” where the horns performed in place of the guitar solos was a masterstroke for them.

Victims of Circumstance

http://www.facebook.com/vocfb

Throughout the evening, I noticed this rather attractive young lady with great legs in Trillian’s. No, I didn’t go chat her up, I’m a married man, but if I had talked to her, I would have learned that she is the lead singer for the headliners on the evening, The Creepshow. Being headliners, they had plenty of merchandise on display making me wish I had more money so I could have bought one of their CDs. I also learned that they hail from Canada. They are another five piece band with a keyboard and the lead singer sometimes doubles on guitar. I found their sound very entertaining, a hard rock sound that is sometimes melodic. Their website describes them as country meets psycho punk and I can see that as well. What they did do is get the masses inside Trillian’s on their feet and rocking along with them from start to finish.

The Creepshow

http://www.thecreepshow.ca

I didn’t sell any copies of “Rock And Roll Children” on the night, but I really don’t care. I was treated to some cool music at a very metal venue in a really nice city. I think there is something with all three of the bands I saw on the evening and if you ever get the chance to check them out, you should. Saying that, The Creepshow has several CDs now out and available to buy on their website.

Next Post is definitely The Cars- Candy O

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: The Warriors Soundtrack

Posted in 1979, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

This is my favourite movie of all time, I must have seen it at least 25 times and could probably act every part in it, although not very well. When asked why, I explain that as a youth I had some morbid fascination with gang fights, I don’t know why. Anyway, I’m not doing a self psych evaluation here. The amusing thing I remember about this film was that there was an uproar when it was coming to Philadelphia because of fears of gang violence. It seems that in some other major US cities, gangs would go to the film for a bit of inspiration and then have a rumble after, only in America.

Onto the soundtrack, when I first watched the movie way back in 1979, it was the last movie I went to before I joined the marines, I was very impressed with the soundtrack. There were some real hard rocking songs on it. As a result I bought it on my first leave after boot camp and I was right, for the most part. I do have to say that I wasn’t impressed by the track “Echoes in My Mind” and usually skipped over it when I listened on vinyl or turned down the volume when listening to it on cassette in the car. Nevertheless, the other songs more than make up for it. The ones that definitely do it for me are “Love is a Fire,” “Last of an Ancient Breed” and the song from Joe Walsh which would be re recorded by the Eagles in an album I will visit in the not too distant future, “In the City.”

Track Listing

1. Barry De Vorzon- The Theme to the Warriors

2. Arnold McCuller- Nowhere to Run

3. Kenny Vance and Ismael Miranda- In Havana

4. Mantrill- Echoes in My Mind

5. Barry De Vorzon- The Fight

6. Joe Walsh- In the City

7. Genya Ravan- Love is a Fire

8. Barry De Vorzon- The Baseball Furies Chase

9. Johnny Vastano- You’re Moving Too Slow

10. Desmond Child- Last of an Ancient Breed

When I was in the marines, I met many people from New York who said this film was a load of bull. The gangs aren’t visible like they are in the film and one guy said that if his gang went up against a gang looking like the Baseball Furies, the Furies would have kicked their asses because they would have been to busy laughing at them. Whatever you might have though of the film, this is still a great soundtrack with some really cool songs.

Next post: The Cars- Candy O

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