Archive for September, 2012

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Charlie Daniels Band- Million Mile Reflections

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


Of the Southern Rock bands I have featured for the past few posts, there is one who was the most successful in making the country- rock crossover, The Charlie Daniels Band. It definitely helps when you have a top ten hit in both the country and rock singles charts like they did with the famous “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” When I first heard this classic hit, I was in North Carolina so I thought that it was just a good song that was popular in the South. Then I had my first 96 hour pass where I got to go home to New Jersey and found that the song was just as popular there. Charlie Daniels had definitely brought a bit of country to the rockers in the North and they liked it. However, there is one point I would like to bring up for debate; quite a few people believe that the Devil actually was the better in the fiddle duel.

“Million Mile Reflections” was not a one trick wonder. There are some other great tracks on it that help it complete the crossover. “Reflections” is a slow but fitting tribute to Elvis, Janis Joplin and Ronnie Van Zant. Other tracks for me are a more melodic rock sound with some good displays of keyboards and guitar musicianship. One track, I’m pretty sure it’s “Blind Man” although I must remember to make notes when I’m listening to an album I’m reviewing, has the extended guitar solo that had become a characteristic of Southern Rock.

Track Listing:

1. Passing Lane

2. Blue Star

3. Jitterbug

4. Behind Your Eyes

5. Reflections

6. The Devil Went Down to Georgia

7. Mississippi

8. Blind Man

9. Rainbow Ride

Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels- guitar, fiddle, vocals

Tom Crain- guitar, vocals

Taz DiGregorio- keyboards, vocals

Fred Edwards- drums,percussion

James W Marshall- drums, percussion

Charles Hayward- bass

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is probably the one song that focused people up north’s attention to Southern Rock. It could be said that it paved the way for the likes of Molly Hatchet and others and that it wasn’t just a bunch of hicks playing washboards and jugs. I learned in 1979, that there is true rock down south.

Next post: REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Outlaws- In the Eye of the Storm

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by 80smetalman

Throughout the 1970s, while Yankees like me were reveling in the Southern delights of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, there was another band down in the Deep South playing some fine rock and roll to their fans down there. They were The Outlaws. They had a more of a Southern Boogie rock sound, not as hard as Molly Hatchet or Blackfoot nor were they progressive like Nantucket. The Outlaws, in my view, laid somewhere in between the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. What they did have, like all the bands I just mentioned, were guitarists who could dazzle you with long guitar solos.

My indoctrination to them was through their 1980 album, “Ghost Riders,” an album I will definitely be visiting it when I get to 1980. Therefore, I am visiting the 1979 album “In the Eye of the Storm” kind of regressive and thanks to the wonders of You Tube, I was able to have a listen and see what I’ve been missing for all these years. “In the Eye of the Storm” for me reminds me of all the good things about The Outlaws. There’s the Southern Boogie sound in all of their tracks, I noticed that from track one. They bring a harder edge to it with songs like, “Miracle Man” and “Long Gone” and then there’s those cool guitar solos in “Blueswater.” This album gave us a good view of all the good things to come with the later Outlaws material and is a great album in its own right.

Track Listing:

1. Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home

2. Miracle Man

3. Blueswater

4. Comin’ Home

5. I’ll Be Leaving Soon

6. Too Long Without Her

7. It’s All Right

8. (Com’on) Dance With Me

9. Long Gone

The Outlaws

Harvey Dalton Arnold- bass, vocals

David Dix- drums, percussion

Billy Jones- guitars, vocals

Freddie Salem- guitars, vocals

Hughie Thomasson- guitars, vocals

Monte Yoho- drums

The Outlaws were to finally get noticed north of the Mason-Dixon Line with their next album, but they still thrilled many of their fans south of the line with this one. This album is yet another fine classic rough diamond in the collection of Southern Rock.

Next post: Charlie Daniels Band- Million Mile Reflections

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Nantucket- Your Face or Mine

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2012 by 80smetalman


Here’s another band from Jacksonville, not Jacksonville, Florida but Jacksonville, North Carolina. Having spent most of my military career there, it was a no brainer that I would be introduced to their finest, Nantucket. Like their kinsmen in Florida, Nantucket had their own Southern sound but the difference is that instead of the hard rock boogie sound of a Molly Hatchet or metal sound like Blackfoot, Nantucket’s was more of a progressive sound with some great use of keyboards and saxophone while still keeping a hard rock feel to it. The result is something I have always liked.

That all brings around to their second album “Your Face or Mine.” The album typifies the sound that made Nantucket so popular in the Southern states at the time. Songs like “Your Place or Mine” and “Just the Devil’s Way” show their hard rock Southern roots while “California” tends to show their more progressive side. And of course the saxophone adds another uniqe touch. I have heard many a sax in rock music and I have to say that as far as saxophonists are concerned, Eddie Blair is one of the best. The title of the final song on the album asks the question, “Is it wrong to rock and roll?” Listening to this album, I have to give an emphatic “NO!”

Track Listing:

1. Gimme Your Love

2. I Live For Your Love

3. Hey Hey Blondie

4. California

5. Wide Awake

6. Don’t Hang Up

7. Your Place or Mine

8. Just the Devil’s Way

9. Is it Wrong to Rock And Roll


Tommy Redd- lead and rhythm guitars, spoon lead and backing vocals

Larry Uzzell- bass, lead and backing vocals

Mike Uzzell- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Mike Downing- lead, rhythm, slide and 12 string guitars, backing vocals

Eddie Blair- saxophones, organ, piano, clavinet, backing vocals

Kenny Soule- drums, percussion, tympani, backing vocals

Refamiliarising myself with this cool album from Nantucket, I find myself asking the question I asked 30 year ago. Why weren’t they more popular up North? My only conclusion was that a lot of people I knew in my native New Jersey still viewed bands from the South as redneck country singers. One friend admitted he had a bit of a culture shock when I played some Nantucket to him (Not sure if it was this album). For those into a good hard but progressive rock, especially those who like Jethro Tull, will like “Your Face or Mine” by Nantucket.

Next Post: The Outlaws- In the Eye of the Storm

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Blackfoot- Strikes

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2012 by 80smetalman

Naturally, after hearing “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet, I wanted to further explore this phenomena known as Southern Rock. Eventually, I came into contact with this fine album compliments of Blackfoot. “Strikes” was the third album by Blackfoot but the first one I listened to and for me, it’s their best.

This album takes the southern sound and just pounds the hell out of it with straight ahead power rock. The intro to the opening track, “Road Fever,” speaks volumes as it lures you by being rather hard but melodic and then the power chords strike and you can’t help to headband away to the rest. That is why that in 1980, “Road Fever” was one of my official travelling songs. The lyrics “Every time I am down and out and don’t know what to do. I drop a lude and hit the road and play me a song or two” may have something to do with it as well.

The rest of the album follows suit. The second track, “I Got a Line On You” although a cover, is done with the classic Blackfoot touch. The same can be said with their cover of the Free classic, “Wishing Well.” This doesn’t take anything away from their originals. The harmonica in the “Train Train, Prelude” sticks in my mind over 30 years later. The actual song is a classic rocker in its own right. And all this ends with the final jam “Highway Song.” I won’t get into the debate that it rips off the legendary “Freebird” because for me, the song has me playing air guitar for the entire length of the ending guitar solos, five minutes plus.

Track Listing:

1. Road Fever

2. I Got a Line On You

3. Left Turn on a Red Light

4. Pay My Dues

5. Baby Blue

6. Wishing Well

7. Run and Hide

8. Train Train, Prelude

9. Train Train

10. Highway Song


Rick Medlocke- lead vocals, guitar

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Greg T Walker- bass, keyboards, vocals

Jakson Spires- drums, percussion, vocals

I can’t help believing that along with Molly Hatchett, Blackfoot, especially with this album, went on to influence a lot of metal bands from the South. At the time, and quite a bit now, Blackfoot were what I would call metal. The hard sound of “Strikes” bears testimony to that.

Next post: Nantucket- Your Face or Mine

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The Soundtrack to Bad Teacher

Posted in films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2012 by 80smetalman

I happened to watch this film the other night and while the movie was okay, not something I would rush out and add to my DVD collection, there was something in it that grabbed my attention. It was the soundtrack! While I was watching it, I first heard the all time classic Judas Priest track “You Got Another Thing Comin.” My first thought was this was a throw back to the 80s when a lot of films threw in a metal tune or two in the hopes that metalheads would buy their soundtrack. The 1985 film “Visionquest” is prime example of this. I mean where else would you find Madonna on the same record as Sammy Hagar, Journey and Dio?

Judas Priest

As the movie progressed, other songs began to catch my attention as well. There was “Still of the Night” by Whitesnake. When I heard that, I thought, “Okay, another metal tune to tempt me to buy the soundtrack” but then something happened that took me by surprise. In the background of one scene there was the song “Rainbow In the Dark” by Dio playing loud and proud. That wasn’t the end of it, whoever put together the soundtrack went back into the archives and pulled out what is for me a gem of a Priest classic, “The Ripper.” Take these songs and the final song at the end credits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and you got yourself one hell of a compilation album!



I have tried both Amazon and Gemm and couldn’t find the soundtrack on either. It just comes up with the DVD. Of course there are other issues like some non metal tracks from the likes of Hall And Oates. That’s movie soundtracks for you. So, instead why not just listen to these great metal songs on their own and thank the film for putting them all together in one movie soundtrack.

Next post: Blackfoot- Strikes

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: Molly Hatchet- Flirtin With Disaster

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2012 by 80smetalman

1979 brought a new genre of rock into the limelight, Southern Rock. The roots of this country boogie style meets heavy rock go back to the early seventies with the band many officianadoes credit as the creators of southern rock, The Allman Brothers.

Allman Brothers

Their blues based southern sound was unique at the time and would be a mainstay throughout the seventies. The cause of southern rock was further pioneered later in the decade by the great Lynyrd Skynyrd who brought a more harder edge to it. For a teenager like me who lived in the North, Skynyrd was one band from the South you could listen to and not only rock out, you wouldn’t be looked upon as some kind of redneck, although a lot of young rockers who were labelled such were into them too.


Lynyrd Skynyrd


Okay, enough of the history lesson, (I’m sorry, it’s the teacher in me again) on to 1979 and this fantastic album from Molly Hatchet. It was this album that thrust them into the light and make the entire rock world at the time stand up and take notice of them. They had a much harder sound than even Skynyrd and even the more slower songs like “Long Time” have a rockier edge that make you want to stand up and go “Yeah!” with a raised fist and a can of Budweiser in the other hand. When you listen to “Flirtin With Disaster” you are in no doubt that you are listening to a true hard rock album.

For me, the album was the thrash metal of 1979. Yes I know it doesn’t come anywhere near thrash but with the exception of maybe Van Halen, AC/DC or Ted Nugent, there was nothing heavier. I can say that “Flirtin With Disaster” completely sealed my cross over into hard rock and metal forever. When I heard this album, there was no going back.

The great thing about it is that although it’s a classic hard rock album, many of the songs still contain that southern boogie vibe originally began by The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Take the song “Jukin City” as an example. Hard guitars start the song and set a rhythm that is so catchy, it stays in your head long after you have head banged your way through its entirety. The same can be said about the other songs on the album and especially the title track. In each and every one you are greeted by some hard but strangely melodic guitar sound that makes you just want to rock out! That said, there is not enough credit given to the guitar combination of Roland, Hlubeck and Holland. Sure other bands have three guitarists, but none that work so well together as the forementioned three. I practically love every guitar solo on the album.

Track Listing:

1. Whiskey Man

2. It’s All Over Now

3. One Man’ s Pleasure

4. Jukin City

5. Boogie No More

6. Flirtin With Disaster

7. Good Rockin

8. Gunsmoke

9. Long Time

10. Let the Good Times Roll

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Bruce Crump- drums

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

Steve Holland- guitar

Duane Roland- guitar

Banner Thomas- bass

I sincerely believe that if Molly Hatchet had never been around (yes that would have been tragic) I am convinced that some heavy metal band in the 80s would have taken the name. The name alone indicates a heavy rock or metal band and was reason why I had to listen to the album. Furthermore, back in 79, the Frank Franzetta paintings which adorned the covers of this and other Hatchet albums inspired many bands long after in their album cover choices. So, why Molly Hatchet deserves all the credit for getting Southern Rock noticed by the masses, it should also be given the credit for its influence on the 80s metal scene after. This album is without a doubt their best one and one of my favourites of all time.

Next post: Bad Teacher

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Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Knack- Get the Knack

Posted in 1979, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

I mentioned when I introduced 1979, that for three months of that life changing year, I was in a place where I was starved musically, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina or to quote the film “Full Metal Jacket,” home for the crazy brave. When I left that lovely place as a US Marine, I came home on leave and found that the song of the day was “My Sharona” by The Knack. When I listened to it, I thought it was a lot better than all the disco that was around before I went to boot camp and so I bought the 45. A friend played the entire album for me not long after and I must say that I was impressed.

“My Sharona” is by far the best song on the album and Berton Averre’s guitar solo on the song is very good indeed. It has always baffled me why he isn’t given more space to showcase his talents on other tracks on the album. That is not to say that the other tracks aren’t good, I especially like the second single “Good Girls Don’t” although I much prefer the lyrical version of the song not meant for radio and “Frustrated” is too a good song just because Averre plays a guitar solo on that one too.

“Get the Knack” was one of the fastest selling debut albums since the debut from The Beatles in 1964. Many began comparing them to the legends from Liverpool and I think that was the big mistake. Okay, there were similarities, but I never thought The Knack were that good. Most of their songs were short sharp rockers that you got into then got out of. It was as simple as that.

Track Listing:

1. Let Me Out

2. Your Number or Your Name

3. Let Me Out

4. (She’s So) Selfish

5. Maybe Tonight

6. Good Girls Don’t

7. My Sharona


9. Siamese Twims (The Monkey and Me)

10. Lucinda

11. That’s What Little Girls Do

12. Frustrated

The Knack

Doug Fieger- rhythm guitar, vocals

Berton Averre- lead guitar

Doug Gary- drums

Prescott Niles- bass

In past posts, I have spoken about the Sophmore jinx and I will be mentioning that again when I visit The Knack’s next album. For debut albums, “Get the Knack” is one of the best. It’s a fun album that rides well on the back of a classic single and if there’s one good thing that can be said about it, it did knock disco off the charts.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Flirtin’ With Disaster

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