Archive for May, 2013

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Blackfoot- Tomcattin’

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Tomcattin'

One discovery I made quite quickly as I immersed myself deeper in Southern Rock in 1980 was that out of all the Southern Rock bands I listened to, Blackfoot was the heaviest. In fact, many people actually considered them to be heavy metal as the mid eighties approached. The “Strikes” album was a definite heavy album and the follow up “Tomcattin'” was just as heavy.

The album opens with “Warped” and that song convinced me from the get go that this was going to be another hard rocking album from Blackfoot. The next few tracks back this claim up as well. “On The Run,” “Dream On” and “Street Fighter” are all great rock gems. Then there are the next two tracks “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and “Every Man Should Know (Queenie)” that I heard on a live album in 1983. I’ll be visiting that one when I get to that pivotal year. Now the live versions of those songs are complete mind blowers so I should have been disappointed that they weren’t quite as heavy on the studio album. However, I wasn’t because they are both good classic rockers as are the next two tracks: “In The Night” and “Reckless Abandoner.” The one slow song on the album “Spending Cabbage” is no let down either. In all of the tracks, there are some heavy and hard riffs and some decent guitar solos from Medlocke and Hargrett and while none of the songs graced the top 40, (like I would care anyway) the album was well received by their loyal fan base in the Southeast and wowed a few Yankees like me.

Track Listing:

1. Warped

2. On The Run

3. Dream On

4. Street Fighter

5. Gimme Gimme Gimme

6. Every Man Should Know (Queenie)

7. In The Night

8. Reckless Abandoner

9. Spending Cabbage

10. Fox Chase

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- guitars, vocals

Charlie Hargrett- guitars

Greg T. Walker- bass, keyboards, vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, percussion, vocals

“Tomcattin'” is still considered one of the best Blackfoot albums by many of their loyal fans. For me, it is right up there with “Strikes” and that live one I mentioned. For me, the album stamps Blackfoot’s authority on heavy rock and proves that Southern Rock wasn’t something that was enjoyed by a bunch of rednecks.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Beatin’ The Odds

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

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: 38 Special- Rockin’ Into The Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Rockin'_Into_the_Night

Halfway through 1980, I was thoroughly converted to the genre known as Southern Rock. I had been listening to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet and had heard the “Strikes” album by Blackfoot and really liked that. So when a friend of a friend introduced me to this album, I was chomping at the bit to hear more and when I did, in no way was I disappointed.

It was easy to assume that because the lead singer for 38 Special, Donnie Van Zant, was the brother of the famous Ronnie Van Zant of Skynyrd fame, that 38 Special would sound like carbon copies of Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was made more so because Skynyrd’s former pianist, the late Billy Powell, plays on a few of the tracks on this album. However, the sound of 38 Special is their own and their own fingerprint on Southern Rock definitely manifests itself throughout “Rockin’ Into the Night.” They are definitely unique. 

As I said before, I am normally a bit nervous about an album whose hit single is the first track on it. It makes me think, there’s nothing after worth listening to. That isn’t true here and that is despite the fact that the track “Rockin’ Into The Night” is such a fantastic song, probably my favourite 38 Special song of all time. Even the thought of it has me bobbing my head to it at this very moment. After the title track, however, the album continues on with a string of great tracks in the 38 Special style. “Stone Cold Believer,” the hard rocking “Take Me Through The Night,” which eerily goes almost ballad like in some places and “Money Honey” are all great tracks on the first side if you heard it on vinyl or cassette. Side two doesn’t deteriorate in any way either. After a strong side opening “You’re The Captain,” (a very good anti- drugs song) is most likely my favourite instrumental song of all time, “Robin Hood.” The blends of acoustic and electric guitars are riveting. The last two tracks, “You Got The Deal” and “Turn It On” provide the perfect end to this great album.

Track Listing:

1. Rockin’ Into the Night

2. Stone Cold Believer

3. Take Me Through the Night

4. Money Honey

5. The Love That I Lost

6. You’re the Captain

7. Robin Hood

8. You Got the Deal

9. Turn It On

38 Special

38 Special

Donnie Van Zant- vocals

Don Barnes- vocals, acoustic and electric guitars

Jeff Carlisi- lead and slide guitars

Larry Junstrom- bass

Jack Grondin- drums, percussion

Steve Brookins- drums, percussion

Additional musicians

Billy Powell- piano

Terry Emery- piano

Dale Krantz- Rossington- backing vocals

Five years after this magnificent album, I would find myself defending 38 Special to a friend who claimed they were a Top 40 band. What I should have done with hindsight, was to play this album for him. He would have known that back in 1980, 38 Special and “Rockin’ Into the Night” were the real deal. This album continues to be a classic rocker.

Next post: Blackfoot- Tomcattin’ 

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 1980: Bob Seger- Against The Wind

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by 80smetalman

Bob_Seger_-_Against_the_Wind

For those who read my posting for Bob Seger’s 1978 album “Stranger In Town,” I apologise in advance for repeating myself but the fact remains, Bob Seger is the forgotten hero of 70’s rock. With The Silver Bullet Band, he had a string of hits and great albums throughout the decade that live on today. Classics like “Night Moves,” “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Old Time Rock And Roll” and my personal favourite, “Main Street” continue to give old men like me classic musical memories. Therefore, when his 1980 album “Against The Wind” was released, everyone was certain that he would continue his musical domination into the next decade.

Back in 1980, this was the album that knocked the iconic Pink Floyd album “The Wall” off the number one spot. I can see why this album is considered one of his best. It doesn’t just rest on the laurels of Bob Seger’s previous achievements but is an improvement on it, especially with the quality of the musicianship on the album. I can safely say that I think The Silver Bullet Band was at their very best when recording the album. The title track, which was a top ten hit, is a prime example. I love the musical interlude in the middle of the song where the piano and the guitar trade off each other. Then there is the ballad “No Man’s Land,” where my best memory of the song was when it was played at the heavy metal club I used to frequent in London in dedication to a fellow metalhead who had tragically passed away. From the more AOR “You’ll Accompany Me” to the more vociferous “Her Strut,” this album demonstrates why it knocked Floyd off the top spot and stayed there for six weeks.

Track Listing:

1. The Horizontal Bop

2. You’ll Accompany Me

3. Her Strut

4. No Man’s Land

5. Long Twin Silver Line

6. Against The Wind

7. Good For Me

8. Betty Lou’s Getting Out Tonight

9. Fire Lake

10. Shinin’ Brightly

Bob Seager

Bob Seger

The Silver Bullet Band- tracks 1-3, 6 & 8

Bob Seger- vocals, guitar

Drew Abbot- guitar

Alto Reed- horn, saxophone

Chris Campbell- bass

David Teegarden- drums, percussion

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section- tracks 4,5,7, 9 & 10

Barry Beckett- piano, keyboards

Randy McCormick- organ, keyboards

Pete Carr- guitar

Jimmy Johnson- guitar, horn

David Wood- bass

Roger Hawkins- drum, percussion

I once saw a band called The Queer Boys in London who I thought sounded like a combination of The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Bob Seger. Now this would lead me to conclude that the music of Bob Seger had an indirect impact on heavy metal. Maybe it did, but what I do know is that he put out some great music and the album “Against The Wind” is arguably his best.

Next post: 38 Special- Rocking Into the Night

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 1980: Grace Slick- Dreams

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by 80smetalman

Dreams_Grace_Slick

The release of “Freedom At Point Zero” proved to the world that for Jefferson Starship, there was life after Grace Slick. So, the question asked back then was “Is there life after Jefferson Starship for Grace Slick?” At first, the answer to that question looked negative as she battled with the booze in 1978 and 79. Fortunately, she overcame that battle and in 1980, released the album “Dreams,” which proved to me that Grace Slick could survive without the Starship.

In making “Dreams,” it has been said that Grace wanted to be as far removed from her links with Jefferson Starship as possible. For one, she recorded the album in New York and only used East Coast musicians in order to sever her links with the West Coast, from where she came from. Furthermore, none of the then current or previous members of Jefferson Starship appear on the album. Therefore, it was evident that she wanted a totally clean break and with “Dreams,” I can say that it definitely worked for her, even if the charts didn’t agree.

Recently, I came across a Grace Slick Greatest Hits compilation and was bewildered that there were no songs from “Dreams” on it. This is one hell of a fine album and shows that Grace’s voice is suited to many genres. First, there’s the title track which gives the album a very theatrical introduction and sets a welcome feel to the rest of it. Next, there’s the Spanish influence in the track “El Diablo” that has some rather impressive acoustic guitar on it. “Face to the Wind” is the first song leaning towards harder rock and has an impressive guitar solo and that leads to my favourite track on the album, “Angel of the Night.” This song is a total rock and I particularly love the lead guitar in the intro. I can still envision a heavy metal band covering this song, it would be ace. “Seasons,” while not a brilliant song, amuses me and should I ever return to full time teaching, would not hesitate to use it in a school assembly. The remaining tracks are more of a psychedelic/progressive sound that keep the album going. “Do It the Hard Way” and “Let It Go” definitely stand out. So, my question is: “How come this album has been ignored?”

Track Listing:

1. Dreams

2. El Diablo

3. Face To The Wind

4. Angel Of The Night

5. Seasons

6. Do It The Hard Way

7. Full Moon Man

8. Let It Go

9. Garden Of Man

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Note: Many musicians were used in different songs on the album, I will only name the main contributors.

Grace Slick- vocals, piano

Scott Zito- lead and acoustic guitars

Sol Ditroia- rhythm guitar

George Wadinius- guitars

Neil Jason- bass

Alan Schwartzberg- drums

Jim Malin- percussion

Frank Owens/Joe D’Elia- piano

Geoff Farr/Edward Walsh- synthesisers

This was the album that brought Grace back into the rock world and proved that she could make it on her own. Even if she did return to Jefferson Starship a year later. If you’re feeling nostalgic for great albums that haven’t been considered classic, then go and have a listen to “Dreams.” I’m sure afterwards, you might feel the same way I do about it.

Next post: Bob Seager- Against the Wind

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 1980: Linda Ronstadt- Mad Love

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 12, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-LRMad

Throughout the entire decade of the 1970s, Linda Ronstadt produced a string of hits, most of which I liked. Her countryfied sound had a rock feel to it made her well known to many listeners, me included. I really enjoyed her sound and as a teenage male, liked the look of her as well and unlike some of my peers, I didn’t give a shit to the fact that she never wrote any of her songs. I still listen to great singles such as “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “It’s So Easy” and “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” These were the songs that mad her a household name in the seventies.

I wasn’t surprised that when she brought out “Mad Love” in 1980, she, like Billy Joel with “Glass Houses,” decided to go for a more harder rock sound. The first song to reach my attention was “How Do I Make You” which let everyone know that Linda Ronstadt wanted to rock. She really propels herself into the vocals with this song backed up by a pretty decent guitar solo. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you took out the piano and added a harder guitar, a thrash band could easily do a cover of this song and it would sound pretty good. If one song wasn’t enough to convince people of her willingness to rock, the track “I Can’t Let Go” goes further to back up the statement. I love the guitars mixed in with her repeating backing vocals. The rest of the album is also full of some hard rocking, at least for her, tunes and even the more progressive sounding “Girls Talk” and the ballad “Hurt So Bad” does nothing to lessen the album’s sound.

Track Listing:

1. Mad Love

2. Party Girls

3. How Do I Make You

4. I Can’t Let Go

5. Hurt So Bad

6. Look Out For My Love

7. Cost of Love

8. Justine

9. Girls Talk

10. Talking in the Dark

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt- vocals

Doug Dugmore- electric guitars

Waddy Watchel- guitar, backing vocals

Mark Goldenberg- electric guitars, backing vocals

Bob Glaub- bass

Russell Kunkel- drums

Bill Payne- keyboards

Danny Kortchmar- electric guitars

Mike Auldridge- dobro

Peter Bernstein- accoustic guitars

Peter Asher, Steve Foreman- percussion

Michael Boddicker- synthesiser

Rosemary Butler, Kenny Evans, Nicolette Larson, Andrew Gold- backing vocals

 It has been said that in the early 80s, rock ruled the world. I don’t know if I agree with this but there was a move by some artists in 1980 to a more harder rock sound. I always believed that Linda Ronstadt always had the ability to do this and the album “Mad Love” is offered in evidence to the fact.

Next post: Grace Slick- Dreams

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 1980: The Clash- London Calling

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-TheClashLondonCallingalbumcover

The Clash were born out of the wave of punk rock that came out of the UK in the late 1970s. To my regret, I have never listened to their first two albums, I know, shame on me, but their third album “London Calling” definitely got my attention. I first saw them on a late night music television show called “Rock World” where the announcer described them as loud and angry. I think he used one other adjective but I can’t remember what it was. Those labels were enough to engage my interest and hearing the title track and hit single, convinced me that they were for real. 

Apparently, “London Calling” isn’t as loud or angry as the first two Clash albums. I agree that in some of the songs, there are hints of other forms of music like ska and reggae. But now as it was then, this album was definite punk in my eyes. There are so many examples I could chose from but the ones that stick out for me are “Revolution Rock,” “Spanish Bombs,” “The Four Horsemen” and “Lover’s Rock.” However, I won’t take anything away from any of the other tracks because in my humble opinion, there is not a weak track on the album. 

Track  Listing:

1. London Calling

2. Brand New Cadillac

3. Jimmy Jazz

4. Hateful

5. Rudie Can’t Fail

6. Spanish Bombs

7. The Right Profile

8. Lost in the Supermarket

9. Clampdown

10. The Guns of Brixton

11. Wrong’em Boyo

12. Death or Glory

13. Koka Kola

14. The Card Cheat

15. Lover’s Rock

16. The Four Horsemen

17. I’m Not Down

18. Revolution Rock

19. Train in Vain

The Clash

The Clash

Joe Strummer- rhythm guitar, vocals, piano

Mick Jones- lead guitar, vocals, piano, harnmonica

Paul Simonon- bass, vocals

Topper Headon- drums, percussion

Punk made the cross Atlantic voyage from Britain to America sometime in the early 80s. One of the vessels that carried across the ocean was The Clash and this album. It certainly got me listening and I know I wasn’t the only one. 

Next post: Linda Ronstadt- Mad Love

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 1980: Billy Joel- Glass Houses

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2013 by 80smetalman

Billy_Joel_-_Glass_Houses

Back in the late 1970s, Billy Joel was known as the singer who sat behind a piano and sang such ballads as “Just The Way You Are” or more pop oriented tunes like “Piano Man” or “My Life.” I admit that I liked these very songs back then, after all, they weren’t disco. However, I knew that he had the potential to be a little harder with his sound. Evidence of this can be sighted with songs like “Only the Good Die Young,” (I always thought the song would have been perfect if they used a fuzz box with the guitar) the guitar in “Big Shot” and my all time favourite song of his, “Captain Jack.” In 1980, Billy Joel finally realised this potential with the “Glass Houses” album.

If you asked any hard rocker and many metalheads back in the 80s about Billy Joel, they would probably say they liked “Glass Houses” or at the very least, it was an okay album. It helps a great deal that the album begins with that famous glass breaking sound followed by my all time second favourite Billy Joel song, “You May Be Right.” The rest of the album follows on with catchy rock tunes like, “Sometimes a Fantasy” and the big top forty hit “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” which as far as hit singles go, is not that bad. I won’t say that this album ranks with any of the monster metal albums but I have to give Billy Joel and “A” for effort in trying to go harder here.

Track Listing:

1. You May Be Right

2. Sometimes a Fantasy

3. Don’t Ask Me Why

4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me

5. All For Leyna

6. I Don’t Want To Be Alone

7. Sleeping With The Television On

8. C’etait Toi (You Are The One)

9. Close To The Borderline

10. Through The Long Night

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Billy Joel- vocals, piano, synthesisers, harmonica, accordion

Dave Brown- guitars

Richie Cannata- organ, flute, saxophone

Liberty DeVitto- drums, percussion

Russell Javors- guitars

Doug Stegmeyer- bass

“Glass Houses” will go down in history as the one Billy Joel album found acceptable by many metalheads. Unfortunately, his later albums would go down the trail of 1980s commercial rock; although he did play piano on the Twisted Sister song “Be Cruel To Your School.” Even the thought of “Uptown Girl” still makes me want to put on some Venom or Slayer and smash things up. As a rock album, this one is all right with me.

Next post: The Clash- London Calling

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