Archive for July, 2013

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Pat Benatar- Crimes of Passion

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

PatBenatar-CrimesOfPassion

I know I have brandished the term “Sophmore jinx” around quite a bit on this blog, although I haven’t used it for a while, but I’m afraid that I have to use it again here with the second album from Pat Benatar, “Crimes of Passion.” However, I don’t use it in a negative sense here because this album from the lady who I called the undisputed Queen of Rock in the early 1980s avoids the sophomore jinx totally. For me, even though “Heartbreaker” from the first Pat Benatar album “In the Heat of the Night” remains my favourite song of hers, the second album is even better than the first. Okay, I think it’s her best album.

At first listen, I was totally blown away by the power of the songs in the album. “Treat Me Right,” “You Better Run,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and of course my favourite track of the album, “Hell Is For Children” are all hard rocking anthems that have been listened to and sung in films, stereos and keg parties. These songs alone are why this is my favourite Pat Benatar album. The rest of the album is good too, I especially love her version of “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush. Her voice can compete with Bush’s and the added guitars give Benatar’s version a different and likeable edge. I would also like to state that her long time guitarist Neil Giraldo has been very much overlooked. He proves he can bend a six string along with anyone.

Track Listing:

1. Treat Me Right

2. You Better Run

3. Never Want to Leave You

4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot

5. Hell Is For Children

6. Little Paradise

7. I’m Gonna Follow You

8. Wuthering Heights

9. Prisoner Of Love

10. Out of Touch

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Claire Sheets- rhythm guitar

 Roger Capps -bass, backing vocals

Myron Grombacher- drums

Pat Benatar ruled as the Queen of Hard Rock from 1979-83 and with albums such as “Crimes of Passion,” it is easy to understand why.

Next Post: The Knack- But the Little Girls Understand

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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REVIEW: Jethro Tull – A / Slipstream (CD/DVD)A Great Rock Album from 1980

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by 80smetalman

mikeladano.com

JETHRO TULL – A / Slipstream (2004 Chrysalis CD/DVD, originally 1980)

Unlike most Jethro Tull remasters, A did not contain any bonus tracks.  Rather, it includes the only official DVD release of Slipstream, an old Tull live/music video VHS release.

Cole’s Notes version of the history:  A began life as an Ian Anderson solo album, featuring new Tull bassist Dave Pegg and ex-Roxy Music multi-instrumentalist Eddie Jobson.  Jobson brought along his drummer friend Mark Craney, and then finally Ian asked his Tull bandmate Martin Barre to come in and play on a couple tracks.  Somehow, this turned into Martin playing on the entire album.

Anderson says that the record label, who were pushing for A to be released under the Jethro Tull banner, suddenly announced that Craney and Jobson were replacing current Tull members Barriemore Barlow, John Evan, and David Palmer.  This and other factors led to that exact…

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Utopia- Adventures in Utopia

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by 80smetalman

Adventures_In_Utopia

Staying on the subject of rock/metal acts who were considered great in their own country but never made headway into others, Todd Rundgren’s band Utopia comes to mind. I can’t think of anyone I know in Great Britain who has heard of them, however, when I have played this album to some of my British friends, they liked it. It is funny how at times music, no matter how good it is, never makes it across the Atlantic.

I read a review of a Utopia album sometime in the future. The critic stated that the rest of the band aren’t up to the talents of Todd Rundgren and as a result pull him down. My only speculation here is that the critic never heard this album. True, Todd Rundgren is nothing short of a musical genius and it is frustratingly shameful that he hasn’t been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, but the other members of Utopia are all good song writers, musicians and especially in the case of bassist Kasmir Sulton, good vocalist.

First, the album begins with the very strong track “Road to Utopia” where the space age intro grabs your attention straight away. Straight away, the talents of all four members are highlighted and it in no way downgrades over the rest of the album. I also love the element of humour in songs like “You Make Me Crazy” and Sulton’s vocals show their full potential on the track, “Set Me Free.” After the lengthy but not boring “Caravan” is a total bang your head rock out, “Last of the New Wave Riders.” Then there’s the “The Very Last Time,” which has some personal meaning for me and the slow love song “Love and Love Alone” that again showcases Kasmir’s vocals. Finally, the song goes out not just on a high, I’m talking cloud ten with “Rock Love.” A great closer to an album and an excellent song in it’s own right.

Track Listing:

1. Road to Utopia

2. You Make Me Crazy

3. Second Nature

4. Set Me Free

5. Caravan

6. Last of the New Wave Riders

7. Shot in The Dark

8. The Very Last Time

9. Love and Love Alone

10. Rock Love

Utopia

Utopia

Todd Rundgren- vocals, guitars

Kasmir Sulton- bass, vocals

Roger Powell- keyboards, synthesisers, backing vocals

John “Willie” Wilcox- drums, backing vocals

Anyone who agrees with the critic who said that Utopia diminish the talents of Todd Rundgren, should definitely go and listen to this album. In no way does “Adventures in Utopia” do that, in fact, it serves to showcase the talents of the other members. This is in my opinion, their best album.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Crimes of Passion

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

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Gillan- Glory Road

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Glory-lp

For my goings on about American rock and metal acts who never made it in the UK, I have concluded that Gillan is the best British rock act not to have made it in the US. I didn’t learn about the existence of this band until I saw the newly reformed Deep Purple in 1985 and studied their family tree. Like many Americans, (I will probably get an onslaught of people who will say the contrary) I have always associated Ian Gillan as the lead singer of Deep Purple. The band he had during the years away from DP never came to my attention. I could blame it on being in the marines but I couldn’t be sure if I would have heard of them anyway. The bottom line though is that I regret having never heard Gillan back then because I would have definitely dug albums like this one, “Glory Road.”

Now that I have finally sat down and heard the album, I can safely say that it’s a good one. I have always stated that keyboards can be used in hard rock and metal if done properly and Gillan do it right. Colin Towns lays down some great keyboard backing while still allowing the much underrated Bernie Torme to show what he can do on the guitar. All this supported by a strong rhythm section and of course the man who I consider the best voice in rock/metal, Ian Gillan. There is little I can say about the vocal ability of Ian Gillan that hasn’t been said before.

“Glory Road” also shows the band’s versatility. While I mention the keyboards as a support, the album throws in a beautiful keyboard dominated song like “Abbey of Thelema” after such great rockers as “Sleeping On the Job” and “On the Rocks.” For anyone who likes a bit of variety, there is hard rock, a bit of prog rock and a little blues at times in “Glory Road.” To make a long story short, this album has it all.

Track Listing:

Glory Road

1. Unchain Your Brain

2. Are You Sure

3. Time and Time Again

4. No Easy Way

5. Sleeping On the Job

6. On the Rocks

7. If You Believe Me

8. Running, White Face City Boy

9. Nervous

For Gillan Fans Only

1. Higher and Higher

2. Your Mother Was Right

3. Red Watch

4. Abbey of Thelema

5. Running to Get to You

6. Come Tomorrow

7. Dragon’s Tongue

8. Post Fade Brain Damage

9. Egg Timer

10. Harry Line Theme

Gillan

Gillan

Ian Gillan- vocals, harmonica

Bernie Torme- guitar. lead vocal on Come Tomorrow

Colin Towns- keyboards, flute, lead vocal on Egg Timer

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

If you’re like me and hadn’t heard this album before, I definitely suggest you have a good listen to it. I guarantee you won’t regret it. I think I’ll be spending some time going through the Gillan backlog.

Next post: Utopia- Adventures in Utopia

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: Paul McCartney II

Posted in Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 17, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-PaulMcCartneyalbum_-_McCartneyII

1980 saw the parting of Paul McCartney from his band Wings. According to long time member Denny Lane, the final straw was McCartney’s arrest for possession of marijuana in Japan in the January. However, I like to speculate that there might have been dissent in the ranks due to the direction the band was going. See, if you have been following me for a while, you might have noticed that I had left out Wings album “Back to the Egg” on my journey through 1979. This was because I was rather unimpressed with it as I felt it was too disco. Fortunately after the departure from Wings, Paul McCartney, never one to be idle for too long, went back to his farm in Scotland to do private recordings. The result was the album “Paul McCartney II.”

The first thing I liked about this album when I first heard it all those years ago was that it wasn’t disco. Track one, “Coming Up,” which was also the big single from the album, has a catchy rock type sound to it that you can’t get out of your head long after the song is over. The rest of the album experiments with different types of music and if it had been a musician of lesser talent, would not have worked. While there are no hard rocking tunes on “II,” I really love the blues riff in the third track, “On the Way” and when I heard the preceding track, I first questioned whether it was Paul McCartney. Still, it’s good to see the man has a sense of humour. The rest of the album is a mix of light progressive rock, slower songs and more humourous playing. The tracks that stand out for me in the remainder of the album are “Frozen Jap” and “Bogey Music,” though I can’t help wondering if the former mentioned song was a dig at his 11 day incarceration in Japan.

Track Listing:

1. Coming Up

2. Temporary Secretary

3. On the Way

4. Waterfalls

5. Nobody Knows

6. Summer’s Day Song

7. Frozen Jap

8. Bogey Music

9. Darkroom

10. One of These Days

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

Wikipedia doesn’t list any personnel which leads me to conclude that all instruments and vocals were done by the man himself.

Although I didn’t realise it back then, disco was dying. Artists like McCartney who had dabbled in such sound in the late 70s, were seeing the error of their ways and going back to what made them in the first place. Albums like this one shows that it was the best decision Paul McCartney made.

Next post: Gillan- Glory Road

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, possible at half price at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1980: The Pretenders

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

Pretenders_album

What really grinds my gears is when I think back to this year (and the couple of years before) was that whenever any new artist came on the scene with a new sound, it was immediately branded punk. I think that the corporate record execs couldn’t put certain music into nice neat little categories so the “punk” branding was a generic fit for any new sound they weren’t familiar with. This was also said with the premiere album from The Pretenders. While I agree that they were “new wave,” they definitely weren’t punk. If you want to know my definition of punk, stick around for when I visit the first album from The Dead Kennedys, which also came out in 1980.

When I hear the self-titled first album from The Pretenders, I hear several musical influences. First there is definitely some classic rock and roll there and that is evidenced in the very first track on the album, “Precious.” Furthermore, there is a hint of reggae to their sound in many of their songs as well.  This is evidenced in the single that brought them to the forefront of rock music in 1980, “Brass In Pocket.” I never judge an album for one song but it is the song that people will forever identify The Pretenders with. Still there are many great tracks on the album and reflecting back on ancient history, I love the way they use the sound effects of the video game Space Invaders in the song of the same name. It left me feeling a bit nostalgic as Space Invaders was the number one game that year.

Another factor that tuned my ears to this album was the unmistakable vocals of Chrissie Hynde. While most of the male world was still salivating over Debbie Harry, Hynde brought a new vocals style to the world. Her vocals, backed up by a tight band, also make this album as good as it is.

Track Listing:

1. Precious

2. The Phone Call

3. Up the Neck

4. Tattooed Love Boys

5. Space Invader

6. The Wait

7. Stop Your Sobbing

8. Kid

9. Private Life

10. Brass In Pocket

11. Lovers of Today

12. Mystery Achievement

The Pretenders

L The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

James Honeyman Scott- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Pete Farndon- bass, backing vocals

Martin Chambers- drums, backing vocals

Label this album what you may, punk, new wave, etc, no matter, it is still a good album to enjoy. As for me, there are plenty of albums out there more deserving of the term “punk.” I just like this for the feel good factor it provides.

Next post: Paul McCartney II

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 for 50% off at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1980: The Eagles- Live

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Eagles_-_Eagles_LiveMusically, 1980 had a great many musical highs but it also had a few lows as well. One of these was the disbanding of a band that entertained the world throughout the entire 1970’s, The Eagles. The band unofficially disbanded in July 1980 but they still owed their record company, Elektra/Asylum a live album. This magnificent live album was the result.

It can be argued that this album was just a collection of all The Eagles’ greatest hits, which just happened to be recorded live. True, the album contains many of the classics which made us love them. Greats like “Hotel California,” “Take Me to the Limit,” “Heartache Tonight” and “Take It Easy” are all on their and sound brilliant live. The album even includes a live playing of the Joe Walsh solo classic, “Life’s Been Good” and a new song “Seven Bridges Road.” On the flip side, they leave out a couple of my personal favourites like “Victim of Love” and “One of These Nights” but that’s me nit picking. This album is The Eagles at their best on stage and for people like me who never got the chance to see them live, it makes a good consolation prize.

Track Listing:

1. Hotel California

2. Heartache Tonight

3. I Can’t Tell You Why

4. The Long Run

5. New Kid In Town

6. Life’s Been Good

7. Seven Bridges Road

8. Wasted Time

9. Take Me to the Limit

10. Doolin’ Dalton Reprise II

11. Desparado

12. Saturday Night

13. All Night Long

14. Life In the Fast Lane

15. Take It Easy

The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- guitars, keyboards, vocals

Don Henley- drums, percussion, vocals

Joe Walsh- guitars, keyboards, vocals

Don Felder- guitars, vocals

Randy Meisner- bass, vocals (1976- recordings)

Timothy B Schmidt- bass, vocals (1980 recordings)

This live album reminds us of the legacy of great music left behind by one of the greatest rock bands of the 70s.  A full account of some of the great rock songs they gave us all recorded at what was considered their killer live shows. While the album is great, it also reminds us that it was what signaled the end for them.

Next post: The Pretenders

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London