Archive for February, 2014

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Devo- Dev O Live

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

220px-Devolive

I must admit, I was never much of a Devo fan. I saw them on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 70’s and I can’t really say they impressed me. Therefore, it would be easy for me to pass them by on that account, however, I can’t deny that they are part of our history and the fact I wasn’t impressed with them back then can’t hide that fact. I remember this album because my then girl friend used to play the hell out of the single “Whip It.” Not a bad song, although my favourite all time Devo song appears on a soundtrack that I will be visiting later on in our tour of 1981.

Thanks to YouTube, I was able to give the album a fresh listen. Maybe it’s me mellowing with age or the fact that my musical horizons are much more broader than they were back then, but I somewhat enjoyed listening to “Dev O Live” this time around. The intro song “Freedom of Choice” was a good way to open the concert this live recording was taken from. I also liked “Girl U Want.” Listening to the six song EP that was released in 1981 encouraged me to listen to some of the full album they released in 1999 on the back of this one. My ears are more in tune with their new wave sound. It’s not hard rock or metal but it is far better than much of the synth stuff that would come out later in the decade. “Planet Earth” was a pretty cool song too.

Track Listing:

1. Freedom of Choice

2. Whip It

3. Girl U Want

4. Gates of Steel

5. Be Stiff

6. Planet Earth

Devo

Devo

Mark Mothersbaugh- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Gerald V Casale- bass, keyboards, vocals

Bob Casale- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Bob Mothersbaugh- guitar, vocals

Alan Myers- drums

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. Plus, from the footage I saw on YouTube, I think they would have been fun to see live.  My conclusion is that Devo does deserve a place in the annals of rock and metal history for 1981 and not just because of “Whip It.”

Next post: Cheap Trick- All Shook Up

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 1981: The Who- Face Dances

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-The_who_face_dances_album

In 1985, I remember listening to a radio programme about The Who and the concluding bit stated that the death of Keith Moon in 1979 marked the end of The Who as a band. The programme went on to admit that the band would continue to tour and that Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend and John Entwistle would all have successful solo projects, however, The Who as a band, were gone. My reaction was then as it is now, “What about the 1981 album with Kenney Jones?” For me, “Face Dances” has always been a good album but it’s Kenney Jones I feel sorry for. Because he was the replacement drummer for Moon, he didn’t get the respect he deserves. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jones has been relegated to a pub trivia question and that’s not fair on him. It is the exact same thing I said about Jimmy Farrar, had been Jones made it with another band, his drumming efforts would have been more appreciated.

That said, the radio programme also stated that after Moon’s death, The Who’s sixties hard rock lyrics and rebelliousness as well as their seventies creativity were gone as well. Not entirely true! When I listen to “Face Dances” I hear a little bit of both of these elements in the album. While there isn’t the crashing hard sound that they made famous in classics like “My Generation,” the elements of hard rock are definitely there in songs like “Don’t Let Go the Coat” and “Another Tricky Day” to name two. Plus, the big single from the album, “You Better, You Bet” definitely has reminds me of that creativity that radio programme praised them for over the likes of the rock opera “Tommy.”  Whichever way you want to view “Face Dances” the one thing I can say about it throughout is that you know that it is definitely The Who on this album. Their trademark truly resonates on it.

Track Listing:

1. You Better, You Bet

2. Don’t Let Go The Coat

3. Cache Cache

4. The Quiet One

5. Did You Steal My Money

6. How Can You Do It Alone

7. Daily Records

8. You

9. Another Tricky Day

The Who

The Who

Roger Daltrey- vocals

Pete Townsend- guitar, vocals

John Entwistle- bass, vocals

Kenney Jones- drums

Hopefully, I have provided sufficient evidence that the radio programme was wrong in regards to The Who being finished in 1979 because in 1981, they put out one very good album in “Face Dances.” It showed the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with in the music world. Thinking of Keith Moon, his passing opened the way for the many drummers who would join him since. John Bonham would follow him a year later. I believe that Moon, Bonham, along with the likes of Cozy Powell, Levon Helm and Razzle are drumming away together in a better place.

Keith Moon

Keith Moon

Next post: Devo- Dev O Live

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 1981: Greg Kihn Band- RocKihnRoll

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

Rockihnroll

“Tom Sawyer” by Rush lifted my spirits while I was on mess duty in 1981. In the summer of that year, “The Break Up Song” by the Greg Kihn Band made air alert more bearable. For those who never served in the military, when a marine battalion is placed on air alert, that means the president at any time can order them to go where he needs them to. In 1980, President Carter ordered my battalion to Key West Florida to deal with the influx of Cuban refugees (actually it was Castro emptying his prisons.) In 1981, Regan never ordered us to go anywhere but that didn’t stop the top brass from playing (sorry but I have to use the real term here so I apologise to any who might be offended) fuck fuck games with us. Things like getting us up at two in the morning and putting us on trucks to drive forty miles to the air base just for someone to say, “Good job boys.” We couldn’t go more than fifteen miles from the base and had to let the duty NCO know where we were at all times. Of course, because we were limited to where we could go, we went to the field a lot. So it’s no wonder I needed something to raise the spirits a little and “The Break Up Song” was it.

I think what first caught my eye to the song was the guitar sound along with those famous lyrics “ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.” Although at the time, I thought each of those “ah’s” started with a “b.” It was another three years before I learned I was actually singing the wrong thing. Saying that, I did mentally compose my own x rated version but I won’t go there. The rest of the “RocKihnRoll” album goes along the same vein. Like the big single, the great majority of the songs on the album have that catchy guitar intro that turns your head to it and makes it worth a listen. While the rock doesn’t go too heavy, it’s there and you definitely notice it. Even the ballad “Sheila” which starts with a keyboard, suddenly goes into a hard rock moment. I found it difficult to pick tracks other than “The Break Up Song” that stand out and that isn’t a bad thing for this album. However, I would vote for “Womankind” and “Trouble in Paradise” as other songs of note. The Greg Kihn band shows that they were a good tight band here.

Track Listing:

1. Valerie

2. The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write’ Em)

3. Womankind

4. Can’t Stop Hurtin’ Myself

5. Trouble in Paradise

6. Sheila

7. Nothing’s Gonna Change

8. The Girl Most Likely

9. When The Music Starts

10. True Confessions

Greg Kihn Band
Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, guitar

Dave Carpender- guitar, vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards, vocals

In my quest to list guitarists who may not have had the respect they possibly deserve, I must add Dave Carpender. Watching the live performance of the album closer “True Confessions,” I must say that he can bend the six string a little bit. That only adds to what a good album this is. It was just what was needed back in 1981, not only for me, but I think for music in general.

Next post: The Who- Face Dances

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 1981: Moody Blues- Long Distance Voyager

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by 80smetalman

MoodyBluesLongDistanceVoyager

First, I’d like to thank all of those who voted in my poll for helping choose the subject for my next book. All feedback was very much appreciated but the result wasn’t even close. Almost unanimously, idea 3, the vigilante network was chosen hands down by readers here, on my Peaceful Rampage blog and on Facebook. So, that’s what my next novel will be about.

Now onto the next album of 1981 and another story from my past. This won’t be a military story although I was serving then. This was a case of “It always happened when I was there” type of thing.” It’s like the case when I visited the Styx “Cornerstone” album where every time I went through the back gate of the base, the bar across the road always had “Babe” blasting out of its juke box. In this scenario, every time I was on leave or a weekend, 72 hour or 96 hour pass, I would meet my friends at a bar called Bob and Dan’s. It’s not there anymore but it did serve some really tasty fried mushrooms. It seems that for a good chunk of the year, every time I was in there, it would play “Gemini Dream” by the Moody Blues. It was one of those songs that rapidly grew on me and it provided a good back ground atmosphere inside the bar.

Saying that, the entire 1981 Moody Blues album “Long Distance Voyager” provides a good listening atmosphere whether you’re sitting in a bar, driving or just chilling at home. The album straddles the gap between 1970s concept progressive rock and the more sythnesiser sound more in line with the 80s. I hear both of these in the album. The two singles, “Talking Out of Turn” and the one from Bob and Dan’s deliver the more 80s sound while “In My World” is the more 70s. The combinations work throughout the album very well giving us an good solid progressive album and I do like the closer, “Veteran Cosmic Rocker.”

Track Listing:

1. The Voice

2. Talking Out of Turn

3.  Gemini Dream

4. In My World

5. Meanwhile

6. 22,000 Days

7. Nervous

8. Painted Smile

9. Reflective Smile

10. Veteran Cosmic Rocker

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward- guitars, vocals

John Lodge- bass, vocals

Ray Thomas- vocals, flutes, harmonicas

Graeme Edge- drums

Patrick Moraz- keyboards

I have the CD to Justin Hayward’s “War of the Worlds” so it’s good to see that he is still on the go  and making enjoyable music. He has been doing so for many years now both with the Moody Blues and solo. “Long Distance Voyager” adds another note to his credit.

Next post: Greg Kihn Band- Rockhinroll

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

Help Choose The Topic For My Next Book

Posted in Books, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 11, 2014 by 80smetalman

You have probably noticed from the post’s title, I want to do a poll. I have four ideas buzzing around my head for my third book but don’t know which one to choose. So, I’m asking you as a prospective reader to choose the one you would like to read the most.

Idea 1: A prequel to my first book Rock And Roll Children. The story is about Bob’s older brother Mitch who serves in the US peacekeeping mission in Beirut in 1983. He is wounded but returns home to total indifference and even intolerance.

Idea 2: A sort of sequel to He Was Weird. A talk show host, in a bid to save her plummeting ratings, holds a show where mothers of school shooters meet with mothers of their victims. Donna Leversee would appear on the show.

Idea 3: People who were either victims or witnesses to crimes are badly let down by the British justice system. They go onto form a vigilante network.

Idea 4: A male substitute teacher works in various schools and impresses female members of staff in more ways than one.

Please tell me which of these appeals to you, it would be greatly appreciated.

Book Review: Laina Dawes- What Are You Doing Here?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by 80smetalman

untitled

Not many posts ago, I revealed a book written by Laina Dawes entitled “What Are You Doing Here?” In the book, Ms Dawes tells us of her experiences as a black woman who is into heavy metal, the music she was into and the bands she saw. She also relates the experiences of other African American women who love heavy metal as well as some black female artists who can totally rock. Now that I have read the book in its entirety, I can say that what I read was truly eye opening indeed.

Let me get one thing clear and I know that no one is actually saying this but I am not ashamed of being born white. No one can help the colour of the skin they were born with and that is one reason I take a huge exception to anyone of any race who persecutes human beings who were born of multi- racial parentage. That aside, I am often embarrassed by some of the things my ancestors have done throughout history like slavery, discrimination, the colonization and subjugation of the African continent by Europeans. Now, having read this book, I am ashamed that white, male metal heads could act this way. I have always said that heavy metal could unite the world but after reading I still see that metalheads have a long way to go before we can do this. Furthermore, while I have campaigned against the right wing belief that heavy metal turns you into a criminal and gets you to hate your country, I have also campaigned against the left wing view that our genre of music is sexist and racist. I now know that I may have been wrong because Dawes tells of many experiences of both.

Laina Dawes

Laina Dawes

In “What Are You Doing Here?” Dawes tells quite openly of her negative experiences and some of the positive ones. She had to face down attitudes such as “You think you’re white” as well as the “only one” syndrome being the only black female at many shows. However, the whole time she never comes across was playing the victim. In fact, she tells how she doesn’t let those attitudes stop her enjoying the music she loves and reading some of the acts she’s into, I would love to go to a concert with her. Just no one tell Mrs 80smetalman.

The one thing that is really done well in the book is how she traces the history of rock and metal back to its origins. I began this blog with Jimi Hendrix, (another great black musician who help found metal as we know it today) but she goes back even farther than that to some of the great old blues musicians including BB King. In this case, Laina is absolutely correct in the fact that we as metalheads owe the origins of our music to music originally started by African Americans.

So, I would encourage all to grab a copy of “What Are You Doing Here?” It not only shows us the true origins of our music but also points out that heavy metal still has quite a long way to go before we gain true harmony.

Next post: The Moody Blues- Long Distance Voyager

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 1981: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by 80smetalman

Stagestruck

I must confess that I’m cheating a little bit here. I never heard of Rory Gallagher until 1982 when the ship I was on played a concert video of him live at Montreux. Even then, the video didn’t name the brilliant guitarist who was kicking so much ass in the video. It was another four months before I finally learned his name. Because I saw the video so early in that year, I naturally assumed that the concert took place in 1981 and it was in support of an album he released in the year. However, I learned that “Stage Struck” was actually released in the tail end of 1980. Therefore, to quote from “Full Metal Jacket:” “That’s why God passed the law of probability.” I can infer that because I was still serving on a ship at the time, I wouldn’t have known about this album until early 1981 and that is why I am including it in this year.

I can’t say that any of the songs from this album were recorded from the concert I watched. There is a “Live At Montreux” that was released in the later years but that’s irrelevant here. Because “Stage Struck” is a brilliant live album that showcases the music and talent of this wonder. The majority of the songs on it are from his last two studio albums, “Top Priority” (I’m kicking myself for not visiting that one in 1979) and “Photo Finish,” which I did. It’s no wonder this album is so good.

He opens the show with a song that if he was still alive and could play at my dream festival, it would be in his contract that he opens his set with “Shin Kicker.” It is also the opener for the “Photo Finish” album and there is no better song in which to open a concert or show. It’s one of those that grabs you by the balls and makes you give it your undivided attention. Nor do you get time to rest before the second one, “Wayward Child” takes over and you’re rocking away to it. Right after that, there is probably my all time favourite Rory Gallagher song, “Brute Force and Ignorance.” A great blues/rock gem that features some great guitar work. But the guitar display doesn’t end there. The next three tracks are all big blues rockers with him soloing away to the point that you are left feeling breathless. The last two songs, “Last of the Independents” and “Shadow Play” are great songs from the “Photo Finish” album that take the album to the climax. I can’t say conclusion because if I was at the concert and it ended here, I would have my lit cigarette lighter and held it aloft screaming for more.

Track Listing:

1. Shin Kicker

2. Wayward Child

3. Brute Force and Ignorance

4. Moonchild

5. Follow Me

6. Bought and Sold

7. Last of the Independents

8. Shadow Play

Rory Gallagher

          Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher- vocals, guitar, harmonica

Gerry McAvoy- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

I believe that Rory Gallagher never quite got the total recognition he should have. I know many Americans who have never heard of him and that’s a shame. Rory was a great guitarist and a decent singer. One concert video from more than thirty years ago, still remains strong in my memory and the albums I have posted here also bear witness to his greatness.

Next post: Laina Dawes book- “What Are You Doing Here?” My thoughts

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