Archive for April, 2014

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Gillan- Future Shock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Future_Shock_-_Gillan

After listening to the 1981 “Future Shock” album by Gillan, I even more regret that I never listened to them back in the day. Furthermore, this album cements my belief that Gillan were the best British act not to make it big in America. Once again, I have to thank YouTube for providing with an opportunity to listen to a great album I would have otherwise missed.

Maybe it’s me but “Future Shock” seems noticeably heavier that its predecessor, “Glory Road.” I mean the first four tracks on this album really rock. While the keyboards are definitely there, they play a more subordinate role in those songs but still make them sound great along with the guitar playing of Bernie Torme. But it’s the track “Sacre Bleu” where Torme’s talents really shine through. Then there’s the cover of “New Orleans,” which is very nicely done. After “Bite the Bullet,” which again has a cool guitar solo compliments of Torme, the album slows down with the cool power ballad, “If I Sing Softly.” I’ve only heard this song twice but I’m already ranking up there with some of the other great power ballads.

At first listen, I thought the album went more progressive with the last two songs but after the second listen, I am now of the opinion that I thought wrong the first time around. While the piano work Colin Towns is brilliant on the closer “For Your Dreams,” it’s still a rocker. Of course with all the great musicianship from the members of this band, it doesn’t make anyone forget whose name is on the marquee. Through his magnificent vocals, Ian Gillan lets you know that he is the singer and further proves why he gets my vote as the greatest voice in rock and metal.

Track Listing:

1. Future Shock

2. Night Ride Out of Phoenix

3. (The Ballad Of) The Lucitania Express

4. No Laughing in Heaven

5. Sacre Bleu

6. New Orleans

7. Bite the Bullet

8. If I Sing Softly

9. Don’t Want the Truth

10. For Your Dreams

Gillan

Gillan

Ian Gillan- vocals

Bernie Torme- guitars

Colin Town- keyboards

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

So, we have another great album fronted by a great vocalist and a fine band behind him. It makes me wonder why I never heard any Gillan back in 1981. I can’t really blame it being in the service either. But as they say, better late than never. Just to whet your appetites a bit, further along in the tour of 1981, I will be revealing who I consider to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain.

Next post: An Unexpected Surprise

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: Meat Loaf- Dead Ringer

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-MeatLoafDeadRinger

By 1981, many people, myself included, were beginning to write Meat Loaf off as a one album wonder. While many of us were still enjoying the delights served up on his famous 1978 “Bat Out of Hell” album, its regularlarity of play was beginning to rapidly wane as newer albums were coming to the forefront. It could have been down to the fact that he had appeared in a couple of films in 1980, “Roadie” and “Scavenger Hunt” and was thinking of an acting career but it was certain that his music career looked to be going downhill fast. Then what seemed from out of nowhere, “Dead Ringer” was released.

It is very difficult to follow up a colossal album. Though some bands have managed to do this, there are many others who haven’t. I have to put this album in with the latter. I would have thought that after a more than three year layoff, Meat Loaf was meticulously planning a great album to follow on from “Bat Out of Hell.”  Unfortunately, “Dead Ringer” does not live up to the expectations that were set upon it. Saying that, the album doesn’t suck either. There are some really good tracks on it including one of my favourite Meat Loaf songs, “Dead Ringer For Love,” which he performs a duet with Cher. I have also forgotten some of other decent tracks that make up the album like “I’m Gonna Love Her For Both of Us” and “Read ‘Em and Weep.” “I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back” is rather good and funny and I forgot how much I liked “Peel Out” back in the day. So, while the album didn’t live up to the hype, it wasn’t one for the scrap heap either.

Meat Loaf and Cher singing "Dead Ringer for Love"

Meat Loaf and Cher singing “Dead Ringer for Love”

 Track Listing

1. Peel Out

2. I’m Gonna Love Her For Both of Us

3. More Than You Deserve

4. I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back

5. Read ‘Em and Weep

6. Nocturnal Pleasure

7. Dead Ringer for Love

8. Everything is Permitted

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf- lead vocals

Davey Johnstone- guitars

Mick Ronson- guitars

Joe DeAngelis- acoustic guitars

Steve Buslowe- bass

Roy Bittan- piano

Nicky Hopkins- piano

Larry Fast- synthesiser

Lou Del Gatto- horns

Lou Marini- horns

Tom Malone- horns

Alan Rubin- horns

Max Weinberg- drums

Liberty DeVitto- drums

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Jim Steinman- spoken word on “Nocturnal Pleasure”

Cher- guest vocals on “Dead Ringer for Love”

It has always been my slightly biased belief as to why “Dead Ringer” wasn’t as good as “Bat Out of Hell” was the fact that Todd Rundgren didn’t produce it. However Jim Steinman doesn’t do a bad job making the album a worthwhile listen.

Next post: Gillan- Future Shock

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

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Eric Clapton- Another Ticket

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

220px-EricClaptonAnotherTicket

When I remembered this album by Eric Clapton in 1981, I found myself wondering why I haven’t visited any other albums he might have done in the time I have covered so far. Now, I realise that I missed both his 1978 studio album “Backless” and his tremendous 1980 live album “Just One Night.” The bad thing is that I actually listened to the live album around that time and loved it, so I have no excuse. I knew that while I journeyed through time, I would miss out the odd great album but come on. No use crying over spilled coffee, especially when “Another Ticket” is such a fine album.

The reason why I am beating myself up so much over this is that I have always been a Clapton fan and really loved what he could do with a guitar. With “Another Ticket,” he plays the old fashioned blues based rock that he built his reputation on. He does this so easily on tracks like “Something Special,” “Catch Me If You Can,” the single from the album, “I Can’t Stand It,” “Floating Under the Bridge” and his cover of the Muddy Waters classic “Blow Wind Blow.” Then there is the ballad title track, which he reminds me of the similar type of hit “Wonderful Tonight” but without all the lead guitar in between. However, he also goes slightly country with the songs “Black Rose” and “Hold Me Lord” but he manages to pull it off. I love albums where the closing track goes out with great guitar playing and “Rita Mae” ends the album exactly that way.

Track Listing:

1. Something Special

2. Black Rose

3. Blow Wind Blow

4. Another Ticket

5. I Can’t Stand It

6. Hold Me Lord

7. Floating Bridge

8. Catch Me If You Can

9. Rita Mae

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton- lead guitar, vocals

Chris Stainton- keyboards

Albert Lee- guitar, vocals

Gary Booker- keyboards, vocals

Henry Spinetti- drums, percussion

Dave Markee- bass

Most sane people in the world will agree that Eric Clapton is one of the greatest guitarists in the history of guitarists. I know we may know one or two that we consider better and that’s cool. But whenever great guitarists get mentioned, Eric Clapton is definitely one that gets mentioned in that group. “Another Ticket” shows why he does.

Next post: Meatloaf- Dead Ringer

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: U2- Boy

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

 

 

 

 

220px-U2_Boy

The debut album from the now legendary Northern Ireland band U2 came to my attention who gave me a copy on a cassette on which he recorded from the record. Since I had no clue on anything about the band, I had to go on the music that the tape was pumping out of the speakers on my car stereo. Listening to what some have labelled their post punk, new wave sound a picture of what I believed they looked like began forming in my mind. I saw them as the standard four piece two guitar, bass and drum type of band with hair styles similar to the boy on the album cover and wearing brown tweed jackets and ties. I guess the closest thing would be sort of a combination of The Jam meets The Knack. The image of them would remain with me for another two years until when I would see that that image was completely wrong.

Thankfully, I never cared too much about images but put my faith in the music. When I first listened to “Boy,” I was convinced by its conclusion forty minutes later that this was a good album. Even though there was no track listing, I knew the opener was a fantastic song and “I Will Follow” is still my all time favourite U2 song. I didn’t need a track listing to see how tight this band was as the songs were very good. One advantage of not knowing the track titles is that I was compelled to listen that much closer to get an idea of what a track might be called from the lyrics. So, the track “A Day Without Me” isn’t really called “You started a landslide in my ego” but that doesn’t stop it from being a great song nor did it stop it from sticking in my head for over thirty years. Other tracks that stick in my head turn out to be “An Cat Dubh,” “Out of Control” and “Stories for Boys” and I have to say that “Shadows in Tall Trees” makes for an interesting closer.

Track Listing:

1. I Will Follow

2. Twilight

3. An Cat Dubh

4. Into the Heart

5. Out of Control

6. Stories for Boys

7. The Ocean

8. A Day Without Me

9. Another Time, Another Place

10. The Electric Company

11. Shadows in Tall Trees

U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals

The Edge- guitar, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

I said in my last post that I would be visiting something that was a triumph in 1981 but is now a tragedy, but it’s not U2. Yes, in my view, they were great in the 1980s but would go weird in the 90s but it is albums like “Boy” that keep me listening. What I didn’t know when I first listened to this album is how they would go onto greater things.

Next post: Eric Clapton- Another Ticket

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triumphs and Tragedies in 1981

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by 80smetalman

As always, I like to start with the bad news first before progressing onto the good news. The biggest tragedy of this particular year for music fans of all kinds with the death of reggae legend Bob Marley who died from cancer in May of 1981.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Whether one was a devout reggae fan, Bob Marley worshipper, total stoner or none of the above, there were very few people around my age at the time who couldn’t help but shed a tear at the passing of this great legend. His music brought reggae into the mainstream for many people, me included as did his relaxed, “be mellow” attitude towards life. Something we all probably still need to adhere to these days. While Bob may not be with us and I have to agree with his son Ziggy’s philosophy that money doesn’t buy life, his music still is alive and very well in the world today. R.I.P. Bob Marley

The Round Up

The Round Up

Now onto the first triumph which was at the time a local one for me and the sad thing was that I never got to see it due to being in the service. In June of 1981, Southern Rock converged on Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium as some of the great Southern Rock bands played what I later learned was a brilliant show. Oh, how amazing it would have been to see the likes of The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band on the same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t and therefore I implore anyone out there in the cosmos who is reading this and went to this great festival, please share your experiences!

Donington 1981

Donington 1981

The second tragedy came in the form of another great music festival across the Atlantic. In the August, the second Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park took place. With AC/DC as the headliner and the likes of Whitesnake, Slade and Blackfoot on the bill, it couldn’t help but to be a great show. Of course, I wasn’t at this one either but I do know someone who was and he said it was a brilliant day. It also explains why Blackfoot didn’t appear at the Round Up.  Furthermore, the promoters did a good job in ironing at some of the things that went wrong at the 1980 festival. So, two great musical shows on both sides of the ocean, the result was two triumphs for rock and metal in 1981.

There was one more triumph in 1981 but that deserves its own billing and will be spoken about later. To give a hint, it was considered a total triumph in 1981 but nowadays, it is more of a tragedy.

Next post: U2 -Boy

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: ZZ Top- El Loco

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

250px-ZZ_Top_-_El_Loco

I first listened to “El Loco” in conjunction with another classic ZZ Top album “Tres Hombres.” For me, it turned out to be a double delight getting to listen to two great albums by the same band one after another and it marked another turning point in my musical life. It wasn’t until 1981 that I listened to any ZZ Top at all. That was because back in 1977, the uncle of my best friend had one of their albums, (I don’t know which), and he said it sucked and I was dumb enough back then to let that influence my music listening tastes. That is why I never listened to them back in the 70s and why I don’t allow things like that to happen anymore.

“Tres Hombres” has my two favourite ZZ Top songs of all time on it. You’ll have to read my 1979 post to discover which ones, but “El Loco” is a very good album too. The album was also the beginning of a turning point for the band musically. It was the first album they would use synthesisers in some of their songs and I must comment that they do a grand job of it on the track, “Groovy Little Hippy Pad.” For the most part, however, they stay true to their more bluesier roots. The first track “Tube Snake Boogie” is a classic and still has me rocking away to it whenever I hear it. Billy Gibbons shows his guitar worth on that and many of the other songs here. The final two tracks, “Heaven, Hell or Houston” and “Party on the Patio” are definite standouts. The band also reinforces another dimension to their music in the fact that they have a sense of humour with their songs. “Ten Foot Pole,” “Pearl Necklace” and the fore mentioned “Groovy Little Hippy Pad” bear witness to this. All in all, I remain thankful to yet another old marine buddy who opened my eyes to more cool music in the shape of ZZ Top and “El Loco.”

Track Listing:

1. Tube Snake Boogie

2. I Wanna Drive You Home

3. Ten Foot Pole

4. Leila

5. Don’t Tease Me

6. It’s So Hard

7. Pearl Necklace

8. Groovy Little Hippy Pad

9. Heaven, Hell or Houston

10. Party on the Patio

ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons- guitar, vocals

Dusty Hill- bass, keyboards, vocals

Frank Beard- drums

I may have missed some of the classic ZZ Top albums when they came out in the 70s, although I did make up for that in the 80s, it didn’t stop me from appreciating what a great band ZZ Top are. The more I travel back in time, the more I have grateful I am to the USMC. Hard core Republicans might not like this fact but my experiences there opened a great chasm in my musical awareness and played a major role in shaping me in the metal head I was to eventually become. I can say that ZZ Top had an hand in that too.

Next post: 1981 Triumph and Tragedy

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Marshall Tucker- Dedicated

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

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I must thank Wikopedia on this occasion or I would have been totally wrong here. The Marshall Tucker Band came to my attention in 1981 through my lieutenant who was heavily into them. It was only when I did a little research that I found out they had been going on well throughout the seventies. What would have been a greater sense of shooting myself in the foot was that 1981 was when I first heard the song they were most famous for, “Can’t You See.” I now realise that the song was actually released in 1973, so thank you Wikopedia.

Still none of this hides the fact that the Marshall Tucker Band put out a decent album in 1981. “Dedicated” is another album that got over looked due to the wave of Southern Rock bands that were coming into the light at the time. Saying that, “Dedicated” reminds me of the dilemma that many Southern Rock bands faced at the time, straddling the fine line between genuine rock and country music. I remember a friend from up North calling Southern Rock nothing more than country music with a few power chords. Boy, was he naïve. Then again, he didn’t experience Southern Rock they way I did back in 1981.

Looking more closely at “Dedicated,” it is plain that The Marshall Tucker Band were one of those bands who did try harder to tightrope the line between country and rock. They weren’t as heavy as Molly Hatchet or Blackfoot but that doesn’t stop the album from being good. There are some great traditional rock tunes like “Rumours Are Raging,” “Silverado” and my personal favourite, “Tell The Blues To Take Off The Night,” which has some good bluesy guitar work on it. There are also more radio friendly tunes like “Tonight’s The Night (For Making Love) and the appropriate closer, “Ride In Peace.” There are a couple of more countrified tunes like “Love Some” although it is still a good song. The Marshall Tucker Band does a great job in taking all of these things and rolling them up into one good album.

Track Listing:

1. Rumour Are Raging

2. Tonight’s the Night (For Making Love)

3. Love Some

4. Silverado

5. Something’s Missing in My Life

6. This Time I Believe

7. Tell the Blues to Take Off the Night

8. Special Someone

9. The Time Has Come

10. Ride In Peace

Marshall Tucker Band

Marshall Tucker Band

 Doug Gray- vocals

Toy Caldwell- guitar

George McCorkle- guitar

Jerry Eubanks- keyboards

Paul Riddle- drums

Franklin Wilkie- bass

There is one note of tragedy to this album in that it was made after the death of the band’s bassist and brother of guitarist Toy Caldwell, Tommy Caldwell, who was killed in a car accident. It has been said that the closing track is a dedication to him. This album was a fitting tribute to Tommy and a good album all around. It is also probably the best one to end my series of posts on Southern Rock in 1981 as it’s popularity north of the Mason-Dixon line would decline after.

Next post: ZZ Top- El Loco

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