Archive for September, 2014

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Riot- Full Down Under

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-RiotFDUnder

Riot were one band that, all throughout the 80s, I always intended to listen to but never got around to doing so. The opportunity finally came in 1987 when my sister made me a tape of various metal songs on it for my birthday and one of those songs was the great opener, “Swords and Tequila.” That song had and still has the same effect on me that Hanoi Rocks’s “Tragedy” has on me. I want to jump about my living room playing air guitar to it. “Swords and Tequila” has another dimension to it though. The stick in your memory line “Swords and tequila carry me through the night,” had actually meaning for me. Okay, I never had much use for the first item in the title but there were times when the second item did what the rest of what that line says. Oooh, fond memories indeed.

If I had listened to the “Fire Down Under” back in 1981, I would say that it would be the album that set the standard for all future heavy metal. In that sense, it could be argued that Riot were ahead of their time. That could be why they never had the commercial success they should have. There are so many great songs in the classic heavy metal sense that if I were to mention them now, I wouldn’t have to write a track listing but I will say the second half of the album probably just edges out the first. “Don’t Hold Back” is a definite stand out here and I love the guitar solo in it. “Altar of the King” starts with really cool acoustic intro before blowing you ear drums with some great power chords and “No Lies” follows on very very nicely. Saying that, I can’t take anything away from the rest of the album because it’s just that damn good.

Track Listing:

1. Swords and Tequila

2. Fire Down Under

3. Feel the Same

4. Outlaw

5. Don’t Bring Me Down

6. Don’t Hold Back

7. Altar of the King

8. No Lies

9. Run For Your Life

10. Flashbacks

Riot

Riot

Gary Sparenza- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- drums

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

After both Hanoi Rocks’s “Tragedy” and “Swords and Tequila” in back to back posts, I find myself contemplating what it would have been like if I had heard both of these songs back in 1981. It would have been mind blowing for sure! Way back when I first introduced 1981, I said that music got me through some rather difficult times that year. It would have been even more up lifting to have had “Fire Down Under” from Riot. If I had heard it back then, I would have declared myself a total metalhead right there and then.

Next post: Triumph- Allied Forces

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Hanoi Rocks- Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 25, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Bangkok_Shocks_Saigon_Shakes_Hanoi_Rocks

 

Here’s yet another metal band that didn’t come to my attention until they had a few albums under their belt. Unfortunately, I never heard of Hanoi Rocks until 1984 when I saw them play at a small club in New Jersey, almost exactly one month before the tragic event that would eventually cause the band to split up shortly after. I’ll go into more details about that when I get to 1984 but they way I’m going, even with two posts a week, it looks like that’s going to be quite awhile. Right now, it’s their debut album “Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks” which came out long before Razzle joined the band.

I was already familiar with the opening and best known track from the album, “Tragedy,” which I have on a compilation CD and so, that song gave me a bit of optimism when I listened to the album. It is a really good song, arguably one of their best. When I hear it, I want to regress back to my youth and jump around my living room playing air guitar. However, the rest of the album has a good number of rocking tracks too. “Stop Cryin'” has a very ear catching intro and the next three tracks, “Don’t Ever Leave Me,” “Lost in the City” and “First Timer” are all really good rockers on their own. Come to think of it, “Cheyenne” is also a stand out track. My conclusion is that this was another album I regret missing back in the day but am glad that I did get to hear it eventually.

Track Listing:

1. Tragedy

2. Village Girl

3. Stop Cryin’

4. Don’t Ever Leave Me

5. Lost in the City

6. First Timer

7. Cheyenne

8. 11th Street Kids

9. Walking With My Angel

10. Pretender

Hanoi Rock

Hanoi Rock

Michael Monroe- lead vocals, piano, saxophone, harmonica

Andy McCoy- guitars, backing vocals

Nasty Suicide- guitars, backing vocals

Sam Yaffa- bass

Gyp Casino- drums

In 1981, heavy metal was still developing but even then, it was grabbing people’s attention all over the world. Hanoi Rocks is Finland’s most successful band and with their debut album I can certainly understand why.

Next post: Riot- Fire Down Under

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 Punk Albums of 1981: Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc.

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by 80smetalman

Dead_Kennedys_-_In_God_We_Trust,_Inc._cover

First a confession, while I say that I was and still am a big Dead Kennedys fan, back in the 80s, the only two DK albums I listened to in earnest was their first album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” (for those who have joined recently, I did visit said album when I was journeying through 1980) and their 1985 “Frankenchrist” album and you can bet I will be paying tribute to that one. The 1981 EP, “In God We Trust Inc.” slipped past me back in the day. My excuse is and it’s a piss poor one, that EP’s weren’t something very common back in 1981 and so I didn’t pay much attention to them. That is what this album is labelled as. When I stumbled across “In God We Trust Inc.,” I thought it couldn’t have been an EP because it had eight songs on it and the standard EP has three or four. Then I quickly discovered that the eight songs on this EP take a grand total of just over thirteen minutes and most artists who release ones with three songs can be longer than that. Saying that, I’m not here to generate a debate on the definitions of EP’s and albums but to celebrate a great offering of music from a great band.

It may be only thirteen minutes but in that brief time you get totally bombarded with some loud, fast and furious in your face punk rock. Unlike the Plasmatics, this is punk as punk was meant to be. It ticks all the boxes of punk for those who like to categorise things. I don’t but there are some who do. The funny thing is that I don’t care that I can’t understand what is being sung in the opening track, “Religious Vomit,” maybe that’s what it is, but I just want to have a good scream when I hear it and that is what punk was meant to do. The next few songs are slightly more intelligible, especially “Moral Majority” and “Hyperactive Child,” although I don’t know where the last one ends and the next songs begin and frankly, I don’t care. I just am carried away by the ferocious music. It is the last three tracks that get slightly more serious and they slow down just enough for Jello Biafra to get his political message across with “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” The same goes with the next and longest track “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” a fitting song for back then and probably now. In the sense of political awareness in music, I think the Dead Kennedys were ahead of their time. Still the ferocity of the music is not lost in either track. The album ends with a very amusing punk cover of “Rawhide” showing a sense of humour in the band and it was a great way to end things.

Track Listing:

1. Religious Vomit

2. Moral Majority

3. Hyperactive Child

4. Kepone Factory

5. Dog Bite

6. Nazi Punks Fuck Off

7. We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now

8. Rawhide

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- vocals

East Bay Ray- guitar, backing vocals

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

D.H. Peligro- drums

If you want a good ear bashing but don’t have much time, then I can recommend “In God We Trust Inc.” from the Dead Kennedys. You will certainly get an ear bashing for thirteen fast and furious minutes. This may have been a short EP, but when it’s over, you surely don’t forget it and like me, starting over to listen to it again.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Bangkok Bakes, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

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 Punk Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Beyond the Valley of 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

Beyond-the-valley-of-1984

During the mid 1980s, I was asked by some non-officianados of metal what was the difference between punk and metal. My response at the time was that metal musicians could play their instruments better. Yes, I know that was a very ignorant statement and I would gladly travel back in time and slap myself across the fact for saying it. The Plasmatics were and still are considered a punk rock band but after listening to their 1981 “Beyond the Valley of  1984,” I concede that I was dead wrong about punk bands having limited playing talent. This band can definitely play.

First of all, I would never expect a band who couldn’t play to begin their album with a complex sounding instrumental but that is exactly what “Incarnation” is. However after that, they launch into a full scale attack with the anti-right wing song “Masterplan,” which definitely gets the heart pumping. You only get a quick breather afterwards, just long enough for lead singer Wendy O. Williams to say “Come on all you head bangers,” before you are once again assaulted by the song of similar name. “Headbanger” does exactly what it says on the tin, it gets your head banging. That song isn’t the only one where Wendy entices you with a cool spoken intro. She does the same with “Fast Food Service” where she says, “If going all the way ain’t right, honey let me out tonight” before the band launches into a Ramones style one, two, three go power surge and though it only lasts less than a minute and a half, you are fulfilled at the end. But Miss Williams is more than just a smooth talker of lines, this album demonstrates that she can sign too.

“Hit Man,” “Living Dead” and “Sex Junkie” are all great tunes and are followed by the piste de resistance. If there was any doubt about the playing ability of the Plasmatics, it is smashed to bits with “Plasma Jam.” This live recording is simply killer and has me asking why isn’t Richie Stotts mentioned along with other great lead guitarists. Fortunately “Plasma Jam” is simply the climax and not the conclusion. That comes with the closing song “Pig is a Pig” which starts out with another Wendy speech ripping on journalists. Fair dues I say.

Track Listing:

1. Incarnation

2. Masterplan

3. Headbanger

4. Summer Nite

5. Nothing

6. Fast Food Service

7. Hit Man

8. Living Dead

9. Sex Junkie

10. Plasma Jam

11. Pig is a Pig

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- lead vocals, chainsaw

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar

Richie Stotts- lead guitar

Jean Beauvoir- bass, piano, synthesizers

Neal Smith- drums, percussion

In the mid 80s, punk and metal would have a love child named thrash but more said on that at the appropriate time. However, The Plasmatics were definitely one of the donors to that union as can be heard from this album “Beyond the Valley of 1984”

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Van Halen- Fair Warning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Van_Halen_-_Fair_Warning

New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) may have reigned supreme in 1981 but it didn’t mean that American metal was muted in that year and that was largely due to Van Halen’s fourth album, “Fair Warning.” For some people at the time, this album was supposed to be a redemption for Van Halen after their supposedly disappointing “Women and Children First” album. (I wasn’t disappointed with that album.) I will also agree with the critic who said that “Fair Warning” was a little better than the previous album but since neither album was as bad as some of these ‘critics’ made them out to be, I will have to say that they are both great albums. However, I will also state that neither quite makes it to the level of their first two, but come on, Van Halen I and II will always be at a level many albums will never attain so let’s give “Fair Warning” credit where it’s due.

From the opening notes in “Mean Street,” it was crystal clear that Eddie Van Halen shows why he was the ultimate guitar master in the early 80s.  The album takes you down a smooth road of great music, especially during the first five tracks reminding you why Van Halen held the flag for American metal. “Dirty Movies” and “Hear About it Later” stick their heads above the rest here with the former showing there is a sense of humour behind the metal. For years, I thought that song was called “Bitches of the Silver Screen.” I saw a video of the latter song played live and that completely blew me away. The acoustic intro quickly followed by the powerful rhythm of guitar, bass and drum, with some interesting guitar riffs thrown in around the vocals before cascading into a well played EVH guitar solo. There is little wonder why it’s my favourite song on the album. “Unchained” is more of a traditional Van Halen single but it still rocks while the rest of the album, while maybe not quite as mind blowing as the first five songs is still powerful enough to leave the listener contented once it has finished.

Track Listing:

1. Mean Street

2. Dirty Movies

3. Sinner’s Swing

4. Hear About it Later

5. Unchained

6. Push Comes to Shove

7. So This is Love

8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park

9. One Foot Out the Door

Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

In a year when Britannia ruled the heavy metal waves, it was good to see that the guns of American metal didn’t remain silent. I have always said that both countries have always benefited from exchange of heavy metal. Van Halen showed they were still a major player in the game with “Fair Warning.”

Next post: The Plasmatics- Valley of the 1984

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry

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

 

220px-Def_Leppard_-_High_'n'_Dry

Up until very recently, I thought Def Leppard’s second album “High ‘n’ Dry” came out in 1982 and I was going to post about their first album. Even when a fellow blogger stated that this was a 1981, I still thought about waiting until I get to 1982 before I wrote about it. After all, I always begin each year with albums that were in fact released the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the following one. I already have some in mind for when I get to 1982 but there’s still a way to go before that. Furthermore and for reasons I’ll state when I get to 1982, that year was a very barren year for me musically so waiting could be justified further, at least in my mind. However, it didn’t seem right that I wait and therefore am going to visit this album right now.

Another great thing about 1981, which I have concluded recently, is that what is commonly called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM, was probably at its zenith that year. The albums I have covered to this point prove that. Def Leppard were another great British metal act to ride this title wave and set the stage to what was to become heavy metal’s golden decade. A few days ago was the first time I listened to “High ‘n’ Dry” in many years. I never bought it because my sister had it and we would listen to one another’s records quite often. Of course, that was after she got over her affinity for disco and the Bee Gees in the very late 70s. It was their next album “Pyromania” that was always number one with me but after hearing “High ‘n’ Dry” again, I’m not so sure.

If there was every a good opener to a Def Leppard album, it has to be “Let It Go” for certain. This song makes you want to listen to the rest of the album and I wish I had paid more attention back then because the title track would have definitely been a cruising song for the car. While it isn’t the power ballad that surpasses April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” it does come pretty close and it too kicks the ass off “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” I also found the instrumental “Switch 625” to be very well done. I think the reason why this album is so good is that this was recorded in a time when Def Leppard were hungry and that hunger is shown here in the album. They didn’t have to worry about commercial success, they just let rip and I think producer Mutt Lange understood this at the time. “High ‘n’ Dry” is definitely their most powerful album.

Track Listing:

1. Let It Go

2. Another Hit and Run

3. High ‘n’ Dry (Another Saturday Night)

4. Bringing on the Heartbreak

5. Switch 625

6. You Got Me Runnin’

7. Lady Strange

8. On Through the Night

9. Mirror Mirror, (Look Into My Eyes)

10. No No No

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Joe Elliot- vocals

Pete Willis- guitar, backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums

This would be the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis on guitar but that’s a story saved for another time. Now is the time to enjoy a great album, arguably their best from a great band. This was the time when as far as heavy metal is concerned, Britannia ruled the waves and Def Leppard were one of the components of that.

Next album: Van Halen- Fair Warning

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 Metal Albums of 1981: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Difficult_to_cure

Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

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