Archive for January, 2015

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Charlie Daniels Band- Windows

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Windows_CDB_album

If there was one song whose lyrics really made me think in 1982, it was the single by the Charlie Daniels Band, “Still in Saigon.” For those unfamiliar, it’s a very haunting song about a Vietnam Veteran and his struggles with the war ten years since coming home. Two lines that still stick in my mind and even more so since I listened to the 1982 “Windows” album are:

“All the sounds of long ago will be forever in my head,

Mingled with the wounded’s cries and the silence of the dead.”

Those lyrics make me glad that while I served, I never had to fire a live round at a living target nor had any live rounds fired at me. “Still in Saigon” was the first true song that I know of that showed true sympathy to those who served in Vietnam. At the time, some thought it was a bit contradictory to their previous patriotic 1980 hit “In America.” There is nothing unpatriotic about “Still in Saigon” and if America apologised to the Vietnam Veterans for they way it treated them every day until the last veteran died, it might just be enough. For me, the song would come to mind in unfortunate circumstances a year later when my old unit got blown up in Beirut.

Like I have said many times before, one song does not make a good album but there are plenty of good ones on “Windows.” Charlie Daniels seems to go more rock than country on this album although there is the country ballad type “We Had It All One Time” there’s nothing wrong with that song. “Ragin’ Cajun” is the other known single from the album which features some fiddle playing reminiscent of the old 1979 classic, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” It’s a good rock hoe down. The gem in the dark for me on this album is definitely “Partyin’ Gal.” I knew a few ladies who partied like that in those days so it should be a tribute to them. It is probably the most rock of all the songs on the album. If “We Had It All One Time” is the country ballad then “Blowin’ Along With the Wind” is the rock one. It’s not a power ballad, more of a progressive one but it slots in nicely with the rest of the line up. Whether you’re country or rock or both, you can’t go wrong with “Windows.”

Track Listing:

1. Still in Saigon

2. Ain’t No Ramblers Anymore

3. The Lady in Red

4. We Had It All One Time

5. Partyin’ Gal

6. Ragin’ Cajun

7. Makes You Want To Go Home

8. Blowing Along With The Wind

9. Nashville Moon

10. The Universal Hand

Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels- vocals, guitar, fiddle

Tom Crane- guitar, vocals

Joel “Taz” Di Gregorio- keyboards, vocals

Fred Edwards- drums, percussion

James W Marshall- drums, percussion

Charles Hayward- bass

One song made me think in 1982 but an entire album rocked the year away. “Windows” proved to many, especially many up North, that the Charlie Daniels Band were certainly not one hit wonders.

Next post: Johnny Van Zant- The Lat of the Wild Ones

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

The Israeli Top Ten- April 1982

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2015 by 80smetalman

isreli flag

Because I hadn’t been able to listen to any albums from 1982 over the past few days I decided to take a trip back in personal nostalgia. In a few of my posts, I mentioned that I was in Israel in April of 1982. While getting rather sloshed in a bar in Tel A Viv, my friends and I were entertained by a television showing music videos. At first, we rocked to what I would later discover to be the video to all of Queen’s greatest hits up until 1980 and that was totally cool. Next, however, they showed the videos for the top ten songs in Israel that week or so I have always thought. So, to the best of my knowledge, here it is:

10. An Israeli duet featuring a man who looked like a grown up version of a friend of mine from junior high school and a woman. Don’t have a clue what the song was, they sang in Hebrew but the lady was quite pretty and the man had a powerful voice.

9. A Soul band whose name or song I can’t remember

8. The Human League- Don’t You Want Me

7. A rather hot looking French lady- Upside Down (I assume that was the title)

6. A dark haired woman who had a great voice. She was either Israeli or Italian

The J Geils Band

The J Geils Band

5. J. Geils Band- Centerfold

Foreigner

Foreigner

4. Foreigner- Waiting For a Girl Like You

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

3. Rod Stewart- Young Turks

2. An English band featuring a short guy as lead singer- Can’t remember the song

1. Abba- Head Over Heels

I think the reason I remember this top ten so well is that fact that there were a couple of decent rock tunes in the chart. I have also noted that there are a good number of heavy metal bands from the country. My point here is that I think they can rock in Israel! Thank you for coming along on my trip down memory lane.

Next post: Charlie Daniels Band- Windows

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 1982: The Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Outlaws_-_Los_Hombres_Malo

 It often pays to be in the right place at the right time and in the case of the Outlaws “Los Hombres Malo” album, I was fortunate to be in the south when this album was released. Otherwise, it might have passed me by. “Los Hombres Malo” isn’t one of the Outlaws’ better known albums like “Ghost Riders” or “In the Eye of the Storm” or in fact, some of the classic albums they made in the mid to late 1970s. All that aside, it’s still a pretty good album.

The Outlaws have never been as heavy as Southern Rockers such as Blackfoot or Molly Hatchet. Their sound is more bluesier with some great long lead guitar solos like their all time classic jam, “Green Grass and High Tides.” It is more of the same with “Los Hombres Malo.” “Don’t Stop” is a classic Outlaws type song and opens the album quite well and it’s followed up by the similar sounding “Foxtail Lilly.” “Rebel Girl” is the only song I remember getting any airplay, even on southern stations and it is a decent song except that the guitar solo isn’t as long. My assumption: they were asked to shorten the lead for airplay. The rest of the album goes back to the more traditional Outlaws sound and if, while listening to it, you think that every song is in the same vein, the album throws a curve ball with the more slower “Running.” It’s a ballad done the Outlaws’ way. “Easy Does It” and “All Roads” end the album just fine. While this album doesn’t make me want to forget some of the more classic albums, it doesn’t make me want to discard it for them either.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Stop

2. Foxtail Lilly

3. Rebel Girl

4. Goodbye

5. Back From Eternity

6. Won’t Come Out of the Rain

7. Running

8. Easy Does It

9. All Roads

The Outlaws

The Outlaws

Rick Cua- bass, lead and backing vocals

David Dix- drums, percussion

Dave Lane- fiddle, violin

Dave Lyons- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Freddie Salem- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Hughie Thomasson- guitar, banjo, lead and backing vocals

One event I regret missing in 1982 was that the Outlaws and Blackfoot toured together. That must have been an amazing show. They would have played some songs from “Los Hombres Malo” and that would have been cool.

Next post: The Top in in Israel, in April 1982.

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

 

 

Three Pronged Metal Assault On Bristol

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

It’s Monday morning and I still haven’t fully recovered from Sunday night’s mayhem. Last night, my stepson and I went to see a concert at the Thekla in Bristol, UK, with viking metal giants Amon Amarth, California metallists Huntress and  homegrown Savage Messiah. Let’s just say that the night was one to remember.

It’s about a forty-five minute ride from my home in Stroud, Gloucestershire to Bristol but that’s not important. We did have Megadeth’s “13” album to make the ride enjoyable and provide the inflight entertainment. Once we landed in Bristol, we immediately headed for a nearby pub called The Gryphon which specialises in metal. Four years ago, I had my most successful book signing evening for “Rock and Roll Children” there. There were only three other people in there plus the bartender but I did manage a pint of real ale and the entertainment provided by Sabbaton on the pub’s sound system. Great place for a pre-concert party.

Inside The Gryphon

Inside The Gryphon

Leaving the Gryphon, we made the ten minute walk to the Thekla, which is an old ship turned into a night club. This turned out to be a bit ironic since the headline act prided themselves on being descended from vikings. An email from them gave me the impression that the show would start at 7 but the reality was that that would be the time the doors opened. So, we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes but some rather partied out concert goers who play too much Skyrim made the wait more amusing. My stepson informed me that they were loudly making quotes from the game, although I can’t remember what they were.

The Thekla

The Thekla

So, we went in, found a good place near the stage and waited. The wait was well worth it because at precisely 7:30, Savage Messiah hit the stage at 300 mph. They might have only been on stage for a half an hour but they made sure you took in every minute of it. They gave every ounce of energy they had into that short time span with some powerful playing. I had little experience of them before this night but they were kind enough to play two songs of theirs I did know, “Hellblazer” and “Minority of One.” Both were done brilliantly as were the other songs they played. They only slowed down long enough for lead singer, Dave Silver, to lament how their van broke down four days into their tour and had to pay over £600 in repairs. He said he was going to put the bill on Twitter, so I may have to check that out. Still, it didn’t detract from their performance one bit and when they finished, they still had enough energy to play another half hour.

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

The audience didn’t have much time to catch their breath before the second band of the night, Huntress ascended the stage. They wasted no time in carrying on from where their predecessors left off. Huntress wowed the crowd with their own brand of powerful metal which brought out all the ghouls and thrashers. It was in the middle of their set that a mosh pit opened up. This only fueled Huntress more. Lead singer Jill Janus lead the procession very well with both her engagement with the crowd and her singing. I loved her quote, “Put the stars in your bong and smoke the galaxy.” Of course all backed up by her band who proceeded to hammer the ear drums of anyone who was inside the Thekla. Like Savage Messiah, I’m not too familiar with Huntress’s material but they did play the “love song” Lemmy wrote for the band, “I Want to Fuck You to Death.” That brought their show to a thrilling climax and when they left the stage a couple of songs later, I was thinking to myself, that couldn’t have been 45 minutes.

Huntress

Huntress

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

The only decent shot I got of Jill and she has her back to me

The only decent shot I got of Jill

From the moment they got on stage, it was crystal clear that Amon Amarth were not going to take any prisoners. Viking drums beat, swords and shields clashed and most importantly, guitars, bass, drums and vocals reigned down fire from Valhala as they launched into their domination of the night. A mosh pit opened up straight away and would stay that way for the rest of the evening. My step-son even went into it only to come out a few minutes later drenched in sweat. Like many of the established head liner acts I have seen over the years, Amon Amarth played exactly the right blend of classic and new material. Songs I remember from the night included “Loki Falls,” “Deceiver of Gods,” “Guardians of Asgard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Just over the midpoint of the show, they paused the carnage long enough for lead singer Johan Hegg to explain that he had lost his voice the night before and his band plus assistance from Jill Janus saved the show. Let me say that last night, there were no signs of any vocals problems with Hegg. The band hammered the rest of the night in style and did return for two encore songs, the last of which Hegg got the crowd to sing along. I can only vaguely remember the first line, something about vikings in a ship. Still, the crowd singing was good enough for Johan to declare us honourary Vikings. When Amon Amarth left the stage, it was to thunderous reverence of having conquered Bristol that night.

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

More Amon Amarth

More Amon Amarth

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Under the green lights

Under the green lights

The residents of Bristol may not realise this but on Sunday January 18, 2015, their town was taken over by vikings assisted by to metal forces in the forms of Huntress and Savage Messiah. The Thekla provided that small club setting which provides an atmosphere all on its own. Three bands reigned supreme that night and I was glad I was there to experience it.

Next post: Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

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 1982: Rossington/Collins- This is the Way

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-RossingtonCollinsBandThisIsTheWay

One of the best things about being in the Southeastern part of the US in 1982 was that while the rest of the world seemed to be getting into new wave and synth pop was starting to rear its ugly head, Southern rock was still going strong there. Of course heavy metal was growing into a monster out of control but that’s another story. As I have said many times before, Southern Rock had stamped its authority in 1981 but while most of the trendy world may have moved on, Southerners were still true to their music. The result being that there are still quite a few more albums in this vein for me to visit and one of the major ones was the second album from Rossington/Collins, “This is the Way.”

For me, “This is the Way” is as every bit as good as their debut album “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere.” It has that very pronounced Southern down home boogie vibe that is synonymous with Southern Rock. Plus, having several ex Lynyrd Skynyrd members in the band, you can definitely hear their influence on the album. What is different about Rossington/Collins is the lead singer, Dale Krantz- Rossington. Not enough mention is given to her vocal ability which is very high indeed. She really shines on the acapella “Pine Box.” Her vocals are just as noteworthy in the songs that have music with them but they have the additional bonus of some of that great Skynyrdesque guitar play from Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. Great examples to this are “Gotta Get it Straight,” “Gonna Miss It When Its Gone” and “Means Nothing to You.” “Don’t Stop Me Now” has an added bonus of the piano work of Billy Powell proving that he could still tinkle the ivories. It beats me why he doesn’t get the respect he deserves as a keyboardist. The best example, though, is the more bluesy ballad “Tashauana.” This song puts together all of the things already mentions and makes a really good song. Dale’s vocals are superb, their is some great powerful guitar and you can hear Powell’s well done efforts as well. “Tashauana” demonstrates why “This is the Way” is such a great album.

Track Listing:

1. Gotta Get it Straight

2. Tashauana

3. Gonna Miss It When Its Gone

4. Pine Box

5. Fancy Ideas

6. Don’t Stop Me Now

7. Seems Like Every Day

8. I’m Free Today

9. Next Phone Call

10. Means Nothing to You

Rossington/Collins

Rossington/Collins

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Dale Krantz- Rossington- vocals

Billy Powell- keyboards

Barry Lee Harwood- guitar, vocals

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Derek Hess- drums

“This is the Way” would be the second and final album from Rossington/Collins. They would disappear after this for reasons I will never fully understand. Maybe it was because I didn’t appreciate them enough back then. If that’s the case, then that’s not good, because if they kept putting out albums like this one, I would have been listening to them for years.

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

On a personal note, this Sunday my stepson and I will be going to see Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah at the Thekla Club in Bristol. I will provide full details of the expected mayhem that is gong to happen in my next post.

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 1982: Blackfoot- Highway Song, Live in London

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by 80smetalman

blackfootlive

What is the most logical thing to do after your band has put out three very good studio albums? Well, in the case of Blackfoot, the answer is to put out one hell of a live album. That is exactly what they did in 1982 with the album recorded live in London. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I happened to visit London in the summer of 1983, this album would have past me by because I never saw it on sale at any of the record shops in New Jersey and that, to me, would have been a damn shame.

220px-Blackfoot_-_Strikes

220px-Tomcattin'

220px-Blackfootmarauder

Why is this live album so good? The answer is pretty obvious to any Blackfoot fan. At this particular concert, they played some of their finest material off their previous three albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” If I were to have produced the album, I would have done little different except ask the band to play “I Got a Line On You” from the “Strikes” album but that’s a personal thing. The album is fine as it stands. Things open with two songs from “Tomcattin,'” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” which is definitely a great concert opener, especially at the beginning when Rick Medlocke announces “All right London, it’s boogie time!” You get little time to rest after the opener because Medlocke gets the crowd going by saying, “If someone messes with your queenie, you’re gonna mess up their god damn nose!” Then they launch into “Queenie, Every Man Should Know.” If the crowd isn’t fully up by now, then the almost thrash sounding, “Good Morning” definitely gets them there.

“Good Morning” is the first of three songs from the “Marauder” album. The other two songs that follow, “Dry County” and “Fly Away” sound much better live than the versions on the album and there was nothing wrong with those. It’s just the raw energy this concert gives that takes things up several levels. One note, in between “Dry County” and “Fly Away,” Blackfoot play their own version of John Lee Hooker’s “Rolling and Tumbling” and I will say that they put their own unique stamp on that song quite nicely.

The rest of the album/concert is dominated by songs from the “Strikes” album. “Road Fever” for all the Scotland rock and roll maniacs as how Medlocke introduces the song, rolls things along very well. After they play “Trouble in Mind,” Blackfoot take the show up on an enormous high with the two best songs from that album, “Train, Train” and of course “Highway Song” and both are cases of the live version being way above the studio version. This leads me to realise that if Blackfoot can improve on songs from great studio albums when played live, they are definitely a band to be reckoned with.

Track Listing:

1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

2. Queenie, Every Man Should Know

3. Good Morning

4. Dry County

5. Rolling and Tumbling

6. Fly Away

7. Road Fever

8. Trouble in Mind

9. Train, Train

10. Highway Song

11. Howay the Lads

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rickey Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums

I think back to that time in 1983 and thank God that I was in London and saw this album in a record store. Otherwise, I would have missed it. Then again, each time I listen to the album, I become pig sick at not having ever seen them live. Trust me, “Highway Song” will make you feel that way.

Next post: Rossington/Collins- This is the Way

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 1982: 38 Special- Special Forces

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Special_Forces

Before 2015 gets too far down the road, I must pause a second to reflect on an honour bestowed on me back in 2014. As a result of my post on Triumph’s “Allied Forces” album, I was given honourary Canadian citizenship by one of my Canadian readers. It may not seem like a big thing to some, but whenever I get any sort of honour bestowed on me, it is a big thing to me because it means that people actually like what I write. So thank you for the giving me this honour.

Whilst still reflecting on the old and new year, I made an interesting observation over the holidays. During the festive period, I consumed several bottles of The Trooper, the beer brewed by Iron Maiden. During my time in the States, I got to do likewise with many bottles and cans of Yuengling. Maybe it’s me but there seems to be a remarkable similarity in the look and taste of the two beers. I wonder if Bruce Dickinson came to America and somehow stole the recipe for Yuengling and is now using it in The Trooper. One can only speculate. I’ll have to research my theory further by drinking more of both.

The Trooper

The Trooper

Yuengling

Yuengling

Southern rock hit its highest point in 1981 but it hadn’t descended down the summit in 1982. There were still Southern Rock bands making some great albums and getting their songs played on the radio, even up North. One of them was 38 Special whose single “Caught Up in You” from the 1982 album “Special Forces” got into the top ten in the pop singles charts. I have said many times before that I normally didn’t pay too much attention to the singles charts but whenever I see that a good rock or metal band I like has a song that gets in there, I find it a cause for celebration.

Hit single aside and “Caught Up In You” follows the trend in 1982 of leading off the album, the rest of the album is the brand of Southern Rock I have always liked about the previous 38 Special albums. There are some great riffs in the likes of “Back on the Track” and “Breakin’ Loose” as well as some great rhythm and harmonies on the tracks “Back Door Stranger” and “Take ‘Em Out.” As usual, Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes do a magnificent job with the vocals on the album singing the songs that play to their strengths. The track I find most fascinating, though, is “Chain Lightning.” It starts off with an acoustic riff and at first sucks you into thinking of a possible ballad but then the guitars slam in and the song totally rocks out. Jeff Carlisi reminds me on the song why I consider him very underrated among guitarists. And if you think “Chain Lightning” sounds good on record, you should hear it played live. I got that opportunity in 1984 and it was totally kicked ass. They do sneak another single in and I have to admit, I prefer “You Keep Running Away” to “Caught Up In You” even if chart history dictates otherwise. I have never considered “Special Forces” to be a totally mind blowing as “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” or “Rockin’ Into the Night,” it isn’t really that far below them. A good solid album that kept Southern rock in the spotlight in 1982.

Track Listing:

1. Caught Up in You

2. Backdoor Stranger

3. Back On the Track

4. Chain Lightning

5. Rough Housing

6. You Keep Running Away

7. Breakin’ Loose

8. Take ‘Em Out

9. Firestarter

38 Special

38 Special

Don Barnes- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Steve Brookins- drums

Jack Grondin- drums

Donnie Van Zant- lead and backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Jimmy Barnes- harmonica, harp

Terry Emery- piano

Steve McCray- keyboards

Lu Moss- backing vocals

Carol Bristow- backing vocals

38 Special achieved the double in 1982 by putting out a great album and breaking the top ten in the singles charts. This was a a great time for the band but what nobody saw back in that year was that the one achievement would have a detrimental effect on the other one with their future albums and attitude towards music.

Next post: Blackfoot- Highway Song, Live in London

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