Archive for May, 2016

Great Rock Albums of 1983: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- Bad to the Bone

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-George_Thorogood_&_The_Destroyers_-_Bad_To_The_Bone

Here’s another album that was released in 1982 but didn’t come to my attention until 1983 on account of my military commitments. Then it was very late in the year and only because of the film, “Christine,” a film about a possessed car based on the book by Stephen King. The title track to this album from George Thorogood and the Destroyers was the main single from the soundtrack. I can’t remember anything else appealing to me from the soundtrack so I didn’t get it but because I only associated “Bad to the Bone” with the film, the album nearly passed me by, nearly.

chirs

I’ve always been a rather big fan of George Thorogood and his unique-ish guitar style. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of blues based guitarists. “Bad to the Bone” is no departure from this. His guitar and vocal style is present throughout the entire album. While he only pens three of the ten songs himself, he definitely leaves his stamp on the other seven.

“Bad to the Bone” opens with one of his own. “Back to Wentzville” is a 1950s style boogie blues jam and it is perfect to open this album. The next two songs are more in line with George’s traditional blues-riff style and I’m sure the Isley Brothers wouldn’t be too upset over the way he jams on their song, “Nobody But Me.” “It’s a Sin” is more of a slower song but the George and his band inject a great deal of power into it. Next comes my second favourite track, “New Boogie Chillun.” This was a classic John Lee Hooker song and again, the performance of it is phenomenal. After that is the title track and possibly my favourite on the album. Wow, that’s two albums in a row where my favourite track is the single, I’m hope I’m not starting a trend here. Anyway, it is the second song he writes on the album and I think the main reason I like it so much is that I have been listening to that one separate from the rest of the album way too much. Still, it’s a great tune.

“Miss Luann” is the third and final song he writes on the album. This along with the other two, shows that he can definitely write songs which has me wondering why he has used so many covers on the album. Then again, he does each and every cover total justice. For instance, the very next song, “As the Years Go Passing By” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. However, it also highlights the fact that George’s voice has a little bit more range than what he is usually given credit for. Still, he lays down yet another grand guitar solo on it. After a classic Chuck Berry number, the album closes with a Bob Dylan tune, “Wanted Man.” Even though you can clearly hear the Thorogood stamp on it, you can still work out that this is Dylan through the lyrics. Nevertheless, it’s a great one to go out on.

Track Listing:

  1. Back to Wentzville
  2. Blue Highway
  3. Nobody But Me
  4. It’s a Sin
  5. New Boogie Chillun
  6. Bad to the Bone
  7. Miss Luann
  8. As the Years Go Passing By
  9. No Particular Place to Go
  10. Wanted Man
George Thorogood

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- vocals, guitar

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

Hank Carter- saxophone

Ian Stewart- piano, keyboards

Besides the fact it was a rubbish film, I think that the soundtrack to “Christine” was the first of a long list of film soundtracks back in the 1980s to try to incorporate different forms of music in an attempt to appeal to everyone. I don’t know for sure as I have no intention of listening to it. Why should I? After all, the best single on it can be found on a far more superior album.

Next post: Planet P Project

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 1983: Golden Earring- Cut

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

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Here goes my memory haunting me again. The major attribute about the band Golden Earring I have constantly forgotten over the years is the fact that they are Dutch. I won’t bore you by preaching to the choir that this is further proof that good music isn’t limited to any one nation, but you know. What my forgetfulness is forcing me to do is to change the post I wrote several months ago about my choices for National Anthems. For those familiar with the post, I chose the song “Down in the Silver Mine” by Diesel for The Netherlands. That is still a great song but there is a far better and more deserving song to represent Holland. That song is none other than “Radar Love” by Golden Earring. So, if nobody has any objections, I will go back to that post and amend this.

Unfortunately, many people, including a good number in the rock and metal world have Golden Earring down for being one hit wonders. They only know “Radar Love.” While I never had them down for that, I didn’t realize that they have an extremely rich discography which I am salivating over having a listen to. Some will argue that they are two hit wonders because of the single from this album in 1983, “Twilight Zone.” Believe me, the “Cut” album alone is too good to dismiss Golden Earring as such.

Without any of the flowery wording, let’s just say that “Cut” is a very good hard rock album. One could go as far as to say that they are melodic hard rock in respect to the album. The horns in the opener, “The Devil Made Me Do It” remind me slightly of their all time classic but there is some good rock to be had. The next three tracks are all melodic hard rock tracks with “Baby Dynamite” being the best of them. “Lost and Found” is more of a straight forward rock tune with some decent harmonizing by the band. I think “Chargin’ Up My Batteries” influenced later new wave artists but I can’t quite put my finger on who would sound like the song and “Secrets” is just simply a good closer.

Normally, I get a little nervous when the hit single is the best track on the album. If you heard “Twilight Zone” back in the day, please forget the shortened down radio/MTV version. The proper version is nearly eight minutes long and with some really cool long guitar solos. It makes a catchy radio oriented song that much better. Hey, there’s even a bass solo in it. A great song but while it is the best track on “Cut,” it doesn’t stand so far above the other tracks that it diminishes them. What this combo does is make the album that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. The Devil Made Me Do It
  2. Future
  3. Baby Dynamite
  4. Last of the Mohicans
  5. Lost and Found
  6. Twilight Zone
  7. Chargin’ Up My Batteries
  8. Secrets
Golden Earring

Golden Earring

Rinus Gerritsen- bass, keyboards

Barry Hay- guitar, vocals

George Koomans- guitar, vocals

Robert Jan Stips- synthesizer

Ceasar Zuiderwijk- drums

Not long ago, I commented on another blog that Golden Earring’s famous hit, “Radar Love,” appeared as a driving song in “Wayne’s World 2.” That is a great cruising song apart from being a classic rock tune. However, Golden Earring were never one hit wonders as the “Cut” album proves.

Next post: George Thorogood and the Destroyers- Bad to the Bone

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

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Joe Jackson- Night and Day

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Night_and_day_JJ

What I liked about the “Night and Day” album by Joe Jackson in 1983 was the fact that it was different. While rock was busy dividing and sub-dividing itself into categories and sub categories, including my beloved heavy metal, Joe went out and made an album that you really can’t put anywhere. Of course, as was the style of the time, so called music officianadoes simply called it new wave. That is very lazy in my humble opinion. I just appreciate it the album because it was so unique although the fine musicianship of Joe and his band had something to do with it as well.

My first experience with Joe Jackson came a year earlier with the song many know him best for, “Is She Really Going Out With Him.” Why I never visited any of his previous albums, I’ll never know but it was the “Night and Day” album that made an impression on me. Funny thing is that this album is a contrast to the mentioned song as that song is more of a hard rock tune and this album has definite hints of jazz and combined with some of the sarcasm with some of the lyrics, reminds me a little of the great Frank Zappa.

Let’s start with what many people know, the two singles “Steppin’ Out” and “Breaking Us in Two.” In 1983, a lot of people played the former song before going on nights out and I don’t blame them. It is a great song to get you in the mood. The latter song is more of a ballad type and I get the impression that it’s about a relationship on the rocks. While slower than the other songs on the album, it’s definitely not soppy and is a decent song.

Singles aside, the rest of the album holds up very well. All songs are definitely played very well here. Many of them are piano dominated with his best efforts heard on the track “Cancer,” one of my favourites on the album. He just goes to town on the ivories for the final two or three minutes of the song. Furthermore, I love the assertion the song makes that every thing will be found to cause cancer. The way scientists are going on these days, that song is a bit of a prophecy fulfilled. He also sarcastically sings about television in with “T.V. Age” and “Real Men” was written in response to the emerging gay community in New York. As you have probably guessed by now, I do take a specific interest in albums’ opening and closing songs. For me, they can make or break an album. Both of the positioned tracks on “Night and Day” pass my mark. “Another World” grabs your attention from the start and “A Slow Song” takes the album out on a sublime note. Overall, this album is proof that music didn’t need to be categorized to be good.

Track Listing:

  1. Another World
  2. Chinatown
  3. TV Age
  4. Target
  5. Steppin’ Out
  6. Breaking Us in Two
  7. Cancer
  8. Real Men
  9. A Slow Song
Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson- vocals, pianos, organ, alto saxophone, harmonica, synthesizer, vibraphone

Sue Hadjopoulos- flute, percussion, congas, xylophone, timbale, bells, bongos, backing vocals

Graham Maby- bass, percussion, backing vocals

Grace Milan- vocals

Ed Roynesdal- keyboards, violin

Larry Tolfree- timbale, percussion, drums

Richard Torre- percussion, clave, bongos, cowbell

Al Weisman- vocals

There’s a very interesting thing about the “Night and Day” album. As you go through the list of musicians on it, there’s not one guitar mentioned. Normally, the metalhead in me would scream, “Wot, no guitars!” That leads to another question: How can an album not have any guitars on it and sound this good? The answer is down to the musical genius that is Joe Jackson.

Next post: Golden Earring- Cut

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 1983: Jackson Browne- Lawyers in Love

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Jackson_Browne_-_Lawyers_in_Love

Proof of my Swiss cheese memory. I remember the album from Jackson Browne, “Lawyers in Love” quite well in 1983. However, it took me listening to this album after so many years to realize that during my tour of 1980, I missed out his then album, “Hold Out.” Thing is, I liked that album too and fondly remember the song “Disco Apocalypse” because it was talking about the death of disco, or at least that’s what I thought. Maybe it was just the fact that none of the songs on the mentioned album stuck out like the title track on “Lawyers in Love” did for me in 1983. It was the lyrics in the second verse that have lingered in the back of my mind for over thirty years.

“God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful
They land at six o’clock and there we are, the dutiful
Eating from TV trays, tuned into to Happy Days
Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves
To the mating calls of lawyers in love”

“Lawyers in Love” is more of a light rock sound. It doesn’t veer too far away from his best known single and my personal favourite, “Running on Empty.” While none of the songs reach the level of “Running on Empty,” there are still some good songs on it. “Tender is the Night” may give the impression that’s it going to be some sort of ballad, but the song does have a great hook with the guitar. It’s one of those songs you want to sing along to while you’re driving in the car or carrying out some mundane activity. It makes such tasks less so mundane. “Downtown” is a pretty cool song too. I have to say that while none of the songs are ones to bang your head to, there was enough of a rock hook to reel me in on just about all of them. The best rocker is probably the closer, “For a Rocker.”

Another thing which turned my ear more to Jackson Browne was he was getting more political with his music in the 1980s. In 1983, on account of my experiences in the marines and when I came out, I was getting more politically aware and paying more attention to such songs. “Say It Isn’t True” is probably the best example of this. While Jackson was called naive by some for this anti- war song, it made a statement. It didn’t make me go out and attend no nukes rallies but it made me think, as did the title track. But that’s just me.

Track Listing:

  1. Lawyers in Love
  2. On the Day
  3. Cut it Away
  4. Downtown
  5. Tender is the Night
  6. Knock on Any Door
  7. Say It Isn’t True
  8. For a Rocker
Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne- lead vocals, guitar

Craig Doerge- synthesizer, piano

Bob Glaub- bass, organ

Ross Kunkel- drums

Billy Payne- organ on “On the Day”

Rick Vito- lead guitar, vocals

While I was headbanging most of 1983 away, Jackson Browne’s album “Lawyers in Love” provided a light break in the action. It’s a good album to just listen to. Not a headbanger but has plenty of cool hooks that appealed to metalheads like me back in the day.

Next post: Joe Jackson- Night and Day

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 1983: Robert Plant- The Principle of Moments

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2016 by 80smetalman

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Here is another example why I stopped trusting commercial radio or MTV for all of my music liaisons. In 1983, the two singles from Robert Plant’s “The Principle of Moments” album, “In the Mood” and “Big Log” got a lot of airplay on MTV. If I were to judge this album just on those two songs, I would have thought that Robert Plant had completely abandoned his roots and was making mellow out, commercial songs. I know that even then, Robert wasn’t comfortable when people like me said that his former band, Led Zeppelin, were one of the founding fathers of heavy metal but this album shows that he didn’t totally abandon his beginnings.

“The Principle of Moments” is a long way from the heavy metal sounding delights of Led Zeppelin “II” or “IV.” Nonetheless, it is still a good album with some rock delights for all. When I heard the introduction on the opening song, “Other Arms,” I found myself checking the credits on the album because I was sure that Robert had gotten Jimmy Page to play on it. Obviously, I was dreaming but saying that, Robert Blunt does a magnificent job on the six string all throughout the entire album. Does he site Jimmy as an influence? Don’t know but it might be worth checking out.

Maybe it’s me mellowing in my old age, (I’ll be halfway between 50 and 60 in three weeks), but listening to “In The Mood” again after all these years, I’ve decided it’s not as bad as I thought back then. In fact, there’s a pretty tidy guitar solo from Blunt which has me wondering how I missed something like that back in 1983. I’ll blame the weed. Another really good standout track is “Wreckless Love” which is possibly the hardest rock tune on the album. However, other songs like “Messin’ With the Mekon” and “Horizontal Departure” come fairly close. “Thru With the Two Step” is another interesting song on the album. It starts out like it’s going to be a mellow one, more in the style of Led Zeppelin’s later progressive years. Then it goes into a more hard blues sound with a killer guitar solo from Blunt. God, I have to check this guy out more.

The only stone left unturned is the vocals of Plant himself. They are as good as ever here. Sure, he doesn’t scream like he did back in the 1970s but he still shows he has a decent range.

Track Listing:

  1. Other Arms
  2. In the Mood
  3. Messin’ with the Meckon
  4. Wreckless Love
  5. Thru With the Two Step
  6. Horizontal Departure
  7. Stranger Here… Than Over There
  8. Big Log
Robert Plant

Robert Plant

Robert Plant- vocals

Robbie Blunt- guitars

Paul Martinez- bass

Jezz Woodroffe- keyboards

Phil Collins- drums on tracks, 1-3, 5,6, 8

Barriemore Barlow- drums on tracks 4 and 7

John David and Ray Martinez- backing vocals

Unlike “In the Mood,” my thoughts haven’t changed much on “Big Log.” Maybe it’s that image conjured up from the video of Robert Plant swimming in the pool. But don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of “The Principle of Moments” because it is a good album. Classic Robert Plant.

Next post: Jackson Browne- Lawyers in Love

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 1983: Big Country- The Crossing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

Big_Country_-_The_Crossing

It was the beginning of December in 1983 when MTV finally came into my household. That was because we were offered a really good deal on it, so my mother agreed to it but that’s not important here. What I did discover almost straight away was that while many an act owed their success to MTV, that channel also had the potential to kill an act. In those first few weeks, just about every time we switched on the channel, the video for Big Country’s first big hit, “In a Big Country” would be playing. It got played to the point that whenever it came on, either me or my sister and even my then 12 year old brother would crack the sarcastic comment, “Hey, never seen this one before.” The irony is that when I first heard that song, I thought it was decent enough. I liked Big Country’s Scottish Celtic-folk sound mixed in with a bit of hard rock. It was definitely something I would call new wave. Unfortunately, the over saturation of the song on MTV put me off and as a result, I never got to appreciate how good their debut album, “The Crossing” was.

Another ironic point about this album was that by chance, I saw the video for their second single, “Fields of Fire.” I say by chance because unlike “In a Big Country” they hardly played it and that’s a shame because I preferred “Fields of Fire” to the other one. It is a bit harder. Throughout “The Crossing,” the folk-rock combination weaves its way in, out and around all the tracks. The first three or four tracks edge closer to the more progressive side. There are some very interesting musical arrangements here, especially with the song, “Chance.” Things tend to sound a bit more harder after that, although the track “1000 Stars” does slightly remind of U2. Furthermore, I do like the acoustic folk sound on “The Storm.” But “Harvest Home” is more hard rock for and that is followed by my favourite track, “Lost Patrol.” Another song, I will add to my list of songs that would sound good metalized.

At first, I didn’t know what to think about the closer, “Porrohman.” But once I sat down and really listened to it, I found it to be one of those that absorbs you in and you have no choice but to just enjoy it to its end. A great song to end the album with. One more point I have to make is about the vocals of Stuart Adamson. What makes his vocals good is that they fit right in with the music and that does well here.

Track Listing:

  1. In a Big Country
  2. Inwards
  3. Chance
  4. 1000 Stars
  5. The Storm
  6. Harvest Home
  7. Lost Patrol
  8. Close Action
  9. Fields of Fire
  10. Porrohman
Big Country

Big Country

Stuart Adamson- vocals, guitar, piano, ebow

Bruce Watson- guitar, vocals, ebow, mandolin, sitar

Tony Butler- bass, vocals

Mark Brzezicki- drums, percussion,vocals

Did you know that some people actually consider Big Country to be one hit wonders. I don’t. From what I heard from their later work, they seem to go a bit more harder. Still, they were never one hit wonders. That label kept people like me from hearing how good “The Crossing” actually was.

Next post: Robert Plant- The Principle of Moments

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 1983: Marillion- Script For a Jester’s Tear

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

Marillion_-_Script_for_a_Jester's_Tear

I had heard of Marillion in 1983 but didn’t actually hear them until their 1985, “Misplaced Childhood” album made a major breakthrough in the US. Even then, it would be another two years before I listened to their back catalog, which included this, their debut album, “Script for a Jester’s Tear.” I have to thank my first wife for giving me this opportunity as it was her albums that help me appreciate their early work. Actually, Marillion was the first concert we saw together as husband and wife but that story is better for another day.

One of my on going rants here on 80smetalman is that the progressive rock of the 1970s descended into the synth pop of the 1980s. I still believe this but somebody forgot to tell Marillion this was the case. “Script for a Jester’s Tear” proved that there was still some good progressive rock to be found in the 1980s. In fact, I will go as far as to say that legends from the decade before such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes, (I’ll be visiting an album of theirs in the near future) would be glad that Marillion carried on the torch of progressive rock far into a decade where it wasn’t as widely appreciated.

In the true spirit of progressive rock, the shortest track on the album is just a mere five minutes and twenty nine seconds, that track is “He Knows You Know.” It’s also why that song was released as a single. The next shortest track is over seven minutes long and the remaining ones are all more than eight. In each of those tracks, there is the great keyboard work of Mark Kelly in tandem with some impressive guitar playing from Steve Rothery. Those two elements are strongly supported by the rhythm section and the unmistakable voice of lead singer, Fish. They make all of those tracks ones where you just want to kick back and listen and just appreciate the musical efforts of the band. All good tracks but my personal favourite has to be “Garden Party,” most likely for the acoustic guitar followed by hard rock intro. One other point is that at the time, the track “Chelsea Monday” was criticised for having nonsense lyrics. If they do, who cares? The music, especially Rothery’s guitar solo more than compensates.

Track Listing:

  1. Script for a Jester’s Tear
  2. He Knows You Know
  3. The Web
  4. Garden Party
  5. Chelsea Monday
  6. Forgotten Sons
Marillion

Marillion

Fish- vocals

Steve Rothery- guitar

Mark Kelly- keyboards

Pete Trewavas- bass

Mick Pointer- drums

I think what Marillion achieved in 1983 was to provide a common ground for trendies who were able to look beyond what synth pop was offering and metalheads like me who still appreciate a bit of melody. For those, Marillion’s debut album has it all. The paradox is that while “Script for a Jester’s Tear” was a huge success in the UK, it hardly made a dent in the US. Then again, I’ll be visiting another UK band who in the same year, had an album that went multi- platinum in the US but only sold about 17 copies in the UK.

Next post: Big Country- The Crossing

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