Archive for December, 2019

Merry Christmas To All!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2019 by 80smetalman


I’d just like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for reading and commenting. On a further note, back in February, you all wished my son Will and his lovely new bride Ela a great wedding, which it was. Now, it’s my eldest son’s turn. On the 27th my eldest, Jake, will marry his lovely fiance Grace. I hope you’ll all join me in wishing them a happy wedding day.

I’d thought I would leave you to enjoy a classic Christmas Carol sung to the tune of a classic.

Merry Christmas!









Great Rock Albums of 1986: Stevie Nicks- Rock a Little

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2019 by 80smetalman


More reasons why I’m glad I wasn’t guided by commercial radio in 1986 comes in the form of Stevie Nicks’s third solo album, “Rock a Little.” When the first single, “I Can’t Wait,” came through the radio speakers, I thought the song sounded too 1980s commercial. Then again, I thought most music that wasn’t metal sounded like that at the time. Actually, upon a deeper listen to the single, there are some interesting progressive hooks on it. While that doesn’t make me want to forget favourite songs from her first two albums, it’s certainly a decent song, a lot better than the crap my local radio station was bombarding the airwaves with. Shit, the station called itself “Rock 104.” It should have been “Top 40- 104.” Then again, I prefer the second single, “Talk to Me.” It’s definitely much rockier.

Stevie Nicks’s “Rock a Little” does exactly what it says on the cover, it rocks a little. This is not an album I would listen to before or after the Stormtroopers of Death but this is an easy listening album in a good way. I love the lead guitar on “Rock a Little,(Go Ahead Lily.)” It does accompany Stevie’s voice really well and probably my favourite track on the album. “Sister Honey” might sound like another 1980s synth pop song to some but Stevie again makes it sound that much better. Plus another cool guitar solo in the middle makes it sound that much better. She did get some really good musicians behind her on this album, as can be viewed from the list below.

When I hear, “I Sing for Things,” I wonder why this song wasn’t used in a movie soundtrack. It’s that kind of song. More of a ballad but done very well. On the other hand, “Imperial Hotel” is much more upbeat. Not one to be metalized by a good mid paced rock song. I don’t even mind that the guitars aren’t turned up to full potential here, it’s just enjoyable. “The Nightmare,” well that’s definitely a good progressive rock sounding tune. Listen closely and you can hear a cool guitar in the background. Then again, “No Spoken Word” is the hardest rock song on the album. The only reason why it’s not number one is down to the fact that it lacks a guitar solo. The album ends on a true ballad, “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?” This is definitely the best choice for a closer. Saying that, one thing “Rock a Little” proves for sure is how great a singer Stevie Nicks is. Yes, I know the jokes about her sounding like a sheep but she can sing anything and sing it well.


Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Wait
  2. Rock a Little (Go Ahead Lily)
  3. Sister Honey
  4. I Sing for Things
  5. Imperial Hotel
  6. Some Become Strangers
  7. Talk to Me
  8. The Nightmare
  9. If I Were You
  10. No Spoken Word
  11. Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks- lead vocals, synthesizer on track 8

Jamie Sheriff- synthesizer (tracks 1-3 and 11)

Bill Payne- synthesizer (track 2)

Charles Judge- synthesizer (track 3,4,8,9 and 11)

Greg Phillanges- synthesizer, keyboards, tympani (tracks 5&7)

Chas Sandford- synthesizers, guitar, bass (track 6)

Rick Nowels- keyboards (tracks 1,3,8,10 &11)

Benmont Tench- piano, organ (tracks 5 & 6)

George Black- guitar, bass (tracks 1.3 &8)

Michael Landau- guitar, backing vocals (tracks 1,3 &8)

Waddy Watchel- guitar (tracks 2& 10)

Danny Kortchmar- guitar (track 3)

Mike Campbell- guitar (track 5)

Les Dudek- guitar (track 3)

Kenny Edwards- bass (track 2)

Bob Glaub- bass (tracks 2&5)

Mike Procraro- bass (track 10)

Bobbye Hall- percussion (track 3)

David Kemper- percussion, tambourine (tracks 9 & 11)

Steve Jordan- drums (tracks 2,5 & 6)

Ross Kunkel- drums (track 3)

Andy Newmark- drums (tracks 8 & 9)

Danny Carmassi- drums (track 10)

Barney Wilen- saxophone (track 7)

Lori Perry Nicks- background vocals

Sharon Celani- background vocals (tracks 1-10)

Maria Vidal- background vocals (tracks 1,2,7 & 8)

Marilyn Martin- background vocals (tracks 1-3,5,6 & 10)

Carolyn Brooks- background vocals (track 11)

Actually, I’m surprised Steve Lukather doesn’t play on the album!

“Rock a Little” shows what a good singer Stevie Nicks really is, though I knew that already. There are progressive and commercial rock songs here and I think that had there been a hard rock song on the album, she would have made that sound brilliant too. This is a great album to chill out to.

Next post: Merry Christmas













Great Rock Albums of 1986: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Live Alive

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2019 by 80smetalman


If I hadn’t met a friend in Britain who was a huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fan, then his live album, “Live, Alive” would most likely have passed me by. Fortunately, it didn’t and I got to hear what Stevie was capable of live and then regretted not seeing the man in person.

Some critics at the time slated the album. A few said that Stevie’s playing was uneven down to his drug abuse issues at the time. Well, his playing all sounds pretty darn even to me. He just cooks every song. The other criticism was the fact that there are so many covers on the album. That maybe true but he was simply paying tribute to all of the great artists who influenced him. He pays tribute to Howlin’ Wolf, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix as well as others and he does it with style. I’m sure that the artists whose songs he covers would be proud of the efforts he put into those songs.

Whether it be an original or a cover, Stevie makes each and every song his own. I enjoy his guitar solos on each and every one of them. So much so, that I’ve found it quite hard to pick a favourite. If I have to, it must be “Mary Had a Little Lamb” just because he made a nursery rhyme into a solid blues rock song and made it sound absolutely fantastic, especially with all the cool guitar soloing between the verses. “Willie the Wimp” comes a close second though.

Although Stevie Ray Vaughan deserves all the praise I’ve given him so far, one mustn’t forget the rest of his Double Trouble band. Reese Wynan’s piano solo on “Pride and Joy” is particularly noteworthy. Full marks must also be given to his rhythm section. They keep up with him throughout the entire album.

Track Listing:

  1. Say What!
  2. Ain’t Gone ‘n’ Give Up On Love
  3. Pride and Joy
  4. Mary Had a Little Lamb
  5. Superstition
  6. I’m Leaving You (Commit a Crime)
  7. Cold Shot
  8. Willie the Wimp
  9. Look at Little Sister
  10. Texas Flood
  11. Voodoo Child
  12. Love Struck Baby
  13. Change It
  14. Life Without You

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan- guitar and vocals

Tommy Shannon- bass

Chris ‘Whipper’ Layton- drums

Reese Wynans- keyboards

I’m glad this album didn’t pass me by in 1986. Otherwise, I would have missed some great blues guitar rock compliments of one Stevie Ray Vaughan. After all, this is a great album to chill out with a beer or three to.

Next post: Stevie Nicks- Rock a Little

It seems all online outlets state that Rock and Roll Children is currently out of stock as the free download site.


































































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Fabulous Thunderbirds- Tuff Enuff

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2019 by 80smetalman


Managed to get a break in the pre-Christmas action and get a post in. If there is any further proof needed that I listen to music through a different set of ears than what I did in 1986, it comes in the form of the album by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Tuff Enuff.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked this album but back then, I was so caught up in heavy metal, (not that I’m apologizing for it), that I didn’t give it a fair hearing back in the day. Now that I have, I can say that the album holds up very well.

One problem many people had with the Fabulous Thunderbirds was the fact that the guitarist, Jimmy Vaughan, is the brother of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. Many people expected Jimmy to sound so much like Stevie Ray, they were disappointed when he didn’t. Jimmy had his own style and it suited him very well. He doesn’t go into five minute long guitar solos on any of tracks on the album, something many people expected but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to play well, he certainly does. He does nail a cool solo “Look at That, Look at That” and an even better one on “Why Get Up.”


Stevie Ray Vaughan

Jimmy Vaughan is just one part of a great Texas boogie blues band. All the members of the band play well. The best way to describe the music is that it sounds like Buddy Holly rose from the grave to play with ZZ Top. That is definitely the case on the track, “Two Time My Lovin'” which sounds just like a 1950s style man gets hurt by woman sort of song. However, Kim Wilson’s vocals are all his own on this and all the other tracks and he plays a mean harmonica on the instrumental closer, “Down at Antones.”

“Amnesia” is a faster paced boogie vibe with Jimmy putting in some cool licks in the back ground while the rhythm section of Preston Hubbard and Fran Christina laying down a good strong beat. Probably my favourite track on the album. But while that might be my favourite track, the album is best know for it’s title track, which turned out to be the only top forty hit for the band. It is a good song, no doubt about it. “Wrap It Up” sounds similar to the title track and possibly should have been released as a single as well. Probably the reason why it wasn’t was because I thought it should have been. Buddy Holly or possibly Elvis’s ghost makes an appearance on “True Love.” That song definitely brings the 50s to the 1980s.

Track Listing:

  1. Tuff Enuff
  2. Tell Me
  3. Look At That, Look At That
  4. Two Time My Lovin’
  5. Amnesia
  6. Wrap It Up
  7. True Love
  8. Why Get up
  9. I Don’t Care
  10. Down at Antones


Fabulous Thunderbirds

Kim Wilson- vocals, harmonica

Jimmy Vaughan- guitar, bass, steel guitar

Preston Hubbard- electric and acoustic bass

Fran Christina- drums

Additional musicians (no Steve Lukather)

Al Copley- keyboards

Chuck Leavell- keyboards on “Look At That, Look At That”

Geraint Watkins- piano, accordion on “Amnesia”

Caesar Rosas, David Hildago- vocals on “Two Time My Lovin'”

The Fabulous Thunderbirds proved that good blues rock could still find fresh ears in 1986. It was certainly different to the metal and synth pop that was on offer at the time and I could have easily let “Tuff Enuff” pass me by. Fortunately, I didn’t.

Next post: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Live Alive (I thought I’d keep it in the Vaughan family)

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:

It makes a nice Christmas gift for the metalhead in your family.















































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Honeymoon Suite- The Big Prize

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2019 by 80smetalman


“The Big Prize” was the second album by Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite. Reflecting back to when it came out in 1986, I wasn’t sure about it at first. The single from it, “Feel It Again” was the only Honeymoon Suite song to crack the US top forty charts but that made little difference to me. In my mind, it was a decent song but not nearly as spectacular as the song “New Girl Now” from their 1984 debut album. However, what won me over to “The Big Prize” was when I saw them live opening for legends ZZ Top. They were absolutely phenomenal that evening.

While the keyboards might feature heavily on the album, they don’t dominate like so many rock acts chose to let them do at the time. Saying that, the keys make a cool introduction on the track, “Lost and Found.” That is probably the most keyboard oriented track on the album but they are used in a 70s progressive rock sort of fashion. Ray Coburn deserves the praise for his efforts here and on “One by One” as well. On the other hand, like they are on all tracks, Derry Grehan’s guitar is always lurking in the background ready to come out when the time calls for it. The guitar solos on the album remind me why he’s in the 80smetalman’s Band of Underrated Musicians.

Normally, I don’t give to much notice to producers when I write about an album but I can’t help thinking about Bruce Fairbairn’s work on this album. Back when I posted about the band’s debut album, I stated that there were points where lead singer Johnnie Dee’s vocals sounded a bit strained, that he struggled to hit certain notes. So, I wonder if Bruce made sure that the songs were up to Johnnie’s range because his voice fits in all of the songs. A great example is the power ballad “What Does it Take.” His vocals sound really good here and I’m surprised, okay I’m not really, that as a single, it didn’t crack the US top forty charts because I prefer it to “Feel It Again.” Then again, my favourite track is “Wounded.” It is the rockiest song on the album, I mean dig that guitar intro and the lyrics were relevant for me at the time. So all in all, “The Big Prize” is a pretty decent album.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Attitude
  2. Feel It Again
  3. Lost and Found
  4. What Does It Take
  5. One By One
  6. Wounded
  7. Words in the Wind
  8. All Along You Knew
  9. Once the Feeling
  10. Take My Hand

Honeymoon Suite

Johnnie Dee- lead vocals

Derry Grehan- guitar, vocals

Ray Coburn- keyboards

Gary Lalonde- bass

Dave Betts- drums

Ian Anderson- flute on “All Along You New”

I guess I can say that back in 1986, I got skeptical over nothing. I blame the great rock and some metal bands from the 1970s who went too synth in the 1980s. I thought that Honeymoon Suite might be going the same way but “The Big Prize” assured me they weren’t.

Next post: Fabulous Thunderbirds- Tuff Enuff

On a personal note, in the run up to Christmas, I’ll have a lot of worldly things to do so I can’t promise my usual two posts a week. I’ll have to play it by ear but I hope you’ll all understand.

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:

































Great Rock Albums of 1986: Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2019 by 80smetalman


Never forget your roots or so I’m told. This applies to Frank Zappa’s “Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention” album. While I was totally committed to heavy metal in 1986, this album reminded me of how much of a Zappa fan I was, still am and always will be. In fact, I still think listening to Frank was a requirement to attend my high school in the mid to late 1970s.

The album, as evidenced by the title, was made in reaction to the PMRC hearings in late 1985. On the album’s inner sleeve, Frank states that the lyrics in the songs are guaranteed not “cause eternal torment in the place where the guy with the horns and pointed stick conducts his business.” He also stated that the album contained content that a free society would not fear or suppress by those who wish to alter the First Amendment for their own end. All of this is summed up on the track “Porn Wars.” The track has quotes from those who participated in the PMRC Congressional hearings, including Frank’s, set to music. If anything, this track alone is reason for listening to the album.

Now before people start calling me ‘hypocrite’ because of all my ramblings in the past about one song not making an album, let me simply say that the entire album is totally cool, totally Zappa at his best. Like I said when I posted about his 1983, “Man From Utopia” album, Frank not only got the best musicians, he knew how to get the best out of them. There are four really great instrumentals on here in the form of “Alien Orifice,” “Little Beige Sambo,” “Aerobics in Bondage” and my personal favourite, “What’s New in Baltimore?” He shows that not only he was capable of writing weird, humourous music but he could wail on the guitar as well. If you want the zany lyrics found in Zappa songs, look no further than the opener, “We’re Turning Again.” I’m not sure here but I think this song is a dig at the hippies from the 1960s who became executive types in the 1980s. It is a funny song. The same can be said for “Yo Cats” for being an amusing song.

Track Listing:

  1. We’re Turning Again
  2. Alien Orifice
  3. Yo Cats
  4. What’s New in Baltimore?
  5. Little Beige Sambo
  6. Porn Wars
  7. Aerobics in Bondage

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, guitar, synthesizer

Ike Willis- guitar, vocals

Ray White- guitar, vocals

Bobby Martin- keyboards, vocals

Steve Vai- guitar

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Ed Mann- percussion

Moon Zappa- vocals

Dwezil Zappa- vocals

Voice Excerpts on “Porn Wars”

John Danforth

Ernest Hollings

Paul S. Tribe Jr.

Paula Hawkins

J. James Exon

Al Gore

Tipper Gore

But no Steve Lukather!

“Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention” shows that even a fully confirmed metalhead like myself could enjoy some great non-metal music. While written as a reaction to all the PMRC bullshit, it’s still a fantastic album.

Next post: Honeymoon Suite- The Big Prize

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: