Archive for the 1980s Category

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Tina Turner- Tina Live in Europe

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2022 by 80smetalman

I apologize in advance for my poor planning. It is clear to me that I shouldn’t have posted a 28 song, two hour long double live album at a time when I had so many other things going on. Full time work and supply teaching has eaten up a lot of time, plus some of the other side projects I’ve been working on. I’ve been writing my chapter for Mikeladano’s continuing adventures of Tee-Bone Man and Superdekes. In fact, I may miss a post so I can complete it. Besides that, if any of you follow me on Facebook or read my Peaceful Rampage blog, then you will know that I have been writing scripts for women’s wrestling matches. The one I wrote fully and one I part wrote should be available on their website soon. When it is, I will post a link if any of you want to purchase and view.

As a result of all of this, Tina Turner’s “Tina Live in Europe” album didn’t get the full attention it truly deserves but rest assured, I have listened to it. After listening to it the one time, Tina Turner is yet another artists I regret not seeing live. Even listening to it sitting at the computer, the energy just bounces off and I can surely feel it. One must consider that Tina was 47 at the time she performed the album and she produces an energy that persons half that age couldn’t replicate.

Being 1988, many of the songs come from her two albums “Private Dancer” and “Break Every Rule.” On her performance of “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” she gets the ladies and gentlemen in the audience to sing different parts. She also includes her big hit from the “Mad Max 3” soundtrack, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and it sounds cool too as the other songs from those albums she performs live on this record.

What makes this album for me is the covers and guest collaborations. I have always loved Tina’s version of the CCR classic “Proud Mary” and she just knocks this one out of the park. However, the most intriguing cover is that of the Beatles classic, “Help.” It starts out as a ballad and then it rocks a little in the middle before coming to an gospel choir like end. Yes, it all sounds very contradictory but it really works! There is also her big song with Ike, “Nutbush City Limits” and the energy she puts into that song is similar to when she first sang it in 1973.

Guest collaborations are with such as Eric Clapton, David Bowie and Bryan Adams. Yes, the Bryan one is the duet they had a big hit form, “It’s Only Love” but they still rock. Eric cranks a cool solo, especially as the song begins like it’s going to be “Cocaine.” With David, she sings “Tonight” and “Let’s Dance” and again, I wish I was there.

Track Listing:

Disc One:

  1. What You Get is What You See
  2. Break Every Rule
  3. I Can’t Stand the Rain
  4. Two People
  5. Girls
  6. Typical Male
  7. Back Where You Started
  8. Better Be Good to Me
  9. Addicted to Love
  10. Private Dancer
  11. We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)
  12. What’s Love Got to Do With It?
  13. Let’s Stay Together
  14. Show Some Respect

Disc Two:

  1. Land of 1000 Dances
  2. In the Midnight Hour
  3. 634-5789- with Robert Cray
  4. A Change is Gonna Come
  5. River Deep
  6. Tearing Us Apart- with Eric Clapton
  7. Proud Mary
  8. Help
  9. Tonight- with David Bowie
  10. Let’s Dance- with David Bowie
  11. Overnight Sensation
  12. It’s Only Love- with Bryan Adams
  13. Nutbush City Limits
  14. Paradise Is Here
Tina Turner

Tina Turner- vocals

Jamie Ralston- guitar, vocals

Laurie Wisefield- guitar

Bob Feit- bass, vocals

Jack Bruno- drums

Stevie Scales- percussion

John Miles- keyboards, vocals

Ollie Marland- keyboards, vocals

Deric Dyer- saxophone, keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Jamie West-Oram- guitar, backing vocals

Don Snow- keyboards, vocals

Tim Cappello- keyboards, saxophone

Alan Clarke- keyboards

Kenny Moore- keyboards

Gary Barnacle- saxophone

I’m a little surprised Steve Lukather didn’t play on the album.

The disadvantage of being so heavy metal focused back in the 1980s was that great live albums like “Tina Live in Europe” didn’t get the full appreciation from me it should have. I’m making up for it now. She could have been a great metal singer the way she rocks on this album.

Next post: Bonnie Tyler- Hide Your Heart

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Big Country- Peace In Our Time

Posted in Uncategorized, 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s my Swiss cheese memory again. I had no memory that Big Country had put out an album in 1988, which was bizarre because I was living in London at the time and “Peace in Our Time” went to number nine in the UK charts. Fortunately, a follower named Damien saved my bacon by emailing me asking I include the album in my 1988 posts. So, thank you Damien! Listening to the album, I am glad I followed his suggestion.

What a paradox the opening track, “King of Emotion” is. The song just missed the top ten in both the US and UK charts but that’s not important. What is important is that it begins with a drum beat which reminds me of the Grand Funk Railroad classic, “We’re An American Band.” Some sections of the song sound like Spandau Ballet trying to go hard rock. We know they couldn’t but with Big Country, there is no need as this turns out to be a pretty viable commercial rock tune.

The next four tracks are good solid tracks but as a whole, not mind blowing. The second single, “Broken Heart,” has a background guitar which would have made The Edge jealous. What Big Country accomplish is their blend of Celtic folk rock, hard rock and elements of new wave and it’s all done with great success. All of those songs have a catchy melody backed up by the power chords of a guitar and each one is quite enjoyable in its own right. Saying that, I like the intros of tracks three and four, the progressive sound of “From Here to Eternity” and the acoustic intro on “Everything I Need.” Both are hauntingly catchy.

Starting the swing to more harder rock in the second half of the album is the title track which is also the hidden gem of the album. It was released as a single but barely cracked the top 40 in the UK. So for me, having no memory of the song, it qualifies as a hidden gem. I just love the way the guitar kicks in to start things off and the U2 meets Guns N Roses guitar sound in the background just rocks. Okay, there are no blistering solos but there’s a guitar riff in the middle which is definitely ear catching.

Tracks seven through ten are sort of like those of two to five, only there seems to be a definite harder rock feel to them. Still, the melodies behind the songs are no less catchy and will have you dancing around the kitchen if you aren’t careful. “River of Hope” really rocks with the guitars and drums. Then just to change things up is the ballad, “In This Place.” It starts off as a soft piano ballad but the guitars come in and give it a bit more kick. “I Could Be Happy Here” ends the album in the right frame of mind and I do like the guitar hooks as it fades out.

Track Listing:

  1. King of Emotion
  2. Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys)
  3. Thousand Yard Stare
  4. From Here to Eternity
  5. Everything I Need
  6. Peace In Our Time
  7. Time for Leaving
  8. River of Hope
  9. In This Place
  10. I Could Be Happy Here
Big Country

Stuart Adamson- guitar, vocals, piano, e-bow

Mark Brzezicki- drums, percussion

Tony Butler- bass, vocals, guitar

Bruce Watson- guitar, harmonica, e-bow, mandolin, sitar, vocals

“Peace in Our Time” was near fatal miss for me back in 1988. Fortunately, thanks to Damien and the Tubes of You, I got to appreciate what a great album it is.

Next post: Tina Turner- Tina Live in Europe

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Robert Palmer- Heavy Nova

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2022 by 80smetalman

Coming off the huge success of his previous album, “Riptide,” Robert Palmer was back and in fine form with “Heavy Nova.” Getting right to the point here, I think that the reason why Robert was so successful in the late 1980s was the versatility of both albums. There is something in many of the songs which had mass appeal. Take the first single from the album, “Simply Irresistible.” It starts with with an acoustic intro which wouldn’t be out of place on a metal album. Furthermore, while there are synths on the song, they don’t dominate. The same with the guitar. It’s definitely there but not dominating as it would in a metal song, although the guitar solo in the middle is killer. What I like about it is that you can’t pigeon hole it and the combination works really well.

Three of the next four songs follow the path set down by “Simply Irresistible.” They walk the fine line between hard rock and synth pop with out fully stepping into the either territory. Saying that, I do like the bassline on “More Than Ever” and there is some African influence in “Change His Ways.” The odd song out in this string is “Disturbing Behaviour.” This is more of a rocker and I can envision a metal band playing it. All they needed to do was turn the guitar up a few more octaves and it would be killer. Still, it gets my vote for hidden gem.

In the second half of the album, Robert goes more rat pack or so it seems. He sounds like he could be either Andy Williams or Nat King Cole on the track “It Could Happen to You.” Then again, the song was originally written in 1943 and fair credit to him, it shows that he can sing outside his comfort zone and make it sound good. Okay, we don’t know for sure if he could sing thrash metal but who cares? Then there is the more popular single, (at least to me), on the album, “She Makes My Day.” I remember this one better than “Simply Irresistible” even though it’s a ballad but again, we get further proof of Rob’s versatile singing voice. It also helps he has some great musicians behind him.

Track Listing:

  1. Simply Irresistible
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Change His Ways
  4. Disturbing Behaviour
  5. Early in the Morning
  6. It Could Happen to You
  7. She Makes My Day
  8. Between Us
  9. Casting a Spell
  10. Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming
Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer- lead and backing vocals

William Bryant- keyboards

Mishna Schneider- keyboards

Jeff Bova- additional keyboards

Richard Gibbs- additional keyboards

Garth Hudson- accordion, additional keyboards

Tom T-Bone Wolk- accordion

Eddie Martinez- guitar

Dennis Budimir- additional guitar

John Grey- additional guitar, additional percussion

Frank Blair- bass

Barry ‘Sun John’ Johnson- additional bass

Dony Wynn- drums

Rikki Fataar- additional drums

Dom Um Romao- percussion, additional backing vocals

Robyn Lobe- additional percussion

Chuck Findley- trumpet

Luka Belak- violin

Clare Fischer- stings

Rick Danko- additional backing vocals

B.J. Nelson- additional backing vocals

I bought “Heavy Nova” for my then wife as a birthday present in 1989 and for some reason, she didn’t play it much around me. Maybe she thought it wasn’t my cup of tea and she could have been partially right at the time. However, I do appreciate this album much more these days.

Next post: Big Country- Peace in Our Time

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 23, 2022 by 80smetalman

You know you’re becoming domesticated when you hear about a new album from a television chart show. My introduction to the legendary Pat Benatar’s 1988 album, “Wide Awake in Dreamland,” came as a result of the single, “All Fired Up,” being played on the British show, “Top of the Pops.” At the time, it was a breath of fresh air after all the Stock, Aiken and Waterman bubble gum pop that seemed to be on the programme every week. What was more is that when I heard “All Fired Up,” I was glad that Pat seemed to be returning to her harder rock roots after some of the more keyboard oriented albums of the mid 1980s.

First of all, this album isn’t a complete rocker in comparison to her first three albums but as I said, it was a step in that direction. “All Fired Up” is a good example, it didn’t displace any of my older favourites but it was a good rock song. What I have come to appreciate more in my advancing years is that the album changes things up quite a bit. Second track, “One Love” is a great example of this. It is more of a ballad and her vocals are superb as always but there are some interesting guitar hooks and some overall good musicianship on it.

Rock returns on “Let’s Stay Together” and I will say here what I’ve said on practically every Pat Benatar album I’ve posted about. Neil Giraldo is an awesome guitarist who deserves more respect for his talent. However, it’s the middle of the album which really gets going. Actually, the rocking starts in the second half of “Don’t Walk Away” as the first half is more of a ballad. “Too Long a Soldier,” “Cool Zero” and “Cerebral Man” are all powerful rockers. Let me backtrack one second, “Too Long a Soldier” isn’t a rocker in the traditional sense but the haunting guitar with Pat’s voice go well in delivering a powerful message and Neil does hammer out a cool guitar solo, therefore, it gets my vote for hidden gem. The other two mentioned tracks are definite rockers and take me back to Pat’s early days with her rocking vocals and Neil laying down some cool solos. For me, this is the best part of the album.

While not as hard rocking, the final three songs are indeed interesting. A very prominent bassline carries “Lift ’em All Up” and some cool guitar and keyboard hooks provide great support. Pat delivers a strong message in the anti- child abuse song, “Suffer the Little Children.” This is more a ballad but her message is clear. The closing title track takes the album out in rocking fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. All Fired Up
  2. One Love
  3. Let’s Stay Together
  4. Don’t Walk Away
  5. Too Long a Soldier
  6. Cool Zero
  7. Cerebral Man
  8. Lift’em On Up
  9. Suffer the Little Children
  10. Wide Awake in Dreamland
Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitar

Myron Grombacher- drums

Fernando Saunders- bass

Frank Linx- bass, backing vocals

Charles Giordano- keyboards

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Bob Castro- percussion

Nick Gilder- backing vocals on “Don’t Walk Away” and “Cool Zero”

Carmen Twillie, Phyllis St. James, Maxine Water- backing vocals on “Lift ’em On Up”

While Pat Benatar never actually went anywhere, I thought it was great that she returned to her roots more with “Wide Awake in Dreamland.” This is a more developed and mature Pat Benatar in the musical sense but the album still rocks.

Next post: Robert Palmer- Heavy Nova

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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Great Rock Albums of 1988: Weird Al Yankovic- Even Worse

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2022 by 80smetalman

After the critical and commercial disappointment of his album, “Polka Party,” Weird Al thought his career might have been over. As a result, he took some time off before getting back into the studio. It seems that taking his little break paid multi-dividends as “Even Worse” has been his most successful album. Note here, it is typical of Weird Al to call his album “Even Worse” when it was such a good album. Of course, knowing him, Weird Al might have been in the mindframe that if you thought “Polka Party” was bad, maybe this album is even worse. Either way, it had the desired effect.

Track Listing:

  1. Fat- Weird Al was a little reluctant to use this song because he was already being known as that “Eat It Guy” and didn’t want to be accused of riding on Michael Jackson’s coat tails. However, Michael was a big Weird Al fan and encouraged him to record the song. The song is a total parody of Jackson’s iconic song, “Bad” and Michael also let him use the same recording studio to make the video. Only Weird Al used larger dancers in the video. While “Fat” continues to give me giggles whenever I listen to it, I don’t think it would be so successful into today’s ultra-sensitive world.
  2. Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White- This is a true Weird Al original. It doesn’t parody any singer’s song or style but it’s a bit of a rocker as well. I have to admit, guitarists Jim West and Rick Derringer, yes that Rick Derringer, rip a cool guitar solo trade off. The song is about having strange dreams where he’s bowling on the Starship Enterprise and getting pushed through a revolving door by a midget but always stuck in a closet with Vanna White. For those who don’t know, Vanna White is a presenter on the US version of the TV show “Wheel of Fortune.”
  3. (This Song’s Just) Six Words Long: A total parody of the George Harrison single, “Got My Mind Set On You.” Weird Al does try to keep to the spirit of his song as he repeats the lyrics over and over. Maybe that was the point he was trying to make.
  4. You Make Me- From the point of view of my Asperger’s mind, I can see the point Weird Al is trying to make here. Many of us know people who can drive you to wanting to do outrageous things. However, no one has ever made me want to build the Eiffel Tower out of Belgian waffles. Done in the style of Oingo Boingo, it is a bouncy synth pop song but very well done.
  5. I Think I’m a Clone Now- My favourite song on the entire album! It typifies Weird Al at his very best. It’s a total parody of one hit wonder Tiffany’s number one, “I Think We’re Alone Now.” He follows the style Tiffany recorded it but singing about clones is a real hoot. I say I giggle when I hear “Fat,” but I go into total hysterics when I hear this one.
  6. Lasagne- Another funny parody, only this time it’s the Los Lobos classic, “La Bamba” which gets the Weird Al treatment. I have always like how Al sticks to the original music as much as possible but adds his own hilarious lyrics to it. Anyone, like me, who loves good Italian food can appreciate the lyrics here.
  7. Melanie- Another original, “Melanie” is about a love struck teenager who stalks a girl who is not interested in him in the very least. However, if you pay attention to the lyrics, there is a dark message related to teenage mental health as the singer commits suicide at the end because the girl doesn’t want to know him. Some will balk that mental health is no laughing matter but if Weird Al can use his humourous lyrics to address a problem, then why not listen? Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
  8. Alimony- Weird Al goes live on this one where he parodies Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony.” If Weird Al sounds this good live, then I definitely regret never seeing him. Still, it’s a funny song about a money grabbing ex wife.
  9. Velvet Elvis- For me, this is probably the least strongest track on the album, though it’s not bad. Done in the style of The Police, it does have a good dig at Elvis Presley enthusiasts.
  10. Twister- Weird Al raps here in Beastie Boys style as he pays tribute to the game “Twister.” How many children’s parties have you gone to where they play Twister? It does show how versatile he can be and that he’s not afraid to venture into unknown territories. It also proves that nothing is safe from being a Weird Al parody.
  11. Good Old Days- The album ends with my vote for hidden gem. “Good Old Days” is done in the easy listening style of James Taylor and it’s about a young psychopath reminiscing about his younger days. He begins by torturing rats with a hacksaw and pulling the wings off of flies, then to burning down the local store and bashing in the owner’s head to finally, tying his date to the dance to a chair, shaving off her hair and leaving her in the desert. Only Weird Al can sing songs like that and leave you with a big grin on your face.
Vanna White
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, accordion, keyboards

Jim West- guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar

I don’t think this was an official video for the song as “Attack of the Clones” came out 14 years after the song but I think Mike Ladano will get a kick out of the Star Wars reference.

Weird Al Yankovic was definitely back and on fine form in 1988 as “Even Worse” shows. His album is not only a bowl full of laughs but the musicianship on it is first rate as well.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988 (I Think): Michelle Shocked- Short Sharp Shocked

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

This post is going to be a little shorter than normal. It’s also telling me that I should have bought Michelle Shocked’s 1988 album, “Short Sharp Shocked” back in the day. I have tried to find the album on both Youtube and Spotify but it has been non existent on both. It has been suggested the reason for this is that many of Michelle’s music was taken down on account of supposed homophobic comments she made in 1990. Therefore, I am going to have to write this post on memory and the two songs which appear on Youtube, one of them being a cover done by someone else.

My introduction to Michelle came by the heavy metal hating Sun newspaper. Does anyone see a pattern here with the last three posts? The ‘critic’ was moaning that first there was Tracy Chapman, then Tanita Tikarim and now Michelle Shocked and the critic was tired of all these female protest folk singers. Maybe it was the fact that the social-political content of the lyrics of all three singers didn’t agree with the right wing politics of that paper.

Musically, my introduction to Michelle came from the single, “Anchorage.” If I can remember correctly, the song is about a young couple trying to make it in the Alaska but don’t take that as gospel. I do remember Michelle’s unique vocals and the folk rock sounding guitar. While I can’t say for sure, most of the songs on the album follow in the same folk rock vein.

The one song I was able to listen to on the Tubes of You was “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” This tempo is very upbeat and the violin in the background accents the song very well. It also has a strong and pronounced thudding bassline while at the same time, Michelle laments the hard life of coal miners and their loss of livelihoods as the coal industry began to shut down in the late 1970s and early 80s. Her vocals are well suited to the songs. I speculate if this and “Anchorage” are typical of what Michelle does on the rest of the album, then it must be a pretty good one.

Track Listing:

  1. When I Grow Up
  2. Hello Hopeville
  3. Memories of East Texas
  4. (Making the Run to) Gladewater
  5. Graffiti Limo
  6. If Love Was a Train
  7. Anchorage
  8. The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore
  9. V.F.D.
  10. Black Widow
  11. Fog Town (hidden track)
Michelle Shocked

Michelle Shocked- vocals, acoustic guitar

Pete Anderson- electric guitar, six string bass

Jeff Donovan- drums

Dominic Genova- electric and acoustic bass

Skip Edwards- piano, organ

Michael Tempo- percussion

Al Perkins- dobro

Byron Berline- mandolin

Don Reed- fiddle

Rod Piazza- harmonica

Kristina Olsen- hammered dulcimer

Banjo Jim Croce- banjo

Sophia Ramos- vocals

MCS- vocals on “Fogtown”

Apologies, I wish I could say more about “Short Sharp Shocked” but that’s not the case. I can say what I’ve heard from the album, I liked. If any of you have the album, feel free to further my education here.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- Even Worse

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Tanita Tikarim- Ancient Heart

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 11, 2022 by 80smetalman

It was said in 1988 and I eluded to it in my post on Tracy Chapman, that Tracy opened up a path for female folk singers. I can’t say for sure it was the case but one such singer to come through in regard to it was British singer, Tanita Tikarim. Some people even called her a British Tracy Chapman but I think that was a little off the mark. Tanita had her own voice and style and you had to look deeper into her songs to glean the messages behind them. Still, that wasn’t a bad thing because I liked Tanita as much as I did Tracy.

Her debut 1988 album, “Ancient Heart,” brought forth four singles. The best known of these was “Good Tradition,” which went to number ten in the UK charts. While this screams, “pop single,” it’s easy to see why to see the song had such mass appeal. The blend of instruments and her upbeat tempo make the song cool.

The other singles weren’t as successful at least in the UK. “Twist in My Sobriety” only made it to #22 in the charts but it was most successful song for her internationally. Critics said the song was too depressing and the message behind it was unclear but I don’t agree. It might have been sung in a somber manner but but Tanita has the voice and style to pull it off. However, the other two singles, “Cathedral Song” and “World Outside My Window” failed to break the top forty. Now as you know by now, I don’t really care about things like that and I actually like “Cathedral Song.” It’s a straight forward folk song about two swimmers finding love in a summer setting. “World Outside My Window” is more pop oriented but it does lack the energy of “Good Tradition.”

You know by now, and I’m not alone in doing so, but I look beyond the hits on an album, always in search of the hidden gem. I’ll get to the gem in a second but the runner up is “I Love You,” which has some good soft rock. It’s a love song but at the same time not one. The predecessor, “Sighing Innocents,” is the hidden gem. When I hear it, I picture myself in a smoke filled cafe, yes, I know you can’t smoke in them these days, with Tanita on stage singing into the mike. Like “I Love You,” it is a great folk tune with a message.

She does change things up with “For All These Years.” A horn is heard in the background which gives it a more haunting edge. The song is about two lovers aged 17 and 16 who don’t know how to express that love. But if you want contradiction, the track “Poor Cow” is about a person not wanting to celebrate their birthday but it’s done in a upbeat manner. The guitar in “He Likes the Sun” is a throwback to 1970s progressive rock reminiscent of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Halfway through the song, things change and she rocks out a bit. The change works because one second you’re kicking back digging the vibe and then get abruptly woken up. The shock doesn’t last long but you definitely rmember it. It’s also runner up as hidden gem. “Valentine Heart” is an excellent piano ballad.

Being in the folk rock vein with social conscience, the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, came out against her. It’s music critic stated that Tanita sounded like a bullfrog when she sang. True, she does have a deeper voice and maybe she wouldn’t make a great metal singer but her voice fits her musical style very comfortably.

Track Listing:

  1. Good Tradition
  2. Cathedral Song
  3. Sighing Innocents
  4. I Love You
  5. World Outside Your Window
  6. For All These Years
  7. Twist in My Sobriety
  8. Poor Cow
  9. He Likes the Sun
  10. Valentine Heart
  11. Preyed Upon
Tanita Tikarim

Tanita Tikarim- vocals, guitar

Additional Musicians:

Mark Isham- trumpet, flugelhorn

Paul Brady- mandolin

David Lindley- violin

Marc Ribot- guitar

Rod Argent- keyboards

Brendan Crocker- guitar

Pete Beachill- trombone

Mitch Dalton- guitar

Martin Ditcham- percussion

John Georgiadis- violin

Keith Harvey- cello

Noel Langley- trumpet

Malcolm Messiter- oboe

Helen O’Hara- violin

Brendan O’Reilly- violin

Phillip Todd- saxophone

Peter Van Hooke- drums

Clem Clempson- guitar

Mark Creswell- guitar

Ian Jewel- viola

Rory McFarlane- bass

Wow, that’s a lot of musicians! I’m surprised Steve Lukather didn’t play on the album.

While I won’t call Tanita Tikarim a British Tracy Chapman, she also helped breathed a bit of fresh air into a stale music industry back in 1988. Like Tracy, she proved that there could be a good alternative to metal or synth pop.

Next post: Michelle Shocked- Short, Sharp, Shocked

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Tracy Chapman

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2022 by 80smetalman

With music seeming to go into the bubblegum pop of Stock, Aiken and Waterman camp or to heavy metal and even metal was beginning to fragment in 1988, Tracy Chapman’s self titled debut album breathed much needed fresh air into the music scene. She didn’t need all the modern synthesizer gadgets or heavy electric guitar power chords. Just basic instruments, a fantastic singing voice and songs which had great messages and accurately described the times. It was no wonder she shot straight to superstardom.

Some thought a metalhead like myself wasn’t supposed to like Tracy’s music. Furthermore, one woman I dated for a little while was quite surprised that a man would actually like her music. Both philosophies are total rubbish! But just in case, I had a quick look down and all the bits are still there. My counter is what is there about Tracy not to like? Like I said, her music is straight to the point and her fine voice conveys her social observations going on in 1988.

It’s the messages behind her songs which I really like. “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” is a call for social change. It looks behind the smoke screen which was created by the American media machine and it makes you think. Some think the track, “Across the Lines” was a dig at apartheid in South Africa but it also highlighted the growing racial tensions in America and how nothing there becomes a problem until it hits middle class white suburbia.

Let us not forget the ultra number one hit, “Fast Car.” It’s about two young lovers escaping their sad surroundings and heading for a more promising life in the big city only to find that nothing had really changed and all the man had to offer was his fast car. A really disturbing track is the a cappella “Behind the Wall.” It’s about a woman suffering from domestic abuse but the police don’t seem to bother or can’t do anything because it’s a domestic issue. The lyrics are harrowing.

There is a calypso vibe to “Baby Can I Hold You.” This sounds like a genuine love song but there was no law that every song had to be a social or political commentary. That same vibe continues on with “Mountains O’ Things.” Tracy states she will be dreaming and the laid back rhythm makes this easy to do. On the subject of vibes, I get a Dire Straits one on “She’s Got Her Ticket.” Okay, the song sounds reggae but the lead guitar hooks had me checking the credits to see if Mark Knopfler had played on the song.

She goes back to more political lyrics with “Why?” and that’s another aspect of the album I love. Tracy’s songs stirred up some fear in the establishment. One critic poo-pooed this and “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” on the grounds that Tracy was too good for left wing altruism. Even the right wing heavy metal hating UK newspaper, “The Sun” came out against her lyrics. Tracy was singing from her heart and what I believe is that then serving president, Ronald Reagan, had spent his entire presidency vilifying the 1960s and here come this black woman singing in the style that made protest music relevant back then. I think the establishment was a little scared.

Ronald Reagan

“For My Lover” is about a young wife trying to provide for her family while her husband is in jail and at the same time, trying to raise the bail money. It’s another moving song commenting about the times and is the climax to the album. The two remaining tracks are easy listening tracks which you can just float away to. A great way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Talkin’ Bout a Revolution
  2. Fast Car
  3. Across the Lines
  4. Behind the Wall
  5. Baby Can I Hold You
  6. Mountain O’ Things
  7. She’s Got Her Ticket
  8. Why?
  9. For Her Lover
  10. If Not Now
  11. For you

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman- vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, percussion

Ed Black- steel guitar

Paulinho da Costa- percussion

Denny Fongheiser- drums, percussion

Jack Holder- electric guitar, organ, piano, sitar, dulcimer, dobro

Steve Kaplan- harmonica, keyboards

Larry Klein- bass

David La Flamme- electric violin

Bob Marlette- keyboards

Tracy Chapman not only brought something different to the music scene of 1988, she brought a revolution of her own with her debut album. Once again, we had some simple, no nonsense music which conveyed thought provoking messages which both trendies and metalheads liked. She also paved the way for others, which I will be covering in the next few posts.

Next post: Tanita Tikarim- Ancient Heart

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Rest in Peace Alec John Such

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman
Alec John Such

I have just learned of the passing of former Bon Jovi bassist, Alec John Such. He was one of the founding members of the band but left in 1994 siting burn out. The band is said to be heartbroken at the news of his passing. FFI, click the link: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/entertainment/music/bon-jovi-founding-member-alec-john-such-dies-as-band-left-heartbroken/ar-AAY709Z?ocid=mailsignout&li=BBoPWjQ

I feature my all time favourite Bon Jovi song in dedication to Alec.

Rest in peace Alec John Such.

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

Posted in 1980s, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman

Today’s post comes compliments of 2Loud. The reason for this is because by 1988, I thought Cheap Trick had disappeared into obscurity and I was left to simply enjoy memories of classic albums such as “Dream Police” and “Cheap Trick At Budokan,” Fortunately, 2Loud’s recent series on Cheap Trick alerted me to the many albums I had missed after the 1982 “One on One” album. After reading, 2Loud’s post on the 1988 “Lap of Luxury” album and how successful it was in the US, I had to put it on my list.

Memories of Cheap Trick came flooding back with opening riffs of “Let Go.” Hearing that gave me reassurance that they hadn’t gone anywhere and had not lost their touch. While I try not to let other reviews on albums effect my own, I can’t help agreeing with 2Loud’s point that they were (probably under the record label’s direction) trying to adapt to the pop of the 1980s. That comes through on the second track, “No Mercy.” It’s obvious to me that it’s still Cheap Trick playing the song, Robin’s vocals are too unique, the drums seem to be turned up to synth pop level and while this is no intent against what a great drummer Bun E. Carlos is, it does detract from the song a bit.

Another reason why the album passed me by is that I was already established in England by this time and the album made no headway there. Case in point, the band’s only number one single, “The Flame.” It only reached number 77 in the UK charts and therefore went pretty much unnoticed. That was a damn shame because even though it’s a ballad, Rick Neilsen shows he still can bend the six string to his will with a cool acoustic guitar intro followed by a his best guitar solo on the album. For me, this is the best song on the album.

“Space” sounds very 80s to me with the keyboards but there is the drone of the guitar in the back to make it hard rocking enough. There is another good guitar solo from Rick and I like the backing vocals on it. However, the singles seem to be the best songs on the album because “Never Had a Lot to Lose” is a traditional Cheap Trick rocker. It has the harder guitar with the new wave melody. Robin’s diverse vocal style definitely makes the song but it might have been better if Rick had more of a guitar solo on it but that’s up to debate.

On the other hand, while I can understand why they might have wanted to release the cover of the Elvis classic, “Don’t Be Cruel.” as a single, I wonder if it should be on the album, let alone released as a single. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cheap Trick’s spin on it but in comparison to the rest of the album, it feels a little out of place. Saying that, it’s growing on me a little. Things do go back to normal with “Wrong Side of Love” where I love Tom Petersson’s bass work on it and I’m glad that he rejoined the band when I hear him. Rick’s guitar work is great as well and together, they make “Wrong Side of Love” the hidden gem.

Here’s my one thought of a flaw on the album. It’s simply a case of song order. I think that tracks eight and ten should have been swapped around. To my ears, “All We Need is a Dream,” would have been a better closer. It’s a ballad but the intro stomps it’s authority in a way that tells me that this is the end of the album. Robin’s vocals assist on this point and the way the band all seems to come together on the song just screams “Closer!” All Wound Up” is a good song too but it would have been better placed anywhere from tracks 2-8. Penultimate track “Ghost Town” is best left where it is as it does serve as a great set up to whichever song is going to be the closer. It’s a ballad and Robin nails it with vocals and there’s nothing wrong with an album finishing with two ballads had they swapped those tracks around.

Track Listing:

  1. Let Go
  2. No Mercy
  3. The Flame
  4. Space
  5. Never Had a Lot to Lose
  6. Don’t Be Cruel
  7. Wrong Side of Love
  8. All We Need is a Dream
  9. Ghost Town
  10. All Wound Up
Cheap Trick

Robin Zander- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer

Rick Neilsen- lead guitar, backing vocals

Tom Petersson- bass, backing vocals

Bun E. Carlos- drums, percussion

“Lap of Luxury” was the first album where outside songwriters were used. In the case of this album, it worked, at least in the US. I can say that while “Lap of Luxury” will not make me put away all those classic albums from the late 1970s, it’s still a good album and it was great to see that the band was still chugging away.

Next post: Tracy Chapman

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Note: I have been told that “Rock and Roll Children” is available as an e-book but this hasn’t been made known to me.

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link; https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson