Archive for the Heavy Metal and the 1980s Category

Great Rock Albums of 1985: ZZ Top- Afterburner

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2019 by 80smetalman

It’s back to the grindstone for the new year so in my case, it’s back to the tour of the golden decade of heavy metal. While, it wasn’t planned, I realized that it might be cool to start the new year off with a post from an album from one of the all time greats, ZZ Top.

Thinking back to 1985, when I heard the first single from the “Afterburner” album, “Sleeping Bag,” I have to admit that I wasn’t too impressed. For me, that song was too synth pop and was too quick to accuse ZZ Top of selling out and abandoning their Texas boogie blues sound and wanting to sound like Duran Duran. Many other people I knew were of the same opinion. Fortunately, like I’ve said so many times throughout the history of the blog, one song doesn’t make an album. Slowly but surely, reports came in that the rest of the album wasn’t all synth pop and that Top hadn’t completely forgotten where they had came from. What convinced me that this was the case was the second single, “Rough Boy.” Even though some of Billy Gibbons’s great guitar work was shortened for the sake of radio friendliness, I realized that the reports from others were indeed correct.

Thinking about “Rough Boy,” the full length version on the album is even better from what radio had to offer. True, the song is a bit of a ballad but if ballads had guitar solos like this one, then what’s the problem? I will also not debate that there might be some synth pop sounds on “Afterburner” but for the most part, there is plenty of what ZZ Top had been famous for before hand. “Stages,” which was also released as a single and “Woke Up With Wood” bear testimony to that. If these tracks don’t convince you then “Can’t Stop Rocking” certainly will. This is a straight forward hard rocker that comes close to being a metal tune. Dusty Hill does the vocal duties here and he sounds fantastic and that leaves Billy to work more of his guitar magic and the result is pure magic.

The second half of the album carries on where the first half left off. “Planet of Women,” (I would have loved to have gone there in 1985), gets my vote for hidden gem. It’s as hard rocking as “Can’t Stop Rocking” but what carries past the line for me is Billy Gibbons. His solos are just a little bit better on this track. Things continue in this vein for the rest of the album with “I Got the Message” but “Velcro Fly” does mark a slight return to synth pop, except Billy’s guitar solo is first rate. Then we get to the last two tracks where the links with the previous mega successful “Eliminator” album come through loud and clear. Penultimate track, “Dipping Low (In the Lap of Luxury) reminds me very much of “Give Me All Your Loving,” not a bad thing. The closer, “Delirious,” reminds me of “Bad Girls,” which was the closer from the “Eliminator” album. Maybe the band planned it that way because when the album closes, you are convinced that ZZ Top haven’t sold out and remain the band that they have always been.

Track Listing:

  1. Sleeping Bag
  2. Stages
  3. Woke Up With the Wood
  4. Rough Boy
  5. Can’t Stop Rockin’
  6. Planet of Women
  7. I Got the Message
  8. Velcro Fly
  9. Dipping Low (In the Lap of Luxury)
  10. Delirious
zztop

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons- guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals

Dusty Hill- bass, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocal on tracks 5 and 10

Frank Beard- drums

In conclusion, ZZ Top did not sell out with the “Afterburner” album. In fact, though I wasn’t impressed when I first heard it, “Sleeping Bag” has been growing on me more. It just proves how great this band has always been.

Next post: Joe Lynn Turner- Rescue You

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardiff Slayed!

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2018 by 80smetalman

Nearly 24 hours later, I am home and nearly recovered from the events of the previous night. Last night, I, along with my two sons, one of my future daughters in law and my stepson amassed in Cardiff to see Slayer at the Motorpoint Arena. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and they brought a few friends with them to celebrate what might be the final time they play in Cardiff. However, first I’m going to show you boring family photos to show that I’m passing the metal tradition onto future generations.

My grandson Alex. Note the onesy he’s wearing.

Grandfather and grandson

Starting left and going clockwise: Me, my stepson Teal, my younger son Will, his fiancee Ela and my eldest Jake. A true metal family!

There was confusion on the day, my tickets said doors opened at 6, so we thought there was time to get a bite to eat before the show. One can’t headbang on an empty stomach! We went for a meal at a restaurant across the road called the Smoke Haus and with bellies full, returned to the arena. It turns out that my tickets were wrong, though it didn’t prevent us from getting in. The arena opened at 5:30 and the first band went on at six and as a result, we missed the first band. If the first band had been Testament, like I thought it would be, I wouldn’t have been a happy camper. While not fortunate, the first band was Obituary and while I would have liked to have seen them, I’m not as upset at missing them as I would have been if it had been Testament.

It did seem strange to me that Anthrax would have opened the festivities on the evening. Not long after, I knew it wasn’t the case. Anyhow, this being the sixth time seeing Anthrax, I must report that this wasn’t their best. Technically, they were all right. They played many of their best known songs, opening with “Caught in a Mosh” plus “Anti-Social” and Indians,” although like Bloodstock 2013, didn’t play anything from the “Spreading the Disease” album. Joey Belladonna was the good front man he usually is and Ela wanted to have his hair. Likewise, Scott Ian got the crowd going as well. Unfortunately, their set was marred by poor sound quality. Charlie’s drums seemed to overshadow everything else and this was the way all through the forty-five minutes they were on stage. Will was disappointed because he was really looking forward to them. My verdict: While I still headbanged away to Anthrax and enjoyed them, I would also agree that the sound engineer should be fired.

Anthrax on stage

This was the best pic of them

Under the red lights

I have very little experience, practically none, of the next band up, Lamb of God. Views on them have been contradictory. Will doesn’t think much of them while Teal loves them. Observing Lamb of God from a neutral stance, they won me over by the time they had left the stage. I will be listening to more of them in the future. The only songs I remember were “Ghost Walking” and “Curse of the Blackened Sun.” While I won’t say that Randy Blythe is the best vocalist in the world, he’s not, he is brilliant at working the crowd and getting them going. Something he did with great effect in Cardiff. Furthermore, I was also impressed with lead guitarist Mark Morton. Lamb of God had better sound than Anthrax so I retracted my personal complaint that they should have been out first. Besides, they did a great job of getting the crowd worked up for the main event.

Lamb of God

This picture told me I needed to get closer to the stage

See what I mean?

Might be the best shot of them

A good shot of bassist John Campbell with Mark Morton emerging from behind the amp to belt out a solo.

Lamb of God nearing the end

Everyone in the Motorpoint Arena knew that whatever else happened, this night belonged to Slayer. They were the band everyone was there to see and they let everyone know it. From their opening with the wall of flames to their hour and forty minutes of non stop thrash as only they can do to their grand finale, Slayer was on top form. I have to admit, their performance is still whirling around in my head. Maybe I should have waited a couple of days before posting but nah, I had to write about it now.

Some interesting highlights, some guy next to me shouted for them to play something they all knew right after they had played “Mandatory Suicide.” I thought all Slayer fans and even non ones knew that song. My eldest, Jake, risked his life going into a mosh pit. A Slayer mosh pit is not one for beginners! And this was the first time he had ever gone into one. I’m afraid Jake learned the hard way, coming away a little dazed after taking an elbow to the temple. Besides, he made the mistake of removing his shirt and hoodie before going in and ended up losing both of them.

In the mean time, Slayer continued to threaten to blow the roof of the arena as they manically went about the stage creating mayhem and history at the same time. Tom Araya’s vocals were spot on while Kerry King and Gary Holt traded solos back and forth all evening long. When asked after, Will put Holt on the same level as the late Jeff Hanneman. So between the showmanship, the thrash and the flames shooting through the air at the back of the stage, as well as the backdrop changing to a different Slayer album cover every few songs, there was a great deal of unpredictability on the evening and that evening ended way too soon. I did love them coming out to the encore with “South of Heaven.” The only disappointment was at the end. While they thoroughly and deservedly basked in the adulation of the audience, there was no mention of this being their farewell tour. Yes, they did praise the audience throughout but I thought they would have said something at the end. Just a minor point though, the rest was a great night of metal history.

Wall of flames to commence Slayer’s appearance

Slayer appear!

King made his way over to my side of the stage

A shot of the stage with Tom with his back to the audience

Gary plays the solo

Watch out for the flames

Kerry playing at centre stage

Coming down to the finale

Next post: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Soul to Soul

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Slayer- Hell Awaits

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

As 1985 progressed, I found myself moving away from mainstream music and delving into heavy metal bands who weren’t likely to be played on the radio. It was here where I cut my teeth on bands such as Venom and Slayer. In the case of the latter, it was their second album, “Hell Awaits” which gave me an eye opening experience into more hardcore and thrash metal. Once my eyes were opened, I have never looked back.

The first thing I remember when a friend first spun “Hell Awaits” for me was that it took a while for the album to get started it. The opening title track has a rather long intro, I mean it takes about three minutes before the song truly gets going and on my first listen, I thought it was going to be one of those instrumental intros many albums have before the rest of the album kicks in. However, that is the trick because all of a sudden, Slayer take the tempo way up and the shattering vocals of Tom Araya come through. The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album.

One thing I have found difficult over the years is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have found one, some aspect from another track washes it out. All seven tracks have the in your face vocals from Tom while at the same time, he and Dave Lombardo combine to make a crunching rhythm section further aided by whichever guitarist is not playing the solo at the time. Each track features the guitar solo trade off of Hanneman and King although their best effort is probably on the track, “At Dawn They Sleep.” Saying that, next time I listen to this album, I’ll find that one of the other tracks might have them doing it better. “Hell Awaits” is that kind of album. Seven songs that concuss your brain into jelly but at the same time, feature quality musicianship. If I had to pick a favourite track, it would have to be “Necrophiliac.” Not because of any differential in the music but simply it was one that the religious right in America loved to attack and got all hot and bothered about.  One thing I’ve wondered about was, is “Hardening of the Arteries” a song telling people not to eat too much pork?”

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. Kill Again
  3. At Dawn They Sleep
  4. Praise of Death
  5. Necrophiliac
  6. Crypts of Eternity
  7. Hardening of the Arteries

Slayer

Tom Araya- lead vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

It’s common knowledge that Slayer are in the midst of their farewell tour. This coming Monday, it will be my turn to see them as they are coming to Cardiff. I’m going with Teal, my two actual sons and my younger son’s fiance. It’s going to be a great family affair and listening to “Hell Awaits” has definitely got me psyched for it.

Next post: Report from Slayer, Anthrax, Lamb of God and Testament in Cardiff

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://e-pdfwebinar.ml/share/free-ebooks-in-english-rock-and-roll-children-epub-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: AC/DC- Fly On the Wall

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2018 by 80smetalman

Most of you have probably guessed that the reason why I am writing about AC/DC’s 1985 “Fly on the Wall” album is because tribute band Hell’s Bells came to town. I know I’m being predictable but who cares? Seeing Hell’s Bells gives me great motivation when writing about AC/DC albums, especially when the band didn’t play any songs off this album. Saying that, they may do so next time they come because this time, they played a song from the “74 Jailbreak” album which I posted about last time. They played “Jailbreak” as well as many other great songs. The great thing is that Hell’s Bells always mix up their selection of songs so you don’t get the same ones all the time. Yes, they played many of the classics, “Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Highway to Hell,” “TNT” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” but they played others as well. “Thunderstruck,” “Shoot to Thrill” “Let There Be Rock” and “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” were played to the crowd in Stroud. The only unfortunate moment was that the band had brought two canons in order to play “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” but the venue wouldn’t allow it. Anyway, this was probably Hell’s Bells’ best performance and I have to say I was quite impressed with support act, Foo Fighters tribute band, Fighters Foo. If you remember, last time they played under the name Pity the Foo but the lead singer announced that they had to change the name for political reasons. It was a great evening and what I found most amusing was that the venue was packed while the trendy pub nearby having their Halloween party was dead. I guess Hell’s Bells were the bigger draw.

Fighters Foo

A better shot of them. BTW, I have come into modern times with an up to date mobile phone.

Obviously, I got closer to the stage for Hell’s Bells

Hell’s Bells in action

AC/DC will go on forever. I thought it was great that the band brought this boy up on stage.

It has been said in many circles that “Fly On the Wall” was probably AC/DC’s worst album. For many years, I thought it true about “Flick of the Switch” but recently, after listening to both, I have come to the conclusion that someone must have put acid in my drink back in 1983 because I don’t find that the case any more. Still, I don’t know if I would now call “Fly on the Wall” their worst album because I thought it was okay, just okay back then and even today, it has its moments. Sure, there are tracks on the album which I would agree sound a bit of a dirge, a term I’ve heard other bloggers use to describe the album but there are still some good tracks on the album and those are the ones I’ll focus on.

The title track starts things off on the album and the sound of the fly buzzing around in the background during it makes no difference to the song for me. It doesn’t make it sound amusing nor does it detract from it. It’s just a decent song. The next track is the best one on the album. “Shake Your Foundations” takes me back to the glory days of the “Back in Black” era. AC/DC put everything that made them who they are into this song and it shows. “Danger” comes a real close second and although lead singer Brian Johnson has been criticized for mumbling on “Fly on the Wall,” his vocals come through quite clear and well on this track. “Sink the Pink” is also a very good track and I have to include “Stand Up” among the best tracks here. What you get with “Fly on the Wall” is half a great album and half filler tracks but even the filler tracks aren’t that bad so overall, it’s a good album.

When Johnson settles down and enunciates, he sounds really good. However, it is Angus Young who shines the most on the album with some blistering guitar solos. His best one is on “Stand Up.” Back then, all eyes were on new drummer Simon Wright who replaced Phil Rudd. I have always thought that he did a credible job here and when I saw them live on this tour. They were phenomenal that night and I probably didn’t do their concert full justice when I wrote about it in “Rock and Roll Children.”

Track Listing:

  1. Fly On the Wall
  2. Shake Your Foundations
  3. First Blood
  4. Danger
  5. Sink the Pink
  6. Playing With Girls
  7. Stand Up
  8. Hell or High Water
  9. Back in Business
  10. Send for the Man

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar and backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Simon Wright- drums

Not only did “Fly on the Wall” receive mixed reviews at best from the critics and fans, they would also run into difficulties in another way in 1985 when a mass murderer claims he was influenced by their song “Night Prowler” to commit his crimes. This led the religious zealots in America to go after the band and call them Satanic. In spite of that, AC/DC continue to remain in the hearts of many millions of fans to this day.

Next post: Slayer- Hell Awaits

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://fkidshelves.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Bruce Dickinson An Autobiography

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

Welcome to my second ever book review. The first one was three years ago so I figured it was time I do another. Okay, it’s because I write more than I read but this particular book definitely needs a comment or three on. My total reaction to “Bruce Dickinson, An Autobiography” was, “I wish I could write like that.” Bruce has a distinct writing style that definitely entertains as well as it informs. When recounting his life, he doesn’t do the normal David Copperfield crap with dates and list of his life’s events. Instead he gives those accounts through his own eyes in a very amusing way which at times while reading it made me wonder if I should pack up writing.

Iron Maiden

Naturally, I read the book to hear about his life with the great Iron Maiden and yes, there are some wild accounts there. However, his life before and outside of Maiden was just as intense. Reading about his childhood, his father was a bit of a Delboy Trotter, (a character from the famous British sit-com “Only Fools and Horses), in the sense that he was always acquiring and running different businesses, often at the same time. At one point, he owned a hotel but sold used cars from the front of it. I point this out because I think Bruce’s childhood experiences contributed to his eccentricity.

Bruce Dickinson

How he became a pilot was also a very good and interesting read. He started on a twin engine plane and by the end, he was piloting huge passenger jets. Then there is how he started his brand of beer, “The Trooper.” However, the part that I found most interesting was during his solo career. His account of his concert in war torn Sarajevo and all what he and his band had to go through, the check points, the fear of getting fired on, to be able to perform was absolutely mind blowing. Talk about guts but then it was those guts that helped him beat cancer very recently. How he describes what he went through while battling this disease is harrowing and it’s only right that he gets full marks for overcoming it.

Bruce Dickinson’s autobiography is a cracking read from start to finish. He keeps the reader entertained while at the same time giving them insight into his wild and wonderful life. Plus there are a few surprises along the way as long as events that I didn’t know about but not surprised about. I bow to the superior writer here.

Reading the autobiography has further convinced me that Bruce Dickinson deserves a knighthood. Therefore, I call on all British readers to clink the link and sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

On a different note, though I have retired from festivals, I will still go for single days. This year, it looks as if I must go to Bloodstock on the Sunday because Queensryche are headlining and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider is also on the bill for that day.

Next post: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

I don’t feel worth to post a link to Rock and Roll Children for this post.

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

The release of Night Ranger’s third album, “Seven Wishes” confirmed to me what I already knew, Night Ranger were not heavy metal. This didn’t stop the unknowing from continuing to label them as such and it made me grind my teeth at times. The first single, “Sentimental Street” was all the proof one needed. That song is supposed to be a power ballad, I use that term loosely because it is heavily over synthed. All that did was take me back to their more superior power ballad, “Sister Christian” which wasn’t so. Just a fine use of the piano. On the other hand, while I have always believed that Night Ranger was never heavy metal, they definitely weren’t a top 40 band either, in spite of having several songs in the top 40. The best label to give Night Ranger would be melodic hard rock.

I thought that now I’m back from my client holiday, I’d treat you to at least one photo from it. This is the fog lifting off Lynmouth Harbour.

Back to the “Seven Wishes” album. While many metalheads dissed this album back in 1985 and I admit, the first single nearly put me off. Fortunately, I had known for years never to judge an album on one single, so I took the plunge. In spite of what was said about Night Ranger at the time, this album still rocks in many places. Additionally, unlike singles from their first two albums, none of the songs remind me of Rick Springfield. Unlike, “Sentimental Street,” the guitars dominate more than the keyboards, the only exception might be the title track. Even then, there is a fab guitar solo on it as with all the songs, the talents of the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson are put to maximum use. More proof that I’m mellowing a little with age, I like “Sentimental Street” more now than I did in 1985.

Actually, “Seven Wishes” is an album of two halves for the most part. Part one is the more keyboard oriented songs and singles. “Four in the Morning” was the second single and though not as keyboard oriented, the whole song screams “Single for radio!” Saying that, “I Need a Woman” really cooks and if you only listened to the first five songs, might seem slightly out of place. However, the album goes total rock on the second half of the album. “This Boy Needs to Rock” starts things off perfectly and the rest of the album follows through. “Interstate Love Affair” is my vote for hidden gem on the album. I just love that intro and the way it rocks to the mind blowing guitar solo. Yep, it gets my vote. The closer, “Goodbye” is, in my not so humble opinion, a better power ballad than “Sentimental Street.” Better still, it’s the best song to end the album on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Seven Wishes
  2. Faces
  3. Four in the Morning
  4. I Need a Woman
  5. Sentimental Street
  6. This Boy Needs to Rock
  7. I’ll Follow You
  8. Interstate Love Affair
  9. Night Machine
  10. Goodbye

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

While Night Ranger aren’t heavy metal, they can’t be simply dismissed. Their brand of melodic hard rock is played very well as this album shows.

Next post: My Second Book Review

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great? Rock Albums of 1985: The Power Station

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

If I had been writing this blog thirty years ago, as the albums were coming out, this one off album from The Power Station would not have been included. Thinking back to then, when I heard the first single, “Some Like It Hot,” I thought, “No thanks.” To me it was just another synth pop song, only this one had a cool guitar solo. What also didn’t help was that the band featured two members of Duran Duran. In 1985, metalheads and Duranies were at odds with one another, so this was another reason not to like this band. However, throughout the many years, The Power Station have slowly grown enough on me that I was willing to include them.

On the subject of Duran Duran, I didn’t want to admit it back then but they were all talented musicians, John and Andy Taylor especially. It was only very recently I learned that they weren’t actually brothers. I will not take the fact they are so talented away from them but that doesn’t change the fact that they music that didn’t appeal to me. Anyway, what the Taylors did here was to get with drummer Tony Thompson from the band Chic and a lead singer named Robert Palmer and together, they put out an album that wasn’t too bad.

Another criticism aimed at The Power Station by metalheads back in 1985 was to do with the second single, the cover of T-Rex’s “Get It On (Bang a Gong).” Metalheads argued that they had totally butchered a classic T-Rex song but was that assessment fair? In my view, there are portions of this version of said classic that would have Marc Bolan spinning in his grave. Especially that woo-hoo-hoo part at the beginning. However, they do remain true to the basics of the song. The guitar comes through very clear and while not as good as the original, it still has me bobbing away to it when it’s played. Furthermore, it does have me wanting to include John Taylor in that ever expanding list of underrated guitarists.

Most of the remainder of the album is still too synth pop for me, even after all these many years. There are a good number of keyboard and brass players who contribute which makes it possible. It does have some flashes of more heavier rock. I like the intro and the guitar solo on “Communication” and their cover of “Harvest for the World” is nicely done. I could call that track more soft rock. However, going against the grain of the rest of the album is the track “Murderess.” This is a hard rocker, well it is in terms of this band but it does make the hidden gem the best song on the album. In spite of the fact that I still am not a huge Power Station fan but I can’t fault their musicianship either. These guys, especially John, were serious about music and the playing on it was top notch, credit where it’s due there.

Track Listing:

  1. Some Like It Hot
  2. Murderess
  3. Lonely Tonight
  4. Communication
  5. Get It On (Bang a Gong)
  6. Go to Zero
  7. Harvest For the World
  8. Still In Your Heart

The Power Station

Robert Palmer- vocals

John Taylor- guitar

Andy Taylor- bass

Tony Thompson- drums

At first, I thought it was a case of me mellowing with age but while I am more open and accepting of the Power Station these days, this album still doesn’t quite do it for me. Saying that, there are some good moments and the musicianship on the album is first rate.

Next post: I’m away on a client holiday with work so the next post won’t be until next week. When it is, it will be: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538295806&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: George Thorogood- Maverick

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2018 by 80smetalman

By May of 1985, I had conceded that the anti-metal brigade had won as far as commercial radio and MTV was concerned. It was a rarity then to see or hear any metal played on mainstream media. The only time I would really listen to any radio was during my eight hour shift at a parking lot in Atlantic City. While I lamented the lack of metal, there was some good rock tunes on radio, many from recently visited albums of this year. Then sometime in May, while listening to radio on my shift, I was treated to the first single from George Thorogood, “I Drink Alone,” from his “Maverick” album and that made eight hours of commercial radio much more bearable.

“I Drink Alone” is my all time favourite George Thorogood song. While the more ignorant claimed that the song was more of his usual same sounding stuff, I begged to differ. Yes, his voice is trademark and the riffs might sound familiar but if so, who the hell cares? He plays a blinder on it and one can’t fault the guitar solo at all. What I like just as much is his innuendos towards famous alcoholic drinks. Since the song is about a guy who enjoys drinking alone, he mentions his drinking pals; his buddy Weiser, pals Jack Daniels and partner Jimmy Beam and friends Johnny Walker and his brothers Black and Red. Then there’s the only family member who will drink with him, his Old Grandad. All very clever and I wonder if George collected any advertising royalties for mentioning these products in his song.

Looking at the rest of the “Maverick” album, it is business as usual from George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The first three songs are the best, the middle one the big single although the third track, “Willie and the Hand-jive” was also released as a single and it’s a great blues boogie song too. Saying that, I do prefer the opener, Gear Jammer.” The remainder of the album, while not as brilliant as the first three songs, doesn’t deteriorate the album in any way. “Long Gone” is more of what George and the Destroyers do best and the spotlight is on saxophonist Hank Carter who makes the mark. My vote for hidden gem on “Maverick” has to be “Woman With the Blues.” The song slows down a lot and while it gives the impression that George shouldn’t sing ballads, which it’s not, he still sounds okay. However, it’s his more famous guitar riffing on it that makes the track a hidden gem.

Apart from the boogie/blues, it can be said that there is a 1950s sound to some of the songs on the album. Yes, I can picture Ritchie Cunningham and friends dancing to “Dixie Fried” at Arnold’s but then again, there is another great Thorogood guitar solo on it but that’s not the point. My point here is that George records songs by some of the greats from that era, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker and Carl Perkins. He was criticized, (there will always be people who will), for not writing many of his songs. I won’t explore why this is the case, my guess is that he loved those songs so much that he wanted to record them. It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t write songs because the ones he does write are some of the best on the album. The opener, the big single and hidden gem all prove it. The ones he didn’t write are all performed well and I’m sure those who wrote them would have given him the thumbs up on each of them.

Track Listing:

  1. Gear Jammer
  2. I Drink Alone
  3. Willie and the Hand-Jive
  4. What a Price
  5. Long Gone
  6. Dixie Fried
  7. Crawlin’ King Snake
  8. Memphis/Little Marie
  9. Woman With the Blues
  10. Go Go Go
  11. The Ballad of Maverick

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, lead vocals

Hank Carter- saxophone, harmony vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

George Thorogood was an oasis in a land barren of good music, at least as far as mainstream media was concerned. Whether or not you think “Maverick” was his best album, it still demonstrated that he could play with the best of them.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare to be Stupid

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536744478&sr=1-2&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

Bloodstock: Farewell

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by 80smetalman

A place to get your air mattresses inflated. I didn’t have one.

At previous Bloodstock Festivals, I always had to leave on the Sunday night due to work commitments. Because I wanted to see so many bands on the Sunday, I made sure I sorted things out so I could sleep Sunday night and leave Monday morning. Monday mornings seem to be an anti-climax at Bloodstock and probably most other weekend festivals. Although, I could hear people partying away on the Sunday night, the campsite seemed deathly quiet when I woke up at 7:15 on Monday morning. Most of the tents were still up although I could see that some had packed up and left in the middle of the night. Therefore, I got Teal and Joe up with no problem, my offer of a MacDonald’s breakfast was good incentive, and we took down the tent, packed and joined the slow but steady procession of people leaving the grounds. There was no conversation, it seemed everyone, like us, was focused on leaving. The whole process only took an hour.

I was totally serious when I said Bloodstock 2018 would be my last ever three day festival unless of course I win the lottery and then I’ll rent a mobile home and go glamping at Bloodstock and Download. The thing is that I’m getting too old to be laying on a piece of ground for an entire weekend. I also felt my age in other ways. After standing to see a couple of bands, I definitely needed to sit down as I felt the aches and pains. While you’re never too old to rock, I have to admit that I’m getting too old for all the other bits that go with it. However, it’s not just me getting old, many of the bands I grew up with and rocked out to are calling it a day as well. Twisted Sister has retired and supposedly so has Ozzy and though Judas Priest claim they will be back, will they be the same without Tipton and Downing bending the six strings? That remains to be seen.

One thing I can say that if this was my last festival, I’m going out on an absolute high. Bloodstock 2018 was fantastic, don’t ask me if it was the best because all of them were that good. At 2018, I got to see personal favourites Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro, all of which put on a magnificent show. On top of that, I got to see Mr Big, a band whose material I have plenty of but never saw live. They proved to doubters that they did belong at Bloodstock. Also, after seeing Gojira twice as a non- headliner, I saw them take their rightful place at the top of Saturday’s lineup and they made the most of it. What I can say what was great about this year’s Bloodstock was that I got to see many bands I had heard little or nothing about and get totally blown away by them! Feed The Rhino and Orden Ogan definitely come to mind here and now that I know more of them, I am delving more into Amaranthe and Nightwitch.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Amaranthe won me over

Of all the bands, there are two which I have a special place with me on account of where they’re from, Orphaned Land and Underside. Orphaned Land, from Israel, explained that with all the hatred in the Middle East at the moment, there seems to be a unified hatred for heavy metal there. I have touched on this in past posts, especially with the band Confess who faced long term prison time in Iran for playing the music they loved so much. On the other hand, not all Middle Eastern nations are like Iran as the lovely Lilas Mayassi from Slave to Sirens pointed out to me. Lebanon is a liberal and tolerant country. Furthermore, Underside are from Nepal and they thanked me on Facebook for the kind words I wrote about them. It fills my heart to see that heavy metal is even making its way into small mountain countries. What we as metalheads need to do is to embrace these metal artists coming out of such regions and give them the ear they so desperately seek. Only this way can metal establish world dominance.

Orphaned Land come out under the lights.

Underside finally emerge

Some final observations from the historic weekend was that I noticed and forgive me if I’m not being politically correct here, that there were more persons of colour attending the festival. The New Yorker who was into At The Gates was African American.  I’m not just talking about those of Afro-Caribbean origin, there were also people of other races there too. This is good because it has been a concern of mine ever since I read Laina Dawes book, “What Are You Doing Here?” In order for metal to progress, we must kick racism and sexism out of it. That reminds me, it turns out that Underside’s  great female bassist whose playing totally rocked, isn’t officially a part of the band. It would be great for them to take her on full time.

Thank you for letting an old man rant but I hope the wisdom of my years shows through here. I will take memories of Bloodstock to my grave with me because it is a great metal festival and I enjoyed each and every one I’ve been to.

I finally got a song from Underside for you, enjoy!

Next post: Los Lobos- How Will the Wolf Survive

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535371510&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2018: Sunday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

Final full day at Bloodstock and I was prepared for a long one. Five of the final six bands on the Ronnie James Dio Stage were on my ‘must see’ list. That gave me some time to not have to wolf down breakfast and chill before I headed to the arena for a final day of metal. However, that was cut short when Teal suggested I make it six of the last seven bands when he recommended I see Amaranthe. Oh well, one more band wouldn’t hurt so I went with him and Joe to the arena.

That six of seven could have become seven of eight, at least I wished so because when I got to the Dio Stage, the band Evergrey was finishing up. This was yet another band whom I only caught the last few minutes of and wished I had seen more of them. Maybe it’s mellowing with age but I’m getting more into prog-metal bands and these guys from Sweden are definitely worth checking out. Shame I can’t say more.

Evergrey on stage

So far at Bloodstock, Teal had been two for two when recommending bands I should see, Kamelot on Friday and Alestorm on Saturday. No surprises that on Sunday, he was three for three when I saw the second consecutive Swedish band, Amaranthe, although they did have some technical difficulties before they came out on stage. Not to worry, while those difficulties were being sorted, bassist Johan Andreassen entertained the crowd with a bit of improv. I can’t remember anything he said, damn my Swiss cheese memory, but he had me and the rest of the crowd rolling on the ground in laughter. When the rest of the band emerged, the most obvious sight was that they had three singers. Two males, one described as clean vocals, that was Nils Molin and the unclean male vocals of Henrik Eglund Wilhemsson along with the vocals of Elize Ryd. The best thing is that this combination totally worked. Each singer would come in with their style of vocals at the appropriate part in the song and take it in an unexpected direction. Of course, the other reason it worked was the musical efforts of guitar, bass and drums. The end result was forty minutes of good power metal and another band not known to me who impressed me a hell of a lot.

Johan Andreassen doing his improv

Elize and Henrik on the vocals

Amaranthe won me over

Having seen Fozzy twice before I had already regarded Chris Jerico as a good metal singer. Third time is the charm and if I had any doubt in my mind about him, those doubts were obliterated on this particular Sunday. He even came out on stage in a really cool looking long coat. His vocals, if anything, were even better and he still knows how to work a crowd. His band was as good as ever, especially when they played my all time favourite Fozzy song, “Drinkin’ With Jesus.” Really love that song and I have made a promise to myself to listen to more Fozzy.

Chris in his coat

A shot of the entire band

I thought I’d get the guitar and bass in.

Chris engaging the crowd

Got more good shots of Fozzy

I thought he was going to attempt a flying drop kick here.

Since I didn’t want to go back to the campsite but my 57 year old frame didn’t want to stand, I went over to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to have a little sit down at the back. Shortly after, the next band started to get ready to go on stage but they too had some technical difficulties. This time, the bass player didn’t do improv. Instead, she treated the crowd to a brilliant bass solo, she could play! The band took the stage and played some really cool thrash/death metal. I learned they were from Nepal and it’s great to see such a good band coming out from that part of the world. I hope more people will check them out. Unfortunately, someone from either WordPress or Youtube is being a prick and not letting me paste any of their songs here.

Bass player shredding away

Underside finally emerge

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

The universal big question asked by many of the 18,000 who attended Bloodstock in 2018 was whether Mr Big was the type of band to play at this Festival. For me, that question was answered in the affirmative on the very first song, it being my vote for their hidden gem, “Daddy, Lover, Brother and Little Boy.” I have always loved that song and that set the stage for the rest of their set. Sure, they played most of their classics, “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” was the fourth song and not long after, “To Be With You” which Eric Martin brought out an acoustic guitar to play along to. He did the same with the cover of the Cat Stevens classic, “Wild World.” On top of that, Paul Gilbert totally impressed me with his guitar work on the songs and when he was left to play a solo. Eric also explained to the crowd that they had been on a European tour and Bloodstock was their last stop. Their final songs were more metal leaning, one of the being “Take Cover.” However, when they left the stage, they proved to everyone that Mr Big belonged at Bloodstock! Even if they didn’t play my other favourite Mr Big song, “The Whole World’s Gonna Know.”

Welcome Mr Big

Paul plays a solo

Paul continues to wail

Here’s a shot of Billy Sheehan

Eric on the acoustic guitar

Billy and Paul jamming together. Mr Big were certainly the most photogenic band at Bloodstock.

Some might think this might be going from one extreme to the other. Going from the melodic metal sounds of Mr Big to the death metal of Devil Driver. That didn’t bother me nor the many others who came to see them. It was metal mayhem to say the least. I can’t really say much about their time on stage. I went close to the front with Teal and Joe and therefore, spent the entire time on the edges of mosh pits and passing crowd surfers to the front. That kind of ruins your concentration a bit. What I did hear from Devil Driver, I totally liked and still had a fantastic time during their set.

Devil Driver

The mayhem spoiled this shot a little.

The best shot of them

I don’t remember anything about them but I got a shot of Servers on the New Blood Stage

At Bloodstock 2016, I took HMO’s advice and went to see a band he recommended on his blog called Ackercoke. So, when he posted about At the Gates a few months ago, I knew I had to see them. He’s now two for two in my book because At the Gates were brilliant. Three Swedish bands took the Dio Stage on this day and all three impressed me. For me, they were a natural progression after the more progressive sound of Evergrey to the sometimes more harder one of Amaranthe to At The Gates’s death metal although, they did go melodic at times. I always have liked that style so these guys fit in well. During their set, I met a man from New York who had come to Bloodstock just to see them. Apparently, they hardly ever go to the States. The band needs to rectify that! All I can say when they left was “Thank you HMO for showing me another great band.”

At The Gates

Singer Thomas Lindberg engaging the crowd

Thomas turned his back on me here.

Headlining the Sunday was the Finnish band Nightwish. I had heard many great things about this band and I further liked what I had heard from them so I was expecting good things. I wasn’t disappointed. A huge clock at the back of the stage counted down the final minute to their appearance and they came out just as it hit zero. From then on it was pure magic, whether it was the vocals of Floor Jansen, the guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen or the keyboards of Tuomas Holopainen. What impressed me even more was Troy Donockley who played guitar, Bouzouki and an assortment of woodwind instruments and all very well. I now have a full appreciation of what is called Gothic metal. The hour and a half went by too fast and the show ended with a spoken word bit but I can’t say who was speaking or what was said but it added greatly to the atmosphere of the show. The band did come back and I was hoping for one more song but they just took more bows. Can’t complain though.

The clock counts down

Good shot of Tuomas Holopainen on keys

I tried to get the band but a bunch of lights got in the way

Flash!

The last shot before they left the stage.

Tired and hungry, I went back to the tent to feed, drink my last beer and get some sleep. Next morning would be time to tear down, pack up and go. However, I left completely fulfilled having seen some great bands not only this day but the entire weekend. However, Scandinavia did win the Sunday.

Next post: Bloodstock, My final thoughts.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1535059396&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre