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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Pete Townshend-White City: A Novel

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2019 by 80smetalman

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Here’s the number one reason why you should never let one song, especially if it’s the single played on the radio, influence your decision whether to buy or not to buy an album. If I had used the single “Face the Face,” from The Who’s Pete Townshend influence my decision to buy his 1985 solo album, “White City: A Novel,” then I would not have bought it.

On the single, Pete goes with what was then considered a more 1980s sound. It is a departure from the music he made with his famous band. He even has his daughter Emma, who was 15 at the time, sing on it. She does it in a way that some people have claimed she was rapping. While that’s a matter of opinion, the reaction from many hard core Who fans and heavy rockers was that Pete Townshend had abandoned his roots and  what was the typical accusation flung in the 80s, had sold out. One friend of mine was convinced that Pete made the album to support his cocaine habit. Pete on coke? I was thought that was an Aerosmith thing.

Admittedly, I was never impressed with “Face to Face.” While I am more open to the song these days, I can say that it is not indicative of the rest of the album. From the opener, “Give Blood,” which is my favourite track, to the end, one can hear his Who influences. Maybe not the 1960s where he went around smashing guitars and amps but his more 70s creativity comes through here. “Second Hand Love” is the perfect example. I like the piano in the background while Pete screams “I don’t want your second hand love,” before some cool little guitar tricks arrive in the middle to help take the song home. Then again, “Crashing by Design” does have a 60s Who guitar intro that reminds you that Pete hasn’t forgotten where he came from. In fact, this track is the closest he comes to that 60s hard rock sound.

If that didn’t convince you that he wasn’t a sell out, then the final two tracks certainly will. “White City Fighting” is a hard rocker which underlies the concept of that “White City: A Novel” is about. In his hard rocking way, Pete tells of his life in the 1960s in the area of London displayed in the title. He says it was a dismal place of racial and cultural conflict and little hope for the youth. Putting it in a hard rock context releases the anger behind the lyrics. Plus, Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd plays guitar on the track which adds a little more to it. The closer, “Come to Mama,” seems to be an combination of several Who songs coming together to end the album in a very cool way. Believe me, once the album finishes, you have no doubt that Pete has not sold out and gone top 40.

Track Listing:

1. Give Blood

2. Brilliant Blues

3. Face the Face

4. Hiding Out

5. Second Hand Love

6. Crashing by Design

7. I Am Secure

8. White City Fighting

9. Come to Mama

petown

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend- vocals, guitar

Steve Barnacle- bass

Mark Brzezicki- drums

John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Clem Burke, Simon Phillips- drums

Tony Butler, Phil Chen, Pino Palladino, Chucho Merchan- bass

Dave Gilmour- guitar, (tracks 1 & 8)

Peter Hope Evans- harmonica

Simon Clarke, Roddy Lorimer, Tim Sanders, Peter Thoms- kick horns

Ewan Stewart- spoken word

Emma Townshend, Jackie Chellanor, Mae McKennna, Lorrenza Johnson- backing vocals

 

I hope anyone reading this who thought that “White City: A Novel” was Pete Townshend selling out and making a top 40 record to support his coke habit will read this and go back and listen to the entire album. This album proves that Pete hasn’t forgotten where he has come from. With this album, he just does so in a less angry way.

Next post: Mr Mister- Welcome to the Real World

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Brian Setzer- The Knife Feels Like Justice

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2019 by 80smetalman

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I don’t give two sh*ts what Wikipedia says, I remember hearing Brian Setzer on the radio in late 1985. Wikipedia states that Brian’s first solo album, “The Knife Feels Like Justice” came out in 1986. Maybe that was when it was officially released but as far as I’m concerned, the album came out in 1985. Besides, Wikipedia has gotten it wrong in the past. Now that that’s cleared up, on with the post.

Try as hard as I might, I can help making comparisons and contrasts between this album and the Phantom, Rocker and Slick album from the previous post. After all, the except for Earl Slick, the other members were all in the Stray Cats together. There was much comparison and contrast between the artists back then and I guess I’m continuing it now. Therefore, if you were to ask me which album I liked better, I have to say that Phantom, Rocker and Slick is the clear winner. That’s my personal choice and Brian Setzer’s “The Knife Feels Like Justice” album is still a pretty good album.

The first clear apparent from the album is that Brian sticks more to what he did when he was in the Stray Cats. The 1950s doo-wop sound that the Stray Cats made famous in 1983 comes through in all of the songs. This is especially the case with the track “Bobby’s Back.” Listening to that song makes me want to put on a wool letterman’s sweater, (cardigan for my British readers), find a lady in a knit dress and jitter bug away with her. It’s more or less the same with the first four tracks. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” sounds like a love ballad from that decade but I do like the intros on the first two tracks. Both pull me into the song.

For the second half of the album, Brian steers a little away from the 50’s sound. “Radiation Ranch” begins the departure and probably features Brian’s best guitar solo on the album. The intro on “Chains Around Your Heart” would sit well with a heavy metal tune and has a cool guitar solo. Since I can’t remember which song from the album I heard on the radio back in 1985 and there is no evidence produced as to which song(s) were released as a single, it gets my vote for not just the hidden gem but best song on the album. “Three Guys” is pretty good as well and “Aztec” sounds almost 1980s and with a rockabilly closer like “Barbwire Fence” it is easy to say why this is still a good album.

Track Listing

  1. The Knife Feels Like Justice
  2. Haunted River
  3. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  4. Bobby’s Back
  5. Radiation Ranch
  6. Chains Around Your Heart
  7. Maria
  8. Three Guys
  9. Aztec
  10. Breath of Life
  11. Barbwire Fence

bestz

Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer- lead vocals, lead guitar

Tommy Byrnes- guitar, backing vocals

Chuck Leavell- keyboards

Kenny Aaronson- bass

Kenny Aronoff- drums, percussion

Steve Jordan- drums (track 4)

Benmont Tench- organ (track 4)

Mike Campbell- 12 string guitar (track 9)

Paggi Blu- vocals (tracks 3, 8 &10)

Queen Esther Marrow- vocals (tracks 3, 8 & 10)

Diva Grey- vocals (tracks 3, 8 & 10)

Dave and Andrew Williams- vocals (tracks 2, 4 & 6)

Yvonne Zuaro- vocals (tracks 1, 7, 9 and 11)

I might have thought that Phantom, Rocker and Slick had the better album but the record label might have thought otherwise. They did promote this album quite a lot and it did make it to 45 in the charts. There is a lot to like on “The Knife Feels Like Justice.”

Next post: Pete Townshend- White City: A Novel

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: Phantom, Rocker and Slick

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2019 by 80smetalman

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The biggest question I have been asking myself since 1985 is “Why didn’t Phantom, Rocker and Slick achieve greater success than what they did? For me, this was a great straight ahead, no frills rock album from a good tight band. The band possessed all the tools to be great. Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker proved they were a great rhythm section when they were in the Stray Cats and were just as formidable in this band. Additionally, Lee has a good singing voice that fits perfectly with the songs. Plus, guitarist Earl Slick shows he’s a great guitarist as he plays what I have always considered the best guitar solo of 1985, (see below). So, why not?

Apart from the album itself, I can also provide additional evidence that they sounded just as good live. I recorded their live performance on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, (who remembers that?). In fact, some of the songs they played sounded better live than what it did on vinyl. Again, I ask, “Why not?”

If people don’t remember anything else about Phantom, Rocker and Slick, the one song that they might remember is the hit, “Men Without Shame,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on local radio. I was hooked straight away the first time I heard that song, despite the fact the radio version of the single chopped a good chunk of the guitar solo out of it. Why do they do that? So, you can imagine how I reacted when I heard it in its full glory.

Some more critical people might criticise the album for sounding a bit the same. Yes, I would agree there are similarities between the tracks, “Sing For Your Supper,” “Hollywood Distractions” and “Well Kept Secret” but not enough to say they are all the same. All three are great straight ahead power rockers and all three members of the band are at the top of their game. Furthermore, Phantom and Rocker haven’t totally abandoned their time with the Stray Cats as evidenced in the 1950 ballad like tracks, “Time is On My Hands” and “No Regrets.” On the latter tracks, there is another killer guitar solo from Slick. That’s the other thing, I’ll go out on a limb and venture my belief that Earl Slick is a better guitarist than Brian Setzer was in the Lee and Jim’s former band. An additional bonus is that there is some strong song writing on the album. “Lonely Actions” is proof of this, so again, “Why not?”

Track Listing:

  1. Men Without Shame
  2. My Mistake
  3. What You Want
  4. Time is On My Hands
  5. No Regrets
  6. Lonely Actions
  7. Well Kept Secret
  8. Runnin’ From the Hounds
  9. Hollywood Distractions
  10. Sing For Your Supper

prs

Phantom, Rocker and Slick

Slim Jim Phantom- drums, backing vocals

Lee Rocker- double bass, lead vocals

Earl Slick- guitar, backing vocals

The theme of this post is quite obvious by now. I am asking why didn’t Phantom, Rocker and Slick achieve greater success. Everything to do so was present in bucket loads. My only theory to it was that it was down to the categorising and polarisation of music back in 1985. There was no neat little box for trendies or metaheads to put them into and while the music on the album is well played, there is an element of fun to it and society back then wasn’t ready for it.

Next post: Brian Setzer- The Knife Feels Like Justice

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: Joe Lynn Turner- Rescue You

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by 80smetalman

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Not long ago, I heard an English friend of mine refer to Joe Lynn Turner as ‘that American pretty boy who replaced Graham Bonnet in Rainbow.’ True, Joe Lynn Turner is American and back in 1985, many ladies found him very fanciable, my sister was ga ga over him. However, the man also possesses a very good singing voice and it was only natural that after Ritchie Blackmore dissolved Rainbow to rejoin Deep Purple that Joe would put out a solo album. The result was his debut album, “Rescue You.”

Joe Lynn Turner was a victim of the 1985 belief that synthesizers were the way forward for music back then. Many of the songs on the album seem to be over dominated by it and on some of those things, I have always thought that they should have been turned down and the guitar turned up. Then the album would have been a real rocker. Don’t get me wrong, “Rescue You” is in no way an 80s synth pop album, there are some good rocking moments and on some tracks like the title track and the opener, “Losing You” you can definitely hear a bit of the old Rainbow on it. While the guitar on the title track is present, it is often obscured by the keyboard and for that song, I can’t help thinking how much I would be head banging away to it if the keyboards weren’t so dominant.

Being a typical wishy-washy Gemini, (I don’t really believe that zodiac stuff), I think there are some tracks where the keyboards do work. The prime example here is the big single from the album, “Endlessly,” which was good enough to get to 19 in the singles charts while at the same time having metalheads shaking their heads and accusing Joe of going too commercial. The keyboard intro also works on “Feel the Fire” but as the song progresses, I again think they should have taken a back seat because this is another song that could have been great if the guitars had been turned up more.

In spite of all my ramblings of too much keyboard, there are some tracks where Joe hasn’t lost touch with his hard rock roots. While the keyboards still exist on “Get Tough,” the song does rock and he also demonstrates that he has the pipes for such songs. This is another song that takes me back to his Rainbow days. In fact, the second half of the album is definitely more rock than the first. “Eyes of Love” is a fine example of this, it has a great guitar solo, but if you want concrete proof, the best track is the closer, “The Race is On.” This is the hidden gem because it just rocks with little interference from keyboards. With all my contradictions about guitars and keyboards on “Rescue You,” the one constant throughout the entire album is Joe Lynn Turner’s voice. Pretty boy or not, he has always had a great singing voice and deserves credit for it.

Track Listing:

  1. Losing You
  2. You Hearts
  3. Prelude
  4. Endlessly
  5. Rescue You
  6. Feel the Fire
  7. Get Tough
  8. Eyes of Love
  9. On the Run
  10. Soul Searcher
  11. The Race Is On

jlt

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Alan Greenwood- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

Bobby Messano- guitar, bass, backing vocals

The problem in 1985 was that the music industry was convinced that music had to have synthesizers to be any good. This belief had an effect on “Rescue You” for Joe Lynn Turner. Despite his great singing voice and the good quality of the tracks on the album, I can’t help thinking how much better some of the tracks would have been if there was less keyboard and more guitar.

Next post: Phantom, Rocker and Slick

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh God! It’s Starting Already

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2019 by 80smetalman

Three days into 2019 and already two tragic deaths. First, I read about former Dr Hook singer, Ray Stewart, famous for his eye patch, passed away quietly in his sleep at his home in Canada. He was 81. Dr Hook was famous for soft rock hits in the 1970s such as “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” and “Sharing the Night Together.” My personal favourite Dr Hook tune can be accessed at the bottom of this post.

Ray Stewart

The second passing comes from the world of wrestling, which I was a big fan of in the 1980s. Former WWE commentator and interviewer ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund passed away in Florida today. He was 76. I remember his unique commentary and interview style which will never be duplicated.

Gene Okerlund

Rest in peace Ray Stewart

Rest in peace Mean Gene Okerlund

 

 

 

 

Musical Memories of 2018

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2019 by 80smetalman

Because of all the sad memories of 2018 in the previous post, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to recap all the great moments in music I experienced in the said year. After all, I managed to get to both Download and Bloodstock this year as well as seeing Slayer’s farewell tour and discovering a few new artists to boot. So, I hope you will have a listen and reflect back on what a great year 2018 was musically.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through the previous year. One thing I found a little disappointing was that I was at all the live concerts shown in the post and I haven’t been able to find me in any of the crowd shots, oh well. As we now progress to 2019, I do have a great idea for this year. Not only would it be amazing on a musical front but it could help strengthen goodwill between Israel and Lebanon. My idea is that Orphaned Land embark on a world tour with Slave to Sirens in support. I would move mountains to see that gig. Again, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Next post: ZZ Top- Afterburner

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