Archive for 38 Special

Great Rock Albums of 1988: 38 Special- Rock and Roll Strategy

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

Here comes another album which didn’t make it across the Atlantic in 1988. Then again, 38 Special kind of shot themselves in the foot during an interview on their previous album, “Strength in Numbers,” when they declared they didn’t need England. Except for some hard core followers, the band was pretty much forgotten in the UK after that. Hell, I didn’t even know they had put out a greatest hits album the year before! I would have covered it here if I had.

“Rock and Roll Strategy” brought about many changes with the band. Singer/rhythm guitarist Don Barnes left to pursue a solo career and they went from two drummers down to one when Steve Brookins also left. In replacement, they added Max Carl to take over the vocals and play keyboards and they added guitarist Danny Chauncey as well. Danny also plays lead guitar so I am left wondering which songs he solos on and which solos are played by long time guitarist Jeff Carlisi. The net isn’t answering that question so any further revelation to this mystery would be completely appreciated.

Another anxiety I had with 38 Special is that the quality declined with each album, although it did seem to level off with “Strength in Numbers.” So, my question was would “Rock And Roll Strategy” continue the downward trend or would it take things back the other way? The answer from me is “Neither.” It seems that with the “Tour de Force” album, music quality seemed to hit a plateau as this album is no better or no worse than the two previous ones.

Actually, when I first heard the album, I thought that the downward spiral was going to continue but subsequent listens have shown me that the album is still pretty good. Many of the tracks have the familiar intros which the band had become known for and while Max’s keyboards provide a good background to the songs, they don’t take over. While it’s true, that the band was bending to the commercial winds of the time, they hadn’t abandoned what got them to the front either.

With the change of singer, I had hoped that there would be a more equal sharing of the vocal duties between Max and long time member Donnie Van Zant. Using the 80smetalman formula, I deduced that the better 38 Special albums were so because of Donnie singing lead on more of the songs. On “Rock and Roll Strategy,” the split is a little more even than on the last three albums with Max singing lead on six songs to Donnie’s five. For me, this makes the album better because three of the Donnie sung songs, “Comin’ Down Tonight,” “Chattahoochee” and the closer, “Love Strikes” are among the strongest tracks on the album.

Saying that, some of the Max sung songs are very good as well. As with Don Barnes, he sings lead on the single, “Second Chance,” which would be the band’s last top ten hit and it’s not bad. However, there are two songs he sings which I enjoy more. “Hot Lanta” is a cool hard rock sounding number with a great horn section, which adds a little jazz element to it. But for me, the hidden gem is definitely “Little Sheba.” This cooker is about a jello wrestler who finds defeat only to come back tougher. As a former US serviceman, I can identify with the theme the song conveys. Some of you might remember my ancient post from the tour of 1983 when I wrote about the night before I got out of the Marines, my local bar had a pudding wrestling event. Ah, the memories!

Not actual action from that night.

Further linking past to present, I have mentioned on previous 38 Special how underrated a guitarist Jeff Carlisi is and I could possibly add Danny Chauncey now. If the video for “Second Chance” is correct, it’s Danny’s solo that makes the song. Maybe a noticeable guitar solo trade off between the two might have helped the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock and Roll Strategy
  2. What’s It To Ya?
  3. Little Sheba
  4. Comin’ Down Tonight
  5. Midnight Magic
  6. Second Chance
  7. Hot Lanta
  8. Never Be Lonely
  9. Chattahoochee
  10. Innocent Eyes
  11. Love Strikes

38 Special

Max Carl- lead vocals, keyboards

Donnie Van Zant- vocals

Jeff Carlisi- guitar

Danny Chauncey- guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Jack Grondin- bass

Actually, I thought the “Little Sheba” song would be an actual wrestling video.

I wonder if 38 Special ever regretted saying that they didn’t need England. I thought it was a rather arrogant thing to say back then and still think so now. If this album was more known in the UK, I would have snapped it up and maybe their run of success wouldn’t have petered away after.

Next post: Georgia Satellites- Open All Night

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: Honeymoon Suite- Racing After Midnight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

Now that my other writing obligations have been fulfilled, I can get back to the task of posting on here. BTW, has anyone bought the download to the wrestling match I wrote the script for? Further shameless plug alert: You will be reading my contribution to “The Tales of Tee-Bone Man and Superdekes” on one of Mike’s future posts. I got to satisfy my delusions of grandeur on that one. I know in reality that I’m not the foremost rock historian.

Now onto the next album, “Racing After Midnight” from Canadian rockers, Honeymoon Suite. After listening to the album, I have decided to declare that Honeymoon Suite is the best Canadian artist not to have cracked Great Britain. Most British people I know haven’t heard of these guys, while many of them have heard of my favourite Canadian band, Killer Dwarfs, who Canadians say is an even more obscure band. I might have had a little to do with that. Anyway, the shameful part about this is that Honeymoon Suite are a great band and had they been around a few years earlier, they might have made an impact in the UK.

Honeymoon Suite have been labelled glam metal or pop metal by the so-called officiandoes, however, I think they go a little harder rock on “Racing After Midnight.” While there is the keyboards on it and I can see why some have sung the praises of Rob Preuss on the album, I think overall this album is truly hard rock. The keyboards don’t overshadow which was a main thing done back then. Then when you have such a great guitarist as Derry Grehan, you don’t really want to drown out his riffs. This album confirms why Derry is one of my guitarists in my band of the most underrated musicians. He just wails away throughout the album, especially on “Love Forever.”

Derry Grehan- guitar

One major surprise from listening to the album and reading the credits is that Michael McDonald contributes to the song writing and provides backing vocals. For Michael, this is sort of a departure from his soul influenced vocal style and is more known for singing ballads. However, this song rocks quite a lot. It’s the middle of the album where things really get rocking although I won’t take anything away from I guess was the intended single, “Cold Look,” which definitely sounds made for radio. Unfortunately, either it didn’t get enough airplay or the fickle public didn’t take notice of it. “Love Forever,” “Other Side of Midnight” and “Love Changes Everything” are all good rockers and the best tracks on the album. It just sounds like the band just totally comes together on these three tracks. Johnnie Dee’s vocals sound great, the rhythm section is particularly tight, good keyboards support from Rob and of course there’s Derry. Yes, I’m a fan.

Honeymoon Suite have always been capable of a good power ballad or two and they don’t disappoint with “It’s Over Now.” It’s a good one which ticks all the boxes in that category. But they do go back to rocking with “Fast Company” and “Tears on the Page,” which has a 38 Special feel to it. Yet another surprise comes with the closer. While I never listened to the soundtrack of any of the “Lethal Weapon” movies, it still comes as a surprise to learn that the closing track on this album appears on the soundtrack. Still, it’s the best way to close out the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Looking Our For Number One
  2. Long Way Back
  3. Cold Look
  4. Love Forever
  5. Other Side of Midnight
  6. Love Changes Everything
  7. It’s Over Now
  8. Love Forever
  9. Tears on the Page
  10. Lethal Weapon
Honeymoon Suite

Johnnie Dee- vocals

Dermot ‘Derry’ Grehan- guitar

Rob Preuss- keyboards

Gary Lalonde- bass

Dave Betts- drums

Additional Musicians:

Michael McDonald- backing vocals on “Long Way Back”

Ted Templeman and Bobby LaKind- percussion

“Racing After Midnight” is a great album from an underrated band. Saying that, there seems to be a link between me liking an album and it being a commercial flop. Anyway, this album does rock!

Next post: Glass Tiger- Diamond Sun

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

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

Great Albums That Were Lost in the Cassette Player

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

For those who have been following me for awhile, you will know that back in the early 198os, I owned a lot of cassettes due to my very limited living space when I was in the marines. Even after I got out, while I began buying vinyl again, I still bought a good amount of cassettes. My logic at the time was you couldn’t play records in the car and I need my travelling music. While cassettes had the advantage of being very compact, you could fit one in your shirt pocket, they had the disadvantage of being susceptible of destructing. They could easily get mangled in the player and often times brake. I found this extremely frustrating. While the percentage of cassettes lost was small compared to the number I owned, it still upset me when I lost one to the machine. So, as an in between the years post, I will play homage to all the great albums that were mangled by a tape player.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

Others that succumbed but I don’t have pictures for

Slayer- South of Heaven

The Dreggs- Unsung Heroes

The Who- recorded from the radio

Copperhead

There could be more but these are the ones I definitely remember. However, other cassettes weren’t mangled in the machine but wore out another way. When played they began to have a hiss sound on them. Eventually, this hiss got louder and present on more of the tape until it was unplayable. There was the odd tape where that started but it stopped and played normal again. Unfortunately, others didn’t so here is a tribute to those cassettes that were lost in this manner.

As you can see, many a great album fell victim to the dreaded tape player one way or the other. Thank God for CDs and more modern means of listening to music as I don’t have that problem anymore.

Next post: 1984

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

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

Further Thought About 38 Special

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2016 by 80smetalman

38 Special

38 Special

Something I said in my last post about the “Tour de Force” album by 38 Special has given me cause for further reflection. In that post, I suggested that the gradual but steady decline in the quality of 38 Special’s albums as a new one was released might have had to do with the fact that when each new album came out, the songs sung be Donnie Van Zant decreased while those sung by Don Barnes increased. There may be a link here but I can’t really say for sure.

38_Special_-_Wild-Eyed_Southern_Boys

My reflections have brought on an epiphany in regards to 38 Special. I now offer into evidence my second favourite of all time, 38 Special song, the title track to the album “Wild Eyed Southern Boys.” On this phenomenal track, Barnes & Van Zant both sing lead on it. They each sing a line before passing over to the other. This alternation of vocals works very well with the song and is one of the reasons why it’s so good. However, of the four 38 Special albums I have, this is the only song where they do it. My question is why the hell not? I’m not saying they needed to do it on every song but I see nothing wrong with one track on every album. See, their vocals complimented each other so well on “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” one would have thought they would have done this more. Man, I wish I had a time machine because I would go back to 1981 and point this out to them. What do all of you think?

Donnie Van Zant

Donnie Van Zant

Don Barnes

Don Barnes

80smetalman will resume normal duties in the next couple of days.

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: 38 Special- Tour de Force

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Tour_de_Force

“Tour de Force” proves what I probably said about albums by 38 Special in previous posts. Each new album is not as good as the ones before. Going back to the very first 38 Special album I listened to, “Rockin’ Into the Night” was outstanding, their best album ever. The next one, “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” was an excellent album and “Special Forces was somewhere between good and very good. However, the 1983 “Tour de Force” album was just good.

Another thing which I have said in the past was my belief that if the single opens the album, then the album may not be up to much because that has always been a trick of one hit wonders. In the case of this album, the first three tracks are the singles that were released on the album. Of those three, the middle one, “Back Where You Belong,” is the best. That song is more the 38 Special I had come to know and love back then. A good opening hard riff with a cool guitar solo, full marks there. Saying that, “If I’d Been the One” is a decent enough song but I’ve never been impressed with the third track, “One Time for Old Times.”

Here is a case where instead of one song not making an entire album, it’s two. I won’t include “Back Where You Belong” because it is a great song. However, after those three singles, things definitely turn up a few notches for the good. “See Me In Your Eyes” starts to return things to a normality with 38 Special and then “Twentieth Century Fox” is a complete rocker. The exact same thing can be said for the tracks that follow on after that. “Long Distance Affair” and the closer, “Undercover Lover” are fine rocking tracks with the latter song, when it closes out the album, leaves you with an all’s well that ends well feeling towards the album.

I must also add that “I Oughta Let Go” is more of a Southern boogie number which proves that at this time, the band hadn’t completely abandoned their Southern Rock roots. But my brain has me wondering if the decline in each album is down to cause and effect. With “Rockin’ Into the Night,” Donnie Van Zant sings lead on five songs and Don Barnes three and one cracking instrumental. On the ensuing albums, the number of Van Zant leads lessen and Barnes sings lead on more. On “Tour de Force” Donnie Van Zant only sings lead on three songs with Barnes the other six. Now, I’m not knocking Don Barnes, he is a great vocalist and I should have included him in my list of great rhythm guitarists but Donnie Van Zant definitely brings an energy to the songs he sings. So, I wonder that if they kept it as it was on the first album, there wouldn’t have been such a noticeable decline. Oh yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it remains true on “Tour de Force.” Jeff Carlisi is a very underrated guitarist.

Track Listing:

  1. If I’d Been the One
  2. Back Where You Belong
  3. One Time for Old Times
  4.  See Me in Your Eyes
  5. Twentieth Century Fox
  6. Long Distance Affair
  7. I Oughta Let Go
  8. One of the Lonely Ones
  9. Undercover Lover

38 Special

38 Special

Don Barnes- lead vocals, guitar

Donnie Van Zant- lead vocals

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar, steel guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Steve Brookins- drums

Jack Grondin- drums

Carol Bristow- backing vocals

Lu Moss- backing vocals

Jimmy Markham- harmonica

38 Special were at a cross roads at this point in time. I remember tearing my hair out trying to convince my friend that they were not a top forty band and that they were a cool Southern Rock band like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. I’m not sure if he ever believed me but while this album may lead one to think that they had sold out, there is enough on this good album to show that hadn’t.

Next post: Rolling Stones- Undercover

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

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

 

 

 

 

My Top 15 Albums

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2015 by 80smetalman

Typical me of my school days. I was always forgetting to do assignments which often got me in trouble with teachers. I almost missed the one set by a fellow blogger to list my 15 favourite albums. Looks like I’m just going to make the deadline here so don’t give me a detention. Well here they are:

sod

  1. Stormtroopers of Death- Speak English or Die

stend

2. Suicidal Tendencies

 kdbd

3. Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

dio

4. Dio- Holy Diver

FreedomAtPointZero

5. Jefferson Starship- Freedom at Point Zero

 OneMoreFromTheRoad_LynyrdSkynyrdalbum

6. Lynyrd Skynyrd- One More From the Road

 imlad

7. Iron Maiden- Live After Death

 paranoidt

8. Black Sabbath- Paranoid

Aerosmith-Toys_in_the_Attic

9. Aerosmith- Toys in the Attic

tsyou

10. Twisted Sister- You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll

dv-ssor

11. Vaughn- Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside

hotdrise

12. Hair of the Dog- Rise

220px-Molly_Hatchet_-_Flirtin'_with_Disaster

13. Molly Hatchet- Flirtin’ With Disaster

nzhotd

14. Nazereth- Hair of the Dog

220px-REO_Speedwagon_-_Nine_Lives

15. REO Speedwagon- Nine Lives

Honourable Mentions

38 Special- Rockin’ Into the Night

Jefferson Starship- Winds of Change

Kreator- Pleasure to Kill

Van Halen- II

Dio- The Last in Line

Twisted Sister- Under the Blade

AC/DC- Back in Black

AC/DC- Highway to Hell

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon

Blackfoot- Highway Song

Damned Nation- Grand Designs

This is my list respectfully submitted on 15 September, 2015.

Great Rock Albums of 1982: 38 Special- Special Forces

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Special_Forces

Before 2015 gets too far down the road, I must pause a second to reflect on an honour bestowed on me back in 2014. As a result of my post on Triumph’s “Allied Forces” album, I was given honourary Canadian citizenship by one of my Canadian readers. It may not seem like a big thing to some, but whenever I get any sort of honour bestowed on me, it is a big thing to me because it means that people actually like what I write. So thank you for the giving me this honour.

Whilst still reflecting on the old and new year, I made an interesting observation over the holidays. During the festive period, I consumed several bottles of The Trooper, the beer brewed by Iron Maiden. During my time in the States, I got to do likewise with many bottles and cans of Yuengling. Maybe it’s me but there seems to be a remarkable similarity in the look and taste of the two beers. I wonder if Bruce Dickinson came to America and somehow stole the recipe for Yuengling and is now using it in The Trooper. One can only speculate. I’ll have to research my theory further by drinking more of both.

The Trooper

The Trooper

Yuengling

Yuengling

Southern rock hit its highest point in 1981 but it hadn’t descended down the summit in 1982. There were still Southern Rock bands making some great albums and getting their songs played on the radio, even up North. One of them was 38 Special whose single “Caught Up in You” from the 1982 album “Special Forces” got into the top ten in the pop singles charts. I have said many times before that I normally didn’t pay too much attention to the singles charts but whenever I see that a good rock or metal band I like has a song that gets in there, I find it a cause for celebration.

Hit single aside and “Caught Up In You” follows the trend in 1982 of leading off the album, the rest of the album is the brand of Southern Rock I have always liked about the previous 38 Special albums. There are some great riffs in the likes of “Back on the Track” and “Breakin’ Loose” as well as some great rhythm and harmonies on the tracks “Back Door Stranger” and “Take ‘Em Out.” As usual, Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes do a magnificent job with the vocals on the album singing the songs that play to their strengths. The track I find most fascinating, though, is “Chain Lightning.” It starts off with an acoustic riff and at first sucks you into thinking of a possible ballad but then the guitars slam in and the song totally rocks out. Jeff Carlisi reminds me on the song why I consider him very underrated among guitarists. And if you think “Chain Lightning” sounds good on record, you should hear it played live. I got that opportunity in 1984 and it was totally kicked ass. They do sneak another single in and I have to admit, I prefer “You Keep Running Away” to “Caught Up In You” even if chart history dictates otherwise. I have never considered “Special Forces” to be a totally mind blowing as “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” or “Rockin’ Into the Night,” it isn’t really that far below them. A good solid album that kept Southern rock in the spotlight in 1982.

Track Listing:

1. Caught Up in You

2. Backdoor Stranger

3. Back On the Track

4. Chain Lightning

5. Rough Housing

6. You Keep Running Away

7. Breakin’ Loose

8. Take ‘Em Out

9. Firestarter

38 Special

38 Special

Don Barnes- guitar, lead and backing vocals

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Steve Brookins- drums

Jack Grondin- drums

Donnie Van Zant- lead and backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Jimmy Barnes- harmonica, harp

Terry Emery- piano

Steve McCray- keyboards

Lu Moss- backing vocals

Carol Bristow- backing vocals

38 Special achieved the double in 1982 by putting out a great album and breaking the top ten in the singles charts. This was a a great time for the band but what nobody saw back in that year was that the one achievement would have a detrimental effect on the other one with their future albums and attitude towards music.

Next post: Blackfoot- Highway Song, Live in London

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

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

Triumphs and Tragedies in 1981

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by 80smetalman

As always, I like to start with the bad news first before progressing onto the good news. The biggest tragedy of this particular year for music fans of all kinds with the death of reggae legend Bob Marley who died from cancer in May of 1981.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Whether one was a devout reggae fan, Bob Marley worshipper, total stoner or none of the above, there were very few people around my age at the time who couldn’t help but shed a tear at the passing of this great legend. His music brought reggae into the mainstream for many people, me included as did his relaxed, “be mellow” attitude towards life. Something we all probably still need to adhere to these days. While Bob may not be with us and I have to agree with his son Ziggy’s philosophy that money doesn’t buy life, his music still is alive and very well in the world today. R.I.P. Bob Marley

The Round Up

The Round Up

Now onto the first triumph which was at the time a local one for me and the sad thing was that I never got to see it due to being in the service. In June of 1981, Southern Rock converged on Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium as some of the great Southern Rock bands played what I later learned was a brilliant show. Oh, how amazing it would have been to see the likes of The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band on the same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t and therefore I implore anyone out there in the cosmos who is reading this and went to this great festival, please share your experiences!

Donington 1981

Donington 1981

The second tragedy came in the form of another great music festival across the Atlantic. In the August, the second Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park took place. With AC/DC as the headliner and the likes of Whitesnake, Slade and Blackfoot on the bill, it couldn’t help but to be a great show. Of course, I wasn’t at this one either but I do know someone who was and he said it was a brilliant day. It also explains why Blackfoot didn’t appear at the Round Up.  Furthermore, the promoters did a good job in ironing at some of the things that went wrong at the 1980 festival. So, two great musical shows on both sides of the ocean, the result was two triumphs for rock and metal in 1981.

There was one more triumph in 1981 but that deserves its own billing and will be spoken about later. To give a hint, it was considered a total triumph in 1981 but nowadays, it is more of a tragedy.

Next post: U2 -Boy

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Johnny Van Zant Band- Round Two

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

R-150-1201591-1200342586

Whether it was the glam metal scene in LA or the thrash scene in San Francisco back in the 1980s, of all the bands from those areas who gained world wide popularity, there were many bands who were just as good but never fully broke out of the local scene. The same thing can be said of Southern rock in the earlier part of the decade. I was fortunate to have been stationed in North Carolina during this time, so I was fully able to appreciate it when Southern Rock was at the height of its glory. It gave me a good feeling whenever I trotted back across the Mason-Dixon Line to New Jersey, that many of my friends were listening to Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws and 38 Special. Unfortunately, not so many people heard of Johnny Van Zant when I mentioned them up north. They were mainly well known just in the south.

As all my British friends would say, this was a bloody shame because the Johnny Van Zant Band were a very good band and their second album, “Round Two” bears witness to this fact. There is a definitely influence from Johnny’s older brother on this album because I can detect some Lynyrd Skynyrd sounds here. But in no way does this band simply rip off the great Skynyrd. They bring their own brand of hard rock to tracks like “(Who’s) Right or Wrong,” “Shot Down” and “Standing in the Falling Rain.” Lead guitarists Robbie Gay and Eric Lundgren  know how to play on these songs as well as others. They also do a very hard version of the Beatles classic “Drive My Car.” The album does have a ballad in the form of “Yesterday’ Gone.” I must declare that of all the Van Zant boys, Johnny’s vocals are the most attuned for singing ballads. Not that he can’t sing harder songs just as well, maybe better. It’s just too bad “Round Two” has been allowed to lay dormant for so many years.

Track Listing:

1. (Who’s) Right or Wrong

2. Standing in the Falling Rain

3. Yesterday’s Gone

4. Let There Be Music

5. Keep Our Love Alive

6. Night Time Lady

7. Drive My Car

8. Shot Down

9. Cold Hearted Woman

10. Play My Music

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Gay- lead guitar

Erik- Lundgren- lead guitar

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Morris- drums

As I progress through hard rock and metal history, I am discovering albums and bands that I took little notice of or missed completely. I can’t say that I missed the Johnny Van Zant Band because I saw them live in 1982 but that’s another story. I do regret not listening to this album more back in the time and I wish more people did as well. Here’s everyone’s chance to rectify that now.

Next post: Nantucket- Long Way to the Top

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

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

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: 38 Special- Wild Eyed Southern Boys

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

38_Special_-_Wild-Eyed_Southern_Boys

Now that my problems with wordpress are sorted, I couldn’t get on here for two days for some unknown reason, I can finally post about what I think was probably one of the best albums of 1981. Personally, I think it was a conspiracy from the “The 80s were all about Culture Club and Wham” brigade in a bid to stop me from thwarting their version of music history but I digress once again. For me, “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” was one of those albums that made 1981 for me. I don’t even need to relate a story from my military days here because that album would have had the same impact on me if I hadn’t been serving at the time.

38 Special’s previous album, “Rockin’ Into the Night” had already given me a strong desire to check out their next one. So even after I started hearing their first single “Hold On Loosely” on juke boxes from North Carolina to New Jersey and even cover bands playing it, I was already in the mind to buy “Wild Eyed Southern Boys.” This album takes elements from hard rock, country and blues rock and incorporates it into the band’s own unique blend of Southern Rock. There’s the more bluesier songs like “Hittin’ and Runnin'” and the almost funky “Honky Tonk Night Time Dancer” where Jeff Carlisi shows he can bend a guitar string somewhat to the more hard rock gems like “Fantasy Girl” and “First Time Around.” They also show they can have a little fun with their songs, just listen to “Back Alley Sally” and you will see what I mean. However, one song does tower above all the others, not trying to detract from those songs, but the title track for me takes all of those mentioned elements and puts them into one song. That song epitomises what I have always loved about Southern Rock. The acoustic intro followed by Carlisi’s burning guitar solos and some great power chords alternated with some melodic harmonising. That’s the paradoxical thing I have about 38 Special. I love the way that Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant trade off vocals here, it definitely works so well on “Wild Eyed Southern Boys.” So, my question is why don’t they do it more on their records?

Track Listing:

1. Hold On Loosely

2. First Time Around

3. Wild Eyed Southern Boys

4. Back Alley Sally

5. Fantasy Girl

6. Hittin’ And Runnin’

7. Honky Tonk Night Time Dancer

8. Throw Out the Ling

9. Bring It On

38 Special

38 Special

Donnie Van Zant- vocals

Don Barnes- vocals, guitar, piano

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Steve Brookins- drums

Jack Grondin- drums

Lu Moss- backing vocals

Carol Bristow- backing vocals

Unlike Rossington/Collins, I did not have to listen to this album thirty years later before I decided I really like it. That’s because I was rocking to “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” all through time. Even after my cassette got destroyed in my car’s stereo. I got rid of that car a few months after that. It didn’t stop it from being one of my favourite album’s of 1981. The album for me is a classic rocker and you know the funny thing, I still think their previous album “Rockin’ Into the Night” was better. Strange huh?

Next post: Blackfoot- Marauder

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

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