Archive for Americans

Rest In Peace Bruno Sammartino

Posted in 1980s, Rock with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2018 by 80smetalman

Bruno Sammartino

It’s my sad duty to announce the passing of the first ever legend of the WWE, the only real living legend, Bruno Sammartino. He was two time WWE champion and to my knowledge, his first title reign was the longest in the history of the federation, from 1963-71. His second title reign might have only been half as long but that has been longer than many champions since. Bruno Sammartino was also called, “Wrestling’s only true good guy.”

Bruno winning the title.

Although first retired in 1980, he did make a comeback in the mid 1980s, right when the rock and wrestling connection was getting into full swing. He may not have been fully active in that but his presence was still felt in the wrestling world. A tragic loss for wrestling and it seems 2018 will continue to suck as so many greats are taken from us.

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: KISS- Animalize

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

Since Queensryche supported KISS in late 1984, I thought it only appropriate for the next post to be KISS’s “Animalize” album. Unlike Queensryche, I was able to put more details of their performance on this tour in “Rock and Roll Children.” Although I didn’t actually see the concert, I did get the video of KISS concert for “Animalize,” so that helped me a lot. This was in spite of the fact that the concert on the video didn’t take place in Philadelphia, which was where I went to see all the concerts at the time.

“Animalize” was the second album by KISS without their make up, following on from their previous album, “Lick It Up.” Now, I know KISS themselves along with many others like to downplay this era of Kisstory. True, they were looking more and more like a glam band but then again, so were many bands. However, I don’t think this album was particularly bad, it has its good moments.

The opener, “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)” opens with some metal sounding riffs, which I’ve always liked. The riffs alone make this song the best choice to open the album. Next comes the big single, “Heaven’s On Fire.” No arguments from me that this song was made for commercial radio and MTV. It is too similar to “Lick It Up” but then again, I don’t dislike it either. I just find myself amused at the similarities between the two singles.

“Burn Bitch Burn” is nothing more than a catchy title and a cool guitar solo. It does give weight to the belief that Gene was too sidetracked with other projects and not putting his full attention to KISS. Paul does succeed in making up for it with “Get All That You Can Take.” With all the “ooohs,” one could probably say it was Paul’s best vocal effort. It too has a cool guitar solo and throughout the years, I’ve wondered if Mark St John hasn’t been given the respect he deserves. Saying that, then future band member Bruce Kullick nails the guitar solo on the next track, “Lonely Is the Hunter” and makes me wonder if KISS should have had him play on the whole album. God, thinking about it can give a person a headache, almost. I will say that the track in question is a better effort from Gene, possibly his best on this album.

It seems that KISS tried to be more speed metal with “Under the Gun.” It is definitely the fastest song on the album and the best part is that Paul’s vocals fit the song. Maybe I’ve underestimated his vocal ability these many years. The song does open side two, if you have vinyl or cassette, very nicely and leads to my choice for hidden gem. I know that “Thrills in the Night” was released as the second single on the album but from what I’ve read, it failed to chart. That makes it a hidden gem in my opinion. It’s hard enough to please metalheads but with some good melody and Gene and Eric give great backing to Paul on the vocals and it has a cool guitar solo. Personally, I think the idea for the big single on their next album was taken from it. While I won’t call the remaining two songs, penned by Gene, filler, I won’t say they’re standout tracks. Just two good songs to end the album in the best way.

Track Listing:

  1. I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)
  2. Heaven’s On Fire
  3. Burn Bitch Burn
  4. Get All you Can Take
  5. Lonely is the Hunter
  6. Under the Gun
  7. Thrills in the Night
  8. While the City Sleeps
  9. Murder in High Heels

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, lead and backing vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Mark St John- lead guitar

Additional musicians

Bruce Kullick- lead guitar on “Lonely is the Night” and “Murder in High Heels”

Jean Beauvour (ex Plasmatics): bass on “Get All You Can Take,” “Thrills in the Night” and “Under the Gun”

Say what you want about KISS during their unmasked 1980s period, but I think that “Animalize” isn’t all that bad. It does have it’s good and amusing points but on the other hand, it never made me want to stop listening to “Destroyer.”

Next post: Whitesnake- Slide It In

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Queensryche- The Warning

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

One problem with going back in history is that it isn’t always easy to put yourself back in that time. In many instances, I’ve listened to albums with a different attitude than I did when I first listened to them when said album first came out. That is the unfortunate case with Queensryche. When I first heard their debut album, “The Warning,” I thought that it was pretty good. However, I wasn’t chalking up the days for when their second album would come out. Then there’s another dilemma. Sometimes having historical knowledge isn’t always good and in Queensryche’s case, it isn’t. See, what I know now that I didn’t know in 1984 was that this band would go onto to achieve some great things. Without breaking sweat, I can think of three Queensryche albums that are far superior to “The Warning” and that isn’t fair to this album because it’s still pretty cool.

My first experience of Queensryche came when my friend introduced me to them after he had seen them supporting KISS. I couldn’t go to that concert because I had to work and that is why my account in “Rock and Roll Children” of their performance that night is what one critic called ‘bare bones.’ I not only had to take myself 25 years back in time but I had to glean knowledge from another person’s memory. Still, I’m sure they kicked ass that evening.

I’ve decided not to review “The Warning” as if I was in 1984 because subsequent recent re-listens have led me to conclude that the debut album was simply a marker for the better things Queensryche would aspire too. The band might have not liked how the album was mixed but I can hear all the trademark elements that make a good Queensryche album. There are the anthems like tracks of “En Force” and “No Sanctuary.” Both of these songs represent what I’ve always liked about this band, as do the opening riffs of “Deliverance.” “Take Hold of the Flame” incorporates a little bit of everything. It has an acoustic intro before Geoff Tate’s vocals take things up a couple of notches. Additionally, the guitar solo of one Chris De Garmo has me agreeing with my sister’s assertion that the band hasn’t been the same since he left.

For me, the second half of the album is the better half. All four tracks are what I can call classic Queensryche metal. There is some interesting harmonizing on “Behold the Storm” and though “Child of Fire” and “Road to Madness” are cool tracks,  my vote for favourite track is “Warning.” It definitely has the catchiest licks of all the songs. It sounds like a true metal anthem and Tate puts his vocal stamp on it perfectly. In reference to the guitars, while I still stand by my remark about Chris, Michael Wilton shows he’s just as good on the axe. Great song!

Track Listing:

  1. N M 156
  2. En Force
  3. No Sanctuary
  4. Deliverance
  5. Take Hold the Flame
  6. Behold the Storm
  7. Child of Fire
  8. Warning
  9. Road to Madness

Queensryche

Geoff Tate- lead vocals

Chris De Garmo- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Wilton- guitar, backing vocals

Eddie Jackson- bass, backing vocals

Scott Rockenfield- drums

Who says a little knowledge is a dangerous thing? If I knew back in 1984 what I know now about Queensryche, I would have called this album, “a promising start.” Because that is exactly what “The Warning” was.

Next post: KISS- Animalyze

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Keel- Lay Down the Law

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2018 by 80smetalman

I’m now back in the UK and after getting over my worst ever case of jet lag, it’s back to business as usual here on 80smetalman’s Blog. Obediently following my list of albums for 1984, upon my return, the next one up just happened to be “Lay Down the Law” by Keel. This was one where back in the day, I listened to a couple of times and thought, “It’s okay,” before putting it to one side and hardly bothering with it since. As a result, the question as to whether I would be of the same opinion thirty plus years later came into play now.

Now, I know you’re all waiting with baited breath right now to know whether or not I am of the same opinion. Well, the answer is that the album is still just okay, although on some listens it manages to claw its way into the ‘Good’ region in my mind. In dissecting the album, let me start with the not so positives. First, there’s the opener, “Thunder and Lightening,” which is at the bottom of the best song rating list on the album. I think Keel try to hard to be that “We’re going to come out and kick your ass” type band with it. Unfortunately, they do not convince me. The other not so positive is the power ballad, “Princess of Illusion.” Now I know that many glam type metal bands have their token ballad on every album and maybe this was what the band was going for here. However, it will not even come close to any of my favourite power ballads.

Keel’s strength is playing straight ahead heavy metal. Fortunately, they do this rather well on the remainder of the songs. The title track and “Speed Demon” do well to make you forget the opener and that momentum is only slightly killed by the power ballad. Fortunately, the best song on the album comes right after it. “Born Ready” is Keel doing straight forward metal at it’s very best and I have to say that they should have followed that format all through the album. The following track, “Metal Generation,” does follow on very nicely.

“Till Hell Freezes Over” is  an attempt to emulate Dio or the Ronnie James Dio era of Black Sabbath. It’s starts out like it’s going to be another power ballad but before I think, “Oh, not again,” the song goes up two gears into more straight ahead metal. While it’s not quite equal to what Ronnie would have done, it’s a pretty good effort on Keel’s part. Besides, it has the best guitar solo on the album. “Tonight You’re Mine” takes things back to more familiar territory although the song is more speed metal here. Then they close with another brave effort, a cover of the Rolling Stones classic, “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” Covers can be rather hit or miss and in this case, Keel put a good metal touch on the song. Would Mick and Keith approve? That’s up to them. I do like the bit at the end where Ron sings a little of the title track before advising the listener of their Miranda rights.

My honest conclusion on “Lay Down the Law” is that Keel weren’t sure what they wanted to be with the album. They try different things on different songs and some work while others don’t. If I could have advised them back in 1984, I would have told them to stick with the straight forward metal because that’s what they seem to do best.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. Lay Down the Law
  3. Speed Demon
  4. Princess of Illusion
  5. Born Ready
  6. Metal Generation
  7. Till Hell Freezes Over
  8. Tonight You’re Mine
  9. Let’s Spend the Night Together

Keel

Ron Keel- guitar, vocals

Marc Ferrari- lead guitar, backing vocals

Bryan Jay- lead guitar, backing vocals

Kenny Chaisson- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Marks- drums, backing vocals

If I were giving marks, I would give Keel a B- for their debut album. “Lay Down the Law” does have some points they should not have touched but there was some definite potential here. Would they follow on this? That question will be answered when I visit future Keel albums.

Next post: Autograph- Sign In Please

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Best Kept Secret: Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

As most of you already know, I’ve come to America these past two weeks for not the happiest of reasons. However, in between my mother’s memorial service, the scattering of her ashes into the ocean and my getting stuck into cleaning her house, (she was a heavy smoker), there have been other more happier events like the wine tasting day my sister and her husband took me to. I also got to hook up with my old friend and true metal fan, Frank Formica, at a karaoke night. He even sang “Battle Hyms” by Manowar for me. So, it hasn’t been all gloom for me while I’ve been here, something I’ve been really grateful for.

Having some wine

On one of these more happier occasions, while at my sister and her husband’s house, they told me about this new lady blues guitarist whom they happened to see at some fair in New Jersey not long ago. The guitarists’ name was Hannah Wicklund and my brother in law, Mark Pickeral, who is a pretty good guitarist himself, was so blown away by this lady that he bought two of her albums. I believe this self titled one is her fourth album. But before I get into what a great album “Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones” is, I have to say that when they showed me concert footage of Hannah, I was just as blown away. The album is excellent, it’s going to move into my top 15 for sure, but she is even more kick ass live. I hope that one day I have the opportunity of seeing her do so.

Hannah Wicklund has been called a combination of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I can see the comparison here because she has the power vocals of Janis and she can play guitar like Jimi. When I listen to her blues based guitar rock, I am reminded of other greats in this genre like Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even  Eric Clapton. Her guitar playing can hold its own with any of these mentioned but none of them come close to her in her vocal ability. My God, can she sing! What we have here is a great singer who can shred brilliantly. For me, what’s not there to like?

The hardest thing I find to do when listening to “Hannah Wicklund & the Steppin Stones” is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have chosen, another comes along and vies for the title. This is down to the fact that there are ten great songs on the album. Her vocals come through straight away on the opener, “Bomb Through the Breeze” and her sheer power is stamped on “Ghost.” Then she changes up on “Looking Glass.” My vote, possibly, for best guitar solo comes on “On the Road.” Then just when you think you got her pegged, she surprises you with a near ballad like closer, “Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces.” But on every song, Hannah’s vocal and guitar skills shine through.

Track Listing:

  1. Bomb Through the Breeze
  2. Ghost
  3. Looking Glass
  4. Mama Said
  5. On the Road
  6. Crushin
  7. Strawberry Moon
  8. Too Close to You
  9. Meet You Again
  10. Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah Wicklund- lead vocals, guitar

I can’t find his name anywhere- bass

Luke Mitchell- drums

Note: Luke is also Hannah’s brother who fronts his own band, The High Divers.

One song wasn’t enough to do Hannah justice here so that’s why you are getting three. Hopefully, you will find as I do that Hannah Wicklund kicks ass and she is destined for great things.

Next post, I’ll decided that when I get back to the UK next week.

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Sammy Hagar- VOA

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

Sammy Hagar was most definitely a busy boy in 1984. In the early part of the year, he made the one album with HSAS along with Neil Schon from Journey. When I reviewed that album, I wrote a follow up post of what music life would have been like if HSAS had stayed together and released more albums. On the plus side, there would have been a couple more great albums from that quartet and we would have have been spared from Van Hagar, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to the individual conscience to determine. Furthermore, Neil Schon’s career would have been still going strong because Journey was fading from view by then. On the minus side, had that band remained in tact, we might have not been able to feast upon Sammy’s solo album from later on in 1984, “VOA.”

As a result of the big single from the album, Sammy would be described as the “red haired rocker who couldn’t drive fifty-five.” “I Can’t Drive 55” received constant airplay on radio and MTV, not that I ever complained about that. It is my favourite Sammy song of all time, a great tune about driving really fast. Funny thing was that I have no recollection of anyone calling for the song to be banned because it encouraged people to break speed limits. All I know is that I love that song.

Seven other songs also adorn the “VOA” album and all of them are really good. “Rock is In My Blood” is a good power song where Sammy declares that rock is in his blood and his soul. It also demonstrates that Sammy can play a guitar a little bit as well. Two songs come closest to being a power ballad here. One of them is “Two Sides of Love.” It’s not slow enough in my opinion to be a ballad but it is a song about a failing relationship. The guitars are good and the keyboards punctuate the song very effectively. Sammy’s solo is pretty good too.

Now let’s talk about the hidden gem on the album and man, do I love this song. I’m talking about “Dick in the Dirt.” The song is about a man named Richard to is a bit of a ladies’ man. The innuendo behind the lyrics is comical and remains so throughout the song. I always laugh my ass off whenever I listen to the song, even after more than thirty years! Apart from that, it is a good power song and comes with another cool guitar solo. So, I guess you could say that the song hits you from both sides.

For me, the least strongest song, (I call it such as none of the songs are weak), is the title track. Maybe it because it was used so much for patriotic purposes in the days of 80s Reagan America. Actually, it’s because the keyboards take over too much of the song. It’s good but not as much as the other seven songs. Fortunately, the last two songs are much stronger and end the album on a high. “Don’t Make Me Wait” is another song that comes near to being a power ballad but not near enough. It starts as if it’s going to be one but it just rocks. There is some great  guitar work from Sammy and the closer, “Burning Down the City,” all I can say is “Wow! What a great song to end the album with.”

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Drive 55
  2. Swept Away
  3. Rock is in My Blood
  4. Two Sides of Love
  5. Dick in the Dirt
  6. VOA
  7. Don’t Make Me Wait
  8. Burning Down the City

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar- lead vocals, lead guitar

Gary Pihl- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jesse Harms- keyboards, backing vocals

Bill Church- bass, backing vocals

David Lauser- drums, backing vocals

Whatever your thoughts might be on the path Sammy Hagar took in 1984 and after, you can’t fault that “VOA” is a great solo album. Things have moved on in the past three decades and in most American states, the speed limit is above 55. Maybe the big single influenced government to raise the speed limits.

Next post: Waysted

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