Archive for Americans

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Molly Hatchet- The Deed is Done

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by 80smetalman

In the mid and late 1980s, there was a belief that whenever a hard rock or heavy metal band incorporated keyboards into their sound, they had sold out and were trying to sound more commercial friendly. Yes, this was the case for a good number of bands back then and Molly Hatchet were accused of the same when guitarist Steve Holland was replaced with keyboards player John Galvin, who had played with Danny Joe Brown when he had his own band. Sure, the band moved away from their Southern Rock stylings to a more commercial friendly arena rock sound but their 1984 album, “The Deed is Done” is by no means in any shape or form a sell out.

While there are notable differences with this album and their very famous hard smashing album “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” the hard rock sound is there for all to hear. Even with two guitars, Molly Hatchet really rock out on the album, the keyboards only give it a more melodic back ground. The most prominent examples are the two tracks released as singles, “Satisfied Man” and the one I prefer slightly more, “Stone in Your Heart.” These are both rockers with John’s keyboards providing excellent melodic back up. Unlike so many bands who tried using keyboards, Molly Hatchet does it right here and unfortunately, this is why the album didn’t sell as well as the fore mentioned biggie. Some metalheads scoffed at the use of keyboards while mainstream trendies were put off by the hard guitars and labelled them heavy metal. That’s another issue about the 1980s, but I’ll save that for another time.

As for the rest of the tracks, they cook as well and the now guitar duo of Duane Rolands and Dave Hlubeck show that even with two guitars, they can still kick ass. There is many a good hard rock song on “The Deed is Done” to be heard. However, if someone moaned about them using keyboards, then that person might have really been freaked out by the use of a saxophone on the track, “She Does She Does.” What younger metalheads didn’t understand in the 80s was that saxophones were employed very well in many a good rock song throughout the ages and it is done very well on this track. And while Molly Hatchet may have moved a little away from their Southern Boogie Rock sound, it is still there in the tracks, “Heartbreak Radio” and “I Ain’t Got You”. In fact, the second half of the album really rocks. “Good Smoke and Whiskey” wasn’t only a great track, it was my theme song for a while. However, my personal favourite on this album has to be “Man on the Run.” The old style of Molly Hatchet is stamped on it from the very beginning and the keyboards, like on the hits, provide the necessary support. This song is probably the best example of how you can incorporate the old Hatchet with the new. So what you do get with “The Deed is Done” is a more melodic hard rock sound in places but with the traditional southern sound not completely forgotten. It does make an excellent combination to the open minded.

Going on a little more about the keyboards, John Galvin is definitely underrated in this position. Some have compared him to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Billy Powell, probably because their both from Southern Rock bands. Like Southern Rock bands, the piano is given that honky tonk sound which only works with bands like these two giants. However, John’s work with organs and synthesizers can’t be ignored because he plays them well. Oh yes, with all the talk about keyboards, I forgot to mention that the album also marked the return of Bruce Crump on drums. It was good to hear him return on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfied Man
  2. Backstabber
  3. She Does She Does
  4. Intro Piece
  5. Stone In Your Heart
  6. Man on the Run
  7. Good Smoke and Whiskey
  8. Heartbreak Radio
  9. I Ain’t Got You
  10. Straight Shooter
  11. Song For the Children

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Duane Rolands- guitar

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

John Galvin- keyboards

Riff West- bass

Bruce Crump- drums

Additional Musicians

Jim Horn- saxophone

Jimi Jamison, Tom DeLuca, Steve Bassett, Terry Manning- background vocals

I think that I’ve established before the metal court that “The Deed is Done” album was in no way a sell out for Molly Hatchet. While the album marks a departure from their traditional Southern sound, it still rocks and rocks hard. It’s just a shame there were too many musically narrow minded people around in the mid 1980s who didn’t give the album a chance.

Next post: Blackfoot- Vertical Smiles

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1503214910&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

For a good many people, the “Born in the USA” album from Bruce Springsteen was the album of the year in 1984. No one can debate how successful this album was. Any album which sell 11 million copies certainly is that. For the Top 40 brigade, it produced seven singles and like U2, Bruce Springsteen was one of those artists who both metalheads and non metalheads could listen to and not feel they were being unfaithful to their chosen genre. Needless to say, 1984 was Bruce’s year and this album was the reason why.

Now, I’m not one to rain on anyone’s parade but I am going to make my opinion known as it was the same now as it was then. Like the rest of the world, I agree that this is a fine album. It was certainly four steps up from his previous album, the rather depressing, “Nebraska,” but I don’t rate this album as high as classics like “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and only slightly higher than “The River.” Still, unlike outgoing governor Chris Christie, Bruce Springsteen has always made me feel proud that I grew up in New Jersey.

Reflecting back, I think my main problem with “Born in the USA” was the fact that all of the singles got played to death on the radio at the time. That usually happens in any artist’s home ground so New Jersey radio stations did that. However, some of the singles got tiresome after hearing them played for the 957th time. “Glory Days” and “I’m On Fire” were examples of this and probably “Dancing in the Dark” as well. They were all good songs but got old after hearing them so many times. Saying that, “Cover Me” is the big exception here. I could hear that song 9050 times and wouldn’t get tired of it.

Fortunately, the great thing about the album was the tracks that weren’t singles. They’re all brilliant! There is some good traditional Springsteen rock to be had on all five of these. I’m talking about “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean.” For me, it is these tracks that have made “Born in the USA” so enjoyable for me.

While most people have raved about the songs on here, I think what often gets overlooked is the lyrics behind many of these songs. Personally, I can identify a tiny bit with the title track. I didn’t serve in Vietnam but Bruce highlights how badly those who served over there were treated. I had been out of the service about a year and by this time, I was beginning to wonder what had been the point of my serving due to the way I was being treated. Only the Vietnam Vets had it far worse than I ever did. The real eye opener was “My Home Town.” It was about his native town, Asbury Park and what was happening while he was growing up. It does make one stand up and think of how divided the nation really was back in the 1960s. Bruce let his feelings be known when he wrote these songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in the USA
  2. Cover Me
  3. Darlington County
  4. Working on the Highway
  5. Downbound Train
  6. I’m On Fire
  7. No Surrender
  8. Bobby Jean
  9. I’m Goin’ Down
  10. Glory Days
  11. Dancing in the Dark
  12. My Home Town

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitars

Roy Bittan- piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, percussion backing vocals

Danny Federici- organ, glockenspiel, piano

Gary Tallent- bass, backing vocals

Steven Van Zandt- acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals

Max Weinberg- drums, backing vocals

It is slightly amazing that in a year where heavy metal dominated, a great rock album like “Born in the USA” could do so astronomically well. It was considered by many Bruce Springsteen’s crowning achievement.

Next post: Planet P- Pink World

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1500740514&sr=8-5&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Billy Satellite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Jethro Tull, Billy Satellite is the name of a band. As far as I know, there is no individual with that name. Also, like the Bangles, their debut album came and went in 1984 with little notice except for keen persons like myself who had an ear out for some good straightforward rock. Unlike the Bangles or Jethro Tull, this self titled album would be the band’s only release and they would drift off into obscurity living only in my memory.

Their album is the reason why Billy Satellite has lived in the back corners of my mind for over three decades. It is a really cool down to earth straight ahead rock album. All the elements to make the album great are there. Good vocals, some cool guitars and a sound rhythm section with a keyboard accompaniment that brings out the flavour of the mix really well. So, my question is, why didn’t people take more notice of Billy Satellite? My only suggested answer is that with all of the heavy metal that was flying about at the time, they simply got lost in the hysteria. They definitely aren’t a heavy metal band but they were a hell of a lot better than a lot of the non metal in this year.

If you want something to compare them to, then the closest would be Night Ranger but that might being doing them a disservice. They were unique enough to not need any comparison as far as this album is concerned. The first three tracks come straight at you with some of that good straight ahead rock that I have been talking about. The opener was also the highest charting single (#64). It is a good track but I like the following one, “Last Call.” That is the standout for me with all the elements of a good hard rock song present. Track #3 is a good one too before the two ballads, “Trouble” being the better of the two. Then things go back to heavy rock with the cool, “Rockin’ Down the Highway” and continue to do so for the rest of the album. “Turning Point” has a slight blues feel to it and the tempo change works well on the album. It has a good guitar solo but notes don’t reveal which guitarist is responsible. That leads nicely to “Bye Bye Baby” which borders on a ballad and a rock song. Rock returns for sure with “Standing with the Kings” and that leads to the closer which ends the album very well.

Track Listing:

  1. Satisfy Me
  2. Last Call
  3. Do Ya
  4. I Wanna Go Back
  5. Trouble
  6. Rockin’ Down the Highway
  7. Turning Point
  8. Bye Bye Baby
  9. Standing With the Kings
  10. The Lonely One

Billy Satellite

Monty Byrom- guitars, vocals, keyboards

Danny Chauncey- guitars, keyboards

Ira Walker- bass

Tom ‘Fee’ Faletti- drums

While sitting here typing this, I have come to a conclusion as to why Billy Satellite didn’t go further in 1984. It was that they were about four or five years too soon. Thinking about some of the bands in the late 80s, Danger Danger and Hurricane and Winger, these guys would have fit in well with that group. Unfortunately, they were five years too soon and although they had a cool album, it didn’t do well enough for them to continue. They would split and go their separate ways.

Next post: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500479463&sr=1-6&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Bangles- All Over the Place

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Before Prince and other more commercial types got their claws into them, The Bangles debut album, “All Over the Place” was a solid new wave sounding album. When the video for the single, “The Hero Takes a Fall” appeared on MTV one day, I thought to myself, I like this song. It wasn’t heavy but there was just enough guitar in there for me.

“The Hero Takes a Fall” never broke the top forty charts in 1984, most likely because I liked it. What it did do was to further my intrigue into this band and I liked what I discovered. Like, I said above, “All Over the Place” is a decent album. There is a strong new wave sound but it stops a just short of being a hard rocker and in no way did it knock Girlschool off top spot as my favourite all female band.

The funny thing is that the album could have been a cool metal album if they had let loose with the guitars a bit more. One song that typifies this is “All About You.” There is a guitar bit that sounds okay but it would have sounded amazing if they had put a fuzz box in there. The same thing could have been said about “Restless” and “Tell Me.” However, there is another song that stands above even those. “Dover Beach” is where lead guitarist Vicki Peterson really gets to shred a little. I’m not going to say she’s a hidden guitar great because of one solo but it would have been nice to hear her shred a little more. She does shred a little bit on “Going Down to Liverpool” but because the song is in the early Beatles form, her guitar solo sounds like something from “A Hard Day’s Night.” Not a bad thing and the song is okay, it just doesn’t make it any real rocker.

“He’s Got a Secret” is another decent song. It’s about a man whose cheating on his partner and there is some good guitar work in it. However, it is the vocals of Susanna Hoffs which punctuate the song for me. Actually, the hardest rock song is, “Silent Treatment” and it’s good to hear the band really let loose. I think that song should have been the closer as I was never very impressed with the one that actually is.

Track Listing:

  1. The Hero Takes a Fall
  2. Live
  3. James
  4. All About You
  5. Dover Beach
  6. Tell Me
  7. Restless
  8. Going Down to Liverpool
  9. He’s Got a Secret
  10. Silent Treatment
  11. More Than Meets the Eye

The Bangles

Susannah Hoffs- rhythm guitar, vocals

Vicki Peterson- lead guitar, vocals

Michael Steele- bass

Debbi Peterson- drums, vocals

While I wasn’t the only one who took notice of the Bangles in 1984, they pretty much came and went through the year unnoticed. Unfortunately, the wrong people, as far as this metalhead is concerned, did take notice of them and would turn them into a top forty band. That is why “All Over the Place” would be the only Bangles album I would ever listen to.

Next Post: Billy Satellite

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1500195556&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Motley Crue- Shout at the Devil

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-shoutatthedevil

I believe I’m not the only one who thinks “Shout at the Devil” is Motley Crue’s best album. It would be after that Motley Crue would be more into posing instead of the quality of their music. The band’s image with that album was darker, to the point they would be accused of Satanism. Then again, I’ve always said that being accused of that was the mark of a metal band’s success.

They first came to my attention courtesy of MTV where I saw the video for the album’s first single, “Looks That Kill.” You know the one where the band traps a bunch of scantly clad women in a steel fence only to be rescued by some Valkyrie type warrior. In 1983, I found that video to be cool but having watched it again recently, I just laugh at it. Furthermore, nowadays, I agree with anyone who says that video is sexist. Still, I do like the song, probably my favourite Crue song of all time.

Let me be blunt here, I have always thought that Motley Crue weren’t the most talented musicians to get together and call themselves a band. However, on “Shout at the Devil,” they definitely play to their strengths. There are some good songs on it too. True, beginnings like they way Motley Crue start the album off with “In the Beginning,” which sounds like a sermon before crashing headlong into the title track seem more common these days but it was a good attention grabber. “Bastard” is a decent song and the instrumental “God Bless the Children of the Beast” convinces me that Mick Mars is not the worst guitarist in metal. Like Pat Benatar and Vow Wow and quite a few other bands, they have their own cover of the Beatles classic, “Helter Skelter.” Probably the most, covered Beatles song in heavy metal. Other bands have produced better covers of it but Motley Crue’s isn’t bad.

Side two of “Shout at the Devil” isn’t quite as good as the first side. The only real standout song is their second single, “Too Young to Fall in Love.” However, what they do well is to stick to the basic formula of heavy metal and it works well for them. Then again, I do like some of the riffs on “Knock’em Dead Kid” and Mars’s guitar solo on “Ten Seconds to Love” is rather cool. In reference to what said about four of the last five songs not standing out, they do keep the album ticking over to an interesting closer in “Danger.”

Track Listing:

  1. In the Beginning
  2. Shout at the Devil
  3. Looks That Kill
  4. Bastard
  5. God Bless the Children of the Beast
  6. Helter Skelter
  7. Red Hot
  8. Too Young to Fall in Love
  9. Knock’Em Dead Kid
  10. Ten Seconds to Love
  11. Danger
Motley Crue

Motley Crue

Vince Neil- vocals

Mick Mars- guitars

Nikki Sixx- bass

Tommy Lee- drums

“Shout at the Devil,” will always remain for me, Motley Crue’s best album. However, it seem when they broke through with it, the abandoned some of the things that this album helped gain them that commercial success.

Next post: Dokken- Breaking the Chains

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Trump’s Presidency Usher in a New Wave of Heavy Metal?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by 80smetalman
Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I read a post on a blog, which my buddy 1537 reminded me of in his post last night, that the Presidency of the newly elected Donald Trump may usher in a new wave of heavy metal. With his ultra conservative politics, there will be a lot of angry musicians out there who will be inspired to write a lot of songs about Trump and the political/social climate that might generate from it. From that, a resurgence in heavy metal might just come about. Plus history can back it up.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Let’s begin by going back to the 198os when the US President was another ultra conservative, Ronald Reagan. During the decade, for which he was in office for most of, there was a heavy metal explosion. First there was the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), which filled the early part of that decade. Inspired by that, many American metal bands emerged, I don’t feel I have to name them all. Towards the end of Ronnie’s presidency, we had the onslaught of thrash, a custom blend of punk and heavy metal. Even the PMRC, who operated with Reagan’s behind the scenes positive nod, failed to stop the heavy metal onslaught. It could also be why the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. It also gave me good amount of inspiration when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush was a liberal Republican and that coincided with a downward trend in heavy metal. That continued well into the presidency of the more liberal Bill Clinton. We had the grunge period and a lot of great 80s metal acts kind of drifted into near obscurity during the 1990s. I say near but not total, I do remember some great metal from old and new acts but metal was definitely stuck in a rut during this decade. In fact, I heard former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra once say that many members of hardcore punk bands in the 80s, in the 90s, went back to California, got computer jobs and started driving BMW’s. Maybe, there wasn’t anything to be angry about during Clinton’s presidency.

George W Bush

George W Bush

That all changed with the election of George W Bush in 2000. A new wave of ultra conservative politics brought on a new wave of heavy metal. The fragmented factions of metal, whether it by nu metal, Viking metal, black metal etc, established themselves back on the world music stage. They seemed to put aside their differences and come together for the common metal good. Furthermore, gaining inspiration from their 1980s elders, many of the bands from the golden decade also made a comeback. Again, we see right wing politics ushering in a new surge in heavy metal.

Barrack Obama

Barrack Obama

Obama’s presidency did bring the heavy metal surge to a more calming trickle. Fortunately, the lessons of the 1990s were learned and heavy metal didn’t go underground. While no new ground has been gained during the more liberal years of Obama, none has been lost either. What may have happened is that metal had become insular with metalheads finding sanctuary with each other. Metal now rests upon a springboard, ready to jump into any direction. If the person, I voted for, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, had been elected, metal would have gone in a more artsy direction. Not much chance of that happening.

Now we have Trump, who many believe to be extremely right wing, racist, sexist and a few other ists as well. So the question to be asked is “Will Trump’s presidency lead to a new resurgence in heavy metal? The answer will soon be made known to us. Things are promising to heat up in the heavy metal world and I am very excited to see what will become of it.

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Metallica- Kill’Em All

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-metallica_-_kill_em_all_cover

God, I’m thinking about the near fatal gaff I made back in the summer which would have caused me to write about this fantastic album in the wrong year. Never should have allowed myself to have been misled by Hit Parader. Then again, the article wasn’t about Motley Crue so they were bound to be misleading. Furthermore, I didn’t hear of Metallica until 1984 and experienced their second album before this one. Anyway, now that’s history, I can pontificate on what a great album, “Kill’Em All,” Metallica’s debut album really is.

It certainly is a great album. Back in 1983, Metallica were hungry and not weighted down by what they thought listeners wanted or dictated to by corporate record producers. That fact surely shines through on the entire album. Some have argued that this album came out when Metallica were good. Nah, I say they’re still good, it’s just back then, they just didn’t give a fuck. That attitude was what got this album and their next three into hearts of many a metalhead like me.

“Kill’Em All” might not sound as polished as other albums but that’s a good thing here. It opens with a thrash sounding “Hit the Lights,” which opens things up very nicely. If I had listened to it when I should have, I would have embraced thrash right then and there. Probably my favourite track on the album, “The Four Horsemen,” defines what Metallica both were and would be come. The song may be over seven minutes long but it’s not one that has you looking at your watch waiting for it to end. Especially with all the changes in it. “Motorbreath” has my favourite Kirk Hammet guitar solo from the album on it.

After “Jump in the Fire,” which is a good song, I just can’t explain why, comes the very intriguing bass instrumental compliments of the late, great Cliff Burton. It’s very interesting to say the least and it paves the way for some more really good thrash tunes. There’s a cool intro on “Whiplash” while “Phantom Lord” is straight ahead thrash and my second favourite here. Things only seem to improve on “Kill’Em All” after that. I love the intro to “No Remorse” with the lead guitar wailing away before the crunching rhythm sets in. A trademark that many thrash bands have copied ever since. Hearing it, I am of the mindset that Kirk owes some of his lead guitar greatness to the rhythm support provided by James Hetfield. Things don’t end there! The albums closes out with not one but two great songs, “Seek and Destroy” and “Metal Militia.” Both are great! It can be said that in 1983, Metallica thrust themselves and thrash upon America.

Track Listing:

  1. Hit the Lights
  2. The Four Horsemen
  3. Motorbreath
  4. Jump in the Fire
  5. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth
  6. Whiplash
  7. Phantom Lord
  8. No Remorse
  9. Seek and Destroy
  10. Metal Militia
Metallica

Metallica

James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammet- lead guitar

Lars Ulrich- drums

Cliff Burton- bass

Whether or not the world was ready for it, Metallica brought something new and fresh with “Kill’Em All.” A raw, ferocious sound that would influence many thrash bands for years to come. I do regret not listening to the album in the year it came out but I’m glad I got it now.

Next post: Fastway

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