Archive for Blues

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018: Tragedies and Triumphs

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

We are all reflecting on 2018 as the year comes to a close. For me, the year has been a roller coaster of triumphs and tragedies. The tragedies being losses in my own personal life as well as some in the music and entertainment world. Although it happened in 2017, the effects of the passing of my mother in law were felt for several weeks into the new year. Then, when I thought Mrs 80smetalman and I had gotten over it, my mother died in early March. Losing both mothers barely two months apart is something I would not wish on any couple. After putting that behind us, my wife’s aunt suddenly died. No one was really expecting it but it was not the way anyone wanted to see the year end.

Like 2016 and 17, 2018 has had its share of people we love from the music world departing this world, including two I only just found out about. Those were Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy from The Blues Brothers and former Jefferson Airplane/Starship lead singer Marty Balin. Saying that, the list I found them on did not include Huntress lead singer, Jill Janus, which I’m a little peeved about. Here’s a list of some of the others who passed on.

Vinnie Paul

Bruno Sammartino

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

It’s rather ironic that Aretha Franklin and Matt Murphy, they played husband and wife in the Blues Brothers film, both died in 2018.

Marty Balin

The only decent shot I got of Jill Janus and she has her back to me

Ed King

Fortunately, there were many triumphs in 2018 as well. The best of those was becoming a grandfather, thus ensuring a third generation of metalheads in the LeFevre family. In addition, two weeks ago, I got to see my daughter receive her master’s degree, a proud moment.

Grandfather and grandson

Needless to say, there were a lot of musical highs in 2018 as well. In February, I was invited to the album launch party for the band Black Emerald. A band I had seen at Bloodstock in 2013 and impressed me so much, I wrote a post as to why they should be signed. Someone must have read it because this year saw the release of Black Emerald’s debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us. I have listened to the album several times now and it’s brilliant. I hope this is the dawning of great things to come for this band.

Although my trip to the US, was due to tragic circumstances in March, I still got to experience what I called “America’s best kept secret” in the form of blues guitarist and singer Hannah Wicklund and her band the Steppin’ Stones. This was another album from this year that I enjoy more with each listen.

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah wasn’t the only lady in rock to turn my head in 2018. Not long after, I got to experience Lebanese metal maidens Slave to Sirens. Last report I heard, they are working on a full length album and I will definitely be picking it up when it comes out.

Slave to Sirens

No year would be complete without going to a music festival or two. In June, I went to the Sunday at Download where I was awed by the likes of Iglorious, Shinedown, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson and Ozzy himself. I was also introduced to up and coming new band, Puppy but the best part for me was after a more than thirty year wait, I got to see German thrashers, Kreator. It was definitely a day to remember.

Mille leads Kreator onto the stage

Ozzy’s kick ass show

One festival wasn’t enough so in August, I went to Bloodstock for the full three days. Each day brought both the expected and unexpected. On the Friday, Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro all performed as well as I thought but I was further impressed by Kamelot and Feed the Rhino. Likewise on Saturday, Gojira proved they earned the headlining slot but I was also wowed by Orden Organ, the pirate metal of Alestorm and Sophie Lancaster Stage headliners Orphaned Land. I am currently listening to Orphaned Land’s new album, “Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs” and so far, I’m very much liking what I am hearing. However, you can’t forget Sunday, which could have been called Scandinavian Day as most of the bands were from Sweden or Finland. Still, Fozzy was brilliant as always and Mr Big showed they could play Bloodstock and Devil Driver was one big mosh pit. On the other hand, I was very grateful for my introductions to Amaranthe and Nepalese metalers Underside. This was a great way to end my festival career.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

ST comes on stage

Doro on the Sophie Stage

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Alestorm on stage with a lot of flying inflatable objects.

Orphaned Land

A shot of the entire band

Amaranthe won me over

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

Late in the year, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells made their annual trip to Stroud and were as good as always but the year ended with seeing Slayer, Anthrax and Lamb of God in Cardiff. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and it was a great night for them to go out on.

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

Anthrax in Cardiff

Lamb of God

Slayer appear!

Yes, 2018 was a year of triumphs and tragedies for me. The important thing is that I got through it with many great memories. Likewise, 2019 is also looking very promising. On the personal side, both of my sons are getting married this year. My younger one in February and my eldest is getting married in December. While I have retired from going to three day festivals, I think I will go to Bloodstock on the Sunday with the Scorpions headlining that day and Dee Snider playing as well. However, the band I want to see most that day is Queensryche. I’m already looking forward.

So, I wish all of you a very happy 2019! I look forward to continuing my tour through the golden decade of heavy metal as well as talking about relevant events and I look forward to reading what you all have to say in 2019.

Next post: I think I’ll put on some of the music from the bands I mentioned here.

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: Eric Clapton- Edge of Darkness

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2018 by 80smetalman

Blast Wikipedia! A few months ago, when I posted about Eric Clapton’s “Behind the Sun” album, I saw that in Eric’s discography, this 1985 “Edge of Darkness” album mentioned. Thinking, that it might be some little known live album, I decided to include it in my list of great albums of 1985. It turns out that Eric wrote the musical score for the British television series of the same name. At first, I thought, “Boy, do I feel foolish” but after several listens, I think it is still worthy of an 80smetalman post.

Basically, Clapton just went into the studio and did what he did best on the guitar. He just jams away through the six song EP which is only 19 minutes long. That’s no problem for me either because it is 19 minutes of pure guitar heaven. Listening to the opening title track, I am left to conclude that the television show was some horror/mystery/suspense programme. The way the guitar just lays down that sort of vibe, backed up by a piano which makes the entire song sound rather eerie. If that was what Eric was going for, he did a great job.

The rest of the album follows along in this vein. There are no fast hard rocking tracks here, just some mood effecting instrumentals. “Escape From Northmoor” stands out a little because of the use of keyboards building up the suspense. Furthermore, Eric’s guitar intro on “Oxford Circus” makes for a good change of pace and lets everyone know that he’s still a guitar God. I have come to the further conclusion that “Edge of Darkness” is a good album to just sit back, mellow out and get engrossed in the music.

Track Listing:

  1. Edge of Darkness
  2. Shoot Out
  3. Obituary
  4. Escape From Northmoor
  5. Oxford Circus
  6. Northmoor

Eric Clapton

There are no musical credits listed here so I assume that Eric Clapton played all the instruments himself.

One thing I have taken for granted over the years was how many great guitarists or their bands put out albums in 1985. There was Eric Clapton of course and Jeff Beck, plus when I hit the metal portion of 1985, will go on about Yngwie Malmsteen. On top of that, there were offerings from Mark Knopfler and Angus Young. I had also got the added bonus of seeing all of these, except Jeff Beck, live in this year and while Deep Purple’s album came out in 1984, I did see them live in early 1985 so Ritchie Blackmore must be added here too. What a great year it was.

Next post: Loverboy- Lovin’ Every Minute of It

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: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Soul to Soul

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

If I had relied on MTV for musical influence back in 1985, I would have never discovered this cool album from Stevie Ray Vaughan. I remember not being overly impressed with the music video for the song, “Change It” from the album. That was because that a huge part of Stevie’s guitar solo on the song got cut out of the video and that was a damn shame. What he could do with a guitar was what Stevie Ray Vaughan was all about and the 1985 album, “Soul to Soul” demonstrates this to a tee.

At the time, blues based guitarists seemed to be not trendy enough for the then current generation of MTV slaves. Eric Clapton was accused of being too ‘new wave’ and in spite of some great albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rory Gallagher had not really broken through to the USA. Furthermore, Pat Travers seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth, it was reassuring that Stevie Ray Vaughan was able to carry the torch in traditional blues based style.

Any doubt about it is erased on the very first track of “Soul to Soul.” “Say What” is a blinding blues instrumental where Stevie just takes his guitar and does what does best with it. He does take over the vocal duties on the songs after that and while his vocals are okay, it’s the guitar work that impresses me more. “Look at Little Sister” is the hidden gem on the album because of the upbeat tempo along with the combination of saxophone and guitar which sounds perfect for this song. The following track “Ain’t Gone n Give Up On Love” is also an amazing blues song reminding me of some of the blues Gods who have gone before such as John Lee Hooker and BB King. There’s another blinder of a guitar solo on that one.

Thinking about it and my Swiss cheese memory might be to blame here, maybe it wasn’t “Change It” that I saw on MTV all those years ago. Listening to it now, this song is much better than what I remember seeing on the video. I have to confess it is a great song. The remainder of the album doesn’t depreciate in any way. The fast paced “You’ll Be Mine” takes things up a notch or four leading right to the great guitar solo intro on “Empty Arms.” After more blistering guitar solos on “Come On (Part III), the album concludes nicely with the slow blues number, “Life Without You” making “Soul to Soul” a classic blues rock album for the 1980s.

Linking past to present, while I have always loved Stevie Ray Vaughan’s music, I think the reason I like it even more these days is because this album especially reminds me of the television show, “NCIS- New Orleans.” Mrs 80smetalman and I are both big fans of the show and with every song here, I think of the end of the programme when after solving the big case, the team are all celebrating in the bar owned by Scott Bakula’s character and this type of music always seems to be playing in the background. Think about it, if it hadn’t been for Stevie’s tragic death from a helicopter crash in 1990, he might have made a guest appearance on the show. That would have been awesome!

Track Listing:

  1. Say What
  2. Lookin’ Out the Window
  3. Look at Little Sister
  4. Ain’t Gone n Give Up On Love
  5. Gone Home
  6. Change It
  7. You’ll Be Mine
  8. Empty Arms
  9. Come on (Part III)
  10. Life Without You

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan- guitar, vocals, drums on “Empty Arms”

Tommy Shannon- bass

Chris Layton- drums

Reese Wynans- keyboards

Joe Sublett- saxophone on “Lookin’ Out the Window” and “Look at Little Sister”

Stevie Ray Vaughan proved that blues based rock was still alive and well in 1985 in spite of what the synth pop addled MTV youth might have said. “Soul to Soul” is a fantastic album.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Double Trouble Live

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Fighters Foo

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

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

Hell’s Bells in action

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar and backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Simon Wright- drums

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

Next post: Slayer- Hell Awaits

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Dire Straits- Brothers in Arms

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

The arrival of “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits in the summer of 1985 brought many different reactions to people. Back then, I couldn’t help but laugh at teens who thought they were the brand new sensation of the 1980s. More than one of these was completely dumbfounded when I told them that Dire Straits had been on the go since 1978 and had four prior albums. Old time followers though, upon hearing this album accused the band of abandoning their original sound and going too new wave. Some even went onto say that Dire Straits had sold out. I never thought that though I realize now that particular label got banded around too much.

“Money for Nothing” was the first big single from “Brothers in Arms” and it seemed to be on every time I switched on MTV. It also got lots of radio airplay and that was one piece of evidence used by hardcore followers to insist the band sold out. Further evidence was the fact that Sting sang accompanying vocals on the song. If you want to know my thoughts, (and you do want to know my thoughts), I never thought this song was a sell out. Furthermore, I thought Sting did a damn good job on the vocals and I have always loved the fuzz guitar throughout the song. Okay, it didn’t dislodge “Sultans of Swing” off my top spot for my favourite Dire Straits songs, it didn’t even make the top three, but it is a good song.

In fact, “Money for Nothing,” isn’t even my favourite song on this album! That honour goes to the next song on the album, “Walk of Life.” Sure, there’s a heavy keyboard sound on it but it wasn’t done in that choppy synth pop style. Got to give full marks to Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher on it, they play it very well. Plus the song just has a vibe that grabs me and has me nodding along to the melody. Maybe also the American sports themed video on MTV might have had some influence on me too.

Unfortunately, after the those two songs and a cool opener, “So Far Away” is a more traditional sounding Dire Straits song for me, the album goes a little downhill on the next couple of songs. While the sax playing of Michael Brecker on “Your Latest Trick” is very good, it doesn’t redeem the song to a point where I can say, “Hey, this is good.” Nor do things improve with the next track, “Why Worry.” Both of these songs could be put on an album called, “Dire Straits Does Elevator Music” for that’s what they remind of.

Fortunately, the album improves to more familiar Dire Straits territory after that. While there are still elements of elevator music on “Ride Across the River,” at least Mark Knopfler let’s his guitar do some singing on it and I do like the jungle rhythms in the background. Then for a complete change, there is a country music sounding acoustic guitar intro on “The Man’s Too Strong” before going into more Dire Straits sounding guitar rock. This track will have you saying, “This is more like it” and my vote for hidden gem on the album. However, it does get some stiff competition for that honour from the next track, “One World.” More of the old Dire Straits here and again, Mr Knopfler isn’t afraid to let loose on the guitar. Those two songs all lead to the end which is carried out very somberly but nicely by the title track.

Track Listing:

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money For Nothing
  3. Walk of Life
  4. Your Latest Trick
  5. Why Worry
  6. Ride Across the River
  7. The Man’s Too Strong
  8. One World
  9. Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, lead vocals

Alan Clark- keyboards

Omar Hakim- drums

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

Guy Fletcher- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Sting- vocals on “Money for Nothing”

Michael Brecker- saxophone on “Your Latest Trick”

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Malcolm Duncan- saxophone

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Mike Mainieri- vibraphone, keyboards

David Plews- trumpet

Jack Sonni- guitar synthesizer on “The Man’s Too Strong”

It was on the tour for this album when I finally got to see Dire Straits live. It was a good show but and they played “Sultans of Swing”  as well as several songs from this album. There was a good mix of old and new followers there too. However, my big hang up about that evening was they didn’t play my number two and three DS songs, “Skateaway” and “Industrial Disease.” You can’t have everything I suppose. Still, no matter which side of the fence you sit on for “Brothers in Arms,” I have to say that it’s not a bad album.

Next post: The Power Station

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537988591&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: George Thorogood- Maverick

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

George Thorogood

George Thorogood- guitar, lead vocals

Hank Carter- saxophone, harmony vocals

Billy Blough- bass

Jeff Simon- drums, percussion

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

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare to be Stupid

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Los Lobos- How Will the Wolf Survive

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

I think this is another case of my Swiss cheese memory. I could have sworn that my first encounter with Los Lobos was in 1985 but Wikipedia claims their first full album came out in 1984. It probably did and I didn’t actually hear of it until early 85. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. It doesn’t matter either way because Los Lobos was my first encounter with a style of rock some people called Tex-Mex. This is a infusion of country music from Texas and Mexican music. All I thought at the time was this is a nice piece of rock and roll.

My belief it’s rock and roll comes from the opening track, “Don’t Worry Baby.” This track sound very 1950s and I envision kids dancing around to it in Happy Days fashion. Still, it’s a good way to open the album. The second track, “A Matter of Time” is certainly more soft rock although I wouldn’t say it’s a ballad but it keeps things ticking over nicely. Los Lobos’s Mexican influence definitely shines through on the third track, “Corrido #1.” Again, it is very catchy and though I’ve never done it, it is an amusing song to play at parties. One could definitely dance along and shout “Ole!” with this one.

While the third track brought the Mex, the very next track brings forth the Tex. “Our Last Night” sounds classic country  and visions of people four-stepping and shouting “Yee-ha!” fill my mind here. The lead guitar sounds very country western. Things swing back to the Mex with “The Breakdown” but the 50s sound from the opening track is present too. The combination works and smoothly takes you to the drinking track on the album, “I Got Loaded.” Singing about getting drunk to a catchy 50s melody makes me want to bob along while taking swigs from a bottle. Can’t do it this time, I’m still on the wagon from Bloodstock. I love the sax solo at the end.

Mexico can certainly be felt with “Serenata Norteno.” This sounds like a fiesta and it is sung in Spanish but it’s a nice catchy little tune. A cool 50s sounding guitar solo opens the next track, “Evangeline” and sets the tone for the rest of it. The track cooks all the way through with another cool guitar solo in the middle. “I Got to Let You Know” is in the same 50s vibe but faster. Once I joked that the song was 50s thrash, though not quite that fast and the vocals are cleaner. Plus there’s a sax solo in the middle so you really can’t call it thrash. After the short instrumental, “Lil’ King of Everything,” Los Lobos save the best for last. Closing the album is the title track and first single. While all the mentioned influences are compacted into the song, it totally rocks! It has always been my all time favourite Los Lobos song. Like I said, it’s a great way to end an album.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Worry Baby
  2. A Matter of Time
  3. Corrido#1
  4. Our Last Night
  5. The Breakdown
  6. I Got Loaded
  7. Serenata Norteno
  8. Evangeline
  9. I Got to Let You Know
  10. Lil’ King of Everything
  11. How Will the Wolf Survive

Los Lobos

Steve Berlin- saxophones, percussion

David Hildalgo- lead vocals, guitar, steel trap, accordion, percussion

Conrad Lozano- bass, backing vocals, guitarron

Louie Perez- drums, backing vocals, bajo quinto

Caesar Rosas- lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, bajo sexto

Thirty-three and a half years ago, I very much enjoyed my introduction into Tex-Mex. Los Lobos put out a grand debut album.

Next post: The Hooters- Nervous Night

Note: I’m going away for five days on a much needed vacation so the post won’t be for about a week.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535658688&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Eric Clapton- Behind the Sun

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

In my last few posts, I have recollected how back in 1985, I thought several great rockers from the 1970s had sold out and gone too commercial only to realize that I was wrong when finally getting around to listening to their album. However, I never said this about guitar god Eric Clapton when his “Behind the Sun” album came out in the same year. Ironically, all the music critics at the time said he did exactly that, citing his collaboration with Phil Collins on the album. One said that Eric was in danger of turning his back on his faithful following and liable to end up playing his greatest hits on the Vegas circuit. What do critics know?

It was on tour for this album when I finally got to see Eric Clapton in his full glory in concert. I do make a passing comment about it in “Rock And Roll Children.” Memories from that piece of history have brought up two items from that night. One, Eric did play a lot of his greatest hits that evening but he did play some from the album too. The other and I think this might be down to management, his two female backing singers were dressed kind of new wave but that didn’t affect his brilliant music played that evening. If anything, I thought the biggest act of sacrilege from the show was that he let the rhythm guitarist play a solo on “Cocaine.”

If Eric Clapton sounds new wave or too commercial on the “Behind the Sun” album, I sure as hell don’t hear any evidence of it. To me, this was Eric Clapton at his usual best. Even looking at the two singles released from the album, “She’s Waiting” and “Forever Man” do not give me any thought that he was trying to go too commercial 80s here. “She’s Waiting” is everything I had always remembered and liked about his music and “Forever Man” reminds me of his great hit with Derek and the Dominoes, “Layla.” So again, I shoot down the accusation that Eric was trying to sound too commercial. One song that totally refutes that claim is my vote for hidden gem, “Same Old Blues.” Here, he shows how he got the nickname ‘Slow Hand’ as he solos all through the song, classic blues guitar at its very best.

Some my counter claim by citing his cover of the 1979 disco hit by one hit wonder Amii Stewart, “Knock on Wood.” Clapton’s version of this song sounds nothing like the original disco tune. He puts his own spin on the song, that’s a certainty. If there’s any variation from traditional Clapton, it has to be with “See What Love Can Do” which sound rather calypso but it’s played very well with a classic Clapton guitar solo it. In fact, what I love about the album is the fact that he solos his way all the way through it and that’s what I have always liked about him. He is truly a guitar god.

Amii Stewart

Track Listing:

  1. She’s Waiting
  2. See What Love Can Do
  3. Same Old Blues
  4. Knock On Wood
  5. Something’s Happening
  6. Forever Man
  7. It All Depends
  8. Tangled In Love
  9. Never Make You Cry
  10. Just Like a Prisoner
  11. Behind the Sun

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton- lead guitar, lead vocals

Phil Collins- drums (tracks 1,3,4,9,10), shaker (tracks 7 & 9)

Donald Dunn (From the Blues Brothers)- bass (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Jamie Oldake- drums (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Chris Stainton- synthesizers, organ, piano (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Marcy Levy- backing vocals (tracks 1-3 and 6-9)

Lyndsey Buckingham- rhythm guitar (track 5)

James Newton Howard- synthesizer (track 5)

Jerry Lynn Williams- backing vocals (tracks 2 & 5)

Lenny Castro- congas, percussion (tracks 2 & 6)

Ray Cooper- percussion, gong, bongos (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Nathan East- bass, backing vocals (tracks 2,5,6)

Steve Lukather- rhythm guitar (tracks 2 & 6)

Shawn Murphy- backing vocals (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Michael Omartian- synthesizer (tracks 2 & 6)

Jeff Procraro- drums (tracks 2 & 6)

Greg Phillinganes- synthesizer, backing vocals (track 5)

John JR Johnson- drums (track 5)

J. Peter Robinson- synthesizer (tracks 1,3,4 7-10)

Ted Templeman- shaker, tambourine, timbales (tracks 5 & 6)

When “Behind the Sun” came to my attention, I was glad that a classic album from a great musician was able to fill the gap in what was a few metal starved months for me. This album was never too 80s pop in my view, it just cooks.

Next post: Lone Justice

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