Archive for Clarence Clemmons

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Nantucket- No Direction Home

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-No_Direction_Home_LP

One thing I am grateful for as I reflect back on 1983 was the fact that I got to spend my remaining three months in the marines in North Carolina. If I hadn’t, I might have missed out on some great stuff from a few of the great Southern Rock bands that were around at the time, Nantucket being one of them. By 1983, Southern Rock was once again contained to the South. Many people from the North had moved on from listening to what for me was a great sub-genre of rock. In the case of Nantucket, it was most unfortunate, because the world didn’t get to hear what a great band they were.

Memories came flooding back as soon as I listened to the album, “No Direction Home,” after so many years. I remember the single, “Hiding From Love,” which was written by Bryan Adams getting a good amount of airplay on the local station in North Carolina. While Bryan’s influence can be heard on the song, Nantucket certainly make the song their own, adding that Southern boogie vibe that all great Southern Rock bands are known for.

A criticism that was being aimed at Southern bands in the mid- 1980s was they were abandoning their roots to sound more mainstream. There is some sign of this with “No Direction Home,” with the fore-mentioned single and the cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar.” Saying that, Nantucket still stamp their authority on both songs and that’s where any thoughts of mainstream ends. That point is made crystal clear with the hard rocking opener. The second song, “I Don’t Want to Lose You” is more of a blues based song and it’s done very well. Following the two songs already mentioned that they didn’t write, there are some steaming rockers, “Morning, Noon and Night” and “Ready For Your Love” before slowing down to the ballad “Come Home Darling.” That is as good a power ballad as any. The album finishes on a very high note with three more rockers with the closer, “Tennessee Whiskey,” being everything you’ve always loved about Southern Rock. A massive heart pumping rocker about a favourite Southern past-time, drinking whiskey.

Another disservice to Nantucket is the lack or respect to the guitarists, Tommy Redd and Mark Downing. These two deserve to being mentioned among the great names of Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Rick Medlocke, Duane Rowlands and Dave Hlubeck. They’re that good! Nantucket offer a unique feature as well in the form of saxophonist Eddie Blair. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s as good as Clarence Clemmons of Bruce Springsteen fame. In evidence, I ask you to listen to “Girl I Got Your Number.”

Track Listing:

  1. No Direction Home
  2. I Don’t Want To Lose You
  3. Hiding From Love
  4. Ain’t That Peculiar
  5. Morning, Noon and Night
  6. Ready For Your Love
  7. Come Home Darling
  8. Never Felt This Way Before
  9. Girl I Got Your Number
  10. Tennessee Whiskey
Nantucket

Nantucket

Gary Uzzell- lead and backing vocals

Tommy Redd- guitar, backing vocals

Eddie Blair- keyboards, saxophone, backing vocals

Mark Downing- guitar

Richard Gates- drums

David ‘Thumbs’ Johnson- bass, backing vocals

I had the fortune of seeing Nantucket live two months before I left the service on tour supporting the “No Direction Home” album. (The above photo wasn’t taken at that concert). They headlined a local festival called the Mayfair and I remembered they were brilliant, though I wish I wasn’t so partied out by the time they hit the stage. While they were great in the South, I still think they were cheated out of their chance to gain wider attention.

Next post: Doc Holliday- Modern Medicine

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

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Great Rock Albums of 1981: Joan Armatrading- Me, Myself, I

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Me_Myself_I_-_Joan_Armatrading

Here’s an example of how my mind jumps around too much. I knew when I started 1981 that I wouldn’t be able to get everything in regards to my life in perfect chronological order. So in order to talk about “Me, Myself, I” from Joan Armatrading, I have to go back to Rota, Spain. We were granted a night’s liberty that night so my friends and I made a made dash to the Enlisted Men’s Club and started cracking open the Budweisers about 5:30 that afternoon. Providing the entertainment that night would be an English covers band called The Tender Years, who played some good rock tunes that night. What I remember most is because they were playing to a bunch of US servicemen and women, they put up a large sign that read, “We don’t play Freebird.” Of course, that didn’t stop the crowd from shouting out for it. Anyway, one song they played was the title cut of this album which stuck in my head. Good song, I thought to myself. However, I never did anything about it until later on in the summer when I heard that song played again on the radio and while the female lead singer from The Tender Years sang it well, it wasn’t as nearly as good as the original.

Hearing it back then and hearing it again now, I have to disagree with Wikapedia’s labelling of the album as “pop.” I doubt it would have been considered that back then even though disco was in it’s final throes of death. If I put a label, it would have to be soft rock or progressive rock. In some of the songs, “Ma Me Oh Beach” comes to mind here, Joan’s Caribbean roots definitely poke their nose above ground and if listened to carefully, some other songs as well. What really grabbed me is the fantastic guitar solos laid down in the title track and in the more bluesy track, “Turn Out the Light.” The latter also is best for showcasing her vocal credentials. ThenĀ  I also love the electric piano at the intro. Hell, it’s the second best song on the album and a good one! “Friends” and “All the Way From America” also stand out on this album for me.

What I know now that I didn’t know then was the amazing array of musicians that assist in propelling Joan to her glory. Paul Shaffer from David Letterman fame plays keyboards on the album and Clarence Clemmons from Bruce Springsteen’s band does what he does best with the sax. But one further surprise, the drumming chores are carried out by none other than Anton Figg, who has played for KISS and later Ace Frehley. So with an ensemble like that behind her, no wonder this album is so good.

Track Listing:

1. Me, Myself, I

2. Ma Me Oh Beach

3. Friends

4. Is It Tomorrow Yet

5. Turn Out The Light

6. When You Kisses Me

7. All The Way From America

8. Feeling In My Heart For You

9. Simon

10. I Need You

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading- vocals, acoustic guitar

Chris Speddig- guitar

Hiram Bullock- guitar

Ricky Hirsh- guitar

Dan Fedderici- organ

Paul Shaffer- piano

Phillip St John- piano

Tim Sowell- synthesiser

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone

Will Lee- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Anton Figg- drums

With her great voice and an assembly of masterful musicians, it’s no wonder this was the most successful of Joan Armatrading’s albums. It can stand along with many of the great rock albums of the time. I’m only surprised it didn’t do more to break down racial barriers at the time. Oh yes, back to that night in Rota. I drank enough Buds that I was dancing on the table when The Tender Years played “Smoke On the Water.”

Next post: The Fools- Heavy Mental

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