Archive for Classic Rock

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Joe Walsh- The Confessor

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2018 by 80smetalman

Another example of if I had paid attention to MTV in 1985, it would have resulted in my missing out on another great album. When the made for MTV video for the title track of Joe Walsh’s album, “The Confessor,” came on, I wasn’t that impressed. Fortunately, I knew of old from his 1981 album, “There Goes the Neighbourhood,” not to judge Joe on the singles. Therefore, I was able to delve into this offering without hesitation and I would have more regret if I hadn’t.

“The Confessor” is an album of three, possibly four parts. The first two songs all have a reggae vibe to it and I have always thought that if Joe wanted to go full on reggae, he was quite capable of doing so. Saying that, each of the first two songs have their own unique stamp on them. The opener, “Problems” might sound reggae through the verses but definitely more hard rock in the chorus. With “I Broke My Leg,” again there’s a reggae vibe to it but Joe throws in some interesting reverb work on the guitar. Those first two tracks make for an interesting hook for the rest of the album.

Tracks 3-6 go into more familiar Walsh territory. The guitar work on “Bubbles” reminds me a little of his 1970s classic, “Rocky Mountain Way” and the song itself, sounds a bit more from said decade. “Slow Dancing” isn’t one for actual slow dancing but it has a way out bluesy feel to it with some more interesting guitar work from you know who. The next track, “15 Years,” could be a contender for hidden gem on the album. More harder rock than the previous two and he nails the solo on it. It’s a great blues based rock song. At the end of the second act is the title track which you get in it’s full seven minute glory and not the four minute MTV version. I much prefer that one, especially as you get to hear much more of Joe’s cool guitar work. It starts with a cool cowboy sounding acoustic guitar before going much harder. I can’t think that a certain band from New Jersey got the idea for a similar song on their 1986 album from Joe on this one.

If “15 Years” wasn’t hard enough, you will not be disappointed with the next two tracks. “Rosewood Bitters,” a song Joe originally recorded with the Michael Stanley Band. This was my second contender for hidden gem. It’s more of a melodic rock tune with some cool guitar hooks. However, I think I’ll have to go with the full rock tune, “Good Man Down” for actual hidden gem. This song is a belter and Joe really rocks out on it, guitar solo and all.

The final track, “Dear John,” goes back to the more reggae sound of the first two tracks. Was this Joe coming full circle on the album? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever he was thinking, it worked for me as I really like “The Confessor.”

Track Listing:

  1. Problems
  2. I Broke My Leg
  3. Bubbles
  4. Slow Dancing
  5. 15 Years
  6. The Confessor
  7. Rosewood Bitters
  8. Good Man Down
  9. Dear John

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh- lead vocals, lead guitar, synthesizer, bass, talk box

Waddy Watchel- guitar

Mark Andes- bass

Mike Procraro- bass

Dave Margen- bass

Dennis Bellafield- bass

Rick Rosas- bass

Denny Carmassi- drums

Joe Keltner- drums

Rick Moratta- drums

Jeff Procraro- drums

Chet McCracken- drums

Randy Newman- keyboards

Alan Pasqua- keyboards

Jerry Petersen- saxophone

Earl Lon Price- tenor sax

Kenneth Tussing- trombone

Timothy B Schmidt- backing vocals

Critics rubbished “The Confessor” saying that Joe Walsh was a decade behind the times. I guess they expected him to use synths all throughout the album. What do they know? The answer is that in spite of the critics, the album sold pretty well and I can certainly understand why. Who cares if it was too 1970s for some people? I don’t.

Next post: Heart

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Molly Hatchet- Double Trouble Live

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2018 by 80smetalman

It was only logical that after six great studio albums, Molly Hatchet would put out a live album and boy what a live album! This album is so brilliant that it almost, I stress almost, removes my regret of never having seen this great band live. There was a couple of near opportunities to do so but the US Marine Corps had other ideas at the time. That means, I have had to settle for the consolation prize, not a bad one in any way, of “Double Trouble Live.”

What is cool about this live album is that the song selection has offerings from each of the studio albums. This includes the “Beatin’ the Odds” and “Take No Prisoners” albums when Jimmy Farrar handled the vocal duties. I have to say that Danny Joe Brown does a good job on both of the songs “Beatin’ the Odds” and “Bloody Reunion.” Speaking of Danny Joe, the band even plays a track, “Edge of Sundown,” from his one album with the Danny Joe Brown Band. Therefore, this album has a great diverse mix but Molly Hatchet shines on each and every song.

Of course, there are all the familiar Molly Hatchet classics we have come to love. “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” “Bounty Hunter,” “Fall of the Peacemakers,” “Stone In Your Heart,” “Satisfied Man” and “Boogie No More” are all played brilliantly live. You’d expect nothing less. On top of that, it was only natural they opened with “Whiskey Man” but the song where they really go above and beyond is “Gator Country.” That has always been a cool song but live, guitarists Duane Roland and Dave Hlubeck go absolutely nuts and turn it into a great jam session, well done lads!

When I first heard the album, I was slightly perplexed as to why they would cover Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legendary “Freebird.” After all, most Southern rock bands have their own answer to the Skynyrd classic. Blackfoot has “Highway Song” and even Molly Hatchet had “Fall of the Peacemakers.” So I asked myself, “Why?” The answer came when I listened to the track. Molly Hatchet definitely do it justice. I mean, I have heard some awful attempts covering this classic and I wanted to take an Uzi to those pretenders but Molly Hatchet would have made Ronnie Van Zant proud. There is also a cover of the Allman Brothers classic, “Dreams I’ll Never See” and again, it’s nicely done. Like I said, “Double Trouble Live” nearly removes my regret of not having seen them live.

Track Listing:

  1. Whiskey Man
  2. Bounty Hunter
  3. Gator Country
  4. Flirtin’ With Disaster
  5. Stone in Your Heart
  6. Satisfied Man
  7. Bloody Reunion
  8. Boogie No More
  9. Freebird
  10. Walk on the Side of Angels
  11. Walk With You
  12. Dreams I’ll Never See
  13. Edge of Sundown
  14. Fall of the Peacemakers
  15. Beatin’ the Odds

Molly Hatchet

Danny Joe Brown- vocals

Dave Hlubeck- guitar

Duane Roland- guitar

John Galvin- keyboards

Riff West- bass

Bruce Crump- drums

It has been said the “Double Trouble Live” is one of the best live albums of all time. It’s definitely one of the best in 1985. The only reason it’s not number one for the year as there is a definite contender as well but I’ll get to that one in due course. In the mean time, have a listen to a fantastic live album from Molly Hatchet. You too might not feel so bad if you haven’t seen them live.

Next post: Joe Walsh- The Confessor

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardiff Slayed!

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

Nearly 24 hours later, I am home and nearly recovered from the events of the previous night. Last night, I, along with my two sons, one of my future daughters in law and my stepson amassed in Cardiff to see Slayer at the Motorpoint Arena. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and they brought a few friends with them to celebrate what might be the final time they play in Cardiff. However, first I’m going to show you boring family photos to show that I’m passing the metal tradition onto future generations.

My grandson Alex. Note the onesy he’s wearing.

Grandfather and grandson

Starting left and going clockwise: Me, my stepson Teal, my younger son Will, his fiancee Ela and my eldest Jake. A true metal family!

There was confusion on the day, my tickets said doors opened at 6, so we thought there was time to get a bite to eat before the show. One can’t headbang on an empty stomach! We went for a meal at a restaurant across the road called the Smoke Haus and with bellies full, returned to the arena. It turns out that my tickets were wrong, though it didn’t prevent us from getting in. The arena opened at 5:30 and the first band went on at six and as a result, we missed the first band. If the first band had been Testament, like I thought it would be, I wouldn’t have been a happy camper. While not fortunate, the first band was Obituary and while I would have liked to have seen them, I’m not as upset at missing them as I would have been if it had been Testament.

It did seem strange to me that Anthrax would have opened the festivities on the evening. Not long after, I knew it wasn’t the case. Anyhow, this being the sixth time seeing Anthrax, I must report that this wasn’t their best. Technically, they were all right. They played many of their best known songs, opening with “Caught in a Mosh” plus “Anti-Social” and Indians,” although like Bloodstock 2013, didn’t play anything from the “Spreading the Disease” album. Joey Belladonna was the good front man he usually is and Ela wanted to have his hair. Likewise, Scott Ian got the crowd going as well. Unfortunately, their set was marred by poor sound quality. Charlie’s drums seemed to overshadow everything else and this was the way all through the forty-five minutes they were on stage. Will was disappointed because he was really looking forward to them. My verdict: While I still headbanged away to Anthrax and enjoyed them, I would also agree that the sound engineer should be fired.

Anthrax on stage

This was the best pic of them

Under the red lights

I have very little experience, practically none, of the next band up, Lamb of God. Views on them have been contradictory. Will doesn’t think much of them while Teal loves them. Observing Lamb of God from a neutral stance, they won me over by the time they had left the stage. I will be listening to more of them in the future. The only songs I remember were “Ghost Walking” and “Curse of the Blackened Sun.” While I won’t say that Randy Blythe is the best vocalist in the world, he’s not, he is brilliant at working the crowd and getting them going. Something he did with great effect in Cardiff. Furthermore, I was also impressed with lead guitarist Mark Morton. Lamb of God had better sound than Anthrax so I retracted my personal complaint that they should have been out first. Besides, they did a great job of getting the crowd worked up for the main event.

Lamb of God

This picture told me I needed to get closer to the stage

See what I mean?

Might be the best shot of them

A good shot of bassist John Campbell with Mark Morton emerging from behind the amp to belt out a solo.

Lamb of God nearing the end

Everyone in the Motorpoint Arena knew that whatever else happened, this night belonged to Slayer. They were the band everyone was there to see and they let everyone know it. From their opening with the wall of flames to their hour and forty minutes of non stop thrash as only they can do to their grand finale, Slayer was on top form. I have to admit, their performance is still whirling around in my head. Maybe I should have waited a couple of days before posting but nah, I had to write about it now.

Some interesting highlights, some guy next to me shouted for them to play something they all knew right after they had played “Mandatory Suicide.” I thought all Slayer fans and even non ones knew that song. My eldest, Jake, risked his life going into a mosh pit. A Slayer mosh pit is not one for beginners! And this was the first time he had ever gone into one. I’m afraid Jake learned the hard way, coming away a little dazed after taking an elbow to the temple. Besides, he made the mistake of removing his shirt and hoodie before going in and ended up losing both of them.

In the mean time, Slayer continued to threaten to blow the roof of the arena as they manically went about the stage creating mayhem and history at the same time. Tom Araya’s vocals were spot on while Kerry King and Gary Holt traded solos back and forth all evening long. When asked after, Will put Holt on the same level as the late Jeff Hanneman. So between the showmanship, the thrash and the flames shooting through the air at the back of the stage, as well as the backdrop changing to a different Slayer album cover every few songs, there was a great deal of unpredictability on the evening and that evening ended way too soon. I did love them coming out to the encore with “South of Heaven.” The only disappointment was at the end. While they thoroughly and deservedly basked in the adulation of the audience, there was no mention of this being their farewell tour. Yes, they did praise the audience throughout but I thought they would have said something at the end. Just a minor point though, the rest was a great night of metal history.

Wall of flames to commence Slayer’s appearance

Slayer appear!

King made his way over to my side of the stage

A shot of the stage with Tom with his back to the audience

Gary plays the solo

Watch out for the flames

Kerry playing at centre stage

Coming down to the finale

Next post: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Soul to Soul

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: Slayer- Hell Awaits

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

As 1985 progressed, I found myself moving away from mainstream music and delving into heavy metal bands who weren’t likely to be played on the radio. It was here where I cut my teeth on bands such as Venom and Slayer. In the case of the latter, it was their second album, “Hell Awaits” which gave me an eye opening experience into more hardcore and thrash metal. Once my eyes were opened, I have never looked back.

The first thing I remember when a friend first spun “Hell Awaits” for me was that it took a while for the album to get started it. The opening title track has a rather long intro, I mean it takes about three minutes before the song truly gets going and on my first listen, I thought it was going to be one of those instrumental intros many albums have before the rest of the album kicks in. However, that is the trick because all of a sudden, Slayer take the tempo way up and the shattering vocals of Tom Araya come through. The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album.

One thing I have found difficult over the years is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have found one, some aspect from another track washes it out. All seven tracks have the in your face vocals from Tom while at the same time, he and Dave Lombardo combine to make a crunching rhythm section further aided by whichever guitarist is not playing the solo at the time. Each track features the guitar solo trade off of Hanneman and King although their best effort is probably on the track, “At Dawn They Sleep.” Saying that, next time I listen to this album, I’ll find that one of the other tracks might have them doing it better. “Hell Awaits” is that kind of album. Seven songs that concuss your brain into jelly but at the same time, feature quality musicianship. If I had to pick a favourite track, it would have to be “Necrophiliac.” Not because of any differential in the music but simply it was one that the religious right in America loved to attack and got all hot and bothered about.  One thing I’ve wondered about was, is “Hardening of the Arteries” a song telling people not to eat too much pork?”

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. Kill Again
  3. At Dawn They Sleep
  4. Praise of Death
  5. Necrophiliac
  6. Crypts of Eternity
  7. Hardening of the Arteries

Slayer

Tom Araya- lead vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

It’s common knowledge that Slayer are in the midst of their farewell tour. This coming Monday, it will be my turn to see them as they are coming to Cardiff. I’m going with Teal, my two actual sons and my younger son’s fiance. It’s going to be a great family affair and listening to “Hell Awaits” has definitely got me psyched for it.

Next post: Report from Slayer, Anthrax, Lamb of God and Testament in Cardiff

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://e-pdfwebinar.ml/share/free-ebooks-in-english-rock-and-roll-children-epub-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: Van Zant

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2018 by 80smetalman

If there was ever proof that in 1985, the phrase ‘sold out’ was banded about quite liberally, even by me, it was with this 1985 from Van Zant. The name has always been familiar in Southern Rock terms and in this case, it was a simple re-branding of the Johnny Van Zant band. The band even had all its original members. So, why did I accuse them of selling out? The answer was that with this self titled album, Van Zant, like Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot a year earlier had moved away from the traditional Southern Rock boogie sound to a more keyboards, progressive AOR sound. However, my mis-branding of this band was short lived because after a few listens, I realized that I was wrong to ever accuse them of selling out.

One major proof I was wrong was that this album contains one of my favourite songs of 1985 and it’s definitely up there in the all time list. “I’m a Fighter” was not an abandonment from Van Zant’s more hard rocking Southern sound. In fact, it’s rare that a single released from an album in the mid 1980s sound less AOR than the rest of the album but this song absolutely kicks ass! From its unique acoustic guitar intro, to the hard rocking guitars and the blow away guitar solo, all led by the steady vocals of Johnny Van Zant who does the family name proud on every track of the album.

Once one gets over the fact that keyboards are used on the album, the rest of the album is quite good. In fact, the keyboards are used quite well. Sure, they are more prominent in tracks such as “She’s Out With a Gun” and “You’ve Got to Believe in Love” but they are still good songs and the latter does have a killer guitar solo. In fact, I think that Robbie Gay and Erik Lundgren may be the most underrated guitar duo of all time. Tracks such as the opener “Midnight Sensation,” the single I’ve already mentioned, “Two Strangers in Love” and “2+2” are all good to decent rockers. “Two Strangers in Love” is my vote for the hidden gem on the album, especially the way the guitar solo takes the song out at the end.

Thinking back to that time, maybe the reason why it took me a couple of listens to get into this album maybe be down to the four remaining tracks. While not bad, they don’t reach the mark set by the first six songs. The possible exception being “Does a Fool Ever Learn,” which is about a woman who’s with an abusive man but won’t leave him. Full marks to the band for bringing this issue to light in the song. Also while not as spectacular as the first six, “Heart to the Flame” does have a catchy vibe to it and but it took me a couple of listens to notice. However, all’s well that ends well and now I regard this album as one of my tops for 1985.

Track Listing:

  1. Midnight Sensation
  2. She’s Out With a Gun
  3. I’m a Fighter
  4. You’ve Got to Believe in Love
  5. Two Strangers in Love
  6. 2+2
  7. Heart to the Flame
  8. Does a Fool Ever Learn
  9. Right on Time
  10. Lonely Girls

                         Van Zant 

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Morris- drums

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Gay- guitar, backing vocals

Erik Lundgren- guitar, backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Richard Head- synclavier

Brian Heathrington- keyboards, synthesizer

Steve McCray- keyboards, synthesizer

Thinking about it, the self titled album from the re-branded Van Zant wasn’t the top of my favourite album of 1985 list but it was definitely on it. I would call this the most underrated album of said year because it is a blinder. The problem was with people’s attitudes in 1985. Anything with heavy guitars was considered heavy metal while many metalheads considered anything with a keyboard too mainstream. This can be the only reason this album didn’t fare so well.

Next post: AC/DC- Fly on the Wall

Those who’ve known me for some time might have already guessed why I’m posting this album next.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1609763556?pf_rd_p=855cdcfd-05d9-474f-b84d-8286a3530ba1&pf_rd_r=THG6RHH8RZVA8V406BZ7