Archive for country music

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Lone Justice

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by 80smetalman

My first hearing of the band Lone Justice in 1985 came not through MTV or the radio, nor did it come from anyone recommending I buy their debut album. I first heard about them when I was told they were supporting then legends, U2. Then two days before I was going to see them, my local radio station played their first single, “Ways to be Wicked.” I liked it and that gave me a greater expectation of the band when I finally did see them and on that night, I wasn’t disappointed! In 1985, U2 and Lone Justice made a very good combination.

Lone Justice are listed in Wikapedia as country rock and I don’t disagree with that assessment. Thre is definitely a country music influence and the album is too rock to be considered country. Have a listen to “Don’t Toss Us Away.” However, I think a better assessment is Southern Rock meets new wave. When listening to the rock guitars you can hear what was then called modern synths compliments of one Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mike Campbell from the same band lends his guitar skills as well and there is even contributions from Little Steven who most of the world knows from Bruce Springsteen’s band. With this accompaniment assisting, it’s no wonder the album is so good. Not that I am taking anything away from the band because those players weren’t with them when I saw Lone Justice live and the band was quite capable of holding their own. Not only did they play material from this album, they also delighted the crowd to covers of CCR’s “The Fortunate Son” and “Sweet Jane.”

“Ways to Be Wicked” has always been my favourite Lone Justice song, probably to the exposure on radio and eventually MTV. Other songs which really stand out for me are “After the Flood” and “Soap, Soup and Salvation” which is about the extreme poverty that was rising in America during the mid 1980s. Again, I take nothing away from the rest of the album and while the musicianship is first rate, the driving force behind each and every song is the vocals of Maria McKee. She may be small in height but her vocal range makes her ten feet tall. Thinking about it, I’m rather disappointed that more wasn’t said about her vocal ability back then because she is phenomenal.

Track Listing:

  1. East of Eden
  2. After the Flood
  3. Ways to be Wicked
  4. Don’t Toss Us Away
  5. Working Late
  6. Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)
  7. Pass It On
  8. Wait Til We Get Home
  9. Soap, Soup and Salvation
  10. You Are the Light

Lone Justice

Maria McKee- guitar, harmonica, vocals

Ryan Hedgecock- guitar, vocals

Marvin Etzioni- bass, backing vocals

Don Heffington- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mike Campbell- guitar

Tony Gilkyson- guitar

Bob Glaub- bass

Little Steven- guitar

Benmont Tench- piano, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals

Three years after seeing Lone Justice and hearing their debut album, I mentioned to someone who was heavily into the band that I had seen them support U2. He responded that U2 should have supported Lone Justice. I wouldn’t have gone that far but I can appreciate his feelings. Lone Justice should have achieved much more than they did and this album proves it.

Next post: Warlock- Hellbound

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Don Henley- Building the Perfect Beast

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

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I was not as musically open minded as I thought I was in the early part of 1985. While I make no justification for this, I do think the reason might have been that I was in longing after the wave of heavy metal that was played on commercial radio throughout 1984 became non existent in the early part of the following year. That was probably why I poo-pooed the “Building the Perfect Beast” album from Don Henley. Being honest, I was in Eagles mode (even though they had split up five years earlier) with not just Don but all former members of this iconic band. I expected all of their solo material to resemble the classic “Hotel California” and the singles from this album didn’t do that. So, I ignored it until a friend lent it to me and I had a listen. Then I realized what I fool I had been.

Sure, the big single “The Boys of Summer” doesn’t sound like “Hotel California” but the musicianship on the song is simply fabulous. There is some great guitar work from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Don’s voice is clean on this and all of the tracks. I have really come to like this track in my later years.

Upon further reflection back to 1985, I think that I put music into categories of heavy metal and synth pop. “Building the Perfect Beast” not being metal, I put it into the other category. Again I say “Fool!” at least to myself anyway. There is absolutely nothing synth pop about this album. If anything, there are tracks that take me back to The Eagles more country rock sound from the early 1970s. Tracks that bear evidence to this are the fast paced “Man With a Mission” and my vote for hidden gem, “You’re Not Drinking Enough.” For some reason, that track reminds me of the Eagles’ classic, “Take Me to the Limit.” But it does say “Early Eagles” all through the song. Thinking back to early 85, at the time I was dating a woman who had a drinking problem and now I’m linking this song with that. “Not Enough Love in the World” is another example of what I am trying to talk about. In fact this track would have fitted perfectly on the Eagles’ “Long Road From Eden” album.

One reason for why this album sounds as good as it does is that Don got a load of well known singers and musicians to guest on it. While you know it is definitely Don Henley on every track, these guests, have a look below to see who, add to the quality of the album for sure.

Track Listing:

  1. The Boys of Summer
  2. You Can’t Make Love
  3. Man With a Mission
  4. You’re Not Drinking Enough
  5. Not Enough Love in the World
  6. Building the Perfect Beast
  7. All She Wants to Do is Dance
  8. A Month of Sundays
  9. Sunset Grill
  10. Drivin’ With Your Eyes Closed
  11. Land of the Living

Don Henley

Don Henley- lead vocals, percussion (tracks 5,6,9), drums (tracks 2-4,7), keyboards (track 6)

Danny ‘Kootch’ Kortchmar- guitars, organ (4), synthesizers (tracks 1,3,6), percussion (tracks 6,9,10), keyboards (9), synthesizer guitar and horn solos (8), ormichard (4), horns (3)

Additional Musicians

Mike Campbell- guitar, synthesizer track 1

Lyndsey Buckingham- guitar, backing vocals track 2

Charlie Sexton- guitar track 3

Tim Drummond- bass (tracks 4&5)

Pino Pallindino- bass (tracks 2,9,10)

Larry Klein- bass track 1

Jim Keltner- drums track 8

Ian Wallace- drums track 5

Kevin McCormick- African drums track 6

Randy Newman- synthesizer track 8

David Paich- synthesizer (track 7) piano (track 4 & 8)

Steve Porcaro- synthesizer (track 1 &4)

Benmont Tench- synthesizer (track 8), keyboards (track 2&5)

Albhy Galuten- synthesizer, Synclavier track 6

Michael Boddicker- synthesizer track 8

Bill Cuomo- synthesizer, percussion track 10

Backing Vocals:

Belinda Carlisle- track 3

Michael O’Donahue, Waddy Watchel, JD Souther, Carla Olson- track 6

Patty Smyth- track 6, 8-10

Martha Davis- tracks 6&7

Marie Pascale Elfman, Dominique Manicelli- track 9

Sam Moore- track 4

Brian Dear, I owe you a thanks for giving me this classic Don Henley album to listen to. Otherwise, I would have been enslaved to my ignorance that “Building the Perfect Beast” was another 80s synth pop album. It is clearly not and full marks to Don for it.

Next post: The Wrestling Album

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: John Fogerty- Centerfield

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

In March of 1985, I almost won a free copy of “Centerfield,” from former CCR lead singer and guitarist John Fogerty. The local radio station was giving away a free copy of the album to the second caller. I immediately rang the station and got through, unfortunately I was the first caller, damn! As a result, I had to cough up the money and buy the album but after hearing it, the expense was well worth it.

One big question on many people’s minds was how much would the album sound like Credence Clearwater Revival? The answer is rather complex. There is definitely the CCR influence on several of the songs, “Big Train (From Memphis) is a prime example. It reminds me of many of the songs on CCR’s album “Willy and the Poor Boys.” “I Saw it On TV” is another good example of the CCR influence. But and this is a big but, the lyrics of the song are about modern times and how we are supposed to take everything we see on television as the blind truth. I like to think it’s a dig at 80s Regan America, which is something I tried to do when writing “Rock and Roll Children.”

On the flip side, there are songs which I believe John put his own stamp on free from the influence of his former band, for the most part anyway. Two of those were released as singles, “Rock and Roll Girl” and my favourite track on the album which is also the title track. I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, though I do play softball, the lyrics still move me and make me want to put take the bat and ball out and hit a few. Another I guess you could call a Fogerty Special, is “Mr Greed,” where he shows he can play lead guitar a little.

Of all the songs which are or not CCR influences, the one that incorporates both very well is the album opener and first single, “The Old Man Down the Road.” This is probably why it did so well in the charts. It reminds us old CCR fans that he hasn’t gone too far away from his roots but offers something new to the then younger crowd who might have branded John as some sort of ageing hippy. After all, Ronald Regan’s greatest success as president in the 1980s was to demonize the 1960s. Sorry, I digress but what John did was take what he had done before and mix it with something new and make a good soft rock album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Old Man Down the Road
  2. Rock And Roll Girl
  3. Big Train (From Memphis)
  4. I Saw It On TV
  5. Mr Greed
  6. Searchlight
  7. Centerfield
  8. I Can’t Help Myself
  9. Zanz Kant Danz

John Fogerty

John Fogerty- lead vocals, lead guitar

Rockin’ Sydney Simien- accordion

Willy T- saxophone

Kip Basque- rhythm guitar

Mark Miller- bass

Warren Storm- drums

John Fogerty established himself as a true solo artist in 1985 with his album “Centerfield.” What he did was take the country rock sound of his former band and threw in some tricks of his own. The combination made a great album.

Next post: Giuffria

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Dave Edmunds- Information

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

Dave_Edmunds_Information_album_cover

Radio can be very misleading. In the summer of 1983, the single “Slipping Away” from Dave Edmunds’ “Information” got a considerable amount of airplay on radio. Then in the November, when I started my job working the Saturday and Sunday midnight to eight shift at a parking lot in Atlantic City, the radio seemed to play his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)” at least once during my first few shifts. Naturally, I assumed both songs were from this album, which I never bought for some reason. It was only when I did my preliminary research for the post that I discovered that “From Small Things” was actually on the album prior to this one. Shame, because I really liked that song but listening to “Information,” I am not disappointed too much.

Another historical point, back in the early 1980s, there was a brief heyday for what some would call “Rockabilly” music. Rock music with a country music style vibe but unlike Southern Rock, this genre doesn’t have the ferocity of it relative. That’s the category this Dave Edmunds seems to fall in and I would site the track “The Shape I’m In” as evidence. Saying that, he is still much more rock than the artist most known for rockabilly in the very early 1980s. Here’s my weird mind at work again but the whole rockabilly thing has made me think of her again. Juice Newton, who had several hits between 1981 and 83. Hell, she even covered a Dave Edmunds single, “Queen of Hearts” and her version doesn’t stray far from Dave’s musically.  Confession time! In 1981 and 2, I had a serious crush on Juice Newton.

juice

Enough of Juice for now, let’s get on to “Information. The best way to describe this album is Dave Edmunds would be the result if The Ramones played country music. Each song starts out in the one, two, three go style that the Ramones were famous for throughout the 1970s. The best examples of this are “Don’t You Double” and “Don’t Call Me Tonight.” The latter song has a guitar solo in the style of Eddie Cochran, making it sound a quite fifties but it’s still well done. Dave Edmunds is very good at keeping the tempo going on every song. Another interesting track is “Feel So Right” which has that Ramones one, two, three start and goes into the rockabilly sound. However, as the song progresses, you are led to conclude that if you didn’t know that Jeff Lynne of ELO fame had produced the album, you would have discovered it for yourself with said song. Then again, the more I think about it, I can hear a little bit of Lynne influence on “Slipping Away.” These factors combined make “Information” another album I regret not buying back then.

The Ramones

The Ramones

Track Listing:

  1. Slipping Away
  2. Don’t You Double
  3. I Want You Bad
  4. Wait
  5. The Watch on My Wrist
  6. The Shape I’m In
  7. Information
  8. Feel So Right
  9. What Have I Got to Do to Win?
  10. Don’t Call Me Tonight
  11. Have a Heart
Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds- guitar, vocals

Geraint Watkins- accordion

Jeff Lynne- bass, synthesizer

John David- bass

Dave Charles- drums

Paul Jones- harmonica

Richard Tandy- synthesizer

I think this was another hidden gem from 1983 that didn’t get the respect it deserved at the time. Maybe because rockabilly was already in decline or because of its unique sound, it was too hard rock for trendies but not hard enough for metalheads. All I know is that I enjoy “Information” and I know I would have liked the album if I first listened to it back then.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1983

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Great Metal Albums of 1982: Triumph- Never Surrender

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by 80smetalman

TRIUMPH10

Just learned something. Different internet sites can provide different information about the same thing. Heavy Harmonies states that this classic album, “Never Surrender” from Triumph came out in 1982, while Wikapedia states that it was released in January, 1983. I can’t say because I never had to buy it at the time, my sister’s then boyfriend had it and let me borrow it. Needless to say, it got played to death.

I must also confess that I lied last year. I said that “Allied Forces” was my favourite Triumph album. Actually, “Never Surrender” is, although there isn’t much between the two and knowing me, I could listen to the other one again and things would revert back. That’s just how good both albums are.

It just so happens that “Never Surrender” contains my definite all time favourite Triumph song, “World of Fantasy.” The acoustic intro followed by the thundering guitar and supplemented with a catchy chorus and a great guitar solo from Emmett, make for an all time great. Full marks should be given to the band for creating such a masterpiece. It is always the first song to come to mind when someone says Triumph and that catchy chorus is playing through my head as I write.

Of course, there are other great songs on the album, otherwise the album wouldn’t be great. There are some great straight forward hard rock tunes starting with the opener, “Too Much Thinking,” which starts things off just right. Others include “All the Way” and “Writing on the Wall.” Then there’s the reggae sounding title track. Well not totally reggae because it does rock. Like my all time fave, “When the Lights Go Down” also starts with a cool acoustic intro, except this one sounds almost like it’s going to be a country or Southern rock song. It’s not, just typical hard rocking Triumph. Finally, while Emmett’s guitar skills are present throughout, I must say that his best effort is the instrumental closer, “Epilogue.” He really shines on this one. Putting all of these great tracks together, it’s easy to see why “Never Surrender” is such a stupendous album.

Track Listing:

  1. Too Much Thinking
  2. World of Fantasy
  3. Minor Prelude
  4. All the Way
  5. Battle Cry
  6. Overature (Procession)
  7. Never Surrender
  8. When the Lights Go Down
  9. Writing on the Wall
  10. Epilogue (Resolution)
Triumph

Triumph

Rik Emmett- lead vocals, guitar

Mike Levine- bass, organ, synthesizer, piano

Gil Moore- drums, percussion, backing vocals

It doesn’t matter whether or not “Never Surrender” was released in 1982 or 83. Whatever year, the album totally kicks ass as Triumph were at their prime. As I already said a number of times, 1982 was a famine year for me musically on account of my military commitments. I have come to regret missing many of those albums I have written about in that year but never got to listen to at the time. The sacrifices we make serving one’s country. However, 1983 would be different and I will be starting that pivotal year with albums that were released in 82 but brought my 83 in with such hard rocking style. But first, a break in the action.

Next post: Tribute to another great rock club

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Bruce Springsteen- Nebraska

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2015 by 80smetalman

Bruce_Springsteen_-_Nebraska

Now that I am mellowing with age a little, I found that listening to albums now that I didn’t think much of when I listened to them when they first came out but I am now appreciating them a bit more. Having grown up in New Jersey, I was hoping that when I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” again, that I would feel the same way. Unfortunately, I don’t.

With “Nebraska,” Bruce plays all of the instruments himself and he goes for a more folk sound on it. In fact, quite a few country artists, including the late Johnny Cash, have covered songs from “Nebraska.” That’s another reason why I should be more into this album because it was during my military days which were mainly based in North Carolina and that gave me more of an appreciation for country music. Sadly to say, that even that doesn’t make me appreciate “Nebraska” any more. The only songs which I can really say I like are “Johnny 99” and “Used Cars.” Even the single “Atlantic City” doesn’t get me excited despite it being about the city I grew up near. The song sounds just as depressing as the actual city has become today. I went to Atlantic City back when I went back to the States last Autumn and the place is depressing. With three major casinos now closed, I have to agree with my friend’s assessment that Atlantic City has become the new Detroit minus the murders.

Track Listing:

1. Nebraska

2. Atlantic City

3. Mansion on the Hill

4. Johnny 99

5. Highway Patrolman

6. State Trooper

7. Used Cars

8. Open All Night

9. My Father’s House

10. Reason to Believe

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- all instruments and vocals

One argument that came out at the time of “Nebraska” and I totally reject to this day is the one that Bruce Springsteen is nothing without the E Street Band. No, what Bruce did was to go into the studio and make an album by himself. While hearing “Nebraska” makes me want to go and play one of his other albums, he does still show that he is a talented artist and continues to be. Two years after this album, he would go out and make history but that’s a story for another time.

Next post: 1982 Triumphs and Tragedy

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