Archive for Guitarists

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Night Ranger- Seven Wishes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

The release of Night Ranger’s third album, “Seven Wishes” confirmed to me what I already knew, Night Ranger were not heavy metal. This didn’t stop the unknowing from continuing to label them as such and it made me grind my teeth at times. The first single, “Sentimental Street” was all the proof one needed. That song is supposed to be a power ballad, I use that term loosely because it is heavily over synthed. All that did was take me back to their more superior power ballad, “Sister Christian” which wasn’t so. Just a fine use of the piano. On the other hand, while I have always believed that Night Ranger was never heavy metal, they definitely weren’t a top 40 band either, in spite of having several songs in the top 40. The best label to give Night Ranger would be melodic hard rock.

I thought that now I’m back from my client holiday, I’d treat you to at least one photo from it. This is the fog lifting off Lynmouth Harbour.

Back to the “Seven Wishes” album. While many metalheads dissed this album back in 1985 and I admit, the first single nearly put me off. Fortunately, I had known for years never to judge an album on one single, so I took the plunge. In spite of what was said about Night Ranger at the time, this album still rocks in many places. Additionally, unlike singles from their first two albums, none of the songs remind me of Rick Springfield. Unlike, “Sentimental Street,” the guitars dominate more than the keyboards, the only exception might be the title track. Even then, there is a fab guitar solo on it as with all the songs, the talents of the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson are put to maximum use. More proof that I’m mellowing a little with age, I like “Sentimental Street” more now than I did in 1985.

Actually, “Seven Wishes” is an album of two halves for the most part. Part one is the more keyboard oriented songs and singles. “Four in the Morning” was the second single and though not as keyboard oriented, the whole song screams “Single for radio!” Saying that, “I Need a Woman” really cooks and if you only listened to the first five songs, might seem slightly out of place. However, the album goes total rock on the second half of the album. “This Boy Needs to Rock” starts things off perfectly and the rest of the album follows through. “Interstate Love Affair” is my vote for hidden gem on the album. I just love that intro and the way it rocks to the mind blowing guitar solo. Yep, it gets my vote. The closer, “Goodbye” is, in my not so humble opinion, a better power ballad than “Sentimental Street.” Better still, it’s the best song to end the album on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Seven Wishes
  2. Faces
  3. Four in the Morning
  4. I Need a Woman
  5. Sentimental Street
  6. This Boy Needs to Rock
  7. I’ll Follow You
  8. Interstate Love Affair
  9. Night Machine
  10. Goodbye

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Brad Gillis- guitar

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

While Night Ranger aren’t heavy metal, they can’t be simply dismissed. Their brand of melodic hard rock is played very well as this album shows.

Next post: My Second Book Review

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: 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: 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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Yngwie Malmsteen- Rising Force

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

The last of the 1984 albums that didn’t come to my attention until 1985 and it wasn’t until May of said year that I was treated to this one. I remember it well, fairly well anyway. I was sitting in the cafeteria of my local glorified high school, (community college), when a friend offered me a listen on his walkman saying, “I think you’ll like this.” He was right, I did like it. It was the opening track to the “Rising Force” album by Swedish guitar god, Yngwie J Malmsteen. It was said that the J is there so we won’t confuse him with all the other Yngwie Malmsteens in the world.

“Black Star” the opening track I mentioned changed my entire outlook on guitar instrumentals, which was a hard thing to do because I have always had great admiration for masters of the axe. It was just the way that then 21 year old Yngwie made the guitar scream and bend to his will as he played that had me totally hypnotized. “Black Star” was simply the perfect introduction for me and apparently, he still plays it live.

One criticism aimed at guitar albums is that all of the tracks sound the same. Yes, I know, complete hogwash but if anyone says it to you, then you can point them to this album. All of the tracks are original and unique as Yngwie strains his guitars to fit the sound of each song. Whether it’s the faster paced “Far Beyond the Sun,” it is rumoured he still plays that one live too or the classical sounding “Icarus’s Dream Sweet Opus 4,” Yngwie delivers a unique sound every time.

While the guitarist is the main attraction here, you must give credit to the supporting cast. Jens Johansson premieres his keyboard skills on the album and shows he is very good at what he does. One must also give credit to drummer Barriemore Barlow. He has to keep up with a guitarist who can change direction at any time and often does so. And while there are only two vocal tracks on the album, it was here where I got my first experience of Jeff Scott Soto. Even with very little vocal opportunity, he shows he’s got the pipes. Fortunately, he would be given more opportunity on future albums as “As Above, So Below” is proof that Jeff and Yngwie made a very good combination. See, if it hadn’t been for Danny Vaughn, Jeff would have been my vocalist of choice for the 80sMetalman Band of Underrated Musicians.

Track Listing:

  1. Black Star
  2. Far Beyond the Sun
  3. Now Your Ships Are Burned
  4. Evil Eye
  5. Icarus’s Dream, Sweet Opus 4
  6. As Above, So Below
  7. Little Savage
  8. Farewell

Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen- guitars, bass, Moog Taurus

Jens Johansson- keyboards

Jeff Scott Soto- vocals

Barriemore Barlow- drums

In the later years, I would learn all about Yngwie’s over inflated ego and how he doesn’t play nice with others but that’s in the future. What I knew in May 1985 was that he could rip a guitar, which he does extremely well on his debut album.

Next post: David Lee Roth- Crazy From the Heat

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80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 1-10

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

The moment of truth has arrived! I am going to real my all time top ten power ballads. Before I do, let me just thank you for all of your comments and for simply enjoying the ride. While sitting down actually figuring out my top 30 was more exhausting than I had anticipated, it was still great fun. Think of all the songs I got to listen to. I know some of you might be a little disappointed that a power ballad you really love didn’t make the list but believe me, there were so many to choose from. Pity poor Ozzy, he has delivered many a great power ballad but not one of them made my list. It’s not that I didn’t want to include him, my favourite Ozzy power ballad, “In Old LA Tonight” from the “Osmosis” album came pretty damn close. Maybe if he preforms it at Download, I may change my mind. Anyway, enough of me rambling on, here’s my top ten.

10. Dokken- Alone Again

9. TNT- Eddie

8. Beggars and Thieves- Your Love is in Vain

7. Steel Panther- Community Property

I can see with lyrics like these why some people don’t take SP seriously but this is a kick ass power ballad!

6. Tyketto- Standing Alone

Another reason why Danny Vaughn doesn’t get the accolades he so truly deserves as a singer.

5. Pretty Maids- With These Eyes

4. Twisted Sister- The Price

For me, this song put the power in the ballad!

3. Savatage- All That I Bleed

I had to do some complicated math to include this one. The first half of it is a piano ballad while the second half completely rocks. So I applied the formula ballad + power rocker = power ballad

2. April Wine- Just Between You and Me

Go back and re-read my post on their 1981 album, “Nature of the Beast” and you’ll see why it’s number two.

  1. Heart- Allies

Heart would put out two more commercially successful power ballads later on in the 1980s. However, in my mind, they would never be as good as this one, not even close.

There you have it, 80sMetalman’s top thirty power ballads. I hope you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I have.

Next post: A Great Unknown Philadelphia Band

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: http://allkindlecloud.com/register/14510967-Rock_and_Roll_Children_pdf_premi.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 11-20

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2018 by 80smetalman

It figures that once I embarked on this massive project, there would be power ballads from my past which really liked but forgot about because of time. Since my last post two have come to light in my mind. Now I know how Sam Beckett must have felt like in Quantum Leap with the Swiss cheese brain. One of them, “I Believe In You” by Y&T, was one but would have only made the lower twenties. The other I have put it jointly with another on the upcoming list. Thing about this one is that this band has already had an entry and though the one from the previous list was commercially more popular, I prefer the the ballad on today’s post to that one. Anyway, here’s 11-20!

20. Def Leppard- Bringing On the Heartbreak

19. Pretty Boy Floyd- I Want to Be With You

18. Danger Danger- One Step From Paradise

17. Von Groove- Arianne

16. Warrant- Glimmer

15. Poison- Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I know I take the piss out of this song a lot but I secretly really kind of like it.

(Joint) 14. The Scorpions- Still Loving You

Yep, you guessed it! This was the other one I had forgotten about. Call me weird but I prefer this one to “Winds of Change.”

(Joint) 14. Metallica- Nothing Else Matters

13. Asphalt Ballet- Wasted Time

12. Steelheart- I’ll Never Let You Go

11. Little Angels- I Ain’t Gonna Cry

There are probably other great power ballads I had forgotten about and you can feel free to put them forward but I must tell you, my top ten is set in stone. In the meantime, you got 11 great power ballads to rock out to.

Next post: 1-10

To get Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html