Archive for Guitarists

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2022 by 80smetalman

Before I launch into the album, I thought I’d share another photo of my metalhead granddaughter Juliana.

Ain’t she cute?

Once again, I have to thank my sister for sending me a track on a cassette from a band which would have totally passed me by in 1987. In fact, this post reminds me of two things which was wrong with music back in the 1980s and the first one is probably true today. My last post was about the phenomenal “Hysteria” album from Def Leppard, which received accolades worldwide. Like the album or not, it was a huge success. However, for every Def Leppard there must be at least 100 bands like Envy, who in 1987, had an album just as good but didn’t get the commercial break. This is why I feel it’s even more important to post about their only album, “Ain’t It a Sin.”

The only track from the album that made my sister’s tape was the opening title cut and it’s good. After all, it has stuck in my memory for more than thirty years. However and this is no criticism of my sister, there are better tracks on the album. If there was any track which screams, commercial single, it’s the second one, “I Believe in You.” It has that catchy melody after opening with a keyboard intro that lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad but the guitars kick in right after obliterating any such thoughts. If I had seen Envy live, I would have been at the front banging my head and flashing the horns along to it. Oops, it was the 80s, so at the song’s conclusion, I would have held my cigarette lighter aloft. This is the track of the album.

Right after, things get serious with the much harder song, “Heartache.” That sets the tone for practically the remainder of the album as the next few tracks really rock, which brings me to the other thing wrong with music and particularly metal back in the day. Envy is led by the sister combo of Rhonni and Gina Stile. Rhonni handles the vocal duties and does a brilliant job. However, it is Gina on guitar that really steals the show on the album and that was the black eye for heavy metal back then. With the exception of Lita Ford, female shredders were overlooked. Even Kelly Johnson of Girlschool fame didn’t get the recognition she deserved. This was a damn shame because Gina Stile can totally shred and does so on each and every song. Some of her best efforts are on “Lie Here Waiting.” Even her rhythm guitar riffs are exceptional as highlighted on the track, “Wait On You.” She shreds on that track as well.

Gina Stile

I keep asking myself, why didn’t “Ain’t It a Sin” make a bigger impact and Envy become a household name in the metal world? This is the big question, especially since the album was produced by none other than Dee Snider, yes, that Dee Snider. One clue could lie in the record label. The name ATCO rings a bell but I never heard of ATCO/Wounded Bird Records. So maybe the band wasn’t marketed properly or simply it could be down to the fact of an over saturated metal market. In either case, it’s a shame because this is one hell of a fine album.

Another great thing about this album is that it doesn’t tail off at the end. The finish is just as strong as the start. One track which could have been a second single is “I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll).” This has a catchy vibe that would have been good for commercial radio but not losing it’s hard rock edge. Once again, Gina shreds magnificently.

Yet another plus is that unlike on many albums, the penultimate track isn’t the least strongest track. In fact, it’s hard to discern which track should get that dishonour because the tracks are that good! “I’m Not Your Lover” is a brilliant track and though they shine on every track, the rhythm section is brilliant here. And the closer, “Hurt Me,” might start out like it’s going to be a ballad but it changes into a rocker, though I do like the acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Track Listing:

  1. Ain’t It a Sin
  2. I Believe in You
  3. Heartache
  4. Lie in Waiting
  5. Wait On You
  6. You’re So Hot
  7. All the Reasons
  8. I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll)
  9. I’m Not Your Lover
  10. Hurt Me
Envy

Rhonni Stile- lead vocals

Gina Stile- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Spencer- bass

Danny Kapps- drums

Additional Musicians

Alan St. John- keyboards

Arthur Stead- keyboards

Taylor Dane- backing vocals

I put the title track in for Dawn. May I ask a favour of all of you out there? Could you all go on Youtube and have a listen to the great, forgotten album which is “Ain’t It a Sin” by Envy? I am sure you’ll like it and even if you don’t feel free to comment either way. However, I am confident you will because the big sin is the fact that the album didn’t make the headway it should have.

Next post: Testament- The Legacy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lee Aaron

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I learned that Lee Aaron had come out with a new album in 1987, I awaited it with full optimism. It was my sister who broke the news when she sent me a couple of tracks from her self-titled album. She lamented, “Lee, Lee, what are you dong?” She went onto say that Lee had ‘wimped out’ and added keyboards to her music. When I heard the two tracks on the tape, the first two, “Powerline” and “Hands Are Tied,” I had to agree with Dawn. The keyboards were a little too much for this metalhead back in 1987.

But what about now? And is the album that bad? The answer to the first question is the way the keys were used on the album makes it sound a bit dated. As to the second question, the album is not that bad. While there are keyboards all over the album, there are still rocking moments on it. In fact, what saves the album for me is the guitar work of the very underrated guitarist, John Albani. With his guitar hooks and cool solos, none of the songs suck.

Lee with John Albani

It is true with the opening track, I agreed with my sister but the second track sounded much better and gave me hope for the rest of the album. Coming after, “Only Human” has a strong bass line and a very interesting choir sounding chorus. Lee’s vocals are especially good on this track, not that I expected any less. She was a good a singer as anyone and even today, could sing Kylie Minogue under the table. The next few tracks remind me of her previous album, “Call of the Wild,” which is not a bad thing. You get Lee’s amazing voice leading the way backed up with more great guitar work from John. The keyboards are there but not dominating and because for some reason, I am now able to tune into the bass line more on albums and Chris Brockaway does a superb job on this one.

The track “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is a bit of a paradox for me. It sounds rather 80s synth pop but there is something about it that makes me like it. Then we come to one of the hardest rock songs on the album, “Goin’ Off the Deep End.” This is the track that has me headbanging away to it, even with the keyboard fills. John’s guitar hooks and subsequent solo make this song the rocker that it is. Continuing the one-two-three punch comes the power ballad, “If This is Love.” I never had any doubt that Lee couldn’t deliver a great ballad and this is one if I had had the fortune to have seen her live, the cigarette lighter would have be held high in the air. The final blow is struck with what I think is the hardest song on the album, “Eye for an Eye.” If it wasn’t for the keyboards on the chorus, it would have taken me back to the great album which is “Metal Queen.” Some good guitar riffs on this one as well as the harmony vocals on the choruses.

“Heartbeat of the World” is a great rocking song as well and John plays his best solos on this track, maybe I was a bit premature in picking my favourite track as this one is just as good as “Eye for an Eye.” On the other hand, “Dream With Me” could only be the closer and it’s an all right one. It would feel out of place anywhere else on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Powerline
  2. Hands Are Tied
  3. Only Human
  4. Empty Heart
  5. Number One
  6. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  7. Goin’ Off the Deep End
  8. If This is Love
  9. Eye for An Eye
  10. Heartbeat of the World
  11. Dream With Me
Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- vocals

John Albani- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Geicer- keyboards, backing vocals

Chris Brockaway- bass, backing vocals

Randy Cooke- drums, percussion

David Roberts- backing vocals, (tracks 3 and 5)

I ask myself, have I been too hard on Lee for this album? After all, her vocals are as good as ever. My theory is that her record label was so focused on commercial success that they softened her sound a little too much. This album is pretty good but it didn’t make me want to stop listening to “Metal Queen” back then and it doesn’t now.

Next post: Merry Christmas

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Montrose- Mean

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2021 by 80smetalman

There is a problem when a band doesn’t put out an album for eleven years, people tend to forget about them. That seemed to be the case with Montrose. Back in the early 1970s, they had a few good albums but their last album before this 1987 album, “Mean,” was in 1976. As for me, I didn’t hear of Montrose until the early 1980s and only because a Marine buddy was into them. Later on, when Sammy Hagar achieved widespread acclaim in the rock world, I discovered that he was in the band in the early 1970s. However, with Sammy’s solo success and then joining Van Halen, I, like so many others, assumed that Montrose had become extinct. Therefore, the “Mean” album came as a pleasant surprise.

It has been said that “Mean” is more in the glam metal fashion and different from the Montrose of the early to mid 1970s. While that’s probably true, I’ll have to listen to a Montrose album or two for confirmation, all I know is that when listening to “Mean,” I very much like what I hear. One thing Ronnie Montrose hadn’t forgotten to do was wail on a guitar. He does it very well throughout the album. Furthermore, the rest of the band are able to keep up with him.

“Mean” starts off with the best track on the album, “Don’t Damage the Rock.” This is a high energy rocker and Ronnie dominates with his guitar. But Johnny Edwards turns in a great vocal performance as well. Fortunately, even though the opener is my favourite track, the rest of the album doesn’t deteriorate after it. Linking past with present, when I hear “Pass It On,” I can easily imagine Sammy singing on the tune as it fits his style. However, Edwards is his own singer so while the song reeks of Sammy, Johnny delivers a sound vocal performance and Ronnie’s guitar adds flavour to it as well.

While I wouldn’t call it a Ronnie solo album, he is the principal component to the album. His guitar stamps it’s authority with its acoustic intro on “Hard Headed Woman” and some great guitar work on “M for Machine” and “Ready, Willing and Able.” But what I found interesting about the album is that it comes out smoking on the first three songs, levels off a bit on the middle three songs and goes out on a big high on the final three songs. “Man of the Hour” is a great rocking song, which any 80s heavy metal band would have been proud to have recorded. A cool guitar riff heralds in “Flesh and Blood.” This song could out-Kiss KISS. It sounds exactly like what KISS would have done back in the 1970s, except Ronnie plays a blinder of a guitar solo. Maybe they should have taken note here instead of chasing trends. “Stand” is an excellent closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Damage the Rock
  2. Game of Love
  3. Pass It On
  4. Hard Headed Woman
  5. M is for Machine
  6. Ready, Willing and Able
  7. Man of the Hour
  8. Flesh and Blood
  9. Stand
Ronnie Montrose

Ronnie Montrose- guitars

Johnny Edwards- vocals

Glenn Letsch- bass

James Kottack- drums

Note: The only photos of Montrose I could find on the net are back when Sammy was in the band.

“Mean” would be the only album put out by this line up. The other members would go onto to other bands and create history there while Ronnie would attempt a solo career. This begs the question: If the band had stuck around, could they have gone onto the achieve greatness? This album suggested that they could have.

Next post: Frehley’s Comet

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Chastain- Ruler of the Wastelands

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here’s a perfect reason why I should have bought the album. My experience of Chastain, actually it was guitarist David Chastain, was through the two songs which appeared on the compilation tape the Metal Sisters sent me. Those songs were “No Man’s Land” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown.” Both songs were superbly played and for years I simply assumed they were on Chastain’s 1986 album, “Ruler Wasteland.” Unfortunately, they are not. I have tried to find the album these songs appear on but my search has been fruitless. Therefore, I thought the only thing left to do was to listen the album through Youtube and post about it. This turned out to be a wise decision.

In 1986, guitarists who wanted to emulate one Yngwie J. Malmesteen seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Reflecting back, I think Vinnie Vincent was trying to be such and so was David Chastain. While he is backed up by a very good band, especially lead singer, Leather Leone, “Ruler of the Wasteland” leaves no doubt that its objective was to showcase the guitar skills of David T. Chastain. Something the album does very well here from beginning to end as David solos his way through.

David T. Chastain

It’s not just David’s guitar skills that should be noted here as there are some very well crafted tracks on the album. “One Day to Live” has Leather’s best vocal performance, although she’s quite good on the other tracks. One song where it all comes together and highlights the album and shows the talents of the individual members is “Fighting to Stay Alive.” This song proves that David is a capable song writer as well as a great guitarist. Yes, he does hammer out a cool guitar solo on the track but the vocals are good as is the rhythm section. While all of those things are present on every track, it’s done the best on this one.

One very pleasant and eye opening surprise is “Angel of Mercy.” I have heard this song before, covered by Axel Rudi Pell, who does a great job on it. However, the original version here on the album is simply mind blowing and now I am in a quandary as to which song is better between “Angels of Mercy” and “Fighting to Stay Alive.” While the former is straight ahead full blown metal, Angels has a more blues feel to it and it too has all the band pulling together to make it great. I guess I’ll call it a tie.

The fastest song on the album is “There Will be Justice.” Imagine Yngwie playing a guitar solo on a speed metal song and you’ll get the picture of what I’m trying to say. Then right after, you get a progressive metal sounding fantasy track with “The Battle of Nevermore.” Every time I hear this track, I like it more. Therefore, maybe I should stop listening to it as I will have great difficulty in choosing which songs to feature. Then again, isn’t that a trait of a very good album?

Track Listing:

  1. Ruler of the Wasteland
  2. One Day to Live
  3. The King Has the Power
  4. Fighting to Stay Alive
  5. Angel of Mercy
  6. There Will be Justice
  7. The Battle of Nevermore
  8. Living in a Dreamworld
  9. Children of Eden
Chastain

David T. Chastain- guitar

Leather Leone- vocals

Mike Skimmerhorn- bass

Ken Mary- drums

Moral of the story: Get the album! I didn’t and for years I have missed out on the fine album which is “Ruler of the Wasteland.” As for the songs I have mentioned, I have plans for them in a future post.

Next post: Merry Christmas

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2020 by 80smetalman

Alice Cooper was making his big comeback with his “The Nightmare Returns” tour in 1986. Supporting him was a band whose guitarist had a stint with the legends, KISS. No prizes here, the man was Vinnie Vincent and his band was called Vinnie Vincent Invasion who were making their debut with this self titled album.

Vinnie Vincent

Here’s where some might question my sanity but I have always liked this album. I know of some who don’t. Admittedly, it’s not quite up there with some of the more classic album which came out in that year but it’s still a good album in its own right. My introduction to it came when I was in London where a local heavy metal club played the first two tracks quite a bit. The guitar riffs on “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” blew me away at the time, actually, they’re still quite good. Although now, with a more informed ear, I suspect that Vinnie was trying to copy some of the other guitar greats around at the time like Malmsteen.

It’s probably because the first two tracks introduced me to the album is why I consider them the two best tracks on it. “Shoot U Full of Love,” with the innuendo in the title is a straight up metal song and Vinnie does lay down a cool solo on that one. On the other hand, the attempt at a power ballad in “No Substitute” fails to connect with me but that shortfall is compensated by the next track, “Animal.” This is a good power rocker, though I think that Vinnie overdoes it a little with the Yngwie type shredding.

If they had cut out the silly harmonizing at the beginning of “Twisted,” the song would have stood on it’s own. The song drifts towards the territory of speed metal here and I’m impressed with the backing vocals here. Even Vinnie’s guitar solo sounds more like a speed metal solo. Then it’s on to “Do You Wanna Make Love,” which has a strong resemblance to a song from Vinnie’s former band. If you close your eyes and listen to the first few notes of this one, you might think it’s “Lick It Up.” I will go out on a limb and say that Vinnie’s guitar solo is better on this one.

“Invasion” takes an interesting turn on “Back on the Streets.” It goes for a more blues feel and credit where due, I think the band pulls it off. It was the second single from the album but since “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” is the best known track, “Back on the Streets” is my pick for hidden gem. Then, they go back to more traditional metal with “I Wanna Be Your Victim.”

Here’s where I go controversial. I think the album would have been great with nine tracks. Nothing wrong with “Baby-O” but it’s more filler than thriller. As for the closer, “Invasion,” it fulfills it’s role as closer very well as it would sound out of place anywhere else on the album. However, that annoying three minute loop at the end does my head in. I’m glad I heard this album on cassette as it doesn’t end on vinyl until you pick the needle up.

Track Listing:

  1. Boyz Are Gonna Rock
  2. Shoot U Full of Love
  3. No Substitute
  4. Animal
  5. Twisted
  6. Do You Wanna Make Love
  7. Back On the Streets
  8. I Wanna be Your Victim
  9. Baby- O
  10. Invasion
Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Vinnie Vincent- guitar, vocals

Robert Fleishman- vocals

Dana Strum- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Rock- drums

Note: Mark Slaughter appears as singer in the video for “Boyz Are Gonna Rock.”

Vinnie Vincent proved that he could survive without KISS, even if he did look more like a lady. There will be a future post on those lines. Anyway, I think this was a good album for 1986, although some might not agree. In any case, I’m sad that I missed Vinnie with Alice. That must have been a wild show.

Next post: Torme- Back to Babylon

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Yngwie Malmsteen- Trilogy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2020 by 80smetalman

Theoretically, I should have visited Yngwie Malmsteen’s third album, “Trilogy,” back when I visited the Emerson, Lake and Powell album. For a brief time in 1986, Yngwie supported ELP on their tour but eventually, he left the tour stating that he wasn’t happy with the fact that he didn’t have enough space leftover to set up his things after the headliners had set up theirs. I just thought that was one of the drawbacks to being a support band. Another amusing tidbit from Yngwie’s tour was that when he played the Marquee Club in London, a lot of Bruce Springsteen fans turned up because they thought it was ‘The Boss’ playing under another name and to these people, there couldn’t be anyone by the name of Yngwie Malmsteen.

What I like about “Trilogy” is that young Mr Malmsteen goes further into making more songs in the traditional sense, instead of just shredding away on the guitar, which he still does brilliantly on this album. In fact, the only two instrumentals on the album are “Crying” and the closer, “Trilogy Suite Op:5.” However that last one is the best one for the closer. It just takes the album out with lots of great guitar work.

Any thoughts that Yngwie can’t write songs are quickly dispelled with the first three tracks and in my mind, the three best songs on the album! The opener, “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget,” was released as a single and it’s probably the right one for that. Unfortunately, I don’t remember it getting any play on the radio or MTV, shame on them. The middle song, “Liar,” is my vote for hidden gem. It is just a powerful rock tune, where the vocals of Mark Boals, who replaced former lead singer Jeff Scott Soto, the guitar work of Mr Malmsteen and the keyboards of Jens Johannson come together to make a brilliant song. “Queen in Love” is a good, actually very good, a solid song with more of the above.

After the first instrumental, things go very hard with “Fury.” This could have been better if there was more rhythm guitar. It seemed that Yngwie wanted to show that he could shred a bass as well as a guitar, although he does play a good solo as does Jens on the keyboards. Power chords galore continue on “Fire.” It is one of those catchy type of metal songs. Another positive from “Trilogy” is that he does lend some of the spotlight to the rest of the band. The contributions of Boals and J. Johansson are heard plenty but it’s on “Magic Mirror” where Jens’s brother Anders is let go on the drums and he picks up the baton and runs with it very well.

One criticism which has been aimed at Mr Malmsteen over the years is that his guitar solos all begin to sound pretty much the same. Yes, I would agree that there might be some similarities in them but I just put it down to being his style. Besides, with his talent, he could play the exact same solo on every song and I wouldn’t get bored with it.

Track Listing:

  1. You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget
  2. Liar
  3. Queen in Love
  4. Crying
  5. Fury
  6. Fire
  7. Magic Mirror
  8. Dark Ages
  9. Trilogy Suite Op: 5

Yngwie Malmsteen- guitar, bass, Moog Taurus

Mark Boals- vocals

Jens Johansson- keyboards

Anders Johansson- drums

By 1986, many metalheads were already citing Yngwie Malmsteen as the new guitar god. At the time, I wouldn’t have disagreed with them and even today, he’s definitely in my top 5. Saying that, he had his critics and not just because of his over inflated ego which was by this time, very apparent. So, in respect to this, I conclude the post with a riddle: How many Yngwie Malmsteens does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer in the next post which is: Raven- The Pack is Back

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Phantom, Rocker and Slick

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2019 by 80smetalman

phroslalbum

The biggest question I have been asking myself since 1985 is “Why didn’t Phantom, Rocker and Slick achieve greater success than what they did? For me, this was a great straight ahead, no frills rock album from a good tight band. The band possessed all the tools to be great. Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker proved they were a great rhythm section when they were in the Stray Cats and were just as formidable in this band. Additionally, Lee has a good singing voice that fits perfectly with the songs. Plus, guitarist Earl Slick shows he’s a great guitarist as he plays what I have always considered the best guitar solo of 1985, (see below). So, why not?

Apart from the album itself, I can also provide additional evidence that they sounded just as good live. I recorded their live performance on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, (who remembers that?). In fact, some of the songs they played sounded better live than what it did on vinyl. Again, I ask, “Why not?”

If people don’t remember anything else about Phantom, Rocker and Slick, the one song that they might remember is the hit, “Men Without Shame,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on local radio. I was hooked straight away the first time I heard that song, despite the fact the radio version of the single chopped a good chunk of the guitar solo out of it. Why do they do that? So, you can imagine how I reacted when I heard it in its full glory.

Some more critical people might criticise the album for sounding a bit the same. Yes, I would agree there are similarities between the tracks, “Sing For Your Supper,” “Hollywood Distractions” and “Well Kept Secret” but not enough to say they are all the same. All three are great straight ahead power rockers and all three members of the band are at the top of their game. Furthermore, Phantom and Rocker haven’t totally abandoned their time with the Stray Cats as evidenced in the 1950 ballad like tracks, “Time is On My Hands” and “No Regrets.” On the latter tracks, there is another killer guitar solo from Slick. That’s the other thing, I’ll go out on a limb and venture my belief that Earl Slick is a better guitarist than Brian Setzer was in the Lee and Jim’s former band. An additional bonus is that there is some strong song writing on the album. “Lonely Actions” is proof of this, so again, “Why not?”

Track Listing:

  1. Men Without Shame
  2. My Mistake
  3. What You Want
  4. Time is On My Hands
  5. No Regrets
  6. Lonely Actions
  7. Well Kept Secret
  8. Runnin’ From the Hounds
  9. Hollywood Distractions
  10. Sing For Your Supper

prs

Phantom, Rocker and Slick

Slim Jim Phantom- drums, backing vocals

Lee Rocker- double bass, lead vocals

Earl Slick- guitar, backing vocals

The theme of this post is quite obvious by now. I am asking why didn’t Phantom, Rocker and Slick achieve greater success. Everything to do so was present in bucket loads. My only theory to it was that it was down to the categorising and polarisation of music back in 1985. There was no neat little box for trendies or metaheads to put them into and while the music on the album is well played, there is an element of fun to it and society back then wasn’t ready for it.

Next post: Brian Setzer- The Knife Feels Like Justice

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: Loverboy- Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2018 by 80smetalman

Possibly one of the best musical surprises for me in 1985 came in the form of Loverboy’s album, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” After the more keyboard oriented previous album, “Keep It Up,” I thought that Loverboy were heading down the path of more commercialized rock. That meant that one night when I happened to have had MTV switched on and the video for the bouncy, hard rocking title track came on, I was pleasantly taken by surprise. The fact that they rocked things up a bit made me give this album a chance and I was impressed.

The first five songs of “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” are true rockers. Hell, the third song, “Friday Night” could be a heavy metal song with the way the guitar opens things and how the song progresses after. All I keep thinking was, “Well done, boys!” That track follows on nicely from its predecessors, which include the title track and “Steal the Thunder” holds its own in the hard rock stakes. Even when they go to a power ballad with “This Could Be the Night,” one doesn’t get to thinking that things will go commercial with this one. I have to confess, this is a good power ballad here. The rock party continues further with “Too Much Too Soon,” which is another song which could be taken for a heavy metal song, maybe even more than “Friday Night.” I will point out that Mike Reno does a great vocal performance on that one.

With all of the above said, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” is an album of two halves. After “Too Much Too Soon,” keyboards enter into things. This is not a bad thing although some of the tracks do sound 1980s new wave. “Lead a Double Life” sounds like it could have been used in a mid 80s comedy film soundtrack. “Dangerous” sounds like it could have been a Night Ranger song. “Destination Heartbreak” is a ballad but not as good as the power ballad mentioned previously. What redeems them in my view is that Paul Dean’s guitar can be heard along with all the keyboards and he does rip some really good guitar solos on the songs. In fact, this album could be called Paul’s album due to the way he solos all the way through it. It is a major contributor as to way the album is so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Lovin’ Every Minute of It
  2. Steal the Thunder
  3. Friday Night
  4. This Could Be the Night
  5. Too Much Too Soon
  6. Lead a Double Life
  7. Dangerous
  8. Destination Heartbreak
  9. Bullet in the Chamber

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

In 1985, I stopped labeling Loverboy as a hard rock band who had sold out and gone commercial. While “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” was still a very successful commercial album, it went double platinum, it also proved that that success could be done without compromising musical integrity. So full marks to the band all around on that.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Scarecrow

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