Archive for Ian Gillian

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Gillan- Double Trouble

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Double_Trouble_-_Gillan

Not content with putting out one great album in 1981, Ian Gillan and his band went out and released another one. “Double Trouble” was the follow up to the fantastic “Future Shock” album they released earlier in the year. What was different about “Double Trouble” was that it featured two LP’s, one was studio recordings and the second disc was all live recordings. It is also the first album with future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers as Bernie Torme was fired from the band when he did not want to participate in the playback TV performance of “No Laughing At Heaven” on “Top of the Pops.”

When you visit two albums that were recorded by the same band in a short time frame, it is very difficult not to compare and contrast the two. Therefore, I have to admit that of the two, I would say that “Future Shock” edges out “Double Trouble.” That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the latter album. It does go back to the more progressive sound of “Glory Road” but there’s nothing wrong with that and there is still some shining hard rock moments on it. “Sunbeam” comes to mind here. Furthermore, the live recordings of some of the past songs are excellently done and give me the regret of never having seen them live. “No Easy Way” is a good example of this. One thing I can say is that while there are many studio/live albums out there, “Double Trouble” is NOT one of those were the artist just thinks, “I’ll just throw in some live tracks here.” The live tracks are well preformed and the live LP is very well thought out. Full marks here for the entire album.

Tack Listing:

Studio LP

1. I’ll Rip Your Spine Out

2. Restless

3. Men of War

4. Sunbeam

5. Nightmare

6. Hadley Bop Bop

7. Life Goes On

8. Born to Kill

Live LP

1. No Laughing at Heaven

2. No Easy Way

3. Trouble

4. Mutually Assured Destruction

5. If You Believe Me

6. New Orleans

Gillan (from this album)

Gillan (from this album)

Ian Gillan- vocals

Janick Gers- guitars

Colin Towns- keyboards

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

Usually YouTube is very good at allowing me to listen to albums I never got the chance to back in the day, like all of the Gillan albums I’ve covered so far. This time, it was a bit of a struggle. YouTube wouldn’t play tracks, “I’ll Rip Your Spine Out” and “Nightmare” so I can only speculate they were as good as the rest of the songs here. Whatever the case, with two great albums in the same year, Gillan must have been riding high.

Next post: Journey- Escape

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

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Gillan- Future Shock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Future_Shock_-_Gillan

After listening to the 1981 “Future Shock” album by Gillan, I even more regret that I never listened to them back in the day. Furthermore, this album cements my belief that Gillan were the best British act not to make it big in America. Once again, I have to thank YouTube for providing with an opportunity to listen to a great album I would have otherwise missed.

Maybe it’s me but “Future Shock” seems noticeably heavier that its predecessor, “Glory Road.” I mean the first four tracks on this album really rock. While the keyboards are definitely there, they play a more subordinate role in those songs but still make them sound great along with the guitar playing of Bernie Torme. But it’s the track “Sacre Bleu” where Torme’s talents really shine through. Then there’s the cover of “New Orleans,” which is very nicely done. After “Bite the Bullet,” which again has a cool guitar solo compliments of Torme, the album slows down with the cool power ballad, “If I Sing Softly.” I’ve only heard this song twice but I’m already ranking up there with some of the other great power ballads.

At first listen, I thought the album went more progressive with the last two songs but after the second listen, I am now of the opinion that I thought wrong the first time around. While the piano work Colin Towns is brilliant on the closer “For Your Dreams,” it’s still a rocker. Of course with all the great musicianship from the members of this band, it doesn’t make anyone forget whose name is on the marquee. Through his magnificent vocals, Ian Gillan lets you know that he is the singer and further proves why he gets my vote as the greatest voice in rock and metal.

Track Listing:

1. Future Shock

2. Night Ride Out of Phoenix

3. (The Ballad Of) The Lucitania Express

4. No Laughing in Heaven

5. Sacre Bleu

6. New Orleans

7. Bite the Bullet

8. If I Sing Softly

9. Don’t Want the Truth

10. For Your Dreams

Gillan

Gillan

Ian Gillan- vocals

Bernie Torme- guitars

Colin Town- keyboards

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

So, we have another great album fronted by a great vocalist and a fine band behind him. It makes me wonder why I never heard any Gillan back in 1981. I can’t really blame it being in the service either. But as they say, better late than never. Just to whet your appetites a bit, further along in the tour of 1981, I will be revealing who I consider to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain.

Next post: An Unexpected Surprise

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

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Gillan- Glory Road

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Glory-lp

For my goings on about American rock and metal acts who never made it in the UK, I have concluded that Gillan is the best British rock act not to have made it in the US. I didn’t learn about the existence of this band until I saw the newly reformed Deep Purple in 1985 and studied their family tree. Like many Americans, (I will probably get an onslaught of people who will say the contrary) I have always associated Ian Gillan as the lead singer of Deep Purple. The band he had during the years away from DP never came to my attention. I could blame it on being in the marines but I couldn’t be sure if I would have heard of them anyway. The bottom line though is that I regret having never heard Gillan back then because I would have definitely dug albums like this one, “Glory Road.”

Now that I have finally sat down and heard the album, I can safely say that it’s a good one. I have always stated that keyboards can be used in hard rock and metal if done properly and Gillan do it right. Colin Towns lays down some great keyboard backing while still allowing the much underrated Bernie Torme to show what he can do on the guitar. All this supported by a strong rhythm section and of course the man who I consider the best voice in rock/metal, Ian Gillan. There is little I can say about the vocal ability of Ian Gillan that hasn’t been said before.

“Glory Road” also shows the band’s versatility. While I mention the keyboards as a support, the album throws in a beautiful keyboard dominated song like “Abbey of Thelema” after such great rockers as “Sleeping On the Job” and “On the Rocks.” For anyone who likes a bit of variety, there is hard rock, a bit of prog rock and a little blues at times in “Glory Road.” To make a long story short, this album has it all.

Track Listing:

Glory Road

1. Unchain Your Brain

2. Are You Sure

3. Time and Time Again

4. No Easy Way

5. Sleeping On the Job

6. On the Rocks

7. If You Believe Me

8. Running, White Face City Boy

9. Nervous

For Gillan Fans Only

1. Higher and Higher

2. Your Mother Was Right

3. Red Watch

4. Abbey of Thelema

5. Running to Get to You

6. Come Tomorrow

7. Dragon’s Tongue

8. Post Fade Brain Damage

9. Egg Timer

10. Harry Line Theme

Gillan

Gillan

Ian Gillan- vocals, harmonica

Bernie Torme- guitar. lead vocal on Come Tomorrow

Colin Towns- keyboards, flute, lead vocal on Egg Timer

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

If you’re like me and hadn’t heard this album before, I definitely suggest you have a good listen to it. I guarantee you won’t regret it. I think I’ll be spending some time going through the Gillan backlog.

Next post: Utopia- Adventures in Utopia

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Gillian- Mr Universe

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by 80smetalman

For me, after he left Deep Purple, Ian Gillian kind of dropped off my radar throughout the rest of the 1970’s. This is mainly owing to the fact that none of Gillian’s songs ever got played on that old AM clock radio of mine. Therefore, this is yet another album that I listened to after the fact. What I know now that I didn’t know back then was that Gillian continued to rock on with his own band for the rest of the decade and was very successful in the UK.

Listening to “Mr Universe,” I get the feeling there’s a similar sound to the Deep Purple reunion album “Perfect Strangers.” The sound is more keyboard oriented but there is nothing wrong with that on this album. However, I do like the more rockier tracks “Vengeance” and “Puget Sound” as they have more harder sound. Furthermore, the guitar work of Bernie Torme, someone I would eventually come across when I got to London in 1986, is more present on those tracks. The other tracks are in no ways weak and all together this is a fine album.

Track Listing:

1. Second Sight

2. Secret of the Dance

3. She Tears Me Down

4. Roller

5. Mr Universe

6. Vengeance

7. Puget Sound

8. Dead of the Night

9. Message in a Bottle

10. Fighting Man

Gillian

Ian Gillian- vocals, harmonica

Bernie Torme- guitar

Colin Towns- keyboards, flute

John McCoy- bass

Mick Underwood- drums

Ian Gillian has always been one of my favourite vocalists and I will forever be blown away when I heard him sing “A Child in Time” live. His vocals are no less formidable on “Mr Universe.” One thing that has been said of singers who surround themselves with good musicians is that they do so to compensate for their limited vocal ability. Yeah, that’s certainly true with Jedward and some say it about David Lee Roth. However, Ian Gillian is not the case and his vocals and band has me wondering why I never heard of them in the US back then.

Next post: Pat Benatar- In the Heat of the Night

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