Archive for Jimi Hendrix

America’s Best Kept Secret: Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

As most of you already know, I’ve come to America these past two weeks for not the happiest of reasons. However, in between my mother’s memorial service, the scattering of her ashes into the ocean and my getting stuck into cleaning her house, (she was a heavy smoker), there have been other more happier events like the wine tasting day my sister and her husband took me to. I also got to hook up with my old friend and true metal fan, Frank Formica, at a karaoke night. He even sang “Battle Hyms” by Manowar for me. So, it hasn’t been all gloom for me while I’ve been here, something I’ve been really grateful for.

Having some wine

On one of these more happier occasions, while at my sister and her husband’s house, they told me about this new lady blues guitarist whom they happened to see at some fair in New Jersey not long ago. The guitarists’ name was Hannah Wicklund and my brother in law, Mark Pickeral, who is a pretty good guitarist himself, was so blown away by this lady that he bought two of her albums. I believe this self titled one is her fourth album. But before I get into what a great album “Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones” is, I have to say that when they showed me concert footage of Hannah, I was just as blown away. The album is excellent, it’s going to move into my top 15 for sure, but she is even more kick ass live. I hope that one day I have the opportunity of seeing her do so.

Hannah Wicklund has been called a combination of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I can see the comparison here because she has the power vocals of Janis and she can play guitar like Jimi. When I listen to her blues based guitar rock, I am reminded of other greats in this genre like Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even  Eric Clapton. Her guitar playing can hold its own with any of these mentioned but none of them come close to her in her vocal ability. My God, can she sing! What we have here is a great singer who can shred brilliantly. For me, what’s not there to like?

The hardest thing I find to do when listening to “Hannah Wicklund & the Steppin Stones” is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have chosen, another comes along and vies for the title. This is down to the fact that there are ten great songs on the album. Her vocals come through straight away on the opener, “Bomb Through the Breeze” and her sheer power is stamped on “Ghost.” Then she changes up on “Looking Glass.” My vote, possibly, for best guitar solo comes on “On the Road.” Then just when you think you got her pegged, she surprises you with a near ballad like closer, “Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces.” But on every song, Hannah’s vocal and guitar skills shine through.

Track Listing:

  1. Bomb Through the Breeze
  2. Ghost
  3. Looking Glass
  4. Mama Said
  5. On the Road
  6. Crushin
  7. Strawberry Moon
  8. Too Close to You
  9. Meet You Again
  10. Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah Wicklund- lead vocals, guitar

I can’t find his name anywhere- bass

Luke Mitchell- drums

Note: Luke is also Hannah’s brother who fronts his own band, The High Divers.

One song wasn’t enough to do Hannah justice here so that’s why you are getting three. Hopefully, you will find as I do that Hannah Wicklund kicks ass and she is destined for great things.

Next post, I’ll decided that when I get back to the UK next week.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Album of 2018: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s been four days since my weekend in Reading and after listening to their debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us,” I can still say I’m really into Black Emerald. I’ve now given the album three spins and I am completely impressed. Back in the 1980s, I used to love to listen to up and coming bands because they were hungry and that hunger was reflected in their music. So, it’s great to see that more than thirty years on, that theme is still present.

Things start off with an intro that totally reminds me of Black Sabbath. You know, that slow gloomy bass and guitar sound that gives the eerie feeling of impending doom. Something I have always loved about Sabbath. However, unlike Sabbath, that mood quickly changes to a faster uptempo sound which the earlier hook leads you into banging your head away to. This is a good opener to the album.

Following on is the more speed metal “Life of Anxiety.” Gutlocker vocalist Craig McBrearty lends a hand on the lead vocals and his vocal trade off with Emerald front man Edd Higgs, is just great to listen to. On “Dr Stein,” we have a fusion of Black Sabbath meets Megadeath. An interesting combination to say the least but it works very well on this song. There is the speed of Megadeath to start and even the first chorus reminds me a tiny bit of one of my favourite Megadeath tracks, “A Tout Le Monde.” Later in the song things go to the slower, gloomier Black Sabbath sound. “Dr Stein” ends with a very interesting combination of sounds from the guitar, bass and drums.

Next comes my favourite song on the album, “B.O.D.” I have said many times before that if the music is good in a song, the content of the lyrics won’t matter. The song could be about loving Jesus, eating fruit or doing terrible things to cats with a spoon and I wouldn’t be affected. “B.O.D.” is an anti- drug song and at my age, I shouldn’t be amused by the lyrics but with the song being so good, I don’t care that the opening line is:

“Shoot it up and snort the line

Dropping acid to drinking wine.”

Even later in the track, there’s “Smoking weed to smoking crack,” but I’m still rocking away. It could be down to the fact that guitarist Simon Hall really opens up on this track.

“One For the Road” continues to show how well the band can change it up during a song with elements of speed metal and melody. Afterwards, there’s “Voodoo Princess” which features Remnant guitarist Andy Gunn. The guitars on this track give the song a Jimi Hendrix feel to it. Like I said when I saw Remnant, Andy Gunn can play a guitar and Simon is playing along with him. I get impressions of guitar solo trade offs in the forms of Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray and even Hanneman/King.

The second song from the demo tape I was given at Bloodstock is “Drown in the River.” It’s is done even better on the album and now that I have the lyrics on hand, I know know that the singer is drowning in the Thames River and not the River Death like I thought he was the past four and a half years. It also has a cool guitar solo and a great fade out at the end.

Black Sabbath rears its influential head again on the intro for “Sculptures to the Sky.” Now before every starts going WTF? let me say that this track is what Black Sabbath would sound like if Tom Arraya was lead vocalist. I don’t know if that would work in real life but Black Emerald makes it definitely plausible here.

The final crossover track from the demo is “Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross.” During the show, Edd explained that the song was about Charles Manson. Reading the lyrics, I can see that but they could be singing about a Hitler, Manson, Satan orgy and I would still like this song. Another weirdo fanatic is featured in the near ten minute track, “Jonestown.” The song is about Reverend Jim Jones who ordered his cult to commit suicide in 1978. What I love about this song is that’s it’s a celebration of what the band is capable of. Great vocals, musicianship and some cool tempo changes just so you don’t get bored. Not that you would. “Jonestown” leads into the closing instrumental that is “Revelations” and that is a brilliant way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Can’t Handle All of Us
  2. Life of Anxiety
  3. Dr Stein
  4. B.O.D.
  5. One For the Road
  6. Voodoo Pricess
  7. Drown in the River
  8. Sculptures in the Sky
  9. Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross
  10. Jonestown
  11. Revelations

Edd Higgs- bass, lead vocals

Simon Hall- guitars, backing vocals

Connor Shortt- drums

 

 

You know what? Of the many hundreds of albums I have covered here, I have never broken an album down this extensively. This is because every track has something to offer. Black Emerald are hungry and this debut album is surely evidence of that. So, I hope I’ve converted all of you and you will all go out and buy this album.

Next post: WASP

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Dennis DeYoung- Desert Moon

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Journey wasn’t the only band whose members carried out solo projects in 1984. By the way, Steve Perry wasn’t the only member of Journey with his fingers in another pie in this year but that’s a story for another time. Styx had only disbanded less than a year before and by the end of 1984, two former members of the band had released solo albums. The first of these was by former singer and keyboards player, Dennis De Young, who came out with “Desert Moon,” in the middle of the year.

Styx

Like Steve Perry, if I allowed myself to be influenced by singles on radio or MTV, I would have ignored this album. The first single, the title track, while not a bad song, sounds a little too much like the very successful Styx single “Babe.” While a big hit for the band, “Babe” was never in my top ten of favourite Styx songs. Fortunately, it’s not the best song on the album which bears its name.

When I first heard the opener, “Don’t Wait for Heroes,” I was quite upbeat. Maybe Dennis was taking the progressive/hard rock formula that worked so well with his former band and incorporating it in his solo album. For me, this is the best song on the album. The next track, “Please,” tries to carry this on and does so reasonably but doesn’t quite come up to the opener. “Boys Will Be Boys” is a better track and could have been as good as the “Don’t Wait for Heroes” but Dennis goes a bit too new wave with it and I found that a turn off. After the title track, “Suspicious” is a very interesting track. It’s a definite progressive rock track, in fact, it sounds very suspiciously (yep pun intended) like 10CC. Still, it’s a very upbeat and enjoyable song, with some good guitar solos compliments of Tom Dziallo. It gives the opener a very close competition for my top spot.

My biggest criticism of “Desert Moon” is the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Fire.” I know Dennis was a keyboards player and that song would have worked if done right but it wasn’t. He tries to make it too new wave or something and it just doesn’t work. The album ends with two softer ballad type songs. Dennis’s voice was well suited to such songs, although the former, “Gravity” transforms into a cabaret type of song, which doesn’t rock me until the guitar solo which does save it a little.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Wait For Heroes
  2. Please
  3. Boys Will Be Boys
  4. Fire
  5. Desert Moon
  6. Suspicious
  7. Gravity
  8. Dear Darling (I’ll Be There)

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoung- vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion

Tom Dziallo- all guitars, bass, backing vocals

Dennis Johnson- bass

Tom Radtke- drums, percussion

Steve Eisen- conga, saxophone, conductor

Rosemary Butler- duet vocal on “Please”

Sandy Caulfield- backing vocals

Suzanne DeYoung, Dawn Feusi, Pat Hurley- additional backing vocals

Dennis DeYoung was the first former Styx member out of the starting blocks with a solo album. “Desert Moon” has some good moments and overall is an okay album. However, it doesn’t rock all the way through leaving it unbalanced. Still might be worth a listen, I’ll let you judge from my two favourite tracks.

Next post: HSAS- Through the Fire

Hopefully, there will be a new link for “Rock And Roll Children” soon.

Meanwhile it’s still available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compilation Album for 2016

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by 80smetalman

Recently on Twitter, I commented that with all the great musical stars who passed on in 2016, that I wouldn’t put it past some morbid record producer to make a compilation album featuring all of them. One of my friends replied that with so many, it would have to be a box set and he’s probably right. Normally, I ‘m not a morbid person but I then thought, “Why don’t I come out with my own ideas for such an album?” Besides, if it was in the hands of some corporate record executive, their idea for the album would be totally different than mine, especially if the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, had anything to do with it.

In compiling such an album, I fear that had things been left to record execs, Jimmy Bain and Sandy Pearlman would have been left out totally. Jimmy would have been because he was only a bass player despite the fact that he played on all the greatest Dio albums. Sandy was simply a producer but without him, we would not have had some of the great albums delivered by both Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash. Use of semantics, the fact that Lemmy actually died in 2015, would have been used as an excuse to keep him off the album. I don’t do that because Lemmy’s death was the snowball at the top of the mountain which started the avalanche. Paul Kantner would have definitely been left out if the record producer was British but might have been included if they were American. After all, he did have a minor song writing credit on Jefferson Starship’s best known single, “Jane.”

Of course, I am tempted to exclude some too. I was never a big Prince fan. However, I didn’t hate his music. Whenever his songs came on the radio, I didn’t turn the volume up or down, nor did I change the channel. But credit where due, on the song I really like, he does shred a guitar fairly well and I remember in 1984, I fully endorsed his desire to play the role of Jimi Hendrix in a film about the guitar god.

George Michael is another problem. See, The Sun and other media have already been blubbering over how great an 80s icon he was. I can’t refute that. However, he wasn’t entirely the 1980s and the whole point of writing “Rock and Roll Children” and this blog was to rebut the belief that 80s music was entirely Wham, Michael Jackson and Boy George. We all know it wasn’t but George Michael stands as a symbol of my antagonism towards this warped view of the Golden Decade of Heavy Metal. So, I hope one can understand why I would be tempted to exclude him from my album. However, I am a better person than those at The Sun and not a corporate record executive, so I will allow one GM song onto my album. This song came out after his 1998 arrest in Los Angeles and was the springboard for a rather rude but funny joke.

Tribute Album to Musician’s Who Died in 2016

Lemmy

Lemmy

Motorhead

Motorhead

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Killed By Death
  3. Iron Fist

175px-David-Bowie_Early

David Bowie

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes
The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

  1. Take it Easy
  2. Heartache Tonight
  3. New Kid in Town
  4. From Glenn Frey’s solo stuff:
  5. Smuggler’s Blues
  6. Sexy Girl
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

Dio

Dio

  1. Rainbow in the Dark
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Mystery
  4. Sacred Heart
  5. Sunset Superman

js

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Dance With the Dragon
  3. Stairway to Cleveland
  4. Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (Paul Kantner solo)
I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

  1. Lucky Man
  2. Fanfare for the Common Man
Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

  1. Don’t Fear the Reaper
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
The Clash

The Clash

English Civil War

Prince

Prince

Let’s Go Crazy

George Michael

George Michael

Outside

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah

(I thought Leonard’s song would be the best closer)

True, my list would definitely be more metal oriented. That’s because most metal and rock acts would be passed over by a corporate record producer. Opinions will vary here and I know other songs would be chosen in place of the ones I have here, but if I had my choice. This is what it would be.

Happy New Year to all! Have a great 2017.

Next post: Suicidal Tendencies

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 Soundtracks of 1981: American Pop

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-American_pop_soundtrack_album

Whilst I was on leave after my first deployment overseas, the animated film “American Pop” was at the cinemas. The fact that they used the spot where Jimi Hendrix plays “Purple Haze” was enough to make me want to go see it. The movie itself was all right but what was even better was the soundtrack. It had some of the great artists from the 60s and 70s on it and those songs together make this soundtrack very cool to listen to.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It has been many years since I have seen this film or listened to the soundtrack but for those who may not be familiar with it, I’ll go through a very quick synopsis of the movie. “American Pop” is about 4 generations of musicians. It begins in the early 20th Century and focuses on the character Zamwe who is a child star. However, is throat is injured while singing for the troops on World War One so he never gets to be a star. He also falls foul of the mafia. The story then goes to his son Benny who is an accomplished pianist in a jazz band. He is on the road to fame when World War Two breaks out. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back while playing a piano in a bombed out bar in France. However, Benny’s seed is passed on through Tony. Now in the 60s, Tony’s mother has remarried and has more kids making him an outcast. He goes on the road taking odd jobs where he meets a rock band and becomes their song writer. However, he gets involved with the female lead singer and also gets hooked on drugs ending his brief brush with success. Several years later, Tony is a down and out and his companion is a young street kid named Pete. Tony disappears after giving Pete a load of drugs telling him not to sell it all in one place. Several years more and Pete is a big time drug dealer and is selling to rock stars. One day, he asks the band he is selling to to hear one of his songs. The band refuse at first but relent when Pete threatens to withdraw his business. Pete plays his song and the result is he becomes a big rock star, the end.

Tony and Pete

Tony and Pete

At the time, this film was slated by a lot of people. The problem was that some people tried to take the film too literally. For instance, the girl singer comes across like Grace Slick, (the rest of the band does resemble Jefferson Airplane a little) but turns into Janis Joplin. Okay, those two 60s rock queens may have been fused together to create the character but I say good on them. The other one was at the end. It turns out that Pete’s song is none other than “Night Moves” by and I know I’ve said it before, the unsung hero of 70s rock, Bob Seger. The Pete character was never meant to be Bob, they just use his song. Besides, I did a little research and didn’t find any evidence that Bob Seger was a drug dealer. If I were to go back to that time, I would tell those people to lighten up because if you don’t try to look at things that aren’t really there, the film is quite enjoyable. Of course it is the soundtrack that really makes this movie.

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Official Track Listing:

1. Pat Benatar- Hell is for Children

2. Big Brother and the Holding Company- Summertime

3. The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’

4. Peter, Paul and Mary- This Train

5. Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

6. Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze

7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five

8. Sam Cooke- You Send Me

9. Fabian- Turn Me Loose

10. The Doors- People are Strange

Songs in the film not on the Soundtrack

Bob Seger- Night Moves

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Freebird

Bob Seger

Bob Seger

Just from looking at this list of songs, it is obvious that I do not need to go into more detail about them. A great array of songs from several decades brought together to make one hell of a soundtrack and you can’t debate that whatever you think of the film.

Next post: The Soundtrack to Heavy Metal

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

Book Review: Laina Dawes- What Are You Doing Here?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by 80smetalman

untitled

Not many posts ago, I revealed a book written by Laina Dawes entitled “What Are You Doing Here?” In the book, Ms Dawes tells us of her experiences as a black woman who is into heavy metal, the music she was into and the bands she saw. She also relates the experiences of other African American women who love heavy metal as well as some black female artists who can totally rock. Now that I have read the book in its entirety, I can say that what I read was truly eye opening indeed.

Let me get one thing clear and I know that no one is actually saying this but I am not ashamed of being born white. No one can help the colour of the skin they were born with and that is one reason I take a huge exception to anyone of any race who persecutes human beings who were born of multi- racial parentage. That aside, I am often embarrassed by some of the things my ancestors have done throughout history like slavery, discrimination, the colonization and subjugation of the African continent by Europeans. Now, having read this book, I am ashamed that white, male metal heads could act this way. I have always said that heavy metal could unite the world but after reading I still see that metalheads have a long way to go before we can do this. Furthermore, while I have campaigned against the right wing belief that heavy metal turns you into a criminal and gets you to hate your country, I have also campaigned against the left wing view that our genre of music is sexist and racist. I now know that I may have been wrong because Dawes tells of many experiences of both.

Laina Dawes

Laina Dawes

In “What Are You Doing Here?” Dawes tells quite openly of her negative experiences and some of the positive ones. She had to face down attitudes such as “You think you’re white” as well as the “only one” syndrome being the only black female at many shows. However, the whole time she never comes across was playing the victim. In fact, she tells how she doesn’t let those attitudes stop her enjoying the music she loves and reading some of the acts she’s into, I would love to go to a concert with her. Just no one tell Mrs 80smetalman.

The one thing that is really done well in the book is how she traces the history of rock and metal back to its origins. I began this blog with Jimi Hendrix, (another great black musician who help found metal as we know it today) but she goes back even farther than that to some of the great old blues musicians including BB King. In this case, Laina is absolutely correct in the fact that we as metalheads owe the origins of our music to music originally started by African Americans.

So, I would encourage all to grab a copy of “What Are You Doing Here?” It not only shows us the true origins of our music but also points out that heavy metal still has quite a long way to go before we gain true harmony.

Next post: The Moody Blues- Long Distance Voyager

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

1981- More Cracks Emerge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2013 by 80smetalman

As we have seen, (sorry it’s the teacher in me) 1980 gave us many a great rock and metal album. In fact many of the great all time classics came out in this year. So it was only natural to assume that we should expect more of the same in 1981 and I will endeavour to show that this was the case.

Bezerk

Bezerk

Many changes were a foot in this year in and out of music and with me personally. Space Invaders gave way to Pac Man and the forerunner of Mario with Donkey Kong. However, my game in that year was definitely Bezerk. Loved killing all of those robots and the fact that Evil Otto was indestructible didn’t stop me from shooting at him anyway. America returned to conservative leadership under the presidency of Ronald Reagan but it would be another two and a half years before my mind changed about him. All that aside and I know that this is going to sound very clichéd but I don’t give a rat’s bottom, music got me through 1981. I had some challenging times while serving my country in that year. Without going into too much personal detail, let’s say that I had a lot of sympathy for Joe in a particular Jimi Hendrix song. It was some of the great albums that will be visited here that helped me through the tough times.

1981 wasn’t all doom and gloom. I bought a car that year and although it gave me lots of problems, (putting 24,000 miles in ten months on any car has that effect) my 73 Chevy Nova would be the undisputed party wagon of the year. I bet if someone lifted out the back seat, they would still find a roach or two and I’m not talking about insects. The music was still there to add to that party atmosphere. So, without further wait, I will go onto the great albums of 1981.

Next post: John Lennon- Double Fantasy

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