Archive for Journey

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Sammy Hagar- VOA

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

Sammy Hagar was most definitely a busy boy in 1984. In the early part of the year, he made the one album with HSAS along with Neil Schon from Journey. When I reviewed that album, I wrote a follow up post of what music life would have been like if HSAS had stayed together and released more albums. On the plus side, there would have been a couple more great albums from that quartet and we would have have been spared from Van Hagar, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to the individual conscience to determine. Furthermore, Neil Schon’s career would have been still going strong because Journey was fading from view by then. On the minus side, had that band remained in tact, we might have not been able to feast upon Sammy’s solo album from later on in 1984, “VOA.”

As a result of the big single from the album, Sammy would be described as the “red haired rocker who couldn’t drive fifty-five.” “I Can’t Drive 55” received constant airplay on radio and MTV, not that I ever complained about that. It is my favourite Sammy song of all time, a great tune about driving really fast. Funny thing was that I have no recollection of anyone calling for the song to be banned because it encouraged people to break speed limits. All I know is that I love that song.

Seven other songs also adorn the “VOA” album and all of them are really good. “Rock is In My Blood” is a good power song where Sammy declares that rock is in his blood and his soul. It also demonstrates that Sammy can play a guitar a little bit as well. Two songs come closest to being a power ballad here. One of them is “Two Sides of Love.” It’s not slow enough in my opinion to be a ballad but it is a song about a failing relationship. The guitars are good and the keyboards punctuate the song very effectively. Sammy’s solo is pretty good too.

Now let’s talk about the hidden gem on the album and man, do I love this song. I’m talking about “Dick in the Dirt.” The song is about a man named Richard to is a bit of a ladies’ man. The innuendo behind the lyrics is comical and remains so throughout the song. I always laugh my ass off whenever I listen to the song, even after more than thirty years! Apart from that, it is a good power song and comes with another cool guitar solo. So, I guess you could say that the song hits you from both sides.

For me, the least strongest song, (I call it such as none of the songs are weak), is the title track. Maybe it because it was used so much for patriotic purposes in the days of 80s Reagan America. Actually, it’s because the keyboards take over too much of the song. It’s good but not as much as the other seven songs. Fortunately, the last two songs are much stronger and end the album on a high. “Don’t Make Me Wait” is another song that comes near to being a power ballad but not near enough. It starts as if it’s going to be one but it just rocks. There is some great  guitar work from Sammy and the closer, “Burning Down the City,” all I can say is “Wow! What a great song to end the album with.”

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Drive 55
  2. Swept Away
  3. Rock is in My Blood
  4. Two Sides of Love
  5. Dick in the Dirt
  6. VOA
  7. Don’t Make Me Wait
  8. Burning Down the City

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar- lead vocals, lead guitar

Gary Pihl- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jesse Harms- keyboards, backing vocals

Bill Church- bass, backing vocals

David Lauser- drums, backing vocals

Whatever your thoughts might be on the path Sammy Hagar took in 1984 and after, you can’t fault that “VOA” is a great solo album. Things have moved on in the past three decades and in most American states, the speed limit is above 55. Maybe the big single influenced government to raise the speed limits.

Next post: Waysted

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

Guess what? For this Ted Nugent post, I’m not going to say anything about his politics. Even I know when to stop beating a dead horse. So instead, I’ll focus on his 1984 album, “Penetrator,” which was universally criticized by the metal world for his use of keyboards on the album. To my shame, even I was one of those critics. Thankfully, there’s a much older and questionably wiser me to listen to the album with a more objective mind. My thoughts: “Penetrator” still doesn’t make me want to put albums like “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Weekend Warriors” and “Scream Dream” nor any of his kick ass live albums on the scrap heap but it’s still a pretty good album.

The use of keyboards come through straight away on the opening song, “Tied Up In Love” but not until after a really cool guitar intro only which Terrible Ted can do. Before, I risk repeating myself over and over, the keyboards do make their presence known on many of the songs but they play a subordinate role on the album. Take the second song for example, “(Where Do You) Draw the Line.” This song was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance so one might be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some keyboard dominated soft rock song, it’s not. Ted’s guitar magic comes through very loud and abundantly clear. While still present, the keyboards take even more of a back seat on “Knocking at Your Door.” There are some good guitar riffs to lead the song and Ted nails the guitar solo perfectly. Even more so on the track after “Don’t You Want My Love.” Here the keys are almost non existent. Almost, but there are plenty of Nugent style rocking to be heard on it.

A curious twist comes up with “Go Down Fighting.” This is a song title that you would expect to be a belt it out of the park rocker but the keyboards make their presence known on it, almost making it a Journey type song. The strange thing is that the intro reminds me of Savatage, yeah really. Fortunately, Ted works his guitar magic so you know which side of the fence the song really is. Any doubts of that are dispelled with “Thunder Thighs.” This is a great rocker where Ted just takes control and jams and I hear not one trace of keyboards. It’s just Ted being how he always had been in albums past. However, I sometimes am reluctant to declare it my favourite song on the album because of the sexist connotations behind the title. “No Man’s Land” is just as heavy, if not more than it’s predecessor. Where you think there might be a keyboard at the chorus, there isn’t. After a couple of decent but non descriptive tracks is the closer “Take Me Home.” Again, maybe it’s me but this sounds like a Southern Rock anthem. Not something I’d expect from Ted Nugent but it’s the best song for the closer.

Looking at the credits and remembering recent posts, it turns out that Bobby Chouinard’s drum skills were in great demand in 1984. He played on some of the tracks of both Gary Moore albums I recently posted about and he plays on this entire album. It leads me to conclude that his skills have been forgotten about in later years and this is a travesty because, he’s that good.

Track Listing:

  1. Tied Up In Love
  2. (Where Do You) Draw the Line
  3. Knockin’ At Your Door
  4. Don’t You Want My Love
  5. Go Down Fighting
  6. Thunder Thighs
  7. No Man’s Land
  8. Blame it On the Night
  9. Lean Mean R&R Machine
  10. Take Me Home

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent_ guitars, lead vocals

Brian Howe- lead vocals

Alan St John- keyboards- vocals

Doug Lubahn-bass

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Two interesting notes regarding Ted Nugent, the first coming from this post. Two years on, I would see Ted Nugent live with Savatage in support. It was a great concert even if it was poorly attended. The other was after my last Ted Nugent post, I put him down on the Bloodstock wishlist. The only comment I got back was someone saying they would love for him to play Bloodstock but he has only come to the UK four times since 1988. Anyway, back to “Penetrator.” This album was far better than I remembered it back in 1984, keyboards or not.

Next post: Great White

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Toto- Isolation

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

It is probably the case that “Isolation” is most likely my favourite Toto album was the reason that it didn’t do as well as its predecessors in the charts. Some would say one reason why I like it more was down to the fact that it doesn’t have any cheesy singles like “Rosanna” or “Africa.” I never thought either of those songs were to begin with. That accolade goes to “99” in my opinion. Besides, “Rosanna” has a really cool guitar solo on it. Additionally, there are no songs on “Isolation” that would be called ‘party killing’ tunes in the realm of Wayne’s World.

Wayne puts ‘Any song by Toto’ as number 2 on his party killing tunes list.

Now, some may say that the single, “Stranger in Town,” from this album is slightly cheesy. Again, I don’t agree, I’ve always liked it. In fact, it is my second favourite Toto song. “Hold the Line” remains number one. If there be cheese, Toto do what they normally do and hide any cheese behind some good musicianship. There is plenty of that to be heard on the song and every other track on the album. “Stranger in Town” is the third track on the album following two rather good tunes. I also really like the track that comes after, “Angels Don’t Cry.” There is some good guitar work and it reminds me of late 1970s Styx or Kansas in the sense there are some crunching guitars backed up by some cool but not dominating keyboard playing. The same can be said for “Endless.” Even the more keyboard dominated tracks are done very well with some good guitar solos in them. I never bought the critics claim that “Isolation” was a Journey clone. Where did they get that one from?

The new event which occurred on this album was that it was the first one to feature Fergie Frederiksen on lead vocals who replaced Bobby Kimball after the band terminated his services. I never knew what lead to the switch in singers but I’ve never bothered to find out. Admittedly, I didn’t even know they had a new singer until I looked on the credits of the album. However, Bobby Kimball still provides backing vocals on three or four of the songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Carmen
  2. Lion
  3. Stranger in Town
  4. Angels Don’t Cry
  5. How Does it Feel
  6. Endless
  7. Isolation
  8. Mr Friendly
  9. Change of Heart
  10. Holyanna

Toto

Fergie Frederiksen- lead and backing vocals

Steve Lukather- guitars, backing vocals, lead vocal on “How Does it Feel”

David Paich- keyboards, backing vocals, orchestral arrangements, lead vocals on “Stranger in Town” and “Holyanna,” co-lead vocals on “Carmen”

Steve Procraro- keyboards, electric sounds

Mike Procraro- bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, pecussion

Bobby Kimball- backing vocals

Back in 1984, Toto’s “Isolation” album was my come down a little bit album after listening to three or four metal albums on the trot. The great progressive rock musicianship that comes out of the speakers when it’s played was the reason why. I didn’t think about it then but for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that after the demise of both Styx and Kansas in 1984, this album was the progressive album that carried that sound on.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- The Deed is Done

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502997743&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth- Warrior

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Honeymoon Suite’s “New Girl Now” wasn’t the only rock song that got my attention during the summer of 1984. The other was a song called “The Warrior” by Patty Smyth and Scandal. For me personally, there wasn’t much in it between the two songs, I really liked both of them. However, the single buying public didn’t agree with me at the time. “New Girl Now” only made to around #53 in the Billboard charts while “The Warrior” got all the way to number seven. But what do the public know?

If it wasn’t for the fact that I luckily caught a concert by Patty Smyth and Scandal on the radio one night in early 1985, I would have had them down as two hit wonders. It was that radio broadcast that convinced me to explore what would be the band’s only full length album, “Warrior.” I thank the fact that I was in the right place at the right time because I would have otherwise missed out on a good album.

The weird thing about “Warrior” is then, like now, each time I listen to it, my enjoyment of the album alternates. One listen has me thinking, “What a great album!” while the next time, I might think, “Eh, it’s okay.” However, I never thought lower than the eh, it’s okay.

“Warrior” stacks its three singles on the first three tracks, leading off with the best known one. Then comes “Beat of a Heart” which got a good bit of airplay and I do like it. As for the next track, “Hands Tied,” I don’t ever remember hearing it outside of the album. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song but I do think it’s not quite as good as the first two. The rest of the album is still good. One song that really sticks out is “Only the Young” but that song was written by Steve Perry, Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey who sold the song to Scandal, who do a good job in their recording of the song.

“All I Want” is probably the heaviest song on the album. There are some crunching guitars on it and it does host what I consider to be the best guitar solo on the album. Unfortunately, the credits don’t reveal which guitarist plays the solo so I guess we’ll never know. “Talk to Me” is almost as hard and the guitar solo matches the previous track but it takes a second or two before the song gets into full swing. The rest of the album goes out on a less harder tone beginning with the ballad, “Say What You Will.” Not bad as far as rock ballads go but it doesn’t chart in my personal list of great ballads. “Tonight” does take things back to pre ballad feelings and though the guitar solo is pretty cool, it’s not quite as rocky as tracks six or seven. As for the closer, it follows on from its predecessor fine and is the best track to close the album with.

Patty Smyth proves on “Warrior” that she can deliver the goods vocally. I never understood why she didn’t go farther in the music world. I’d take her over Madonna any day! Then again, I would take any female rock or metal singer over Madonna. As for the rest of the band, I will say that they are competent. Except for the guitar solos, I won’t say they’re spectacular but they know how to play and they get the job done.

Track Listing:

  1. The Warrior
  2. Beat of a Heart
  3. Hands Tied
  4. Less Than Half
  5. Only the Young
  6. All I Want
  7. Talk to Me
  8. Say What You Will
  9. Tonight
  10. Maybe We Went Too Far

Patty Smyth- lead vocals

Zack Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Ivan Elias- bass

Keith Mack- guitar, backing vocals

Thommy Price- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wood- synthesizer

Pat Mastelotto- drums on ‘Only the Young’

Andy Newmark- drums on “Hands Tied”

Frank Previte- backing vocals on “Hands Tied”

Norman Mershon- backing vocals on “Hands Tied”

“Warrior” was the only album released by Scandal. Patty Smyth would put out some solo albums a few years later but little, if anything, would be heard from Scandal. Is it a shame? I tend to think so because this is a good to okay album and who knows what they would have come up with if given another shot.

Next post: Marillion- Fugazi

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1498982167&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Opinion: Would It Have Been Cool if HSAS Continued After One Album?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

HSAS

Thinking more about my previous post on the only album from HSAS, I continue to speculate what would it have been like if they didn’t stop at one album. In the last post, I put forward the historical evidence that Journey went completely downhill and that Sammy went onto join Van Halen and received a lot of unfair criticism for it. My feelings are that they would have gone on to make at least two more killer albums before any super group egos began to get in the way. Hopefully, I might be wrong there. So, what I’m doing is putting the question out there to the cosmos. Would any of you liked to have heard more albums from HSAS and gone to see them live? Let me know your opinions and don’t be shy! I will look at both sides of the argument with equal eyes.

Now, in two days I’ll be off to Download and have come to an interesting situation. It was my intention that on the Sunday, I was going to see the top four bands on the main stage so I can get a good position for Aerosmith. Having not seen them since 1990, I was prepared to give Slayer who are headlining on the second stage a miss. Particularly because I have seen them at Bloodstock twice in the past three years. However, Slayer will be on before Aerosmith so I do have the chance to see them. To throw a further spanner in the works, I really want to see Airbourne and Steel Panther who are on the main stage before Slayer but had not heard of the band between Steel Panther and Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, who are on when Slayer goes on. I know that I can easily move stages but I fear I won’t get a good place for Aerosmith if I do. Furthermore, I have familiarized myself with Alter Bridge and am very impressed with what I heard. So, I’m tempted to stay and see them. What would you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Steve Perry- Street Talk

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

If I were one of those types of persons who bought or didn’t buy an album because of the single, then I wouldn’t have bought the first solo album from Journey’s singer, Steve Perry, “Street Talk.” Now, I’m not saying that “Oh Sherrie” was a rubbish song, it’s not. What it is is a rather catchy AOR pop song and it’s little wonder that it reached number three on Billboard charts. However, that big single is not typical of the rest of the “Street Talk” album.

“Oh Sherrie” is the opener on the album and that’s not a surprise. Like I said, it’s not a bad song. On the other hand, if I had anything to say, I would have put the second track, “I Believe” as the opener. This is a funky jam which stretches Steve’s voice to its full potential. This is the song that wakes you up and says that you’re going to listen to this album and like it. The following track, “Go Away,” combines the first two songs. There is that 80s synth influence of “Oh Sherrie” in the back ground but it goes to the funky vibe of “I Believe.” The song works and has a decent guitar solo. However, the next track, “Foolish Heart,” is a definite ballad, sung in a lounge act style. While, it’s not my cup of tea, you can’t fault Mr Perry’s vocals on it.

There are some rockers on the album as well and that begins with “It’s Only Love.” Steve shows that he’s still the rock singer he was with Journey. There are some good guitars to enjoy on it too. An even better rocker is “You Should Be Happy.” This even has a cool guitar lick at the intro and is for sure, a straight ahead rocker. It’s definitely in the top two for my favourite track on the album. Love the power chords in the middle of the song. Even though, it starts out like it’s going to be another ballad, “She’s Mine” turns out to be a quiet little rocker as well. “Running Alone” is a ballad, no questions asked but okay since it turns into a power ballad later in the song. “Captured By the Moment” is a good rocker with a cool guitar solo. However, the song, I’ve always liked is the closer and third single, “Strung Out.” When I first heard it, I thought “This is more me.” And it takes the album out on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Oh Sherrie
  2. I Believe
  3. Go Away
  4. Foolish Heart
  5. It’s Only Love
  6. She’s Mine
  7. You Should Be Happy
  8. Running Alone
  9. Captured by the Moment
  10. Strung Out

Steve Perry

Steve Perry- vocals

Craig Krampf, Larrie Londin- drums, percussion

Bob Glaub, Chuck Domanico, Kevin McCormick, Brian Garofalo- bass

Michael Landau, Waddy Watchel, Craig Hull, Billy Steele- guitars

Steve Goldstein, Sterling Smith, Bill Cuomo, Billy Goodrum, Duane Hitchings, Robert Greenridge- keyboards

Journey might have been taking a break in 1984 but Steve Perry wasn’t. “Street Talk” is proof of that. This was a good album for him, whether or not you liked “Oh Sherrie.”

Next Post: Dennis De Young- Desert Moon

Note: The link for Rock and Roll Children no longer works but it is still available on Amazon.com and other books websites and at Foyles Book Shop in London