Archive for Journey

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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 80smetalman
The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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 1983: John Cougar Mellencamp- Uh Huh

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

John_Cougar_Mellencamp-Uh-Huh_(album_cover)

One type of person whom most other people in the world find annoying is the guy who acts all tough but clearly isn’t. This was a major problem for John Cougar Mellencamp back in the early 1980s, especially in the eyes of many metalheads. My sister saw him live in 1983 along with Journey (who headlined,) Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. Anyway, while Cougar was on stage, ( he hadn’t reclaimed is family name yet), someone threw something onto the stage. In response, John called out, “Hey mother f*cker, throw some shit up here again and I’ll come down and stomp on your ass.” While this was amusing, I remember one friend who said that he would have thrown something else at the stage so he could kick John Cougar’s ass because Cougar was a wimp.

JCM’s 1983 album “Uh Huh” established him as a true American rock act and many of my British friends agree. My thoughts on the album was while it wasn’t a metal album, it was still hard enough for metalheads to enjoy. I have always enjoyed “Uh Huh,” even the singles, which are the first three songs on the album. “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses” and “The Authority Song” were all good tunes that stretched across the barriers that were being erected in music back then. They had a commercial appeal and a hard rock enough sound that no one who liked those songs would be accused of leaving their chosen camp. Of the three, “The Authority Song” is my favourite because it highlights perfectly the phase I was going through at the time. It was kind of and I stress kind of my theme song for a brief period.

After the three singles, there is still plenty of straightforward American rock and roll to be had. “Play Guitar” and “Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya” definitely qualify but the best song of all on the album has to be “Serious Business.” The lyrics alone make the song for me. I mean how could one not like lyrics that go :

“This is serious business, sex and violence and rock and roll.”

Hell, I’m singing those lyrics now as I type this. This is why I found “Uh Huh” to be such and enjoyable album. John Cougar Mellencamp has a bit of fun on it.

Track Listing:

  1. Crumblin’ Down
  2. Pink Houses
  3. The Authority Song
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar
  7. Serious Business
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates
John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp- vocals

Larry Crane- guitar

Kenny Aronoff- drums, percussion

Toby Myers- bass

Mike Wanchic- guitar, backing vocals

Louis Johnson- bass

Carol Sue Hill- vocals

Maggie Ryder- vocals

Jay Ferguson- vocals

When I was teaching full time, I did an American theme in a cookery lesson which the class was making sloppy joes and corn dogs. One of my British colleagues remarked at this, “Sloppy Joes and corn dogs, it sounds like a John Mellencamp song.” Yes, many people outside the US regard John Cougar Mellencamp as truly and American artist, especially with some of the topics he sings about in later albums. That was before “Uh Huh,” where while there are some hidden themes, it’s still a fun rocker of an album.

Next post: Dave Edmunds- Information

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