Archive for Kansas

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Kerry Livgren AD- Timeline

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2017 by 80smetalman

Once again, I was deceived by Satan in 1984. The Christian Rock radio programme, TCN Hot Rock played the song “Mask of the Great Deceiver” by Kerry Livgren. What blew me away about the song was who was on the lead vocals. That alone was grounds for me to go out and buy a Kerry Livgren album. However, when I read the tracks on the 1984 album, “Timeline,” that track wasn’t on it. Therefore I didn’t buy it. As think back to that time, I see the irony in it all, in regards to the vocalist on the song. See, it was about this time that the singer was getting attacked by Christian groups for being Satanic. They obviously never listened to Livgren’s song for even the deejay had to admit the great job done by the vocalist. I’m not going to tell you who that vocalist was, you have to listen to the song and guess. Though, it is pretty obvious. Actually, the picture gives it away but have a listen anyway.

Most of you will know that Kerry Livgren came over from the great 70s prog rock band Kansas. After leaving Kansas in 1983, he met some musicians who were like minded in his spiritual beliefs so they formed the band Kerry Livgren AD and “Timeline” was their first album although it’s considered by some to be Kerry’s second solo album. He had one in 1980 which features the track I pontificated about above.

One critic back then called the “Timeline”album stale. While I won’t agree with that, I can see where he might say that because the first tracks are very 80s synth pop. However, he does nail a good guitar solo on the opening title track and some interesting keyboards work at the end of the second one. While probably the weakest tracks on the album, the first two do set the stage for the better tracks that follow. In fact, the very next track, “Make or Break It” is reminiscent of Kansas and the track after even more so. Kerry nails down some killer guitar solos on tracks, “Take Us to the Water” and “New Age Blues,” (my favourite track), as well as some interesting keyboards work. “Slow Motion Suicide” is a great example. Another very interesting and very notable aspect on “Timeline” are the Yes inspired harmony vocals on the album. They appear throughout. There always being an exception, the track “Beyond the Pale,” sounds very contemporary for the time Joe Jackson.

Track Listing:

  1. Timeline
  2. Tonight
  3. Make or Break It
  4. Take Us to the Water
  5. Beyond the Pale
  6. New Age Blues
  7. Slow Motion Suicide
  8. High On the Hill
  9. Life Undercover
  10. Welcome to the War

Kerry Livgren AD

Kerry Livgren- guitars, keyboards

Michael Gleason- lead and backing vocals

Warren Ham- lead and backing vocals

Dennis Holt- drums, percussion

David Hope- bass

Kerry Livgren AD might have been pushed into the area of Christian Rock by some critics and followers of Christ but there are no in your face Jesus lyrics. To me, it’s just some good old progressive rock similar to what Kerry did with his former band.

Next post: Stryper- Yellow and Black Attack

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1506774683&sr=8-4&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rise of Christian Rock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I don’t write three posts in a week unless in exceptional circumstances which this is. Nothing major, I’m just going to be in Blackpool for the weekend and working a lot next week so I won’t be able to post again until next Friday. However, this doesn’t excuse any of you from your homework assignment from the last post. Only kidding.

1984 was the golden year of heavy metal but it also saw a huge rise in the interest in what has become known as ‘Christian Rock.’ With the onslaught of accusations of rock music being Satanic, Christian youth needed something they could listen to without their beliefs being affected. What emerged was a large number of bands and artists who were Born Again Christians and wanted to use music to spread their word and entertain the flock. I remember back in 1984 a lot of bands of this nature coming on the scene. In fact, early Sunday mornings, my local radio station had a four hour slot called TCN Hot Rock, where they would play music from Christian groups. When I did listen to it, I immediately dismissed the false belief that Christian bands were second rate musicians who were only using religion as a gimmick because they weren’t good enough to make it mainstream. Really, some people actually thought that. No these people could really wail and the music was very good and to shoot down another myth, not all the songs were in your face about Jesus.

You’d be surprised how many bands there are who are considered Christian Rock, even some of those who were popular among us heathens. Did you know that three of the four members of U2 were Born Again Christians? Adam Clayton is the only non believer in the band. Needless to say, their music got a lot of air play on TCN. As did another band who I featured here not too long ago, The Alarm. Other artists also came onto my radar thanks to this radio programme, including former Kansas star, Kerry Livgren. I’ll be featuring his album two posts from now. There was Mylon LeFevre, (no relation), Petra, the Daniel Band and it was here that I got my introduction to some heavy metal band called Styper. You might have heard of them.

The Alarm

U2

I remember one song getting a lot of airplay on TCN Hot Rock during the summer of 1984 so I thought, I would share it with you. It’s by Steve Taylor and it’s called “We Don’t Need No Color Code.” The song actually is a rant against a supposedly Christian College in the South who was accused of racist practices.

Like with everything to do with religion, the concept of Christian Rock is great. Like I said on other blogs, I can listen to Stryper and Mercyful Fate in the same sitting. There are some pretty amazing musicians who are Born Again Christians and I think that’s cool. However, like with everything else, people mess it up and make it look bad. The rise of Christian Rock gave rise to the arrogance in the attitudes of those who listened to it. Some would take this to extremes and if you’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” (shameless plug), you’ll know what I mean.

Next post: Originally, I was going to put a song by the Daniel Band on this post but when I listened to their 1984 album, “Rush Out of the Darkness,” I was so impressed that I’m going to make it my next post.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505466016&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 1983: Planet P- Project

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Planetpproject

Who says American bands aren’t capable of making good progressive rock? Jeremy Clarkson to name one but don’t worry, he does write a column in The Sun, as does some other berk whose name I can’t remember, who insinuated a similar claim. If either of these two gentlemen were to make such a claim in my presence, I would politely guide them to the likes of Kansas, Styx and Planet P. True, the first two bands incorporated lots of hard rock and in the case of Styx, almost bordering on heavy metal but both bands also produced some great progressive rock tunes in their material. As for Planet P, this band was as progressive as anyone and this is proven with their debut album “Project.”

Planet P was the brain child of former Rainbow keyboard player, Tony Carey. I was first alerted to their existence when I heard several tracks from the album played on a rate an album radio programme. It wasn’t the hard rock/metal that I was now a devoted disciple of but I liked it.

The album opens with a bit of space rock, in the form of “Static.” It sounds enough like Pink Floyd that some people made comparisons to that band. It is a little trippy but it does haul your ears in for the rest of the album. Track two, “King For a Day” could have been released as a single. It is one of those songs capable of uniting both progressive purists and metalheads with its catchy melody and lyrics. The next few tracks are good progressive rock tracks and “I Won’t Wake Up” is very good. Then comes the song they did release as a single, “Why Me.” That is a very good song and the fact that it got to number four on the mainstream hot tracks bears testimony of this. However, the album doesn’t rest on the single. The very next track, “Power Tools” is my favourite track on this album. It is the closest they come to hard rock but it’s a catchy upbeat song.

“Send It In a Letter” is more experimental progressive rock. Great use of synthesizers are made here. It’s another space rock sounding song. “Adam and Eve” combines the best of progressive, space and hard rock and does it very well. It doesn’t settle down in one of those said genres for very long before one of the others hits you like a ton of bricks.

Before Planet P, I always knew Tony Carey to be a good keyboards player from his Rainbow days but had little experience of him as a singer. His vocals are more than sufficient on “Project.” He even harmonizes well on the song he doesn’t sing lead. Furthermore, he managed to put together a great band to back him up. Well done to Tony and Planet P!

Track Listing:

  1. Static
  2. King For a Day
  3. I Won’t Wake Up
  4. Top of the World
  5. Armageddon
  6. Tranquility Base (Only available on CD and cassette)
  7. Why Me
  8. Power Tools
  9. Send It In a Letter
  10. Only You and Me
  11. Ruby (Only available on CD and cassette)
Planet P

Planet P

Tony Carey- lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar

David Thomas- lead vocals on “Only You and Me”

Johan Daansen- guitar

Robert Musenpichler- guitar

Helmut Bibl- guitar

Hartmut Pfannmeuller- drums, percussion

Fritz Matzka- drums, percussion

Peter Hauke- drums, percussion

Planet P not only proved that Americans (and Germans) could make some great progressive rock, the “Project” album gained them a lot of respect from metalheads and prog purists alike.

Next post: Stevie Nicks- The Wild Heart

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: Styx- Cornerstone

Posted in 1979, 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by 80smetalman

Styx_-_Cornerstone

Like I did with 1978 and 79, I am starting off 1980 with albums that were released in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the year I’m posting about. “Head Games” by Foreigner was one and so was “Cornerstone” by Styx. The album first came to my attention in the February courtesy of what is probably their best known single, “Babe.” During that month, it seemed every time I would return to base via the back gate, that song was blasting out of the juke box in the bar across the street. I know for a fact that the bar in question was called The Zodiac because the bar next door to it, Dale’s, had mostly country music on their box, although they did serve a delicious bowl of chilli. As a result, I got to hear the song quite a bit and while on the subject, I promise that I won’t link every album between 1980 and 83 with my military experiences.

No band, with the possible exception of Kansas, was able to equal Styx in the art of fusing progressive rock and hard rock. Their previous two albums, “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces of Eight” plus much of their earlier records bare witness to this. “Cornerstone” is more a lurch to the progressive side of their sound. Most of the album seems to follow the flow of the march behind “Babe” and their other single “Why Me” with the progressive sound. The one track that tends to be more harder rock is “Borrowed Time.” This is not to say that it’s not a good album, in no way is it bad and the guitar solo by Tommy Shaw on “First Time” reminded me of that great times of the previous albums.

Track Listing:

1. Lights

2. Why Me

3. Babe

4. Never Say Never

5. Boat on a River

6. Borrowed Time

7. First Time

8. Eddie

9. Love in the Midnight

Styx

Styx

Dennis DeYoung- keyboards, vocals, accordion

Chuck Panozzo- bass, vocals

John Panozzo- drums, percussion, vocals

Tommy Shaw- guitars, vocals, mandolin

James Young- guitars, vocals

When the album came out, many hard rockers were disappointed by “Cornerstone” for it’s more progressive sound. Some  rock historians say that this album began their slide into commericaldom. I don’t think so and I’ll argue the case in 1981. For me, it’s still a good album with a well known song that brings back memories. I wonder if The Zodiac is still there.

Next post: Pink Floyd- The Wall

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublshinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Froogle and Barnes & Noble and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Toto

Posted in 1978, 1979, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

 

Although I was a big fan of Wayne’s World, there was one thing in their book “Extreme Close Up” I didn’t agree with. That was some of the songs they listed in the category of “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes.” There were at least two other songs that I felt shouldn’t have been on the list, “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, down at number two was “Anything by Toto.” I don’t agree that every song by Toto is a party killer. Maybe in the case of “Georgy Porgy” but not their most noted song, “Hold the Line.” That was the song that made me aware of them and I still enjoy listening to it when I play any of the compilation CDs it appears on. Saying that, I do agree with Wayne’s number one choice, “Any disco tune.”

Sticklers for music history will point out that this album was released in 1978, but it didn’t come to my attention until March of 1979. How it did is an amusing story. An Air Force recruitment band came to my high school and played a gig. They introduced “Hold the Line” by saying that Toto had left Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz group and formed his own band. No, I didn’t find that funny either, but they did make the song sound good. Therefore, I was totally impressed when I heard the actual version by Toto.

If someone bought this album today after hearing “Hold the Line,” they may be disappointed in the fact that Toto aren’t a true hard rock band. They are more of a prog rock band with elements of hard and soft rock. I will go out on a ledge here and say they sound like 10cc with a bit of Kansas thrown in. While the album definitely isn’t party killing, it’s not a party enhancer either. This album is what I call a good wind down album. It’s great for playing when travelling home from a metal concert and you want something to bring you down. It’s also good for chilling in your big chair.

One thing I can say from this and other offerings by Toto is that they’re all talented musicians. The opening track, “Child’s Anthem” is a brilliant instrumental  intro to the album and while some of the song “I’ll Supply the Love” has that generic commercial 70s sound in some places, there is some good guitar licks and a keyboard solo to bring it up. A critic, which I’m not, might say that the musicianship makes up for any other flaws in the music.

Track Listing:

1. Child’s Anthem

2. I’ll Supply the Love

3. Georgy Porgy

4. Manuela Run

5. You Are the Flower

6. Girl Goodbye

7. Takin’ It Back

8. Rockmaker

9. Hold the Line

10. Angela

Toto

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Steve Porcaro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Toto are a good prog rock outfit, maybe not as good as Kansas in my opinion, but still good as their first album shows. And don’t pay attention to Wayne’s “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes” list.

Next post: Queen- Jazz

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: Kansas- Monolith

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

When you have put out two very successful albums in a row, like Kansas did with “Leftoverature” and “Point of Know Return,” it isn’t easy going for the hat trick. After refamiliarising myself with their 1979 offering, “Monolith,” I have to conclude that it might not quite match the previous two albums, but it’s a great album nonetheless. It did take me back to that year where I used to listen to it with my friend who was a big Kansas fan and I remember how good this album was. I  never in agreement with the clown from Rolling Stone who claimed that Kansas were trying to be an American version of The Moody Blues or Emerson Lake and Palmer. Kansas have always been unique with their sound and I have always appreciated that.

When I hear the harder rock song “How My Soul Cries Out For You,” I am in total disagreement with the above comment from Rolling Stone, not that I have ever paid much attention to them anyway. While none of the tracks are on a level with the classics “Carry On My Wayward Son” or “Dust in the Wind,” “Monolith” features many good tracks in its own right, including the one already mentioned. I have always loved their use of the violin and Robby Steinhardt is very good at his craft and this definitely shows on the intro to “Angels Have Fallen,” which is a cool classic Kansas track in its own right. The entire track seems to follow in the vein of these songs and what you get is a good solid album that you must listen to with full attentiveness because you never know when they spring another surprise on you with the changes in the songs.

Track Listing:

1. On the Other Side

2. People of the South Wind

3. Angels Have Fallen

4. How My Soul Cries Out for You

5. A Glimpse of Home

6. Away From You

7. Stay Out of Trouble

8. Reason to Be

Kansas

Phil Ehart- drums

David Hope- bass

Kerry Livgren- guitar, keyboards

Robby Steinhardt- violin, vocals

Steve Walsh- vocals, keyboards

Rich Williams- guitar

There is no doubt that many will have their own favourite track on this album, especially the single “People of the South Wind.” Whatever your fave, it is assured that “Monolith” is a great album from a band that brought its own unique style to rock back in the late 70s.

Next post: Soundtrack to The Warriors

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