Archive for Mellow out rock

Great Rock Albums of 1982: A Flock of Seagulls

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-DebutSeagulls

I first heard of A Flock of Seagulls on the radio when it was advertised they would be opening for Cheap Trick at an advertised concert. While, I thought nothing much about it at the time, I wondered after hearing their debut self titled album and comparing it to the albums I’ve heard from Cheap Trick, if this would have made a good combination for a concert. As we already know, Cheap Trick are known for  for their hard rock sound but A Flock of Seagulls had a much more progressive sound and were considered very new wave at the time. It only leaves me wondering how a concert like this would have gone down.

Some have argued that A Flock of Seagulls were the springboard that made it possible for progressive rock to descend into synth pop. Their sound is very keyboard oriented but it sounds nothing like the music which would come out a year or two later. Of course, synth pop was already making a name for itself in the UK but I can’t put that branding on this band.

Their first offering to my ears was their biggest song, “I Ran (So Far Away.) I did and still do like the way the keyboards are used in the song. It has a relaxing, reassuring feel to the song and you can appreciate that the band are capable musicians. The rest of the album also generates this same mood but the songs that stick out most for me are “Modern Love is Automatic,” “Space Age Love Song” and the instrumental “DNA.” In my view, this is a great album to lay back, mellow out and just appreciate.

Track Listing:

1. Modern Love is Automatic

2. Messages

3. I Ran (So Far Away)

4. Space Age Love Song

5. You Can Run

6. Telecommunication

7. Standing in the Doorway

8. Don’t Ask Me

9. DNA

10. Tokyo

11. Man Made

A Flock of Seagulls- Also this haircut would also be a trademark for the band

A Flock of Seagulls- Also this haircut would also be a trademark for the band

Mike Score- lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar

Paul Reynolds- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Frank Maudsley- bass, backing vocals

Ali Score- drums, percussion

In 1982, A Flock of Seagulls heralded an age of new wave into music. Their melodic, progressive sound was truly original and yet enjoyed by many.

Next post: Men At Work- Business As Usual

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 1982: Toto IV

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Toto_Toto_IV

Before I launch into my first album visit of 2015, I would like to first wish all a happy new year and thank all my friends both old and new for visiting and sticking with me. It’s hard to believe that 80smetalman has been going for nearly four years now and I intend to be around for time to come. After all, I’m only in 1982 and the golden age of heavy metal didn’t end until 1989. So, I have a lot of ground to still cover.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

One mega disappointment for the end of the year was that in spite of the many efforts, Ozzy Osbourne did not receive a knighthood. While I shouldn’t be surprised that he was ignored by the British establishment and I can’t even blame it on the metal hating Sun newspaper, it’s still a shame that his near half century of contributions to music still go ignored. Therefore, I say we redouble our efforts in 2015 so he can get his well deserved gong next year.

When I listen to the fourth album by Toto, I find myself pining for what could have been. Three years prior, they came rocking into the world with the heavy rock sound of “Hold the Line.” Those riffs are still catchy within my own mind and back in 1979, that song was an island that refused to be flooded in the sea of disco that was around at the time. “Toto IV” is a total departure from the sound in the song I have already mentioned. It follows subsequent albums in going into a more progressive, pop oriented sound. None of the songs on this fourth album come close to sounding like “Hold the Line.”

This doesn’t mean the album is bad, it’s not. The members of Toto are all talented musicians and it shows on the album. Take the opening song and like many albums of 1982 thus far, the biggest single on the album. If “Rosanna” had been done by some fly by night, 80s synth pop group put together by the likes of Stock, Aiken and Waterman, then it would have totally sucked. Sure, it might have been a top ten single but quickly buried and forgotten. The reason why “Rosanna” appears on a number of rock compilation albums is the good musicianship behind it. Hearing the lyrics does make me want to say “Oh God” but then comes a cool keyboard solo and later a decent guitar solo. They make the song and probably why it has stood the test of time. Other songs on the album are in the same vein. Eight out of the next nine songs are mellow out progressive jazzy blues sounding songs which are great to sit down and listen to but I won’t be listening to them on my way to Amon Amarth in a couple of weeks. The only song that goes anywhere near hard rock is “Afraid of Love” but that song is let down by a keyboard interlude where a cranking guitar solo should be. Still, the musicianship of Toto carry the songs through.

The closer, “Africa,” is more of the same but probably my favourite song on the album. Like the previous nine songs, the closer is definitely a strong progressive song. Unlike “Rosanna,” the lyrics for me are more listenable and the quality musicianship remains but I think they could have used a better instrumental break than the one in the song, perhaps a guitar solo. Still, it is the best song on the album for me.

Track Listing:

1. Rosanna

2. Make Me Believe

3. I Won’t Hold You Back

4. Good For You

5. It’s a Feeling

6. Afraid of Love

7. Lovers in the Night

8. We Made It

9. Waiting for Your Love

10. Africa

Toto

Toto

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, all horn and orchestral arrangements

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion ,tympani

Steve Procraro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

“Toto IV” is probably the reason why Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World fame put “anything by Toto” as the number two party killing song. I have to disagree somewhat here. While I wouldn’t listen to the album on my way to a metal concert, I would still listen to it at more appropriate times. This is a good easy listening album, with some decent songs and quality musicianship.

Next post: Dire Straits- Lover Over Gold

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

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

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Stevie Nicks- Bella Donna

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Bella_Donna_(album)

Stevie Nicks has one thing in common with George Harrison in a sense. I have already mentioned that George’s solo material his my favourite among The Beatles. Likewise, of the solo productions from the members of Fleetwood Mac, it is Stevie Nicks’s material that comes out number one for me. I have heard all of the comments about her having a voice like a sheep. In fact, I enjoyed South Park’s little parody about that. The thing is that I don’t care whether or not she sounds like a sheep, I like her voice and the music that accompanies it. The album “Bella Donna” being one of them.

snonsp

Thinking back to when the songs of this album were played on commercial radio, I am reminded why I don’t like it very much. Back in 1981, the two songs that seemed to get all of the air play were the two duets that appear on the album. One was done with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, okay not really a duet, but “Stop Dragging My Heart Around is a decent song. So is the other duet she performs with former Eagles drummer Don Henley, the mellower “Leather and Lace.” I heard this song played on radio several months back and at its conclusion, the deejay only attributed the song to Stevie Nicks. It made me quite cross the Henley didn’t get a mention in the credits, especially as it was a classic rock station and have played Eagles songs in the past. Okay, rant over.

The point I was wanting to make pre-rant was that while the two mentioned songs are decent and so are the other tracks on the album, one song stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is “Edge of Seventeen” that has me banging my head every time I hear it and that is quite often as it’s on one of my MP3s. For Stevie, this is a great rock tune and shows that she can sing rock with the best of them. It is also a song that I would love to hear covered by a metal band.

Track Listing:

1. Bella Donna

2. Kind of Woman

3. Stop Dragging My Heart Around

4. Think About It

5. After the Glitter Fades

6. Edge of Seventeen

7. How Still My Love

8. Leather and Lace

9. Outside the Rain

10. The Highway Man

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks- lead vocals

Lori Perry- backing vocals

Sharon Celani- backing vocals

Tom Petty- guitar, accompanying vocals (Track 3)

Michael Campbell- guitar

Don Felder- guitar

Benmont Trench- piano, organ, backing vocals

Stan Lynch- drums

Don Henley- drums, accompanying vocals (Track 8)

Fleetwood Mac may have been on a hiatus in 1981 but Stevie Nicks was tearing up the rock world with this great album. She showed that she was perfectly capable of making it on her own. Even if some people think she sounds like a sheep.

Next post: A New TV Station is Born

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

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

georgeh

Once again, I know that I’m repeating myself here because I did say this when I visited Mr Harrison’s self-titled 1979 album but I feel the strange need to say it again. Of all the solo work from the members of The Beatles, it’s George’s the I like the best. I did really like Paul McCartney with Wings in the early 70s but I felt he went too disco at the tail end of the decade. For the more astute, you may have realised that I never visited Wings’ 1979 “Back to the Egg” album, now you know why. However, George Harrison was consistent with his music throughout and didn’t bow to trends in music. While the 1976 album “33 1/3” remains my favourite of his albums, “Somewhere in England” has to rank up there as well.

Warning, this is not a bang your head rock album. George Harrison’s music has always appealed to my more mellower side and this album is no different. However, what comes through on most of the tracks is a subtle lead guitar in the background and for me, that makes most of the songs where it happens. Most notable is the opening track, “Teardrops” and “Unconciousness Rules.” Other tracks have this guitar sound on it as well and there are one or two tracks that make you think George is going to let loose, especially with some of the guitar intros on a couple of tracks but the song goes into the more melodic sound that I know him for. Even so, he makes it sound really good and since the album was released just a few months after former band mate John Lennon’s death, the single “All Those Years Ago” is not only a dedication to him, the other former band mates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear on the song marking a true tribute to Lennon.

Track Listing:

  Blood From a Clone

Unconciousness Rules

Life Itself

All Those Years Ago

Baltimore Oriole

Teardrops

That Which I’ve Lost

Writing On the Wall

Hong Kong Blues

Save the World

George Harrison

George Harrison

George Harrison- Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesisers

Alla Rakha- tabla

Gary Brooker- keyboards, synthesisers

Al Kooper- keyboards, synthesisers

Mike Moran- keyboards, synthesisers

Neil Larsen- keyboards, synthesisers

Tom Scott-Lynicon- horns

Herbie Flowers- tuba, bass

Willie Weeks- bass

Ray Cooper- keyboards, synthesisers, percussion, drums

Jim Keltner- drums

Dave Mattacks- drums

 I probably appreciate this album much more these days as I’m mellowing with age, although play a Slayer or Amon Amarth song and I will be going full tilt. Over the years before his death, George Harrison put out some good light rock and “Somewhere In England” is one of the best.

Next post: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

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: George Harrison- George Harrison

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by 80smetalman

For the more astute, I did say that this post would be George Harrison’s “Somewhere in England” album, however, as I began refreshing my knowledge in order to write this post, I discovered that that album wasn’t released until 1981. The album released in 1979, was the one named after him, George Harrison. I apologise for getting my rock facts wrong on this one and I will visit the “Somewhere in England album when I get to 1981.

When I was posting my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter, I had great internal debate on whether or not I should visit the George Harrison album “331/3.” I decided not to as the album was a real mellow out album although it does contain my all time favourite Harrison song, “Crackerbox Palace.” “George Harrison” is a little less mellow and in no way a hard rock album. I decided to include it because of the history of that time. See, in 1979 rock music was fighting off the disco invasion and some notable rock musicians, some whose albums I’ve included here, were experimenting with the whole disco thing. This album wasn’t disco and that was good enough for me. Furthermore and I’m going to say something that some Beatles fans may think blasphemous, musically George was my favourite Beatle. I’m not taking anything away from Lennon and McCartney, they are true geniuses, but I’ve always liked songs like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Something” and my fave, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, (sorry once a teacher always a teacher) let’s get on to the subject of this album. “George Harrison” by the person of the same name is a good soft rock album. It begins with an introductory guitar solo from the legendary Eric Clapton on the first track, “Love Comes to Everyone” and carries through the album with a feel good factor throughout. There’s the top single “Blow Away” which, for those who take the singles charts seriously, made it  to number 14 in the US and 39 in the UK. The song “Faster” has a bit more of a rock feel to it, especially as it begins with motor racing sound effects.

Track Listing:

1. Love Comes to Everyone

2. Not Guilty

3. Here Comes the Moon

4. Soft Hearted Hanna

5. Blow Away

6. Faster

7. Dark Sweet Lady

8. Your Love is Forever

9. Soft Touch

10. If You Believe

George Harrison- vocals, guitars

Andy Newmark- drums

Willie Weeks- bass

Neil Larsen- keyboards, minimoog

Ray Cooper- percussion

Steve Winwood- polymoog

Emil Richards- marimba

Gayle Richards- harp

Eric Clapton- guitar intro

Gary Wright- oberheim

“George Harrison” for me was common ground for me and my then disco/plastic pop loving girlfriend at the time. Still it’s a good album to “mellow out” to. One I listen to on a lazy summer day, like today and shows why I’ve always said that Harrison’s work has always been underrated when compared to the other Beatles.

Next post: Bad Company- Desolation Angels

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