Archive for melodic rock

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Rush- Hold Your Fire

Posted in Uncategorized, 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

My excuse of being in Britain at the time is why I am posting Rush’s 1987, “Hold Your Fire,” album for 1988. I didn’t hear about this album until 1988, although I might have heard about it sooner if I hadn’t lost touch with two UK friends who are big Rush fans. Oh, I see both of them on Facebook now and they will probably both put in their two penneth on this post.

Reading a little history, I am rather perplexed as to why some ‘critics’ said that synthesizers were overused. The two Rush albums previous to “Hold Your Fire” were more synth pop in my not so humble opinion. If anything, I think this album was made ten years too late. It would have been right at home among all the great progressive rock bands from the 1970s as I find this a great offering of some cool progressive rock. Okay, there aren’t the power chords of some of the more hard rock Rush albums but Alex’s guitar is plain to hear. He does some good riffs, take “Time Stand Still” for instance but the one thing which comes to my mind on “Time Stands Still” is Geddy Lee. We all know his singing and songwriting capabilities and many will praise his keyboards skills, I do. What only Rush fans realize is that Geddy plays bass and his skills on that instrument seemed to be forgotten. Not me, Geddy, nor any dedicated Rush fans but I do like his bass line on this track and on “Open Secrets.” Oh yes, I better mention that til Tuesday singer and bassist Aimee Mann lends her voice to the track and it works very well.

The entire album is one cool progressive rock jam. Even though the intro of the opener, “Force Ten,” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a metal album, the prog rock shines through and continues on. However, there is a standout track and that happens to be “Prime Mover.” The guitar on the intro is one of those which has me fist pumping the air. Hell, turn up the guitar and you have a great metal song. Again, Lee’s not talked about much bass playing is just as prominent on the song. Like so many Rush fans, I always knew he could lay down a cool bassline. Furthermore, the song has a catchy melody which sounds like typical Rush and Geddy unleashes his skills on the keyboards here. Now some of you are probably asking, “What about Neil?” Well, he does what he always does and pounds the skins very well. Though there are some interesting drum fills on “Prime Mover.”

If I had to pick a track which could be called ‘filler,’ it would have to be “Tai Shan.” It’s an attempt, Alex used that exact word in a 2012 interview with “Total Guitar” to experiment using classical Chinese music. He also called the song, ‘corny.’ I wouldn’t go that far and I don’t think it’s a bad song, it’s just not as good as the other nine. Speaking of Alex, I just wish he soloed more on the album, that’s all. His only solos come on “Mission,” “Turn the Page” and the closer, “High Water.” The solos are quite good but it’s Neil’s drumming that really shines through on “Mission.

Track Listing:

  1. Force Ten
  2. Time Stands Still
  3. Open Secrets
  4. Second Nature
  5. Prime Mover
  6. Lock and Key
  7. Mission
  8. Turn the Page
  9. Tai Shan
  10. High Water
Rush

Geddy Lee- lead vocals, bass, synthesizer

Alex Liefson- guitar

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

Aimee Mann- accompanying lead vocals on “Time Stand Still,” backing vocals on “Tai Shan,” “Primer Mover” and “Open Secrets”

Andy Richards- additional keyboards, synthesizer programming

I am with those in the cult status who regard “Hold Your Fire” with great esteem. I much prefer this to their previous two albums but like I said at the beginning, it might have been more accepted if it had come out ten years earlier.

Next post: Van Halen- OU812

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmal.com

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Great Rock Albums of 1988: Traveling Wilburys- Vol. 1

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s amazing what can happen! What started out as a B-side record turned into an album which went platinum worldwide. According to the story, George Harrison told Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne over dinner that he needed a track recording for his new album and asked Jeff and Roy to help out, to which they agreed. On the way, George stopped at Tom Petty’s house to pick up a guitar he had left there and ended up having Tom come along. He also asked Bob Dylan if they could use his garage to record in. Originally, Bob was just going to be a host but he joined and contributed songs as well and thus the Traveling Wilburys was born.

It was agreed that they would all use the surname and make up first names for their own personas. (See below.) The first song which came out of the collaboration was “Handle With Care,” which was a huge hit. At least everywhere but the USA, where it only got to #45. “Handle With Care” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Light, melodic folk rock songs which definitely puts the easy into easy listening. While there is a similarity in all of the songs, you can hear each Wilbury’s unique stamp in the them. “Dirty World” is definitely Bob Dylan while there is no mistaking Tom Petty on “Last Night” and you get classic Roy Orbison on “Not Alone Anymore.” However, each of the others back one another up with backing or accompanying vocals. The result is fantastic.

One question I asked at the time and I’m sure many others did was how could all of these rock giants make an album together without the clash of egos? I’m sure there might have been disagreements during the song writing and recording, after all, friends have them all of the time. But there is no sound of any of that when the music starts playing. Like I said earlier, they all seem to compliment each other on the songs.

Now for standout tracks. Of course you get the big singles, “Handle With Care” and the closer, “End of the Line,” which was also a single and George led. While I can’t say there’s a filler track on the album, I did pick out a hidden gem, which happens to be “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” It’s exclusively sung by Bob and from what I glean for the lyrics, it’s about two drug dealers on the run. It’s a dark song and the heavy guitar adds to the darkness. So does the chorus as the rest of the Wilburys sing “And the walls came down all the way to hell.” It’s brilliantly done.

Track Listing:

  1. Handle With Care
  2. Dirty World
  3. Rattled
  4. Last Night
  5. Not Alone Anymore
  6. Congratulations
  7. Heading for the Light
  8. Margarita
  9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  10. End of the Line
Traveling Wilburys

Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, slide guitar

Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, drums and cowbell on “Handle With Care”

Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Additional Musicians:

Buster Sidebury (Jim Keltner)- drums, percussion

Jim Horn- saxophone

Ray Cooper- percussion

Ian Wallace- tom toms

Two months after the album’s release, tragedy struck when Roy passed away from a sudden heart attack. However, the album would go onto win many awards and achieve great things. As one critic put it: The Traveling Wilburys was the greatest commercial coup of the decade. It turns out the elders of rock could teach the younger upstarts a thing or two.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1988

If anyone’s interested, I’ve written another wrestling script which is available to buy and download. Go to https://promixedwrestling.com/ and look for “Eva vs. Loxleigh- Grudge Match.”

Action from Eva vs. Loxleigh

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shok Paris- Steel and Starlight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2022 by 80smetalman

The more I travel through the metal history of 1987, the more I feel the need to thank my sister Dawn for sending me samples of great bands I might have otherwise missed. Like with Warlock, four tracks from Shok Paris’s album, “Steel and Starlight” appeared on the same tape. The difference, however, is that while Doro had already achieved great things and continues to do so, when I listen to Shok Paris, my question is: Why didn’t this band go further? After all, there must be something about why I remember them so well since the cassette they are on is with the other ones in those ammo cans in my attic.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

To be honest, I don’t think this compilation tape is in either of those cans but in another box I had tapes in but that’s not the point. The point is those four tracks on “Steel and Starlight” blew me away so much back then and finally listening to their full album, I can see why. While it wasn’t a term back in 1987, Shok Paris would be classed as melodic metal today. Were they pioneers? If they had been more successful internationally, then I would answer “yes.”

The opening two tracks were both from Dawn’s tape and both have cool intros before going into full metal. However, while I already knew those opening tracks were good, track three, “Tokyo Rose,” convinced me that this band is for real! Vic Hix’s lead vocals sometimes sound over the top but he manages to keep it within the boundaries and of course the shredding of Ken Erb is top notch. But what really sticks out for me in this song is the rhythm guitar work, fair dues to Eric Marderwald here.

Ken’s shredding comes in more with another non-tape track, “Rocked Outta Love.” Only here, Vic does put his big toe outside the boundary on this occasion, but it doesn’t detract from the song. After that, we go back to a song which was on the tape, “Castle Walls.” I don’t remember the long progressive intro being on the tape, I hope my sister didn’t cut it out because it is done very well. Ken playing a solo along with Eric on the acoustic guitar sets things up perfectly when the song goes full metal with some more great shredding. It’s also the first track where we get to appreciate the bass from Kel Berkshire.

Drummer Jan Roll checks in on “On Your Feet” with some cool drum rolls at the beginning. This is a definite straight forward metal song which is nicely done with some more drum rolls through the song. “Falling for You” is another straight ahead metal tune but it sounds like all five band members equally contribute on it. That brings me to the tracks which has stood out for me even after thirty-five years, “Exhibit A.” However, don’t ask me to explain why I like it so much. It could be the opening lyrics:

“Its four in the morning and I wait for my case

Today is the day, I got a date with the state

They’re screaming for blood, they’re sealing my fate

Don’t kiss me goodbye because it’s never too late.

Maybe it’s the fact that Vic doesn’t try so hard to be Joe Cool Metal singer and his vocals are brilliant as they are. Then again, that was the case on the previous track. Possibly, it’s because the track picks up a little more speed than the others without losing the melody or is it down to the lyrics being about a defendant on trial? In any case, I just love the song! Okay, the top notch solo from Ken helps as well.

“Lost Queen” has been added to my list of songs about prostitutes which I will write a post about much further down the line. It’s slows down a bit and it’s definitely a good melodic metal track. But if I were to call any tracks filler, though I won’t, the last two tracks aren’t quite as good as the rest. They’re still good tracks, I wouldn’t leave either one off the album. It’s just they’re not as good. Saying that, the penultimate track has been growing on me.

Track Listing:

  1. Go Down Fighting
  2. Steel and Starlight
  3. Tokyo Rose
  4. Rocked Outta Love
  5. Castle Walls
  6. On Your Feet
  7. Falling for You
  8. Exhibit A
  9. Lost Queen
  10. Hot on Your Heels
  11. Streets of Pleasure
Shok Paris

Vic Hix- vocals

Ken Erb- lead guitar

Eric Marderwald- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kel Berkshire- bass, backing vocals

Jan Roll- drums

Shok Paris is an excellent reason why we should have had the internet in 1987. While I will forever be grateful to my sister for sending me those tapes, I think if they had more exposure, they would have gone further than they did.

Next post: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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Great Albums of 1986: Tobruk- Wild On the Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

During my first Christmas in Britain in 1986, my sister Dawn and her friend Stacy, (together known as ‘The Metal Sisters’), sent me a cassette full of metal songs. This tape will comprise the next several posts but I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe they thought I was missing some good heavy metal, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The first two songs on the tape were from the band Tobruk and from the album, “Wild On the Run.” However, I had already heard of the band because a few weeks earlier, Kerrang Magazine, (long before it became Kerrap in the mid 90s), ran an article on them in their “Wimpwire” feature.

Wimps? Well quite possibly because there are spots on the album where they sound like they want to be the next Bon Jovi. The intro and the short keyboard solo on the second track, “Falling” definitely gives that impression. However, even on that track, there are some good hard rock portions to be heard. What Tobruk do successfully on this album is to blend the heavy metal with just the right amount of keyboards. The keys enhance the songs. One good example of this blend is “Running From the Night.” It’s basically a great hard rockin’ track with a cool guitar solo and I love the guitars at the intro. The keyboards can be heard but they compliment the song. Thinking about it, that particular track reminds me of Autograph.

Since I would only be repeating myself if I dissected each song individually, not that the songs all sound the same because they don’t, I will look at three songs. First, there is the opening title track which was also released as a single. It didn’t do anything as far as the singles charts but it doesn’t stop it from being a good song. On the other hand, I can see why this song would have been considered for single release, it has that commercial vibe and the keyboards are just a little more noticeable but the guitars still rule. Then comes the two tracks which were recorded on the tape sent by The Metal Sisters. “She’s Nobody’s Angel” is yet another song which gives the impression that musicians have a thing about writing songs about prostitutes. However, when I heard the song, it made me question why Kerrang would consider this wimp metal. Sure, it opens with a fantastic keyboard intro, I think it might have even influenced the likes of bands like Stratovarius. Maybe because of the keyboards or possibly because whoever wrote the article only heard the single.

Lyrics from “She’s Nobody’s Angel:”

She’s a streetwalker, got to make her living pay

He’s just a normal guy looking to get his evil way

Then with one kiss, he gets what he’s wishing for

She’ll do special things if pays a little more.

The second song on the tape is the hidden gem and that is “Going Down for the Third Time.” Again, some great keyboards work around the edges. I think that Jem Davis deserves more recognition for his mastery of the craft but the song simply kicks ass. While everything comes together on the songs on “Wild on the Run,” they come together a little more on this one. It’s also the closer for the album and it does that job magnificently.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild on the Run
  2. Falling
  3. Running From the Night
  4. Hotline
  5. Rebound
  6. Poor Girl
  7. She’s Nobody’s Angel
  8. Breakdown
  9. Going Down for the Third Time
  10. The Show Must Go On (Not on the album but appeared as a B-side on the single “Wild On the Run”
Tobruk

Snake- lead vocals

Mike Brown- bass, backing vocals

Nigel Evans- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Newman- guitar

Jem Davis- keyboards

Eddie Fincher- drums

I have a sneaking suspicion that this album might have passed a lot of people by. This could be on account of people like me were on the hunt for more and more power chords and that is not Tobruk. Still, if you like good melodic heavy metal, then I can recommend “Wild On the Run.”

Next post: Chastain- Rulers of the Wasteland

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Billy Squier- Enough if Enough

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2020 by 80smetalman

Music media and even a few metal stars and metalheads should hang their heads in shame. After Billy Squier’s rather embarrassing video for his hit “Rock Me Tonight,” from his previous album, “Signs of Life,” it seemed that there was a collective ‘abandon ship’ in the music world in regards to Billy. Personally, that video never bothered me, so I think it was wrong for everyone to walk away from him on account of one misjudged video. Hell, even Rudy Schenker of the Scorpions said he couldn’t take Billy seriously after that video. Come on, it was one video! My point of all this is has been said that it was on account of that video as to why his next album, “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well and that was a shame because I think the world missed out on a really good album.

Another offered reason for why “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well was because of the changing tides of music in 1986. As I said in previous posts, in 1986, music was diverging in different directions, either towards plastic synth pop or hardcore thrash. For many, Billy was now becoming either too pop or too metal for people on the extremes. And here’s another amusing point with me. I have always considered Mr. Squier to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain but I saw this album on sale at a record shop called “Shades” in Central London. Side note: the blogger “Every Record Tells a Story” once wrote a post on what I call in “Rock and Roll Children,” “an Aladdin’s cave of heavy metal records and accessories.”

From the very first song on the album, “Shot o’ Love,” it is easy to hear that Billy is at his usual best. This song is a clear reminder that he hasn’t lost any of the chops he did so well on albums like “Don’t Say No” and “Emotions in Motion.” The song sets the tone for the rest of the album. Following that up is the only single from the album, which was a minor hit for Billy, “Love is the Hero.” Freddie Mercury provides the backing vocals on it. It’s too bad that his career as a singles artist was practically over because it’s not a bad song. Freddie also gets a song writing credit on “Lady With a Tenor Sax.” This is a good jazz-rocker and again proves that Billy hadn’t lost anything in musical ability. It’s a second hidden gem on the album.

The first ballad on the album, “All We Have To Give” is okay but there is a better one further along. He then rocks out with “Come Home.” This is the best power rocker on the album, some great power chords and some of the best guitar soloing I’ve heard on any Billy Squier album. However, the rock doesn’t go away with “Break the Silence.” Again, some great power chords but there’s a more melodic soft part in the song. It’s creative but at the same time very catchy. Another cool guitar solo helps too. On “Powerhouse,” I get the impression that either Billy or the record company were going for a second single. There is some 80s style synthesizer work on it as well as some really hard power chords. The reason why it was never a single was the fact that people were going into different camps and a song that encompasses both, even when it was done as superbly as this one, isn’t going to attract attention. “Lonely One” starts out as if it’s going to be a ballad and then sounds like it’s going to be a pop single before some power chords and heavy drumming from guest drummer Steve Ferrone (Average White Band and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). It also has what could be Billy’s best guitar solo for the album.

“Til It’s Over” is not only the second power ballad on the album but my choice for hidden gem. If I had ever gotten the chance to have seen him live, you can bet my cigarette lighter would have been held high in the air for this one. This is one of those ballads which make you want to bang your head while at the same time, cry in you beer. The acoustic parts on the intro and throughout the song give me goosebumps whenever I listen to it and the power chords are just mind blowing. Of course, it has a cool guitar solo. If it was the closer, then I would say that “Enough is Enough” would have ended on a great high. However, as for closers go, “Wink of an Eye” might not be as magnificent as the penultimate track but it is still a good way to end the album. It has that melodic, catchy feel to it that good closer should have but without losing the hard rock. It deserves to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Shot O’ Love
  2. Love is the Hero
  3. Lady With a Tenor Sax
  4. All We Have to Give
  5. Come Home
  6. Break the Silence
  7. Powerhouse
  8. Lonely One
  9. Til It’s Over
  10. Wink of an Eye
Billy Squier

Billy Squier- vocals, guitars, synthesizers

Jeff Golub- guitar

Robin Jeffrey- guitar

Jeff Bova- keyboards

David Frank- keyboards, synthesizers

Andy Richards- keyboards

Alan St John- keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals

T.M. Stevens- bass

Jimmy Bralower- drums

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Steve Ferrone- drums on track 8

Jody Linscott- percussion

Freddie Mercury- backing vocals on track 2

Mitch Weissman- backing vocals

I’ll scream it again and again, I think the music world owes Billy Squier a big apology. Shunning him on account of one video was rather narrow-minded because the album, “Enough is Enough” is a very good one. Maybe you can help make amends by giving it a listen.

Next post: Slayer- Reign in Blood

To buy “Rock and Roll Children,” email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Magnum- Vigilante

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by 80smetalman

By November 1986, being in England for three months, my introduction to British bands I had not heard of in the USA was in danger of becoming over-saturated. This could be down to the fact I was in London and there were so many rock and metal clubs that I could have gone out any night of the week and discovered a new metal act. Finances prevented that from happening. However, one band which I was introduced to at the time was Magnum.

What I didn’t know was that Magnum had a pretty long history before I had heard of them. They went back as far as 1978 but my first experience of them was their 1986 album, “Vigilante.” It was the title track which really hooked me, I spent quite a few Autumn Fridays night at the metal club headbanging away to it. Ah, great song and great memories!

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to its great title track. In fact, after a listen or two, I thought that maybe Magnum shouldn’t be called heavy metal and that was even before people started putting metal into categories. Personally, I would class them as straight forward rock or melodic hard rock, possibly in the vein of Night Ranger.

The first three tracks of “Vigilante” are ready for radio commercial rock tunes. In fact, to my surprise, it was the album’s opener, “Lonely Night” that was released as a single. I thought it should have been the title track but remembering how things were back then, it was probably a good call or it would have been if the song had managed to chart, it didn’t. “Sometime Love” or the fourth track, “Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)” would have been better candidates. There is enough of a guitar riff on those tracks that might have enticed more metalheads to by the single. Plus, “Midnight” has a cool sax solo.

Things look up on the second half of the album as things go more hard rock at this point. “Red on the Highway” starts things off very well. This song cooks and leaves me to question why more songs weren’t like this one. This is the first track which actually got my head to bang along with it. A cool guitar solo from Tony Clarkin helps too. The next track, “Holy Rider” is even heavier with some cool riffs. Both of these could be classed as hidden gems.

Here’s my final misgiving about “Vigilante.” The ballad, “When the World Comes Down” should have been the closer. It’s a good ballad but what I like best is that it has that ‘hold your cigarette lighters in the air while singing along’ feel to it. That makes it a great closer. That means, placing the title track after the two rockers would have made that part of the album sound phenomenal and the actual closer track would still be good coming after “Vigilante” but as a penultimate track. That would have set up my choice for closer exceptionally well. That’s just my thought.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Night
  2. Need a Lot of Love
  3. Sometime Love
  4. Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)
  5. Red on the Highway
  6. Holy Rider
  7. When the World Comes Down
  8. Vigilante
  9. Back Street Kid
Magnum

Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

In one case, it’s a little surprising Magnum didn’t have more success in the US. I think they would have appealed to those who were into more melodic rock like Night Ranger or Survivor. They appeal to me more as I’m mellowing a bit with age but in 1986, as someone looking for the loud power chords, it was just an okay album.

One final note: The cigarette lighters in the air at concerts is definitely an American custom.

Next post: Mama’s Boys- Power and Passion

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Bryan Adams- Reckless

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2018 by 80smetalman

Now that Download is now a fantastic memory, I can go back to posting about albums. Of course, Bloodstock will be here before we know it but let’s carry on. Reflecting back to early 1985 when I first heard songs from the “Reckless” album from Bryan Adams, I have to ask myself, “Was I a metal snob back then?” I remember not hating any of the songs from this album but I kind of pushed it to one side because it wasn’t heavy metal. The other possibility could be the fact that I may be mellowing a bit with age and the album is more suitable to my pallet because listening to the album again, I really like it and have to say that it rocks in many places.

“Run to You” was the first single from “Reckless” and my favourite track on the album. It would have been my favourite all time except for the cheesy video of him rolling around in the leaves in the song. Fortunately, I have been able to block that memory out when I listen to it and simply appreciate the guitar riffs. “Heaven is a good power ballad even if it didn’t make my top thirty list. If I had expanded the list to a top 50, it would have been there. I do like the power chords in it and only now starting to appreciate the guitar work of Keith Scott. He also shines on the opener, “One Night Love Affair,”  a very underrated guitarist indeed.

With so many well known singles on “Reckless,” it’s impossible to find a hidden gem. “Somebody” got lots of airplay and it’s a good power rocker. The problem with “Summer of 69” is that it gets played to death even to this day. On its own, it’s a decent song but having been saturated with it over the past thirty-three years, I kind of get put off it.

The closest the album comes to having a hidden gem has to be “Kids Wanna Rock.” I do love how it opens with some cool soloing from Scott and he keeps it up between the verses. There are some good power chords a plenty on here as well. Then there’s his single with Tina Turner, “It’s Only Love.” It too rocks, especially live versions and I have to admit, Bryan and Tina did have a good onstage chemistry. “Ain’t Gonna Cry” closes the album out very well.

Track Listing:

  1. One Night Love Affair
  2. She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’
  3. Run to You
  4. Heaven
  5. Somebody
  6. Summer of 69
  7. Kids Wanna Rock
  8. It’s Only Love
  9. Long Gone
  10. Ain’t Gonna Cry

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams- lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, hand claps and foot stomping

Keith Scott- lead guitar, backing vocals

Jim Vallance- percussion

Dave Taylor- bass

Pat Steward- drums, backing vocals

Tommy Mandel- keyboards

Jody Perpick- backing vocals

Tina Turner- accompanying vocal on “It’s Only Love”

Mickey Curry- drums

Steve Smith- drums on “Heaven”

So was I narrow minded or am I mellowing with age? Then again, does it really matter because I really enjoy Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” album.

Nest post: Metal For Breakfast

To download Rock And Roll Children for free, go to: https://bookvela.cf/share/free-ebooks-in-english-rock-and-roll-children-epub-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

80sMetalman’s Band of Underrated Musicians

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Since tomorrow is my first day of supply (substitute) teaching in the new school year, I thought I’d get a bit of practice in by giving all of you an assignment. Hopefully, you’ll find it as fun as I did although there was a struggle in the area of female lead vocalist. I had to go on Youtube and listen to songs by both ladies before I finally made a choice and that was tough. The choice, I’m talking about not listening to their music. That bit was fun.

Now to the assignment, for nearly the entire life of 80smetalman, I have been banging on about musicians whose talents have been ignored or grossly underrated. So, with my weird and wonderful mind, I thought I would take the ones who I feel were the most underrated and put them together in a band of my own. The theory is that with all that combined under appreciated talent, they would come together and form an awesome band. I think the ones I have chosen, though a few may be deemed controversial, would fill the bill. So, here’s the 80smetalman Under Appreciated Band!

Danny Vaughn- male lead vocals

You know him from Tyketto and Waysted and his own band, Vaughn but I think that Danny Vaughn has never gotten the accolades he so deserves as a lead singer. He’s got a great voice, end of.

Liv Kristine- female lead vocals

When I saw her band, Leaves Eyes, at Bloodstock, 2010, I was totally captivated by the vocals of Liv Kristine. Hailing from Norway, she has a beautiful operatic voice that is just mindblowingly seductive.

Derry Grehan- guitar

I sang Derry’s praises not too long ago when I visited Honeymoon Suite’s first album. I was and still am very impressed by his guitar playing. I talk about underrated guitarists a lot on here but Derry Grehan really is.

Frenzy Phillipon- guitar

You might remember, I came upon this French fingerboard smoker nearly a year ago when I saw his band, Mystery Blue, support Canadian greats, Anvil. His band hasn’t made the big time but boy can he play that guitar.

Dom Lawson- bass

Another amazing discovery from Bloodstock, this time it was 2015. It was then I saw Dom Lawson, in his band Oaf, shred a bass like no one ever has before or since.

John Galvin- keyboards

It was another difficult choice picking a keyboards player. Originally, I was going to go with Claude Schnell of Dio fame but then when I listened to the 1984 Molly Hatchet album, “The Deed is Done” after so many years, I have come to really like John Galvin’s keyboards skills on the album. Southern Rock bands didn’t do much with keyboards but John really shines when given the chance.

Gina Schock- drums

I know this one will seem controversial to some but I am picking former Go Go’s drummer Gina Schock for my band. I think one of the reasons she is underrated as a drummer is because she’s female but I think she’s really good as well.

Well, there’s my band. Now, I want you all to go back, listen to your albums, have a good think and put together your own bands of underrated musicians. Trust me, it will be a fun assignment.

Next post: The Rise of Christian Rock

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=1505334396&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre