Archive for melodic rock

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Don Henley- I Can’t Stand Still

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

Don_Henley_-_I_Can't_Stand_Still

Sometimes I wonder if musicians who are in a band and then put out their own solo albums aren’t faced with an agonizing worry on how their albums are to be received. If the album sound too much like that of their band, they are accused of just putting out the same album with different musicians. On the other hand, if they venture too far from that band’s sound, they are criticized for being too diverse or if the album sounds somewhat commercial, selling out. People of little or no experience of heavy metal have accused both Ozzy and Bruce Dickinson of doing the former in spite of the fact that when you listen to those albums, there are notable differences  in the sound between Ozzy and Black Sabbath as well as Bruce and Iron Maiden. No pleasing some people I suppose. Having heard many a solo album, I think the one album that best successfully strides the line between these two extremes is the solo album by Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn, “Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside.” It is my favourite melodic rock album of the 2000+ era and while there are some moments where you can hear the Tyketto influence, he definitely does his own thing without totally diversing and it sounds very good. Therefore, I wonder if back in 1982, I wonder if Don Henley had such a worry when he released his first solo album following the demise of The Eagles.

dv-ssor

It took me a couple of listens to “I Can’t Stand Still” before I finally remembered how good it is. Fortunately,  I am more musically open minded than I was in 1982 and that helped me appreciate it even more. While the influence of Henley’s days with The Eagles is definitely there, he puts his own spin on things. It’s not “Hotel California” but it was wrong of me to expect it to be. The closest songs that come to that on “I Can’t Stand Still” are the tracks “You Better Hang Up,” “Nobody’s Business” and “Them and Us.” As far as The Eagles go, I have always believed that Henley’s voice was best suited for their ballads and this is certainly proven with the two ballads on this album, “Long Way Home” and “Talking To The Moon.” Ironically, it is the single from the album where Don puts his best personal stamp. “Dirty Laundry” may sound like new wave synth pop to the untrained ear but it is definitely his song and the guitar solos are the best on the album. The following track and probably my favourite, “Johnny Can’t Read,” gets the same sort of work from Don. What amazes me the most about “I Can’t Stand Still” is the sheer number of musicians Henley gets to play on the album with him. I mean, he practically used all of Toto at some point on the album.

Track Listing:

1. I Can’t Stand Still

2. You Better Hang Up

3. Long Way From Home

4. Nobody’s Home

5. Talking to the Moon

6. Dirty Laundry

7. Johnny Can’t Read

8. Them and Us

9. La Eile

10. Lilah

11. The Unclouded Day

Don Henley

Don Henley

Don Henley- drums, lead vocals, keyboards

Ras Baboo- percussion, timbales

Derek Bell- harp

Kenny Edwards- bass, guitar

Steve Foreman- percussion

Bob Glaub- bass

Louise Goffin- vocals, gut string guitar

Andrew Gold- keyboards

Max Gronenthal- vocals, gut string guitar

George Gruel- vocals

Garth Hudson- synthesizer

Maren Jensen- vocals, gut string guitar

Danny Kooch Korchmar- bass, guitars, synthesizers, backing vocals

Ross Kunkel- drums

Steve Lukather- guitar

Paddy Maloney- whistle, ulliean pipes

Jeff Porcaro- drums, moracas

Steve Porcaro- keyboards

Timothy B Schmidt- bass, guitar, vocals

Leland Sklar- bass

JD Souther- acoustic guitar, gut string guitar

Benmont Trench- keyboards

Waddy Watchel- electric guitar

Ian Wallace- drums

Joe Walsh- lead guitar

Max Williams- drums

Bill Withers- vocals, gut string guitar

Warren Zevon- vocals, gut string guitar

Don Henley made an impressive start out of the blocks in his solo career with “I Can’t Stand Still.” While he doesn’t completely abandon his past, he isn’t afraid to be his own person with the album and once that conclusion is arrived at, it makes the album that much more enjoyable.

Next post; Glen Frey- No Fun Aloud

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Steve Miller Band- Abracadabra

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-AbracadabraSM

Unfortunately for the Steve Miller Band, they were another artist, like Billy Joel, I had written off as selling out in the early 1980s. They were another band I was quite into in the late 1970s only to go off them in the early 80s. After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion as to why I accused both Billy Joel and the Steve Miller Band of selling out. By late 1982, mainstream popular music and I were heading into totally opposite directions. While music was going into more new wave synth pop, my musical tastes were growing more and more harder and while I didn’t realise it at the time, I was well on my way to becoming a metalhead.

Whatever the reason, however, the best known song and title cut from the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 album, “Abracadabra,” is not one of the songs that first come to mind when I think of this band. This is in spite of the fact that when I went to the Driftwood in 1982 and I went there a lot in the four months I was in the US, there was a dancer, (not Twinkles, she had stopped dancing there in Autumn of 81), who knew how to work the stage to that song. Fortunately, as I know all too well, one song does not an album make.

The Driftwood (I still can't believe I found a picture of it online)

The Driftwood (I still can’t believe I found a picture of it online)

The best sticker I can assign to “Abracadabra” is soft rock or mellow out rock or melodic rock, probably a combination of all the above. The album has its good moments. While it was softer than what my musical tastes would allow at the time, at least it’s done with guitars and no synthesizers. You  can hear this in each and every song. “Give It Up” gets my vote for number one song and I have to give an honourable mention to “Never Say No,” “Cool Magic” and the closer “While I’m Waiting.” When I listened to the album again after so many years, I realised that it still possessed the quality musicianship I had come to appreciate about the Steve Miller Band back in the late 70s. I just didn’t appreciate it back in 1982.

Track Listing:

1. Keeps Me Wondering Why

2. Abracadabra

3. Something Special

4. Give It Up

5. Never Say No

6. Things I Told You

7. Young Girl’s Heart

8. Goodbye Love

9. Cool Magic

10. While I’m Waiting

Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band

    The Steve Miller Band has always appealed to my more mellower side and I must give credit to where credit is due, the “Abracadabra” album is as good as some of their others although “Fly Like an Eagle” remains my favourite. I realise now that my mind was so focused on hard rock that the album didn’t tickle my fancy back in 1982. Times change and though I still focus on the hard stuff, I can take time and appreciate some of the more melodic offerings like this album.

Next post: Uriah Heep- Abominog

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: 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 1978 Bob Seger- Stranger in Town

Posted in 1978, Music, soundtracks with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by 80smetalman

Bob Seger was the man who rocked the seventies but you didn’t notice it. Throughout the decade, he produced a lot of great albums with many great singles played on the radio and I am kicking myself for not putting at least one of his albums in my last chapter of Great Rock Albums of the 70s. Back then, even my little AM clock radio would be playing the songs he made great at that time. The problem is that while Seger was considered great back in the 70s, he seems to be one of the most forgotten people of rock from that decade. Strangest thing about this is that many of his songs still manage to make their way onto movie soundtracks proving that his music is still relevant today.

The 1978 album “Stranger in Town” exlemplifies why Bob Seger is a silent hero of the decade. First, he had four top 40 tracks from the album, all of which are clear in my memory as true rock anthems. “Hollywood Nights,” “Still the Same,” “We Got Tonight” and “Old Time Rock and Roll” are still enshrined in my memory and I have no doubt the memories of many others. All of these have that rock core with a catchy melody that gets your foot tapping away to them. Furthermore, with many of his songs, “Hollywood Nights” being a prime example, his lyrics tell a story or recall fond memories. There is definitely a feel good factor when you listen to this album and it is true with many Bob Seger albums.

Track Listing:

1. Hollywood Nights

2. Still the Same

3. Old Time Rock and Roll

4. It Shines

5. Feel Like a Number

6. Ain’t Got No Money

7. We Got Tonight

8. Brave Strangers

9 The Famous Final Scene

The Silver Bullet Band

Bob Seger- vocals, guitar

Drew Abbot- guitar

Robyn Robbins- keyboards

Alto Reed- saxophone

Chris Campbell- bass

David Teegarden- drums, percussion

The Muscle Shoasl Rhythm Section

Barry Beckettkeyboard

Pete Carr – guitar

                                                                                                                             Additional Musicians
  • Glenn Frey – guitar solo on “Till It Shines”
  • Don Felder – guitar solo on “Ain’t Got No Money”
  • Bill Payneorgan, synthesizer, piano, keyboards on “Hollywood Nights”
  • Doug Riley – piano, keyboard on “Feel Like a Number” and “Brave Strangers”

 I bet that if you were to hear any of these songs on the radio today, you would comment,, “I remember that one, who was the guy who sung it?” This is beacuse that Bob Seger was one of the unsung heroes of the 70s. He probably had as many hits as Abba but did so without all the publicity and hype that Abba had. What I do know is that if Bob Seger hadn’t been around to produce great albums such as these, music today would be a lot worse off.

Next Post: Journey- Infinity

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle