Archive for Men at Work

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Men At Work- Cargo

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Men_at_Work_-_Cargo

Let me clarify something I wrote when I posted about Men At Work’s debut album, “Business As Usual.” I stated that Men At Work was the closest I got to mainstream music back in the 1980s. That was definitely the case in 1982 however, after refamiliarising myself with their second album, which I find superior to the debut album by the way, and thinking about music in 1983, I have to agree to the premise that this band wasn’t really mainstream. Still, they were the closest I got to it.

One reason why the “Cargo” album might be considered mainstream was that it had three successful singles on it. “Dr Heckyll and Mr Jive” was a very fun catchy tune and I love the paranoid feeling that “Overkill” provides. I’ve had days when I feel exactly like that. However, my favourite all time Men At Work song is the single “It’s a Mistake.” Its release couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Call it kharma or deja vu but hearing a good anti war song right after coming out of the marines was unbelievable. The video of the song provided the proper punchline. Even without all that, I still would have found it a good song.

From the Men At Work video: It's A Mistake

From the Men At Work video: It’s A Mistake

Call “Cargo” what you will, post punk, new wave or even mainstream, none of it stops this album from being a good, fun album. There also elements of reggae in it as well, I site “Settle Down My Boy” and “Blue For You” as evidence, ┬áso in my mind, all of those combinations make it anything but mainstream. I sort of like it when people aren’t able pigeon hole certain bands. With “Cargo” there is something for everyone to like. Hell, I even noticed a bit of a hard rock-ish sound on “High Wire.” What’s more, Men At Work incorporate a brilliant sense of humour on their songs, something I always like. That’s expecially the case with “I Like To.” Therefore, my conclusion is while “Cargo” by Men At Work may not be the hard pounding metal album I was liking more and more in those days, it was still a very enjoyable album.

Track Listing:

  1. Dr Heckyll and Mr Jive
  2. Overkill
  3. Settle Down My Boy
  4. Upstairs in My Room
  5. No Sign of Yesterday
  6. It’s a Mistake
  7. High Wire
  8. Blue For You
  9. I Like To
  10. No Restrictions
Men At Work

Men At Work

Greg Ham- flute, keyboards, saxophone, vocals

Colin Hay- guitar, vocals

John Rees- bass, backing vocals

Jerry Speiser- drums, backing vocals

Ron Strykert- guitar, vocals

Men At Work might have been the closest I ever got to mainstream music back in the 1980s but they certainly weren’t mainstream. Good musicianship, fun and catchy music and lyrics and a sense of humour was why I liked the “Cargo” album.

Next post: Night Ranger- Midnight Madness

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: Frank Zappa- Ship Arriving Too Late To Save a Drowning Witch

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2015 by 80smetalman

Frank_Zappa_-_Ship_Arriving_Too_Late_to_Save_a_Drowning_Witch

It was true that Men At Work brought a fresh sense of humour to music in 1982, however, Frank Zappa had been bringing humour to music for nearly a decade and a half before that. In 1982, Frank gave us the album “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.” What’s more, this album gave him his only top forty single with the help of his daughter Moon Unit. “Valley Girl” made it to number 32 in the pop singles charts and to number 12 in the mainstream rock charts. It also had many girls and quite a few guys using the lingo from the song. Terms like “barf me out,” “gag me with a spoon” and “groady to the max” were all used quite liberally in 1982 and for the next few years after.

Moon Zappa

Moon Zappa

“Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch” only has six songs on it but they are all memorable ones, usually the case with Zappa. Except for the track “Envelopes,” which is an instrumental, the songs all have that trademark warped sense of humour that he possessed. They also have, the instrumental track included, the precise musicianship that a Zappa album always had. In the case of this particular album, a then little known guitar named Steve Vai makes an appearance, playing what is credited on the album as ‘credited guitar parts.’ What some people sometimes forget and I will keep shouting from the rooftops, is that Frank was a damn good guitarist himself. He really smokes the fingerboard on the title track of the album and does a similar job on “I Come From Nowhere.” In fact, after refamiliarising myself with this album, I am lead to draw the conclusion that with the possible exception of “Joe’s Garage Act 1,” “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch” has the perfect balance of humour and musicianship for a Zappa album.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Track Listing:

1. No Not Now

2. Valley Girl

3. I Came From Nowhere

4. Drowning Witch

5. Envelopes

6. Teenage Prostitute

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, lead guitar

Steve Vai- guitar (impossible guitar parts)

Ray White- rhythm guitar, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Bobby Martin- keyboards, saxophone

Ed Mann- percussion

Scott Thunes- bass (tracks 2,4,5,6)

Arthur Barrow- bass (tracks 1 and 3)

Patrick O’Hearn- bass on the guitar solo on track 3

Chris Wackerman- drums

Ike Willis- vocals

Roy Estrada- vocals

Bob Harris- vocals

Lisa Popeil- vocals on “Teenage Prostitute”

Moon Unit Zappa- vocals on “Valley Girl”

If you want humour and good musicianship, then a Frank Zappa album is the best way to get it. It just so happens that this album hits the right combination of both.

Next post: Utopia- Swing To the Right

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: Men At Work- Business as Usual

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Men_at_Work_-_Business_as_Usual

This is probably the closest I ever came to mainstream commercial rock or pop back in the 1980s. When I first heard the song, “Who Can It Be Now?” I found myself liking it. It was the humourous feel to it, that Men At Work didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously and that’s why I enjoyed the song so much. Furthermore, I remember the radio saying they were from Australia and any country that gives the world the likes of AC/DC, must be a great place for music.

Of course, there is no real comparison between Men At Work and AC/DC. They are two completely different styles of music. Saying that, there are quite a few AC/DC songs that have a great sense of humour, they’re just backed up with some great power chords. Men At Work are more a commercial new wave rock. Many of the songs are just simply catchy tunes and combined with some of the humourous lyrics, makes a rather potent combination.

Like so many albums in 1982, the album “Business As Usual” starts out with the most prominent hit. In this case it’s the already mentioned “Who Can It Be Now?” I can relate better to this song these days as my phone always seems to ring with calls from telemarketers. Fortunately, an answer phone works wonders but I still find myself wanting to sing the title each time it rings. Following next is “I Can See It In Your Eyes,” which has one of those catchy tunes I was talking about. However, that is followed by their second, possibly the first, biggest hit, “Down Under.” This ditty shows off the Australian sense of humour in a big way. There is some very funny lyrics in each verse and like “Who Can It Be Now?,” lead singer Colin Hay has a way to make it sound even funnier. What I find amusing though is this seems to be the only song not recorded by Jethro Tull to make such great use of a flute in a rock song.

The next several tracks continue in the sort of vein with “Helpless Automation” being a slight stand out. Then comes the track, “Be Good Johnny,” which brings back some happy memories. My marine buddies and I tried to harmonize with the chorus, of course after many beers. We tried to sing “Be good, be good” and then come in with the high pitched “Johnny.” Let’s just say I hope no one ever recorded us as that would be a good blackmail tool. “Touching the Untouchables” is also a good song and after “Catch a Star” is the closer, “Down By the Sea.” It’s not a bad song but goes on for too long in my opinion making it the one chink in the album’s armour.

Track Listing;

1. Who Can It Be Now?

2. I Can See It In Your Eyes

3. Down Under

4. Underground

5. Helpless Automation

6. People Just Love to Play With Words

7. Be Good, Johnny

8. Touching the Untouchables

9. Catch a Star

10. Down By the Sea

Men At Work

Men At Work

Greg Ham- flute, keyboards, saxophone, backing vocals, lead vocal on track 5

Colin Hay- lead vocals, guitar

John Rees- bass, backing vocals

Jerry Speiser- drums, backing vocals

Ron Strykert- guitar, backing vocals, lead vocal on track 11

Men At Work proved that Australia weren’t a one band country, even if that one band was AC/DC. “Business As Usual” is a catchy album with a great sense of humour and it easy to see why it went to number one in so many countries.

Next post: Frank Zappa- Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch

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 Shops in London