Archive for MTV

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Loverboy- Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2018 by 80smetalman

Possibly one of the best musical surprises for me in 1985 came in the form of Loverboy’s album, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” After the more keyboard oriented previous album, “Keep It Up,” I thought that Loverboy were heading down the path of more commercialized rock. That meant that one night when I happened to have had MTV switched on and the video for the bouncy, hard rocking title track came on, I was pleasantly taken by surprise. The fact that they rocked things up a bit made me give this album a chance and I was impressed.

The first five songs of “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” are true rockers. Hell, the third song, “Friday Night” could be a heavy metal song with the way the guitar opens things and how the song progresses after. All I keep thinking was, “Well done, boys!” That track follows on nicely from its predecessors, which include the title track and “Steal the Thunder” holds its own in the hard rock stakes. Even when they go to a power ballad with “This Could Be the Night,” one doesn’t get to thinking that things will go commercial with this one. I have to confess, this is a good power ballad here. The rock party continues further with “Too Much Too Soon,” which is another song which could be taken for a heavy metal song, maybe even more than “Friday Night.” I will point out that Mike Reno does a great vocal performance on that one.

With all of the above said, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” is an album of two halves. After “Too Much Too Soon,” keyboards enter into things. This is not a bad thing although some of the tracks do sound 1980s new wave. “Lead a Double Life” sounds like it could have been used in a mid 80s comedy film soundtrack. “Dangerous” sounds like it could have been a Night Ranger song. “Destination Heartbreak” is a ballad but not as good as the power ballad mentioned previously. What redeems them in my view is that Paul Dean’s guitar can be heard along with all the keyboards and he does rip some really good guitar solos on the songs. In fact, this album could be called Paul’s album due to the way he solos all the way through it. It is a major contributor as to way the album is so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Lovin’ Every Minute of It
  2. Steal the Thunder
  3. Friday Night
  4. This Could Be the Night
  5. Too Much Too Soon
  6. Lead a Double Life
  7. Dangerous
  8. Destination Heartbreak
  9. Bullet in the Chamber

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

In 1985, I stopped labeling Loverboy as a hard rock band who had sold out and gone commercial. While “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” was still a very successful commercial album, it went double platinum, it also proved that that success could be done without compromising musical integrity. So full marks to the band all around on that.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Scarecrow

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Jeff Beck- Flash

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

For many years leading up to 1985, I was always intending to explore the work of Jeff Beck. One guy I knew from high school was heavily into him and when I was in the service, one of my fellow marines remarked, “That white boy can really play a guitar.” However for some reason, I never got around to listening to him. At least until 1985 when I heard about this album.

Jeff Beck’s “Flash” album was one of the very few albums I bought because of MTV. The single, “People Get Ready,” which featured Rod Stewart on the vocals got considerable airplay. What I liked about the song was the fact that Rod’s vocals went very well with Jeff’s guitar work although I knew that from Rod’s album from the previous year. However, in this video, Jeff doesn’t pop up in a hotel room to play his guitar solo.

Most of the album does conform to what was then a more commercial 1980’s sound although I won’t go as far as to call any track here synth pop. The closest tracks to that are the opener, “Ambitious” but I hear a hint of reggae in that song and the instrumental, “Escape.” One reason I wouldn’t call the latter song synth pop is because Jan Hammer assumes the keyboards duties on that track and he and Jeff make some interesting music.  In each of those songs though, he does with a guitar what he does best and flails away with some great licks. The remainder of the album, bar one song, goes more funk. “Stop Look and Listen” and “Get Workin'” are prime examples here and while good, Jeff’s guitar solos make them sound even better.

Now let’s talk about my favourite track on the album. The second track, “Gets Us All in the End” is a true rocker in every sense of the word. When I first heard the song, the vocals sounded so familiar that I thought Jeff used a metal singer for the track. In actuality, the vocals are done by Wet Willie singer, Jimmy Hall, who also sings on three other tracks as well. While this is an excellent album, imagine what it could have been if there were more tracks like this one.

Track Listing:

  1. Ambitious
  2. Gets Us All in the End
  3. Escape
  4. People Get Ready
  5. Stop Look and Listen
  6. Get Workin’
  7. Ecstasy
  8. Night After Night
  9. You Know, We Know

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck- guitars, lead vocals tracks 6 and 8

Jimmy Hall- lead vocals tracks 1,2,5 and 7

Rod Stewart- lead vocals, track 4

Jan Hammer- keyboards, track 3

Tony Hymas- keyboards, track 9

Dave Hitchings- keyboards

Robert Sabino- keyboards

Carmine Appice- drums

Jay Burnett- drums

Jimmy Bralower- drums

Barry DeSouza- drums

Tony ‘Thunder’ Smith- drums

Doug Wimbish- bass

Tina B- backing vocals

Curtis King- backing vocals

David Simms- backing vocals

Frank Simms- backing vocals

George Simms- backing vocals

David Spinner- backing vocals

Maybe this single will bring back memories:

And of course my favorite track:

I wonder how many people remember that Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart collaboration on “People Get Ready.” It was the song which turned my eye to this album and I’m glad it did. Jeff put out a great album here with “Flash.”

Next post: INXS- Listen Like Thieves

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Joe Walsh- The Confessor

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2018 by 80smetalman

Another example of if I had paid attention to MTV in 1985, it would have resulted in my missing out on another great album. When the made for MTV video for the title track of Joe Walsh’s album, “The Confessor,” came on, I wasn’t that impressed. Fortunately, I knew of old from his 1981 album, “There Goes the Neighbourhood,” not to judge Joe on the singles. Therefore, I was able to delve into this offering without hesitation and I would have more regret if I hadn’t.

“The Confessor” is an album of three, possibly four parts. The first two songs all have a reggae vibe to it and I have always thought that if Joe wanted to go full on reggae, he was quite capable of doing so. Saying that, each of the first two songs have their own unique stamp on them. The opener, “Problems” might sound reggae through the verses but definitely more hard rock in the chorus. With “I Broke My Leg,” again there’s a reggae vibe to it but Joe throws in some interesting reverb work on the guitar. Those first two tracks make for an interesting hook for the rest of the album.

Tracks 3-6 go into more familiar Walsh territory. The guitar work on “Bubbles” reminds me a little of his 1970s classic, “Rocky Mountain Way” and the song itself, sounds a bit more from said decade. “Slow Dancing” isn’t one for actual slow dancing but it has a way out bluesy feel to it with some more interesting guitar work from you know who. The next track, “15 Years,” could be a contender for hidden gem on the album. More harder rock than the previous two and he nails the solo on it. It’s a great blues based rock song. At the end of the second act is the title track which you get in it’s full seven minute glory and not the four minute MTV version. I much prefer that one, especially as you get to hear much more of Joe’s cool guitar work. It starts with a cool cowboy sounding acoustic guitar before going much harder. I can’t think that a certain band from New Jersey got the idea for a similar song on their 1986 album from Joe on this one.

If “15 Years” wasn’t hard enough, you will not be disappointed with the next two tracks. “Rosewood Bitters,” a song Joe originally recorded with the Michael Stanley Band. This was my second contender for hidden gem. It’s more of a melodic rock tune with some cool guitar hooks. However, I think I’ll have to go with the full rock tune, “Good Man Down” for actual hidden gem. This song is a belter and Joe really rocks out on it, guitar solo and all.

The final track, “Dear John,” goes back to the more reggae sound of the first two tracks. Was this Joe coming full circle on the album? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever he was thinking, it worked for me as I really like “The Confessor.”

Track Listing:

  1. Problems
  2. I Broke My Leg
  3. Bubbles
  4. Slow Dancing
  5. 15 Years
  6. The Confessor
  7. Rosewood Bitters
  8. Good Man Down
  9. Dear John

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh- lead vocals, lead guitar, synthesizer, bass, talk box

Waddy Watchel- guitar

Mark Andes- bass

Mike Procraro- bass

Dave Margen- bass

Dennis Bellafield- bass

Rick Rosas- bass

Denny Carmassi- drums

Joe Keltner- drums

Rick Moratta- drums

Jeff Procraro- drums

Chet McCracken- drums

Randy Newman- keyboards

Alan Pasqua- keyboards

Jerry Petersen- saxophone

Earl Lon Price- tenor sax

Kenneth Tussing- trombone

Timothy B Schmidt- backing vocals

Critics rubbished “The Confessor” saying that Joe Walsh was a decade behind the times. I guess they expected him to use synths all throughout the album. What do they know? The answer is that in spite of the critics, the album sold pretty well and I can certainly understand why. Who cares if it was too 1970s for some people? I don’t.

Next post: Heart

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Soul to Soul

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

If I had relied on MTV for musical influence back in 1985, I would have never discovered this cool album from Stevie Ray Vaughan. I remember not being overly impressed with the music video for the song, “Change It” from the album. That was because that a huge part of Stevie’s guitar solo on the song got cut out of the video and that was a damn shame. What he could do with a guitar was what Stevie Ray Vaughan was all about and the 1985 album, “Soul to Soul” demonstrates this to a tee.

At the time, blues based guitarists seemed to be not trendy enough for the then current generation of MTV slaves. Eric Clapton was accused of being too ‘new wave’ and in spite of some great albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rory Gallagher had not really broken through to the USA. Furthermore, Pat Travers seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth, it was reassuring that Stevie Ray Vaughan was able to carry the torch in traditional blues based style.

Any doubt about it is erased on the very first track of “Soul to Soul.” “Say What” is a blinding blues instrumental where Stevie just takes his guitar and does what does best with it. He does take over the vocal duties on the songs after that and while his vocals are okay, it’s the guitar work that impresses me more. “Look at Little Sister” is the hidden gem on the album because of the upbeat tempo along with the combination of saxophone and guitar which sounds perfect for this song. The following track “Ain’t Gone n Give Up On Love” is also an amazing blues song reminding me of some of the blues Gods who have gone before such as John Lee Hooker and BB King. There’s another blinder of a guitar solo on that one.

Thinking about it and my Swiss cheese memory might be to blame here, maybe it wasn’t “Change It” that I saw on MTV all those years ago. Listening to it now, this song is much better than what I remember seeing on the video. I have to confess it is a great song. The remainder of the album doesn’t depreciate in any way. The fast paced “You’ll Be Mine” takes things up a notch or four leading right to the great guitar solo intro on “Empty Arms.” After more blistering guitar solos on “Come On (Part III), the album concludes nicely with the slow blues number, “Life Without You” making “Soul to Soul” a classic blues rock album for the 1980s.

Linking past to present, while I have always loved Stevie Ray Vaughan’s music, I think the reason I like it even more these days is because this album especially reminds me of the television show, “NCIS- New Orleans.” Mrs 80smetalman and I are both big fans of the show and with every song here, I think of the end of the programme when after solving the big case, the team are all celebrating in the bar owned by Scott Bakula’s character and this type of music always seems to be playing in the background. Think about it, if it hadn’t been for Stevie’s tragic death from a helicopter crash in 1990, he might have made a guest appearance on the show. That would have been awesome!

Track Listing:

  1. Say What
  2. Lookin’ Out the Window
  3. Look at Little Sister
  4. Ain’t Gone n Give Up On Love
  5. Gone Home
  6. Change It
  7. You’ll Be Mine
  8. Empty Arms
  9. Come on (Part III)
  10. Life Without You

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan- guitar, vocals, drums on “Empty Arms”

Tommy Shannon- bass

Chris Layton- drums

Reese Wynans- keyboards

Joe Sublett- saxophone on “Lookin’ Out the Window” and “Look at Little Sister”

Stevie Ray Vaughan proved that blues based rock was still alive and well in 1985 in spite of what the synth pop addled MTV youth might have said. “Soul to Soul” is a fantastic album.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Double Trouble Live

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Dire Straits- Brothers in Arms

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

The arrival of “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits in the summer of 1985 brought many different reactions to people. Back then, I couldn’t help but laugh at teens who thought they were the brand new sensation of the 1980s. More than one of these was completely dumbfounded when I told them that Dire Straits had been on the go since 1978 and had four prior albums. Old time followers though, upon hearing this album accused the band of abandoning their original sound and going too new wave. Some even went onto say that Dire Straits had sold out. I never thought that though I realize now that particular label got banded around too much.

“Money for Nothing” was the first big single from “Brothers in Arms” and it seemed to be on every time I switched on MTV. It also got lots of radio airplay and that was one piece of evidence used by hardcore followers to insist the band sold out. Further evidence was the fact that Sting sang accompanying vocals on the song. If you want to know my thoughts, (and you do want to know my thoughts), I never thought this song was a sell out. Furthermore, I thought Sting did a damn good job on the vocals and I have always loved the fuzz guitar throughout the song. Okay, it didn’t dislodge “Sultans of Swing” off my top spot for my favourite Dire Straits songs, it didn’t even make the top three, but it is a good song.

In fact, “Money for Nothing,” isn’t even my favourite song on this album! That honour goes to the next song on the album, “Walk of Life.” Sure, there’s a heavy keyboard sound on it but it wasn’t done in that choppy synth pop style. Got to give full marks to Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher on it, they play it very well. Plus the song just has a vibe that grabs me and has me nodding along to the melody. Maybe also the American sports themed video on MTV might have had some influence on me too.

Unfortunately, after the those two songs and a cool opener, “So Far Away” is a more traditional sounding Dire Straits song for me, the album goes a little downhill on the next couple of songs. While the sax playing of Michael Brecker on “Your Latest Trick” is very good, it doesn’t redeem the song to a point where I can say, “Hey, this is good.” Nor do things improve with the next track, “Why Worry.” Both of these songs could be put on an album called, “Dire Straits Does Elevator Music” for that’s what they remind of.

Fortunately, the album improves to more familiar Dire Straits territory after that. While there are still elements of elevator music on “Ride Across the River,” at least Mark Knopfler let’s his guitar do some singing on it and I do like the jungle rhythms in the background. Then for a complete change, there is a country music sounding acoustic guitar intro on “The Man’s Too Strong” before going into more Dire Straits sounding guitar rock. This track will have you saying, “This is more like it” and my vote for hidden gem on the album. However, it does get some stiff competition for that honour from the next track, “One World.” More of the old Dire Straits here and again, Mr Knopfler isn’t afraid to let loose on the guitar. Those two songs all lead to the end which is carried out very somberly but nicely by the title track.

Track Listing:

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money For Nothing
  3. Walk of Life
  4. Your Latest Trick
  5. Why Worry
  6. Ride Across the River
  7. The Man’s Too Strong
  8. One World
  9. Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, lead vocals

Alan Clark- keyboards

Omar Hakim- drums

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

Guy Fletcher- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Sting- vocals on “Money for Nothing”

Michael Brecker- saxophone on “Your Latest Trick”

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Malcolm Duncan- saxophone

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Mike Mainieri- vibraphone, keyboards

David Plews- trumpet

Jack Sonni- guitar synthesizer on “The Man’s Too Strong”

It was on the tour for this album when I finally got to see Dire Straits live. It was a good show but and they played “Sultans of Swing”  as well as several songs from this album. There was a good mix of old and new followers there too. However, my big hang up about that evening was they didn’t play my number two and three DS songs, “Skateaway” and “Industrial Disease.” You can’t have everything I suppose. Still, no matter which side of the fence you sit on for “Brothers in Arms,” I have to say that it’s not a bad album.

Next post: The Power Station

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537988591&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare To Be Stupid

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2018 by 80smetalman

After the big success of his 1984 album, “In 3D,” it was only expected that the King of Parody, Weird Al Yankovic, release an album in 1985. Therefore, many people like me eagerly awaited and grabbed “Dare to be Stupid” as soon as it came out. Even though some critics said that the new album wasn’t as good as its predecessor, (what do they know?), I still really like this album.

First let us start with the parodies. Opening the album is what has been said one of his best songs, “Like a Surgeon,” which is a parody of the then Madonna classic, “Like a Virgin.” For all the things I might say about Madonna, I have to give her credit here. Not  only did she give Weird Al her blessing to make a take off on her song, she collaborated on “Like a Surgeon.” Reportedly, this was the only time that he used ideas from outside artists on any of his songs. Whatever the case,  the song is a hoot and so is the video for it.

Other artists who gets the parody treatment are Huey Lewis and the News, the Kinks and Cyndi Lauper. The Huey Lewis song which gets it is “I Want a New Drug” in the form of “I Want a New Duck” and the song is actually about a duck. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll be rolling around in laughter but that’s what Weird Al does best. Back in 1985, some Star Wars fans took offense at his parody of the Kinks classic, “Lola” with “Yoda.” The song shows that at least he saw the film. No 80smetalman points for guessing which Cyndi Lauper song he would parody. Thinking about it, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was probably to golden of an opportunity for him and “Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch” is a great send off. It sounds like he’s singing off key on the song but I think that’s just the weird in Weird Al.

Something which always gets overlooked in regards to Weird Al is the fact that he does have musical talent. All of his parodies sound like the original. “I Want a New Duck” and “Yoda” sound almost exactly as they could have been done by the original artists. It’s his seemingly non parodies where his talent can be seen more. I shouldn’t call some of these non-parodies because they are parodies in a different way. The style in which the title track is that of Devo and the very funny “One More Minute” sounds like an Elvis Presley ballad. However, the lyrics in that song will crack you up. Staying with that one, it sounds like a lamentation of a guy who has been dumped by his girl but in typical Weird Al style, he goes above and beyond. Sure, I’ve been dumped but I never considered burning down the malt shop we went to because it reminded me of her.

If his songs aren’t spoofing an artist’s song or musical style, they’re doing it to aspects of life. “This Is the Life” is a send off on rich people’s life style and “Slime Creatures From Outer Space” pays hilarious tribute to 1950s Sci-Fi films. However, my favourite in this category is “Cable TV” which by 1985 was becoming a nationwide household phenomenon. Nowadays, most Americans have hundreds of channels but often times still nothing to watch. There’s also a cover of the theme song to the cartoon “George of the Jungle,” I like it and like “In 3D” he puts popular contemporary at the time songs to polka music. ZZ Top and Twisted Sister along with many others get the polka treatment. Only this time, it closes the album and probably the most appropriate song to do so.

Track Listing:

  1. Like a Surgeon
  2. Dare to be Stupid
  3. I Want a New Duck
  4. One More Minute
  5. Yoda
  6. George of the Jungle
  7. Slime Creatures From Outer Space
  8. Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch
  9. This is the Life
  10. Cable TV
  11. Hooked on Polkas

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- lead vocals, accordion, keyboards

Rick Derringer- guitar, production

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jim West- guitar, backing vocals

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums percussion

Ignore the critics, to me “Dare To Be Stupid” is just as zany and well done as any of Weird Al’s other albums. While songs will have you in stitches, try to appreciate just how musically talented he really is.

Next post: Petra- Beat the System

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537086656&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Lone Justice

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by 80smetalman

My first hearing of the band Lone Justice in 1985 came not through MTV or the radio, nor did it come from anyone recommending I buy their debut album. I first heard about them when I was told they were supporting then legends, U2. Then two days before I was going to see them, my local radio station played their first single, “Ways to be Wicked.” I liked it and that gave me a greater expectation of the band when I finally did see them and on that night, I wasn’t disappointed! In 1985, U2 and Lone Justice made a very good combination.

Lone Justice are listed in Wikapedia as country rock and I don’t disagree with that assessment. Thre is definitely a country music influence and the album is too rock to be considered country. Have a listen to “Don’t Toss Us Away.” However, I think a better assessment is Southern Rock meets new wave. When listening to the rock guitars you can hear what was then called modern synths compliments of one Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mike Campbell from the same band lends his guitar skills as well and there is even contributions from Little Steven who most of the world knows from Bruce Springsteen’s band. With this accompaniment assisting, it’s no wonder the album is so good. Not that I am taking anything away from the band because those players weren’t with them when I saw Lone Justice live and the band was quite capable of holding their own. Not only did they play material from this album, they also delighted the crowd to covers of CCR’s “The Fortunate Son” and “Sweet Jane.”

“Ways to Be Wicked” has always been my favourite Lone Justice song, probably to the exposure on radio and eventually MTV. Other songs which really stand out for me are “After the Flood” and “Soap, Soup and Salvation” which is about the extreme poverty that was rising in America during the mid 1980s. Again, I take nothing away from the rest of the album and while the musicianship is first rate, the driving force behind each and every song is the vocals of Maria McKee. She may be small in height but her vocal range makes her ten feet tall. Thinking about it, I’m rather disappointed that more wasn’t said about her vocal ability back then because she is phenomenal.

Track Listing:

  1. East of Eden
  2. After the Flood
  3. Ways to be Wicked
  4. Don’t Toss Us Away
  5. Working Late
  6. Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)
  7. Pass It On
  8. Wait Til We Get Home
  9. Soap, Soup and Salvation
  10. You Are the Light

Lone Justice

Maria McKee- guitar, harmonica, vocals

Ryan Hedgecock- guitar, vocals

Marvin Etzioni- bass, backing vocals

Don Heffington- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mike Campbell- guitar

Tony Gilkyson- guitar

Bob Glaub- bass

Little Steven- guitar

Benmont Tench- piano, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals

Three years after seeing Lone Justice and hearing their debut album, I mentioned to someone who was heavily into the band that I had seen them support U2. He responded that U2 should have supported Lone Justice. I wouldn’t have gone that far but I can appreciate his feelings. Lone Justice should have achieved much more than they did and this album proves it.

Next post: Warlock- Hellbound

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