Archive for progressive rock

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Dennis DeYoung- Desert Moon

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Journey wasn’t the only band whose members carried out solo projects in 1984. By the way, Steve Perry wasn’t the only member of Journey with his fingers in another pie in this year but that’s a story for another time. Styx had only disbanded less than a year before and by the end of 1984, two former members of the band had released solo albums. The first of these was by former singer and keyboards player, Dennis De Young, who came out with “Desert Moon,” in the middle of the year.

Styx

Like Steve Perry, if I allowed myself to be influenced by singles on radio or MTV, I would have ignored this album. The first single, the title track, while not a bad song, sounds a little too much like the very successful Styx single “Babe.” While a big hit for the band, “Babe” was never in my top ten of favourite Styx songs. Fortunately, it’s not the best song on the album which bears its name.

When I first heard the opener, “Don’t Wait for Heroes,” I was quite upbeat. Maybe Dennis was taking the progressive/hard rock formula that worked so well with his former band and incorporating it in his solo album. For me, this is the best song on the album. The next track, “Please,” tries to carry this on and does so reasonably but doesn’t quite come up to the opener. “Boys Will Be Boys” is a better track and could have been as good as the “Don’t Wait for Heroes” but Dennis goes a bit too new wave with it and I found that a turn off. After the title track, “Suspicious” is a very interesting track. It’s a definite progressive rock track, in fact, it sounds very suspiciously (yep pun intended) like 10CC. Still, it’s a very upbeat and enjoyable song, with some good guitar solos compliments of Tom Dziallo. It gives the opener a very close competition for my top spot.

My biggest criticism of “Desert Moon” is the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Fire.” I know Dennis was a keyboards player and that song would have worked if done right but it wasn’t. He tries to make it too new wave or something and it just doesn’t work. The album ends with two softer ballad type songs. Dennis’s voice was well suited to such songs, although the former, “Gravity” transforms into a cabaret type of song, which doesn’t rock me until the guitar solo which does save it a little.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Wait For Heroes
  2. Please
  3. Boys Will Be Boys
  4. Fire
  5. Desert Moon
  6. Suspicious
  7. Gravity
  8. Dear Darling (I’ll Be There)

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoung- vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion

Tom Dziallo- all guitars, bass, backing vocals

Dennis Johnson- bass

Tom Radtke- drums, percussion

Steve Eisen- conga, saxophone, conductor

Rosemary Butler- duet vocal on “Please”

Sandy Caulfield- backing vocals

Suzanne DeYoung, Dawn Feusi, Pat Hurley- additional backing vocals

Dennis DeYoung was the first former Styx member out of the starting blocks with a solo album. “Desert Moon” has some good moments and overall is an okay album. However, it doesn’t rock all the way through leaving it unbalanced. Still might be worth a listen, I’ll let you judge from my two favourite tracks.

Next post: HSAS- Through the Fire

Hopefully, there will be a new link for “Rock And Roll Children” soon.

Meanwhile it’s still available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Steve Perry- Street Talk

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

If I were one of those types of persons who bought or didn’t buy an album because of the single, then I wouldn’t have bought the first solo album from Journey’s singer, Steve Perry, “Street Talk.” Now, I’m not saying that “Oh Sherrie” was a rubbish song, it’s not. What it is is a rather catchy AOR pop song and it’s little wonder that it reached number three on Billboard charts. However, that big single is not typical of the rest of the “Street Talk” album.

“Oh Sherrie” is the opener on the album and that’s not a surprise. Like I said, it’s not a bad song. On the other hand, if I had anything to say, I would have put the second track, “I Believe” as the opener. This is a funky jam which stretches Steve’s voice to its full potential. This is the song that wakes you up and says that you’re going to listen to this album and like it. The following track, “Go Away,” combines the first two songs. There is that 80s synth influence of “Oh Sherrie” in the back ground but it goes to the funky vibe of “I Believe.” The song works and has a decent guitar solo. However, the next track, “Foolish Heart,” is a definite ballad, sung in a lounge act style. While, it’s not my cup of tea, you can’t fault Mr Perry’s vocals on it.

There are some rockers on the album as well and that begins with “It’s Only Love.” Steve shows that he’s still the rock singer he was with Journey. There are some good guitars to enjoy on it too. An even better rocker is “You Should Be Happy.” This even has a cool guitar lick at the intro and is for sure, a straight ahead rocker. It’s definitely in the top two for my favourite track on the album. Love the power chords in the middle of the song. Even though, it starts out like it’s going to be another ballad, “She’s Mine” turns out to be a quiet little rocker as well. “Running Alone” is a ballad, no questions asked but okay since it turns into a power ballad later in the song. “Captured By the Moment” is a good rocker with a cool guitar solo. However, the song, I’ve always liked is the closer and third single, “Strung Out.” When I first heard it, I thought “This is more me.” And it takes the album out on a high.

Track Listing:

  1. Oh Sherrie
  2. I Believe
  3. Go Away
  4. Foolish Heart
  5. It’s Only Love
  6. She’s Mine
  7. You Should Be Happy
  8. Running Alone
  9. Captured by the Moment
  10. Strung Out

Steve Perry

Steve Perry- vocals

Craig Krampf, Larrie Londin- drums, percussion

Bob Glaub, Chuck Domanico, Kevin McCormick, Brian Garofalo- bass

Michael Landau, Waddy Watchel, Craig Hull, Billy Steele- guitars

Steve Goldstein, Sterling Smith, Bill Cuomo, Billy Goodrum, Duane Hitchings, Robert Greenridge- keyboards

Journey might have been taking a break in 1984 but Steve Perry wasn’t. “Street Talk” is proof of that. This was a good album for him, whether or not you liked “Oh Sherrie.”

Next Post: Dennis De Young- Desert Moon

Note: The link for Rock and Roll Children no longer works but it is still available on Amazon.com and other books websites and at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tony Carey was another great artist considered a one hit wonder by the MTV generation of the mid 1980s. In the spring and early summer of 1984, his biggest single, “A Fine Fine Day,” tore up the charts and eventually made it to number six or seven. It got tons of airplay on both radio and MTV. However, what these robots failed to understand that Tony had been rocking our world for many years before this. They didn’t know about his stint with the great Rainbow or even known that the year before, he had success with his band Planet P. Fortunately, I did and that information led me to procure his 1984 album, “Some Tough City.”

If I had been among the ignorant, the second single released from the album might have put me off buying the album. “The First Day of Summer” wasn’t bad, although there are much better tracks on “Some Tough City,” it’s just in the video for the song, he tries too hard to act like Joe Cool Rock Singer and that was a bit off putting. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Carey has a good voice but he’s an even better musician as demonstrated on the album where he plays all the instruments. I know I have beaten the word ‘underrated’ to death on 80sMetalman but the term definitely applies to Tony.

“A Fine Fine Day” is not typical of the album. It’s a great song and it won my 1984 award for best non metal song of the year but it’s more progressive rock and Tony definitely demonstrates his keyboard skills on it. Most of the rest of the album has more of a hard rock edge to it, even “The First Day of Summer.” However, some of the more rockier songs like, “Eddie Goes Underground” and “A Lonely Life” really cook on here. A real paradox on the album is “Reach Out,” where it starts out like it’s going to be some 80s synth pop song and then really explodes into a rocker. The big surprise on it is the fact that Tony hammers out a decent guitar solo on it. He does the same, actually his guitar work is even better on the more progressive rock sounding “Tinseltown.” Let’s face it, Tony Carey is a brilliant all round musician and his talent has been ignored for far too long.

Track Listing:

  1. A Fine Fine Day
  2. A Lonely Life
  3. Eddie Goes Underground
  4. The First Day of Summer
  5. Reach Out
  6. Tinseltown
  7. Hungry
  8. I Can’t Stop the World
  9. Some Tough City
  10. She Can Bring Me Love

Tony Carey- vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Now my mind is going off to strange worlds from posting about “Some Tough City” by Tony Carey. I wonder if he and Ronnie James Dio ever hooked up again after Rainbow. That would have been mind blowing. It wouldn’t have been possible in 1984 because Tony was riding a huge wave of success as a result of the album and its top ten single. As for Ronnie, that will be all explained in a future post.

Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

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 1984: Duke Jupiter- White Knuckle Ride

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

Duke Jupiter was probably the best hidden gem of 1984. Some may have considered them one hit wonders on account of the fact that the single from the “White Knuckle Ride” album, “Little Lady,” got some airplay on MTV and radio. It even got to #68 in the singles charts. It has remained in my mind ever since because I have always thought it was a killer song. The video for “Little Lady” is easily accessible on Youtube and I will boldly declare that it’s worth a listen. This song really kicks ass.

Like so many others back then, I thought that Duke Jupiter, (it’s a band not a person), were newcomers to the rock scene when in fact, that had been around since 1975. They had a good number of albums before this one and went on tour in support of the likes of Toto, The Outlaws, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. With a resume like that, it was never a case of if but when their efforts would finally gain notice.

While I never buy an album on account of one song, there was sufficient talk in certain circles that the “White Knuckle Ride” album was worth an investment. Trust me, it was. While it’s definitely an AOR album, it is done with the pure craftsmanship of the band. Marshall James Styler does most of the vocals and is quite adept at keyboards. Greg Walker is a very good guitarist and plays some really good solos on most of the songs here. Of course, we can’t take anything away from the rhythm section of David Corcoran and Rickey Ellis, they hold the album together with seemingly little effort.

“White Knuckle Ride” seems to move into three areas in regards to the tracks. The opener, “She’s So Hot,” the second single “Rescue Me” and “Don’t Turn Your Back” fall into the 80s AOR sound without question. They are all nicely done with Styler’s keyboards and Walker’s guitar solos. “Backfire,” “Work it Out” and of course “Little Lady” are definitely the more harder tracks on the album. Walker’s guitar really shines on these.  Plus his intro solo on “Me and Michelle” reminds me a lot of the Derek and the
Dominoes classic, “Layla.” The rest tend to be more progressive rock and “A Woman Like You” ventures into all three camps. In spite of the mixture, all of the tracks fit together very well and that’s why the album is so enjoyable.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s So Hot
  2. Rescue Me
  3. Don’t Turn Your Back
  4. Top of the Bay
  5. Backfire
  6. Little Lady
  7. A Woman Like You
  8. Work It Out
  9. Me and Michelle
  10.  (I’ve Got a) Little Black Book

Duke Jupiter

James Marshall Styler- keyboards, vocals

Greg Walker- guitar, vocals

Rickey Ellis- bass

David Corcoran- drums, percussion, vocals

Duke Jupiter came and went and have vanished into musical history. I bet my UK readers have been asking, “Who the hell’s he talking about?” Like many American one hit wonders or lesser known bands, they didn’t impact in Britain and were considered a flash in the pan in the US. In fact, I regret not giving them a mention in “Rock and Roll Children.” In spite of this, I have always remembered them and I will say that if you should listen to the “White Knuckle Ride” album, especially “Little Lady” and you’ll see why.

Next post: AC/DC – 74 Jailbreak

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Pop Albums of 1984: Julian Lennon- Valotte

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’m taking a lead from a post from Rich and posting about one of my not guilty pleasures. By 1984, I was in full heavy metal mode and it might surprise some that I would even entertain a pop sounding album. My counter is that having been (and still am) a big fan of The Beatles, I thought an album by the son of the great John Lennon, whose life had been so tragically snuffed out just over three years prior, was worth a listen. To be frank, I do like Julian Lennon’s debut album, “Valotte.” While it’s called pop on Wikapedia, I have always and will continue to call it mellow out rock because that’s what it exactly is.

Julian’s old man’s influence can be heard straight away on the opening title track of the album and its head rises now and again throughout the album. My first reaction to the opening track was that he was trying to sound like his father and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, I was wondering on my first listen way back then that would there be any originality from the son. I can say there is. On the track, “On the Phone,” there is a venture near the waters of progressive rock and I do like the intro. The next track “Space” is an appropriate title for that song, It does sound rather spacey and goes even further into the prog rock zone.

“Well I Don’t Know” is for sure a pop tune but it does have the only true guitar solo I can discern on the album. (There is some lead guitar bridges in other songs but that’s all.) Unfortunately, as I am no longer in possession of the album and Wikapedia doesn’t say which guitarist plays the solo, we’ll never know. The next pop song is the big single from “Valotte” called “Too Late for Goodbyes,” which got a lot of play on radio and MTV at the time. Listening to it again after so many years, I do notice that he does walk the tightrope between sounding commercial pop and his father’s influences rather well. It is probably the best tune for a radio hit. But I much like better, songs like “Lonely” with the cool sax solo which is the highlight of this mellow tune. “Say You’re Wrong” goes more into 80s synth pop and while not terrible, is unspectacular. “Jesse” is the hardest track on “Valotte.” It’s not heavy, not even close, but there is an upbeat tempo and some cool guitar bridges on it. The closer, “Let Me Be” is interesting. It’s a kind of ragtime piano tune that’s only just over two minutes but it is the best way to close the album out. I think Julian might have been going for a non serious exit here.

Track Listing:

  1. Valotte
  2. O.K. for You
  3. On the Phone
  4. Space
  5. Well I Don’t Know
  6. Too Late for Goodbyes
  7. Lonely
  8. Say You’re Wrong
  9. Jesse
  10. Let Me Be

Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon- lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, drums

Justin Clayton- guitar

Carlton Morales- guitar

Barry Beckett- keyboards

David Lebolt- keyboards

Peter Wood- keyboards

Roger Hawkins- drums

Steve Holley- drums, percussion

David Hood- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Carmine Rojas- bass

Robert Mac Donald- percussion

Rory Dodd- backing vocals

Eric Taylor- backing vocals

Jon Faddis- trumpet

Joe Shepley- trumpet

Michael Brecker- saxophone

George Young- saxophone

Lawrence Feldman- saxophone

Ron Cuber- saxophone

Guest Musicians

Jean ‘Toots’ Theilmans- harmonica on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Martin Briley- guitar on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Dennis Herring- guitar on “Jesse”

In one respect, Julian Lennon couldn’t win with the critics on “Valotte.” The either said he was trying to be too much like his father or not enough. While his father’s influence is there, he does have his own stamp on the album, even if it is a very mellow album. While I wouldn’t listen to it travelling to or from Bloodstock, if I was younger, I would use it in the same ways teenage boys used “Beth” by KISS in the 1970s or “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in the late 80s. The album is all right.

Next post: The Alarm- Declaration

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 Metal Albums of 1984: Van Halen- 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

History is the reason why I am beginning the journey through 1984 with Van Halen’s sixth album, which is also named after this same year. Going back to in time, minutes after the bells rang in 1984 as the new year, MTV started the year by playing the first single from the album, “Jump.” Like many a metalhead at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the large amount of keyboards used in the song. However, I didn’t think the song was bad and Eddie proved he knew his way around a keyboards almost as well as he does his guitar. That’s how the year started for me. I then proceeded to get rather sloppy drunk as you do on the new year.

After “Jump,” things go back to more traditional Van Halen territory, with one exception, which I’ll get to. “Panama” was also released as a single and I definitely like it more than “Jump.” Eddie works his magic with the guitar and David Lee Roth uses his mouth in the only way he knows. I’m not just talking about his singing either. I’ve always liked his talking bit in the middle of “Panama.” “I reached down and put the seat back.” It doesn’t translate well here in print but if you listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean.

“Top Jimmy” and “Drop Dead Legs” are both good songs and I like the little guitar bits done on both songs. However, whenever I hear “Drop Dead Legs,” my mind immediately goes to when I heard the song used in an episode of “Family Guy.” For those who don’t know, it’s the episode where Brian and Stewie travel to a parallel universe and find a world where Meg is hot.

Drop Dead Legs played to this scene

Another good thing about both of those songs is that they lead beautifully to my favourite song on the album, “Hot for Teacher.” Every thing you loved about Van Halen is found on this song. Roth’s little quips between the verses and don’t forget, he can sing some too. Eddie plays the longest solo of all the songs on the album and very well too and of course we can never forget the rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen. While these two remain tight on the whole album, they seem especially so on “Hot forTeacher.”

After my favourite song comes the other exception. “I’ll Wait” is another keyboard dominated song but I never disliked it. If Van Halen had been making albums in the 1970s, many people would have used this song to label them a progressive rock band. Still, Eddie plays a decent solo on it. “I’ll Wait” leads the way for the album to go out on the good foot. I do like the intro on “Girl Gone Bad” and “House of Pain” is a suitable closer. For me, though I hadn’t listened to “Diver Down” at the time, I still drew the conclusion that “1984” was three steps up from it. Now that I have listened to that album, I will stay say that this one is the better album.

Track Listing:

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot for Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House of Pain

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- lead vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums, backing vocals

This was how my 1984 began. There aren’t too many better ways to ring in a new year but what I do know now is that Van Halen’s “1984” opened the port hole to all the great music that would come our way in this year.

Next post: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Virgin Steele- Guardians of the Flame

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-virgin_steele_guardians_of_the_flame

Virgin Steele’s 1982 debut album might have passed me by, (I blame being in the service at the time), but their second album, “Guardians of the Flame,” didn’t. I have a friend of my sister’s to thank for that because she was a big Virgin Steele fan. It was this album that she played on cassette in her car one day and the rest was history.

What hooked me straight away is that my all time favourite Virgin Steele song is the opener on “Guardians of the Flame.” “Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight” is one of those with a fast catchy beat that hooks you immediately. One can’t helped to headbang away to this tune. It is helped by the guitar work of Jack Starr, then the entire album is as well, and the rhythm section sounds the tightest on this song. What’s best is that lead singer, David DeFeis doesn’t try so much to be Joe Cool metal singer on it. His vocals are good enough but his attempts at high screams have always been off putting for me. He doesn’t do that on “Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight.”

DeFeis does those things on the next two tracks but fortunately, Starr’s guitar work cancels out the screams and makes those songs enjoyable. Maybe he gets the hint by track four because he doesn’t scream on “The Redeemer” making it a strong, powerful track. I sense a little Black Sabbath influence here and done well. The song is seven minutes long but a lot of that is Jack laying down the jams, so it’s a very enjoyable track.

Following a brief instrumental is the title cut. It begins like any other straight forward Virgin Steele metal tune but then in the middle, it goes totally progressive rock. I mean that when I listen to this part, I could be listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. However, it works with the second longest song on the album, just shy of seven minutes. You got to give them credit for having the balls to stretch out a bit here and credit where do for pulling it off. Again, Jack Starr has an influence on it too.

Things go back to more power metal after that with three really strong metal tracks. Then the album closes with the ballad like, “A Cry in the Night.” Using a ballad as a closer is always risky but there is a great guitar solo towards the end that helps to take the song out in very good way and has me making mental notes to listen to it again.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Say Goodbye Tonight
  2. Burn the Sun
  3. Life of Crime
  4. The Redeemer
  5. Birth Through Fire
  6. Guardians of the Flame
  7. Metal City
  8. Hell or High Water
  9. Go All the Way
  10. A Cry in the Night
Virgin Steele

Virgin Steele

David DeFies- vocals, keyboards

Jack Starr- guitar

Joe O’Reilly- bass

Joey Avazian- drums

I was impressed by the second album from Virgin Steele, “Guardians of the Flame” and I would seek out their later material. So what I ask myself is why I never got their debut album. If any of you can shed light on whether I’ve committed a travesty or had a lucky escape by not listening to it, I would be very grateful.

Next post: Waysted- Vices

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