Archive for progressive rock

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Blue Oyster Cult- Imaginos

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

Unfortunately for Blue Oyster Cult, they will be most remembered in the UK for “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and not for some of the great albums they put out. A quick sidetrack, the B.O.C. classic hit appears on just about rock compilation album I was given as a birthday or Father’s Day present. Anyway, the band’s 1988 album failed to gain any attention in the UK and not much in the US from what I’ve read, so it’s no surprise that it passed me by. Therefore, the task for me when listening to it was to determine is this a good B.O.C. album which slipped under the radar like “The Revolution By Night” or like “Club Ninja,” a decent album, I liked it, but was a commercial dud.

Another point of controversy in regards to “Imaginos,” was that many consider it not to be a proper Blue Oyster Cult album. After the iconic “Fire of Unknown Origin” the band went through a number of personnel changes. Originally, this album was meant to be a solo album from Albert Bouchard after he was fired from the band in 1981. He had started to make the album with the help of producer Sandy Pearlman but they ran out of money. To make a long story short, Pearlman went to the band’s label, Columbia Records, with the idea of making it a Blue Oyster Cult album, which is sort of what happened. With that said, the actual band had little playing time on it as many musicians were brought in, see below. Another reason why it’s discounted as a Blue Oyster Cult album.

Sandy Pearlman

After my mandatory three listens plus I’m listening to it as I write this, my verdict that it is an improvement from “Club Ninja.” What is striking is that the band goes full hard rock with the first three tracks. While the gainsayers accused them of trying to cash in on the heavy metal furor, I liked the power they brought to these tracks, especially “In the Presence of Another World.” I like the opening riffs and how the guitars kick in full metal right after culminating in a cool guitar solo. The song ends with the chanting “You’re master” behind some more guitar chords and a solid bass line.

Here’s another personal shock about “Imaginos.” “Astronomy” was released as a single and I’ll get to that one in a minute but when listening, I thought that “Del Rio’s Song” would have been the track released as a single. It sounds like the love child between “Dancing in the Ruins” and one of my all time favourite B.O.C. songs, “Joan Crawford.” It does have a cool guitar solo and I think the credits below reveal why.

Now we can come to the actual single. “Astronomy” is a good track, the second best on the album. It’s more in traditional Blue Oyster Cult waters where they combine the power of metal and progressive rock and make that sound which made them famous. However, like I said, it’s only the second best track on the album, the track before it, “The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein’s Castle at Weisseria,” (say that title after a few drinks) takes the top spot in my view. The song just rocks and here’s a kicker, the vocals are done by one Joey Cerisano and he does a tremendous job on it. I’m surprised no metal band ever scooped him up after hearing this. The backing vocals are just as magnificent in support of Joey and the piano/guitar combination just make the song mind blowing. Please note who plays the guitar solo on the song as well. This isn’t a hidden gem, more of hidden diamond!

The remaining three songs are definitely more progressive rock but done in the traditional Blue Oyster Cult way. “Magna of Illusion” is the best of the three. Another interesting point behind the album is that Sandy meant it to be a concept album as the songs were based on a series of poems he had written. The story is on the Wikipedia page for the album and is an interesting read but the story doesn’t line up with the tracks, so I can’t call it a concept album. You just have to enjoy it for the music.

Track Listing:

  1. I’m the One You Warned Me Of
  2. Les Invisibles
  3. In the Presence of Another World
  4. Del Rios
  5. The Siege and Investiture of Castle Frankenstein’s Castle at Weisseria
  6. Astronomy
  7. Magna of Illusion
  8. Blue Oyster Cult
  9. Imaginos

Eric Bloom- vocals

Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roesser- guitar, vocals

Joe Bouchard- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

Alan Lanier- keyboards

Albert Bouchard- drums

Additional Musicians:

Phil Grande- guitars

Tommy Zvoncheck- keyboards

Kenny Aaronson- bass

Thommy Price- drums

Joey Cerisano- vocals

Jon Rogers- vocals

Jack Secret aka (Tony Geranios)- backing vocals

Shocking U- vocals on track 3

Guitar Orchestra of the State of Imaginos

Mark Beiderman- lead guitar on tracks 1 and 3

Kevin Carlson

Robbie Kreiger- lead guitar on tracks 7 and 8

Tommy Morrongiello

Aldo Nova

Jack Rigg

Joe Satriani- lead guitar on track 5

Note: The money Joe Satriani made from playing on the album allowed him to finance a great album which will be posted about in the not too distant future.

Should “Imaginos” be counted as a proper Blue Oyster Cult album? I’ll leave that to everyone else to decide while I just sit back and enjoy the album, especially as so many great guitarists play on it.

Next post: Chastain- The Voice of the Cult

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

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

Dead Musicians Bands

Posted in 1980s, Books, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2022 by 80smetalman
Dio

When I wrote “Tee-Bone Man and Superdeke’s Time Travelling Adventure” for Mike Ladano’s blog, the biggest challenge in discipline for me was not to get totally carried away with all the possible collaborations between musicians who have left us. It doesn’t take too much smarts to realize that the possibilities are endless and I could have filled many pages with them and that’s just the ones I would like to see!

Lemmy

First, I am quite convinced that every deceased musician would love to sing or play with the King, Elvis and that includes Lemmy. It would be an interesting song, that part’s for sure. Of course Lemmy wouldn’t be left out as many would like to get him to play bass on their song or sing with them and I’m not just talking about metal musicians. Why couldn’t he lay down a bass line for Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin? Then we can take it to the complete other extreme and have Lemmy do a song with Whitney Houston. Why not?

One combination I mention in the story would almost certainly happen. I firmly believe that Ronnie James Dio would have hooked up with former bandmates from Rainbow and the connection of that band to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath and formed a band with Jimmy Bain on bass, Jon Lord on keyboards and Cozy Powell on drums. Furthermore, I stand by my choice for guitar in the group as I strongly feel that Criss Oliva of Savatage fame would be the best fit for the above combo. Of course, you are all welcome to put forward alternatives.

The Fab Four
The Who

One combination which I thought of putting into the story but didn’t was a collaboration of the two deceased Beatles and two deceased members of The Who. John Lennon and George Harrison on guitars, John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums might be something to hear. We can even make it more interesting by throwing in the two deceased members of The Rolling Stones. Then again, we can get Brian Jones and Charlie Watts to play along with the two dead Doors! Like I said, the possibilities are endless!

The teacher in me has now taken over and so, here’s your assignment. Put together your own bands, duets or collaborations of deceased musicians and post them here! There are no right or wrong answers. Maybe the Righteous Brothers song I featured last week can motivate. After all, they have a point: “If there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band.”

If you missed it last time, you can read the story here: https://mikeladano.com/2022/10/05/the-adventures-of-tee-bone-man-chapter-8-tee-bone-dekes-time-travelling-adventure-by-80smetalman/

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

To give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Rush- Hold Your Fire

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized 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

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

Survivor Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2022 by 80smetalman

The idea for writing a post ranking albums from Survivor came as a result of comments on my post about their 1988 album, “Too Hot to Sleep.” Reading comments from 2loud2oldmusic, I suggested we write a joint post ranking Survivor albums, to which he thought it was a good idea. What this has done is to get both of us going back and listening to all eight of Survivor’s studio albums and putting them in our order of preference. Here’s mine:

8. Premonition

“Premonition” was Survivor’s second album released in 1981. Many bands seemed to have the Sophmore jinx and the same applies here. The album has its good moments but overall lacks the hunger of the debut and it’s not quite as finely tuned as future Survivor albums.

7. Survivor

Like with so many debut albums, the band’s hunger is there to see. The 1970s progressive hard rock is clearly there to hear and it has some great hard rocking moments as well as guitar solos.

6. Eye of the Tiger

Ah, the album made famous by the “Rocky” films. Even if the title cut hadn’t appeared in “Rocky III,” it was still a good enough album to stand on its on. They tended to go more hard rock on this one.

5. When Seconds Count

A good album which continues down the melodic rock path began by its predecessor, “Vital Signs.” If I had been writing this post in 1986, it would have probably be one place lower but as I am mellowing with age, I can appreciate the musicianship quality of it. However, I haven’t mellowed that much and still prefer a good rock out.

4. Vital Signs

With “Vital Signs,” Survivor veer away from hard rock and head in a more progressive, melodic rock direction. The album proves that they did so with considerable ease. There are still a couple of great guitar solos on it.

3. Caught in the Game

This album passed me by in 1983, I blame it on being in the service. But when I listened to it, I had a very pleasant surprise. This is a really good hard rocking album with some of the best guitar solos.

2. Reach

After being away for nearly 20 years, Survivor’s comeback album in 2006 is fantastic. Cliche warning: it’s almost as if they had never been away. Having different vocalists on the songs gives the album a different perspective which works well. Plus it ends with a phenomenal power ballad.

1. Too Hot to Sleep

The members of Survivor do everything to their full potential here. Great vocals, guitar solos, keyboards and a great rhythm section. Even if studio musicians were brought in for the latter. There is some great rock to be had by all. Sometimes, I can’t understand why they waited 18 years after this one to record their next album.

So there you have it, my ranking of Survivor albums. As you can see, 2loud and I have differing opinions on this but that’s something a good band with so many good albums will produce. Everyone will have their favourites.

Great Rock Albums of 1988: All About Eve

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2022 by 80smetalman

Here’s a prime example of how a mishap on a mainstream channel can have a permanent negative effect on an artist. In 1988, British gothic rock band All About Eve appeared on the British television show, “Top of the Pops,” to perform their song, “Martha’s Harbour,” which was number seven in the charts at the time. As my British readers can confirm, most “live” performances on the show were mimed. All About Eve was introduced and the song started playing. However, the feed didn’t reach singer Julianne Regan and guitarist Tim Bricheno. As a result, the two sat there with Julianne looking more fidgety waiting for the song to start. Fortunately, the technical difficulty was sorted halfway through the song and Julianne and Tim were able to mime to the finish. Unfortunately, All About Eve will be more remembered for this technical blunder not of their doing as opposed to their great debut album.

The problem with this album is that it came out at the wrong time. If it had come out five years earlier, it would have been much more successful. All About Eve takes progressive rock in the form of Marillion with and adds elements of hippy rock and more dark alternative elements and makes their own sound, a sound which I really like. The opener, “Flowers in Our Hair,” has a hard edge to it but the next two tracks are more progressive before slipping in the haunting ballad which is “Martha’s Harbour.” I love an album which can’t be pigeonholed and this one is definitely that. The great thing is that in spite of all the different elements, the album flows very nicely.

In the case of my favourite track, “Every Angel,” they take all of these elements and put it all into one song. There’s a hippy sounding acoustic intro before Tim Bricheno’s guitar licks really gets cooking. With the rhythm section in tow, it all sets the stage for the vocals of Julianne. Haven’t having listened to this album for such a long time, I had forgotten what a great singer she is. Additionally, she and the band deliver on “Shelter From the Rain” which has a haunting melody backed up by more great playing. The bassline is clear and Tim cranks out a really nice guitar solo. This is definitely a hippy song for the 80s.

All About Eve completely nail down the sound on the remaining tracks. The dark, trippy, melodic tracks weave their magic all through the remainder of the songs. Even when Julianne is singing “Never promise anyone forever,” over and over again, it doesn’t get boring. Then the closer, “In the Meadow,” with the haunting vocals and guitar licks, stamps the final mark on what is a great album.

Track Listing:

  1. Flowers in Our Hair
  2. Gypsy Dance
  3. In the Clouds
  4. Martha’s Harbour
  5. Every Angel
  6. Shelter From the Rain
  7. She Moves Through the Fair
  8. Wild Hearted Woman
  9. Never Promise (Everyone Forever)
  10. What Kind of Fool
  11. In the Meadow
All About Eve

Julianne Regan- vocals

Tim Bricheno- guitar

Andy Cousin- bass

Mark Price- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mick Brown- drums (I don’t think it’s the same Mick Brown of Dokken fame)

Greg Brimstone- drums

Simon Hinkler- keyboards

Wayne Hussey- backing vocals on “Shelter From the Rain”

Paul Samwell-Smith- drone, horns, piano on “Wild Hearted Woman,” recorder, strings

Ric Sanders- violin

Peter John Vettesse- keyboards

Like I said, if this album had come out five years earlier, I think it would have been huge. More people would have remembered it instead of a technical hiccup. Still, I wish I hadn’t forgotten what a great album this really is. All About Eve should have gone further.

Next post: Traveling Wilburys- Volume 1

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: Glass Tiger- Diamond Sun

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

With “Diamond Sun” being the second album from Canadians, Glass Tiger, I had no pre-conceived notions about what the album should or shouldn’t sound like. After posting on their debut album, “The Thin Red Line,” I knew they weren’t a metal band but more of a pop-rock outfit. While that might have put me off in 1988, it doesn’t do so now and I appreciate what a good album “Diamond Sun” is.

It seems that with the first two tracks, Glass Tiger seemed to be copying U2 as that’s what those tracks remind of. Al Connelly’s riffs are similar to those of the The Edge on these tracks and if I didn’t know better, it could have been Bono singing on the tracks instead of Alan Frew. Now, I’m not condemning Glass Tiger for this influence because both of those songs are pretty good, it’s just my insane mind picking things like that up.

Glass Tiger do go more original on the third track, “I’m Still Searching,” which I have discovered went to number two in the Canadian charts. So, well done to them. Listening to the track, it is definitely a made for radio commercial rock song and it does have a catchy vibe to it. My only minor criticism is they should have let Al do a longer guitar solo. Right after, we come to the ballad, “A Lifetime of Moments.” I’m surprised that this one wasn’t released as a single because it’s also a radio friendly ballad. I do love the sax solo from guest musician, Earl Seymour.

They do rock things up a bit more of “It’s Love U Feel” and while the bassline is present for many of the songs, it is definitely the driving force behind the song. Full marks to Wayne Parker but while the tempo picks up and there are some good little guitar hooks, it reminds a little of Duran Duran, except for the cool guitar solo. The track “Send Your Love” is in a similar vein to this one and that included a cool guitar solo.

Full marks should also be given to the band for not being afraid to explore. On “My Song,” they get with Irish folk band, The Chieftains, and make a really nice sounding Gaelic rock tune. As for the hidden gem, it’s a no brainer, the power ballad, “(Watching) Worlds Crumble” wins it hands down. It’s great listening to Alan Frew croon his way through with power chords and a great solo from Al Connelly. The piano parts from Sam Reid bring an air of tenderness to the song before a cool drum fill from Michael Hanson lead the charge which takes the song out on a high. “Suffer in Silence” has a Stevie Nicks feel on the intro but other than that, nothing special and while “This Island Earth” is a good closer, it does go on a little too long.

Track Listing:

  1. Diamond Sun
  2. Far Away From Here
  3. I’m Still Searching
  4. A Lifetime of Moments
  5. It’s Love U Feel
  6. My Song
  7. (Watching) Worlds Crumble
  8. Send Your Love
  9. Suffer in Silence
  10. This Island Earth
Glass Tiger

Alan Frew- vocals

Al Connelly- guitar

Sam Reid- keyboards

Wayne Parker- bass

Michael Hanson- drums, additional guitars

Additional Musicians:

Dabello, Arnold Lanni, Sheree Jeacocke, Colina Phillips- backing vocals

Keith Scott- additional guitar

Jim Vallance- additional drums and keyboards

Rene Worst- additional fretless bass

Earl Seymour- saxophone

Full credit where due, Glass Tiger was a very talented band and it shows on this album. I might have passed this one by back in 1988, especially as it was unheard of in the UK but I can appreciate it now.

Next post: The Bangles- Everything

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Kansas- In the Spirit of Things

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

I can’t totally blame being in England for missing Kansas’s 1988 album, “In the Spirit of Things” because I was still in the States when I missed their previous album, “Power” and only had a vague knowledge of the one before that one. Like so many, my Kansas memories were stuck in the 1970s with such classics as “Leftoverture,” “Monolith” and “Point of Know Return.” While those albums were huge for the band, I think this one can stand right up there with them. It’s that good.

Two theories from me as to why “In the Sprit of Things” tanked commercially, both of which are related to changes from the 1970s to the 80s. Back in the 70s, bands didn’t need to have a great hit single to become known. Look at Frank Zappa. I even remember hearing an interview with Kansas saying that they would probably only have two or three hit singles but the 70s albums I mentioned were all listened to by many. I had a friend who was a big Kansas fan. Anyway, in the 1980s, unless you were a metal band, no hit single usually meant no notice from the public.

The other reason was that by 1988, music was essentially dumbed down and put into neat little categories making it difficult for great progressive rock bands like Kansas. In the 70s, people weren’t quick to pigeon hole bands and just accepted bands like Kansas for the music they made. Sure, there was progressive rock, mixed with some very hard rock and other musical fluctuations as well, but that was no longer acceptable in the 80s. In the case of Kansas, the hard guitars made some people think they were metal while the keyboards made others think they were some trendy top 40 band, which they weren’t. For me, it’s a shame because once you get past the pigeon-holing, you get a great album.

Opener track, “Ghosts,” is what Kansas has done so successfully over the years. It starts as a progressive rock ballad, then goes more mainstream progressive before Steve Morse’s guitar kicks in and he lays down a cool solo. It opens the album with great promise. They do go more 80s rock with “One Big Sky” with some great blend of keyboards and guitar. In addition, there’s a choir at the chorus bringing an additional element to the song. I think if they had released this one as a single, it would have been successful in the late 1980s climate.

“Inside Me” is a progressive rocker that really rocks. I can picture in my mind Dio or Savatage playing this song. Morse’s guitar work is tops here and you get a real pronounced bass line from Billy Greer. It’s almost the hidden gem, definitely a second one. It’s back to 1970s style progressive magic on “One Man, One Heart.” That intro is mesmerising and it turns into a pretty good rock tune after. The more rock part continues with “House on Fire.” Turn the guitar up a notch and you have a pretty good metal tune. You even get a guitar solo tradeoff between Morse and Rich Williams.

The first half of the album, or side one if you had this on cassette or vinyl ends with a cool power ballad, “Once in a Lifetime.” This one ticks all the boxes of what a good power ballad should be, meaningful vocals, good power chords and a riveting guitar solo. The second half begins with what was the intended single, “Stand Beside Me.” While I can see why this song, another power ballad but more ballad than power, would be chosen to be the single, but I still stick by my belief that the single released should have been “One Big Sky.”

For me, the next couple of tracks are the best part of the album. “I Counted on Love” starts with a cool guitar solo but then goes into more power ballad but the vocals are superb. You might be thinking that three power ballads in a row might be a bit much but somehow, it works on the album. Then we get to the true hidden gem of the album, “The Preacher.” It comes in with a uplifting neo metal vibe and carries on. While I won’t call it a headbanger but you can’t help bobbing along to the beat. The backing vocals are brilliant, especially with the choir assisting but the power chords and guitar solo just take this song to another level. This one is Kansas’s most rocking song since the legendary “Carry On My Wayward Son.”

If you want to go into more traditional progressive rock that tells a story, then “Rainmaker” is the song. It sounds like it could have been sung in a play but I love it on the album. It’s a definite return to the progressive rock which made Kansas a household name a decade earlier. Following a rather intriguing acoustic instrumental, the album closes with “Bells of St. James.” This is another song which could have been on a metal concept album. Another one which could have been performed by Dio. Actually, I think Ronnie would have nailed it but Kansas do the job perfectly themselves. The hard guitars and the harmonizing at the chorus with the backing sound effects all pitch in to make the song cool.

Track Listing:

  1. Ghosts
  2. One Big Sky
  3. Inside of Me
  4. One Man, One Heart
  5. House on Fire
  6. Once in a Lifetime
  7. Stand Beside Me
  8. I Counted On Love
  9. The Preacher
  10. Rainmaker
  11. T.O. Witcher
  12. Bells of St. James
Kansas

Steve Walsh- keyboards, lead vocals

Steve Morse- guitar, vocals

Rich Williams- guitar

Billy Greer- bass, vocals

Phil Ehart- drums

Additional Musicians:

Steve Croes- synclavier

Terry Brock- background vocals on track 4

John Pierce- fretless bass, track 7

Bob Ezrin- percussion, backing vocals

Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Choir- backing vocals on tracks, 2, 9 and 10

When listening to “In the Sprit of Things,” the question which comes to mind is: What were people thinking back in 1988? How could such a great album go by with little attention? I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of responses from people saying they have this album and how great it is. At least I hope so.

Next post: Honeymoon Suite- Racing After Midnight

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1987: Glass Tiger- The Thin Red Line

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2022 by 80smetalman

Glass Tiger was a band I had heard of back in the day but never got around listening to them. When I first heard the name, I thought they were going to be a glam metal band and looking at pictures of the band cemented that belief in my eyes. However, when I finally got to listen to the debut album, “The Thin Red Line,” I quickly discovered that Glass Tiger was indeed not a heavy metal band! If anything, I should have paid more attention to the genre labels on the websites I do my research on. They list the band as pop rock or light AOR and I can agree wholeheartedly with that.

This begs the question: Is the album terrible? Admittedly, if I had heard this album back in 1987, I would have never wanted to listen to it again. This is because I was totally into my metal, (not that I’m not these days), but this album would be too commercial for my liking back then. Fortunately, I am much older and wiser (pause for laughter) and am able to approach “The Thin Red Line” with a much more open mind.

Here’s the real shocker. The album starts with the title cut and the intro sounds like we’re going to be treated to some good Dio like metal. I waited for the crunching guitars to kick in but instead we get heavy synthesizers. Even with my open mind, it’s a bit of a let down. Saying that, one cannot fault the keyboard skills of Sam Reid. He leaves his trademark on every song of the album and fair dues, he doesn’t play in a bubblegum synth pop fashion which was so popular at the time. I really appreciate his skills on “Closer to You.”

Being the metalhead I am, I always have an ear out for the guitar and unlike so many synth pop bands of the era, Al Connelly’s guitar isn’t smothered in the mix. I accept the fact that he’s not crunching the power chords on each and every song but it works here. He lays down his first solo on “Closer to You” and his lead guitar intro combined with the backing keyboards of Sam, creates a haunting effect on “Looking at a Picture.” It took me several listens to realize this but the combination works well on this particular track. In fact, let me say that all five players in the band are very talented. Alan Frew is a good singer and there are some cool bass lines from Wayne Parker and Michael Hanson is a more than capable drummer.

Of course, there has to be one track which I prefer over the rest and in this case, it’s “Ecstasy.” This is the closest Glass Tiger comes to being hard rock and you get to hear more of Al’s guitar on it. Plus, he lays down a rather cool solo. “Ancient Evenings” does come second but not a very close one. The best way to describe “The Thin Red Line” is that they are Marillion, Mr. Mister and Duran Duran all rolled into one. I hear a little of all three throughout the album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Thin Red Line
  2. Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)
  3. Closer to You
  4. Vanishing Tribe
  5. Looking at the Picture
  6. The Secret
  7. Ancient Evenings
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Someday
  10. I Will Be There
  11. You’re What I Look For
Glass Tiger

Alan Frew- vocals

Al Connelly- guitar

Sam Reid- keyboards

Wayne Parker- bass

Michael Hanson- drums

Additional Musicians:

Jim Vallence- additional keyboards, backing vocals

Mark Lafrance, Paul Janz, Dalbello and Sharon Lee Williams- backing vocals

Bryan Adams- backing vocals on “Don’t Forget Me” and “I Will Be There”

Keith Scott- additional guitar

Doug Edwards- additional bass on “Don’t Forget Me”

David Pickell- harmonica

Chase Sanborn, Charles Gray, Russ Little- horns

I have to admit, the album has grown on me. It took a few listens but it has. It could because my musical tastes have gone a little more melodic in my advancing years, though I still enjoy a good thrashing mosh like with Agnostic Front.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Raise Your Fist and Yell

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tony MacAlpine- Maximum Security

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

Back in 1987, it was very easy for people to accuse guitarists who made instrumental albums of trying to copy Yngwie Malmsteen. True, there are some similarities to Yngwie when I listen to Tony MacAlpine’s second album, “Maximum Security,” but I must severely stress, SOME. Track 2, “Hundreds of Thousands,” sounds like it came straight from Yngwie. And while there are more moments which may sound similar to the Swede, Tony is definitely not a Yngwie clone.

Starting with the obvious, there’s the fact that there are no vocals on the album, it’s pure instrumental. That’s the next point, Tony adds an extra dimension to his work by playing keyboards on it as well and it comes through straight away on the album’s opening track. Where his keyboard skills really shine is on the track, “Etude #4 Opus #10,” written by Chopin. You get two minutes of some fine keyboard work, thus showing Tony’s versatility.

Of course, Tony doesn’t have Yngwie’s ego, thank God. Tony has two guitarists come along and jam with him on three tracks. George Lynch of Dokken fame trades solos with him on two tracks, “Tears of Sahara” and “The Vision.” The other contributor is none other than Jeff Watson from some band called Night Ranger. You might have heard of them. Jeff plays on “”The King’s Cup” and does a super job too. This paring makes this track the best one on the album. Of course, what sticks in my weird mind the most on that particular track is that it opens with a drum roll similar to the Kreator classic, “Pleasure to Kill.” Both of these guitar wizards add an extra layer of guitar goodness for Tony.

The tracks where Mr. MacAlpine is at his fingerboard smoking best on his own, are “Key to the City” and “The Time and the Test.” It’s difficult for me to put it down in words but he just totally shreds those two tracks. Obviously, he shreds well on the others as well, “Sacred Wonder” especially. To sum it up, you get more than just an album with a guitarist playing all the way through it, you have some fine compositions here.

Track Listing:

  1. Autumn Lords
  2. Hundreds of Thousands
  3. Tears of Sahara
  4. Key to the City
  5. The Time and the Test
  6. The King’s Cup
  7. Sacred Wonder
  8. Etude #4 Opus #10
  9. The Vision
  10. Dreamstate
  11. Porcelain Doll
Tony MacAlpine

Tony MacAlpine- guitar, keyboards, bass

George Lynch- additional guitar solos (tracks 3 and 9)

Jeff Watson- additional guitar solos (track 6)

Deen Castronovo- drums (tracks 1-3, 5 and 6)

Atma Anur- drums (tracks 4, 7 and 9-11)

Not that I care about such things, “Maximum Security” was Tony’s only album to break into the charts. I am not surprised because he shows he is such a talented musician all around. It makes it more of a shame that he seemed to almost vanish after.

Next post: Motley Crue- Girls, Girls, Girls

About four years ago, I wrote a post calling for Bruce Dickinson to receive a knighthood. What I should have been doing is posting the link with every post since. I have seen the error of my ways so with every post from now until Bruce receives his gong, I will post the link to my petition here. I hope all of you, especially my British followers, will sign it.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Another petition I have started and this is not metal related is that I am petitioning the NFL to have next year’s Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers game played in London. I hope you will sign that one too.

https://www.change.org/p/nfl-2022-steelers-eagles-game-to-be-played-in-london

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