Archive for reggae

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Pat_Benatar_-_Precious_Time

Kings and queens of rock music have come and gone throughout the years but it can be safely said that in 1980 and 81, Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock. She ascended to the throne in 1980 on the wings of her second album “Crimes of Passion” after the previous rock queen, Debbie Harry, in my view, abdicated. The more astute among you probably realise that I never visited Blondie’s “Auto-American” album and for good reason. While “Crimes of Passion” ascended Pat Benatar to her rightful throne, her third album in 1981, “Precious Time,” kept her firmly seated there.

“Precious Time” continues on in the same hard rocking theme that made Pat Benatar a household name in rock circles. I admit, when I first heard the introduction to the opener, “Promises in the Dark,” I thought she might be going a bit softer but about thirty seconds in, the guitars take over and that Benatar sound is back in full swing. The second track is the big single, “Fire and Ice” and contains what I think is the best ever guitar solo from Neil Giraldo. “Just Like Me” and the title track are both traditional Pat Benatar rockers and the track “It’s a Tuff Life” goes quite reggae but nonetheless is a great track. In all of these tracks and the following, “Take It Anyway You Want It,” the vocals of Pat Benatar combined with the guitar of Neil Giraldo definitely work well like they did with the two albums.

Now, if they were ever to make a film from either of my books, “Rock And Roll Children” would be filled with some great concert footage, but with my latest one, “He Was Weird,” I would insist that one song from this album, “Evil Genius,” be on the soundtrack. While the lyrics of this song don’t exactly fit in with the main character in the story, the song itself would greatly add to the ambiance of the movie. The lyrics are spot on here and that helps make the song even better for me. I can’t leave out the fact that this album proves that The Beatles wrote a song that had an impact on hard rock and heavy metal. This album provided me with my first opportunity to hear the classic “Helter Skelter” covered by a great hard rock act. Here, Pat Benatar, to quote Cheryl Cole, makes the song her own and no I don’t watch “X-Factor.”

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Track Listing:

1. Promises in the Dark

2. Fire and Ice

3. Just Like Me

4. Precious Time

5. It’s a Tuff Life

6. Take It Anyway You Want It

7. Evil Genius

8. Hard to Believe

9. Helter Skelter

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

With “Precious Time,” it is easy to see why Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock in 1980 and 81. Come the following year, there would be a serious challenge to her rule but that is best left for another time. In the world of hard rock, 1981 was without a doubt Pat Benatar’s year and “Precious Time” backs this up.

Next album: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

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

To buy He Was Weird go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403623312&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird

Also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Triumphs and Tragedies in 1981

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by 80smetalman

As always, I like to start with the bad news first before progressing onto the good news. The biggest tragedy of this particular year for music fans of all kinds with the death of reggae legend Bob Marley who died from cancer in May of 1981.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Whether one was a devout reggae fan, Bob Marley worshipper, total stoner or none of the above, there were very few people around my age at the time who couldn’t help but shed a tear at the passing of this great legend. His music brought reggae into the mainstream for many people, me included as did his relaxed, “be mellow” attitude towards life. Something we all probably still need to adhere to these days. While Bob may not be with us and I have to agree with his son Ziggy’s philosophy that money doesn’t buy life, his music still is alive and very well in the world today. R.I.P. Bob Marley

The Round Up

The Round Up

Now onto the first triumph which was at the time a local one for me and the sad thing was that I never got to see it due to being in the service. In June of 1981, Southern Rock converged on Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium as some of the great Southern Rock bands played what I later learned was a brilliant show. Oh, how amazing it would have been to see the likes of The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band on the same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t and therefore I implore anyone out there in the cosmos who is reading this and went to this great festival, please share your experiences!

Donington 1981

Donington 1981

The second tragedy came in the form of another great music festival across the Atlantic. In the August, the second Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park took place. With AC/DC as the headliner and the likes of Whitesnake, Slade and Blackfoot on the bill, it couldn’t help but to be a great show. Of course, I wasn’t at this one either but I do know someone who was and he said it was a brilliant day. It also explains why Blackfoot didn’t appear at the Round Up.  Furthermore, the promoters did a good job in ironing at some of the things that went wrong at the 1980 festival. So, two great musical shows on both sides of the ocean, the result was two triumphs for rock and metal in 1981.

There was one more triumph in 1981 but that deserves its own billing and will be spoken about later. To give a hint, it was considered a total triumph in 1981 but nowadays, it is more of a tragedy.

Next post: U2 -Boy

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 1981: Joan Armatrading- Me, Myself, I

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Me_Myself_I_-_Joan_Armatrading

Here’s an example of how my mind jumps around too much. I knew when I started 1981 that I wouldn’t be able to get everything in regards to my life in perfect chronological order. So in order to talk about “Me, Myself, I” from Joan Armatrading, I have to go back to Rota, Spain. We were granted a night’s liberty that night so my friends and I made a made dash to the Enlisted Men’s Club and started cracking open the Budweisers about 5:30 that afternoon. Providing the entertainment that night would be an English covers band called The Tender Years, who played some good rock tunes that night. What I remember most is because they were playing to a bunch of US servicemen and women, they put up a large sign that read, “We don’t play Freebird.” Of course, that didn’t stop the crowd from shouting out for it. Anyway, one song they played was the title cut of this album which stuck in my head. Good song, I thought to myself. However, I never did anything about it until later on in the summer when I heard that song played again on the radio and while the female lead singer from The Tender Years sang it well, it wasn’t as nearly as good as the original.

Hearing it back then and hearing it again now, I have to disagree with Wikapedia’s labelling of the album as “pop.” I doubt it would have been considered that back then even though disco was in it’s final throes of death. If I put a label, it would have to be soft rock or progressive rock. In some of the songs, “Ma Me Oh Beach” comes to mind here, Joan’s Caribbean roots definitely poke their nose above ground and if listened to carefully, some other songs as well. What really grabbed me is the fantastic guitar solos laid down in the title track and in the more bluesy track, “Turn Out the Light.” The latter also is best for showcasing her vocal credentials. Then  I also love the electric piano at the intro. Hell, it’s the second best song on the album and a good one! “Friends” and “All the Way From America” also stand out on this album for me.

What I know now that I didn’t know then was the amazing array of musicians that assist in propelling Joan to her glory. Paul Shaffer from David Letterman fame plays keyboards on the album and Clarence Clemmons from Bruce Springsteen’s band does what he does best with the sax. But one further surprise, the drumming chores are carried out by none other than Anton Figg, who has played for KISS and later Ace Frehley. So with an ensemble like that behind her, no wonder this album is so good.

Track Listing:

1. Me, Myself, I

2. Ma Me Oh Beach

3. Friends

4. Is It Tomorrow Yet

5. Turn Out The Light

6. When You Kisses Me

7. All The Way From America

8. Feeling In My Heart For You

9. Simon

10. I Need You

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading- vocals, acoustic guitar

Chris Speddig- guitar

Hiram Bullock- guitar

Ricky Hirsh- guitar

Dan Fedderici- organ

Paul Shaffer- piano

Phillip St John- piano

Tim Sowell- synthesiser

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone

Will Lee- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Anton Figg- drums

With her great voice and an assembly of masterful musicians, it’s no wonder this was the most successful of Joan Armatrading’s albums. It can stand along with many of the great rock albums of the time. I’m only surprised it didn’t do more to break down racial barriers at the time. Oh yes, back to that night in Rota. I drank enough Buds that I was dancing on the table when The Tender Years played “Smoke On the Water.”

Next post: The Fools- Heavy Mental

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 1981: The Police- Zenyatta Mondatta

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Police-album-zenyattamondatta

This classic album from The Police first came to my attention when my ship had pulled into Rota, Spain for the final stop before sailing across the ocean and home. I didn’t clock it at first when I went in the PX although it was there, I heard about it when the ship got a two month out of date tape of old Casey Kasem who presented the US chart show back then. On that episode, he showed the video to the album’s first single “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and I must say that I liked it. Although I have to say that a friend of mine liked it more because he used to sing it a lot, even one night when after a bit too much to drink, tried to dance while singing and ended up on his bum. God, the things that trigger memories.

Casey Kasem, anyone remember him?

Casey Kasem, anyone remember him?

With “Zenyatta Mondatta,” The Police once again prove that the rock/reggae fusion works well. The fusion is very plentiful throughout the entire album, the only possible exception being the penultimate song “Shadows in the Rain” which sounds rather spacey to me. Still even that’s not a bad song. What I find more interesting and I didn’t really notice it when I first heard the album all those years ago is that Andy Summers does bend the six string a little bit on a couple of songs. The most noticeable is the third track “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” and it leaves me to wonder what Andy would have actually sounded like if he had been given more autonomy on the guitar. Still, he does play well as does Stewart Copeland on the drums. Back on the subject of the album, I found the track “Canary in a Coal Mine rather good too and of course there is the other big single, the one I used to call “The baby talk song:” “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.” There are also a couple of good instrumentals on it which, shoots down the myth believed by younger Police fans who never heard them until their last album that they were all about Sting. What rubbish!

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Stand So Close to Me

2. Driven to Tears

3. When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around

4. Canary in a Coal Mine

5. Voices Inside My Head

6. Bombs Away

7. De Do Do Do De Da Da Da

8. Behind My Camel

9. Man in a Suitcase

10. Shadows in the Rain

11. The Other Way of Stopping

The Police

The Police Sting- lead vocals, bass, synthesiser Andy Summers- guitar, guitar synthesiser Stewart Copeland- drums, percussion, synthesiser “Zenyatta Mondatta” is a good steady rock album with songs that are consistent throughout. Like other musical trios whose albums I’ve visited here, it shows plainly that three can sometimes be enough. I won’t get on here again till after Christmas Day so I’ll wish everyone a Merry Metal Christmas now! If you’re stuck for something Christmasy to listen to, you could try the Christmas album I visited this time last year, tee hee.220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Live 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 1980: Talking Heads- Remain In Light

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by 80smetalman

 

220px-TalkingHeadsRemaininLight

The Talking Heads were yet another band who were branded punk because of their unique sound that didn’t fit into any neat pigeon hole. Of course, of all the bands that I’ve said this about, they were probably the one band that might actually fit the title. While they weren’t in the same mould as The Sex Pistols, they were born of the New York Punk scene at CBGB’s in the mid 70s. So in that case, they can definitely be considered punk. I became convinced of this when I heard their debut album “77.” This album was totally different and “Psycho Killer” is definitely in my top fifty favourite songs of all time. Even in the early 80s, that album was considered by many to be “way out there.”

Roll on their 1980 album “Remain In Light.” It’s very difficult to for a band to match and album that you consider to be outstanding so I won’t make comparisons to “77,” especially as this album was a change in direction from their traditional punk sound to a more funky direction. I hear some reggae influence in the opening tracks, “Born Under the Punches” and “Crosseyed and Painless.” They are good songs and what really makes them for me is the humourous approach that David Byrne takes to not just these two songs but for the entire album. It is definitely evident in the album’s big single, “Once in a Lifetime.” However, it is this sense of humour that makes me listen more to the lyrics and gets me thinking. Then there are some interesting musical effects, especially in the closer “The Overload” and “Houses In Motion” is very effective too. I get the impression that the band had a rather good time in making this album.

Track Listing:

1. Born Under the Punches

2. Crosseyed and Painless

3. The Great Curve

4. Once in a Lifetime

5. Houses in Motion

6. Seen and Not Seen

7. Listening Wind

8. The Overload

Talking Heads

Talking Heads

David Byrne- guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion

Jerry Harrison- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Tina Weymouth- bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Chris Frantz- drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

“Remain in Light” would go on to be considered one of the best albums of 1980, if not the entire decade by many critics. I don’t debate it. This album provided people with something different at a time when there was mainly hard rock and disco. Fortunately the latter was dying a death. “Remain in Light” highlights the abilities of four very talented musicians and even after all these years, I consider it to be way out there and I like that.

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

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 1980: The Pretenders

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

Pretenders_album

What really grinds my gears is when I think back to this year (and the couple of years before) was that whenever any new artist came on the scene with a new sound, it was immediately branded punk. I think that the corporate record execs couldn’t put certain music into nice neat little categories so the “punk” branding was a generic fit for any new sound they weren’t familiar with. This was also said with the premiere album from The Pretenders. While I agree that they were “new wave,” they definitely weren’t punk. If you want to know my definition of punk, stick around for when I visit the first album from The Dead Kennedys, which also came out in 1980.

When I hear the self-titled first album from The Pretenders, I hear several musical influences. First there is definitely some classic rock and roll there and that is evidenced in the very first track on the album, “Precious.” Furthermore, there is a hint of reggae to their sound in many of their songs as well.  This is evidenced in the single that brought them to the forefront of rock music in 1980, “Brass In Pocket.” I never judge an album for one song but it is the song that people will forever identify The Pretenders with. Still there are many great tracks on the album and reflecting back on ancient history, I love the way they use the sound effects of the video game Space Invaders in the song of the same name. It left me feeling a bit nostalgic as Space Invaders was the number one game that year.

Another factor that tuned my ears to this album was the unmistakable vocals of Chrissie Hynde. While most of the male world was still salivating over Debbie Harry, Hynde brought a new vocals style to the world. Her vocals, backed up by a tight band, also make this album as good as it is.

Track Listing:

1. Precious

2. The Phone Call

3. Up the Neck

4. Tattooed Love Boys

5. Space Invader

6. The Wait

7. Stop Your Sobbing

8. Kid

9. Private Life

10. Brass In Pocket

11. Lovers of Today

12. Mystery Achievement

The Pretenders

L The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

James Honeyman Scott- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Pete Farndon- bass, backing vocals

Martin Chambers- drums, backing vocals

Label this album what you may, punk, new wave, etc, no matter, it is still a good album to enjoy. As for me, there are plenty of albums out there more deserving of the term “punk.” I just like this for the feel good factor it provides.

Next post: Paul McCartney II

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 for 50% off at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1979: The Police- Regatta De Blanc

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by 80smetalman

I was first introduced to The Police when a marine buddy suggested I listen to the song “Message in a Bottle” from this album. I won’t go as far as to say I was hooked or converted but I did like the song enough to check out the rest of the album. What I found was a sound that I thought was different at the time and for me it worked. The marines had opened my eyes to many forms of music and although I already knew the musical path I wanted to take, I found myself liking this new sound called reggae, thanks to Bob Marley. Therefore, when the reggae-rock fusion from The Police reached my ears, I liked it.

“Regatta De Blanc” has not one but two number one singles on it, for those who think that’s important. The track “Walking on the Moon” also reached that plateau although I feel it’s not as good as “Message in a Bottle.” What I like about this album is how the tracks seem to alternate between a rock and a reggae sound. There is a definite reggae influence in the two hit singles but a more rockier feel in songs such as “Its All Right For You,” “Contact” and “Ne Time This Time.” With my old man’s head on, I theorize that The Police were still looking for which direction they wanted to go with this album. My belief is this album should have been the direction they eventually went. 

Track Listing:

1. Message in a Bottle

2. Regatta De Blanc

3. Its All Right For You

4. Bring on the Night

5. Deathwish

6. Walking on the Moon

7. On Any Other Day

8. The Bed’s Too Big Without You

9. Contact

10. Does Everyone Stare

11. No Time This Time

The Police

Sting- bass, lead and backing vocals

Andy Summers- guitar, piano

Stewart Copeland- drums, guitar on verses and chorus of “Its All Right for You”, lead vocals on “On Any Other Day”

A few years after this album, in my mind and the minds of many others, The Police would eventually sell out and become another top forty band. However, this album reminds me of another time and it’s these memories that I will always keep. 

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Tusk

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