Archive for Ritchie Blackmore

A New Great Metal Album: Greywind- Afterthoughts

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2017 by 80smetalman

Apologies for all of those who were expecting to be reading my thoughts on the “Fugazi” album from Marillion. Trust me, that will be coming very soon. What has thrown a metal spanner in the works was my getting and listening to the debut album, “Afterthoughts” by Greywind after seeing them dominate the Avalanche Stage on the Saturday and Download. Now, that I’ve had a couple of listens to it, I am even more impressed and now want to spread the word about this band.

Greywind making their mark at Download

At first listen, one might be tempted to compare Greywind to Paramore and there are similarities in the sound beyond the fact that both are fronted by female lead singers. Only similarities though, as I find Greywind to be much more in your face than what Paramore ever was, no disrespect to that band. There is some powerful forces at work on “Afterthoughts” in between some flashes of prog metal. The best example of this is on the tracks “Circle” and “The Lake.” The latter uses a piano in a very seductive way that lures you into a possible mellow out before belting you ear drums with more guitars. However, those aren’t my favourite tracks on the album. The title track is a definite candidate as well as being a great opener for the album. I also like the track “Desolate” for its start like a ballad before ripping your head off power chords and then going back and forth between the two and “Car Spins” is a very interesting track to say indeed.

One thing I learned after purchasing the album was that Greywind are actually a brother and sister act fronted by guitarist Paul O’Sullivan and singer Stephanie O’Sullivan. The rhythm section get a mention in the Special Thanks part on the label as they should. Mark Chapman and Adam Perry make a very good one here. Guitarist Paul is a very good guitarist which is paradoxical for me. I usually like ones who do blistering solos ala Van Halen, Nugent, Blackmore, Iommi, Page etc. I had to stop there before I got carried away naming all the great axemen. He does play some intricate little riffs throughout the songs that don’t escape your attention.

For me though, it’s the dominating voice of Steph that makes this album for me. In comparison to Paramore, Hayley Williams’ vocals don’t even come close! Steph O’Sullivan can do it all. She can sing soft or belt you with her raw power vocal chords. She did that at Download and she does it here on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Afterthoughts
  2. Forest Ablaze
  3. Circle
  4. Safe Haven
  5. The Lake
  6. Car Spin
  7. Stitch On My Wings
  8. Desolate
  9. In Autumn
  10. Wander

Stephanie O’Sullivan giving it her all.

Stephanie O’Sullivan- vocals

Paul O’Sullivan- guitars

Mark Chapman- bass

Adam Perry- drums

The whole point of my writing “Rock and Roll Children” and starting 80sMetalman was to get everyone to get out their old albums and listen to them again. I know a lot of you never stopped listening to them. In this case, I’m hoping that you will give a new band a chance and listen to their debut album because I think it’s worth it.

To buy Rock And Roll Children go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499276423&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Rainbow- Bent Out of Shape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

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“Bent Out of Shape” would be the last album for Rainbow as we knew them. The band would break up after the tour for the album and members would go in different directions but that’s a story for further down the line of metal history. I have heard this album called lackluster and the final nail in Rainbow’s coffin but was it that bad? I’ll be the first to admit that “Bent Out of Shape” doesn’t come up to the level of the previous Rainbow album, “Straight Between the Eyes” but I don’t think it’s a bad album one bit.

With “Bent Out of Shape,” Rainbow go towards a more keyboard dominated sound meaning it’s less hard rock than what Rainbow fans were used to. Back in the 1980s, I could see how metalheads would have found that disappointing as many were distrustful of any band who incorporated keyboards in their sound. However, David Rosenthal had been with the band for several albums and had proven himself to be a more than capable keyboardist. Proof is his efforts on the intro to “Can’t Let You Go,” strictly superb and he does smoke on “Fire Dance.” The added bonus with that song is that Ritchie Blackmore still lets you know that he can still bend the six string to do his bidding. Rainbow has always been good at the keyboard-guitar solo trade off and “Fire Dance” shows that their ability to do so hadn’t gone away. If you want further proof, listen to the two instrumentals on the album. On “Anybody There” the keyboards play a support role for Ritchie to work his guitar magic and “Snowman” is a great piece of instrumental progressive rock!

It might have been that many metalheads were put off by the single, “Street of Dreams,” which got a considerable amount of airplay on MTV before it was supposedly banned for its hypnotic clip. It would later be accused of showing bondage but that again, is for a later post. It is a commercial track without argument but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s played well. “Desperate Heart” is more of a rocker, the second hardest on the album, with “Drinking With the Devil” being the hardest.  So not everything that Rainbow had stood for for nearly a decade went out the window on the album. Besides, the closer, “Make You Move” takes things out on a hard note very well. Overall, I won’t debate that “Bent Out of Shape” is more of a commercial AOR album but I didn’t hate it then and I appreciate more now.

Track Listing:

  1. Stranded
  2. Can’t Let You Go
  3. Fool For the Night
  4. Fire Dance
  5. Anybody There
  6. Desperate Heart
  7. Street of Dreams
  8. Drinking With the Devil
  9. Snowman
  10. Make Your Move
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Chuck Burgi- drums

In spite of whether “Ben Out of Shape” is a good album, Rainbow would disappear after the album. Roger Glover and Ritchie Blackmore would go and rejoin some band they were with back in the early 1970s, you might have heard of them. Not long after, lead singer, Joe Lynn Turner would reappear with his first solo album. One thing that “Bent Out of Shape” proves was that it didn’t end the careers of the talented members who made up Rainbow.

Next Post: Black Sabbath- Born Again

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

 Hence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.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 1981: Rainbow- Difficult to Cure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Before I go into the meat of the post here, I think it’s best that I do a “then and now” brief. Nowadays, many young metalheads like my younger son don’t classify Rainbow as heavy metal and may even point to this very album as proof. There is plenty of evidence within the material on “Difficult To Cure” to back up that argument. However, before anyone gets the branding iron out, I think it’s only fair to mention the state of rock music back in the early 1980s. First of all, most anything that had a heavy guitar in the sound was considered heavy metal by radio stations and music magazines. That’s why Rush’s “Moving Pictures” album was considered heavy metal back then. More important is the fact that heavy metal was still in its youth. While great metal artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and so many others were stamping their mark on heavy metal, there was no definite definition of what heavy metal was and certainly no sub genres in the music. While Rainbow makes very good use of keyboards in their music, very evident on this album, they were certainly considered a heavy metal band back then, especially with a guitarist like Ritchie Blackmore and original vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the line up. With all that said, I’ll rest my case on the fact that I listed them as one of the great metal influences. If you want to trawl the archives, Rainbow was part eight in the series. God, with speeches like that, maybe I should go into politics.

Now to the album, I didn’t know until now that they had recorded an early version of their most successful hit, “I Surrender,” with Graham Bonnet before he left the band because he didn’t like the direction it was taking. Joe Lynn Turner was brought in to sing over the already recorded musical tracks and the result is obvious, “Difficult to Cure” is a very good album. As I have said several times before, I get a little nervous when the opening track to an album is the big single. However, the opening chords on “I Surrender” is attention grabbing and starts things off perfectly. But unlike one hit wonders who use their hit to open their album, the rest of “Difficult to Cure” can stand on its own. “Spotlight Kid” is definitely a good rocking song as is “Can’t Happen Here.” I knew there was something familiar about those two songs when I heard them and so I checked the “Anthology” album and found those two songs were on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. “Magic”starts very progressively but Don Airey plays his keyboards masterfully on the song and Blackmore does his usual magic with the guitar, which superbly makes the song. “Freedom Fighter” is also a noteworthy rock song and the album finishes beautifully with the instrumental title track which was also Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I’ve heard the live version of the song and it’s totally mind blowing but I won’t take anything away from the version on this album. “Difficult to Cure” is a fine outing from Rainbow

Track Listing:

1. I Surrender

2. Spotlight Kid

3. No Release

4. Magic

5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time)

 6. Can’t Happen Here

7. Freedom Fighter

8. Mid Tunnel Vision

9. Difficult to Cure

rainbow-prog1981

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

Don Airey- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

With “Difficult to Cure,” Rainbow proved that keyboards can work in heavy metal. They had an influence all their own on heavy metal in its early days and continue to influence many progressive metal bands today.

Next post: Def Leppard- High and Dry

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

 

 

A Tribute to Blues Based Guitarists

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by 80smetalman

Like I did with the “Who’s the Greatest Rhythm Guitarist?” poll, I have decided to put in an extra thought between the years of my metal history tour. So, since I have finished with 1980 and before heading into 1981, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the great blues based guitarists I have come to know and love over the years. Now, I have always been a sucker for a good long guitar solo played in the mentioned fashion. Even when they were performed by guitarists who may not have been known for such a style. That is probably why my all time favourite Jimi Hendrix song is “Hey Joe,” although the lyrics may have something to do with it as well. Then the other day, I was listening to the Rainbow “Anthology” album and I must say that I was relatively blown away by Ritchie Blackmore on the final song, “Difficult to Cure.” 

 

Jimi Hendrix

      Jimi Hendrix

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One guitarist who many have considered one of the all time greats was old slow hand himself Eric Clapton. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in 1985 and despite the fact that the record company was trying to get him to go new wave, that night he played many of his classic guitar jams. In fact, I thought it was an act of sacrilege when the other guitarist in his band played a solo on “Cocaine.” Still, Eric showed why he is one of the all time greats.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

 

 

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

 

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

 

Robin Trower

Robin Trower

True most the guitarists I have featured here were from the years I have been visiting here on 80smetalman’s Blog but these were the ones who I have first come to know and appreciate. By the late 1980s, there were some who claimed that the blues guitarist was buried dead in the past. I can see their argument as so many great metal lead guitarists were stepping into the limelight. The blues guitarist may have been pushed to the side but they weren’t totally gone and then in the mid 90s, a new guitarist would take his place in the spotlight. His name was Kenny Wayne Shepherd. His album “Trouble Is” took me back to those days of listening and playing along to long bluesy guitar solos and the world was balanced once again.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

 

I could go on naming more great guitarist from this style, Jimmy Page was known to lay down a killer blues riff or two and right now Mark Knopfler’s efforts on “Sultans of Swing” comes to mind. For me, these were the pioneers of great guitarists. I loved their style and still do. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to a good ripping solo from one of today’s metal giants. It’s just I like to reflect back on some of the blues guitarist that first got me into rock and then metal. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride too.

 

Next post: 1981- The Dam Continues to Break

 

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

Posted in 1979, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 14, 2013 by 80smetalman

If it wasn’t for mikeldadano bringing this album to light, I would have left it out of my tour of the great rock albums of 1979. Full marks to him.

mikeladano.com

SAM_1921

RAINBOW – Down To Earth (1979, 2011 Universal deluxe edition)

I was a little surprised (in a good way) that Down To Earth by Rainbow was given the deluxe treatment.  I really only expected the Dio albums to be re-released in such grand fashion, but here we are with the sole Graham Bonnet offering.  (To date, the debut album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow has yet to be issued in deluxe form.)

The brand new liner notes reveal that Cozy Powell was not happy with the commercialization of Rainbow’s sound, and that’s why he quit the band. Indeed, Down To Earth sounds like a very different band from that who recorded Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll. (And in fact only Cozy and Ritchie Blackmore remain from that album.)

Having said that, Down To Earth is a damn near perfect confection of Blackmore’s sublime riffing and commercial rock. Yes, many of these songs…

View original post 580 more words

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1978: Deep Purple- When We Rock We Rock and When We Roll We Roll

Posted in 1978, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by 80smetalman

Before this album came into my life, my only experience with Deep Purple was the famous “Smoke on the Water.” This album changed all that, it showed me that Deep Purple were more than just one hit wonders. In fact this album showed me what a great band they were and now in my old age, (I’m 51 on Thursday) I can fully appreciate their role as one of the founding fathers of metal. For those who have been following a long time now, you may have noticed that the past few posts have been album put out by some of the great metal influences, The Sweet and Rainbow. It could be argued here, that The Who could be included among them as well. Therefore, I thought I would continue on this vien with one of the founding fathers.

There is little more one can say about this album, as it was the first of many greatest hits albums for Deep Purple. The album contains songs from the first three DP line ups, so there is a good variety here on it, including a live performance of “Highway Star” at the very end, which is the song they opened with when I saw them in 1985. I do give an account of the concert in Rock And Roll Children.

While the whole album for me totally kicks ass, the tracks I really like, if you put a gun to my head and make me say them, are the two I’ve already mentioned, plus “Burn” and “Woman From Tokyo” which is the one I put on my alternative compilation CD. I really can’t say anymore.

Track Listing:

1. Space Truckin’

2. Kentucky Woman

3. Hard Road (Wring That Neck)

4. Burn

5. Woman From Tokyo

6. Hush

7. Smoke on the Water

8. Highway Star

Deep Purple

Ritchie Blackmore- guitars

Ian Gillian- vocals

Roger Glover- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Ian Paice- drums

David Coverdale- vocals

Nick Simper- bass

Rod Evans- vocals

Glen Hughes- bass

During the Deep Purple concert in “Rock And Roll Children,” the band has left the stage for the second time leaving the main characters wondering if they will return. The Mitch character answers their question when he says, “They’ll be back, they haven’t played “Smoke on the Water” yet.” Yes, that is the song Deep Purple is most famous for and I have heard many versions of it. But it’s the version on this album I like the best.

Next post: Black Sabbath- Never Say Die

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

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