Archive for Rory Gallagher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Stevie Ray Vaughan

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

Tommy Shannon- bass

Chris Layton- drums

Reese Wynans- keyboards

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

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

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Double Trouble Live

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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America’s Best Kept Secret: Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

As most of you already know, I’ve come to America these past two weeks for not the happiest of reasons. However, in between my mother’s memorial service, the scattering of her ashes into the ocean and my getting stuck into cleaning her house, (she was a heavy smoker), there have been other more happier events like the wine tasting day my sister and her husband took me to. I also got to hook up with my old friend and true metal fan, Frank Formica, at a karaoke night. He even sang “Battle Hyms” by Manowar for me. So, it hasn’t been all gloom for me while I’ve been here, something I’ve been really grateful for.

Having some wine

On one of these more happier occasions, while at my sister and her husband’s house, they told me about this new lady blues guitarist whom they happened to see at some fair in New Jersey not long ago. The guitarists’ name was Hannah Wicklund and my brother in law, Mark Pickeral, who is a pretty good guitarist himself, was so blown away by this lady that he bought two of her albums. I believe this self titled one is her fourth album. But before I get into what a great album “Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones” is, I have to say that when they showed me concert footage of Hannah, I was just as blown away. The album is excellent, it’s going to move into my top 15 for sure, but she is even more kick ass live. I hope that one day I have the opportunity of seeing her do so.

Hannah Wicklund has been called a combination of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I can see the comparison here because she has the power vocals of Janis and she can play guitar like Jimi. When I listen to her blues based guitar rock, I am reminded of other greats in this genre like Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even  Eric Clapton. Her guitar playing can hold its own with any of these mentioned but none of them come close to her in her vocal ability. My God, can she sing! What we have here is a great singer who can shred brilliantly. For me, what’s not there to like?

The hardest thing I find to do when listening to “Hannah Wicklund & the Steppin Stones” is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have chosen, another comes along and vies for the title. This is down to the fact that there are ten great songs on the album. Her vocals come through straight away on the opener, “Bomb Through the Breeze” and her sheer power is stamped on “Ghost.” Then she changes up on “Looking Glass.” My vote, possibly, for best guitar solo comes on “On the Road.” Then just when you think you got her pegged, she surprises you with a near ballad like closer, “Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces.” But on every song, Hannah’s vocal and guitar skills shine through.

Track Listing:

  1. Bomb Through the Breeze
  2. Ghost
  3. Looking Glass
  4. Mama Said
  5. On the Road
  6. Crushin
  7. Strawberry Moon
  8. Too Close to You
  9. Meet You Again
  10. Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah Wicklund- lead vocals, guitar

I can’t find his name anywhere- bass

Luke Mitchell- drums

Note: Luke is also Hannah’s brother who fronts his own band, The High Divers.

One song wasn’t enough to do Hannah justice here so that’s why you are getting three. Hopefully, you will find as I do that Hannah Wicklund kicks ass and she is destined for great things.

Next post, I’ll decided that when I get back to the UK next week.

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Dura Silex Should Be Signed

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by 80smetalman

Not long ago, I obtained possession of a demo CD from a band named Dura Silex. Before, I go on any further, I’d like to just say that I was hoping for a group photo from the band but since I haven’t received one, I thought I would post about them anyway. The reason is that after my first listen to their demo CD, I was so blown away that I promised myself that I would do a post listing my reasons why they should have a record deal in the same way I felt that Black Emerald should have had one when I saw them at Bloodstock last year.

Black Emerald

Black Emerald

First a little background: Dura Silex, which is Latin for hard rock, come from Southern New Jersey and at the moment comprise just two members, guitarist Mark Pickeral and lead singer Marie Christina. If her name sounds vaguely familiar, that is because she attended Rock and Roll Fantasy camp and got to perform along side the likes of Howard Leese (Heart), Kip Winger (Winger) and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake). The demo was recorded at Mark Pickeral’s home studio and he programs the bass and drums for it.

Now if you were counting on Dura Silex and Black Emerald together on a joint tour, it probably wouldn’t work. While Black Emerald are more your straight forward metal band and they’re very good at it, Dura Silex has a sound that favours a hard blues rock sort of vibe. First, since I have already mentioned her, let’s start with the vocals of Marie Christina. Her opera background comes through with the very first track and it is beautiful to hear. It is so good and unique that it’s hard to compare her to any other vocalist, though that’s not a bad thing. The closest I would say is Liv Christine of Leave’s Eyes. Christina’s operatic voice really shines through the most on the second track, “Ego Maniac.” However, the opera training does not compromise her power to go total rock and roll. The result is one part that makes Dura Silex, great vocals.

Liv Christine and Leaves Eyes

Liv Christine and Leaves Eyes

Now onto guitarist Mark Pickeral. I have to confess here, I may appear a little biased here because Mark is my brother in law but related or not, he definitely knows how to bend a six string. I have heard previous offerings from him in the past but on this demo he really goes to town. It is his playing that has led me to conclude that Dura Silex play a hard blues rock sound. His efforts remind me of Pat Travers or Rory Gallagher but at the same time, his playing style is unique. The end result is the combined playing style of Mark and the vocals of Marie make a great team. You only have to listen to the demo to be converted.

Rory Gallagher

  Rory Gallagher

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

 Track Listing:

1. Louder Than Lies

2. Ego Maniac

3. Thief of Hearts

4. For the Love

5. Roaming

6. Walk Through Fire

7. Through to You

8. Last Laugh

9. Waiting

10. Dream Walker

11. Down on My Luck

While it has been said that these aren’t the best tracks Dura Silex have laid down, (they’re saving their best for a more professional demo) the ones here would make up an album that would make any artist proud. “Louder Than Lies” is a great opener and “Down on My Luck” is a fantastic closer. In between, there are nine songs that really rock. The ones which really stick out for me are “Thief of Hearts,” “Through to You,” “Last Laugh” and “Waiting.” If these tracks should appear on line and I will let you know if it does, then have a listen to them. You should be in agreement with me that any record label who passes on them is just plain stupid.

Next post: American Pop, Soundtrack

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: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by 80smetalman

Stagestruck

I must confess that I’m cheating a little bit here. I never heard of Rory Gallagher until 1982 when the ship I was on played a concert video of him live at Montreux. Even then, the video didn’t name the brilliant guitarist who was kicking so much ass in the video. It was another four months before I finally learned his name. Because I saw the video so early in that year, I naturally assumed that the concert took place in 1981 and it was in support of an album he released in the year. However, I learned that “Stage Struck” was actually released in the tail end of 1980. Therefore, to quote from “Full Metal Jacket:” “That’s why God passed the law of probability.” I can infer that because I was still serving on a ship at the time, I wouldn’t have known about this album until early 1981 and that is why I am including it in this year.

I can’t say that any of the songs from this album were recorded from the concert I watched. There is a “Live At Montreux” that was released in the later years but that’s irrelevant here. Because “Stage Struck” is a brilliant live album that showcases the music and talent of this wonder. The majority of the songs on it are from his last two studio albums, “Top Priority” (I’m kicking myself for not visiting that one in 1979) and “Photo Finish,” which I did. It’s no wonder this album is so good.

He opens the show with a song that if he was still alive and could play at my dream festival, it would be in his contract that he opens his set with “Shin Kicker.” It is also the opener for the “Photo Finish” album and there is no better song in which to open a concert or show. It’s one of those that grabs you by the balls and makes you give it your undivided attention. Nor do you get time to rest before the second one, “Wayward Child” takes over and you’re rocking away to it. Right after that, there is probably my all time favourite Rory Gallagher song, “Brute Force and Ignorance.” A great blues/rock gem that features some great guitar work. But the guitar display doesn’t end there. The next three tracks are all big blues rockers with him soloing away to the point that you are left feeling breathless. The last two songs, “Last of the Independents” and “Shadow Play” are great songs from the “Photo Finish” album that take the album to the climax. I can’t say conclusion because if I was at the concert and it ended here, I would have my lit cigarette lighter and held it aloft screaming for more.

Track Listing:

1. Shin Kicker

2. Wayward Child

3. Brute Force and Ignorance

4. Moonchild

5. Follow Me

6. Bought and Sold

7. Last of the Independents

8. Shadow Play

Rory Gallagher

          Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher- vocals, guitar, harmonica

Gerry McAvoy- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

I believe that Rory Gallagher never quite got the total recognition he should have. I know many Americans who have never heard of him and that’s a shame. Rory was a great guitarist and a decent singer. One concert video from more than thirty years ago, still remains strong in my memory and the albums I have posted here also bear witness to his greatness.

Next post: Laina Dawes book- “What Are You Doing Here?” My thoughts

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

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Pat Travers- Live! Go For What You Know

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

Raise your hand if there has been a musical artist you like who you hadn’t t listened to in many years where when you finally do get around listening to them again, you remember how much you really liked them. I put up my hand to Pat Travers. He was another musical great who never made it onto being played on the old AM clock radio. I first heard about him when I saw this album advertised in a music catalog. Back in the late seventies, they use to have these record clubs where you get an initial offer of buying six albums for a penny to join but you had to buy so many albums in two years. It was such a catalog where I discovered Pat Travers.

Once again, it was my military experiences of widening my musical horizons where I finally got to listen to this great artist and it was this live album. “Live! Go For What You Know” was the perfect album to showcase all of his great songs and guitar talents. The most noted song from this album is “Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights” which many of the bands playing to bars and clubs in North Carolina seemed to play. I also really like “Hooked on Music,” “Go All Night” and “Heat in the Street” but all of the songs here are some powerful, blues based, kick ass rock and roll.

Often have I mentioned the ever growing list of underrated guitarists from the seventies and recently, I have consciously been more picky about who I add to the list. However, Pat Travers is one guitarist who definitely belongs on the list. I might even go as far as to equate him with the likes of some I’ve already mentioned like Gary Richrath, Craig Chaquico and Rory Gallagher, ok I can’t leave out Brian May. Travers can definitely bend the six string to his will and a listen to this great live album will confirm it.

Track Listing:

1. Hooked on Music

2. Gettin’ Betta

3. Go All Night

4. Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights

5. Stevie

6. Makin’ Magic

7. Heat in the Streets

8. Makes No Difference

Pat Travers

Pat Travers- guitar, vocals

Mars Cowling- bass

Pat Thrall- guitar, backing vocals

Tommy Aldridge- drums

The moral of the story here is don’t go a long time without listening to someone you know is good. I made that mistake here with Pat Travers and my excuse of not owning any of his material doesn’t cut it. So, I’m going to have to go out and buy this fantastic live album. Praise the Lord for Amazon! I think you should give it a listen too, I guarantee you won’t regret it. I am wondering and my buddy Stone started my mind rolling on this one, if Pat Travers is yet another great artist the numpties at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have ignored.

Next post: Olivia Newton John- Totally Hot

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, 1978: Rory Gallagher- Photo Finish

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by 80smetalman

It was 1982 when I first discovered Rory Gallagher and then it was several months later before I learned his name.  The encounter happened when I was on sea duty in the marines. The ship’ s onboard tv station would show anything that came to hand, the many reruns of  the then popular sitcom “Alice” laid proof to that. One evening, when expecting the same, I saw a three piece band on the television, with most of the camera focused on the guitarist/singer. I didn’t know who they were and there was much speculation among my fellow marines, but what we all agreed was, these guys could jam. The guitarist especially was “bitchin’.”

A few months later, the mystery as to who had rocked us out was finally solved. While on liberty in Barcelona, Spain, we were in a bar that decorated its walls with album covers. I could amaze you with some of the great albums that were stuck on them, but I won’t. However, in amongst those albums was the “Photo Finish” album by Rory Gallagher. Fortunately, we weren’t drunk enough yet so we could all look and agree that the person on the front cover of the album was that guitar ace who had dazzled us a few months earlier. Unfortunately, I waited a month to when I went home on leave to purchase this album and being Sound Odyssey in South Jersey, they had no clue what I meant and said they couldn’t get it. (Probably weren’t bothered.) But there is a happy ending. Four years later, I came to the UK and saw that this album was still readily available. Needless to say, I purchased it there and then and haven’t regretted it since.

Not only should Rory Gallagher have been included in my “Great Guitarists of the 70s” post many months ago, he also is number one on my list of “Great acts who never made it in America.” Many Americans, although I am bracing myself for replies to the contrary, haven’t heard of Rory Gallagher and know what a great musician he was. I say “was” because his death in 1995 robbed the world of yet another great musician.

“Photo Finish” is proof in the pudding of what a great guitarist Rory Gallagher was. Each of the tracks on this album displays a unique riff coming from his talented hand and every track on it shines in its own way. Unlike a lot of albums, I can subvocalise most of the songs and am right now playing them in my head. Obviously some stand out more than others. My favourites are “Shin Kicker,” “Brute Force and Ignorance,” “The Mississippi Sheiks,” “Cloak and Dagger” and “Shadow Play.”

Track Listing:

1. Shin Kicker

2. Brute Force and Ignorance

3. Cruise on Out

4. Cloak and Dagger

5. Overnight Bag

6. Shadow Play

7. The Mississippi Sheiks

8. Last of the Independents

9. Fuel to the Fire

10. Early Warning

11. Juke Box Annie

 

Rory Gallagher- guitar/vocals

Gerry McAvoy- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

For a classic blues based album, this is one of the best. It shows that Rory Gallagher deserves his place along with the greatest guitarists. For metal heads, there are some great rocking moments on it as well, another reason why it appeals to so many. “Photo Finish” is definitely, for many Americans anyway, a great undiscovered gem.

Next post: Patty Smith- Easter

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

 p.s. I have just learned from a friend that when Jimi Hendrix was asked in an interview at Woodstock what it was like to be the world’s greatest guitarist, he responded with “I don’t know, ask Rory Gallagher.”