Archive for soft rock

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Van Morrison- A Sense of Wonder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2018 by 80smetalman

Here’s another example of how I was so focused on heavy metal in early 1985 that I didn’t fully appreciate a good non-metal album. I have to admit, back then I didn’t have much experience of the legend that is Van Morrison. My most memorable experience of him was his performance in the film, “The Last Waltz” where he sang with The Band. Other than that, what I knew of him was virtually zero.

While by 1985, I had become totally fed up with commercial radio, I have to thank it for this one. The single from the 1985 album, “A Sense of Wonder,” “Tore Down a la Rimbaud” got a considerable amount of airplay in the early part of the year. It was only after a few listens that I got past my “it’s not metal” mentality and realized that “Hey, this song is pretty good.” However, for some reason, I never bought the album, which was a bit of a shame because I missed out on a good one.

Wikapedia puts Van’s “A Sense of Wonder” album in the category of Celtic Soul. Well the man is from Northern Ireland and he does put his soul into the album so it’s hard to disagree with that label. Back then, I would have put it into either or both of the categories of soft rock or mellow out rock. It covers both. While the deafening power chords I was so into in 1985 and still am today are absent, one can’t fault the quality of the musicianship on it. Here’s another myth I believed about Van which this album has obliterated. I thought that he only sang because that’s what he did in “The Last Waltz.” But he plays guitar and piano and rather well judging from the instrumentals “Evening Meditation” and “Boffyflow and Spike,” the latter sounding like true Irish folk music.

While the single remains my favourite song on the album, the rest of the album keeps up as well. In my opinion, “Ancient of Days” could have been released as a single too because it’s almost as good. After the first mentioned instrumental, he goes very almost gospel soul softer though I think the title track goes on a bit too long for me. The second instrumental does pick things up a pace after and “If You Only Knew” keeps that pace going with “A New Kind of Man” closing the album out with a good feeling.

Track Listing:

  1. Tore Down a la Rimbaud
  2. Ancient of Days
  3. Evening Meditation
  4. The Master’s Eyes
  5. What Would I Do
  6. A Sense of Wonder
  7. Boffyflow and Spike
  8. If You Only Knew
  9. Let the Slave (Incorporating the Price of Experience)
  10. A New Kind of Man

Van Morrison

Van Morrison- vocals, guitar and piano

John Allair- organ

Bob Doll- trumpet

Tom Donlinger- drums

Pee Wee Ellis- tenor saxophone

David Hayes- bass

Chris Michie- guitar

Pauline Lazano- backing vocals

Bianca Thornton- backing vocals

The group Moving Hearts performs on tracks 6 and 7

I’m now a believer. Again, it could be me mellowing a tiny bit with age but I now appreciate how good the “A Sense of Wonder” album from Van Morrison really is. Perhaps I should delve into his discography a little more.

Next post: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/free-downloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Don Henley- Building the Perfect Beast

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2018 by 80smetalman

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I was not as musically open minded as I thought I was in the early part of 1985. While I make no justification for this, I do think the reason might have been that I was in longing after the wave of heavy metal that was played on commercial radio throughout 1984 became non existent in the early part of the following year. That was probably why I poo-pooed the “Building the Perfect Beast” album from Don Henley. Being honest, I was in Eagles mode (even though they had split up five years earlier) with not just Don but all former members of this iconic band. I expected all of their solo material to resemble the classic “Hotel California” and the singles from this album didn’t do that. So, I ignored it until a friend lent it to me and I had a listen. Then I realized what I fool I had been.

Sure, the big single “The Boys of Summer” doesn’t sound like “Hotel California” but the musicianship on the song is simply fabulous. There is some great guitar work from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Don’s voice is clean on this and all of the tracks. I have really come to like this track in my later years.

Upon further reflection back to 1985, I think that I put music into categories of heavy metal and synth pop. “Building the Perfect Beast” not being metal, I put it into the other category. Again I say “Fool!” at least to myself anyway. There is absolutely nothing synth pop about this album. If anything, there are tracks that take me back to The Eagles more country rock sound from the early 1970s. Tracks that bear evidence to this are the fast paced “Man With a Mission” and my vote for hidden gem, “You’re Not Drinking Enough.” For some reason, that track reminds me of the Eagles’ classic, “Take Me to the Limit.” But it does say “Early Eagles” all through the song. Thinking back to early 85, at the time I was dating a woman who had a drinking problem and now I’m linking this song with that. “Not Enough Love in the World” is another example of what I am trying to talk about. In fact this track would have fitted perfectly on the Eagles’ “Long Road From Eden” album.

One reason for why this album sounds as good as it does is that Don got a load of well known singers and musicians to guest on it. While you know it is definitely Don Henley on every track, these guests, have a look below to see who, add to the quality of the album for sure.

Track Listing:

  1. The Boys of Summer
  2. You Can’t Make Love
  3. Man With a Mission
  4. You’re Not Drinking Enough
  5. Not Enough Love in the World
  6. Building the Perfect Beast
  7. All She Wants to Do is Dance
  8. A Month of Sundays
  9. Sunset Grill
  10. Drivin’ With Your Eyes Closed
  11. Land of the Living

Don Henley

Don Henley- lead vocals, percussion (tracks 5,6,9), drums (tracks 2-4,7), keyboards (track 6)

Danny ‘Kootch’ Kortchmar- guitars, organ (4), synthesizers (tracks 1,3,6), percussion (tracks 6,9,10), keyboards (9), synthesizer guitar and horn solos (8), ormichard (4), horns (3)

Additional Musicians

Mike Campbell- guitar, synthesizer track 1

Lyndsey Buckingham- guitar, backing vocals track 2

Charlie Sexton- guitar track 3

Tim Drummond- bass (tracks 4&5)

Pino Pallindino- bass (tracks 2,9,10)

Larry Klein- bass track 1

Jim Keltner- drums track 8

Ian Wallace- drums track 5

Kevin McCormick- African drums track 6

Randy Newman- synthesizer track 8

David Paich- synthesizer (track 7) piano (track 4 & 8)

Steve Porcaro- synthesizer (track 1 &4)

Benmont Tench- synthesizer (track 8), keyboards (track 2&5)

Albhy Galuten- synthesizer, Synclavier track 6

Michael Boddicker- synthesizer track 8

Bill Cuomo- synthesizer, percussion track 10

Backing Vocals:

Belinda Carlisle- track 3

Michael O’Donahue, Waddy Watchel, JD Souther, Carla Olson- track 6

Patty Smyth- track 6, 8-10

Martha Davis- tracks 6&7

Marie Pascale Elfman, Dominique Manicelli- track 9

Sam Moore- track 4

Brian Dear, I owe you a thanks for giving me this classic Don Henley album to listen to. Otherwise, I would have been enslaved to my ignorance that “Building the Perfect Beast” was another 80s synth pop album. It is clearly not and full marks to Don for it.

Next post: The Wrestling Album

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: John Fogerty- Centerfield

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2018 by 80smetalman

In March of 1985, I almost won a free copy of “Centerfield,” from former CCR lead singer and guitarist John Fogerty. The local radio station was giving away a free copy of the album to the second caller. I immediately rang the station and got through, unfortunately I was the first caller, damn! As a result, I had to cough up the money and buy the album but after hearing it, the expense was well worth it.

One big question on many people’s minds was how much would the album sound like Credence Clearwater Revival? The answer is rather complex. There is definitely the CCR influence on several of the songs, “Big Train (From Memphis) is a prime example. It reminds me of many of the songs on CCR’s album “Willy and the Poor Boys.” “I Saw it On TV” is another good example of the CCR influence. But and this is a big but, the lyrics of the song are about modern times and how we are supposed to take everything we see on television as the blind truth. I like to think it’s a dig at 80s Regan America, which is something I tried to do when writing “Rock and Roll Children.”

On the flip side, there are songs which I believe John put his own stamp on free from the influence of his former band, for the most part anyway. Two of those were released as singles, “Rock and Roll Girl” and my favourite track on the album which is also the title track. I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, though I do play softball, the lyrics still move me and make me want to put take the bat and ball out and hit a few. Another I guess you could call a Fogerty Special, is “Mr Greed,” where he shows he can play lead guitar a little.

Of all the songs which are or not CCR influences, the one that incorporates both very well is the album opener and first single, “The Old Man Down the Road.” This is probably why it did so well in the charts. It reminds us old CCR fans that he hasn’t gone too far away from his roots but offers something new to the then younger crowd who might have branded John as some sort of ageing hippy. After all, Ronald Regan’s greatest success as president in the 1980s was to demonize the 1960s. Sorry, I digress but what John did was take what he had done before and mix it with something new and make a good soft rock album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Old Man Down the Road
  2. Rock And Roll Girl
  3. Big Train (From Memphis)
  4. I Saw It On TV
  5. Mr Greed
  6. Searchlight
  7. Centerfield
  8. I Can’t Help Myself
  9. Zanz Kant Danz

John Fogerty

John Fogerty- lead vocals, lead guitar

Rockin’ Sydney Simien- accordion

Willy T- saxophone

Kip Basque- rhythm guitar

Mark Miller- bass

Warren Storm- drums

John Fogerty established himself as a true solo artist in 1985 with his album “Centerfield.” What he did was take the country rock sound of his former band and threw in some tricks of his own. The combination made a great album.

Next post: Giuffria

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: http://allkindlecloud.com/register/14510967-Rock-and-Roll-Children_pdf_free.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Glenn Frey- The Allnighter

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2018 by 80smetalman

When I begin a new year of my trip through the golden decade of heavy metal, I always start with albums that were made in the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the said year. Because there were so many great albums in 1984, I didn’t get around to listening to a good number until 1985. One of these was “The Allnighter” from the late former Eagles guitarist/singer, Glenn Frey.

Reflecting back to early 1985, I used to wonder if I was a little unfair to both Glenn and one of his former bandmates who also released a solo album in this year. First, I was very much into all things metal and “The Allnighter” is definitely not metal. Furthermore, I was very much into the last two Eagles albums, “Hotel California” and “The Long Run” which did feature some harder rock than their early 1970s albums.

Glenn goes further away from his Eagles roots with this album as it’s a more mellower and somewhat bluesier sound. There are some ballads on here like “Let’s Go Home” and “Lover’s Moon.” Glenn’s voice has always been suited to these but it is also versatile enough for the faster songs. “Sexy Girl” is kind of in the middle here and he does sing it well. I recently heard a live version of it and it sounds better than the commercial version. However, the best song and one that I’ve come to appreciate far more in my aging years is “Smuggler’s Blues.” This song is proof that Frey can sing harder stuff, not that I had any doubt he couldn’t. What has really impressed me about it is the musicianship. Like his previous album, Glenn uses a ton of musicians on it, so I don’t know who does the guitar solos on the song but they are ace. Full marks to whoever played them. The song did feature on the mid 1980s TV show “Miami Vice.”

Track Listing:

  1. The Allnighter
  2. Sexy Girl
  3. I Got Love
  4. Somebody Else
  5. Lover’s Moon
  6. Smuggler’s Blues
  7. Let’s Go Home
  8. Better in the USA
  9. Living In Darkness
  10. New Love

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey- lead vocals, guitar, bass, drums, piano, synthesizer

Josh Leo, Duncan Cameron- guitar

John ‘JR’ Robinson, Michael Huey, Larry Londin- drums

David Hood, Bryan Garofalo- bass

Greg Smith, Willie Bergman, Al Garth- saxophone

Vince Melamed, Allen Blazek, Barry Beckett- piano

Barry Beckett, David ‘Hawk’ Wollinski- synthesizer

Nick DeCaro- strings

Steve Foreman- percussion

Victor Feldman, Jack Tempchin, Oren Waters, Jack Galloway, Luke Waters- backing vocals

I might have mellowed a bit with age and while I like some of what’s on “The Allnighter,” it really isn’t my cup of tea. There are some good songs on it and it’s a great album to mellow out to or provide suitable background settings but I won’t put away my metal albums in favour of it.

Next post: I know I said at the beginning of the post that I’ll be starting with albums that came out originally in 1984 but I have to make an exception. Download is this weekend and I need the correct inspiration.

Kreator- Endless Pain

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

 

 

 

 

 

,

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Chicago- 17

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’d like to thank Rich for this one. If he hadn’t posted about Chicago’s 11th album from 1977, I would not have remember that the band had a really good album in 1984. Thank you Rich for jogging my memory here. Once my memory got into full swing, I remember that there was a song on this album I really liked. That was the opening track, “Stay the Night,” which I remember most because of the very amusing video got played quite a bit on MTV during the summer.

Reflections from my old age, I now realize that Chicago deserves more credit for “17” than what they actually received. There were two camps in 1984. Most bands were either going down the synth pop road or heading in a more harder direction. Chicago didn’t go down either road. Instead, they stuck with the same formula that made them so successful throughout the 1970s. Their fusion of soft rock and jazz influences work just as well on this album as they had on all of their previous ones. That is precisely why Chicago was my ‘not guilty pleasure’ in the mid 1980s.

Proof of what I’m talking about can be traced to the success of “17.” There were four singles, including my favourite track mentioned above, the best known of these was the ballad, “Hard Habit to Break.” Sure, it’s no where near a heavy metal power ballad but it’s a good song anyway. Just as successful was the track “You’re My Inspiration” which did just as well in the singles charts as “Hard Habit to Break.” The fourth single is probably the hardest rock song on the album, “Along Comes a Woman.” Guitarists Bill Champlin and Chris Pinnick deliver on the guitar on the track and the other instruments do well in support. It has a definite catchy vibe and that makes it my second favourite track. Of course, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t any non single songs on the album to like. “We Can Stop the Hurting” takes the prize here as it is a definite reminder that Chicago were not about to compromise with their sound. “Remember the Feeling” does come closer to being a power ballad as there is some hard guitar in the background and a fairly decent solo on it. With some really great tracks to close, this album was just like anything you found on any Chicago album throughout the band’s history.

Track listing:

  1. Stay the Night
  2. We Can Stop the Hurtin’
  3. Hard Habit to Break
  4. Only You
  5. Remember the Feeling
  6. Along Comes a Woman
  7. You’re My Inspiration
  8. Please Hold On
  9. Prima Donna
  10. Once in a Lifetime

Chicago

Peter Cetera- bass, lead and backing vocals

Bill Champlin- guitars, keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Robert Lamm- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Lee Loughnane- trumpet

James Pankow- trombone, horn arrangements

Walter Perazaider- woodwinds

Chris Pinick- guitar

Danny Seraphine- drums

The reason why I considered Chicago to be my not guilty pleasure from the 1980s was down to the fact that by then, I was a total metalhead. Chicago are definitely not metal but I’ve always liked their softer version of rock, especially in the 70s. So there was no reason why I shouldn’t have carry it over into the next decade.

Next post: Roger Hodgson- In the Eye of the Storm

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507309311&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Forget Toy Story, forget his controversial 1977 hit, “Short People,” my favourite Randy Newman song has always been “I Love LA,” which is the opening track on his album “Trouble in Paradise.” Released in 1983, this album didn’t come to my attention til the following year, courtesy of MTV, which is why I’m posting it here.

Alert, “Trouble in Paradise” is not an album for hardcore metalheads. Randy has always been a piano player and a very good one to say the least. His chops can be heard all throughout the album. However, there is one guitar solo on it. It appears on the track, “The Blues,” and is played by Steve Lukather of Toto fame. An additional bonus to this song is that he duets with Paul Simon on it and both do a fine job.

Many of Randy Newman’s songs have an air of humour about them. With this album, “Same Girl” and “My Life is Good” are good, funny tracks and I have always been tickled by some of the lyrics in “Miami.” “Miami, Blue day, best dope in the world and it’s free.” However, he has a serious side. To my knowledge, the track “Christmas in Capetown” was the first song to talk about the Apartheid in South Africa. He deserves full kudos for that. “Real Emotional Girl” is more of a serious ballad as well.

Many guest artists appear on “Trouble in Paradise” including the two who appear on the track, “The Blues.” Of all the tracks, I do love the backing  vocals from Jennifer Warnes, Wendy Waldman and Linda Ronstadt on “I’m Different.” For me, while Randy is his normal self on the song, it’s the backing vocals from these three ladies who really make this song shine for me. Definitely the second best track on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. I Love LA
  2. Christmas in Capetown
  3. The Blues
  4. Same Girl
  5. Mikey’s
  6. My Life is Good
  7. Miami
  8. Real Emotional Girl
  9. Take Me Back
  10. There’s a Party at My House
  11. I’m Different
  12. Song for the Dead

Randy Newman

Randy Newman- vocals, piano

Steve Lukather- guitar

Jennifer Warnes- vocals

Don Henley- vocals

Larry Williams- horns

Steve Madalo- horns

Jon Smith- horns

Ralph Grierson- piano

Neil Larson- piano

David Paich- keyboards

Michael Boddicker- keyboards

Nathan East- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Larry Castro- percussion

Paulinho Da Costa- percussion

Christine McVie- backing vocals

Wendy Waldman- backing vocals

Lindsey Buckingham- backing vocals

Bob Seger- backing vocals

Linda Rondstadt- backing vocals

Rickie Lee Jones- backing vocals

Paul Simon- vocals on “The Blues”

Waddy Watchell- guitar

I won’t say that “Trouble in Paradise” is a great album to mellow out to but it does have its moments there. While Randy Newman is not as zany as Weird Al Yankovic, there is a good deal of humour if you listen for it. It’s a good album just to sit back and enjoy.

Next post; The Cars- Heartbeat City

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 1983: Jackson Browne- Lawyers in Love

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Jackson_Browne_-_Lawyers_in_Love

Proof of my Swiss cheese memory. I remember the album from Jackson Browne, “Lawyers in Love” quite well in 1983. However, it took me listening to this album after so many years to realize that during my tour of 1980, I missed out his then album, “Hold Out.” Thing is, I liked that album too and fondly remember the song “Disco Apocalypse” because it was talking about the death of disco, or at least that’s what I thought. Maybe it was just the fact that none of the songs on the mentioned album stuck out like the title track on “Lawyers in Love” did for me in 1983. It was the lyrics in the second verse that have lingered in the back of my mind for over thirty years.

“God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful
They land at six o’clock and there we are, the dutiful
Eating from TV trays, tuned into to Happy Days
Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves
To the mating calls of lawyers in love”

“Lawyers in Love” is more of a light rock sound. It doesn’t veer too far away from his best known single and my personal favourite, “Running on Empty.” While none of the songs reach the level of “Running on Empty,” there are still some good songs on it. “Tender is the Night” may give the impression that’s it going to be some sort of ballad, but the song does have a great hook with the guitar. It’s one of those songs you want to sing along to while you’re driving in the car or carrying out some mundane activity. It makes such tasks less so mundane. “Downtown” is a pretty cool song too. I have to say that while none of the songs are ones to bang your head to, there was enough of a rock hook to reel me in on just about all of them. The best rocker is probably the closer, “For a Rocker.”

Another thing which turned my ear more to Jackson Browne was he was getting more political with his music in the 1980s. In 1983, on account of my experiences in the marines and when I came out, I was getting more politically aware and paying more attention to such songs. “Say It Isn’t True” is probably the best example of this. While Jackson was called naive by some for this anti- war song, it made a statement. It didn’t make me go out and attend no nukes rallies but it made me think, as did the title track. But that’s just me.

Track Listing:

  1. Lawyers in Love
  2. On the Day
  3. Cut it Away
  4. Downtown
  5. Tender is the Night
  6. Knock on Any Door
  7. Say It Isn’t True
  8. For a Rocker
Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne- lead vocals, guitar

Craig Doerge- synthesizer, piano

Bob Glaub- bass, organ

Ross Kunkel- drums

Billy Payne- organ on “On the Day”

Rick Vito- lead guitar, vocals

While I was headbanging most of 1983 away, Jackson Browne’s album “Lawyers in Love” provided a light break in the action. It’s a good album to just listen to. Not a headbanger but has plenty of cool hooks that appealed to metalheads like me back in the day.

Next post: Joe Jackson- Night and Day

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