Archive for Strikes

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Blackfoot- Vertical Smiles

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2017 by 80smetalman

Another great Southern Rock or in my view Southern metal band who went for a more commercial rock sound in 1984 was Blackfoot with their album, “Vertical Smiles.” Keyboards player Ken Hensley from Uriah Heep became a permanent member and guitarist Charlie Hargrett left over disagreements with the band and management. However, I have always believed Charlie’s departure to be fairly amicable because written on the album cover is “Special thanks to Charlie Hargrett for fourteen years of agony and dedication.”

The move to more commercial rock comes out in the very first song, “Morning Dew,” which was released as the album’s only single. I remember it getting limited airplay on radio. While I have always liked this song, it was certainly a departure from traditional Blackfoot. The keyboards lead into the song and it’s present throughout, although this isn’t a bad thing. I also love the military sounding snare drums complements of Mr Spires and Rick Medlocke pelts a good guitar solo on it. So there is a lot to like with “Morning Dew.”

Things go decisively harder for the next few songs after. “Living in the Limelight” is a pure belter and Medlocke’s signature vocals are present. The song rocks! The same can be said for “Get It On.” This too is a good rocker from the more memorable days of Blackfoot. The song in between them, “Ride With You” isn’t bad either. It’s just too much keyboards where some good guitar stuff should be and that lets it down a little. Then, the album slows right down with two power ballad type songs, “Young Girl” and “Summer Days.” It does show a more tender side to the band and both songs are done very well. Happily, things go back to more familiar ground with the blazing “A Legend Never Dies.” I have always thought “this is more like it.”  It proves that Blackfoot can effectively employ guitar and keyboard together in a song. But the most true old style Blackfoot track is the pen ultimate, “Heartbeat and Heels.” This song casts aside any doubt that Blackfoot have completely abandoned their past. It is the hidden gem on the album. I’ve never been too sure about the closer. You would think that any song titled, “In For the Kill” would be a hard rocker and though this song has moments, it doesn’t move me in for any kill. Still, it’s probably the best song to close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Morning Dew
  2. Living In the Limelight
  3. Ride With You
  4. Get it On
  5. Young Girl
  6. Summer Days
  7. A Legend Never Dies
  8. Heartbeat and Heels
  9. In For the Kill

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Ken Hensley- keyboards, backing vocals

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, backing vocals

Sherri Jarrell- backing vocals

Note: This was a band photo from the last album but I thought I’d use out it of respect for Charlie Hargrett

All in all, “Vertical Smiles” is a pretty decent album. True, they incorporate keyboards where a harder guitar sound should be in places but it’s not bad. The album does have good songs. Still, it’s not near the same level as their three famous albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.”

Next post: Survivor- Vital Signs

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=1503603657&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Biggest Tragedy of 1983

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2016 by 80smetalman

 

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Pay tribute to these brave souls

I make no apologies for repeating myself from a post I made three years ago or for the fact that this has little to do with music. Furthermore, I make no apologies for anyone who has read my post about this on my Peaceful Rampage blog. But for all the great music I experienced in 1983 and the joy of getting out of the marines that year and all the good memories of said year, the one tragedy that will always haunt me from 1983 will be the bombing of the marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983.

A total of 241 lives were lost that day, some of them good friends of mine. I spent nearly three of my four years of service in the battalion that was blown up over there and knew a lot of those guys. I lived and partied with them so I guess you could say they were like family to me when I was serving. That’s why this tragedy has lingered with me for so many years. Maybe it’s also the fact that shortly after, America seemed to simply sweep it all under the carpet and forget about it. What was worse, a year later, it re-elected the madman president who had sent them there in the first place. Reagan was so determined to get the military involved in something that he recklessly sent the marines into something he, himself, wasn’t sure what the objectives were. I remember one of my friends who wrote me before he left for Lebanon saying, “We’re going to Beirut to get grenades thrown at us.”

Since I began 80smetalman nearly seven years ago, I have stated that on many occasions that my experiences in the Marines played a part in shaping me into the metalhead I am today. Not just metal, either. If I hadn’t spent the better part of four years in North Carolina, I wouldn’t have been so immersed in Southern Rock. In fact, one memory that has sprung to mind was how every time that friend would and I would get in my car to go out partying, he would want Blackfoot, “Strikes” played on the cassette player. He was a big Blackfoot fan which was why I played that album and the “Highway Song” album so much in the weeks following the tragedy.

When I did post about this tragedy three years ago, I had a lot of condolences and support from many of you my readers, to which I am still truly grateful. I hope you will be just as understanding this time around and possibly as a tribute play some of the following albums many of these comrades in arms introduced me to while I was serving with them.

220px-Blackfoot_-_Strikes

nzhotd

R-150-1986236-1280267276

220px-Black_Sabbath_Heaven_and_Hell

Rush_2112

220px-Def_Leppard_-_High_'n'_Dry

There are definitely more albums than this but these are the ones that have always stuck in my mind. Have a listen to one or more and remember those who died in this tragedy.

Next post: Kix- Cool Kids

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Blackfoot- Siogo

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Blackfoot_siogo

Further evidence to support the fact that Southern Rock was becoming a non entity north of the Mason-Dixon Line is to be found with Blackfoot’s 1983 album, “Siogo.” It’s also yet another reason why I was glad I got to spend three months in the South. In the years running up to 83, Blackfoot had been slowly but surely gaining attention in the North thanks to their three best known albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” However, when I did return North in the middle of the year, it seemed that no one had known they put out a new album and it was fortunate I had bought it in North Carolina because it would have been tougher to find it in New Jersey.

“Siogo” marked a slight change of direction for Blackfoot in the sense that they acquired keyboards player Ken Hensley. Many metalheads and hard rockers normally panic when a band known for hard power chords from the guitar adds keyboards. There is the belief that said band is selling out, going commercial or whatever and Van Halen in 1986 proves that point but that story is for another time. Well, you can all rest easy because when I first heard the single from the album, “Send Me and Angel,” I thought the keyboards went well with the hard crunching guitar that Blackfoot was known for. Everything else associated with Blackfoot was in place, the great guitar solos, Rick Medlocke’s unmistakable vocals and the rhythm section provided by Walker and Spires.

Let me get right to the point, “Siogo” is a great album and it’s unfortunate it has been overlooked so long. It also proves that the addition of a keyboard does not destroy the sound of a hard and heavy band if employed properly. Dio is the ultimate example but again, that’s for another time. Proof of this with this album lies in the track “Goin’ in Circles.” You can hear the keyboards in support at the beginning when the guitars pound in on the intro to the song. They add flavour to it and then go on a support role as the song gets into full gear and there’s a killer guitar solo on it. If you want to hear Hensley at his keyboard best, then the track “We’re Going Down” is the one. His keyboard solo is the highlight of a song that is no less rocky. The rest of the album is more old school Blackfoot if there is such a thing. Full of trademark intros, see “Teenage Idol” and “Crossfire” here and straight forward, blow your eardrums hard rock music. I said it before but it still applies with “Siogo,” Blackfoot could be called “Southern Metal.”

When I first looked at the track listing and saw a track called “Sail Away,” I thought that this was going to be some sort of ballad. After all, there are plenty of songs with similar titles that are. However, the song that bears the title on this album is nothing of the sort. Okay, maybe the first two notes of the intro may give that impression but the rest of the song just rocks! And don’t be fooled by the lyrics of “White Man’s Land.” It’s nothing racist, the song, at least to me, is a dig at the rat race and I can definitely see where they’re coming from here. Besides, the song reminds me a little of the classic “Train, Train.”

Track Listing:

  1. Send Me an Angel
  2. Crossfire
  3. Heart’s Grown Cold
  4. We’re Goin’ Down
  5. Teenage Idol
  6. Goin’ in Circles
  7. Run For Cover
  8. White Man’s Land
  9. Sail Away
  10. Drivin’ Fool
Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- lead vocals, guitar

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Ken Hensley- keyboards, backing vocals

Greg T. Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, backing vocals

I’m afraid that I’m going to have to say, “Damn Yankees” for the fact that this album has been overlooked up North. Fortunately, I was in the South so I didn’t miss out on it, to which I’m glad. “Siogo” is definitely a Blackfoot album that deserves a mention when you say the band’s name.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- No Guts, No Glory

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 1982: Blackfoot- Highway Song, Live in London

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by 80smetalman

blackfootlive

What is the most logical thing to do after your band has put out three very good studio albums? Well, in the case of Blackfoot, the answer is to put out one hell of a live album. That is exactly what they did in 1982 with the album recorded live in London. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I happened to visit London in the summer of 1983, this album would have past me by because I never saw it on sale at any of the record shops in New Jersey and that, to me, would have been a damn shame.

220px-Blackfoot_-_Strikes

220px-Tomcattin'

220px-Blackfootmarauder

Why is this live album so good? The answer is pretty obvious to any Blackfoot fan. At this particular concert, they played some of their finest material off their previous three albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” If I were to have produced the album, I would have done little different except ask the band to play “I Got a Line On You” from the “Strikes” album but that’s a personal thing. The album is fine as it stands. Things open with two songs from “Tomcattin,'” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” which is definitely a great concert opener, especially at the beginning when Rick Medlocke announces “All right London, it’s boogie time!” You get little time to rest after the opener because Medlocke gets the crowd going by saying, “If someone messes with your queenie, you’re gonna mess up their god damn nose!” Then they launch into “Queenie, Every Man Should Know.” If the crowd isn’t fully up by now, then the almost thrash sounding, “Good Morning” definitely gets them there.

“Good Morning” is the first of three songs from the “Marauder” album. The other two songs that follow, “Dry County” and “Fly Away” sound much better live than the versions on the album and there was nothing wrong with those. It’s just the raw energy this concert gives that takes things up several levels. One note, in between “Dry County” and “Fly Away,” Blackfoot play their own version of John Lee Hooker’s “Rolling and Tumbling” and I will say that they put their own unique stamp on that song quite nicely.

The rest of the album/concert is dominated by songs from the “Strikes” album. “Road Fever” for all the Scotland rock and roll maniacs as how Medlocke introduces the song, rolls things along very well. After they play “Trouble in Mind,” Blackfoot take the show up on an enormous high with the two best songs from that album, “Train, Train” and of course “Highway Song” and both are cases of the live version being way above the studio version. This leads me to realise that if Blackfoot can improve on songs from great studio albums when played live, they are definitely a band to be reckoned with.

Track Listing:

1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

2. Queenie, Every Man Should Know

3. Good Morning

4. Dry County

5. Rolling and Tumbling

6. Fly Away

7. Road Fever

8. Trouble in Mind

9. Train, Train

10. Highway Song

11. Howay the Lads

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rickey Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums

I think back to that time in 1983 and thank God that I was in London and saw this album in a record store. Otherwise, I would have missed it. Then again, each time I listen to the album, I become pig sick at not having ever seen them live. Trust me, “Highway Song” will make you feel that way.

Next post: Rossington/Collins- This is the Way

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: Blackfoot- Marauder

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

220px-Blackfootmarauder

Many people in the music world agree that Blackfoot’s golden era was from 1979-81 when they put out their three best albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” Having already visited the first two albums in the appropriate year, I now go to the 1981 classic. Many people are of the opinion that “Marauder” is the best of the three and the best Blackfoot album of all time. I won’t enter into a debate on that because I can definitely see why many make that claim in regards to this album, although for me personally, my heart has always been swayed by “Strikes.” Saying that, it is a close run contest because “Marauder” definitely does rock the house down.

“Marauder” opens with a great the heavy grab you by the balls “Good Morning,” which even with Rick Medlocke’s crazy laugh during the intro, sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Good Morning” is one of those tracks you have to put the stereo up to full volume and just go nuts. The second track, “Paying For It,” does nothing to lessen the adrenaline brought on by the opener. The ballad-like “Diary of a Working Man” just lets you catch your breath before the album bombards you with more great hard rockers. For me, I have always liked both “Dry County” and “Fly Away” and they are my two favourite songs on the album. The second song may start with an acoustic guitar on the album but it isn’t long before you’re banging away to the hard guitars once again. I must say that  I do like “Rattlesnake Rock and Roller” where Medlocke’s grandfather Shorty plays harmonica. Another demonstration that while Blackfoot can hit you in the face with great hard Southern rock, they can be versatile too. And like many a great album, it has a great closing song. “Searchin'” ends with the lead guitar reminiscent of “Highway Song” from “Strikes” or even “Freebird.” This seems a must for any great Southern Rock album.

Track Listing:

1. Good Morning

2. Paying For It

3. Diary of a Working Man

4. Too Hard to Handle

5. Fly Away

6. Dry County

7. Fire In the Dragon

8. Rattlesnake Rock And Roller

9. Searchin’

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- lead vocals, guitar

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Greg T Walker- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

Jakson Spires- drums, percussion, backing vocals

While the studio version of “Fly Away” might started acoustically, the version played on Blackfoot’s 1982 live album definitely blows people away and I will be visiting that album, I promise. “Marauder” is said to be the last great Blackfoot album. Well, it’s for sure the last hard rock album they would put out because they would start using synthesisers on later albums. So for a good Southern rock out, that will have you jumping off furniture, “Marauder” is the album to listen to.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Take No Prisoners

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: Blackfoot- Tomcattin’

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Tomcattin'

One discovery I made quite quickly as I immersed myself deeper in Southern Rock in 1980 was that out of all the Southern Rock bands I listened to, Blackfoot was the heaviest. In fact, many people actually considered them to be heavy metal as the mid eighties approached. The “Strikes” album was a definite heavy album and the follow up “Tomcattin'” was just as heavy.

The album opens with “Warped” and that song convinced me from the get go that this was going to be another hard rocking album from Blackfoot. The next few tracks back this claim up as well. “On The Run,” “Dream On” and “Street Fighter” are all great rock gems. Then there are the next two tracks “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and “Every Man Should Know (Queenie)” that I heard on a live album in 1983. I’ll be visiting that one when I get to that pivotal year. Now the live versions of those songs are complete mind blowers so I should have been disappointed that they weren’t quite as heavy on the studio album. However, I wasn’t because they are both good classic rockers as are the next two tracks: “In The Night” and “Reckless Abandoner.” The one slow song on the album “Spending Cabbage” is no let down either. In all of the tracks, there are some heavy and hard riffs and some decent guitar solos from Medlocke and Hargrett and while none of the songs graced the top 40, (like I would care anyway) the album was well received by their loyal fan base in the Southeast and wowed a few Yankees like me.

Track Listing:

1. Warped

2. On The Run

3. Dream On

4. Street Fighter

5. Gimme Gimme Gimme

6. Every Man Should Know (Queenie)

7. In The Night

8. Reckless Abandoner

9. Spending Cabbage

10. Fox Chase

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- guitars, vocals

Charlie Hargrett- guitars

Greg T. Walker- bass, keyboards, vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, percussion, vocals

“Tomcattin'” is still considered one of the best Blackfoot albums by many of their loyal fans. For me, it is right up there with “Strikes” and that live one I mentioned. For me, the album stamps Blackfoot’s authority on heavy rock and proves that Southern Rock wasn’t something that was enjoyed by a bunch of rednecks.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- Beatin’ The Odds

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: 38 Special- Rockin’ Into The Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

38_Special_-_Rockin'_Into_the_Night

Halfway through 1980, I was thoroughly converted to the genre known as Southern Rock. I had been listening to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet and had heard the “Strikes” album by Blackfoot and really liked that. So when a friend of a friend introduced me to this album, I was chomping at the bit to hear more and when I did, in no way was I disappointed.

It was easy to assume that because the lead singer for 38 Special, Donnie Van Zant, was the brother of the famous Ronnie Van Zant of Skynyrd fame, that 38 Special would sound like carbon copies of Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was made more so because Skynyrd’s former pianist, the late Billy Powell, plays on a few of the tracks on this album. However, the sound of 38 Special is their own and their own fingerprint on Southern Rock definitely manifests itself throughout “Rockin’ Into the Night.” They are definitely unique. 

As I said before, I am normally a bit nervous about an album whose hit single is the first track on it. It makes me think, there’s nothing after worth listening to. That isn’t true here and that is despite the fact that the track “Rockin’ Into The Night” is such a fantastic song, probably my favourite 38 Special song of all time. Even the thought of it has me bobbing my head to it at this very moment. After the title track, however, the album continues on with a string of great tracks in the 38 Special style. “Stone Cold Believer,” the hard rocking “Take Me Through The Night,” which eerily goes almost ballad like in some places and “Money Honey” are all great tracks on the first side if you heard it on vinyl or cassette. Side two doesn’t deteriorate in any way either. After a strong side opening “You’re The Captain,” (a very good anti- drugs song) is most likely my favourite instrumental song of all time, “Robin Hood.” The blends of acoustic and electric guitars are riveting. The last two tracks, “You Got The Deal” and “Turn It On” provide the perfect end to this great album.

Track Listing:

1. Rockin’ Into the Night

2. Stone Cold Believer

3. Take Me Through the Night

4. Money Honey

5. The Love That I Lost

6. You’re the Captain

7. Robin Hood

8. You Got the Deal

9. Turn It On

38 Special

38 Special

Donnie Van Zant- vocals

Don Barnes- vocals, acoustic and electric guitars

Jeff Carlisi- lead and slide guitars

Larry Junstrom- bass

Jack Grondin- drums, percussion

Steve Brookins- drums, percussion

Additional musicians

Billy Powell- piano

Terry Emery- piano

Dale Krantz- Rossington- backing vocals

Five years after this magnificent album, I would find myself defending 38 Special to a friend who claimed they were a Top 40 band. What I should have done with hindsight, was to play this album for him. He would have known that back in 1980, 38 Special and “Rockin’ Into the Night” were the real deal. This album continues to be a classic rocker.

Next post: Blackfoot- Tomcattin’ 

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