Archive for Toto

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Don Henley- I Can’t Stand Still

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

Don_Henley_-_I_Can't_Stand_Still

Sometimes I wonder if musicians who are in a band and then put out their own solo albums aren’t faced with an agonizing worry on how their albums are to be received. If the album sound too much like that of their band, they are accused of just putting out the same album with different musicians. On the other hand, if they venture too far from that band’s sound, they are criticized for being too diverse or if the album sounds somewhat commercial, selling out. People of little or no experience of heavy metal have accused both Ozzy and Bruce Dickinson of doing the former in spite of the fact that when you listen to those albums, there are notable differences  in the sound between Ozzy and Black Sabbath as well as Bruce and Iron Maiden. No pleasing some people I suppose. Having heard many a solo album, I think the one album that best successfully strides the line between these two extremes is the solo album by Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn, “Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside.” It is my favourite melodic rock album of the 2000+ era and while there are some moments where you can hear the Tyketto influence, he definitely does his own thing without totally diversing and it sounds very good. Therefore, I wonder if back in 1982, I wonder if Don Henley had such a worry when he released his first solo album following the demise of The Eagles.

dv-ssor

It took me a couple of listens to “I Can’t Stand Still” before I finally remembered how good it is. Fortunately,  I am more musically open minded than I was in 1982 and that helped me appreciate it even more. While the influence of Henley’s days with The Eagles is definitely there, he puts his own spin on things. It’s not “Hotel California” but it was wrong of me to expect it to be. The closest songs that come to that on “I Can’t Stand Still” are the tracks “You Better Hang Up,” “Nobody’s Business” and “Them and Us.” As far as The Eagles go, I have always believed that Henley’s voice was best suited for their ballads and this is certainly proven with the two ballads on this album, “Long Way Home” and “Talking To The Moon.” Ironically, it is the single from the album where Don puts his best personal stamp. “Dirty Laundry” may sound like new wave synth pop to the untrained ear but it is definitely his song and the guitar solos are the best on the album. The following track and probably my favourite, “Johnny Can’t Read,” gets the same sort of work from Don. What amazes me the most about “I Can’t Stand Still” is the sheer number of musicians Henley gets to play on the album with him. I mean, he practically used all of Toto at some point on the album.

Track Listing:

1. I Can’t Stand Still

2. You Better Hang Up

3. Long Way From Home

4. Nobody’s Home

5. Talking to the Moon

6. Dirty Laundry

7. Johnny Can’t Read

8. Them and Us

9. La Eile

10. Lilah

11. The Unclouded Day

Don Henley

Don Henley

Don Henley- drums, lead vocals, keyboards

Ras Baboo- percussion, timbales

Derek Bell- harp

Kenny Edwards- bass, guitar

Steve Foreman- percussion

Bob Glaub- bass

Louise Goffin- vocals, gut string guitar

Andrew Gold- keyboards

Max Gronenthal- vocals, gut string guitar

George Gruel- vocals

Garth Hudson- synthesizer

Maren Jensen- vocals, gut string guitar

Danny Kooch Korchmar- bass, guitars, synthesizers, backing vocals

Ross Kunkel- drums

Steve Lukather- guitar

Paddy Maloney- whistle, ulliean pipes

Jeff Porcaro- drums, moracas

Steve Porcaro- keyboards

Timothy B Schmidt- bass, guitar, vocals

Leland Sklar- bass

JD Souther- acoustic guitar, gut string guitar

Benmont Trench- keyboards

Waddy Watchel- electric guitar

Ian Wallace- drums

Joe Walsh- lead guitar

Max Williams- drums

Bill Withers- vocals, gut string guitar

Warren Zevon- vocals, gut string guitar

Don Henley made an impressive start out of the blocks in his solo career with “I Can’t Stand Still.” While he doesn’t completely abandon his past, he isn’t afraid to be his own person with the album and once that conclusion is arrived at, it makes the album that much more enjoyable.

Next post; Glen Frey- No Fun Aloud

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Toto IV

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Toto_Toto_IV

Before I launch into my first album visit of 2015, I would like to first wish all a happy new year and thank all my friends both old and new for visiting and sticking with me. It’s hard to believe that 80smetalman has been going for nearly four years now and I intend to be around for time to come. After all, I’m only in 1982 and the golden age of heavy metal didn’t end until 1989. So, I have a lot of ground to still cover.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

One mega disappointment for the end of the year was that in spite of the many efforts, Ozzy Osbourne did not receive a knighthood. While I shouldn’t be surprised that he was ignored by the British establishment and I can’t even blame it on the metal hating Sun newspaper, it’s still a shame that his near half century of contributions to music still go ignored. Therefore, I say we redouble our efforts in 2015 so he can get his well deserved gong next year.

When I listen to the fourth album by Toto, I find myself pining for what could have been. Three years prior, they came rocking into the world with the heavy rock sound of “Hold the Line.” Those riffs are still catchy within my own mind and back in 1979, that song was an island that refused to be flooded in the sea of disco that was around at the time. “Toto IV” is a total departure from the sound in the song I have already mentioned. It follows subsequent albums in going into a more progressive, pop oriented sound. None of the songs on this fourth album come close to sounding like “Hold the Line.”

This doesn’t mean the album is bad, it’s not. The members of Toto are all talented musicians and it shows on the album. Take the opening song and like many albums of 1982 thus far, the biggest single on the album. If “Rosanna” had been done by some fly by night, 80s synth pop group put together by the likes of Stock, Aiken and Waterman, then it would have totally sucked. Sure, it might have been a top ten single but quickly buried and forgotten. The reason why “Rosanna” appears on a number of rock compilation albums is the good musicianship behind it. Hearing the lyrics does make me want to say “Oh God” but then comes a cool keyboard solo and later a decent guitar solo. They make the song and probably why it has stood the test of time. Other songs on the album are in the same vein. Eight out of the next nine songs are mellow out progressive jazzy blues sounding songs which are great to sit down and listen to but I won’t be listening to them on my way to Amon Amarth in a couple of weeks. The only song that goes anywhere near hard rock is “Afraid of Love” but that song is let down by a keyboard interlude where a cranking guitar solo should be. Still, the musicianship of Toto carry the songs through.

The closer, “Africa,” is more of the same but probably my favourite song on the album. Like the previous nine song, the closer is definitely a strong progressive song. Unlike “Rosanna,” the lyrics for me are more listenable and the quality musicianship remains but I think they could have used a better instrumental break than the one in the song, perhaps a guitar solo. Still, it is the best song on the album for me.

Track Listing:

1. Rosanna

2. Make Me Believe

3. I Won’t Hold You Back

4. Good For You

5. It’s a Feeling

6. Afraid of Love

7. Lovers in the Night

8. We Made It

9. Waiting for Your Love

10. Africa

Toto

Toto

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, all horn and orchestral arrangements

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion ,tympani

Steve Procraro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

“Toto IV” is probably the reason why Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World fame put “anything by Toto” as the number two party killing song. I have to disagree somewhat here. While I wouldn’t listen to the album on my way to a metal concert, I would still listen to it at more appropriate times. This is a good easy listening album, with some decent songs and quality musicianship.

Next post: Dire Straits- Lover Over Gold

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

 

 

 

Wayne’s World’s Top Ten Party Killing Songs

Posted in Humour, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 3, 2013 by 80smetalman

In case anyone is wondering which are the top ten party killing songs according to Wayne’s World, I thought I would print the list here:

Top Ten Party-Killing Songs

01 Any Disco Tune

02 Anything by Toto

03 “From A Distance” by Bette Midler

04 “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by Paperlace

05 “Lovin’ You” by Mimi Ripperton

06Le “Color My World” (nice flute solo… Not!)

07 “More Than Words” (chick song by the inappropriately named Extreme)

08 “Hotel California” (No, really, it’s a great party. I’m just going for a walk)

09 “Freebird”

10 “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris

How many of these do you agree with? Let’s start a discussion.

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Toto- Hydra

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 3, 2013 by 80smetalman

Toto_Hydra

I still do not agree with Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World fame when he listed “Anything by Toto” as number two in his list of “Top Ten Party Killing Songs” in his book “Extreme Close Up.” Saying that, there are quite a few others in that list I wouldn’t agree with either, but that’s not the point. In no way is the single “Hold the Line” from the first album a party killer. The closest any song comes to be a party killer is “99” from this album, “Hydra.” While it wouldn’t kill the party, that song would signal to me that the party is beginning to wane. That could be said with many of the songs in the album.

Okay, “Hydra” is not an album I would use to get the party into full swing but that in no way makes this a bad album. The first four tracks, or side one if you listen to it on cassette or vinyl, is more suited to softer rock and yes, “99” is one of those four songs. It isn’t until the fifth song, “All Us Boys” that Toto have any inclination to go heavy in the way of “Hold the Line” and the only other song that is similar to “All Us Boys” is “White Sister.” The rest of the album is a more mellow sound with ballads like “Loraine” and the closer “A Secret Love.” However, all of the songs are done very well and credit where due, Toto are all very good musicians and this helps to make this album into what I call, a good late night listen.

Track Listing:

1. Hydra

2. St George and the Dragon

3. 99

4. Loraine

5. All Us Boys

6. Mama

7. White Sister

8. A Secret Love

Toto

Toto

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Steve Lukather- guitars, vocals

Steve Pocraro- keyboards, electronics, backing vocals

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

David Hungate- bass

Jeff Pocraro- drums, percussion

“Hydra” may not be a party enhancer but it is definitely not a party killer. It’s more of a chill out in your room type of album and the musicianship of Toto makes it a very good album in which to do that.

Next post: A series of announcements

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: Toto

Posted in 1978, 1979, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by 80smetalman

 

 

Although I was a big fan of Wayne’s World, there was one thing in their book “Extreme Close Up” I didn’t agree with. That was some of the songs they listed in the category of “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes.” There were at least two other songs that I felt shouldn’t have been on the list, “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, down at number two was “Anything by Toto.” I don’t agree that every song by Toto is a party killer. Maybe in the case of “Georgy Porgy” but not their most noted song, “Hold the Line.” That was the song that made me aware of them and I still enjoy listening to it when I play any of the compilation CDs it appears on. Saying that, I do agree with Wayne’s number one choice, “Any disco tune.”

Sticklers for music history will point out that this album was released in 1978, but it didn’t come to my attention until March of 1979. How it did is an amusing story. An Air Force recruitment band came to my high school and played a gig. They introduced “Hold the Line” by saying that Toto had left Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz group and formed his own band. No, I didn’t find that funny either, but they did make the song sound good. Therefore, I was totally impressed when I heard the actual version by Toto.

If someone bought this album today after hearing “Hold the Line,” they may be disappointed in the fact that Toto aren’t a true hard rock band. They are more of a prog rock band with elements of hard and soft rock. I will go out on a ledge here and say they sound like 10cc with a bit of Kansas thrown in. While the album definitely isn’t party killing, it’s not a party enhancer either. This album is what I call a good wind down album. It’s great for playing when travelling home from a metal concert and you want something to bring you down. It’s also good for chilling in your big chair.

One thing I can say from this and other offerings by Toto is that they’re all talented musicians. The opening track, “Child’s Anthem” is a brilliant instrumental  intro to the album and while some of the song “I’ll Supply the Love” has that generic commercial 70s sound in some places, there is some good guitar licks and a keyboard solo to bring it up. A critic, which I’m not, might say that the musicianship makes up for any other flaws in the music.

Track Listing:

1. Child’s Anthem

2. I’ll Supply the Love

3. Georgy Porgy

4. Manuela Run

5. You Are the Flower

6. Girl Goodbye

7. Takin’ It Back

8. Rockmaker

9. Hold the Line

10. Angela

Toto

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Steve Porcaro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

Jeff Porcaro- drums

Toto are a good prog rock outfit, maybe not as good as Kansas in my opinion, but still good as their first album shows. And don’t pay attention to Wayne’s “Top Ten Party Killing Tunes” list.

Next post: Queen- Jazz

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