Archive for Women and Children First

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Van Halen- Fair Warning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Van_Halen_-_Fair_Warning

New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) may have reigned supreme in 1981 but it didn’t mean that American metal was muted in that year and that was largely due to Van Halen’s fourth album, “Fair Warning.” For some people at the time, this album was supposed to be a redemption for Van Halen after their supposedly disappointing “Women and Children First” album. (I wasn’t disappointed with that album.) I will also agree with the critic who said that “Fair Warning” was a little better than the previous album but since neither album was as bad as some of these ‘critics’ made them out to be, I will have to say that they are both great albums. However, I will also state that neither quite makes it to the level of their first two, but come on, Van Halen I and II will always be at a level many albums will never attain so let’s give “Fair Warning” credit where it’s due.

From the opening notes in “Mean Street,” it was crystal clear that Eddie Van Halen shows why he was the ultimate guitar master in the early 80s.  The album takes you down a smooth road of great music, especially during the first five tracks reminding you why Van Halen held the flag for American metal. “Dirty Movies” and “Hear About it Later” stick their heads above the rest here with the former showing there is a sense of humour behind the metal. For years, I thought that song was called “Bitches of the Silver Screen.” I saw a video of the latter song played live and that completely blew me away. The acoustic intro quickly followed by the powerful rhythm of guitar, bass and drum, with some interesting guitar riffs thrown in around the vocals before cascading into a well played EVH guitar solo. There is little wonder why it’s my favourite song on the album. “Unchained” is more of a traditional Van Halen single but it still rocks while the rest of the album, while maybe not quite as mind blowing as the first five songs is still powerful enough to leave the listener contented once it has finished.

Track Listing:

1. Mean Street

2. Dirty Movies

3. Sinner’s Swing

4. Hear About it Later

5. Unchained

6. Push Comes to Shove

7. So This is Love

8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park

9. One Foot Out the Door

Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

In a year when Britannia ruled the heavy metal waves, it was good to see that the guns of American metal didn’t remain silent. I have always said that both countries have always benefited from exchange of heavy metal. Van Halen showed they were still a major player in the game with “Fair Warning.”

Next post: The Plasmatics- Valley of the 1984

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 Metal Albums of 1980: Van Halen- Women and Children First

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Van_Halen_-_Women_and_Children_First

Another offering from the American side of heavy metal came in the form of the third album from Van Halen. (Although you could say that this was a Dutch-American collaboration since the Van Halen brothers were originally from the Netherlands.) Still what we got in 1980 was “Women and Children First.” Now, my alternate mindset is hearing some collective scoffs and sighs from some of you and I know why. In comparison to Van Halen’s first two albums, this one doesn’t compare. However, if you can divorce yourself from those iconic first two albums and look at “Women and Children First” on its own, you may find that it’s really not that bad of an album.

For me, the two best tracks are the first two songs on the album: “And the Cradle Will Rock” and “Everybody Wants Some,” the latter being a concert favourite for several albums after. The former song was the one stuck in my mind for most of my first tour of sea duty and it helped get me through it. The spoken David Lee Roth part of the latter: “I like the way the line runs up the back of your stocking” amuses me to this day. While they may be the two strongest tracks, the album doesn’t end there. The next song, “Fools” begins with the traditional guitar work that made Eddie Van Halen the principal guitarist back then. The next track “Romeo’s Delight” reminds of some of the classic rockers that we got from the first two albums and continues through the next two tracks. While “Take Your Whiskey Home” seems to be an attempt to re-create my all time favourite Van Halen song, “Ice Cream Man,” it’s still a good jam. However, and this is where things fall down, in my view. The acoustic track “Could This Be Magic?” where the only female singer ever let on a Van Halen album, Nicolette Larson, provides backing vocals. I love a good acoustic jam but this song had me asking myself: “Are they taking the p*ss here?” Still one questionable track does not make a bad album and it redeems itself with the closing song.

In short, except for that one possible track, there is nothing for me to dislike on “Women and Children First.” David Lee Roth sings to his capabilities, Eddie shows the world that he still has a trick or two up his sleeve on the guitar, and Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony still prove why many people back then considered them to be the best rhythm section around at the time.

Track Listing:

1. And The Cradle Will Rock

2. Everybody Wants Some

3. Fools

4. Romeo’s Delight

5. Tora Tora!

6. Loss of Control

7. Take Your Whiskey Home

8. Could This Be Magic?

9. In a Simple Rhyme

10. Growth (Hidden track)

Van Halen

Van Halen

   David Lee Roth- lead vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitars, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

It is tough for any act to follow up on a great album so imagine how difficult it is two follow up on two. With “Women and Children First,” Van Halen make a valiant effort and while it may night reach the dizzy heights of the first two, it is still a good album and should be seen as such.

Next post: Saxon- Wheels of Steel

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

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