Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Airbourne

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August. Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere. So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

And all the acts will be Australian acts.

So let’s get airborne and run wild with a familiar sounding debut.

Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild

A lot of bands came out that sounded similar to AC/DC in the 80’s like Krokus, Gotthard and Accept. Then we had Australian bands like The Poor, Screaming Jets, Choirboys and The Angels that had these kind of influences. Of course, AC/DC didn’t just come up with their sound. The black blues musicians like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, Robert Johnson and Johnny Lee Hooker played a big part in shaping the Australia rock sound.

And in the early 2000’s, bands like Jet and The Vines merged AC/DC influences with Rolling Stone influences. Then in 2007, Australian hard rock band Airbourne built a career off their love of AC/DC.

“Runnin’ Wild” came out on 23 June 2007. It did good business in Australia. On 29 January 2008, through Roadrunner Records, it got an official U.S release. They filled a void left by AC/DC due to AC’s long delays between new albums.

Airbourne are Joel O’Keeffe on lead vocals/guitar, his brother Ryan O’Keeffe on drums, David Roads on rhythm guitar and Justin Street on bass.

Bob Marlette is the producer.

“Stand Up for Rock ‘n’ Roll” starts off like an Y&T song, before it moves into that AC/DC style groove with a bit of peptides and steroids chucked in. And the title was perfect for the time, because by 2007, rock and roll, the way I knew it, was part of the undertow. It never went away, but it wasn’t a commercial force the way it was. And what the press classed as rock made me puke.

But change was afoot as the acts from the 80’s had gotten control of their masters and started to promote their music to a new generation.

“Runnin’ Wild” is probably one of the best songs that Cinderella didn’t write for “Night Songs” or Kix for the “Blow My Fuse” album.

“Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” has a pretty funny comment on the YouTube video which says, “looks like early Metallica and Maiden, sounds like AC/DC”. And that intro riff resides in that AC/DC territory.

“Diamond in the Rough” has this “TNT” vibe in the verses which I like.

If you like the “Flick Of The Switch” and “Fly On The Wall” albums then you will like “Fat City”, “Blackjack”, “What’s Eatin’ You” and “Girls In Black”.

“Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women”, “Heartbreaker” and “Lets Ride” close the album and yep they sound like AC/DC tracks.

It doesn’t mean they don’t rock.

Check em out and get airbourne.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

November 2020 – Part 4

Ellefson

“No Cover” is an excellent covers album, just for the “On Through The Night” cover. And to make it even better, there is a blistering cover of “Wasted” by Def Leppard as well.

Ellefson is a band, made up of David Ellefson on bass, Thom Hazaert on vocals, Andy Martongelli and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal  on guitars and Paolo Caridi on drums. They started doing a few B side covers for a new music release next year and they had so much fun doing it, they did a double albums worth.

Hazaert does the majority of singing with the guest singers contributing in harmonies and trade off verses while the band members do most of the music with the guests appearing.

The album blasts off with “Freewheel Burning” from Judas Priest. This track has Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys on vocals, ex-Machine Head/Sacred Reich drummer Dave McClain, and guitarists Gus G and Andy James.

Then “Tear it Loose” from Twisted Sister begins and this one features good ole, Eddie OJ Fingers followed by a Motorhead cut. Three songs in, Ellefson has combined three speed metal songs from different bands onto one album and made it sound original in the process. 

Other favourites are “Say What You Will” from Fastway, “Love Machine” from WASP and “Over The Mountain” from Ozzy.

Iron Maiden

How many live albums from Maiden do you own?

For me, it’s a lot, but two of em really stand out. They are “Live After Death” and “Rock In Rio”.

Releasing live albums on a consistent basis after each tour, means that a lot of songs keep re-appearing on the set list, especially on tours that are not album tours. So here we are in 2020 with “Legacy Of The Beast”, celebrating 40 years of Maiden and recorded in Mexico City.

We get some Blaze material (“Sign of the Cross” and “The Clansman”) and one DiAnno track (“Iron Maiden”) plus “For The Greater Good Of God” gets its first live release.

Killer Be Killed

A super group of thrash/extreme/death metallers. Founded by The Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato and Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and ex-Sepultura front man Max Cavalera in early 2011. The line-up also features Mastodon bassist and co-vocalist Troy Sanders and Converge drummer Ben Koller. 

I didn’t mind the first album (released in 2014) musically, so I was interested to see what would happen next. And album number 2, “Reluctant Hero”, got me even more interested. The vocals are less abrasive and the chorus’s in my favourite songs work well. 

“Deconstructing Self Destruction” opens the album aggressively and melodically with a great little harmony solo. “Dream Gone Bad” continues the melody, with some punk and thrash thrown in for good measure. “Left Of Center” blasts out of the gate with a riff that reminds me of Judas Priest. 

“From A Crowded Wound” has a head banging riff and groove throughout the song and the album closes with the moody and smouldering title track, “Reluctant Hero”.

Phenomena

“Phenomena” was like a hard rock “The Alan Parsons Project” with songs written by a few key members and guest vocalists appearing on different songs.

Which brings us to “Still The Night”, a brand new compilation of all the tracks that feature Glenn Hughes on vocals. The 17 tracks here are pulled from the “Dream Runner” and “Psycho Fantasy” albums. If you like the voice of rock like I do, then this one is a must. Plus you get to hear Cozy Powell thundering on the drums, Neil Murray holding down the bass (with Glenn Hughes on some tracks), Richard Bailey on keys and Mel Galley doing the guitars.

Everything is remastered and it sounds huge. 

“Still The Night” which originally appeared on the Thrall Hughes album is still a massive favourite. “Surrender” with its melodic rock synth keys always gets me to pay attention. “Touch My Life” has a heavy metal riff in the verses that John Sykes would be proud.

The way Hughes sings the verses on “Phoenix Rising” still stops me in my tracks. “Who’s Watching You?” sounds like a Y&T cut from the “Meanstreak” album. “Kiss Of Fire” sounds like a cut from The Alan Parsons Project. “Higher” feels down tuned and heavy but Glenn Hughes voice makes it melodic. “Hell On Wings” reminds me of Thin Lizzy with the harmony leads and in the verses it reminds me of Y&T.

And everything is held together by the fantastic voice of Glenn Hughes.

Sole Syndicate

A hard rock band from <<insert drum roll>> …… “Sweden”.

Such a small country but a massive exporter of cultural content.

“Last Days Of Eden” is their second album, with their first “Garden Of Eden” being released in 2016.

“…and the Truth Will Set You Free” is traditional heavy metal in the verses (think Scorpions) and melodic in the chorus. Then it’s got a head banging breakdown section which modern metallers do. And the lead break is melodic.

“We All Fall Apart” has some Judas Priest in the mix. “Glory Days” has an strummed acoustic guitar and a David Coverdale vocal line with a nice acoustic guitar solo in the intro and in the middle.

“We Came to Rock” is unoriginal in its title, but it has a Vivian Campbell/Dio like riff and a Klaus Meine vocal melody which gets me interested. Did I mention the song has a nice guitar solo? 

“Have You Heard It All Before?” is a rocker. “Bring Us A Hero” starts of like a “Metallica” Black album cut. And that groove continues through the verses. “When Darkness Calls” sounds like its inspired by Europe. Definitely a band that’s on my radar.

Part 5 is coming up. 

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

November 2020 – Part 3

Pyramaze

From Denmark. “Epitaph” is album number six.

The album kicks off with the title track “Epitaph”, a 1.40 instrumental that would not be out of place on the “Braveheart” soundtrack or “Game Of Thrones”.

This song bleeds into “A Stroke Of Magic” and that Evergrey djent/syncopated style of riffing captures me. “Steal My Crown” starts off with a catchy piano lick and when the power chords come crashing down, in the words of Rob Halford, “they go tearing through my senses”.

“Knights In Shining Armour” is a power metal cut with a catchy keyboard melody underpinning the Chorus and “Birds Of Prey” is a hard rock sing with an AOR Chorus.

“Particle” reminds of Evergrey and for that memory, it is elevated to stand out status.

“I’m chasing every particle of you”

God damn, even Desmond Child or Max Martin can’t come up with a line that good.

“Indestructible” asks the question “for why we try to die so young” in the Chorus.

“World Foregone” also reminds me of Evergrey and I’m all in with the alternate picked verses and ballad like Chorus with “how long, how long, can we go on”.

It’s about pollution and climate change. An important message that needs to be heard over and over again. Something that White Lion was onto but ignored.

Machine Head

“My Hands Are Empty” keeps the single song drops from Machine Head going.

From a new music point of view, prior to this song, MH released “Do Or Die” in 2019 and in 2020, “Circle The Drain” (and an acoustic version), “Stop The Bleeding” and “Bulletproof” have been released. If any of em end up on a long player, who knows, but as a fan I’ve enjoyed the single drops.

The songs “Stop The Bleeding” and “Bulletproof” appeared like an EP called “Civil Unrest”.

AC/DC

The mighty Acca Dacca return with one of the best album titles ever in “Power Up”. Their return was met with enough fandom, which pushed their album into number 1 and decent sales, something that Bon Jovi couldn’t muster with his 2020 release.

“Realize” storms out of the gate with its “For Those About To Rock” intro before it starts cranking with its “Problem Child/Sin City” vibe. And I’m all in.

“Shot In The Dark” is better than a walk in the park, with its instantly recognisable riff, which people state sounds like “Rock N Roll Train” and “Rock N Roll Train” sounds like other AC/DC songs, because Angus and Malcolm are brilliant at creating derivative versions of the same riff.

Tracks like “Through The Mists Of Time” is AC/DC bringing in something extra and the way the Chorus happens, well it’s just a little bit different. In Australia, a band called Choirboys did songs like this.

“Kick You When You’re Down” makes me pick up the guitar to learn that intro riff.

“Demon Fire” is fast blues. It sounds like Airbourne’s “Blood In The Water”. “Let There Be Rock” comes to mind and so does “Safe in New York City” and “Caught With Your Pants Down”.

Other favourites are “Money Shot” and “Code Red”.

Power up for 2020 and rock on.

Chris Stapleton

This is a real good blues rock album in the style of John Fogerty and Steve Earle. The first three tracks are a triple combo knockout with “Starting Over”, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice” (which sounds like it came from the same family tree of “Old Man Down The Road” by John Fogerty) and “Cold” which is basically a re-write of a Paolo Nutini song called “Iron Sky”.

“Arkansas” keeps that Delta blues vibe going with its swampy riffs. “Hillbilly Blood” sounds like a Steve Earle track. “Maggie’s Song” feels like “Shooting Star” from Bad Company.

Lunatic Soul

Opening track “Navvie” is an acoustic Celtic like romp, more colonial, tribal and folky sounding than anything modern. And I like it. So I went to Google to find out more about the band.

Lunatic Soul is a progressive rock side-project, founded by Riverside vocalist and bass guitarist Mariusz Duda in 2008. “Through Shaded Woods” is the side projects seventh album.

Riverside has been in my life since the early 2000’s and I had no idea there was a side project. All instruments and vocals are performed by Duda. He found inspiration for the album from his hometown in Poland, which is surrounded by forests and lakes.

“The Passage” is up next. This track clocks in at 8.57 as it weaves its way through its Norse and Slavic folk influences in the riffs, all done in a haunting way.

“Through Shaded Woods” continues the Celtic tribal folk feel from “Navvie” with a tremolo effect vocal melody. “Summoning Dance” clocks in at 9.52 and its underpinned by an acoustic bass riff that reminds me of Tool.

The acoustic finger picked intro to “The Fountain” starts and the melancholy gets me interested.

Volster

I added “Arise” to my playlist because I saw their name in a list of new releases.

Another hard rock band from Sweden.

“Turn The Tide” with its Led Zep like influences immediately grabbed me and “End Of The World” could have been a Dio cut with a Blackmore style solo.

But it’s the hard rock tracks with a little bit of prog thrown in that are my favourites. Check out the Rush influenced “I Wish” and the Kings X influenced “Sign of the Times” and “Highroad to Nowhere”.

Spirit Adrift

From the U.S.

It started off as a solo project in 2015.

And since then, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Nate Garrett has taken his melodic doom metal influences and tweaked them into an old school metal machine, all within four albums and two Eps.

The new album is called “Enlightened in Eternity”. Garrett does everything except the drums, which are carried out by a person called Marcus Bryant.

“Ride Into The Light” could have been on an Accept album and their take on mixing Judas Priest with AC/DC.

“Astral Levitation” has two sections. Section 1 is Sabbath/Dio “Heaven And Hell” era while section 2 is all Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy with the harmony guitars.

“Cosmic Conquest” has so many riffs in the song, that a whole album could have been written of those riffs got fleshed into individual songs.

I’m interested, let’s see what comes next.

Part 4 is coming up.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Heartbreak Station At 30

“Heartbreak Station” turned 30 last week. I’ve written about this album and certain songs previously, but it’s that good, it deserves more attention.

It didn’t have the commercial dollars like “Long Cold Winter” or “Night Songs”, but to me it’s their best album. The roots based blues rock with a bit of soul added in, worked really well.

Cinderella had a hair metal band name, but musically and lyrically they proved to be a pariah. The lyrics on this album are a far departure of someone wanting a cherry pie or an unskinny bop or being up all night. The lyrics were on the same level as the Queensryche “Empire” album.

The slide guitar to kick of “The More Things Change” and then that distorted riff.

How can you not like it?

Turned on my radio to the same old song
Some big mouth talking trying to tell us where the world went wrong

These days the radio has been replaced by the internet, podcasts and social media. And these experts are selling news based on some truth, a lot of lies and their own bias. People need to read critically and make up their own minds.

But all this talk of peace and love
It’s only for the news
Cause every time you trust someone
You end up getting screwed

I had a hard time trusting people again between 2010 and 2015 because when I got ripped off and taken for a ride financially by people I trusted, I entered every conversation with negativity and cynicism.

The more things change
The more they stay the same
Everyone’s your brother till you turn the other way
The more things change
The more they stay the same
All we need’s a miracle to take us all away from the pain

“Love’s Got Me Doing Time” has got this funk soul groove with an Aerosmith blues rock swagger. It’s a perfect combination and Keifer delivers a worthy vocal performance.

The gospel tinged blues rock of “Shelter Me” with the brass instruments and Rolling Stone influences, always gets the foot tapping.

“Heartbreak Station” is the piece d’resistance for me. You can call it a ballad, but a clichéd ballad or power ballad it isn’t. The acoustic guitar arpeggios, then the strumming and Keifer doing what he does best with his unique raspy voice.

There’s truth in the words and it translates through the speakers and it still has the same effect on me as it did back then.

Timeless.

And John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin does a string arrangement for it.

“Sick For The Cure” brings the boogie about being sick for music and trying to make it. “One For Rock & Roll” is an acoustic campfire tribute to rock and roll, and I swear it could have come from a John Fogerty album.

“Dead Man’s Road” is a combination of those “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and “Blaze Of Glory” musical themes, in a blues country, rock song with a bit of soul.

And it asks the question, how bad to do you want to make it?

Would you “sell your soul” on Dead Man’s Road. And the drum groove just keeps reminding me of “When The Levee Breaks”. Then the outro starts, with the thundering drum fills and some strings. So I press repeat, just to hear it again.

“Make Your Own Way” is a blast to listen to, a cross between the Rolling Stones, Bad Company and Aerosmith. And the gospel backing vocals in the Chorus, are not too overpowering, just perfect.

The “Sweet Emotion” Aerosmith groove us up next with “Electric Love” with a vocal line that reminds me of Ian Astbury from The Cult.

“Love Gone Bad” rocks out of the gate with its funk blues riff in the verses and a catchy simple chorus. Then for the last minute and a bit, it changes tact, with a blues Pink Panther like groove which fades away and seedy barroom brass instruments take over.

Finally, “Winds of Change” closes the album out, with its acoustic guitars, orchestra and Led Zep influences.

Still sounding classy after 30 years. Ill drink to that.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

November 2020 – Part 2

Whitesnake

“Love Songs MMXX” is part two of this special best off collection. We already had the “Rock Songs MMXX” come out a few months before and sometime next year, “Blues Songs MMXX” will come out.

Its songs that deal with the theme of “love”, so some of the songs could be rock songs or ballads or blues songs. David Coverdale is one of the most broken hearted singers out there and “love” is a big muse in his song writing.

But the real purpose of these remixes is to promote a sort of best off on Coverdale’s recorded output from 1997 onwards with a few songs from the massive Geffen albums, “1987” and “Slip Of The Tongue”, chucked in. So if you are a casual Whitesnake fan, there is a pretty good chance you don’t have those albums 97 onwards and these sets are perfect. But if you are a super Whitesnake fan, there is a high chance you already have these albums and these Rock, Love and Blues albums are unnecessary.

Opening track “Love Will Set You Free” and “Easier Said Than Done” are from 2011’s “Forevermore” with Aldrich and Beach on guitar. We then go back to 1989 with “The Deeper The Love” and “Now You’re Gone” from “Slip Of The Tongue” with Steve Vai playing all guitars on the Vandenberg and Coverdale penned cut.

“All I Want, All I Need” and “Summer Rain” are from “Good To Be Bad” released in 2008. This tracks are with Aldrich and Beach playing some nice guitar lines. “Too Many Tears”, “Can’t Go On” and “Your Previous Love” are from the “Restless Heart” album released in 1997 and Adrian Vandenberg finally gets his turn to record with Coverdale.

The collection also includes the previously unreleased songs “With All of My Heart”, “Yours for the Asking”, and “Let’s Talk It Over” , originally recorded for David Coverdale’s 2000 album “Into the Light”. Also from “Into The Light” are “Don’t You Cry”

Reb Beach

I’m a fan of his work with Winger first. The first three “Winger” albums are masterclasses in hard rock and heavy rock, with Reb decorating each song with enough licks and fills and riffs to enhance the song. He never overplayed, even when he was shredding or dive bombing.

Then I lost him for a while but he resurfaced with Dokken and the superb “Erase The Slate” album. A reunion with Winger happened and a spot with Whitesnake opened up. And on the last Whitesnake album, “Flesh and Blood”, Reb became a song writing partner to David Coverdale. So here we are, in 2020 with an instrumental album.

“Infinito 1122” is a cross between metal, rock and flamenco.

“The Way Home” has this jazzy Steely Dan feel with Reb working his way through the Mixolydian scale.

“Cutting Loose” feels like an amalgamation of Winger cuts and I like it and album closer “Sea Of Tranquillity” is another favorite.

Alter Bridge

They had show’s planned this year to promote “Walk The Sky” but Covid-19 put a stop to that and in order to keep the album alive, they updated it and re-released it in “Walk The Sky 2.0”.

It feels good to hear it again in 2020 like a new release.

You get the standard “Walk The Sky” album released in 2019 and a seven song EP with one new track and live tracks from the new album recorded at the start of 2020.

The new song, “Last Rites” was written during the original “Walk the Sky” recording sessions but it wasn’t fully finished as it didn’t fit the vibe of the album. Once lockdown happened, it provided a good opportunity to revisit it. And so should you.

Eternal Idol

On Frontiers. “Renaissance” is their second album and musically its metal with the synths bringing the symphonic element.

“Black Star” musically is brilliant and the Chorus is AOR. But, those verses don’t do the song justice moving between singing and operatic.

“Dark Eclipse” sounds like a cross between hard rock, Duran Duran’s “Come Undone”, The Cure and the bass riff from “No More Tears”.

Then there are songs which have some good sections, like the symphonic intro to “Without Fear” which has me armoured up and ready for combat.

Lords Of Black

From Spain and also on the Frontiers label. The album is called “Alchemy Of Souls, Pt. 1”.

Vocalist Ronnie Romero is really good. His style is a combination of various 70’s and 80’s singers like David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet. And if you’ve heard the recent Vandenberg album, you would have heard Romero.

Guitarist Tony Hernando is virtually unknown but man, this dude can write riffs and he can shred when its required and he can be emotive and melodic when its needed. Check out his guitar work on “Alchemy Of Souls”, “Brightest Star” and “Closer To Your Fall”.

“Dying To Live Again” has this intro which reminds me of “Back In The Village”. Then from the 30 second mark it moves into melodic metal territory. “Brightest Star” and “Closer To Your Fall” live in melodic metal territory.

Other songs like “Deliverance Lost”, “Sacrifice” and “Into The Black” live in the Malmsteen territory of “Trilogy”, “Marching Out” and “Odyssey” with Romero bringing out his JSS and JLT influences.

“Tides of Blood” sounds like a Blue Murder cut. Just think of the track “Cry For Love”.

“Alchemy Of Souls” is my favourite. It starts off with a flamenco style guitar riff. This takes up 1.40 of the 10 minute song. Then it’s a heavy rock, hard rock, there is a piano section at the 4.40 minute mark and so many other movements that I didn’t feel bored at all.

Wildness

From Sweden and on the AOR Heaven label.

The album cover looks like the 80’s “Wraith” movie cover. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it, just for the hard rock soundtrack and for Charlie Sheen coming back from the dead to avenge his death.

So this album is called “Ultimate Demise”.

“Call Of The Wild” is a short battle charged instrumental before “Die Young” explodes out of the speakers. Stick around for the lead breaks. They are worthy. “Nowhere Land” kicks off with a melodic rock lead which is common in the melodic rock bands from Sweden. The verse riffs are “Looks That Kill” worthy.

“Cold Words” has a massive chorus. And I like how the guitar riffs and synth riffs are locked in. And did I mention that the song has an outro lead break which is worthy?

“Renegades Of Love” has a lot of John Sykes/Jake E. Lee styles in the riffs and the synths remind me of Night Ranger. One of my favourites.

“Falling Into Pieces” sounds like a Scorpions track from the “Animal Magnetism” album with a bit of “7800 Fahrenheit” Jovi chucked in.

“Burning It Down” has a riff to melt the Sunset Strip. A combination of EVH, Warren DeMartini, Robin Crosby and Mick Mars with a bit of Bratta, Sambora and Beach chucked in. “My Hideaway” is back to that Euro-Melodic Rock vibe that so many bands from Sweden do. “Denial” is a derivative version of “Burning It Down”. “Borderline” feels like it came from a H.E.A.T album with a killer lead break. And the album closes with the title track, a piano Celtic influenced tune.

Part 3 coming up.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Eric Clapton

My Eric Clapton collection is down to just three releases. I didn’t feel the need to expand or get more or to be a completest with it.

On most occasions when I heard a track from Eric Clapton on TV or Radio, I was a fan. But when I sampled one of his albums in a record shop, I wasn’t prepared to part with my dollars as a lot of the other tracks just didn’t resonate. And then “The Cream Of Eric Clapton” came out. And finally I had a collection of the songs I liked.

The Cream of Eric Clapton

Released in 1987 but I picked it up a few years later.

“Layla” opens this collection and you can’t ask for a better track. Then his Cream output is wilted down to just 6 songs. “Badge” and “I Feel Free” are out of place on this list. “Sunshine Of Your Love” has that guitar store riff.

“Crossroads” is a song originally written by Robert Johnson in 1936 and the most popular version of it is by Cream. It was the first single of their “Wheels of Fire” record in 1968. “Strange Brew” is basically a slower re-write of “Crossroads”.

And then there is “White Room”. My favourite Cream track. That intro, the verses and the psychedelic bridge which acts like a Chorus.

From his solo output, his covers of previous songs stand out, like “Cocaine”, “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Knockin On Heaven’s Door”. And of course, there is “Wonderful Tonight”.

From a sales point of view, this little greatest hits collection, went Gold in Canada, France and Switzerland, Platinum in Australia and New Zealand, Platinum x2 in the U.S and Platinum x3 in the UK.

Unplugged

Released in 1992. 

It’s basically an acoustic blues album. This is Clapton showing his Robert Johnson roots by re-imagining his songs in the style of Johnson’s blues.

And it became a monster of an album on the back of “Tears In Heaven” and his re-imagined acoustic interpretation of “Layla”. But you need to also check out “Old Love”, “Running On Faith”, “Walkin Blues” and “Before You Accuse Me”. The acoustic versions of these songs are pretty definitive. 

Me and Mr Johnson

Released in 2004 as a tribute to Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson.

Put simply, the music that Clapton became famous for has a lot of Johnson in it.

Press play, have a drink or two or three and listen to the blues.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

November 2020 – Part 1

A lot of music has been released in November so far. So here we go with my review of it.

Black Stone Cherry

I have a bias towards BSC, so it’s not surprise they lead off my November posts of new releases.

“The Human Condition” is the album. They are like my modern day heavy rock ZZ Top.

“The Chain” grooves its way through until the solo section riff kicks in and the speed picks up. “Ringin’ In My Head” and “Again” flow into each other, catchy and groovy tracks that remain ringing in my head after they’ve finished.

“When Angels Learn To Fly” is a bit removed from their blues rock and more in Shinedown like territory. And one of my favourite tracks on the album.

As soon as the intro lead break starts for “In Love With The Pain” I was all in.

“Ride” sounds like it came from the Sunset Strip. “Don’t Bring Me Down” is a cover from ELO and it works perfectly.

System Of A Down

“Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” is SOAD’s response to Azerbaijan and Turkey’s bombing of an Armenian settlement inside Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh which the Armenians call Artsakh.

All of the SOAD members are from Armenian ancestries and this conflict has gotten the band to write and record new music.

At it its highest level, it’s a conflict based on religious divides first. Armenia is Christian and Azerbaijan is Islam.

From 1988 to 1994, the original war broke out, with the area being liberated into Armenian hands. But in Europe, these kind of small liberations are rarely forgotten by the losing side. Clashes have occurred throughout the years, from 2008 onwards and in 2020, it escalated again.

“Protect The Land” is a tribute to the soldiers and people of Artsakh who are risking their lives to protect their homes.

Orianthi

“O” is the new album.

It’s on Frontiers.

I read ten reviews of the album and all of them hated it. One review even went to town on how the marketing team are promoting Orianthi, and they used an image from one of the music videos of her slithering on a bed in undies and all that.

For me, it’s great to see Orianthi back out on her own.

And from the outset, “Contagious” gets me rocking, a cross between blues rock and a bit of Muse chucked in. “Sinners Hymn” is a nice amalgamation of the devils blues music with modern rock to create a sinners anthem. “Sorry” is a contemporary pop song.

“Crawling Out Of The Dark” is on acoustic, it’s quite, subdued and melancholic.

“Streams Of Consciousness” is a co-write with Nikki Sixx and Marti Frederiksen. Country rock at its best. And then there is a track like “Company” which has blues guitar but the background foundation is very synth driven. And a chorus that would not be out of place on an album from “The Cure”. “Moonwalker” has got this Latin vibe.

In other words there is a lot of variation here and a little bit for everyone.

Fates Warning

On Metal Blade Records.

One of the first progressive metal bands I got into. For a prog band to succeed there has to be a song. If there isn’t a song, then all of the flash and technical interludes over complex time changes means nothing. Jim Matheos can craft a song and he doesn’t need to create complex interludes with millions of notes. Sometimes an atmospheric mood or groove is enough.

“Long Day Good Night” is their newest album and they’ve been on form since their comeback 5 years ago after a long hiatus.

“The Destination Onward” percolates for the first few minutes as it builds into a rocker. “Shuttered World” and “Alone We Walk” establish grooves and move on with em. This is as straight forward as Fates Warning get. “The Way Home” builds for 4 minutes before the band smashes in and rocks their way for another three or so minutes.

“Glass Houses” brings the prog metal that Fates Warning is known for.

The piece d’resistance is “Longest Shadow of the Day”. At the start it combines a King Crimson like progression with flamenco style guitars and a bass solo. And as the song percolates and builds, its fusion of styles clash into the Fates Warning style, I like. And this happens around the 3 minute mark.

At 5 and a half minutes, it all quietens down with some mournful arpeggios and it’s time for Ray Alder’s voice to shine.

Then at 8.42, Joey Vera takes over with a bass riff that makes me want to take up bass. Drummer, Bobby Jarzombek also shines, with Matheos and new guitarist, Michael Adbow decorating.

And did I mention it has a great guitar solo as well?

It does.

And for those Armored Saint fans, bassist Joey Vera has been doing work with Fates Warning since 2000 and he’s still rocking and progging away with em.

Jeff Scott Soto

Otherwise known as JSS from here on in. One of my favourite rock voices when it comes to melodic rock, and I am also digging the work he’s doing with Sons Of Apollo.

The album “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” kicks off in melodic rock style with “Someone To Love”. From the opening intro lead, I am hooked. “Mystified” is more L.A Sunset Strip than Euro Melodic Metal with a shred-a-licious solo.

“Love’s Blind” rocks in the intro and verses. The Chorus is a bit clichéd but hey JSS has a lot of goodwill in my book, so it doesn’t really detract.

“Without You” is one of those Euro like ballads that borders on classical music. Listening to it, I’m hearing, Zep, Bruce Dickinson, ELO and Swedish acts like Roxette and ABBA.

“Paper Wings” has guitar work that reminds me of the work that JSS did with Malmsteen and is an instant favourite for me. I know that Malmsteen has dissed JSS in the press, but Malmsteen is known as a revisionist and whatever he says doesn’t diminish the work that JSS did with him, especially on the excellent “Marching Out”.

Album closer “Desperate” also captures that 80’s metal vibe that I like.

Part 2 is coming up.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – AC/DC

Summer is a few days away in the Southern Hemisphere, but since we are experiencing a heatwave write now with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s Celsius (between 100 and 107 Fahrenheit), so it’s time to start the Summertime Series.

So how did this come about?

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August. Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere. So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

And all the acts will be Australian acts.

So based on the high temperatures we are experiencing, lets kick off with a dynamite of an album.

AC/DC – TNT

Released 1 December 1975.

In the 80’s this became my go to record and because of its December release in the 70’s, it was played a fair bit on the various radio stations in the 80s.

It was originally released by Albert Productions in Australia and in some other parts of the world. It was also released in the same year as “High Voltage” the Australian version.

However when Atlantic Records signed the band, they more or less killed the “TNT” and “High Voltage” Australian albums. From “TNT”, they took all the songs they wanted except for “Rocker” and “School Days” and released them on “High Voltage”, which is AC/DC’s first international release on Atlantic Records in May 1976.

From the Australian, “High Voltage” album, the label, took “She’s Got Balls” and “Little Lover”. The other tracks like “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Soul Stripper”, “You Ain’t Got a Hold On Me” and “Show Business” were later released on ’74 Jailbreak in 1984 much to the disgust of Malcolm Young. “Stick Around” and “Love Song” got an international release on “Backtracks”

Producing the”TNT” album is George Young and Harry Vanda from The Easybeats. George of course is the older brother of guitarists Malcolm Young and Angus Young and he also played a large part in constructing the songs. An uncredited co-writer with his bro’s.

The bass player on the album is Mark Evans. He did his own concert tribute series to his time with AC/DC in Australia in the early 2000’s with guest vocalists from Australian rock bands. It was probably the next best thing to watching AC/DC live.

The three big ones are “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”, “High Voltage” and “TNT”. “High Voltage” has that A – C – D – C chord progression for the Chorus. A cool little Angus Young nugget. And “TNT” has a similar progression but in E – G – A – G.

But it’s those other derivative album tracks that hooked me.

Like “Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer”. Musically it’s a derivative version of “Long Way To The Top”. Even the story line in the lyrics is derivative of “Long Way To The Top”.

My daddy was working nine to five when my momma was having me.

By the time I was half alive I knew what I was gonna be.

I left school and grew my hair, they didn’t understand, they wanted me to be respected as a doctor or a lawyer man, but I had other plans.

Gonna be a rock and roll singer.

And then it changes with “The Jack”. A foot stomping dirgey 12 bar blues romp, about a sexually transmitted disease told like a card game. Because how was Bon Scott to know that his lady friend had been dealt with before, as she said to him she never had a full house. I guess that was all lies, because she had the card that would bring him down.

It’s brilliant.

“Live Wire” has all the bits and pieces of songs that would come later. “Who Made Who” is there. “Touch Too Much” is there. “You Shook Me All Night Long” is there. “Whole Lotta Rosie” is there. And of course, “Dirty Deeds” is there.

The lead break from Angus, is one of my favourites here. It has so many different techniques and styles all in one cohesive solo.

And Bon Scott was rivalling Gene Simmons in the lyrical department, with “like a hot rod baby, stick this in your fuse box”.

“Rocker” is a 3 minute “Baby Please Don’t Go” on steroids.

“Can I Sit Next to You Girl” has this groove that I call the “Status Quo” groove.

And those little riff fills in the verses.

How good are they?

“School Days” is a Chuck Berry cover. And when you hear the riff, you can appreciate how the Young brothers took all of their different influences and created their Aussie Pub Rock song. Because the main riff in “School Days” can be interchanged with “Long Way To The Top” and it wouldn’t be out of place.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Kelly Clarkson

Breakaway

It was the Evanescence connection.

Ben Moody and David Hodges co-wrote quite a few songs with Amy Lee for the “Fallen” album and they also co-wrote “Addicted” and “Because Of You” with Clarkson.

So I was interested to hear. And of course, Ben Moody was also the original guitarist and co-founder of Evanescence.

I still would have picked it up, because the album was huge in Australia, certified 7x Platinum,.

Apart from Moody and Hodges, it’s a who’s who of songwriters. All of them different and diverse, yet it sounds like one cohesive pop rock album. Max Martin, Dr Luke, Avril Lavigne and John Shanks are just some that come to mind.

The Max Martin and Dr Luke penned “Since U Been Gone” proved to be a massive hit. And they backed it up again with “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, a co-write this time with Clarkson.

And the Clarkson, Hodges and Moody cuts “Because of You” and “Addicted” do not disappoint at all.

My December

Then came “My December”, 3 years later and the powerful “Never Again” blasts out of the speakers with her Alanis inspired lyrics.

But it didn’t get the same numbers as “Breakaway” in Australia. This was Clarkson being a singer and a songwriter. Even a proposed offer of $10 million from label boss Clive Davis, to remove 5 songs from the album and replace those songs with more radio friendly pop songs from Max Martin, couldn’t get Clarkson to bite.

This album was personal.

Because when you write about your experiences, its therapeutic, it keeps you sane and it satisfies a need.

Check out the other tracks like “Sober”, “Judas”, “Haunted”, “Maybe” and album closer “Irvine”.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

October 2020 – Part 5

Here is the final post from the October releases.

Atreyu

“Save Us” has a monster riff. It’s simple but heavy.

Whose side will you align with?
Will you just stay silent?
Riot, riot
We won’t stand in a line compliant
Time for your fire
It’s time for the riot

And the lyrics are angry.

While the internet has connected us, we stand divided in our political views. A lot of people will let discrimination slide as long as their bank account balance keeps ticking up and leaders play on that. This is what the band said recently;

“This song feels like the anthem that we all need right now. To us, it’s a call to action to light the fire in ourselves. We can begin to make great change – but only if we look inside first.”

Saul

From Iowa, U.S.

Formed in 2007, they released a few EP’s and “Rise As Equals” is their label debut on Spinefarm (a Finnish label which specialises in heavy metal and hard rock). They are made up of vocalist Blake Bedsaul, guitarist/backing vocalist Zach Bedsaul, bassist/backing vocalist William McIlravy, and drummer Myles Clayborne.

Saul is one of those bands that merge all these different kind of metals into one metal. Old school metal + Nu metal + progressive metal + grunge + hard rock = Saul. They are doing Disturbed better than Disturbed is right now. Hell, they even got David Draiman to write with them over Zoom on “King Of Misery”.

My favourites today are “Looking To Fight”, “King Of Misery”, “Get It Right” and “The Toll”. Plus there is an excellent cover of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine”.

And the album is good. Other songs like “Levee”, “Rise As Equals”, “Brother” and “Trial By Fire” take over depending on my mood.

Joe Bonamassa

He’s been releasing a lot of new music these last few years. “Royal Tea” is the latest.

“When One Door Opens” starts, the intro riff grabs me and in the solo section it moves to bolero hard rock. Aggressive bolero hard rock, that is.

“Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye” is a favourite, a song I’ve already written about. “Lookout Man!” has a swampy heavy blues riff. “A Conversation With Alice” sound like a Bad Company cut and I like it. “Beyond The Silence” has this Cowboy Western colonial vibe.

Pearl Jam

The “Live MTV Unplugged” album.

“Black” and “Jeremy” are my favourite tracks ever from Pearl Jam and my go to tracks on the “Unplugged” album.

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott has been dead for 34 years, but the music he created with Thin Lizzy has been kept alive.

Apart from the songs appearing on radio and TV shows or movies, John Sykes kept the name alive for a good decade, touring as Thin Lizzy, then Thin Lizzy reformed with Ricky Warwick on vocals and they changed their name to Black Star Riders.

And artists have kept on covering Lizzy tracks. Metallica did “Whiskey In The Jar”, Megadeth did “Cold Sweat”, Europe and John Norum have covered a lot of Lizzy songs.

And they have released a massive collection called “Rock Legends”. The “Decca Era and Mauger Tape Rarities” is also included in the “Rock Legends” set.

Sink your ears into em and spend some time with Lizzy. She will love ya for it.

Standard