By mid-eighties, hard rock was king. White Lion, who were on Atlantic, was huge, and then they disappeared.
You see after “Pride” broke through, Bratta and Tramp tried to duplicate it’s success. And it didn’t happen.
Somewhere the formula and mindsets that wrote “Pride” was lost. As a fan, I have a lot of respect for “Big Game” and “Mane Attraction”. In my mind they are better albums than “Pride”, however “Pride” had the songs that crossed over in “Wait” and “When The Children Cry”. It’s a debate that can be had over and over again. Which album is better?
In ’87 and ’88 you could not escape the band’s music. It started with “Wait”, which dominated rock radio and MTV for a while and then came “When The Children Cry”. It all seemed so DERIVATIVE! But I was interested in the band because of what Bratta did musically with those two songs.
And I was surprised at how much head banging music was on “Pride” after I purchased it. Like “Lady In The Valley”. At 6 minutes and 36 seconds. The B-side to the hit single, “When The Children Cry”.
Vito Bratta is more famous for “Wait,” but this song is as great. It’s a great live song. Musically, it is one of my favourite cuts from Vito Bratta. It is a metal tour de force. Once again, it’s about the feel, completely different from the work of the Eighties glam acts and if you don’t know this song, stay the full 5 minutes and enjoy.
0.00 to 0.13
The pedal point D note over a D5 power chord and embellished with a legato hammer on and pull off lick, is brilliant. As a guitarist, there is always so much to learn from studying the way Vito applied his abilities to the song. Each riff of his was unique due to decorating each passage with palm muted arpeggios, legato pull offs and hammer on or just plain old alternate picking/tapping.
0.13 to 0.46
The intro transitions into a power chord groove with a simple and sing along lead break.
He basically took the live playing from Randy Rhoads on the “Tribute” album and blended it in with all of his other influences to come up with something unique. I never saw Vito as a Van Halen clone. I saw Vito as Vito, taking the best of his influences and making something unique out of it. Sort of like how Steve Jobs did with his Apple products.
0.46 to 2.08
Dm, C, F, Gm
The acoustic guitar is so simple, anybody could write it and play it. The way Bratta plays it and phrases the arpeggio, it’s so HYPNOTIC!. That’s the difference between good and great.
Lyrically, only Tramp knows of the mystical message he is trying to convey. Is he talking about “Lady Mary” or the lady of the lake from the King Arthur stories, or just a lady of the valley that he knew.
There is a distorted like Pre-Chorus that comes in and then it’s back to the verse again.
2.09 to 2.33
Dm – C – B flat – F – C
And then comes the change back to the Intro that nobody does anymore. Then it goes into a lead break.
At 3.44 the song transitions into the ballad feel of the verses. But this time, when Vito kicks in with the lead break at the 4.40 mark, you need more. And more comes in. It gets louder, there’s another guitar and the song builds up.
Then it drops again at 5.12. Vito plays the Chorus riff, this time with an acoustic guitar.
At 5.26, there is silence for a second and the whole band comes in, distortion kicks in and the chorus is played with a new intensity.
“In the night I cry to the lady of the valley”
The repetition of the vocal line with the backing vocals, you cannot help but sing along.
The way “Lady In The Valley” moves from section to section, makes you sit up and give it your complete attention. It’s not something that plays in the background and can be ignored.
After hearing this song, i was asking the question, how can I get my hands on a song transcription to learn his leads. This was an era where we had to buy to learn, where knowledge was locked behind payment mechanisms.
“Lady In The Valley” sounds so different from what people play today.