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

The Record Vault – Badlands

I haven’t heard these albums in ages and they are not on Spotify.

I saw a video on YouTube about how Eddie Trunk thinks the reason for their absence is due to what Ray Gillen did.

In relation to what Ray Gillen did, there are a lot of forums which state that Ray Gillen was in a relationship with the daughter of one of the CEO’s at Atlantic Records and she contracted AIDS from him because he kept it secret and the father of the daughter vowed to bury anything Ray Gillen did, in any way he could.

Here is a post from the past I did on the self titled debut.

“High Wire” and “ Dreams In The Dark” are a knockout 1 and 2 punch. That bluesy intro from Jake E Lee, is pure guitar heaven. And that metal like riff in “Dreams In The Dark” before the solo and during the solo makes me want to play air guitar.

When you have been fired from a gig, your next gig is so important that you prove to yourself, what a mistake they made. And Jake, proved it.

So what came first, “Jades Song” or “Silent Lucidity” from Queensryche, as the intros of both songs are pretty similar?

“Winter’s Call” is one of the best Led Zep cuts from the 80’s which wasn’t written by Led Zep. It was that good, Lenny Wolf cried, because he wasn’t the one who thought to write it.

“Dancing On The Edge” has got this “Friday On My Mind” vibe in the intro, but once the band comes in, it becomes its own monster.

“Streets Cry Freedom” has the catchcry of “until the day I die, these streets cry freedom” and teenagers are at the forefront of these cries, demonstrating against gun violence, calling for gun control and demonstrating in the name of climate change. And the people in power, laugh, disregard, call the youth names and basically ignore their voices. But history has shown, the voices of many win in the end.

And you don’t see adults demonstrating, who are too comfortable in their lives, their devices, their jobs and houses to care. Even when the GFC hit, it was still relatively quiet on the demonstration front, even though people lost their jobs, their money and their houses. Some people even took their lives and a lot of people lost their relationships.

“Hard Driver” brings back memories of Deep Purple, ala “Speed King” and “Highway Star” while “Rumblin Train” sounds like an old rattler as Jake E Lee foot stomps his way all over the song. “Seasons” is one of those songs that sounds like other songs, but it also has enough of its own uniqueness to stand on its own.

And I can’t find my LP. It is one of many which have been lost in the various house moves.

Nor can I find my “Voodoo Highway” LP.

But I did find the CD.

And there is no big name producer this time around as Jake E Lee took control at the boards and depending on which story you believe, sealed the end of the band.

Regardless, there is no denying the power of “The Last Time” from its clean tone swampy arpeggio intro which morphs into a distorted open string riff as good as any of his riffs. And if you are not hooked by now, the lead break which brings back memories of “Bark At The Moon” would seal the deal.

Lyrically the song is about a broken heart (nothing really earth shattering) however the vocal performance by Ray Gillen is also top-notch.

“Show Me The Way” brings back memories of the Creedance Clearwater songs I used to learn. And “Shine On” seals the triple combo knockout. Listen to the lead break.

And just as I was getting up from the floor, “Whiskey Dust” floored me again. The way the intro builds into the riff, it’s got this 70’s vibe merged with a lot of Van Halen’isms. And the song is basically a 12 bar blues, but it sounds more complex.

Again the lead break hooks me in, with its slide guitar licks, open string riffs and bluesy pentatonic lines. And there is a small section after the lead break when it’s just drums and bass. Then the vocals come in, and Jake starts to play some bluesy licks and slides to decorate the verses, as it slowly builds into the Chorus. This is people in their prime, on form and ready to take on the world.  

“Joe’s Blues” is typical blues fare, even Van Halen did a song with a very similar ascending blues riff called “Ice Cream Man”.

“Soul Stealer” is a rewrite of “High Wire” which is good enough to stand on its own. “3 Day Funk” feels like a 3 day hangover. Crank it and chill.

And what came first, the intro riff in “Are You Gonna Go My Way” or the intro riff in “Silver Horses”?

Of course, Atlantic wanted hits and the album didn’t deliver in that department.

To me it sounded like Badlands was building the beast, so that the band could have a career. But they splintered on stage during the “Voodoo Highway” tour, and of course Ray Gillen passed away. However I believe, the band would have survived the change in the mainstream recording business because of their focus on the blues and the blend between blues, rock and metal.

And an album called “Dusk” was released towards the end of 90’s, marketed as rehearsal demos from a possible third album, however I never really bit into it, because I didn’t feel that the quality control was high.

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