Supertramp – Brother Where You Bound
Album number 8. It’s also the first album without original member Roger Hodgson, which left Rick Davies as the main songwriter and singer.
According to A&M Records, the album went Gold, but the RIAA hasn’t certified it as yet.
The glory days of the band were behind them.
And then I heard “Brother Where You Bound”, the title track. At 16 minutes and 30 seconds long, it’s a tour de force, with Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham on rhythm guitar and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on the guitar solos.
During the intro, there is an ominous keyboard synth droning while politician speeches are intermixed with readings from George Orwell’s “1984”.
Its self-indulgent in some sections, it reminds me of ELP, The Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd and other jazz rock fusion artists. But a ballsy move, regardless.
King Kobra – Ready To Strike
I always saw the ads for King Kobra but my finances limited my purchases. So in the 2000’s I finally listened to the full albums from em.
King Kobra are Mark Free (now known as Marcie Free) on vocals, David Michael-Philips and Mick Sweda on guitar, Johnny Rod on bass and Carmine Appice on drums.
“Ready To Strike” opens the album with mournful arpeggios and a classical inspired guitar solo before it kicks in to a head banging riff.
“Hunger” is a Kick Axe song.
How good is the intro?
Free starts his chant while the toms and guitars are in synchronicity. It reminds me of the “Rock Star” movie with Mark Wahlberg.
“Shake Up” has a similar intro to “Hunger” but that’s about it. This one is a melodic rock cut, virtually unknown. Carmine Appice’s drumming is thunderous in the intro and his rolls between bars are perfect.
“Breakin’ Out” reminds me of Y&T. Its high energy and the drumming of Appice in the verses has this “Radar Love” shuffle, which Tommy Lee also used in “Kick Start My Heart” a few years later.
One thing about King Kobra that would have worked against em is their choice of song titles.
“Tough Guys” is a perfect example.
Musically and melodically the song is excellent, but the title is terrible and the lyrics about “the world’s greatest lie being that tough guys don’t cry” are a miss.
“Second Thoughts” is typical of the melodic rock being played during this period. Think of “Tears Are Falling” from Kiss.
Raven – Stay Hard
They stormed the U.S a few years earlier and then watched all the bands who opened for them get bigger, while they stayed within their cult audience.
So album number 4 is also their first for Atlantic.
“On And On” is excellent musically and “Restless Child” sounds like an UFO cut. These two cuts stand out because they have this mainstream feel to them which I like.
Instrumental closer “The Bottom Line” has the riffs and little melodic leads, but the horn section was a bad idea.
The writing was on the wall.
Rough Cutt – Rough Cutt
This band was more famous for the members who departed it and the management team of Ronnie James Dio and Wendy Dio than their music.
In version 1, they had Jake E Lee on guitars and Claude Schnell on keyboards. Well, Lee would join Ozzy and Schnell would join Dio.
Version 2 had Craig Goldy on guitars and Chris Hager joined from Ratt. Well, Goldy would take the spot left vacant by Vivian Campbell in Dio.
And finally they had enough stability, a record deal and their debut album.
Produced by Tom Allom. If you own a Judas Priest album, you will know who he is.
“Take Her” had a committee of songwriters in Chris Hager, bassist Matt Thorr, vocalist Paul Shortino, drummer Dave Alford, previous guitarist Craig Goldy and Ronnie James Dio.
There is a misplaced cover of “Piece of My Heart”.
There is another cover called “Never Gonna Die” from Australian band, The Choirboys, who had a hit with it in Australia. Shortino misses the energy that Gable brings to it.
“Dreamin’ Again” sounds a lot like a Dio cut from “The Last In Line” album. This one is written by Alford, Hager, Thorr, Shortino and Wendy Dio. It moves between a slower tempo acoustic verse into a distorted Chorus with harmony vocals. The lead break is also guitar hero worthy. It has melody, shred, harmonies and pentatonic lines.
“Black Widow” opens up Side 2. Its written by Amir Derakh, Alford, Thorr, Shortino and W. Dio. I can’t stress how much this sounds like a Dio cut. The feel and tempo is slow driving, the way Dio likes it. The song title is overused and it doesn’t do the music justice.
Actually overused rock titles became a big problem for rock and metal bands.
Like “Kids Will Rock”. The title has been used before, and they even borrowed from “The Kids Are Back”.
Then you have song titles like “You Keep Breaking My Heart” “Dressed to Kill” and “She’s Too Hott”.
It’s probably a good reason why albums like “Slippery When Wet”, “Appetite For Destruction”, “Hysteria”, “Dr Feelgood” and the Black album, broke out in a big way, with the main singles having titles unique enough to separate them from the generic.
Amir Derakh on guitars has a few song writing credits and he is the one who had a pretty interesting career. While most of his guitar contemporaries had retired in the 90’s, Amir was the guitar synthesizer player in the rock band Orgy.
Coney Hatch – Friction
It’s not on Spotify, which is a pain as the album is solid and a great piece of melodic hard rock.
They were on Mercury/Polygram.
Bon Jovi hadn’t broken big yet, but when they did break big in under a year, the label would put the rest of their roster on the backburner.
How good is that pulsing bass riff on “This Aint Love”?
It lays the foundation for whatever riff the guitarists wanted to do and to be honest it wouldn’t be out of place on an AC/DC album.
“She’s Gone” is pure AOR Melodic rock and I like it, especially that small lead break after the Chorus. Even the main lead break is pretty cool.
“Wrong Side Of Town” reminds me of an Y&T cut and god damn, the bass is prominent and pulsing on this song as well.
How catchy is the guitar riff to “Girl From Last Night’s Dream”?
And give the solo section a listen as well.
“Coming To Get You” has a 10 second intro that reminds me of “Dog Eat Dog” from AC/DC before it moves into a more generic Zeppelin like riff.
Then there is “Fantasy”, another melodic rock riff which is memorable.
“He’s A Champion” brings back the hard rock edge of the opening song “This Ain’t Love”. This time the riff reminds me of “In The City” from Joe Walsh.
“State Line” and “Burning Love” close off the album. One is a fast rocker and the closer is a hard rocker with a melodic rock chorus.
Such a good album and virtually unknown in Australia.
Since 1977 is done and dusted, back to 2000 for Part 11.