Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Michael Bolton

I only own one 7 inch single from Michael Bolton. And that single is “How Am I Supposed TonLive Without You”. His biggest hit.

But Bolton had this song written (with Doug James) a few years before. Air Supply wanted to record it, but they wanted to change some of the lyrics. Bolton refused and Laura Branigan recorded it in 1983, released it on her “2” album and it was a hit in the U.S.

Six years later it became a worldwide number 1 hit.

But, I didn’t buy the single for the A side.

On the B Side, there is a song called “Forever Eyes”. It’s co-written with Bob Halligan Jr and it was cut from the “Soul Provider”. If you own some albums from Kix, Judas Priest, Kiss or Icon, then the Bob Halligan Jr name is well known.

The “Soul Provider”, Wikipedia page also has Bob Dylan listed as a songwriter for this song but he’s not mentioned on the single.

And I was curious how this track sounded.

It’s basically AOR Melodic Rock. The guitar solo reminds me of Steve Lukather, but it’s hard to tell if it’s him as the album also had Dan Huff, Michael Landau, John McCurry and Chris Camozzi on guitars, across different songs.

Bolton’s earlier albums rocked and Bolton did shred once upon a time. But the labels always saw him as a songwriter for other artists. Up until “Soul Provider”.

This album changed everything.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Callisto and Coma Lies

I don’t really remember much about these. I took a chance from a 3 for $10 bin many years ago.

“True Nature Unfolds” from Callisto was released in 2004. “A Churchwell Killing” from Coma Lies was released in 2007.

Both had screaming vocals and Callisto was very doom sludge metal. Looking at the CD inserts Callisto is from Finland and Coma Lies from Australia.

Basically I played em once, skipped a lot of tracks and never played em again.

Cant win em all.

If anyone knows more about these bands, please let us know.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – The Classic Experience

I purchased it for “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff.

That song became a part of my life from two distinct events.

The movie “Excalibur” which came out in the early 80’s, when Arthur and his Knights start their final ride into battle is one event. It plays then and the memory of it still remains with me, 35 plus years later.

And from the opening to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Randy Rhoads Tribute” album. The song plays, the band comes out, Ozzy tells the crowd “they look beautiful” and then “I Don’t Know” cranks in.

This is also one of those CD’s I purchased between 2002 and 2006 that had the Copy Control software on it. The system was intended to prevent “ripping” from the protected discs, and limit the file sharing of ripped music.

But Copy Control discs cannot properly be referred to as CDs because the system introduces incompatible data, making the discs non-compliant with the universal standard for audio CDs.

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

The Record Vault And Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Candy Harlots

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” with the great act “The Record Vault” opening up.

“Five Wicked Ways” the debut album from Candy Harlots finally came out in May 1992 after a long 5 years of trying to get a record deal.

Candy Harlots started in 1987 in Sydney by guitarist Ron Barrett, drummer Tony Cardinal, vocalist Mark Easton and bass guitarist Nick Szentkuti. Guitarist Marc De Hugar joined soon after.

Szentkuti was replaced by Scott Millard and then Leeno Dee. The addition of Dee on bass also gave them another songwriter on top of Easton and Barrett.

The band eventually got a record deal from Virgin Records after three shows but their manager turned it down.

And the guys couldn’t sign the contract themselves because their management deal didn’t allow them to do it without their manager approving it.

In between bad management decisions they still wrote and toured. They opened up for The Cult, Cheap Trick, DAD, Kings Of The Sun and The Angels.

But they still couldn’t get a major deal apart from the Virgin deal. So they released their debut 7″ single Red Hot Rocket in April 1989 on a small indie label.

A follow-up single entitled Danger (backed with Wrap 2 Arms) was released in May 1990.

They jammed and partied with members of Skid Row and Motley Crue.

Then tragedy struck.

In October 1990, founding guitarist Ron Barrett died after an asthma attack, at the age of 26.

Peter Masi was recruited. But the changes didn’t end here.

In February, 1991, guitarist Marc De Hugar was replaced by Phil Bowley.

And a month later, vocalist Mark Easton left after a final performance with Candy Harlots. The only founding member left at this point is drummer Tony Cardinal.

New vocalist Tony ‘Aiz’ Lynch joined the band soon afterwards. By now their management deal had also expired. And Virgin Records came knocking again and signed the band.

The Lynch-led line-up received greater media attention than the Easton-fronted group, and they remained popular with the Australian hard rock and heavy metal fraternity, gaining many new fans through Virgin-backed promotional activities.

In 1991, the “Danger” single got re-recorded and released with the new version of the band. I purchased the cassette single and CD single.

“The Tease Tapes” also came out in 1991 as a promotional release with “Hot Metal” magazine, to promote the upcoming album which was scheduled to be released in October.

But October came and went and still no album.

Then at the start of 1992, the “Foreplay” EP came out, which would have three songs from the album plus a cover from The Kinks.

And finally in May 1992, “Five Wicked Ways” came out.

The Candy Harlots had the LA sleaze of Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Ratt and Poison. They could be like Skid Row, AC/DC and Kiss when they wanted to be.

“Backstreet Boys” kicks off the album with its AC/DC riffs. “Sister’s Crazy” is more grown up, a modern sounding pop song about the whole “Fallen Angel” and “Runaway” story.

“Danger” is back and its a melodic rock anthem. “Cheat On Me” is typical hard rock with a bit of punk sleaze.

My favorite is “Where No One Dares”. It’s a slow rock song with excellent guitar playing.

“My Flame” starts off with a pulsing bass riff and a bluesy riff that would make Georgie Satellites proud.

“The Lady Shakes” has Cardinal beating those drums to kick off the song before a bass riff kicks in that reminds me of Rachel Bolan.

“Wrap 2 Arms” is a Ron Barrett cut and its resurrected here, which is a good tribute to their founding guitarist. It’s sleazy and dripping with melted rock along with “The Wildest Way”.

Then the big Aiz Lynch penned “What Are We Fighting For” comes in at track 10 and so far it’s all killer and no filler.

“Mercenary Baby” is funky and rock like. “The Other Side Of Love” feels like a Dokken cut and the album is rounded with an acoustic “Devils Blues”.

And they released a few singles from the album in “Sister’s Crazy” and “What Are We Fighting For” with extra unreleased tracks and cover songs.

Like an AC/DC cover in “Can I Sit Next To You Girl”.

And then Aiz Lynch was fired.

The band got new singers, changed their name and then it ended.

But that small output is as good as any of the big bands.

Check em out.

And all the best in the New Year.

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

2020 Summary

This is it, the final wrap up from the thousands of words written in 2020. Here are the stand out albums for each month.

January
Storm Force – Age Of Fear

February
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic

March
Harem Scarem – Change The World

April
Trivium – What The Dead Men Say

May
Vandenberg – 2020

June
Protest The Hero – Palimpsest

July
Bush – The Kingdom
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?

August
John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

September
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium

October
Smith And Myers – Volume 1 and Volume 2

November
AC/DC – PWR UP

And here is a “best of” list of stand alone single releases.

January
Free Spirits Rising – “I Would Love To Rock The World”

February
Machine Head – “Circle The Drain”
Royal Bliss – “Feeling Whitney”

March
Collateral – “Mr Big Shot”

April
Free Spirits Rising – “Moon Of Forever”
Spoken – “Awaken Me”

May
Dee Snider – “Prove Me Wrong”
Shinedown – “Atlas Falls”

June
Free Spirits Rising – “Landing In Heaven”

July
Night Demon – “Vysteria”

August
Daughtry – “World On Fire”

September
Rise Against – “Broken Dreams Inc.”

October
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Impossible”

November
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Paper Moon”
Machine Head – “My Hands Are Empty”
Protest The Hero – “Protect The Land”

Enjoy.

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

Best Of November 2020

November had eight posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

For single song releases, System Of A Down released “Protect The Land” and “Genocidal Humanoidz” as their response to Azerbaijan and Turkey’s bombing of an Armenian settlement inside Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Armenians call Artsakh.

The Night Flight Orchestra released their retro classic rock Christmas song in “Paper Moon”.

Machine Head released “My Hands Are Empty”.

And a lot of artists dropped new albums in November.

Stan Bush dropped “Dare To Dream”. If you like the 80s you will like this.

Black Stone Cherry took their modern day heavy blues rock and gave us “The Human Condition”.

Firekind is a three piece band from England and “What I Have Found Is Already Lost” is the album. They move between “genres”. There are classic rockers, modern rockers, pop songs, progressive rock songs, acoustic songs and so much more on this album.

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

Iron Maiden released “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.

Sole Syndicate is a hard rock band from Sweden. “Last Days Of Eden” is their second album, and the traditional heavy metal like Rainbow, Scorpions and Judas Priest come to mind.

Fates Warning is 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 mean 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.

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.

Chris Stapleton released a 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”.

And the album which reigned supreme for me in November is from 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, and it pushed their album into number 1 with decent sales.

“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 what’s left of 2020 and rock on.

Check it out. If you haven’t already.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Best Of October 2020

October had five posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

For single song releases, The Night Flight Orchestra did great with “Impossible” and “Reach Out”, released as a single. As soon as the rock, funk, disco feel of “Impossible” kicks in, I’m hooked.

The Night Flight Orchestra and Soilwork, go hand in hand. While TNFO is melodic AOR, Soilwork is melodic death metal. Both bands share the same creative forces in vocalist Bjorn Strid and guitarist David Andersson. So it’s no surprise that Soilwork also released a single.

“The Nothingness And The Devil” is the single from Soulwork and the main riff gets me interested to learn it.

Atreyu released “Save Us” as a stand alone song, which has a simple but heavy riff. And angry lyrics.

Ihsahn has come a long way from his black metal days with “Emperor”. His latest is “Pharos”, a five song EP. It has electronica, moody landscapes, atmospheric and distorted guitars.

Armored Saint surprised me with “Punching The Sky”. It’s what a metal album should sound like.

Teramaze released “I Wonder”, their seventh album of heavy rock anthems with progressive overtones.

Stardust is a melodic metal/rock act from Hungary. Their debut album is called “Highway To Heartbreak” on Frontiers. It quickly became a favorite because it reminds me of so many other artists. And each song has a killer guitar solo.

Atlas dropped “Parallel Love” and the song “Human Touch” made me fan.

Bon Jovi released 2020 and I reckon that “Blood In The Water” and “America Reckoning” will be around for a while.

But the album which reigned supreme for me in October is from Smith And Myers.

Brent Smith is one of the best rock singers going around. Shinedown is the main muse for Smith And Myers and in between, they get together and rock out acoustically.

It started off as a covers project based on fan requests for YouTube video releases and it has morphed into a full fledge original song project.

In 2020, we get “Volume 1” and “Volume 2”.

Check it out.

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

Best Of September 2020

As we got into the final months the releases started flowing out like a busted water pipe. All of those held up releases from when lockdown began, started to come out.

So September had seven posts on the new release front.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

For single song releases, Rise Against dropped “Broken Dreams, Inc.”.

They contributed the song to the “Dark Nights: Death Metal” Soundtrack, DC’s new Batman comic-book series. Another creative way to release songs with comic book culture.

The song deals with levelling the playing field for everyone to have a chance at achieving the American dream.

When we owe more than we’re worth
And they’re changing the locks on the doors

The banking industry got wealthy from selling debt.

How’s that for a career?

When the factories are automated
Broken dreams incorporated

Stryper released the Metal with “Even The Devil Believes”. Michael Sweet works hard, writing and recording new music via his many different projects but the project which is his bread and butter is Stryper.

It’s a return to their “Soldiers Under Command” sound from the 80’s and it showcases the influence of Judas Priest to their music.

Seether released “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”. The title translates from Latin to, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’.

Bad Juju from Melbourne, Australia released the excellent “You’re Not Alone” album.

Landfall from Brazil is a melodic rock band signed to Frontiers and this album was a big surprise. It brings back that feel-good 80’s vibe with the window down, driving 100km on the highway and the wind licking my face on my way to the city with hopes and dreams.

10 Years released “Violent Allies”, produced by Howard Benson.

Benson also produced the “Feeding The Wolves” album back in 2010. That album is a favourite of mine, but there is a portion of the fanbase that hates what Benson’s generic pop production did to 10 Years. But that’s the production I like.

And the album which reigned supreme for me in September is “Dead Elysium” from Vanishing Point.

I wrote about this album here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

In other words, check it out.

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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Roxus

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”.

Roxus already had a reputation for getting kicked off stages at venues around Sydney for saying the word “fuck” too many times and for female audience members exposing themselves.

It’s pretty tame compared to today’s standards but back then, bands played at venues that didn’t really accommodate their sound and crowd.

Formed in 1987, they got the attention of Aussie rock commentator, Ian (Molly) Meldrum, who signed them to his Melodian Records label.

The version of the band that I know as Roxus is Dragan Stanic on guitars, Darren Danielson on drums, John Nixon on bass, Juno Roxas on lead vocals and Andy Shanahan on keyboards.

Timing is everything.

In 1989, they released two 7 inch singles. The excellent “Stand Back” with “Spaghetti Wire” as the B-side and “Body Heat” with “Don’t Stop” as the B-side.

The two A side tracks quickly became melodic rock anthems, being played on music television stations around Australia.

They toured hard and supported Poison, Bon Jovi and Warrant.

All that experience accumulated in an EP release called “Live” in 1990, which raised questions as to how much of it was actually live. Then again, my favorite live albums all had studio overdubs.

Apart from “Body Heat” and “Stand Back”, two new songs appeared on “Live”. “That Girl” and another anthem called “Morning Light”

And they toured again and went to LA to write and record new songs for an album release.

Their first full length album “Nightstreet” came out in 1991. Produced by Mark Opitz who at the time was Australia’s version of Tom Werman. Opitz had hit albums with INXS, Cold Chisel, Angels and Noiseworks, just to name a few.

My favorite is “Rock N’ Roll Nights”. It’s a De Arrow cut, which guitarist Dragan Stanic brought to the band, along with “First Break Of My Heart” which is another favorite of mine. These two tracks have keys and riffs and are dripping in melodic rock cliches.

“Midnight Love” is another classic melodic rock song along with “My Way” which has a very Van Halen like vibe and of course “Stand Back” with that brilliant keys intro and the distortion that crashes in after.

While they loved their melodic rock, tracks like “Bad Boys” and “Night Street” would not be out of place on a Warrant or Skid Row album. More aggressive.

And then the ballads in “Jimi G” which is more Bad Company like and better than the overplayed big hit “Where Are You Now” which is typical of the power ballad genre. And it doesn’t leave much room for the very underrated ballad “This Time”.

Basically, if you like melodic rock then Roxus was/is one of the best acts from Australia who did it.

And happy Boxing Day.

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Music, My Stories

Enjoy Your Day

I always spin “Mistress For Christmas” from AC/DC or the excellent and more uptempo Halestorm cover. It’s just so Acca Dacca right.

As the lyrics go, easy come and easy go.

And I always play “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” from Savatage.

It’s one of the best instrumentals ever.

If you can get together without any restrictions, enjoy your time together. And play some music.

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