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

The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Machine Head

“Machine Head” is the sixth studio album released on 25 March 1972 on Purple Records.

The success of this album didn’t just happen. The band had been touring and recording in between live shows since 1969. Any new song they wrote would get debuted live before it was recorded.

But the band felt that these earlier studio albums did not sound as good as their live performances, and wanted to record in a stage environment.

As legend would have it, Deep Purple planned to record the “Machine Head” album at Montreux Casino in Switzerland during December 1971. But some “stupid with a flare gun burned the whole place to the ground”.

Deep Purple relocated to another hotel called “The Pavilion” however the neighbors kept calling the police over the noise and Deep Purple got evicted. The basic tracks to “Smoke On The Water” were recorded here.

They searched for other recording locations and settled with the empty Grand Hotel, on the edge of Montreux.

The band for the album is the classic line up of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ian Gillan on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, Jon Lord on keyboards, Hammond organ and Ian Paice on drums.

The album is listed as being produced by Deep Purple with Martin Birch doing the engineering and the mixing with Deep Purple.

Highway Star

It’s a speed Metal song before it became a thing.

Written on the bus while touring. Management arranged for the band to travel to the gig with a group of music journalists who could interview the band at their leisure.

One of them asked Blackmore how he wrote songs and the opening riff was the result. The rest of the band completed the arrangement during rehearsals and it was added to the show on the evening of the gig.

Blackmore based his guitar solo around a figure that he learned from rockabilly artists Johnny Burnette who was active between 1952 and 1964 when he drowned.

Maybe I”m A Leo

I like the blues rock riff on this which Glover wrote the song’s main riff after listening to John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” Hell it could have been based on “Come Together” which was based on a Chuck Berry song.

It had a working title of “One Just Before Midnight”, which appears in a picture of a recording sheet on the album sleeve.

Pictures of Home

Montreux had become their home away from home and this song covers that period.

A fast drum solo Intro starts it off before the band crashes in. The major key pentatonic soloing reminds me of Thin Lizzy before Thin Lizzy became famous.

Never Before

I love the blues when it’s done right. And on this track Deep Purple nail it.

This style of blues rock would form the foundation of the Rainbow sound.

Smoke On The Water

The opening riff and the whole build up with the drums and then bass.

That’s why you press play on this.

Lazy

It was played live in 1971. Glover said the song was roughly based on an Oscar Brown song, “Sleepy”, while Blackmore stated it was inspired by Eric Clapton’s “Stepping Out”.

Either way, it’s how music is created.

Take our influences and create something new.

The song was designed for the live show with each instrument having a break to showcase the talents of the player. Even Ian Gillan got a harmonica spot.

Space Truckin’

“So come on”.

And the rest is history. Nonsense lyrics or not it’s a classic Deep Purple jam.

When A Blind Man Cries

No one called these kind of songs ballads back in the day. It was just a slower rock song.

Listen to the little leads and the lead break itself. So much emotion. Blackmore doesn’t get enough credit for being a great blues player.

In Australia it went to number 1, along with other countries like Denmark, France, West Germany as it was known back then, the UK and Holland.

Certifications will be viewed in the future as a small memory of the music business, the way the piano player is forgotten and vaudeville productions. Once upon a time they ruled. What happened to em?

But when people talk about this album, they talk about it’s 2x Platinum certification in the US and it’s Gold certifications in France, Italy, Japan and the UK.

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2001 – Part 4.5: Skillet – Alien Youth

It was the “Comatose” album released in 2006 that made me a fan of Skillet and I followed em up to to “Rise” album released in 2013.

And although I listened to “Unleashed” released in 2017 and “Victorious” from 2019, I didn’t really feel the need to relisten to em.

And when I went looking at their back catalogue I was surprised how much their sound had evolved.

“Alien Youth” is their fourth album released in 2001. Their sound on this is like industrial rock.

The band for this album is John Cooper on vocals, bass, sampling and programming, Korey Cooper on keyboards, sampling and programming, Lori Peters on drums, Kevin Haaland on guitars (except “Earth Invasion”) and Ben Kasica on guitars (“Earth Invasion”).

Alien Youth

It reminded me of Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” album. And I like that connection.

Vapor

It reminds me of the whole “industrial rock” movement.

Earth Invasion

The best song on the album.

Very “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like.

You Are My Hope

The usual ballad.

It’s catchy and derivative.

Eating Me Away

A fuzzed out bass riff dominates the verses and once the Chorus kicks in, it’s Stabbing Westward and Korn like.

Kill Me, Heal Me

I like it’s swinging drum groove in the verses. I’ve heard Good Charlotte songs with these kind of beats and melodies, but they came after this.

Otherwise it’s all grunge rock.

The Thirst Is Taking Over

My favorite song on the album.

The verses have a programmed drum beat with clean tone and lightly delayed guitars.

And in the Chorus, there’s a distorted and fuzzed out guitar.

One Real Thing

The Chorus is hard rock and it has this “Teenage Dirtbag” vibe.

Stronger

Nirvana meets Ministry.

It has some cool riffs to jam on but lyrically it’s a bit cliched with the repeating “my god is strong” melody.

Rippin’ Me Off

It starts off terribly, with programming and sampling. Then a Nirvana like riff kicks in.

It’s a response to Marilyn Manson and his views on God being dead.

Check out the chorus. It’s heavy and angry.

You say that God is dead but you’re rippin’ me off/ You can’t infect my mind with your vanity/ You’re rippin’ me off!

Will You Be There (Falling Down)

This is a great ballad.

It feels like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are singing it.

Come My Way

The closer. it starts off with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

And it’s more hymn “Hallelujah” like.

They are labeled as a Christian Rock act, but they delivered an album that people from all walks of life would like.

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Australian Method Series: Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe are an Australian alternative rock band that was formed in 1997 by Stuart MacLeod, on lead guitar, Joel Quartermain, on drums and guitar, and Kavyen Temperley, on bass guitar and vocals.

Their road to fame started with a University Battle of The Bands contest. They won their local campus event, won the State event and then won the National event.

Released in 2006, this album is Number three and it’s noted for having the sound of the early 1980s Australian rock movement.

From the bands point of view they wanted to make a record as if they were stadium rock band. In other words if they were like INXS, what kind of record would they make.

The band recorded “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on the central coast of NSW’s The Grove Studios. The Grove Studios were originally known as Mangrove Studio and were formerly owned by INXS bass player Garry Gary Beers.

In Australia it was certified 4× Platinum. It went to number one and spent 62 weeks on the ARIA Charts.

I never really appreciated this album when it came out. I was heavily into Progressive Metal, Nu-Metal and Metalcore bands at the time and I was devouring bands from those genres. I heard the singles and I liked em, but didn’t invest time.

A decade later, I finally did.

Comfort You

A great pop song with a piano line that reminds me of “Speed Of Sound” from Coldplay.

As soon as the drums and the fuzzed out guitar kick in, I was hooked. It’s almost new wave, but hard rock as well.

Lyrically there’s not much to it with a simple repeating line of “I will come, come to comfort you”.

But that’s all that is needed as the music and the groove is intoxicating.

If you’re not tapping your foot and nodding your head by the end of it, check for a pulse.

New York

This song is excellent.

It’s constructed with all the right atmospherics and ambient noises, plus an emotive piano melody and Temperley’s glimmering voice powers the melody.

Hey, hey, I know it wasn’t New York
Where I lost my mind.

The opening lines. A habit will always follow you regardless of which city you wake up in.

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

This song is huge. And the hook.

Black fingernails, red wine
I wanna make you, all mine

It reminds me of Icehouse, Eurythmics and INXS.

The Chorus is arena rock.

Breaking Up

An acoustic guitar and an addictive vocal melody.

And how descriptive is “A mouthful of glass / That cuts up your words”.

Setting Sun

The song was called “Forever Young”.

U2 comes to mind but press play on this track to hear the bass playing.

If your scared about the future,
I’m scared about the past

While you’re at it, check out the guitar melody which starts at 2.32.

London Bombs

Coldplay comes to mind. And I like it.

Sarah

Killers comes to mind with a bit of Rick Springfield.

This Is Pressure

An acoustic strummed passage starts the song.

There is no romance in suffocation

Truth right there.

Beating Like A Drum

If you like INXS, you will like this song. it’s not that it sounds like the band, it just has this spirit and attitude of Michael Hutchence.

I had a lot to drink last night
Now I’m feeling old
Is there anything that I can buy
That I have not sold

I’ve grown up with a father who likes to drink a lot and an older brother who likes to drink more. And all they think about is the next drink. Lucky for me they didn’t sell stuff to feed their habit.

Reprise

It’s a short instrumental, cinematic like piece.

Press play on it to hear the emotive piano melody.

Suicide Girl

Oasis and Radiohead comes to mind.

My social suicide girl
Poison in the wall
Razors in the apple core

These lyrics are hard rock. Nikki Sixx and Rachel Bolan would be proud.

How Does It Feel

A piano riff and a Muse/Coldplay feel.

You’re gonna lose everything / How does it feel

Not the best when it happens but as time goes on, a lot better.

There isn’t a song on this album that I will skip. It’s perfect from start to finish. So if you want to experience Australian Pop Rock, press play on this.

And the band is still active releasing new music and touring. But those reviews will be in other Australian posts.

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2001 – Part 4.2: Sevendust – Animosity

“Animosity” is album number 3 and it was released on November 13, 2001. Four months later it was certified gold by the RIAA.

This is their best album, a mixture of their Nu-Metal grooves with a lot of melody and head banging riffs.

Just think Rage Against The Machine riffs merging with Metallica riffs and melodies and Faith No More riffs and melodies.

Sevendust is Lajon Witherspoon on lead vocals, Clint Lowery on lead guitar, and co-lead vocals on “Xmas Day” and “Angel’s Son”, John Connolly on rhythm guitar, Vinnie Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums.

This album really highlights what a great talent Lajon Witherspoon is. His vocals are exceptional.

T.O.A.B.

Written by drummer Morgan Rose, it stands for “Tits On A Boar”.

In case you are not familiar with it, it means a person, place, event or item in which there is little or no value.

Musically and vocally it could have come from the debut.

And any song that starts off with “Die you piece of shit!”, well you know you ain’t gonna get a love song.

Praise

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

A great riff kicks this off, something that Stone Sour would do a lot off.

Trust

Written by Clint Lowery and Lajon Witherspoon.

The power of the Intro riff hooks me in immediately.

Then it’s just bass and drums for the verses and Lajon delivers a killer vocal melody.

And if you are in any doubt, press play for the Chorus.

Also it wouldn’t be a Sevendust song with a head banging interlude.

Crucified

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

It continues the standard set with “Praise” but the Chorus is more melodic. Very Disturbed like.

And lyrics like “Don’t you feel like a bitch / Don’t promise shit you’ll never be” set the aggressive tone.

Xmas Day

Written by Clint Lowery.

A ballad, which reminds me of Soundgarden, Alice Cooper 70s version and other

Don’t know how she gets by
Sleeps with a phone on her chest
And a bottle that’s totally dry
Forgets the day I was born
But if she saw me right now

The lyrics more or less sum up what the song is about.

But press play to hear the Chorus and the great vocal performances.

Dead Set

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon composition. It’s a heavy rocker with another killer Chorus.

I dodge the grave almost every day

Shine

A Witherspoon composition with a syncopated groove riff in the verses which is head banging material.

I’m on a free fall / So hard for me to shine

Follow

A Lowery and Connolly composition with Aaron Lewis doing additional vocals. Goddamn it could pass as a Staind or A Perfect Circle song.

And how good are the opening lyric lines.

Time can take everything that surrounds you

Damaged

It’s a Connolly and Rose composition.

How could you really know as your blood flows
The damage left inside

No one will ever know the damage done especially the mental damage.

Live Again

Another Connolly and Rose composition. And if you press play on a track from this album this is it.

Look at yourself and live again

That Chorus. So emotive and catchy.

Beautiful

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon.

Another killer heavy Intro that gets me thinking of Faith No More with a Chorus that reminds me of Godsmack.

Redefine

A Lowery, Rose, Witherspoon with a heavy riff that reminds me of Disturbed.

But that Chorus riff. So cool to play with the octaves.

Angel’s Son

A Lowery and Witherspoon acoustic composition.

It was originally released on “Strait Up”, a tribute album of Lynn Strait, former lead-singer of the band Snot. Strait died in a car accident on December 11, 1998, at the age of 30.

If you thought Sevendust was just too heavy for ya, then check this album out.

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2001 – Part 4-1: Aerosmith – Just Push Play

Aerosmith had a way of making the blues sound current and modern but for them to do that, they needed to jam.

But on “Just Push Play”, released in 2001, the majority of the album is co-written with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. It was recorded at eight different studios, so it would have been impossible to get all the band jamming and financially irresponsible to get the whole bands gear set up and then packed up and then transported and then set up again.

Joe Perry hates it. The Wikipedia entry for this album carries a 2010 quote from Perry which states;

I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years.

Just Push Play is my least favorite.

When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together.

It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record”.

From a sales point of view, Aerosmith was on a spiral down. The gaps between albums started to become every 4 years.

But not a lot of 70’s bands had a renaissance like Aerosmith when it came to album sales.

It started with “Permanent Vacation” released in 1987 and it has a 5x Platinum certification in the U.S.

“Pump” released in 1989 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Get a Grip” released in 1993 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S.

These two albums are the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s comeback.

“Nine Lives” released in 1997 showed a downward trend as it has a 2x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Just Push Play” only has a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Beyond Beautiful

It sounds heavy and exotic while Kramer is channelling John Bonham, with his Kashmir like groove.

And it doesn’t sound anything like the blues, but that verse riff is a bluesy groove. If you don’t believe me, check out that bluesy solo in the outro which is played over the verse riff.

Just Push Play

“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.

Even in the Chorus, instead of saying “Walk This Way”, Tyler is singing “Just Push Play”. Replacing three single syllable words with three other single syllable words.

And I like it.

Jaded

Kramer lays down a groove, while Perry and Whitford bring out riffs that reminds me of bands like “The Foo Fighters”, “Filter”, “Matchbox 20” and “Tonic”.

Fly Away From Here

Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.

While “Dream On” is my favourite, its “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” which is their streaming star, much to the disgust of Tyler and Perry.

While they were paid well for doing the song for the “Armageddon” movie, they didn’t think that it would become their most streamed song ever. Well they couldn’t have, because streaming didn’t exist back then.

For the numbers, “Dream On” is at 541.59 million Spotify streams and “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is at 650.1 million Spotify streams.

And this one doesn’t have an Aerosmith member in the songwriting credits either.

But, there is this section which I call the Bridge, that reminds of a section in “Livin On The Edge”.

Trip Hoppin’

Its old school Aerosmith, jamming on a blues groove and writing about having a good time and getting laid.

With the addition of the horn section, the song takes on a Soul Rock feel.

Sunshine

I like this song.

The riff has this laid back feel which sort of reminds me of “Kings And Queens” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” in the Verses.

And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.

Under My Skin

Like the song “Beyond Beautiful”, this one is also a great example of taking the generic blues riffs and making em sound heavy and current.

The verses are my favourites here, how the guitar riff and the vocal melody are the same, and while they pause the horns mimic it.

In the Pre, there is a symphony, evoking memories of “Kashmir”.

Luv Lies

A ballad that reminds me of songs like “What It Takes” and “Crazy”. Perry is bringing out his repertoire of country licks here.

Outta My Head

Another attempt to recreate “Walk This Way” in the verses, with a more modern Alanis Morrisette style Chorus.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Check out the groove that Hamilton and Kramer set up to allow Perry and Whitford to play blues/jazz like 7ths and 9ths triads.

But the vocal melodies are pretty average.

Light Inside

Electronica drums start it off, but as soon as the fast bass riff from Hamilton kicks in, the song is anything but electronica.

Its heavy for an Aerosmith song. The Modern Rock sounds are different and I like it.

Avant Garden

I think this is one of Aerosmith’s better ballads.

It has a chord progression that reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves In London” in the verses and a Chorus which has this Beatles feel.

Check out the Bridge, very ELO with the violins and the debop backing vocals.

And finally, Perry gets a chance to do a guitar solo longer than 5 seconds.

And Perry goes a chance to go again in the outro.

Press play on the album just to check out this track.

Overall, it’s Aerosmith trying to be modern, trying to be bluesy, trying to have Arena Rock choruses and trying to have a bigger ballad to rival the ballad that they didn’t write.

At times it comes across confusing, but it’s still Aerosmith and I’m okay when artists don’t stick to formula and try something different.

But it’s not an album I push play on a lot.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 7 to November 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

DIARY OF A MADMAN

Back in the 80’s, when songs from the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio, I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old.

Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995.

More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 40 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end.

And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album.

Check it out.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

Back in 2017, during this week I was listening g to;

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

These three artists had my attention back then. Tomorrow it would have been someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

But if they are not releasing new product on a regular basis, they become forgotten.

So heading towards the end of 2021;

Sweet And Lynch are reading a new album.

Babylon A.D haven’t released any new music since 2017.

Shakra released “Mad World” in 2020 which I missed and they dropped a new single this year which I also missed.

8 Years Ago (2013)

WHO IS THE STAR (The Band Name Or The Personnel In The Band)?

When Metallica started on the scene, I dont recall anyone walking around saying that they got into Metallica because James Hetfield was such a cool cat or Lars Ulrich was the man.

People get into a band for multiple different reasons.

Like being a fan of genre and looking for similar artists of that genre or the songs connected or the album cover connected or the artist was getting a lot of word of mouth and people wanted to be part of the conversation and so on.

Of course some outliers do exist and some people become a cultural influence that transcends their music. In other words, they become institutions themselves like Ozzy.

Slash also comes to mind but it took him almost 14 years from when he left Gunners to re-establish and re-brand himself as a force to be reckoned with.

But he’s back with Gunners.

Because the band name is the star and it always will be.

That is why Axl Rose went all legal to claim the name.

That is why Tommy Lee returned to Motley Crue.

That is why James Hetfield returned to Metallica after rehab. That is why Lars Ulrich never contemplated anything else except Metallica during this period.

That is why Dave Mustaine resurrected Megadeth after he disbanded the band towards the end of the 90s.

That is why David Coverdale resurrected Whitesnake after he disbanded it.

That is why Dimebag didn’t want Pantera to end. He knew that Pantera was the star.

That is why David Lee Roth worked with Van Halen again. That is why Sammy Hagar wanted to work with Van Halen again.

That is why Alex Skolnick returned to Testament.

That is why there was a fight over who owns the right to the Queensryche name.

That is why Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters went all legal for the Pink Floyd name and the rights to “The Wall”.

That is why Benjamin Burnley went all legal for the right to use the Breaking Benjamin name.

That is why Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden.

That is why Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest.

That is why Black Sabbath reformed with three of the original members and released ’13’.

That is why bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Poison and Skid Row are still continuing with very different line ups and in some cases no original members.

To finish off with the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio “And on and on and on and on it goes….”

COPYRIGHT

For all artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright.

And guess what the labels are pushing for.

Even longer copyright terms. Because their is value in copyrights for the corporate entity holding it.

GREED

Greed from the major record labels could end up killing streaming services.

Back in 2013, musicians from Sweden were threatening to sue major labels Universal Music and Warner Music over streaming royalties.

These artists had identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they took action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution.

Even the UK Government did a review of streaming paymnets in 2020 and found that the labels are at fault.

Spotify is just one streaming service and they pay 70% of its revenues to music rights holders. Apple is similar and Tidal as well.

And Spotify, as at 2020 has paid $23 billion to the rights holders. When you add the numbers from the other streaming services, it’s a prettty massive profit the labels are making.

Once upon a time, the artists had the power.

Then in the Eighties, the labels stole it back. With the rise in revenue due to the CD, it made the labels mega rich powerhouses.

Well it’s time for the artists to take back the power. Basically the labels without any artists are worth nothing.

But there’s a new player in town. Hedge Funds and Investment firms. And they have cash and artists are cashing in.

TIME

It’s 1992.

The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. This is the power the label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist.

Because the labels controlled all the points of distribution.

But in 2013, things had changed dramatically.

But the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough of it during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed.

One thing is certain in 2013.

We move on fast.

Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one spot for two weeks in a row.

Look at the Top 10 of the streaming Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: Dragon – Bondi Road

The “Body and the Beat” album and the song “Rain” kept Dragon in the Charts between 1983 and 1986.

In 1986, they released the hard rock sounding “Dreams Of Ordinary Man” album which was certified Platinum in Australia and kept their comeback alive.

In 1987, they dropped a cover song, “Celebration” from Kool And The Gang. And it went to Number 1 on the Australian charts and stayed in the Top 10 for quite some time.

I’m not a real fan of that song but it made business sense to cover it because of it’s cross over appeal. It was played in night clubs, parties and everywhere you went in Australia, you heard Dragon’s version.

And then in April 1989, they dropped “Bondi Road”, their ninth studio album.

And no one knew it at the time but it was to be the last album of new material to be released during singer Marc Hunter’s lifetime, who passed away from throat cancer in 1998 at 44 years of age.

Bondi Beach is listed as a place to visit in Sydney for tourists. It’s also the place where the reality TV show, “Bondi Rescue” is filmed which shows the lifeguards basically saving tourists from the waters.

With a title that involves the word “Bondi”, summer always comes to mind, however they dropped the album in April, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is the second month of Autumn.

But by the time October rolled around (the second month of Aussie spring), the album had grown in momentum and really became a summer album for the months of December, January and February.

Young Years

It’s one of their best songs, a hard rock classic. And it’s not even written by the band, written by keyboardist Alan Mansfield and his partner, vocalist Sharon O’Neill, who as a songwriting team have written other songs for Dragon which became fan favorites.

The song also had a massive resurgence in popularity following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998.

And on guitar they have the great Tommy Emmanuel. Apart from being an accomplished solo artist and an amazing guitar player at that, Emmanuel has amassed a lot of session credits here in Australia and in the U.S.

Plus a special mention to the awesome backing vocals of Mary Azzopardi and Wendy Matthews.

It’s a great opener and then I felt lost listening to the next songs.

“Blue Blue”, “Book of Love”, “Here Am I”, “Ice in this Town” and “Gold in the River” failed to capture the intensity and fire of the opening track.

Bondi Road

Then the Intro riff started for “Bondi Road” and I was back in. It’s all in clean tone but it’s got this rock blues funk groove which I like.

Written by Johanna Pigott and Todd Hunter, who also wrote “Rain”, however this time around vocalist Marc Hunter also has a songwriting contribution.

Summer

You couldn’t have an album called “Bondi Road” without having a song called “Summer” on it.

This one is written by David Hirschfelder, Marc Hunter and Wendy Hunter.

It’s major key riff, rocks hard but the way it’s delivered, it feels like I’m on the beach, soaking in the summer rays.

Then came “Family Man” and the album lost me again.

Runaway

It rocks out of the gate with a hard rock riff.

Another track written by the team of Alan Mansfield and Sharon O’Neill.

Good Time Girl

Mansfield and O’Neill contribute another song.

The rock sounds of Free and Bad Company start the song, and it moves into a riff similar to “Young Years”.

Stick around for the Chorus.

Celebration

And yes the stand alone single was given an album as well.

The album was Certified Gold in Australia, a bit lower than the previous albums and a sign of the changing times.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Drivin N Cryin – Smoke

“Smoke” is album number 5 from Drivin N Cryin, released in February 1993 on Island Records.

I got it a few years after as I was trying to get my hard rock fix circa 95/96.

And it was a purchase based on the song titles. When Grunge hit, a lot of the song titles had just one word as the title.

As soon as I saw titles like “Back Against The Wall”, “Turn It Up Or Turn It Off” and “Whiskey Soul Woman”, I was curious. Then I saw that Geoff Workman (RIP) is the producer and engineer so I purchased.

For those that don’t know Workman has been involved in either producing and engineering some massive albums for The Cars, Queen, Journey, Foreigner, Toto, Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister.

I knew nothing about them and for quite some time, I presumed this album was their first.

But the band was formed in 1985 and had a deal the following year.

Kevn Kinney on vocals/guitar, Tim Nielsen on bass and Paul Lenz on drums are the original members.

The band’s name, Drivin’ N Cryin’, was chosen because it reflected the two directions of the band’s music. Good for driving and good for crying.

In 1987, Lenz left and was replaced by Jeff Sullivan. And rock history would have it that Sullivan was the drummer for a certain band called Mr. Crowes Garden, which later would became known as The Black Crowes.

Afterwards Rhythm Guitarist Buren Fowler joined the trio and this is the band as I know it.

While they released albums in the 80’s, it was “Fly Me Courageous” released in 1990 and with Geoff Workman as Producer, which is seen as “the album” from the band. Certified gold, the album is hard rock the way it should be, without zero hairspray and make up and no label interference. However I didn’t know this at the time.

And three years later, “Smoke” follows in the same direction with Geoff Workman behind the boards again and the same sound.

Back Against The Wall

It feels like a derivative version of “Ace Of Spades” with a “Wipeout” drum groove in between certain sections. And I like it.

She Doesn’t Wanna Go

One of my favourites, especially that Chorus riff.

Smoke

This one has a Van Halen feel in the Intro riff, but as soon as the Verse kicks in, it’s like Thin Lizzy and in the Chorus its AC/DC.

What is there not to like.

When You Come Back

It sounds like a cut from the “Lies” EP by Gunners.

Patron Lady Beautiful

At 7 plus minutes, it’s a jam out 70’s style cut, slow blues rock with a lot of guitar solos. Another favourite.

1000 Swings

It’s a blues rock tune with a metal like Chorus riff.

1988

It feels like some of the early Sabbath recordings when they just jammed the blues.

Whiskey Soul Woman

The Cult comes to mind when I think of this song.

And it’s got the “Strutter” beat which I like. I call it the “Strutter” beat, because the Kiss song was the first song I heard with that snare/high-hat and bass drum all at same time.

What’s The Difference

It’s very Petty/Dylan and I like it.

It’s just a light dirty electric and a vocal melody.

Eastern European Carny Man

It’s like a Bad Company meets Boston track.

All Around The World

Its sleazy in the riff department, very 80’s Motorhead like.

Turn It Up Or Turn It Off

It feels like a merge between “Do Ya” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Vocally, the melodies feel very Tom Petty like.

Once this track finishes there is 30 seconds of silence and “Can’t Fall Off the Mountain,” a hidden track begins like an acoustic camp fire tune.

And I enjoyed this album.

But I lost sight of em as I started getting into bands like Collective Soul, Tonic, Matchbox 20, and some of my 80’s and early 90’s favourites started to release some great recordings circa 97 and onwards.

So if you like hard rock with bluesy overtones and some Petty/Dylan/Lemmy/Lynott influenced like singing, call up Drive N Crying.

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

The Record Vault: The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back

“One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back” is the second studio album from The Darkness. So much for all the talk about diminishing recording budgets, as this album cost £1 million to make.

Released in November 2005.

They even got Roy Thomas Baker, best known for his work with Queen, who is a major influence on The Darkness to produce.

And a change was happening within the band as well.

Bassist Frankie Poullain left the band during the early stages of production on the album, with most bass parts on the album played by guitarist Dan Hawkins.

So the musicians for the album are Justin Hawkins on Lead Vocals / Guitars and Piano,
Dan Hawkins on Guitars and Bass and Ed Graham on Drums.

Richie Edwards would join on Bass for the tour.

One Way Ticket

A flute and a choir starts it all off and then a riff inspired by “Highway To Hell” kicks in.

And the song is an amalgamation of the big hits from the debut, like “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and “Growing On Me”. A perfect opener.

But the solo felt like a bit of a joke. And it feels like that was the intention.

Knockers

It’s got this Pink Floyd feel in the Intro and Verses and I was waiting for Justin Hawkins to sing “We don’t need no education”. But that never happened.

And the Chorus has this Gospel Country Rock feel.

Is It Just Me?

The riff is similar to “Too Fast For Love” and other blues rock classics like “Peter Gunn” with a Chorus riff that reminds me of Rick Springfield and “Jessie’s Girl”.

Dinner Lady Arms

Musically, it’s a Def Leppard “Hysteria” like riff, just more up-tempo.

But the Chorus lacks lyrically, because the title is stupid and the hook doesn’t resonate.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

A hard rock ballad with a title to challenge Meatloaf.

Hazel Eyes

It starts off with harmony guitars, which feel like they have a backwards effect on em. Then the strumming starts and the song begins. There’s bagpipes, a vocal melody and some high falsettos, which the guitar mimics as a harmony lead.

But it felt rushed and it ends abruptly.

Bald

The intro is brilliant, ominous and it builds nicely, until the guitars crash in with distorted chords and lead breaks. Musically, this is my favourite song, even though the Chorus vocal melody is a ball squeezing contest in falsetto highs.

Girlfriend

The riff has got that Status Quo 12 bar blues feel. But it’s not a favourite.

English Country Garden

I get what they are trying to do on this by bringing in the weirdness of Queen but it’s a skip.

Blind Man

Another skip.

Wanker

It’s the B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and its Rolling Stones groove smashing against AC/DC and Status Quo works for me.

There are horns which gives it a soul rock feel, and Hawkins moves between normal singing in the verses to his falsetto in the Chorus which he even harmonises as a backing vocal.

It’s insane.

Grief Hammer

It’s the other B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and the Intro gets me interested right away. Musically its pretty good.

And this album while good in certain parts lost me as a fan for almost a decade.

Because at times it felt like a Jack Black “Pick Of Destiny” soundtrack. And I like that soundtrack because it’s Jack Black.

And I guess it a big recording budget doesn’t lead to quality.

I more or less ignored them until “Easter Is Cancelled” in 2019.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: The Darkness – Permission To Land

Released in 2003. But I didn’t buy it then.

The debut album “Permission To Land” took everyone by surprise. No one was ready for The Darkness. Their look, their vocal chops, their style of music was all “anti-what’s in vogue”.

Justin Hawkins is on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, synthesizer and piano. His brother Dan Hawkins is on rhythm and lead guitar.
Frankie Poullain is on bass and Ed Graham is on drums.

I saw the clips and I watched em perform on various TV shows. I was a fan but I didn’t feel the need to buy. I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick or the real deal.

Anyway a few years later I actually purchased their product.

Black Shuck

I was hooked from the AC/DC inspired intro. Very “Dirty Deeds” like.

Once the singing started, I was like WTF.

In a simple verse you hear operatic falsettos, Meatloaf like “Bat Out Of The Hell” style vocals, Freddie Mercury extravagance and NWOBHM throaty spitfire vocals. Almost theatre like. King Diamond also comes to mind.

It felt like a train wreck and I liked it. So I stayed on the train to see how far it would go before it crashed.

Get Your Hands Off My Woman

Then this started, with a bass riff that reminded me of The Police. The operatic falsetto is all over the verses and the Chorus.

And I like the “Hit With Me Your Best Shot” inspired Chorus riff.

The train crash was still on the rails.

Growing On Me

Very Cheap Trick like in the Intro/Chorus and when the Verse kicks in, check out the Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” riff.

And I like it.

Finally we get a solo in the middle of the song and in the outro, but it’s the riff before the solo which I like.

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

At 159.4 million streams on Spotify, it’s their “hit”.

What else can be said about this. The riffs are very Sweet/ELO like and the Chorus vocal delivery has become iconic throughout the years. I remember in the early days of the “Idol” shows, there always was a singer who auditioned with this song.

And how good is the Outro, with the lead first and then that head banging riff to close.

So far, so good. A four punch knockout combo so far.

Love Is Only A Feeling

A mid-tempo like ballad more Poison like. And by now, my ears had acclimatised to the falsetto and normal singing voices.

Givin’ Up

Musically, it’s AC/DC in attitude and spirit.

Stuck In A Rut

The intro riff is “Thunderstruck” played ala Malcolm Young. Vocally it’s everywhere and not my favourite, but it doesn’t take away from the power of the music to me.

Friday Night

More Cheap Trick like influences.

Love On The Rocks With No Ice

I like the music. Its hard rock the way I like it. It has that AC/DC style of rock, with all of these other influences throughout, like ELO, Bad Company and even Judas Priest.

And this song has their best solo moments in the mid-section.

Holding My Own

“Purple Rain” from Prince and “Faithfully” from Journey come to mind when I hear this.

Makin’ Out

More AC/DC style of rawk and roll to close out.

Check out the open string lick after the solo, very “Thunderstruck” like.

By the end of it, I hoped they would stick around, but had a feeling that the labels would use them and spit them out. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”.

But I was wrong, as they have shown the same resilience from when they started.

Doing it their way and “anti-what’s in”.

In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the album was certified Platinum. In the U.K, it was 4x Platinum.

In Denmark and the United States it’s certified Gold.

And I guess you know which review is coming tomorrow.

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