“Blue For You” is studio album number 9 for Status Quo released in March 1976. Coming into this album, they had built up a pretty solid fan base in the U.K, Australia, Netherlands, France, Spain and New Zealand.
And they never properly broke through into the U.S market on the backs of sales, but with the streaming numbers they are getting these days, you could say that the band has broken into U.S market.
How many bands get a chance to record 9 albums?
And guess what, their biggest songs, would come on subsequent albums?
Status Quo for this album is John Coghlan on drums, Alan Lancaster on bass/guitar and vocals, Rick Parfitt on guitar/keyboards and vocals and Francis Rossi on guitar and vocals.
Is There A Better Way
Is there a better song that merges pub rock, rock and roll and a bit of street attitude then this?
Press play and let Status Quo mesmerize you with this.
Mad About The Boy
A 12 bar blues boogie tune.
Ring Of A Change
Thousands of bands played like this in 1976. Some had success doing it and others didn’t. Status Quo had very good vocalists behind this with pop like sensibilities who also rocked hard.
Blue For You
The title track. It’s got that 60’s rhythm and blues feel.
I’m a fan of the more energetic songs like this one.
Written by guitarist Rick Parfitt, “Rain” also became the first single from the album, reaching No. 7 in the UK charts after its release in February 1976.
Its B-side was the non-album track “You Lost the Love”, written by Francis Rossi and Bob Young.
The riffs in this song can be heard in the NWOBHM which came after. When ELO decided they wanted to rock, they sounded like this. They would use this kind of riff to greater commercial success later on with “Whatever You Want”. AC/DC also made a name for themselves jamming on chord vamps like this.
It has this “Radar Love” blues rock vamp happening. The only thing you could do is tap your foot and rock on.
That’s A Fact
I love the groove on this. It’s almost funky, but not. It also reminds me of “American Woman”.
Ease Your Mind
It’s a bit of Beatles, it’s a bit of rock and roll and a bit of soul. And a like it.
It’s like a progressive rock song without the time changes as the song goes through moods between atmospheric dream like folk rock to a full blown pub rocker.
And the album ends here.
But in 2005, they re-issued the album with some bonus tracks.
You Lost The Love
Dreamy pop rock written by guitarist Francis Rossi and Bob Young.
Wild Side Of Life
It sounds like a Beatles cut. And I like it.
It’s a cover song made famous by country singer “Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys” (now that is a band name) and written by Arlie Carter and William Warren.
It was originally released in 1952, and while it wasn’t on the original album for Status Quo, they did release it as a single in December 1976.
A perfect Christmas gift for those hardcore Status Quo fans. Its B-side was a new composition called, “All Through the Night”. The single reached No. 9.
Remember when artists used to do this. Release albums and singles more frequently. This was the strategy up to about 1985.
The rise of MTV in the 80’s and the “Blockbuster Release” strategy of spending a lot of dollars to get an album that each song could be a potential single (think “Thriller”, “Born In The USA”, “Brothers In Arms”, “The Joshua Tree” just to name a few) changed this model, because everything was about maximising the promotion of each release so the act could get multi-platinum sales.
There were a few surprises like “Back In Black” from AC/DC, “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” from Def Leppard, and “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi. They were just albums put together and they sold even higher than the “Blockbuster” albums.
And a bit of trivia, bassist Alan Lancaster had to come back home to Australia, so the bass duties on “Wild Side Of Life” are done by Roger Glover from Deep Purple.
All Through The Night
It’s got this heartland vibe written by guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster. I dig the major key riff which is played under the chorus hook.
If you are keen to check out some 70’s hard rock and blues with smooth vocals, press play on this.
Status Quo are a British rock band formed in 1962 and originally called “The Scorpions”.
I am stretching the Australian link because founder and bassist Alan Lancaster, moved to Sydney after meeting his Australian wife.
After Status Quo, Lancaster played with leading Australian bands, The Bombers and The Party Boys.
A long time ago, I read a review on an old Yahoo run site, that classed Evergrey as “Doom metal” and “Dark Metal”. There is no doubt that Evergrey has built a career on writing songs that deal with sorrow, depression and a whole range of dark emotions. I have read reviews that state the band should lighten the fuck up.
But hey, no one said that life is pretty.
Evergrey’s 2011 album “Glorious Collision” is their 8th album. Like the albums before it, and like the albums that came after, it is a powerful and emotional journey through the human experience.
The press release had something like, the album’s sound is characterized by heavy guitars, soaring vocals, and intricate melodies that create a wall of sound that’s both intense and immersive.
But the reviews weren’t that kind. The usual websites who give every artist glowing reviews kept the reviews glowing, but when you get down to the more elitist blog sites, the reviews weren’t that kind.
The power metallers didn’t like, as they saw the band selling out and moving more into a commercial classic rock setting. The progressive websites kept saying they are not progressive anymore, just bland modern metal.
But, music is a connection between the artist and the fan. And Evergrey, courtesy of founder/vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund have fostered that connection with each album.
Production duties for “Glorious Collision” are also handled by Tom Englund.
But. Remember. Life isn’t pretty.
In May, 2010, before the album recording/writing even started, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, guitarist Henrik Danhage and bassist Jari Kainulainen left Evergrey. The press release said it was by mutual decision due to problems with the band members interacting with each other. The best outcome was to call it quits as to not ruin the friendship they all have with each other. Ekdahl and Danhage also went on to play with DeathDestruction, a Metal Hardcore band formed by Ekdahl and vocalist Jimmie Strimell from Dead By April.
For this album, founder Tom Englund is on vocals and guitar and Rikard Zander is on keyboards. Joining them is Marcus Jidell on guitar, Johan Niemann on bass and Hannes Van Dahl on drums. Female vocals are provided by Carina Englund (Tom’s wife at the time) and their daughter Salina Englund does guest vocals on “I’m Drowning Alone”.
Leave It Behind Us
In the twilight of the line-up changes and the turmoil of what was left of the band, Englund and Zander didn’t even know if they were going to continue. From 5 members only two remained. Then they wrote “Leave It Behind Us”.
All things that were known now are changing
It sums up what Englund felt back then and it also represents the melancholy of the album. The music is written by Tom Englund and Rickard Zander with Englund writing the lyrics as well.
The music is written by Englund and Marcus Jidell with lyrics written by Englund. It’s a classic rock track with a modern metal sound. And I like it.
And if weakness is a virtue And an act of strength a pride Then I am king and misery’s my empire
It’s a song about being let down, because the “you” in the song, is the one who said they will be there. But their nowhere to be seen.
It’s another Englund and Zander composition.
The album’s standout track which features a powerful vocal performance from Englund and an uplifting chorus that resonates. The song encourages you to stay true to yourself in the face of adversity.
It’s also the first single and it was certified gold in the band’s home country for sales in excess of 10,000 copies. I know it’s not a lot when you live in the North American market, but for a small market like Sweden, it’s plenty. This is also the band’s first certification in Sweden as well the first certification for their label at the time, Steamhammer/SPV in Sweden.
I always thought that I would know That when things were broken it would show Somehow I thought I always knew The difference between the lie and truth
Blindsided by change. It’s never easy to deal with, especially when you are the one being blindsided.
It’s obvious Englund is writing about a relationship. And the way the lyrics are written, most people might think it’s about a romantic relationship, but in the end it could be about any kind of relationship, romantic, parental or friendship.
Like the opening track, this hard hitter has music written by Zander and Englund with Englund writing the lyrics.
Everything is built from change All the things we recreate Fallen – lost – forsaken faith The unspoken made us frozen
It’s a powerful opening verse.
It’s bleak, and it shows how not talking about matters when you need to, leads you to being frozen many years later, when a separation happens.
Restoring the Loss
Written solely by Englund. Despite the heavy subject matter, there’s also a sense of hope and resilience that runs through. The song explores the power of forgiveness and redemption.
Don’t ask me to stretch any longer These arms are strained beyond what they can take Don’t ask me for strength cause it’s gone And I’ve reached my end restoring the loss to faith
We’ve all been there. As a species we don’t know how to say NO to people. So we end up worn out, used and unable to meet any commitments.
To Fit the Mold
This song connected straight away.
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Englund and Jidell. The song lyrically explores themes of conformity, loss, pain, and isolation.
We’re scared we’ll end up to nothing And we change to fit the mold We are… We’re accidents forced to happen
It’s a brilliant chorus. You really don’t know how strong family and social ties are in your life, until you get older. The conformity that these two institutions want to happen, is at another level.
I know from my point of view, I had to set some boundaries when it came to dealing with family, because it didn’t matter what I did, people were never satisfied.
Out of Reach
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
So what now my friend Where do you go from here When will the dark days end And all the clouds clear
Falling out of reach You can’t prevent it You can’t cause All wounds won’t heal
One thing I know in life, is that change is constant. The biggest argument I have ever had is with people close to me, like family or friends. It’s always the case. They felt that my actions disappointed them, and I felt the same way towards them. When partners get involved, it makes it even more complicated.
When I think of the word “wounds” in the song title, I think of the hurt that is felt after words have been said. Because the mind, remembers everything.
The Phantom Letters
We get a trilogy of cuts written solely by Englund, with “The Phantom Letters”, “The Disease…” and “It Comes From Within”.
I like the melancholy and moody atmosphere this song creates.
All the words that I leave offer reasons Holds the keys to the doors that I’ve locked And I knew they would never be opened Cause the ashes fall from heaven
If you are into self-development books, this is the chapter that says to keep a journal and to write down each day, what you are grateful for, what you have accomplished and what you could do better. It’s also there to write down your fears, concerns and words you want to say to others but due to how you are brought up, you are unable to.
It’s a journey through the ups and downs of life, exploring themes of loss, pain, and isolation.
Been loyal to the blind Had friends that were not mine I failed to see the disease before it created distance
Englund is not finished about the departure of the previous members. The album highlights his emotions at this point in time.
It Comes from Within
And I’m lying here So tired so torn Threat comes from within
It’s taking me over It’s making me weak Brought my doubts to the surface It’s leaving me helpless with no air to breathe
We are our own worst enemies. Our minds can trick us into doing everything or nothing.
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
It’s a very depressing song but there is a little bit of hope in the Chorus. Here are the lyrics, you decide.
I’ve read your words I understand it’s said it’s done I walk away in fear of what you said that I’ve become Can’t change your words now they are stains made to stay
Free are those who walk away from setting suns And free are those who laughed at chains that held them bound Free are those who conquers in vain but won’t stop to run Battered and down they pick up their pieces to rise as one
Free are souls who wander alone in the shade of sun And free are those who’s forgotten by all but still warm inside Free are they with no intention to fold never bend for the cold Just to find someone too
I’ve read your words I understand it’s said it’s done I walk away in fear of what you said that we’ve become Can’t change our words now Can’t make them undone I’ll walk away I’ll walk away Just walk away
I’m Drowning Alone
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund. The child choir is haunting here as they are singing the “release me from darkness” part.
Release me from darkness Release me from all that chains me here I’m drowning in silence And I’m drowning alone
I hate to ask but I wouldn’t if I didn’t need it Not stronger on my own I’m weaker just so much weaker And I know I never asked But I need you to help me
It’s okay to ask for help. So don’t be afraid and do ask for help.
…And the Distance
Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.
I always presumed that since “The Disease” had three full stops at the end of it, and “The Distance” had three full stops at the start of it, that these two songs originally made ONE song called, “The Disease And The Distance”.
You’re keeping your distance, you’re pushing me away You’ve never let me say the words I want to say Our time here has withered Our circumstances changed
The themes of keeping silent to keep the peace run throughout the album. And the last song demonstrates that keeping the peace doesn’t lead to a happy future. It just delays the inevitable war that is about to come in a few years, maybe even a decade.
In its first week or release the album sold 900 copies in the United States. Hardly ground-breaking, but Everygrey always had a cult-like following. I actually purchased my version from the U.S Amazon Store. So I am not sure if my purchase counts as a U.S sale or an Australian sale.
The album was a new dawn, a new era. But that new dawn didn’t last.
The break with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage was civil enough to begin with, so when things started to break down with guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes Van Dahl, the former members were soon back in the fold. I also think the commercial failure of their side project DeathDestruction also helped speed this reunion up.
But their side project was also halted when vocalist Jimmie Strimell left to focus on Dead By April, as they appeared on the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest and got a second breakthrough in Sweden.
In relation to the Evergrey change, it happened when writing for the follow-up album started. Via Facebook posts, the band first confirmed that drummer Hannes Van Dahl would be leaving the band to join Sabaton as a full-time, and then due to “problems working together” guitarist Marcus Jidell would also be leaving. Van Dahl, is still with Sabaton, appearing on their last four albums. Marcus Jidell has been busy. He has Avatarium, who are actively releasing new product, plus The Doomsday Kingdom, and between 2015 and 2018, he played guitars in Soen.
As a fan, there is not a weak track on the album.
Overall, “Glorious Collision” is a triumph for Evergrey but more so a triumph for Tom Englund, who kept the identity and brand of Evergrey running, when he felt like he had nothing left to offer. His ability to combine heavy, atmospheric music with deep, introspective lyrics is truly impressive, and this album is a testament to his talent and dedication. If you’re a fan of heavy metal and rock or just appreciate well-crafted music with emotional depth, this album is definitely worth a listen.
This is one of my favourite live releases from the 2000 era. Dream Theater is touring on the back of their most metal album ever in “Train Of Thought”.
“Live at Budokan” was recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall on April 26, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan and released on October 2004. It’s the same venue as “At Budokan” from Cheap Trick, however the audio for the Cheap Trick album was from the Osaka show, as the audio from the Budokan show was unusable.
Due to time constraints for the set, the songs “The Great Debate”, “Under a Glass Moon” and “Caught in a Web”, which included an extended drum solo, were removed from the set list at the last minute.
As I Am
It makes sense to kick off the show with the opening track “As I Am” from the “Train Of Thought” album with its ominous Black Sabbath like intro making way for a Metallica like riff. Of course, any influence from the past is done in the Dream Theater way with some fills and different endings on the 4th bar.
This Dying Soul
It also makes sense to feedback into the thrash metal like “This Dying Soul”.
The song actually moves through quite a few musical and vocal styles. It reminds me of “Beyond This Life” which also comes next. While James LaBrie cops a lot of flak, he is a very diverse and unique singer who can cover a lot of different vocal styles.
Scene Four: Beyond This Life
They take a long song and extend it to 20 minutes in length. For a band that is very technical and very precise, they really like to be loose and just jam. Sometimes I wish they didn’t, but hey, if I wanted to hear the songs as per the album, then I would just press play on the album. This is another song that moves through a lot of styles musically and vocally.
This is why the live album is a favourite.
The song is extended. But, it’s not just extended for the sake of it.
The intro has John Petrucci on acoustic guitar doing some flamenco/classical like leads over the verse chords that Jordan Rudess plays on the keys. The actual song (like the studio cut) version starts at 1.20.
At 5.30, there is an approx. 2 minute guitar solo which John Petrucci shreds on. And you know how in concerts the guitar solo spotlight is just that, the guitarist and no one else. Well, here Petrucci uses the songs solo chordal structure and the whole band for his spotlight.
It’s basically them extending the songs solo section. Something like how The Black Crowes do. And it is excellent.
If you are a guitar player you need to hear this. If you are not a guitar player you still need to hear this. This is why I go to the live show. To hear artists communicating musically on stage. Even James LaBrie thinks this is a highlight, as he screams in the microphone at 6.21, Mr John Petrucci and the crowd roars their approval. At 6.40 it’s over and they are back into the song’s pre-chorus.
War Inside My Head / The Test That Stumped Them All
These two songs are back to back in the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song and they always should be played back to back. They are thrash groove Metal done in Dream Theaters way.
I get the same goose bumps when I hear the live version as I do for the studio version.
It wouldn’t be a Dream Theater show if it didn’t have an instrumental song created purely for the live show.
In this case and on this tour, they take sections from their instrumentals and the instrumental sections from lyrical songs and create some new jams with it and they must have had a proviso that said it had to be at least 12 minutes long.
It’s broken down like this.
I. The Dance of Eternity II. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’ III. I. Erotomania IV. The Dance of Eternity V. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’ VI. The Darkest of Winters VII. When the Water Breaks (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) VIII. The Darkest of Winters IX. Ytse Jam X. The Dance of Eternity XI. Paradigm Shift (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) XII. Universal Mind (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover) XIII. The Dance of Eternity XIV. Hell’s Kitchen
As a fan of those musical sections, it didn’t feel long nor boring. Plus you get some “Liquid Tension Experiment” sections, which I am also a fan of.
And they finish it off with my favourite section from “Hell’s Kitchen”.
Trial Of Tears
The keyboard ringing out segues into “Trial of Tears”. Another massive cut at almost 14 minutes long.
But it never gets boring, bringing back memories of 70’s progressive rock with a hook that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (the “it’s raining” part).
This song rocks.
I can get over how hard rock sounding the song really is. Its technical but still rooted in hard rock. Maybe because the keyboard parts are written by Derek Sherinian originally.
The style of Allan Holdsworth and what EVH was trying to do with “Van Halen III” comes to mind here musically.
It’s a skip for me. Not all live shows are killer.
Only A Matter Of Time
A track from the long forgotten debut album. This track had embryonic elements of songs like “Learning To Live”, “A Change Of Seasons” and “Metropolis” that would come after.
It’s almost like a lullaby. Very Pink Floyd like with the shimmering clean tone guitar and samples of children voices playing. It’s another song within the massive “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song. Petrucci’s lead break is full of hope and wonder.
They continue with the major key vibes and go into “Solitary Shell” from the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” album. This one is very Peter Gabriel like.
Stream Of Consciousness
Another instrumental from their recent album. LaBrie gets a chance to rest while the remainder of the band jam for another 12 minutes. And the song goes through so many different movements, you cannot get bored listening to it.
Press play to hear the section between 4 and 5 minutes. James LaBrie. What a vocal performance. Brilliant.
Pull Me Under
When I saw this album title for the first time ever, I just presumed it was a song about getting jerked off. Man, was I wrong. Never judge a song by its title.
As soon as the acoustic guitar lines start, the crowd is at its loudest and it’s all systems go.
In The Name Of God
Press play to hear the bone crunching riffs and the jazz fusion like lead section which has Petrucci wailing away at supersonic speeds.
And it’s not an easy song vocally with a lot of highs, but LaBrie does it well.
I have the DVD and the CD of this release. The DVD was also certified Platinum in January, 2005.
“Rock In Rio” on the back of the “Brave New World” vs “Rock In Rio” on the back of the “Senjutsu” album.
I wonder how many of the old Maiden fans went back and played “Senjutsu” over and over again.
Most of the songs on the new album I don’t really know how they go by looking at the title. It didn’t happen before. As soon as a person mentioned a Maiden song from their 80’s output, I knew the riff and the vocal melody.
Is it because of time?
I saw some research recently over at The Conversation website, which talks about how we stop exploring new music as we get older. While i don’t jump right in for new artists, I do know still like to see what my favorite artists are up to.
Did I have more time to listen to music before than now?
Bruce will always be a legend and Iron Maiden music is a massive part of my youth soundtrack growing up.
Getting old affects everybody, and Bruce is also struggling. It seems he doesn’t have the throat muscle to pronounce the words properly. Playing the songs a little bit faster in a live setting doesn’t help either. Plus the dude battled throat cancer and won.
Then I caught some Bon Jovi footage after I heard an NSTS Podcast from Brent Jensen, which spoke about JBJ’s voice on the recent 2021 and 2022 tour. Fans on Facebook commented after viewing a video somebody shared, that they want their money back from the show, and they weren’t even there.
The songs are down tuned, which is normal as a band ages. The backing vocals are triggered and pre-recorded, so it looks like they are singing, which they are, however when they sing, the louder pre-recorded vocals are heard more. This is also normal in this day, especially when rock acts age.
But the down tuning of these songs, takes the life away from them. Instead of that big key change to a Gm in “Livin’ On A Prayer” and getting those ball crunching woooh, we’re halfway there, who-oh livin’ on a prayer” you get a very low baritone like vocal (if there is one at all) as Jovi is a master at getting the crowd to fill the gaps.
Like Bruce, JBJ will always be a legend and Bon Jovi music formed a soundtrack of my youth, between 1984 and 1994. I’m not a huge fan of “These Days” but got back on board with “Crush” and left forever after “What About Now”.
I also wanted to see and hear how Motley Crue looked and sounded with John 5 live. It’s like he’s been part of the band forever. He just fits the picture and I mean no disrespect to Mick Mars, who will always be a legend as well, for the music that Motley Crue did in the 80’s also formed a massive part of my youth soundtrack. But I still think their best album is the Motley Corabi album. Which they ignore because Vince didn’t sing on it.
Then again, you don’t go to a Crue show to hear Vince sing. It’s an experience.
The term was never mentioned when it came to signing an artist to create content. It became a thing, when the corporations had to find a legal loophole to use against the creators trying to get their rights back, even though Copyright law states they can get their rights back after a certain period.
A work made for hire, is a piece of copyrightable work created by employees as part of their job or as part of a limited type of commissioned work for a flat fee. In the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is “made for hire,” the employer, not the employee, is considered the legal author. In other words, the creator of the work gives up all ownership and administration rights for a flat fee.
The earliest use of “Work For Hire” was in the arts industry like comic books and artists who designed album covers. Marvel is no stranger to these kind of cases. Stan Lee (creator of most things Marvel), Gary Friedrich (creator of Ghost Rider), Joe Simon (Captain America creator) and Jack Kirby (illustrator/artist on the Stan Lee projects) are a few names that had litigation cases brought against Marvel.
The Superman creators wrote an article hoping that the original Christopher Reeve movies bomb at the box office because they weren’t fairly compensated. The movies did the exact opposite.
Read this Billboard interview with Don Henley, who is very interested in artists rights. While I agree and also disagree with Henley’s views on a wide range of topics, one thing is certain; Henley cares. As a member of The Eagles, and after being a Copyright rookie, he schooled himself on what his entitlements are as a creator. Don Henley owns his post 1978 work as a member of The Eagles and as a solo artist. He knows that his pre-1978 works can be reclaimed from 2028 due to another sneaky Copyright addition for pre-78 works.
If you don’t want to click on the Billboard link, here is the question from Billboard and Henley’s answer.
The first issue you were known for being active on was the effort by the labels to have recordings considered “works for hire” — which I think was the origin of the Recording Artists Coalition. How important was the coalition in stopping that? And you learn anything from it?
In 1999, the lobbying group for the major labels, the RIAA, buried a fundamental change to the Copyright Act in a completely unrelated bill, the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999.
Without input from the artists, they amended the definition of ‘work for hire’ in the Copyright Act to include ‘sound recordings.’
The consequence of this amendment would have been devastating for recording artists. It would have effectively eliminated artists’ ability to regain ownership of their sound recordings in the United States.
The ability of the RIAA to pass a bill which amended the Copyright Act without opposition from the creative community was a direct result of the labels being organized and the artists not having a coalition to represent their voices.
So, a group of artists and artist representatives mobilized and formed the Recording Artists Coalition (RAC). Thanks to the many artists who spoke up, and the support of Congressman Howard Berman, sound recordings were stricken from the definition of ‘work for hire’ in the Work Made for Hire and Copyright Corrections Act of 2000. The only reason that recording artists can now regain control of their copyrights from the labels in the U.S. as Congress intended is because the RAC organized and artists spoke up.
I am all for the creators getting proper compensation for their works. There is no way that a corporation told a creator what to create.
Can you imagine the absurdity of it all?
A Publishing House is going to tell Steven King or George Martin or Paulo Coelho what to write. Yeah, right.
Or a Music company is going to tell an artists what kind of song to create.
Those same music companies including Capital Records, Warner Bros. and Sony Music have been falsely registering songs as “made for hire” in order to send takedown notices to the various ISP’s and YouTube.
I’m sure that’s gonna work out well in the long run especially when the artists don’t know that the label is doing that.
Then again, it doesn’t always work out well. This is just one of many.
The cover to Aqualung from Jethro Tull was created by Burton Silverman. The artwork was commissioned and purchased by Chrysalis Records head Terry Ellis in 1971.
Silverman was paid a flat fee of $1,500 for the painting and there was no written contract.
The artist says the art was only licensed for use as an album cover, and not for merchandising; he approached the band seeking remuneration for the additional uses, such as printing it on T-shirts and coffee mugs.
John Field designed the cover after the label sent out a job order to different artists. They only had the title of the album to work with.
This is the thing.
Bands in the 70’s experimented. They experimented with song structures and most importantly with sounds. As the technology got better and the studio techniques got better, the sounds just happened to get better.
And sometimes artists would get it right and at other times they would get it wrong.
I had a quest in the 90’s.
To listen to as many progressive bands and artists from the 70’s I could find. In my favour was the price crash of vinyl. For those who don’t know, most people were selling or giving away their vinyl collections as they made the transition to CD’s. Suddenly the second hand record shop had more people visiting it than the actual “record store” which sold overpriced CD’s.
Then in the late 90’s, peer to peer sharing would become a thing which would lead to even more discoveries.
I would see the band name in lists of progressive artists to check out from the 70’s in various magazines I was purchasing.
“Moonmadness” is studio album number 4 released in March 1976 on Decca and Gama Records and is their last album recorded by the group’s original line-up of Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson, and Andy Ward.
The band broke through with the previous all instrumental album called “The Snow Goose” and for “Moonmadness” they decided to incorporate vocals.
A 2 minute instrumental that does nothing.
Song Within A Song
I heard Kansas first and this song feels like a Kansas song in the intro, before it goes into a Pink Floyd “Us And Them” kind of feel.
At 3.15, it goes into a musical interlude. It’s slow, it’s got time changes and yet it is hummable. Who said that to be progressive you need to be technically excellent and be able to play time changes at break neck speeds?
And you don’t get a Camel record to listen to memorable vocal melodies. Its music first and vocals are a distant last.
It sounds like a TV intro theme.
Spirit Of The Water
The intro has this “Moonlight Sonata” feel and I like it.
The song just percolates and it feels haunted especially the piano melody.
Keyboardist Peter Bardens who also wrote this, shines. Press play to hear it.
King Crimson comes to mind. A repeating guitar line, is echoed before the excellent main riff comes in.
And that main riff is excellent.
Press play to hear this song.
On Spotify, the release is an expanded edition which has the single edit for “Another Night”, which is all about the riff and it is an excellent edit. There is also the piano demo for “Spirit Of The Water” which is even more haunted and impressive.
In other words, press play to hear these two tracks,
If you got into Santana on the back of “Smooth”, then this album wouldn’t please you a great deal. While “Smooth” contains flamenco style guitar leads and it has that feel, it is basically a pop song written by Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty.
Going back a few decades, Santana was a different beast. “Amigos” is the seventh studio album released in 1976.
New vocalist Greg Walker joined the group. It would be the last Santana album to include original bassist David Brown. Rounding out the band with Carlos Santana is also Leon Chancler on drums, Tom Coster on all things keys related and Armando Peraza on congos and bongos.
The brilliant female backing vocals are done by Ivory Stone , Julia Tillman Waters and Maxine Willard Waters.
Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana)
Written by pianist Tom Coster along with Leon Chancler and David Rubinson. This song is a vehicle for Santana to solo over while the samba like rhythms play, as the vocals move between English and Spanish.
But the last three minutes from about the 5 minute mark is where it’s at. The change in style reminds me of the second phase of “Layla”.
Take Me with You
It’s an instrumental that borders on jazz samba blues fusion. The song is written by Leon Chancler and Tom Coster, and it provides another vehicle for Santana to solo over.
But it’s a skip for me.
A song written by Carlos Santana and Tom Coster. This is what I like when I listen to a Santana album, the fusion of so many different styles. Jazz, rhythm and blues, fast reggae, the samba/latin feel and a whole lotta soul.
However in this case, the vocals don’t help the song at all.
Written by Armando Peraza who plays the congas and bongos in the band, who also takes the lead vocal.
I’m always a sucker for an acoustic guitar and that whole flamenco/classical feel. Then at the minute mark it moves away from that and into a song. You know those massive pop hits from Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, well they would have borrowed from this song.
And at 6 minutes long it gets a bit repetitive.
Tell Me Are You Tired
Written by Leon Chancler and Tom Coster.
Yacht music. A total skip for me.
Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile)
An instrumental written by Tom Coster and Carlos Santana.
A massive hit in Europe and the monster track on the album at 60 million Spotify streams. In comparison the other tracks are between 200,000 and 700,000.
Even the U.S hit, “Let It Shine” obviously wasn’t really loved as it is sitting at 296,756 streams on Spotify.
Gary Moore was definitely a fan of this because you can hear “Parisienne Walkways” and eventually his multi-platinum “Still Got The Blues”. You could say they are the same songs.
Let It Shine
Written by bassist David Brown and Ray Gardner.
It’s got this funky bass riff, with a wah like strummed pattern that reminds me of the stuff that Joe Walsh did with The Eagles and in “Life In The Fast Lane”.
The album did go good business in a lot of markets. Then again, certifications in most parts of the world back then happened based on shipment figures and not sales.
If you haven’t heard this album, just press play on “Europa” and then move on.
And that is how it would be for the band. Then from 1992, there was studio silence after the “Milargo” album,.
The best thing Carlos Santana did or what his label and management got him to do, was to work with different vocalists instead of trying to hold down a band. At 30 million plus albums sold worldwide, “Supernatural” from 1999 stands as his testament. And since then, he has tried to replicate the formula.
“Shaman” came in 2002, following the same formula but it didn’t capture the zeitgeist like “Supernatural” only moving 5 million units worldwide. “All That I Am” in 2005 did even less and a sign of the times, with peer to peer downloading and the iTunes store allowing people to cherry pick the songs they want.
But then came a totally unexpected album, and one of Santana’s best. But its forgotten. Called “Guitar heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time”, you will hear Carlos and his friends take on songs like “Photograph” from Def Leppard with Chris Daughtry singing, a hip hop version of “Back In Black” with Nas singing, “Whole Lotta Love” with Chris Cornell singing and other singers like Gavin Rossdale doing “Get it On” from T-Rex, Scott Weiland doing “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” from The Rolling Stones, Scott Stapp doing “Fortunate Son” from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jacoby Shaddix doing “Smoke On The Water”, Jonny Lang on “I Ain’t Superstitious” and Chester Bennington on “Riders On The Storm” from The Doors.
But the song to hear on this is “Little Wing” with Joe Cocker on vocals. It’s brilliant and perfect for Santana to express himself.
And in 2012, “Shape Shifter” came out with no guest singers and no sales. In 2014, “Corazon” had the guest singers back for a Latin/Reggae like album and the sales were back.
In 2016, another magical album was released in “Santana IV” which reunited most of the surviving members from the early 1970s line-up of the band (including Carlos Santana, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Mike Carabello and Michael Shrieve) and was the first time that the quintet had recorded together since 1971’s Santana III.
“Africa Speaks” (produced by Rick Rubin) brought about a fusion of rock, Latin and jazz in 2019, and in 2021 the guest musicians and singers were back for “Blessings And Miracles”. Check out “Joy” with Chris Stapleton on vocals, “America For Sale” with Kirk Hammet and Death Angel vocalist Mark Osegueda) and Rob Tomas tried to re-create “Smooth” with “Move”.
You see, large legacy artists today are releasing these kind of albums as part of their anniversary editions. Whitesnake comes to mind with their excellent box sets. But Dream Theater, well, they were doing it as part of their Official Bootleg series.
Released in 2003 on Ytse Jam Records, what you hear on this double CD “Making Of Scenes From A Memory” are alternate takes, partial jam sections that are a bit different, random noises and improvisations, plus alternate mixes.
Some of the stuff on CD1 is not that interesting. For die-hard fans like me, it’s okay to listen once and then it goes to the collection.
But there is also some great stuff here.
“Regression” is an alternate vocal take. The guitar progression that JP wrote became the central theme tying the album together. It appears in “Through My Words”, “Finally Free” and is the foundation for the excellent, “The Spirit Carries On”.
“Through Her Eyes” has James LaBrie trying a few different vocal melodies but the piece d’resistance is the sax solo on the outro which was left off the final mix.
The booklet notes from Portnoy mentions the following for “Through Her Eyes”;
“Originally we wrote 2 different versions of this song.
The working title was “Titanic” so there was the “Short Titanic” (this arrangement that ended up making the final CD) and the “Long Titanic” (which was more of a traditional rock arrangement, with drums and some additional chord progressions).
Because of time restraints, the “Long Titanic” is not included on this CD, but it can be found on the closing credits of “Metropolis 2000 – Scenes From New York” DVD.
John Petrucci’s vocal demo guide for ‘The Spirit Carries On’, is warts and all auto-tune free and pretty funny to listen to.
And then we come to CD2, which are the original mixes for the album.
This was the first album that had John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy producing. David Bottrill was hired to mix the album because of his work with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Tool. It was a weird mix, because Dream Theater in sound is more heavy metal and hard rock with progressive elements. The bands that Bottrill worked with are not hard rock and heavy metal. They have unique soundscapes special to them.
Bottrill mixed the album in 10 days with the band members giving him “expert advice” to make the drums louder, more guitars, more keys, higher vocals and higher bass.
While the mixing process was happening, the band members were giving it their tick of approval, however after the mixes were complete and sitting with the mixes for a few days, the band expressed concerns at the sonic intensity of the mixed songs. It was a bitter pill to swallow as they all had large inputs into how it should be mixed.
Petrucci reached out to Kevin Shirley. Shirley had some time to do a few mixes, so they gave him three tracks to start off with in “Home”, “The Spirit Carries On” and “Through Her Eyes”. Shirley did the mixes (on his own, without any band input) and sent them back. The band compared the mixes to the three songs mixed by Bottrill and they were happy with the sonics this time around.
All was not lost as some of Dave Bottrill mixes survived to the final cut in “Regression”, “The Dance Of Eternity”, “One Last Time” and “Finally Free”.
The weird part is you have this low profile official bootleg release, where the fans get the original mix for the album, when nowadays these kind of tracks are the “in thing” for anniversary editions or special remixed editions.
And so far, this release has not been re-released as part of the “Lost Not Forgotten” series via Inside Out Music.
If the artist doesn’t get paid from recorded music, well it’s their fault for signing a crap deal or for signing away their rights a long time ago for a big payday. Or they are not big enough to be paid.
And when the tickets to concerts are too expensive it is their fault as well.
Seen all the craziness around Bruce Springsteen and the prices charged for his concerts in the U.S.
For an artist on who has made his living from the heartland, the prices of $4K for a ticket due to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” algorithm (based on a simple design of high demand vs low supply = price increase on the fly), has left him and his team in damage control.
Even the biggest fanzine dedicated to the boss called “Backstreets” has ceased to exist after 43 years over this. But “The Boss” defended these prices last year. The way Springsteen sees it, someone else (like a scalper or secondary ticket re-seller) was going to sell the tickets at the higher prices, so why can’t it be him and his team that gets the difference between the normal price and the price the fan is willing to pay.
Is there anything wrong with this?
It was going to happen eventually.
Artists have been ripped off for decades so when they have been around the business for a long time, you would expect the artists to do the same as the agencies that ripped them off. Businesses pay taxes when they start out while the established ones pay no taxes. And when those small businesses get big enough and have billions coming through, suddenly they also pay no taxes.
But with the rising costs to put shows on, a lot of smaller to medium artists are cancelling tours because they don’t want to overcharge their fans but they need to overcharge, in order to make some coin. And for the ones who do decide to overcharge, well their fans are not buying the tickets and suddenly the tour or the show is cancelled due to low ticket sales.
The artists and their team (which includes, accountant, lawyer, management and most probably the label if they are on a 360 contract) control it all. The final decision on ticket prices comes back to this team. When Taylor Swift blamed Ticketmaster for her prices, she was trying to save face because she got busted ripping off her fans.
Springsteen had the view that since other agencies have been ripping his fans off for a long time and that’s okay, why isn’t it okay when he The Boss does it.
Ticketing companies then find other ways to get the money from the fans, via booking fees, parking fees and super expensive food and alcohol at the venue. The merchandise companies then find ways to rip off the fans by selling $5 dollar tops at $50, because they have negotiated a set fee with the artist to be the merch supplier to begin with and then they need to split the profits with the artist.
And the artist is central here, however they are just a cog in a massive machine, which likes making money of them.
The labels cannot make money if the artist doesn’t create a song that resonates with people.
Lawyers, accountants and managers cannot make money if the artist is a nobody. They make money if the artist is a somebody.
Promotors, ticketing agencies and merchandise agencies make money from the artists. Streaming services, CD and vinyl making plants and record shops make money because of the artist.
Publishing/licensing companies make money from the artists along with radio stations.
That useless entity known as the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame makes money from the artists.
And most of the people who make money from the artists are flying on their own private jets while most artists need to tour in busses and vans.
And all the artist wants to do is write and play music and if they have an audience to enjoy playing to them. As a by-product of creating music and having an audience, they would expect to be paid fairly.
“Transcendence” is the seventeenth studio album by Devin Townsend and it is the seventh and final album in the Devin Townsend Project series. It was released on September 9, 2016, via HevyDevy Records.
Think about that for a second. 17 albums.
It got a lot of awesome write ups and I think Loudwire gave it the Number 1 spot on albums released in 2016. I only listened to two songs from it as they came up on playlists (in “Stormbending” and “Failure”) and never really went back to listen to the full album during that year. I don’t know why I didn’t check it out fully, as “Failure” was and still is a great head banging track.
I don’t know how to describe the album.
I grew up on the sounds of the 80’s. The only thing that resembles the 80’s here is the distortion guitars and some shredding guitar lines. Sometime in the early 2000’s, extreme metal bands started to add atmospheric synths to their sounds, and they slowed their tempos so they have groove. It has some of that.
Then there was a genre called Math Metal which morphed to Djent and its now known as progressive metal. Well it has a bit of that. Operatic themes are present as well.
In the end, Devin Townsend is pushing the bar on creativity and originality, using the various digital audio workstation tools and plug-ins to achieve uniqueness. The future will probably look back at this album and hold it in high regard like the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven. Maybe he will bring about world peace like the Wyld Stallions did in Bill And Ted.
A groove metal riff (almost nu-metal like in feel) underpins the song while the synth keys give it a very Euro vibe. At the 1.30 mark it goes into this classical like section.
At 2.15 minutes, it’s like a fire ritual, with a spaced out, very heavily reverb’d “Hallelujah” chant happening over a chaotic wall of noise. It sounds ethereal, dissonant yet melodic and hypnotic. And you can’t really make out the lyrics, (which ain’t much) as they are heavily loaded with effects.
And it ends like mindfulness music.
I also didn’t know it at the time that this was an updated or reimagined version of the same song which appeared on Townsend’s solo record, “Infinity” from 1998. And suddenly the nu-metal feel makes sense.
Devin Townsend can play some serious guitar and the dude can sing and growl with the best of em. In other words, he is one talented mf.
This song was perfect back in 2016 and it still is now.
You need to listen to the section that kicks in 1.46. Did anyone say “guitar hero”? Well you have it with Devin Townsend. The lead break that comes after that reminds me of A Perfect Circle. Actually the whole cinematic like vibe is reminiscent of the debut APC album. Then again, we wear our influences on our sleeves.
At about 3.28, it goes into this major key like vibe. It sounds hopeful and it goes with the lyrical line of “All we’re offering is a change to be loved”. And they continue this vibe before it fades into a cacophony of noises which segue into “Failure”.
The way this song starts off. It’s so heavy yet it lifts you up.
And they continue that groove (which reminds me of Tool), adding extra guitars, synths, harmonies and what not.
All I could be is press repeat over and over again to hear it.
And while the music is perfection, Devin Townsend reminds everyone what a great rock singer he is. He’s all clean tone, using his natural baritone voice, with high falsettos and when the Chorus kicks in, it’s like a sermon, with some high deity singing to the masses.
At 2.21, a lead break starts. He’s melodic, keeping within key, then he goes all dissonant and chromatic but at 3.11 he goes modal, keeping within the key and I am hooked. Just listen to it.
If you weren’t converted to Devin Townsend by know, this song could be the key.
And at 6.82 million Spotify streams it’s virtually forgotten.
It’s got a major key strummed riff to start it off. Its pop music and yet it still sounds heavy.
And when he sings “let it go” in the Chorus, a certain Disney song comes to mind.
It reminds me of Pink Floyd and “Goodbye Blue Sky” in feel.
Then at 1.20, it goes into a quirky “Higher” chant and then a Tool like groove kicks in, but the vocals are far removed from Maynard.
At 3.25, I like the whole movement and Townsend’s “craft your life” vocal line which then segues into a progressive interlude and an extreme metal passage. Add to that some groove metal over different time changes, operatic vocals and you would think the song is done.
But it’s not.
At the 6 minute mark, it goes into this doom grind riff. It’s so heavy, it will sink ships.
And I am thinking, how did this song which started out so beautiful, descend into chaos and violence musically. That’s the best way to sum up Devin Townsend.
I have read in reviews that this is a metal ballad. To me it is a metal song. There’s nothing ballad about it. I also love the Chorus hook of “I can see you in the stars tonight, lost in love and light”
And that change at 2.15. Press play to hear it.
It feels like a U2 track with orchestras and a wall of guitars.
Offer Your Light
It’s metal like, with a frantic tempo and a dance like synth pattern. And I like it, especially the angelic voice of Anneke van Giersbergen.
From The Heart
An 8 minute pre-closer. It feels cinematic and grand like when the hero saves the day and the darkness gives way to light.
The closing track is a cover from Ween, a psychedelic rock band who released this song in 2003. It’s done in Townsend’s unique way and you wouldn’t know it was a cover.
If there is a complaint, there are times when I feel that Townsend’s vocals are buried under the walls of guitar noise and operatic sound experimentations.
Overall, the album still sounds as fresh and as crazy as it did back then. The styles and moods are so schizophrenic that it will never date or be dated to a certain movement or sound like “The Sunset Strip” or “Seattle”.
And I can’t believe I found 1000 plus words to describe it.