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

The Record Vault – Phil Collins

Three portraits. Phil really liked keeping the album cover simple.

Face Value

Released in 1981.

One song.

“In The Air Tonight”.

The way it percolates until it explodes with the drums. Brilliant.

Then there is “The Roof Is Leaking” a sombre piano ballad which moves into “Droned” which is a piano instrumental and it sounds like it could have come from an Alan Parsons album.

“I Missed Again” has a horn lead break which works as a lead guitar line and the album has a psychedelic version of “Tomorrow Never Knows” from The Beatles with horns and phasers.

No Jacket Required

Released in 1985

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

But Seriously

Released in 1989.

It was number 1 everywhere and Phil Collins couldn’t do no wrong. As a solo artist, he was having hits. With Genesis, he was having hits. Writing songs for movies, he was having hits.

Two songs define this album.

The blues/gospel influenced “I Wish It Would Rain Down” with the mighty Eric Clapton on lead guitar. That outro with Clapton trading pentatonic lead breaks with Collins vocals, is just brilliant.

And the other track is “Another Day in Paradise” which deals with homelessness which Queensryche also touched on with their “Empire” album and their song “Della Brown”.

“That’s Just The Way It Is” is a great title. The subdued nature of the song is what interested me and Collins delivers an R&B style vocal. Many years later I found out it’s an anti-war ballad about The Troubles in Northern and it became a favourite.

And that folks is my Phil Collins experience.

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

1977 – Part 4

Scorpions – Taken By Force

My first Scorpions experience was Tokyo Tapes courtesy of a friend.

And I grew up as an Uli Jon Roth fan.

Fast forward many years later, I’m reading interviews of artist, who mention Uli Jon Roth as an influence. Guitarists like George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Alex Skolnick and Kirk Hammet just to name a few. I heard his style of writing in Adrian Vandenberg and Randy Rhoads. And although Yngwie Malmsteen was classed as a Richie Blackmore clone, he also had Uli Jon Roth influences.

And for Uli Jon Roth, he was a Hendrix devotee. So he merged those Hendrix influences with Euro Classical music and the result’s is a fusion of blues, rock and classical.

So let’s relive a very underrated and more or less forgotten Scorpions album from the glorious Uli Jon Roth era who as a lead guitarist had free reign to paint whatever leads he wanted.

“We’ll Burn The Sky” starts off with those clean tone arpeggios and a haunting vocal from Klaus Meine. And it moves into this staccato riff, which is the embryo of melodic rock.

That, ahhhhh breakdown from about the 2 minute mark, leads back into those clean tone arpeggios. This one is written by Schenker and lyrics are provided by Roth’s partner, Monika Dannemann, in tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who she was with at the time of his death.

“I’ve Got to Be Free” is a Roth cut with a wicked guitar riff and a Boston “Peace Of Mind” solo section.

“The Riot of Your Time” is a Schenker and Meine cut. For those questioning Meine’s abilities to write social conscious lyrics, then they should check this out. And those people pushing the theories of “Winds OF Change” being written by a CIA operative, should also check out this song.

“The Sails of Charon” is Roth’s shining moment. It’s been covered a lot. The title is enough to get me interested. Then there is the riff. A fusion of Classical and Spanish scales.

And that lead break over the intro riff.

It gave birth to the Shrapnel Label and shred guitar because it wasn’t just fast pentatonic licks like most of the guitarist’s did in the bands. This was a lead break like the lead breaks from the instrumental fusion artists like Al DiMeola, John MacLaughlin and Alan Holdsworth.

How good is “Your Light” which is another Roth cut, a mixture of funk, blues and rock?

“He’s a Woman – She’s a Man” is a Schenker, Meine and Herman Rarebell. I first heard this song when George Lynch covered it for a Scorpions tribute album. That intro riff and everything that comes after, is like a riot.

Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation

It was a backs to the wall album. If you want to read the story behind, click on this link for Loudersound.com.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that I got a chance to really dig in to their 70’s output.

“Soldier Of Fortune” has nice harmony guitars in the Chorus, while “Bad Reputation” has a nasty guitar riff in the verses with funky bass lines.

“Opium Trail” is one of my favourite cuts. I heard John Norum’s cut first with Glen Hughes on vocals and became a fan instantly.

“Southbound” and that opening harmony riff. Listen to it.

And I still don’t like “Dancing In The Moonlight”, but I do like “Killer Without A Cause”.

And that harmony intro to “That Woman’s Gonna Break Your Heart” gets me playing air guitar and drums.

“Dear Lord” is the closer. Check out the lyrics from Lynott who was already experimenting with his potions and pills.

I’m in deep and I need your help / there’s no one to turn to and I can’t help myself / Dear Lord hear this call / oh Lord, save my fall.

No one heard the call as it all came crashing down by the mid 80s.

Judas Priest – Sin After Sin

This album is one of those underrated albums. A bridge between the start of the band and the peak commercial success of the band.

To record this album on a major label, it meant the band had to forfeit their rights to their first two albums to their original label, who kept the masters with them.

It’s also the album in which Judas Priest toured the US as support to REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. Seeing those three bands together on a bill is all wrong.

I love “Sinner”. So many great movements, like the intro/verse riff, the start of the solo section in the middle, then another outro solo and it just keeps on rolling and rolling and rocking.

“Diamonds And Rust” is a melodic rock gem, a cover of a Joan Baez folk song, but the way Judas Priest do it, it’s basically the sound which The Night Flight Orchestra built a career on writing songs like it.

“Starbreaker” chugs along on it’s F#m note.

“Last Rose Of Summer” sounds like it came from a Bad Company album, and very similar to “Shooting Star” while “Call For The Priest” has a harmony lead break which makes me want to hear it again. “Here Come The Tears” is one of those ballad like songs but in the 70’s it didn’t feel forced or pretentious. And the last two minutes is full of melodic lead breaks with a repeating baritone vocal line and then a high banshee vocal line.

“Dissident Aggressor” starts off like “Roadhouse Blues” merged with “Children Of The Grave” before Halford’s banshee operatic wail kicks in.

How good does “Race With The Devil” start off and then from the 28 second mark it moves into this blues like riff?

And most of the songs are forgotten, very rarely finding their way into the set lists. But it’s a worthy album.

Aerosmith – Draw The Line

The cover is one of the best. The cartoon caricatures on a white background just worked.

And it’s got my favourite Aerosmith track in “Kings And Queens” which producer Jack Douglas described the lyric writing process with Steven Tyler like “pulling teeth” because of the state he was in.

And since Joe Perry is not credited as a writer, he doesn’t even play on the track, with all guitars handled by Brad Whitford, including the lead guitars. Glen Hughes also did a killer cover if it.

And Steve Tyler has given many different interpretations as to what “Kings And Queens” is really about. In the liner notes to “Pandora’s Box”, he wrote that the song is about the holy wars and how many people died because of their beliefs and non-beliefs.

In his book, he said it’s about “a stoned-out rock star in his tattered satin rags lying on the ancient stone floor of a castle – slightly mad, but still capable of conjuring up a revolutionary album that would astound the ears of the ones who heard it and make the critics cringe.”

And relations further deteriorated when the Joe Perry penned “Bright Light Fright” was ignored by the band, but Perry still persisted with getting it done and since Tyler refused to sing it, Perry sang the lead vocal on it.

Journey – Next

To show how important “Next” is to the Journey history, all of the songs on the album vanished from the band’s live set list after 1979 and “Spaceman” and “Here We Are” have never been performed live. And “Spaceman” was also the single.

This “early” Journey was experimental and progressive, largely unknown to the masses, who would became fans from 1979/80.

Gregg Rolie is doing vocals (along with his normal piano playing) and the reviews of the time spoke about the vocals being poor. There is no Fleischman or Perry heroics.

But the band is a powerhouse band, with Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Neal Schon (sporting a monster hair style) on guitar and Ross Valory on bass.

Songs to check out are “Spaceman”, the progressive “Hustler” and the instrumental “Nickel and Dime”.

The Alan Parsons Project – I-Robot

I like the Alan Parsons Project because it feels like a mix tape of different artists as different vocalists do the lead vocals on the lyrical tracks and then there are the symphonic movie like pieces for the instrumentals.

Plus the themes of the albums all revolved around science fiction themes, which suited me fine.

“Don’t Let It Show” is more known to me because Pat Benatar covered it for “In the Heat of the Night”. Lead vocals on this album are done by Dave Townsend.

“Some Other Time” and “Breakdown” are my favourite tracks. Vocals on “Some Other Time” are done by Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren, while vocals on “Breakdown” are done by Allan Clarke.

And these names might mean nothing to people, but they all had careers in musicals, and as solo artists or with bands and with collaborations with other artists in different genres. And Alan Parsons rounded em all up to do rock songs.

The instrumental closer “Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” (with its Choir) appeared in the episode “Toys” from “Homecoming” and I know that because I just finished watching season 1 two nights ago and I am currently half way through season 2. Plus Wikipedia confirmed it as well.

Finally, Alice Cooper’s “Lace And Whiskey” gets a listen, with his private eye persona concept story. “Lace And Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “King Of The Silver Screen” and “(No More) Love At Your Convenience” are the songs to check out.

But it was the beginning of the end of his marvellous 70’s output, and the start of the rehabilitation which would hit platinum heights 11 years later.

See ya back in the 2000’s for Part 5.

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

The Record Vault – Collective Soul

It all happened backwards for me with Collective Soul.

Dosage

It started off with “Run” from the “Dosage” album released in 1999. I overdosed on this song. I saw it in a movie, “Varsity Blues” and it was perfect for the scene, and it connected. “Heavy” is another go to track which I dig, with a nice bendy wah solo.

Disciplined Breakdown

Then I went back and purchased “Disciplined Breakdown” and I was listening to “Forgiveness” none stop.

And I was picking up the guitar to learn “Precious Declaration” with its “Walk This Way” like riff. “Listen” also has an iconic guitar riff and Ed Roland doesn’t get the dues he deserves as a riff meister.

And the title track, what a riff.

Hints Allegations And Things Left Unsaid

And I heard “Shine” when it came out in 1994/5 and I didn’t like it. It was all over radio and music Television. It was just too much.

But hearing it 1999/2000, I was a fan. I don’t remember anything else from this album, except “Shine” and that riff, and it was enough.

Because in the space of six months, I had three albums from Collective Soul.

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

July 2020 – Part 4

Vanishing Point

My favourite Australian metal act from Melbourne, who are under lockdown right now, because of a massive second wave.

Their new album is coming out soon.

So far “Dead Elysium” and “Salvus” have dropped and I can’t stop playing em.

“Dead Elysium” with its keys and syncopated guitar riffs remind me of Evergrey.

“Salvus” has this major key vibe in the intro, which hooks me in. And without having any information, it looks like the song title is a play on “Salvation + Us.”

It’s an addictive song, so I press repeat again.

7 Angels

The song and band are also called “7 Angels” and Mark Slaughter guests. Its Moroccan style intro gets me interested, but its the balls to the wall hard rock vibe gets me interested.

Perfect Plan

“Better Walk Alone” is typical of the melodic rock coming out of Europe and the Frontiers Label. Its derivative but still a good listen. Check out the Chorus on this. Its huge.

“Time For A Miracle” kicks off with the military snare and a guitar riff that reminds me of Kashmir from Led Zeppelin in its triplet like pattern. And the verses remind me of “Metropolis Pt 1” from Dream Theater.

I’m interested. The whole album is coming out soon.

Andy James

“Die A Devil” is the song, another instrumental piece which has a lot of good melodic moments, shred and some great riffs.

Three Days Grace

Have you seen the memes about Gotye with the punchline of “Hey, you are somebody That I Used To Know”?

Anyway, Three Days Grace (the version of the band that exists right now) is bringing the song back into our lives, in a modern rock way. Then again, I’ve always said that Gotye’s song is a copy of song from The Police called “King Of Pain”.

Haken

The album is “Virus”, which is a coincidence because the title was decided way before the whole COVID-19 spread worldwide.

So if you like progressive and technical rock/metal, then this album would fill the void. This band actually came onto my radar because they reminded me of Dream Theater, and some of the guys in the band toured with Mike Portnoy as “The Shattered Fortress”. But on this album, while they have kept that Dream Theater influence, they’ve decorated it with a bit of Periphery style technical metal.

And I was going to do a review on the album but the Angry Metal Guy nailed it. Check it out.

Starset

I kept seeing this band getting radio plays on a different blog I follow, so I thought I should check em out.

And the song that keeps getting radio plays is not my favourite at all. If I had to make a decision to like the band on that song, then it would be a pass. However, I stuck around and listened to the whole album called “Divisions” which came out last year.

And my favourite songs, are “Where The Skies End”, “Perfect Machine”, “Stratosphere”, “Faultline”, “Solstice” and “Diving Bell”.

Ocean Alley

It came up on a rock playlist and I checked the album, but I only like two of the songs. “Tombstone” and “Way Down”. These two songs remind me of The Night Flight Orchestra and early Marillion.

Primal Fear

“Metal Commando” is the name of the album and it’s the usual metal fair with song titles like “I Am Alive”, “Along Came The Devil” and “My Name Is Fear”.

Pinnacle Point

This band could release an album under the Kansas band name and people would believe it’s Kansas. “Symphony Of Mind” is the album and go to tracks are “Ascent To The Point”, “Never Surrender”. “Shadows Of Peace” and “Dangerous Times”.

Well that’s it for July 2020 releases.

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

July 2020 – Part 3

Bush

“The Kingdom” took me by surprise. This is their best album since the first two albums. Its heavy and it’s the Bush I like.

“Flowers On The Grave” has the riffs.

She covered me in loneliness like flowers on a grave

What a lyric?

Relationships could be like death. When they end its sad, So many memories are attached to things. You might not like your favourite artist anymore, because that artist was tied to the relationship.

“The Kingdom” starts off with a bending note, before it explodes into a heavy riff that reminds me of Tool and Rossdale is nailing the vocal.

Hey, people just soldier on

I guess that’s what we know how to do. Marching forward in the name of the progress.

Only in the silence we can see who we are

When we are alone with our thoughts, that’s when it’s real. That’s when we know who we are. Are we thinking of how to make it, or are we thinking how to get back at someone who upset us or to get it on with someone else.

“Bullet Holes” has a bass riff that reminds of “Comedown”. It appeared in John Wick 3, which these days, placing songs in movies is a perfect vehicle for artists to promote their music and also get some of that licensing money.

“Ghosts In The Machine” has an intro riff that gets the head banging before it gets subdued in the verses.

“Are we not slaves?”

“We are slaves, under the illusion of free will”.

My father said that to me once upon a time. He borrowed money from a bank on two occasions, $20K each time and he paid off those loans super quick. He’s never owned a credit card. As far as he’s concerned, being in debt to a financial institution is slavery. Because you are not free to make the best choice available in life, because if you are in debt, you live with fear, like what will happen if you lose your job.

“Blood River” has an angry chorus.

Blood River, let it all go

Rage is like a blood river, a flood of red which overwhelms the senses. Let it go, move on, whatever has got you worked up, is not worth it.

“Send In The Clowns” has the riffs.

Send in the clowns as tonight we are going to rage

It brings back memories of the Joker movie, right at the end, when they all just raged and went nuts.

“Undone” moves me, every single time.

On my grave nothing really matters

Death gives us perspective and what actually matters. I saw a research paper on one of those BBC Science news posts a while back that asked a range of questions to people who are terminal.

And all of them wanted more time to do things they wanted to do or should have done. And most of them said they should have spent more time with family.

Because it’s at this moment of death, your mind finally understands that you will not be around anymore, so you get a sense of what is most important.

How good is that riff in “Our Time Will Come”?

“Crossroads” reminds me of “Machinehead” (the Bush song, not the Deep Purple album or the band).

“Words Are Not Impediments” has this bass groove which gets me interested.

When I’m with you I feel no pain

There is always something or someone that makes you feel invincible. When I was growing up, that was heavy metal and hard rock music.

Part 4 coming up.

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

July 2020 – Part 2

Love Become Law
The Cherry Truck Band

It’s a combination of Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck.

And the intro riff reminds me of “Conquistador” from 30 Seconds To Mars.

Stand for peace / if it takes everything

I don’t know if we really know what that means this days. The narrative has moved from evil countries to our own backyards and evil/corrupt politicians who are a threat to peace in the name of economics. And these politicians have realised that when people have money, they feel safe and the majority will be obedient little servants.

So are we willing to risk everything to stand for peace.

Iris
Diamante, Breaking Benjamin

A cover.

It’s okay and it got me interested to re-listen to the original from The Goo Goo Dolls, which is a lot better.

How huge was that song back in the 90s?

And the good thing about covers is that they re-introduce a classic song to a whole new audience.

Just ask Quiet Riot (their Slade covers) and Motley Crue (“Helter Skelter”, “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Jailhouse Rock”) just to name a few.

The Unknown
10 Years

I really dig their brand of music which is a mixture of so many different styles I like.

“How did we end up here, sifting through our own ashes?”

Every event and moment that transpires in the now, is rooted to a past decision. That other place you purchased over the first place or the extra drink you had and the strings that came with that.

“No one can survive at the speed of light forever”

Life is fluid and fast. It’s so much faster today than ever before. As I type this, the explosion in Beirut was all over the news and 24 hours later it was done.

“Time moves on and carries us into the great unknown”

We don’t know what the future holds. As Sarah Connor said at the end of “Judgement Day”;

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”

Come On Out – RAC Mix
The Airborne Toxic Event

This song sounds like a My Chemical Romance track mixed with “Heroes” from David Bowie. And I like it.

It’s About Time
Jefferson Starship

This one took me by surprise.

It’s just a good pop rock song. And I have no idea who is in Jefferson Starship right now, but don’t let the band name be a detractor.

Lions
Look Into Me
Winner Takes All
Tokyo Motor Fist

“The world is in chaos” is how “Lions” starts off.

And it sure is.

We are trying to live with the new normal, with restrictions and lockdown, then the COVID-19 numbers get better and we start to open up, only to see the numbers go up again and restrictions kick in. I’ve been working from home for six months, with no end in sight.

Eagle
Crazy Lixx

The bass groove is like “Heaven And Hell” but the guitar and synths decorations are pure melodic rock.

Always The Villain
Michael Grant And The Assassins

This album was mentioned over at 2Loud2OldMusic and because it’s a Frontiers release, I went to Spotify to check it out.

And I became a fan on the first listen.

So who is Michael Grant?

He plays all the instruments on this album except for 5 tracks, he calls in a different drummer.

So when you listen to the album, remember that Michael Grant is playing those riffs, the majority of the drum tracks, the bass lines, the lead lines and he does all the vocals.

“The Assassins” comes from his touring band, but they didn’t play on the album.

And before going solo, Grant was the founder, and lead singer/guitarist in the alternative melodic hard rock band “Endeverafter” between 2004 and 2012, who had a deal with Epic Records, and they released one album “Kiss Or Kill” in 2007.

From 2012 to 2018, Grant was the guitarist in LA Guns and also wrote and recorded “The Missing Peace” album with them, released in 2017. The LA Guns camp said he left the band to pursue his solo project, while Grant said he was fired from the band.

Anyway.

Every single song on this album is melodic, with good riffs, catchy AOR choruses and great leads.

“Nightmare” is my favorite today, because of the lead break that reminds me of Dave Gilmour but depending on the day or my mood, other tracks take over.

Ignite The Sky
Bloody Heels

This one also appeared on 2Loud2OldMusic as a new release coming out for the week, and like Michael Grant, it’s a Frontiers release, so I went to Spotify, pressed play and became a fan.

Because the album reminds me of Hurricane, Slaughter, Babylon AD, Tangier, Steelheart and Hericane Alice. All bands I like.

And I have no idea about the band members, place of origin or any histories. It’s just the music, leading me.

“Ignite The Sky” sounds like it could have come from Harem Scarem with a Mark Slaughter like vocal line. “Criminal Masterminds” is my favourite today as the lyrics tell us there is no difference between a man in a suit and tie and a man with a 45.

“Black Swan” reminds me of Def Leppard in the Chorus. “Stand Your Ground” has this harmony lead which connects. “Silhouette” has a clean tone arpeggio riff that reminds of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Warrant.

“In Between”
Beartooth

I saw that this song got a certification in the US and I was like;

Who is this?

And what do they sound like?

So I pressed play on the song and I was surprised.

And I like the vocal line, “it’s easy to lose yourself in between.” Because, when we are transitioning from one path to another, it’s easy to forget who we are in the in between.

Escape Artist
Rise Against

I really like this band. I’ve been a fan since 2005.

“It’s a lottery of life, we just play it”

I read somewhere about how the human body is fighting death from its first breath. Some make it to old age and some don’t.

And everything is a lottery. That story you write, could become popular or be ignored. That song you write, could become popular or be ignored.

But if you don’t play the lottery, you’ll never, ever know.

Colour and Shape
Joe Bonamassa

I am a fan of Bonamassa when he’s in that blues rock, heavy rock vibe. And sometimes, he pulls out soulful ballads like this one. It’s a fusion of blues, funk with a bit of 7th and 9th jazz chords chucked in. But it’s the lead break at 2.40 that made me become a fan of this song.

Lost
Friends
Arctic Rain

“I was lost in the middle of nowhere” is how “Lost” begins, before a melodic lead kicks off the intro.

And its melodic rock with huge choruses.

Part 3 of July is coming up.

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

July 2020 – Part 1

How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling

From Germany, its instrumental Pink Floyd style rock with Tool like grooves and a few vocal tracks. But it’s the moods they set that always hook me in.

“Hazard” has this palm muted riff from 1.42 and it morphs into this little melodic lick from about 2.25 to 2.56. Then its silence and an arpeggio guitar riff begins, while a female voice hauntingly talks about AI possessing a certain set of skills which could turn AI into a superhuman. And its silent for a brief moment, then I’m hooked again from 3.56, when the emotive lead kicks in. It’s a few notes, a few bends, but its impact is immense.

“Voices” and that riff from 2.30, it’s like a palm muted digital delay lick. “Immunity” has this riff/lead from 2.50 and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and from about 3.39 it morphs into a Muse like riff.

And if you want to hear just one track, then “Sharing Thoughts” is the track, especially that whole movement from 1.31 to the end. Then again, the section that starts from 3.05 is essential listening.

Night Demon

“Night Demon” does a new take on an old sound and I like it. “Vysteria” is their new single release and on Spotify, they combined various single releases into an EP. Since they came up with the word, they define “Vysteria” as “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement incited by the media, especially among a group of people during a pandemic”.

“Vysteria” is basically about COVID-19 and how our lives have been affected by restrictions and lockdown, with the conspiracy catch cry of “is it the end of the world, or the thinning of the herd”.

NOBODY IS SAFE
THE VIRUS HAS NO PREDJUDICE
NO BLACK OR WHITE
THE RICH AMONG THE POOR

“Are You Out There” feels like it came from “On Through The Night” and the self-titled Maiden debut. “Kill The Pain” has this “Where Eagles Dare” start before it morphs into a Judas Priest/Metallica cut. “Empires Fall” is “Hit The Lights” only faster. Then again the song is a cover from a NWOBHM band.

The Game Is Over – Evanescence

“The Game Is Over” has me interested to hear what will come next.

A bell tolls and a drum beat plays.

The bass kicks in and Amy Lee’s iconic voice starts telling us she’s had enough of the relationship.

Your sweet words they mean nothing, save your breath
The game is over

Empty Promises – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Kingfish can play that guitar. I was searching the various sites for new Blues Rock artists to listen to and Kingfish got some loving on a few sites, which got me interested. So I checked him out and I’m glad I did.

The arpeggios to kick it off get me interested, but it’s that lead that kicks in at the 35 second mark that seals the deal.

And the vocals start at 1.10, soulful and bluesy.

Dawn Of The Demos – Taking Dawn

I didn’t think I would like so many cuts from this. If you want to know what this band is like, they started off as “7th Son” in reference to their favourite Maiden album. So heavy metal the way I know it from the 80’s is what this band is about.

“Break”, “Still Breathing”. “Endlessly”, “Godless” and “Transcend The Trend” are favourites.

And if you want a track to check out, go for “Endlessly”.

My Body Is A Cage – Peter Gabriel

“My Body Is A Cage” appeared in the Netflix series “Dark”. It appeared in this crucial ending of an episode and the vocal line echoed the angst of the scene. So I was Shazamming it, because I wanted to know who sang it.

And it was Peter Gabriel. I presumed it was an old cut but it came out in 2010. So it’s relatively new.

Tiny Little Movies – Will Hoge

Will Hoge came into my headspace from the blog 2Loud2OldMusic.

And although not all of the songs connected, the ones had that this country blues soul rock vibe did, like “Midway Motel”, “The Overthrow” and “Even When The River Runs Out Of This Town” are my favourites.

High And Dry – Slade

This came on my radar via Traci Guns who shared a clip of himself playing the vinyl to Dee Snider and he asked Dee to guess who. Dee guessed the artist but he didn’t guess the song.

So I went to Shazam it, while it was playing on TG’s account and I found out it’s called “High And Dry”.

And it came out in 1983 on the album “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome” which was re-released in the U.S in 1984 as “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply”.

And the section he shared is that melodic lead break which immediately hooked me in. It’s never too late to discover something new that’s old.

Part 2 of July 2020 is coming up.

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

The Record Vault – Cinderella

I’ve written about these albums previously on this blog and I’ve also written about individual songs from these albums. So in other words, these three albums complete a perfect trilogy.

Night Songs

The debut album.

It was released August 2, 1986.

A few days ago it had its 34th birthday and it’s stood the test of time. It came out and competed with Bon Jovi, Europe, Ratt and Poison.

“Nobody’s Fool” hooked me in because it reminded me of “Bringing On The Heartbreak” from Def Leppard. “Night Songs”, “Shake Me” and “Somebody Save Me” are all favourites. So is “Hell On Wheels” and “Back Home Again”. The whole album is a favourite depending on my mood.

And there is a cast.

Jon Bon Jovi does backing vocals on a few tracks, drums are played by someone else and even the guitar leads are played by someone else on a few tracks. Recording took place at 5 different studios with Andy Johns in the producers chair. For a debut album, it was an expensive product.

I called this album “AC/DC on glam steroids” back in the day, but hearing it back throughout the decades its more Aerosmith and Bad Company.

Long Cold Winter

The follow up.

The blues rock riffage is amped up.

Andy Johns was back again in the producers chair and he still didn’t let Fred Coury play drums on the album, with Cozy Powell and Denny Carmassi providing the drum tracks this time around.

Keifer brings out the slide on “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams” setting up a barroom Thorogood style of song.

“Gypsy Road” is built around a repeated blues lick turned into a riff and “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” is an excellent song.

And my favourite is the bluesy “Long Cold Winter” which also paved the way for more artists to experiment with the old blues style to great success. Black Crowes built their business playing the blues, while Gary Moore had his biggest success with “Still Got The Blues”.

Heartbreak Station

I’m including this because I had the CD but with all of the house moves it was in a box that got lost or stolen.

The title track got me hooked immediately and it completes a perfect 4 track opening.

“The More Things Change” was a carbon copy of “Fallin Apart At The Seams” as that same slide riff appears at the same time in both songs.

“Loves Got Me Doin’ Time” brings out a bluesy single note riff like “Gypsy Road” but it’s all funked up. “Shelter Me” is one of those tracks that resonates regardless of style or genre because its theme of trying to find a love to shelter us and keep us warm is universal. Like most of the songs that David Coverdale wrote for Whitesnake.

And problems existed, which the fans didn’t know about. Keifer had vocal throat issues which would require a few surgeries, the label guys who signed them did not work for the label anymore and the new guys just didn’t seem interested. Another album would come out, “Still Climbing” but it never really came out in Australia as the stores didn’t stock it.

Then I read a Metal Edge news roundup story that they had a deal with John Kalodner’s label which Kalodner got up and running to specialise in Hard Rock in the 90’s when most labels abandoned the genre. But spending almost 2 years writing and recording led to a bitter ending between the band members and the label.

They reunited for a few tours here and there, with no new music.

And Keifer eventually resurfaced as a solo artist with new music and I’m glad he did.

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

The Record Vault – David Coverdale

Into The Light



I wasn’t sure why David Coverdale needed to release a solo album. Whitesnake is more or less his band and it’s basically a solo artist hiding behind a band name.

And solo artists operate in two extremes, they either keep the same band members (or 70% of em) around for a long time or they could keep changing em. Bryan Adams kept the majority of his band around and so did Pat Benatar.

Then again, bands also operate on the same premise, with members leaving and coming back. The different Deep Purple bands are known as Mark I, II, III, etc.

So his trusty group is Denny Carmassi on drums, Marco Mendoza on bass for all the songs, except “Don’t You Cry” which featured Tony Franklin. John Sykes would have been pacing his house in rage at Coverdale using his old bass player and current bass player on this project. And Mendoza would also jump ship from the Sykes camp to the Coverdale camp as well.

Guitar is handled by Earl Slick and Doug Bossi with Coverdale making a recorded appearance. Reeves Gabrels and Dylan Vaughan also appear on some guitar tracks. Earl Slick was known to me from his excellent instrumental “In Your Face” album released in 1991. It’s a fusion of blues, funk and rock with guitar hero like playing.
 
“…Into the Light” should have been fleshed out into a bigger song. It’s first minute sounds like an epic song is about to begin.

And it goes into the blues rock flavoured “River Song”. I saw a YouTube comment as to how the riff sounds similar to “Midtown Tunnel Vision” by Rainbow and to “I Can’t Dance To That” by Gillan and Glover. But DC did say in an interview that it’s a homage to Jimi Hendrix.
 
And that Outro of the song just keeps rolling, reminding me of songs like “Looking For Love” and “Don’t Turn Away” from the Whitesnake 87 album. After 7 minutes, the song is over.
 
“She Give Me…” sounds like it came from a Coverdale/Page session or the “Trouble” album from Whitesnake or even a Led Zep session. As I am hearing this song, I am thinking of “Jelly Roll” from Blue Murder. And this song appeared again on the recent Whitesnake “Rock” album release
 
“Don’t You Cry” is one of those ballads that reminds me of Eric Clapton and his song “Wonderful Tonight”. The intro lead break is memorable and worthy.
 
While the first four tracks are all DC cuts, “Love Is Blind” and “Slave” are written by Coverdale and Earl Slick. “Love Is Blind” is like a Goo Goo Dolls like tune with the music, and lyrically, well its DC, the most broken hearted vocalist ever. “Slave” is a Southern Rock tune like Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even the Chorus chords remind of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
 
And the album follows the vibe set with the first six songs, moving between ballads and rockers. Even “Too Many Tears” from the “Restless Heart” album appears.
 
If you are looking for the grand epicness of the Sykes and Vai Whitesnake albums, then you will not find it here. But if want to hear an artist going back to his roots and putting his life into the words of the songs, then this album is for you.

And it’s probably why DC went all solo on this album. It’s personal.

And the other DC albums in the 70s before Whitesnake, will be listed with the Whitesnake Vault edition.

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

1985 – Part 4

Kiss – Asylum

My son asked me yesterday, “what decade of Kiss do I like for new music released?”

I grew up on the 80’s Kiss, with the exception of the “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” albums. So my go to albums from Kiss are the 80’s albums, along with “Revenge”.

My first proper “Alive” experience was “Alive III”, then “IV” and then I went back to listen to “I” and “II”. But I like “III” better.

In the last 20 years, Kiss haven’t really set the world alight with new music (“Hell Or Hallelujah” will beg to differ and it’s up there as one of the best tracks for me), nor have they really dug into the vaults. Then again, Gene Simmons did raid his vault and from the reviews I read over at 2Loud2OldMusic, Simmons did a pretty good job at it.

Now in Australia, Kiss was larger than life. They always had an interview on TV or a music video clip on TV or a song played on radio. And they had their loyal following, plus any fly by nighters who would fall in and out of fandom with the band.

This album has Paul Stanley pulling quadruple duty on song writing, guitar playing, production duties (which even though Gene is listed as co-producer, Stanley did 90% of it) and bass playing. And I gravitated to the Stanley tracks, because they were just better.

This album also sticks out because it’s part of the era of bad jackets. Like very bad glam like jackets. If you’ve seen posters or press photos of bands during this era, you would know what I mean.

And it needs to be said, that Bruce Kulick is a guitar hero. He doesn’t get the “shred cred” he derserves, maybe because he played with Kiss. But his solos, from “Animalize” to “Revenge” are nothing short of guitar hero shred.

“King Of The Mountain” is written by Stanley, Kulick and Desmond Child and it gets the album off to a good start.

“Tears Are Falling” is a Stanley cut and although generic, it proved very popular for Kiss on MTV. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” is another cut that sticks around, this one being a co-write with Stanley, Child and Jean Beauvoir who would become well-known with the song, “Feel The Heat” from the Cobra soundtrack.

And let’s not talk about “Uh! All Night” even though some brain dead label rep thought it was a good idea to also release it as a single.

White Lion – Fight To Survive

I didn’t hear this until the 2000’s post Napster era was happening.

It wasn’t available at all in Australia and I didn’t know anyone who had a copy of it.

And it’s a forgotten album but it shouldn’t be, because it showcases Vito Bratta. While Bratta didn’t get back into the music business once White Lion broke up, his recorded output and musical legacy is down to the four White Lion albums and the backroom label dealings and stabbings which would affect Bratta.

They got signed to Elektra in 1984 and they record the album. Elektra refuses to release the album and terminates the bands contract. So now they have an album recorded, which they can’t access as its owned by Elektra and they have no deal.

Then a Japanese label releases it in Japan, and another label in the US release it under license to Elektra and the band tours on it, but the label in the U.S goes bankrupt. And the band is going through changes in the bass and drum department.

They did get singed to Atlantic in 1987, but that’s another story for another year.

Stand Outs with Great Bratta Moments

“Fight To Survive” is brilliant musically. Lyrically it’s about street life and fighting to be alive each day.

Great tapping intro that breaks down into the bass groove for the verse, with the volume swells and then it picks up for the big chorus and I love the delay in the solo section.

“All The Fallen Men” is influenced by “Rocking in the Free World” in the verses. Then again this came before Neil Young, and it’s a pretty generic chord progression, so..

“El Salvador” is the best song on this first album. The flamenco intro moving into the distortion riff is brilliant. You can hear Al DiMeola’s “Mediterranean Sundance”. And once the song kicks it’s all Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott would be proud.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Broken Heart” has typical 80’s lyrics from Mike Tramp. Bratta shreds in the solo section with finger tapping and tap bends.

“All Burn In Hell” reminded me of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell”. Musically it is typical of the 80’s. But the syncopated interlude before the solo. Brilliant.

There is a modern alternative rock metal vibe. And the solo section to me is a song within a song. A great Bratta moment.

Bad Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Where Do We Run” – reminds of a 100th rate AC/DC song in the verse. Tramps lyrics and melodies are lame. It’s a shame because it has a killer solo, very much in the vein of Randy Rhoads – “Flying High Again” and George Lynch – “Tooth and Nail”.

“In The City” – up until the interlude and solo section, where Bratta wails, the song sounds like a Y&T rip off lyrically.

Firehouse also did a song, where the vocal melody was similar.

Does anyone remember “The Dream”?

Actually does anyone remember Firehouse the band?

Filler Songs

“Cherokee” – The lyrics are tacky, “Cherokee, riding free”. Maybe because I heard it after Europe’s “Cherokee”, which I also didn’t like.

“Kid of a 1000 Faces” – the less said about this song the better.

“The Road To Valhalla” – with that title I was expecting something epic.

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall

I love the cover art. I drawed it in Art Class. I wish I still have my art journals. The teacher hated it, as he was anti-rock/metal.

Malcolm tried really hard to remove AC/DC from the overproduced and super focused Lange albums. And although their worldwide sales especially in the U.S market didn’t set the world on fire post Lange, in the land of Oz, they couldn’t do no wrong.

We lapped up the 7 inch singles, their songs got played on radio and the music video clips for “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink The Pink” got played relentlessly.

See me leaning, on the bar
I got my head in a whiskey jar

It’s the Australian way of life to be leaning on the bar, intoxicated. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And maybe it’s a big reason why the music videos resonated with Australian fans. They are both filmed in a bar/pub and people are playing pool while drinking. It’s the Australian way of life.

ZZ Top – Afterburner

How do you follow up “Eliminator”?

By continuing on with using synths, sequenced beats and midi samples with their blues boogie riffs.

A new take on an old sound.

I called it “New Wave Blues” (NWB). And I meant it as a compliment.

How good is the cover?

It was enough to hook me in.

And while “Sleeping Bag” kept in that NWB department, “Stages” is a melodic rock gem that I didn’t see coming.

“Rough Boy” has some of Billy Gibbons most melodic and emotive lead breaks. Check out the intro lead break and the outro lead break. He brought long guitar solos to the mainstream.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’” is “Got Me Under Pressure” a 12 bar blues boogie with sequenced drum beats. “Planet Of Women” rocks out of the gate, and man, this song has Gibbons putting in some serious playing in the riffage department.

The album is a product of its time and era, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gary Moore – Run For Cover

It was the mid 90’s when I heard this album. And it’s one of his best albums.

“Empty Rooms” and that lead break is one of his best lead breaks, better than “Parisienne Walkways” and “Still Got The Blues”. “Military Man” has Phil Lynott singing, while “Out In The Fields” is a duet between Lynott and Moore.

The mighty Glen Hughes sings on “Reach For The Sky”, “Nothing To Lose” and “All Messed Up”, while Moore sings on “Run For Cover”, “Empty Rooms”, “Once In A Lifetime” and “Listen To Your Heartbeat”.

And Moore also has Lynott, Hughes and Bob Daisley playing bass on the album. Four different producers in Andy Johns, Peter Collins, Beau Hill and Mike Stone. In other words it’s an expensive album, but it did nothing sales wise in the U.S, while in Europe, it did a lot better.

But the piece d’resistance is “Empty Rooms”. The lead break from Moore was talked about a lot in guitar circles. And it’s a re-recording. He released it on “Victims Of The Future”. A longer version of 6 plus minutes. This one is more concise at 4 minutes.

And the way “Run For Cover” starts off, you know that Moore means business,. There isn’t a bad song on this album. The cuts that Hughes does vocals on are favourites and I need to do a playlist of songs Hughes has done over his career, like how I did with Ronnie James Dio, covering Rainbow, Sabbath and his solo career. The only album missing on that list is the “Heaven And Hell” band album from the two thousands because it’s not on Spotify Australia.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

His voice is one of the best.

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

And there’s so much more music to get through for 1985, but that will be for other posts.

So into the time machine we go and I’ll see ya at 1977 for Part 4.

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