Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 5.1: James Gang – Jesse Come Home

It’s the last studio album by James Gang, released in 1976. Joe Walsh was 5 years into his Eagles slot and the band had continued on with a variety of line-up changes.

Their first album in 1969 was recorded as a power trio consisting of Joe Walsh (guitars, lead vocals), Tom Kriss (bass), and Jim Fox (drums). One of my favourite guitarists Tommy Bolin recorded two albums with the Gang called “Bang!” (released in 1973) and “Miami” (released in 1974) before he accepted the Deep Purple offer.

Only drummer Jim Fox remains. This album is the only one recorded with lead guitarist Bob Webb and keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. Giallombardo was in the Gang’s first ever line up with Fox, however he had left prior to the recording of their first album.

The cover features an atmospheric painting of the folk hero riding off into the sunset, an image which fans had identified as evidence that the band had known this album to be its last.

The players on this album are Bob Webb on guitars and lead vocals on three tracks, Phil Giallombardo on keyboards and lead vocals on the other 6 tracks, Dale Peters on bass guitar and Jim Fox on drums.

I Need Love

Written by keyboardist and co-vocalist Phil Giallombardo.

A simple syncopated bass and kick drum groove starts off the song. It’s almost funky but I feel like its hard rock.

The vocal melodies are overused.

Some of the critics said that the playing is uninspired but these guys can play and groove as evidenced here.

Another Year

Written by guitarist and co-vocalist Bob Webb. It’s a typical 70’s cut, with a dreamy acoustic guitar shimmering with some emotive leads that remind me of “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps”.

Feelin’ Alright

Written by the band, it’s also the most streamed track at 196,915 streams on Spotify. Press play to hear the lead break.

Peasant Song

Written by Phil Giallombardo, it’s a piano ballad with strings and this song feels like a bad Hollywood movie soundtrack, and it doesn’t connect at all.

Hollywood Dream

Written by Bob Webb and I like the rhythm and groove of the blues. It’s almost metal and its forgotten at 46,590 streams on Spotify.

Love Hurts

Written by Andrew Gold who was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He played on a lot of albums from other artists and wrote songs for artists as well. He died in 2011 at age 59 from heart failure.

It’s is an overused title.

The piano is back again, so far removed from the funk and blues of what the band was known for.

It’s a skip for me.

Pick Up The Pizzas

An instrumental track written by Bob Webb. A terrible title for one of the best riffs on the album. Press play and enjoy another forgotten track.

Stealin’ The Show

When Bob Webb writes a track there is guitar on it. On this one the acoustic guitar is back and Bad Company comes to mind.

When I Was A Sailor

The closer, at 6 plus minutes long and written by keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. This song is more Styx than James Gang.

The album is forgotten, with most songs being streamed less than 50,000 times. Especially when you compare those numbers to the Joe Walsh penned tunes like “Funk #49” with 47.382 million streams on Spotify and “Walk Away” with 29.297 million streams.

In the end, this album is just a bunch of musicians who wanted a record deal. Unfortunately for them, it was under the name of James Gang, which would always be known as Joe Walsh’s band, even though he wasn’t a founder. But the label still saw value in the project, however they also pulled the plug on it after the album stiffed.

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Australian Method Series: The Screaming Jets – Tear Of Thought

Let’s go back to February 1991.

The Screaming Jets released the single “Better” and two months later, their debut album “All For One” came out. Their sound is made up of an amalgamation of Australian acts like AC/DC, The Angels, INXS, The Choirboys and Cold Chisel, with a little bit of blues, a little bit of Classic Rock and Punk Rock thrown in. And it connected with the people of Oz.

Dave Gleeson always like to push censorship issues, and I remember when he appeared in the MTV Studios in Sydney for an interview, wearing a Metallica T Shirt with the “Metal Up Your Ass” design on it. The MTV guys weren’t too impressed and when he sat for the interview he had to strategically cover the offending images with his hands.

The group then relocated to the United Kingdom for over two years. The wanted to break into a European market first, before attempting their assault on the massive North American market. Doc McGhee was very keen to be the one to break them in the U.S

In the meantime, their youthful energy was getting them into trouble with other artists. The Divinyls wanted them off the Australian tour they were doing together, because lead singer Dave Gleeson insulted Chrissy Amphlett on stage, when he said, “Are you here for a rock and roll show or just a tasteful flash of the vag?”

Warrant copped it as well, when they turned up at a Club that the Jets were playing in Kings Cross, Sydney.

However Skid Row and Motley Crue liked the Jets and the Jets like them back.

As a warm up for their sophomore release, the label decided to release an EP called “Living in England” in June 1992. It included cover versions of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and AC/DC’s “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)” along the three album tracks. And we loved it. It wetted our appetite for more.

In October 1992, “Tear of Thought” dropped.

The band was unchanged with Dave Gleeson on vocals, Richard Lara on guitar, Grant Walmsley on guitar, Paul Woseen on bass guitar and Brad Heaney on drums. Continuing on from the debut album, bassist Paul Woseen and guitarist Grant Walmsley carried the bulk of the song writing.

And for some stupid reason the European release had a different cover.

Dream On

No, it’s not an Aerosmith cover. Written by Paul Woseen, it’s got this U2 vibe to start off, with backward sounding guitar effects and delays while the drums and bass slowly build it up, until the whole band kicks in.

And suddenly it feels like a post pop punk cut with a nod to The Angels and a 12 bar blues solo that George Thorogood would be proud off.

Here I Go

The intro riff. Heavy fucking Metal.

Please play just to hear it.

The song is written by Paul Woseen and its one of my favorites.

Especially the last 80 seconds, when they go into the main intro riff, the ohhs and ahhs vocal chants begin, the tempo increases, a lead breaks out and the tempo keeps on increasing until chaos reigns and the song ends.

Meet Anybody

Written by guitarist Grant Walmsley.

It has a vibe from The Angels, but man, the verses sit in the LA Sunset Strip style of writing.

When the Chorus kicks in, it’s got that Albert Productions sound. Press play and enjoy.

Alright

Another Grant Walmsley cut which reminds me of Cold Chisel and The Angels, with a head banging rocking solo section.

Night Child

Written by Paul Woseen, the songs music is rooted in the sounds of ACCA DACCA, however if you play the main riff with the distortion set to max, it sounds like it came from the fingertips of the NWOBHM bands.

Helping Hand

Written by Paul Woseen, this song was the unexpected hit.

It’s got this Crime Noir feel in the verses almost jazz blues, but when the bluesy Chorus kicks in, its singalong and infectious, remaining with you long after its finished.

Everytime

Written by Grant Walmsley and I feel like he channels Ian Moss from Cold Chisel with the main riff.

Living in England

Also written by Grant Walmsley, its two minutes of relentless punk speed metal power. It’s heavy and it has a Lemmy/Motorhead vibe all over it. I guess that’s what “Living In England” meant to them. You just become influenced by Lemmy. And Brad Heaney on drums is a powerhouse here.

Think

Written by Paul Woseen it’s got an Alice Cooper “Only Women Bleed” feel with a lot of pub rock decadence. For a ballad, it’s not wimpy and it rocks hard.

Press play to hear what I mean, or you can watch the film clip on YouTube with all the surrealism images.

Best of You

Written by Paul Woseen, this song makes me think of other songs but I can’t remember what they are right now.

Rich Bitch

Written by Paul Woseen, its an attempt to do Fat Rich Cunt Part 2. George Thorogood would be proud.

Tunnel

Written by vocalist Dave Gleeson and guitarist Richard Lara.

The riff from Lara is excellent. The horns in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus enhance the song. Think “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob.

Musically it’s a cross between The Angels, Bad Company and AC/DC.

Hard Drugs

Written by Grant Walmsley its channelling The Angels.

Sick and Tired

Written by Paul Woseen it’s got that jazzy rhythm and blues feel that you hear on “Helping Hand”.

Shivers

Rowland Howard wrote a post punk masterpiece in the form of a ballad. For those that don’t know, it’s a cover from the band he was in called Boys Next Door who had Nick Cave as the vocalist for them.

The opening lyrics “I’ve been contemplating suicide / but it really doesn’t suit my style” immediately grab you by the throat and make you pay attention.

Feeble

Written by Grant Walmsley, the album closer is a different cut, moving between a post punk mood at the start, to a ballad like mid-section, before picking up the fast post punk feel. .

In Australia, it received a Platinum certification and charted as high as 3 on the ARIA chart.

The group supported Ugly Kid Joe on their European tour in 1993, when Heaney was fired mid-tour as he thought that all the band members had turned gay and that the girlfriends they had were just decoys to trick him that they were not gay.

Heaney was temporarily replaced by ex-Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland until former BB Steal drummer Craig Rosevear became the permanent drummer in July 1993.

For those who don’t know, BB Steal were meant to be Australia’s Def Leppard. Singer Dave Gleeson wasn’t too impressed to hear that a hair band drummer was being considered, but after meeting and jamming with Rosevear, he changed his mind.

And that wouldn’t be the end of the changes. In January 1994, after a US tour backing Def Leppard ended, guitarist Richard Lara was replaced by Melbourne guitarist Jimi “The Human” Hocking (ex-Spectre 7).

And a new chapter was to begin.

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Australian Method Series: Cold Chisel – Cold Chisel

1976 saw AC/DC’s first internationally-released album, “High Voltage”. The demand for Oz Rock was already on the up.

Enter Cold Chisel.

After years of hitting every place and pub in Australia and drinking those places dry with their road crew, or getting banned due to fighting, Cold Chisel finally got a record deal and released their first album on WEA/Elektra in 1978.

But.

If you ever caught the band live, the self-titled debut sounded nothing like the band did on stage.

They also had a producer that kept telling em that live is live and the studio is the studio. They cannot intersect. Well tell that to Bob Rock who made it his mission to capture how good a band sounded live, in the studio.

Before the album was even released “Khe San” was already a crowd favourite however it was a lot faster live than the studio version. But there is something special about the slowed down studio version as well.

Juliet

It’s a rocker, more STYX like with a little bit of “Evie” from Stevie Wright and “Mississippi Queen” from Mountain.

Khe Sanh

“Khe Sanh” was released as a 45 rpm single in May 1978. It captures, the despair and the anger of an Australian Vietnam war veteran. There were no parades for these guys. They came back home, hated. And the promises made by the Government to look after them never came to be.

It was banned from commercial radio as the lyrics had references of sex and drugs. Lines like these were scandalous. “And their legs were often open/But their minds were always closed”.

But a great song is never born from marketing. It’s from word of mouth.

And the Battle of Khe Sanh was fought mainly by US Marines but this didn’t matter.

The piano riff is rocking and the best part of the song is when Jimmy Barnes sings, “the last plane out of Sydney is almost gone”.

And maybe all of us were a bit damaged as well so the song resonated with a lot of people who had addictions and couldn’t make meaningful contact with woman, and the need for casual sex with East Asian women.

Home And Broken Hearted

The verse riff reminds me of AC/DC, who were influenced by Chuck Berry.

One Long Day

The bass rumbles while the piano plays a jazzy riff that reminds me of “Long Way To The Top”. And it takes a left turn when it changes to lounge rock.

Northbound

Blues rock at its best

Rosaline

It could be a STYX or Bee Gees cut. It’s almost progressive the way Don Walker plays the piano.

Daskarzine

Its fast and aggressive.

Almost Rose Tattoo like and when “they speak her name in cheap hotels/From Turkey to Marseille” we get an understanding as to who Daskarzine is.

Just How Many Times

Its lounge jazz blues rock, slow and relaxed. The lyrical message is more important than the rest. Barnesy is a crooner on this, an R&B style of crooner.

They never got the big break in North America that they wanted, but it’s pretty hard to sell your act when your lyrics paint a picture of Australia.

And we loved em for it.

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The Record Vault: Baby Animals – Baby Animals

The debut Baby Animals album was everywhere in Australia. Before the album was released in September 1991, they had some serious momentum over 15 months coming in to the album. The Angels was one of the biggest bands in Australia during this time and the Baby Animals was the opening act between 1990/91.

The album debuted at number six on the ARIA Album Charts and spent six weeks at number one, eventually going eight times platinum and becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album of all time (until the release of Jet’s album, “Get Born” 12 years later).

I saw em live at the Revesby Workers Club on the tour. An up and coming band called Judge Mercy was opening for them. They were excellent, but they unfortunately disappeared when the labels started dropping metal and rock acts in a years’ time.

And the Baby Animals rocked. Drummer Frank Celenza was huge behind the kit, laying down the foundations along with bassist Eddie Parise. Dave Leslie on guitar is so underrated, playing a chicken picking style and Suze DeMarchi on guitar rocks hard. Everyone raves about Lzzy Halestorm, but I’m pretty sure she would have been influenced by DeMarchi. And on vocals, DeMarchi is bluesy and soulful.

The album was produced by task master Mike Chapman and engineered by Kevin Shirley. The personnel alone shows the albums intention.

And my favourite track is “Working For The Enemy”, that whole break down section, lead break and build up is excellent. My second favourite is the metal like “Waste Of Time” with its energetic double kick intro and heavy blues boogie rock riffs.

“One Too Many” is “Rock N Roll Noise Pollution” in spirit and influence, while “Aint Gonna Get” is AC/DC on steroids and highway speed tempos with a Chorus that reminds me of “I Love Rock And Roll”.

And I haven’t even gotten into the singles yet.

How good is the intro to “One Word”?

But DeMarchi didn’t like the song after it was finished and asked the label to keep it off the album. The song went through a transformation, from a country-ish rock feel in the demo (which can be heard on the 25th Anniversary Edition) to the melodic rock beast it became, as Chapman kept asking them to work on it.

Guitarist Dave Leslie paid his dues in a Cold Chisel covers band called Swingshift, playing Australian pub rock classics on a nightly basis and he knew what worked with audiences. His chicken finger picked intro to “One Word” is guitar hero worthy.

“Rush You” is the opener as the power chord crashes down and the cymbals ring before it goes into a double time beat and some series riffage and how cool is that “Back in Black” walking chromatic riff just before the verse.

“Early Warning” begins with the drums while a slide guitar plays a rock riff and the music then stops while DeMarchi sings, “Too Young To Know and Too Old To Listen”.

The band kicks in again. Then the verses come and it’s like a Jimi Hendrix song, before it moves into the power of the Chorus.

“Painless” has this funk blues boogie which I like. If you haven’t heard it, today is a great day for it.

They toured hard on this album, playing all the major cities and regional towns in Australia, and once Bryan Adams heard the album, he added them to his European leg.

The Black Crowes added them to their Australian and New Zealand tour, while Eddie Van Halen, asked for them to be the support act on the “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” tour after he heard the album via his wife Valerie Bertinelli.

By the time their touring commitments ended for the album in August 1992, they had played over 500 shows.

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The Record Vault: Eric Clapton – Slowhand

“Slowhand” is the fifth full-length studio album by Eric Clapton, released on 25 November 1977 by RSO Records.

Clapton is in the news these days for the wrong reasons. I was even called a racist at my place of work for listening to his music.

I suppose it’s the age old question.

Do you stop listening to an artists for things they’ve said or done that you don’t agree with?

I have three vaccines in me so I don’t really care if artists I enjoy listening to sprout anti vaccine bullshit. The racist rant he went on in a 1976 concert was bizarre to say the least, especially how he is influenced by black musicians. And I’m a foreigners son but I didn’t care much either way.

It gave rise a Rock Against Racism movement back then and then he dropped “Slowhand” which became a massive seller for him.

And coincidence or not his band is white.

Eric Clapton is on lead vocals and guitars. Dick Sims is on keyboards, George Terry on guitars, Carl Radle on bass, Jamie Oldaker on drums/percussion and Mel Collins is on saxophones. Yvonne Elliman does the excellent harmony and backing vocals. Marcy Levy is also on the harmony and backing vocals, and duets with Clapton on “The Core”.

Glyn Johns expertely captures the sounds as engineer and producer. Clapton really wanted to work with Johns, because of his work with The Rolling Stones and The Eagles, however while in the studio, Johns ran a disciplined ship which discouraged jamming. According to Johns, why take away precious time from recording to jam. Since Clapton and his band were drunk most of the time, Johns had no other choice but to run a tight recording schedule.

Cocaine

Written by J.J. Cale who it seems like was getting covered by everyone. The riff is straight from the songbook of “Sunshine Of Your Love”.

At 333.6 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of his most played. And I don’t care how Clapton spins it, the song is about taking the drug,

Lay Down Sally

Written by Eric Clapton, George Terry and Marcy Levy, I like the 12 bar bluegrass shuffle on this. It reminds me of Dire Straits even though this was written before.

Wonderful Tonight

On Spotify it has 309 million streams but press play for the lead breaks which make up for the lyrics which could be classed as silly.

A live song written by Eric Clapton for his then wife.

Next Time You See Her

Another track written by Eric Clapton which could pass for the embryo of the Hootie And The Blowfish sound.

There is anger here at losing his lover.

We’re All the Way

Written by country artist Don Williams. It’s a slower song with shimmering acoustic lines, a soft brush drum beat and baritone vocals.

And it is this style which dominates the album.

The Core

Written by Eric Clapton and Marcy Levy. At almost 9 minutes long, Clapton is trying to re-create “Crossroads” from Robert Johnson in certain sections however there are lot of riffs to unpack here and all of them are a fun to play.

May You Never

Written by John Martyn.

Clapton breaks out the acoustic guitar here, with a kind of Eagles-style tune that doesn’t disappoint and is one that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Mean Old Frisco

Written by Arthur Crudup

Clapton brings a gangster attitude to this as the song reminds me of something that The Black Crowes would do in the 90’s.

Peaches and Diesel

Written by Eric Clapton and Albhy Galuten.

It’s an instrumental with a guitar hero like solo. Musically it shares elements to “Wonderful Tonight”.

And the album did great business all around the world with various certifications from different regions.

The thing I like about Clapton is that he takes on covers and re-invent those songs for the modern market. In a way, making em his songs.

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1976 – Part 4.7: Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Road

It was my first purchase.

Steve Gaines joined, making it a three guitar team again, with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. Ronnie Van Zant is on Vocals, Leon Wilkeson on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell on Keyboards. Sam McPherson is on harmonica. JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins are the backing vocalists.

“One More from The Road” is a live album compiled from a few shows.

It’s also the only live album from the classic era of 1970 to 1977. And an essential album to own.

Workin’ for MCA

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant which more or less sum up the crap record deal they had with the label.

Slickers steal my money since I was seventeen
If it ain’t no pencil pusher, then there’s got to be a honky tonk queen
Well I signed my contract, baby, now I want you people to know
Every penny that I make, I wanna see where my money goes

The creative accounting from the labels. What they give you, they get back tenfold. Bon Scott comes to mind when he sang, “getting ripped off”.

I want you to sign the contract
Want you to sign the date
Gonna give you lots of money
Workin’ for MCA

I Ain’t the One

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant about a love affair between a whiskey swilling brawler and Daddy’s rich girl.

Saturday Night Special

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant.

How can you not like the intro and verse riffs?

Press play and enjoy.

Searching

My favourite song from the “Gimme Back My Bullets” album and written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. The tempo is slightly increased and this version is my definitive version.

Travelin’ Man

Written by Ronnie Van Zant and Leon Wilkeson.

The intro bass riff from Leon Wilkeson gets me interested straight away.

Simple Man

A classic written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Also check out Shinedown’s cover in the 2000’s. Brent Smith delivers a stellar vocal.

Press play on this to hear the harmony lead breaks.

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller

Great song title, written by Ed King, Billy Powell and Ronnie Van Zant.

It was a rite of passage to consume whiskey and listening to rock and roll. The song is about hitting the road to the rock and roll show.

The Needle and the Spoon

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

I like the intro on this. And the verse riff that comes in is a cross between “Searching” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

How good is that intro riff?

Its heavy and full of groove.

Tuesday’s Gone

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant and man didn’t Zakk Wylde take a lot of licks from this. As soon as I heard it, I thought of “Road To Nowhere” and a few songs from the Pride and Glory album.

A classic. The leads alone hook me in.

Gimme Three Steps

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, it’s a 12 bar blues with a bit of country rock thrown in.

Call Me the Breeze

Written by J.J. Cale. Everyone was covering Cale around this period. Simple 12 bar blues rock and roll and they blew another amp in the process.

T for Texas

Written by Jimmie Rodgers and the “new fella” Stevie Gaines was introduced. And it’s more soloing over 12 bar blues chord progressions.

Sweet Home Alabama

The hit, written by Ed King, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Inspired by Neil Young’s song “Southern Man” which was seen as a diss to the south. This didn’t impress Ronnie Van Zant and he meant every word when he sang, “well I hope Mr Young can remember, a Southern Man don’t need him around”.

And during the performance, Van Zant, interjects over the solo, “there are plenty of good people in the South, so make sure you tell Mr Young about it”.

Crossroads

A Robert Johnson cover that Eric Clapton has made his own, but Lynyrd Skynyrd also deliver a pretty mean version full of energy and power.

Free Bird

The big closer written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. At almost 12 minutes long, it’s not for the faint hearted. The guitar interplay in the massive outro solo section is worth the price of admission.

For a first purchase I became an instant fan of the band.

And they reformed during this late 80s early 90s period so when I was getting into their old stuff, I had new content to listen to as well.

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1976 – Part 4.6: Lynyrd Skynyrd – Gimme Back My Bullets

If it wasn’t for Zakk Wylde, I wouldn’t have gone and purchased any Lynyrd Skynyrd. His love for Southern Rock, was on show for the “No More Tears” album. Check out his leads in “I Don’t Wanna Change The World”, “Road To Nowhere” and “Mama I’m Coming Home”.

In the interviews Zakk conducted with the Guitar Mag’s, he spoke about a technique called chicken’ picking that he picked up from learning Southern Rock songs and he demonstrated great knowledge on Southern Rock and the 70’s bands associated with the movement.

Then he dropped the debut “Pride and Glory” album a few years later, which is basically an amalgamation of Black Sabbath and Southern Rock. And it made me a fan, so I went searching for Southern Rock bands.

Enter “Lynyrd Skynyrd”. The story of the band should be a Netflix TV series. Working for MCA, the worst label in the business, the band was never going to make a profit regardless of how successful they became and how many records they sold.

The band for this album is Ronnie Van Zant (RIP) on Vocals, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (RIP) on Guitars, Leon Wilkeson (RIP) on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell (RIP) on Keyboards.

Guitarist Ed King, quit the band before this album, making them a two guitar band instead of three. King would pass away in 2018 due to various health issues.

There was a saying that the Wilkeson and Pyle (and before Pyle it was Bobby Burns) set a groove, which Collins, King and Rossington danced over. And Pyle has been ostracised from the organisation due to being a sex offender while original drummer Bobby Burns died in a single car crash after hitting a mailbox and tree on a sharp bend, Things don’t end well for these guys.

But the biggest tragedy was the plane crash on the “Street Survivors” tour.

Van Zant, new guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray all died in the crash. The survivors had been seated toward the back of the plane and all of them were seriously injured with broken bones, crushed arms, sever facial disfigurements and severe burns.

And the plane was earlier inspected by Aerosmith’s tour crew for the band to use on their 1977 tour but it didn’t pass the Aero’s safety inspection.

But before the tragedy, the Skynyrds debauched their way through the U.S on the backs of whiskey, brawling and great music.

“Gimme Back My Bullets” is studio album Number 4, released on February 2, 1976. It reached number 20 on the U.S. albums chart and was certified gold on January 20, 1981 by the RIAA.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The staccato like count in reminds me of the “Back In Black” intro. After that, a funky blues rock riff kicks in, before the Southern Rock chord progression kicks in

Every Mothers Son

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff grabs your attention straight away, an amalgamation of “Sweet Home Alabama” and blues rock songs like “Shooting Star”.

Trust

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It reminds me of The Rolling Stones and I like it.

(I Got The) Same Old Blues

Written by J.J. Cale. Every artist was covering his songs.

The 12 bars groove is heavy, yet funky. The slide guitar is simple yet effective.

Double Trouble

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

It follows the trend set with “(I Got The) Same Old Blues”. And the name used by Steve Ray Vaughan, could have come from this song. The blues on offer here is similar to what SRV would play, just more amped up and more technical.

Roll Gypsy Roll

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff to start it is campfire like, and riding on the greyhound to leave town was a rite of passage for the youth once upon a time. These days, the kids are over 30 and still at home.

Searching

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

My favourite song on the album. Musically and lyrically. Rossington and Collins steal the show here.

Cry For The Bad Man

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It starts off like a Kinks song crossed with “Mississippi Queen”. And I like it.

All I Can Do Is Write About It

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.
Zakk Wylde basically took this song and wrote “Road To Nowhere”.

Press play and enjoy it.

It’s listed as “not their best” album, but if you like southern rock, you shouldn’t skip it and I see it as an underrated album.

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1976 – Part 4.5: The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Inner Worlds

The Mahavishnu Orchestra were a jazz fusion band formed in New York City in 1971, led by English guitarist John McLaughlin.

The group underwent several line-up changes throughout its history across two stints from 1971 to 1976 and 1984 to 1987.

The first line-up which consisted of musicians Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, and Rick Laird, the band received its initial acclaim for its complex, intense music consisting of a blend of Indian classical music, jazz and psychedelic rock, and its dynamic live performances between 1971 and 1973.

After the original group dissolved, it reformed in 1974 with a new cast of musicians behind McLaughlin:

“Inner Worlds” came out in 1976. It’s the group’s sixth album release and it would be the last album by them for nearly ten years, when leader and guitarist John McLaughlin re-formed the group in 1984.

All in the Family

The song is written by John McLaughlin who also plays guitar and guitar synth. Stu Goldberg is on all things keys related.

Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and the star of the song is Narada Michael Walden on Drums, congas, bass marimba and shaker.

And the reason why Walden is the star is because the song opens with a drum solo before it moves into a fast jazz like beat. Its chaotic as all the instruments come in and somehow it all makes sense. Progressive rock is the best way to describe it.

There is this section between 3.25 and 3.45 in which McLaughlin and Goldberg play this fast unison lead line and I like it.

Miles Out

It’s written by John McLaughlin who plays all things guitar and a special instrument called the “360” systems frequency shifter. It’s actually not an instrument, but an effect. These days, it would be in a stomp box, but back then it was a pretty large unit.

You hear it in action in the Intro and throughout the song. Stu Goldberg is on the Mini-Moog and Steiner-Parker synthesizers, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden on drums.

I like the bass intro from Goldberg, it’s creepy like, and funky. McLaughlin plays a staccato like guitar riff, which is more funk and reggae like. When he activates the frequency shifter, it sounds chaotic but the drumming of Walden is super-fast, technical and on point. Somehow it makes sense.

In My Life

Written by John McLaughlin and Narada Michael Walden.

John McLaughlin is on 12-string acoustic guitar, Stu Goldberg is on backing vocals, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden is on the piano and drums, along with the lead vocals.

It’s a poor song and the lyrics are very childish, like seriously, they sing “thank you for the fish in the sea”. A skip for me.

Gita

Written by John McLaughlin and it’s another song with vocals that doesn’t connect with me.

Morning Calls

A short one minute piece, written by John McLaughlin who plays guitar synthesizer and Narada Michael Walden who plays organ.

It sounds Oriental and Celtic like but it’s another skip for me.

The Way of the Pilgrim

Written by Narada Michael Walden and it’s got some intricate instrument sections, but this far in, these kind of passages are starting to sound same same.

River of My Heart

Written by Kanchan Cynthia Anderson and Narada Michael Walden.

There is no guitar on this, with Ralphe Armstrong on double bass and Narada Michael Walden on Piano, Lead Vocals and Percussion.

But it’s a skip for me.

Planetary Citizen

Written by Ralphe Armstrong, this song could have been on a Stevie Wonder album. It’s got that blues, jazz funk fusion happening.

And are you ready to be a planetary citizen?

Lotus Feet

Written by John McLaughlin. I like this instrumental.

There is a guitar that plays arpeggios and a MiniMoog playing a lead break with percussion as the foundation.I

It sort of reminds me of “Albatross” from Fleetwood Mac, the Peter Green version of the band.

Inner Worlds

The title track. Part 1 is written by John McLaughlin and Part 2 by Stu Goldberg. But it’s a bit of mess and that Frequency shifter gadget is just noise to me, however it would have been cool to have that whooshing effect back in the day.

In the end, there are better Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, which we will get to as I work my way back through history.

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The Record Vault: The Black Crowes – Amorica

The band is unchanged. Chris Robinson is on vocals and harmonica, Rich Robinson and Marc Ford are on guitar, Johnny Colt is on bass guitar, Steve Gorman is on drums and Eddie Harsch is on keyboards.

Released in 1994, “Amorica” took a while to come to fruition. It wasn’t a hazy 8 day recording session like “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion”.

You see, in 1993, the band worked on an album called “Tall”. But the recordings got scrapped because Chris and Rich Robinson didn’t see eye to eye during the sessions. Rich felt that Chris alienated him from the rest of the band. Chris reckons that Rich was upset because he was leading the sessions and was rejecting his riffs and ideas.

Well, Rich ended up winning the argument and the “Amorica” album is the result of moving forward with the ideas of Rich and not Chris.

And man, the cover caused a stir in even in the more progressive 90’s.

Who would have thought that a picture which was deemed offensive in 1976 when it appeared on a cover of Hustler was still seen as offensive almost 20 years later?

Well in Australia, we didn’t really see anything wrong with it so we got the cover as intended, while the U.S got two covers.

Gone

It sounds like they had a few drinks, wrote some riffs and then jammed em. It’s complicated blues, as there is so much going on but it didn’t set my world on fire.

A Conspiracy

They tried to recreate the groove and infectious melody of “Remedy” with this. While they didn’t get close, they still got a very rocking song out of it.

High Head Blues

A sleazy soul blues rock riff starts it off. It’s almost funky and I like it. One of the best songs on the album.

Cursed Diamond

A piano like slow rhythm and blues tune, very Rolling Stones like and the solo section gets all aggressive and swampy.

Nonfiction

An acoustic track with a vocal that sounds like 70’s Rod Stewart. But it’s a skip for me.

She Gave Good Sunflower

Chris is asking a babe to do him and the track could be interchanged with any song from the previous albums.

Press play to hear some nice wah wah soloing from Marc Ford over a thundering Johnny Colt bass riff. And stick around to hear the outro soloing as well.

P. 25 London

A throwaway track.

Ballad in Urgency

Another ballad, with some unique blues/jazz like chords, nicely phrased guitar fills and Johnny Colt’s bass thundering in the background.

The song then fades into a piano section along with Mr Colt’s bass.

Wiser Time

Steve Gorman brings it here, showcasing that even though the Robinson brothers write the songs, the performances of the band members are just as important. This one is also a favourite.

Rich Robinson plays some tasty slide and he also duets on lead vocals.

And each section has so much variation. The verses are based on a three chord “Sweet Home Alabama” like chord progression. The Chorus is classic blues rock.

But.

It’s the later sections which takes the track and makes it a signature song.

It’s not for the crossover fans who just liked “Remedy” and nothing else.

This is for the hard core fans. It starts off with a swampy Delta bluesy acoustic slide solo, which is followed by an electric piano solo, very Doors like.

This then gives way to an electric guitar solo, very B.B. King like with a bit more grit and it all crashes in to a Lynyrd Skynyrd soaring lead, full of harmonized guitars.

After five minutes and thirty seconds, the only thing you can do is press repeat.

Downtown Money Waster

Old time blues with a ragtime piano and acoustic slide guitar.

Descending

Another favourite and another five plus minute ballad-esque song, which starts off with a piano riff. And when the band kicks in, it gets the head moving and the foot tapping. If it doesn’t, feel for a pulse.

Chris Robinson is on fire vocally and Mr Colt’s bass is thumping throughout, synced up to the bass drum of Gorman’s.

The track closes with a ramped up piano solo over another thundering bass riff from Mr Colt.

The album did good business in Australia again, charting at 11 which they also replicated in the U.S and a Gold Certification.

But it took the record buying public by surprise because it didn’t really have that “accessible” song that people could latch on to. The debut album had “Hard To Handle” and the follow up had “Remedy”. But this one had some deep cuts and some fan favourites.

Crank it.

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The Record Vault: The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Eight hazy days is all it took for the band to record album number 2, released on May 12, 1992. Having done the pre-work, the band was ready to capture their live sound onto tape.

The band of Chris Robinson on vocals, Rich Robinson and Marc Ford on guitar, Johnny Colt on bass, Steve Gorman on drums and Eddie Harsch on keyboards are on fire. And the jam live spirit drips from the speakers.

Wikipedia tells me that it was the first time an album featured four album rock number-one hits. The previous record was set by the great Tom Petty in 1989, with three number-one rock hits. The album itself reached the top spot of the Billboard 200 album chart, propelled by the success of these singles.

The album’s name comes from an influential 1835 hymn and tune book compiled by William Walker. While I never knew that at the time, I did think the title was unique.

Sting Me

We needed rock and roll to reset from the glamorized rock and metal that did the rounds in MTV.

That’s what “Sting Me” is about. It shows the bands intention and confirms that the first album, “Shake Your Moneymaker” was not a fluke.

“If you feel like a riot, don’t you deny it” are the opening lines and man, with all that was happening in LA, it could have been the protest song of the rioters, when the shitty verdict was handed down to the four white policemen in their beating of African-American Rodney King.

And the Chorus is so Rolling Stones like, I love it.

Remedy

This song deserved to be a smash hit everywhere. It was the perfect amalgamation of blues rock and pop rock.

And I love the lead break on this from Marc Ford. It reminds me of the leads that Slash does with GNR and it’s something which Slash doesn’t get enough credit for, being a great blues rock player in the vein of Jeff Beck. And Marc Ford is up there as well, so underrated.

And how good arethe female backing vocals.

But the song is forgotten on streaming services, compared to the debut album songs like “Hard To Handle” at 132 million streams on Spotify and “She Talks To Angels” at 78.6 million streams, “Remedy” pales at 27.3 million streams.

I guess all the fans already have the album, and we’ve overdosed on it, so the last thing we want to do is to play it again on a streaming service.

Kind of like playing “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, “Enter Sandman” or “The Final Countdown” or “Kick Start My Heart”. Then again, people are playing those songs in the millions each week.

Thorn in My Pride

The acoustic guitar playing is so Led Zep like and the lyrics of “my angels and my devils being the thorn in my pride” are favorites of mine. And Marc Ford brings it again in the lead department, with a very accomplished SRV like shred.

Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye

I like these kind of slow blues songs, like “Little Wing”, “Since I’ve Been Lovin You” and “Black Magic Woman”.

Actually Poison with Richie Kotzen wrote a killer track like this called “Until You Suffer (Fire and Ice) from the “Native Tongue” album, but no one purchased that album. So did Richie Sambora, with “Stranger In This Town”.

Sometimes Salvation

It’s a slow maybe mid temp blues rock song, about lessening your troubles, by hanging with less vultures, and wishing you had a nickel for every time you were tricked by some miracle.

Hotel Illness

It’s got this Beatles and Rolling Stones blues rock vibe and I like it.

Black Moon Creeping

I like the groove on this.

No Speak No Slave

The opening riff reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks”. It could easily be interchanged with a Corrosion of Conformity song.

My Morning Song

This should have been another hit off the album, but “Remedy” was so big that nothing else could measure up.

Time Will Tell

A Bob Marley cover, with acoustic guitars and gospel like backing vocals, as the band takes the reggae feel to the muddy waters of the Mississippi Delta and turns it into an acoustic blues rock track.

We loved the album in Australia. It charted as high as Number 6 on our ARIA charts and it earned a Gold Certification.

In the U.S market, it went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts and earned a 2x Platinum certification.

For a long time I called it “The Great Southern Harmony Musical Corruption”. So put it on and let it corrupt you.

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