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

Times Of Grace – Songs Of Loss And Seperation

10 years is a long time between albums.

“The Hymn Of A Broken Man” came out in 2011 and in 2021, we get “Songs Of Loss And Seperation”.

The band for the album is Adam Dutkiewicz on vocals, guitar and bass, Jesse Leach on vocals and Dan Gluszak on drums.

The Burden Of Belief

It’s got a blues country groove, more like southern country rock.

Fall down to your knees / Wash me clean of all my grief

Mend You

Taking its cues from alternative metal.

I lost a lot of sleep with my restless mind

There is no rest, when you’re left alone with your thoughts especially when your relationship is breaking down or if a loved one is doing it tough with addictions or mental illness.

The riffs in the last 50 seconds. It’s wall breaking time.

Rescue

Its classic Killswitch Engage.

After the screaming verses, the anthemic Chorus smacks you in the face.

Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister, who showcases his talents with each album release.

The last 50 seconds, with the swelling sounds and backwards effects, is haunting and soothing at the same time. A paradox but it works.

Far From Heavenless

A simple arpeggio guitar riff starts the song off, with Leach singing about feeling far from heaven. And there is an ascending guitar line underneath it all, which makes it feel like we are rising.

The power in the next section, when Leach is singing “I’m not heavenless”. And the power house drumming from Gluszak hammers the message home.

Then the dynamic shifts again to subtle and serene arpeggios.

At 3.30 there is just a clean tone guitar riff that reminds me of “Living On The Edge” riff from Aerosmith.

Then listen to how the distorted guitars, bass and drums build it up, over the spoken sermon from Leach.

It’s gloom and doom, but inspirational as well.

Bleed Me

Atmospheric cut about looking for the medicine to bleed you and satisfy the demons.

Medusa

How good is the riff to kick off Medusa?

It’s so Iommi and Zakk Wylde like.

And this nod to classic metal gives way to syncopated verses, more in the vein of Meshuggah and TesseracT.

Currents

The intro riff is familiar. The vocal melody very Maynard like in the verses, as the rage explodes in the Chorus.

Lost in a Dream / Dark waves crash over me

This tension between dark and light, carries the song.

To Carry The Weight

The intro arpeggios and vocal melody could have come from Aaron Lewis and Staind. Maybe even Brent Smith and Shinedown. And I like it.

The song percolates in that sombre mood until it explodes and Jesse Leach delivers a worthy vocal performance.

The riff from 2.25. So melodic, yet heavy.

Cold

It starts off like a country tune. A simple acoustic guitar riff and vocal melody. It’s campfire material.

And from the 3 minute mark, it explodes. The melodies are hypnotic and the music inspirational.

Have I mentioned that Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister?

Forever

The closer. 6.30 minutes long.

All different musical roads lead to here. A combination of country, blues, metal and rock.

For those looking about positive messages, this isn’t the album for you. It’s melancholy lyrics and metal like riffage is music to make you crash your car. You can feel the sadness, a pain at the world, society and the various demons within the mind.

The album title is indicative of the theme. And having gone through loss recently this album is becoming my companion, riding shotgun with me.

So I press repeat.

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Joel Hoekstra 13 – Running Games

I was interested to hear this but I didn’t think I would have liked it as much as I did.

It’s excellent.

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label.

The musicians for the album are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

It feels like the 70s ethos, when you see so many guys from different bands jamming together and releasing music.

I was reading some of the interviews Hoekstra did when the album come out and fuck there are some shit interviewers out there, who just do the simple Wikipedia style of interview without even listening to the album.

But the one at “The Rock Pit” is what an interview is about. The interviewer actually listened to the album, liked it and wanted to know more about it. And you get exactly that.

“Finish Line”

“We Rock” from Dio is merged with “I’ll See The Light Tonight” from Malmsteen for the Intro riff and I’m all in.

And that Chorus. Wow. What a hook!

Make sure to check out the lead break as Hoekstra is doing his eight finger tapping.

“I’m Gonna Lose It”

I like the Intro lead. It reminds me of Thin Lizzy.

And just before the Chorus, there is a little snippet of a riff that gets me thinking of “A Touch Of Madness” from Night Ranger.

The lead break again. Wow.

Over at Glide Magazine, Hoekstra said He came up with the song out at Hook City at the Whitesnake studio.

“Hard To Say Goodbye”

The Chorus feels like a Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow Chorus.

“How Do You”

It’s slower and groovy, more in the vein of Adrenaline Mob in the verses with a Euro classical inspired Chorus.

“Heart Attack”

It is a bluesy groovy cut.

“Fantasy”

It feels like ZZ Top added some Metal to their sound in the Intro, and the verses are massive, Kashmir like.

Their is a keyboard solo and then Hoekstra breaks loose.

“Lonely Days”

What a melodic rock Chorus. I’m a sucker for these.

“Reach For the Sky”

Cliched and overused song title.

In an interview over at The Rock Pit, Hoekstra mentions how he wrote the riff on the Whitesnake Tour Bus. Inspiration strikes all the time.

“Cried Enough For You”

It feels like a Y&T cut from the “Black Tiger” album in the acoustic sections before it moves to an Iron Maiden like old school groove.

“Take What’s Mine”

The fast guitar lead and machine gun riff to start off the song gets me to pay attention, but it’s the verse riff that makes me pick up the guitar and bang my head to.

And there’s another anthemic Chorus.

“Running Games”

It feels like a Toto cut.

“Lay Down Your Love”

It feels like ZZ Top has come to town.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Highway to Hell

Who would have thought that six months after the album release date, Bon Scott would be dead. There is no denying what a massive force he was in the band and since his departure, AC/DC got stuck in recreating the formula that Bon’s intensity brought to the band.

While Bon wrote about sex, parties and relationships, he was also very conscious of what was happening in society and how society was structured and the power struggle between the haves and have nots. AC/DC post Bon, eventually just wrote songs which had knees rhyming with please.

Eddie Kramer was brought in by the label to produce. Malcolm was less than pleased because it meant older brother George, was no longer involved. But the the pressure was on and the band was not delivering what the label wanted.

Malcolm and the bands new manager Peter Mensch then fired Kramer and hired Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange, who wielded his iron fist straight away and made the band work hard for three months. He even made Bon take vocal lessons.

And it was the start of the holy trinity of albums.

I never purchased this album until the early 2000’s. I just went over to a friends place with a bunch of blank cassettes and I taped every album he had, while we drank beers.

Highway To Hell”

“Highway To Hell” is a rite of passage. It might have been about touring, however timeless songs have lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. The riff to kick it off is iconic. Credit Malcolm.

Livin’ easy, Livin’ free

Those words are exactly how we want to live life. Easy living. Free living. But it isn’t so. Nothing is free in life and nothing is easy. The people born between 1948 and 1962 inherited a rich country and bankrupted it. They first got into government by the early 80’s and by the mid 90’s they were all in positions to make decisions.

They passed laws and regulations to benefit their bank accounts and the bank accounts of their sponsors. If they did something wrong, the taxpayer would bail them out.

And in these pandemic times, living easy and living free is impossible. Free democratic countries are passing laws to enforce lockdowns that dictatorships don’t even have.

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell

The Satanic panic begins. If this was played backwards, the subliminal message would say, “lleh ot yawhgih eht no”.

It’s so dangerous.

No stop signs
Speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down

Nobody does this anymore. I tell my kids they go to school to learn, not to get a job. But people I speak to always tell me that schools are there for people to get a job. You see, money is more important than developing yourself and experiencing life. You should be free to spread your wings.

Payin’ my dues
Playin’ in a rockin’ band
Hey, mamma
Look at me
I’m on the way to the promised land

It’s why music was great. People paid their dues. It didn’t mean they would make it, or be global superstars. Hell, it didn’t mean they would make a living wage. But they could have. Bon’s lyrics are a lifestyle and six months later, Bon Scott, would be on his way to the promised land.

“Girls Got Rhythm”

If the intro riff doesn’t get you moving, check for a pulse.

I been around the world
I’ve seen a million girls
Ain’t one of them got
What my lady she got

Only Bon could get away with confessing his cheating ways to his real love back in Oz via a song and still be in a relationship.

Love me till I’m legless
Achin’ and sore

Is this even possible anymore?

Everyone is too busy parading on social media, joining movements of empowerment. There is no time for loving until the morning light, unless your on a Netflix TV series.

“Walk All Over You”

After the slow dirge Intro, a riff kicks in that The Romantics would use for “What I Like About You”.

“Touch Too Much”

How good is the Intro?

Seems like a touch, a touch too much
Too much for my body
Too much for my brain

Only Bon can put his bedroom ways into a song like this. In this case, the woman is just too much for him. He can’t handle her.

“Beating Around The Bush“

It’s the usual fast blues from “Let There Be Rock” which was inspired by the Peter Green Fleetwood Mac version. Check out the song “Oh Well”.

“Shot Down In Flames”

A few chords over a standard drum and bass canvas. It’s the AC/DC way.

“Get It Hot”

It’s like “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” merged with Chuck Berry.

“If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

The Intro gets me playing air guitar. And the drum build, so simple and so sublime.

It’s animal
Livin’ in the human zoo
Animal
The shit that they toss to you
Feelin’ like a Christian
Locked in a cage
Thrown to the lions
On the second page

Quick, call in the political correct activists.

Life is like living in a cage that you pay for, your whole life and you never really own it.

The crap they toss at us, is the wage we get for building someone else’s dream and we have three options, leave and try to build our dreams, stay and work on the side to build our dreams or just stay and be a slave. Because the system is designed to benefit the companies. If you don’t have a weekly wage, you cannot get a loan.

“Love Hungry Man”

It’s funky for an AC/DC song which Angus Young called as the worst AC/DC song ever.

“Night Prowler”

While this song would become popular for all the wrong reasons, in its essence it’s a slow blues dirge and a favorite.

5x platinum in Australia, 7x platinum in the U.S and various other certifications around the world is proof of its longevity.

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1976 – Part 1.6: Bob Seger – Night Moves

I always have time for a little bit of Bob Seger. “Old Time Rock N Roll” was the song that got his name into my consciousness. “Turn The Page” was another, but I heard the Metallica version first. Actually, that whole “Garage Inc.” album from Metallica, got me excited to check out bands that I wasn’t sure I should check out.

So “Night Moves” is album number 9. For a person who lived on the road, the cover is perfect, with his image and the spotlight in the background.

At the age of 30, Seger did good live business in middle America, but couldn’t break through nationally.

Then he dropped the “Night Moves” album, a road trip of nostalgia and a soundtrack for many growing up in the 70’s. I didn’t hear this album until the 90’s. Such a long time after its release but if I heard this in the 80’s I wouldn’t have liked it, as I was head over heels in love with hard rock and heavy metal.

“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”

It’s a 12 bar blues romp.

The catchcry of “come back baby, rock and roll never forgets” is truth. As fans of the music and its lifestyle, we can dabble our tastes in other styles but we always come back to our rock and roll roots like we never left.

“Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean / Listen to the guitar player making it scream”

“Night Moves”

When I was doing some reading on Bob Seger, a lot of reviews when the album came out, kept mentioning how his songs sound like other songs that came before. And I’m thinking, perfect, that’s just the way I like it.

“I used her, she used me / But neither one cared / We were gettin’ our share / Workin’ on our night moves”

The strummed acoustic guitar kicks it off, but it’s Seger’s phrasing and vocal delivery, almost “American Pie” like.

The narrative of the secret getaways of teenage lovers takes its cues from Van Morrison and his “Brown Eyed Girl” and the movie “American Graffiti”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from “Born To Run” can also be heard, a coincidence or a fact that both artists have the same influences.

“The Fire Down Below”

It feels like a song from The Eagles “Hotel California” album which came a few years after. Reading comments on the YouTube video of the song, led me to a 60’s R&B singer called Johnny Taylor, and his songs “Who’s Makin’ Love” and “Take Care of Your Homework”. And one comment even mentioned that the Silver Bullet Band is tight in the “Brown Sugar” style of the Rolling Stones.

All I can say is, take what has come before and make it better.

“Sunburst”

“Sunburst” has inspirations from the Beatles “Dear Prudence” and Rod Stewart’s “Handbags And Gladrags”.

Stick around for the change at the 2.10 minute mark when it gets a bit metal like.

“Gaze on the sunburst / His weapon at his side / He flashes it with pride / Before his legions”

What’s this. Lyrics about the wood finish on a guitar. Before the term “Guitar Hero” even existed.

“Sunspot Baby”

Another 12 bar blues romp, that he would really nail with “Old Time Rock’N’Roll”.

“She packed up her bags and she took off down the road / Left me here stranded with the bills she owed / She gave me a false address / Took off with my American Express”

Story telling at its best about a lover who did a number on him as she charged up a fortune on his credit card.

“Mainstreet”

It could be about any town in any part of the world, as we all have the same main streets and a story or two of someone who tried to make it out.

The guitar melodies and leads on this one are excellent.

“And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat / I drift back in time and I find my feet / Down on Mainstreet”

That’s right, you can never escape your hometown. You know every corner, every crack on the road, every curb and every smell. It’s in your DNA.

“Come to Poppa”

It smoulders along with its “Cocaine” groove.

“If you need a pacifier / Call me anytime”

This is more crude than any lyric that the PMRC found offensive in a decades time for their “Filthy 15” list.

“Suck on that”, I say.

“Ship of Fools”

The Eagles influence is present again with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It Easy” combining to become “Ship Of Fools”.

“Mary Lou”

It’s a cover and it sounds like Seals and Crofts “Your Mama Don’t Dance” or “Jailhouse Rock” or “Smokin In The Boys Room”.

You know the riff I’m talking about.

In the U.S, six million copies were shipped, for a 6× Platinum certification. And “Night Moves” is the anchor to Seger’s most successful period which includes “Stranger In Town” in 1978 and “Against the Wind” in 1980.

How many artists can say that their ninth album broke em him to the masses?

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1976 – Part 1.4: Judas Priest – Sad Wings Of Destiny

It’s not on Spotify as their original label Gull owns the rights and the split between artist and label was hostile.

Judas Priest recorded this album on a very small budget, whilst working part-time jobs and living off of one meal a day. As they say, hard times and adversity breeds genius.

This album is the transition point between blues rock and a new style about to be born, which is basically the metal that I got to know.

“Victim Of Changes”

It kicks off the album, a combination of two separate songs. “Whiskey Woman” from the band co-founder and original singer, Al Atkins (who also gave the band its name) and “Red Light Lady” from the person who replaced him, Rob Halford.

The riff reminds me of “Stormbringer” from Deep Purple and both songs came out at a similar time. There is a little lick towards the end of the riff that Metallica swiped for “Seek And Destroy” which they use to “get out” of the intro riff pattern and into the verse riff. Wikipedia quotes a source that the riff was inspired by “Black Dog” from Led Zeppelin.

Regardless of the source inspiration, it’s a beautiful example of how you take little bits and pieces of what came before and make it your own.

“The Ripper”

A lot of bands at this time were doing similar riffs, borrowing from each other and allowing themselves to be influenced. The main riff here is reminiscent of “Stranglehold” from Ted Nugent, however both songs came out at the same time. It could be pure coincidence, but it also means that the artists in question had the same influences.

The Chorus riff feels like a Pink Panther soundtrack and the solo section is the way Muse do their solo sections.

“Dreamer Deceiver”

If you want to know the inspiration behind “The Warning” album from Queensryche, just listen to this.

It’s one of those moody slow tempo songs I really like from acts in the Seventies. From a Judas Priest viewpoint, this song is an underrated cut. I would even call it a masterpiece.

Halford covers so much ground with his voice, singing across four octaves at different times of the song.

And the guitar solo from Glenn Tipton. One of the best guitar solos of all time. So overlooked. It’s on par with “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd for pure emotion.

As the solo went on, Halford came in with his super falsetto ohhhs and ahhhs.

“Deceiver”

It has the triplet galloping style of riffing that Sabbath used in “Children Of The Grave” which came out in 1971. And Halford is going to town with his falsetto voice, clearly showing a certain Scandinavian singer called King Diamond, how to develop his style.

“Prelude”

It’s soundtrack music. A friend of mine said, its influenced by “The March Of The Black Queen” from the Queen “II” album. Listen to em both and you decide.

“Tyrant”

I reckon a young EVH was clearly influenced by the riffs in this song. Listen to the intro riff and you will hear it sounds like a certain Van Halen song.

“Genocide”

There is a lot of Deep Purple in this track. “Smoke On The Water” and “Woman from Tokyo” come to mind, from a groove and feel point of view.

“Epitaph”

It’s a progressive song, with layered vocals while musically, it’s just a piano riff. Black Sabbath’s “Changes” and Queen and ELP comes to mind.

“Island of Domination”

And they close off the album with a track that reminds me of “IV” from Sabbath.

The main riff sounds an awful lot like Nazareth’s “Railroad Boy” released a year earlier.

And you all know my view on this, all music is a derivative of some other music. If you listen closely, the section from 2.20 reminds me of “Wake Up Dead” from Megadeth.

For just their second album, there is a lot of ground covered.

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1976 – Part 1.2: UFO – No Heavy Petting

My UFO experiences started in the 90’s. The band UFO, just in case anyone was wondering.

“Lights Out” (released in 1977) is the gold standard along with the live album “Strangers In The Night” (released in 1979).

But.

“No Heavy Petting” deserves more love.

The band for the album is Phil Mogg on vocals, Michael Schenker on guitar, Danny Peyronel on keyboards, Pete Way on bass and Andy Parker on drums.

Any idea about the monkey on the cover.

“Natural Thing”

The intro riff is great to play and one of the best committed to tape.

And I was pointed towards “Rock N Roll Queen” from Mott The Hoople as an influence. The guitar player on that is Mick Ralphs before Bad Company.

“I’m A Loser”

Written by Schenker and Mogg. The acoustic intro riff has influenced a lot of the 80’s bands.

How good is the piano melody in the section when “hard times, out on the streets” is sung?

And the lead break from Michael Schenker is guitar hero worthy and I’m pretty sure forgotten by all.

“Can You Roll Her”

The song is written by Peyronet, Mogg and Parker.

A stupid title which doesn’t do the fast paced and frantic music any justice. The guitar riffs in the intro/verses and little guitar melodies in the Chorus are excellent.

Schenker goes to town when it comes to the lead spotlight, combining his brilliant pentatonic playing with fast picked Aeolian Minor runs. The way it is constructed would influence countless of other guitarist to “work out” their leads.

“Belladonna”

Written by Schenker and Mogg.

When I hear this song, I think of “Soldier Of Fortune”. It more or less follows the same pattern. But I also think of “Try Me” which would come on the album after. And Scorpions would write songs like this in a few years’ time.

The Schenker solo is memorable, but on “Try Me” it’s outta this world.

Make sure you check out the classical like guitar melody that Schenker starts playing after the solo.

“Reasons Love”

What a great funky, sleazy and bluesy guitar riff to kick off the song.

“Highway Lady”

It’s your standard blues rock fare with Schenker wailing away in the solo.

“On With The Action”

Written by Schenker and Mogg.

The riff to kick this song off is like doom metal, if downtuned. Its heavy.

The groove in the song makes it a favorite of mine but the song is forgotten by the masses when it comes to discussions about UFO.

And if you are a fan of excellent guitar playing, make sure you check out the solo here as well. All of the 80’s guitar heroes copied it.

“A Fool In Love”

It’s written by Frankie Miller and Andy Fraser and it’s a “Honky Tonk Woman” meets “All Right Now” blues romp.

“Martian Landscape”

Written by Peyronel, Mogg and Parker. It’s one of those songs that the 70’s bands put on albums that was a bit progressive and experimental. And sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. This song worked for UFO and it’s the precursor to “Love To Love”. And a riff in “Love To Love” gave birth to “Desert Song”

In other words, “No Heavy Petting” is an underrated hard rock record, a link between the derivative 12 bar blues and hard rock as I know it.

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1976 – Part 1.1

I started this series with the Part 1 posts of 2001, then 1996 and most recently 1986. Now we go back in time another 10 years to 1976. And after this we go back to 2001 for Part 2 and the process repeats.

Rainbow – Rising

Album number two for Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Actually that was the title of the debut album, so the buying public would have some idea of who was leading the group. For this album, it’s just called Rainbow.

Coming into to this album, only Blackmore and vocalist Ronnie James Dio remain from the debut. Basically, Blackmore booted out, the Elf members. Cozy Powell is on drums, replacing Gary Driscoll. Jimmy Bain is on bass, replacing Craig Gruber and Tony Carey is on keys, replacing Micky Lee Soule.

“Tarot Woman”

It starts off with an Hammond or Moog organ.

But it’s that fast alternate picked riff of four note lengths and a small pause which gets the foot tapping. And once the drums and walking bass groove kick in, its blues rock heaven. But metal as well. The way I know metal.

Blackmore’s lead break moves between pentatonic licks and harmonic minor licks.

And I remember trying to learn the organ lead break in the outro on the guitar. Its worthy, check it out.

“Run With The Wolf”

This is basically a blues song however Dio’s choice of lyrics take it into a fantasy place about a hole in the sky and something evil passing bye.

How good is that foot stomping verse riff?

And it feels like Blackmore is playing slide guitar in the lead break.

Dio is a master at ad-libbing the outro’s with his vocals.

“Starstruck”

A great blues rock song.

It’s got everything a song should have. A harmony guitar intro. A memorable Chorus riff and a foot stomping 12 bar blues verse on steroids.

And while my first exposure to Dio was “Rainbow In The Dark”, I really dig his blues strut vocal style.

“Do You Close Your Eyes”

The Pre-Chorus is excellent, musically and melodically. But the lyrics are blah around asking the question “if your partner closes their eyes while they make love to you”.

“Stargazer”

After the drum solo like intro, the guitar riff kicks in. It’s got groove and it’s fun to play.

How good are the exotic sounding keys and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the Pre Chorus and Chorus?

Dio is in his element here, singing about whips and chains, towers of stone, flesh and bone and rhyming fly, with die and why.

Blackmore’s lead is excellent. His use of vibrato and effects to kick off the solo, sounds like a sitar, and when he goes into the fast alternate picked lines around the harmonic minor scale, it sounds like a guitar solo spotlight at a concert. But the whole could have sounded flat, if it wasn’t for the powerful drumming of Powell.

“A Light In The Black”

A brilliant song, featuring another classic riff from Blackmore in the verses and Dio’s powerful vocals.

How good are the vocals when Dio sings “coming home”?

I like the nod to the past with its “Burn” like lead break with the organ and guitar in harmony. And the drumming from Powell is relentless. Ian Paige worthy.

For the next album, “Long Live Rock’N’Roll”, Bain was out, replaced by Blackmore on most tracks with Bob Daisley doing a few. Tony Carey also did keys on a few tracks with David Stone doing the other half.

And if you want to know what happened between Dio and Blackmore, well here is Blackmore’s point of view over at Louder Sound.

“I was always very close to Ronnie until, to be quite honest, he met up with Wendy [Dio’s future wife and manager], then it got very strained. She was a nice enough woman, but we didn’t really click. I remember trying to sort out a song.”

I was playing an effect, trying to get the song down, and both of them walked by and one of them said: “We want to talk to you.”

Ronnie said. “I’ve just heard from Wendy that you’re on the front page of Circus and we’re not.”

“Really? I had no idea.”

The three of us had done the photo session, but the photographer did a couple of me on my own, and one of these got on the cover.

And Cozy [Powell, drummer] or Ronnie said: “If we’re gonna be your sidekicks then we’ll act accordingly.”

That really pissed me off, cos that was nothing to do with me. After that it went downhill, cos I had no respect for either of them after that. I didn’t like that.

“We’re not on the front cover with you!” Is that my fault?”

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Albums That Influenced Jake E Lee

The great Martin Popoff released a book a while ago called “10 Albums That Changed My Life”.

Jake E Lee was one of the artists who gave Popoff his top 10.

The albums “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” with Ozzy Osbourne introduced Jake E Lee to the masses, but its “Badlands” and “Voodoo Highway” which really showed what Jake E Lee is all about.

But that all ended by 1991.

Since Badlands, he became a recluse and did a few solo releases here and there and he sold some gear for extra cash. He eventually re-appeared with the “Red Dragon Cartel” which didn’t set my world on fire, but as a fan, it was great to have him back, recording and releasing music. And with every release he does I’m still interested to hear it.

So here are the 10 albums which changed Jake E Lee’s life?

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

His first album with Ozzy Osbourne, who told the world he wrote the album with one finger and a piano.

Lee said that this record changed his life. It was exciting to work with pro musicians like Bob Daisley and Tommy Aldridge and to write with Bob Daisley (but Ozzy is credited as the only songwriter on the album) and to record in a foreign country.

The song “Bark At The Moon” is almost at 72 million streams on Spotify. And who can forget that intro riff and the outro solo.

Scorpions – Virgin Killer

This is what Lee said about the album.

“I was in bands by this point. I was going through a lot of different bands.

I was in a funk band and we had a full horn section and I loved playing that stuff.

I was also in a fusion band, where we did a lot of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. It wasn’t a popular band, but it was a fun one to play in.

I was in a rock band and for me, at that point, Ted Nugent was huge but he was not really my cup of tea. He sort of simplified everything and it was making it less interesting and I was getting a little bit tired of rock.

So I think the only band I really enjoyed back then at that moment was Scorpions. Uli Jon Roth was a beast on guitar. But like I say, I was not 100% in rock. I was in other bands that interested me more.”

When “Bark At The Moon” came out, Lee came across as very accomplished and experienced, but when you look at the hours he put in with different styles and different bands, you get an idea of the work ethic in place to expand his mind outside of just rock music.

Led Zeppelin – III

Lee saved up his allowance to buy this album and it became his favourite Led Zeppelin album. This is what he had to say on it.

“I heard “Immigrant Song” on the radio and it was such a nasty riff and a spooky song and I was like, great, this album’s going to be bitchin’.

And I took it home and that’s the only song like it on the whole record. It pissed me off.

I tried to take the record back and they wanted to know why.

And I said, “Because I don’t like it”.

“You can’t bring a record back just because you don’t like it”. And I was stuck with it for the next month, until I could buy another new album. So it was the only new music I could listen to then.

And then it grew on me.

After a month, it was and still to this day is, my favourite Led Zeppelin record. And the reason I wanted to address that is, I kind of feel like our Red Dragon Cartel record “Patina” is like that, most of the songs on there aren’t immediately accessible.”

That’s how it was when you had to buy a physical album. Like it or not, you were stuck with it, so you listen to it a little bit more and you start to like it a little bit more. But from the mid 80’s, a lot of filler started coming onto records and it didn’t matter how many times you listened to the album, you just couldn’t like all of it.

And what are people’s views of “Patina”?

I listened to it once and filed it away. It’s time to get it out and give it a re-listen.

Deep Purple – Machine Head

Lee listened to “Machine Head” a lot as he liked Ritchie’s blues influence and how he made a Strat sound so big and powerful. At this stage, Lee was a Gibson guy.

But when he made his debut to the world with Ozzy he was a Strat guy.

Montrose – Montrose

Lee talks about Ronnie Montrose and how he should have been more applauded than he was, because he was a monster guitar play, with a great tone who could write solid songs.

Aerosmith – Rocks

The first record he got from Aerosmith was “Get Your Wings”. It made him a fan, but it was “Rocks” that became his favourite because of the looseness in the guitar playing of Joe Perry.

Van Halen – Van Halen

Lee basically said, when Van Halen came along, they changed his life.

When this record first came out, he quit the other bands he was in and just stayed within the rock bands. They did a lot of Van Halen covers and he started to write songs in this style.

He goes on to say “Eddie’s playing really turned everybody’s thoughts on how to play guitar upside down”.

Long live the King. RIP. EVH.

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Band Of Gypsies

Lee mentions how “Are You Experienced” is the reason he picked a guitar up, but “Band Of Gypsies” is the album he can’t get enough of.

Lee mentioned how Hendrix was so much harder to learn than the other guys like Page and Clapton, and I agree with him. The other guitar players stuck within normal shapes and patterns when it came to leads and playing, whereas Hendrix was different. Lee called him “John Coltrane on guitar”.

Iron Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida

This was Lee’s first rock record he purchased. Before that, he was exposed to James Bond soundtracks. He thought it was the heaviest thing he ever heard.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Lee thought Iron Butterfly was the heaviest thing he ever heard and then he heard the Black Sabbath debut. Nobody sounded like that according to Lee.

I posted another post previously when Jake E Lee mentioned his Top 5 guitar solos in a July 1989 Guitar World interview. And he more or less has stayed true to what his top 10 albums are.

The list is Jimi Hendrix and “Red House” from the “Hendrix In The West” album released in 1971.

“Crossroads” from Cream’s “Wheels Of Fire” featuring Eric Clapton.

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” from Led Zeppelin “III” featuring Jimmy Page which shouldn’t be a surprise.

“Mean Town Blues” from Johnny Winter and “Stratus” from a Spectrum album featuring Tommy Bolin.

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

June 2020 – Part 2

Shine On
Adelitas Way
This Means War
Aware At Last featuring Adelitas Way

“Shine On” is a good song. Reminds me a lot of Tesla and the “Forever More” album.

And it’s virtually ignored.

The YouTube video dropped a few days ago and it has less than 5000. It doesn’t even rate in the Top 5 listened songs on Spotify.

But it should.

Break
Still Breathing
Taking Dawn

They started off as “7th Son” in tribute to their favourite Maiden album. Signed to Roadrunner and then neglected by Roadrunner.

This one is from their “Dawn Of The Demos” album released during COVID-19.

London 1666
Alcatrazz

There best known phase was with Malmsteen on guitar. “No Parole From Rock N Roll” and “Live Sentence” are good metal albums.

Fast forward 30 plus years later and Yngwie devotee Joe Stump is on guitar. He riffs and shreds like Malmsteen and Alcatrazz haven’t sounded this good for a long time.

The intro riff could have come from the “Marching Out” album. And Graham Bonnet, he might not look like a stereotypical metal singer, but he has the pipes for it.

So far they have dropped two songs from the upcoming “Born Innocent” album and I am liking.

When Ignorance Turns To Bliss
Good Days, Bad Days
Eric Steckel

I was searching the blogs for blues rock guitarists to sink my ears into that have come out in the last 15 years. And it wasn’t a simple search. I was going in deep, reading reviews of albums and various blogs and what not. Like the good old days of searching vinyl.

Eric Steckel and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram are two blues rock dudes that have come out of this search and I have gotten into.

And man, they can play and they can sing.

Eric Steckel reminds me of what Jake E. Lee was trying to do with Badlands crossed with a bit of Bad Company. Steckel can be emotive, bluesy and if needed, he can metal it up and shred.

“Good Days, Bad Days” is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a subdued and melancholic, rhythm and blues rock tune with a killer emotive lead break.

Stop The Bleeding (featuring Jesse Leach)
Bulletproof
Machine Head

“Stop The Bleeding” is a great song. The riffage, the punk like feel in the chorus and the lyrics, “Beating after beating, throat choked under knee, help me please because I can’t breathe, just stop the bleeding”.

The whole world is aware but will anything really change in the long run.

Like the lyrics in “Bulletproof”, “The rich mad with power, the poor left to bleed”. And its these people and the organisations they represent that will do whatever it takes to keep their power and all their multiple zeroes in their bank accounts.

As Y&T sing in “Masters And Slaves”, “there’s only kings and queens and you’re a pawn in their game” and “like masters and slaves, we are divided that way”.

In the state of Victoria, in Australia, they are experiencing a second wave of outbreaks of COVID-19. Government housing buildings and suburbs which are not wealthy are in lockdown, but the wealthier suburbs are not in lockdown. So what gives.

Who are people who live in affluent suburbs so special?

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Music

The Record Vault – Aerosmith Addition

I’m still unpacking a lot of stuff from my house move in 2010. I’m a slow unpacker, but a pretty good packer when it comes to moving out.

So there is a box with DVD’s in it and since I’ve covered some of the bands already in previous Record Vault posts, I had to do some extra additions, for completeness. There will be Anvil, Black Label Society And Sabbath additions to come.

I missed this “Live In Philadelphia” from Aerosmith. The notes on the DVD state, it was recorded live at “The Spectrum”, Philadelphia, PA, January 19th. 1990.

This is the “Pump” tour even though the cover states, “Live In Philadelphia – Permanent Vacation”.

The set list is a combination of the “PUMP” and “Permanent Vacation” albums and a select best of, from their 70’s output.

I got this DVD from a shop in Eastern Europe for $8AUD. The shop actually had a lot of DVD bootlegs and copies of actual CD’s, but not the real/legal CD’s. I even asked our tour guide to ask the shop owner if they had any more bootlegs from other bands, and his response was, “Whatever I want, he can get within 5 minutes via the internet and have it burned and ready in another 5 minutes for me to buy”.

I passed.

And the RIAA reckon stream ripping is a problem.

Also Eastern Europe has a culture of bootlegs. Microsoft set up offices in Serbia and Romania because the company saw that those countries had the most pirated versions of Microsoft Office in circulation, and because of this piracy, they found a very competent and young IT workforce available for cheap labour. Plus these countries have some pretty fast internet speeds.

Anyway, from doing a search on the internet, it was never an official release. There are various versions of this concert released with different covers. And how does it work out that the Japanese bootleg version, has an extra track in “Walk This Way” at Number 21. Even bootlegs get Japanese bonus tracks.

Then again, I can’t really complain, as Australian releases of official CD’s always had bonus tracks as well.

For a bootleg, it’s done well, with the cover and the graphics making it look legit. And the video quality is not as good, but then again it was recorded over 28 years ago from when I purchased it.

You win some and lose some.

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