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

Australian Method Series: Jet – Shine On

My first post on Jet was “Shaka Rock”, their third album. Then it was the debut “Get Born”.

And I wrap up their output with their much anticipated second album, “Shine On” released on 30 September 2006, in Australia and on 2–3 October 2006, internationally.

When you Google the album name and review, the Pitchfork review is the first one that Google brings back.

Pitchfork gave the album an 0.0 review and the page had an embedded YouTube video of a monkey peeing in its own mouth. I’m presuming to state it’s a “piss poor” album.

But Aussie’s don’t care about expectations and artists development. We care about fun and Jet just made another fun album rooted in good old fashioned Blues Rock.

Holiday

There’s no way that people can’t like this song.

It has all the trademarks of what Jet is. A hooky riff, dumb lyrics and a fun attitude. There is this small riff between the main riff that reminds me of QOTSA.

Makes no difference what they say
We’re goin’ on holiday

It sounds too good to be true these days. Going on a holiday.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

If there’s one thing us Aussies like, is a good punt. We’ll bet on anything. But this song isn’t about betting.

It continues the catchy riffs and themes from “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”.

She goes down
Like a setting sun

It leaves little to the imagination.

You can be the sinner and I’ll be the sin

Best lyric in the song.

Bring It On Back

The Beatles (as a byproduct Oasis as well) and Bad Company come to mind here.

For all that you said
Would you take it all back?

Even if it’s taken back, it’s been said and words sting deeper than actions.

That’s All Lies

It’s more Punk Rolling Stones like, in a 12 bar blues sense.

Kings Horses

It’s a country folk rock cut.

In the morning i swear i will tell you the truth
How you receive it, well, that’s up to you

Everyone has their own version of the truth.

Shine On

A tribute to the Cesters’ father, who passed away from cancer while they toured on the “Get Born” album.

Oasis and “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” comes to mind here.

Everything will be okay
We will meet again one day

It’s impossible but people believe it’s possible.

Come On, Come On

It’s very ELO meets Rolling Stones.

If they ask you to stand, well they just want you to kneel

So if you stand based on someone else’s command, then you will kneel when they tell you to kneel.

Stand Up

It’s a basic blues rock song in a Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Revolution” from The Beatles vibe with the message from the 80s, like “Stand Up And Shout” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

Stand up, you got to live while you can
Stand up, burn up before you fade out
Stand up, don’t you follow the crowd
Stand up, you got to live in the now

Rip It Up

Might as well call it “Wipeout” as it has that 60s Beach feel.

Rip it up, rip it up if your ever gonna make it!

Skin And Bones

It starts off with that “Shooting Star” and “Werewolf In London” riff.

Shiny Magazine

It’s that whole Beatles/Oasis feel.

Eleanor

Strummed acoustics and a campfire “Rubber Soul” feel.

All You Have To Do

And the album ends.

They recorded a shit load of songs for this album and there are so many versions of the album with a lot of bonus tracks and demos.

It didn’t sell anywhere near the debut but that doesn’t mean it’s a crap album.

Check it out.

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The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Come Taste The Band

It took Deep Purple seven years to make it to the top and two years to break up. The air is thin at the mountain top.

Deep Purple had lost their lead singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover in 1973 and replaced them with David Coverdale and Glen Hughes. This MK3 version recorded two albums and then guitarist Richie Blackmore left at the start of 1975. This was weird as Deep Purple was seen as “his” band. And from looking at it, it’s like the owner of the house vacating their premises for the guests to take over running the house.

But Deep Purple would soldier on, replacing Blackmore with a young guitar hero from the U.S. known as Tommy Bolin. Rounding out the band is the rest of MK3, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

And MK4 was created.

“Come Taste The Band” came out in 1975. It’s the usual production team of the band and Martin Birch.

The name Tommy Bolin came into my life because of Motley Crue. The Crue covered the song “Teaser” for a Compilation album and they also released it on a Raw Tracks CD made for the Japanese market, which I got my hands on. The song is so good and sleazy it sounded like a Crue original and I was curious to hear more from Bolin.

So as I was going back into the career of David Coverdale because of Whitesnake’s attention grabbing 87 LP, I was doing the same for Tommy Bolin.

So I got my hands on the “Teaser” and “Private Eyes” album first and imagine my surprise when I came across an album that had both Coverdale and Bolin on it.

Comin’ Home

Written by Tommy Bolin, David Coverdale and Ian Paice with vocals provided by Coverdale.

This song rocks out of the gate paying homage to the fast rock sounds of Deep Purple MK1, MK2 and MK3. But it was more Grand Funk, like “We’re An American Band”.

Lady Luck

Written by Jeffrey Cook who co-wrote songs with Bolin for the “Teaser” record with lyrical contributions from Coverdale.

Vocals are provided by Coverdale. In didn’t really do much for me.

Gettin’ Tighter

Written by Bolin and Hughes with vocals provided by Hughes.

This song is funky out of the gate, and sleazy once the whole band comes in.

Dealer

Written by Bolin and Coverdale with vocals provided by Coverdale and Bolin.

It’s very Hendrix “Purple Haze” like in the riff departments with a Beatles like Folk Rock interlude which Bolin sung.

I Need Love

Written by Bolin and Coverdale with vocals provided by Coverdale.

I like the groove on this, and the way the verse riffs are played out with the heavy synth from Lord.

Drifter

Side 2 begins with this song written by Bolin and Coverdale with vocals provided by Coverdale.

It’s got a great Intro which reminds of “You Really Got Me” or “American Woman” and check out the groove that comes in once the drums and bass kick in.

Coverdale’s bluesy voice is a highlight.

At 2.36 there is just a bass and keys section over a drum groove. It reminds me of things that Rush would do.

Then Bolin comes in, with volume swells and a solo begins. The drums and bass become busy as they build it up, and the vocals come back in. Its brilliant, it gives me goose bumps all the time, so press play just to hear that.

Love Child

“Heartbreaker” anyone. Press play and listen to the intro.

Written by Bolin and Coverdale with vocals provided by Coverdale.

The verse groove and riff are my favourites even though the whole “love child driving me wild” lyric didn’t set the world on fire.

At 1.50, they go into a progressive rock style groove and Lord solos over it.

This Time Around / Owed to ‘G’

Written by Hughes, Lord and Bolin with vocals provided by Hughes.

It’s very progressive sounding, like ELO and it moves into a great instrumental jam over a 12/8 groove with excellent lead guitar from Mr Bolin himself.

You Keep On Moving

Written by Coverdale and Hughes with vocals provided by Coverdale and Hughes.

This is the standout track. Its haunting and melancholic and it was written during the “Burn” sessions but not used.

Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Czechoslovakia and West Germany all got behind this version of the band. The Japanese still loved em and New Zealand loved em even more.

But.

The classical progressions and jams had been replaced with groove, soul and funk. It could be seen as an early Whitesnake album, as a few tracks have “Love” in the title, which is similar to every Whitesnake album.

Also in 1975, Tommy Bolin had two records competing against each other, which probably wasn’t the best scenario for Deep Purple however I have seen “Teaser” album pictures with a sticker on em that said “Guitarist Of Deep Purple”. Since most of the songs were written by Coverdale and Bolin, the project could have been billed as Coverdale/Bolin.

After the tour for this album finished in March, 1976, Deep Purple MK4 was no more. Glen Hughes was already having issues and was in and out of rehab. David Coverdale would form Whitesnake and get Jon Lord and Ian Paice into the project. And Tommy Bolin by December 1976, was dead from drug intoxication as morphine, cocaine, lidocaine and alcohol were all found in his system.

But the music lives on.

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The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Stormbringer

“Stormbringer” came out about 9 months after “Burn”. In the space of a year, Deep Purple were busy writing and recording frequently.

What a novel idea.

Try and tell that to a lot of acts, who want to record an album every three to five years. And the usual argument of ‘no money from recordings’ doesn’t work, because even back in the 70’s, the acts were getting ripped off on the sales part. So they had to tour to make coin. Then again it was normal in the 70’s to release an album a year. It was expected.

The album cover also has a story, about a tornado in a U.S town during the 1920s which was photographed and added to the Copyright free archives, which allowed the image to be used.

And the same photograph was used for Miles Davis’ album “Bitches Brew” in 1970.

And Siouxsie and the Banshees’ album “Tinderbox” in 1986.

MK3 Deep Purple is Ritchie Blackmore on Guitars, David Coverdale on Vocals (except “Holy Man”), Glenn Hughes on Bass and Vocals (except “Soldier of Fortune”), Jon Lord on Organ and Keys and Ian Paice on Drums.

Its Produced by Deep Purple and Martin Birch again.

Stormbringer

Another thunderous opener written by Blackmore and Coverdale.

If there wasn’t a Heavy Metal movement before, well there was one now. By 1974, each major rock act like Led Zeppelin, Free, Bad Company and Black Sabbath had a heavy song or two on each album that young blue collared youths would take and run with to create even heavier tracks.

I like the exotic flavouring in the solo. It’s not fast, but goddamn, it sounds progressive.

Love Don’t Mean A Thing

Written by Blackmore, Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

This is the whole funk blues soul jam that Glenn Hughes brings. In saying that, the riffs here work so well within the Deep Purple sound.

Holy Man

The Bad Company/Free brand of hard rock had caught on and suddenly Deep Purple was doing a cut that wouldn’t be out of place on the first two Bad Company albums or Free albums.

If the intro sounds familiar, it should, as it’s a common progression used throughtout the 70s, but it went missing a bit in the 80s and came back in the 90s.

I recall Motley Crue using it for “Misunderstood”.

And Blackmore was not the main writer anymore as this song was written by Coverdale, Hughes and Lord.

Hold On

The funk blues rock in the verses grooves and the Chorus is like Soul Rock Music. Blackmore again is missing from the song writing credits, with Coverdale, Hughes, Lord and Paice listed as the writers.

Coverdale and Hughes share vocal duties here and Blackmore brings out his rockabilly Chuck Berry licks which gives way to a Jon Lord solo.

Lady Double Dealer

It’s that fast blues rock that Deep Purple was known for and something that David Coverdale would do a fair bit with the early versions of Whitesnake.

There is a cool Blackmore solo as well.

You Can’t Do It Right

Play that funky blues music white boys.

High Ball Shooter

I like the Intro as it always reminds me of another song which I can’t thing off right now.

The Gypsy

The riffs on this are metal like, but the way Blackmore delivers em, it’s almost progressive like, with a fusion of blues, southern rock and metal like grooves.

Soldier Of Fortune

A great acoustic ballad to end the album, something which David Coverdale would recreate with “Sailing Ships”.

The long jam sessions from the past had disappeared. Replaced with a more structured song arrangement. It’s a bridge between this album and their next album.

Blackmore obviously didn’t like this new direction and left after the tour. And he wasn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself, so he publicly declared his dislike for the funky direction the band was taking and made it clear that was the reason why he left.

But Scandinavian Melodic Rock and Metal was being born with the MK3 albums as they did big business in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Austria and Germany also liked this era, along with the UK, France and the U.S.

Check it out.

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Australian Method Series; Airbourne – Black Dog Barking

“Black Dog Barking” is album number three, released in May 2013 via Roadrunner Records.

By now, everyone knew that Airbourne sounds like AC/DC.

But on this album, they amped up the AC/DC sounds with a bit of 80s rock like Cinderella and the first two albums from Def Leppard along with some Euro Metal like Scorpions.

And those backing vocals.

The Personnel for the album is Joel O’Keeffe on Vocals and Lead Guitar, David Roads on Rhythm Guitar, Justin Street on ass and Ryan O’Keeffe on Drums.

Producer Brian Howes has worked on the slick productions with Nickelback and Puddle Of Mudd, but on this album he captures the energy of the band performing live.

Ready to Rock

The blast out of the gate with it. It’s loud, aggressive and it feels like a circle pit punch up in a pub.

Animalize

I think of Kiss and Paul Stanley singing this tune.

No One Fits Me (Better Than You)

A take on “Let Me Put My Love Into You”.

Back in the Game

This one is the best song, bringing that Acca Rock and Euro/80s Rock vibe. There are Whitesnake, Cinderella, AC/DC and Scorpions influences.

Firepower

This one reminds me of “Let It Go” from Def Leppard in the verses and I like it.

Live It Up

The whole Intro is Acca Dacca with that open string acting as a pedal point while a melodic riff is played on the other notes. Think of the Intro to “For Those About To Rock”.

Woman Like That

This could be on a Bon Jovi album or a Cinderella album and not be out of place.

Hungry

Another favorite, which borders on speed rock.

More WASP like and it has a cool Spanish like guitar lead,

Cradle to the Grave

Crank it and enjoy. While the verses are stock standard hard rock, the Chorus has some of that Euro arpeggios.

Black Dog Barking

It closes with the barking and aggressive title track.

Airbourne does what they’re good at, the same way that AC/DC does what they’re good at.

Its better produced and the songwriting is concise, as the album is done in under 38 minutes.

This is rock’n’roll, the way it should be. Loud, aggressive, dumb and no ballads.

And Joel O’Keeffe gets a lot of credit for his vocal chops, i also believe that his Lead Guitar playing should also get some notice.

Because the dude can play.

Crank it.

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1996 – Part 4.1: Black Crowes – Three Snakes And One Charm

The problems began with a project tentatively titled “Tall”. This project was being produced by Chris Robinson, which his brother Rich objected to. And as brothers do, they got into a huge fight.

The reason for the fight was that Chris wanted to strip back the sound of the Black Crowes. More horns and percussion and less guitars. But his bro, Rich is the guitarist.

In the end, Rich won the argument and the result of this project are the re-recorded songs that Rich Robinson predominantly wrote, which made up the “Amorica” album. This pissed Chris off as his songs were ignored.

So it’s no surprise that during the “Amorica or Bust” Tour of 1995, the relationships within The Black Crowes soured even further, and the Robinson brothers basically hated each other.

But they made it through somehow.

And the band began planning their fourth album in 1995. “Three Snakes and One Charm” was eventually released in July 1996. Recorded in a house that they shared together, the album captures a relaxed band, ready to plug in and jam with friends.

The Black Crowes for this album are Chris Robinson on Vocals, Rich Robinson on Guitar, Marc Ford on Guitar, Johnny Colt on Bass, Steve Gorman on Drums and Eddie Harsch on Keyboards.

The Dirty Dozen horn group appears, along with banjo players, pedal steel players and various backing vocalists. Basically some of the stuff that Chris Robinson wanted to implement earlier was being brought in.

Under A Mountain

I like the exotic Zep vibe on this.

Good Friday

I disliked this song when I first heard it and when I covered The Black Crowes in The Record Vault post a while ago, I ignored it, but goddamn, time passes, moods change and suddenly the Country Soul Rock vibe of the song is hooking me in.

Nebekanezer

If the title doesn’t capture me, I’ve already formed a bias against the song. And while the song has a sludgy Blues groove with a little bit of a Beatles influence in the vocals, there isn’t enough meat to satisfy.

One Mirror Too Many

The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones and the psychedelic 60’s and 70’s are re-incarnated into this song.

Blackberry

Soul Rock was big around this time in Australia because of the movie “The Commitments” which came out in 1991.

Girl From A Pawnshop

It was my favourite track when I first heard the album and it still is today.

The whole country ballad rock vibe just connected with me and the vocal delivery from Chris Robinson is excellent.

Only Halfway To Everywhere

With the horns, guest vocalists and Chris Robinson bordering between BB King and Steven Tyler vocally, this song feels like a group of musos getting together and having a jam session, with a lot of booze flowing.

Bring On, Bring On

Like other songs on this album, it’s the Led Zep acoustic influence which shines through on this track that hooks me in.

How Much For Your Wings?

The reddest of lights shine on you, young man, let God be with you..

And the acoustic guitars start and there is something about the vocals when Chris Robinson sings, “how much for your wings?” that captures me.

Let Me Share The Ride

A blues groove, but the horns give it that soul rhythm and blues feel.

Better When You’re Not Alone

More acoustic guitars and then the band kicks in. And I feel like I’m driving on the open road out of my town, hopeful and excited.

Evil Eye

It’s too psychedelic for me.

And they went on tour for this album, which took em towards the end of 1997. After this, the band got together and recorded another album with the working title of “Band”.

Which was also scrapped.

Guitarist Marc Ford was fired and bassist Johnny Colt subsequently left the group, dissolving the Crowes’ line-up of the previous three albums.

The unreleased tracks from the “Tall” and “Band” sessions surfaced among tape trading circles and were later officially released on the 2006 compilation “The Lost Crowes”.

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The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are

The success of “Hush” in 1968 was more luck than anything. After that they struggled while Richie Blackmore kept evolving the band and the sound. Once the MKII version was in place, things started to change.

“In Rock” was released in 1970 and it definitely got people really interested. “Fireball” came quickly in 1971 and is often overlooked, but it kept the momentum going. “Machine Head” broke the band to a bigger audience in 1972 and in order to capture that success, the label released a live album called “Made In Japan” in December 1972.

Four albums in three years.

And then at the height of their fame, they dropped “Who Do We Think We Are” in 1973, their seventh studio album overall and fifth album in four years.

It would also be Deep Purple’s last album with singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover until 1984’s “Perfect Strangers”.

Fame is definitely a funny thing. You bust your ass to get there and then break up once you there.

Because of the touring, the album was recorded in two stages.

In July, 1972, they had some time in Rome to write and record new songs via the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. The songs from these sessions that are known are “Woman From Tokyo” and an outtake known as “Painted Horse”.

In October, 1972, they had some time to do the same in Frankfurt, West Germany. This is where the remainder of the songs were completed.

Woman From Tokyo

It was the first track recorded in July, written about their life on the road and touring Japan for the first time. It’s also their best track from this album.

As soon as the drum groove started I was thinking of “Run To The Hills” from Maiden.

Mary Long

Ian Gillan combined the names of two people who represented things he hated in the prudish older generation of the time, which made him question how they even had sex.

How did you lose your virginity Mary Long?

It feels like a Lynyrd Skynyrd cut. But this is Deep Purple, the masters of speed, heavy and melodic rock, with a flourish of blues.

Super Trouper

It’s almost like early AOR blues rock, something that bands like Foreigner and Survivor would use on their earlier albums.

It’s short but it gets me interested.

Smooth Dancer

The comparison to “Speed King” was always going to happen.

And Jon Lord owns this track with his honky tonk piano and neo-classical Hammond organ solos.

Rat Bat Blue

I like the blues rock riff that starts this song off. A young Jake E Lee, would have been woodshedding this riff, ready to unleash it with Badlands.

Then the keyboard solo kicks in, over another groovy riff by Blackmore and suddenly power metal is born in Finland.

Place in Line

ZZ Top comes to mind here. It’s got that Texan strut, which is a bit different to the way the Brits did the blues.

Our Lady

It reminds me of The Beatles and I like it.

Actually it reminds me of the song “The Real Thing” from Russel Morris who was an Australian artist from the mid 60’s. The song was a hit in Australia and the U.S and it’s got that Beatles influence.

Painted Horse

This track was released on the Anniversary edition.

Blackmore would also use the riff from this for “Man On The Silver Mountain” with some minor tweaks.

Musically, it was a move to a more blues-based sound, and the album was criticized for its American sounding songs in the U.K, for “Super Trouper” and “Smooth Dancer”.

And when Gillan and Glover left, everyone thought the band was done. But not Richie Blackmore. He had other ideas and MK3 was about to be born.

This version would release two of my favorite albums would be released.

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

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

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

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

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

Just Push Play is my least favorite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond Beautiful

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

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

Just Push Play

“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.

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

And I like it.

Jaded

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

Fly Away From Here

Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.

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

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

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

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

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

Trip Hoppin’

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

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

Sunshine

I like this song.

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

And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.

Under My Skin

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

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

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

Luv Lies

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

Outta My Head

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

Drop Dead Gorgeous

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

But the vocal melodies are pretty average.

Light Inside

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

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

Avant Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Record Vault: Drivin N Cryin – Smoke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back Against The Wall

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

She Doesn’t Wanna Go

One of my favourites, especially that Chorus riff.

Smoke

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

What is there not to like.

When You Come Back

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

Patron Lady Beautiful

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

1000 Swings

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

1988

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

Whiskey Soul Woman

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

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

What’s The Difference

It’s very Petty/Dylan and I like it.

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

Eastern European Carny Man

It’s like a Bad Company meets Boston track.

All Around The World

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

Turn It Up Or Turn It Off

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

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

And I enjoyed this album.

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

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

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

1976 – Part 3.5: Doobie Brothers – Takin It To The Streets

It’s a great album title but people hated the cover, thinking it was lazy.

“Takin’ It to the Streets” came out in 1976 and it’s the first to feature Michael McDonald on lead vocals. If you own the “1984” album by Van Halen, you will see Michael McDonald listed as a co-writer to “I’ll Wait”.

Tom Johnston was the leader and main songwriter in The Doobie Brothers. But in 1974 while touring, he fell ill and he had to reduce his involvement with the band. This got the label nervous as they didn’t want the band to continue without Johnston and the other members considered calling it quits.

But newbie guitarist Jeff Baxter suggested calling up a friend and fellow Steely Dan graduate Michael McDonald to finish the tour. McDonald thought that once the tour was over, he would be on his way, but was then asked to come into the studio to work on their next album.

Producer Ted Templeman (another familiar name for Van Halen fans) started going over the songs the band had available, but he knew they needed more and McDonald was asked to contribute his own songs. Which were very different sounding to what the Doobies played and if the band recorded em, would take the band in a different direction.

And that is what happened. So let’s see how the bridge between the Johnston and McDonald era sounded.

The musicians for the album are Tom Johnston who was still around to contribute and he played electric guitar, lead and backing vocals on the track “Turn It Loose” and vocals on “Wheels of Fortune”.

Patrick Simmons played electric guitars and lead vocals on a few songs,

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is on electric guitars.

Michael McDonald played all the piano and synths as well as lead and backing vocals.

Tiran Porter on bass, backing vocals and lead vocal on “For Someone Special”. Drums were provided by John Hartman and Keith Knudsen.

The album had a The Memphis Horns section and various other musicians playing congas and violas and what not. Even Templeman chimed in with some percussion.

Speaking of the Production team Donn Landee (another familiar name for Van Halen fans) was there as Engineer.

Wheels of Fortune

The clean tone riff to start the song rocks and grooves. Almost funk rock like. Dare I say it, Steely Dan like.

Written by Patrick Simmons, Jeff Baxter and John Hartman, it’s still the old Doobies sound.

Vocals are provided by Tom Johnston.

Changin’ wheels of fortune
Drivin’ us on and on
Winnin’, sometimes losin’
As soon as it’s here it’s gone

Living from payday to payday is the only way for a lot of people.

Takin’ It to the Streets

The Michael McDonald era begins. The title tracks is solely written by McDonald. Its piano driven, and it funks and sort of rocks.

I also like the bass playing from Tiran Porter. Check it out.

And the solo is driven by The Memphis Horn Section. Yep horns and not guitar.

I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see
Takin’ it to the streets

People have taken to the streets to protest a lot these last 15 years, but it’s still the same rubbish.

8th Avenue Shuffle

Guitarist Patrick Simmons wrote this one. It’s a blues soul funk tune, with some wonderful bass playing. Hell, it could appear on an Eagles album and not be out of place.

Losin’ End

Another track written by McDonald. It does nothing for me.

Next.

Rio

A track written by guitarists Simmons and Baxter, with vocals provided by Simmons and McDonald.

A Charlie Watts style drum beat starts the song, and when the Latin percussion comes in, I felt like I was listening to an Al Di Meola cut.

This track is the definition of “Yacht Rock”.

For Someone Special

Written by bass player Tiran Porter and the vocals are delivered by Porter himself.

The 70’s acts all had capable musicians who could play and sing.

The bass plays the main riff here, while the guitars and keys decorate. It’s trippy and I feel like he’s venting his feelings about Tom Johnston.

To reach down inside
And push that nightmare away
Now I’m glad that it’s over, it’s over
Now I can play

It’s always difficult for a band when a person who is like a band leader steps away. And the label does it’s best to make the other members feel worthless.

It Keeps You Runnin’

Another cut written by McDonald by himself, the lone wolf.

Not a favourite.

Turn It Loose

Johnston definitely gave the band a rocking edge. So even though he was done with the band, he did deliver this excellent cut.

People all around me
Everywhere I go
I thought I had a grip on things
Now I just don’t know

I’m not a big enough fan to know everything about The Doobie Brothers, but Johnston was seen as the driving force of the band and one of the main writers by the press and the label.

So when he disappeared, no one knew what was going to happen.

Carry Me Away

Written by Simmons, Baxter and McDonald. It’s just too much like a 70’s TV intro theme song.

In the end the album has more of a jazz, urban, soulful, funk than rock tunes and a new era started.

Michael McDonald and The Doobies.

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

1976 – Part 3.4: Led Zeppelin – Presence

I was never a Led Zeppelin fan growing up. I didn’t even know that “Get In On” referenced “Kashmir” until I purchased the “Remasters” album in the early 90s.

And after that purchase I also heard many other songs from 80’s bands in Zeppelin’s music.

And what a weird cover for a rock band, with a family staring at an unfamiliar object around the dinner table.

So if i based my purchases on how the cover looked, this album wouldn’t even make the list.

Achilles Last Stand

One of my favourite cuts.

It’s long and repetitive, but there’s something about the bass groove, Page’s inventive playing to tweak the riffs each time and Bonham’s thundering drum sound that doesn’t make it boring.

Led Zeppelin hated being associated as one of the forefathers of Heavy Metal, but this cut begs to differ. Hell, I would even associate it with Progressive Metal. And at 10 plus minutes it definitely qualifies.

For Your Life

The Blues Funk grooves are back. It’s not a celebrated cut, but goddamn press play to hear the syncopated grooves of the bass, guitar and drums.

There is this middle blues fusion section which feels like a “roll the tape” moment.

The solo is Page abandonment, he’s phrasing is off, his atonal in some sections, exotic in others and aggressive and somehow it all works.

At 6 plus minutes it could have gone through the John Kalodner editing filter, but no one was going to tell Led Zeppelin how to do anything. They told you instead.

Royal Orleans

It’s like a jazz blues fusion cut. It doesn’t really go anywhere, and serves more as a short filler.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

One of my favourite cuts and I had no idea that it was a cover song from Blind Willie Johnson who released it in 1927.

Because the song credits in the album are shown as Page and Plant.

The Bluesy Intro is that good that Jimmy Page sped it up and used it for “Shake My Tree” with David Coverdale.

And my ears tell me that the Bluesy Intro came from a John Renbourn acoustic cover of the song in the mid 60s.

So it’s a cover of a cover.

The vocal melody is from the original and the musical interpretation borrows heavily from the John Renbourn adaption.

But I still like it and Zeppelin brought the song to the masses.

Candy Store Rock

It’s a blues shuffle which doesn’t really go anywhere and the “oh baby” and “yeahs” are just too much.

Hots On For Nowhere

It reminds me of Van Halen during the Roth era and I believe David Lee Roth would model his vocal style.

Listen to the verses if you don’t believe me.

Tea For One

As soon as I saw the title I made up my mind that I hated the song, because I’m a sucker for a good title. And this ain’t a good title.

But man.

What a riff to start it off.

It then goes into a slow blues solo, like “Since I’ve Been Lovin You” and then Plant chimes in.

And the album wasn’t well received and it’s still the lowest selling Led Zep album but I think that more had to do more with the previous albums still selling like crazy.

They also didn’t tour on this album due to Robert Plant recuperating from serious injuries he had sustained earlier that year in a car accident.

While the second half is weak, there is a lot of good material here to dismiss the album.

Crank it.

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