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

The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy

“Elegant Gypsy” is the second album by Al Di Meola, released in 1977 by Columbia Records.

The musicians for the album are Al Di Meola on guitar, piano, synthesizer and percussion, Paco de Lucia on guitar, Jan Hammer and Barry Miles on keyboards, Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, Steve Gadd and Lenny White on drums and Mingo Lewis on congas, synthesizers, organ and percussion.

“Flight Over Rio”

Percussionist Mingo Lewis has written another 10/10 opening track.

Like “The Wizard” on the debut album, this track is loaded with great riffs.

At 7 minutes and 16 seconds, it’s the first 90 seconds which is essential listening, just for the bass riff.

Tool built a career from bass riffs like this. It also reminds me of the soundtrack work that John Carpenter would do, like in “Escape From New York”.

Then it goes into something similar to “The Wizard” with a bass groove, which allows Al Di Meola to flex his chops.

Check out the lead break from 2.48 to 3.48. After that Di Meola goes into a solo tag with the keyboardist Jan Hammer, which has Di Meola soloing on a few bars and then Hammer and they go back and forth. Like the Dream Theater guys.

“Midnight Tango”

Written by Al Di Meola and at 7 minutes and 28 seconds in length.

Press play to hear jazz rock fusion in all its glory from the 3 minute mark. It begins with some fast major key playing, however it is brief and then it goes into a Latin-esque passage. It stays within this domain, while Di Meola delivers a lead break which Santana lovers would say is from good ol’ Carlos.

At 4.58, it goes into a lick which reminds me of licks from 80’s Heavy Metal artists. And Di Meola knows a good lick when he hears one and he carries this lick and chord progression all the way to the end.

“Mediterranean Sundance”

Just over 5 minutes long, this Al Di Meola composition is the first song I heard from Al Di Meola and it made me a fan instantly.

It’s the crown in his jewel and showcases his acoustic prowess to the world. Of course he calls in his friends to lend a hand in Paco de Lucia and their playing is at another level.

This song would also get released many years later, from a live recording that Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin would do on the “Friday Night In San Francisco” album.

Listen to the sections from the 28 second mark to the 51 second mark. It’s all fingers folks, no pick. So just press play, lay back, close your eyes, be in awe at the playing and let the music take you away.

“Race with Devil on Spanish Highway”

Written by Al Di Meola, this is the track that was referenced by the 80’s players as an influence. Once you hear it, you will know why.

A simple bass riff begins proceedings, then Di Meola joins with a distorted guitar. After repeating a few times, they both go into some serious fast alternate picking. Hearing the bass and guitar play in unison is pure bliss.

After the hectic intro at around 1.15 it goes into this jazz rock lounge section. Its relaxed and it actually feels that you are cruising the streets in your car.

But at 2.09, a section begins which is heavy metal. While those riffs are playing, Al Di Meola starts his shred solo. By 3.13, it ends and transitions into a different section which is a combination of the previous sections mentioned.

Then “the section” begins from 4.10. The Intro riff is played, but everything is faster, more frantic. And at 4.51, Di Meola is soloing super-fast to about the 5.10 mark.

He then pulls an awesome riff out for the outro, which has some of his best soloing in it, moving from emotion to super-fast alternate picking.

“Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil”

A short acoustic piece at 1.46, a calm within all the technicality delivered by Di Meola and de Lucia.

“Elegant Gypsy Suite”

At 9 minutes and 16 seconds long, it’s definitely elegant. So many different styles are covered but back then it was all just music. Styles and genres didn’t matter.

My favourite section is from the 8 minute mark to the end of the song.

This album is his masterpiece. If you like guitar instrumental music, then your collection is not complete with this album.

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1986 – Part 3.2: Queensryche – Rage For Order

“Rage for Order” is the second album by Queensrÿche, released on June 27, 1986.

The Queensryche Cyber Army are really good at keeping the bands Wikipedia pages up to date and super detailed. Everything that can be found on the a internet is included along with print media and newspaper articles.

Go to the Wikipedia page on this album and you’ll get heaps of information.

MTV was becoming a huge promotions vehicle for artists and 1986 was clearly becoming the last year that bands would experiment with the songwriting. After 1986, albums would become very MTV Friendly because all the artists wanted a piece of that pie.

Musically it’s an excellent album. Each song has a riff or a vocal melody that I like. From a song point of view, “Walk In The Shadows” is close to perfect.

Lyrically the album touches on subject matters I’m interested in, like government intrusion and corruption, technology and social issues.

Management and the Label must have felt threatened at the experimental progressive album delivered by the band, so it’s no surprise that there is a cover song, which then became the lead single.

And no one knew how to handle Queensryche.

They had opening spots with Ratt and Bon Jovi (seriously, what the….), AC/DC (good gig to have if you play similar styles but they are very different styles) and maybe the most compatible one in relation to “Metal”, Ozzy Osbourne.

The Tri-Ryche logo makes it’s first appearance as well.

I never understood how this album was ever labeled as a “glam metal” album, but the label had to make them fit somewhere along with some questionable clothing and hairspray.

Queensrÿche is the classic line up of Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton on guitars, Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums.

Neil Kernon is Producing, Engineering and Mixing. Man of many hats.

Walk In The Shadows

Written by Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.

It’s as good as anything that came from “Operation Mindcrime” and “Empire”.

I’m a big fan of the Intro riff (it’s great to play) and that Chorus is massive.

I Dream in Infrared

Written by Tate and Wilton.

It reminds me of Rush in the Intro and I feel like Crimson Glory took this song and used it as a foundation to build on.

But you need to press play on this for the acoustic guitar arpeggios and the haunting vocal melody from Tate in the verses.

Is it just me or does this track remind you of “Breaking the Silence” and “Waiting for 22” from the “Mindcrime” album?

The Whisper

Written solely by DeGarmo and the Celtic inspired Intro definitely gets me interested. Something that Maiden would use a lot in the Dickinson Part 2 era.

The whole song is what Metal should sound like.

Gonna Get Close to You

A Dalbello cover, although I didn’t know it at the time.

To cover a song from outside the genre you are classified in, is a sign of respect to the artist who wrote it.

Many years later, Lisa Dalbello would do guest vocals on Alex Lifeson’s “Victor” album.

Check out the way the verses are constructed, it feels ominous.

The Killing Words

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

The keyboard Intro gives way to the guitar, before it goes into a soundtrack like verse. It’s very Marillion like and the vocals remind me of Fish and I like it.

But you’ll be pressing play to this song, for the section when Tate sings “Over”.

Surgical Strike

Written by DeGarmo and Wilton it feels more like a cut from “The Warning”.

And there are sections here which remind of “Speak” and “The Needle Lies”.

Press play for the Outro that begins from 2.40. You won’t be disappointed.

Neue Regel

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

When I heard “A Perfect Circle” for the first time, I thought of this song. It has all of those atmospheric elements and outside the box sounds and composition elements.

This is how progressive music should sound like and it’s the embryo of what the “Promised Land” album would be.

But press play on this just to hear the power of Geoff Tate.

Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)

Written by Tate and Wilton, who brings the heavy metal riffs to the rebellion.

It’s put together in a progressive way as it doesn’t just follow the standard verse and chorus narrative.

London

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton and it reminds me of the “Mindcrime” album musically and the song “I Don’t Believe In Love”.

It’s got a great Chorus, so press play to hear “London” sound like “Young Boy”.

And then hang around for the harmonies and individual lead breaks.

Screaming in Digital

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton, musically it also reminds me of different songs from the “Mindcrime” album.

The electronic synths are dominant and Tate is very Peter Gabriel like in the verses.

But press play for the vocal melodies from 2.15 to 2.40 and stick around for the guitar hero lead breaks. And then those unbelievable vocal melodies come back.

I Will Remember

Written by DeGarmo, it has some nice acoustic playing from DeGarmo, a sign of things to come.

It was Certified Gold in the U.S.

To this Australian, it’s a criminally underrated jewel that was way ahead of its time and no one really knew what to do with it.

And I’m not sure if Marillion was an influence to the band at this point in time but goddamn this album reminds me so much of “Script for a Jester’s Tear”. Maybe it’s the similarities in vocal styles between Fish and Tate.

Anyway press play and let the sounds of love, politics and technology wash over you.

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The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Land Of The Midnight Sun

“Land of the Midnight Sun” is the debut album by jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola, released in 1976. 6 songs that clock in at about 38 minutes.

Released on Columbia Records.

Di Meola was 21 when this album was released and his technical skills are very high.

Check out the front cover.

It looks like a Science teacher I had at school and you know when artists would say “you should buy an album based on the cover”, well I never would have purchased this one.

I got into Di Meola because he was getting a lot of “word of mouth” promotion from the 80’s players in the Guitar magazines. Players like Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Marty Friedman and Kirk Hammet all cited him as an influence to them, so it was just a matter of time and funds before I checked him out and goddamn what a revelation it was.

“The Wizard”

Its written by Mingo Lewis and I had no idea who he was until I looked at the credits and saw that he’s the percussionist. A percussionist extraordinaire in my opinion as he wrote some amazing guitar riffs here.

The musicians for this song are Al Di Meola on guitars, Anthony Jackson on bass, Steve Gadd on drums and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

I don’t know where to start with this or how to describe it, as there is a lot of great guitar playing.

The intro from 0.00 to 0.13 is enough to get me to pick up the guitar. Then it goes into a typical 70’s groove from 0.14 to 0.24 which is great and easy to play.

And then the riff comes in which I call the “piece d’resistance” riff from 0.25 to 0.55.

There is a brief heavy palm muted from 0.56 to 1.00 which reminds me of things that Maiden would do in their early years. Its only 4 seconds long here but can be easily fleshed out into something longer.

The song then goes back to the “piece d’resistance” guitar playing.

And all of these unbelievable guitar sections are within the first minute.

At 1.20 there is a variation of the “piece d’resistance” riff.

Then check out the mood and licks from 1.50 to 2.34. If that section doesn’t make you feel something, check for a pulse please.

At 5.05, the outro guitar solo starts. And just as Di Meola was starting to get warmed up with the outro solo, a decision was made to fade it out.

I’m the end, this song is a progressive rock tour de force.

“Land of the Midnight Sun”

Written by Al Di Meola, it clocks in at 9:10.

The musicians for this song are Al Di Meola on guitars, Barry Miles on keyboards, Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, Lenny White on drums and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

While the opening track came across as a progressive rock high octane cut, this one is more in the jazz rock domain with some progressive overtones.

There is this lounge rock mood which comes in between 2.02 to 3.56 and Di Meola plays some fast palm muted lines in between his normal sounding leads.

“Sarabande from Violin Sonata in B Minor”

A short 1.20 piece from Johann Sebastian Bach transposed to acoustic guitar to show off Di Meola’s prowess on an acoustic guitar.

“Love Theme from Pictures of the Sea”

Another short cut at 2:25 in length. The musicians here are Al Di Meola on guitars, Stanley Clarke on bass and vocals, Patty Buyukas on vocals and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

The clean tone arpeggios create a shimmering effect and the percussion from Mingo Lewis takes you to some island paradise.

“Suite Golden Dawn: Morning Fire/Calmer of the Tempests/From Ocean to the Clouds”

At 9.49 it fits nicely into the albums progressive rock feel. The musicians for this song are Al Di Meola on guitars, Barry Miles on keys, Jaco Pastorius on bass guitar, Alphonse Mouzon on drums and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

And like the “The Wizard” there are so many sections in this which has some killer playing along with Di Meola’s fast palm muted lines.

I like the blues soul riffs from 2.32 to 2.55 which then transition into a distorted riff and they then go back and forth.

Also check out the bass playing from Pastorius during these sections. Essential listening if you’re a bassist especially from 3.40 to 4.50 while Di Meola phrases his leads around the bass lines.

“Short Tales of the Black Forest”

A song written by Chick Corea which has Corea on piano and marimba and Al Di Meola on guitars.

You know when go to a lounge and see a piano player with a guitar player jamming. Well this is it, but the playing is exceptional from both and Di Meola knows how to use that acoustic guitar, especially those fast palm muted lines as he moves the songs feel into jazz, Latin, rock and back again.

John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess did a similar thing with their An Evening With.

If there is a cut to listen to, press play on “The Wizard”.

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1986 – Part 3.1: Megadeth – Peace Sells But Who’s Buying

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” was released on September 19, 1986.

Edward J. Repka as the cover illustrator is the rock star here. While the concept design is listed as coming from Dave Mustaine and Andy Somers, its Repka who brought the concept to life.

There is Vic Rattlehead, portrayed as a real estate salesman, in front of a desolated United Nations Headquarters with fighter jets in the sky and frayed flags still on the poles.

Brilliant.

The band for this album is the same as the debut, with Dave Mustaine on guitars and lead vocals, David Ellefson on bass, Chris Poland on guitars and Gar Samuelson on drums.

The album is produced by Mustaine but Casey McMackin as the engineer also deserves credit as he was involved with mixing or engineering quite a few albums from the California Thrash Metal scene, for bands like Vio-Lence, Saint Vitus, Nuclear Assault, Zoetrope, Dark Angel and Flotsam and Jetsam. And in the 90’s he did “1916” and “March or Die” by Motorhead. Mixing was done by Paul Lani and Stan Katayama but there’s a story in that as well.

The album was troubled due to the high level of drug abuse. Mustaine and Ellefson were already heavy users, however Samuelson and Poland were said to be even more extreme, something which Poland has disputed to say that what he did was nothing different to what other people were doing at the time. Regardless of the differing point of views, Samuelson and Poland got fired after the promotional tour for this album.

Another issue was the record label. The project started with Combat Records, resulting in the original mix of the album and a co-production by Randy Burns, however Capital Records then purchased the rights to the album (and the band) and got Paul Lani to remix it himself. Lani was more of a Pop Rock mixer, so he knew how the album should sound to get favourable MTV and Radio treatment. And it got that attention as well.

All songs are written and composed by Dave Mustaine, except “I Ain’t Superstitious” by Willie Dixon.

“Wake Up Dead”

The film clip got me interested. It was the steel cage and the chaos around it, with people climbing all over it towards the end. It was dystopian and unsettling and I loved it.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Mustaine’s voice to begin with, but man, the music had me hooked. There was just so much guitar playing to unpack and learn.

Like the head banging riff that plays between 1.10 to 1.40. Or the blistering super-fast picked riff between 2.03 and 2.26. Or the change in groove in tempo from 2.42 with the unorthodox solo from Chris Poland combining exotic lines with fast jazz chromatic lines.

And there wasn’t much singing in this “single” like the hard rock singles I was growing up with. Actually I think all up there are about 8 lines as those lyrics describe Mustaine cheating on his current partner however he stayed with her because he was homeless at the time and needed a place to stay. But he had to leave her because he thought she had intentions to kill him.

“The Conjuring”

The song is about black magic and contains instructions for hexes.

The intro is ominous but it’s the fast riff from 0.57 which I like while Chris Poland moves in with another atonal solo, making sharps and flats fit chords they shouldn’t fit.

Check out the galloping and progressive riff between 1.43 and 1.58. A favourite and so fun to play. Or the fast riffs from 2.36 to 2.57 and then my favourite foot stomping, head banging riff in the song from 2.58 to 3.29.

And Mustaine is not working within a Verse and Chorus structure. Until the next song.

“Peace Sells”

It’s iconic, musically and lyrically.

The bass intro sets the tone. Even though Ellefson plays it, Mustaine wrote it.

The “No More Mr Nice Guy” vocal delivery over a riff that Mr Hetfield would use for the “Enter Sandman” verses is excellent. Then again, the E pedal point with a F chord chucked in was a staple of thrash metal music and Mustaine’s favourite band “Diamond Head”.

The Motorhead inspired outro from 2.20 is where it’s at. It’s fast, its unrelenting and Mustaine’s war cry of “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” echoes the great work to come, especially in the track “Holy Wars” from “Rust In Peace” a few years later.

I like the lyric “What do you mean, I don’t support your system? I go to court when I have too”

Its clever.

And the best summary of the song is the way Mustaine put it on a VH1 doco; “peace is something we all want, but nobody wants to give up stuff.”

“Devil’s Island”

Mustaine takes some of his riffs from his Metallica days and re-uses em here as the intro reminds me of a section in the song “Phantom Lord”. He also used a similar riff in “This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction”.

But my favourite riff is the Chorus riff. Check it out.

Another great riff is from 2.22 to 2.43.

The title is a reference to a former French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana. The lyrics detail the thoughts of a condemned prisoner awaiting execution. He is spared by God, but must spend the rest of his life on the island.

“Good Mourning/Black Friday”

Side 2 begins with this.

“Good Mourning” begins with a clean tone acoustic guitar begins. Its haunting.

And some serious shred is heard as the song transitions from “Good Mourning” to “Black Friday”.

How good is the musical groove and feel from 1.48 to 2.23?

“Bad Omen”

Another ominous like intro with arpeggios as the song builds into a thrasher from when the fast bass riff begins at 1.19. But it’s the groove metal riff at 1.36 which gets me interested to learn it.

The soloing from Chris Poland is so different to what I was used to. Very Jazz fusion like in the vein of Al DiMeola.

At 2.50 it goes into a supercharged neck breaking riff and some serious shredding.

“I Ain’t Superstitious”

Other artists did it, but I feel that Mustaine showed the metal community that you could cover songs that didn’t really come from the genre you are classed in and still make em sound like they are from the genre, like this blues funk song, suddenly sounds like a metal blues song.

From a reference point, “I Ain’t Superstitious” is written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.

“My Last Words”

Mustaine again showcases his arpeggio clean tone riff writing for a song about playing a game of Russian roulette.

The intro on this song is excellent. After the clean tone arpeggios and open string pull offs, it goes into a face melting riff.

But check out the riff from 3.10 to 3.25 and the solo after it. Even Lars Ulrich has given this track his tick of approval.

At 36 minutes long, Mustaine created an album that took hours and hours of learning in order to get the riffs and leads down. And from that, I became a fan of Megadeth.

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” is very influential in the movement of technical thrash metal. Mustaine (if he hadn’t done so already) raised the bar here. Along with other thrash releases from Metallica and Slayer, future extreme metallers had a holy trinity of release for reference points.

From a commercial point of view, the use of the “Peace Sells” bass riff to introduce the MTV news segment, showed other thrash bands the commercial potential of thrash metal if done right. But MTV didn’t pay em, because they used the “fair use” defence which is why they cut off the music after a few seconds, as if they went past that timeframe, they would have to make payment.

Musicians who would go on to form Sweden’s Melodic Death metal scene have always referred to this album as an influence.

The album does have a Platinum certification for the U.S and Canada and a Silver certification for the U.K.

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Daughtry – Dearly Beloved

Chris Daughtry (and as a byproduct Daughtry) had a decision to make after “Break The Spell”.

Should they stay with the same sound?

Should they change their sound completely?

Should they stay with the same sound but experiment with a few songs by bringing in different sounds?

“Baptized” came out in in November 2013 on RCA Records and it was an electro synth pop sounding album, a significant departure from the group’s hard rock sound from their first three albums.

Like the previous albums, RCA farmed Chris Daughtry out to work with different writers and to record with those different writers like the debut album. But while the writers previously had some rock pedigree, the writers on “Baptized” album specialized in other styles.

There is a song called “Long Live Rock N Roll” and it doesn’t even rock, as it’s more in the vein of “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”, an acoustic folk story telling song of growing up with a certain type of music.

But lead single “Waiting For Superman” did stick around and is at 83.7 million streams at the moment on Spotify.

Then came a “Greatest Hits” album in 2016 with two new songs called “Torches” and “Go Down.

“Torches” is actually a good bridge between the old sound and the “Baptized” sound,

The song “Go Down” has your typical catchy Daughtry vocal melody but it’s instrument sounds are routed in synth pop and electronica. Think of the band “Garbage”.

Most artists who found success playing a hard modern rock style in the 2000’s started to experiment and bring in sounds from Adele, Maroon 5, The Fray, Train, OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons.

Shinedown was in a similar predicament as Daughtry but I believe they did a better job at bringing in those new sounds, while still staying true to their old sound.

“Cage To Rattle” came out in 2018. 10 songs that total 38 minutes. RCA again was spending a lot of money for Chris Daughtry to write with so many outside writers in the quest to find hits.

But what the record executives failed to understand is that Daughtry’s audience is predominantly made up of rockers.

And there is a saying, when your chasing hits it don’t mean the hits would come.

Then Daughtry and RCA parted ways.

And a new look was in play for a dystopian story called “Dearly Beloved”, released in 2021.

Plus the hard rock distorted guitars are back with a vengeance, something which Daughtry hinted to in 2016 when the “Greatest Hits” album came out but then the label got in the way.

The band for the album is Chris Daughtry, Josh Steely and Brian Craddock on guitars, Josh Paul on bass, Elvio Fernandes on keyboards and Brandon Maclin on drums.

Desperation

Written by Chris Daughtry.

It simmers in the verses, with Daughtry singing in the lower registers as he blends his voice with the synth and guitars.

It’s a slow rocker before soaring in the Chorus.

And the heaviness of the guitars definitely captures my attention.

It also sets the lead in for the next track “World On Fire”.

World On Fire

Written by Daughtry and producers Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen.

The film clip for this and “Heavy Is The Crown” is set in a dystopian future while Chris Daughtry looks like an “Assassin’s Creed” character.

Heavy Is The Crown

Written by Daughtry, John Cummings, Elvis Fernandezs, Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen.

It’s a song writing committee. John Cummings is from the band Mogwai, who is accomplished on guitar, as well as keyboards.

The guitars dominate here along with Daughtry’s voice. Check out the Chorus.

Changes Are Coming

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

More of the same 120bpm, guitar heavy modern Arena Rock.

Dearly Beloved

Written by Daughtry, Brian Craddock and Mark Holman.

It’s a ballad and Daughtry knows how to deliver em.

The guitars are load and so is the electronica and keyboards.

Cry For Help

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Acoustics and piano give way to loud distorted guitars and another hooky Chorus.

Asylum

Written by Daughtry, Cummings, Fernandezs, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Its sort of gospel heavy rock cut and why wouldn’t it be, with lyrics like “the lunatics have taken the asylum.”

Evil

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

Check out the bridge.

The Victim

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

If you like hard rock you will like this.

Somebody

Chris Daughtry is the songwriter and he delivers vocally on this while the guitars get loud in the Chorus.

Call You Mine

Written by Chris Daughtry in and his wife Deanna.

The Intro with the palm muted chugging acoustic guitar is the best.

Lioness

Written by Chris Daughtry.

Check out the Outro.

Break Into My Heart

Written by Daughtry, Stevens and Frederiksen.

A piano and a voice to close the album.

“Dearly Beloved” is a return to form which shows the world that Daughtry still knows how to rock!!

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Australian Method Series and 1996 Part 3.7: John Farnham – Romeos Heart

“Romeo’s Heart” was released in Australia on 3 June 1996 by John Farnham.

His comeback to mainstream success started with “Whispering Jack” released in 1986. It is certified 24x Platinum in Australia, Platinum in Sweden and Gold in Canada and Germany.

“Age Of Reason” came in 1988 and it is certified 11x Platinum in Australia.

“Chain Reaction” in 1990 is 7x Platinum in Australia.

“Then Again…” in 1993 is 4x Platinum in Australia.

This album is also 4x Platinum in Australia.

The band is top notch as well with Brett Garsed from Nelson fame on guitars along with Stuart Fraser from Noiseworks.

Joe Creighton from The Black Sorrows is on Bass and Angus Burchall also from The Black Sorrows is on drums with Steve Williams on harmonica.

Vocals are provided by John Farnham with Lindsay Field and Lisa Edwards providing excellent backing vocals.

And from when Farnham made his comeback in the mid 80s as a solo artist, the songs he performed on his albums were written by other artists/songwriters.

This album is no different, with every song on it coming from outside writers.

Have a Little Faith (In Us)

Written by Russ DeSalvo (who at the time was writing and working with Celine Dion) and Arnie Roman (who also was working with Celine Dion).

Great song title and a major key chord progression to give its uplifting vibe.

But press play for the gospel like backing vocals in the outro which

Little Piece of My Heart

Written by C. Celli, A. Levin and Jack Ponti.

The same Jack Ponti who co-write “Shot Through The Heart” with Jon Bon Jovi and a heap of songs for Baton Rouge, Alice Cooper and Babylon A.D.

I’m not sure on why they would use this song title for a totally different song. It’s like reusing “Smoke On The Water” for a totally different song and not for a cover.

But in the end a simple funky rock groove is heard throughout the song and it’s cool to jam to.

A Simple Life

Written by Jon Lind and Richard Page. The same Richard Page from Mr Mister and Jon Lind had written or co-written songs like “Crazy For You” for Madonna and songs for Earth, Wind And Fire.

This one is a soft rock song.

Check out the vocal melody for the Chorus.

All Kinds Of People

Written by Eric Pressley, Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert.

Yep the same Sheryl Crow and her songwriting partner Kevin Gilbert from her debut album were in demand and writing songs for other artists as well.

It’s in that soul contemporary pop rock vibe which was prominent in the 90s.

Romeo’s Heart

Written by Jennifer Kimball and Randy VanWarmer it appeared on Randy’s solo album “The Third Child” released in 1994.

And here it is a few years later as the title track. It has a soft rock Springsteen vibe.


Don’t Let It End

Written by Aaron Hendra an Australian-born songwriter, singer and guitarist who lives in the U.S.

It reminds of “Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” movie.

Hearts On Fire

Written by Tom Kimmel and S. Lynch. I was wondering which S Lynch is a co-writer.

Could it be the Steve Lynch from Autograph?

Nope it’s Stan Lynch, the ex drummer from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers who became a successful producer and songwriter.

On a side note, “That’s Freedom” was also written by Kimmel which Farnham recorded and it became a Top 10 hit for him in late 1990. So it’s no surprise that Farnham used him again.

The “Rocky IV” track comes to mind but it’s not it. The song is more blues soul rock.

Hard Promises To Keep

Written by Kimmie Rhodes ‎and the song appeared on her “West Texas Heaven” album released in 1994 and it’s in the vein of country ballads musically, but the vocal melodies are more in line with pop melodies.

Over My Head

Written by Ricard Pleasance and A. Tanner.

Richard Pleasance is an Australian rock musician and producer. He was a founding member of Australian band “Boom Crash Opera”.

It’s a ballad and it’s chord progressions is more like country rock ballads, reminding me of current songs like “Home” from Daughtry.

May You Never

Written by John Martyn it’s an up beat acoustic track that is played in the way Nuno Bettencourt plays on “More Than Words”.

John Martyn, is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist who released 23 studio albums over a 40-year career. He’s been described as blurring the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues”.

Second Skin

Written by John Farnham, producer Ross Fraser and Chong Lim.

Finally Farnham gets a co-write in a track that is a cross between “Superstition” and “Play That Funky Music”.

If you want to hear John Farnham in a rock way, then “Whispering Jack” and “Age Of Reason” would suffice. If you want to hear Farnham in a soul and country rock way, then this album would donyje

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

The Record Vault: Daughtry – Break The Spell

“Break the Spell” is the third album by Daughtry, released on November 21, 2011, by RCA Records.

It follows the sound of the previous album’s and it’s more of a band album this time around with Chris Daughtry writing all of the songs with band guitarists Josh Steely and Brian Craddock, bassist Josh Paul, and in collaboration with Marti Frederiksen, Busbee and Brett James.

The band for the album is Chris Daughtry on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Josh Steely on lead guitar, Brian Craddock on rhythm guitar, Josh Paul on bass and Robin Diaz on drums.

The album was produced again by Howard Benson and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge.

And the certification trend in the U.S continued, this time a Gold certification.

Renegade

When I saw the title, Styx came to mind along with Tommy Shaw’s voice.

It was released as the album’s lead single and it rocks from the opening dropped D riff. It’s the most heaviest song, but the album doesn’t follow that path.

And the message of busting out of the comforts of your town like a renegade resonates with the ones who desire that change.

Crawling Back to You

In 2019, 8 years after its release, it received a Platinum certification.

An acoustic guitar and a vocal melody starts the song. So simple and so effective.

Outta My Head

It’s a funk rock song. Sixx AM did something similar on their “Modern Vintage” album.

The groove is sleazy and it reminds me of Shinedown.

The Pre-Chorus is my favorite.

Start of Something Good

It’s “Home” Part 2.

And I like it.

Crazy

It’s a power ballad in the Bon Jovi vein.

Break the Spell

Faux Rocker 1.

It’s the title track, but by now all of the songs on the album are written so concisely for radio, that at 3 minutes and 30 seconds long, they feel stale and lifeless.

We’re Not Gonna Fall

Faux Rocker 2 at 3.18 long.

Gone Too Soon

Simple acoustic Intro and an emotive vocal melody.

That’s all you need.

Losing My Mind

Press play just to hear Daughtry sing, “Losing My Mind” and using his falsetto for “mind”.

Rescue Me

It’s like a Hoobastank song.

Think of “The Reason”.

Louder Than Ever

“Summer Of 69” and I like it. One of my favorites on the album.

Spaceship

Faux Rocker 3.

Now for the deluxe edition tracks.

Who’s They

I like this song. It percolates like “Bad Company”.

And at 1.38 it explodes into an angry Chorus.

Maybe We’re Already Gone

Press play for the Chorus.

Everything But Me

It’s “September” Part 2 and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lullaby

Yeah.

There is quality on the album. The reviews weren’t kind to it, stating that Daughtry is suffering an identity crisis.

They criticized the 17 songs clocking in at 61 minutes, with an average of 3.30 for each song.

But who’s they.

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The Record Vault: Daughtry – Leave This Town (B Sides)

“Leave This Town: The B-Sides” is an EP released on March 15, 2010, to iTunes.

Listening to these six tracks, it’s hard to believe they were left off. The quality is there.

The personnel is Chris Daughtry on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Josh Steely on lead guitar,
Brian Craddock on rhythm guitar, Josh Paul on bass guitar and Robin Diaz on drums.

“Long Way”

Written by Chris Daughtry and Jason Wade from Lifehouse.

It’s got that Lifehouse vibe, but Daughtry’s voice is so unique.

Having a stable band behind Daughtry’s voice, makes all of the songs sound genuine and not over-produced, regardless of the money and time spent in studios to over produce em.

“One Last Chance”

Written by Daughtry, Mitch Allan and David Hodges.

Its too similar to “Life After You” in the verses and is probably a reason why it wasn’t included. But its still a worthy track, with a Chorus that reminds me of “Learn My Lesson” just a bit more aggressive.

And there is a harmony solo.

“Get Me Through”

Written by Daughtry and rhythm guitarist Brian Craddock and it’s in the alt-rock dropped D arena vibe.

Check out the Bridge vocal melody.

“What Have We Become”

Written by a songwriting committee of Daughtry, rhythm guitarist Craddock, ex-drummer Joey Barnes, bassist Josh Paul, guitiarist Josh Steely and songwriter/bassist Tommy Henriksen.

It’s basically a mid-tempo heavy rocker with a Chorus riff that reminds me of “Pour Some Sugar To Me” and a worthy guitar lead.

“On the Inside”

Another mid-tempo rocker written by Daughtry, Richard Marx and Chad Kroeger.

Flip a coin and let it land in your hand
Heads you gonna stay but its tails

Taking a chance is easier said than done. Writing out a plan is easy, actioning the plan is a different story altogether.

“Traffic Light”

Written by Daughtry and rhtynm guitarist Craddock.

This one is a favourite, another mid-tempo rocker which is a cross between “September”, “Tennesse Line” and “Supernatural”.

Man that Chorus.

Wow, so catchy for a B- Side.

“Back Again”

This is a great rock track, written by Daughtry and Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace at the time and two of the greatest hard rock voices to come out in the 2000’s.

The Chorus is Arena rock.

But you will be listening and saving this song because of the bridge, when Daughtry starts singing, “we’ve been down this road before”.

It’s that good it comes “back again” for the outro.

These B-sides are A-sides to me.

Their not on Spotify but YouTube has em so check em out.

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1996 – Part 3.6: Apocalyptica – Plays Metallica By Four Cellos

It could be seen as a gimmick to mimic hard rock and heavy metal songs on cellos.

But it’s no gimmick.

Because what you hear are technical players playing the the vocal melody, the guitar leads, the main riffs and sometimes the drum beat.

“Plays Metallica by Four Cellos” is the debut album by Finnish metal band Apocalyptica, released in 1996. It features instrumental Metallica covers arranged and played on cellos.

The band was invited to record this album by a label employee after a 1995 show in which they performed some of the songs. The members were initially unsure and thought nobody would listen to such a record, but the employee insisted and they recorded it.

And people liked it, especially in Europe. In Finland it was certified Platinum and it was certified Gold in Germany and Poland.

Enter Sandman

When you hear the vocal melodies of James Hetfield shifted from a voice to a cello, you get to understand how musical Hetfield’s vocal melodies are.

Master Of Puppets

So many good sections in this.

The way they play the Verse and Pre-Chorus with the vocal melody is a must listen.

But you will be pressing play on this to listen to the solo sections as they move from the clean tone arpeggios to the fast sections. And that whole clean tone arpeggios section is very Ennio Morricone sounding, when played on the cellos. But I never thought that hearing it with the electrics.

Harvester Of Sorrow

Great sequencing to have these three tracks one after another. Imagine an album that had this three punch combo.

The slow metal groove on the original version is a favourite and the guys in Apocalyptica do it justice, especially the cello that becomes like the percussive drum.

The Unforgiven

This song was made to be played via orchestras and cellos however I don’t think that was the intention of Hetifeld and Co. Yes, you can hear some of those Ennio Morricone influences in the original cut that appeared on the “Black” album, but goddamn when you hear the track in this medium, it’s a soundtrack song to a Clint Eastwood Western.

The intro, the chorus and the solo sections are essential listening. You really get to hear the quality and melodicism of Metallica.

And the sequencing of these four tracks is perfect.

Sad But True

When I first heard this song, I heard a bone crushing heavy metal cut with a Kashmir like groove. But when you hear it with the cellos, you immediately pick up on the Ennio Morricone influence.

Creeping Death

The Verses and the Chorus played on the cellos along with the vocal melody is essential listening.

Then instead of repeating the Verse and Chorus, the Apocalyptica guys go straight into the excellent Hammett lead break and the Conan The Barbarian “Die” section.

Wherever I May Roam

The middle Eastern style intro suddenly sounds like a Genghis Khan Mongolian soundtrack when played through cellos.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

This song was always going to work on cellos.

When the arpeggios start and Hammet’s lead begins in the Intro , its haunting and sad.

Basically if you like Metallica, you will like what Apocalyptica does here

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

The Record Vault: Daughtry – Leave This Town

Chris Daughtry said that Daughtry is a band. The first album, has Chris Daughtry on the cover, plus a picture of him in the booklet and on the back cover there is a picture of a band. But all the songs were written by Chris Daughtry and outside writers and the music was played by session musicians.

So after getting some flak about his band, “Leave This Town” has a cover which shows a band, leaving town. And while the songs are written by Chris Daughtry, with outside writers, the music is played by the band members and some songs have the band members as co-writers. Of course contractual issues would come about with this band arrangement ideal, because the label deal with RCA Records is with Chris Daughtry only.

So.

“Leave This Town” was released on July 14, 2009, by RCA Records. I like it better than the debut as it’s a hard rock album done in a style I like.

I’m a big believer that quantity equals quality. 70 songs were written for this album, narrowed down to 19 for recording in the studio and 12 songs made the final cut, with the other tracks made available as bonus tracks for different digital stores.

Daughtry co-wrote the songs on the album with Richard Marx, Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, Jason Wade from Lifehouse, Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace, Eric Dill from The Click Five, and Mitch Allan from SR-71 and Tommy Henriksen, along with the usual suspects of Brian Howes, Ben Moody and David Hodges. No Max Martin or Dr Luke this time around.

The songs written with Marx, Tedder, Gontier and Wade didn’t even make the standard edition of the album, but were released as bonus tracks in the various markets and then as an EP called “Leave This Town B-Sides”.

The band for the album is Chris Daughtry on lead vocals and rhythm guitars, Josh Steely on lead guitars, Brian Craddock on rhythm guitars, Josh Paul on bass guitars and drums were handled by Joey Barnes on tracks 1 to 6 and Robin Diaz on tracks 7 to 12.

Howard Benson is back producing and Chris Lord-Alge is mixing. Session guru, Phil X also made an appearance to do some additional guitars. Again, RCA spent a lot of money to make this album a success, but only three singles were released from this album compared to the seven singles from the debut. Regardless it still was a success.

Certified platinum in Canada and the U.S and Certified Silver in the U.K.

For the charts (although the Charts were become irrelevant at this point in time), it was a Top 10 album in Canada, New Zealand and the U.S (also going to Number 1). It was a Top 20 album in Australia, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

“You Don’t Belong”

It’s listed as a Chris Daughtry track and it blasts out of the gate with its heavy metal like intro before it moves into a Nu-Metal like riff.

The verses are more relaxed with clean tone guitars and a vocal melody dominating while the Chorus is loud and angry.

“No Surprise”

The song writing committees begin, with Daughtry, Chad Kroeger, Eric Dill, Rune Westburg and Joey Moi listed as writers.

This was the lead single for the album. As a single it is certified Platinum for sales in the U.S.

Lyrically, it’s about a break up that both sides saw coming.

An acoustic guitar starts it off with a catchy vocal melody. It reminds me of the songs that Mutt Lange was doing in the 90’s with Bryan Adams and Shania Twain.

The physical single had the Adam Gontier co-write “Back Again” as the B-side. This track is excellent and hard to believe that it was left off the album.

“Every Time You Turn Around”

Written by Daughtry and Andy Waldeck. Loud drums and grungy like guitars kick it off, but the verses remind me of the Classic Rock era.

The bridge vocal melody, although brief is my favourite part of the song. And like all the songs on the album, there isn’t a verse or chorus or bridge, which isn’t catchy.

And yes, finally we get some melodic leads and outro leads in the songs.

“Life After You”

The second single, which also has a certification from the RIAA for sales in the U.S, this time its at Gold and closing in to Platinum.

Chris Daughtry wrote the song with Nickelback vocalist Chad Kroeger, producer Joey Moi and Brett James.

It was actually Kroeger who offered “Life After You” to Chris Daughtry.

Daughtry wasn’t sure if the song would fit with the band, but the melody was that good and once he wrote the bridge, the song could not be denied.

“What I Meant to Say”

Daughtry and Brian Howes proved to be a good song writing team on the first album, so they are back again on this one.

A rocker, reminding me of Jovi and “Have A Nice Day” album. And a guitar lead is heard, although its less than 10 seconds.

“Open Up Your Eyes”

Written by Daughtry, Ben Moody and David Hodges.

It’s got a Chorus built for the arena.

“September”

My favourite song on the album, written by Daughtry and guitarist Josh Steely.

It’s got this Coldplay “Fix You” section in the middle of it. Check it out.

It’s also the third single, inspired by Daightry’s childhood memories growing up with his brother in Lasker, North Carolina.

“Ghost of Me”

Daughtry and Howes are back with a track that sounds like “Bounce” from Jovi.

For me, it’s the back half of the album which really connects.

Check out the Chorus.

Its massive.

“Learn My Lesson”

Written by Daughtry, Mitch Allan and Chris Tompkins.

A ballad which is another favourite with a good melodic lead.

“Supernatural”

A rocker and another favourite, in the vein of Jovi’s “Bounce” album.

This one is written by Daughtry, Josh Paul and David Hodges.

The lead break echoes Richie Sambora.

“Tennessee Line”

Written by Daughtry and guitarist Brian Craddock, this country song is also another favourite.

Country superstar (albeit a very reluctant one) Vince Gill guests. And for Gill to perform is a real coup as he doesn’t just appear as a guest at every invite.

I thought that this would be a single, as it would crossover into the Country charts, but it never was released.

“Call Your Name”

The official closer, written by Daughtry and drummer Joey Barnes. It percolates on acoustic guitar until the 2.38 mark, when the whole band kicks in for the guitar solo moment and the Bridge to Chorus to come.

A perfect way to close the album out.

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