Cheap Trick:Cheap Trick(1977)

 

Blasting out of the gate in Feburary 77 was Rockford Illinois very own “Cheap Trick” which released a pretty widely at the time ignored debut album which is a shame as it only got only to #207 on the Billboard charts.

Epic Records signed Cheap Trick sent them to the Record Plant in  NYC and better yet hired Jack Douglas (Aerosmith) to man the ship at the production desk.

For some, this debut is the best Cheap Trick period.

A valid case is made for this album as it’s ten songs of Hard Rock Power Pop!

Now check out these two pics below. Here’s a little quiz for you fine folks out there. There is a pic of the songs on the record but something is different. Can you spot the difference?

The answer lies at the end of this review.

Before I go any further I have to thank a good pal of mine JohnB who seen my post on Facecrack a few weeks back about the recently released live album. (come back this Friday). Here is the actual conversation in which how I never owned this on vinyl until well, read on…

JohnB-I picked up this one on vinyl back in the ’80s at Records On Wheels along with “In Color” and “Heaven Tonight.” Still have this vinyl, but nothing to play them on anymore … but I do have them in digital form!

deKE-JohnB that’s awesome. I need to get a copy of the debut. My CT collection is coming along fine on viny. Have “In Color” Heaven Tonight “Dream Police” “Budokan” Wouldn’t mind a few others but not the syrupy stuff.. ie ‘The Flame” kinda was a miss for me but I was glad to see them get back in the spotlight. Their 70s output is some of the best Power Hard Pop Rock created.

JohnB-I lost interest after “The Flame”. I also have Dream Police on vinyl and Budokan on 8-track. I know you are into vinyl and CT, so hold tight. I don’t have a turntable anymore, so you can have my CT debut. I can’t remember the condition of the vinyl, but the jacket is in near-mint shape. Once I find a way to get it to you, it’s yours – Merry Christmas! Maybe PM me your address and I’ll drop it off at the door or in your mailbox next time I’m in town.

Hell’s Yes! Two days later waiting for me on my kitchen table when I got home from work was this record!

Thank You, Mr. B!

Now back to business…

Rick Nielsen (guitar) wrote eight of the records ten tracks and in describing the sound Cheap Trick was after you could say back in 1977 they liked it a little noisy.

“Hot Love” begins the Trick festivities which is my case is a hard-driving opener that should have been the first single from this album. “Oh Candy” was the single that was released and ironically enough  “Oh Candy” is the last song on the album.

Nielsen had the knack of writing Beatlesque like songs over the years like “Taxman, Mr. Thief” which is a Fab Four like tune cranked through a Marshall!

I will add my two cents worth and say that two tracks on this album are two of the best Cheap Trick tunes in the catalog.

“Ello Kiddies” has Drummer Bun E Stomping a straight beat while mucking about on his Ludwig drums as Bass fella Tom Petersson was already making a statement about playing those 8 and 12 string Hamer Basses which sounded huge and we’re talking 77.

Robin Zander the man with the golden throat delivers a stellar vocal basically telling kiddies to quit school as school is for fools and get into crime as it pays off! What a killer track. period!

He’s a whore
(I’d do anything for money)
He’s a whore
(Look at the things that I write)
He’s a whore
(Ooh, the stories I can tell)
He’s a whore
(And my body really smells)

 

Rick had the skill of writing great hooky-like tunes with at times quirky lyrics but underneath it all when you peel back the layer there’s the message of the tune.

1977 get into crime kids as Ricky and Robin told ya to do!

The second one which when I listen to it in 2020 is musically a tune Poison could have ripped off ten years later on their debut album. That tune is.

“He’s A Whore”. What a great tune as it gets right out of the gate with catchy chord changes and a great chorus.

He’s a whore
(I’d do anything for money)
He’s a whore
(Look at the things that I write)
He’s a whore
(Ooh, the stories I can tell)
He’s a whore
(And my body really smells)

You know that’s the thing I love about these guys to this day (been a fan since early 1979) is this band wrote their first four albums (Cheap Trick, In Colour, Heaven Tonight, and Dream Police) that I can honestly say can stand toe to toe with any other recording acts first four albums.

If you look closely there is a Side A and a Side 1. Interesting no Side B and that was the Trick Guy’s said there was no B Side like material on this album. How many of you figured that out? If you did, fantastic your a star if not your still a star also as that’s the best I could do for a prize!

 

 

 

Brent Jensen and Music That Makes Your Skin Vibrate – Tonight on the LeBrain Train! — mikeladano.com

I’m really psyched to having Brent on the Lebrain Train with Mikey tonight! Click the link below for the info below and give us a watch tonight at 7 pm EST.

Cheers,

deKe

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano Episode 38 Music writer Brent Jensen is the author of No Sleep’Til Sudbury, Leftover People: A Journey Through Post-Rock & Roll America and All My Favourite People Are Broken.  He also hosts the excellent No Sleep ‘Til Sudbury podcast, which, believe me, is a a […]

Brent Jensen and Music That Makes Your Skin Vibrate – Tonight on the LeBrain Train! — mikeladano.com

CD Review- Queen Rocks Montreal (1981)

When I was live streaming with Mikey a few months back we had picked three albums that are basically game-changers in our world.

One of my three picks was “The Game(1980)” from Queen. So basically the day after our live stream I cranked up the fantastic live “Queen Rocks Montreal.”

Right from the liner notes of the two-CD set is the explanation below.

Even better is the setlist from the two shows that night in Montreal.

28 songs! 100 minutes. All the hits! Plus for an added bonus the mighty “Dragon Attack” is played! 

And how about one of the greatest stage exits of all time where Freddie tells the Montreal crowd “All right Let’s Go Get Fucked!”

An all-time great show…

BackCovers: AC/DC: Who Made Who (1986)

Since today is the release of a new AC/DC album (Power Up)  what better time than to do a Back Covers on the Iconic band!

AC/DC in the ’80s doesn’t really have too many BackCovers to talk about so when I scored this used copy of “Who Made Who” a little ways back the first thing that popped in my head was here’s a BackCovers post I can do!

Stephen King put out the goofy “Maximum Overdrive” movie back in 1986! I can say it was goofy as I paid to go see it at the movie theater.

What I can tell ya is that soundtrack to “Maximum Overdrive” is not goofy and that’s because Stephen did the right thing and got AC/DC to do it!

What you have here are 5 pics of the boys that are from the “Who Made Who” video shoot. Some good shots of the band as you have of course Brian/Angus/Malcolm/Simon and look at Cliff, he went and got a haircut!

What I like is the look and feel of a movie poster as you see the title of the movie below just below Angus’s picture. This would look pretty cool blown up and hanging on the wall of your man cave right?

Pretty cool cross-section of tunes course lead by the brilliant “Who Made Who” song itself! Plus Angus and Malcolm whipped up a couple of musical numbers (Chase The Ace and D.T) to round out the new songs that were mixed with the classics.

TIME TO “POWER UP”

Rob Halford: Confess (2020)

 Amazing that Rob Halford will turn 70 years young next August and in that time Robbo has lived the life of the “Metal God”.

 “Confess” is the autobiography right from Halford’s long and still ongoing career and when the book was announced 4 or 5 months ago I preordered it right away on Amazon.

I really was interested in what the Metal God would have to say as Rob has kept his private life private but now comes the time for Halford to…

Confess! 

What a great title for a book. Brilliantly written and it’s as if Rob is reading it to you. The great thing is the book keeps moving along so basically, the first 50 pages are about the young Halford growing up in England. 

From there on out it’s about how theatre life and music piqued the interest and of course how Rob ended up in Judas Priest and how they became a HUGE band in North America in the 80s.

Halford goes into great detail about a lot of things about growing up a gay man in the ’70s and into the 80s where he had massive anxiety issues if people were to find out. I must mention that his bandmates in Judas Priest always respected his lifestyle as did his own family including his parents and siblings.

The story however is not all rosy…

Rob touches on how he was sexually assaulted by a friend of his dads as a teen which he said if his father were still alive he would have never put the story in the book. Also, there’s the time when Halford had sobered up in the mid-80s by the time Turbo was released and Rob’s then-partner committed suicide.  Speaking of suicide there is also the story of the two young men who tried to commit suicide (one died and the other man lived) and how Priest was taken to court back in 1990. 

Rob goes back and forth in telling the tale of personal issues(relationships) going on in his world as well as personal issues in Judas Priest which with success happens.

The story of Priest is great as Halford goes into great detail about there first two albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny being on the Gull label and how for years CBS Records were trying to buy the rights for it but the owner of Gull Records to this day refuses to sell them.

Lots of great inside stuff as Rob talks about how Priest broke through in America touring their asses off and making album after album.

Want to know the real story about whether or not “Unleashed In The East” was live or as fans called it “Unleashed In The Studio”. It’s all here described in great detail.

If you are looking for any real Priest drama there really isn’t much(except for the issue of KK quitting) but the one thing that surprised me was that the two guitar players Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have not got along since 1977 when Priest was recording the Sin After Sin album. 

Rob writes about the time they recorded in the late 80s with writing trio Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW). The British trio had written a string of Number One U.K, Rick Astley! Need I say more. Even though the three songs Priest recorded with SAW  never saw the light of day Halford still says he likes what they did with them.

Lot’s of touring stories and Rob is candid about that time on tour when Priest played Toronto on the Operation Rock N Roll tour back in 91 and how things broke down in all thing’s Priest.

Rob talks about leaving Priest in which he says it was a miscommunication as he wanted to make a solo album and go back whereas the Priest guys took it that he wanted to quit.

Tons of info (Rob seems like a genuine fella ) and as Rob does say it was good to Confess after all these years.

Get This!

Pictured below Izzy and The Metal God!

 

 

Crocks N Rolls Friday with Frank Loffredo on the LeBrain Train — mikeladano.com

The LeBrain Train:  2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano Episode 36   We have a special show lined up for you tonight — one I have been waiting six months to do!  Please join Deke, Mars, and myself tonight as we host the legendary Frank Loffredo, from Thunder Bay’s fine establishment Crocks N Rolls. […]

Crocks N Rolls Friday with Frank Loffredo on the LeBrain Train — mikeladano.com

Iron Maiden: No Prayer For The Dying (1990)

I know my Maiden 1980-1988 album series just ended. (by the way thanks for reading and commenting.) 

“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” I thought would be the last Maiden review but a few weeks back my daughter Kylee came into town and for my Bday and gifted me with “No Prayer For The Dying” on VINYL!

So I thought “What the Hell, what’s one more Maiden review after posting eight in a row!”

Bring This Blogger to the Slaughter!

As Maiden headed into the 90s some changes were going on…

1-  Guitarist Adrian Smith decided to leave Maiden after 9 years.

2- After the synth-driven sounds of 1986’s “Somewhere In Time” and 88’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, Steve Harris and crew ditch that style and begin the 90s as a stripped-down Metal Act.

3- Once Maiden began the No Prayer Tour the stage show was stripped back as well. No extravagant staging as Maiden was going back to the basics. 

4- No Prayer For The Dying was the first album since 1983’s “Piece of  Mind” that I did not purchase on its release date which was October 1st, 1990. The reason being as Tbone and myself were headed to Winnipeg a few days later (Oct 5th) I knew there would be a CD shopping spree so I needed to purchase something so I figured I would buy NPFTD in a big city. Hell, even Tbone bought it!

“No Prayer For The Dying” came out at a time when the musical landscape was about to change the following year. 

Upon my first listen to “No Prayer For The Dying” back then I liked it but with Steve Harris and company coming off of the magnificent “Seventh Son” album NPFTD was a step behind.

Course, when Smith went so did a big part of the songwriting.  Having said that though Adrian did have a co-write with Bruce titled “Hooks In You” which you can hear Smith’s style of writing melodic rock riffs taken over by his replacement Janick Gers on guitar.

With Smith gone Bassist Steve Harris and Vocalist Bruce Dickinson composed three great tracks together. The opening tune “Tailgunner,” followed by “Holy Smoke”, and “Run Silent Run Deep”.

Bruce also co-wrote the magnificent “Public Enema Number One” with Guitarist Dave Murray which at certain times just may be my favorite track from this album.

Bruce brought over his solo tune “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” from his solo band and had the song Maidenized!

Actually, Murray also cowrote “Fates Warning” with Steve so even Dave was picking up some slack in regards to the songwriting void left by Adrian when he split. 

Boss Man Harris handles the albums title track on his own as well as the album closer “Mother Russia”.

“The Assasin” which leads off Side Two is another Harris solo composition and to be fair the song could have used Bruce’s input in the songwriting part of this tune. By that I mean Bruce has a good knack for delivering some catchy choruses and “The Assasin” kind of falls flat and could have used some Air Raid Siren input.

Overall a decent spin of NPFTD which to be honest I have not listened to this album in full in a very long time.

Side One for me has the better tracks whereas Side Two lags a little. 

No-fault to Maiden though as up until this point it was the album/tour/album tour cycle for 10 years and so it is to be expected that the creative wheels may come off a little at some point.

“No Prayer For The Dying” came out in 1990 the music scene would shortly be shifting(we all know what I mean by that) and Maiden though would keep trucking so I guess in a way Harris and company decided to go back to a bare-bones approach in recording and touring for the NPFTD album.

 

 

Iron Maiden: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

 

Iron Maiden released a classic on April 11th, 1988 This slab of new music was big news in my world for two reasons!

One was the fact that when I purchased “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” on April 11th it was the first-ever “NEW” release that I bought on CD by Maiden.

Two was the fact that Bruce Dickinson was back writing tunes which was a great thing as we all know what went down two years earlier in 86!

It’s funny how I remember what the weather was like that day in April. It was a sunny day as I rode my bike to downtown Thunder Bay and hit up Kings’ Stereo. I quickly left with “Seventh Son” not only for me on CD but also a copy for my younger brother Todd on cassette tape.

I was 20 years young in April of 88. My brother was 10. Todd needed to be taught the right to rock by me. Plus I was basically working full time and Todd was beginning to get into music. So it was a no brainer really.

(It all came together in June 2017 when Todd took me to Maiden’s “Book of Souls” show as an early 50th birthday present! It all came full circle!)

How about a concept album about a 7th Son, a book written by Orson Scott. Plus add the fact that this album was Maiden’s seventh album plus it tied in with the 7th Tour of a 7th Tour which was to follow.

Once home and I put 7th Son CD in my boom box I was floored by the opener “Moonchild”. Nice move to open with an acoustic snippet that leads into some massive power riffs by Maiden as drummer Nicko McBrain leads the charge behind that kit. Maiden had not given up on the synth-like sound on the guitars and I was a-ok with it. Once again another stellar opener of a tune penned by Adrian Smith and Bruce.

How about the brilliant artwork of Derek Riggs! What a great color scheme at having all the frozen Eddie’s on the back cover. Riggs always delivered the goods on Maiden covers and this one is no different!

“Moonchild” proved that Bruce was back 100% focused on delivering some more brilliance to Maiden and what a songwriting partnership Bruce and Adrian had going!

Not be outdone Steve Harris delivers the stellar “Infinite Dreams”. Another great track that features an awesome chorus that features an even better midsection when the song ramps up right before the guitar solos.

Smith-Dickinson-Harris team up on the next two tracks that is the lead-off single which got some decent video traction on MuchMusic which was “Can I Play With Madness”.

Following “Can I Play With Madness” comes  “The Evil That Man Do” which has become a live staple pretty much on many a tour after. This song has a great drive and wicked solo by Dave Murray. Speaking of which Dave and Adrian with what they have done in there two guitar relationship are still to this day the best lead combo my old ears have ever heard.

“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”(title track) is another one of those epic Harris written tunes clocking in just under 10 minutes. The key ingredient that makes this song work is Bruce doing what he does best and that’s delivering a superb vocal.

Hey, Folk’s look! Dave Murray hooks up once again with Steve Harris and they write the pretty cool “The Prophecy.”

“The Clairvoyant” is one of those ends of the album Gems! Harris composed this tune and in his lyrics, Bruce tells us all  ‘That as soon as your born your dying’. No beating around the bush with Steve’s lyrics.

If anything after the chaos of Bruce not getting a writing credit on the “Somewhere In Time” album, it was interesting to see him and Steve hook up on the final tune “Only The Good Die Young” which ends the album on a rocking note.

It’s funny as at times I consider “Seventh Son” my favorite Maiden album but overall the North American reception was kinda frosty as attendance was dropping at the shows and the album only went Gold in the U.S which is wild considering a lot of people talk about this album. But what do I know as I dug it big time and still do!

Canadian Sales of 7th Son- Platinum

U.S Sales of 7th Son-Gold

Well, Folk’s I hope you enjoyed this batch of Maiden albums. I had fun flashbacking big time on these albums especially back to the early 80s when I discovered Iron Maiden back in 1981! I hope some of you that were on the fence about getting into Maiden maybe by reading my words will help you take the gamble  to see what all the fuss was about in my world!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time (1986)

 

Once the calendar month turned to September in 1986 out came “Somewhere In Time” the latest release from the mighty Iron Maiden.

“Somewhere In Time” in the catalog of Maiden sometimes it gets forgotten about as so many classic Maiden records that came during the 80s as the pace that Maiden was doing was crazy. 

A 13-month tour of “Powerslave” almost drove singer Bruce Dickinson out of the band. It didn’t help Bruce’s case that when the band gathered their ideas to begin the album. None of what Bruce wrote made the cut as I’m sure Steve Harris had a focus on where “Somewhere In Time” would be headed musically and Bruce’s tunes were not in Harris sightlines. 

Oh boy…

Ugh, I’m sure that was touchy time, to say the least! Not that any of us knew any better at the time (1986) as in interviews the Maiden guys said Bruce was fried out from the Powerslave tour so fair enough. 

With a man down in the songwriting department up rose guitarist Adrian Smith who contributed three great rock songs. 

Adrian has a real flair for adding a melodic rock touch to the songs he writes at times. “Sea of Madness” starts off with a bang with that familiar Maiden gallop of the instruments but the chorus goes into melodic rock vibe, Maiden style that is.

Smith also wrote the brilliant “Stranger In A Strange Land”. Love how the song builds and builds. Bruce even though had his tunes denied for the album he still showed up and gave it his all vocally.

As a fan back than Maiden kept their lid on all personal matters internally for the most part. RUSH, Van Halen and AC/DC are the others who come to mind who would keep their business private, unlike Motley Crue who wanted everybody to read about there drama and still do.

The biggie track though that comes from this record that got a ton of video play was “Wasted Years”. Once again Adrian leads the way with the opening ‘riff’ that takes the song over. Catchy verses and an even catchier chorus capped off with a brilliant Adrain solo! 

Adrian more than picked up the slack of Bruce’s non-writing credits and boy did the dude deliver!

Steve Harris wrote five songs including a  co-wrote “Deja Vu” with Dave Murray which is a pretty decent song as it’s always nice to see Murray show up every album or two with a co-write.

Of the four songs solo that Steve Harris wrote by all accounts two, I considered absolute classics upon first listen as a 19-year-old in 1986 whereas the other two tracks that Harris wrote were slow growers in the world of deKe.

The two slow growers were “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” and “Alexander The Great”.  Both tracks were on Side 2 with TLOTLDR being the first track and at the time it was a different type of Maiden tune.

Nicko must have hit that snare drum about 1000 times on the track. I found it laggy back than but when I reacquired this album a year or so ago I found out that I dug it more now in 2020 than 1986. Shit, I must be mellowing!

“Alexander The Great” was also a tough listen. Maybe I was burnt on the long Maiden Harris tracks. But like the  ‘Runner’ tune ATG grew on me as you can’t fault these epic time changes that Harris composed. Maybe it was the catchy Adrian melodic metal that I was looking for at the time.  Who knows? Now that I’m old I can appreciate it. Also, I have a bit more time on my hands as back than tons of music was coming out.

Now one of the two Harris tracks that were awesome and still are awesome is “Heaven Can Wait”. What a great opening riff and as the song goes so does the tempo. Bruce commands participation during the section of ‘Oh Oh Oh’.  Fantastic tune. 

Now the opening track that leads off the album I would have to say is one of the best ever written Harris tracks. “Caught Somewhere In Time” is one of the best ever openers and I still can’t believe to this day they have only played this tune on the 86/87 World Tour.

Why? I have no idea but Harris grand slammed this song out of the park. I love the charge of the drums from Nicko McBrain and don’t you just love that synthy sound that emulates from the guitars? I sure do. Bruce delivers an outstanding vocal as he really nails it during the chorus. 

I recall reading I think it was either Kerrang or Metal Hammer at the time as Judas Priest were not too happy with what Maiden was doing in regards to the synth guitars as you recall earlier that year Priest released the “Turbo” album which was a huge shift in their sound. Who knows if it was true but makes for a great debate.

“Caught Somewhere In Time” is easily in my all-time Top 5 Maiden songs! Yeah, I just typed that.

For an album that sometimes gets overlooked in the catalog of Iron Maiden Somewhere In Time is a stellar release that over time(ha) at any given time can easily be my favorite Maiden studio release.

Canadian Sales of Somewhere In Time- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Somewhere In Time- Platinum

 

 

Iron Maiden: Live After Death (1985)

Well, when classes began In September 1985. I was heading into Grade 13 at High School and focused.

Come mid-October though there was the matter of Iron Maiden releasing the classic double vinyl “Live After Death”. 

School once again took a back seat for a few days as Maiden delivered the goods on all fronts on what has become an all-time classic!

The packaging was superior (to this day nothing by anybody has come close if you ask me) as Maiden made sure that if you are going to pay for a double live album your going to get your money’s worth and more!

Double gatefold, booklet included including a ton of tour info and dates, tons of pictures, and once again some fabulous artwork done by Derek Riggs.

As far as the music goes it’s 98 minutes of Maiden in their glory with three sides recorded over 4 nights at the Long Beach Arena in California.

I love Gatefold’s Part 5- This is one of the best shots ever below! Kudos to Ross Halfin

SCREAM FOR ME LONG BEACH…

Iron Maiden pulls out all the stops big time. Martin Birch dialed in the sonics perfect at the recording board and each member of Maiden shines!

SPEAK TO ME HAMMERSMITH…

Side 4 was recorded in Maiden’s own back yard of England at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in which the brilliant “Wrathchild” is played. Listen to the Air Raid Siren known as Bruce Dickinson wail on this track.

Live After Death knocked me off my socks over the 19 songs that make up the album as the packaging alone is worth the price of admission.

I did eventually get back to my school work.

Canadian Sales of Live After Death-Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Live After Death- Platinum.

 

Hard Rock Album and Concert Reviews! (Odd Book Review as well!)