This review is a request from Tbone …..
In the year of good ol 1985,Helix became one of those bands that myself,Tbone and his two younger bros (Darr and Rugg) followed immensely. I mean how could we not? They were on Muchmusic constantly with the Rock You vid,they were selling a ton of vinyl and cassette tapes of there 1984 release Walkin The Razors Edge and hell Tbone took the plunge and bought No Rest For The Wicked which was super solid as well! And of course we caught Helix here in Tbay in I think early of March of 1985 when they were still plugging away on the Razors Edge tour( gotta review that show)
So when Helix dumped into the record shops there new release Long Way To Heaven ( I love this record cover,simple yet effective. The cover is the one featuring the song Long Way To Heaven/YouTube)there were 4 guys buying it and you know who the culprits were right?! Helix we love and still do as me and Tbone still make the pilgrimage out to see em whenever there here in Tbay. Anyways I’m getting ahead here…but whoa it’s summer of 85. New Helix is on the street and were like the Kids ……were all shakin!
Time to check out what Brian,Fritz,Paul(Rip) Daryl and Doctor Doerner are cooking in the Helix Lab….
KIDS ARE ALL SHAKIN- yep Helix is back and they got a new single and its this one. Have you heard the news today,the Kids Are All Shakin In the USA? What ?? Why the U.S.? Were shaking are wallets here in Tbay for Helix product but we understand to get Alot of pay,you must make it in the US of A! This is Helix jingle single time! Gone is the previous albums opener of Rock You and here is a more streamlined snappy happy Helix treading commercial waters kinda and that’s ok guys,me and Tbone understand,I mean Tbone made a mess of himself over Y&Ts Down For The Count album but we all know that this Helix track is better than anything on Y&Ts hunk o junk! So Tbone is relieved !
DEEP CUTS THE KNIFE- holy hell song #2 and were into another single and this ones a keeper friends! The song starts off kinda moody with Brian kicking it off and than the song ramps up into one catchy chorus and this song is a good Helix rock song. A little on the powerballad drive side but with a good kick in the musical chops to keep it from becoming a puss ballad! Also of note it must be said that with Helix albums the vocals were top notch both lead and backing. This song proves it!
RIDE THE ROCKET- oh yeah man …I mean lets go with ‘ Hey whadda say! Let’s Ride The Rocket,climb aboard with me, its in my pocket!’ At the time (85) this was in, this style of silliness and its Helix on there tour bus ripping down some Highway in Arizona not giving rats ass about anything except for the girls in the back of the bus(well that’s how it’s played out in my noggin ) and good on me remembering these lyrics all these years later! My 3 teenage daughters would be horrified if they heard me yapping these lyrics now but you know what? This song takes me back as a 18 year old and my tour bus was my 10 speed bike with just a back fender at the back(no girls!!!) watch the vid I posted as whoever did it shows some photos from the Long Way Tour of Helix well done whoever ya are!
LONG WAY TO HEAVEN-One of the best written and lyrical songs that Helix has ever done and as far as I know they never play it live anymore??! One of life’s great travestys ! Helix lays it all on the line with this tune. The lyrics are classic check out the vid I mean how can you go wrong with lines like ” Too many women,too many bars.too many songs about sex ,drugs and rock n roll!” And to top it off Vollmer nails back the classic line of all time that myself and the Erickson brothers still to this day will say to each other..”Long Way To Heaven but 3 short steps to Hell!” So true Mr Vollmer,so true! Helix ladies and gents, hit one out of the park with this tune!
HOUSE ON FIRE- I’m sure everyone has heard that April Wine tune Ooowhatanite! You know the one with the ringing bell at the beginning of the tune? Well Helix takes that bell and cranks it up to 78 mph and wowzers we now have the opening number from the Long Way To Heaven tour! This song kicks it into overdrive and I can see why! Fritz is smashing his kit,Gray is laying down the law on the bass,Hackman and the Doctor are ripping it up on guitar and Vollmer is summersaulting all over the stage and bringing home the goods with his voice! Bam opening number all rolled up into one little tune!
CHRISTINE-hmmm to my ears anyways it sounds like Helix is trying to grab a stab at radio AirPlay with this one! Can ya blame em? I’m sure the pressure was on from the record company after Rock You went viral on old school tv in 1984 and it must be a daunting task when you have some cigar smoking suit and tie guy from the record company chirping at you to write another Rock You! This song is good with the guitars and its always good as a 17 yr old boy at the time to hear some rock dudes sing about some chick named Christine and her legs! Wowzers!
WITHOUT YOU(JASMINE’S SONG) – I think Vollmer wrote this one about his daughter. Think about it for a sec! A lot of us have kids ( well in my case 3 beautiful teenage daughters) and think back to 1985 and Vollmer and Helix go out on tour and he leaves behind his newborn. So he’s out on the road for months at a time away form home while his daughter is growing up! And of course compared to today’s technology I guess the rotary phone was the only way to go back than. That musta been hard on the dude,full props and ya man Brian Vollmer can have a song on a rock record about his kid if he wants to! The song itself is good the chorus is big time catchy and once again Helix shows off there vocals!
SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS- Helix sez time to kick ass and its back to the alleys with this one. The title says it all. At the School Of Hard Knocks is where you get your Helix education. Helix writing once again with big vocals in mind and the song has a pretty memorable hook in it! Catchy Helix….
DON’T TOUCH THE MERCHANDISE- hahaha, whats this one about? Yeah man don’t touch Helix’s merchandise! This is a cool little 3 minute song,brief and too the point! Helix tells us that everyone wants a piece of paradise but please don’t touch the merchandise! Whoever pulls off the solo in this tune (Doctor?/Hackman?) it’s cool slipping in sliding all over the place! And of course Helix goes into Capella mode with snappin fingers and Brian leading the charge with Don’t Touch….Helix was always good with quick 3 minute rockers(When The Hammer Falls Down,Dirty Dog come to mind) Helix said were not here for Rocket Science..were here to Ride The Rocket! Amen to that!
BANGING OF-A-The BRICKS-Helix wraps up with a straight ahead rocker and this one features also some real slick lead playing and Fritz and Gray lay it all down with some straight ahead bottom end! I never really understood the title at all! But never the less Helix ends the record with some good Ol fashioned hard rock!
IN CONCLUSION- Helix in Canada anyways went into arena mode with this album as it went platinum here and number 1 in Sweden! Good for them man and I remember reading about there tour In that old magazine Metallion. For some reason though and this is just my deal Long Way..seemed to fall thru the cracks for some reason and for me it kinda did as well. Not as good as Walking The Razors Edge and Wild In The Streets but still pretty good. I found the production a little more clean than Razors Edge butcan you blame Helix? They were trying to dent the U.S. market!
But Helix did deliver some well written tracks esp the title track,Deep Cuts,Kids,House On Fire so all in all a pretty good record and l like this album cover simple yet effective and for myself and brothers Erickson, Helix back than that was A-ok!!!