Van Halen/ VH 2 (1979)

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My purchasing of Halen product was interesting to say the least! Of course we all know the tale of my buying VH’s/Woman And Childern First in early 1981 from there it was Fair Warning later in 1981 and than in 1982 I not only bought Diver Down upon its release but I also purchased the 45 single of VH’s cover of Roy Orbisons Pretty Woman.

In  early 1984 we all scooped 1984 powered by Jump and we were all hooked! Notice anything here? Yeppers! I did not have the first two Halen albums,the debut and VH2! Once i got my first summertime job in the summer of 1984 this problem was rectified immediately when I purchased on cassette tape those two musical masterpieces!

Why on earth it took me so long to get em who the hell knows! Better late than never I suppose! Once I did hear them on my walkman man oh man……Game changers!

Michael Anthony,Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with there best friend David Lee Roth  keep the party moving n grooving 1979 style..whatever that entails!

Whose The Atomic Punk?

YOUR NO GOOD- So instead of Blitzing out of the gates with a smash in your brains and  kick your ass opener. VH open there second album with a cover tune no less. Different pace this track is some noodling at the beginning by Mikey and his bass and were off! More of a straight ahead Rock track. Kinda surprising but looking back it was Halen already doing there own thing. Dave lays down the vocal law while Anthonys background vocals carry the chorus. Ed of course is the law on guitar and brother Alex hammers his snare In a chill kinda way!

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY-Single anyone?  Served with a kick in the ass! The brothers are in sync with guitar and cowbell. This song is a great track! Dave is hustling the night away and Anthony is the key plug with his always on the mark backing vocals! Eddie instead of telling us he’s Boss on guitar which we know already plays a real decent chill but loud solo and man the guitar picking is slick! The first time I heard Dance The Night Away I was on a camping trip somewhere in the USA and it was the summer of 1983 and I recall fiddling around the family campfire with the radio and moving the antenna’s back and forth trying to locate a rock radio station and through the static and the hiss I scored as I heard Def Leppards Photograph so my fingers froze and I left it alone hahaha….and the song that followed was Dance The Night Away..i was hooked yet it still to me to like the summer of 84 to buy VH 2! WTF!

SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR-All aboard Dave’s tour bus as he’s blasting his ghetto blaster at high volume kinda like a demented Dr Nick that would be Dave as a Doc! Party treats galore! Ed is guitar hero on this! He slays the guitar to bits as Alex and Mike keep the bottom end locked and loaded! This is Cali party rock and if you were a first time ever listener to VH and this album was your first! Those first two tracks would kinda fool you as its a tamer VH whereas by track 3 (this one) Roth pulls out the sledgehammer and knocks your brains into next week albeit with a Doctors note!

BOTTOMS UP-Party keeps rolling as Ed and Alex start off chill and than ramp up the pace! Bottoms Up is just that! A real down n dirty hard rock nugget of a track! Love the breakdown after yet another classic Ed solo with just the fellers doing acapella of Bottttttoms Up! C’mon,C’mon,C’mon Babbbbbeeeeeee..Bottoms Up! Halen than load up and rocket the ship towards the finish line with a proper hard ending! Whoosh! Just plain awesome!

OUTTA LOVE AGAIN-Mike and Ed start off with this song showcasing Alex as he’s flexing his drum muscles! Cool rolls all over his drum kit! I like how these old Halen albums are recorded live off the floor or they seem that way! Ed’s  solo is just his guitar(not a zillion rhythm guitars in the background),Anthony’s bass and Alex groovin along and it sounds so live which a lot of bands don’t do in the studio! Almost like a live studio album! Outta Love Again ends abruptly! Boom…Done….Lock the door behind you!

LIGHT UP THE SKY-Side 2 begins with a charge! Guitar and Bass lead the charge and Alex pounds the song and here’s the Ringmaster or CourtJester depending on the day of the week for Dave and he leads his troops into Light Up The Sky! What a cooker and this I will say is one of the all time great Halen tracks! It’s all here loaded in flashy guitar and effects workout,great lead and backing vocals and toss in a mini drum solo! Light It Up and Crank It Up!

SPANISH FLY-Sooooo, on the Van Halen debut Ed  tells the world who the new boss in town is with the  very electric Eruption! VH 2 Ed fools everyone and goes all classical sounding on Spanish Fly for 2 minutes! Spike another ladies drink Dave as Ed is cooking on his six string!

D.O.A-Ed goes all nutty with a real good diddle dabble of the wang bar and we’re off! Dave is in serious mode here! Something about the Sheriff showing up and finding some dirty faced kid in the garbage can! DOA is dark Halen musically and lyrically not a Groupie in site. Anthonys vocals as they should be are cranked up. Why did Ed this year (2015) say Anthonys vocals were no big deal! Sorry Ed take the two empty Heineken cans shoved down your ears out and listen to the bass players vocals! Anthonys backing vocals are a integral part of the VH sound! VH roll on to the end of this song in a clash of Ed’s guitar and Alex’s drums! Great ending……

WOMEN IN LOVE-Ed does that cool tapping deal at the beginning and Women In Love just breezes along at a cool pace! The vocals carry this tune and Ed muscles up a scolding hot solo! Ed proves that you don’t have to burn a solo at a quick clip all the time it’s ok to ease off the guitar gas pedal but it still sounds tough!

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS-Ed rambles off the opening riff and VH 2 ends with Dave in all his glory! Dave’s on top of the world! Why wouldn’t he be? Beautiful Girls rocks in a boozed up barrom a long time after last call was hollered!! No Tbone it was last call that was hollered  not more alcohol! Ha! Super duper catchy chorus Ed flings off a wicked good riff and solo and the song rambles off into the distance and ends with a swoosh!

IN CONCLUSION- VH 2 is a classic as are the 6 Roth fronted albums! Tons of chops litter this album along with Dave’s macho man ringleader like approach! Why oh why it took me so long to get this back in 1984 will always remain a puzzle in my musical mind. Better late than never applies here!

For all its musical glory VH2 never gets talked about well talk about it amongest yourselves please!

When I caught VH back in 2012 they played 5 tracks from this so it’s  good it got some well deserved attention!(Thanks Wolfie!) Even on there 2015 Tour Light Up The Sky was the opener as well as it should be……

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Van Halen/ VH 2 (1979)”

    1. For sure Geoff out of the Dave Roth fronted Halen albums this one in my humble opinon is the forgotten album! Hell people talk about Diver Down more as it was half covers half original so there Ya go……

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah WAKE UP, hahahaha…..it’s easy for bands like HALEN as there always on classic rock radio so you just hear it but a while back I thought i gotta yammer on about Vh2!

      Like

    1. For sure Joe I could see where your line of thinking was as the debut and Woman And Childern First just rock a wee harder than VH2. Since the two opening tracks are a little slower out of the gate….

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent review, Deke. I’m very late to the Van Halen party, but I’ve been enjoying them loads (well, the Roth years) and actually had this on yesterday. Not vinyl, right enough! Such an understated album, I reckon. Doesn’t rock too hard, but it’s a great album and, dare I say, a splendid tribute to their pop influences?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never to late to join the VH studio album party bus J! For sure its a little milder but between tours and releasing there first four albums in four years (78-81) it’s crazy how the material does not suffer one iota!
      Crazy pace as well studio/tour…no wonder the brothers burnt out on Roth early on! Hahahaha ….

      Liked by 1 person

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