Category Archives: SONIC WAVES…Album Reviews

Occasionally I will throw down some reviews of albums that I thought were and still are cool to me…..hope you likey!

Boston: Don’t Look Back(1978)

The self titled album “Boston” sold million’s ,million’s and millions of copies in 1976.

It was  1981 and my pal John Young (Missing In Action) had the self titled Boston debut.  When I was at his place  I had seen the cover of the debut with the the saucer in space with that Boston logo caught my eye and when I flipped over the cover who is the dude with the fro?  

That’s Sib Hashian! (RIP)

So in the summer of that year it was off to Winnipeg with my family and two of my musical purchases were Santers “Shot Down In Flames” on vinyl and on cassette tape “Don’t Look Back” the followup to the Boston debut!

“Don’t Look Back” was released in 1978 and I guess you could say it was a continuation of the debut but for me being my first purchase of Boston, this one sticks to me for some crazy reason….

Lemme explain…..and tell ya all about the tunes that Tom Scholz/Brad Delp/Barry Goudreau/Fran Sheehan and Mr Sib provided….

DONT LOOK BACK- Ah, there’s Tommy’s guitar and what a great tone and opening riff, and boom here comes the bass, drums some cool tambourine and Brad Delp’s voice! I Love the end of it when the big power riff ends the tune fades out and powers up again! This is a great opening number and if I was to do an Arena Rock Compilation disc this would be track one!

THE JOURNEY- Some doodling around with a spacey interlude that last’s all of one minute and forty seconds of it Spacey keyboards I guess you could say!

ITS EASY-A good straight ahead easy peasy rock track! Acoustic guitars mixed with the electrics propell this tune forward and it has a  quick little tempo changes and the vocals like Delp always does delivers it home!

A MAN I’LL NEVER BE-This track clocks in just under 6 minutes and this is epic Boston! The song is a good representation of there sound when they were firing on all cylinders in regards to big rock sounds!

FEELIN SATISFIED- Deke sez….’this is in my top 3 all time fav Boston tracks!” Yep what a great beginning with Delp of course and what a pre chorus. Love the guitar and the handclaps as Delp asks “Are you Feeling Satisfied?” And than right into the chorus!  This one is just soooooooooo good! Love the guitar and you know the rumour floating around is that Scholz did all the instruments on this album and Delp did the lead vocals!

PARTY- Party is the brother to Smokin’ from the debut! Boston wants you to know that if your gonna get spaced out, get spaced out with them! The song is a feel good song as Delp delivers the vocals only like he can and Scholz cranks his guitar loud as it’s a Party. Love that riff during the chorus and after all is said and done it will be time for some late night  Smokin’.

USED TO BAD NEWS-Another mid tempo rocker and there’s a lot of it on this record acoustic but Sib and his drums (and his Fro )propel the song forward!

DONT BE AFRAID- Boston ends the album with one of these end of the album Gems! Big sound,big guitar,over the top vocals it’s all here just dial up 866-AOR-ROCK and have all things delivered to you sonically! This song just wants you to hear more and  it took 8 years of finally hearing more Boston when “Third Stage” came out in 86!

Finally picked this one up on vinyl back in 2017 on a trip with my pal Tbone when we hit up Montreal for six days…

Black Sabbath: Heaven And Hell (1980)

Tony, Geezer and Bill gave Ozzy the boot out of Sabbath once and for all and by 1980 recruited vocalist Ronnie James Dio who was given the boot out of Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow so a rock marriage was made in Heaven between the two parties or is that Hell?

“Heaven And Hell” I had seen shortly after its release back in the summer of 1980 at my pal Muc’s house.

Muc as you already know played a sharing role in shaping my journey in the world known as Hard Rock. 

“Heaven and Hell” was the first album I had seen by Black Sabbath. Sure I read about them in the magazines but Muc was the first friend that I knew that had an actual physical copy of a Sabbath album.

Muc recorded his copy on vinyl onto cassette tape for me and I loved it but the funny thing was I never bought back then or ever for that matter.

Why you ask. I have no friggin idea why. “Mob Rules” in 1981 I bought, which was my first Sabbath purchase so you think I would have wanted my own copy of “Heaven and Hell”.

Well I did. The only thing is it took me 41 years to finally get my own copy of this record!

Better late than never…

When back in January of this year when Sabbath announced that both “Mob Rules” and “Heaven and Hell” we’re going to get the updated treatment with bonus tracks. I was onboard right away.

It took a few weeks for Amazon to send me the two reissues of the Dio Sabbath records (my order came from Kent Washington) but holy moly it was totally worth the wait.

LP One: Heaven And Hell (2021 Remaster)

SIDE ONE:
  1. Neon Knights
  2. Children Of The Sea
  3. Lady Evil
  4. Heaven And Hell
SIDE TWO:
  1. Wishing Well
  2. Die Young
  3. Walk Away
  4. Lonely Is The Word

LP Two: Bonus Tracks

SIDE THREE:
  1. Children Of The Sea (Live B-Side of Neon Knights)
  2. Heaven And Hell (Live 7″ Edit, B-Side of Die Young – Live at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT, 8/10/1980)
  3. Lady Evil (Mono 7″ Edit)
  4. Neon Knights (Live at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT, 8/10/1980)
SIDE FOUR:
  1. Children Of The Sea (Live at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT, 8/10/1980)
  2. Heaven And Hell (Live at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT, 8/10/1980)
  3. Die Young (Live at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT, 8/10/1980)

How about that cover of the Smoking Angels and what follows inside on the grooves is Sabbath smoking on the tracks right from the start. Opening track “Neon Knights” sets the pace as it’s an uptempo driving track. 

And we’re off!

The whole first side is simply put Killer. “Children of the Sea”, “Lady Evil” and Side 1 closer “Heaven and Hell” are all classic as Iommi/Bulter/Ward and Dio crafted four great tracks right off the hop. 

Martin Birch does a great job at the production helm on this record as he dialled it in perfectly. 

If your thinking Side 2 would be a bit of a dip you’re wrong. “Wishing Well”, the blistering sonic soar of “Die Young”, “Walk Away” and “Lonely Is The World” have the boys firing on all four cylinders both in creativity and performance. 

This reissue is a sweet set. Nice Gatefold vibe along with the history of the album are featured.  None of these bonus tracks I have ever owned in any format so I’m psyched to get all of this added to my record collection.

Below are pics from the Mob Rules reissue  that I ordered at the same time. Another cool looking gatefold.

 

Aerosmith: Brand New Song & Dance (1986)

Snowman asked…I delivered…

Aerosmith was still in party mode back in the mid 80’s  when they rolled into Worcester, Massachusetts on March 12th 1986 and broadcast nationally over FM radio airwaves this live show while they were promoting the stellar “Done With Mirrors” release from a year before.

Guess the word on the street at the time was Aero was going to take this show and release it themselves as a followup to the mighty “Live Bootleg” that came out 8 years earlier(1978).

That concept was shelved of course but thanks to “Back On Black Records” who bring this show to life on this killer double live album all these years later that I bought off Amazon last summer for $35!

Look at that setlist! Love the fact that “Done With Mirrors” is featured predominately on this set and Tyler and Crew were not just focused on one or two tracks from it and thats it…

Five tracks from DWM’s are featured (“My Fist,Your Face”, “Shela”, “She’s On Fire”, “The Hop” and “Let The Music Do The Talking”) that have that sleazy, sizzle of the guitars of Joe Perry and Mr. Whitford cranked throughout this show.I have to add the sound of this “boot’ is perfect. Basically sounds like a professional release.

Some older “Gems” as I call them are played as opener “Back In The Saddle” followed by “Same Old Song And Dance” set the party ablaze with Tyler in fine form vocally.

Speaking of which, for all the mess that these guys were in they could clean up (ahem) I guess when the chips were on the line as this show proves. 

Aero had there shit together this night….

The real clincher on this set is the fact that “No Surprise” from 79’s “Night In The Ruts” record is featured as well. No Surprise has some to Tylers best lyrics ever and why the band has shelved this song since 86 is beyond me as it is one of their best.

“A Brand New Song And Dance” was recorded when the chips were down as Aero wasn’t selling much yet they still proved that when push came to shove they could pull it together and still bring it live.

This albums proves it…

You have to hand it to Back on Black Records who make this album look legit with the double gatefold sleeve as well as one record is white while the other is black. Going that extra mile is pretty cool.

Damon Johnson & The Get Ready: Battle Lessons (2021)

Damon Johnson is one talented cat and around these halls known as Arena Rock Thunder Bay, Johnson is respected for the fact that his self titled “Brother Cane” release from 1993 is one of those full album ‘Gems’.

“Brother Cane” came out when Cobain and his tattered up Cardigan were ruling the charts that year.

 Johnson on “Brother Cane” did what he does best and that’s fusing his own style of writing hard blues rock and drove home that point in spades on that release.

Now here we are in 2021 and Damon is back in a power trio format (known as the Get Ready) kicking down the doors on this 9 song 33 minute of an ass kicker release. 

  1. Battle Lessons
  2. Can’t Clap Any Louder
  3. Talk Yourself Into Everything
  4. Shadow Country
  5. Let The Healing Begin
  6. Brace For Impact
  7. Lightning Bolt
  8. Love Is All You Left Behind
  9. Casual Beast

Adding to the fun Damon brought aboard for this project producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush) so this is a big deal release that what I have been reading and watching Johnson has done this whole release himself in house. In house meaning literally recording “Battle Lessons” and shipping out all the copies himself from the house he lives in!

A one man do it yourself operation with he help of his family as well I might add.

The tunes that make up “Battle Lessons” are rock. No following trends just these fella’s getting down to  doing there own thing.

 Speaking of fella’s, Johnson has added two serious side kicks with him on here that being drummer Jarred Pope(Tom Keifer) and bassist Robbie Harrington(Steve Vai.) who are serious players in their own right and back the Bossman with some tight serious chops of there own.

All of these tracks stand up on their own. They rock. Period. “Love Is All You Left Behind” albeit being an acoustic ballad actually fits the vibe here which surprised me as  the other eight songs on here rock. It’s neat to hear Damon’s sound stripped down to the core.

But I tell ya there are two mindblower tracks that are beyond epic and thats “Shadow Country” and “Let The Healing Begin” which has the power trio flexing some serious chops amongst the time changes and power chords. Freaking classic comes to mind. 

Cheers to “Johnson and the Get Ready” who will definitely make you Get Up and take some notice on “Battle Lessons”

dEke’s Stream-A-Rater-Rating: 9/10

WEEZER: THE BLUE ALBUM (1994)

 

I call this one “The Blue Album” even though that’s not the original title but for some reason I like that title so “The Blue Album” it is!

1994 was a weird year for us old school rockers that survived the 80s intact. 

Lot’s of rock was still coming out of course but for me perosnllya I drifted always back to what I would consider the classics like Maiden,Priest, AC/DC, RUSH, VH and others. You get the gist of it right?

Sure some bands that came out of the whole Tattered Cobain Cardigan Clubhouse caught my ear like Nirvana (some stuff) STP (damn good band), Soundgarden ( Cornell what a vocalist), Pearl Jam (don’t mind em) but at time’s there would come an album when I would least expect it and BAM!

Weezer “The Blue Album” is that record…

Expertly produced by the Great Late Ric Ocasek there are signs throughout this album that those fun quirky elements of The Cars seep into the grooves of this record.

“The Blue Album” is stuffed with 37 minutes of Weez-Rock!

MY NAME IS JONAS-Some cool guitar starts off “Jonas” and Rivers Cuomo lead singer and guitarist kicks off the album with a real great hard rock little ditty. I just love straight ahead simple hard rock nuggets and this is one of them.

NO ONE ELSE-Oh yeah this could have been a Cars track as it’s so damn catchy and the chorus just flat out takes the cake. I can totally hear the Ocasek Cars Influence on this tune. Great rocker and this song still makes me feel, ahhh quirky.  I do have to add that Cuomo has a real cool rock vibe voice, just laid back but it works!

THE WORLD HAS TURNED AND LEFT ME THERE- We can all relate to this title! The drums, fuzz guitar and some acoustic lead the charge.  Cool tempo and Weezer just keeps the momentum going….no Weezin here folks!

BUDDY HOLLY- Huge video and man props to the creative genius to whose  idea it was to scoop the whole Happy Days TV vibe of the video.  The song itself is a well crafted as I love the middle part where it goes like “Bang bang a knock on the door” I also dig the little quirky blasts of synth after every couple of verses! Good on Weezer being original with song and video.

UNDONE(THE SWEATER SONG)-Drums and acoustic guitar kick off this mid tempo rocker. Rivers Cuomo has a real knack for writing catchy hooks  and after the first chorus it’s like the  bummed out guy talks to a girl…”if you want to destroy my sweater” River sings basically if you want to destroy my fucking heart is how I hear it and another great catchy chorus.

SURF WAX AMERICA-Fast off time tempo. Cool sonic’s on this tune especially the middle section when the drums go a little cuckoo. But in a cool kind of cuckoo way.

SAY IT AIN’T SO- Super chill guitar and vocal until the chorus and the boys ramp it up. Nice arrangement for this song with some real snazzy picking and strumming….

IN MY GARAGE-Cool acoustic and harmonica start off “In My Garage” This is my fav tune on the Weezer album. I mean do these lyrics get any better than…

“I got posters on my wall, my favourite rock group KISS, I got Ace Frehley ,I got Peter Criss waiting for me yes I do!”

 

I mean think back to 1994 for a second as Criss and Frehley were no where to be found in society but River’s name drops em. Stanley/Simmons were probably sulking somewhere in there mansions in the Hollywood Hills at the vocal snub! The guitar solo on this song is wickedly good as I love the heavy fuzz sound on this  song and record.

HOLIDAY-This song is Weezer taking a well deserved Holiday that gets out of the gate with a ton of distorted kinda strumming. The middle part is cool with a little bass some snappin of the fingers and here comes some more cool guitar feedback.

ONLY IN DREAMS-Bass is on tap for the start and here comes some acoustic guitar followed by some nice clean electric guitar. The song ramps up in the chorus and we’re off ! Great way to end this album. Weezer just jam it out, shifting gears in the style as the song goes.

I picked this up last summer at our local Sunrise Shop as the price was right and when I got home that day I shot Mr Geoff a message telling him Say It Ain’t So but I finally got this one on vinyl!

Check out Geoff’s Great stuff below…

https://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com

Black N’ Blue: Without Love (1985)

Crazy to think that this is my first used vinyl purchase in a year. It didn’t help the cause that a local business that sold used vinyl closed up before the world took a shit and once all that went down there was only two options.

Sunrise Records (a national chain)  and Amazon (with free shipping)

But thanks to my pal Muc who posted a link to local shop Comix Plus that was showing off the stock that they have accumulated in used vinyl I was intrigued.

I checked it out and quickly seen two titles I wanted. Aerosmith “Draw The Line” and Black N’ Blue “Without Love”.

I grabbed them both. Nice to have a local option that we can support and thanks to the owner of Comix Plus, Gary who when I messaged him about the Aerosmith album “Draw The Line”(a sealed RSD copy) messaged me back that he had another copy of “Draw The Line” that was used and in VG condition that If I wanted I could get that one instead. I went with the sealed copy but I appreciate the fact that he could have had saved me some cash. 

Thanks Sir..

Black N’ Blue (from Portland Oregon) were on the up and up back in 1994 with the self titled debut that featured some pretty cool tracks like “Hold Onto 18”, “Chains Around Heaven”, “Autoblast” produced by Dieter Dierks (Scorpions)

By 1985 though the band headed to Vancouver B.C and hooked up with the late  great  Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock and Mike Fraser to record “Without Love”.

This is one fine damn hard rock melodic album. You know with the production team of Fairbairn, Rock and Fraze the sonics would be here throughout. 

Opening tune “Rocking On Heavens Door” is killer opening tune. Some great drumming by Pete Holmes drives this song with a catchy chorus. 

Using there Vancouver connections the band enlists Jim Vallance on a couple of co writes that being the title track “Without Love” and the single “Miss Mystery”.

Both are great songs but for my money the title track is the better of the two featuring one of those memorable Vallance choruses. 

Lead vocalist Jamie St James and Guitarist Tommy Thayer are the duo responsible for writing up the tunes on this album and in saying that made a pretty good songwriting team.

Actually listening to this album today the whole first side of  “Without Love” could have been released as singles as that was what Geffen Records probably wanted from the band. 

“Hits Boys, Hits” chirped the cigar smoking Geffen suits back then.

The second side is fairly decent as well. “Swing Time” leads off with a ton thats heavy on the drums and guitar featuring  a swing like pattern.

One of my favourite titles of this album is “Bombastic Plastic”. It’s more of that 80s drive of the guitar power chords to make you raise your fist and yell..

“BOMBASTIC PLASTIC!”

“We Got The Fire” features Mike Reno( Loverboy) guesting on backing vocals on a pretty uptempo little three minute ass kicker of a track.

The album ends with two songs the first being “Strange Things” and closing with “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Love)” which has has that slow like sleaze rock pace during the verses and ramps up during the chorus.

Now when I originally bought this back in 85 on vinyl Tbone was with me and he picked up the cassette copy of “Without Love” and look what the bonus track was tacked on the end of Side 2 on the tape is?

A recorded live cover tune of Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song And Dance”  featuring not only the Black N Blue guys but Spider (Streetheart), Matt Frenette (Loverboy) and Bob Rock(guitar) joining along. No artist or bands did this back in time that I know of.  Well here it is posted below..

Overall a pretty good rock album and when we have Mike Fraser back on the “LeBrain Train” in a few months I will hit him up on a few questions about recording this album.

The word is this was one of the albums Jon Bon Jovi heard the production and wanted Bruce Fairbairn to produce the next Jovi record which was? We all know the answer to that one..

Slippery When Wet!

Funny how this album did not go over big time as the songs, performance and production are there. But who can predict these things as Black N’ Blue gave it a shot.

With there next release they went with Gene Simmons at the dials on the “Nasty Nasty” album that Tbone had bought as well. I heard his copy and I will leave it at that.

If you are to seek out any Black N’ Blue give “Without Love”a shot. 

Good record…

 

 

 

Iron Maiden: Nights of the Dead,Legacy of the Beast:Live In Mexico City (2020)

2020 brings out the best in bands and with that being said “Iron Maiden” is one of the best. 

Steve Harris and company have released one fine brilliant packaged live album pulled from three performances last September in Mexico City.

Maiden deliver the goods sonically on this album. I mean look at the back cover for reference.

For myself, it’s those rarely played tracks like “Where Eagles Dare”, “Revelations”, and especially “Flight of Icarus” that take me right back as a 15-year-old when I bought 1983’s “Piece of Mind” back in 83.

Bruce Dickinson is in fine form vocally. People need to realize that the Air Raid Siren is into his 60s now so let’s get used to the fact that Bruce is not in his 20s yet he can still sing circles around guys half his age. Still, no teleprompter is used.

Where Bruce shines is in the two tunes that Maiden pulled out from the maligned Blaze years. (“Sign of the Cross” and “The Clansman”) I could go on about it, but how about I post a conversation that I had with my pal Metal Todd whom I went to see this show with last year in Vancouver.

Well said, Metal Todd. Bruce is indeed a pro as is Maiden.  Below are pictures from the triple gatefold release.

The next three pictures below are the three different set changes Maiden had in the show. You get actual blueprints of the stage. War/Religion and Hell are the three themes used.

35 years after the immortal “Live After Death” Iron Maiden still know how to give the fans what they want.

 

 

Top 10 “Used Vinyl” Purchases in 2020.

This may be my last ever “Top 10 Used Vinyl Purchases” as the one place I had bought my used records from (Moon Money Vintage) closed up shop a few weeks before the world went into the tank back in March 2020

I liked buying used vinyl from that place as they were on consignment so they weren’t selling shit records. Sure I may have paid a buck or two more but at least I knew I was getting a decent used record.

When all is said and done I think I was able to build up my collection to well over 350 LPs from that place over a 2-year time period.

There are a few pawn shops in town that sell used vinyl but they just dump the records in a bin and I can’t be bothered rummaging and hoping for the best. Especially in these times.

Maybe things will turn around and someone can open up a cool record shop here in Tbay. In saying that I’m not holding my breath!

Before I forget make sure you watch for Snowmans/ Ladano’s and Mr. Buried On Mars Best of 2020 list’s  that are coming out sometime soon.

Here are their links to their sites. Give them a follow if you haven’t already.

https://mikeladano.com

https://buriedonmars.com

http://2loud2oldmusic.com

So here we go…

#10- Alice Cooper: Constrictor(1986)– Sure the Coop’s “Constrictor” release sounded like it was recorded in a tin can. There is some Cheesy Alice stuff on here (Thrill My Gorilla) but when Alice came back in 86  “Constrictor” was my entry world into the Coop. So this album gets a pass from me. Alice hooked up with Kane Rambo on guitar and they muscled up some decent stuff too (Your The Life And Death of The Party, The World Needs Guts).

#9- Boston: Third Stage(1986)– Tom Scholz back in 86  confused me that he led off “Third Stage” with “Amanda” (power ballad) but as an old man now in 2020 I get why he did that.  Doing things differently was Tom’s motto so it kinda works.  I mean Tom back then was battling his record company in lawsuits and whatnot as well as battling ex-members of Boston at the time. “Third Stage,” I think out of the first three Boston albums is the third-best record in the Boston catalog. Give it up for the late great Brad Delp whose vocals soar all over the sonic highway on “Third Stage”

#8-The Georgia Satellites: The Georgia Satellites(1986)- Who doesn’t love a good barroom stomping good time record. Dan Baird and the Sataliites cook up 8 originals,2 cover tunes, and this album blasts off from the get-go! Sure everyone knows these guys for the one big hit(Keep Your Hands To Yourself) but ask Tbone about the other tracks on here like “Red Light”! You cannot go wrong with this one!

#7-RUSH: Hold Your Fire(1987)- Can’t believe it has almost been a year since Neil passed on. Finding used RUSH records is a rarity in this town so when I have seen them I would pounce into action. Hold Your Fire is one I grabbed for a good price($10) and added to the collection. Geddy/Neil and Alex wrote some killer stuff on here (“Prime Mover,” “Time Stand Still”, “Lock And Key”). Nice addition to my collection.

#6-KISS: Asylum(1985)- I have been trying to finish up the KISS collection on vinyl and I grabbed this one from Discogs. “Asylum” is a good album once you get by the band wardrobe malfunction that Gene and Paul were into at the time. The songs though speak for themselves as “King of the Mountain”, “Love’s A Deadly Weapon”, “Tears Are Falling” are good tracks. There is always the matter of “Uh All Night”. lol But yeah it’s a decent spin.

#5-Dokken: Beast From The East(1988)– We all know this story. Dokken put out 4 solid studio records, opened up for every rock act at the time, and when this Double Live album came out the wheels came off of Dokken as Don split and the other guys sued as they were about to make that move to the arena headliner.  Still, though the tunes on here are brilliant and George Lynch is the man on here!

#4-Ozzy Osbourne: Bark At The Moon(1983)– On any given day this may be my favorite Osbourne record. Jake E Lee shows up and lays down the gauntlet on guitar. For all his hard work on this album, the Osbournes don’t credit Jake with any co-writes on “Bark At The Moon”. Highway Robbery 101 if you ask me. Did Ozzy write that opening riff to “Rock N Roll Rebel” or the title track? C’mon man no way that happened when Ozz was snorting ants and licking up piss back then. Cheers to Jake as his contribution is huge on this album!

#3-AC/DC: Let There Be Rock(1977)– Earlier this year I came across a fella who was selling 8 AC/DC albums for $80. I already had 4 of the 8 so I asked the seller if he wanted to just sell the 4 that I wanted.  He preferred to sell the whole lot.  So I figured what the hell I’ll buy all 8 and the 4 I already had I would pass onto Tbone which I did. “Let There Be Rock” was one that I did not have on record. Now I do and I’m all the better for it. Angus and  Bon crank everything up to 10 and well…just get a copy for yourself and while we are at it…” Let There Be Rock”.

#2-Deep Purple: Perfect Strangers(1984)– I have always held in high praise this reunion album of Deep Purple. “Perfect Strangers” was my entry point into Deep Purple. This album is an all-time great as Ian Gillain sings for his supper as Richie Blackmore being all moody and shit slays everything in site with his strat. Not one dud track on this album and yeah still to this day my all-time fav DP record!

Now my Used favorite score in 2020 goes to …

#1- Kim Mitchell: Kim Mitchell(1982)- Kim ditches Max Webster dials in his strat and cranks his Marshall to 11 and plays on what I consider some of the best electric guitar recorded to tape. Ask Ladano and he will tell you this is the Best EP ever and I tend to believe him as there are no drop-offs or let down on these 5 songs. Kim basically recorded this as a power trio and it shows. I was beyond giddy when I scooped this for $5 Canadian. If any of you readers out there want a crash course in rock guitar dial this one in on your streaming choice and crank it! You can thank me and Mikey!

There ya have it, folks. Three Top 10 lists in 2020! Thanks for reading and commenting throughout the year!

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Thunder Bay Arena Rock’s Top 10 Live Albums 2020

2020 was a tough year for everyone. Thankfully some bands stepped up and released product to hold us over until life gets somewhat back to normal. If anything I’m surprised Gene and Paul from good old KISS did squat and released nothing. Others though took care of business and that was the business of Live Rock!

Without further ado here’s what I think is the best of the best!

#10- Hardline: Life Live-  I have always liked “Double Eclipse” the self-titled debut by San Fran’s Hardline back in 1992. So when this live release dropped in January 2020 I was intrigued as only singer Johnny Gioeli remains.(Original guitar guy Neil Schon is gone back to playing sappy power ballads with Cain in Journey) Make no mistake that Johnny still has the voice and this release pleasantly surprised me. 

#9-Sloan: Live at Yep Roc 15- Sloan played an indoor festival show and Halifax’s best slam out a 10 song 31-minute set that oozes cool. If anything I had a good chuckle as about 3 months before this album came out Bassist /Vocalist Chris Murphy told me personally that “no one listens to live albums anymore” Ha! I do!

#8-John5: Live Invasion- John5 sizzles some serious 6 string on this album. John5 is smart as he keeps the pace going from song to song including a classic 12 minute medley of a whose who of rock that is a complete mindblower. Plus a cover of VH’s “Take Your Whiskey Home” makes this a win-win album.

#7- Queen: Live Around The World- I’m kinda a funny Queen fan. I love The Game album and some other stuff but the last Queen album I bought was “Innuendo” and what was that back in 1991! The whole Lambert thing I didn’t really dig my heels in until Queen announced this live album and I have to say it’s Killer Queen. Give Lambert props as he doesn’t try and copy Freddie instead Adam does what he does and that delivers some stellar vocals.  All in all an enjoyable listen and this would have placed a spot higher if “Dragon Attack” was on here!

#6- The Rolling Stones- Those old buzzards still like the rock n roll and give these guys credit as in a pandemic year they reissue “Goats Head Soap” and released on audio and DVD the massive “Steel Wheels” tour from 89. This is a full show from Atlantic City that features 27 tracks and a bunch of special guests in tow as well (Izzy, Axl, Clapton, and Hooker) Such a great setlist as well. 

 I remember reading the rock mags back in the late 80s, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot went on about there was no need for a live Leppard album. Umm ok, Joe how about a 3 pack of live albums that came out in 2020! 

#5- Def Leppard: Hysteria Live- This is a good live representation of Leppard playing song for song all the tracks from 88’s massive “Hysteria” release. Full props to the songs on Side 2 of Hysteria that weren’t singles that show some zip and pop as the band plows through stuff like “Run Riot” and “Don’t Shoot Shotgun”! I love that stuff.

#4- Def Leppard: Hits Vegas- The second live release which came out the same day as the “Hysteria” as the 02 album. The one thing that makes this one cool is the not to often played tracks like “Billy’s Got A Gun”,” Slang”, “Die Hard The Hunter”, and the epic “Paper Sun”.

#3- Def Leppard: The Early Years- Which has to be one the best ever live Lep shows recorded would be included in this massive box set. Pete Willis and the late great Steve Clark as young fella’s run and gun on this live set from Oxford(1980) and it’s so unbelievably brilliant. Kinda a shame really that Joe and the boys gave Pete the boot as if these guys could have stayed together they would be name-dropped in the same sentence as Adrian Smith/Dave Murray and KK Downing/Glenn Tipton. Willis/Clark were that good.

#2-Cheap Trick: Out To Get You Live 1977-  Crazy to think those funny Tricksters had this album sitting in the vaults since 77. Vaults no more as the world now has a chance to hear just how good these guys were back in time and how I proudly stated in my review of this album how this representation is better than the mighty Trick at the Budokan from 78!

#1-Iron Maiden: Nights of the Dead: Live Legacy of the Beast- Maiden delivers another live album and it’s stellar for the tracks that are on it. “Where Eagles Dare”, “Revelations”, and “Flight of the Icarus” give this album a must-listen. Bruce Dickinson as he always does gives it 110% vocally throughout and when Maiden launches into the two Blaze era Maiden tunes (“The Clansman” and “Sign of the Cross”) Bruce vocally makes them his own. I know lots of people moan and groan about another live Maiden album.

But…

Give your head a shake folk’s as there will come a day when Maiden ceases its operation and you numbnuts complainers will be crying!

I may do a third Best of 2020 list so stay tuned…

Thunder Bay Arena Rocks Top 10 Studio Albums 2020

Thank goodness for music. Here’s what I thought was cool in the year 2020. If anything check out some of my picks as you may find some stuff here that will make you wanna crank it to 11!

Here are my Top 10 Studio Albums/Songs for the year 2020!

Here We Go…

#10-Tbone: Lebrain Train– So my pal Tbone bored out of his noggin at “Castle Del Erickson” one night decided to monkey around with all the gadgets on his iPhone (Garageband) and recorded a theme song for Ladano’s Stream. Safe to say he has managed to do in 2 minutes that bands like “Poison” and “Warrant” have not been able to muster up since 1990 and that’s writing a catchy tune! Click the video above and by the way my favorite part of the video comes in at one minute and thirty-five-second mark.

#9-Trapper: Bye Bye Mon Cowboy/Illegal/Winterlong– Guitarist Sean Kelly continues to show his work ethic as not only does Sean play the 6 string in acts like Coney Hatch, Rough Trade but along with vocalist Emn Gryner and their band Trapper released a mini EP featuring a couple of French cover tunes (Illegal/Bye Bye Mon Cowboy) Not only that but Trapper a few weeks back also released an original tune called “Winterlong” that leaves us wanting a full on-length release of originals! Bring it on Sean!

#8-Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man– People bitch and moan about Ozzy using autotune and doing this and that but want do you want. No Ozzy records? People would complain about that. In saying that “Ordinary Man” is a decent spin. Some rockers, some ballads, and other than the last two songs which are not my deal it’s a good album. Kudos to Andrew Watts for co-writing and playing some good guitar.

#7-Kim Mitchell: The Big Fantasize– Kim well into his 60s has released a cool summertime chill-out record called “The Big Fantasize”. If you’re looking for “Lagar And Ale” type Kim rock keep on walking but if your willing to listen to a dude who has earned his right to do the rock he wants to do you may like what Akimbo is doing here!

#6-Whitesnake: The Rock Album- I’m not big on compilation albums but this one intrigued me as 10 of the 16 tracks featured I had never heard. So for that David Coverdale makes my list and it always helps when an album opens with John Sykes and his musical guitar muscle of “Still of the Night.” Plus the fact that there are zippo ballads on “The Rock Album” also helps the cause!

#5-Big Sugar: Eternity NowGordie Johnson released the long-awaited “Eternity Now” which went straight in at Number 1 on the iTunes sales charts. No mean feat as Big Sugar lays down the law on epic guitar tracks like “The Better It Gets” and Alex Lifeson makes an appearance on the title track. Gordie is one fine guitarist!

#4-Harem Scarem: Change The WorldPete and Harry do what they do best and that is delivering huge hard rock slabs of pure melodic metal. “Change The World” came out right before the world took a dump yet these guys stepped up with a batch of hard rock delight.  “The Death of Me is hands down one of my fav rock tracks of the year. Give this one a spin or a stream and tell Harry and Pete that dEke’s sent ya!

#3-Vandenberg:2020- Holy moly, Adrian Vandenberg enlists a great vocalist in Ronnie Romero, and between the two of them easily have made the list here as Vandenberg has rocked up a batch of great tracks. “Freight Train” is a bonafide winner and Adrian lays down the law on his guitar throughout the 2020 album. I’m glad he has rebooted Vandenberg. 

#2-AC/DC: Power Up– The world needed an AC/DC album and boy did they deliver. I can honestly say I can listen to “Power Up” front to back without skipping tracks. Angus was smart to bring the old crew back and they blasted out an album of what they do best. Power this album Up!

#1-Storm Force: Age of Fear- Patrick, Dennis, Mike, and Greg known as Storm Force put out the magnificent “Age of Fear” this past January, and then the world hit the skids. “Age of Fear” is my Number 1 for the year 2020 as this release is chock full of superb musicianship, soaring vocals, and crafty lyrics along with very solid production(Darius Szczepaniak). A top-notch release that covers all the bases of the Hard Rock spectrum.  If you goggle around on the web all the reviews have been stellar for this band so it’s not just me spouting off.  Check out “Age of Fear”  an appropriately named release if there ever was one in the year 2020!

Check Back Friday for my Top 10 Live Albums of 2020!