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!

The Rolling Stones: Steel Wheels Live (2020)

I really wasn’t going to review this but I got the Snowman to thank as at his site every Friday he posts that week’s New Releases which trust me is a valuable read as I check out what John has posted before I head to the iTunes site to see what has dropped that week.

By the way here’s John’s site below. Give this link a click and a follow.. https://2loud2oldmusic.com/2020/09/25/friday-new-releases-september-25-2020/

It was in John’s comments(at his site)  this past Friday when someone remarked that this Stones release featured a killer set list.

The Snowman commented with,

“Yeah, it looks pretty great. I am sure Deke will have a review up by Monday!! Ha!!”

Well, how could I not review it now and post it today which is ironically Monday!

You have to hand it to Mick, Keef, Charlie and Ronnie as they have been busy releasing product during this crazy time. We all know what I mean by the “crazy time” comment correct?

The Stones dropped the single “Living In A Ghost Town” back in April 2020. At the tail end of August 2020, they dropped a deluxe version of there 1973 classic “Goats Head Soup” which is a phenomenal listen especially the live show (Brussels Affair 73) which is tacked on at the end.

And now at the end of September 2020 comes this wicked awesome live release which was recorded on the last date of the massive “Steel Wheels Tour” back in December 1989. Check out that setlist below.

Intro
“Start Me Up”
“Bitch”
“Sad Sad Sad”
“Undercover of the Night”
“Harlem Shuffle”
“Tumbling Dice”
“Miss You”
“Terrifying”
“Ruby Tuesday”
“Salt of the Earth” (featuring Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin)
“Rock and a Hard Place”
“Mixed Emotions”
“Honky Tonk Women”
“Midnight Rambler”

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
“Little Red Rooster” (featuring Eric Clapton)
“Boogie Chillen” (featuring Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker)
“Can’t Be Seen”
“Happy”
“Paint It Black”
“2,000 Light Years From Home”
“Sympathy for the Devil”
“Gimme Shelter”
“It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It)”
“Brown Sugar”
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

Ladies and Gents Bill Wyman on the Bass!

I still remember watching this show at the time at a friend’s place as his family had one of those huge satellite dishes at the time that looked more like some kind of NASA operation in his front yard. The Stones made this concert at the time available on PPV.

The Steel Wheels stage was massive! Jagger commanded that stage as if he owned it in which Mick did as the rest of the Stones and their sideman and backing vocalists kept the vibe going throughout the set.

So here we are 31 years later and here’s “Steel Wheels Atlantic City New Jersey”.

27 songs just over two and a half hours long and look at the setlist I posted above!

Look at the special guests that showed up. Axl N Izzy, Eric Clapton, and the late John Lee Hooker.

Just as the other big tour in 1989 which was Paul McCartney. The Stones as Paul did featured songs from there current release so they weren’t resting on there laurels so to speak.

“Steel Wheels” was the name of the studio album at the time which I liked and still do. Five songs from the album are featured as some other hits from the early 80s like “Harlem Shuffle” and “Undercover of the Night” are played.

A pretty wide cross-section of Stones material over the decades.

Listening to the audio of this show you really hear the crowd ramp up when the Stones count in “Ruby Tuesday”. (Love Keefs hacked out backing vocal on it)

One of the coolest tracks is “Salt of the Earth” when Mick tells the crowd that some guys came to New Jersey to get there “tattoos inked up.” Axl delivers a great vocal along with Mick and Keef. Such great stuff and what a stellar track.

Eric Clapton joining on “Little Red Rooster” is great as well as is “Boogie Chillin” with both Eric and John Lee Hooker jamming some old Chicago blues numbers.

Mick is great on this album. His vocals are superb( check out “Sympathy of the Devil”) and how about a shout out to Jaggers harmonica playing on tunes like “Miss You” and the fantastic jam blowout of “Midnight Rambler”!

What I actually enjoyed hearing are tunes like “Brown Sugar” and “Gimmie Shelter” and comparing these versions to the recent live versions on the “Goats Head Soup” edition.

“Gimmie Shelter” from the live 73 is very noticeable as there is no female backing singer and it’s really a wild listen as I always have known that tune as co vocalist lead track.

Give The Stones credit. They are the oldest band on the block but by the amount of productivity they are putting out currently they are still schooling all the other acts which speaks volume about work ethic!

 

 

Ace Frehley: Trouble Walkin'(1989)

 

Record Store Day I have never participated in, as here in my hometown our one record store (which is part of a chain which shall go nameless) SUCKS  at doing anything remotely cool with it.

The one time I did go down to that store (2018 I think it was) to check it they had like a lame 4 shelves tucked off to the side for RSD Titles. Not much to look at here folks just keep passing through.

Thanks for coming out!! Not!

The day was not a total waste as I did score 4 used albums at a second-hand shop and got to hang out with my daughter Lexie as well!

So that was a plus!

Fast forward to RSD Septemeber 2020. I didn’t even bother to go down to the mall but a few days before I noticed on Facecrack one of the record stores I follow from Montreal (Aux 33 Tours) that they were doing RSD but the catch was online only. They said if you show up to the store looking for RSD records not happening, all online.

Well, now I thought this was interesting. So at 1pm, all the RSD titles appeared on their website. I figured I came this far to login to the Aux 33 Tours site so what the hell…

Let’s Do This!

Click and …

My pic was Ace Frehley, with his 1989 release “Trouble Walkin” that in 2020 is the first time it would be issued on vinyl in 31 years!

I had heard good things from the blogging folk about” Trouble Walkin’.” I have never owned this album in any format so I guess it was about time right?

 

At the time though (89) there was so much music coming out some stuff fell by the wayside. Sure I saw this album in adds and in the stores but I still didn’t bite. My younger brother bought it and I borrowed his tape and listened to once I think.

Maybe I didn’t bite as I liked the Frehley’s Comet name and now it was just under the boss man Ace’s name.  They canned Tod Howarth which I also thought was a goofy move but someone had to take the fall from the poorly received “Second Sighting” from 88.

Who knows what really went down with “Second Sighting” but upon spinning this album Ace and his bandmates at the time John Reagan(Bass), Anton Fig (Drums), and Richie Scarlet(Rhythm Guitar and Vocals) tried to get back to that rockier side of the debut “Comet” from 1987.

While Ace himself did not factor as much as he should have on “Second Sighting” he makes up for it here by contributing seven songs all in co-writes with other people.

When Ace decides to kick back and crank it up he can produce some quality rock like the opener “Shot Full of Rock”. “Five Card Stud” is a good ripping tune. The title track “Trouble Walkin'” has a pretty decent pre-chorus leading into the chorus. 

 Ace’s guitar work is awesome as well which has never been questioned on any KISS or solo album as Frehley has always delivered the goods!

Look who showed up and sang backup on four tracks as well? The one and only Peter Criss!  

Skid Row was a big band at the time and they show up singing backgrounds on “Back To School” well Bach does as you can hear him plain as day.

How about another KISS connection and that was that both Ace and KISS had both “Hide Your Heart” on each of there albums from the same year!

Ok better yet how about two bands and two solo acts that released “Hide Your Heart” as a single in 1989!

Molly Hatchet was first out of the gate with the song  followed by Ace who released his version four days before KISS released the album that featured “Hide Your Heart”(Hot In The Shade) followed later in the year by Robin Beck who released it as well.

I guess the story goes that “Hide Your Heart” written by Paul Stanley/Holly Knight and Desmond Child was rejected for the KISS Crazy Nights in 87.

Better yet Bonnie Tyler released it in 1988 as a single.  So if you count that into the equation under a two-year span two bands and three solo artists released this song as a single! 

None of the 5 versions set the charts on fire butI’m sure Starchild raked in a bit of cash on “Hide Your Heart”.

Ace always had a knack of taking cover tunes and making them sound like his own (2,000 Man, New York Groove), and as well on this album Ace covers the Jeff Lynne song “Do Ya” which is a great version of the song. 

No Ace album could end without an instrumental and Trouble Walkin’ is no different as “Fractured III” tidy’s things up.

Considering up to RSD 2020 I really had no idea about ever getting around to getting this Ace album but I’m glad I did. Sure it was pricey but that’s what RSD is..Pricey! First RSD purchase ever so what the hell!

I like the layout and the spray-painted look of the vinyl and the music is pretty good as Ace was going for the rebound but as the album didn’t even crack the Billboard Top 100 in 89 I guess there was more Trouble Walkin’ for Ace ahead in the early ’90s as well until KISS came calling in 1995!

 

 

 

John5-Live Invasion(2020)

Never been big on guitar noodling albums. By that, I mean instrumental albums as the last one of those noodling albums I bought was Steve Vai’s “Passion And Warfare” back in 1990!

30 friggin years ago!

As many of you readers know John5 brought his arena-sized like show of props and gadgets which good friend Frank Loffredo booked into his club Crocks back in March 2019

What I witnessed along with my good pal Tbone was an all-out display of guitaring that night. We were both floored!

So it was a complete no brainer purchase for me as when John5 announced this release earlier this year that I would be on board with it.

Most of the songs on “Live Invasion” are from the album that John5 and the Creatures were plugging at the time which was his studio record called “Invasion”.

10 songs, 48 minutes of music which for me is perfect. When it comes to guitar-centered albums this is enough for me if I’m being honest about it. 

John5 is an amazing guitarist as he’s very diverse. Sure he can shred as evidenced in the opening number “Crank It/Living With Ghosts” which features a female voice to Crank it Motherfucker while John 5 lifts off. John5 can also chill the hell out like “Howdy” proves. An almost country like old school jam out. Think Roy Clark from Hee-Haw electrified! That’s what Howdy reminds me of.

“Cactus Flower” once again shows the diverse playing of John5. Nice clean sound emulating from his guitar. Almost bluesy like moments

“Constant Sorrow” begins with a nice slow drum intro and features more atmospheric like playing. 

This album shows what a diversified player John5 is. If it was all a million notes per minute I would be bored after 5 minutes!

Ian Ross(Bass) and Logan Miles Nix(Drums) aid John5 and these cats can play especially on tracks like “Zionks!” and “I am John5”. Tempo changes at a moment’s notice as its awesome when they go right into that classic power trio mode. 

“Midnight Mass” is just crazy off the hook shredding yet it doesn’t get silly as his guitar playing keeps me as listener interested. It’s amazing how quick this guy can play. Yet it doesn’t sound like a million mashed up notes.

I can say that one of my favorite highlights of the Invasion show that came to town was the “Medley” perfromed by these guys.

Medley is 12 minutes of classic tracks. The song begins with snippets of “Limelight” and “Fly By Night(Rush)” which goes right into Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The playing is flawless. Tons of bands are covered. Sabbath, Queen, KISS, The Knack, The Police, Marilyn Manson, Zombie, Pantera, Megadeth. So good and totally amazing.

When the John5 power trio in the medley goes from “Spoonman to Dr. Feelgood to Unchained” it’s friggin brilliant! 

“Live Invasion” ends with another cover tune (with vocals) and that’s “Take Your Whiskey Home” which comes from the mighty “Woman & Children First” record by Van Halen!

Joining John5 on “Take Your Whiskey Home” is Corey Taylor on vocals who pulls off a pretty good David Lee Roth like vocal. Fred Coury(Cinderella) is on the drums while VH legend Micheal Anthony snaps the driving bass line along with those classic background vocals. Such a cool cover tune. 

If it wasn’t for John5 showing up to Tbay I probably would have not picked this up on iTunes. But he did show up and blew our minds, so for that reason, this was a must-buy!

Hey, even John5 agrees with me! See pic below.

 

 

 

Cinderella: Long Cold Winter(1988)

 

“Long Cold Winter” hit the streets in May 1988 and holds the distinction of being the second-ever purchase of a newly released disc that I bought released straight onto CD, (Iron Maiden with “7th of a 7th Son” was the first in April/88).

Record Companies were starting to release the band’s new music on disc at the same time as vinyl/cassette tapes. For many of us, that got into the CD craze that year it was a win-win.

Tom Keifer put his nose to the grindstone and came up with another sure-fire winner in the form of Long Cold Winter.

The public thought so too as Long Cold Winter was the second straight album from Cinderella to go triple platinum as did the debut Night Songs did two years earlier.

Tom crafted a more serious style of hard rock in the tracks that make up the album starting with opener with “Bad Seamstress Blues” which has the sound of Tom on electric steel and you can hear the crackle of static on the vinyl as if it’s from the 1930s. Then within 30 seconds the thud of the bass drum kicks in and we’re off and running with “Fallin Apart At The Seams”.

LCW was 10 tracks deep with four of them singles( “Coming Home”, “The Last Mile”, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” and “Gypsy Road”)  of which I liked em all!

As great as the singles where it’s the non-singles where LCW really goes up that extra notch. “Second Wind” which ends Side 1 is a great rocker of a track and I swear to god that Keifer inner channels some Aerosmith as the last minute or two of Second Wind sounds really like the end of “Back In The Saddle”, That could just be me but it’s so friggin good you don’t want Keifer and crew to fade out.

One thing that also set Cinderella apart from the million other bands that came out at around the 1986 mark is they had chops. These cats could play. Keifer, we know all his talent but helping the cause was Jeff Labar(guitar), Eric Brittingham(bass) and Fred Coury.^

So if you want proof in playing. Side 2 starts with the title track (Long Cold Winter) which has the band playing some CinderBlues. The thing is they pull it off and it’s a great tune. Blues mashed up with a dash of a slower tempo.

If you think Side 2 would do downhill think again as “If You Don’t Like It” with some duper cranked up Bass drives the track. “Fire And Ice” has a sleaze rock like vibe, especially during its chorus. “Take Me Back” which is the last track on LCW just may be my favorite tune and how many tunes can you say that about at the end the album. “Take Me Back” gets you right at the start with the drums and cowbell. The chorus though is the money shot so catchy with the guitars slip n sliding along the sonic highway.

Even the cover is slick. I liked how they went with the winter like white vibe no image just the logo swirled in pink in which my daughter Lauren thought was pretty cool. I flipped over the cover of the four Cinderdudes dressed in black standing in the snow and showed her the picture. Lauren quipped to me that she liked the cover better(lol). I said I liked that back cover as no bands were doing back covers in the snow back then!

Kiefer though kicked it up a notch in the lyrical department on this album. While “Night Songs” featured those catchy late-night romp tracks like “Push, Push”, and “Shake Me” (which did their job mind you) Tom though took the songs that make up LCW and gave it a different spin.  In other words, Cinderella went serious but in doing so pulled it off at a time when many others were still riding the wave of cheesy like tunes.^^

I’ve been on the vinyl hunt for the first two Cinderella albums as I already mentioned in the Night Songs review from a few days ago. Can’t believe LCW is 32 years old! Can’t believe I finally got it on vinyl 32 years later!

Simply put get this album or stream it. Just crank it!

^-LCW and Night Songs Fred Coury did not drum on. I believe Night Songs was already finished when Fred joined and I think the late Andy Johns who produced the first two Cinderella albums decided to use Denny Carmassi and the late great Cozy Powell behind the kit on Long Cold Winter instead of Fred. By album three which was Heartbreak Station, it was all Fred on drums.

^^-I bought into the cheese at times in 88 and 89. D’Molls which was atrocious soaked me out a bunch of dough back then and there are few others but I’m not giving out names!

 

 

 

 

Cinderella: Night Songs(1986)

 

When you take a look back to 1986, you can see over the course of four Cinderella albums that main songwriter/guitarist and lead vocalist Tom Keifer delivered some top-notch material which at times over the years people focused more on the image on the debut album “Night Songs” than the songs that make us this classic record.

When I began my journey back in 2017 to start acquiring vinyl whether it was new (thanks to my daughters on buying me reissues) or used(my deal) I never saw any CInderella in the used bins. 

I kept my eye on Discogs of course but by the time you add in the cost of shipping and the fact that the album is used etc I could buy it new (on 180 gram) from Amazon at the same price.

That’s what I did with” Night Songs” and the followup “Long Cold Winter”. Bought em both, a little pricey but enough was enough! 

Back in 86, I purchased “Night Songs” on cassette. Never got around to purchasing it on CD funny enough so I think 34 years later it’s time for an upgrade don’t you think?

Tom Keifer wrote all the 10 tracks that make up “Night Songs”. The title track opens the album and what a fantastic song. A sludgy like pace which features some brilliant slide guitar and this song is I think is one of Keifer’s best-written tracks. It dictates whats to follow. 

I need a shot of gasoline
I hittin’ one sixteen
I get so hot I see steam
Forget the day, cause were gonna scream
Night songs
Howl into the light, singin’
Night songs
Makes the day right
Night songs
Raise your glass, take a bite
Night songs
 
 
My first glimpse of Cinderella came shortly after the album was released. We used to get 3 American TV channels at the time from Detroit and one of them was a hard rock tv show shown either Friday or Saturday nights and would feature videos and interviews of the bands coming through Detroit.
 
One of those bands featured was Cinderella with the debut single “Shake Me”. The video I guess you could say impacted me as Keifer had that Steve Tyler swagger down pat in that video. A great fun time video with a great guitar solo and a catchy chorus.
 
Keifer knew and still does know the fine art of crafting rock tracks. “Once Around The Ride” and “Back Home Again” are stellar tracks both rip n roar at a solid clip with tempo changes and some fantastic playing.
 
Speaking of which before Tom solidified the touring lineup of Cinderella which of course features Jeff Labar, Eric Brittingham, and Fred Coury. Some other players added their flair to the mix on Night Songs that being Barry Bennedaeta( who handles the lead guitar on three tracks) and Jody Cortez (who does all the drums on Night Songs).
 
Make no mistake though Mercury Records got behind this band as did fellow label mate Jon Bon Jovi (Jon sings backing vocals on two songs those being “Nuthin For Nuthin” and “In From The Outside”). As well as Andy Johns(Zep) was brought in to dial in the sonics. 
 
The key to breaking Night Songs was the road and back in 86 when you secured the opening slot on the biggest arena tour of the year that being Bon Jovi who were selling mega copies of “Slippery When Wet” it’s a win-win.
 
The winner in this was, of course, Cinderella who secured that opening slot playing in front of sold-out audiences night after night ad in doing so Jon and Richie Sambora appear in the “Nobody’s Fool” video which reached #13 on the Billboard Singles Chart as well as Night Songs got up to #3 on the album side of Billboard.
 
I always found it amusing that Night Songs gets lumped in the whole Hair Metal debate. Sure perhaps in some spots but overall the cover is more Hair Metal looking than the sounds inside. I often wondered if the front and back cover was just all black or green. What would people have said then?
 
When it comes to this record I tell people you need to listen with your ears don’t let the album cover dictate the end result.
 
Sure you could say that JBJ had helped make no mistake though as Tom Keifer was on a mission back then and had the talent himself to be successful.
 
“Night Songs” proves that.
 
Coming Up…
 
“Long Cold Winter”
 

 

AEROSMITH: Permanent Vacation (1987)

 

Aerosmith, as we all know, hit the gold mine when Permanent Vacation came out and eventually went 5 times Platinum in both Canada and the U.S.

That’s some serious albums sold and some serious cash being made.

Aero as we all know released Done With Mirrors which did not set the world on fire in terms of sales in 1985. In mine and Tbone’s world, it did set our world on fire. I have raved on about this album forever and a day(I even told Joe Perry that back in 2003 to his face) so I’m not going there. We all know that deal.

Geffen Records did not feel any love towards DWM’s so come 1987 after Aero sobered up it was onto a new album and Geffen wasn’t fooling around. John David Kalodner wanted outside writers so what were Joe Perry and Steve Tyler supposed to do?

They had to adapt to that change. Bring in the outsider writers (Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, and Holly Knight), Bring in a new producer (Bruce Fairbairn along with Mike Fraser and Bob Rock), and in doing so keep the suits at Geffen off there backs.^

It worked not only by the number of albums sold but by the fact that I still hear quite often on local crap radio the three singles that dropped from Permanent Vacation 33 years ago.

It’s kind of funny when I look at the Aero era at Geffen as opposed to the Columbia Records era of when Aerosmith was on that label from 1973-1982. The 1970’s era of Aerosmith I don’t have to tell you came out with some unbelievable classic studio albums (Aerosmith, Toys In The Attic, Rocks, Night In The Ruts, Get Your Wings, Draw The Line, Rock In A Hard Place and Live Bootleg).

Drugs were good for Aero in that Columba records era as classic song after classic song came out of these albums. Creativity is in full bloom but then addiction reared its ugly head and the band splinters with Perry at the end of 79 over spilled milk!

After the druggie cool garage rock sound of Done With Mirrors which was the Geffen debut of Aerosmith, it was time for a change.

Change at times is good but even though Aerosmith streamlined there sound on Permanent Vacation they still delivered the goods lyrically and musically.

Permanent Vacation opens with “Hearts Done Time” which is a great opener. The production is slick sounding no doubt about it but Aero retains the swagger that groove they are known for.  What’s very noticeable on this album that Joey Kramers Drums and Tom Hamiltons Bass are cranked up! That’s a good thing.

The singles of course drove the album up the charts that being “Rag Doll”, “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Angel”, are still staples today on all classic rock formats in 2020.

“Dude Looks like A Lady” has that classic Aero shuffle and along with the added actual real horns on the studio. Dude is still a great tune. Desmond Child earned his writing credit on this song along with Tyler and Perry.

“Angel” is Aero playing the late 80s power ballad game. “Angel” written by Tyler along with Child went to Number 3 on the singles chart. Angel is an ok song. When it comes to Aeroballads there are way better ones out there( Dream On!!!) but I get it. Aero had to play the game and at times we have all had to play the game!

“Magic Touch” I always liked as well. How about that chorus which is the money shot.  Such a brilliantly written tune by Perry-Tyler-Vallance.

When I mention Aero grooves how about “Rag Doll”? Joe Perry plays that steel guitar on this track like he’s boss. Joey Kramer keeps the AeroTrain on the tracks with the drums. Another tune that features real horns and those cannot be beaten. Tyler though sings a real cool vocal as well. Over the years though Tyler has ragged on about how along with Jim Vallance and Joe Perry they had 99% of the song finished but it was called “Rag Time”. John Kalodner did not like Rag Time as a title. So John brought in another co-writer named Holly Knight and her contribution was to rename the song from “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll” and in doing so got a full writing share and credit for the track. That drove Steve-o bonkers!

I think of all the singles “Rag Doll” is my fav. Give Holly credit Steven as Rag Time doesn’t sound as smooth.

The outside writers as you gather by now played a huge hand on this record.

7 of the album’s tracks had a helping hand in the creation of this record. 

Now in saying that “Hangman Jury” wrote by Tyler/Perry and Vallance is such a stellar track. Love that harmonica that Steve plays and Joe with that acoustic intro and so cool how the song slowly builds up. 

whoa boy, dontcha line the track-a-lack-a”

Aero though had a few of there own on as in the brilliant “St John” was written by Steve and “Girl Keeps Coming Apart” written by Tyler/Perry has that that Aeroswagger but in a late 80s kind of way.

The real gem though on this record is the Brad Whitford/Steven Tyler composition of the title track. “Permanent Vacation” is Aero at its finest. Brad lays down an opening brilliant riff and what a fucking great solo Whitford dials up in the song. Lyrically Tyler is on his A-game here. Fairbairn with his fantastic production (how about that airplane whizzing by sonically at the start) delivers the goods. 

Wowzers! I can’t believe Aero does not play this tune anymore!! C’mon guys at some point bring it back!

“I’m Down” is a cover tune written originally by two fellows whose last names are Lennon/McCartney. Aero does an ass-kicker version of this tune and come to think of when they did cover tunes(Dream On, Train Kept A Rollin, Think About It, Big 10 Inch Record, Remember Walking In The Sand) they made them sound like there own. 

An instrumental moody tune called “The Movie”(written by the whole band) ends the album. A so so track at best.

In the fall of 87, the chips were down on Aerosmith but by putting aside their egos and collaborating with others as well as adding a new production team Permanent Vacation brought back a band pretty much on life support to a band that was at the top for the next bunch of years.

^- In the Ted Templeman book, Ted explains that he was set to produce the followup to Done With Mirrors(which Ted produced) but declined it as Ted was supposed to produce David Lee Roths followup to Eat Em And Smile but when it came time to start on Dave’s album. Roth fired Ted as Dave wanted to do it himself( Roth did with Steve Vai which became Skyscraper). Ted was pissed as he gave up a million bucks as he lost out on the Aero job. Ted figured Dave didn’t want him producing the competition so to speak.

Who knows what the truth is what but it makes for a cool read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scorpions: Crazy World (1990)

 

Once again I have to thank one of my daughters who got me this classic on vinyl by the Scorpions.

Lauren, as you may remember from one of my earlier posts a few weeks back got me KISS Revenge for Father’s Day! On that same order from Amazon was Crazy World by the Scorpions.

While I got Revenge in a week from Amazon.ca, Crazy World took a little longer as it was coming from California! Amazon pulled a fast one as they said they had it in stock and as a Prime Member they said it was free shipping.

Umm yeah in stock in another country! Still though If I had picked up on that I would have probably picked something else as the order was already placed and besides Laurnie was doing if for me as I didn’t want her to go through the hassle!

Crazy World was set to arrive between July 15th and August 15th and guess what it came on July 15th so all good. 

To make a long story longer its good at times to wait on things and in this case I’m glad I did!

When the Scorps released Crazy World back in 1990 I pretty much purchased it right away on CD as that was my choice of purchasing tunes back in 1990.

I always liked this album but for some reason, I kinda at times forget about this album being that good.

See for me you can’t go wrong with Blackout, Love At First Sting, World Wide Live. That 1982-85 period of the Scorps can’t be beaten. Stellar stuff.

Then in 88 when Savage Amusement was released I bought that one right away and I was not amused. It wasn’t a solid album.

Come 1990 when Crazy World came out I was back on board for a bit anyway.

Hearing this 30 years after its initial release on vinyl sounds awesome! Whoever did what to tweak the Bass and bring it up in the mix was a brilliant move. 

11 songs of German Rock with a solid dose of Canadiana added and that was the addition of Jim Vallance who we all know co-wrote all those Bryan Adams tunes as well as Aerosmith, KISS and a few dozen other acts.

Vallance is the key ingredient on Crazy World. Jim had a helping hand in 7 of the 11 tracks whether it is lyrically or musically.

Such a smart move by the Scorps to bring in another writer and Vallance delivers in spades. Crazy World is basically a Bryan Adams record on steroids at times.

The performance of the Scorps is wicked as well. Matthias Jabs burns his fretboard with some sizzling solos. Jabs is one of the best that is so underrated. Case in point check out Jabs flinging quick lightning bolts of riffs on Hit Between The Eyes or the slide guitar and return of the talk box on Money and Fame.

Give the man his due! He’s friggin brilliant!

Klaus Meine as well delivers some great vocals as well throughout the album. Rudy Schenker handles the guitar solos on the slower tracks while Jabs delivers the goods on the fast stuff. Francais Bucholz and Herman Rarebell drive the Bass and Drums respectively and effectively keep the Scorps train on the tracks!

Lately, Winds of Change has taken a life of its own 30 years later as someone claims the C.I.A wrote it.  Here’s the link below…

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/may/15/wind-of-change-did-the-cia-write-the-cold-wars-biggest-anthem

Crazy World huh?

 The title track itself is brilliant. I love the guitars on this song with the vocals. Such a killer tune and how about these lyrics in the song which seem kind of fitting considering whats going on.

I get up in the morning
For my dose of the news
Crawl right back in the sack girl
Had enough of the truth

Spend your dollars and rubles
Buy a piece of the wall
Build it up in your backyard
I’m so sick of it all
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Drivin’ down to the city
Doin’ 155
Better late than never
I’m more dead than alive

We can find the Titanic
Put a man on the moon
But we can’t fix our backyard
Man, we better start soon
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Ooh, it’s a crazy world

Did these guys have a crystal ball back in 90?

Now for all the seriousness of a couple of songs including the ballads the Scorps still at times could get silly with a tune like Kicks After Six

Good girls get their kicks after six
Good girls get their kicks after six
(She needs it bad, real real bad)
She wants what she never had
All the things that make a good girl bad
She gets her kicks after six

Crazy World is one fine listen. Some serious issues are tackled while there is some fun spread throughout.

That’s what this Crazy World needs right now. Some Fun!

Crank this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judas Priest: Priest Live (1987)

 

One of the forgotten double live albums that not to many people talk about much but should is Priest Live from those Masters of Metal, Judas Priest.

First of all, I have to thank my daughter Kylee for Priest Live as gift from her to me for Father’s Day!

Priest Live was recorded in Dallas and Atlanta back in June of 1986 when Priest was still big business in the arenas of North America.

The guys were touring in support of the classic Turbo album that marked a shift in musical direction which on Turbo somewhat divided the fan base.  I admit I was one of em as at the time I thought Turbo was ok. When I found it used on vinyl back in 2018 I liked it more for some reason maybe as back in 86 there was so much hard rock coming out it was tough to give everything a fair listen if it didn’t grab you by the throat right off the bat.

Turbo was one of those albums.

So when Priest Live hit the streets in May 1987 I scooped it up quick and why wouldn’t I? 

Double live album along with a gatefold! Win-Win. The song selection is decent enough as well featuring 5 selections from the current Turbo album from that tour.

Rob Halford brings his A-game on this album and is stellar throughout. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing prove without a doubt that in 1987 they are only second to  Adrian Smith and Dave Murray in the best co-lead guitarists in my book.

Ian Hill thumps the bass along while drummers Dave Holland and Jonathan Valen keep the Priest ship steady behind the drums

Out In The Cold as an opener was in 86 a ballsy move as it fringes more the ballad side of Priest but the sound that emulates from the 6 dudes is a huge wall of sound. 

SATURDAY NIGHT AND THE PRIEST IS BACK!!!! bellows Halford as JP tears into Heading Out To The Highway.

Priest Live is basically a Greatest Hits live album focusing squarely on the 1980 to 1986 era of the band which undoubtedly is where Rob and the boys sold the most records in North America that is.

Lots of highlights on this album for me. The already mentioned Heading Out To The Highway, The Sentinel, Electric Eye, and Freewheel Burning are solid winners in my book.

Turbo (the album) is featured predominantly and of course, it would be as they were plugging this album from town to town back in the summer of 86. Five songs are featured on Priest Live. The tempos are quicker(than the studio versions) as Priest gets on with the new stuff.

Private Property is a great track. Nice use of the guitar synth on that one as is of course the immortal Turbo Lover. Rock You Around The World sizzles with some lead guitar work from Tipton. Even, when things get almost poppy-like with Parental Guidance there, is more of punch to it live than studio which suits me fine!

This is a great spin as the hits are played(well Priest hits that is) and that was what Rob/KK and Glenn were trying to do in the 80s. Write catchy hooky riffs of Metal to try and get something to stick on MTV while keeping the diehards happy. 

The only real knock I have on this album is the packaging is well…dull. No tour info, no pics just the gatefold picture. I will admit the copper use of color is kind of neat but this could have been so much better.

Iron Maiden set the bar way too high in how they packaged Live After Death back in 1985. No one has come close since then or after that.

But…

Packaging issues aside Priest delivers with the music and in the end, that’s all that matters.

RUSH- Hold Your Fire (1987)

When RUSH dropped onto our laps Hold Your Fire in August 1987 I bought this on cassette tape. I never did get it on CD in the late 80s. I didn’t even buy it when the RUSH Remasters came out on disc again in the mid-90s. 

Why I have no idea but just a few weeks back a pal of mine was selling some records and…

Whoa… Hold Your Fire was in the mix of a 4 pack of vinyl I picked up that day. Even before Neils death a few months back you never really see RUSH albums in any kind of used bin. Sure you can buy RUSH vinyl on Amazon but it’s a little pricey so when I see used RUSH it’s a quick pay in cash and dash!

Hold Your Fire has the boys hooking up with Peter Collins once again and Collins delivers an album that sounds crisp n clean especially in the guitars of Alex. 

Hardcore fans go on about Geddy and his pyramid of keyboards washing out Lifeson’s fretwork on these mid-80s albums but I really don’t buy into that silliness at all. Sure there are synths and keys all over this record but so what as it all fits into place. 

Force 10 leads off the album and is a great track and can be heard on many a live RUSH album after 87. It’s a great opener and lyrically and musically its all there for the taking.

Time Stand Still is a great track as well that features Aimme Mann^ on co-lead vocals with Geddy on the chorus and it’s amazing that this song works.  Neil is amazing on this tune especially the pre-chorus as he’s all over the place on his drums as he is indeed The Professor.

 

Prime Mover has to be my fav off of this album and one of my all-time Top 10 RUSH tracks. Geddy’s Bass pops along this track and what a stellar chorus.  I really hope when reissue time of the Show of Hands comes they include the live version of Prime Mover as it was included on the VHS copy not the audio portion of the Show of Hands double live album.

Flip over to Side 2 and there’s a pretty cool triple pack of Rush tunes that come right out of the gate. Lock And Key, Mission, and Turn The Page are good rock songs. 

I guess for the Hardcore 70’s fans Tai Shan would be the oddball track on here as for sure its a keyboard and percussion-driven tune. Lifeson indeed is buried on this track but I’m sure he is in there somewhere.  Tai Shan, I can listen to but let’s be honest folks I don’t see this one being on too many playlists. Still though not enough to make me pick up the needle and skip it. So I guess that’s saying something there right?

Closing track High Water is an interesting song as well. Lots of Geddy and Neil to start with but the guitars of Alex do pick up as the song moves forward. Alex’s solo is pretty damn fine on this song as Geddy pops along underneath Alex. That’s the stuff I like as come time for the guitar solo they can still strip it back to the 3 piece act that they are known for.

Hold Your Fire was a great revisit and I can honestly say I’m glad a got it on vinyl.

When I listen to RUSH stuff from the 80s you can really appreciate how far they had come as RUSH was a different animal back in the 70s yet they kept doing what they do and that is, keep putting out stellar records and touring arenas. 

^-Mann said that she got paid $2000 for showing up for an afternoons work in Toronto and got to hang out with Rush for the day. 

Trapper: ILLEGAL/ Bye Bye Mon Cowboy (2020)

What could be a better way than to start a new work week than do a Double Trapper Review with the one and only Mikey Ladano! Click the link below for a great read!

REVIEW: Trapper – “Illégal” / “Bye bye mon cowboy” (2020 single)

 

Growing up in Northwestern Ontario I learned very on early at a young age about hunting and fishing as that’s a big recreational activity here around Thunder Bay. There are thousands of lakes and hundreds of miles of bush to hunt and fish in.

My Grandfather was a huge Hunter/Fisherman so much so he never called himself a hunter or fisherman. My Grandpa referred to himself as a Trapper!

Another kind of Trapper is the band that hails also from Ontario that was formed a few years back by Sean Kelly,  Tim Timleck, Jordan Kern, Emm, and Frank Gryner.

Trapper has steadily been gaining momentum for a few years now as they supported Def Leppard a few years back in Eastern Canada as well as the members of Trapper are very talented in there own right.

Sean Kelly is a monster on the  6 string! Sean, who not only in the past has fronted his own band Crash Kelly has also released a couple of classical albums as well having recorded and played with such acts and artists as Coney Hatch, Gilby Clarke, Helix, Lee Aaron, Alan Frew, and many others. Sean also wrote the classic book Metal On Ice that chronicles a ton of bands touring our fair country.

Emm Gryner fronts a 3 piece act Trent Severn as well Emm was part of David Bowie’s live backing band and has been a 3 time Juno nominated artist!

Frank Gryner is a talented videographer as Tony has made videos for Def Leppard and recently for Alice Cooper (Don’t Stop is the new Coop song and the video is brilliant by the way)

Tim Timleck has drummed for Carole Pope, Trent Severn, and others.

Talented Folks, I would add!

If you follow Trapper through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram you know that they have released a couple of Rockin new cover versions of some classic Québecois Rock from the 80s.

The first track is Illegal (originally done by Corbeau) which is a great song(wicked Bass guitar work as well) and features a stellar vocal by Gryner who if I was to compare Emm vocally to has that Benetar/Patty Symth vibe in her vocal. Kelly dials up a fantastic solo and this proves what a talented cat the man is and why so many acts/artists want to work with Sean. He is the real deal.

 

Bye Bye Mon Cowboy the second track starts with some driving cowbell courtesy of Tim Timleck who pushes the song forward with his fantastic drumming. This song has that late  80s early 90s Aerosmith feel by that I mean the use of horns in the chorus. Bye Bye Bye Mon Cowboy was a single by Canadian artist Mitsou as she was played lots on MuchMusic TV back in the day.

Kudos to Trapper for putting out two killer tracks yet issuing them both vocally in French!
Even though I don’t speak or understand French as a language the music here performed by Trapper has them speaking to me in the language that I’m familiar with and that’s …

ROCK!

You can buy these two tracks on iTunes for real cheap and it supports local talent!  Itunes also has the 5 song EP that Trapper released back in 2015 called Go For The Throat-EP.

I hope there is a full-length original Trapper album in the works from these folks!