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!

Triumph: Just A Game(1979)

 

Triumph made a ton of headway in the United States with 1979’s Just A Game release. Why wouldn’t it as Just A Game comes across at times as a mashup of Styx and Boston  sonically. No fault to Triumph though as you can only travel across Canada so many times without an overexposure  of yourselves and besides I’m sure the U.S is where you gonna make your dough!

Gil Moore/Rik Emmett/Mike Levine basically cooked up a bunch of  different styles of music on this album. From the dubbed in Arena Crowd opening of stellar track Movin On to end of the album closer Suitcase Blues Triumph displayed a knack of flexing a creative muscle.

The eight tracks on the album has Gil Moore penning 3 tracks while Emmett penned 5. Emmett though had the hand in crafting the singles as in Lay It On The Line as well as Hold On which you will still hear even today on rock radio! Rik though can flex his muscle on guitar in many different styles.

Case in point Rik  can rip it up on guitar like the Gil Moore driven American Girls. (talk about making in roads into the U.S with that title) or chill out with a ton of nice jazzy riffs like album closer Suitcase Blues!

One of the coolest tunes on here features Rik playing some total blues is a Gil composition called Young Enough To Cry where Rik looks outside the box on rock playing. It truly has some epic playing.

Triumph can still prog out as well as the title track proves. Just A Game starts off as if its finishing if that makes any sense. The song is a Proggy Delight…

The production of this album today still sounds awesome. Has that late 70’s fuzzy warm like vibe and that’s due to Bassist Mike Levine being the producer as Triumph between the writing of this album/production/album concept kept everything in-house!

This is a great album  in which Triumph would go on in a few short years  to release two of my fav’s in the catalogue of the Rock N Roll Machine that being Allied Forces (1981) and Thunder 7(1984).

Full props as well for the single album being a gatefold as well!

 

 

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Bryan Adams: Into The Fire(1987)

 

 

Hey Folks I’m taking a break for a wee bit. Kinda recharge the batteries and what not. I thought what better way than to peace out with some CanCon… 

Ok,so how do you follow-up a mega selling album from 1985 called Reckless? Well if your Bryan Adams you go in the exact opposite direction from it. Kinda that is!

Into The Fire dropped in 1987. People were snapping up copies right off the bat and why wouldn’t they? Tbone and myself were always real suckers for good old hard rock pop! Adams delivered on both fronts as not only could he deliver a batch of catchy cooked up Rock(co written with Jim Vallance). Bryan also had a killer band backing him.

Mickey Curry on drums and especially Keith Scott on guitar are still to this day phenomenal musicians who are still with Adams. Scott is a monster on guitar and always plays his solo’s in the less is more approach! Memorable after Memorable solo’s from Keith. I mean just with the Reckless album alone you can just think about how many solos are still stuck in your noggin from an album that was released 34 years ago!

So with the Stellar Adams band in tow Bryan gets a little more introspective with the lyrics on  this album.

10 songs make up Into The Fire and what a kickoff track with In The Heat of The Night which doesn’t come racing out of the gates but still gets the job done as Curry as he does on many of these tracks keeps the drums moving which in turn keeps the pace going.  Love Scotts guitar work on this one….

Into The Fire keeps the beat and grooving forward. Another straight head Adams Rock track. Victim of Love is the first kinda sorta ballad like  rock track that features some wicked guitar work at the end of the song by Scott.

Another Day has that uptempo like Adams groove where the keys and guitar lock in and Curry keeps the song clipping at a decent pace! Native Son is one of those songs that  has Bryan looking inward and outward on what is going on at the time.  The band really stretches out musically on this tune as it’s a 6 minute number and its great to see that Adams wasn’t looking for airplay on everything and playing the game!

Only The Strong Survive blasts off right off the hop and features a hard pop shuffle with Bryan and Scott’s slide guitar trading off after each line. Real great track and perhaps one of my fav’s of his! Rebel a song written about Tbone I’m sure. haha.  Adams eases of the gas pedal  somewhat and for a track that has a ton of piano in it I’m not annoyed by it!

Remembrance Day a salute to those fallen soldiers is a great track which has some nice Bass work, Adams sings the tale of the soldiers coming together to fight for us on Remembrance Day! Great track! Period!

Yup I will go on record and say that Hearts on Fire is one of my fav-o Adams tune. What a chorus! Easily one of those end of the album GEMS! Great vocal/ Great tempo and fantastic SOLO!

Home Again a nice tidy wrap-up for this record that ends the album on high. Dig the build up of the song into the chorus!

Sure this album did not sell mega like Reckless but still sold well (3 million plus!) But over time I have found new appreciation and liking  this album.

Give Bryan and his Band props. Instead of making Side’s 3 & 4 of Reckless they wrote and recorded an album that was a  little more serious yet still had a ton of catchy choruses and fine musicianship  to keep the party moving ….

On  a side note I have to say it was Tbone’s Brother Darr who when we did our Top 20 albums of all time Darr included Into The Fire which got my thinking on what a great call that was! So a few months back when I seen Reckless and Into The Fire sitting on the shelf at the local record shop it was a no brainer purchase!

Actually come to think of it Mr Books and Mr Stephen as well are big supporters of Into The Fire as well!

 

 

 

Rolling Stones: From The Vault-‘No Security’ (2018)

My first thought of this new live Rolling Stones album titled “From The Vault: ‘No Security’ was “What? Another Stones live album!”

Even though this was just released this past Friday(July 13th) It’s actually the final show(from San Jose) of their Bridges To Babylon Tour back in 1999! So that’s where the title of ‘Vault’ comes from as those silly old Stones have been sitting on this show  at Stones HQ’s for 19 years!

All I gotta say is after listening to it .”.What a great Freakin Show!”

Now Check out the 20 tracks that make up this album..

1. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
2. “Bitch”
3. “You Got Me Rocking”
4. “Respectable”
5. “Honky Tonk Woman”
6. “I Got the Blues”
7. “Saint of Me”
8. “Some Girls”
9. “Paint It Black”
10. “You Got the Silver”
11. “Before They Make Me Run”
12. “Out of Control”
13. “Route 66”
14. “Get Off of My Cloud”
15. “Midnight Rambler”
16. “Tumbling Dice”
17. “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”
18. “Start Me Up”
19. “Brown Sugar”
20. “Sympathy for the Devil”

This set list is Fantastic!  Real slick move featuring 3 tracks from the brilliant Some Girls album including the title track/ a ripping version of Respectable and better yet the classic Keef singing in his babbling style of the brilliant Booze/Pills and Powder inspired  Before They Make Me Run. 

I’m one of those whom actually enjoy the 90’s stuff that these guys put out. In saying that I dig 1994’s Voodoo Lounge and the already mentioned Bridges To Babylon.

Some of the 90’s tracks are featured like the real cool You Got Me Rocking/Saint of Me and the real slick Out of Control.

Give it up for Mick Jagger who always delivers it live and speaking of ‘You Got Me Rocking’ crank up the audio of the track below where you can hear Ronnie Woods slippery Slide guitar collide with Keef’s boozy drenched Rhythm pickings! Course Charlie Watts drives the Stones engine with that quick snare drum action. WICKED STUFF!

Brilliant Mick lyrics …

I was a hooker losing her looks
I was a writer can’t write another book
I was all dried up dying to get wet
I was a tycoon drowning in debt
Hey, hey you got me rocking now

I have to add that I like the fact that Satisfaction is not around on this album. Nothing personal Boy’s it’s just that song I have heard a zillion times…I’m good thanks….

Get off my Cloud! You kidding me? Now that’s one for m the vaults so to speak. Has there  ever been a live version of Midnight Rambler that is under 12 minutes? Haha! Seriously though that shuffle that drives the ‘Rambler” is 100 % Stones Swagger. I never get tired of the ‘Midnight Rambler”.

Course there are the familiar tracks but to play one of your biggest hits Honky Tonk Woman  fifth song in  goes to show you how deep the catalogue of these guys is!

The album wraps up with the brilliant ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Great way to end the night with a visit from the Devil!

A great live documentation of a Classic Band firing on all Cylinders!

Bon Jovi: Inside Out(2012)

 

Bon Jovi. Well they have become a kicking bag in my musical world on what was once a real decent slick Arena Act( 1984-1992) that has slowly over time have morphed into a Vegas Tribute Act.(present).

Inside Out is a iTunes only Live release(2012) which is kinda cool in a way to make guys like Ladano scoff at the no physical product tag! Maybe by now its available for them on CD  I dunno. The other cool thing is ..

It’s quite good…

AHHH…What?!!

1. Blood on Blood 6:18
2. Lost Highway 4:12
3. Born to Be My Baby 5:22
4. You Give Love a Bad Name 3:49
5. “Whole Lot of Leavin” 4:40
6. “Raise Your Hands” 4:58
7. “We Got It Going On” 4:52
8. Have a Nice Day 4:05
9. It’s My Life 4:02
10. I’ll Be There for You 7:18
11. We Weren’t Born to Follow 4:12
12. Wanted Dead or Alive 5:38
13. Livin’ on a Prayer 6:18
14. Keep the Faith

14 tracks recorded between 2008 and 2010 and I will go on record and say that this album is left unpolished which is a welcome relief and sounds pretty live.

Richie Sambora before  his caboose  came loose and went off the rails and left Jovi for good has his guitar jacked up along with his vocals as well. Jon Bon Jovi sings pretty decent on this cross-section of material which for the right reasons leaves most of their sappy ballad like stuff off of this album which is a welcome relief to my ears. (I’ll Be There For You is included and I tell ya what I never did mind this track musically. Lyrics are typical 80’s slop yet the first few bars of Sambora’s psychotic deranged blues riff is Genius!))

Even when Jovi went all Hee Haw Country Rock on that Lost Highway track and totally lost me forever the title track here is quite rocking!(Did I just type that?)..

Always dug Raise Your Hands which is a straight ahead no man’s thinking land kind of track but we all know that chorus!

From New York to Chicago
Raise your hands
From New Jersey to Tokyo
Raise your hands

Ok I will Raise Em!

The highlight for me on all of this is the track Keep The Faith. I just dig that opening Bass Line and this was of course Jovi experimenting with a new direction and sound on the Keep The Faith album and for me this album was a Winner! At a time when GrungeMania was sweeping North America and every single mid to late 80’s Hair Metal Act was getting buried under that Seattle Tsunami. Jon and Company revamped came back with Haircuts and a somewhat new Rock sound and viola Jovi still sold records and sold out shows whereas many, well pretty much everyone else(from the Hair Metal Genre) skidded into obscurity!

Keep The Faith has the trimmings of everything I like. As I already mentioned cool Bass Line tagged by some cool drums n percussion added by a real great chorus. GrandSlam solo by Sambora and well…..Winner Winner Gets Chicken Dinner!

Plus the fact that it was as a single 5 plus minute track not your typical Poison by the book 3 minute slop rock track. KTF renewed my Faith until well the next album!

Still though what a Track to end Inside Out with!

Don’t Let Your Love Turn To Hate…

I have zero tolerance to listen to any new recordings that may surface in 2018 from Bon Jovi. The only way I would consider buying  any new Jovi product is if Jonny Boy named his next studio record  “Jovi’s Boogie Board” **Than you can count me in!

**- All credit for what should be the title of the next Jovi record should be credited to fellow blogging  Pal Mr if Jon Bon Jingles comes across my scribblings!

Vandenberg: Alibi(1985)

So 1985 rolls around and the boys in Vandenberg release Alibi. In what may come as a bit of  a shocker!  I don’t take the bait and buy Alibi upon it’s release!

Considering how much I loved and still do the self titled debut. The followup(Heading For A Storm) as you all know now after Friday’s post was way to similar to the debut. Perhaps maybe that’s why I turned the other cheek.

Than again their was so much music coming out that I had to be selective so fast forward 33 years (2018) and viola I finally heard Alibi for the first time ever….!

Once again like the previous two Vandenberg albums. Guitarist Adrian Vandenberg does everything. Adrian wrote all the tunes as well as did the album cover. The only thing he didn’t do was produce Alibi as that job went to Japp Engermont.

Alibi was an intersting listen as the band Vandenberg has been broken up since  1985-86 so hearing this album long after all this time was interesting knowing the outcome.

The outcome being that Singer Bert Heerink was given the boot and the band lost its record deal and Adrian joined Whitesnake in 1987. The band known as  Vandenberg was kaput!

But Before all of this….

I will give Adrian credit as he shifted gears somewhat musically with Alibi. Gone was the sound of the first two albums. In its place was the mid 80’s hard rock sound. Dokken like perhaps in spots.

The album opens with a straight ahead rocker like tracks in All The Way and Pedal to the Metal. Adrian I will say when soloing in his own band with his own songs is a phenomenal player as he smokes the fretboard with a Schenker like style which has always appealed to me and not playing a zillion notes per millisecond like that Malmsteem character! Also what stands out are the backing vocals  which sound huge which to my ears was a first on a Vandenberg album as well.

Most of the album  follows that formula of straight ahead rock but a couple of the slower tracks that being Once In A Lifetime and How Long have more of that what Foreigner was selling back in the 1980’s. These two tracks are so so. Vandenberg grasping for another hit like Burning Heart did 3 years earlier.

Adrian though flexes his muscle yet again with a classical guitar piece called Prelude Mortal. In a real interesting move Alibi ends with the 5 minute instrumental titled Kamikaze.

HEY! WE MAY NOT BE SELLING RECORDS ANYMORE BUT WE LOOK SNAZZY IN OUR COOL SWAG THAT WE STOLE FROM TBONE!

Alibi was an ok to decent listen. Adrian had a ton of pressure I’m sure as he was the sole writer of all the material.  The sound being a polished Vandenberg album but then again maybe the band were in freak out mode as within 4 years and 3 albums being released it was all over for them!

 

Vandenberg: Heading For A Storm(1983)

 

You have to sometimes wonder what goes through a bands mind when there debut album sells well and then after a lengthy tour having to figure out a followup.

Pressure would come to my mind especially if your Adrian Vandenberg who is not only the Guitarist in the band named after him but also the sole composer of lyrics/music! While were at it why not add cover design and artwork that Adrian actually did on all three Vandenberg albums. I will add I like this album cover as it features a pretty cool looking colour format…

If you recall from one of my Impact Records post’s a few months back the debut self titled Vandenberg album(1982) walloped me outside the head when I first heard it. The album along with the songs/singing/musicianship was a total mindblower from these four dudes from Holland.

1983 and everyone wants the followup which I purchased right away on cassette tape(duh!) and quickly and eagerly put the tape into high rotation in my Walkman…..

Heading For A Storm is the followup to the debut and its a pretty good batch of Vandenberg tracks.  My main knock on this record today and from the time of my purchase point (1983) is that it runs way to close to the running order of the debut.

By that I mean both albums have 9 Songs. Each album have 4 songs on Side A. 5 songs are on Side 2 of both albums.  The Ballad  Track of the albums both fall on Side 1 Track 4. Same Producer(Stuart Epps & Adrian Vandenberg) Same sound of the debut almost a Sides 3 and 4 if this was a double album.  Actually the debut is just under 2 minutes shorter but I’m getting technical here!

Hey I’m not hammering these guys for it. I’m just pointing it out  as a few others did it as well how about ZZ Top following Eliminator with Afterburner?  There are others but I don’t want to get too far of the beaten path here!

Opening track Friday Night is a feel good stomper Vandenberg track and that’s what I always dug about this group as they were faraway as possible from Devil Worship as you could get. Its Friday Night let’s let it rip as Singer Bert Herrink would lead you to believe.

The best track for me on this album is the second song in and that’s Welcome to the Club. Drummer Jos Zoomer opens it with a real cool groove while Adrian scorches his fretboard come solo time. This was and still is a great track.

Different Worlds is the big ballad track and follows the formula of Burning Heart from the  debut. Classical Guitar action and big time ramp up on the chorus. Different Worlds is ok. Burning Heart is the better of the two! Can’t believe I just typed this about a Ballad!

Side 2 begins with another staring ahead fireball of a Vandenberg track and that would be This Is War. Kinda neat at some points when Adrian and the Fellow with the coolest Bass name ever Dick Kemper lock up and nail down some cool grooving etc..

The rest of Side 2 is decent enough.  Just plain old-fashioned hard rock.  The title track(Heading For A Storm) and the closing track(Waiting For The Night) are good songs especially Waiting For The Night which opens with Adrian and his classical guitar before giving way to double bass drums and a jacked up Gibson Guitar cranked through a Marshall Amp.

ANYBODY GOT ANY BRIGHT IDEAS HOW WE CAN BREAK INTO TBONE’S CLOSET FOR SOME NEW THREADS??

I came across this album a short while ago when myself and my daughter Lex were digging through bins at New Day Records and Heading for a Storm was for $5!

It was a good spin through this record again. I always thought about how if this was the debut would my thinking be different? Vandenberg I guess was hoping for some repeat success but Heading For A  Storm fell somewhat short and by the time the third record Alibi rolled around in 1985 times were a changing in the Vandenberg camp!

Speaking of Alibi when I scooped Heading For A Storm up I also picked up Alibi as well. Alibi I have never heard and will shortly delve into and you fine folks will get to read all about it! HAHA…

Stay Tuned!

Update- This Monday Alibi will be posted! That’s umm.. my Alibi!

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth(2012)

 

2012 brought out some great albums from Rush/The Cult/KISS/ZZ Top and wait for it…..

VAN HALEN with their first newly recorded written songs(kinda) with long-lost friend Mr David Lee Roth in 27 years!

Thats right ever since Roth rejoined Halen on their first reunion run back in 2007 it was only a matter of time before they had to get in the studio and  bash out an album…

Halen did something smart for a lot of this record as they had Wolf Van Halen(Bassist) sift through old unreleased VH demo’s and perhaps they would work up those tunes which they did in some instances.

Halen also enlisted John Shanks to produce. Shanks does a great job handling and perhaps babysitting/counselling as well as getting  the record finished!

Speaking of Shanks he is currently playing rhythm guitar in Bon Jovi. Why on earth does Jon Bon Pop Tart at this stage need a rhythm player? Why on earth is there an added percussionist as well. Bon Jovi is a Vegas Act live from the YouTube clips I’ve seen…

What A Joke Jovi has become but that’s a rant for another day! Back to the task at hand….

In January of 2012 the preorder of ADKOT appeared on iTunes  and I was all over it as with the preorder purchase you got lead off single and opening track Tattoo.  Upon hearing Tattoo for the first time It was ok. It really wasn’t what I was expecting. Tattoo was a rock track make no doubt about it but it was like Halen trying to grow up and perhaps show a little more of a serious angle to a band known a party guys! But DLR is back perhaps a rockier track would have helped the album more in the long run!

Tattoo to be totally honest with you all had me a little concerned with it being the opening song on the album would this be the tune that set’s the table for the remaining 12 tracks?

Thankfully No….Second track She’s The Woman goes right into old school like VH. Take a collective sigh of relief folks.. VH is back.

From there its a bunch of Rock with of course Guitarist Edward Van Halen playing like only he can. Ripping up the fretboard on ChinaTown laying off the gas on You and Your Blues. 

Things ramp up on Bullethead and As Is. VH showing that even though 3/4’s of the band is past age 50 when they want they can still flex that Mighty Halen Muscle whereas Honeybabysweetiedoll has Dave mush mouthing the lyrics as Ed wails all over the fretboard like no ones business.

One of my fav tracks is the Trouble With Never which sounds like vintage Halen especially during the solo as the drums and bass just let the guitar solo like its 1980 again. Plus right after Ed’s solo Dave goes into that deep monotone old creeper Uncle mode vocal before Ed’s guitar says “No More’ and things get back in order!

Outta Space sounds like the long-lost brother of Atomic Punk from the debut. A song that harkens back to yesteryear and has the band just playing fast and straight forward! Vintage Roth on this one!

With Halen on tour in late spring/early summer 2012 the record company dropped the ball on releasing Stay Frosty as a single(shame on the Suits!) It’s a feel good Halen ass kicker of a track. Hell you gotta love that picking at the start of this track and then it goes all bonkers in that Halen kinda way. A 2012 version of Ice Cream Man…(I posted the video of Stay Frosty at the top of the page!)

Love the heavy stomp of Big River and as per protocol Ed lifts this track off come solo time and that seems to be the current theme of this album.

Album closer Beat’s Workin  is a great ending to ADKOT. A jammed out tune that has a slick chorus to keep the song moving towards the finish line!

What can ya say about ADKOT? Considering it was the followup technically to the 1984 album from well 1984 ADKOT stands on its own merit. A real great hard slamming album and if you were to hear only two tracks that being  Tattoo and Blood and Fire  those two song’s don’t really represent  ADKOT as the album really ramps up after B-B-B-B-B-Bullethead!

Alex plays the drums great as you would expect and Ed just soars on this opus. Dave sings great and writes some cool lyrics. Course Dave’s voice sounds good as he could sing  a line or two and take a week off!(haha) Give Dave his due here. He showed up man….

Everyone goes on still about Micheal Anthony. Hey me too but Wolf plays wicked Bass on this and was a big factor in putting this record together and perhaps getting the three other guys on an album/tour cycle for a few years! Speaking of Wolf he’s currently working on a solo album which I will be interested to check out as I believe he’s recording  the whole thing himself. Kid has talent and we know why right? Still though cut him some slack and just be glad we got an album from Halen period!

Come back Friday for the review of the 2012 ADKOT Tour!

Until Than…..

STAY FROSTY My Friend’s!