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!

Robert Plant: Pictures at Eleven (1982)

 

Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing a few Robert Plant solo albums along the way. Hope you all dig it..

The cool thing about Used Record Shops are when you walk into those kinds of places you have no idea or I have no idea what I’m looking for as you don’t know  what you will come across.

Case in point…

I had a week of holidays and since life is somewhat getting back to normal here in Thunder Bay I thought it may be time to hit local shop “Comix Plus” and see whats in the bins..

A few weeks back I reviewed Robert Plant’s “Knebworth” release and in those used bins was the first three Robert Plant solo releases starting with “Pictures at Eleven” .

The lightbulb in my noggin went off…

I already own Plant’s stellar 1988 release “Now And Zen” and before my eyeballs were Roberts previous three solo albums there for the taking the used record bins.

So I took!

Why not finish off my Plant vinyl collection with one stop shopping!

Bought all three (the other two being  ’83’s Principle of Moments and ’85’s Shaken N Stirred) which are in great shape and along with a copy of Cheap Tricks ‘All Shook Up’ I was out the door with said purchases in hand.

I have to admit I originally bought “Pictures At Eleven” back upon its release almost four decades ago.  At the time I was 15 and upon first hearing Led Zeppelin around that time I was expecting a huge bombastic rock sound from Plant as that what Zep was known for right?

Instead what I heard was not too much bombastic rock on the albums eight songs which is  no fault of Roberts as he wanted to distance himself from the sonic fury and musical chops of Zeppelin.

After all he was going solo…

In 1982 I didn’t get it but now a revisit and another go round with “Pictures At Eleven” in 2021 I get it.

First of all Robert put together a studio/live band that pretty much stayed together for the first three solo Plant records.

Robert Plant – Lead Vocals, Harmonica
Robbie Blunt – Guitars
Jezz Woodroffe – Keyboards
Paul Martinez – Bass
Phil Collins – Drums

Yup! That Phil Collins who drums on six of the albums eight tracks and the two that Phil isn’t on the late very great Cozy Powell drummed on the other two. (more on that shortly).

Even though its Roberts band and his deal all the songs are a collaberative effort as Blunt basically is the the co writer on all the tracks. In case you’re wondering Collins is just the drummer on this album and Phil plays some great drums.

With Plant producing (along with Benji LeFerve and Pat Moran) you know the sonics would be great on this album as listen to those drums courtesy of Bonzo(RIP) on the Zep albums. Safe to say Robert picked up a trick or three of studio wizardry along the way.

“Burning Down One Side” opens the album and basically could have fit on Zeppelin’s final album “In Through The Out Door”. From there some songs go into a different territory for Robert like “Pledge Pin” which has a different vibe but some nice drumming by Phil and a sax solo to boot!

Guitarist Robbie Blunt became Plant’s new songwriting partner and together they cook up a pretty cool batch of tunes overall.

“Moonlight In Samosa” is a whole different feel almost ballad like but if Roberts footing the bill for this whole shebang I guess he can do as he pleases.

One thing I notice all theses years later is that Pictures At Eleven is an atmospheric record. No two songs sound alike and if you look at the song lengths many of them are pushing the five minute mark.

One tune that pushes the eight minute mark is the closet to Zep sounding track on here which is “Slow Dancer”. The drums are huge sounding and you have Powell to thank for that as he lays back but provides a huge sound. Just listen to those bass drums. Dude was a monster on the kit.

Not to be outdone Collins and Blunt hook up on the tune “Worse Than Detroit” where Robert even pulls out the harp as the song goes off into a jam at one point.

Cozy returns for “Like I Never Been Gone” which is another ballad like tune but Cozy as you know can lay down some huge drum sounds even on the slower tracks.

In the big picture of things this is a pretty good debut record from Plant.  Such a great listen and to my ol rocked out ears it doesn’t sound dated!

So there ya have it folk’s, 2021 and I have seen the light and it only took 39 years!

Give Robert credit though as his best friend (Bonzo) passed away in September 1980 yet Plant kept his feet moving in by putting together a new band and releasing a pretty decent debut in “Pictures At Eleven.”

KISS: OFF THE SOUNDBOARD:TOKYO 2001

I have to say that as a fan, Mean Gene and Starchild can frustrate me at times with all the silliness that they try and sell us diehards.

KISS though has done the right thing and have issued what hopefully will become a series of shows recorded directly off the soundboard that are now available to us domestically instead of buying bootlegs at inflated prices.

KISS Tokyo 2001 is just that. A killer live show. 21 songs the full meal deal and if you’re wondering, Paul Stanley’s voice is spot on throughout the show.

Now you could say do we need another KISS live album? Yup I say as if its going to be done in a bootleg style and features the full show than I’m onboard.

The real charm for me is four things..

1- This album features the short lived lineup of Stanley-Simmons- Frehley and Singer.

2- No “Beth”

3- Some rarely played songs like Ace’s “Talk To Me” and the Stanley’s solo version of “I Still Love You” are a couple of tracks you wouldn’t expect to hear.

4- Ace playing guitar on songs like “Heaven’s On Fire”, “I Love It Loud” and “Lick It Up” that the Spaceman was not originally on!

I could go on and talk about all the other tracks but thats why you have guys like Ladano and Snowman around. I let those boy’s do the heavy lifting and I take the easy way out!

Sure you get all the hits as well as you can see below by the track listing but it’s those little things that I mentioned above that make this soundboard recording one excellent spin.

I really hope at some point that KISS release other soundboard shows as I think Eric Carr should get his due with an official KISS live release.

MOTORHEAD: ACE OF SPADES(1980)

Sometimes the Mailman will drop off something other than bills and just recently that was the case when a package showed up to my door from my very good friend MR.1537, who graciously gifted me with not one, but two great albums. (The second album will be featured at some point but for now I’m keeping it under wraps)

Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” is one of the all time great records which I have always read about but never ever owned until that very day I cracked open that parcel from jolly old England.

I will be the first to admit my Motorhead collection is patchy at best. I bought the classic No Sleep Til Hammersmith back in late 1981 and was taken aback by the sound and fury originating from Lemmy, Phil and Fast Eddie.

It felt like someone was hitting me over the head at the time with a brick. Powerful, and up to that point a sound I had not heard.

Fast forward to 2021…

So here we are 41 years later(yikes) and I finally got a copy. First things first how about that cover? The three Motorheader’s looking like they’re going to hit your town, drink everything in sight and steal your woman before going out the back door.

That is an iconic shot if any.

The 12 tracks lift off right out of the gate as the opener “Ace of Spades” proves. Quick tempo and a full fist to the face as Lemmy sings those iconic lyrics..

You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools
But that’s the way I like it baby
I don’t wanna live for ever

Yup we get it 100% Lem.

This album is ferocious in its pace as the album clocks in at around 36 minutes.

Look at those song titles! Those in itself are bad and one of my all time fav tracks from these guys is the iconic “We Are The Road Crew”. Love the every day living that those fella’s have to deal with in getting a show from town to town and Lemmy with his lyrics brilliantly captures that vibe.

The fact that they play at a rip snorting speed (ahem) helps that they keep the track’s generally between two to four minutes in length. That was probably due to the fact that they could blast through a tune and fuel up some more party treats before launching into the next song.

I have to add the production by Vic Maile dials it in perfectly in the studio. I’m surprised the man still had hearing left after this blitzkrieg of sound and fury coming at him from all angles!

It’s a shame that all that were involved with the making of this album have passed on but what an album that packs a punch to the throat.

Thanks Joe!

DOKKEN:DYSFUNCTIONAL(1995)

In the world of Dokken is there a better title for a comeback release calling itself “Dysfunctional” considering the mess of drugs/egos and whatever else tore this band apart and broke them up at the tail end of 1988?

Didn’t think so.

But in 1995 mired in musical quicksand from a genre (80s) that many had moved on from Dokken returned with the classic lineup of Lynch/Dokken/Pilson and Brown. I have to say they released one fine album that maybe be right up there at times as one my favourite output of Dokken’s.

“Inside Looking Out” leads off and has a mixture of perhaps a current sound of the time with the best of the 80s vocally during the chorus.

See thats the thing with this album. Dokken attempted to change and go with the current flow of music yet still keep their sound from the decade before as tracks like “Hole In My Head”, “Shadows of Life”, “Lesser of Two Evils” prove.

What broke Dokken wide open back in 84 was the power ballad “Alone Again” and on this release Don and the boys don’t forget what put the butter on their toast as “Nothing Left To Say” and the trippy “Sweet Chains”.

“From The Beginning” (ELP cover) has a cool vibe about it with the acoustics and such but it’s the quick little hit of the electric guitar solo from George Lynch that takes the song to the next level.

For me the three best tracks on here are “The Maze”, “Too High To Fly” and “Long Way From Home” which are classic Dokken but as I wrote earlier a sound that was retro yet current.

“The Maze” is like if The Beatles were cranked up on Roids and Red Bull and had Lynch on guitar. What a fantastic chorus!

Speaking of George the guy soars on the six string like the boss he is on this album. But you already know that!

“Too High To Fly” begins chills and builds and builds as Dokken shows its musically muscle by flexing some serious playing. Bassist Jeff Pilson has to get some credit as his backing vocals are cranked right up there with Don’s lead vocals and for this style of rock it fits like a glove!

“Long Way Home” is for me the best of what the band brings to the table as George opens the song up riffing like a lunatic while Pilson and Brown join in the fun. Killer pre chorus and the chorus is Gold.

It’s as if the mid 90s Dokken had to prove that they could go outside the box musically at times which they did and show the world that they could mix up with tempo changes with some stellar playing. In other words chops!

“Dysfunctional” did alright as it debuted on the Billboard Charts at #47 back in 95 which was an impressive chart debut in the midst of a whole different climate musically yet those ugly old issues crept up in the band. After a dismal effort with the next record Shadowlife (1997) Don and George got all pissy with each other again and that was that for many a year…

People though dug this record and it was eventually certified Gold in 2015!

deke’s Stream O Rater Score….9/10

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…