I have always been a sucker for a cool cover and Robert Plants ’85 release “Shaken n Stirred” is one of those.
After skipping ’83s “Principle of Moments” outright that year come ’85 I actually bought “Shaken n Stirred” on cassette tape as I figured it would be a great wake up tape for the trusty Walkman when I was peddling to work at 6am everyday on my bike!
Once CDs became the rage I never sought this one out. It wasn’t of course until recently that as you know I ramped up my Rob collection of his solo stuff and decided to do a long overdue deep dive into the mans solo career.
Listening to Shaken n Stirred thirty six years later two things stand out to me.
1- Plant was trying to stay current with that overproduced rock sound of the day that was dominating the rock charts. He was not concerned whatsoever about maintaining any Zep influence on these albums by this point.
2- As a listener I can hear the direction on this albums sound with all the synth like action, crystal clear guitar and drums that he was headed into when he released ’88s brilliant (and I think Plant’s best) “Now And Zen” record.
I had caught the video of “Little By Little” on MuchMusic and being that I dug Roberts vocals (let’s face it, the man could sing the pages out of a history book and make it sound cool) I thought at the time I should take the plunge on tape which was cheaper than the vinyl. Cost cutting measures I was on back then.
I didn’t mind this album at the time and I like it more now as I can hear where Robert was headed as the ’80s rolled on.
Sure this album is laced with synth driven tunes. The guitars of Robbie Blunt shine throughout as his picking reminds me of Andy Summers of The Police at times.
Plant and band were always experimenting and this album continues that path. “Kallalou Kallalou” is one of those tracks as the synth and drums carry the track same as “Pink And Black”.
It’s so easy to judge in 2021 and for that matter even back in ’85 but Robert was on a mission and really at the end of the day he really didn’t give a shit what ya thought.
I’m sure the line of thinking was ‘You’re either with me or not” to keep changing with the times.
Now if you think the whole rock thing was ditched it was not. “Trouble Your Money” and “Pink and Black” are the rock tracks here but don’t think for a minute Zep like rock songs. Different vibe totally.
Some changes not many were made by solo album three. Phil Collins was busy at this time, so all the drums were done by Richie Hayward and Tim Palmer was brought into the production end of things as well.
Also of note this album has nine tracks not eight like the previous two and this would also be the final appearance of this band as Robert by the time 1988 rolled around had a whole new band in place.
Another big release that had just come out in my world in June 1985 was RATT with the followup to there 3 times platinum debut (Out of The Cellar) was “Invasion of Your Privacy”
I originally purchased this one on cassette tape so when I pedalled my bike to my summertime job I could crank up the RATT N ROLL so to say and plus it was a good pick me up when I was working that summer of ’85 with a starting time of 6 am!
The whole RATT team was brought back together again( Beau Hill once again was producing) and just like on the debut a supermodel was featured on the cover of the new album.
It worked as myself and Tbone grabbed this tape basically the day it dropped into the shelves of the local record shops. Like many we needed another hit of some sleaze ball L.A Rock and Stephen Pearcy and crew delivered.
Looking back on this album in 2021 I have to say it’s probably my favourite RATT album and I can honestly say I liked all of this bands output in the 80s. (even the patchy Reach For The Sky had some decent moments).
Where “Invasion” works is in the theory of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Realistically this record is Side 3 & 4 of “Out of The Cellar” and that’s not a knock but a compliment as the tracks that are on this record are still strong.
Opener “Your In Love” gets the party started (or continuing I guess in regards to the debut) and this tune features Warren DeMartini leading the charge on the 6 string not only on this song but all the songs throughout as Warren is one of the best to come out of LA at this time. (George Lynch would be the other).
From there the party continues as Stephen tells us to “Never Use Love” followed by Pearcy telling us all to “Lay It Down” (first single).
“Give It All” has a great pre chorus where Ratt flex’s some musical muscle which at time can be lost in the how these guys looked at the time.
Is there such a thing as RATT Ballad? “Closer To The Heart” may just be that. A tune I don’t mind and usually when bands from this genre would do the the quote on quote ‘Power Ballad’ I would puke in my mouth as I knew that was the game to be played..
Side 2 begins with “Between The Eyes” which is a sleazy slow cooker of a track that goes into “What You Give Is What You Get” which is another slow paced cooker of a track.
If your an old fart like me (take a bow Tbone) than you will remember the old answering machines where you would record a message on a cassette tape so if somebody called they would hear your voice and at the end leave you a message. In other words old school voice mail. Well, with “Got Me On The Line” the tune begins with a phone ringing and Pearcy answering “Hello” than the band kicks in..
That back in the early 90s when I was living on my own was my message so if you were on the other line you would get blasted with Pearcy answering and the band firing it up.
Young goofy people do young goofy thing’s!
I always liked “Got Me On The Line” which is a great little ass kicker of a 3 minute RATT track which Steve-O tells us all at the end of the song “Nobody hangs up on me!!”
Straight into “You Should Know By Know” which is another great track with DeMartini laying down some snazzy fret work.
“Dangerous But Worth The Risk” which was the opener on the “Invasion Tour” ends the album with another stellar track. I like Blotz’s drumming on this tune as he drives that RATT rocket ship forward.
RATT comes out with two strong albums and by looking back at things the summer of ’85 if rocking was my business than business was FRIGGING GOOD!
Powerstation the self-titled debut from the two Taylors, John and Andy along with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson released a fantastic 8 song album that features a fine mix of funked up rock with some cool crafty production courtesy of Bernard Edwards.
Powerstation I played like crazy in the summer of 1985 as I first purchased it on cassette tape and was a constant fixture on those early morning bikes rides to and from my summertime job at washing dishes at the local hospital that summer.
John and Andy Taylor as we all know all came from Duran Duran who were selling millions in the ’80s. Robert Palmer had been kicking around as a solo artist and was about to become mega huge a year later in 1986! (Riptide was the solo album from Palmer that featured Addicted To Love). Tony Thompson drummed for Elton John, Mick Jagger, Bowie, and Chic.
Serious players with chops.
When I first saw the debut single Some Like It Hot on MuchMusic I was blown away at the hugeness of the sound coming from the Taylors and Thompson. I realized that I had pigeon hold the Taylors as being pretty boys from Duran Duran yet Andy and John could play. Listen to John slapping that friggin bass on Some Like It Hot. Plus add in the smooth vocal delivery of Palmer and a bonafide classic is born.
Look at that back cover!! Wowzers!
I love the crafty production of the drums. They sound mega as this album produced by Edwards who ditched that mid 80s techie sterile sound as all the instruments mixed sound bombastic!
Murderess the second song picks up where Some Like It Hot left off. More big crunching drums and some wicked 6 String work from Andy Taylor.
The rest of the album is a great spin as well. Communication is a great driving funk n rock tune with the chorus being the money shot on it.
Look at that inside sleeve!! Wowzers!
Course you had to be living under a rock in 85 if you didn’t see the video for the Tex cover Bang A Gong (Get It On) which sailed right into the Top 10 for singles. More slick work from the Taylors and Thompson.
It’s a shame that this band with this exact lineup never recorded again(sure there were other versions) as Palmer split as the album was sitting high on both the Canadian and American charts and a tour was booked. (Michael Des Barres replaced Palmer).
Sadly Palmer, Thompson, and Edwards have all passed on.
As I wrote earlier I bought this on tape back in 85 and it wasn’t until I was in Montreal back in 2017 that I scored this on vinyl for $1.99 which is a steal of a deal. The only thing that sucks is the store I bought it from puts the actual sticker on the cover.
This album also proved that a couple of pretty boys could lay down some serious riffage on their instruments and make me a believer! Plus extra bonus points for using real horns throughout the album.
Live After Death is in the upper echelons of my all time favourite Live Albums Period! Still to this day!
Shall we rewind back Somewhere In Time?
A week after my 18th Birthday in October of 1985 Iron Maiden drop on my senses this Double Whopper Of A Live Album. The Double Whopper being its a Double Album.
Live After Death was released on Friday October 15th 1985 to be exact and I remember this day well as I had seen the ads in Circus Magazine pre hyping it’s release a month or two before and I was chomping at the bit to go and fetch this upon its release which I did after the school bell rung on that Friday. Basically barricaded myself in my bedroom with this album for the whole weekend! Frigg ya as Maiden as per their protocol went all out on this album. Cool artwork by Derek Riggs Double Gatefold Sleeve/Tons of Pictures/All the tour dates/Lyrics/Pics/Stats (like how many guitar strings and pics were used and how much booze was consumed) you know the important stuff involving suds! Even the Road Crew schedule was posted!
I drooled as here I am in Tbay with my head fried from my Grade 12 Sociology Class yet Maiden and band mascot Eddie made me forget the hard trials of school that day and well….
So here it is Iron Maiden recorded over 4 Nights in Scream For Me Long Beach( California ) on there very successful World Slavery Tour 84/85. Plus a an added kicker they released this on VHS Video as well. A few years back as Maiden released this on DVD with a bunch of extras…. They still know how to package their product!
“22 Acacia Avenue” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982)
“Children of the Damned” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982)
“Die with Your Boots On” (from Piece of Mind, 1983)
Smith, Dickinson, Harris
“Phantom of the Opera” (from Iron Maiden, 1980)
YUP! Just over 98 Minutes of Maiden! Now you know why I locked myself in Bedroom with my stereo blasting this album on that cold October weekend! Special mention must be made to my parents who never ever once told me too turn it down but at times they must have wondered what the hell was going on in my bedroom! No worries Folk’s I was on the Flight Of Icarus!
Basically you have the first three sides recorded in Long Beach and man oh man did Bruce trademark the “Scream For Me Long Beach!” If he hadn’t he should!
Of course with Maiden on this tour was the stages of all stages with a Mummified EDDIE leading the way! Massive is what I would call it!
The album opens with Churchill doing his War Speech and about never surrendering and Bam! Here’s Maiden ripping into Ace’s High and tons of rolling/rolling turning/turning through out! The songs are crisp and clear. The Musicianship is second to none! Bruce’s vocals soar through out the whole album.
This is just one rock solid album from start to finish! The songs all stand on their own merit! It’s basically a Greatest Hits set done live while spreading throughout songs from the current Powerslave album that had walloped me outside the noggin the previous year!
Adrian Smith and Dave Murray in my opinion are the best two lead guitar duo’s ever in the business of Music! There playing is friggin unbelievable even up till this day (Along with current sidekick Janick Gers) The solos’ are slick/well thought out and are hammered into our skulls as epic riff’s. Nicko the lunatic playing the drums does all the drum rolls and you want epic crash n smash style but keeping it smooth look no further than the track Powerslave after the Dave/Adrian solo’s man he just is so smooth as in making it look easy. Steve Harris being the main songwriter and he is the leader(much to Bruce’s chagrin at the time I suppose) as this was his vision put forth by him and manager Rod Smallwood.
So if you want an epic Harris track look no further than Rime Of The Ancient Mariner as it weaves over it’s 13 minutes of tempo changes and keeps you the listener entrenched and no boredom ever sets in with this track. Pure Greatness!
Course the big end of the set tune Iron Maiden pulls out all the stops! Just watch the clip below and see for yourself!
Side Four is recorded in England at the infamous Hammersmith Odeon and if my memory serves me correct this side was for the diehards across the pond as Maiden would mix up the set list as to keep the hardcore fans happy as America hadn’t caught on as quickly as Europe. I may be wrong here ….
22 Acacia Avenue rips accordingly and I love how Bruce drops the line of ‘Speak For Me Hammersmith!” over the guitars of Davey and Adrian before Bruce ramps back up vocally on the second verse!
Die With Your Boots On is another kicker of a track. Great everything about this one as well! Love the guitar playing on this track as Nicko drives the bus with his drums and keeps it all together!
Phantom Of The Opera always fascinated me back than as did the other tracks that were sung by original singer Paul Dianno on the studio versions before he got tossed and Bruce took charge. Of course now in 2017 it’s nothing new when Bruce sings the Paul tunes but back in 1985 other than hearing a B-Side of Bruce singing Remember Tomorrow you had no idea how the Dianno songs would come across with Bruce singing them!
Well the answer after listening to Live After Death was that Bruce basically took them over and made him his own.
Don’t get me wrong folks I love Dianno’s singing style on the debut Maiden album/Killers and especially Maiden Japan but the Air Raid Siren just belts it out like there is indeed no tomorrow!
Live After Death was the bridge gap between 84’s Powerslave and 86’s Somewhere In Time albums but this live audio/video showcase features a band showing everyone else in the Metal Spectrum how it’s done!
Kick Axe slammed down a great debut in Vices(1984) and in 1985 here comes the followup Welcome To The Club.
WTTC is a more polished sounding album than the debut but make no mistake this album can still pack a wallop when spun! George Christon delivers these songs with a great rock voice especially on the title track and Make Your Move as these songs also feature the wickedly great guitar dual of Larry Gillstrom and Raymond Harvey.
This album is a more progressive sound from the Saskatchewan Bunch.
Kick Axe could write more than just cheese like tunes as they had bands like King Kobra and an Ozzy Less Sabbath checking out there song’s.
The one set back for Kick Axe was Spencer Proffer. Proffer signed Quiet Riot and a bunch of other bands and used the same production team for these acts so the sound of each artist albums sonically was the same. Shame really as Kick Axe had superior songs than what QR and K.K were putting out at that point.
Kick Axe is in the record books here in Tbay as they were the first ever band to headline in our Shitty Auditorium back in 1985!
BAM! That was the shot that was fired right at this Metal Boy the first time I heard the lead off single from The Power Station called Some Like It Hot.
Back in mid 1985 my mind was blown as in that a couple of cronies from Duran Duran one being the Bass Player John Taylor and the Guitar Player John Taylor took a hiatus from the Duranie’s and got together with Singer Robert Palmer and Drummer Tony Thompson and blasted out a huge ball of Funk O Cool Rawk with oh so good rhythm’s that no one was doing at that time or since.
The Power Station debut was recorded at The Power Station in NYC hence where the name came.
It’s sad to say that in 2017 Robert and Tony are no longer with us but man they should be proud of this album as it Slays in a different rock kinda way!
8 song’s Under 35 minutes….Boom Done!
The Funkin Tracks!
All songs written by Robert Palmer, Andy Taylor, and John Taylor; except where noted
“Some Like It Hot” – 5:05
“Murderess” – 4:17
“Lonely Tonight” (Bernard Edwards, Palmer) – 3:58
“Communication” (Derek Bramble, Palmer, A. Taylor, J. Taylor) – 3:37
“Bang A Gong (Get It On)” (Marc Bolan) – 5:29
“Go to Zero” (Guy Pratt, Palmer) – 4:58
“Harvest for the World” (Isley Brothers) – 3:37
“Still in Your Heart” – 3:20
Short…Brief and to the point! 6 Original Tracks and 2 Cover’s…
Some Like It Hot. Are you kidding me? Listen to John Taylor Slappa Da Bass! Man oh man and I here I pigeonholed John back in 85 who was just a pretty boy but the dude is a beast on this record on the 4 string! Also make mention that he laid down some serious Bass on the Neurotic Outsiders. Heard of Em? If not search for em around these parts as Taylor and Company layed down a brilliant debut. Not to be outdone Andy Taylor man I finally can here some 6 String from him as was there any guitar heard on those Duran albums? Can some one verify this for me? Andy though plugs in and at times plays what sounds like simple riffs like in this tune. Than he goes kinda metallic at the solo spot. The Drums on this tune mixed with the Bass are huge..Holeeee Sheeeeeit even to this day when I hear this on my iPod I crank it! The production is handled brilliantly by Bernard Edwards. Palmer is a rock like swashbuckler showing up with his briefcase and just getting down to it….The voice of Robbo suits this material to a T! Must make the mention of some real cool Live Horns on this album added to enhance not to take away from your lsitening expierence! Dig the video as there’s Andy Taylor sporting the Military Bullet Belt look that he must have borrowed from Lemmy as well as Palmer doing the Preacher deal….
Murderess second track in and is another great track. Like the slinky like shiver of the Andys guitar mixed with Tony’s drums. Palmer oozes cool and I like the strut and bounce of this tune. Tons of real sounding horns throughout. Two songs in and the Power Station shift gears…
Like the straight ahead rock n funk in Communication. Quick little tempo booster and Palmer delivers his laid back rock vocal with relative ease.
Now of course cover tunes worked for some in the early to mid 80’s(Quiet Riot/Cum On Feel The Noise) for others it didn’t. Well wait ..(Quiet Riot/Mama Where All Crazee Now) Pushing the envelope …
Now the Taylors scored a decent sized hit with the Marc Bolan cover of Bang A Gong. Thompson drives some cool drums forward while Andy and John keep the 4 and 6 string’s moving along while Robbo delivers a vocal that makes this tune his own. This was my first time ever hearing this track. Once this track made its way up the charts I recall MuchMusic playing with Bang A Gong’s back 2 back…. it was interesting spin as the Station guys left it as is pretty much just updated it somewhat…cool cover version is the point I’m trying to make…
The album finishes up with 2 more originals(Go To Zero & Still In Your Heart) and a cover tune of the Isley Brothers Harvest Of The World and thats it….boom….done!
So the album rockets up the charts and so does Robert Palmer and his solo career so he decides not to tour behind this album but instead Michael Des Barres replaces Palmer at the mic and man oh man another singer change but compared to other singers quitting or getting shit canned there didn’t seem to be too much written about Palmers leaving. Bummer though as I would have loved to have heard what these Funkin Dudes would have cooked up!
It’s funny how short this album was and considering 2 of the 8 tracks were cover tunes no one cared! It was more fun to rip on Quiet Riot as they were trying to become a Slade tribute act in the mid 80s but man these dudes laid down a foundation of rock I had never heard of!
After I read Coney Guitarist Carl Dixon’s Autobiography Strange Way To Live the title of the third Coney album Friction has more substance to it than just the title.
Crappy Record Company not doing anything to promote the third Hatch release, a producer not sure which direction to go with these guys(Max Norman) plus add in a new drummer(Barry Conners) Coney is fighting to survive.
Friction is a different Coney compared to the self titled and the second album Outta Hand.
It’s a sound that is matured somewhat and perhaps an eye on more mainstream rock that was out at the time. A little more polish added to smooth off those rough edges sonically.
The song’s are great Coney Tracks that 32 years later I appreciate more as in This Ain’t Love/She’s Gone/Fantasy and Bassist Andy Currans rocking Wrong Side Of Town. Lead Guitarist Steve Shelski plays brilliantly a little more melodic than what was on the first two Coney albums but still has enough juice to get the job done.
It’s a shame this album was dead upon arrival but as a Fanboy I bought this at the time and it has aged like a fine wine.
Welcome To The Very First Post Of What I’m Calling…..
Cool Vs Gah!
Do you like that title? ( Aaron over at the KMA Site once or well a few times answered his emails with a simple Gah! So dude thanks. I’m stealing Gah!) Well the deal here is I’m gonna post two tracks by the same band. One track being Cool the other track being what I would consider Gah!
I’m also going to try and not make this a repeat of something I posted in my 3/4’s Filler Category that you fine people have already read!
I will toss down my reasons why and for all intent and purposes feel free to comment and make fun of me ……
Love Times Love Vs Rock Ain’t Dead
This is a story that has to be written! How many of you’s out there have heard of Heavy Pettin? Yup thought so, not many but I will tell you all a story how a pretty decent debut album(Lettin Loose/1983) which gave me some hope for this band and than it all went South with the followup.
Hell, these dudes even had Brian May (Queen) and Mack (Queen Producer) produce Lettin Loose so they got some decent muscle behind them and viola!
Heavy Pettin were young rock dudes from Scotland back in 1983 and had a bit of run so much so the cassette tape of Lettin Loose made it into my hands back in 1983.
The Heavy Petter’s featured….
Brian Waugh : Bass
Gary Moat : Drums
Punky Mendoza : Guitar
Gordon Bonnar : Guitar
Stevie Hayman : Vocals
So with a little hype kicked up in regards to the debut. In 1985 came Rock Ain’t Dead the sophomore was released and with a few add’s in magazines plugging it I took the plunge and like any good friend would do I urged Tbone to do the same as he was buying up cassette tapes at a furious pace to build up his collection and it never entered his mind that I would steer him wrong!
Ha! We were both duped man! Rock Ain’t Dead? No it’s not,but on this album it was. Frigg! The wheels came right of the Pettin Tour Bus and it skidded right off the sonic highway.
Too be honest I think I played Rock Ain’t Dead once! Not to sound like a dick but think about it for a second. 1985 there was a ton of rock out in shelves of record shops,lots of magazines promoting stuff so when you bought something and it stank you moved on and move on we did!
Tbone I think gave it more of an opportunity than I did but it sat there and collected dust on his shelf of cassette tape misfires…We all had misfires but man what happened? I basically led Tbone into camp Jim Jones and made him drink the Pettin Kool Aid!
Heavy Pettin should make a comeback especially with Gene Simmons and his whole Rock Ain’t Dead spiel in 2016.
So here’s the vid below for Love Times Love
Here’s a live clip from 1985 …Rock Ain’t Dead…
Love Times Love is a pretty decent track a little on the raw sounding side of things Rock but it has its moment with a good chorus…
Rock Ain’t Dead is as a cliché tune you could drum up in the 80s complete with wannabe Gang Chorus backing vocals and the falsetto screech of a lead singer as if he got kicked in his nut-sack!
Metallica recently released Deluxe Editions of there first two albums Kill Em All and Ride The Lightening. On both of these reissues they seem to have done it right with a slew of demo tracks and unreleased live shows from that era (1983 and 1985).
The live dynamic of a bands output has always intrigued me forever. Though a band’s music would no matter how good it sounded in the studio always would have a little more edge live( as long as the band didn’t mess with fixing up the performance in the studio)
iTunes has both of these deluxe editions for sale. They run about $75 each without any packaging which if you’re gonna drop that kinda dough you need the physical product as a book is included with each and to see the credits etc. This is my knock on iTunes for that kind of cash at least toss in the digital books along with the albums if one is dropping $75!
The good thing about iTunes though is you can just pay for individual tracks and in this case there was no way I was dropping $75 on these albums but I wanted to at least nab a live show from this era of the band.
I did a bit of homework read some reviews and decided to go with the March 1985 Ride The Lightening show from Los Angeles. Basically it cost about $15 which is pretty good actually so I delved in and pushed click!
This period of Metallica has always intrigued as they were fast man! These dudes as in James Hetfield(vocals),Lars Ulrich(drums) Kirk Hammett(guitar) and the late Cliff Burton( bass) basically ramped everything up and for me this was all the speed metal I needed. Of course there are heavier faster bands out there at the time but Tallica was heavy enough for me…
Things that come to my mind about this show is the “Go For The Throat ” mentality Metallica adapts here! Fight Fire With Fire sets the pace for that nights show! Lars and Guitars just blitz at a rapid rate. It’s funny how you forget how young James sounds singing!( than again I was 17 when this show was recorded) Full of Piss N Vinegar is in his voice and he does sing good on this album. Thats perhaps the main reason I can handle old school Tallica as the dude does sing and it’s not a continuous ” Aaaaaaaargh” all the time. I can live with this.
Of course one of the drawing features as well is Cliff Burtons bass playing as the guy is a beast on that 4 String Rickenbacker! (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth ( great title) is Burtons bass solo and man what a heavy supped up sound and listen to his fingers wail all over that Bass! Holy Shit comes to mind! Its real cool when towards the end of Cliffs solo Lars joins in and then do a rapid fire one two bass and drum punch that leads right into one of my favourite Metallica tracks For Whom The Bell Tolls as Cliff and Lars control the tempo while Kirk plays a super cool lead in on guitar. Click the vid below and watch Burton man….phenomenal!
I recall when reading all the Metal Magazines back than (especially Kerrang) that Metallica liked the booze and the party that went with it even so much as there were Alcoholica t-shirts floating around at the time so it amazes me with all the shenanigans going on they could compose a tune like Fade To Black. This tune is Metal done right it builds from the chillness up. Great all round performance by the band and YUP 31 years later it still freaks me out how good this tune was and is! Of note the video I posted is from the show that night but its not the deluxe edition song as Metallica cleaned up the sound a bit but this version gives you a idea how it was back than and how it was sounding bootlegged….
The Kill Em All material you can hear Kirk play Dave Mustaines solos. Well you can hear Mustaines vibe on these tracks like Phantom Lord and No Remorse. Interesting to hear it now as back than I would have never picked out Dave’s style at all on Kill Em ALL.
James when he talks to the crowd calls them ‘FREAKS” ha ha…but in a complimentary kinda metal way circa 85!
The band sonically that night is heavy and its a good representation of an era of the band starting to slowly take over the universe!
at Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA, USA