The Top 20 Songs of Kiss (The Non-Makeup Years)

Thanks to the Kiss Box Set Series I reviewed and most especially, Disc Four (which covers the 80’s), I have been on a Non Make-Up Era Kiss fix of late..  I have been playing all the albums and I am even getting Greg Prato’s book “Take It Off: Kiss Truly Unmasked” for Christmas (Review in January 2020).  So, I figured why not do a list of my favorite Kiss songs from that time and here we are.  I am going to cover the albums from ‘Lick it Up’ in 1983 to ‘Carnival of Souls’ in 1997 and although I included the cover to “Thrashes, Smashes & Hits’ on the post header picture, there are no songs from it as the two new songs are really, really bad.

So, why wait any longer.  Here are what I say are the Top 20 Songs of Kiss (The Non-Makeup Era)…

#20 – “Master & Slave” off ‘Carnival of Souls’ (1997)

I had to have one song from ‘Carnival of Souls’ which is not a good album, but there was one song I did like and that is “Master & Slave”.  It was written by Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Curtis Coumo.  When you hear it, it is not normal Kiss.  This is dark, brooding and completely centered in the Grunge era (which was a couple years too late).  I liked the biting guitar work from Bruce and it is something completely different.

#19 – “Thou Shalt Not” off ‘Revenge’ (1992)

I really like a lot of Gene’s songs and there are quite a few on here despite Paul still leading the pack.  The ‘Revenge’ album was a return to glory for Gene as he seemed lost for a few years.  This is Gene, plain and simple.  It is heavy and sounds evil which is just what the doctor ordered.  The guitar solo is just as menacing as the rest of the song (good job Bruce).

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Whitesnake – ‘Come An’ Get It’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

We are now in 1981 and the band is on their 4th album.  Whitesnake has started to gain some traction with the album’s ‘Ready an’ Willing’ along with the live album ‘Live…in the Heart of the City’.  When ‘Come an’ Get It’ arrives, it goes to #2 on the chart and barely misses #1 thanks to Adam and the Ants’ ‘King of the Wild Frontier’.  Yes, an Ant kicked a Snake’s ass!!!

The band’s line-up is unchanged, the producer, Martin Birch, is unchanged and they follow the successful formula of ‘Ready an’ Willing on this album to rather great success (on the charts).

  • David Coverdale – vocals
  • Micky Moody – Guitar
  • Bernie Marsden – Guitar
  • Neil Murray – Bass
  • Jon Lord – Keyboards
  • Ian Paice – Drums

I know this is a favorite Snake album for a lot of people and even a favorite of David Coverdale’s; however, it isn’t one of my top albums.  I have spent the longest with this album in hopes that it would grow on me and it has to some extent, but not overall.  This was a hard beast for me to get through, well Side Two was.  Side One kicks some major ass.

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Pearl Jam – MTV Unplugged (Record Store Day Exclusive) – Album Review

For Record Store Day Black Friday 2019, I got up bright and early to go stand in line for some Exclusive vinyls and most notably was for Matt Nathanson’s 2007 album ‘Some Mad Hope’.  This was the first time that record was to be released on vinyl.  Another exclusive I wanted was Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged appearance from 1992 finally being released on vinyl.  And I’ll be honest, this is the FIRST Pearl Jam album I have actually bought on vinyl…I know, crazy right!!  But what a way to start.

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The album was recorded in 1992 right after the end of the Tour for their debut album ‘Ten’ and a set list that covers that album quite nicely, you are treated to one mesmerizing and very special performance.  When I watched this back in the day, I realized than that the guys were pretty freaking great.  I was not a Grunge fan at all as I come from the 80’s and the whole 80’s Rock scene. Grunge was blasphemy.  But there was something about this show that resonated and when I saw it was coming out on vinyl,  it was a no-brainer.

The packaging is a beautiful gatefold for only 1 LP which I always love to see.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Skid Row

Will he or won’t he?  That is the question.  Will Sebastian Bach re-join Skid Row?  Who knows and really, who the hell cares.  If you want to hear Skid Row songs, go see Sebastian Bach perform live.  If you want to hear the band Skid Row, go see the band…also, can you name one member of Skid Row that isn’t Sebastian Bach?  I didn’t think so.  So to celebrate the band, here are a collection of memes from around the internet, I hope you enjoy!!

Sebastian Bach…

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The Original vs. The Cover – “Hard to Handle”

For this month’s version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are tackling the Otis Redding song “Hard to Handle”.  Otis wrote and recorded the song along with Al Bell and Allen Jones back in 1967.  Otis died in December 1967 before the song was ever released.  It finally was released in June 1968, but not as the main single.  It was the B-Side to the single “Amen”. The song did chart though as it reached #51 on the Pop Charts and got to #38 on the Billboard R&B charts.  It was a modest hit. The song first appeared on an album in 1968 which was a compilation called ‘The Immortal Otis Redding’.

The song’s theme is pretty obvious.  It is about a man that is so cocky and braggadocios about his sexual prowess that he is coming on to women who already have themselves a man.  I mean he gets cockier and cockier as the song goes on. It is a really cool piece for Otis to write and sing as his earlier work did not come across that way.

OTIS REDDING

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Otis Redding’s original version of the song was a departure for him.  He seemed to be experimenting with a new sound.  He brought a whole James Brown funk feel to the song from the opening piano riffs, the big horn section and that driving bass line. It is quite a departure from “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay”.  The song is short at just over 2 minutes, but it packs enough greatness in to that time that you don’t realize it is so short.

Vocally, Redding attacks the song with so much confidence and with those lyrics it is the only way to pull it off.  With a little grit to his voice, he comes across as a smooth, slick operator who you believe is going to come home with the woman.  I love the ad libbing at the end which is also in the James Brown vibe.  This is a total badass song.

THE BLACK CROWES

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The Black Crowes covered the song on their debut album ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ from 1990. We are going to speak to the album version and not the single version as they were two different mixes.  The single version adds a horn section that is missing from the album version.  The album version is a straight-up rocker.  It brings in the guitar as the focus, throws in some piano, heavier drum work and dang it speeds up the tempo.  The song is stretched out from 2 minutes to over 3 minutes mainly due to the addition of a killer solo by Jeff Cease.

Chris Robinson attacks the song with such vigor and emits that same cockiness needed to sing such lyrics.  The only thing missing is the heart as he is singing everything so fast it loses some of the intent, the passion.  He is focused on getting through the song and not really believing that he is that much of a badass (even though he probably felt he was).  When comparing to Otis, it isn’t quite the same.  Now, I do love this version by the band and it was one of the songs that got me in to them.

THE VERDICT

When I decided to do this cover, I would have said The Black Crowes would win hands down.  The Crowes are from my home town, went to a rival high school not far from me so these guys were the bomb when the blew up on the scene.  BUT…….when I took the time to digest both versions, there is something about Otis Redding that you can’t deny.  His version was funkier, it was more sincere and it was so different than his previous work you applaud the risk he was taking.  Plus, there is no denying his voice.  You are rooting for him to take home the girl.  With the Crowes, you don’t really care if he does you are just enjoying the song.  For me, Otis Redding and the Original is the hands down winner.

I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs.  Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

“Hard To Handle”

Hey there, here I am
I’m the man on the scene
I can give you what you want
But you got to come home with meI forgot some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get to thrown it on you
You got to come back for more

Toys and things that come by the dozen
That ain’t nothin’ but drug store lovin’
Hey little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle, now, yessir’am

Action speaks louder than words
And I’m a man of great experience
I know you got another man
But I can love you better than him

Take my hand, don’t be afraid
I wanna prove every word I say
I’m advertisin’ love for free
So, you can place your ad with me

Once it come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothin’ but ten cent lovin’
Hey little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle, now, yessir’am

Baby, here I am
The man on your scene
I can give you what you want
But you got to come home with me

I forgot some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get to thrown it on you
You got to come runnin’ back for more

Once it come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothin’ but drug store lovin’
Hey little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle, now, yessir’am

Written by Otis Redding, Al Bell and Allen Jones

My Sunday Song – “Gel” by Collective Soul

For My Sunday Song #173, we are going to discuss the song “Gel” off the bands 1994 self titled album by Collective Soul. It was the first single off the band’s second album and after Shine, I was now hooked on the band and haven’t looked back since.  The song didn’t make the Top 40, but it did make it to #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and back in the 90’s, I didn’t care about Top 40 anyway.

The song is a quirky, rock track that can have many meanings, it is all left up to your interpretation of the lyrics.  It could be about a man and woman who have a lot of differences and it doesn’t matter, he wants to “Gel” per se.  Me, I like to view it as that people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs can still come together and meet and have open discussions and just gel.  In a world that is so separated and polarizing today, this song is almost a dream of some sort of utopia as I don’t think people have the capacity to gel nowadays.  That is why I think this song is needed.

Now, there is another theory I have read that it is about the band’s search for a record label as after their debut, record companies were clamoring to grab them up and they all wanted to make changes to the band.  However, the band wanted to do their own thing so could the label and the band come together and gel.  It turns out the label left them alone pretty much and let them do their thing as they were doing it so well on their own.  Like I said, you listen to the song and you interpret it however you would like.

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Friday New Releases – December 13th

Welcome to Friday the 13th and the last good day of releases for at least 3 to 4 weeks.  Yes, Friday New Releases will be absent from this site until a couple weeks into the new year in January when there is finally enough to talk about.  However, this week isn’t totally worthless. There a couple releases I am interested in, but not much else.  My choices will be highlighted in Blue, let me know if you find anything you like of if I missed anything.  Thanks and until next time, have a great weekend!

  • 61v6lSOpccL._AC_UL320_SR320,320_  Harry Styles – Fine Line – (Erksine Records/Columbia/Sony):  Harry is back with his second studio album and I have to say, I am actually looking forward to this.  I was pleasantly surprised at how great his debut was and it was so much better than anything One Direction put out.  My oldest daughter is even more so excited as she keeps the vinyl of his debut up in her room rather than down in my wall of vinyl.  I am hoping for another release of a variety of styles and hope he pushes himself even more on this one.

  • A1wqT8hVs7L._SX522_  Stone Sour – Hello, You Bastards: Live in Reno – (Cooking Vinyl Ltd):  I like live albums lately, so I might give this one a try.  Corey Taylor and the boys are releasing their first live album and I am sure it will rock your face off.  I mean, it ain’t no Slipknot, which is actually why I like them more, but Corey only knows how to bring it hard and heavy.  Ok, no video so far so here is a classic.

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Britny Fox – ‘Britny Fox’ – Album Review

Do you have a memory that is tied to a specific band and when you hear that band, you immediately are transported to that memory?  Britny Fox has such a memory for me.  Now I am the youngest of 7 kids and I am the only one of the 7 to have lived alone with my parents as an older child as all my brothers & sisters had moved out and I was left alone during high school and part of college.  As a result, I actually was able to take vacations with my parents and it just be them and me.  None of the others got to do that sort of thing.

Every Summer, my parents would head down to their time share down in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and I would tag along because why not…free vacation.  I cherish those times with them and now that they have both passed from this Earth, I think of them often and miss them dearly.  You are probably wondering how Britny Fox helps with that memory and I will tell you.

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When this album came out on June 6th, 1988, I had just purchased on CD and we were heading out to vacation. I remember sitting by the pool, with my Sony portable CD player, headphones on and this CD cranked up.  I was probably 18 and since I was so shy, I was not about to be scoping out the hot babes at the pool.  Nope!  Instead, I would sit by the pool in my tan, smoking ripped body and pretend like nothing else mattered but the music.  Ok, not all of that was true…I wasn’t very tan.  Ok, and I didn’t have a smoking hot ripped body.  I was scrawny little shit.

 

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Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Five 1992-1999) – Album Review (Part 6 of 6)

Welcome back to final review in the series which is Part 6 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set.  For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two.  Quite impressive.  For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks and Disc Four we only get 2 unreleased tracks and for the final disc, Disc 5, we only get 3 previously unreleased tracks.  As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.

For Disc 5, we only have 3 studio albums and some live albums to include on this set and not everything was great.  As far as studio it is the fantastic ‘Revenge’, the lack of direction ‘Carnival of Souls’ and the reunion album ‘Pschyo Circus’ which not everyone played on so not really a reunion, but that is another discussion.  You also get tracks from the MTV Unplugged album, The Detroit Rock City Soundtrack and some unreleased tracks.  Here are the songs and I love how Eric Carr in Fox Makeup is the background!!

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First up on the disc are four songs from the album ‘Revenge’ which is an album that saw Gene get comfortable in his skin again and gave us one of their heaviest albums since Creatures.  It was fantastic.  Out of the four songs, we get the demo of “Domino” which was written by Gene in 1991 for the ‘Revenge’ album.  The demo is pretty close to the original song with some minor changes as the solo in the album version is played at a different key than the demo.  It is a cool piece to the collection.

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The next batch of four songs is from the MTV unplugged album. The first three tracks are with Eric Singer and Bruce and the last song, “Nothin’ to Lose” has Ace and Peter on it.   I think all four tracks are great as is that whole album.  With so few albums to pull from on this set, we are getting a lot of songs for each album which is part of the drag on this disc.

Next we get two tracks from the album ‘Carnival of Souls’ and to say this isn’t a good album is almost an understatement.  There are some good songs from the album such as “Master and Slave”, but the songs chosen for this release are not my favorites.  These don’t sound like Kiss songs to me.

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Then we get four songs from ‘Psycho Circus’ and none are demos or anything rare.  The song choices are fine it is just like I said earlier, four songs from one release is a lot and it would have been nice to have more unreleased stuff on this disc.

There is one cool song on here from an album I didn’t have which is the Detroit Rock City Movie Soundtrack.  The song is “Nothing Can Keep Me From You”.  I believe the song played through the end credits and was actually written by Diane Warren and not by Kiss.  I enjoyed the track and this is the perfect set for songs like this to be on.

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Then we get one of the most famous unreleased tracks, a song called “It’s My Life”.  This song is one of the best on the disc and did you know Kiss played this live for the first time on the Kiss Kruise IX which was a month ago.  The song dates back to around the time of ‘The Elder’ and was never fully finished.  I believe it has all the original band members on this track was supposed to be on Psycho Circus, but as you know, didn’t make it.

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The last two tracks are both live.  The first one is “Shout it Out Live” from a show in 1996 and on ‘The Greatest Kiss’ album.  And then a previously unreleased version of “Rock & Roll All Nite” because that was what we needed (yeah, no!).  It was from 1999 and was later released on the ‘Alive! The Millennium Concert’ in 2006. For me, not much a great win as an unreleased track.

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This disc had a few highlights for me with “It’s My Life”, “Nothing Can Keep Me From You” and “Domino”, but outside of that it was underwhelmed.  There were too many songs from each disc and the Carnival of Song choices kind of sucked. I don’t ever need another version of “Rock & Roll All Nite”…I mean who does.  I am going to only give it a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars as a result.  The 3.0 is generous, but I do love “It’s My Life”.

And now that we have all the scores from all 6 reviews, we need to tally up the whole Box Set and come up with an overall score.  Here were the scores:

  • Overall Packaging – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc One – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Two – 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Three – 3.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Four – 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Five – 3.0 out of 5.0
  • Overall Average Score – 4.2 out of 5.0 Stars

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read them all, click on the links below:

And that is the end!!  I hope you enjoyed this 6 Part Series of The Box Set!

Tuesday’s Memes – Gwar

Gwar!  Yes, I have hit rock bottom on the memes with this collection of Gwar memes from around the internet.  It is a sad, sad day.  But at the same time, let us rejoice in the spectacle that is Gwar.  If you thought the Teletubbies were bad, just wait for Gwar!!

First, let’s poke fun at the name…a lot!

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