Happy Friday Everyone! It is time for another week of new releases and for me there is one I am super excited about and one I’m curious as to how they will follow-up on the success of their last album. Plus a bunch more that might be really interesting to hear. I will mark all my choices in Blue as usual. Now, your turn…what do you want to hear from the list? What may I have missed including on the list? Please let me know so we can make sure everyone else knows about it as well. Thanks so much for stopping by on this wonderful day and I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!
Needtobreathe – Live From the Woods, Vol. 2 – (Elektra Records): Back in March, Needtobreathe did a few live shows which I think were socially distanced of course and now they are releasing the best of those shows as an album. The follow-up to Live From the Woods, Vol. 1 obviously. My vinyl is on order and will probably be here in about 3 months, but the digital piece is here today!! Enjoy!! You will have to go to about 2 minutes in to get the song…the rest is the band talking to James Corden.
Greta Van Fleet – The Battle of Garden’s Gate – (Republic Records): Greta Van Fleet is back with the follow-up to their very successful debut Gold album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. This is the one that will determine whether the band has any staying power. The songs I’ve heard so far haven’t been bad, but I am interested to hear them in an album setting as that makes a big difference for me. We will see if they can do it.
Bruce Kulick as you know from this series, was the Kiss guitarist from 1984 to 1996…the non-makeup years. He was a perfect fit for the band and one of the most likable guys to ever be in Kiss. Before Kiss he was in a band called Blackjack with some guy named Michael Bolton from 1979-1980 and that would’ve been a good album to review since there is a Kiss connection with Michael has he co-wrote “Forever” off ‘Hot in the Shade’. But the goal for this series was to cover an album after the artist left the band, not before (unless there wasn’t an after as in Tommy’s case). That left the band Union which Bruce was in the John Corabi, even though he has been with Grand Funk Railroad for 20 years now, but they’ve never done an album. So that really got me thinking I should do his solo album since it was all Bruce.
Now technically I did already do a Bruce project when I did the Eric Singer Project, but that one was really Eric’s spotlight since the band was named after Eric which by the way had John Corabi in that band too. So Bruce’s first solo album is where I wound up. It was called ‘Audiodog’ and was released on October 23, 2001. There is a Kiss connection with this album as well, other than Bruce. That connection is Curt Cuomo who co-wrote a bunch of these tracks with Bruce and played keyboards plus some backing vocals. The Kiss connection with Curt is that he co-wrote two songs on ‘Psycho Circus’ with Paul Stanley including the title track.
The album was not a full instrumental album surprisingly. There were only 4 songs on here that were instrumental. The rest had vocals which were actually handled by Bruce. Bruce’s vocals aren’t the strongest and I would put him in the area of maybe Ace’s vocals. Not great, but definitely decent enough to be rather enjoyable as it is a solid rock tone. Bruce played all guitars and bass, but drums were handled mostly by Brent Fitz who played in Bruce’s band Union as well as with Gene Simmons. Two of the songs had legendary John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Arnoff on them which is pretty cool as well.
For Queen’s fifth studio album, ‘A Day at the Races’ is considered a sort of companion piece to the preview album ‘A Night at the Opera’. The only connection I feel really is the fact both are titled after Marx Brother movies. Outside of that, they don’t feel connected to me at all. The album was recorded between July 1976 and November 1976 and get its release on December 10, 1976. The album was self-produced by Queen which is the first time they had done that and I am not so sure it worked as well as they hoped. Now their long time producer might be gone, but the band was still in tact. Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon are still going strong.
The album did ship Gold. went to #1 in the UK and #5 in the US and would go on to Platinum status so the band did something right. They released 5 singles and their popularity kept growing with each album release. However, this is not an album I ever really connected to and I gave it enough listens. I actually ended up skipping a couple songs on later listens of the album and that is never a good sign. Now, I am not saying the album is horrible, no as they do make worse ones down the road, I am only saying that I didn’t find this one to be as good as a lot of people say it is. Don’t shoot me, it is only my opinion and plus, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about half the time anyway.
My youngest daughter loves her Funko Pop! Figures and was thrilled when I got my own set of the Def Leppard Funko Pop! Set. She also knows I am a huge Kiss fan and so for Christmas this past year, she searched out and found all 4 of the Kiss Funko Pop! Rocks Figures. I was thrilled and happy to get this set and to come from her makes it extra special.
This set is the 2nd Kiss set in the Funko Pop! Rocks series as they are numbered #121-124. The first set in their series was #04 to #07 and they looked a lot different than this set. And it is much more expensive, so maybe some day down the road I will find that, but for now I am going to enjoy this special set.
This set doesn’t go by the band member’s actual names as that would be tough to choose who you are basing the make-up and the costume on and possibly give credit to past members and Kiss doesn’t want to do that. Instead, they are based on the Kiss characters each rock star is playing.
Alright…You Picked It! And this one was probably the closest one yet. Last week was a nail biter of a finish on which album one, this time around, it wasn’t even close. The winner was King Crimson’s ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ which I had never heard before. The votes were as follows:
King Crimson – ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ – 13 votes
AC/DC – ‘For Those About to Rock’ – 4 votes
The Cult – ‘Electric’ – 2 votes
Rob Zombie – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ – 1 vote
David Lanz – ‘Cristofori’s Dream – 1 Vote
Thanks to all for participating. The April choices will be up on Saturday!
King Crimson – ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’ (1969):
King Crimson’s debut album, ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’, is said to be a very influential album and the first ever Prog Rock album, so that made it a little intimidating for me to review like all the classic albums I have reviewed. It is a little scary to tackle as you hope you hear what everyone else hears, but sometimes you don’t. Now, I will be honest and let you now I am not a huge Prog Rock fan. Most albums I have, a 6 minute song is probably the longest song on the album. Here it is the shortest song on the album. Also, the same is said that most of my albums have 10 or more songs, this one only has 5. Yes, welcome to the world of Prog Rock!!
King Crimson consisted of some amazing musicians, I will give them that. Take a look for yourself…
Greg Lake – Bass, Lead vocals (also in Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
Ian McDonald – Alto Saxophone and flute (also Foreigner)
Robert Fripp – Guitar (Brian Eno and David Bowie)
Michael Giles – Drums (Leo Sayer and many, many more)
Peter Sinfield – Lyrics (didn’t know that would make you a band member, but cool)
And I believe Robert Fripp along with Toyah Wilcox are making a name for themselves with their viral videos during the pandemic. You should check them out on the Tube of You.
The album is also known for the album cover of the up close and personal view of a man’s face with full shot of looking up his nostrils and the back of his throat. To me, it is an iconic cover and I’ve wanted it in my collection for years for that very fact. It was beautifully drawn by Barry Godber who sadly passed away only a few months after the albums release. This was the only album artwork he had ever done. What is cool is that Robert Fripp owns the original piece so it is in good hands.
For My Sunday Song #243, we are going to discuss the song “God’s Top Ten” by the band INXS. The song is off their 2005 album ‘Switch’ which features their new singer J. D. Fortune who the band hired off the TV contest show they did called “Rockstar: INXS” where they set out to hire a new lead singer. The song was released as a single, but didn’t chart in the US. It did go to #88 in Canada and 18 in Poland…cool.
The song was written by keyboardist, Andrew Farriss, who wrote the song to honor Michael Hutchence who died about 8 years earlier. It is a tribute to Michael, his partner Paula Yates (who died 3 years after Michael) and their daughter Tiger Lily. They have said the song is really a gift to Tiger Lily. The verses seem to speak to her saying that when you hear his songs on the radio, know that he is one of God’s Top 10 meaning he is one of the best singers out there and now God has him in his Top 10 list. I think the lyrics are sweet, touching and so personal. It is a beautiful gift to her as a reminder of how great he was and how much he loved her.
Musically, the song is a ballad played effortlessly and tenderly on keyboard with a nice bass groove and drum beat. The guitars are only an enhancement to the song. Nothing overpowers anything else, everyone plays in sweet harmony and bliss. The drumbeat at the beginning is the sound of a heartbeat. The song is a duet between Suzie McNeil, also from ‘Rockstar: INXS’ and J. D. Fortune. Her vocals are angelic and J. D.’s is as tender as the music. So much heart, so much love and so much passion comes through in their delivery. It might be the best song on the album and one of the best they’ve ever done.
Happy Friday, thankfully we made it through another week. How do I know that you made it? Well, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this right now would you. As your reward, we have a list of new albums coming out today and one I am really excited about and one I am interested in hearing for comparison purposes (I explain more later). My choices are highlighted in Blue. There are a ton of releases so hopefully there is something for you. Let me know what you’d like to hear and let me know what I might’ve missed so everyone can know. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Cheap Trick – In Another World – (BMG Rights Mgmt): Cheap Trick is still going strong and they are bringing us their 20th Studio Album. 20th!!! Wow!! That is incredible. After the amazing album ‘We’re All Alright!’, I am super excited to hear this follow-up. I am sure it will be great as they have really seemed to find a new groove and are putting out some solid stuff. This is why they might be one of the greatest American Bands of all time!! And because of that they will be the next band that gets a Series on this site. Now it won’t be for maybe 6 months, but it is coming!!! Get Ready!!!
Taylor Swift – Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – (Republic Records): As you probably know, Taylor has had major legal issues with her former label and she doesn’t own the rights to here early studio albums. So to solve that problem, she is faithfully recreating each and every album. The first up is her second album, ‘Fearless’, and she is calling them ‘Taylor’s Version’. I have to say, I am interested to hear this and compare it to the original to see how she does. She’s not as young as she was, but she still has the voice, so let’s see.
It is time for us to do our shout-out to Eric Singer and one of his projects. Before Kiss, Eric had played with Black Sabbath and he even had his own band Badlands that released a stellar release in 1989. Then he joined Kiss with the Revenge album and stayed with the band up until the reunion tour in 1996. He would later play with numerous artist, but most notably the great Alice Cooper. However, I wanted to highlight one with a big Kiss connection because that is what I like to do. His side project the Eric Singer Project was a supergroup that had Eric on drums and vocals, Chuck Garric on bass and vocals, John Corabi and guitar, bass and vocals and the big Kiss connection is who was also in the band. It was Eric’s former Kiss co-hort, Bruce Kulick on guitar.
The band was a side group that played covers. They played some live shows and put out an album called ‘ESP’…Eric Singer Project. The one I see most Kiss collectors trying to grab up is this album so I figured this is the perfect album to do for Eric. I know, I probably should’ve done Badlands since this is all covers, but this had too big a Kiss connection to pass up. Plus, I love Corabi so it was a chance for me to hear him as well even if he isn’t singing all the time.
The track listing is pretty good with some not so common covers and there are a few that a typical cover songs. Here are the songs and the original band…
After finishing up the tour for ‘Sin After Sin’, the band didn’t rest for too long before they jumped right back in the studio. They were on a brutal schedule of album, tour, album, tour, etc… It can be exhausting. The band’s fourth album and second with Columbia records was recorded between October and November 1977. The album, ‘Stained Class’, was released on February 10, 1978 and would barely break the Billboard 200 Albums chart going to #173. But the album did go Gold selling over 500,000 copies, but reality is that album only went Gold after the success of the band in the early 80’s. Still Gold nonetheless.
The band saw something strange happen with this album. They got a new drummer which would now be the fourth drummer in four albums. That isn’t the strange part as their drummer turnover has been legendary. The strange part is new drummer, Les Binks, actually stayed on after the album was done and would go on to record two more albums with the band. That is a huge record for them and they should be so proud of themselves for not letting another drum go. And that wasn’t all. This is the ver first album that all 5 band members got writing credits on an album. Yes, Les got one credit and so did long time bassist, Ian Hill.
As you know if you visit my site, one of my favorite bands is Needtobreathe. I have everything they have put out on vinyl and now I am going after everything they have released on CD (that they don’t have on vinyl). And the CDs I want the most are the exclusive fan club CDs they release each year.
I had never joined prior to the 2020 year so getting my hands on these has not been easy as it is not cheap. I am looking for the right price and most of the time it is too high. I finally grabbed my first one at a price less than the membership fee which was Insiders LP Vol. 2 for $40 and 9 months later I got one even cheaper which was Insiders, Vol. 5 and it was only $25. And then a couple days later got another for $27 which was Insiders Vol. 3. Sorry we aren’t going in order, but we are going in order of when I receive them. And I just joined the 2021 Insiders Club and this time I am getting a T-Shirt and you guessed it, A Mask!! The CD for Insiders Vol. 8 will be out by January 2022. For now, we are discussing Insiders, Vol. VII from 2020 which this time it did cost me the cost of the club because I got tired of tyring to find all these. I still need volumes 1, 4 and 6 if you have them and want to sell.
Who is Needtobreathe you may ask and I will tell you. Needtobreathe is a rock band from South Carolina who mixes rock, folk, southern rock, country and whatever else they like all with a great message or story to tell. Currently the band is…