February is over so it is time for our monthly round-up of what 2 Loud 2 Old Music got their hands on this month and it was another banner month. It all started with a trip to the antique mart called Sleepy Poets. My daughter loves that place and I don’t mind because there are records and I found a couple good ones. One was the only early Stryper album I was missing and the other was one of my mother’s favorite bands Air Supply so I had to buy it. I miss her a lot so it will be something in my collection that when I am really, really missing her I can pull out and play.
Then the following week, my daughter wanted to hit more antique shops as she loves to find old vintage clothes at not a too ridiculous of a price. The first place we hit in Mathews said it was an antique place, but really it was a record store and now I have another great place to go buy albums!! Yeah me!! I found some great vinyl, CDs, singles and cassettes…they had it all. First are the albums, which are an early pressing of Mariah Carey’s debut on vinyl and a Billy Idol 12″ Single of Mony Mony.
For My Sunday Song #288, we are going to tackle another song from the band W.E.T. This time around we are going to discuss “Watch the Fire” which is the opening track off their 2018 album ‘Earthrage’. If you remember from the earlier post, W.E.T. is comprised of Robert Sall of the band Work of Art, Erik Martensson of the band Eclispse and Jeff Scott Soto from the band Talisman. Take the first initial of each band and you have W.E.T. It also has 2 other members Magnus Henriksson and Robban Back. All are on the label Frontiers Records who brought the super group together.
The song was written by Johan Becker, Miqael Persson and Erik Martensson. It is a dark song in that the person the song is about has been burned bad by either a girlfriend or it could be anyone as it doesn’t really delve into the who or what actually happened. All we know is the person has been deceived, lied to and hurt this person badly. The person is angry and telling those that hurt him that their day will come. Karma will catch up and when it does, he will be there to watch the fire and watch them burn. Doesn’t sound like he will throw any water on them to help them out, just gladly watch them burn. I would say he is pissed.
Musically, it is a hard, melodic rock song and what I love about it is that the vocals are shared with Erik and Jeff whose voices compliment each other so well. It is a catchy chorus and and when you hear Soto you instantly connect and find yourself singing along instantly. The guitars are crunchy, the keyboards give it an even more melodic feel and the drums pound throughout. It is a modern rock song that is drenched in the old 80’s sound and I feel this could’ve been huge back in the day. Soto’s vocals are always on point with W.E.T. and I love the range he shows and how smooth his vocals can be. They are enticing and downright amazing in my book. One of my favorite groups he has been in as they are all so talented and the music is melodic which is what I love.
In my digging, whether vinyl or cd, I like to find things I hadn’t seen before and this was one of those items. It was a Limited Edition CD Single from Creed for their song “With Arms Wide Open”. The release was to help promote and fund the With Arms Wide Open Foundation that was started by the band. $3 from the sale of each single went to the Foundation.
The CD has 3 separate versions of the song. It has the Strings Version, the Acoustic Version and the Rock Version. There is also a video of the song as well. So if you like the song, you get a nice variety of versions for the song and that usually makes every collector happy. I will be honest, vocally each version of this song is feel exactly the same. The only difference is they layered in strings for the String Version and acoustic guitars for the Acoustic Version. The Rock Version has all instruments at full force but is around seconds shorter.
What I loved about the CD single is the fact it was transparent. Yes, you get a picture disc as well with the crossed hands of the father and child, but you can see right through the disc. I don’t think I’ve seen one like that before so I had to grab it. And I do like Scott Stapp so there was that as well.
Join me tonight on The LeBrain Train as we go through our Top 5 Ballads!! See what Mike Ladano says about his show below…
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike & Friends
Episode 99 – Top Ballads…Remastered
On July 3 2020, we did the Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Ballads on the LeBrain Train with six sets of lists. And it was great! We had lists from Meat, Harrison, Holen, Darr, and Len Labelle. Unfortunately due to Facebook Live and a bad internet connection, I find this show impossible to watch today. Harrison and I have been trying to talk Meat into doing a “remastered” version of the show in the new Cinco De Listo format for a long time, and we finally twisted his arm. The new panel tonight:
“X”? That’s right. This week’s show is not just a list show. There will be a sixth panel member, and that member’s voice and likeness will be obscured for the whole countdown. It will be up to the others to figure out who “X” is, and they have five songs with which to do it.
I love a mystery and I’m really looking forward to this! Tune in tonight for six lists of awesome ballads, and a little Friday evening mystery too. Where’s Mulder when you need him?
I can’t believe we are already to the last Friday of February. This year is already flying by. The good news is that it feels like the new releases come faster and faster. This month there are over 50 to go through and that should keep you busy for a while. There are three I’m interested in hearing and the are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear this week and let us know if we missed anything. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Scorpions – Rock Believer – (Vertigo Berlin / Universal Music): Our favorite German rock band is still going strong after around 50 years together. And these guys can still kick some major ass. I am really looking to hear this, but don’t expect a review for a very long time as I am saving it for the Scorpions Collection Review Series that will start later this year.
Corey Taylor – CMFB…Sides – (Roadrunner Records): The Slipnot frontman is at it again and as much as I love his CMFT album, I am eager to hear this one. I believe it is a covers album, but I am okay with it. And based on the cover, I think we will see a Kiss Cover on this thing.
After the disappointing sales of ‘Busted’, Cheap Trick left Epic Records and later signed a multi-album deal with Warner Brothers. The were under contract for 10 albums. Warner Brothers had high hopes for the band. Those hopes got the band a massive producer with the great Ted Templeman. Thanks to Ted, the album had a much heavier sound with way more guitar and way less keyboards. I couldn’t be happier with that idea.
The album was released on March 4, 1994 but didn’t sell like the label would’ve liked. The biggest reason was lack of promotion as the two reps that signed Cheap Trick had both been fired prior to release and as a result, the lack of promotion. Well duh, how can the label blame the band. I guess it doesn’t matter whose fault because the label dropped the band after one album. I guess that 10 album deal wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. The boys must have been very disheartened after that. Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Peterrson and Bun E. Carlos were now 12 albums in to their career and now no label.
The band used a lot of outside writers again and some really big names like Jim Peterik, Michael Mcdonald, Mark Spiro, Terry Reid, Todd Cerney and Julian Raymond. The album also featured something different on the cover, the Cheap Trick logo was changed and the normal font was no more. The cover was also scary as hell as it had some clown molesting a woman or whatever he was about to do to her. Not the most flattering and I am missing the normal Robin & Tom on the front and Rick and Bun E. on the back.
For this edition of the Jeff Scott Soto Series, we are going to look at a 7″ Single I found from the band Eyes. This single I found is really cool in my book. It is a Scandinavian release of the band’s single “Nobody Said It Was Easy” off their 1990 debut album ‘Eyes’. The album was off the Curb Records label, but that was in the U.S. For this release we get Sonet Grammofon AB and I love how the label on the record looks with the Sonet logo on it. I can’t imagine there are a ton of these out there as they were an obscure band, but thanks to Discogs, I now have a copy. I doubt I’ll ever see one out it in the wild here in the U.S.
The song was obviously released as a single, but I don’t think it ever charted anywhere which is a shame. The B-Side of the vinyl is also from the debut album and is called “Start Livin'”. I don’t have any back stories to the songs as information on the band Eyes is really hard to come by. Maybe if I ever get to sit down with Jeff, I can ask him about them.
We are to the final single that I have for the ‘Permanent Vacation’ album and I am sure you will be happy to get back to the normal reviews as it has been 4 weeks of this album. The final single if for the song “Rag Doll”. The song was written by Joe Perry, Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams) as well as Holly Knight (Kiss). Tyler was furious that Holly got a writing credit because he says all she contributed to the song was changing the name from “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll”. One word got her a writing credit and it didn’t sit well.
“Rag Doll” went to #17 on the Top 40 Chart which continued to push the album to multi-platinum status…5 X’s platinum. The single was released on May 3, 1988 and my version is the standard U.S. version. The B-Side is “St. John” and both songs are the basic, standard LP version. No new mixes here.
By 1978, Kiss had reached the peak of stardom. Kiss was flying high and a couple members were too. Trouble was brewing and most especially with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. From what I have read, they both wanted to do solo albums, but the band needed to keep the train rolling. So Bill Aucoin and others came up with a strategy to help keep the peace. The entire band would each do a solo album and they would all be released at the same time on the same day, however, they would be under the Kiss umbrella. Brilliant or Stupid was still yet to be seen. No band had ever attempted this prior or since and probably for good reason.
Each member had to find their own producer, their own musicians as no one in the band played on the other persons record. All the albums came out on the same day, September 18, 1978. To help promote the Solo albums, the label released the ‘Best of Solo Albums’, but only overseas. To this day, there is no U.S. release of this album. To top that off, there was never a CD release of this album either. If you find one on CD, it is not legit.
‘The Best of Solo Albums’ takes three songs from each of the members with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on Side One and Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on Side Two. It is hard to say if these are the best 3 songs of each member especially if Peter’s and Gene’s weren’t the best of the bunch, but I have to say it is still a great set. It is enough to whet your whistle and determine which ones you need to buy. If you didn’t know, the answer is all of them!! You want the posters. So buy all of them.
My copy is actually a rather current re-issue from 2019 and it is on a beautiful Black & Silver & White Splatter vinyl. It is a limited edition on 180g and if you look at the logo, you can tell it is the German Edition as they have to change the style of their logo to normal SS so it doesn’t look like the Nazi SS army. The album looks beautiful just look at the picture above. I think this is the first German Edition I have on any of their albums. And if you want to look at the attention to detail, look at the back cover and notice they changed all the SS on them as well.
Now, let’s get to the songs…
The album opens with Ace’s songs and a cover song, “New York Groove”, by the band Hello and written by Russ Ballard. This was the single off the album and became a massive hit for Ace and really became his signature song. Ace knew Russ from when Kiss opened for Argent back in the day and has worked with Russ numerous times since. For Ace, this is a personal Anthem since he is from New York and he helped perpetuate the myth that he wrote the song even though we know he didn’t. Ace’s version has some differences from the original including the hand-clapping sound of the original was more of a foot-stomping sound and the harmonica riff was replaced by guitar…well duh. With surprisingly no guitar solo like you would expect with Ace, the song kept relatively close to the original. It is a wonderful tune and the biggest hit of all the solo albums going to #13 on the Billboard charts. This must have driven Gene crazy!!!
The opening track on the album and the second one here, “Rip It Out”, is bombastic and has a massive sound. Guitar riffs galore and a drum sound by Anton Fig that was so huge and filled the song with the punch it needed. It is my favorite drum sound on any of the Kiss albums until Creatures comes along with Eric Carr. Not to be overshadowed, Ace lays down a classic solo and opens the album like none of the other albums had been done. Ace threw down the gauntlet and showed that He is someone to be noticed!
“Speedin’ Back to My Baby” is more guitar, guitar and then some guitar! Eddie Kramer is bringing out the best of Ace both vocally and that guitar. Not only does the song open with a solo, there is another solo in the middle with a cool break right before it. It is like solo on top of solo. The song’s energy matches the title. The song was co-written by Ace and Jeanette Frehley which I guess he was speedin’ back to her.
“You Matter to Me” is up first for Peter feels more disco than anything with the keyboards. Written by Vini Poncia, John Vastano, Michael Morgan, it is one of the few songs Peter doesn’t have a hand in writing. With Vini writing it, I am not surprised by the sound and style as you will see that more and more with the next two Kiss studio albums for which he produces. This was the first single on his album and never charted.
“Tossin’ and Turnin’” is up next and it is the only true cover song on the album originally done by Bobby Lewis back in 1961. It is more of a rocker with some R&B tendencies and it fits Peter’s gritty vocal style. He feels more at home with this one and the drum work is not bad either along with the saxophone break.
For Peter’s final song we get a song that I thought was a cover called “Hooked on Rock & Roll” which was written by Peter and Stan Penridge. With Steve Lukather on guitar and the whole feel of the song, I would swear it would be something Chuck Berry could’ve done or any of those early rockers. The song fits Peter’s vocals so might be a keeper.
Side Two opens with the song “Radioactive” which was written by Gene Simmons, as was all but 2 songs on his album. This song was the only single from the album and it has Joe Perry (Aerosmith) on guitar, Eric Troyer (ELO) on piano, Allan Schwartzberg (Mountain) on drums and Bob Seger on backing vocals. A pretty stellar line-up. The song opens with a prelude that is very evil, sinister and demonesque which was filled with string orchestration and it cuts away to the song. The prelude was removed from the single if you were interested that little fact. The song doesn’t really match the intro as it is fun and upbeat compared to the evil that came before. It is straight-up rock song that probably leans a little more pop friendly. A good song all on its own.
“Mr. Make Believe” is another unexpected song from Gene that works so well. With this album we are seeing a softer side of Gene that I am sure no one expected. This song is pieced together from two demos, one called “One More Chance” and the other “Mr. Make Believe”. They took the best of both and created a simply beautiful ballad. You get the verses from “One More Chance” and the chorus of “Mr. Make Believe”. Both are on ‘The Vault’. If you listen to this one, you can hear the early British pop influence on the song. One of his best.
Now we get a song we’ve heard before on a prior Kiss album called “See You in Your Dreams”. Gene wasn’t happy with the original version on ‘Rock & Roll Over’. The biggest difference on this is the backing vocals are the women from the Group with No Name who are Katy Sagal, Gordon Grody, Diva Gray, Franny Eisenberg and Carolyn Ray . The Kiss version rocks out a lot more and is better in my opinion so not sure a remake was necessary at all. Plus, the song gets a little too repetitive for my liking.
“Tonight You Belong to Me” comes at you with an acoustic guitar and Paul singing so lovely and softly in what you think is a ballad before the song explodes with a killer Kiss sounding riff and heavy drums and a full band with tempo sped up and Paul’s vocals just soaring. If you remember from earlier posts, Bob Kulick was the guitarist that auditioned for Kiss and was right before Ace came in and took the job. Bob is back on this song and actually does all the solos but one song on Stanley’s album. And he does brilliantly.
“Move On” keeps the party rolling with a song about a parent that is advising their child to move on and explore lots of women. With wonderful backing vocals by Diana Grasselli, Miriam Naomi Vale, and Maria Vidal, more slick work from Bob, the song is another rocker with a little soul vibe thrown in with those backing vocals.
“Hold Me, Touch Me” is a pretty sappy and sugary sweet song, almost enough to give you a cavity. A piano intro opens the song, Paul sings sweetly and the song is layered with orchestration. It is a little over the top, but it works just the same. Paul actually does all the guitar work on this one which isn’t a ton, mostly the solo. The heavy lifting comes from Doug Katsaros on the piano and string sounds with Craig Krampf on drums.
If you are a Kiss Collector, this is a must as you need to have at least one of every release they have done. I am getting closer to completing that quest. Only a handful more to go. I like the fact they give each member equal billing with 3 songs each and they are really all great songs, might not have been my choices, but good nonetheless. If you see this grab it, it is worth the dough. I got lucky and KissOnline.com was running a sale and it was only around $22 plus shipping. Can’t beat that. My Overall Score is 4.5 Out of 5.0 Stars as like I said, I might’ve picked some different tracks that better represent each member. Otherwise, it is perfect.
For My Sunday Song #287, we are going to discover the first single from one of the most talented bands Jeff Scott Soto has been in. The song is “Coming Home” and it is off the album ‘Psychotic Symphony’ from the band Sons of Apollo. Why do I say most talented, let’s look at the players. Obviously you have Jeff Scott Soto on vocals or this post wouldn’t be happening, but you also have Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Mike Portnoy on drums. It don’t get much better than this. This song was the world’s introduction to the band and what a statement they made with it.
Normally, I go in to the song meanings before I get in to the music, but I can’t wait to talk about the music. That opening keyboard riff by Derek Sherinian is classic and brutal. If you expected the album to be all prog rock, you’d be wrong. This song is pure Hard Rock reminiscent of Van Halen but maybe even heavier. Bumblefoot’s effortless riffs dance throughout the song, Sheehan’s bass gives us a new sound from what you’d expect from Billy and it adds so much groove to the song. And you can’t forget Portnoy’s drums which are as immense and immersive as you’ve ever gotten from him. It is pure power! Speaking of power, Jeff Scott Soto attacks the vocals and they are filled with such anger and intensity that you feel it throughout your body and those screams are piercing and yet so beautifully done. This was so unexpected and totally amazing and you have to hear it to believe it.
And what does the song mean, who cares. Just put it on repeat and let the abundance of sound fill every void of your body and rock the hell out of you. Each time you hear it, there is something you hadn’t heard before as there is so much going on musically you can’t help but be blown away.