August is over and so is Summer. School is back in session and it was a very busy month. Between vacation, getting one of my daughters off to college and traveling for work, I didn’t have much record store time. As a result, my selection is rather small compared to some of my months. But doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to show off so lets get in to it.
We will start off with my record shopping while on vacation as I did pick up a few things. First up was a Joe Satriani for the album, ‘Not of this Earth’, which I already have. But I didn’t have this cover. I had never seen this before, so my rule…if you haven’t seen it before, you buy it. And I did…
And that holds true for one my next finds at the same record store. I picked up Kiss’ ‘Psycho Circus’ on CD as it was at the lowest price I’d seen in awhile. Then I saw a maxi-single for “I Was Made For Loving You (Live)” for the Alive III album. I had never seen this before, so I bought it…
This is the last 7″ Single I found at Mad Jack’s on the last dig I had back earlier in the Summer. This time around it is the song “Strength” by the UK band The Alarm. This was the first single off the album of the same name. The song came out prior to the album release which was in 1985. It reached #40 in the UK but didn’t chart in the U.S. However, I saw the video for this song on MTV and my brother had their prior album, so I was really in to it and in fact, the album ‘Strength’ is a personal favorite of mine.
The song is credited to the whole band which is not normal for them. The song came to Mike Peters in the middle of the night while at a hotel in Newcastle. He and his friend went down to the get his guitar out of the van so he could start writing. The next day during soundcheck, the whole band worked through the song as Mike still didn’t hav the right chords for it. And that is why the whole band got credit.
My copy is the Pinckneyville Pressing from the U.S. Pretty standard. The cool thing about it is the B-Side is a non-album track. The song is called “Majority”. You can now get it on subsequent re-issues of the album, but not back in the day. This was the only place which would’ve made this a prized single to get.
The band’s fifth album has both a first and a last point of interest. It was the band’s first album with new drummer, Herman Rarebell, and the band’s last with guitarist Uli Jon Roth. A little good and bad news rolled in to one. Herman replaced prior drummer Rudy Lenners and is the drummer that is most known with the band as he was there through their most successful years. Uli left the band because he didn’t like the direction the band was going in which was a more commercial rock sound plus he didn’t even sing a song on this album where he had at least 2 vocals on previous ones. Uli held on until the end of the tour for the album and then left to start his own band Electric Sun. That more commercial rock sound has proven to be quite successful for the band. The full band line-up was Klaus Meine, Uli Jon Roth, Rudolf Schenker, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell. A very lethal combination.
The album was recorded from June to October of 1977 and was released on December 4, 1977 just in time for Christmas. I am not sure how successful this particular album was or what chart positions it hit (if any), but I do know that Apple Music considers this to be one of their most essential albums to have in your collection.
For My Sunday Song #314, we are going after the song “Sick Man of Europe” off the Cheap Trick 2009 album ‘The Latest’. The album came out on June 23, 2009 and the single and video for this song came out on August 13 of the same year. The song didn’t chart, but the album did at #78 on the Billboard Charts. The song was written mostly by Bun E. Carlos and Julian Raymond but credits will go all around to Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson.
“Sick Man of Europe” is named after the band name Rick and Tom had for their band while they were in Europe in the early 70’s, pre-Cheap Trick. The song is a nod to the old, but it is new again. It is basically them calling out to the world and telling them we still got it.
The bass is king here. Tom goes ballistic on this track as he is balls-to-walls amazing. Bun E. Carlos has such great feel on this one as he tears up the skins. Rick lays down some wicked riffs and Robin sounds as youthful as ever with that never aging voice. The song has all the punk attitude and force you remember from early Trick with tracks like “He’s a Whore” for example. It is short and sweet and will get you on your feet! It will slap you upside the face and kick you in the ass. It is a force to be reckoned with and shows they still got it.
The local haunt, Mad Jack’s, has been super good to me with Singles. Here is another one I found recently and this one is by ZZ Top. The song is “Stages” off their 1985 album ‘Afterburner’ and was released in December 1985. It was written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard and was the second single off the album. It broke in to the Top 40 landing at #21 and #1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Not too shabby.
The song appears to be about the stages of love. How it is confusing, it can be on again / off again. And sometimes you don’t know where you stand with that person. It can happen really fast or take its sweet time. At least it seems to be worth every chance you get at it.
My copy of the single is the standard U.S. release and has “Can’t Stop Rockin'” as the B-Side. That song is also from ‘Afterburner’. Again, nothing special and no special B-Side, but I’ll take it and make sure it has a good home.
We are at the end of Summer, schools back in session and though still hot, we know Fall is just around the corner. Until it arrives, why don’t you pick up some new releases this week as there are a ton. We have over 50 for you this week and there are some good ones. There is only one for me this week and others I might get to eventually. My choice is first up. Let me know what you want to hear or what we may have missed. Thanks for stopping by this week and I hope you all have a great weekend!!
Will Hoge – Wings On My Shoes – (EDLO Records / Soundly Music): If you follow this site, you know I am a huge Will Hoge fan and I am super excited about this release. I got to hear one of these songs when I saw him in concert earlier this year and he was amazing. Can’t wait to throw this one on. It is a cross between Country, Americana with a little rock thrown in for good measure. If you don’t mind a little political and social commentary at time, this one is for you.
Takara had 2 albums in the can with Jeff never really being an official member. He was always doing the vocals to help promote the band and hopefully giving them a chance to find a new singer. The third album was written and the music was laid down back in December 1996. The tapes were sent to Jeff and it took almost a year for Jeff to finish the vocals as he was so busy with The Boogie Knights. You might ask yourself, why did the band wait for Jeff. Well according to Neil Grusky, there was no one as good as Jeff. And that might be true, but was it worth it? Probably not as the band never really took off and never found success with or without Jeff. Without a full commitment from Jeff and the band not finding another singer, they were really destined for nothing.
Three years after the release of their second album, ‘Taste of Heaven’, the new album ‘Blind in Paradise’ was finally released. The band consisted of Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Neal Grusky on guitar, Carl Demarco on bass, Eric Rango on keyboards and Robert Duda on drums. The band continued their AOR sound and being 1998, it is a very dated sound for even that time as this album reeks of the 80’s. I’m not saying that is a bad thing…it just isn’t really a good thing.
My copy is a cool one I think as I have the Japanese version. It comes with the prized OBI strip and even a postcard to join their MVP Supporting Club. The booklet is half in English and half in Japanese which better than getting two separate books. It also has two bonus tracks and that is really why we want the Japanese Edition is those bonus tracks. If you look at the song titles, you see a lot of numbers or letters replacing words. Soto is huge fan of Prince and Prince did that a lot so Soto thought if it was good enough for Prince, it is good enough for him. Now, enough about this version, let us get to the music.
It took me a long time to finally get to this book as I’ve had it a long while, but life kept getting in the way. When I was on vacation a few weeks back, I was bound and determined to finish this book and man was it a great read. The 80’s Hard Rock Explosion is the music scene I grew up with and is what I am most passionate about so this book was a no-brainer for me. This book was written by journalists Tom Beaujour who was co-founder of Revolver magazine and Richard Bienstock who was a senior editor for Guitar World magazine plus he has been published in Rolling Stone and New York Times. Both very accomplished writers.
These guys go back to the beginning even before the Sunset Strip music scene and we find out what was really happening and how things got started. The craziness, the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll all here in full uncensored glory. There are so many fascinating stories and I loved learning about the musical chairs between band members in the early days with Jake E. Lee jumping from one band to another, Warren DeMartini possibly playing with a band other than Ratt and just who was in Guns N Roses first and who wasn’t….it was so much to keep up with and a blast to read about. There are a cast of characters chapter showing all the people that were interviewed and quoted and it was 7 pages long. If they were part of the scene, they are in here from Steven Adler to Zakk Wylde and everything in between.
In my quest for great picture sleeve singles, here is yet another great one I found at Mad Jack’s in Matthews, NC. This time around it is Billy Idol’s single for “Rebel Yell” and yes, I am surprised I didn’t already have this one, but I didn’t. It was released on October 24, 1983 and the song was a smash for Billy Idol and Steve Steven especially on MTV. On the radio, it didn’t even break the Top 40 reaching only #46. It did go to #9 on the Rock Charts, but MTV is where it was in constant rotation and helped make Billy a star. He was made for MTV.
“Rebel Yell” was written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens and was actually inspired by the Rolling Stones according to Billy on VH1 Storytellers. Billy was at a party thrown by the Stones and everyone was drinking Rebel Yell Bourbon Whiskey. I guess he loved that whiskey (along with a lot of drugs at the time). He took the name and turned it in to a rocking track.
My copy is a standard U.S. Release and nothing special. You can pick it up cheap if you find it. The B-Side is “Crank Call” also from the album ‘Rebel Yell’.
Another year, another Scorpions album. The band recorded their fourth album during 1976 and it was released on October 9, 1976. The album saw the band continue down the hard rock road and refining their sound more and more closer to what they became most famous for, but this album didn’t see them push much further in sales. The album did better outside of Germany seeing some success in Japan, but the U.S. still hadn’t jumped on board yet. In Japan, the album landed at #32 and sold over 100,000 copies but success elsewhere was coming, but not with this album.
With the last album, ‘In Trance’, the album cover saw a little controversy. ‘Virgin Killer’ looked at ‘In Trance’ and said “Hold my Beer”. The original album cover for this album was of a nude prepubescent girl with a broken glass effect over her private parts. This did not sit well with a lot of the buying public as some considered it child pornography. The album cover was not designed by the band as they generally had no say in the album artwork, that was handled by the label and this picture was handled by Steffan Böhle who was product manager for RCA Records. Some countries wouldn’t sell the album unless it was sealed in black plastic so the cover wasn’t visible. As a result, an alternate cover that featured the band members was issued and is the cover I have. I had the opportunity about 6 months ago to buy the original cover album at a record show, but they wanted $150 for it and I didn’t want to spend that much…maybe someday.