Scorpions – ‘In Trance’ (1975) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

Ten months after the release of 1974’s ‘Fly to the Rainbow’, Scorpions recorded then released their third studio album on September 17, 1975 in Europe, but wouldn’t see a U.S. release until March 1976. This time around they had a new drummer as Jurgen Rosenthal left the band because he was drafted in to the Army. He was replaced by Rudy Lenners. The rest of the band was the same with Klaus Meine on lead vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitar, Uli Jon Roth on lead guitar (& vocals) and Francis Buchholz on bass.

As far as a sound for the record, Scorpions continued on their hard rock road and left behind those epic 10 minutes songs for an album of 10 tracks within the standard 3 to 5 minute range. They were tighter, more melodic and we even get more Uli Jon Roth on vocals as he gets two songs this go round. This was also the first album that featured producer Dieter Dierks who would go on to produce all their album up to 1988’s Savage Amusement. I guess you could say he was the 6th member of the Scorpions.

This album was also the first album to include the now famous Scorpion log. If that wasn’t enough, it was the start of a set of album covers that would become rather controversial. This one, and the copy I happen to have, shows a beautiful lady standing over Uli’s guitar and one of her breasts is exposed. They would later change the cover to blackout that part hiding her breast. Honestly, this one is really hard to see and you have to be really looking for it to see it, but it is there. This wouldn’t be the last cover of the band to get censored. Censored cover or not, the album helped propel their sound and their popularity, but they were still not near their highest of highs yet. That wouldn’t come for several years.

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Loverboy, REO Speedwagon & Styx – Concert Review (August 6, 2022 – PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC)

Back before Christmas of 2021, it was announced that Loverboy, REO Speedwagon and Styx were coming to Charlotte. Loverboy was one of my wife’s favorites bands back in the day and she wanted to go see the show, so tickets were bought and months were spent waiting until the day finally came on August 6, 2022 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC. It was a rainy afternoon and evening and this was an outdoor show. I wasn’t worried about the show itself because we had seats undercover, but the walk there was a little wet…but we didn’t care as it kept it cool and was a little fun to get wet.

The show kicked off on time and first up was Loverboy promptly at 7pm. The first thing I noticed was that they were old…I had forgotten that time had passed. I looked around and I noticed the crowd…well, I won’t say they were old too, but Depends did have a booth giving away free samples and Jonathan from Colonial Penn Life Insurance was there selling their $9.95 Plan (let’s see who gets that one). After remembering that people age, I got my mind back in to the show.

Since they were the opening act, they only played 8 songs, but they were a great 8 songs. I will admit my wife was a little underwhelmed at first and so was I as the vocals didn’t sound that great and the playing was a little sloppy at times, but it got better, much better. Mike Reno didn’t move around a ton and neither did Paul Dean. However, Matt Frenette, the drummer, looked exactly the same in that red ball cap and he was still killing it on the drums. He hadn’t aged a bit. When they played “Kid Is Hot Tonite” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It”, it took me right back to high school and it sounded incredible. I got chills. And when the final two songs came on “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend”, the crowd was totally in to it and on their feet. It was a helluva a way to end the show with every one truly loving every minute of it…pun intended. If the whole show would’ve had the energy of those last two songs…they would have blown everyone off the stage that came after.

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You Picked It! Metallica – ‘Kill ‘Em All’ – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And this one was a blowout from the word go. It was really down to three choices but 2 weren’t even close. The winner was Metallica’s debut album ‘Kill ‘Em All’ which is one I have actually never heard from beginning to end as I was never in to Metallica until later. Most people couldn’t fathom that fact, but it is true. Here are the results.

  1. Metallica – ‘Kill ‘Em All’ – 15 votes
  2. Journey – ‘Freedom’ – 4 votes
  3. Robin Trower – ‘Twice Removed from Yesterday’ – 3 votes
  4. Hollywood Undead – ‘Swan Song’ – 1 vote
  5. Kris Kristofferson – ‘Kristofferson’ – Sadly, 0 votes

Thanks to all for participating. The September choices will be up on Saturday!

METALLICA – ‘KILL ‘EM ALL’:

Growing up, I was an 80’s pop/rock kid and in 1983, it was Def Leppard, Kiss, Quiet Riot, Genesis, Billy Idol and bands of that style. Metallica was way too heavy for me and wasn’t melodic enough for my liking. They were never on my radar until the Black album and “Enter Sandman”. However, I never went back and explored their music. I had an opinion of Thrash and it wasn’t for me. So, here we are almost 40 years later and thanks to your vote, I am now trying the debut ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and the first thing I notice is that by today’s standards, it isn’t as heavy as I would’ve thought.

There is so much written on this album so I am not here to give you a lesson on the album on when it was written and stories on each song, nope. You can read all that stuff on the interweb thingy that is out there. This is going to be my impressions of the songs as someone who doesn’t know these songs and hearing them for the first time (several listens now as I’ve spent a couple weeks with the album).

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My Sunday Song – “You Let A Lotta People Down” by Cheap Trick

For My Sunday Song #312, we are going with “You Let A Lotta People Down” off their 1997 self-titled album, ‘Cheap Trick’. The song wasn’t a single but a B-Side to the albums third single, “Carnival Games”. The album went fairly overlooked as this 1997 and nothing from bands from the 70’s and 80’s was getting much love. That doesn’t detract from its greatness though…not in my book at least.

I will be honest, I don’t know who the song is about. All that is obvious that someone has let a lot of people down. That has hurt this person severely to the point of anger and dare I say rage. To the point that he might be willing to get a gun and do something about it…or someone that this person has hurt will one day end things. The person was teetering on a fence between the right decision and the wrong decision and they feel towards the wrong, deceitful side.

The band is on fire with this as they completely rock out with this one borderline metal with its really dark and anger-filled tone. Robin’s vocals aren’t silky smooth, they have an edge like the song itself. There is anger in those lyrics and the music personifies it. The chorus is classic 70’s Cheap Trick and catchy as hell, but the sound is more modern and fits the darker 90’s style of music. There is a point with some really heavy bass, pounding drums and a simple slamming guitar riff while Robin is angry and screaming and it is freaking awesome!!! It is a side of Cheap Trick we don’t get to see very often and that is a shame.

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Joan Jett and The Blackhearts – “I Hate Myself for Loving You” – 7″ Single

Out at one of my local haunts, Mad Jacks, I found a handful of 7″ singles and the first one up is from Joan Jett & the Blackhearts for their song “I Hate Myself For Loving You”. The song was released in June 1988 and is off her album “Up Your Alley”. The song was written by Joan Jett along with the great Desmond Child who also produced it as well. The song was a Top 10 hit for Joan Jett going all the way to #8 on the charts and help propel the album platinum status.

My version is the standard U.S. Edition with the B-Side being a live version of “Love is Pain”. The original song is off her album “I Love Rock & Roll”. Joan Jett wrote and produced this song. My copy isn’t special or rare, but I am trying to collect any decent 80’s rock picture sleeves so I had to have it.

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Friday New Releases – August 12, 2022

Happy Friday everyone…you did it! You made it to another weekend and not a moment too soon. To celebrate, why don’t you help yourself to some new music. I know I will as there are two I’m really interested in and they are highlighted in Blue. Take a look through the batch we have for your this week as we have over 35 releases today. See which ones you want and let us know. Also, let us know what we may have missed so everyone else knows as well. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

  • 71wEDFrXRML._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Hollywood Undead – Hotel Kalifornia – (BMG Rights Mgmt): I’m not a huge Rap fan by any means. Not something I like much. However, throw in some metal and hard rock beats and Hollywood Undead is something I really enjoy. They are now on their 8th Studio album and I am still along for the ride.
  • 91odpcia9kL._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Collective Soul – Vibrating – (Fuzze-Flex Records): Collective Soul has been around since 1992 and 30 years later, still going strong. These local boys (well, close enough as they are from Stockbridge, GA and was from Marietta, GA) have been a favorite since the beginning and I am happy to add another album to the collection. They are on their 11th studio album and can’t wait.
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The Original vs. The Cover – “Jolene”

For the next installment of The Original vs. The Cover we are giving some love to “Jolene” written by Dolly Parton. In fact, she wrote this song the same day she wrote “I Will Always Love You” which would make another great The Original vs. The Cover post. The song was recorded on May 22, 1973 and released October 15th of the same year which became her 2nd #1 solo song. The cover is from The White Stripes and we are going with the studio cover and not the live version as a tough comparison with the live track. The studio track was originally the B-Side to their song “Hello Operator” but was finally issued on their greatest hits album.

The song was inspired by a bank teller that was flirting with Dolly’s husband when the two first got married. Apparently it really bothered her. The physical description of Jolene and here name though were taken from a fan of hers that came running up on stage to get an autograph. The song has Dolly pleading to Jolene to not steal her man as she can’t compete with her beauty, but we know that Dolly and her man are still together today. So she won out in the end.

DOLLY PARTON:

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Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

With Jeff Scott Soto still busy with Boogie Knights, his time with Axel Rudi Pell had come to an end. He was too busy to do both. However, he wasn’t too busy to play around with his good buddy Marcel Jacobs. Since Talisman was on hiatus, they decided to form Human Clay and pull together some of the old demos they hadn’t used with Talisman and make an album. That was the debut Human Clay album we reviewed a few weeks back. It was time for them to do another album together in Jeff’s spare time and this time around had a better batch of songs and they spent a little more money on it, double the last one.

As a result, the production was a lot better and so was the sound. This one sounded more like a Talisman record as the bass was more prominent in the mix and most importantly, the drums were actually real drums thanks to former Talisman drummer Jamie Borger. Jeff sounded great, they had real engineers this time around and it all came together much better. There was still no touring as Jeff’s other commitment made it too hard to do. In fact, Human Clay has never played live as a band and never will due the passing of Marcel in 2009. The Japanese label they were under actually had an option for a third album, but nothing ever came of that as one was never released or recorded that we know about.

My version of the album is a Japanese edition. It doesn’t have the OBI strip, but as you can see below, there is some Japanese at the bottom. Included in the CD was an extra booklet that was all in Japanese and being the Japanese edition, we get a bonus track. And that is really all the info I have on this one, so turn up the volume and let’s review the album.

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Queensryche – “Empire” – 7″ Single

At the May 2022 Record Show in Charlotte, I found a handful of singles and the one we are discussing today is from Queensryche for their single “Empire” from their 1990 album of the same name. The song was the first single and came out in September 1990. The song didn’t chart in the Top 40, but it did go to #22 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. It is the 2nd most played song by the band live…”Eyes of a Stranger” is #1. The song was written by Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.

The version I have is the standard U.S. Version on 7″ Vinyl and the B-Side is “Scarborough Fair” which was not on the original album but added as a bonus track for latest re-issues of the album. “Empire” is said to be the radio edit of the album version but any changes is virtually unnoticeable.

The song is very political and talks about how much the government spends on law enforcement and how little that amount is compared to military and space exploration. The song itself is about the drug trafficking within the United States and all the related crimes that arise from it. The song believes that it will inevitably lead to the breakdown of civility in American society. I can’t say for sure if that is the case, but today it is still just as bad as it was in 1990 and Society does seem to be imploding at times. The gun violence is definitely on the rise.

A-SIDE:

The song opens with a massive guitar riff and a very heavy, metallic drum beat. The vibe is foreboding and urgent. Geoff Tate almost speaks the lyrics as he describing the events that result from drug trafficking. When he gets to the chorus his vocals soar and then with “Empire” it turns deep and sinister. Some of the echo effects on his vocals are added fro dramatic effect and are so cool. Musically, the boys give us an industrial sound that is as dark and sad as the lyrics yet it rocks out as the production quality is perfection. There is a break in the song where Geoff speaks out statistics backed by the band with a driving beat that builds and builds until we get to the solo that will blow your mind…okay maybe not, but it is superb. The song might be one of the best they have ever done and there are a quite a few great ones from them.

B-SIDE:

“Scarborough Fair” is an old traditional English Ballad that dates back generations. It was made famous in modern times thanks to Simon & Garfunkel. Queensryche recorded it back in 1986 and it ended up as the B-Side for “Empire”. Back in 1990, you wanted this single for the reason that this song had been previously unreleased at the time. The song is sad sounding and Geoff sings in a deep dark voice…which doesn’t feel natural. The song sounds sinister and evil with how they are playing. It does build and get a little heavier and Geoff actually hits some higher notes as well. It is a weird song for them and not a favorite of mine, but there is something cool about it.

And there you have it. Another 7″ Single from the collection. Don’t worry…there are more to come. Thanks for stopping by.

Scorpions – ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ (1974) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

After the debut album, ‘Lonesome Crow’, Michael Schenker was given an offer he couldn’t refuse. A chance to play guitar with the amazing band UFO. He was only kid so why not jump at the chance. They had asked Uli Jon Roth to join Scorpions after helping them finish out the tour, but Uli chose not to do it and instead stayed with the band he was also in called Dawn Road. Rudolf Schenker really wanted to work with Uli so he decided to break up the band and go join Dawn Road. Dawn Road already had Francis Buchholz (bass), Achim Kirschning (keyboards) and Jürgen Rosenthal (drums), but they amazingly found themselves needing a singer. Uli convinced Rudolf to invite Klaus Meine to come sing in the band…and he agreed.

Dawn Road had four members plus two old Scorpions members. Dawn Road basically outnumbered the Scorps. However, they decided to change the band name to Scorpions mainly because that name was more well known than Dawn Road and the Scorpions were back in business. They recorded the follow-up album ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ in April 1974 and on November 1, 1974, the album was released. The album ended up selling better than ‘Lonesome Crow’ and saw the band’s sound go from psychedelic rock to a more straight-forward hard rock sound…but not the 80’s rock sound yet…still some years off. One interesting thing to note is that 3 of the songs on the album were co-written by Michael Schenker which some how was part of the deal for him leaving the band.

The album cover is not quite what you’d expect from the Scorpions. The color scheme is not very metal and Uli Jon Roth has no idea what it means and I am guessing the band had no say in what it would be. The same design firm that did the debut album, which was great, did this one as well and I am not sure what drugs they were taking, but they had to be high as a freaking kite to come up with this nonsense. I do like the back cover with the band’s name on the guys ass..that’s kinda funny. My copy of the album is a standard U.S. release and nothing special so enough about that. Let’s get to the music.

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