January 2023 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Last year flew by and now here we are in 2023 and already at our first month purchases wrap-up. It was a good start to the year if I do say so myself. I started a new collection, found some stuff for other collections I have, treated myself to an album I’ve been wanting for years and even found a Jeff Scott Soto CD that I didn’t even know existed. I would say that all makes for a solid month.

The month kicked off in full glory when 2nd & Charles kicked off the year with a buy 5 get 5 free sale on their CDs and so I pounced on it. Sadly, my memory sucks and one is one I already had, see if you can guess which one because it was in my November purchases as well.

If that wasn’t enough, later in the month I went by Repo Records here in Charlotte and found a handful of picture sleeve 45’s. I love the picture sleeves and so I bought about 9 this time around. Some great stuff to add to the collection…

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Aldo Nova: A Career Retrospective w/Tim Durling & John Snow | #107 – On Grant’s Rock Warehaus

Why not make it a 3-fer today with Aldo Nova. If you are an Aldo Nova fan, then you need to check out Grant’s Rock Warehaus as Grant, along with Tim Durling of Tim’s Vinyl Cofessions, and me, John Snow, take a look at the career of Aldo Nova. It is a fun, retrospective of his career and some great visuals as well. I want to thank Grant for having me along for the ride on this one.

@grantsrockwarehaus Check out Grant’s Rock Warehaus at the following:

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Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy the show!!

Aldo Nova – ‘Sonic Hallucinations’ E.P. – Album Review

Aldo Nova was silent for a number of years due to contract issues and such, but all those issues are settled and as a result, we have been getting a ton of new music from Aldo. The famed singer of “Fantasy” has put out 4 CDs over the last year. First was a 10 song E.P. of his rock opera ‘The Life & Times of Eddie Gage’ which is a two hour opera, but here we get a brief intro with the 10 songs…and it was great. Then he did ‘Reloaded 2.0’ which was a re-imagining of a bunch of hits. Then we get two 3-song E.P.’s. First is ‘Short Stories’ which we reviewed first and now we get a 3-Song E.P. called ‘Sonic Hallucinations’ which will now review.

From Aldo’s website we get the following: Aldo Nova creates a sonic tapestry that brings you his vision of 3 Extraterrestrial Symphonies of the future. The album was Composed, Performed, Produced, Arranged, Engineered, and Mixed all by Aldo Nova. This is an instrumental album and Aldo goes all out with bringing us some interesting music and whether he was high as a kite while doing it or sober, it is certainly different. I do love the artwork on here with the galaxy and Aldo breaking free from it.

The first track is called “Calling All Aliens” and it is all synthesizers and there is so much going on. We do get a killer electronic drum beat that drives the song and some angelic (or alien) backing vocals that add an extra flavor to the track. But it is what he does on the keys that is the magic here. He is able to create some great melodies that give us so much flavor to the song and let’s it stick in your head. Close Encounters of the Third Kind it is not, it is better than those simple tones as this is a lush landscape of sound. I’m sure the Aliens will answer back and come down to Earth with open arms.

Continue reading “Aldo Nova – ‘Sonic Hallucinations’ E.P. – Album Review”

Aldo Nova – ‘Short Stories’ E.P. – Album Review

Aldo Nova was silent for a number of years due to contract issues and such, but all those issues are settled and as a result, we have been getting a ton of new music from Aldo. The famed singer of “Fantasy” has put out 4 CDs over the last year. First was a 10 song E.P. of his rock opera ‘The Life & Times of Eddie Gage’ which is a two hour opera, but here we get a brief intro with the 10 songs…and it was great. Then he did ‘Reloaded 2.0’ which was a re-imagining of a bunch of hits. Then we get two 3-song E.P.’s. First is ‘Short Stories’ which we will review here and then next was a 3-Song E.P. called ‘Sonic Hallucinations’ which will review next.

According to Aldo’s website, “Aldo Nova-Short Stories is an EP that is made up of 3 great songs that each tell a different story that gives the listener the sensation of either watching a film or can be a song where they identify and touches a certain part of their lives.” And I love the artwork. The cover is called ‘Guitar And Tuba’ and was drawn by artist James St. Laurent.

The first track is called “The Border” and it has this whole Latin flavor with hints of Carlos Santana in the guitar tone. It is pretty fantastic sounding. Aldo’s vocals fit perfectly nestled in to the song and you can’t help but want to get up and move to those rhythmic beats as the bass and drums really settle in to a nice groove that causes the hips to sway back and forth. The guitar playing is top notch as Aldo wails away on the solo. I don’t hear any tuba though. The song feels like a couple of bad guys running from the law and/or s he running from death and from God. Who knows.

Next up is “What Happened to Our Dreams” is a story about lost love. Young high school romance with big dreams, but all good things come to an end and those dreams never become reality. The song is a ballad with some great acoustic guitars, some nice percussion work and an emotive Aldo singing with a broken heart at dreams that never came to be. The music has a great tone and feel to it as it feels like an old school 80’s ballad yet still sound a little modern at the same time. Another killer song.

The last track is called “Let Our Worlds Collide” and this one is a story as old as time. Two loves who for some reason aren’t together, but longing to be. A love song for the ages. Another ballad and this one is accompanied by a piano and it is quite beautiful. Aldo’s vocals match the aching tones of the piano as he hurts because his love is not there by his side as he loves her so much and although she’s not there, she can feel his love because it is so strong. It shows that Aldo doesn’t need the guitar nor the keyboards. Just him and a piano is sometimes all he needs to show that he can do anything and a few backing singers.

There is one thing I really hate about the 3-Song E.P. and that is it is only 3 songs. And all three are stellar tracks and make me wish for a whole album. Come on Aldo, gives a full album sometime soon please!! You still have it in you to do great things as this so truly shows. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars! I really did enjoy this set.

If you want to watch the podcast I did with Tim Durling on his show Tim’s Vinyl Confessions, go check it out below…

My Sunday Song – “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog

For My Sunday Song #335, we are tackling “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog. The song was off their debut and only album, 1991’s Temple of the Dog. It was the first single and reached #4 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart. A song that was written by Chris Cornell and he thought it was only filler for the album and suddenly became their biggest hit. We could write a whole story on the band, but we will stick with just the song.

The band was Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament, Steve Gossard, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron. They got together to honor their friend Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone who died a year earlier. Chris pulled this song out and Mike McCready thought it was a beautiful song. The song is about the inequalities amongst people. How some people get everything they want and it is handed to them on a silver platter while others scrap by, barely able to make ends meet or can’t make ends meet. He feels that the rich are stealing from the others that don’t have. He understands he is in that position where he can do something and wants to do a hunger strike until everyone has equality. He will become Robin Hood and steal that bread from the rich to help the poor. It is a great sentiment, but one that sadly has never been fixed as it is even more of a problem today.

Eddie Vedder joins Chris on vocals but that wasn’t the plan. Eddie was in the studio helping with backing vocals when he saw Chris struggling on the really low notes and with balls of steel, got up out of his chair went up to the mic and started singing. Chris thought it was gutsy and brilliant because it worked on so many levels are their voices play so well off each other and for me is the highlight of the song. I also love the guitar parts as there is this particular twang around the choruses that sounds so cool. The drumming is great, the rhythm section is fantastic and this is one of my favorite songs of Chris’ and of the 90’s. Brilliant track!

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Tim’s Vinyl Confessions with Tim Durling discuss Aldo Nova’s 2 E.P.’s “Short Stories” and “Sonic Hallucinations” with guest John T. Snow

Come join the fun as Tim Durling and I walk through not one, but two brand new E.P.’s from Canadian artist, Aldo Nova. The E.P.’s are ‘Short Stories” which has three songs, with vocals, and the second is “Sonic Hallucinations” which also has three songs, but all instrumental. Check out what we have to say about them and see if you need to run, not walk, to pick these up. Come back on Monday to see my two in depth reviews of the E.P.’s on the site as well.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!!

Friday New Releases – January 27, 2023

We already to the close of the first month of 2023 and it has been somewhat lackluster at times with new releases, but this week we have over 40 new releases for you so there should be something for you. I don’t really have any I am running out and buying, but maybe I’ll stream the Steve Vai one, but outside of that probably not. The Dokken release would be great if it had some new or unreleased songs on it, otherwise I have those albums already. Let me know what you want to hear this week or if we missed any releases. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a great weekend.

  • 91Es-rcmbpL._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Steve Vai – Vai / Gash – (Favored Nations / Mascot Label Group)
  • 81h-6hTTyQL._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Elle King – Come Get Your Wife – (RCA Records / Sony Music)
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Scorpions – ‘Eye II Eye’ (1999) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

For the band’s fourteenth album, ‘Eye II Eye’, Scorpions decided to take a hard left turn and change up their sound as that was what most bands were doing during the 90’s. They decided to follow trends instead of being themselves. They had become insecure and started listening to the record companies and producers rather than go with their gut. Per Mathias Jabs, ‘Eye II Eye’ was the band’s biggest mistake. In fact, it almost destroyed them with their fans as it was too much a change. Thankfully the would recover, albeit years later.

The album was released on March 9, 1999 and though it did chart in their home country of Germany (#6), it failed to gain any ground whatsoever in the UK and the US. Their one single, “Mysterious” did chart on the US Mainstream Rock track going to #26, but outside of that, there was nothing. Producer Peter Wolf from Austria was brought in to man the boards and the album was recorded at Little America Studios in Austria. Peter help co-write a bunch of the album and some other guests were brought in including Marti Frederiksen and the wonderful Mick Jones from Foreigner.

The band was still Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Mathias Jabs as the man group and you can tell as they are the only 3 on the cover. The rest of the band saw Ralph Rieckermann on bass and for the first time saw James Kottak on drums. This would end up being Ralph’s last album with the band. And on one song on backing vocals we have long time drummer, Herman Rarebell which I thought was really cool. The sound of this album was a little pop and a little techno at times with very little rock which is why the fans weren’t happy with this release. Should we see what all the fuss was about? Okay, why not…

“Mysterious” opens the album and you get a little electronica, almost dance type music. Have the Scorps gone all boy band on us?? When the song finally kicks in to full band mode, it improves a little. The chorus is catchy and all, but this is not the Scorpions you remember and love. Nope, this is a brand new band trying to follow trends and find itself as they are completely lost at this point and it’s obvious. At least there is a guitar solo that toughens the song up a little, Overall, not a bad song when you compare it to the rest of the album.

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The Monkees – ’50: Classic Album Collection’ – Box Set Review

The first album I ever bought was off a TV commercial way back in the 70’s. We were watching the TBS channel, but for us it was a local channel as we were from Atlanta. This was before it became a cable channel. TBS was showing re-runs of the TV show The Monkees. I saw that commercial and begged my mom to buy that album as I really, really wanted it. Well, being the fantastic mom she was, she picked up the phone, made a call and the next thing you know I had a copy of that album. It was The Monkees Greatest Hits and I still have that record today (see below).

Fast forward about 46 years later and I’m still a Monkees fan. But I didn’t have any of their other albums in my collection. I was on Amazon and I saw this box set called 50: Classic Album Collection by The Monkees. It had their first 9 albums included as well as a bonus disc of other tracks. I asked Santa for it and guess what was under the tree.

The Box Set came out in 2016 and is celebrating the band’s 50th Anniversary as they started in 1966. It was released on April 16, 2016 and was a Record Store Day special. I missed this because my first Record Store Day wasn’t until 2017 because if I was back in to collecting in 2016, I would’ve bought this then with no questions asked as it was limited to only 3,000 copies. Now, when I asked for this for Christmas, I actually assumed the box set was only the black vinyl, but when I opened it up and pulled out the debut album, it was a colored vinyl, in fact, they all were a different color. Man, what a surprise it was. There was nothing on the label to tell you if you got the standard black or the color…I got lucky I guess.

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Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Back in 2003, Jeff did his first ever solo tour and at the stop in Madrid, the energy from the crowd was insane and he said that if he made it back he would record the show for a live DVD and CD. It took 6 years before his next solo tour brought him back to Spain and he delivered on that promise and now we have ‘One Night in Madrid’. The tour was in support of his latest solo album ‘Beautiful Mess’ and the show as on April 18, 2009 at Sala Heineken in Madrid, Spain.

This time the band was not his usual cast of characters, but a brand new band consisting of Jorge Salan on lead guitar, Fernando Mainer on bass, Edu Cominato on drums and BJ on keyboards and acoustic guitar. Now, of course Jeff Scott Soto was their singing as it is his tour. I have the CD of the show and it is a 2CD set and includes 22 tracks including solos and the ever popular Funky Medley. Let’s go ahead and jump right in to another great show by Mr. Soto.

The show opens with a radio being changed from station to station and each stop was a classic Jeff Scott Soto song. Then a voice comes on says, “That was then…this is now!” and the show starts with the lead song from ‘Beautiful Mess’ called “21st Century” and it sounds great. Jeff really sounds on point and the band captures the essence of the song. The guitars sound fantastic, the backing vocals are all perfect and I would say this new band clicks pretty well together. And if you need further proof listen to “Colour My XTC” from his Talisman days. The bass on this one is key to make it work as Marcel was a beast on bass and Fernando holds his own on this one, really great job.

We get more of Jeff’s solo work the classic “Soul Divine’ off ‘Lost in the Translation’. A true highlight of his career. Then we go in to the 2nd track from ‘Beautiful Mess’ with “Our Song” and the crowd is clapping along. It is the softer side of Jeff and then goes more power. On the album it had an irritating electronic drum track, but here it is raw and real drums and so much better. Then it is back to the rock with “Drowning” another from the ‘Lost in the Translation’ album. The guitars on this one are badass, some great riffs and real heavy. A real barn burner with this one.

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