Ace Frehley has been pumping out product lately and as a fan, I couldn’t be happier. His record label decided that it was time for a nice addition to his catalog and that was to finally issue all his albums on his label eOne on cassette and to do it in style. What you get is a box set that is all 5 of his eOne albums on cassette for the very first time. It is a limited edition box set (I don’t know how limited) and comes with a bonus of 4 collectible Ace Frehley picks. It is called The Space Cassette Box Set and I am glad to finally have it in the collection.
The box is sturdy and very well done. The lettering on the front is nice and the back gives you pictures of the albums as well as track listings of each album and a handful of Ace pictures. The box is small so reading the track listing for someone with my age and poor eyesight is quite difficult. The box fits the tapes perfectly and even room for an extra box that holds the picks. I like the way the lid folds back but still connected to the box. Good job with that packaging.
Last time around we reviewed ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1′ and like that one all 3 Volumes were released on November 27, 2015 digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. And since we started with ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) since that is the first one in the series, it is now time to review ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 2 (1980-1983).
My copy is the 2018 Record Store Day Release and let me tell you it is quite stellar. As the sticker below says, it is a 2-LP Gatefold Set that is limited to 1,500 copies and both LP’s are on a beautiful clear translucent vinyl. And Bun E. Carlos might not be in the band anymore, but he was involved as the liner notes on the inside of the Gatefold are track-by-track commentary by Mr. Carlos as well as Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson as you can see below. This Volume didn’t have the “Golden Ticket” like the last one where you received a band picture autographed by all four original members. Nope, nothing like that in here.
But what I did get was a beautiful set of vinyl and a great collection 16 tracks spanning from 1980 to 1983, which includes demos, live recordings, early studio recordings of later released songs and alternate versions. I would say this is for the more hardcore fan and maybe not the casual listener so I believe I qualify for the more hardcore fan, I mean I am doing a whole review series on the band. I don’t think that makes me a casual listener.
But before we get to the music, let us take a look at the vinyl. I actually really think they are stunning. Hard to believe that the absence of color could be so cool…but it is…
Okay, Okay, enough already…on to the music…
SIDE 1 & 2:
The first three tracks are from the E.P. ‘Found all the Parts’. The first track is a live version of the Beatles song “Day Tripper” recorded live on their 1978 US Tour. Only that it wasn’t. Nope! They planned on using that version, however, it sucked so they went back in to the studio and re-recorded it while still using the crowd noise from the live version though. I do like the fact that they kept the studio version rough around the edges and gave it a live feel. If I wouldn’t have told you, you probably wouldn’t have noticed. Next up is “Such a Good Girl” and it is a happy little track that feels like sunshine. Meaning it is uplifting and bright in its sound. The final track from Found All the Parts E.P. is “Take Me I’m Yours” which is a lot slower and more bluesy almost lounge-singer style. Rick sings it in a weird way almost gimmicky. Think early Roy Orbison style except not as high in the vocal range as Roy can get. Lastly on Side 1 is the Vocal Version of “Oh Boy”. Intended for the first album, but Jack Douglas didn’t like it. He thought it was too poppy and not hard or edgy enough and I would agree.
Side 2 kicks off the demo of “Loser” which is a very simple song with only 3 chords because that is what Rick wanted. A song you didn’t have to look at your guitar to play. It is a slower song and doesn’t feel flushed out fully. Robin sings it with a gritty tone and sounds a little sad and lonely to keep in line with the loser theme. The chorus is pretty simple as well and maybe is sung badly on purpose, who knows. The next two tracks are live from the L.A. Forum from December 31, 1979 when the headlined the arena after playing it before as an opening act with Kiss. First is “The House is Rockin’ (with Domestic Problems)” which has “Goodnight Now” included at the end which I have always loved when the do that one and then we get “Way of the World” which is one of the rare times that song has been played as there some very hard vocal parts to do live. The last track is the single edit for a song I really like called “World’s Greatest Lover” off 1981’s ‘All Shook Up’. It knocks about 30 seconds off trimming a little bit and there. The band loves this one for how different it sounds to their other songs and Rick loves the chord changes.
SIDE 3 & 4:
Side 3 kicks off with “Everything Works if You Let It” (Single Version). The song was written for the movie “The Roadie” and released as a single. It is a great, high energy track and deservedly released as a single. Then we get two tracks from the Heavy Metal Movie Soundtrack. First is “Reach Out” which to me is not very heavy or metal. Way too much on the keyboards, but that was the time. The cool thing is I don’t have to get the soundtrack for these two songs…although I probably want it for all the other songs. The next one from the movie is “I Must Be Dreamin'” and the first half is an instrumental with lots of keys and I am sure fits the animated movie it was used for, but the second half has Robin and helps the song find its groove. The last track on Side 3 is the demo version of “If You Want My Love” and do I really need to anything. We already know it is a great song and the demo proves it was great from the beginning.
Side 4 kicks off with a song I would love to just skip. It is A Super New Dance Remix of the song “Saturday at Midnight” and you lost me at Dance Remix. It is over 6 minutes of 80’s keyboards and fake ass drums and a total waste of my time. Then we get a cover of the Motors song “Dancing the Night Away” (Short Version). The album version is the long version. The label forced this one on the band and Todd Rundgren was so pissed, he refused to produce it so it was produced by the band with Ian Taylor. The label even forced this to be the first single and it flopped…big time!! The suits know nothing!! However, the song really isn’t bad as it is quite catchy. It is a decent cover and since I was unfamiliar with The Motors song, I thought this was a Cheap Trick song all along. The we get the song “Spring Break” from the movie of the same name. Let us just say this song is just as bad as the movie. Inspired by the Beach Boys, it is an upbeat, energetic track, but thankfully was not on a Cheap Trick album as it doesn’t work. Lastly we get “Get Ready” which was the B-Side to the “Spring Break” single and I like it so much better. Inspired by a Humble Pie song, it rocks out so much more and sees a heavier edge of the band.
There are no unreleased tracks on here. These are all released in some other form, mostly on expanded editions, B-Sides or soundtracks. But if you don’t have all those, then this set will compile them for you nicely. I think the Record Store Day release really did a great packaging job and those clear translucent vinyl are simply beautiful. The 80’s started to be an uneasy time for the band and some of the songs on here show that. But I love demos, live songs, B-Sides and all that stuff is just great for a collector. I really like these releases as sometimes I like to just hear the more obscure rarer tracks like demos and alt arrangements, I’m strange that way. And this compiles them up nicely, but I don’t like it as much as Vol. 1 . I will give this one a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
UP NEXT: ‘THE EPIC ARCHIVE VOL. 3 (1984-1992)’ (2015)
For My Sunday Song #299, I bring you “Dissident Aggressor” by Judas Priest. The song is from their 1977 album ‘Sin After Sin” and was written by Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing. Although the song didn’t win any awards upon its release, it was won a Grammy over 30 years later for Best Metal Performance as a live version from the album ‘Touch of Evil: Live’. Better late than never!!
The song is about Berlin and the wall. Rob was in Berlin looking out over the wall and noticed that West Berlin was all lit up with bars open and lights, but the East side was dark and blacked out, no life. That contradiction inspired the song. The song appears to be dealing with the brainwashing and violence as a result of those ruling East Berlin. The Dissident Aggressor is someone who goes against the political party and fights to see things change. And the wall does fall, but not for over a decade later.
The final track on the album is the best song on the album for me. “Dissident Aggressor” opens with that classic Halford scream that blows your freaking mind. The guitars are brutal and the double bass drumming by Simon will lay waste to everyone that hears it. The song is aggressive, nasty and everything that is great about Priest. Tipton and Downing trade solos and you are treated to a feast for your ears. However, this feast is one where you can devour at the buffet all night long and never tire or get full. Rolling Stone magazine described the song as “apocalyptic epic” and I think that sums it up nicely.
You, my reader, are going to pick an album for me to review each month. It is really simple…first, I will give you 5 albums to choose from and second, you will tell me which one of those you would like to see reviewed on the site. See…simple! Now, if you want to cast more than one vote, comment on the Twitter and Facebook post and you could get up to 3 votes on your favorite pick.
There are a few simple rules I have put in to place in my selections. They are…
One has to be a new release (within the last month)
One has to be one I have never heard before (new releases don’t count for this one)
One has to be from a genre I don’t normally listen to at all or very often
And the last two are choices from my collection that I haven’t reviewed before
What are the 5 albums you ask? Funny you should ask because I have those right here…
New Release – Halestorm – ‘Back from the Dead’
Never Heard Before – Neil Young – ‘After the Gold Rush’
Not My Normal Genre – Miranda Lambert – ‘Revolution’
From My Collection – Boston – ‘Boston’
From My Collection – Danger Danger – ‘Screw It!’
Let me know which one you would like to see and sometime in June, I will post a review of the album that gets the most votes. You have one week to decide and from there I will start listening to the album and do a review.
Oh my!! It’s Friday the 13th! Nothing good happens on Friday the 13th…well…except for new releases and we have about 40 for you this week. I have to say though, for me, there isn’t much I’m really interested in. Three is one I’ll try just because of the people in it, but expectations are a little low. My choice is highlighted in Blue. Take a look through and see what you want to hear this week and let us know what they are (if there are more than one) otherwise just tell us which one. And let us know what we may have missed that came out and is not on the list. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
Skills – Different Worlds – (Frontiers Records): The band is one of this Frontiers band that they piece together some great musicians. This was cool for awhile, but now it is getting old. However, this one still intrigues me for one member, guitarists Brad Gillis from Night Ranger. The rest of the band is Renan Zonta, vocalist for the Brazilian rock band Electric Mob, Billy Sheehan from Mr. Big & The Winery Dogs and David Huff from David and the Giants. We will see how it it…
And the rest of the field is as follows…
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers – (Top Dawg Entertainment / Aftermath / Interscope Records)
The Chainsmokers – So Far So Good – (Disruptor Records / Columbia)
The story of Jeff Scott Soto and Takara starts way back in 1985 when Jeff met Neal Grusky who is a founding member of Takara. They quickly became friends through their mutual love of music. Neal started Takara in 1987, but it wasn’t until November 1988 that Jeff really got involved. He agreed to help produce a set of demos for the band. When current lead sing, Mark Del Papa, couldn’t do the vocals due to drug issues, Jeff jumped in and sang on the demos as well. The demos were strictly to help the band find a lead singer. Now, where have we heard that before??? Oh yeah, Panther.
Jeff’s job was to produce and do the scratch vocals. They would bring in other singers to sing as well and Jeff would help produce and mix those. This went on for a number of years and they had done demos from 1987 to 1991. There was no intention to release these, it was strictly to get the band moving forward. Also, Jeff had never produced or mixed before so it was a trial by fire process.
Somehow, the tapes wound up with EMI/Toshiba in Japan and the label really liked them and showed interest in the band. But there was a catch…isn’t there always. They didn’t want to release an album with the other singers, they only liked Jeff’s versions and would only release it with Soto as the singer. Neal went back to his friend and Jeff being the good friend he was, agreed to let that happen as he didn’t want his friend to lose the label deal.
Our last review from Aerosmith was a live album from 2005. We jump all the way to 2012 for our next review which is pretty big gap between albums. Don’t fret though as they did release a couple live albums and 3 greatest hits albums during that time and honestly, I don’t own any of them. Since this is the Aerosmith Collection Series, we will stick to what is actually in my collection so here we are.
The band had a ton of issues between 2005 and 2012. They entered the studio to record a new album back in 2007, 2008 or 2009 (take your pick based on interviews) and nothing came of it. They toured, but they were plagued with health issues from several members and lots of shows were canceled. Tyler wanted to do solo work and seem to have stepped away for a little while. While out, Tyler became addicted to painkillers as a result of his knee injury and had to go to rehab. The remaining members were ready to replace Tyler as the singer and started auditioning new singers. Yeah, that didn’t go over well as lawsuits were filed, punches thrown and all sorts of mayhem over the years.
One of the most Iconic 80’s songs is Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” which was a staple on MTV as the song was about MTV. The song was the second single off their smash album ‘Brothers in Arm’. The song was released on June 24, 1985 and went all the way to #1 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won Dire Straits a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. It features fellow 80’s icon, Sting, on the background vocals singing the famous line “I Want My MTV”. On a fun note, the song was the first video played on MTV Europe which aired on August 1, 1987.
The song was inspired by a visit to the appliance store by Mark Knopfler. He saw they had a wall of TV’s all on one station, MTV! Standing next to him was an employee and Mark says he actually said some of the lyrics. Mark apparently borrowed a sheet of paper and started writing the lyrics right there in the store. As a result, the song is about an appliance worker bitching about the guys on MTV and how easy they got it. He does real work, they don’t.
My copy is a standard U.S. version with what is called the Long Edit version of “Money For Nothing” which I find humorous as the Album version is over 8 minutes, yet the long edit version is 4:38. So why is it the long edit version, but the single edit version is 4:06. Okay then. The B-Side is the live version of the song “Love Over Gold”. I like the back of the single jacket as it actually lists the band’s North American Tour dates. I don’t know if that was a common thing, but none of my singles from other bands have done that.
Alright…You Picked It! And this one wasn’t even close. The winner had the first vote and got passed, but ended up winning in the end. The winner was David Bowie’s Blackstar which was his last album before he died and one I have never listened to in its entirety. Here are the results.
David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’ – 9 votes
Aldo Nova – ‘The Life & Times of Eddie Gage’ – 7 votes
Steve Vai – ‘Passion & Warfare’ – 2 votes
Journey – ‘Raised on Radio’ – 2 Vote
Beyonce – ‘Lemonade’ – Sadly, 0 votes
Thanks to all for participating. The June choices will be up on Saturday!
DAVID BOWIE – ‘BLACKSTAR’:
When I saw this won, I was really worried about reviewing it because Bowie is very intimidating to me. Also, this was a well received album by the critics and fans as well as the fact he died two days after the release of the album which was released on January 8, 2016. David recorded this album in secret and surprised everyone with its release. He knew this was his last album and that makes it a really special album so I don’t want to hate it and bash his last efforts. Thankfully, that was not the case. It did take me a while to warm up to it, but after a couple spins I really started digging this album.
The album had a lot of experimental art rock elements, but the main thing I noticed was that it had a lot of Jazz elements as well and doing research I now know why. The band consisted a lot of New York local jazz musicians including saxophonist Donny McCaslin, pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Mark Guiliana; guitarist Ben Monder joined the ensemble for the final sessions, while James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem contributed percussion. The musicianship on this album is second to none and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
For My Sunday Song #298, we are talking “Ripper” by Judas Priest. The song is off their stellar 1976 album ‘Sad Wings of Destiny’. The song was released as the first single off the album and only released in the UK. I don’t have any chart information for it, sorry. The song was written solely by Glenn Tipton and what a great song.
“Ripper” is from the point of view of the legendary UK serial killer, Jack the Ripper…or if you like, Jack the Knife. The song speaks from Jack’s mind telling the world how deranged he was on basically telling you how and when he will kill you. It shows how much Jack enjoys what he is doing and has done and he smile while he does the deed. It is scary and twisted and a brilliant take on perspective.
It is an intense, riff-roaring killer track. The opening guitars of Tipton and Downing stab at you from every angle with such ferocity. And that opening falsetto by Halford is that fatal cut that will slice through you like butter. Is it possible for someone to go so high without any help. That scream has to be mixed with a guitar to go where no man can possibly go, but he does. I like the galloping beat of the drums at certain points and Halford’s pacing on the delivery of the lyrics. It is a menacing, heart racing song and I can see why this was the single because it does make you sit up and take notice.