We are now only 2 weeks in to the New Releases and there is nothing I really care to hear this week. I know things are about to pick up and we are going to have a lot of new music to play. Can’t wait for that. Let me know what you want to hear or if there is anything I missed. Drop it down in the comments so everyone can read other artist new releases in case they want to go check it out. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!
Matthew Sweet – Catspaw – (Matthew Sweet / Omnivore)
It had been two years since the last studio album, ‘Crazy Nights’ and still the band wasn’t working on a new album. Gene Simmons was out producing bands on his record label and Paul Stanley decided that in early 1989, he was going to go out on a solo tour. People were freaking out as was this the end of Kiss. Paul’s solo band on the tour had two major Kiss connections. On guitar was Bob Kulick and on drums was future Kiss drummer Eric Singer who would take over after the death of Eric Carr. Paul even went so far as to sing and record the title song to the Wes Craven movie ‘Shocker’. Kiss in my eyes, seemed doomed.
But it wasn’t the end. In mid-1989, the band got back together and finally started working on the new album. They had a very small budget for this album so instead of going in and fully recording a new album, they grabbed a bunch of demos and re-worked or even overdubbed them to turn them in to the album we have here. ‘Hot in The Shade’ has a crazy number of songs with 15 and the album was about an hour long. This was the late 80’s when bands felt they needed to fill up the entire CD and as a result, we got a lot of bloated albums at that time. If you knocked a few songs off this album, it would be a lot better but still suck.
Do you remember the TV series ‘The Greatest American Hero”? It ran from 1981-1983 and was about an ordinary guy named Ralph who was given a superhero suit from a group of aliens…you know the space aliens, not the illegal ones. The suit gave him super human abilities like a super hero. Of course, Ralph loses the instructions manual and has to figure things out on his own which is where all the fun begins. Ralph Hinkley was played by William Katt, Robert Culp played FBI Agent Bill Maxwell and Connie Selleca played Ralph’s girlfriend Pam Davidson. The first season of this show is basically an origins story and the origin stories are usually the best.
One of the really great things about the show was the theme song. Do you remember theme songs for TV shows? They don’t really do those much nowadays. This one was called “Theme From The Greatest American Hero” or better known as “Believe It or Not” as the other is just too long to say. It was written by TV theme songwriters Mike Post and Stephen Geyer, but performed by Joey Scarbury. The song appeared on Joey’s debut album which was called ‘America’s Greatest Hero’ so it doesn’t steal directly the shows name exactly.
As you can see, the back cover of the 45 sleeve is almost exactly the same as the front with the exception being the record label and producer information. I found this at an antique shop down in St. Augustine, Florida back in the Summer of 2020…yes, I travelled away from home during the pandemic. We rented a house near the beach with a pool so as to socially distance from everyone so there! When I saw this in the guys stack of 45’s, it was a no-brainer for me as I loved this show (first season at least) and I loved this song.
In my quest to get all the Kiss Tour Books in my collection, I have now come to my fifth in the Tour Book Series. This is one of two that came from the Kiss Alive / Worldwide Tour from 1996-1997. You might remember I already did one from that tour, but that was a special edition book during the 1997 part of the tour which included the Giant 1997 Poster Calendar and had a silver cover. It was a replica of the European Book. Plus, all the pictures were different. This is original Tour Book with the Black Cover.
I bought this book right at the beginning of the pandemic. A friend of my brothers was selling it and so he reached out to me and I said, yes, buy it for me (I did pay him back). I asked my brother to hold on to it and I would grab it the next time I was down in Atlanta which would’ve only been about a month or two after I bought. 9 months later and I still hadn’t gone down thanks to Covid. I finally asked him to mail it on up to me and he graciously did.
One of the interesting things about this book is that it was bought at the October 1, 1996 show at the Omni in Atlanta. How do I know, the ticket stub was still inside. That for me is cool to know which show it was purchased because I was actually at that show. I can’t believe I have a book from the actual show I attended. What are the odds of getting one 25 years later. Our ticket stubs are below.
Alright…You Picked It! It was the closest battle yet and here it is. The one you picked was The Beach Boys – “Pet Sounds”. The votes were as follows:
The Beach Boys – ‘Pet Sounds’ – 5 votes
Miley Cyrus – ‘Plastic Hearts’ – 4 votes
John Coltrane – ‘A Love Supreme’ – 3 votes
Rage Against the Machine – ‘Renegade’ – 2 votes
B-52’s – ‘Cosmic Thing’ – 2 Votes
Thanks to all for participating. The February choices will be up on Saturday!
THE BEACH BOYS – ‘PET SOUNDS’ (1966):
I will be honest, this is a daunting task to review an album that is so loved by critics and the world. It has been listed as one of the greatest albums of all time. No pressure at all to review this. When you start researching the album, there are pages upon pages of information and every aspect of the album and at times it is overwhelming. As a result, there is no way I am going to summarize any history and go in to much detail about the making of the album and all the nuances of it either. We are going to just dive on in to the music and what I felt overall about the album. Otherwise, this could easily hit 10,000 words or more and I am not up for that and neither are you.
For My Sunday Song #230, we are ending the Queen 10 song set with “Who Wants to Live Forever” off the 1986 album, ‘A Kind of Magic’. The song was from the movie ‘Highlander’ which I love that movie, but it doesn’t really hold up well when I watched it a few months back but I am getting off topic. The song only charted in the UK and sold well over 400,000 copies and is still a fan favorite as Queen still plays it in their shows today. It is one of my favorite Queen songs and so that it is why it is ending this set.
The song was written by Brian May and he wrote it in only 20 short minutes after watching a clip of the movie where Connor MacLeod’s wife, Heather, dies. You see Connor is immortal and he can’t die (unless he loses his head). The song is the backdrop to that scene in the final cut of the movie. Now in the film version, Freddy sings the whole song, but I am going off the album version where Brian actually sings the first verse and then Freddie takes over.
Musically, the song is a ballad, full of orchestration by Michael Kamen. The song is so haunting, the lyrics even more so and when you add the strings and the full orchestra it is a really moving song and can send chills up and down your spine. It does pick up a tempo as the song builds and the heavy drum beats come in. It keeps building until Freddie lays down that final massive vocal on the chorus. His theatrical talents bode well for getting the emotions across in the song. The song is so grand and so Queen.
Welcome to 2021 and the first Friday New Releases of the New Year! Oh how I have missed this post…I know it has only been three weeks since the final one of 2020, but I like these posts. For the first one of the year, there aren’t a ton of releases and there are only a couple I want to listen to so not a great start, but it is right after Christmas and this is usually a slow week anyway. My choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear or of there is a release I missed that you think the world should know (or at least the couple 100 people that might see this post). Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
Sammy Hagar & the Circle – Lockdown 2020 – (Mailboat Records): During 2020’s Lockdown, Sammy Hagar & the Circle did a lot of covers and posted them, well now they are releasing them as a complete album and I am excited. Sammy Hager & The Circle was the one concert I had scheduled last year that got cancelled thanks to Covid. That bill also had Whitesnake and Night Ranger so I was really looking forward to it. Maybe they will come around some time soon.
Passenger – Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted – (Nettwerk Music Group): Passenger isn’t really a band name, it is the stage name for Michael David Rosenberg. I like his brand of folk and indie music. He has a pleasant voice and he’s a great songwriter. Give him a listen.
After Kiss released the greatest hits package ‘Chikara’ to Japanese and European audiences, the U.S. finally got its own greatest hits package. This was now the fourth greatest hits set the other two being Killers and Double Platinum. Of the four, the U.S. only saw two official releases. ‘Smashes, Thrashes & Hits’ was released on November 15, 1988. Kiss wasn’t doing much at this time. They were done touring for ‘Crazy Night’, they wouldn’t start working on their next album for about at least half a year or more, Gene had his side projects of his own record label and the band was in limbo.
The album sold pretty well selling over 2 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album did have two brand new songs to help drive fans to buy it (and it worked, I bought it). And like the compilation, ‘Killers’, the two new songs were solely done by Paul Stanley. Gene was not involved yet again as he was too busy. Paul saves the day yet again. The album did contain 15 tracks, but the European release of this album saw 16 tracks which the extra track was “Crazy, Crazy Nights” from the album ‘Crazy Nights’. Apparently in the U.S., they thought that album was too new to include a song on the compilation I guess.
Now my copy of this album is very special. It was autographed by Lori if you look in the Kiss logo on the front cover. I don’t know who she is, but I bet she owned this record many years ago. All I know her signature actually isn’t worth much because it brought down the price of the album by around $50 and I only paid like $15-20 for it. Thanks Lori. You saved me a lot.
To celebrate the release of Ace Frehley’s new album, Origins, Vol. 2, Ace and his team decided to release a Record Store Day “First” for the Black Friday 2020 release day. This time around we got a limited edition 12″ Picture Disc for the song “Space Truckin'”. How exclusive, well there were only 2,100 released worldwide and I got one. Now, if you notice I said “Record Store Day First” which means all we got was an early copy of what will be released at a later time. So the 2,100 limited run is the one with the RSD Sticker I imagine.
There are two things that are really awesome about this release. First is the pictures on the disc. They are incredible Cartoon renderings of Ace and the band. Really great and cool artwork. Second, all the songs on the B-Side are “Space” related. I like how they kept to a theme.
On Side A is strictly the song “Space Truckin'”. The song is a cover of the Deep Purple classic and Ace does what he doest best and makes the song his own. It has his signature guitar sound and he turns it up a notch and makes the song a fun, rocking track. He has an old friend from Brooklyn do the organ work to try and replicate the great John Lord. His name is Rob Sabino and he does a fantastic job. Matt Starr is on the drums and does a banging job and then Ace lays down a really cool solo. Is it as good as Purple’s version, oh no, but it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to sound like Ace and that is all you need and with his addition to the lyrics of “Hey Curly” it is fantastic. This version is the full album version.
Side B has not 1 song, but four. All our space themed and you get the songs “Space Invader” (Radio Edit) from the ‘Space Invader’ Deluxe Edition album. Next is “Mission to Mars” from the album ‘Space Invader’ and then you get “Space Truckin'” again but this time it is the Radio Edit and it is about 1/2 the time of his album version. Nice to now have this version on vinyl. And lastly, you get the hilariously bizarre “The Return of Space Bear” from the album ‘Anomaly’ Deluxe Edition. You even get the Space Bear in the artwork above. This song is really an instrumental with Ace being…well Ace. Crazy, Silly, Demented Ace! He talks throughout the song and sounds so insane and wasted, it is quite comical. Worth a listen for that song alone.
I really love this disc and it is a great add to the collection. Getting the Radio edit of “Space Truckin'” was really what I wanted here and the picture disc itself looks quite stunning. A brilliant collector’s piece that will be loved and enjoyed forever.
Kiss were plugging along and everything is still right in the world. In 1988, as they were preparing for their Tour of Japan, the label and the band decided to release a greatest hits compilation. The CD was issued on May 25, 1988 and was limited to only 100,000 copies and only released in Japan. The was the 2nd greatest hits package to not be issued in the U.S., the first being 1982’s ‘Killers’. For that fact, this is a hot collector’s item for Kiss collectors and I didn’t even know about it until years after its release and I still don’t have a physical copy of this release (but I will get one someday).
The Japanese character on the back of the case and on the CD might look familiar. It is the same symbol that was on the bottom of the cover art for the band’s 1974 album, ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Eric Carr also used that symbol on his drum kits for quite some time. Chikara is the Japanese word for Power if you are interested in knowing that fact. And when you are looking to buy this CD on ebay or somewhere, the prize to get is the OBI strip with all the Japanese writing. A lot of the ones I’ve seen out there don’t have that strip anymore.