The Who – ‘ The Kids Are Alright’ – Album Spotlight

The Who released a Record Store Day Exclusive for the April 2018 edition of the event.  The album was ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and the release was a double LP, colored vinyl edition.  And a nice set it was.  This is an album spotlight and not a review as this is The Who and I don’t know if I can add anything new to the conversation, so I am just going to talk about this particular release and what I like and don’t like about it.

First up, what do I like about this release?

Well, there is quite a lot actually.  The sound for starters.  The quality of the sound coming out of the speakers for this album are sensational. It sounds so crisp and clear and just begs to be cranked up so loud the walls shake and with an opening song like “My Generation”, how could you not oblige.

I mentioned that it was a double LP and colored vinyl and it is just that.  I love the red & blue colors and it feels like a 3rd LP would be good with a white color to complete the Union Jack color scheme, but sadly only 2.

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The track listing is great as well.  It has the same 17 tracks as the original and they have been remastered beautifully.  What are the 17 tracks?  Easy, here are they are…

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Generation X – ‘Generation X’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Welcome to first review in the Billy Idol Series.  I am going to do album reviews for all albums by the 80’s icon, Billy Idol.  We will start with his stint in the band Generation X from 1978 all the way up to his 2018 release ‘Vital Idol: Revitalized’ (assuming that is the latest release by the time I get to it).

I was going to wait until I got the debut album on vinyl to start the series, but I am not the most patient person and since I have the next 7 or so on vinyl already, I will go ahead and start now.  So, without further adieu, here is the first of many reviews…

Generation X

Back in 1976 at the tender age of 21, guitarist William Broad joined the band Chelsea after answering an ad for musicians.  Also answering that add were bass player Tony James and drummer John Towe.  They would join up with singer John O’Hara to form the band.  The band would tour and do mostly covers, but William and Tony became fast friends and felt they could do better so they grabbed John Towe and all left the band.

They would be the founding members of the band that would become known as Generation X.  Now, where did the name come from.  It wasn’t based on the fact that people born in this time were known as Gen Xers.  The name actually came from a book William’s mom was reading called Generation X which was book on popular youth culture from 1965 by British journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett.

This new band needed a guitarists so they hired 17 year old guitarist Bob “Derwood” Andrews from a band called Paradox.  That wasn’t the only change.  They needed a guitarist because William decided to drop the guitar and become the lead singer.

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White Lion – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

When Danish musician, Mike Tramp moved to New York in 1983, he met this guitar whiz by the name of Vito Bratta and a little band was formed by the name of White Lion (I am sure I over simplified things).  A bass player and drummer were added, a record label was signed and the debut album was ready.  The debut, ‘Fight to Survive’, was finished and the record company hated it and refused to release it.  Oh yeah, they dropped the band as well.  The album eventually was released and then the bass player and drummer were added, labels went bankrupt and it all started all over again.  Not the most auspicious start.

The band’s classic line-up was set with Mike, Vito, James LoMenzo (bass) and Greg D’Angelo (drums).  A record deal was in place with Atlantic and in 1987, the band released ‘Pride’ and success was finally had…at least for a few years.  One thing the makes the band a little different than other bands of the era is that every album has at least one (usually more) song that is political in nature or at least some social commentary to it.  Where this worked on some albums, it totally didn’t work on others.  As a kid, I could care less about political or socially conscious songs, give me Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.

I was a fan of White LIon’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s so I thought I would rank their albums as I have some familiarity with all their stuff and felt I could judge them properly.  With only 5 studio releases, this one isn’t as long as some of the others I have done which is a nice change of pace for me.

Sit back and see how the albums are ranked and maybe it will spark an interest to go listen to some White Lion.

WORST – RETURN OF THE PRIDE (2008):

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Whitesnake – ‘Unzipped’ Box Set – Album Review

Fans have been clamoring for some acoustic Whitesnake (at least according to David Coverdale) and boy did they deliver the goods with this set.  It is a 5CD/1DVD Box set that spans the career of Whitesnake and even some Deep Purple. What all do you get?  Well, let me show you…

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If that isn’t enough for you to see, then read the sticker from the front of the box…

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And how many songs is 96 songs?  Well, the list is extensive.  See if you can read this list because there is no way I am typing all this stuff out for you.  I love you guys, but not that much!!

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The Alarm – ‘Equals’ – Album Review

Has there ever been a band that you loved and then suddenly stopped paying attention to any new releases?  The Alarm was that for me.  I followed them throughout the 80’s and after 1989’s album ‘Change’, just stopped listening to new stuff.  No reason, just stopped.  It is strange and I can’t figure out why.

So when I saw they had a new album being released, something told me to listen to it.  Now if I wasn’t doing this blog, would I have cared or paid attention?  I can’t answer that, but the thing is I did pay attention and I did listen to their new release this time.  And I am hear to tell you I am so glad I did.

Now Mike Peters is the only original member still in the band and usually that would bother me, but Mike was always my draw anyway.  I loved his vocals, his delivery and his style and with him still at the mic, I am still getting what I liked.

From the first notes of the opening track, “Two Rivers”, there was a familiarity to it with the minor exceptions of some electronica sounds which I don’t recall the band ever doing.  However, that was a minor distraction.  Mike Peters sounded amazing and he hadn’t lost anything which is amazing considering he has been around singing since the late 70’s.

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Ace Frehley – ‘Spaceman’ – Album Review

In the last 10 years, Ace has been quite productive with four solo albums, including this one over that time span.  How many albums has Kiss put out (studio albums, not greatest hits or live albums)?  Only 2 with no signs of anything new coming.  I would say Ace is winning in this category.

Ace’s new album is a throwback of sorts.  Let’s start with that cover.  The cover is paying homage to the photo shoot from his 1978 Kiss solo album which was 40 years ago.  Here is the picture I found on pinterest…

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The album title as well is a throwback to his days as “The Spaceman” in the Band.  He will always be the Spaceman in my book (even though Tommy Thayer is killing it as that character in the band now).

The whole album has a reflective feel to it.  As Ace has gotten older (and sober), he seems to be reflecting on the past and with songs like “Bronx Boy” and “Rockin’ with the Boys” (the first two singles) you definitely get that feeling that he now appreciates his past, embraces it and thinks fondly of it.  Heck, even the cover song he does, “I Wanna Go Back” (Eddie Money cover), is looking back.  And makes me think he wants the Kiss job again.

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Matt Nathanson – ‘Sings His Sad Heart’ – Album Review

Matt Nathanson is one of my all time favorite singers and songwriters, no doubt.  If I had to list my Top 10 Bands or Artists, Matt would be there along with Kiss and Def Leppard (if you follow me, you know I love those two bands so that is high praise).  Why do I love him and his music so much?  Well, this album is a shining example of why.

Speaking of the album, this album took a long journey.  No, not Matt writing and recording it.  A literal long journey.  The album was shipped Friday October 5th (the day of release) from Nashville, Tennessee.  It stated it would not be to me until Thursday, October 11th which I thought was strange as North Carolina is not that far from Tennessee (well not really far). When I looked up the tracking #, the package suddenly appeared in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Now I am not great on geography, but San Juan isn’t anywhere near North Carolina the last time I checked and doesn’t seem the normal traffic route for a package.  Needless to say, it din’t arrive by the 11th as stated.  The USPS finally corrected themselves and I did receive it on Saturday, October 13th. It could be worse, I might not have ever received it.

‘Sings His Sad Heart’ is exactly that.  An album of songs that are about “loss”.  Sounds depressing, right?  It is far from it.  Matt’s pop sensibility is second to none.  He can write an album chock full of catchy tunes that stay with you and never leave.  His mixture of that pop sound with folk and rock blends so nicely together that his music makes you feel like you have known the songs and the album your whole life.

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Ratt – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

For most of 2018, I have been reviewing all the Ratt albums from the Ratt E.P. in 1983 all the way to 2010’s Infestation. It has been an enjoyable ride walking through the history of the band, all the ups and the downs, the good and the bad and loving every minute of it (wait that is Loverboy)…and loving watching the wax or cd spinning round and round (much better).

Ratt has been a love/hate relationship.  While I love most of what they do, they don’t always deliver the goods and I tried to be as honest as I could be throughout the review processes.  I believe I was brutal where I needed to be and kissed their ass when it deserved it as well.  I hear they band is planning a new album in 2019 and when it comes I will review it in detail like the others and I will update this list and put it where it belongs among the classics or the crap.

You can go back and read each review in detail by just clicking on the album title.  This ranking will be just a summary of the good and bad of each album.  I hope you enjoy.

THE WORSTRATT (1999):

The hardest review of them all to write. I couldn’t connect to this album when it came out or even now.  The production quality was horrible; Stephen’s vocals needed some cleanup and weren’t always up to par; the double guitar of Ratt of old was gone and so the songs were missing that punch; and overall it was just bad.

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Ratt – ‘Infestation’ – Album Review

After the album ‘Ratt (1999), the band had a very troubled time.  Stephen Pearcy left the band (again) and started his own band that eventually tried to use the Ratt name, but the other members sued and won.  The remaining Ratt members continued on as a band…or at least made several attempts with many line-up changes.

In 2000, the current Ratt was Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotzer, Robbie Crane, John Corabi (Motley Crue) and Robert Mason.  Robert was brought on as lead singer, but left shortly after when the band couldn’t get a major label deal.  That brought on Jizzy Pearl at lead vocals.  This would remain the band until at least 2006.

In 2002, the band and fans were delivered some bad news.  Original guitarist, Robbin Crosby, passed away from a Heroin overdose.  He had long battled  with addiction and it finally grabbed hold for good.  Robbin has also been battling HIV, but the drugs got to him first.  Any hopes of the original band getting back together were quickly dashed.

In 2006, Jizzy would leave and Stephen Pearcy rejoined the band.  Then 2 years later, John Corabi would leave and he was replaced by Carlos Carvazo from Quiet Riot.  The line-up was now complete for the next album…whew, that was exhausting.  Wait, where is Juan Croucier?  He was out doing his own thing.  He comes back to the band, but not for many years.

Finally, in April 2010, Ratt released their seventh studio album called ‘Infestation’.  It had been over 10 years since the last album and with all the line-up changes and the fact the last album was so bad, my expectations for this release were pretty low.

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Ratt – Ratt (1999) – Album Review

After the album ‘Collage’ in 1998, the band signed with a label again and this time it was Sony. In July of 1999, they released their self-titled album “Ratt” or 1999 since their debut E.P. was titled ‘Ratt’.  The album was very bluesy and not quite the Glam rock (with a blues edge) as they had done before which is a good thing as we are in 1999 and not 1989.

The band was down to three original members…Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer.  There is still no Robbin Crosby or Juan Croucier.  Replacing Juan on Bass is Robbie Crane making his first appearance with the band.  They didn’t replace Robbin which means only one guitar and that is a one of the negatives of the album.  The dual guitar sound was always a “Ratt” sound.

Out of all their albums, this is the one I am least familiar with.  I had lost interest with anything new from them and what I heard I didn’t like.  So, I had passed and have not ever owned this album and still don’t. I will pick it up if I ever catch it in the used section of a record store (is that giving away anything on my review???).

This has been a very hard post to write for me.  I have had to take a lot of time as I wanted to give the album a fair shake as I really love this band.  I needed to be inspired to write something about the album and although I am writing this post now, I still don’t know really what to say.  I will do my best though.

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