Cheap Trick – ‘Lap of Luxury’ (1988) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

By 1988, Cheap Trick’s popularity was dropping fast. Their last few albums didn’t really light the charts on fire and the record company you could say was quite unhappy. As a result, the record company forced the band to work with outside writers or song doctors. This was 1988 and all bands were now doing that. There was only one song on the album that was written solely by the band, all the others were co-writes by other people and some even entirely written by others.

But it wasn’t all bad news. The band was back to the four original members as Tom Petersson returns to the fold replacing Jon Brant on bass. As a result, the gang of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Tom Petersson were back which made the world think of this as sort of a comeback album for the band. Now don’t think it was a comeback in forms of that 70’s Power Pop. Nope, it was more plain pop with this one, however, we did the see band hit the platinum status and garner their first ever #1 song.

Continue reading “Cheap Trick – ‘Lap of Luxury’ (1988) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)”

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

In a little less than a year after the release of Yngwie’s debut album, he puts out another release and this time a few changes were made. First, this sounded more like a band album. Jeff Scott Soto was still on vocals but this time he was involved in much more of the song writing. He contributed writing on 4 of the tracks and sang on 8 of them. For that reason, this was a more collaborative, band like experience…at least in how the album felt. The other change were a couple line-up changes. They brought in keyboardist Jens Johansson’s brother, Anders, to play drums. They also made a change in bass by bringing in Marcel Jacobs who is key and crucial part to the whole Jeff Scott Soto Story.

Marcel Jacobs is vital to Jeff’s story as the two became fast friends and within a few short years, the two would start what I think is one of Jeff’s best bands ever, Talisman. They would go on to do a couple side projects together called Human Clay and Humanimal, but they would always come back to Talisman and ended up giving us 10 studio albums together and numerous live albums and compilations. Without Marcel coming in to Jeff’s life, would his story have gone the way it did…I don’t think it would have. Even though they didn’t get along at first as Marcel was a stuck up European snob and Jeff was a trashy American, they eventually found common ground and their paths were destined to be intertwined for years to come.

Continue reading “Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)

As we mentioned in the prior post on ‘Classics Live!’, the band Aerosmith had reunited with Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and went out on tour to celebrate the reunion. That tour was the Back in the Saddle Tour. The band had been on Columbia Records, but jumped ship and signed with Geffen Records in hopes of getting back in the good graces of the buying public. They planned out and released their comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’ with little fanfare at least that was until they were on the Run DMC cover of their song “Walk This Way”. That combination of Hip Hop and Rock joining together and being celebrated so much on MTV brought them back in to the limelight.

This new found fame was great for Columbia Records because the bands new deal with Geffen still allowed Columbia to release material they owned of the band, which was a lot. Columbia took full advantage of this opportunity and the first release was a live compilation called ‘Classics Live!’ in April 1986. This time around in June 1987, a little over a year later, Columbia released ‘Classics Live! II’.

This time around the album is mostly one show which was the New Year’s Eve show at Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, December 31, 1984. It had all five original members back in action. There are two additional songs from other shows, but like the other songs, it is the full gang back together. Nice thing is there are no repeats songs from ‘Classics Live!’ and four of the song titles were not on ‘Live! Bootleg’. There are just 8 songs like before so it isn’t a full show. It is purely a money grab by Columbia, but as a collector, I don’t care. I’ll take it. Plus, it would be 11 years before we get another live album from the band which we will get to eventually.

Continue reading “Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live! II’ (1987) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)”

You Picked It! – Queensryche – ‘Rage for Order’ – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And this one wasn’t really that close. After the first five picks were one for each artist, the winner took the early lead and never looked back. The winner this month is Queensryche and their album ‘Rage for Order’ which was one that was in my collection. This one was never really that close. Queensryche had the lead from vote 1 and never lost it. Here are the results.

  1. Queensryche – ‘Rage for Order’ – 8 votes
  2. John Prine – ‘John Prine’ – 6 votes
  3. Triumph – ‘Allied Forces’ – 6 votes
  4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – ‘Barn’ – 3 votes
  5. Shania Twain – ‘Come on Over’ – 1 Vote

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

QUEENSRYCHE – ‘RAGE FOR ORDER’:

I discovered Queensryche back in 1988 when they opened for Def Leppard. They were touring for the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ album which I immediately purchased. As a result, I went back and tried to find more music by them and the next thing I picked up was ‘Rage for Order’. The album came out back on June 27, 1986 and was unlike anything else I had heard at the time. It was progressive metal and I am not sure what the hell was with their clothes and that hair. Woah! That hair. Was it glam? Was it Metal? I had no clue.

Continue reading “You Picked It! – Queensryche – ‘Rage for Order’ – Album Review”

Kiss – ‘End of the Road: In Allentown 2020’ – Blu-Ray Review (Bootleg Series)

I was out a Record Show and I found a table that had a lot of Kiss memorabilia but nothing much I really wanted as I generally stick to the music. I did find something I didn’t realize existed and that was Kiss Blu-Ray Bootlegs. This guy was selling a lot of them. I came back to the table and looked again and decided, you know, I want to try it out. When he then offered that I could get two for $15, I jumped at the chance. $15 was worth the risk. So I grabbed one from the End of the Road tour and one from the 40th Anniversary Tour as I saw both those tours, just not these shows.

So, first up we are going to go the most recent which is the End of the Road Tour and this show was filmed at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA on February 4th, 2020 just a month before COVID shut the whole touring scene down. Kiss was a full year in to the tour at this point and in fine form.

I have to say the video quality is much better than I expected. It is supposed to be a Pro-Shot video and although some of the camera angles sucked at times as they got washed out with the colors in the lights, overall it was pretty cool. The shots from the front of the stage were perfectly clear and killer you still got some shots that were muted by the lights some blurriness as the cameras couldn’t focus fast enough. But for $7.50 a piece, pretty darn acceptable.

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘End of the Road: In Allentown 2020’ – Blu-Ray Review (Bootleg Series)”

Cheap Trick – ‘The Doctor’ (1986) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

After recording the fantastic track, “Mighty Wings” for the Top Gun Soundtrack, Cheap Trick headed in to the studio to record their next album. At the time, not knowing that song wasn’t written by the band, I had high hopes that their album would come out rocking like that song. Yeah, but it didn’t…AT ALL!! Thanks to the production by Tony Platt, Cheap Trick came out with an album that had no balls and sounded so dated with the massive keyboards that you threw your hands up in the air and said “what is this crap”. Yes, I am ruining this review by telling you the ending right away…that is how bad this album is to me.

The band was really fighting with their label as the label kept screaming more keyboards and the band, in the end, just threw up their hands and finished the album in 3 weeks. I don’t think they even realized at the time how weak and lame this would turn out to be. They probably had an idea as it was Tony Platt that mixed their last album after Jack Douglas had to back out due to legal problems with Yoko Ono (that is whole other story for another time). Tony turned their album. “Standing On the Edge” in to a wimpfest when it was supposed to be a rocker…at least that was Jack’s vision. Why would they expect anything different with this one.

The band line-up was unchanged from the prior as we still had Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Jon Brant. However, this would be the last album to feature Brant as the band’s next album would see the return of founding bass player Tom Petersson. And not a moment too soon. The album finally saw its release on November of 1986 and it didn’t do well at all. It peaked at #115 on the Billboard Charts and only had one U.S. single which didn’t even chart. That says all you need to know right there. The band had probably hit rock bottom at this point in their career which would make you think that after this, there was no where to go but up. We will see if that happens.

Continue reading “Cheap Trick – ‘The Doctor’ (1986) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)”

Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Rising Force’ (1984) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Jeff Scott Soto saw an ad that Yngwie was looking for a lead singer so he sent a tape in to Yngwie’s managment in hopes of getting the job. The songs were from an early band he was in called Kanan. Amazingly, he received a phone call from Yngwie’s manager, Jeff Scott Soto had an easy decision to make so he left Panther, since he wasn’t really a member in the band, to take part in what was supposed to be a side project for Yngwie Malmsteen. I say a side project because Yngwie was in the band Alcatrazz when this was being made, but for some strange reason, he thought Alcatrazz was his band and Graham Bonnet felt differently and fired Yngwie. I guess we now know whose band it was. I guess you could say Yngwie has an ego problem. You could say it is a large ego or you could say it is even gigantic, both would be right as he is notoriously famous for that giant ego.

I know this is a Jeff Scott Soto series and we will get to Jeff, but the album focus is really Yngwie as it is a mostly instrumental album and only two songs feature vocals and those vocals are both handled by Jeff Scott Soto. The album was recorded in 1984 and released late in that year during November 1984. Don’t let wikipedia fool you as the album was not released in March 1984. As Jeff Scott Soto has pointed out that would be impossible as he didn’t meet Yngwie until a little after March as he was still working with Panther at that time. This album did come out before the Panther album and as I said, should’ve been the start but Panther really is the start of the story for Jeff (or at least the story I’m telling).

The debut album from Yngwie Malmsteen was called ‘Rising Force’ and did quite well garnering a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. It is heavily influenced by classical music and is a showcase of the true talent of Yngwie’s guitar mastering. It has been classified as neoclassical metal and I think that is about right. I will admit, I am not a big Yngwie fan and the only reason I own this album is because it has Jeff Scott Soto, however, this is quite an amazing album as I think this is before Yngwie’s ego completely took over and ruined things for me with him. But enough about that. Let us get to the music.

Continue reading “Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Rising Force’ (1984) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live!’ (1986) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)

Back in 1984, Aerosmith reunited with Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and went out on tour to celebrate the reunion. That tour was the Back in the Saddle Tour. The band had been on Columbia Records, but jumped ship and signed with Geffen Records in hopes of getting back in the good graces of the buying public. They planned out and released their comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’ with little fanfare at least that was until they were on the Run DMC cover of their song “Walk This Way”. That combination of Hip Hop and Rock joining together and being celebrated so much on MTV brought them back in to the limelight.

This new found fame was great for Columbia Records because the bands new deal with Geffen still allowed Columbia to release material they owned of the band, which was a lot. Columbia took full advantage of this opportunity and the first release was a live compilation called ‘Classics Live’ in April 1986. The songs were collected from live shows ranging from 1978 up to 1984 and there was a bonus track any Aerosmith had to have, an unreleased studio track.

Four of the tracks on here come from the February 14, 1984 show at the Orpheum in Boston, Massachusetts. This was a very important show for the band because in the audience was Joe Perry and Brad Whitford who were no loner in the band at this time. Of course, this mean Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay were on guitar. But that wasn’t the important thing about this show. This was the very beginning of the original band getting back together and would start the band’s climb back to stardom.

Continue reading “Aerosmith – ‘Classics Live!’ (1986) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)”

Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Welcome and Happy New Year!! We are finally here. The first in the Jeff Scott Soto Series. I have been teasing this thing for months and let me tell you I am really excited to finally be starting the series. We are not going to go through Jeff’s entire career, but mostly focusing on albums where he is the featured singer. He has done a ton of tribute album songs, but this is all about the Studio albums he has done with his solo work and numerous bands he has been in and there are a lot. I have followed Jeff’s career for over 20 years thanks to the site Melodicrock.com. It was there I discovered Jeff with his band Talisman and his solo work. And from there, I’ve gone a little nuts. I’ve explored his entire career which now spans out 37+ years. We aren’t going back to the very beginning which would’ve have been his birth on November 4, 1965…nope that is too far back. We will pick things up in 1984 when Jeff was only 18 years old with his first real band. Yes, I know he wasn’t an official member of this band and that he was only used to record the demos so they could find a singer, but it is the first real recordings we have that have been released.

The album ‘Panther’ by the band Panther was originally released in 1986 and was only a 6 song E.P. Wait, 1986. If that is the case, why is this the first album? I’ll tell you why. The album was recorded in 1984/85 (depends what you read) as demos for the band. Right after recording the album, Jeff received a phone call from the management of some new gun slinger named Yngwie Malmsteen. Soto jumped at the chance and left the band to work with Yngwie’s Rising Force. Technically, the Yngwie albums were released prior to this one, but this one was recorded prior to those so that is why I am starting with this one. It is my site and my party and I’ll start where I want!

After Jeff’s success with Yngwie, the label finally released the album in 1986. It was released as an E.P. with only 6 songs. Good luck finding that original E.P. and if you have it…ugh how much do you want for it???? My copy is actually a re-release of the E.P. with four additional songs only a few years back in 2018. And that is perfect for me as I love to have as many songs as I can get. The band was Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Mike Barrish on guitar, Glen Davis on bass and Scott Taylor on drums. The boys played up and down the LA Strip and played a lot at The Troubadour. Their style was typical 80’s Hard Rock with a very NWOBHM influence as well. And since that is all the history of the band I have been able to piece together (accurately or not accurately is to be determined) let us get to the music.

Continue reading “Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Kiss – ‘Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast’ – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)

In my quest to get as many Kiss Bootleg’s I can, I found this one in a local record store, new and sealed. And cheap. This is actually an easy one to get if you are collecting Kiss Bootlegs. I think I paid $25 for it. There is nothing really special about this one, no inserts, no picture sleeves and no surprised in the package like I have received in a lot of my bootlegs. This one is rather generic. For historical reasons though, it is pretty cool. The recording is an FM Broadcast from April 18, 1974 in Memphis, TN at the Lafayette Music Room and is one of the earliest recordings of the band.

Soundwise…well…let’s just say there is sound. This is a recording off a radio broadcast on to a tape. That tape was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied and keep going for another dozen copies. There is a massive tape drag at several points during the show which slows the song down and it is quite noticeable. That proves that the source material was from an old tape that had been copied many times. Yes, the sound sucks at times and might be on the low end of some of my bootlegs, but I am still okay with it and because I collect them I will buy regardless.

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Black Diamond: Lafayette Music Room, Memphis, TN April 18th, 1974 – FM Broadcast’ – Album Review (The Bootleg Series)”