Les Paul and Mary Ford – ‘The Hit Makers!’ – Album Spotlight

Several months back, I came across this beauty in a collection that I had to have.  It was Les Paul and Mary Ford’s ‘The Hit Makers’ from 1955.  The original album came out in 1953 and was a 10″ record. This one is a 12″ re-release just two short years later and it added four more songs than the original.

Now it is pretty simple as to why I would want an album that is 63 years old.  The album features Les Paul.  This amazing guitarist and guitar builder is known worldwide and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some of his music in my collection.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  I could go into the history of Les Paul, but will save that for another post some time in the future.

Les Paul and Mary Ford met in the Summer of 1945 and married four years later.  They recorded numerous albums together and ‘The Hit Makers!’ is a greatest hits collection of their music. The album is a mixture of instrumentals highlighting the great guitar playing of Les Paul and songs with Mary Ford singing away.  Shortly after the release, the hits started to dry up a little as the start of something called “Rock & Roll” hit the radio airwaves.

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Myles Kennedy – ‘Year of the Tiger’ – Album Review

Myles Kennedy’s first solo album came out a few months back and I am just getting around to reviewing it and I apologize for that.  I had streamed the album and had no intentions of buying it as I wasn’t totally impressed with the release.  That all changed when I was out a week or so ago and came across the vinyl album in the Used section of Lunchbox Records here in Charlotte.  I was stunned to see such a new release sitting in the Used section.

For me, it was a sign that I needed to buy this album and give it another try.  And it was only $15 which is still pricey for used in my book.  However, I still felt it was a sign.  So, I bought it (along with other albums).

And let me tell you I am glad I did for several reasons.  First, the Vinyl copy I bought is a special limited edition release which I was not aware of at the time.  It wasn’t until I got home and started looking through everything.  How do I know it is a limited edition?  Well, it says so on the back cover…

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If that wasn’t enough, his signature was on the cover of the album jacket which I completely missed as well as I was just too pumped to see it in the first place…

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The Wild Feathers – ‘Greetings From the Neon Frontier’ – Album Review

The Wild Feathers are back with their new album called ‘Greetings From the Neon Frontier’.  It is the band’s third studio album and it is a band that has quickly become a favorite of mine.  So my review might be slightly tainted as they can do no wrong in my book.

Who are the Wild Feathers you might ask.  The Wild Feathers are a four-piece band consisting of the following players…

  • Taylor Burns – Guitar/Vocals
  • Ricky Young – Guitar/Vocals
  • Joel King – Bass/Vocals
  • Ben Dumas – Drums

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On the previous album, ‘Lonely is a Lifetime’, I felt the band had a softer classic rock feel to it and it felt like you should be partaking of a little doobage while enjoying the album.  This time around the Nashville-based group is leaning more to their country roots while still keeping a little classic rock sound. Partaking in doobage is something you have to decide if you want to do or not (“DayBreaker” might help you decide).

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Bryan Adams – Diana 12″ EP

Back in 1984, Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams wrote a fun song about a young lady that was about to marry her Prince…literally.  The song was about Princess Diana or so it is assumed.  The song is taken from the viewpoint of a gentleman who had seen Diana in a magazine and then on TV and fell in love with her.  “Diana” was his profession of that love for her and he begged her to leave the life she was about to enter and be with him.

We know that she didn’t do that, sadly, as she might still be with us today.  “Diana” was supposed to be on Bryan’s album ‘Reckless’; however, he left it off as he didn’t want to upset the Royal Family.  He also probably didn’t want to make them mad and screw up his dual Canadian & British citizenship.  The song has actually never been released on any Bryan Adams album or compilation.  It is probably his most popular non-album song.

“Diana” was released as a B-Side to the song “Heaven” and it was released as this very special 12″ 3 Song E.P. which I came across in a collection of vinyl I picked up.  Bryan used to play the song in concert on a regular basis, but upon Princess Diana’s death he has since put the song to pasture and no longer plays it live.  I did find a rumor that stated that Bryan actually did date Diana after her split from Prince Charles.  Now of course, it is solely a rumor and has never been stated as fact by Bryan or anyone from Diana’s camp.  It was a rumor started by one of Bryan’s ex-girlfriends.

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Ratt – ‘Reach For the Sky’ – Album Review

We are now up to the fourth studio album by Ratt called ‘Reach for the Sky’.  The album was released on November 1, 1988 and as the predecessors, it also reached Platinum status. The only difference was that the critics really did not like this album.  It has been said this was the worst of their albums so far.  I personally disagree.

Yes, the album is a little hit or miss at times, but overall I think the album holds up over time and there are some really great songs on here.  But before we get to the songs, let’s talk about the band and what was going on with them at the time of making this album.

Ratt brought in Mike Stone to produce the album, but due to some sub-standard production work, longtime Ratt producer, Beau Hill, was brought back in to save the day and that is what he did.  This would be the last album the band would do with Beau.

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Matt Nathanson – ‘Pyromattia’ E.P. – Album Review

We interrupt the normal Tuesday’s Memes scheduled to talk about something amazing…Matt Nathanson surprised his fans with an announcement of a new album and released it the very next day.  The album was only a 6 song E.P., but who cares.  Any new music from Matt is super fantastic.  The only problem is that it wasn’t actually new music.  It was an E.P. full of cover songs.

Now, they aren’t just any cover songs.  They are from my all time favorite band, Def Leppard.  If you don’t know, Matt Nathanson is a metal head.  I realized that a few years ago when I saw Matt being interviewed on the VH1 show “That Metal Show” with Eddie Trunk.  Matt gushed on and on about his rock and metal influences and it made me appreciate him more than I already did.

Matt is also one of my all time favorite artist and he can do no wrong in my book. So, let’s throw Matt together with Def Leppard songs and you have what could possibly be the greatest combination in music history.  I am not kidding!!

When I saw the track listing, I was a little disappointed with a few choices as they seemed obvious and then stunned at some others as I couldn’t imagine what he would do with it.  The songs are as follows:

  1. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  2. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  3. Comin’ Under Fire
  4. Hysteria
  5. Stragefright
  6. Promises

With cover albums you either need to nail it perfectly or completely re-imagine the song.  Matt completely re-imagined the songs.  He plays them acoustically and even adds some string orchestration to them.  He takes these songs and makes them his own and does an absolutely impressive covers album.

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Def Leppard – The Collection, Volume One – Album Review

Def Leppard is on a mission to release Four Box Sets each collection a specific period in the band.  On June 1st, they started with Volume One…of course.  They aren’t Chickenfoot and aren’t going to skip around with title numbers.  Volume One covers the early years of the band capturing the first 4 albums of release.  The set also includes 2 bonus albums, a book and a 7″ Single.  Now, I have the first four albums on vinyl and CD so that was not what I was after.  I wanted the bonus material.  Don’t get me wrong, it is nice having new remastered, 180 gram vinyl for all of the albums.  I am not complaining.  But this set is for serious fans because it isn’t cheap!!

The article is not really a full review as it would take pages and pages of writing to fully review each album in the set.  It is really a picture chronicle of the set because really there is no reason you shouldn’t own it if you are a fan.  You can get it in CD or Vinyl. I chose vinyl.  What you get is another fantastic package from the band and if this is an indication of what is to come for Volumes Two – Four, I better start saving now.

Why don’t we start with a picture of everything you get…

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“Screaming in the Night (Live)” by Krokus – Special Promotional 12 Inch

In 1986, Krokus released their first live album, ‘Alive  and Screamin” and to celebrate that release they put out a Special Promotional 12″ Single of “Screaming in the Night”.  When I was in New York back in April, I came across this beauty and had to have it.

What attracted it to me was the cover.  It was a variation of the live album’s cover by Les Edwards.  It is so creepy and sinister that it looked perfectly eerie and something I needed in my collection.  The picture is taken from Les Edwards’ painting of ‘The Croglin  Vampire’ and was also used as a bookcover for Best New Horror 1990, edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell and published by Robinson, and on Super-Monsters by Daniel Cohen, published by Archway.  Just click on the link if you want to see the original artwork.

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The first side of the record you get two versions of “Screaming in the Night”. You get the live version from the live album and then you get the full length studio version (not the radio edit).  The live version sounds incredible.  It captures the magic of the album version and brings a new energy to the song.  The sound is crystal clear and is everything you want in a live song.

For the live album, there are two changes in the line-up.  You now have Tommy Keiser on Bass and Jeff Klaven on drums.  The studio album had Chris von Rohr on Bass and Steve Pace on drums.  Otherwise, you still have Marc Storace on Vocals, Fernando von Arb on Lead Guitar and Mark Kohler on Rhythm Guitar.

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On Side Two you get a live version of “Headhunter” also from ‘Alive and Screamin”.  It is bombastic, loud, and so in your face.  Marc Storace sounds amazing and the band is hitting on all cylinders.  It is  a raucous good time and they are just killing it.

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I also like the fact it is a promotional copy.  It says it on the vinyl labels as well as the little stamp on the back of the album jacket.  All-in-all, I love it and it is a great addition to the collection and another Krokus album is always a good thing (almost always as they didn’t always get it right, but around this time they did).

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I hope you enjoyed this look at the 12″ Single and maybe I will have some more coming down the pipeline for you to check out.

Ratt – ‘Dancing Undercover’ – Album Review

Next up in the Ratt album review series is their 3rd studio album, the 1986 album ‘Dancing Undercover’.  The entire band was still in tact and even producer Beau Hill returned for his third album.  The band still consisted of the following:

  • Stephen Pearcy – vocals
  • Robin Crosby – lead guitar
  • Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
  • Juan Croucier – bass
  • Bobby Blotzer – drums

Even though it was the same crew, things were different.  The band decided that they didn’t need a beautiful woman on the cover and opted for pictures of the band members themselves.

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RSO (Richie Sambora & Orianthi) – ‘Radio Free America’ – Album Review

Back in 2013, Richie Sambora met Orianthi and sparks flew, apparently.  The two are an item and now they are putting out music for the masses and it is about time. I love Richie’s vocals and his bluesy, rock style plus he can play the guitar (have you heard of Bon Jovi?).  Orianthi is also one helluva a guitar player herself and she can sing with the best of them.  She has played for Michael Jackson and for Alice Cooper as well as her own solo work.  The two together, I was expecting a bluesy rock album with some amazing guitar work.  Did I get that…well…we will see.

After releasing two E.P.’s in 2017 and a couple singles including one double single, we finally get a full album called ‘Radio Free America’ from RSO (it’s there initials, get it!).  Now here is the problem with that…the full album is all 13 songs previously released with those E.P.’s and singles and only 2 new songs.  That is right, only 2 and one is a cover.  So, if you bought the E.P.’s, you aren’t getting much more.  And to make it worse, it is an album of 15 songs in length (over an hour and 7 minutes).  That is pretty long for an album and you know there will be filler…and trust me there is filler.  I heard they recorded 25 songs, I would like to know where those other 10 songs are.

I have reviewed all the E.P.’s and 2 of the singles previously, but we will compile them here again and make it a full length review adding in the singles I haven’t discussed prior.  We might as well jump in and away we go…

With the opening and title track “Making History” Richie & Orianthi are doing what we wanted them to do.  They are rocking out.  The guitars on this one are exceptional with an almost Def Leppardesque sound from around the “Euphoria” era at times (maybe).  The guitar solo is freaking sensational and it is all I ask from these two.  Of course I have one minor negative on the song.  The vocals are missing something whether it is the chemistry or the mix.  Bob Rock is the producer and he does great work, but I am not a fan of them singing simultaneously.  I prefer them to trade back and forth.

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