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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The Fratellis – ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ – Album Review

The Fratellis released their fifth studio album back in March, titled ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ and it has been on repeat.  This album shows us a band who is comfortable being who they are and shows a confidence in both the band and the music.

The album is full of infectious pop melodies and a sound that is strictly their own.  The songs are fun and enjoyable enough to play over and over despite the lyrics not always being so happy-go-lucky.  They will make you want to dance or just sit back and enjoy while you are tapping your feet.  It is a total feel good album.

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Def Leppard – Live at Abbey Road Studios E.P. (2018 #RSD) – Album Review

For the third time in as many years, Def Leppard took part on Record Store Day.  In 2016, the did a picture disc of the self-titled album and last year they re-released their original EP release on vinyl, The Def Leppard EP.  For 2018, we are given another EP, but this time it is 3 songs recorded live at Abbey Road Studios on May 8, 2008.

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What does the Def Leppard press release say about this release, well I will tell you…

The retro cover art is similar to the Def Leppard EP and features the large logo from the 1980 ‘On Through The Night’ album and ‘Hello America’ single. Also included is the street sign from the studios in North West London and the same red stamp title seen on ‘The Lost Session’ iTunes EP from January.

The band recorded a session at the legendary London studios on 8th May 2008 when promoting the ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’ album. Using the same room The Beatles used to record most of their biggest albums in the 1960s.

This was filmed for the UK TV show ‘Live From Abbey Road’ which was broadcast on More4 TV on 1st August 2008 and featured three songs – ‘Rocket’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘C’mon C’mon’

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Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy – Album Review

On June 13, 1985, Ratt released their second full length album called ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’.  After the success of their debut ‘Out of the Cellar’, Ratt wasted no time in repeating that formula and delivering another solid album.  The line-up was unchanged.

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

The producer was still Beau Hill. The only thing different was the model on the front cover.  This time around it was Playboy model Marianne Gravatte.  Marianne was Playmate of the Year in 1983 where she was noticed by Stephen Pearcy (and everyone else).  Fun fact…the prior Playmate of the Year was none other than Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed.  Marianne also appeared in the video for “Lay It Down” which we will get to later.

The album was not quite as successful as the debut, but it did peak at #7 on the Billboard charts which was the same place ‘Out of the Cellar’ peaked.  The album did go on to sell over 2 million copies.  The album also peaked the interest of the group Parents Music Resource Center which is the Tipper Gore group that looked to censor the music industry.  The group did end up getting Parental Advisory stickers placed on albums with foul language and that contained inappropriate material.

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Calum Scott – ‘Only Human’ – Album Review

Calum Scott’s debut release, ‘Only Human’, came out on Friday, March 9th. A day surrounded by albums from some Hard Rock artists such as Judas Priest, Myles Kennedy, Three Days Grace and even Jimi Hendrix, how did this pop artist catch my ear?  Easy, two years ago this former Britain’s Got Talent contestant released a cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own”.  That song made me stop and take notice.  It was absolutely fantastic (more on it later).  I have been anxiously awaiting an album from him ever since.

And now, the long wait is finally over.  Calum Scott is a cross between many artists.  I would say he is a little bit Sam Smith (without the depressing ass songs), a little bit Adam Levine (his vocal stylings only), a little Gavin DeGraw (catchy pop love songs) and a little bit of James Bay (his first record and even a little of his guitar sound).  He is the best of all those people rolled into one.

There are 14 tracks on the CD version  of the album (vinyl only has 11) so I won’t go through all the songs in detail, but I will highlight several of my favorites.  First off, there are two types of songs throughout the album.  You get the love song ballads and the upbeat pop songs.  I have to admit, I am a sucker for a good love song and Calum has no short supply.  The ballads are beautiful showcases of his amazing, soulful vocal abilities.

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C.F. Kip Winger – Solo Box Set Collection – Album Review

Kip Winger finally re-releases his solo albums after a time period where they were out of print.  The big difference this time is he has released them only in a box set simply called the Solo Box Set Collection.  The set includes 5 CD including his 4 solo album as well as a bonus CD of bonus tracks from all the Japanese editions of his albums and one new song.

Before Kip started with his solo albums, you would know he was in the band Winger, obviously.  Winger’s last studio album prior to the solo albums was 1993’s ‘Pull’ (and one of my favorite Winger albums).  After this album, the band sort of dissolved and wasn’t doing anything anymore.  Then in 1996 Kip started his solo career.  That solo career produced 3 studio albums, 1 acoustic album and now some Classical pieces that he did not include in this set.

Before we get into the music, let’s talk about the set itself.  It comes in a very sturdy box that was nice and thick, well made and should last a long time.  The one thing you notice is the sad figure on the cover.  I am sure it is some famous painting or something, but I do not know who it is or what the story is with the picture.  Another thing you notice is Kip’s name.  He now puts C.F. Kip Winger as his name.  He has been doing that with his Classical pieces he has written and now it is spilling over into his other solo work.  The C.F. are his initials for his name Charles Frederick Kip Winger.  Maybe “Kip” didn’t sound professional enough for the classical music scene.

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Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Stone Temple Pilots’ (2018) – Album Review

Stone Temple Pilots are back with a brand new album and a brand new singer.  As you probably already know the story, their original lead singer was one of the most iconic lead singers of any band, Scott Weiland.  Scott had a lot of troubles with addiction and was in and out of the band several times.  He was replaced with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, but Chester left to focus solely on his original band.  Since this time, both singers have passed away and will never rejoin the band.

Now STP has a decision to make.  Do they continue as a band?  The answer to that is obviously YES or I wouldn’t be doing a review of their new album.  Do they get a new lead singer that is completely their own person and nothing like the previous singer or do they get one that sounds just like Scott Weiland?  The answer to that will come later, but first let me explain why I asked that question myself.

In history, bands have always replaced lead singers.  There are two types of replacements..1) The singer that sounds nothing like the original singer and 2) the singer that sounds just like the old lead singer.  Depending on which one you choose can have a different impact on the band.  I think throughout history we have seen both work, however, for me there is only one solution.

Let’s look at the first, the new singer sounds nothing like the original singer.  There are many examples of that happening and quite successfully…Deep Purple has done it, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and even Van Halen.  Let’s look at Van Halen…with David Lee Roth (the original singer) and Sammy Hager (the replacement) were totally polar opposite singers and styles.  However, each band  was extremely successful in their own right.  Why you might ask? Because the band sound was still Van Halen and the songs were great.  Also, there was no real comparison between the two.  It was really two different bands that just happened to have the same name.  I personally like both versions (I am little more partial to David’s era just because I liked that sound a little better).

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Ratt – ‘Out of the Cellar’ – Album Review

After the success of their self-titled E.P., Ratt signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and that deal brought us the incredible debut album ‘Out of the Cellar’.  On March 27th, 1984, the album was released and thanks to MTV, the band became a huge sensation.

The band’s line-up was unchanged from the E.P, consisting of the following members:

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

With the incredible dual guitar combo of Crosby & DeMartini and the bluesy, raspiness of Pearcy’s vocals, the band had an arsenal of great songs that took them to the pinnacle of rock and selling millions and millions of records.  It also didn’t hurt that they looked the part which was crucial for the MTV world that was exploding on the scene at the time.

Take that and add a beautiful woman on the cover your album and there was denying this band.  Tawny Kitaen graced the cover of the debut album as she was the then girlfriend of Robin Crosby.  She also graced the cover of their E.P. but that was just her beautiful legs.  This time, you got the whole package.  For those that didn’t know, Tawny is the video vixen that was dancing on the pair of Jaguars in the Whitesnake videos in the late 80’s when she was dating David Coverdale.

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Reach – ‘The Great Divine’ – Album Review

I am going to go ahead and say I had no idea who this band was before listening.  I saw their album reviews on other sites I visit and the ratings were really good so I decided to check out the album.  And let me tell you, those reviews were no where close to how I good this album really is.  I will put it out there…this is my FAVORITE album so far this year.  It is unbelievable!!

Now, who is Reach?  Reach is a band out of Sweden and ‘The Great Divine’ is actually their second album.  I completely missed the first.  The band is now a power trio and consists of the following members:

  • Ludvig Turner (Guitars & Vocals)
  • Marcus Johansson (Drums)
  • Soufian Ma’Aoui (Bass)

The album was was recorded at Rocksta Sound Studio, produced by Jona Tee (H.E.A.T) and mixed by Tobias Lindell (Europe, Avatar).  That is the basic summary I have found on the band.  They are labeled as a melodic rock band as it seems most bands from Sweden seemed to be labeled.  Well, that and Glam.  But I feel that label limits them.  They have that sound – the strong hooks and melodies, but their sound is also so modern and varied that I think they are so much more.  Ludvig’s vocal abilities are definitely showcased throughout the album.

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Rick Springfield – ‘The Snake King’ – Album Review

Rick Springfield has been releasing music since the early 70’s.  You have the teeny bopper music from the 70’s to the pop hits he had in the 80’s including “Jessie’s Girl” which made him very famous. And now at 68, he brings his 20th studio album called “The Snake King”.

He has done many styles over the years and this time he ventures into the Blues genre.  The album is a mixture of Blues Rock and straight up Blues.  Now, this isn’t Blues like you would think with Curtis Mayfield or Robert Johnson, heck it isn’t even Blues like Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang.  This is Rick Springfield Blues.  He can try different genres, but he will always have that Rick Springfield sound and feel to his albums.  You can’t be around for 5 decades in music and not have your own style or vibe.

The Blues can be very depressing and sad at times and you might think, how is Rick going to honestly convey those emotions.  Well, let me tell you he hits the nail on the head with the blues.  Rick has suffered immensely with depression and he has had many issues in his life.  He digs deep and captures the stories and feelings from those dark times.

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