Whitesnake – ‘Slide It In’: the Ultimate Special Edition – Album Review

The album that broke Whitesnake in the US finally gets its ‘Ultimate Special Edition release celebrating 35 years as the original UK album was released in 1984.  35 years is crazy to think about.  In those 35 years, this album only gets better.

This special edition consists of 6 CDs, 1 DVD, 1 Book, 1 Tour Program replica and 1 Album Cover Poster.  And it has over 100 tracks amongst all the discs.  Here is everything you get.

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Now of course that 100+ tracks is misleading and this set is truly for the ultimate fan.  Why?  Because the set repeats the songs a lot.  Because the set repeats the songs a lot.  Yes, I wrote that twice on purpose.

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Let me explain by jumping in to the album right away and we will talk about the first 3 discs as they go together.

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Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Yell’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the success of his self-titled debut album, Billy Idol, teamed back up with producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Stevens.  And in late 1983, we were treated to his second album, ‘Rebel Yell’.  The collaboration with Steve Stevens grew immensely with this album.  On the first, Steve only had his hand in writing two songs.  On ‘Rebel Yell’, he contributed to all but one song that was only written by Idol.  The bond had grown so much, that Steve even made the back cover of the album.

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The duo of Billy and Steve was complete and you couldn’t have one without the other, at least for a long while anyway.  If you notice on the back cover, the songs are broken out into Sides 3 and Sides 4.  This was because the debut was 1 and 2, so these naturally would be 3 and 4, he would do this at least one more time for the next studio album.  I liked the concept.

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Nita Strauss – ‘Controlled Chaos’ (2018) – Album Review

I am a little behind on reviews, so excuse the lateness of this one.  I almost passed it over due to the lateness, but I felt this one needed to be done.  Nita Strauss’ ‘Controlled Chaos’ is nothing short of spectacular so I had to talk about it.

Instrumental albums are hard for me to write-up as I am not a guitarist (although learning) or a musician.  I mean how many times and how many ways can I say the guitar work is sensational.  Well, I will say it at least a few times.  Nita’s guitar work is sensational…she is a beast…she is one of the most exciting guitarists out there today.  Plus, you know she is one of the best if Alice Cooper has her in his band.  I saw them tour last year and she was quite phenomenal!

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And another way I can tell you it is great is the fact I actually bought a physical CD.  I normally stream new music and buy used vinyl and special edition box sets.  New releases only get bought, if they are beyond exceptional and well, this is just that.  So, I showed my support by actually spending my hard in dollars on her album.  People should do way more of that.

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Jon Fratelli – ‘Bright Night Flowers’ – Album Review

The voice of The Fratellis is back with his second solo album, ‘Bright Night Flowers’. If you are looking for that Fratellis fun, upbeat sound, that is not here.  What you get is the unique Jon Fratelli sound with a slowed down tempo and a hauntingly beautiful album.

For those melancholy evenings, this is the perfect album.  You get 9 songs played in a way that if the lights are down low and you are alone, it is the companion you were looking for.  It will take you, wraps its arms around you and wallow in your sadness…in a good way.

Filled with songs themed around love and heartbreak, this album is actually a breath of fresh air in Jon’s songwriting and such a wonderful change of pace from The Fratellis.  When a lead singer steps away from his band, this is how it is done.

Magical songs such as “Serenade in Vain”, the piano led “After a While” and the slightly country-tinged “Evangeline”, take you on a musical journey that you never want to leave.  I would score the album a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  The album is endearing and is easily an early favorite in my Top Albums of 2019.

#200WordChallenge

Def Leppard – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

If you read my site, you know Def Leppard is one of my all-time favorite bands, if not the #1 band on my list.  And for that, this list was extremely hard for me to do, yet easy as well.  I will already go ahead and say it, there is not a horrible album in this bunch only some I like more than others and yet a few that are absolute no-brainers as the top choices.  And yes, I am biased.

Speaking of top choices, my Top 5 is my Top 5 because each album is completely different.  The band completely changed up the sound and style on each of these albums and when the band does that, for me they hit it out of the park.

From the very beginning in 1980 with their debut and all the way up to today, the band has been mainstay in my musical journey.  In 2019, they will be inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and all I can say is it is about damn time!!!  They received the highest public vote so I am not the only one that things these guys from England are pretty darn great.

So, let’s get to it.  Here is my favorite Def Leppard albums from the worst one to the very best.  I hope you enjoy it.

WORST – SONGS FROM THE SPARKLE LOUNGE (2008)

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American Authors – ‘Seasons’ – Album Review

American Authors is one of those bands I had heard about due to their hit “Best Day of My Life” from 2013, but I had never wanted to take a deeper dive.  It is not because they weren’t any good band, it is just not my type of music.  It is too pop and generic and nothing really interested me.  Well, with the release of their third album, ‘Seasons’, that has now changed.

The reason for that change is simple, they have two songs on the album by a couple of my favorite singers right now, Billy Raffoul and Bear Rinehart (Needtobreathe).  You see, those two put out a song…I will listen and American Authors only reap the benefits…or do they…we will have to see.

I don’t know much about the band, so I will get straight into the music.  American Authors are really good at writing, happy type, uplifting songs and the opening track, “Stay Around”, is just that.  It is an uptempo and fun song that sounds exactly like an Imagine Dragon song with that drum beat and the lyrical phrasing.  Good song, but come on if you are going to copy any one why the hell would you copy Imagine Dragons?

The next song is one of the best on the album called “Say Amen”.  It features new singer Billy Raffoul and is probably why I am biased about loving this song.  It is a darker song for American Authors and I like this darker edge to the band.  Bill’s Jeff Buckley style vocals work well with singer Zac Barnett who I think changes his vocals to be a little more in Billy’s style which is great because Billy’s vocals have a lot of texture and character.

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

Billy Idol was loving his time in New York and it showed in his writing as the album seemed to be inspired by what he was doing in the city.  After the mild success of his 1981 E.P., Don’t Stop, he and the band went to work on the debut album simply titled ‘Billy Idol’.  It is his album and he is the main focal point so why not call it ‘Billy Idol’.

Released in 1982, Billy was discovering who he was as an artist and what it was like to now be the main focal point.  His meeting of Steve Stevens seemed to be a match made in Heaven…well rock & roll heaven anyway.  Steven even contributed a couple writing credits on this release.  The two together would become one of the great teams in music.  You have McCartney & Lennon, Elton John & Bernie Taupin and now you have Idol & Stevens…okay, that is stretching it too far, but you know what I mean.

When the album was originally released in 1982, the album cover looked like this…

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I don’t have this cover, yet, but I will find it one day and get a hold of it.  I don’t like this one as much as the alternate cover I have.  It is a little too feminine compared to the toughness of the one I have with the black leather jacket (not that there is anything wrong with that).  The new cover fits the attitude and the snarl so much better.

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Def Leppard – ‘Live at the Top’ (Bootleg) – Album Review

I have been looking for Def Leppard bootlegs since I got back in to collecting. I have found Kiss, Whitesnake, GNR, but hadn’t found a Leppard one until now.  The first thing that caught my attention was that cover.  Love it.  So bright, so detailed, just beautiful.  A lot of work went into that cover and I find that odd for a bootleg since most I find just slap a picture of the band on the cover that isn’t even from that era of the recording.

Well, they did that hear as well as the back cover is a picture of Joe Elliott from around 1987…which is when this was released.  The problem is that the recordings are not from that year.

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When was it recorded?  I am so glad you asked.

A1 to B1 recorded at the BBC’s Paris Theatre, London, England, 22nd August 1979.
B2 to B6 recorded at the Reading Festival, Reading, England, 24th August 1980.

“On Through the Night’ came out in March 1980, so the first side of this was recorded prior to that album coming out which all these songs are on.  Their first EP had come out in January 1979 which “Overture” and “Rocks Off” were from that one only at the time as they would be released on the debut as well.

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Airbourne – Diamond Cuts Box Set – Album Review

This Australian heavy metal band is a full on rock band that is loud, obnoxious and freaking awesome.  If you like AC/DC, well here is the second coming of the band.  Where Greta Van Fleet get blasted for sounding like Zeppelin, no one seems to care that these guys sound like AC/DC.  Hell, they are doing AC/DC better than AC/DC right now.

If you don’t know about the band, know that Lemmy (Motorhead) was a huge fan of the band and even showed up in one of their music videos from their debut album.  That was enough for me to give this band a try and and I am so glad I did.  After Lemmy’s passing, the band paid tribute to Lemmy in their song “It’s All For Rock & Roll” and even had the airplane lighting rig Motorhead used on tour in the video.  It was pretty cool to see.

After the band’s fourth album, ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’, they decided to put together a collection of B-Sides together for an album and released it as a Box Set that included their first 3 albums.  I received the Vinyl Edition as a Christmas gift from my girls and to top if off, the bought “Breakin’ Outta Hell’ on vinyl as well.  My Airbourne Vinyl collection was complete.

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Switchfoot – ‘Native Tongue’ – Album Review

I have followed Switchfoot since around 2003 with their fourth album ‘The Beautiful Letdown’ and now some 16 years later they bring us their eleventh studio album, ‘Native Tongue’ and yes, I am still a fan.  The new album brings us more of the same and yet travels down a new road as well.

The album has a familiar Switchfoot sound that is at times pure rock, at times pure spiritual and at times au natural almost Earthy feel to it.  They try so many different musical styles, including a little EDM, but they were able to keep it cohesive.  That is in part to what seems to be a theme throughout and that is “Love”.  Whether it is God’s love, human love and love on some different level, I don’t know, but the songs all seem to be connected.

The opening track, “Let it Happen” has this spiritual feel with a little bit of rock thrown in and the message to it about letting love just happen as well as letting life just happen.  The rock comes in full force with “Native Tongue”.  The heavy tribal drums and bass sound kick this up a notch and was a great choice as the first single.  And then you get the church feel of “All You Need” and with that chorus I can picture a worship team singing it out loud during service.

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