My Sunday Song – “Ballad of Trayvon Martin” by Will Hoge

For My Sunday Song #268, we are going to discuss the controversial song “Ballad of Trayvon Martin” by Will Hoge off his protest E.P. from 2012 called ‘Modern American Protest Music. The song, along with the rest of the album, is brutal and forthright. Will Hoge lays out in all its ugliness and truth and exposes the underbelly of America.

The “Ballad of Trayvon Martin” is about the case where George Zimmerman shoots a young black gentlemen who seems to me minding his own business. Will tells the story in great detail about why George shoots Trayvon to how George seems to get off and not charged with murder. Will isn’t afraid to point out the racism inherent in the system and he takes aim at the Florida “Stand Your Own Ground” Law. He definitely doesn’t paint a pretty picture about George or even Police Chief Lee. I remember vividly when this happened and nothing seem to make sense from the news reports. I could never see what reason George had to be suspicious other than a young black man walking down the street. Oh my heavens, that must mean he is up to no good…at least in George’s eyes. If George would’ve only listened to the 911 Dispatcher and do nothing and the Police handle it, would it have turned out differently?

Now let us talk about the music. Will comes straight in to the verses within the first note of starting the song accompanied by an electric guitar. After the opening verse, the drum and another guitar join and by the chorus we get the full band in its all its glory. It is simple, yet effective as it should be as the lyrics are the main focus as this is a protest song don’t forget. I love the little guitar solos between the chorus and the next verse that happens a couple times. All-in-all, the song is so powerful and packs quite a punch. Will really painted a picture of the situation with his words and they flowed perfectly together. His story telling is on full display and a perfect example on why I think Will is one of the best songwriters in the business.

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Friday New Releases – October 8, 2021

Happy Friday everyone!! Welcome to another round of new releases. And we have a lot for you whether you like country, jazz, indie, disco, r&b, metal and even good old rock & roll. As a result, there is something for everyone and I hope you find something. I have a few I want to hear and two I have on pre-order and can’t wait to get my hands on them. Those are marked in Blue. Let me know what you are interested in and what I may have missed. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

  • 71BG+l5LmlL._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Jeff Scott Soto – The Duets Collection, Vol. 1 – (Frontiers Records): One of my favorite lead singers and he is back with yet another release this year. This time around it is a compilation but not the normal type. This is his greatest hits, redone as duets with some of his favorite people. He is covering songs from his solo career and a ton of bands he has been in over the years. It should be awesome, but I can’t review it. Nope. Well, not until I get to it some time next year when I do the Jeff Scott Soto Series. Over 65 albums in this series and it will be epic!!
  • 61MZoOpmUzS._SX522_  The Wild Feathers – Alvarado – (New West Records): Here is another favorite artist of mine. These guys are a little country, a little southern rock and a whole lot of awesome. This one is on order to complete my vinyl collection of the band but won’t be here until around the 29th of the month. I can’t wait to dive in to this one.
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Aerosmith – ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975 ) – Album Review (The Aerosmith Collection Series)

After a very long tour in support of their album, “Get Your Wings”, the band was tight and playing better than ever. They were ready to jump back in the studio and bring producer Jack Douglas back with them. This time around though would be different. Their first two albums used up all the songs they had been playing for years. Aerosmith now had to write a whole album from scratch. As a result, they would create an album that was spawned from a new level of confidence with the band and a more polished understanding of how to write songs. The album they created, ‘Toys in the Attic’, would take the band to a whole new level of stardom. The album would go on to sell more than 8 million copies and be one of their most commercially successful albums of all time.

‘Toys in the Attic’ was released on April 8, 1975 and was recorded at the Record Plant in New York City from January to March of that year. It would go as high as #11 on the Billboard Charts and deliver not one, but two Top 40 hits with one going all the way to #10 as well. The success of this album also saw the band’s first two albums get a renewed interest and so they would re-release the single “Dream On” in from the debut seeing it go to #6 on the charts. Yes, ‘Toys in the Attic’, finally saw Aerosmith get what they had been working so hard for over the years. Fame, Fortune and Drugs…lots and lots of drugs.

As you can see from the pictures, my copy of the album is well loved.

The band was still the same old song and dance of members with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer. Everyone had at least one writing credit on the album except for Joey. Tyler had them on all of the songs except for the cover song they do. The band was on fire, but so were things behind the scenes, especially with the band members wives who didn’t all get along and would be a driving force behind a lot of the band’s battles and problems over the years…well that and drugs…did I mention drugs? These boys could not get enough of the stuff. That would soon become a problem, but not so much now.

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The Original Vs. The Cover Vs. The Cover – “Hanging On The Telephone”

For this edition of The Original vs. The Cover, we are discussing the song “Hanging on the Telephone” originally performed by the band The Nerves. We are going to do two different covers with the first and most famous being that from Blondie and the other cover is from Def Leppard. The song was written by Jack Lee of the band The Nerves back in the 1976 and was released on their debut E.P. The song never charted and the band was short lived as they didn’t do much after that.

Blondie heard the song while sitting in a taxi in Japan. The song was given to them by Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the band The Gun Club and they popped in to listen to while in that cab. They really liked it and decided to record it. Blondie reached out to Jake Lee for permission to record it and since Jake was facing financial ruin it was a very easy decision. The answer was yes and Jake made a little money that was much needed.

The song is about a man that sounds quite obsessed with the woman he is or was seeing. He keeps calling her and calling her and calling her so he can hear her voice again. The woman’s mother says she can’t see him any more it sounds like and that seems to make him quite angry and he won’t stop trying to get in touch with her. Very stalkerish if you ask me. I think someone might need a restraining order in place. Still no denying it is a fun song.

THE NERVES:

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Van Halen – “I’ll Wait” (1984) – 45 Single

When I was on vacation during this past Summer, I found a ton of 45 Singles with the Picture Sleeves at a place called House of Vinyl and I ended buying 7 Van Halen 45’s. And we’ve been through a few so far as seen below…

And now we are on to our fourth of the 7 and this is the final Roth Era track and was the second single from the album ‘1984’. The song “I’ll Wait” went to #13 on the Billboard Charts and despite its success, the band never filmed a video which totally surprises me as this the heyday of MTV. But it still worked for them without a video so they probably saved a ton of money. As most songs with Van Halen, the writing is always credited to Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony. But this time, Dave was having trouble with some of the lyrics and melody so Ted Templeman brought in his buddy Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers for which Ted produced their albums as well. Ted had a knack for using people he worked with on many projects.

The song was inspired by a media ad for Calvin Klein. I guess Dave really was taken by the hot model in the ad that he taped the picture next to his TV and all the lyrics are addressed to the model in the picture. Hey, whatever works right!

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Judas Priest – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Complete Albums Collection Series)

We are finally to the end of the Judas Priest Complete Albums Collection Series. And we are ending it with a ranking of all the Studio albums for the band which is a total of 18 albums to go through. That is a lot. I knew of Judas Priest and I had heard a ton of songs, but I had never dived deep in the band until I did this series. I received The Complete Albums Collection Box Set for Christmas 2020 and bought the 4 studio albums that were missing from the set and decided to review them all and it has been a blast. I will say that I am a huge fan now.

Out of the 18 albums, there are only 2 they have that I felt were below average and the rest are worth hearing at least to me. That isn’t bad to have 16 albums that rank at least a 3 or higher. My choices might be different from some people and that is okay as we like different things. I really enjoyed the bluesiness of the early albums and the more 80’s style and even the real heaviness of the more current records. I will even admit I liked one of the Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens albums. No matter what I heard, I found things I liked and didn’t like. But what I do know is that the original members of Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing and Ian Hill were a powerful group and there was a magic to their music together. I like Richie Faulkner as he brought a new life to the band and I really liked Scott Travis on drums as he was a force to be reckoned with behind that kit.

Judas Priest was not a one trick pony. They weren’t just heavy metal…they had a blues influence, glam influence, straight up hard rock, speed metal and even a little death metal at times. They could do it all. Any time they had dual guitar solos or Halford hit that trademark scream, I was all in. These guys are one of the best bands to come out of the UK and I can’t believe we have had 50 years of Judas Priest. What a ride it has been. Now, let’s see how I rank the albums and away we go…

THE WORST: ‘RAM IT DOWN’ (1988):

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My Sunday Song – “Guitar or a Gun” by Will Hoge

For My Sunday Song #267, we are going to dive in to the song “Guitar or a Gun” by Will Hoge. The song is off his 2015 album ‘Small Town Dreams’. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the album went to #15 on the Country Charts and #162 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. The song was written by Will Hoge, Dylan Altman and Gary Allan. Will sought out Gary specifically to write with on this track along with another song in hopes Gary would record them. Thankfully for us, Gary passed and Will got to keep this great track all his own.

The song is basically Will thinking about growing up in Franklin, Tennessee. Will would go to the local pawn shop and stare for hours at the guitars on the wall and the guns behind the counter. He would ride his bike over there every weekend. After mowing lawns all Summer, he took his $200 he earned and finally went to that pawn shop to buy one of those two items. He wanted both and the lyrics tell you what his dad said about them but not letting you know really which one his dad was talking about. All Will could think about was being in a gang…a gang of guys that form a band or a gang of guys to do nothing but get in to trouble and ride off in to the sunset like the gang from the movie “Young Guns”. Since we are reviewing a song by Will Hoge, I believe we know he chose the Guitar.

The song is a southern rock sounding track with an acoustic guitar, an electric, a piano and some driving drum beats. It starts off slow with the acoustic guitar and then Will singing the first verse before the band comes in and then they all join in and take it home. The bridge and chorus kick it up a notch and are catchy and colorful. The music and the song feel tell a great story and take you back to your childhood where you might have had the same thoughts. Will is a master at telling great stories and this song is just that.

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Friday New Releases – October 1, 2021

Welcome to October and there is abundance to keep you busy this month. Maybe not as much as weeks past but still a broad range of releases that there is bound to be something up your alley. I have quite a few I want to hear including some Super Deluxe Editions of older albums as there are a ton of those almost every week now. My choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear and even what I may have missed that way everyone will know. Thanks so much for the continued support, stopping by and commenting. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

  • 81fxj6-rtnS._SS500_  KK’s Priest – Sermons of the Sinner – (EX1 Records): K.K. Downing, formerly of Judas Priest brings his own brand of rock with KK’s Priest and I love that he is playing off his former band because why shouldn’t he capitalize on that success. And what is even better is that is Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens on vocals. I have purposely not listened to anything yet as I want to check this out all in one sitting.
  • 71yOdi4TqCL._AC_UY436_FMwebp_QL65_  Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – Love For Sale – (Columbia / Sony / Interscope): Lady Gaga…Yes Please…Tony Bennet…Absolutely Yes Please!! In what might very well be Tony’s last recordings how could you not want to hear this. The man is a legend and throw in Gaga and the two together are pure gold!!
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September 2021 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Can’t believe it is time for another monthly wrap-up. This year has flown by in almost a blink. October wasn’t as fruitful as other months although it was still pretty good. I only actually hit a record store once during the month. The rest were all bought online whether Amazon, Discogs or directly from the artist.

The first batch is from a trip my daughter and I made to the local antique mall. This mall is really great as it has several booths strictly related to vinyl and that is always where I ended up spending all my time. My daughter wants to look at vintage clothing. It is sad when clothes from when I grew up is now vintage, but that is another story. First up are two Aerosmith releases. One I had on CD, but I had really been looking for a decent vinyl version and finally got one. The other release is a 12″ Maxi Single for “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”.

The other two items were 12″ Singles for ZZ Top and Bon Jovi. The Bon Jovi is an E.P. and one I had only seen on Mike Ladano’s site when he wrote about a couple years ago. When I saw it, it was an easy decision.

There was only one more vinyl purchase for the month and this one is the coolest. It is the brand new E.P. from Billy Idol called ‘The Roadside’. I’ve ready written a review for it so you can check it out HERE!!!!!. This one is special because it is autographed by the man, the myth, the legend, Billy Idol. You know when you get some autographs they send a picture insert that the artist signs? Well, they do. Except for Billy. Billy sends an actual album jacket with no album and signs the jacket. Then they send a separate sealed album. Strange, but okay.

And that was the last of the vinyl for the month. The rest are all CDs. I have a wishlist on Discogs and this month, I decided each week I was going to buy something from that list. Easy enough right? Except when you decide which seller to use and find out they actually have several items from that artist that are on your list or other artist and that is where the trouble ensues. I figured, well, I have to buy them all because I will save a ton on shipping…and I’m right. There were three shipments and most were Jeff Scott Soto releases because I am wrapping up my purchases before we start the Jeff Scott Soto series in January 2022! It will be a great way to kick off the new year. Here is what I got…

And then there were a few more…and these last 3 came from France. I didn’t read the listing very well and didn’t realize he shipped these without their cases. I guess that is why the shipping was so cheap from France. Luckily I had some empty cases laying around.

Now a few of the first picture I bought and wound up buying stuff from another artist because I saved on shipping. It was two of Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N Outz side project that I had on CD at one and no longer do…but I do again…long story, sad, don’t won’t get in to it!!

And another purchase I ended up buying a Bonus E.P. from Needtobreathe’s album ‘Hard Love’ which I forgot I didn’t actually have on CD. What was I thinking. It is sealed and I’m trying to decide if I will keep it that way…

Then using MyPoints gift cards, I picked up a couple free things on Amazon. They are both from a band called Tait. The lead singer is Michael Tait formerly of the band DC Talk. His voice is like butter. He sounds like Nat King Cole, but rocks out. Really cool stuff. One of the CDs arrived sealed and autographed by the band. I must not have read the description too well because I don’t remember reading it was autographed. Cool enough. And thanks to Lori for getting rid of it.

And the very last thing I got were a couple of CDs from my pal who I mentioned earlier, Mike Ladano or LeBrain from the The LeBrain Train. He was kind enough to send me the new Max the Axe E.P. and threw in the debut Cars CD which for some reason I didn’t have on CD. I do on vinyl, but nice to have a remastered version as well. Thanks Mike. Now, the Max the Axe CD you just read about on Monday so you know all about that one now.

Not a bad haul I guess. It is just weird that most of these I bought online and not from an actual record shop. I hope I get to hit one or two in October. I know there is record show on October 9th, so I will at least hit that. Until next time, happy purchasing!! Here is everything one more time…

Cheap Trick – ‘Heaven Tonight’ (1978) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

The band finally started to catch on to the world with the release of their third album, “Heaven Tonight”. The album was released on April 24, 1978 and what is interesting is four days later they were touring Japan and played at a little arena called Nippon Budokan and we will get to that story in the next review. First, we need to talk this album. The band’s third album, which in some circles is considered the best, but it is way too early to make that call. This one though does bring the best of the first two albums in to focus. It has some of the first albums raw sound and then it takes some of the power pop sounds of the second and makes a pretty damn fine combination. The album did well as it charted at #48 on the Billboard Charts and going Gold a year later. By 1995, it has since been certified Platinum.

There are also two big firsts on this album. The first is they finally had a single chart with “Surrender” as it went to #62 on the Billboard Hot 100. The other first is more of a recording history fact in that this is the first recording to ever feature a 12-String Bass…yep…that is a right…12 strings. Not the wimpy-ass 4 string bass, nope four strings are for pussies. Only bad ass bass players play a 12 String bass!! Okay, I have no idea if that is true, but it sounds good…to me at least.

This is also the second album in a row to feature only Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the cover similar to ‘In Color’. Based on the cover, it looks like a standard background, but when you flip it over you see Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos standing in bathroom. Yes, great place for a group photo. As a result, the record company wanted to call the album ‘American Standard’ as that is a very popular brand of plumbing supplies. Thankfully, that was nixed and they went with the ‘Heaven Tonight’ title.

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