Can you believe it has been 30 years since The Black Crowes debut album, ‘Shake Your Money Maker’? It is hard to fathom some times. The Black Crowes came on the scene with the release of the album on February 13, 1990. The album goes against the grain of the music at the time. The 80’s Glam Rock scene was still alive, but the Crowes went back to the Rock & Roll roots and gave us some dirty, bluesy rock & roll and laughed in the face of those glam rockers. That scene would die out soon enough when Nirvana would come on to the scene. The album went on to sell over 5 million copies from 5 singles and reaching #4 on the Billboard 200 Chart.
The Black Crowes hail from Marietta, GA, my hometown (different high school though – they went to rival Walton and I was at Osborne). These guys were all over the place and the talk of the town. It was so cool to see these hometown heroes explode on to the scene and hit it big time. Nothing cooler than local boys making it to the top.
This box set is a 30 year celebration of the album and let me tell you the boys did it right. The box set comes in…well…a box. It looks wooden even thought it is really a very sturdy cardboard shaped to look like wood. The back cover list the track listing and inside are is the picture of the album over some flyers and passes. The admission price of $0.96 for me is intriguing because the 96 is shaped like the local rock radio station called 96 Rock which tells me that show was a promoted by that awesome radio station. It brings back a lot of memories. The set I have is the Super Deluxe Edition and the vinyl one at that. See below to see what comes in the set.
For My Sunday Song #242, we are going to tackle one of my favorite tracks by the band called “The Stairs” off the band’s 1990 album ‘X’. It was the final single off the album and didn’t chart, but there was something about it that I fell in love with. They did end up releasing a live version of the song as a single for their 1991 Live album ‘Live Baby Live’ album.
The song is one that Michael thought was the most ambitious song he had ever written. And he might be right. I find the song to be a sad commentary on life in the big city. The cities are filled with so many people and all these buildings, but no one is communicating. No one is building a relationship. They casually pass each other in “the stairs” of their buildings and don’t say a word. Cities need to have more town squares like the small towns have so people can meet up and talk, build that relationship and make life better. And what I find most troubling about this song is that it is even more true today. With Facebook, Twitter and all these other so called social sites, we still are not truly social or communicating. You’re posting for the world to see how you want to be seen not who you really are. You are not actually saying anything that builds people up or to even build a relationship you are hiding behind a mask so no one truly sees you. This song makes me sad, but in a beautiful way.
Musically, it is a ballad and actually has a slow instrumental piece in the first minute that builds and builds until Hutchence comes in with the vocals. You can hear it in his voice how much this song means to him as he sings with such a tenderness and with such heart. It is songs like this that made me appreciate his greatness. When I think of great frontmen for a band, Michael is always on my list. There is a sadness to the music that comes through and matches with the lyrics. As I said earlier, it is sad but beautiful.
Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, but that is what today feels like since there isn’t much coming out this week. You do have the return of Demi Lovato and a new Shakey Grave album, but outside of that there isn’t much else. And for me, there really isn’t anything I want to hear so a good chance for me to catch up on all the stuff that came out in March. I would say my choices are highlighted in Blue, but there is only one so it is highlight in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear and what we may have missed because I am sure there are. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.
The Fratellis – Half Drunk Under a Full Moon – (Cooking Vinyl Ltd): The Fratellis are a personal favorite of mine so anytime I can get a new album, I’m thrilled. They are on their 6th Studio so between their studio albums and Jon Fratellis solo albums, they keep me happy. I love their garage rock style mixed with a post-punk feel. They sound vintage and I like it. Bring it on…
Demi Lovato – Dancing With The Devil…The Art of Starting Over – (Island Records / UMG)
Up next on the side projects is former Kiss guitarist, Mark St. John. Mark played on Animalize but didn’t last real long with the band. He developed a type of arthritic condition in his fingers that was very troublesome. When the band toured live for the album, Mark only played in 3 shows. The excuse was given that he was let go because he couldn’t play due to the condition with this hands, but I am not so sure that is true. I think his guitar fill-in on the tour who happened to be Bruce Kulick fit in with the band better than Mark so they let Mark go while on tour and stuck with Bruce who would stay in the band for over a decade. Probably a great move on their part.
Now that doesn’t take away from Mark’s ability as he was a hell of a shredder on the guitar. His playing was fast and frantic and he could rip out a solo. After he left Kiss, he actually did form a band and release an album independently with a band called White Tiger so technically I should’ve reviewed that album back when we were in the 1985/86 timeline, but if you have been paying attention to the review series, I have been picking the side projects with larger Kiss connections and other than Mark, there isn’t another Kiss connection I could make. Instead, I went all the way to 1999 and his Mark St. John Project and the E.P. they released. Why you may ask. Well that is because of the 5 songs on the E.P., three of those songs were co-written with a former Kiss alum, Peter Criss. That is right, the Catman. Mark had been working on a project prior to this with Peter around 1990. They shopped around a demo but the response was not so good.
Spring has sprung (not completely temperature wise, but calendar wise) and I couldn’t be happier to get past the gloomy winter months. To celebrate, let’s look over what purchases were made at 2 Loud 2 Old Music this month. And we cover the spectrum with Vinyl, CDs, 7″ Single and even Tour Books. Yes, I did not discriminate on a particular product this month. I spread the wealth.
I hadn’t been out to a record store in a long while, so I hit up two of my favorite haunts, Hardy Boy Records and Noble Records and like normal, I found some cool items. First up are a couple of Tour Books from the 1970’s. They are both for Alice Cooper and yes, we will go through them in detail in the next couple months. They are for the Welcome to My Nightmare Tour and the Guilty Tour.
I also find a 7″ Single from Cheap Trick for the Top Gun Song, “Mighty Wings”…love that song…
In the last few years, David Coverdale has been quite busy rehashing old material, but in a good way. He has brought us deluxe box sets for albums such as ‘Slide It In’, ‘1987’, ‘Slip of the Tongue’ and even ‘Unzipped’ the all acoustic box set. And thid year in 2021, we are supposed to get ‘Restless Heart’. But for now, he is rehashing old material yet again.
This time it is a series called ‘Red, White & Blue’ Trilogy. The Rock Album (White) was up first and then we got the Love Songs (Red) and now it is time for the The Blues Album (Blue, duh) which is our 40th Review in the David Coverdale Series. Crazy! Each album is really a glorified greatest hits album with its own theme and the titles give you those themes quite nicely. The big difference on these albums is more than just a remastering. The songs have been tinkered with and given a little touch-up with some re-mixing and even a little touch-up on arrangements and other little surprises. The songs aren’t completely re-imagined, thankfully it is no Bon Jovi “This Left Feels Right”. The songs are still very much recognizable, just enhanced ever so slightly.
This time around we get 14 Tracks and because of that, we aren’t going in to full detail song by song. We will highlight them as we go. The thing about these albums is they only cover a certain period of the band from 1984’s ‘Slide it In’ up to 2011’s ‘Forevermore’. Nothing off their latest album, 2019’s ‘Flesh & Blood” and strangely, this time there is nothing off 1989’s ‘Slip of the Tongue’ which is quite baffling. We do get a song from the bonus tracks on ‘Live in the Shadow of the Blues’ which is a nice treat. The biggest difference from this release and the other two are that there are NO new tracks on this one like the others. I’m a little disappointed by that aspect. There are also two tracks that appear on the other two which is another disappoint. Granted they are still a different mix than those other albums, but still.
The theme of the album is Blues so all the songs are sonically blues in nature…some more so than others. We do get some songs that are more rock and then blues, but there are hints of it in the guitar. One of the more rocking tracks is the opening song “Steal Your Heart Away” which is a beast and completely rocks out with the exception of the guitar has hints of Jimmy Page that blues sound he had. The mix on this brings those guitar to the forefront and cleans them up nicely. “Good to Be Bad” is more metal than blues, but Dave’s vocals seem to be enhanced to give them a more blues tone. “Give Me All Your Love” seems to only have been tweaked to give John Sykes guitars a little more punch.
The one track that was tweaked the most was “Take Me Back Again” which had Whitesnake current guitarists, Joel Hoekstra, adding a solo and keyboardist Derek Sherinian adding his own flair to the song as well. This is the most blues track so far and is plain killer. Side Two kicks off with the dirtiest, most awesome song, “Slow & Easy” seems to have an improved drum sound as damn, Cozy Powell is killing it and then “Too Many Tears” which was on the Love album prior, but here now sounds like more of a country & blues track with the guitar sound. The final track on the first LP is “Lay Down Your Love” and that opening sounds cleaner and doesn’t have the annoying echo opening as the original, a vast improvement and then that guitar comes in dang near blows the roof off this joint.
The second LP kicks up the blues with the opening track “The River Song” and is really what this album is about. The blues guitar playing is exceptional throughout especially that opening picking. And then to go in to “Whipping Boy Blues” is magical especially with the brand new opening with the frog and nature sounds. Takes you down to the swamp and really makes you feel the blues. Then we get the bonus track from “In the Shadow of the Blues” called “If You Want Me” and another brutally rocking track. The vocals have been improved with added textures and flavors. And lastly on this side we get “A Fool In Love” which is David doing the Blues the best. This side of the album has been what this album is all about. Perfection filled Blues Rock!!
The final side kicks off with the foot-stomping “Woman Trouble Blues” which has added come guitar to boost the song, but I have always loved the harmonica playing in the song which really adds that extra blues flair. It is all stellar. They slow things down with 1987’s “Looking for Love” which seems to have Sykes guitar cleaned up and clearer which no one would complain about. The final track is the classic “Crying in the Rain” which seems to have a slightly new beginning, some added guitar parts and a new ending that fades out with an echo added.
And there you have it. I think I like every track on here and the changes to the mix are all subtle and yet effective. Nothing strays far from the original and it is only enhancing the flavors of the song to give us the desired taste we are salivating over. He tweaked a pinch here and a dash there and gave us the best of the three albums in the trilogy. I will give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars only because no new tracks and two repeated songs from the other albums (although a different mix). I know for sure that this one and the Rock one will get played again and again depending on my mood as to which one. The Love album is good, but too much on the ballad side. I still think you need to pick up all three…why not!!!
The Red, White & Blue Trilogy is now complete. The Love Album, The Rock Album and now the Blues Album. What a thing of beauty…
Now we are waiting on the announcement of The Restless Heart Super Deluxe Box Set and now rumors are running rampant that David Coverdale and Jimmy Page are working on a Deluxe Edition of Coverdale/Page…ooooh!!! That would be awesome. And in the liner notes of the Blues Album he even talks about a Box Set for Good to Be Bad!!! Some interesting stuff coming the David Coverdale world. Until next time…
Before the band could record their fourth album, they had to go through a lot of a business crap. Money was becoming an issue in the fact they weren’t getting any. They were extremely disappointed, to say the least, with their current management and record label, Trident. The hired a lawyer and for nine months, battled back and forth until they were successful in getting released from the Trident deal. But it was costly. They were able to get ownership back of their first few albums, but it cost them 1% royalty on the next 6 as well as pay £100,000 and the tour that was scheduled had to be cancelled because it was set up by the old management. Now this was 1975, so that is a lot of freaking money.
Queen was able to get new management and they singed with EMI (UK) / Elektra (US) and were set to create their next masterpiece. This album would be the most expensive album ever to be made (at the time of 1975). It cost £40,000 (or $338,000 in today’s dollars). It was so expensive due to the fact they recorded the album in seven different studios, over 4 months and required a lot of multi-tracking and they ended up using a 24-Track set up. Their last album only used a 16-Track tape. Queen was going big or going home. And if you know them at all, going big is the only way they know.
For My Sunday Song #241 we are going to cover the song “Don’t Change” by the Australian band INXS. Actually for the next 10 episodes, we will focus on the band INXS as I feel they are worthy of having a spotlight on them for a little while. The song “Don’t Change” is off the band’s third album,’Shabooh Shoobah’ from 1982. It was the second single from that album and the first that saw the band start to take off around the world.
The song is credited to all the band members and is the only song on the album to do so. The song talks about how there is always a point where do to nostalgia, we don’t want anything to ever change and keep that feeling we are currently feeling. The singer is trying to keep hold and never let go. But regardless, things are and will change. There is no stopping it. The singer is thinking back to a lost love and how that relationship made him feel. He doesn’t want that person to change, not for her or for him. Stay the way they are…which people never do.
Musically, it is a fun, upbeat, fast tempo track. A simple song with very few chords, but interesting enough to grab hold and get you moving. The guitars sound great, the keyboards are pleasant and Michael Hutchence’s vocals are stellar. The man could sing. The music feels familiar which ties to the song meaning of the feeling of familiarity. INXS was part of the new wave sound, with a little rock and these earlier songs were a little punk sounding as well.
Can you believe March is almost over. For new releases it is as this the last one of the month and do we have a lot for you with well over 25 releases for you to check out. We cover the entire range of music I am guessing with this batch of releases. I have one that I am really excited about and another that is 20th Anniversary Edition that I am excited to explore again. Those two are first up and marked in Blue. Let me know which ones you want to hear first and what I might have missed so everyone can know about it. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the list. I hope you all have a wonderful, music-filled weekend!!!
Smith/Kotzen – Smith/Kotzen – (BMG Rights Mgmt): First up is Richie Kotzen (The Winery Dogs) and Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden). What a cool combination of guitar players. These guys will battle it out on guitar and on vocals. That is enough for me. I have not heard anything yet, but I know I want to so that is why it will be first up today on my list to play.
3 Doors Down – The Better Life (20th Anniversary Edition) – (Republic Records): I can’t believe it has been 20 years since this release, it is insane. By far, I think their best release and it is time to celebrate with a couple of unreleased tracks and some demos. That is all I want in an anniversary release…well maybe a live show from the tour would be good.
As we discussed back in the 1991 timeline, Eric Carr passed away on November 24, 1991 due to an aneurysm that probably stemmed from the numerous surgeries he had to remove tumors related to his heart cancer. Before his death, Eric was always writing songs as he was a very creative soul. He could write, he could sing and he could play more than just the drums. ‘Rockology’ is a collection of the songs he had been working on prior to his death. These are demos and not necessarily full fledge songs in some cases so keep that in mind. Think of this as his ‘Vault’ because it is very similar in the type of songs you get. You get some fully fleshed out songs, you get some where lyrics are being scatted because their aren’t any yet and you get some straight-up instrumentals.
The album was put together by one of Eric’s great friends and former Kiss bandmate, Bruce Kulick. With the help of Adam Mitchell (co-writer of numerous Kiss songs), they pieced together a collection of songs from old cassettes or where ever they could find them. They would clean them up the best they could, add some backing vocals where appropriate and even Bruce overdubbed some killer solos in a few songs to help complete them. Bruce produced the album and I think this was a wonderful tribute to his old friend and bandmate.