Kiss – The Box Set (Disc One 1966-1975) – Album Review (Part 2 of 6)

In Part 1 we talked about the packaging and all that was included in The Box Set.  Now, we are going to talk about the music.  There are 5 discs included in this set and they are broken up in to certain eras/timeframes of the band.  They cover from the very beginning all the way up to 1999.  The set was released in 2001 so nothing from after Psycho Cirus.

First up is Disc One that covers the era from 1966 to 1975.  Wait…Kiss didn’t start until 1973, how do we have stuff from 1966?  Well, you will have to wait and see.  The disc has 21 songs and of those, 12 are previously unreleased. And it is those 12 songs that are the prize on this release.  Here is the entire track listing for this disc.

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The first two songs up are demos that were done in 1973 at Electric Lady Studios with the great Eddie Kramer on the boards.  You know Eddie from his work with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix…at least you should.  The two songs were “Strutter” and “Deuce”, two of the bands most iconic songs.  These versions had never been released prior to this set.  I think I am going to go out on a limb and mention that these versions might be better than the actual recordings on the debut album of which, Eddie was not a part. These songs had so much more meat to them.  They had more edge and captured more of the band’s essence.

“Strutter” is actually from an early Gene Simmons song called “Stanley the Parrot”.  They took the chord pattern off that song and turned it in to a song that Paul feels has a “strutting” feel to it and thus the name.  “Deuce” was another song that was sort of a Frankenstein pieced together from a couple of other songs except these weren’t old Kiss songs.  The band loosely based it off the song “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones and the beginning of the song came from The Raspberries song “Go All the Way”.

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Kiss – The Box Set – Album Review (Part 1 of 6)

I didn’t buy this when it originally came out as I was not a in a good music place at the time.  My music buying was limited.  So, now that I wanted it, I had to search for it, find one in good condition and find it at the right price as some of the prices were RIDICULOUS!!!

Lo and behold, I was at a record show here in Charlotte and a guy had one for sale.  Actually, he had two.  One was in the guitar case, CDs still sealed and had the hard back book, but I didn’t want to spend that much dough, when I could get this version for a fraction of the price. Plus, I wasn’t paying a premium for sealed CDs as the seal doesn’t last long on my collection. I listen to my music.  As much as I want the guitar case version, my wallet decided this was the better way to go. Sometimes my wallet is smart and other times, he wants to spend, spend, spend.

The Box Set by Kiss was released on November 20th, 2001 and consists of 5 CDs spanning their entire career (up to that point) and a paperback photo book which we will get to in a minute.  I will review all 5 CDs individually over 5 different posts over the next couple of months.  For now, we will talk about the overall box set and the packaging.

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The CD’s span different eras of the band and there are 5 discs full of music.  The Box Set includes 94 tracks,  which consists of 30 previously unreleased band and solo demos as well as outtakes and live recordings.  The other 64 tracks are songs selected from each of the band’s albums except for Gene’s solo.  From that one you get a demo.

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That is a lot of stuff.  Here are the discs…

Disc One: 1966-1975

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Disc Two: 1975-1977

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Disc Three: 1976-1982

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Disc Four: 1983-1992

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Disc Five: 1992-1999:

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PHOTOBOOK:

You also get a 120-page color booklet that contains track-by-track commentary by the band, detailed track information, photos and essays.  I loved the commentary and getting all the tidbits of information on the songs.  The pictures are stunning and the book is really high quality as it is with everything the band does.

Here are some pictures…

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I had to have my daughter hold it open to take the pictures as the book hadn’t really been viewed and was nice and stiff.  I was able to edit out her fingers.

The package comes in a nice box with a red velvet insert to hold the disc.  It is really a nice little set up.

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And then on the spine of the box, the Kiss logo is in engraved into the fabric for a nice shiny feel.  You can feel the grooves.

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For the packaging and the photobook, I will give the set a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  It is what you would expect from a Kiss Box Set. Now for the music, I will review over the next 5 posts and rate each disc separately and then a final Overall Score on the last post.  There will be 6 parts overall (this is part 1) to this series and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I will going through them.  Thanks for stopping by and until next time, have a great day!

 

October Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

I realized I have been making a lot of purchases and yet not everything makes its way on to the site.  I figured I would do a wrap up each month of all my purchasing I have made even if they made it on the site during the month or even might make it on to the site down the road.

And this month started out with a bang!  A brand new record store opened up in Charlotte, NC called Noble Records.  They opened on October 5th which was a Saturday and because of that I got their bright and early.  Not grand opening 10am early, but I got there before 11am.  I had to take my daughter to her tutoring class at 10 and family comes first…then vinyl…sorry then God, then vinyl!!  Okay, maybe more order is skewed, but you get it.

I found two album I have been wanting and I had to grab them as I don’t seem them that often and one was a first pressing (not the RAGE album).

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Rage Against the Machine ‘Renegades’ and The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East (1st pressing pink label)

I then found two more albums one I for some reason didn’t have in my collection as it is one of the most popular albums of the 70’s and the other is a 12″ Single from Stryper just in time for Christmas.

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Meat Loaf ‘Bat of out Hell’ and Styper’s single “Reason for the Season”

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Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are on the final Bootleg in the series.  Okay, at the least the final for now. This is the last of what I have currently in my Kiss collection.  I will get more and when I do, I will come back and add to the collection so fear not, it isn’t really over…just slowed down immensely.

This release is on CD and is called ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and is labeled as a Radio Broadcast from 1976.  No other information on the insert or anywhere to really give you any more tidbits. So, I had to dig and the internet is a wonderful thing.

The setlist is not from 1976.  The setlist is from the Rock & Roll Over Tour in 1977 and they are in Detroit so this in Cabo Hall as Paul mentions Detroit and it being the last night. Well, in 1977, they played 3 shows at Cabo so this is the September 29, 1977 show and the setlist matches exactly…almost as the 3 encore songs are missing.

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Now that isn’t the only error on the disc.  There is another glaring one.  Take a look at the line-up on the back cover.  The line-up is right, but when did Peter and Ace change instruments.  This has Peter on guitar and Ace on drums…awesome!!!

There are no more pictures of the insert because the back cover and the insert are the same picture so nothing new to show.  For that, it is time to get to the music and the sound.

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The sound of the show is actually pretty great.  It is a radio broadcast, so you know it is going to be decent.  It is the band live and untouched so there are issues but it is how you would have heard it if you were there and for that it is fantastic.

There are three things wrong with the disc.  One, the opening track Detroit Rock City does not start at the beginning of the song.  The song is already in full gear when the disc starts as if someone forgot to hit the record button when they were supposed to hit it.  The second thing is that when the track # changes, there is a pause between each track which disrupts the flow of the show.  And the final thing is the album is missing the three encore songs that were played at the show so it is not a full set.  It is missing “Shout It Out Loud”, “Beth” and “Black Diamond”.

What did they get right?  Well, look at that set list.  It is pretty fantastic.  I am digging “Take Me”, “Ladies Room”,  “Makin’ Love”, “I Want You” and “Do You Love Me”.  The rest are normal songs on almost every set list so it is these songs that I enjoy the most.  Another thing is Paul’s vocals and his banter is awesome. He is so much better at this point in the band. He has found his comfort zone and he shows why he is one of the greatest frontman of any band.

What else is great?  Well, the solos.  All of them.  Peter’s is great, Ace’s is even better! Ace’s solo at the end of “Cold Gin” was one of the best I have heard from him.  Back when he could play.  I don’t think there was anything shooting from the guitar.  It was his fingers moving 100mph and it sounded like nothing I had heard on any of the other bootlegs.  He just played his ass off and he was stunning!! (or was it Peter, haha).

Peter’s drum solo comes at the end of “God of Thunder” and Peter drives it home with some tremendous kick drumming and beating the hell out of the Toms, snare and cymbals.  He was on the prowl that night and the Cat Man was feasting on those drums.  It was a great way to go in to “Rock & Roll All Nite” and end the show.  This was Kiss in their prime and it shows.  You can’t go wrong with this one at all!!

Yes, there are some problems with it, but the good outweigh the bad on this one and for that it gets a 4.0 out 5.0 Stars.  Hell, the Ace solo alone is worth it.  This is another one that will get played quite often.  It is a great set list and the sound is pretty great as well.  Definitely worth grabbing if you see this one out.

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!  Thanks for stopping by!!

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)

Kiss – North Hampton, PA March 19 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

The next in the Kiss Bootleg Series is a show from March 19th in 1975 on the Dressed to Kill Tour.  The show was at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton, Pennsylvania and is actually opening night of the Tour.

As usual, we will start with the packaging and what this bootleg has to offer.  First, it is a double LP, however, they skimped and there is no Gatefold to be had.  It is actually a pretty flimsy album jacket and I don’t think it will hold up over time.  The back cover is another live shot of the band but you can’t see anyone’s face.  Not the best choice for a picture.

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The album came with a couple surprises. The first being a collection of Kiss photographs from an L.A. photoshoot at the Playboy Club Rooftop on January 16th, 1974.  The photos came in a nice little mailer as seen below…

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Kiss – ‘The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out!’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

And now we are on the third Kiss Bootleg I picked up in Paris.  This one is a beauty.  It is called “Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out!”.  The package is fantastic on this release as you get a beautiful gatefold, some awesome pictures on the vinyl sleeves and some colorful vinyl.

The show is at the Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ on July 10th, 1976.  It is a full soundboard recording (and I believe this show was videotaped as well and circulating).  You get 15 tracks plus 3 solos, so yes, a full show.  Before we get in to the music, as always, let’s go over the packaging.  You’ve seen the cover above, now take a look at the back cover.  It is a picture of the band on motorcycles.  I really cool shot!

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And It is a 2LP set and they did it right with a gatefold.  The full picture on the gatefold is a shot of the stage with all the band and the Kiss Logo!!  Okay, Peter is  little blurred by the smoke…lots of smoke.

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My Sunday Song – “Rocket Ride” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #140 and the final of this 10 song run of Kiss songs, we are discussing “Rocket Ride” by Kiss.  The song is one of the five original songs on the classic live album Kiss Alive II.  For the second live album, Kiss stepped it up a notch and added some original songs to give the album that extra boost.  The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the band’s seventh song to make it to the Top 40 charts.

The song was written by Ace Frehley and Sean Delaney.  Sean, if you don’t know, worked with Kiss back in the day and was crucial in Kiss becoming Kiss.  He pushed Bill Aucoin to go see the band and then Bill became the manager.  Sean became their road manager and was critical in the development of the band’s onstage choreography and even co-wrote many famous Kiss songs.  He is a big part of the  band’s Kisstory!!

This is the only song of the five that Ace actually appeared on as Bob Kulick was brought in to play the guitar on all the other songs.  Ace and Peter are the only Kiss members to appear on this track in return.  Peter of course on the drums and Ace played all the guitar and bass parts.

The song opens with some electrifying guitar riffs delivered by the master himself.  It speeds by with a blistering pace and Ace truly nails the vocals.  The song is fun, rocking and delivers everything you want in a Kiss song including a stellar solo.  Peter keeps the beats coming with some nice little fills and the two are great together. The guitar riff at the end along with the explosiveness of Peter’s drumming ends the song perfectly and goes out the same way it came in  with bang.

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My Sunday Song – “She” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #138, I am going to dive in to the song “She” by Kiss off their 1975 album ‘Dressed to Kill’.  “She” is one of only a handful of songs that originated with Wicked Lester which was Gene and Paul’s band prior to Kiss.  The song was written by Gene Simmons and Stephen Coronel from Wicked Lester.

The song was originally titled “She Walks By Moonlight” which is the first line of the song.  It was inspired by a line in the film ‘Hondo’ which was a western from 1953.  The song is basically about sex, go figure.  That is one of their favorite subjects.

The original version of the song had a flute, a tambourine and even some congas in it,   It was really cool with a real nice groove and had these earthy vocals to them.  Very Jethro Tull with that flute.  You can hear it on the Kiss Box Set.

Kiss removed all those instrumentations and really beefed up the guitars.  The groove was still there, but the song was much heavier and Ace takes it up a notch with the guitar.  The solo was even taken from The Doors song “Five to One”.  The song for me has this great flow and style and might be one of my favorite tracks from ‘Dressed to Kill’ as it is not a full on rocker in the “anthem” sense, but something really cool and different.

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The Original Vs. The Cover – “New York Groove”

For this month’s version of The Original Vs. The Cover, we are tackling the 70’s hit, “New York Groove” that was made famous by Ace Frehley on his solo album in 1978.  However, the song was originally performed by the Glam band Hello back in 1974.  The song was written by Russ Ballard and if you don’t know Russ, he was in the band Argent, went solo, and was a songwriter who has worked with America, Roger Daltrey, Peter Criss, and Frehley’s Comet to name a few.

The Hello song did pretty well in the UK hitting #9 and #7 in Germany.  Ace’s version was the highest charting song of any of the Kiss Solo albums where it peaked at #13 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Russ Ballard wrote the phrase “back in the New York Groove” while on a plane headed to New York where he hadn’t been in a long while.  So, that became the theme of the song and eventually he would finish the song.

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Hello connected with Russ while he was in the UK and the band’s manager had reached out to Russ asking if he had any songs the band could use and boom, you get “New York Groove”.

Hello’s version opens with a hand clap sound (maybe a stomping/clapping sound), a harmonica riff and a great drum beat.  Right before the chorus, there is nice little guitar riff and speaking of chorus, the way they emphasized the word “Groove” in New York Groove was unusual and made it stand out.  It definitely has that 70’s feel to it and Bob Bradbury does a great job with the vocals.  It is actually a very fun song and I can see why they had a minor hit with it.

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My Sunday Song – “Nowhere to Run” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #135, we are going to discuss the song “Nowhere to Run” off the bands 1982 compilation called ‘Killers’.  After the doomed release of ‘The Elder’, Kiss immediately went into the studio and recorded 4 new songs to go with a greatest hits compilation because they knew that ‘The Elder’ was dead on arrival.  The four new songs were all fantastic.  This was my favorite of the bunch.

Out of the four new songs, this was the only one solely written by Paul Stanley.  For all the others, he had help.  Also interesting is the fact that Paul sang all four of the new songs, no Gene.  Although, he did play bass and Eric was on the drums.  And Ace tour it up on lead guitar, at least that is what I thought as a kid.  It was actually Bob Kulick who had originally auditioned for Kiss back in the day, but was beat out by Ace.  Now, he was lead guitarist (just not officially).

The song had an old Kiss sound and felt like they were going back to their roots, but it was the 80’s and the production was louder and bigger with Michael James Jackson at the board. It is a rocking track and Bob really does kill it on the solo and Eric’s drums are loud and powerful as he brought such a new life to the Kiss sound.  I love the little drum fill at the beginning with a little acoustic intro and it built up from there.  Paul sounded sensational and this was Kiss hitting on all cylinders.  After the disaster of ‘The Elder’, Kiss was back in good favor…at least in my book.

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