Welcome back to Kiss Review Series and this time around we will discuss the album ‘Unplugged’ or is it ‘MTV Unplugged’, I wasn’t really sure. I stuck with ‘Unplugged’ as that is what it says on the spine of the vinyl cover. But it was recorded for MTV so didn’t know the right way to label this post. But enough of that garbage, let us get back to the Kisstory.
Kiss seemed in no hurry to do an album. It had been several years since ‘Revenge’. They have been putting out product as we have reviewed it, but yet no studio album. And with this review, still no studio album. In 1995, the band set out and did these Convention Tours as around this time, Kiss Konventions had started popping up. Kiss would go play these and they were all done as acoustic performances. They would even get some special guests to join them and one time Peter Criss showed up and jumped on stage with them. Kiss started to play lesser known songs at the audience requests and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Well, around that time MTV came a calling and asked if they wanted to do an episode of MTV Unplugged and the band agreed.
This piece of Kiss Bootleg I found at my local independent record store called Lunchbox Records. It is Kiss from February 7th, 1995 and was recorded at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Melbourne, Australia while they were down under on tour. The album is an acoustic show and this is a collection of outtakes from that show.
The line-up is Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of course and since this is pre-reunion, it also includes Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer. A great non-makeup lineup. The band sounds great and even Paul is singing his heart out. The recording I believe is an audience recording only due to the loudness of the crowd, but let me tell you it sounds freaking awesome.
The crowd is really in to and at times it feels like a campfire singalong. The band is definitely enjoying themselves as they are interacting with the crowd and seem to be having a blast.
The set is a single LP and includes a full size poster in with the album. The picture is of the front cover so not something different from what you already see…
There are only a few bands in your lifetime that come along and touch you in ways that nothing else can. I have been fortunate enough to have that happen on a few occasions. Needtobreathe is one of those bands for me. Their music speaks to me and makes me feel things that have made them a part of my life. I have only seen them live 3 times now and each time they get better. I have all their studio albums on vinyl and now their 2 live albums. The latest to the collection is the release ‘Acoustic Live, Vol. 1’. And that is what we are going to talk about here today.
Back in 2017, Needtobreathe went on their first ever acoustic tour. They played smaller venues and stripped it down bare to make the shows as intimate as they possibly could. Sadly, I had to miss the show due to my work schedule and let me tell you how much that sucked. I hate that work gets in the way of life.
Back to the album…the cover art was drawn by none other than Bo Rhinehart, lead guitarist. He is one talented MF. He also designed the videos shown during their most recent tour that my wife and I caught this past Summer (read about HERE). The rest of the artwork is really strong giving the album this vintage, retro look of say the early 1900’s. It is really cool.
Fans have been clamoring for some acoustic Whitesnake (at least according to David Coverdale) and boy did they deliver the goods with this set. It is a 5CD/1DVD Box set that spans the career of Whitesnake and even some Deep Purple. What all do you get? Well, let me show you…
If that isn’t enough for you to see, then read the sticker from the front of the box…
And how many songs is 96 songs? Well, the list is extensive. See if you can read this list because there is no way I am typing all this stuff out for you. I love you guys, but not that much!!
For My Sunday Song #112, I am going to talk about “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman. Released on April 6th, 1988, and on her self-titled album, “Fast Car” was a massive hit reaching all the way to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. I remember seeing the video on MTV and thinking what an amazing and beautiful song. It was not like anything else on the radio at the time.
The song is an acoustical track with just Tracy, an acoustic guitar and some percussion. Tracy is a folk pop or folk rock singer and her haunting vocals are so impactful and heartfelt that you believe the hardships this person is facing. It was her vocals performance that made me fall in love with this song (and this album). It was the most honest performance from I song I had heard on the radio at that time. It made me think, if she could write such a powerful song, what else can she write about. And the album doesn’t disappoint.
The song is about a young woman who has grown up with a very rough life. Her dad is an alcoholic and her mom left them. She had to quit school to take care of her dad and they were very poor. She has a boyfriend and she dreams about taking a fast car and driving to the city and starting over and having a better life in the city. Sadly, her boyfriend is a drunk just like her dad and she can’t break free from the hold poverty has on her world. Such a sad song and story, yet it is so beautiful.
Before we get into the album review, let me go into the story of how I came across Billy Raffoul. My wife and I went to see Needtobreathe in concert on August 21st, 2018 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW). Billy was the opening act of a triple bill. When we arrived he came storming on stage before we got to our seat. We didn’t mean to arrive then, traffic just sucked.
When I go to a show, I enjoy watching the opening acts and giving them the respect they deserve. Hey, you never know if they will be the next big thing. Watching Billy, I felt that he could be just that. While I was listening to him, I turned to my wife and told her that I loved his voice. It has this Jeff Buckley raspiness that was incredible. Imagine my surprise when I read his bio online, it actually mentions that same Buckley feel. Glad I wasn’t imagining things.
I can’t tell you the songs he sang as I had never heard of him before, but I do know he played Jimi Hendrix’s Fire. Hell, he is a lefty like Jimi and has that same upside down lefty guitar. I am sure he knows he could actually buy a left handed guitar!!