Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Two 1975-1977) – Album Review (Part 3 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 3 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we covered Disc 1 in Part 2 which covered the years 1966-1975.  That set gave us 12 Unreleased tracks.  This one has a lot, but not quite as many. For Disc Two, we get 8 previously unreleased tracks out of the 20 tracks on the disc.  And it is those 8 tracks we will spend most of our time here today on.  The rest will get covered when I actually do a Kiss series later down the road.

I am sure now you are wondering the what is the track listing for this disc if there are 20 songs and I am going to show you in pictorial form with this picture of the back of the CD case with Paul’s Starchild face covering the whole rear of cover.

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The first four tracks on this are taking from the Alive! album which was released in 1975 and since they are previously released will skip over them and get to the three previously unreleased tracks that come up next.

First we get the song “Doncha Hesitate” which was written by Paul Stanley.  The song was recorded as a demo and one of the few times the whole band would get together to record a demo.  However, there are different stories on when it was recorded.  Gene says it was recorded for ‘Dressed to Kill’ when they were trying to come up with more songs. Paul says it was written after ‘Alive!’ and before ‘Destroyer’ which are both after ‘Dressed to Kill’…so not sure who is write on this one.  The song is great for a demo as it is very raw and rough around the edges, but it falls flat as an overall song which is probably why it was never used.  I do like it though and always great to have unreleased tracks that were not used in any other song.

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Next we get the demo of a song called “Mad Dog”“Mad Dog” was recorded as a demo for the ‘Destroyer’ album along with numerous other songs that Gene had (some of which went on his solo album – not this one).  As they were picking through songs, Bob Ezrin would pick pieces of the demos and they would end of making a new song.  The riff from this song will sound familiar as it would become the riff in the song “Flaming Youth” on ‘Destroyer’. The song kinda sucks, but it has a great solo included and I love the song “Flaming You” so I actually dug this one a bit for that connection.

“God of Thunder” is a demo and the song was originally written and sung by Paul Stanley.  This to me is one of the gems on this Disc because it is so cool to here how Paul envisioned the song.  You can see why Bob Ezrin had Paul give it to Gene to sing because the theme, the sonics and the lyrics all scream Gene’s demon character.  Paul’s version is a faster tempo and less eerie as the final version, but it is fun and a rocking song.

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We go through some songs from ‘Destroyer’ before we get to the next demo which is “Bad, Bad Lovin”.  When you hear this one start up, you know it is the demo for the song that would become “Calling Dr. Love”. The verses are pure “Dr. Love”, but the chorus of “Bad, Bad Lovin” is so bad and doesn’t even fit with the feel and vibe of the verses.  Re-working it become “Calling Dr. Love” was definitely the way to go.  And cool that they put “Calling Dr. Love” as the next song on the album.

“Mr. Speed” is the demo of the song from ‘Rock & Roll Over’.  It is not my favorite song to begin with and this does nothing to make up for that.  This version has Bob Kulick on guitar and not Ace, but it is a demo so no big deal.

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We are going to skip the next batch of songs as they have all been released on albums and we will go to the next unreleased track which is a Soundcheck recording of “I Want You”. It was recorded in August 1977 at the soundcheck  at the Los Angeles forum.  Being a soundcheck, it is loose and a freaking blast!.  I love this song to begin with so any cool version I can get is fine by me.  Another favorite of mine on this disc.

The next demo is of the Kiss Klassic “Love Gun”.  Paul demoed this in New York with drummer Steve Korff of the band The Planets.  Paul played the bass and guitar for the demo.  That machine gun drum fill is the heart & soul of the song and was only replicated by Peter Criss as Paul came up with it.  The demo was pretty complete and sounds really close to the final version so not much was tweaked on this one.

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The last track is the Gene Simmons demo of a song called “Love is Blind”. It is one that was never recorded and it is Gene on all the instruments. And if you listen closely, you can here the click track in the background.  It doesn’t sound anything like Kiss, but maybe would have fit on his solo album as it was so diverse.  Gene felt it had more of an Eagles feel to it and I can hear that it in the overall sound.  A really cool track to me.

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And that is all the unreleased tracks.  Another great disc and almost as good as the first one, but not quite.  The 8 unreleased tracks are fantastic to have in the collection and I think this disc will get almost as much spin time as the first one.  Overall, I will score this one a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars.  These first two discs were the majority of the Unreleased tracks from the set.  There are only about 10 more over the next three discs so I am going to have to review those slightly different otherwise they will be short reviews.  Until then.  Enjoy!

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read Part 1, click on the link below:

  • The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
  • The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
  • The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)

Up next is Disc Three 1976 – 1982 (Part 4 of 6)

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 – “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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My Sunday Song – “Naked City” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #134, I am going to discuss “Naked City” off the underrated 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ by Kiss.  I say underrated now because I have grown to like this album now.  I didn’t appreciate it back in the day, but there were some great songs on this album, including this one.

First, the song was written by Gene Simmons, Vini Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro.  The bass on the song is Gene and the rhythm guitar is Paul,  but that is it…no Ace & no Peter.  Drums are handled by Anton Fig and actually he did all the drums on the album even though Peter is credited.  Lead guitar on the song is former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick’s brother, Bob Kulick.  Bob actually auditioned for the lead guitar role back in the day, but Ace came in a beat him out…I guess the band never lost his number.

The song is more of a pop/rock song and doesn’t have the full edge of the classic Kiss tunes, but it is smoking when it comes to overall tone, groove and Gene’s vocals.  Even without all original members, it is still Kiss and it is still fantastic.  The song is about New York City (which a lot of their songs are about).  The song talks about the fact there are so many people in the city, so many lonely and lost people.  It is actually quite a sad, insightful and observant viewpoint of the city.

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Friday New Releases – September 15th

Well hold on to your hats, there is an abundance of new releases today.  Over 27 albums on the list so there has to be something for you.  For me, there are at least 10 I want to listen to, but I am sure I won’t make it through all of them.  The ones I want are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you would like to buy or hear.

  • 61KS6Xq7XTL._AC_US218_  Josh Todd & the Conflict – Year of the Tiger – (Century Media):  If there isn’t a Buckcherry new album, I will take  Josh Todd album and this one has me super excited.  This one seems to be a little harder than Buckcherry and I like that.  The harder the better baby!!

  • 91GkSim-z6L._AC_UL115_  Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold – (Roswell Records):  The Foo Fighters bring us another release and although my interest tends to fade over time, I still enjoy them and will give this one a listen.  What I have heard so far has been promising so maybe they have put together a decent album…we will wait and see.

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