Happy Halloween!! October was not a good month for me. It was mostly Tricks and few Treats! The tricks were that I was recovering from an appendectomy and after two weeks of that, I caught a virus and then a bacterial infection and was sick for 2 more weeks. My motivation is now at all time low and I have no desire to write or even buy as my energy level is completely wiped. I haven’t written much at all this past month and don’t know when I will get back in to a full time mode, if I ever do. It was hard enough to even put this simple post together, but I am trying.
This month might be my smallest number of purchases in quite some time, but doesn’t mean it doesn’t have what I think are some really sweet Treats! I did get to one record store during the month on the sole day in between recovery and illness where I felt good. It didn’t last that long because by the afternoon, it all went down hill. Noble Records was having their 3rd Anniversary Drop and what a drop it was. I picked up a Kiss Bootleg. More to come on this one down the road, but this is a 1981 reissue of a 1978 bootleg of Kiss My Axe 1978.
While there I picked two albums I had reviewed in my You Pick It Series that won for albums I had never heard before. I grabbed Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass which was the owners personal copy. It is so clean and even includes the poster!!
We are in the middle of the month and still a ton of releases. This week we have around 50 releases for your viewing pleasure today. I actually have a bunch I want to hear (before I buy) and one that is already on order and will be here today. Those are first up and marked in Blue. Let me know what you are digging this week and what we may have missed as that does happen. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a great weekend.
Lit – Tastes Like Gold – (Round Hill Records): It has been 5 years since their last album and it was more tinged towards country than the pop punk they usually do. This time they are going back to their original sound…thank goodness. Here’s hoping for a return to form.
Iconic – Second Skin – (Frontiers Records): Another Frontiers Supergroup which is actually getting kind of ridiculous…but is one is featuring Nathan James (Inglorious), Michael Sweet (Stryper), Joel Hoesktra (Whitesnake), Marco Mendoza (ex-Journey, Whitesnake), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake). It was co-produced by Michael Sweet and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Revolution Saints). Hard to argue with a line-up like that. And the fact Michael Sweet isn’t even singing is a huge surprise. Nathan is a beast on vocals so this should be good.
Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really, really close. Who am I kidding, this one wasn’t even fair. The winner blew away the competition. The album that one was Captain Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica which is one I’d never heard before and honestly, don’t think I ever want to hear again, but more on that later. The votes were as follows:
Thanks to all for participating. The October choices will be up on Saturday!
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & HIS MAGIC BAND – ‘TROUT MASK REPLICA’
I’m really not sure where to begin with this album. To say I’ve never heard anything like Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’ wouldn’t be a lie…but it also wouldn’t be a good thing. The album came out back on June 16, 1969 only about 6 months after I was born. It combines elements of Experimental Rock, Avant Garde, Blues, Free Jazz, but did anyone ask if those things should be joined in to one. I think that would’ve been a great question to actually ask and be answered by someone that wasn’t doing a massive amount of psychedelic, mind-altering drugs. Frank Zappa produced it so I am sure he wouldn’t have been the right person to ask.
Welcome to the next edition of the Friday New Releases. It was a great week as we were on vacation this week down on Amelia Island in Florida. It was so nice to get away for a little while and just relax. And to come back and be a new release day…even better. We have another strong week of releases so I hope you find something you like. My choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear this weekend and if I left anything off the list so everyone will know about it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!
Caleb Johnson – Mountain Mojo, Vol. 1 – (Caleb Johnson): Caleb Johnson has one of the best voices in music…period. He has never really blown up the airwaves since his American Idol days, but there is no denying he is special. I look forward to every release and this one is no different. His voice is perfect for that old brand of Southern Rock & Roll and I hoping that is what is served up on this one. This one has the both Jason Bonham and Damon Johnson on it so this could be awesome.
Crobot – Rat Child E.P. – (Mascot Label Group): Do you like your rock hard and with a little funk…I thought so. Then check out Crobot and you won’t be disappointed. The only sad thing here is it is only an E.P. I am so ready for another full album. Come on boys, get on that!! In the meantime, be prepared to rock you ass off with this one.
On our journey through the band Kiss, we have taken detours for one side project from every member of the band. We are almost done with that part of the journey as we only have two members left we haven’t covered. The first of those is Gene Simmons. In 2004, in between all the band’s touring, Gene managed to put together an album for his first “true” solo album. I say it that way because his first solo album was part of the 4 Kiss solo albums each member did that was under the Kiss logo. This is his first proper one. If you remember his first, you will remember it was very diverse and had a ton of guest appearances on the album. Let me tell you, this album is in no way different. It is also all over the place style wise and contains more guest appearances than any album in the history of albums…okay, that is a bit much, but there are a lot of guests.
The album was released on June 8, 2004 and didn’t do that great only going to #86 on the Billboard Charts. There is both an unedited version of the album (and cover) and an edited version of the album (and cover). The cover picture for this post is the edited as I was worried the unedited one might get dinged on Facebook or Twitter for being too offensive. And as you can see by the picture below, you get an idea of what the unedited might be like. Now, before we move on, is anyone else wondering where that finger has been in the picture below or is it just me??? I am also waiting for any minute that Sir Mix A Lot will pop out and sing his signature song…again..is that just me???
I am very familiar with this album, but not for the reason you think. It wasn’t because I ran out and bought this. Nope. I actually just bought this album a few weeks ago, because I need it to complete the collection. My familiarity with it comes from Gene Simmons ‘The Vault” as almost every song is on that collection and is on it in demo form except for maybe one or two tracks. And sometimes they are on there numerous times at different stages of completion. I will be completely honest with you…I prefer ‘The Vault’ versions immensely more than this. Why? Because at least I knew “The Vault’ versions were demos, these are supposed to be finished products, but I’m sorry, they aren’t that good AT ALL!! With minor exceptions.
The album kicks off the album with what is probably the best song on the album. And I will go further and say it is one of my favorite Gene tracks. “Sweet & Dirty Love” is a beast of a track. It rocks out with the help of Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer on guitar and drums, respectively. It is what you want the Demon to do as a song and Gene hits some killer notes and has never sounded better. I like one of ‘The Vault’ versions better only because it is a little more raw and raunchy as this is very polished. But still, the best song on the album.
The second track is a cover which is a little early to have it the #2 song on the CD in my book. And it is a strange one as Gene is covering “Firestarter” by Prodigy. The guitar work on here is fantastic as that is handled by Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction fame. Gene sticks to the original version for the most part and the song is ver industrial with that metallic sound and I know people think this song is awful, but I think it is so bad it is now good. I actually don’t mind it because I do love the music in it and Gene is being Gene which I have to admit I like at times.
Then we get to the song “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” which is another heavy song, completely balls to the walls bombastic power. There is even a punk edge to it. It has Bruce and Eric back helping out and if you take out the stupid “E Pluribus Unum” quote in the lyrics, this would a 5 star song, but I will ding it down to a 4. Another great track and really the last of the really good ones. There are two demos on ‘The Vault’, one with Eric and Tommy Thayer that is a little slower and darker. The other lyrics were written and it was given to Ace to play after it wasn’t picked for ‘Psycho Circus which was the original intention. The Ace version is killer. After this the album goes to shit.
Next we get the song Gene wrote with Bob Dylan…yes, that Bob Dylan. It is a ballad and it is bloody awful. It is called “Waiting on the Morning Light” and I think Gene is trying to be Dylan and he isn’t the Bob Dylan type of writer and that is okay, we love him for him. It is just a bad attempt at trying too hard.
Then we get a synth song called “Beautiful” with Mark Addison helping on guitars and such and Nina Singh on percussion who wrote the song. It is another ballad that has a nice chorus and is a pretty good effort that just falls short of being a great ballad. That annoying synth sound doesn’t really help. The verses are a little rough vocally, but he makes up for it in the chorus. “The Vault” version is actually cleaner sounding and I like it better than this one.
We are now at the title track “Asshole” which is rocking track where Gene embraces the whole “asshole” personae. It is a rock anthem type song that makes you want to scream “asshole” right at Gene and helps make it a fun singalong. It is still not a great song, but it will pass. Now, the edited version is atrocious as it doesn’t bleep out asshole, it just turns the “ass” part in to what sounds like a goat…it is horrendous.
“Now That You’re Gone” is a song Gene wrote with Bob Kulick. You get his daughter Sophie on background vocals along with Zachary Grant and Jeff Diehl on keyboards. The bass is real strong on this one, it has a children’s choir type sound with Sophie and Zachary. It plods along going nowhere and is totally uninteresting and lifeless and that is putting it nicely. ‘The Vault’ has three versions of this song and none are really that great.
Then we get “Whatever Turns You On” was a demo received from a band Gene was working with and Gene took it from them but it has the co-write of Dave Williams so he didn’t steal it. If you are going to steal a song, steal something better. This sounds like a bunch of drunks hanging around and partying having a good time and thought it would be a good idea to record it, but they’d be wrong. It does have his lovely wife Shannon Tweed and her mom on the background vocals along with Dave. I think with some work, this song could’ve been turned in to something better than what is here. At least they sound like they are having more fun than the listener. This one is on ‘The Vault’ as well with about the same effect, maybe a little better.
“Dog” was written by Gene and Alex Chuaqui (or Bags as Gene had him change his name as Alex Chuaqui wasn’t a good enough rock name and too ethnic) On the song Gene howls like a dog and he speaks a very sexual and dirty Little Red Riding Hood verse that is as dirty as it gets. It is a mid-tempo song and is so close to being something good. It isn’t bad, but could’ve been more.
Then we get an unexpected surprise an unfinished Frank Zappa song called “Black Tongue” that Gene licensed from the estate and finished it up with the help fo the entire Zappa family as Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon and Gail are all on background vocals. Frank even has a speaking part that was left over from the original demo. The guitar work is sensational as you would expect because it is being handled by Richie Kotzen. Zappa’s guitar riffs are their, Richie does the solo and adds some flair. It sounds like a mixture of grunge with still a hint of that Zappa psychedelic vibe. I will admit I like this song.
Next we get “Carnival of Souls” which was written by Gene and Scott Van Zen and recorded back in 1993 or 1994 originally. It was passed over for both the ‘Carnival of Souls’ album and ‘Psycho Circus’. ‘The Vault’ has two versions of it and both are really good. One version is a little slower tempo and much darker which is always a good thing. This version is heavy, speedy and a rocking track. It isn’t half bad. I will keep this one especially since it is another with Richie Kotzen on guitar. Also, Nick Tweed Simmons does the background vocals so now the whole family was involved.
Then we get what might be the worst song on the album “If I Had A Gun” is a horrible topic and just a horrible pile of dung. It sounds like what comes out of an Asshole for sure so if that was the intent, then he struck gold. Not a great song for all the gun violence we have. It slows down and speeds up and goes back and forth but feels so disconnected and utter trash. Skip this one as fast as you can. I skipped ‘The Vault’ version to and wound up on My Worst of the Vault list.
Lastly, we get a similar ending as we got on his 1978 solo album. Almost a carbon copy of that Disney sounding song is this copycat “1,000 Dreams”. This one even has a country music flair to it. Please cue the vomit inducing noise now as that is what you want to do when you hear this. More garbage and the worst way to end this album. Good Riddance.
Sweet & Dirty Love – Keeper
Firestarter – Keeper
Weapons of Mass Destruction – Keeper
Waiting for the Morning Light – Delete
Beautiful – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Asshole – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Now That You’re Gone – Delete
Whatever Turns You On – Delete
Dog – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Black Tongue – Keeper
Carnival of Souls – Keeper
If I Had A Gun – Delete
1,000 Dreams – Delete
The Track Score is 6.5 out of 13 or 50% which is probably way to generous on my part. I have a soft spot for Gene, what can I say. However, I still think this album is horrible and not worth getting unless you are a diehard like me or a glutton for punishment. The songs are all over the place and there seems to be no direction and the album is definitely lacking good flow. Overall, the album only get s a 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars and that is probably too high of a score but that is what I am giving it. To me, ‘The Vault’ was worth what I paid for it, but this one, not so much.
Next Up: Kiss – Rock the Nation Live ! – DVD (2005)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
Welcome to October and this month starts off with a BANG!! There are so many releases this week and a ton I am interested in at the very least, hearing. October has a lot coming so this is only the beginning. Everyone that has been holding off due to Covid is finally being released. This week, I am sure there is something you will find that you like. I am going to highlight my choices in Blue. I want you to let me know what you want to hear and what I may have missed that is coming out. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Queen & Adam Lambert – Live Around the World – (Hollywood Records): This one is on order and I hope it will arrive sometime today as I am dying to hear this one. I took my daughter to see them on their most recent tour and since Adam sounded amazing, it will be nice to have an album with him on vocals.
Bon Jovi – 2020 – (Captain Kidd / Island Records): Am I excited about this one or what?? Actually, it is or what! I am not excited at all and do not have this on order. I am only interested in hearing it to confirm to myself that Bon Jovi is still not worth a damn anymore. Now, if I find the vinyl in the used section of my local store and less than $10…I might pick it up as the completist in me feels the need to do. I haven’t liked what I’ve heard so far so my hopes aren’t very high.
You, my reader, are going to pick an album for me to review each month. It is really simple…first, I will give you 5 albums to choose from and second, you will tell me which one of those you would like to see reviewed on the site. See…simple!
There are a few simple rules I have put in to place in my selections. They are…
One has to be a new release (within the last month)
One has to be one I have never heard before (new releases don’t count for this one)
One has to be from a genre I don’t normally listen to at all or very often
And the last two are choices from my collection that I haven’t reviewed before
What are the 5 albums you ask? Funny you should ask because I have those right here…note: I tried to throw in some non-obvious choices to make things a little more interesting.
New Release – Michael Grant & The Assassins – ‘Always the Villain’
Never Heard Before – Frank Zappa – ‘Hot Rats’
Not My Normal Genre – Eminem – ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’
From My Collection – Pat Travers Band – ‘Crash and Burn’
From My Collection – Damn Yankees – ‘Damn Yankees’
Let me know which one you would like to see and sometime in August, I will post a review of the album that gets the most votes. You have one week to decide and from there I will start listening to the album and do a review.
Let’s go back to the year 1972. I was just shy of 4 years old and didn’t know anything about music at this point. Obviously, I don’t remember this release. I do know that 46 years later, I would discover this album in a collection I picked up. And I also know this was one of the coolest albums in that entire collection. I thought it would be fun to go deep in my collection and talk about one of my favorites and this is definitely out of the ordinary from my usual reviews.
Babe Ruth is a blues rock band that leans very progressive and they hail from England. Formed in 1970 with Alan Shacklock, Janita “Jennie” Haan and Dave Hewitt. The band would later add Dick Powell and Dave Punshon and we would then have the band we hear on this album simply titled ‘First Base’. Lots of baseball theme with the band name, album title and even the weird cover of spacemen playing baseball.
The album kicks off with the most rocking song of the bunch called “Wells Fargo”. It is the story of the old western stagecoach and has a whole cowboy theme to it. Jennie Haan’s vocals are totally brilliant with a hard rocking edge with the hints of Janis Joplin. Alan’s guitar riff was fuzzy and cool and when you bump that up against Brent Carter’s saxophone you are in for a treat. The whole blues rock feel is what I’ve been digging a lot of lately and this helps satisfy that thirst and then thrown in a damn fine guitar solo and life is good. There is also a cool groove throughout the song by the fantastic rhythm section of Dave on bass and Dick on drums. This is how you kick off your debut album folks. Continue reading “Babe Ruth – ‘First Base’ – Album Review”→
Welcome to February’s First Friday of new releases. There is a little Metal, Rock, Pop, Country and even Frank Zappa (he is his own category). Hopefully something will float your boat. There is only one I am really interested in and I might check out some others, but too early to say. My choice is highlighted in Blue as always.
Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods – (RCA Records): Is it no surprise that Justin is back with a new album as he is performing as the headline act for the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday. The first single is a little different and took some getting used to, but I think I am digging it a little now. I am interested to see what he has to offer. I will admit I am a fan of his music so this one is a no brainer for me.