Saturday, August 30, 2008

Goes to Hell

Alice CooperAlice Cooper Goes to Hell is the ninth studio album by Alice Cooper, released in 1976. It was the sequel to his previous album Welcome to My Nightmare. It marks the second of 4 appearances of his "Steven" character on one of his albums. On the Nightmare album Steven was the little boy who couldn't escape his night terrors. On this album Steven sort of battles the devil in his own disco. Written almost exclusively by Alice with guitar player Dick Wagner and producer Bob Ezrin, this comically chilling concept album continued Coopers legend of perverse, provocative brilliance.

With the success of "Only Women Bleed" from his first solo effort, Alice continued with the rock ballads on this album. "I Never Cry" was written about the matter of Alice's drinking situation, which would in one year send the performer into re-hab. As quoted by Cooper, the song was "an alcoholic confession". It really is a brilliant album.

Go to Hell
Wish You Were Here
Buy It

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Powerage

powerageToday is the day. Finally after an eight year wait, the new AC/DC single hits the airwaves(sorry it won't be here, go buy it). I was major stoked initially because only 30 or so miles away they were in Vancouver recording this darn thing. Yeah in the studio in Canada folks. They could've done it in Australia, but they chose Canada eh. With the new album set to arrive in October I am so psyched. See I Heart AC/DC. These guys have been my fave since I first heard High Voltage in 1976. Four years later I was devastated to learn of Bon Scott's death. I didn't think anyone could replace him. While Brian Johnson has filled in admirably, especially with the Back in Black album being second only to Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best-selling album of all-time. But as far as AC/DC goes, I am firmly in the "Bon Scott" camp. As awesome an album that Back in Black is, it doesn't hold a candle to Highway to Hell. Yet those two albums are definitely on my list of Top 100 albums of all time. Bottom line though, Scott or Johnson, it doesn't matter because AC/DC is a kick ass rock n roll band. Thank you guys for the new album, it's been way too long. My only bitch, Why Wal-Mart? Why available exclusively at Wal-Mart? I do everything in my power to avoid that place like the plague and now you're going to force me to go into that hellhole to buy your new album. I quit buying music at that place over ten years ago, when it started it's censorship policies against musicians. Namely provide a "clean" version of your album or we won't sell it. I was never more pissed off than when I bought a Motley Crue album there only to get home and find out it was full of bleeps cause it was the "clean" version. Since that day I piss on Wal-Mart. Enough of that now, I just had to get that out of my system.


Now onward to the most underrated and overlooked album in AC/DC's catalogue. Powerage is the fifth studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released in May 1978 and my favorite of the whole bunch. It is also AC/DC's fourth international studio album. Powerage is the first AC/DC album to be released nearly simultaneously in both Australian and international markets, and the first to use just one cover image for both. It was also the first to feature the same track listing on all versions, with the exception of European vinyl editions. These included "Cold Hearted Man", a song that has not been officially released on any other AC/DC album, and some omitted "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation". Almost nothing from this album receives any radio play, which is extremely unfortunate as the quality of the songwriting and the familiar and distinct hard rock sound that made AC/DC legendary has remained firmly intact. There are some masterpieces on this album and I rank it as their second best behind Highway to Hell and before their third best, Back in Black.

Riff Raff
Gimme A Bullet
Buy It


Funny Toon

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bo-Day-Shus!!!

Mojo NixonWhen Mojo Nixon and his partner in silliness, Skip Roper, released Bo-Day-Shus!!! in 1987, it opened a Pandora's Box of attention for the charismatic funnyman. The song "Elvis Is Everywhere" found itself on television and radio programs all over the United States. As did its author, who became a part-time VJ on MTV on the heels of its success. "Elvis Is Everywhere plays out as you'd expect: Nixon rants about how Elvis constructed the Great Pyramids of Giza and claims that he can see the King in everyone around him, while Roper backs him up with a pre-Beatles bluesy riff. The Story of One Chord is no less self-explanatory: He sings of a time when prehistoric man had only one chord to play on their primitive two-string guitars. In "I Ain't Gonna Piss in No Jar," Nixon threatens to personally deliver his marijuana-contaminated urine to the first lady herself, Nancy Reagan. Classic Mojo.

I Ain't Gonna Piss in No Jar
B.B.Q. U.S.A.
Buy It

Funny Toon

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Angst in My Pants

sparksAngst in My Pants is the eleventh album of pure pop genius by Sparks. Sparks has always been a band that is able to fit itself into any category of music at any time and with the release of Angst in 1982 gave the eighties it's first great pop party album. This album is full of great tunes. The clever lyrics of the Mael brothers that is their trademark is not only prevalent, but better than ever. The video for "I Predict" was banned by MTV, not for its bizarre sexual content, but for the political incorrectness of Ron's moustache! They were completely off target...nobody was looking at his moustache! We were utterly distracted by all the sexual energy Ron was radiating onstage at the strip club in his corset and feather boa! And did you see them on Saturday Night Live performing this song. Brilliant! (You can find it on you tube) Despite the video veto, the single reached #60 in the U.S. charts in March of 1982. The video was finally reinstated - for late night viewing only - on MTV the following summer. Then as if anticipating this, the song Mustache talks about how the gals can guess the lunch he had and how his Jewish friends will never call. Remember that scene in the movie "Valley Girl" when the kid rides on his bike to the house expecting to get lucky with the mom & it turns out it was the daughter in the shower? The Sparks' "Eaten by the Monster of Love" was the song during that scene and it set the tone perfectly. This album is a true classic.

Angst in My Pants
Eaten by the Monster of Love


Funny Toon

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Habits

Bad HabitsBack when punk was fun and it didn't have to be angry or only consist of three chords, there was a quirky little band called the Monks, led by the former rhythm section of the Strawbs. The Monks were excellent musicians who never made it big, but had a little gem of an LP. Unlike truly ticked-off punkers such as the Sex Pistols, they played it for a lark on their debut 1979 release Bad Habits, which featured a leggy, cigarette-smoking, stocking-revealing nun in a jail cell on the cover. How awesome is that candidate for best 100 album covers of all time. The politically incorrect Nice Legs Shame About The Face was a surprise hit single for us and the group. Other spot-on spoofs include Drugs in My Pocket and Johnny B. Rotten. Most tracks focus on simple, three-chord guitar tunes with a stylistic nod to late 70s power-pop-punk bands like The Ramones, Big Star, and the Jam.

This band has more great tracks on this studio work than probably most groups have on Greatest Hit CD's. What I think is cool is the fact John Ford sings without hiding his British roots accent, sorta like Ian Dury. An album I recommend (as the majority of other reviewers do) for any devoted collector and it's a great party album. These guys didn’t make an album to change the world, they were just having fun, and it completely shines through.

Nice Legs Shame About The Face
Johnny B Rotten
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Get it on Credit

TorontoIt's a back to back retro Canuckster posts. First Prism and now some more Toronto. 1982 saw the release of Toronto's third straight platinum album, Get It On Credit. Recorded at Toronto's Eastern Sound and produced by Steve Smith, best known for his work with Robert Palmer, the lead single "Break Down The Barricade" again saw furious lick trading between Allen and Alton and Woods' now stupendous trademark vocals. Harder than ever, the title-track and the smash "Your Daddy Don't Know" were further evidence a six piece group could act like a well-oiled machine "Start Telllin' The Truth" showed the diverse writing talents of the group, crossing over to the keyboard-laden easy listening side of the rock realm, yet still keeping the band's renowned 'edge'. Interestingly, the eleventh song was eventually dropped before the album came out. Apparently a totally clueless top executive decided that ballads weren't in and wanted that darn thing dropped from the record. That song was "What About Love", co-written by Jim Vallance. It would turn into an international mega smash hit when Heart recorded it three years later. Just more proof that top people in the record industry are just plain ignorant.

The year found them popular enough to be a headliner in Canada and they launched the "Lock up Your Sons" tour with the Headpins as openers. Toronto was not as well known in the US and they would open for just about any act that wanted them. Subsequently they opened for such acts as Nazareth, Ted Nugent, Foreigner and Robert Palmer. This is classic Canadiana.

Start Tellin' the Truth
Get It on Credit
Buy It


Funny Toon

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

See Forever Eyes

PrismPrism is one of the greatest Canadian bands ever. Their first three albums are a nearly holy triumvirate of Canadian rock and roll. These guys mixed pop, progressive rock and sappy ballads in equal measures. Prism's second album, See Forever Eyes, came out in 1978 and they proved that their first album was no fluke. Tom Lavin, Ab Bryant & Rodney Higgs left the band and Prism presented Rocket Norton on Drums and Allen Harlow on Bass & rhythm guitar. Lindsay Mitchel, Bruce Hall and Ron Tabak (RIP), had more freedom to write new songs for the See Forever Eyes album with the production assistance of the great Bruce Fairbairn. Allen Harlow helped the band to reach a superstar status with Flyin', a song which became a national hit and a break through in U.S. The album would set the stage for a series of releases that would take Prism through a series of harsh high and lows. Despite a continued struggle in the direction of the band, See Forever Eyes was an instant success going platinum nearly overnight. The album bubbled with 10 tracks full of commercial potential and produced 3 powerful singles. The band had begun to makes its mark as a powerhouse on stage but there was some concern that they were heading into "pop" territory, but Prism dispelled everyone's fears with the release of their next album.

Flyin'
See Forever Eyes
Nickels and Dimes
Buy It


Funny Toon

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Melt

Peter GabrielWhen Peter Gabriel left Genesis and began his solo career he refused to title any of his first four solo albums, which were all labeled Peter Gabriel using the same typeface, but which featured different cover art. He wanted them to be considered similar to consecutive issues of a magazine instead of individual works. Fans refer to his first three solo albums as Car, Scratch and Melt based on the cover art. In the UK his fourth album was titled the same as his previous works but he lost the naming battle with his US record company and the title became Security. His third solo album came out in 1980 and will hereafter be referred to as Melt. Personally I believe it's his best work. I was not a Genesis fan, so I hadn't even heard of Gabriel. Then a college mate said that I had to hear this one and lent me the album (Old Skool music sharing). From the opening track(which freaked me out) till the final strains of Biko, I was mesmerized.

Gabriel's old Genesis band-mate, Phil Collins, played drums on several tracks, including the opener, "Intruder", which featured the reverse-gated, cymbal-less drum kit sound which Collins would make famous on his single "In the Air Tonight" and through the rest of the 1980s. The massive, distinctive hollow sound arose through some experiments by Collins and Hugh Padgham. Gabriel had requested that his drummers use no cymbals in the album's sessions, and when he heard the result from Collins and engineer Hugh Padgham, he asked Collins to play a simple pattern for several minutes, then built "Intruder" on it. Intruder also happens to be one of the creepiest songs I've ever heard. The controlled menace of "Intruder," has a scary haunting sound, yet it's a sexy scare, one that is alluring, and he keeps this going throughout the record. He wound up having albums that sold more, or generated bigger hits, but this third Peter Gabriel album remains his masterpiece.

Intruder
Games Without Frontiers
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Guts No Glory

Molly HatchetNo Guts...No Glory is the fifth studio album by Molly Hatchet, released in 1983. Failed experiment Jimmy Farrar on lead vocals is gone and original vocalist Danny Joe Brown returns for this recording. This album saw the band return to its more overt southern style it had displayed on its debut record in 1978. Right away on the first track "What Does It Matter?", in the opening riffs, Danny lets loose with his banter, and there's no mistaking who's on vocals. However, with the addition of keyboards into the mix, the band managed to take this sound to an even more orchestrated approach on some songs such as Dave Hlubek's master piece "Fall of the Peacemakers". Critics hailed the "No Guts....No Glory" album as the band's true return to form. The record went largely unnoticed by the public as southern rock was on the decline in popularity and the band had alienated a lot of fans with the prior two albums. Not me, I remember buying this on vinyl the day it came out. I was excited about the return of Danny Joe Brown. It is a shame it was ignored because next to their debut album, this is my favorite. But it's a gooder and a true Hatchet album. It is their only album not to feature an epic, fantasy themed cover.

Fall of the Peacemakers
Kinda Like Love
Buy It

Funny Toon

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vinyl Record Day, #2

vinyl record dayOn August 12, 1877 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and tomorrow will be August 12. That's a lot of years of vinyl. This is the second time I've actively participated in vinyl Record Day. My friend jb over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’
has once again organized a blogswarm about this day. After the many fine postings I read last year it would be worth your while to head there and check out the list of folks who will be participating this year.

For me I grew up in what I label as the golden age of vinyl. I don't know if this is necessarily so but I have to say it was the golden age as far as I was concerned. If one doesn't believe me then just look at the mountainous stack of classic vinyl albums that came out between the years of 1968-1982. I can't recall exactly but I think it was somewhere around 83 or 84 when demise of vinyl was coming round the bend. There were whisperings and mutterings of what we now know as the digital age. Not to say that vinyl is dead. I know several people that still worship at the altar of vinyl and will have nothing to do with CD's or mp3's, saying that the music sounds too cold, processed and impersonal. I know one guy who special orders new releases on vinyl and he has a collection to die for. Sadly a lot of great music never made the transition from vinyl to this newfangled digital age and I fear it may be lost forever. I've managed to find several sites that specialize in ripping their old vinyl for aficianados to download. I know the record companies hate this and want to sue everybody and their dog for doing this, but it is a better solution than letting some of these great albums slide into obscurity, never too be heard from again.

I read in the paper the other day that the new digital age may be claiming another musical victim made famous by vinyl, mainly the album. I can't remember everything the article said, but the gist was that nowadays, people don't care about the whole album and only want to download one or two songs and throw the rest by the wayside. So artists are now concentrating on writing one or two "hit" songs and are focusing less on the album format. Wow, that is sad, sad indeed. I really hope this trend does not come to pass. Try to imagine a world without Sgt. Peppers, The Wall, Welcome to my Nightmare, London Calling or any Rush album. Has it really come or going to come to this? Are artists now going to go on tour to promote their new song instead of album? In my many rants here people kinda get the idea of where I stand on the music industry as a whole so I don't think I need to rehash everything I've said before. Just a couple things.

If you've read my vinyl post from last year, one of my favorite things was actually holding the album and reading the liner notes while listening to it for the first time. Some of the album artwork and album packaging was masterful and unto itself a work of art. Last Year I focused on Alice Cooper's Schools Out album as one of my most prized pieces of vinyl. If you're new to Good Rockin' then you can read that post as to all the why's and such. In my last rant one reader left a rather long and insightful comment about his preference for mp3's and such. At one point he said, "Liner notes? Who even writes those anymore. I can't tell you how disappointed I have been in those for the past decade." I have to agree with him there for the most part. Yet recently I was most surprised by a recent purchase. Here comes the full circle part. Alice Cooper recently released his latest album on July 29. The album is called Along Came a Spider, which features a fourth go round of a character we were first introduced to on his Welcome to My Nightmare album. The little boy who couldn't escape his night terrors in Welcome to My Nightmare, battled the devil in his own disco during Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, then got trapped in an evil carnival to fight off The Last Temptation has grown up to be a serial killer. Along Came a Spider is the musical diary of Steven's carnage and the album is a dark, conceptual masterpiece and at times very disturbing.

While I wouldn't classify this as is best album it has filled me with joy. The lyrics are pure genius yet in many places the music could have been a lot creepier to match the lyrics. A 60-year-old Alice plays the role of his alter ego, Steven, a knife-wielding, leather-clad ladykiller who feeds on human flesh and stitches detached limbs together into a rotting humanoid arachnid, all the while writing his brilliant but self-incriminating deeds into his diary.

alice cooperThe album itself harks back to the 70's for another reason, the liner notes are simply fantastic and this album is available on vinyl to boot. In the liner notes you have some of Steven's murderous drawings and artwork. Each page features the lyrics to one of the songs accompanied by a some great B movie poster art featuring Alice(Steven) in all of his menacing glory on each page. The result is simply fantastic, harkening back to the glory days of vinyl, reminiscent of Billion Dollar Babies and School's Out. Here I was all set to announce the demise of the album and Cooper comes out with this, which I felt tied in perfectly with vinyl record day. Other artists may be ready to abandon the classic album format but I feel the Coop isn't one of those. Thank you Alice as I have listened to your new album several times while holding your album in my hand, reading the liner notes and in a sense reliving a time for me that I classify as the golden age of vinyl.

Now my friend who organized this event suggested posting up something that may have only been available on vinyl and that is something I'm willing to do even if it brings the wrath of the industry down on my head. So here goes.

Slim Jim Phantom, Lee Rocker and Earl Slick's debut album from is an excellent rockin album that is a classic that never made the transition from vinyl to digital. In late 1984 when the Stray Cats career started to decline and tensions among the band members were on the rise, Brian Setzer decided it was time to call it a day and the trio was no more. Bass player Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom hooked up with guitarist Earl Slick, who had played with David Bowie and Silver Condor as well as leading his own band. The Cat boys brought along their rockabilly roots, Slick brought along some glam rock muscle and in 1985 Phantom Rocker and Slick released their self titled debut. Most critics hated it, but I freakin' loved it. The best song by far on Phantom, Rocker and Slick is "Men Without Shame," a swaggering 6 1/2-minute jolt of pure electricity. Slick's guitar work is masterful and bears down on you like a locomotive. On the strength of this song alone the album stayed on the charts for six months. Keith Richards and Nicky Hopkins make an appearance on the album and there is not a bad song to be found. Several are in fact much better. My personal faves are What You Want and Lonely Actions. Took me three years to finally find it. Never released on cd. The cassette(yuck) sometimes goes for 40 plus dollars on ebay. Out of print and wrongfully so. Earl Slick's guitar is the star of this album. but catchy pop tunes makes it a classic.
phantom rocker and slick
192 kbps

1 What You Want
2 My Mistake
3 Hollywood Distractions
4 No Regrets
5 Well Kept Secret
6 Men Without Shame
7 Runnin' From the Hounds
8 Time is on My Hands
9 Sing for your Supper
10 Lonely Actions

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QTWAT26T

So there it is, my second vinyl day contribution. I would like it to be known that I would not share this album were it available to purchase. Hopefully someone will make it so. I would like to thank those of you that actually took the time out of their busy day to read this entire mess and if you have time maybe go and check out other folks recollections of that once spectacular medium known as vinyl. Keep on Rockin'!


Funny Toon

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Earthquake Weather


Earthquake Weather is Joe Strummer's first official solo album after the breakup of the Clash,released in 1989. The album sold very few copies, despite being received fairly well by critics (although not as well as it might have been due to easy and unfair comparisons to the work of the Clash). Yes we sorely missed The Clash and we wanted this record to be Clashish in the worst way and when it wasn't, people said, hey don't buy that album, it doesn't sound like The Clash at all. In my opinion, this was really unfair to Joe, who is someone I did and still admire greatly. This inability to sell records ultimately terminated the relationship of Joe Strummer and Epic Records, who forced Strummer out of their deal, unless he were to reform The Clash, in which case he would be required to return to Epic. Strummer's voice and songwriting are engaging enough throughout the 14 songs that there's never a second where things come off as dated or rushed. Earthquake Weather is a solid, fascinating album, mostly because of Joe Strummer's always fiery charisma, his impeccable vocals, and his mostly unerring musical exploration and experimentation. Not Joe's finest moment, but an interesting and ambitious project. Also that is one killer album cover, classic Strummer.

Sikorsky Parts
Sleepwalk
Buy It


Funny Toon

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Play

Today in Music History:

In 1958, Born on this day, Bruce Dickinson vocalist for Iron Maiden.
Great Big Sea (GBS), is a Celtic, rock, and pop band from the Canadian province of Newfoundland. Yes I know you've seen them grace Good Rockin' a few times here over the years and with good reason. Their hard-driving approach has not only made them popular in Canada, where they've been nominated for four Juno awards, it has also brought them a growing recognition throughout North America and Europe. British music magazine, called them, "a high spirited and richly expressive acoustic quartet who reinvent traditional Newfoundland music, lending it a powerful and resonant contemporary charge." Taking a traditional, conservative genre like the revered Celtic music and turning it up on end is a bold step and personally I love this stuff. There is probably not many bands on earth that can take a group of people - whether large or small - and induce a frenzied state of foot-stomping, beer-guzzling and dancing as this band can.

Since the four original members started the band in March of 1993 as a post-university employment project, they have toured relentlessly, enjoying the challenge of bringing their music first to Canada, and then to the rest of the world. From day one, it is the band's energetic concerts which have proven the base of their popularity.

"Great Big Sea is not a band you just go and see, or a cd you just listen to. Great Big Sea is something you have to do." Some of the music they play is hundreds of years old. But Damn they're good. Play is the third album by Great Big Sea released in 1997. This is straight up an amazing album. From the opening track you're hooked and right through to the 16th track, there is not one bad song. Play successfully combines the traditional maritime and Celtic music of Newfoundland with modern rock tendencies. It is chock full of catchy folk-rock anthems with strong lead vocals, calculated harmonies, and regional yet universally identifiable themes. I have no problem labeling this album as one of my top 100 albums of all time.

When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)
Seagulls
Buy It


Funny Toon

Monday, August 04, 2008

Reckless Country Soul

Jason and the Scorchers
In the early 80s, when most of Nashville was going the urban cowboy route, Jason & the Scorchers began cranking out a hopped-up fusion of country and rock n roll that carried on the spirit of Hank Williams while appealing to fans of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Reckless Country Soul was recorded live to four-track back in 1982, just a week after the Scorchers' first live show, while they were still called Jason and the Nashville Scorchers. The cuts have plenty of rough edges, but the quartet was already a tight unit, full of piss and vinegar.

The Scorchers' own Shot Down Again and Broken Whiskey Glass are terrific, hard-charging rockabilly tunes. Its covers of I'm So Lonesome (I Could Cry) and Jimmie Rodgers Last Blue Yodel still sound startling all these years later years. For the first two verses of the Hank Williams classic, the band lurches along at a funereal pace. Then it lunges into punk-rock overdrive. Think Joe Strummer hurling a wrecking ball through the Grand Ole Opry and you have a good approximation of the Scorchers sound. If you're a fan, this first offering from the band is a must have. This was recorded while they were still known as Jason and the Nashville Scorchers. While the original was a 4 song EP which came out in 1982, this 1996 reissue contained bonus tracks and is currently out of print.


Broken Whiskey Glass
I'd Rather Die Young/Candy Kisses
Buy It


Funny Toon

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Two Minute Warning

The AngelsI say we start out August with those awesome and under appreciated Aussie rockers, The Angels. In November 1984, the Angels released Two Minute Warning, a concept record exploring nuclear devastation, following a three-month recording session in Los Angeles. The American version of the album, on MCA, included a new version of the 1978 song "Be With You", which would become The Angels' last commercially available single in the United States. Unfortunately for the band, an internal personnel purge at MCA meant that Two Minute Warning received absolutely no support from the label. MCA(dickheads) would then later go as far to reject The Angels' next album. Why oh Why and what a mistake. Depending if you bought the Aussie version or the international release the track order is different. Being that this was a concept album that was just silly to order the tracks differently. This is the Aussie release with the songs in the order that they were meant to be. The album opens strongly with the slow-burner Small Price, and then kicks you in the teeth with the barn-storming Look The Other Way. Next up is the incredible Underground. Other highlights on the record are the first single Between The Eyes, Walking To Babylon, Razor's Edge and oh heck let's just say every track. The Angels sound is hard to compare to other bands. They are a classic twin guitar hard rock act, but do not exhibit the blues influences you normally hear. I think their appeal lies in the solid hard riffs that are more melodic than bluesey. I dare you to say that this isn't one of the best albums you ever heard.

Small Price
Sticky Little Bitch
Buy It

Funny Toon