The Blitz was Swedish metal meister's, Krokus, eighth studio album. It came out in 1984, a year after their most popular album, Headhunter. It pretty much picks up where Headhunter left off as far as style goes. Midnite Maniac may well be one of the best songs they ever recorded. With this song leading off the album I thought it was going to be a stunner album when it came out. Upon further listen, I felt the feel of this album was "we need a radio, MTV friendly Hit" type of album. Not that it's a bad album. There are several great tracks here, but their cover of Ballroom Blitz is actually painful to listen to. While listening to the album the first time it just felt like they were trying way to hard for that MTV hit and trying to emulate American hair bands. Which disappointed me at the time as Headhunter was a killer metal album. Thus it was the last Krokus album I ever bought. Digging it out all these years later and re listening to it, I've decided I actually like it quite a lot, yet Ballroom Blitz is still as unlistenable as it was back in the eighties. The rest of the album is a good listen and I still think Midnite Maniac kills.
Midnite ManiacOur Love
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Last year when I went to make my end of the year top 10 best albums of the year list, I found it almost difficult to fill up ten spots. There seemed to be a lack of quality albums last year. This year is a different story. Every time I turn around I listen to another candidate for 2008's top ten list. My latest exquisite listening joy ride comes from Hank Williams III and the album is called Damn Right, Rebel Proud.
There is no doubt that there is some talent running through those Williams boys DNA. Whether or not you're a fan of Senior, Junior, or III one has to admit that is one talented family. Being a rock n roller doesn't preclude me from listening to things on the country side. Folks my age are more familiar with Jr's music than we are with the original country rebel, Hank Williams himself. We know his legacy though. Through the latter part of the seventies and the eighties we listened to Hank Williams Jr (or Bocephus if you will), right alongside Aerosmith, Kiss and The Clash. Every party we ever had a Bocephus record would make an appearance, more than likely one of the songs with All My Rowdy Friends in the title. Even though country, Bocephus was more rock n roll than country. So homercat loves his Bocephus.
Enter the third generation Williams boy. Looking eerily almost like his grandfather, Hank III's music alternates between somewhat traditional country, and a more aggressive music that touches on punk rock and elements of various heavy metal styles. Luckily he’s seemed to have inherited his namesakes’ showmanship and their love of illicit substances to go with it. His previous album, Straight to Hell, became the first major-label Country album to bear a parental advisory warning. Damn Right, Rebel Proud is the fourth album released by Hank Williams III, which came out at the end of October. The album was released in two separate versions, one being a censored release for major retailers(most notably Wal-Mart), the other is uncensored. The subject matter is pretty much the same as it was on his previous albums: getting drunk, getting stoned, and the numerous faults of the commercial country music industry, with a couple of no account women thrown in for good measure.
Holy crap this is one fine kick in the ass album. You know exactly what lies in wait after hearing the first track of the album. The Grand Ole Opry (Ain't So Grand Any More) on which Williams takes the venerable country music institution to task for its hypocritical use of his grandfather's image and music for decades after they revoked his membership. I Wish I Knew is a broken-hearted lament that's a first-class tear in your beer-drinking weeper. Then there's P.F.F., the longest song on the album at over 10 minutes. The lyrics about “find[ing] a whore and fuck[ing] her until she’s black and blue” may not appeal to the more traditional of Williams’s fans, but damn if it ain't a catchy tune. It's actually two songs as the first part runs along at breakneck speed then after a brief, spoken-word interlude, Hank III performs the song again, this time in slow, country fashion.
So in a few simple words, if you just spilled whiskey on those hard to get AC/DC tickets, you’re angry, brokenhearted, under the influence of various substances, screwed over by both your woman and The Man, then this album would make a great soundtrack for your day. Highly recommend purchasing this one as soon as you can.
The Grand Ole Opry (Ain't So Grand Any More)
3 Shades of Black
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Homercat turned around and not only was it November but the 11th month is almost over and I'll be damned if Christmas isn't but a month away. What I almost missed is Good Rockin's birthday. It was 5 years ago this month when Good Rockin' Tonight was born. Rockin' just started out as a hobby from a cat with too much time on his hands. Unable to work so I wanted to share my love of music with anyone that wanted to stop by. Over this 5 years I have seen many a site come and go. Recently a lot of my fave places to visit on the web have been disappearing. Many places have become tired of the hassles that seem to go hand and hand with trying to promote music. If you are a music blogger then you know what I speak of. Luckily a lot of indie labels and artists aren't so anal about posting a track for some free publicity, which keeps my inbox full of music submissions. Even so, eventually I expect to get hit by the music police and this site will probably be forced to close it's doors. I hate what the record industry has become and in a way this site has been my statement to that effect. I have been sharing music with people for 40 years. From the time I was a kid, my friends and I shared our music with each other. I remember having an 8 track recorder and recording 45's and albums with it. This in no way ever affected my buying tendencies, quite the opposite as I usually would buy more. I have a massive collection that I have paid for and people ask me all time when they see it, do you actually listen to all this? The answer is yes. The only day I watch TV is on Saturdays where I watch the few select shows I have taped. Every other minute of every day is spent listening to music. Recent studies have also shown that people that share music tend to buy more music than the average joe. The record companies just don't get it. In fact they never have. So on even though Good Rockin' Tonight is celebrating 5 years of musical yumminess, I wanted to give a heads up to all of you in case this blog just disappears one day. I also want to thank those of you who stop by here on a semi regular basis.
The original intent here was to expose classic stuff to these younger generational types and get them to buy it. Stuff that never got radio play and especially out of print stuff. I didn't want some of my favorite tunes to be relegated to obscurity in an old fogies time capsule somewhere. Over time I also have tackled new artists that tickled my fancy, although that area is getting trickier to navigate now. In the scheme of the WWW my little place here is an obscure sidetrack compared to some of the music bloggers out there. One thing I am quite proud of was about 3 or 4 months ago, one of those heavy hitter blogs linked to my site because of a song that I had posted and called Rockin' one of the oddest mp3 blogs out there. Thank you, thank you. Homercat never wanted to be normal like everyone else. If I have an "odd" mp3 blog then so be it.
Since I am so odd and the original purpose here was to showcase older stuff, I think it would be great to have some old, obscure, odd novelty tunes served up for my 5th birthday. Enjoy.
Who Is It? by Carlton the Doorman
Junkfood Junkie by Larry Groce
Wildwood Weed by Jim Stafford
Disco Duck by Rick Dees
The Rodeo Song by Showdown Convoy by CW McCall
Alimony by Weird Al Yankovic
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Grace Jones recently came out with a new album called Hurricane and after listening to it, the homercat say he likey. Which made me want to revisit a classic album of hers from 1981. Nightclubbing.
For those that may not know Grace Jones is a Jamaican–American singer, supermodel and actress. Nightclubbing is her fifth studio album , released in 1981. Her first three albums brought her fame as a disco artist but with the eighties and new wave music breaking ground she turned her attention to this new format. I remember the first time I heard this album all the way through. The blend of RnB, Reggae, New Wave, Rock and Balladry was mind blowing. Little wonder the British music magazine NME named this the best album of the year when originally released.
The lead-off single for the album was Sting's "Demolition Man", originally written for Grace Jones but also included on The Police's album "Ghost in the Machine", later that same year. Let me tell you folks, her version of this song makes the Police version sound pathetic and lame. She sounds like she could chew you up and spit you out without missing a beat. It's a great song to just crank loud and let it roll. The title track is a cover of an Iggy Pop song, which was co-written by David Bowie. Nightclubbing also includes the hit single "Pull Up to the Bumper", co-written by Jones, which is yet another excellent tune. Grace's voice is really what sets her music apart from other artists. Her flat, oftentimes menacing voice pushes the music along. However, a surprise at the end of the cd, "I've Done It Again" shows that she really could sing. For whatever it's worht I consider this an essential album for any rock collector. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Grace Jones.
Pull Up to the Bumper
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Born to Rock/Built to Last!
So it says over at Sammy Hagar's website, redrocker.com. I'll be damned if it ain't true. The red rocker's newest studio album came out two days ago and it's chock full of gritty Hagarness. Cosmic Universal Fashion is Sammy's 11th studio album to date. Not to be confused with albums from his stints with Montrose, Van Halen, or the Waboritas.
Mrs. Homercat has said on many occasions that Hagar is the best rock n roll vocalist of all time. According to her, he has the kind of voice that sends shivers down your spine and gives you the chillbumps. I tend to agree with her on this one. Although I lean towards Daltrey and Zander as the best, I gotta say that Sammy may well be on his way to taking over the top spot in my book also. Think back to one of his earliest crunchers like Rock Candy(Montrose), or Van Halen's Seventh Seal which positively gives me the chills his voice is so good. Just listen to 24365 off his new album and you gotta go damn, that is one helluva classic rock n roll voice. In fact Sammy's in great form sounding better than ever. One could almost describe Hagar as a sort of modern-day hard rockin' Jimmy Buffet, and has definitely earned his place in rock n roll history as one of pop-hard-rock’s premier front men who not only has an ample, strong, belting vocal range with soulful melody and tone, but his duality as a formidable lead guitarist and monster guitar-riff-monger puts him in a league shared with few others in terms of versatility and overall right to rock.
I could go on and on about the career or the new album so just a couple more things before folks get tired of reading this. Cosmic Universal Fashion began when a friend gave Hagar a basic track recorded in Bhagdad by an Iraqi musician named Steven Lost. An online collaboration began between the two and thus the first track on the album was born. Guest musicians abound on the album, most notably Hagar side kick and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. Hagar and Anthony single handedly won the best sportsmanship of the year award in 2007 when Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were nothing but gentlemen about being snubbed by their former Van Halen band mates when they weren’t invited to participate in the band’s reunion tour, and yet they were the band’s sole representatives at VH’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. They handled both with good humor and professionalism even though they were both ex members and the current members couldn't be bothered to show up. Class Acts both.
Finally, before we get to the sample from this album, I'll say it's been a pretty good year for rock n roll. Last year I almost couldn't fill up my top ten albums of the year, and this year I've got multitudes of candidates. That being said Cosmic Universal Fashion will make that list, which also means someone else is getting bumped off that list, sorry Metallica, but you just got bested by the Red Rocker. 61 Years of age and over 35 years in the biz and Sammy Hagar is still kicking ass and taking names. Homercat highly recommends this album if you like balls to the wall rock n roll. You won't be disappointed. And this song kicks ass!
Loud by Sammy Hagar
Monday, November 10, 2008
Hilly Michaels is an American drummer and musician, best known9if at all) for playing drums with Sparks in the 70's and his two solo albums from the early 80's, Calling All Girls (1980) and Lumia (1981). Calling All Girls is one of the most overtly over-the-top power pop/new wave records of the era, a cult classic, if you could appreciate it for what it was -- musical junk food that wasn't going to break any new molds. The album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, and it featured Hilly on guitar, drums and vocals. Hilly also wrote all the songs, including Shake It And Dance, which became a huge hit in both Australia and France and was featured on the soundtrack of the film Die Laughing. Another song from the album, the very Sparks-sounding Something On Your Mind appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Caddyshack. The album could be described as The Cars on speed (Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes even puts in an appearance). A motley cast of musicians played on the album, including Liza Minelli, her stepsister Lorna Luft, actor-singer Ellen Foley, former bandmate "Saturday Night Live" guitarist G.E. Smith, Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone and rocker Dan Hartman.
But it was the title song that drew all the attention, a big budget MTV style video to promote Hilly's single "Calling All Girls". It was a landmark, breakthrough video in the industry. Hilly Michaels' "Calling All Girls" video was all over MTV back in the days when MTV's programmers didn't have a lot to choose from and were occasionally forced to show decent material. Every power pop trick in the book is compacted into this three-minute song: the "Calling All Girls" chorus sounds like a police bulletin, the half a key jump for the final verse and chorus, police siren wailing at the end. A lost classic album that is so out of print. Another album on my wish list of reissues.
Calling All Girls
Shake it and Dance
Buy It...Oh wait you can't
I'm going to be away from home for a few days so my next post won't be coming for a few days. Just wanted to give a heads up in case someone thought I'd disappeared.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Originally released in 1980, this 2006 remastered and expanded release of All Shook Up with bonus tracks including the 4 song ep Found All the Parts previously unavailable on CD is astounding. High Priest of Rhythmic Noise was and is still one of my favorite Cheap Trick tunes and sounds amazingly awesome here. The remastering job is excellent (please, please remaster the rest of the catalog) All Shook Up was even quirkier than he previous, platinum-selling Dream Police. Many of its songs were less radio friendly and more experimental, and the cover art led many to question what the band was trying to accomplish. However, at the time, Cheap Trick was fighting for musical independence and took the opportunity on the heels of Dream Police to take their sound in a different direction. This album holds up great today and don't let the word experimental fool you because there are some balls to the wall rockers on this one. In fact if this was the first time you ever listened to this album right now, you would be rocked on your ass and say this is a 100 times better than the bullshit out there now. The bonus tracks on this reissue were all previously released. "Everything Works If You Let It" was on the soundtrack to Roadie, and the other four tracks were from the EP Found All The Parts.
Some interesting facts about this album that may interest someone. There were several homages to The Beatles on this album. "Stop This Game" opens and closes with a droning piano note similar to the one that ends "A Day in the Life." The bridge to "Baby Loves to Rock" features the line "Not in Russia!" with the sound of an airplane in the background, a subtle reference to "Back in the U.S.S.R." "World's Greatest Lover" has vocals reminiscent of John Lennon.
Since AC/DC is big right now you might be interested to know that Rick Nielsen wrote "Love Comes A-Tumblin' Down" for the then recently departed Bon Scott. Another AC/DC homage comes in the form of "World's Greatest Lover" which cops the intro to "Big Balls." Killer, killer album from my number 1 band of all time. Cheap Trick make Zeppelin sound like amateurs. Listen to these 2 tunes and try to imagine them being released in 1980 when in fact they sound better than anything out there today. Way ahead of the times eh. Wow, 2006 reissue already out of print. So sad, and should be against the law.
High Priest of Rhythmic Noise Baby Loves to Rock
Thursday, November 06, 2008
After the US election, the general consensus is that once again we have hope in the world. It seems natural then to revisit a classic album from 1977 with the same title, Hope.
Hope is the second album released by the Canadian group Klaatu, in September 1977. It is a concept album, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, about the sole survivor of an arrogant race of beings, who warns space travelers of hazards in the last days of his life. By the time this album came out, the rumour that Klaatu were actually the Beatles reformed had died down. Klaatu were just three talented Canadian boys. For more info about the whole Beatles comparison stuff inspire by their first album, you can check out my earlier post which goes into more detail about the whole phenomenon. It's quite fascinating.
The recording is rich in both musical content, as one of the most powerful combinations of rock and classical orchestral music to that date, and in production values, sounding like a modern recording, even though it was created in the late 1970s on a relatively small budget by a few people. Many fans and critics consider Hope to be the most creative of the Klaatu albums, and a high point of 1970s production standards. I've heard some say it has a slightly Pink Floydish feel to it. Not to mention the stunning artwork of the album. Which nowadays is becoming a thing of the past.
I resurrect Hope here for any first timers to hear or a blast from the past for any who may remember the whole phenom.
Hope by Klaatu The Loneliest of Creatures by Klaatu
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
It's almost over, finally. After an almost ludicrous amount of time and money spent on this year's American election, it's almost over. What has it been, almost 2 years and billions of dollars spent on this campaign? Mercy me I don't know what the 24 hour news networks are going to do when this election is over. I have a suggestion, Report the actual news eh. Say what you will about the great white north but when they have an election they don't fuck around. Election announced and 4 or 5 weeks later, boom it's over.
I don't want to start a political debate here, but one thing is clear. America can not stand 4 more years of the policies and corruption of the Bush regime. Whichever candidate wins, there must be drastic change. This next president is inheriting a shithole of a mess and is likely doomed to be a one termer because cleaning up Dubya's mess will be a gargantuan task that I don't think anyone can fix in a mere 4 years. At one time I greatly admired both candidates that are running for the office. Around 4 years or so ago one of them changed drastically and my admiration has turned to derision. Be that as it may, may the best man win and let's hope he can get America out of the shitter and restore it's reputation around the world. Let's hope the nightmare is almost over. So If Obama wins today, I have his winning song picked out. If McCain wins, I have his winning song picked out. I post them here now and I leave it to you to judge which one belongs to who. It's obvious I think.
Cool Change by Little River Band End of the World by Great Big Sea
Posted by homercat at 12:23 PM