The Bay City Rollers 4th UK album, Dedication, the first new album to be released in the wake of their enormous worldwide success of early 1976, is a pop masterpiece. As with all the other Roller albums, the UK and US releases have different track listings. For purposes of this post it is about the UK release. The album is in the same vein as the others but sound a little more mature in sound. But changes were happening in the roller camp. Original founder member Alan Longmuir was replaced with a 18 year old guitarist from Ireland , Ian Mitchell. The change did not really effect the group but Mitchell was eventually replaced 7 to 8 months later by Pat Mcglynn. The album was even recorded on this side of the pond in Toronto. The big hits that resulted from the UK and US rleases, were I only want to be with you , Yesterdays Hero (hmmmm, very prophetic), Dedication, Rock 'N Roll Love Letter and Money Honey. Dedication is a very good pop album, definitely up there as one of the best of the seventies. And Let's be honest who doesn't like some good pop music.
Dedication I Only Wanna Be With You
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The Headpins are the head instructors in Canadian Kick Ass Rock 101 - and school is in session. The Headpins were originally formed by Brian MacLeod and Ab Bryant as a sort of 'side project' from Chilliwack in 1980, the group's earliest beginnings included drummer Matt Frennette, ex of Streetheart and Randy Bachman's wife Denise McCann, who had enjoyed a moderately successful disco career a few years earlier on vocals. The Pins and Loverboy swapped drummers, and Frenette was gone and Bernie Aubin was in, who incidentally co-wrote Loverboy's "The Kid Is Hot Tonite".
Before the end of the year however, it was decided that McCann wasn't right for the job of translating MacLeod's musical vision and was replaced by Darby Mills, already a seasoned session worker and singer of Streetback, a group closer to what MacLeod had in mind than McCann's disco background.
Mills' style became known as the growl and would go on to lead the charge in their energized live show, She was compared more to Robert Plant or David Coverdale than, say Ann Wilson or Janis Joplin. In 1982 "Don't It Make Ya Feel" turned the FM stations upside down and their debut album, Turn it Loud, would go on to be certified double platinum, making it one of the most successful debut albums by a Canadian group ever.
The Headpins continue to tour to this day and in the last few years I've seen them several times and they kick ass like nobody's business. Darby's voice is better than it's ever been and she is a true metal goddess and is now more than ever one of the sexiest women in rock n roll to this day. They are simply an amazing band to catch live. If you can't find their debut album, Turn it Loud, then The greatest Hits album is a great place to start and easier to find if you're unfamiliar these guys. Highly recommended.
Keep Walkin' Away
Don't it Make Ya Feel
Friday, May 22, 2009
Canada has a wealth of artists who receive minimum recognition south of the border. There are a slew of musicians that most Americans have never heard, yet are everyday big names up here. Big Sugar probably fits that bill. Canadians are well acquainted with this band and so should the rest of the world. Unfortunately they disbanded a couple years ago, The band broke up in 2004, after, according to the band's website, Gordie Johnson became frustrated with Canadian radio programmers who claimed his single "All Hell for a Basement" was "too Canadian" (as the song refers the province of Alberta). Johnson, a staunch nationalist, was disgusted and angry and left Canada to pursue music in a more "open, welcoming" environment. Big Sugar is a hard band to categorize, but I'll try my best.
This eclectic band hails from Toronto and are in every sense of the word, original. A blues rock outfit that underwent several personnel changes from it's inception in 1991, to their last compilation album, Hit and Run, in 2003. But it worked. By the end they had one dude with heavy dreadlocks, one guy who can be described as Mr. Slick, and a seamless mixture of black and white members. Playing everything from guitar driven, riff heavy music to reggae and dub with a caribbean flavor, these guys covered all the bases. Their shows were noted for the floor-to-the-rafters speaker system with heart-shaking bass lines and energetic in your face guitars. Nicotina and Red Rover are monster riff in yer face rock. Hit and Run is a great overview of the band if you've never heard of them.
All Hell For a Basement
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In the '70s and '80s, Sparks' American fans couldn't understand why the Mael brothers weren't as big in the United States as they were in England. "Why don't more of our fellow Americans realize just how great these guys are?" was the question that Sparks addicts in the U.S. often found themselves asking. Whatever the reason, British audiences really connected with Sparks' goofy, insanely clever lyrics -- and the fact that Russell Mael sings like he could be an eccentric upper-class Englishman (although he was born and raised in Los Angeles) probably didn't hurt.
Indiscreet, which was the Mael brothers' third (and last)album for Island and their fifth album overall, was released in 1975 and later re-released with three bonus tracks. The album is state-of-the-art Sparks completing a trilogy of sorts that began with Kimono My House. The power pop melodies are consistently infectious, and the lyrics are as humorous as one expects Sparks lyrics to be -- gems like "Pineapple," "Happy Hunting Ground," "Tits," and "Get in the Swing" will easily appeal to those who like to think of Russell and Ron Mael as the pop/rock equivalent of Monty Python's Flying Circus. With this album, as with any Sparks release, you can't JUST listen to the music. you can't JUST listen to the words. You have to take everything in at the same time or you're going to miss something really fun! "Indiscreet" combines the whimsy humour of Sparks' first four albums and creates the foundation for years to come. I keep putting up Sparks stuff every once in a while hoping to turn a new generation into Sparks fans and if I don't succeed well they're the ones missing out. Can't say I didn't try.
Get in the Swing
The Lady is Lingering
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Spend the Night is the fifth studio album and major label debut by The Donnas, released in 2002 on Atlantic Records. It was the band's first charting record on the Billboard Hot 200, peaking at #62, and features their most successful single, "Take It Off", which peaked at #19 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. By this album you can really hear them evolving from their "what if the Ramones were chicks" vibe into a really cohesive hard rock band.
As for news about their next release, The Donnas announced on May 6 their newest project 'The Donnas: Greatest Hits, Vol 16', which is set for release on July 7, 2009. The album will be released on the bands own Purple Feather Records. The package will contain newly recorded older songs, as well as B-sides, never before released material and some new songs. The band will join Blondie & Pat Benatar for a summer tour starting in July 2009 in support of the release. Drummer Torry Castellano will not play on any of the summer tour dates as she is having shoulder problems. The Donnas have chosen long time friend Amy of The Demonics to fill in for Torry on tour. A track list was announced via The Donnas Myspace page on May 7, 2009, as follows:
The Donnas Greatest Hits, Vol 16 Tracklisting:
1. Get Off 2. Perfect Stranger 3. We Own The Night 4. She's Out of Control 5. Take It Off 6. Fall Behind Me 7. Get You Alone 8. Play My Game 9. You Make Me Hot 10. Get Rid of That Girl 11. Hey I'm Gonna Be Your Girl 12. I Wanna be With a Girl Like You 13. I Don't Want to Go to School 14. Teenage Rules 15. Don't Wanna Break Your Head 16. High School Yum Yum
3, 4 – Previously Unreleased B-Sides 5, 6 – Live 7, 9, 10, 13, 16 – 2009 Versions 8 – Original Version Remix 11, 12 – Alternate Version 14, 15 – Original Version – Previously Unreleased
Can't Wait for it, meanwhile spend the night with a couple tracks from the Donnas.
5 O'Clock in the Morning Too Bad About Your Girl
Friday, May 15, 2009
TNT is the ninth album by Tanya Tucker which came out in 1978. Working with a new producer in Jerry Goldstein, Tucker drifted away from her earlier country style to do a much more rock-based effort. She covers well-known rock songs originally performed by such artists as Buddy Holly ("Not Fade Away"), Elvis Presley ("Heartbreak Hotel"), and Chuck Berry ("Brown Eyed Handsome Man"). Tucker also covers John Prine's bluesy "Angel from Montgomery," previously performed by Prine himself. However, the best song on the album may be the original "Texas (When I Die)," which had never been previously recorded. The album was Tucker's second-highest ranked ever on the Billboard Country charts at #2, and even reached #54 in the Pop category. Stodgy old Nashville was shocked that Tanya would try and go pop/rock and even more shocked by the albums's center gatefold art. With it's large gatefold cover, Tanya Tucker's sexy curves looked hot in black leather. And then there was the inside... Tanya in a tight red leotard. HOT STUFF -- even by rock and punk standards, back in 1978 and quite a bit of controversy for her at the time. Despite the controversy the album went gold. Another great example of why I miss vinyl. I had this album hanging on my wall for many years. A CD reissue of this album did not include the center art. Even if it did a little bitty old pic just wouldn't be the same.
Not Fade Away
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We're gonna have to jump in the way back machine for this classic album. Missouri is a band that hails from... uh Missouri. Kansas City that is. The band's self-titled first album was released in 1977 on a label called Panama Records. Even though Panama was an independent label, the band garnered huge airplay on American FM AOR radio stations, specifically with the track "Movin On". At least it was huge in the midwest where I grew up. Absolutely everyone I knew owned this album. They're kinda like your typical southern rock type band from that era. The album cover depicts the St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, “Gateway to the West,” superimposed over a scene of Monument Valley in north-eastern Arizona.
A month after its release, the album was listed on "Billboard's Recommended Album" page. As the album received massive airplay on Midwest radio, Missouri embarked upon a concert tour. "Missouri" performed across the nation and provided warm-up at large venue gigs, stadium shows and tours. Where the band was well known and had solid air play, "Missouri" would headline. Missouri toured with national acts such as Ted Nugent, Golden Earring, Scorpions, Blackfoot, Sammy Hagar, Nazareth, Molly Hatchet, REO Speedwagon, Blackfoot, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Jefferson Starship, just to name a few. I personally had the pleasure of seeing them open for Blue Oyster Cult in 81.
Missouri soon signed with Polydor records and released its second album entitled “Welcome two Missouri,” in 1979. The group continued touring until 1984. While the second album’s sales figures were impressive, the record industry and musical tastes were changing and southern rock was fading and new wave was taking over. Polydor Records did not renew Missouri’s option to record another album. Two classic albums which are out of print although there is a best of Missouri available which is a mix of the two albums.
Come on Move
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The Message is the 1982 debut album by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was a highly influential hip hop group comprised of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Kid Creole, Cowboy, Scorpio (aka Mr. Ness) and Raheim. In 2007, they became the first rap group to ever be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked "The Message" #51 in its List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (the highest placing for any song released in the 1980s, and highest ranking hip-hop song on the list). Curiously the song was written by Sugar Hill session musician Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher and Furious Five MC Melle Mel. Flash and the other members of The Furious Five, although credited on the song, were uninterested in recording the song and are not found on the finished version. I don't own many rap records but this one is a classic old skool hip hop album that everyone should own. The good old days when rap wasn't crap and I still remember every word from The Message.
Friday, May 08, 2009
In 1993, Billy Idol released his 5th official studio album, Cyberpunk, which fell on deaf ears at the time. Music had changed in 1993, and a lot of the bands that were popular in the eighties were now being pushed to the wayside. Reviewers lambasted it and people avoided it like some kind of swine flu virus. Yet the album was considered to be ahead of its time by many people, and was considered to be experimental for the time. The album was recorded in his home studio using a Macintosh computer, which was a fairly new concept at the time. It is a concept album inspired by his personal interest in technology and his first attempts to use computers in the creation of his music. Despite the critical and financial failure of the album, Billy Idol set several precedents in the process of promoting the album. These included his use of the internet, e-mail, virtual communities, and multimedia software – each a first for a mainstream celebrity.
Now despite all the negative reviews of this album, I for one enjoy it and still think there are several great tracks here. It is far removed from any Rebel Yells yet has a certain charm. Wasteland, Venus and Shock to the System are all great tracks and his cover of Heroin is great. So I say to all who dissed this album to cut him a little slack and try revisiting the album. Even though it was almost a career killer, Idol was trying to do something creatively different from his other work and it's not as bad as some would tell you.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Streetcore was the third and final album by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros. The album was completed after the death of frontman Strummer, primarily by Martin Slattery and Scott Shields, and released 21 October 2003. The album marks the band's transition from their previous genre-bending work to a more straight forward rock album, reminiscent of Strummer's early work with The Clash. "Coma Girl" may well be one of the best songs ever recorded by anybody, so says me and the Mrs. "Silver and Gold" is the last song on the album and ends with Strummer's instruction to the engineer, "OK, that's a take." The song, which deals with making the most of one's life before it's too late, is a poignant end to Strummer's posthumous album. Strummer's last line in the song is, "I've got to hurry up before I grow too old," before he speaks to us in his grainy Cockney voice, "OK, that's a take." It's almost as unbearable as it is unforgettable. The fact that this is a final album for Strummer is beside the point; this is one of the best rock & roll albums of 2003, and truly the finest, most cohesive work he did after London Calling. RIP Joe, we miss ya.
Coma Girl Silver and Gold