Slam – Dan Reed Network

Well, this is a biggy for me. This album was a large influence during my late teens and early twenties. I first saw Dan Reed Network when they supported Bon Jovi in Wembley Arena, I think. I enjoyed their set enough to then spend some money and buy Slam. I have played this album often. It is a mixture of rock and funk with some incredibly beautiful songs. I had a big urge recently to listen to this album and as I don’t have any analogue playing devices anymore I bought the album from iTunes. I guess one of the things about this collection of songs is that so many of them are just lovely, they send a shiver down my spine, they make me feel emotions which I would normally do my best to avoid. There’s quite a connection to SR also with this album. The Bon Jovi gig is memorable for getting a lift from a friend and them drinking cans of Guiness on the drive down the M11. This is a wonderful album.

Skyscraper – David Lee Roth

I am pretty sure that I bought this album just for the songs “Just Like Paradise” and “Damn Good”. Both of these are great songs and wasn’t DLR in Van Halen? I haven’t listened to this in a long time.

The song Damn Good was once on a compilation tape that I owned produced by a friend back in the days when music cassette ruled. I can remember listening to that song in the music department at Leventhorpe. There was a funny record button on the tape player and when I pressed it the sound output decreased, but at the same time, while playing it recorded the microphone input over the song. It was a clever little tape player but it messed up my tape version of this song.

Skid Row – Skid Row

I’m not sure how I first found out about Skid Row but I do know that they were something to do with Bon Jovi. I suspect I saw them support a band and then I went ahead and bought their album. It is possible they supported Bon Jovi at Wembley Arena and then I saw Skid Row again supporting Guns ‘n’ Roses at Wembley Stadium. Look, this is a high quality cock rock album. It’s a great mix of late 80s riffage and attitude. It’s great. Sebastian Bach has a great voice or at least he did. He left under a cloud of non-disclosure-agreements and such like, I was never hugely interested in all the politics. I remember being slightly amazed by the bass player and the chain he had going from his earring to his nose ring, I always thought that was rather cool.

Big Guns – a classic. Proper rock intro to an album.
Sweet Little Sister – sexualising your younger sister, that’s what the 80s were about.
Can’t Stand The Heartache – showing the sensitive side with a sad song about falling in love with a wrong-un. Oddly it’s quite a nice upbeat song which feels cheery.
Piece Of Me – nice rolling bass riff to start and then continues to be a good song.
18 And Life – obligatory slow one about how shit everything can be for some and how you end up getting detained by the state.
Rattlesnake Shake – one of the weaker songs on this album but it’s still pretty good and fun.
Youth Gone Wild – I love this song, I mostly love the bang bang opening.
Here I Am – Lovely decent fast riff. Well structure quiet bit leading into a bluesy solo. Great.
Makin’ A Mess – fast paced twelve bar blues? Another proper sing along song on an album full of them. Has a really good middle eight with some slamming beats.
I Remember You – Bleaugh, obligatory ballad, a pretty good one though.
Midnight / Tornado – another weaker song, but it’s OK.

I really enjoyed seeing this band and I have always received a decent level of pleasure from the music of theirs that I own,

Singles Original Soundtrack – Various

This is a hugely influential album to me. I don’t know when I bought it but I do remember laying on the floor in the dark with sunglasses on listening to Drown. I guess this album helped launch the Seattle scene into the world. I had seen Alice In Chains before and owned albums by them so this was an obvious extension. I have seen the film but I don’t know if I saw that before or after the soundtrack purchase.

Singles Soundtrack.jpg
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This is a very summer album and one that fills me with optimism. So many of the songs have made me happy or stuck in my head. Some of the songs scare me into dark places.

Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns is a song that is beautiful and haunting. This along with Drown makes for disturbed listening. This is an album I would consider putting on in the background of a dinner party. I’m not sure if that means a dinner party would horrify me or whether I consider this album to be one which is ripe for general consumption. I think none of the songs are potentially offensive.

The strange thing about the Seattle sound is that it pretty much leaves me cold now. I love this album and I really enjoy a few albums by Alice but overall a lot of this music didn’t really tingle my spine. Pearl Jam enjoyed massive success but just failed to do it for me. Soundgarden is the same. Nirvana was good fun while it lasted but I’m not an overblown fan and now I see the sound as tiresome. This is a shame but there’s only so much space in my head and heart and while this album sticks like sticky shit most of the rest of the upper north west productions have dripped off.

Silver And Gold – A.S.a.P

Way back in the past Adrian Smith decided to leave Iron Maiden and do his own thing. This was a little sad for me as I had always preferred Smith to Murray for some reason and I wondered what Maiden would do to replace him. Smith then went on to produce this solo album and I bought it, except that I didn’t really. At some point Jannick Gers joined Maiden and then Smith came back so now they have three guitarists. Not a classic line up but the longest running line up I guess.

Smith released the single Silver And Gold from the album Silver And Gold and I went to Our Price in the Harvey Centre in Harlow to buy the single on CD. In those days people weren’t trusted to browse real CDs and so the cases were in the shop and the CDs were kept in cardboard wallets in the back of the shop. I guess we were all thieving bastards back then. I took my CD case for the single up to the counter and the person went to the back to get the music disk. Once I’d paid my money and left the shop I looked inside the case and would you believe it?, the shop person had put the CD for the same named album in the case instead of the single CD. I had won “shopping”!

As an album this is, for me, OK. I don’t listen to it often and while I don’t mind it, it’s not something I normally seek out. Sometimes while I write these I have the album playing in the background but I couldn’t even be bothered to do that this time!

Shout At The Devil – Mötley Crüe

I’m pretty sure that a friend of mine, Mark Hodges, gave me this on tape initially. I expect that at some point I went and bought the album but I don’t have my usual clarity on personal album history with this one. I remember liking the Crüe from Girls, Girls, Girls onwards. All that 80s metal came at the right time for my teenage years when humans seem to make most of their musical brain connections. There might be a PhD in there somewhere, I know people ten years older than me who either really love the 70s rock – Pink Floyd – or Ska or Punk, the link between those formative years of brain changing chemistry and the music that rebels at that time seem strong.

I do enjoy this album, I love that trashy L.A. sound but these days I feel slightly embarrassed at the obvious sexism within the industry and songs. I don’t necessarily think that these bands were socially unaware I just think that the zeitgeist was a pretty bad place. Until a few years ago I would have said that the world was heading in the right direction and becoming more tolerant of differences but I’m not so sure now. Hatred seems on the rise and it saddens me. Maybe the only silver lining will be the eventual destruction of most of the population through climate change. Perhaps then those that remain will be able to rebuild a fairer society.

Every Mötley Crüe album has a shit song. It’s almost as though they do it deliberately. There’s Nona on GGG and this album has God Bless The Children Of The Beast. These additions seem to be short songs and utterly terrible. I don’t know why they did it. I’m not sure I care but skip these songs I will.

ShoutattheDevilCD2.jpg
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Have you seen a bunch of men look more scary? The overtly heterosexual band Mötley Crüe going out of their way to shock and horrify the older generations while endearing themselves to the youth of the time by rebelling and scaring the baby boomers. This stuff freaked people out! They thought all this loud music was caused by the devil and tearing their children away from their control. A small secret is that all children seek to provoke and find themselves, they aim to select something to make them different, make them stand out, make them original. The irony of this is that we’ve all been there and some of us tolerate it while others condemn. I’m always curious to see how the next generation finds their “thing”. I’m old enough to have been around the block a few times and have seen the rebellion time and time again. Maybe my professional life helps keep me informed also? The close contact with the next set of teenagers and hearing about how they get their identity. It’s just a shame so many of them seem greedy and a bit “tory”.

If you want to see what shocks the “grown ups” then have a look at the Daily Mail and see what they show of the younger generation. I suspect it’s all about the drugs and parties, especially for the DM because then they can show pictures of young ladies behaving bad and there’s nothing the older DM reader likes more than looking at pictures of young ladies behaving badly. This also goes for the Daily Telegraph. To some extent I think it comes down to the oldies being jealous of the care-free days that they lost and won’t find again. All that awaits is the slow degeneration of bodies into permanently aching lumps of meat before death and so those in charge of society get upset at what they have lost.

I enjoy this album and would recommend it to any of you.

Shake Your Money Maker – Black Crowes

I’ve seen the Black Crowes twice and both times it was pretty good. The first time was at the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington Park in 1991, I went to this with my sister, Angela, to see AC/DC. The Black Crowes were the first band on stage and I really enjoyed them. I don’t think I knew anything about them prior to that. I suspect that I went and bought their first album after that. I know I had the album on music cassette and then I eventually updated it to a digital copy. The second time I saw the Black Crowes was at Brixton Academy and there are three main things about that I remember most. One; I was in the pit and the crowd collapsed and that was my first experience of that. Two; I’m pretty sure the band had a lot ofwhite fairy lights above the stage and it looked pretty nice. Three; the journey back to South Kensington with SR did not go that smoothly and for some reason we ended up on a night bus heading to Edgware and it was most definitely not Sarf Ken.

This album has a very southern/country feel to it. There’s a nice gentle rolling ambience to the songs. This band’s second album never really struck me as much as the first. I have listen to this over and over. Listening to it as I write this I that the addition of keyboards and plonky piano sounds really adds to the feel. Bluesy Rock ‘n’ Roll.

There’s also a melancholy feel to some of the songs. For me I think this album is a very “summer album”. It fits with beers in the garden and a sunny day. I don’t think this would be a “shit mood” album. I can only listen to it when emotionally happy. It would upset me more if I was down a little.

Crypt Edition

This past weekend would have been the M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. But it was not to be. SARS-Cov-2 put paid to any plans of a weekend of music and honigwein. So, instead of driving five hundred miles to get to a soggy campsite the M’era Luna chaps put on a day of a virtual festival with a live stream of some of the bands from last year. The most important thing was that Smith and I saw ourselves in a few of the concert videos and also, in one of the interstitials – we have been recognised for our efforts. If you aren’t sure what you missed then have a look at this video of Corvus Corax.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – Iron Maiden

This is playing as I write this and also while I composed the previous communication. I guess I have to start somewhere and as a spotty teenager I was descending into Heavy Metal. This was the first Iron Maiden album to be released while I was a fan. Everything else was just catch up, I missed the live released of Somewhere In Time, which gets reviewed soon I guess. My mum bought me this album from out of nowhere. She just came home one day and gave it too me – this was quite strange for my mum.

For me this takes me back to being a fifteen year old and soaking up all the atmosphere and myth behind this album. I would spend ages looking at the artwork, reading the lyrics and trying to figure out what it all meant. This was Maiden’s seventh studio album and it was their first “concept” album. I guess you write a concept album once you’ve been around the block a bit. You’ve got a solid fan base and you try something new. This album is based around the story of the seventh son of a seventh son who is meant to have magic powers.

So, this was the second album with keyboards which for Metal is wrong but that’s not really a worry. If it adds to the song then it’s fine. I think my biggest problem is that the guitar work isn’t that clear. I don’t like the sound of the guitars on this and “Somewhere”. It’s all rather vague. Maybe it’s a product of the time, new sounds, new effects, trying something different, but for me it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing album and should be rated somewhere near the top but there’s something “missing” for me.

My first concert attended was Iron Maiden on their Seventh Tour. Seeing the band at Wembley Arena was amazing and the set amazed me. It was an amazing first gig. Songs from this album featured heavily as you would expect and I loved it.

  • Moonchild – A good concert opener.
  • Infinite Dreams – I always found this to be quite a romantic song.
  • Can I Play With Madness – not great.
  • The Evil That Men Do – Good but not as good as they think it is.
  • Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – A tour de force, hints of Rime but still good.
  • The Prophecy – I think this could be my new favourite on this re-listening.
  • The Clairvoyant – Another classic, it’s OK.
  • Only The Good Die Young – Pretty good.