Tag Archives: thin lizzy

[Crate Digging] Clover – Love On The Wire

I only knew about this band because of Huey Lewis. If anyone has the biography on Phil Lynott titled The Rocker, you know what a good guy Huey is. Since I’m a huge Thin Lizzy fan, Huey is aces in my book. Clover was a California country rock band that released a couple records that did nothing, so naturally they made their way to England. LOVE ON  THE WIRE was released in 1976 and it is a weird hodge podge of songs.  There are hints of their country rock roots but it’s a mess. Not to mention the gawd awful cover of “Travelin’ Man”. Odd thing is that Huey is listed as lead vocalist but he is seemingly not used in that role. Made worse because Alex Call,who you hear every song, is not very good. “Hearts Under Fire” is the one song they trade off on and is the highlight.

Most interesting aspect of this album is what came of everyone after it. LOVE ON THE WIRE is produced by a very young Robert “Mutt” Lange.  He did alright for himself.  Guitarist John Mcfee, keyboardist Sean Hopper, and bassist Ciambotti were the backing band on Elvis Costello ‘ s debut album. Then there’s Huey.  Clover opened for Thin Lizzy and they took a liking to him so much you hear his harmonica playing on the classic LIVE AND DANGEROUS. When I listened to this as a kid, I didn’t realize the “bluesy” Huey Lewis that Phil gave a shout out to, was the same guy singing “This is It” on MTV.

In closing, LOVE ON THE WIRE is definitely not a sum of its parts. When you really examine all who’s involved it’s amazing that it’s as bad as it is.

I paid $2 for this and that is the right price.

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Audrey Horne-Pure Heavy

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If you know the name Audrey Horne, you are either a Twin Peaks fan or from Norway. There are 5 guys who are both and have a band known as Audrey Horne that have just released their newest album Pure Heavy. I have never heard them before but I saw that this is a side project of guys in Enslaved and Sahg and was quite intrigued. I love when black metal or death metal musicians have projects outside their genre. Ihshan of Emperor has released some brilliant instrumental music while Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir has Chrome Division a hard rock version of Sons Of Anarchy except their not whiny pussies like the guys on the TV show.
On my first listening of Pure Heavy, the first thing I noticed was the singer Toschie. It wasn’t that he was great or horrible, he’s pretty good, but it was why it sounded so familiar. At times he reminded me of Kelly Keagy from Night Ranger and on certain choruses I could hear some Ozzy. After a couple more tracks it finally hit me, he sounds like Brent Hinds of Mastodon. Musically the band sounds like a nice modern take on 70’s hard rock. Lots of KISS and Thin Lizzy influence along with some more flairs thrown in. Opening track “Wolf in my Heart” has that Lizzy dueling guitar sound down so much I had to look to make sure Scott Gorham didn’t play on it. The twin guitars of Ice Dale and Thomas Tofthagen are on display again on “Out Of The City” and “Volcano Girl”. The former is the perfect driving with the top down song, as seen in their puppet laden video while the later track has a much more modern sound. “Diamond” has a slow acoustic intro until it kicks into a very Dio-like main riff. “Gravity” is the track where I believe the Brent Hinds similarity hit me. Really evident on the choruses with the song sounding like Mastodon if it was more of a hard rock band.
That is meant as a compliment.
I will admit the album did start to drag towards the end. It’s not that it was bad but the influences were becoming too much when they probably could have used a couple more tracks like “Gravity”. Then again only idiots like me listen to albums all the way through anymore. There is a lot to like about Audrey Horne’s Pure Heavy. Some really choice guitar melodies on display incorporated with very catchy familiar yet fresh rock songs. Don’t know what it is about that area but they are better at American rock than America is.

PS

They got Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth to drive around in a classic Lincoln with suicide doors and that is a pretty damn cool.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-buy it as a used CD
$1.00-streaming it on Spotify
$0-Not worth the drive space

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Top 5 Live Albums That Mean The Most Personally

Once again to get myself out of a writing drought I have stolen an idea for an article from a podcast. A recent episode of the Decibel Geek Podcast had Luc Carl the Ayatollah of Jack & Cola and a Sirius/XM host on their show. During this episode they listed their 5 most personal live albums. These are not the best live albums in their opinions but the ones that meant the most to them personally. It was an interesting episode and as one that liked making lists, sounded like a fun exercise.

Dokken_-_One_Live_Night
5)Dokken-One Night Live-There always has to be an odd choice, doesn’t there? I know people are thinking if you are going to chose a Dokken live album, why not Beast From The East? It is a great album after all. True but it came out when that genre was at it’s apex and I wasn’t that big a Dokken fan back then. Fast forward 8 years later and Seattle has wiped away Dokken and all of their contemporaries. After a couple years of the grunge scene, the morose flannel wearers had gotten boring and people remembered they liked blow jobs. While Japan did embrace grunge they never shunned bands like Dokken. So after a very good reunion album, get the Japanese version, they got the band to do an live acoustic one too. To be honest it is pseudo-acoustic as George in plugged in. One Night Live showed how great the band is and it is a nice snapshot of those guys enjoying the music they created with each other. They did a nice job of reworking their songs to fit acoustically. Plus it’s where we first heard their cover of “In The Beginning” and “Nowhere Man”. The reason this resonated with me so much as it was a life line in some dire music times. While I did enjoy a lot of the Seattle stuff , the Dokken reunion helped re-ignite my love for the cockrock of 80’s & 90’s Hard Rock.

Maiden
4)Iron Maiden-Live After Death-Iron Maiden is a gateway band and I mean that as a compliment. I think most rock fans around my age grew liking KISS and as we got older wanting something new, Iron Maiden filled that bill. The way their album covers attracted fans could not be overstated. They were a huge draw to the teenage metalhead. Then upon hearing them it was all over. The dueling guitars and Bruce Dickinson’s air raid vocals you were hooked. Maiden was a great pathway to the Metallica’s & Slayer’s we later discovered. Live After Death was the first live album that featured Bruce and the band was arguably at their peak. Even to this day it holds up. Plus, think how many American kids know the Churchill speech just from listening to this album.

Wings-over-America-2-cover-
3)-Wings-Wings Over America-If you have cable you’ve probably seen the Wings concert “Rock Show” in the past couple of months. That is the more or less visual equivalent of the Wings Over America album. And if you’ve seen it you know how good the band was. When I was a kid my Dad was a huge Beatles fan and in turn I became one too. I took his copy of the White Album and traced a ball pen over the raised logo. He was not happy. So he had this album and in turn I had this album playing the 3 LP release incessantly. At first I was drawn to “Magneto & Titanium Man” because it was a song about comic book villains and I loved comics. But in true McCartney brilliance it was also a very catchy song. “Jet”,”Live and Let Die”, “Silly Love Songs” and the Beatles tracks still hold up to this day.

thin-lizzy-life-live
2)-Thin Lizzy-Life Live-Much like my Dokken choice, you are wondering why I chose this Thin Lizzy album instead of the much ballyhooed Live & Dangerous. Well, I came to be a Thin Lizzy fan a bit late in the game. Late being, they had just broken up. I read a blurb in my copy of Hit Parader, remember those, about the band calling it quits and recording several of the farewell shows. Several months later I saw the finished product in my local Sound Warehouse. It is an absolute stunner. The playing on it is so goddamned good and Phil is Phil in all his glory. It is a great showing of the bands history but it really showcased the recently released Thunder & Lightning. Add on that you get to hear a young John Sykes showing what he is capable of. Around that time I had just started getting into Gary Moore and knew he was once a member of Thin Lizzy. He’s here too and all of them play together on the finale “Rocker” and Sykes blows everyone off the stage.
This is a big album for me as it started me down the road to Lizzy fandom. Been obsessed with them every since as well as Gary Moore and whatever John Sykes is doing. Hell, I even bought the 21 Guns album that Scott Gorham did. It’s strange reading the Lynott biography and seeing how people hate the sound because I love it.

Alive_2_cover
1)-KISS-Alive II-I don’t know if people nowadays understand just how huge KISS was back in the day. Being a teenager during this time, they were my biggest obsession. The first time I heard them was when my uncle gave me his copy of Originals. I still have that on my shelf. The first song I learned the words to was “Making Love” even tough I had no idea what making love meant. So by the time Alive II was released they were my band. When you opened the album’s gatefold the pics inside showing the band in all its glory is beyond spectacular. At that time the only other time you would’ve seen this was either at a show or in CREEM or Hit Parader. It was everything a fan could dream of. After dropping down the needle, what came through the speakers was bliss. 3 sides of the Hottest Band In The Land doing what they do best. Plus there was Side 4 that had new songs. WHAT?!?! New songs too ?!?! Out of the 5 tracks 3 of them are keepers. I think they played “All American Man” live a couple years ago. “Rocket Ride” is arguably one of the best Ace songs, top 5 at least.
Even though I haven’t listened to the live stuff in years, it’s still my favorite live album for how it sucked me into the KISS vortex.
So there is my list in all its’ confusing glory. Unlike some of the other lists I’ve done I am pretty confident these picks.
What are your Top 5 live albums?

PS

Here’s the link to the Decibel Geek Podcast episode

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Black Star Riders-All Hell Breaks Loose

1a a a a a a a a a a a a a bsrAnyone that knows me knows that I love me some Thin Lizzy. I’m such a huge fan that last year I was seeing this woman and when she said that Lizzy was overrated I knew that it was doomed between us. I still slept with her a couple more times, but no relationship.

You have to have standards.

So you have to realize that when Thin Lizzy reformed, again, a couple years ago I was skeptical. I grew even more so when they announced they were going to record new music. Let’s be honest, no Phil Lynott no new Lizzy music. While this new incarnation had longtime members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, and Darren Wharton, the last two did not want to be part of this new act. The band has Ricky Warwick, who while his band The Almighty might have done well in the U.K, I never liked them at all nor his voice. I did appreciate that they replaced Vivian Campbell with Damon Johnson, I always thought that Brother Cane was a good band plus he wrote with some other acts as well.

Thankfully they decided to rename themselves Black Star Riders and their first effort is All Hell Breaks Loose. Even with the name change I was still skeptical about it until I heard “Bound For Glory”. It was a very Lizzy-ish song and Warwick’s voice seems to honor Lynott while still retaining some originality. Then I heard the rest of the album.

All Hell Breaks Loose opens with the title track and while it is alright, Warwick has this very annoying tendency to exhale at the end of every line. Let’s just say that it is very, very, very, very annoying. I mean really annoying. After that it’s just a lot of very average hard rock. Half the time the band sounds like a beefed up Smithereens. ie. “Bloodshot”. “Kissing The Ground” comes across as a very generic rock song. It was then I realized that Warwick also seems to ape Gary Moore’s voice a lot. Listen to “Hey Judas” or “Hoodoo Voodoo” and you get the feeling that the band seems to draw more from Moore’s music than Lizzy’s. I guess it’s no surprise that the best track is “Blues Ain’t So Bad”.

This band was like a roller coaster for me. Loved Lizzy, hated who was in it, loved they changed name, hated actually hearing it. It’s weird that even with the name change they still have the specter of Lizzy hovering over it. The band didn’t ignore it or pander to it, they seemed to try and do both. And in doing so failed themselves.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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Anthrax-Anthems

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Cover albums can be hit or miss and have a tendency to be a cash cow for the band. Lots of time they should just be called contractual obligation. Thrash metal icons Anthrax have just released Anthems a 6-track nod to their youth. I say their youth because all the songs are from the 70’s just very beefed up. Since there is only 7 tracks, I’ll go one by one.

First up is the title track originally done by Rush. I am not a Rush fan, only had a couple of their albums. However, Anthrax does a real good job on this Fly By Night original. The band chunks it up some and Joey Belladonna does a terrific job in singing Geddy Lee’s unique vocals. Next is “T.N.T.” by AC/DC’ All I can say is “eh”. Does anyone really need another AC/DC cover? Unless you are going to do it death style like Six Feet Under did, why bother. That is followed by album radio mainstay “Smokin’” from Boston. This is my favorite song off Anthems. Anthrax stays true to to the original just heavy-ing it some. Big highlight is the outstanding organ work from Fred Mandel. This is a perfect party song.

When the news leaked of what songs were on this, the one shocker was “Keep On Runnin” from Journey. While it is not of the best known tracks from their classic album Escape, it is still a curious choice. How are a bunch of New York metalheads going to treat a San Fran pop hit? Thrash the fuck out it. It is played faster than it has ever been played before and Belladonna’s high register works well mimicking Steve Perry’s voice.

Then some familiar artists get a second song covered. Anthrax had already done a Cheap Trick song before, “Auf Weidersehn” from the Sounds Of Black Noise expanded version. This time around it is “Big Eyes”. Music wise it is fine, but here Joey’s voice doesn’t work for me. I really wish they would have done “Gonna Raise Hell”, that would have killed. The other second timer is Thin Lizzy. On Sounds they did an awesome version of “Cowboy Song” this go round we get “Jailbreak”. I have the same feelings about this track that I do about “T.N.T.” Why bother? Again, Joey’s vocals do not work here. On the original Phil Lynott’s voice drips with a confidence and swagger that Belladonna can only dream about. I believe that “Cold Sweat” would have been a much better choice but if they wanted to stay in that same era for Lizzy, “Waitin For An Alibi” would have been an interesting choice.

The album is rounded out with two versions of “Crawl” from last years Worship Music. An album version and the orchestral version which sounds like if one of these “sad bastard” metal bands covered it.

All in all, Anthems is a good buy. While I do not love all the choices they are still enjoyable when they pop up on iTunes. Plus it is only $7 so you can’t be all that mad.

Oops, almost forgot that there is several different album covers for Anthems. The one I got has an homage of the Boston artwork. Looks pretty cool. Tough to tell which version you will get as the slipcase only has a small cut out for you to view the artwork.

Again, adjust for the fact you only pay $7 for this. This is too much math involved for me to re-calculate this. Sorry, I was a history major.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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R.I.P. Gary Moore

The music world got some sad news on Sunday. Legendary guitar player Gary Moore had passed away. From his time in Thin Lizzy to his solo rock work and lastly his blues phase, he is without a doubt one of the greatest guitarist of all-time. When you look back, it is kind of funny how he was never considered on of the top gunslingers at the time. He was not as flashy or fast as the shredders of the 70’s and 80’s. Many purist did not consider him a real blues man, even when they heard the undeniable proof with their own ears.

He is probably best known for his stints in Thin Lizzy. While he was in and out on several occasions, he did record one of their best albums Black Rose:A Rock Legend. Even when he was not in the band, his connection and friendship with Phil Lynott was always there. From Lizzy reworking one of his songs to Phil showing up on Gary’s “Out In The Fields” song and video. For many of us that was the last time we saw Phil and seeing them together was somewhat poetic. Gary’s biggest solo success was with the hit “Parisienne Walkways”. Ironically, a touching ballad but any avid fan would tell you of Gary’s love and propensity for making touching ballads.

The one track that was my gateway to Gary Moore was “End of the World” off of Corridors of Power. I was a teenager in the 80’s and this song came on the radio in the middle of the night. It was playing on the clock radio and the power and uniqueness of this song woke me up. I shot straight up and any slumber I had was gone as I drank in note after note. You have to remember at the time shredders were a dime a dozen and it was tough to really impress a young headbanger, especially one that was ordering stuff by the truckload from Shrapnel Records. But impress me it did and the next day I drove to Sound Warehouse and bought said cassette and immediately cued up side 2 so I could hear “End of the World” again to make sure it was not some dream. It was real and was just as great as I remembered. The funny thing about that story is I have heard similar ones from other people. By buddy Dave heard it in the middle of the night while he was driving and had to pull over to the side of the road just so he could concentrate on it.

Gary released several more rock records. The aforementioned “Out In The Fields”, was from Run For Cover, a terrific album whose lyrical content reflected his anti-war mentality. Another gem on the same album was “Empty Rooms” a lovely ballad of regret. And in true Irishmen form “All Messed Up” a hard rockin; song about hard partyin’. Wild Frontier came out after that and showcased his Irish roots. His last rock record was After The War, while not his strongest release it had the awesome “Led Clones” a not so subtle shot at bands like Kingdom Come that were blatantly ripping off Zeppelin.

It was then that Gary left rock behind. He started releasing well received blues records and immersed himself in that scene. The only time he did some rock stuff was a tribute to Phil and the album Scars. This was a very interesting album he did with members of the band Skunk Anansie and Primal Scream. It was back to the blues and in 2008 he came out with Close As You Get. I thought this was his best non-rock album. The blues stuff had a more rocking tough and it also had “Evenin”. An instrumental ballad that told a beautiful sorrowful story without the need for words.

Besides his overflowing catalog of great music, he is also known for a job he did not get. Gary was the original pick for guitarist on Ozzy’s solo debut. Unfortunately an accident happened and Gary could not make a go of it and the rest is history. It was probably for the best as having Gary and Ozzy on tour together would have shortened their careers. The human liver can only take so much. One other non-musical fact about Gary is the huge scar on his face. He got that after being stabbed in the face with a knife It also gave us the greatest line from Ozzy. He remarked that Gary Moore had a face like a welders bench.

Thankfully Gary’s hands were fine and we were able to receive his greatest gift through all those years.

Even though he maybe gone his music will be with us. Even though he may have been unheralded, those of us that heard him, knew he was the best.

The proof is in his music.

 

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