Thanks to KP for picking up my slack. That girl is nuts.
Brother, this Judas Priest record is so “very metal.” British Steel (1980) is not the most consistent record but it contains a couple true classics. “Breaking the Law”? You know it. One of my first garage band covers, with me on drums. “Living After Midnight,” check. And I’ll also throw the lesser-known, but anthemic gem, “United.” The band had really found their groove at this point, with that locked-in driving metal sound that got right to the point.
Check out this “Breaking the Law” video and watch for the moment that caused Beavis and Butthead to call singer Rob Halford a “wild and crazy guy” a la Steve Martin.
If you’ve heard only one song by MotÃ¶rhead it’s almost certainly “Ace of Spades” from the album of the same name. There’s an AT&T television ad in heavy rotation, or maybe it’s just the type of shows I watch, that has a burly metalhead singing the song at the end. I’ve seen it so much I had to hear the real thing again.
One fun thing about the Ace of Spades (1980, this version on Profile Records 1986) album is its copious use of that curious percussion instrument the vibraslap. Hear one at Wikipedia. No sound conjures up the spaghetti-western, guns-about-to-be-drawn vibe more than the vibraslap’s rattle. I first became intimately familiar with the vibraslap when I was a percussionist in my junior high band, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. So, it’s probably no coincidence that my all time favorite Motorhead song is “Shoot You in the Back.” Just listen to all that vibraslap.
There are a few other great songs, but despite its fame this is not a consistent record. Unfortunately, there is also some really off-putting stuff like “Jailbait.” Come on, man.
It seems a little lazy to tag an XTC record as “new wave” but that’s what I found and I can’t think of anything better. Black Sea (1980) is definitely my favorite of their albums. Mary is the real XTC fan in this house, but anyone can enjoy songs like “Respectable Street” and “Generals and Majors.” Other than those my favorite is probably “Burning with Optimism’s Flames.” I’m not sure when or where she got this but it appears to be another “cut out.” Black Sea made it to No. 41 on the Billboard charts so no doubt many more were sold than returned to the label or put on sale in the cut out bins.
All songs written by Andy Partridge, except where noted.
1. “Respectable Street” – 3:37
2. “Generals and Majors” (Colin Moulding) – 4:04
3. “Living through Another Cuba” – 4:44
4. “Love at First Sight” (Moulding) – 3:07
5. “Rocket from a Bottle” – 3:30
6. “No Language in Our Lungs” – 4:53
7. “Towers of London” – 5:24
8. “Paper and Iron (Notes and Coins)” – 4:17
9. “Burning with Optimism’s Flames” – 4:15
10. “Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)” – 3:56
11. “Travels in Nihilon” – 7:0
I know some folks like to make fun of Adam and the Ants. Considering that their popularity was relatively short-lived, their use of not-of-this-time-appearing costumes, and the annoying frequency with which they sing about themselves or their Ant nation, that is understandable. But this is still interesting music. Most, maybe all, of these songs are just too strange to sound dated. The double drummer set up, tribal chanting vocals, and spaghetti western guitar riffs all make for something that is as original as it is pop. My favorite song is “Killer in the Home”, about the plight of Native Americans. I blame Jeff Arthur for getting me into this.
More info about Adam and the Ants’ Kings of the Wild Frontier.
Even I’m Heavy Duty! needs a vacation occasionally, but we’re starting back with a winner: AC/DC’s Back in Black. Most folks probably think this one is their best record, but to me it’s a close second to Highway to Hell.
Between the all black album cover and Brian Johnson’s over-the-top lyrics if I didn’t know this was AC/DC I’d be tempted to think this record was a Spinal Tap tribute. Except that the music is infinitely better and Spinal Tap didn’t come out until four years later. My friend Gary’s favorite Spinal Tap moment is the lyric “Let me cut your cake with my knife.” Pretty hard to beat that one.
Back in Black would rate a 10 in my book just for the title track alone, but it also contains the classics “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Some other favorites of mine are “Have a Drink on Me” and the corny-titled, but hard rocking album closer “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.”
Listening to music like XTC’s Skylarking reminds me that I do, in fact, have something in common with Dee Snider. I wanna rock. And this record ain’t taking me there. I’m not saying I only want to listen to crunching guitars and screeching vocals. Good classical rocks, even pop can rock, and funk is always rocking. I don’t think XTC is bad, but rarely does their music meet the need I share with Dee.
Hey! I’ve already posted this album, except it was a different. This version of The Black Album by The Damned doesn’t have the gatefold cover, the front is much simpler (boring), and there is no second LP with the live stuff. Anything else I could say I’ve already said. I did play it again, in case you’re wondering, because that’s the deal. Everything gets played, at least one more time.
Acquired: 1985 ? – Tower in the District of Columbia
Joe Jackson is the man. He even wrote a song about it. But that’s another record. On this one he’s mad, “Mad at You” to be specific. This single is from the album Beat Crazy and the flipside is an outtake from the album called “Enough is Enough.” I love ’em both. That’s all I’m saying for this one.
This version of The Damned’s The Black Album is the original release on the Chiswick label. That means it’s a full color gatefold sleeve double album. We also have another version that is mostly black, with no gatefold, and no second record. The second is mostly live stuff. I can’t remember when and where I got this, but I do remember that not too long ago it still had the shrink wrap on it. So, it’s old, but almost new, if you know what I’m saying.
I’ve always loved the song “Wait for the Blackout” and there are some other great ones on this record. But there’s some other stuff that just drags it down. Which is how I feel about every record by The Damned. Read more about The Black Album.
“Women and Children First” is the third album by Van Halen, and it’s brilliant, if not quite as stunning as the first two. These guys followed no rules. It’s hard to believe how eclectic this record is. “Loss of Control” sounds like Slayer for a minute or so, and this is only 1980! Then there’s “Could This Be Magic?”, which is an acoustic number that I suppose you could call old-time folk, blues, or maybe even a “standard.” I don’t know. That one includes the line “Women and Children First” which became the album title. The big hits from this record are “And The Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!”
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
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