George Martin Tribute/Album Review:Jeff Beck-Blow By Blow(1975)

For some other tributes please visit mikeladano , keepsmealive , and 1001albumsin10years

When I heard this morning that George Martin had passed, I wanted to do a tribute. I did not want anything Beatles related because although I love them, that is mostly all he is known for. I searched the internet to find out what other projects he worked on. It turns out, I have a few of his non-Beatles gems, but I knew this album by Jeff Beck would be a fitting send off. This album was Jeff’s first instrumental album, and was the first ever instrumental album to crack the Top 10. George was interviewed years later about the recording of this album and he said “I’m a simple person when it comes to recording. The sounds you get are 99% what you get in the studio.” He also told Jeff before recording this album “I’m not gonna give you any magic if you’re thinking of that; I’m not gonna give you sounds that you’ve never heard before.” and “The sounds are gonna have to come from your guitar, and you’re gonna have to work on ’em.”

You Know What I Mean – Ok. Right off the bat, you know this is not going to be like any Jeff Beck album ever heard. Jeff is one of the best rocking blues guitar shredders of all time. This was something different though. A side of Jeff we did not know existed. Don’t get me wrong, he still shreds, but the music accompanying him is very jazz influenced with some funk slid in for good measure.

She’s A Woman – If someone told me they were going to do an instrumental Beatles cover song, in a sort of Do You Feel Like We Do/Rocky Mountain Way talkbox meets Reggae backbeat I would have called them crazy.

Constipated Duck – I am really upset I didn’t go through school to become a vet. If I would have been able to listen to this as part of a lesson, all those spays and neuters would have been worth it. Maybe the duck is not really constipated, and is just holding it so he can hear the rest of this song. Who knows?

AIR Blower – Funky, chunky bass start this song off and continue all the way through. The drums keep a nice, steady beat. This leaves Jeff free to be able to what he does best, and that is wail. OH BOY does he ever wail. There is a nice addition of some well played keyboards that blend in nicely with the style of the song. The guitar work varies between higher pitched screams and lower toned grooves. They both feel right. There is sort of a spacey, trippy feeling to the song near the end that finishes it on a high note. The AIR in the title is in reference to the AIR Studios in where the album was recorded.

Scatterbrain – A reserved, but well thought out drum solo starts this off, and Jeff blends in like he so often does. Soon he decides it is not time to blend, but move his guitar to the fore front. This is a Jeff Beck album after all. Some wah pedal techniques, and a faster pace fill the middle of the song. Then the orchestra lets us know they want to be included. George Martin did the arranging here, and he did a damn fine job. Then the song takes a different turn. It has some wailing at the end that must have influenced Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) on the song Jesus Christ Pose. This is almost like 2 or 3 songs in one. A faster, more frenetic pace fills the last 30 seconds or so of the song.

We must now either choose to play Side A again, or flip the record over (I voted for the first option, since it was so damn fine).

Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Jeff’s playing here is more like his bluesy stuff of albums past. His guitar tone is so, so good. I suggest to find a comfy chair, sit back, close your eyes and let the waves of awesomeness envelope you in a sea of ecstasy. This was written by Stevie Wonder, as partial payback for Beck coming up with the song Superstition.

Thelonius – This stuff is so grooooovy, it could straighten the hair on Linc from the Mod Squad. Funky, wah pedal, soulful goodness. The bass thumps the large drivers right out of the speakers, and the clavinet is amazing. It should be. Not only did Stevie Wonder write this song, he plays clavinet on this song uncredited.

Freeway Jam – If I got to hear this awesome little number every day, I would drive the freeway during rush hour in the slow lane. The guitar licks repeat throughout most of the song, but the funky 70’s bass, and pounding drum keep us from getting bored.

Diamond Dust – A softer song with a mellower, but equally awesome guitar. The best guitarists in the world don’t always need to have their instruments scream to make you notice them. Another song with an orchestral arrangement by George Martin. What a fitting way to end an album, and say goodbye to a legend. So long George, say hi to John and George H. for us.

Apparently, Jeff never seemed to be satisfied with his work on this album. He recorded the solos over and over until he felt they were perfect. George Martin got a call months after the recording was done and it was Jeff wanting to change one of the solos again. George had to tell him “I’m sorry Jeff. The album is already in the record shops.” I’m not sure what solo it was, but I would have also told him you can not perfect on perfection.




Top 10 Baseball Songs

The baseball playoffs are here and my Toronto Blue Jays are a wild card team. They have home field advantage in the wild card round, and they have the slugging power to beat any team in the league. Their defence can be scary though, so who knows? Anyway, here is my Top 10 songs with a baseball theme.

10) Enter Sandman – Not really a baseball song, per se, but it was the entrance song for possibly the best closing pitcher ever in baseball. I know that he played for the hated Yankees, but he was freaking awesome.

9) Ok Blue Jays – Not the best song ever, and it’s a total “homer” song in more ways than one, but I had to wash the thoughts of the Yankees out of my foggy, covid riddled brain.

8) Baseball Glove – Another not so great song, and it’s country at that. But Gord Bamford is Canadian and the sentiment of a little kid dreaming about a baseball glove seems to hit home. Plus any mention of Roy Halladay is a plus in my books.

7) Glory Days – The first verse of this song is a real account of Bruce Springsteen meeting his old high school baseball buddy years later.

6) The Greatest – Kenny Rogers and some of the greatest baseball players ever in the same video. Sign me up.

5) Catfish – Another Yankee song. Uggghhh.

4) Tessie – a Boston Red Sox song. Double uggghhh.

3) Centerfield – I just love John Fogerty’s voice.

2) Paradise By The Dashboard Light – A song about a different kind of home run.

1)Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Album Review: Voivod – Nothingface (1989, 2022 RSD vinyl reissue)

Voivod are one of those bands that I always try and tell people about. They are fairly well known in the metal world, but most Canadians have never heard of them. They have been slugging it out since 1982, and I feel the only reason they survived this long is because of the thriving metal scene in Quebec, Canada. It must be hard to be considered one of the best Canadian bands by people from other countries, but not ever get radio play in your own country. I felt Canada Day was a great day to give Voivod some love. I have been searching for Nothingface on vinyl for around 30 years, so when it was released on the June Record Store Day (pushed off from the April date) I had to pounce. It’s been a favourite of mine for a long time so I will try and be as objective as I can, but no promises.

The Unknown Knows – Right off the bat I get a Megadeth meets the heaviest parts of Rush vibe. The band moved to a more heavy thrash/prog lane for this album, and the first song sets this tone for the album. Piggy (R.I.P) also throws his hat into the jazz circle with his playing. Snake’s vocals have a bit of a Dave Mustaine nasally tone which I love, but some my find polarizing. Heavy prog meets thrash with a cool jazzy twist. Sign me up.

Nothingface – If Rush were trying to emulate an early 70’s Yes song and had a cross between Dave Mustaine and Alice Cooper do the vocals, this would be the result. The 4 minutes and 15 seconds seem to take a much longer time to tick by when listening to this song. It seems like one of those epic 70’s era prog songs, only much less pretentious.

Astronomy Domine – Covering a Pink Floyd song, especially one from their early Syd Barrett era usually results in a cheap imitation. This is not that. This may not only be one of the best Pink Floyd covers ever, it may be one of the best cover songs ever. It may even be one of the few cover songs that is better than the original. A unicorn as it were. I’m on the fence about that but either way, here it is. Soak it in. SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!

Missing Sequences – This one not only mixes thrash with prog, but I hear some heavy rocking funk as well. As if Mike Patton was visiting Montreal when this was being recorded and decided to join incognito.

A really great A side. Let’s see if side B is as good.

X-Ray Mirror – This song has some cool lyrics “I am, he is, the face I hate, hate..I can’t believe this is my image. Like the mirror without a frame…the glass is broken but I look the same.” The instrumentation sets it apart from the wannabes as well.

Inner Combustion – A fast paced punky romp.

Pre-Ignition – With a song title that sounds like it was taken from a Boston album, this one may disappoint the classic rock crowd, but those of you that love late 80’s/early 90’s funk metal mixed with a punky thrash vibe will not be disappointed. However, if you like 70’s rock the middle of the song features an homage to Brian May’s guitar work, so even the classic rock crowd has something to love.

Into My Hypercube – The song switches gears a bit for the start of this song. Kind of like the very best of the softer, slower moments of certain Metallica songs through the years. There is nothing like a softer metal song to tune the ears to every tick of the cymbals and plunk of a bass string. It does get louder and heavier as the song progresses, which is not a bad thing here.

Sub-Effect – Away’s drumming takes centre stage here folks. When any drummer can keep pace with Piggy and Blacky, you know he is the real deal. A great album closer on par with many of the songs on this album.

I told you I wanted to remain objective, and I think I did. I listened with fresh ears and heard some new sounds. It turns out there was even more to love than I thought. The sticker on the front of my album cover reads “First LP reissue of this 1989 Prog/Thrash/Metal Classic! Newly Mastered for Vinyl by Peter Moore” I want to give Peter Moore a shout out here, because even though this album was recorded digitally in 1989 (I assume on DAT), there is an analogue sound to it, which is rare on a vinyl record sourced from digital. I suggest to hunt this one down on your favourite form of media and crank it.

Happy Canada Day everyone.


Album Review: Resurrection Band – Rainbow’s End (1979 Canadian LP)

I remember in high school seeing the bible thumping kids wearing Rez Band t-shirts. It was nothing like the music I listened to. It was not the work of the devil, and it’s number was not six hundred and sixty six. I just wrote off Rez Band as a band I would never listen to. As I got older, I got more accepting to many things, music included. I found a vg+ copy of this album for a buck at a thrift store. For that price what did I have to lose, and I figured this weekend was as good as any to spin this one.

Midnight Son – Wicked 70’s hard rock with the booming bass, pounding drums and amazing guitar work start this album off on good notes. Husband and wife Glenn and Wendy Kaiser with their back and forth vocals are sort of Ann Wilson and Paul Rogers like.

Strongman – Stu Hess’s guitar work is Joe Perry like and Wendy wails like a cross between Heart and Jefferson Starship.

Afrikaans – Long before any North American had heard about Apartheid, Resurrection Band hoped to teach the world about the injustices in South Africa. “God makes the colour, but the colour doesn’t make you God.” Amen.

Skyline – The harmonica is the star here. This one has a real Bad Company feel.

Paint A Picture – This one has an early Bryan Adams meets Steve Perry feel to it. If Steve Perry had a raspier voice this is how it might sound. The lyrics mention a blood covered cross and He died to prove his love for you. This song suits this weekend just fine.

Rainbow’s End – 70’s era guitar synthesizer starts this one off, then straight up, wailing guitars take over. Wendy’s wicked vocals are just awesome. If Led Zeppelin had a female lead singer, this is how it might have sounded.

Concert For A Queen – A bit of prog mixed with a little Jethro Tull start this one off. Fitting that the title mentions Queen since the guitar has a bit of Brian May sound to it. Picture a 70’s supergroup with Ian Anderson, Brian May and backed by the members of Yes to get an idea where this song is headed.

Sacrifice Of Love – This one fits into that late 70’s hard rock but also has a tiny bit of the late 70’s New Wave CBGB’s feel to it. If Heart had collaborated with Blondie, this may have been the result.

The Wolfsong – As I read these lyrics, it seems this song is a dig at televangelists. Telling others about God through song without asking them to empty their wallets seems like the better approach to me.

Everytime It Rains – The sax gives bit of a Foreigner flavour. A good song to end a really good album off on.

This long lost classic has opened my eyes toward Christian Rock. I recommend to buy this album if you ever see it in the wild. I know I’ll be buying more Resurrection Band albums if I see them.

Happy Easter everyone.


Concert Review: Rheostatics/Corin Raymond (Princess Cinema, April 8, 2022)

A few weeks ago my brother emailed me. He wondered if I wanted to buy his ticket to see the Rheostatics at a small theater(177 capacity). He had bought the ticket to the show but the date had been changed due to Covid 19. The new date fell on his son’s birthday and he didn’t want to miss that. I responded “Does the Pope shit in his hat?” (which means fuckin’ right I wanna go in my former Catholic, weird sense of sense of humour kind of way)

The band sent a message stating the doors would open at 7:15pm and seating was first come, first served. I wanted an aisle seat up near the front so I wanted to get there early. I got there about 6:50pm and there were only a few people in line. The guy in front of me had a Grateful Dead battle jacket and hair down to his ass. I figured I was among like minded souls. We started talking about the Rheos and he told me he usually only listens to music pre-1980 (although he only looked to be about 30). I asked why he was seeing this band and he told me the other guys in his band LOVE the Rheostatics. They convinced him he needed to see the band play live. I’m not sure if it was a condition to staying in the band, but I would like to think so. I asked what band he was in and he told me The Connors Brothers. Then I decided to (in my best stupid question, rock journalist voice) ask the question that I am quite sure no one has ever asked him “So. You’re in a band with your brothers then?” (I don’t have a link to the Pulitzer prize voting but I’ll look into it). He replied “The other guys are the Connors brothers, but my first name is Conner, so it works.”

I glanced across Princess Street and saw I guy on the other sidewalk surveying all of us in the lineup. He had a Cheshire Cat grin that was mixed with the joyful look of a pig rolling in shit. I figured he had something to do with the show but would have to wait to find out.

They let us in early and I bypassed the popcorn/drink line and got to my seat. The few in front of me went down the right side of the theater so I went left. That’s just how I roll. The outer left seats in the front row were blocked by a large speaker on the stage so I quickly plopped my ass down in the 2nd row outside aisle seat. I snapped a few photos of the stage and Dave Bidini’s/Martin Tielli’s wicked geetars. Martin’s double neck gets me every time I see these guys. It never gets old.

My choice of seat was soon a point of contention because the lone roadie chose to sit right in front of me. Lets just say that loading amps and guitars by yourself has a tendency for one to air out a waft of pungent smog strong enough to maim the savage beast. My watering eyes glanced over to the right side seats just in case I had to clear out. Thankfully stinky moved back up onto the stage for the rest of the show.

Mr. Cheshire Grin soon appeared on stage. He, in fact was the opener Corin Raymond. He told us how he opened for the Rheostatics years ago in his previous band The Undesirables. His set was filled with funny banter with the audience (plus a lot with the sound guy that clearly was overwhelmed) mixed with awesome tunes. This guy is the real deal. One thing that I found really cool was his laugh. He included it a lot during his songs. I’m not sure if it’s a nervous tick sort of thing, or if it his way of showing how much he enjoys what he does for a living. Either way, it’s really infectious. After his set I went to his merch booth and bought his last 2 cd’s. I was particularly amazed at the newest one which is included inside a 264 page book. I listened to it after I got home and numerous times today. I’ll review it soon enough, but suffice it to say it is awesome. He is sort of a mixture between Sixto Rodriguez (Searching For Sugar Man), Johnny Cash and maybe a tiny bit of comedic flavour like Weird Al or B.A. Johnston. An awesome combo if you ask me.

The Rheos soon make their way to the stage. A little drum tapping, bass plunking and guitar tweaking take place. Some might have preferred for the band to have done a sound check before hand. I, however love the interaction. The band also include the audience by chatting with us. The band is not all on stage however. Soon a tall man wearing a conductor cap, vest, dress shirt and tie saunters down the right aisle towards the stage. He either has an inner ear issue (an affliction I know all about) or is 3/4 cut (2.5 sheets to the wind, almost pissed, fairly inebriated).

When Martin grabs his double neck guitar there is no amount of intoxicant that could stop him from making those sweet sounds. He may be the best Canadian guitar god that no one talks about. There were times that it appeared he could barely stand but his playing was amazing.

The band announced that this was their first show since 2019. (I’m not sure why they were not playing in 2020 or 2021. It’s not like the world had anything newsworthy going on.) You wouldn’t know from the band though. They showed no signs of rust.

The night was going great until the song Here Come The Wolves. First Martins cap falls off. Then he wanted to switch guitars. He looked overheated and confused and as I was filming the performance of this song it was quite evident that he was in a state of distress. I was really hoping he wasn’t going into a full blown medical issue. Part way through the song he states I think he was lost as to where his place was in the song, and he seemed to forget his lyrics. As Martin is struggled Tim Vesely looks over and you can tell he has a sense of concern for his bandmate. Martin exclaims “I was tuning the first fucking part of the song. I don’t know where we are. (Nervous laughter from the audience). Fuck this!! (takes guitar off and stumbles off stage)” Then Martin briefly goes back on stage and Tim smiles. His smile soon fades because he, and we thought Martin was back from a tiny brain fart but he was searching for his hat. He finds it and exits the stage again. Dave tells his band mate. “Hold on Martin. Let rock and roll offer you a second chance. Even a third and a forth chance (the crowd cheers)” The band make a few light hearted jokes to ease the tension and Dave Bidini asks us “That was going pretty well wasn’t it?” He mentions it may have been his fault for how he started the song. (He took all the blame on himself. He is a consummate bandmate by bailing out Martin)

Dave says “Maybe we’ll just go over there until Martin decides to join us”. The rest of the band move into the left aisle 2 feet to my left and do an impromptu acoustic jam session which I have to say was fucking amazing. Now I know what it must have been like being on the Festival Express.

Eventually when Martin has not returned the band take a little break. After the break the entire band including Martin arrive all refreshed. Martin has changed into a U.S. Scout Troop shirt and it appears the cool night air has done him some good. A fan has also been turned on in front of him to keep him cool.

The band play a few more songs and then say good night. The audience keeps cheering and no one goes home. we know the deal. The band comes back on stage for the encore. A few more songs and we are satisfied. The band gave their all for us tonight.

Overheating and possible over indulgence goes hand in hand with rock n roll. The pandemic was hard on everyone. Over 2 years of not performing takes its toll on musicians and some bands folded under the pressure. The first time back to your job after 2 years is enough to show a few cracks in anyone’s armour. I don’t hold it against Martin for what happened to him last night. In fact, if it had not happened maybe the band would not have all stood right beside me in the aisle and sang. It begs the question: Is a perfectly choreographed live show perfect? Not to me it’s not. Seeing a setlist from a band in which the same songs are played in the same order through an entire tour is boring. This night was certainly not that.

I asked my roadie friend for a setlist and he grabbed me the one from Hugh Marsh. Thanks for that bud. Smell ya later.


Taylor Hawkins Top 10

I saw earlier today that Taylor Hawkins has died at the age of 50. While I am not the biggest Foo Fighter fan in the world (mostly due to Dave Grohl), I did see the band live a few years ago and they put on a great show. The highlight of the night was watching Taylor smash his drums. The guy had a lot of talent and he will be missed.

10 W/Guns N Roses Live 2018

9 Brian May – Cyborg

8 Sass Jordan European Tour 1994 – At 22 Taylor was working in a music store and was asked if he would go on tour with a female Canadian singer. He agreed to do it and the rest is history.

7 Alanis Morrissette David Letterman Show 1995 – After the Sass Jordan tour was over Alanis asked Taylor to go on the road with her. Canadians know talent when they see it.

6 Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones One-Off Show 2008

5 w/Chad Smith 2016

4 Foo Fighters – Somebody To Love 2022

3 NHC – Feed The Cruel

2 Grammy Salute To Prince 2020

1 Rush’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction

Rest In Peace Taylor.

Carol Kaye Top 10

A lot of you may ask. Who? Carol Kaye may be the least appreciated musician of all time, and she played during a time when women were not considered real musicians. The sexual discrimination she would have constantly faced must have been unreal. She has played in over 10,000 songs. She started out on guitar , but when she was at a job to play guitar, the bassist didn’t show up, so she grabbed the bass and without any prior experience played the bass on the track as well. Later, as a member of the famed Wrecking Crew of studio musicians, she was constantly hired to play on albums, mostly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including some of the most famous tv theme songs ever. I could easily do a top 10 just in her theme songs, but I’ll narrow the 10,000 down to 10.

10 Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (guitar)

9 Sonny & Cher – The Beat Goes On (Bass)

8 The Mothers Of Invention – Any Way The Wind Blows (12 string guitar)

7 Motherlode – When I Die (Bass) It’s pretty cool how Carol played on this London, Ontario, Canada band.

6 Mission Impossible Theme (Bass)

5 Buffalo Springfield – Expecting To Fly (Bass)

4 David Axelrod – Urizen (sampled by Jurassic 5 A Day At The Races) (bass)

3 Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (Bass)

2 Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation (Bass)

1 Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (bass)

Happy 87th Birthday Carol.

Album Review: Sammy Hagar – Marching To Mars (1997 Japanese CD)

1996 was a very difficult time for Sammy Hagar. His relationship in Van Halen was strained to say the least. New management was brought in (Alex’s brother-in-law), promises were broken, David Lee Roth was singing a few new songs, and depending on who you believe Sammy was either fired or he quit.

After leaving VH Sammy quickly wanted to show the brothers what they were missing. He recruited former Montrose bandmate Denny Carmassi (drums), Jesse Harms (keys), and Jonathan Pierce (bass) for his band. He also asked a few friends to help out and the list is pretty spectacular. Slash, Matt Sorum, Huey Lewis, Bootsy Collins, Mickey Hart, Damin Johnson are a few of the guest stars on this album. He even enlists his other former Montrose bandmates Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church in a special one-off Montrose reunion song.

Little White Lie – This is the big hit single off the album. It really is a wicked song. The song starts off with some sweet percussion with a Cuban flavour then Huey Lewis blows his mouth organ for all it’s worth. The slide and dobro are sweet by Roy Rogers but the song really kicks it up a notch when Slash joins the party.

Salvation On Sand Hill – Damon Johnson from Brother Cane and Alice Cooper fame is the ace here. He co-wrote the song and his guitar work is wicked. I like the mix of hard and quiet on this one. The quieter parts remind me of a Whitesnake song.

Who Has The Right? – This ballad reminds me of a stronger 80’s ballad. Something along the lines of Sheriff, John Waite, or Damn Yankees. It has a bit of Slash like guitar work even though Slash did not play on this song. He might have been in the studio giving the thumbs up to Sammy though.

Would You Do It For Free – Whoa!!! A funk number in 1997? Who knew this could work? Bootsy Collins, that’s who. His bass work on this one is a throwback to the long lost P Funk groove. This guy is ultra cool. Like on the Snoop Dogg showing up to a house party with a bag of weed and a posse of beautiful women kind of cool. This song is pretty damn cool too.

Leaving The Warmth Of The Womb – This is the Montrose reunion of sorts that fans have been wanting since the mid 70’s. A really wicked song. It’s too bad these guys couldn’t have seen the way to do another album together.

Kama – Kama is Sammy’s daughter born in 1996. The same one that had a share in Sammy exiting Van Halen. Supposedly the VH brothers ordered Sammy to fly to California from Hawaii where he and his wife Kari were ready to deliver a baby. Kari could not fly and risk the pregnancy, and this caused a huge rift between Sammy and the bros. Matt Sorum makes his only appearance on the album here. It’s another ballad and the drumming is great, but I feel he would have shone brighter on a hard rocker. Knowing the back story of singing a song about his infant daughter makes the song that much more special though. “..To see the most perfect thing together, we’ve ever done. So what do we call this miracle we’ve made, and how can I find one word to say it. When all I’m feeling, here and now, is love. So that will always be you. Kama….” As a dad I get a little choked up over a father writing and singing a song to his daughter. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

On The Other Hand – Damon Johnson joins us again playing acoustic and slide. His slide work especially is really sweet.

Both Sides Now – One of the other singles on the album. Another great one here folks. The church choir sounding background vocals and the sweet Cuban style percussion add a great flavour to the song.

The Yogi’s So High (I’m Stoned) – I wonder if Yogi ate the wrong gummy and had to get Boo Boo to bring him down. Sammy’s guitar work is really great here. I again hear some Whitesnake. He must have been listening to Slow an’ Easy before this one. Or maybe his producer Mike Clink brought his Whitesnake past along for the ride. When a rock song mentions Ouspenski and Velokowski you know it’s not just another dumb rock song, and the guitar solo elevates it too.

Amnesty Is Granted – This song was a Van Halen cast off song written by Sammy. He offered it to Meat Loaf and he played guitar/sang backup on this song for Meat Loaf’s 1995 album Welcome To The Neighbourhood. Van Halen’s loss is Sammy and Meat Loaf’s gain I say. I am surprised that the Sammy version here is softer, and I admit I prefer the Meatloaf song a little more.

Marching To Mars – This song is about leaving earth to find life out in space. I know Sammy believes in aliens so this song is right up his wheelhouse. If this Covid keeps up maybe we can all head there.

Ether – The first of 2 Japanese bonus tracks could be a cross between Pink Floyd, Steve Vai and Dream Theater.

Wash Me Down Again – I have no idea why this didn’t make the album proper. It’s a wicked song with some sweet keys. It might be the best non-album track Sammy ever did.

I know I usually think of Montrose, Van Halen, or Chickenfoot when I think of Sammy. As far as his solo stuff, the 70’s to 1985 seems to get the most attention. Then probably the Waborita albums. However, this one is probably the most underlooked which is a real shame. If you see it in the wild, I say grab it. If you like GNR, Van Hagar, Whitesake you’ll like this album. Or even if you just like Cuban percussion, P Funk or 80’s ballads there will be something for you here. Basically something for just about anyone.


Album Review: U2 – Under A Blood Red Sky (1983 Canadian LP)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s some Irish music for you.

Gloria – The instrumentation on this one is amazing. Bono allows the individual musicians to shine solo during the song and introduces them. The bass playing here especially is some of the best sounding live bass work the band have ever put out, and would give bass players a run for their money.

11 O’Clock Tick Tock – It sounds like me waiting to drive my wife or daughter (or both) to some event we are already late for. More wicked bass playing but the drum work here is pretty stellar as well.

I Will Follow – Energetic live performance here. This early live stuff sounds so good I almost wish I had gone with my buddies to see the band back in the 80’s, but with my long hair and Canadian tuxedo I may not have fit in. One part of the song that does not fit in is Bono asking the crowd “one more?” at the end of the song. This was the 2nd last song on the day they played live in Germany so it made sense when he said it. It doesn’t make sense here since 5 songs follow it.

Party Girl – The back and forth with the crowd yelling “HEY!”(repeat) is pretty cool. The guitar work is great and the bass is amazing.

Sunday Bloody Sunday – “There’s been a lot of talk about this song. Maybe too much talk. This is not a rebel song. This song is Sunday Bloody Sunday”. Bono sounds almost exactly as he does on the original. The Edge’s guitar work is unique on this live one. I always liked the back and forth between Bono and the rest of the band on this one. The first time U2 played this song in Belfast Bono told the crowd “If you don’t like the song, we won’t play it again”. Only 3 people walked out of the hall in protest so the band has played it ever since. Listening to this version, |I’m glad it worked out that way.

The Electric Co. – The song is a protest against electro shock therapy, which had happened to a friend of the band. The guitar and drums shine here. The addition of a snippet of Steven Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” is pretty cool. This song when played live in the early days usually is preceded with Cry, often being called Cry/The Electric Co. and the song is done this way on the album, but is not listed that way in the credits.

New Years Day – Just like a New Years resolution, I pledge to listen to more (especially early) U2. Also to go into it with an open mind. Not be too concerned with the politics of a multi cajillionaire telling me to give all of my money to charity from his private jet. Again the bass is the star here, but Bono’s voice is amazing. The keyboard playing in this song that may be just a bit off on this entire album.

“40” – I can bet Butthole Surfers used this song as the inspiration for their song Pepper. The song ending with the crowd chanting the song is a great finish to this album.

The album is taken from 3 live performances from 1983. One in Boston, one in Denver and one in West Germany (it seems strange to write that in 2022). The band was obviously able to pick the best songs for the album, but from what I’m hearing they were a pretty great live band, even early one.

In 2009 my buddy worked for Blackberry, the Waterloo, Ontario maker of the once king of the phones. In ’09 the company was still competing with Apple and Android, and they had a sponsorship deal with U2. My buddy phoned me up and asked if my wife and I if we were free. He had a pair of tickets for us to join him at the Skydome (Rogers Centre) to see U2. He got the tickets from work for free (every employee got tickets, and any left over were given to friends and family). All employees were told not to sell the tickets, and some lost their jobs because they tried. U2 put on a great show, and the 60,000 or so in attendance got the rare chance to see a concert with the Skydome roof open. It was a great time had by all. I will admit to not really being a huge U2 fan, but they are a great live band (at least until Bono gets on his high horse, but I digress). This might be the best the band has sounded live though. I suggest to seek it out even if you are not really a fan.



Album Review: Metallica – Live At Webster Hall New York, NY September 27, 2016 (2017 3LP)

40 years ago Metallica played their first concert on March 14, 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California. To celebrate this I will be reviewing a special release 2lp vinyl that I bought at a pop up Met Store in Toronto.

Breadfan – I always loved that Metallica renewed the interest in Budgie. R.I.P. Burke Shelley.

Holier Than Thou – Kirk Hammett is on fire for this entire performance and even Lars pounds the drums so hard that you can’t hear his gum chewing.

Battery – The band can still play the fast ones in their old age.

Harvester Of Sorrow – A heavy droning song that gets the crowd involved.

Guitar Solo – Kirk even brings out the wah pedal for this one, and sounds a bit like Eddie Van Halen (R.I.P.)

Fade To Black – Disc 1 Side B starts off with some wicked acoustic guitar. A very haunting tune. Really great sounding electric guitar on this one (it sounds like it Kirk is playing in my living room). The drums are crisp and tight. James sounds amazing. This is the best live song I’ve heard on a recording in years. Realllly Gooood!!!!

Moth Into Flame – James asked the crowd “What the hell? What took 8 years?” (He is questioning why the band took 8 years between records) This song is played live for the first time, before the release of their new album. Even though the crowd (or anyone else had ever heard the song) the power and crowd energy does not drop off as sometimes happens with new songs played live. That shows the strength of the song as far as I’m concerned. A really good song especially considering all the previous.

Time to change the record out to sides C/D

Sad But True – The guitar work sounds a tiny bit off on the start of this one, but that quickly vanishes. The back and forth between James and the chanting crowd really rule on this one.

Orion – This instrumental pays tribute to Cliff Burton since the show was on the 30th anniversary of his death. Robert does a wicked job here, and not even Lars can stop him from slappin’ dee bass mon. Rob is given centre stage to show off his bass cops on this one. James sounds a bit choked up when he ends the song by saying “30 years. We miss you Cliff” and the crowd chants “Cliff. Cliff. Cliff….”

One – Wow!! This one sounds so awesome. If James’ voice wasn’t deeper with age could almost swear it was 1988 again, except this time the bass is more pronounced. Also, Lars has never sounded better in my opinion, live or recorded material. I know I grind his gears(mostly because of his douchebaggery), but when he focuses on drumming he can be pretty good. Kirk is amazing on this one. The whole band is amazing. Just an awesome song.

Master Of Puppets – A split second into the opening riff and a young woman screams in sonic pleasure (she continues through various parts of the night). The crowd chanting back is so awesome. Another fucking amazing song folks. I order you to listen to this. Obey Your Master. Master.

I’ll be right back, I just have to put sides E/F on the turntable.

For Whom The Bell Tolls – We hear James ask the crowd “Are you ready to get loud?” The same audio was at the tail end of the last record. A tiny audio miscue (there are a few on the entire show, but very minor) that really does not take away from the sound overall. Not the fault of the audio guys at the show, but whoever did the split from one song/record to the next). The crowd again chants back and forth with James on this one. Another good one here folks.

Enter Sandman – We’ve all heard this one 1000 times but it still rules over 30 years later. Kirk again plays wah pedal which is cool, and again Lars’ drums are amazing. I never thought I would say that about Lars, but there it is. I have not cracked my Black Album vinyl boxset yet but the live songs probably won’t be much better than this one. If they are, they must be amazing. This is another amazing song.

Encore Jam – “OHH EE OHH. UU OHH!!!” the crowd was chanting. Then the band started playing along and James has a chat with the crowd, including one who I assume was a young kid there with his dad (I love that). I bet he was whack for his daddy, oh.

Whiskey In The Jar – Speaking of which. More awesome crowd chanting back and forth with James. Also awesome vocals and musicianship from the band. James’ “OH OH OH OH OH’s” sound almost Bruce Dickinson like. Another great one.

Hardwired – This song hadn’t been released yet, but the video was played pretty often on YouTube by the time this concert happened. I remember back in 2016 it seemed like a link to play the video popped up every day in my music news feed. This definitely was not a “song off the new album so let’s go grab a beer at the concert”. They are fast and precise on this one.

Seek & Destroy – A great song to end the album on. James changes the lyrics to “We’re scanning the scene in New York City tonight….” The crowd chanting back to the band do not sound as loud on this one. I’m not sure if the house sound guy altered the mics(haha who am I kidding? Metallica brought their own sound crew), or why it a little quieter, but I love it loud, wanna hear it loud. Right between the eyes. Don’t want no compromise. Wait. Wrong band. Anyway, Metallica. This song was awesome. James ends it off by saying “Thank You Goodnight” The crowd yells “NO!!!” James says “YES!!” Then thankfully the band keep playing Seek & Destroy. Unfortunately it is soon over, and so is the night for this crowd. A final trademark “Thank you so much friends” and “Metallica loves you family. Thank You. We appreciate you and goodnight baby”. The crowd was chanting “One More Song”, and James tells the crowd “No. I gave all the picks away. We can’t play anymore. C’mon. You gonna throw it back?” and “You’re beautiful NYC. Thank You. We had a great time. I hope you did too. You guys are fucking great. Thank You so much. YEAHHH!!!

The rest of the band thanks the crowd and the night is over. I know from experience they would have ran with security and be rushed off (I saw it in Toronto) in Towncars. No autographs folks (Arrrrghhh).

I am so jealous of the people that were at this show. I would gave paid hundreds of dollars for this intimate club experience(1500 capacity). I tried to see them play Massey Hall in Toronto but I stood in the rain, with my head hung low. Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show. Heard the road of the crowd, I could picture the scene. Put my ear to wall, then like a distant scream. I heard one guitar, just blew me away….now I’m not a juke box hero.

The only knock that I have of this show is the setlist. There was no songs played off of Load, Reload, St. Anger, or Death Magnetic. They could have easily added 4 or 5 more songs from those albums and had a 4lp set. That would have suited me just fine. Let’s say King Nothing, Fuel, St. Anger and The Day That Never Comes. Hell this set could have been a 6 or 8 lp set. 2 or 3 nights. Choose the best songs and off we go. Then the price of the vinyl would have been out of reach for many. A note about the vinyl itself. It’s dead flat and the sound is amazing. I will give credit where credit is due. Mixed by Greg Fidelman (who played with Simon Wright in Rhino Bucket), recorded by Mike Gillies (who has been involved with every Metallica release since Load, and Econoline Crush funny enough), Digital editing by Dan Monti (who works a lot with Serj Tankian and Buckethead) and Sara Lyn Killion (who has done numerous Metallica live shows, Black Sabbath 13 among others), Mastered by Chris Bellman(the list might be longer if I said who he didn’t work with) at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Los Angeles. Great job crew.

This was/is a great live recording. Amazing sound. The crowd loved it and the band fed off their energy.