Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alan' Progessive Project keeps an Eye out

As I posted last week, I am reviewing albums that were hits when I was growing up but I listened to the whole release. Unlike last week,  I don't know if any of my friends had this album. Other than the first two tracks ,I know until last week I haven't heard this release.

The album I am talking about is Eye In The Sky from The Alan Parsons Project. The title track was huge when I was a young teenager. If you have ever watched a Laker game or many other sports you have heard the other sort of hit, Sirius.  I knew the two tracks were kinda linked due to the fact many classic rock DJs play them back to back for a long break.

As for the rest of the Album it is really good but very progressive rock. I think as a 13 year old I might not have gotten it. It also explains why my other friends at the time didn't have it, just too deep for us. But listening to it now there are several great tracks on this album, besides the title track. The first five tracks are great including Children of the Moon, Gemini and Silence and I.

Alan Parsons is a legendary producer and worked with some very influential artists. What amazes me is the number of albums that this Project had with so few real hits. It shows how record companies have changed. Artists were given much more time to develop before they were cut and I am sure the fact Alan Parsons worked with the Beattles and Pink Floyd didn't hurt.

I recommend this album as a great example of early 80's progessive rock that I am happy I listened to a few decades later.

Til next time, listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

What an Unusual First Release

Well back to the 80's music for the next few posts.  I want to look at some artists I really enjoyed their first hits but never listened to the rest of the album.

Lady's first and what a first release for Cyndi Lauper.  She's So Unusual was a monster in the early 80's  Bright. different and well Unusual Cyndi Lauper stood out.  I remember a close friend of mine at the time was really into Cyndi Lauper.  Mike was different and I as learned more as I got older Mike was also gay.  

I am still surprised by my reaction even back then was, So What your Gay and a bit of oh Mike things are going to be tough.  Raised by a single mother who was very cool but we lost way too soon to cancer Mike did not have an easy go of it.  I wish we had a happy ending here but Mike decided that it all was too much and decided to take his own life. It was good that he did find some comfort in the differences of Cyndi Lauper.

Now the release She's So Unusual was played around me often and I can feel comfortable  that I might have listened to the whole album back then.  The problem I find with the release is one that many artists had back in the 80's, it was a great half of an album.  

Before ITunes and even CD's cassette tapes ruled the music scene.  Was the sound great? No, but they were very portable and shareable.  The cassette had two sides and normally 4-5 songs on each side. The problem some times came that Side 1 had the released hits and Side 2 had the other tracks.  So on reviewing the track working of She's So Unusual I am sure I listened to Side 1 many times.  

Cyndi Lauper burst on the scene with Girl's Just Want To Have Fun.  It is a wonderful party anthem to women everywhere.  The great thing about the album is that it shows Cyndi's flexibility as an Artist.  Time After Time is a classic ballad that would be a hit in any era and shows great debt of music and lyric that I am still amazed when I listen to it.  Then, She Bop is about keeping one's self happy and is a fun yet very bold statement.  Finally, All Through the Night shows great vocal range and tenderness.  

Unfortunately, there are misses on the release,  I didn't care for her Prince cover of When you Where Mine, and I appreciate the music on the rest of the tracks but they didn't speak to me.  Cyndi had a great band on the release, basically the act The Hooters.

Either way the whole Album/CD/Cassette deserves a listen and it is terrific for a first release.  

Til next time, listen to the best -your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Monster Truck Crushes It

So I am wondering what to blog about next when once again Sirius/XM Octane comes to  the rescue with a great new band. Rolling down the road and crushing it to Monster Truck.

Now I am old enough to remember the height of Southern Rock., 38 Special, Molly Hatchet and of course Lynrd Skynyrd. Odd enough I have been to a Hatchet concert, some great rock music and even better people watching. With Monster Truck's Sittin Heavy release those Southern Rock sounds are back. The first released track Don't Tell Me How To Live hooked me in so off to ITUNES I went. The rest of the album is just swampy and fried as you expect. 

The kicker is that this is a Candian rock band. I guess it shows you how music can cross borders. Sittin Heavy is Monster Truck's third release and it is slightly different from the first two. The earlier releases were more of  Deep Purple and Bad Company sound of bluesy of rock. 

I have listened to Sittin Heavy many times after my first find and it still pleases the ears. It is refreshing to listen to a new take of a great Southern Rock sound from our friends on the North side of the boarder. 

Till next time, listen to the best  - your ears deserve it. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

For Van Halen the Third time isn't a charm

I haven't always been Van Halen's biggest fan on this blog. The Roth era of the band did a lot for hard rock and the Hagar era brought the band into true across the board acceptability. Few know there was a third lead singer.

In the late 90's Eddy Van Halen going through another of his issues with lead singers. The jury is still out on whether Hagar quit or was fired. Either way Van Halen needed a lead singer. The problem was, according to industry experts, no one wanted to join. You can't trash two legendary front men and expect people to beat down your door. So the band added Gary Cherone the lead singer from the band Extreme. The only album this version of the group did was Van Halen 3.

I remember hearing and watching the video for the single released from the album, it was underwhelming. With that I, and it turned out the world, was through with Van Halen 3. Stumbling upon the album I decided to give it a listen

Bands should challenge their formula every now and then. It keeps the sound from getting stale. But there are risks you take and many times you push away your fans. Also it helps to be ahead of the curve musically not behind it.

Upon trying to listen to Van Halen 3, I am not sure what the band was going for but it was way too far from any thing Van Halen ever did. If anything, it sounded like they were trying to bring back the early 90's sounds of the Spin Doctors. Ye, I said trying. I couldn't finish the release about three quarters of it I quit. My advice is to do what the rest of the world did and forget this ever happened.  I love finding lost jems but this album ain't that.

Till next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.