Classic Rock Bottom

There's a few CDs I have that I haven't or hadn't gotten around to listening to yet. Whether they are too "old" or I end up not really having much to say about them, I'm not doing a full on review.

Instead, I'm just putting in a sentence or two about what I thought of them. I'll probably keep updating this thread as I get around to various albums that have been sitting waiting for me to play them.

Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation - While there were a couple of tracks I wasn't all that enamored with, overall this album was another winning blues solo album from Bonamassa.

Boneyard Dog - Bluesbound Train - Another bluesy rock and roll record, this debut album was pretty much kicking my ass each time I listened to it.

U2 - The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition - Sadly, while I absolutely love the album itself (it is one of my all-time favorites), the anniversary edition isn't much to write home about. Disc 1 is the original album while Disc 2 is a live concert from the Joshua Tree tour. It's not bad, but there's nothing special about it really.

Inglorious - S/T - I was really kind of hyped up about this album but I think the fact I've already sold it off on eBay might give you a hint about my final reaction to the album. Okay, that might be slightly unfair but after listening to the album four times and I couldn't really pick a single memorable song out of it, there's obviously something of a disconnect.

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Scorpions - Face The Heat (1993) - You can chalk up this album as yet another Scorpions release that I never got around to listening to before now and find myself wondering why I fell out of listening to them. Because this is a pretty damn good album.

The disc starts off with a surprisingly heavy sound on the songs "Alien Nation" and "No Pain No Gain". I say surprising because while the Scorpions are obviously a hard rock / heavy metal band, they have a kind of sound and these two tracks went beyond that in terms of musical style. The fact that both songs are great helped too.

Of course, I loved when their familiar fast paced rocker sound was on display with songs "Someone To Touch", "Unholy Alliance" and "Nighmare Avenue".

There are two slower songs that fit the basic template of a power ballad, but I found the two tracks varied in quality. I wasn't crazy about "Under The Same Sun" but thought "Lonely Nights" played much better to these ears.

I think the most surprising thing to me was how much I enjoyed the hidden track cover of the Elvis Presley song "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame". The band did a great job of capturing the early rock and roll sound of the cut and just killed it in terms of execution.

Of course, my favorite two songs on this one would be of the rocking variety. "Ship of Fools" is outstanding from start to finish. It's just a real balls to the wall kind of rock and roll track that gets you fired up. The other track is "Hate To Be Nice". It rocks as I stated, but I loved the chorus of "I'm runnin' out of patience / and I ain't gonna say it twice / the world out there is down 'n dirty, honey / and I just hate to be nice". Trust me, it comes off great in the song. Plus it sounds like something I might say so there's that connection for me anyway.

Face The Heat is the third Scorpions album that I've added to my collection recently, having not listened to the entire release before now and then found out the album was just flat out fantastic. I love it when that happens!

House of Lords - Saint Of The Lost Souls (2017)

I picked this album up when I saw House of Lords in concert back in 2018. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to listening to it until now. Funny thing is that I learned that I'd gotten the Japanese version of the album.

With 12 songs on the disc, I was a little disappointed that the album started off with three songs that were just "OK". There wasn't anything all that bad about any of the three tracks but none of them felt all that memorable.

But the fourth song was the title track and that was a killer song. The band really rocked out hard with this fast paced number and guitarist Jimi Bell has a great sounding solo here.

In a bit of oddness, I didn't like the electric version of the ballad "The Sun Will Never Set Again", but there's a Japan-only bonus track on this version of the album that is an acoustic rendition of the song. That's the odd part, I actually found the song worked better in the acoustic version for some reason.

Rockers like "New Day Breakin'" and "Grains of Sand" were nice additions to the album. I was disappointed in the way tracks 7 ("Reign of Fire") and 8 ("Concussion") were reversed in order. "Reign of Fire" is listed on the album liner notes as coming before "Concussion" but the two songs appear on the CD in reverse order. Of the two songs, I thought "Concussion" with the cool solo from Bell and an underlying groove to the song was the better track.

Besides the title song, the other real stand out song is the fiery "The Other Option".

Oh, and all four members of the band signed this CD when I bought it.

I think there are some very definite weaker songs on this album but the stronger material makes The Saint Of The Lost Souls a worthwhile listen!

Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain (2007) - Unless I'm mistaken, the Black Rain album seems to be the Ozzy solo album that came and went with barely a ripple. I'm not sure I even remember hearing any of the music from this CD before finally buying a copy of the album off eBay a week or so ago.

I looked the album up on Wikipedia and it seems that it wasn't all that well received. While I would agree that it isn't exactly the best album Ozzy has ever done, I didn't think it was terrible either.

I liked the song "I Don't Wanna Stop" which appears to have been the single for the album. "Not Going Away" and "Civilize The Universe" were pretty darn good track as well.

The slower songs on the disc, "Lay Your World On Me" and "Here For You" were the songs I thought dragged the album down the most.

The rest of the songs were pretty rocking. They may not be ranking high up as Ozzy's best songs but I thought they were pretty entertaining overall.

Damon Johnson - Release (2010) - I got to see Damon Johnson in concert recently as he is opening for UFO. While he's been playing as a trio for the most part, on the date I saw it was just him playing acoustically.

There was one song in particular that struck my fancy. It was called "Leave It All Behind" and it was pretty damn amazing. So when I got to meet him after his set, I told him that I really liked the song. Johnson said that it was on this album and since he had copies for sale, I bought it.

The album is a mostly acoustic offering. It is a mix of rock and roll and some of that old time sounding country confessional type music. It's also a bit hit and miss.

The first song on the album is "Release (Hard Rain Comin'). Lyrically it shows off Johnson's skill as a songwriter but I was disappointed with the way the vocals on the main verses were performed. They were so damn understated that they were almost an afterthought. The chorus was more upfront so I don't know why that decision was made for the rest of the performance.

Other than the song "Pontiac", which is a nice nostalgic look back upon one's youth, the first third of the album wasn't all that inspiring to me.

The last third wasn't all that great either. I will say that the cover of the Shelby Lynne song "Where I'm From" that closes out the album wasn't too bad. Sarah Marlo Johnson does a good job on it but she really shines more brightly on the song "Better Days Will Come At Last", which is in the middle third of the album.  The song has a great vibe to it and it is this middle third where Johnson really shines.

The studio recording version of "Leave It All Behind" is amazing and reaffirms my instant love of the song. "Because Our Love's That Strong", which about fighting to keep a relationship alive is superb. The Alice Cooper song "Generation Landslide" is amazing and features a brief appearance from Alice Cooper himself. It still rocks but there's enough of a stylistic change to give a different spin to the track. "She's All That (And More)" is a lyrical tribute to a great woman in one's life and the uptempo pace makes it that much more of an uplifting song.

I wasn't overly thrilled with not caring about so many of the songs on this disc but for the variety of songs that I did enjoy, it was a pure thrill to listen to them. They are also the best showcase for Johnson's skill as a songwriter too.

I've been listening to this album a lot and I'm going to have to say that my initial impression and write up of the album is completely invalid now. I've really seen this album grow on me from start to finish.

The Cult - Ceremony (1991) - While Sonic Temple is the only album from The Cult that I've owned in the past, I picked this album up as part of a batch at a flea market and finally got around to listening to it today.

I was pretty surprised to have enjoyed this album as much as I did. The first two tracks (the title cut and "Wild Hearted Son") were my favorite songs on the disc but I liked "Sweet Salvation" a lot as well.

I'm glad I checked the album out at long last and I'm sure this will be an album I enjoy giving a spin to every so often.

Van Halen - Fair Warning (1981) - While there are a number of really good songs like "Mean Street", "Unchained" and "So This Is Love?", I wasn't overly enamored with most of the non-hit tracks on this album.

I did like "Hear About It Later" but that might be the only one of the six non-hit tracks that I can honestly say that about. The "Sunday Afternoon In The Park" track was particularly annoying for me. Given that it is only two minutes long, that's not a good thing.

Van Halen - For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) - Plain and Simple...I love this album. Can't get enough. I know there are others who will disagree but this might just be my favorite album from the band.

Van Halen - III (1998) - I know that this album featuring Gary Cherone gets a ton of crap. I can understand why. At least in part. There's some really bad stuff on this album. 

But I don't think it is a complete loss. There's a couple of decent rockers on here that are worthwhile. Of course, the songs that stink (or worse, sound like rejected Broadway musical tunes like "How Many Say I") overshadow the better material.

I see why fans hate it. I wouldn't say I love it either. But again, it's not completely terrible.

Van Halen - OU812 (1988)

Until just yesterday, I only had a copy of this album on a dubbed cassette. But I found a brand new in the wrapper copy of the album for 5 bucks and I had to have it.

Given that it was released over 30 years ago, I'm really quite familiar with the majority of the songs. They were either officially released as singles at the time or they've been played a lot on album oriented classic rock stations.

So songs like "Mine All Mine", "Feels So Good", "Black and Blue", "When It's Love", "Cabo Wabo" and "Finish What You Started" are all readily pleasing to hear. They don't seem to get all that "old" to me.

The songs "Source of Infection" and "Sucker In A 3 Piece" are less familiar to me but I noticed that they are both the fastest and most aggressive sounding of the tracks on this album. I may not listen to them all the time but I really enjoyed them a lot here. As for "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)", I don't know just what to think of that song. It's the one track that I didn't really seem to get into that much.

The band covered the Little Feat song "A APolitical Blues" (which is only on the CD version of the album) and while they do a pretty good job with it, I couldn't help but feel that it felt a bit out of place in comparison to the rest of disc's material.

Impellitteri - Stand In Line (1988) - I first bought this album on cassette when it was released back in 1988. I can't remember if it was the title track or the cover of "Since You've Been Gone" that I heard on the radio but whichever song it was, when I heard it I was blown away. I remember feeling that way about the whole album really.

But the cassette wore out and I was never able to replace it so it has been a number of years since I heard the release in full. Until I got the Japanese edition of the album on CD from my record shop owning friend. He made a huge lot purchase and while helping him unpack it the other day, this was one of the albums I picked out for myself. I just had to have it.

I've been listening to it a few times now and I just love it. Those two songs I mentioned remain incredible but for an album with just nine songs, I don't really think I disliked any of them. I remember thinking when I first heard the instrumental cover of the "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" song that it was a strange choice for a song to cover for a metal album but I think it works. And I like the other instrumental "Playing With Fire" as well.

Killer tracks like "Secret Lover", "Leviathan" and the monstrously impressive "Tonight I Fly" help fill out the album and make me so glad that I have Stand In Line back in my collection.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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