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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Melissa Etheridge - Brave and Crazy (1989) - While I'd heard the two big hit songs from Etheridge's 1st album, it was this 2nd album that I actually bought first. And it remains one of my two favorite albums that she's released. It, along with Yes I Am, alternates as my favorite album depending on which I'm listening to at the time.

And there really isn't a bad song on the disc. I remember listening to an interview she did on the Rockline radio show and being blown away by the songs they played during the show.

Tracks like the opening "No Souvenirs" or "You Used To Love To Dance" and "You Can Sleep While I Drive" are some of the best songs she's done across her career. The song "Royal Station 4/16" closes out the album and I initially had a bit of time getting into it. But it grew on me over time and when I listened to it in order to do this brief review, I freaking loved it anew.

But by far, the best song on the album is "Testify". It's got a fantastic set of lyrics that resonated all over again with me as I listened to it and is probably my all time favorite song from Melissa Etheridge.

Melissa Etheridge - Never Enough (1992) - In my less than humble opinion, Melissa Etheridge's first four albums will always be her best releases. I like album 5 (Your Little Secret) but it is in 5th place in my rankings.

That said, this third album from the singer is a bit of mix for me. Of those first four albums, it is probably the most experimental with her sound. I remember when I first listened to the track on cassette, I was a bit taken aback because it sounded so different from her first two releases.

Now that isn't to say that it is a bad album, just a little different. I don't think the majority of the songs as individual tracks have resonated through the years as well as others might have. I could be wrong about that though. I've seen her in concert at least four times, but it has been well over a decade since the last show of Etheridge's that I've attended. I don't know how many or if any of these songs still work their way into the set list.

"Ain't It Heavy" kicks the album off in a rousing rocking fashion, but the tweaks to her sound begin on "2001". There's more of a sense of the artistic creative side of making music rather than straight forward rock and roll.

Meanwhile, plaintive ballad type tracks like "Place Your Hand", "The Boy Feels Strange" and "The Letting Go" go for and capture all the possible heartache and heartbreak one could hope for. They do it well. Particularly with "The Letting Go". Every time I hear that song, I think of an episode of the TV series 'Life Goes On' where a character died and the track was played over the ending as the other characters on the show accepted the death and said their goodbyes.

But for me, the best track on Never Enough is "Dance Without Sleeping". "Ain't It Heavy" was the big single from the album, but "Dance Without Sleeping" is the song that I definitely keep with me when thinking of this album.

Melissa Etheridge - Your Little Secret (1995)

After being a devoted fan for the first four releases from Melissa Etheridge, this album was where I started to wane in my fandom for her music. The album is still good but there was a lot of music that I just didn't really care for all that much as well.

The title track and "I Want To Come Over" were the two tracks that are the most recognizable since they got airplay. I remember the video for the title track being a bit weird, but the song is a rocking good time in and of itself. As is "I Want To Come Over.

But songs like "I Could Have Been You", "This War Is Over" and "I Really Like You" were just ponderous exercises in waiting to get to whatever was coming next for me.

My two favorite tracks were the ones where Etheridge's storytelling was in peak form. Both songs were relatively slow in terms of pacing but for those that liked to push her as a female version of Springsteen in regards to spinning a tale lyrically and vocally, "All The Way To Heaven" and the stunningly perfect "Shriner's Park" are showcases for some of her best work.

The album was a hit and miss affair, almost evenly spread even. But it was the last gasp of excitement for me for her music for a while. It just didn't have the same feeling of zesty rock and roll flavor to it after this one. At least for a while. I remember another album further down the line that I liked a lot.

But like I said, it's been a LONG time since I've bothered to even want to see her live. The music took a turn towards being less about being a rock and roll singer-songwriter and more about making statements.

Melissa Etheridge - Yes I Am (1993)

This album is probably Etheridge's masterpiece release. It was the album she made after coming out as a lesbian and it was chock full of fantastic songs. There were three singles in "I'm The Only One", "All American Girl" and the smash hit "Come To My Window".

Best of all, she rocked out a lot more on this album than on Never Enough. But she also had some great artistic moments as well. I love the album closer "Talking To My Angel" and the title track was on point for her as well as anyone that wanted to use it to demonstrate any particular feeling they might have.

Despite those three big singles, for my money the two best tracks are album cuts. "Silent Legacy" and "I Will Never Be The Same" are stunningly great songs. The lyrics for "Silent Legacy" are powerful and there's even more of an edge when the song's tempo picks up. "I Will Never Be The Same" is just a perfect song.

As I said when I wrote about the Brave and Crazy album, this one alternates with B&C as my favorite album from Etheridge depending on which one I'm listening to at the time. But no matter what, this is the album that made Etheridge a star and when you listen to the music, you can understand why.

Just picked up several Melissa Etheridge discs.  

Which ones did you get?

Brave And Crazy, Your Little Secret and Yes I Am.

Nice picks!

Iron Maiden - A Real Live One (1993)

Iron Maiden - A Real Dead One (1995)

After picking these two CDs recently (I had been looking for them for a long time), I got the chance to listen to them back to back.

They are pretty much what you would expect from any one of the numerous Iron Maiden live releases, but what I noticed is that for the first part of A Real Live One, the performance seemed a little flat. Maybe it was the recording itself, but it seemed a bit lifeless at the get go. It got better towards the end of the songs included on the album but it was very weird to find myself feeling a little more than critical towards how a live record from Maiden sounded.

As for A Real Dead One, this record rocked from note one. It was really good. Power chord and riffs galore and just a real balls out performance. I don't know why this one came out better than the first one but I definitely enjoyed it more.

Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)

I picked this album up as a part of a 59 CD purchase from a flea market. I got it because it has one of my all-time favorite Sting songs, "Fields Of Gold" on it. I've loved the song since first hearing it but didn't have it on any physical media.

Along with that track I really enjoyed the songs "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You", "She's Too Good For Me" and "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)".

Sadly, the other 7 tracks on the album just really didn't do that much for me. "Seven Days" and "It's Probably Me" were OK, but definitely second tier to the four songs I did really like. The other five tracks struck me as fiddling and diddling musical masturbation by Sting. Not that unexpected considering there's been a lot of stuff from him that I haven't liked throughout his solo career but this was surprisingly disappointing to me.

Love Fields of Gold.  I need to listen to this.

Elf - S/T (1972)

Long before he became Ronnie James Dio and the king of fantasy type song lyrics, Ronald Padavona sang and played bass for Elf. And he did it pretty well if you ask me.

I've owned the band's 2nd and 3rd albums for a long time but never owned their self-titled debut until this past weekend.

The album has a classic rock sound and I found myself pretty impressed with how strong the sound of the band was 46 years ago. The opening track "Hoochie Koochie Lady" is probably the track most people who are fans of Dio would know from this release.

However, all 8 songs on this disc are fantastic. It may not be quite as refined as Dio would go on to be with Black Sabbath, Rainbow and his solo Dio band but I think anyone who claims to be a Dio fan is really doing themselves a disservice if they haven't checked out the Elf albums.

Again, I really liked all the songs but "Dixie Lee Junction" and "I'm Coming Back For You" are other stand out tracks amongst the bunch.


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