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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Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard Of Ozz (1981 / 2011 Reissue)

Strange as it may seem considering my love for the various songs that are on this debut solo album from Ozzy, I've never actually owned it in any format. Of course, since I've begun this particular acquisition of his solo albums, I had to eventually get to this one.

I have the 2011 reissued edition so the original bass and drum tracks that were deleted from the 2002 reissue have been restored. (Odd note about that 2002 reissue: According to the Wikipedia entry for the album, the new backing vocals for that version of the disc were partly provided by John Shanks. He's a big time producer now, but I knew him best when he played and toured with Melissa Etheridge in the late 80's and early 90's.)

As for Blizzard Of Ozz, I don't rightly now what I can add to the various things that have been written about the album since it's release 38 years ago. I mean look at the track listing...every song is an Ozzy classic in my book.

01. I Don't Know

02. Crazy Train

03. Goodbye To Romance

04. Dee

05. Suicide Solution

06. Mr. Crowley

07. No Bone Movies

08. Revelation (Mother Earth)

09. Steal Away (The Night)

Each of these songs is outstanding. I know that "Dee" is just a short instrumental piece but it has really stuck with me over the years after first hearing the outtakes version of it on the Tribute album.

I can't say anything nitpicky or negative about any of these tracks.

As for the bonus tracks, I did like the B-side "You Looking At Me, Looking At You". I thought it was a pretty good song but I can also see why it didn't end up on the original album release. The brief Randy Rhoads solo instrumental "RR" was decent and I can only imagine what might've been all over again. The guitar and vocals mix from 2010 of "Goodbye To Romance" gave a slightly different look at the song. It's good but I do think I much prefer the way it was originally released.

So while I'm not exactly breaking any new ground in my thoughts on this album, there they are. I really love the album which launched Ozzy's solo career in as breathtaking a fashion as possible.

I don't have an opinion particularly positive or negative regarding Ozzy.  I'd say I'm pretty neutral.  

That's not something you hear often.

McAuley Schenker Group - Perfect Timing (1987 / 2012 Remaster)

I know that most people will cite either The Scorpions or UFO as their first exposure to guitarist Michael Schenker. Perhaps some will say the Michael Schenker Group.

But for me, it was the McAuley Schenker Group that brought me around to hearing Schenker's playing for the first time. I remember seeing the ad for the album in one of the many music magazines I read back in 1987 and being intrigued by the notion that someone could wear their hair in the styles that both McAuley and Schenker were sporting at the time.

I picked this up originally on cassette but that album wore out a long time ago. I was recently able to get the 2012 Hear No Evil Recordings reissue of the album though. There's no bonus material or anything but frankly the album doesn't need it.

For me, this was a spectacular album. It's full of strong melodic rockers with a vast commercial appeal. Or at least I thought so. While "Gimme Your Love" was a minor hit, the album really didn't resonate that much with the album buyers back then.

But for me, this was a solid masterpiece. With McAuley and Schenker writing the majority of the songs, the two artists seemingly were in lockstep from the start. Whether rocking out on songs like "Here Today - Gone Tomorrow", "No Time For Losers" or "Rock 'Til You're Crazy" or slowing it down on solid balladry like "Follow The Night", the group should've been far more appreciated for what they were laying out there at the time. Hell, they got Andy Johns to produce the album and had 10 straight out fantastic songs for people to hear! And Robin McAuley has a voice that I was immediately drawn to. The guy can sing his butt off.

For me, my favorite period for listening to Michael Schenker is the three studio albums he did with Robin McCauley. It may not have been perfect timing for the listening audience at large in 1987 but for me Perfect Timing lives up to its billing.

Iron Maiden - Virtual XI (1998)

I picked up a CD edition of this album recently to replace a worn out cassette. The store I bought it at was having a 40% off sale so this one ended up costing about 6 bucks.

Now I know that the two Blaze Bayley fronted albums aren't quite popular in comparison to the Maiden albums with Bruce Dickinson on vocals, but I have to say that of the two Bayley discs, Virtual XI is my favorite.

There are a great bunch of songs that I think stand up well to any of the Maiden catalog. "Futureal" is an amazing song regardless of who sang it. In fact the next three songs after it, "The Angel And The Gambler", "Lightning Strikes Twice" and "The Clansman" are all great tracks.

Sure, "When Two Worlds Collide" and "Como Estais Amigos" are a definite step down, but you've also got "The Educated Fool" and "Don't Look To The Eyes of A Stranger" which are worthy tracks as well.

Say what you want, but I think the band got it as right as they possibly could with this album and I really enjoyed listening to it again after a few years.

I picked up the Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band CD Night Moves today while out for Record Store Day.

The album is chock full of some of his best songs like "Rock And Roll Never Forgets", the title track, "The Fire Down Below", "Mainstreet" and "Come To Poppa". These are tracks that I do indeed love.

But there are a couple of other songs here that were "new" to me and I found that I really enjoyed them. "Ship of Fools" was superb and the album closing track "Mary Lou" was a nice little uptempo feast.

I'm VERY slowly acquiring as many of Seger's albums as I can and this one is, as I think a lot of people would agree, one of his best albums ever.

I didn't see this until just now.  I agree, terrific album.  The Fire Down Below is a really good song as well.

Is this thread open to anyone that wants to lay down a couple of thoughts about various albums?

Of course, since when do I decide board policy? :D

It's your thread, so I'd say it's thread policy... :-)

Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzmosis (1995)

Though this album was one of the discs that got the reissue/remaster treatment in 2002, I have the original release so there aren't any bonus tracks on this version. 

Instead, you've got the standard 10 song release. Now there's two songs on here that still get some airplay in "Perry Mason" and "See You On The Other Side". Both songs are decent though I will say that "Perry Mason" is one of the weaker of Ozzy's "hit" songs.

I remember liking "I Just Want You" since I've heard that song before as well. as for the more surprising songs on the album, since I didn't own a copy of this until recently, was the song "Denial". It had a pretty heavy sounding music track to go with Ozzy's vocals. I also dug the closing track "Old L.A. Tonight". It is Ozzy at his balladeering best, at least for this album.

After these songs, I have to admit that I found the rest of Ozzmosis to be kind of disappointing. While "Tomorrow" had a similar heavy rock music background, I found it otherwise weak. And that's the best of the remaining 5 tracks! The other four songs barely rose to the level of a shoulder shrugging "Eh..." for me.

I think if I'd bought this album when it originally came out my sense of disappointment likely would've seen me getting rid of the album from my collection. I'll be keeping it now since I'm stocking up on Ozzy's solo releases but it won't be one that gets a lot of replay from me.

Ozzy Osbourne - Down To Earth (2001)

Despite there being two songs from the album that were released as singles, I can't rightly recall ever hearing ANYTHING from Down To Earth back when the album was released.

There just didn't seem to be much hype (not that I heard or saw anyway) for the release. But now that I've listened to the album it is surprisingly good. The first of the 2 singles was "Gets Me Through" which leads off the album. It starts a bit slow then picks up in tempo. It's a really decent track. The other single was the ballad "Dreamer" (co-written with Mick Jones of Foreigner and Marti Frederiksen). The song is really cool, which surprised me a lot. 

But what really got me digging the album was the non-single tracks. While I wasn't all that enthused about "Running Out Of Time" or  the excessively noisy "Can You Hear Them?", the material included is outstanding.

I loved the aggressiveness of "Alive" and the straight out rocking vibe of "That I Never Had" and "Junkie" made both songs winning numbers for me. "Black Illusion" was pretty darn good as well.

For me, Down To Earth has always been a far lower profile release from Ozzy. But having now actually listened to it, I have to say I was pretty thoroughly entertained by it.

Riot - Sons of Society (2017 Reissue)

Much like another of the band reissues I picked up and wrote about (Inishmore), the reissue of Riot's Sons of Society album demonstrates rather succintly on just how badly I've missed out on this band.

The 2017 liner notes from guitarist Mike Flyntz called it the band's most polished record and from what I've heard, it is hard to argue with that assertion.

The band is on fire throughout most of the disc as they move briskly from one electrically charged rocker to the next. The album opens with a killer instrumental called "Snakecharmer" and then blows out the speakers with songs like "On The Wings Of Life" (see the video clip below), the title track and "Twist of Fate".

While I think the main track listing (which includes the song "The Queen", originally released as a Japanese bonus track) is mostly amazing, I didn't think much of the song "Cover Me". It started off like a ballad and got heavier as the song progressed but it was just pretty much uninteresting to me. I liked the music of "Bad Machine" but the over-exaggeration of a couple spots lyrically left the song a bit wanting.

That brief interlude of disinterest is really the only negative I had with the main portion of the album. After that, it was one kick ass rocker that just slams into you and leaves you wanting more. Vocalist Mike Dimeo continues to impress me (yes admittedly long after the fact) overall. Ballsy vocals, even despite the one nitpick I had, will always get my thumbs up. Musically, the band is on fire too.

The bonus tracks at the end of the disc are instrumental versions of the title track, "The Law", "Time To Bleed" and "Somewhere". I'm not quite sure what to make of their inclusion. Obviously I like the music because I liked the songs as they were originally presented in the first place. I guess I just don't see the particular need for just the instrumental versions of the song.

Still, that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the album in total and I'm going to be playing this one for a while now. It proves that anyone who missed out on the band, as I did, has a lot of catching up to do. The band may not have ever received any kind of proper due, but this album shows they damn well should have.

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