Archive for caldor department store

Michael Schenker Group – “Never Trust A Stranger” A Rock Ballad From 1981 I Revere

Posted in 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's classic rock guitarists, 1980's classic rock vocalists, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's rock musicians, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's hard rock songs, 1980's heavy metal bands, Album Review, classic hard rock ballads, classic hard rock music, classic heavy metal, classic rock albums, classic rock music, classic rock songs, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential hard rock albums, feel good stories, guitar legends, hard rock music, hard rock vocalists, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal on vinyl, melodic hard rock songs, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school heavy metal, rock & roll, rock album review, rock and roll, rock guitarists, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage hard rock bands, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

MetalOdysseyI can remember the moment like it was yesterday. The moment in time of buying my first Michael Schenker Group album, at Caldor department store, back in 1982. It was the second studio album from Michael Schenker Group, it is often referred to as MSG ll, yet no where on my original album that I bought does it have the marking of “ll” on it. I guess the mystery of “ll” shall stay in my Metal mystery files for now. You can see, as proof, on the image below this post, that the front cover does not have “ll” on it. This image depicts the original album cover, the copy that I still own to this day. I have kept this Michael Schenker Group album in pristine condition for 28 years, this is an album that I extremely admire and highly recommend. The eight songs on this album are best described as Hard Rock, I find it difficult to label this album as straight forward Heavy Metal. There is one exception, Attack of the Mad Axeman is the one song from this album that I would label as an early 1980’s Heavy Metal song, in my Metal opinion.

Over the years, I acquired a cassette tape version of this album too, never upgrading to CD. Don’t ask why, I just never came up with the necessary loot to upgrade everything I ever owned on album and/or cassette, on a consistent basis. Factor in that I have to stay current and buy new CD’s of my favorite bands and deep pockets I do not have! Over this past Halloween weekend I was perusing the archive of songs that can be purchased on itunes and one Michael Schenker Group song caught my eye… Never Trust A Stranger. I bought this amazing Rock ballad from this second Michael Schenker Group album, without a micro second of hesitation. Goodbye 99 cents… hello MSG Rock Ballad I have revered for the better part of my entire Metal life.

You may ask: dude, why didn’t you just throw danger to the Metal wind and buy the entire Michael Schenker Group album from itunes if you don’t have it on CD? The answer is simple… I am holding out to buy this CD at retail or used, (eventually), due to my being old school and wanting the darn liner notes. (I can be a stubborn old Metalhead). Owning a digital copy of Never Trust A Stranger was a necessity that I needed to make good on for myself – finally. I always blab that I am not the biggest ballad fan the world has ever known, this will always hold true. However, there are those ballads, that just carry me off into those la la land moments of self gratifying, mental journeys of glee. On Never Trust A Stranger, the vocal harmony of Gary Barden is incredible stuff for me, with Michael Schenker playing some of the most emotionally inspired guitar licks you could ever imagine. The lyrics of this song are semi-sappy, still in 2009 they do that resonating thing to my mind and I have been a sucker for this song, since being a sophomore in high school in 1982. Gee Metal whiz.

Steven Stills lends his backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger. Yes, that Steven Stills… from Crosby, Stills and Nash, (and sometimes Young). Once again, don’t ask: dude, how did Michael Schenker get Steven Stills to do backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger? Hey, I simply do not have the answer. (I think years ago I did know the answer… yet it got erased from all the Thrash and Death Metal stuff I have listened to for decades). If anyone does have any info in regards to Steven Stills being on this song, feel free to comment about it please. So, in a Metal nutshell, Never Trust A Stranger is my second most favorite (Rock) ballad ever. I posted in the past that Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue is my favorite Heavy Metal ballad ever, I can’t go back on my word on that one.

Well, here is the original album cover of Michael Schenker Group, (notice there is NO “ll” anywhere on the cover). I was so enthralled by the guitar play of Michael Schenker and everything else about this album back in high school in 1982, that I made a silk screen copy of the album cover. Metalheads galore had mini posters and t-shirts with MSG and his flying V guitar on it, courtesy of me and my graphic arts class. I recruited lots of MSG fans back then, hopefully this blabbing will recruit more today.

Michael Schenker Group 2nd album - large pic

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38 Special “Rockin’ Into The Night” – 1980 album keeps Rockin’

Posted in 1970's southern rock music, 1970's hard rock, 1970's Rock, Album Review, classic hard rock, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock music, classic southern rock, cool album covers, essential hard rock albums, essential southern rock albums, hard rock vocalists, Music, old school southern rock music, Rock, rock album reviews, rock music, rock music vocals, rock vocalists, southern hard rock, southern hard rock albums, southern rock, southern rock 1979, southern rock albums, southern rock music, southern rock music legends, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Back in 1980, I was enthralled by 38 Special. That year, I went to the Caldor Department Store and bought the 45 rpm of the hit single – “Rockin’ Into The Night”. I was in eighth grade with not too much cash in my pocket, still I always held onto enough dough to buy my 45’s. My parents were on an extremely fixed budget, therefore, I could not coax too many higher priced albums from them back then. That was fine, I was always grateful for what my parents could afford to give me. Besides, I more often than not, earned my records from doing yard work and cleaning up the house. That 38 Special 45 rpm was played by me continuously. “Rockin’ Into The Night” was my song back in 1980, no one else’s, (or so I thought). The truth of the day is, I did not buy the actual album “Rockin’ Into The Night” until decades later. Man, what was I thinking? The 45 rpm I had from 1980 had been worn down from repeated play, eventually tossed away. Yet, as I write this post, this Classic Southern Hard Rock album, (really it is a CD now), is a permanent fixture in my music collection. 

To call this album a gem is not adequate enough. “Rockin’ Into The Night” is a Southern Hard Rock accomplishment that in my opinion, (excuse the clique’), stood the test of time. This is an album that did not even need to have a hit single, all nine songs are true Southern Rock, played hard, with a determined grit and emotion by 38 Special. The liner notes for this album says it all… “This One’s For You Ronnie!”. Ronnie Van Zant, the founder and lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, had passed away in a plane crash, (on October 20, 1977) and 38 Special had dedicated this album to him. Donnie Van Zant is the younger brother of Ronnie, his vocals have always gone straight through me, especially on this album. I always sensed, no matter how many times I listen to this album, that Donnie sang with extra vigor and emotion in dedication to his brother. (This is my interpretation anyways). After all of these years… decades… I still come to the conclusion that “Rockin’ Into The Night” Rocks just as bad ass as it did in 1980. 

You would probably think that “Rockin’ Into The Night” is my favorite song off of this album. Would it be a shock to admit to all, that it is not? After the years have gone by, well, “Turn It On” is actually my favorite track off of this album, with “Rockin’ Into The Night” being a very close second. “Turn It On” just has that right beat that rivets me, the song is upbeat and true Southern Rock. The Southern Rock piano does have a substantial influence over me, especially when it is heard on “Turn It On”.  “Stone Cold Believer”, “Take Me Through The Night” and “You Got The Deal” are for me, as consistent you will ever hear, when it comes to top tier Southern Hard Rock. “Robin Hood” is the instrumental song on this album, I do consider this song as a centerpiece, if you will, for it plays out as one of the finest examples of Southern Rock music as you could ever ask for. “Money Honey” is a song that I have hit the repeat button for without hesitation. This song is just a good old Southern Rocker that spills over with Southern Rock vibe and goodness.

I always like to write about the albums, songs and the bands that create them. I also write about the bands that have made my life memorable, both past and present. 38 Special is one of those bands that has instilled in me, the appreciation for both the quality of the song and quality of the musicianship. 38 Special introduced to me, in 1980, a song that has been with me now for the majority of my life. “Rockin’ Into The Night” will be enjoyed by me for the rest of my years as well. My nine year old twin daughters have given their thumbs up to this album, this solidifies the importance of passing along great music, from legendary bands of the past, to younger generations to enjoy. It makes me feel darn cool and good, when my young twin daughters say they like 38 Special and their upbeat music.

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Fastway – revisiting one cool, Heavy Metal debut album

Posted in 1980's heavy metal albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's hard rock, 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's metal music, Album Review, classic metal, classic rock, cool album covers, essential hard rock albums, essential heavy metal albums, essential rock albums, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock guitarists, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Metal Reviews, Motorhead, Music, old school heavy metal, Rock, rock music, vintage hard rock albums, vintage heavy metal albums, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150In 1983, Fastway was the apple of my Metal eye. Today, well, Fastway is an old school Heavy Metal favorite of mine still, with their debut album aptly titled “Fastway”, being what I consider their best material. Man, when I heard the news that “Fast” Eddie Clarke was leaving Motorhead, I was floored like any loyal fan, back in the day. Then, the word broke, that “Fast” Eddie Clarke was forming a new Heavy Metal band called Fastway… my Metal anticipation was climbing by the second. Knowing that Pete Way (formerly of UFO) was to play bass alongside “Fast” Eddie Clarke only made this lineup more potent by the second. (I later found out that Pete Way never did get to actually play bass on the Fastway debut album).

Let’s go back in time now, to a wonderful department store named Caldor. You see, where I grew up, back in the 1980’s, Caldor was the biggest Hard Rock and Heavy Metal album supplier in my town. (It was the greatest place for a Metalhead teenager to go to for tunes, living in expensive nowhere Connecticut). I used to fantasize about Caldor while I was serving time in Parochial School and later High School. My thoughts strayed right into that glorious Caldor, envisioning the very long record aisles, lined with Yes, Iron Maiden, Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath… and then one day, in 1983, I remembered that the new Fastway album was to be released. Oh, the surefire Metal joy I would experience if that Fastway album was to be at Caldor! Minutes after I was released from being imprisoned in that High School, I was there… at Caldor. Fastway was also there. You betcha. With my Metal heart beating quickly, I reached for this precious new vinyl pressing, had it in my hands…  what is this? Located on the back of this Fastway debut album was a strange looking little mini record, it was not a 45 rpm, (it was the size of a 45 rpm and had a tiny album hole in the center), nor was it anything that I really saw before. It was supposed to be with this album, for it was the single for the song “Far Far From Home” – this song never made it on the actual album itself, therefore, the record company added it on as a separate single bonus! Man, at this moment, this teenage Metalhead was on Metal cloud nine.

Alright, as for the actual Metal found on this Fastway debut album, it rocked me straight into Heavy Metal bliss for an entire Summer – and Fall and Winter too. The tunes were so catchy, guitar driven and groove laden (courtesy of “Fast” Eddie Clarke), that it was one difficult album for me to put down for a lengthy period of time. “Say What You Will” was the most notoriously recognizable track off of this album. The opening guitar lead by “Fast” Eddie Clarke repeats throughout the entire song, instead of being repetitious, it was (and still is) Metal delicious. The vocals of the underrated Dave King were reminiscent of Robert Plant upon my initial listen to this album. However, back in the ’80’s it seemed to be the trend to point the finger at too many Hard Rock and Metal vocalists – accusing them of ripping off the legendary Robert Plant. “Easy Livin'” is definitely my favorite track on this debut, it is fast, slick and the guitar play of “Fast” Eddie Clarke shines. “You Got Me Runnin'” and “Give It All You Got” are heavy, fast paced – melody makers, providing the maximum Heavy Metal grooves you can possibly get out of three minute songs. 

In a Metal nutshell, the overall enjoyment that this Fastway debut album has provided me, sincerely has lasted a lifetime. This is one of those albums that I bought on CD as quickly as it was available. The efficiency of this album is what makes it a winner, for me. The efficiency of the songs structures, both musically and time wise, coupled with “Fast” Eddie Clarke on guitar, Dave King on vocals, Jerry Shirley on drums and Mickey Feat on bass, makes the debut Fastway album a Heavy Metal treat for me – to reach for to this very day.

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