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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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Michael Schenker & Gary Barden rock together again on “In The Midst Of Beauty”

Posted in 1980's hard rock, 1980's heavy metal music, Album Review, classic rock, current hard rock albums, current hard rock songs, current heavy metal music, Guitar, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Metal Reviews, Music, Rock, rock music, rock music vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

I always have been enamored by the guitar brilliance of Michael Schenker. I have always been a big fan of the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal vocals of Gary Barden. These two musicians combined, made for one very cool and memorable debut album by The Michael Schenker Group, which was self titled. My favorite album by this duo is the second Michael Schenker Group album, titled “MSG”. Depending on the song or album you listen to from the Michael Schenker Group catalog, this band can be defined as Rock, Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Diversity has been the mainstay in Michael Schenker’s music, in my Metal opinion. A tried and true crossover of Heavy Music styles is what MSG has accomplished over the decades. Michael Schenker has had one incredible Hard Rock/Metal career, being an original member of the Scorpions and as a member of the infamous UFO.

Michael Schenker has had different lead vocalists over the years, again, my nod goes to the combo of Michael Schenker and Gary Barden. I did not intend to get too long winded, on the background history of The Michael Schenker Group, just a brief introduction is necessary for new fans that might want to check out the past music of MSG. Schenker – Barden “In The Midst Of Beauty” was released on May 13, 2008, with both Michael Schenker and Gary Barden rockin’ out together again. I am very pleased with this album, the vocals of Barden are still solid, he was never a flamboyant or in your face – Arena Rock vocalist to begin with. Barden for me, has always been a cool and deliberate Heavy Rock vocalist who exhibits real emotion in his vocals, while pronouncing the lyrics of his songs – always making the lyrical message as important as the music itself. In my Metal opinion, Gary Barden is as true a Heavy Rock vocalist today as he was in 1980. I cannot say enough about the guitar wizardry of Michael Schenker, to me he plays his very best on “In The Midst Of Beauty”.

All 12 songs are memorable for me on this album, with my favorite track being “Ride On My Way”. This tune is very melodic and it Rocks. I knew when I bought this CD, that I was not going to hear the resurrection of the 1980’s Schenker & Barden Heavy Metal attack. As years pass, all of our great and legendary Metal musicians change a tad or two. Does Gary Barden sound older? How about Michael Schenker? Give me a break, if anything else, there is a new found level of confident Metal that I hear on “In The Midst Of Beauty”. Do not be fooled, for Michael Schenker still brings the heavy on his guitar solos and leads. These two Heavy Metal legends can still Rock their hearts out, I only wish I could sing or play guitar this darn great at my age! “In The Midst Of Beauty” is a fantastic Hard Rock/old school Heavy Metal album that defines what Schenker and Barden are all about – both accomplished musicians who have nothing to prove to anyone – while still showing the entire Rock world what real song writing is all about.

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