Contagious: Y&T

Rating: 70%

R-2526591-1296190983.jpeg.jpgBack in 1988-1990, the group I was hanging around introduced me to this album. I remember all of us listening to this album in the car when we drove from carnival to carnival to hang out with friends. Later on, one of my buddies would commit suicide and the group was never the same.

Today, I found this vinyl of this album and I purchased it just to remember my days with Randy, Dave, and Timmy. Timmy gave me this Celtic cross before his death which my wife still has. So, this record does bring back some of those memories that I have forgotten. After that summer, we all never saw each other again.

Y&T is a band not too many heard of, especially in the day and age. Their roots go back to the mid 1970’s. But like bands such as Def Leppard, once the Hair and Glam Metal scene became popular, these bands were swept into the genre. Producing music that was popular on MTV, Y&T’s 1987 “Contagious” record fell victim to the Hair and Glam Metal scene. Big hair and fancy clothes and blue jeans was the look.

Musically, big riffs and lot’s of leads made the crowds go wild and this record has both. Harmonizing vocals on the chorus portions of the song and the Sammy Hagar/David Coverdale style vocals on the verses are there. Another product of the Hair Metal scene was the ballad and “Temptation” has that category covered.

Dave Dave Meniketti vocals are pretty strong. You can tell he has that David Lee Roth influence listen “The Kid Goes Crazy.” Even the song compliments early Van Halen. Then “Fight For Your Life” has a very strong Dokken influenceHis guitar playing followed by Joey Alves is pretty strong too as they throw out riffs and leads. Bassist Phil Kennemore and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso both have a good set up, but even their roles are a bit weak. 

Y&T was nothing more than a product of the MTV era. They had ten minutes of fame and then as Grunge came out, they, just like many of the Hair Metal bands were forced to leave the scene and rediscover themselves. They did get back together in 1995 after four years off of the road.

Track listing:

Side 1

Contagious 3:19
L.A. Rocks 4:37
Temptation 4:22
The Kid Goes Crazy 4:14
Fight For Your Life 4:47

Side 2

Armed And Dangerous 4:17
Rhythm Or Not 5:05
Bodily Harm 3:31
Eyes Of A Stranger 4:37
I’ll Cry For You (Instrumental) 2:33

Invasion Of Your Privacy: Ratt

Rating: 80%

RattInvasionI hated most of the Hair Metal bands of the 1980’s as I thought the style and music was basically fake and full of posers. But some of the bands did stick out to me that were decent, including Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and yes, Ratt…or at least this album. And by the way, the cover model is Playboy mate, Marianne Gravatte. 

This second album by Ratt is pretty good. It has plenty of good moments, even the semi-ballad “Closer to My Heart” is OK. Even though, I hated most of those love ballads by these Hair/Glam bands. The album has a nice flow to it, some good melodies, riffs, and yes, the classic Hair Metal style leads and solos.

The musicianship isn’t bad at all. Stephen Pearcy’s raspy vocal style is what sets this band apart from those others. There is no one that could even come close to sounding like him. Then you have the duel shock of guitars by Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, who throw out the mighty riffs and leads. Surprisingly, Juan Croucier bass is right there and is clearly heard as he sets the timing right along with drummer Bobby Blotzer. 

The album opens with the killer song “You’re in Love.” To me, this song should have been a number one hit, as it is nothing more than pure Heavy Metal. “Lay It Down” is more or less one of those songs, even though it charted, was more of the same style as the rest of the Hair Metal bands. But, it’s not a bad song, just isn’t what I thought would have been a charter. In fact the majority of this album follows the same style as “Lay It Down.” There is some filler, but that is expected. “Between the Eyes” to me is another song that I don’t understand why it charted, to me that is a filler song as is “What You Give Is What You Get.” But hey, this is what those crazy long haired fist throwers wanted and that is what they got. All and all, this album is a well done album. I was lucky enough to get this as a teenager on vinyl for like .25c at a pawnshop when CD was getting to be popular.

Track listing:

1. “You’re in Love” 3:12
2. “Never Use Love”  3:54
3. “Lay It Down” 3:23
4. “Give It All”3:19
5. “Closer to My Heart” 4:30
Side two
6. “Between the Eyes” 3:54
7. “What You Give Is What You Get” 3:47
8. “Got Me on the Line” 3:04
9. “You Should Know by Now” 3:29
10. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” 3:30

Outlaw Blood

Rating: 70%

outlawblood_ob2In 1990, the Hair Metal scene was getting dull. Many bands that were signed to major labels were seeing a new trend coming down the road in the form of Grunge. It was a matter of time before Hair or Glam Metal was done. Many of the bands signed in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s had to separate themselves from that movement. A new wave of Blues influenced Hard Rock as part of the Hair Metal scene came about, but it still wasn’t enough to stop the Grunge movement.

In 1991, Outlaw Blood managed to record their only album. This self titled album is a bluesy influenced Hard Rock that I swear sounds like Billy Idol meets Bang Tango. If you’re familiar with bands like Tangier or Tora Tora, these guys are right there along those lines.

The musicianship is not bad. You had vocalist Marc McCoy, guitarist Marti Frederiksen (who helped to write many songs for the big bands), lead guitarists Rick Harchol, bassist Nick ‘The Hammer’ Parise, and drummer Larry Aberman. Song structures are very basic for the time. Several hard rockers, one ballad, and a few slower songs. There are some decent riffs and some great leads. Other than that, what we have here is an average band who got caught up on the Hair Metal scene as it was fizzling out.

Track listing:

1. Tower of Love
2. Body and Soul
3. Last Act
4. Sink My Teeth
5. Every Day I Die
6. Soul Revival
7. I’m N Shock
8. Red Hot ‘N’ Blue
9. Slave to Love
10. Fall Thru the Cracks
11. Hollywood Babylon

Self Titled: L.A. Guns

Rating: 90%

220px-Lagunsselftitled.jpgIn 1988, during the high water mark of the Glam or Hair Metal scene, L.A. Guns released their debut album. I must admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of the Glam Metal scene, but L.A. Guns, stuck out to me from most of the other bands. L.A.Guns consisted of vocalist Phil Lewis, lead guitarist Tracii Guns, guitarist Mick Cripps, bassist Kelly Nickles and drummer Nicky Alexander. Nicky was replaced after the recording was over by Steve Riley. Their music wasn’t like what you heard on the radio. In fact our local radio stations didn’t play anything off this album until after their second album “Cocked and Loaded” was released.

This album to me was their best. The music and song structure is really good. This album has some really nice melodies, good tempos, song arrangements, nice riffs, great leads and strong vocal work. Not bad for a band made up of outcasts from other bands. As you may know, Tracii Guns is the guns that at one point made up Guns n’ Roses. Lyrically, this album deals with love, sex, everyday life and women. There’s almost a certain degree of sleaziness in the band’s music.

Tracii Guns is one hell of a talented guitarist. His leads are great. Phil Lewis’s vocals are clear and strong.  Production is well done. All musicians are heard throughout the album. Although there are not bad songs on this album as the entire album flows very nicely, “No Mercy”, “Sex Action”, “One More Reason” and “One Way Ticket” stand out. The saxophone in the background on “Nothing to Loose” is a nice touch to the chorus.  “Cry No More” is a classical acoustical piece that is the intro to “One Way Ticket” which is a more upbeat ballad.

Track listing:

No Mercy 2:45
Sex Action 3:38
One More Reason 3:05
Electric Gypsy 3:24
Nothing To Lose 4:12
Bitch Is Back 2:50
Cry No More 1:20
One Way Ticket 4:17
Hollywood Tease 2:43
Shoot For Thrills 4:24
Down In The City 3:58