Weekend Warriors: Ted Nugent

Rating: 80%

Weekend_Warriors.jpgTed Nugent is back with his fourth studio album “Weekend Warriors” released in 1978. Not as explosive as the prior three, but this album does have it’s moments. Especially with the line change. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes left the band and was replaced by Charlie Huhn.

Musically, it does have good riffs and tons of lead guitar. But, the album appears to be flawed. The song structures just seem a little weak. As if, Ted isn’t putting everything he’s got into it. Not to mention, there is some filler where Ted went back to “Catch Scratch Fever” and reused that riff. The John Sauter’s bass and  drummer Cliff Davies to hammer out some nice tempos that are surrounded by some good melodies. Charlie Huhn seems to have a nice harmony that compliments Ted’s overall sound. 

Aside from that, this album is still a very good record, just lacking that raw power and sheer energy that Ted Nugent is known for. Just glad I got my copy on vinyl at my local record store.

Track Listing:

Side one
“Need You Bad” – 4:19
“One Woman” – 4:04
“I Got the Feelin'” – 3:05
“Tight Spots” – 2:55
“Venom Soup” – 5:47
Side two
“Smokescreen” – 4:15
“Weekend Warriors” – 3:09
“Cruisin'” – 3:26
“Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine” – 4:00
“Name Your Poison” – 4:30

Vertical Smiles: Blackfoot

Rating: 50%

VerticalsmilesalbumSo, the 1980’s had no mercy for Southern Rock as the keyboards and pop music swooped in, taking over every music genre. Well, Blackfoot was no exception. Just as Molly Hatchet, Ted Nugent, and ZZ Top were trying to find there way, Blackfoot followed right behind.

Musically, the album begins with two covers that are very pop and alternative influenced. Lot’s of synthesizers. Where’s the Hard Rock you might ask? Well, it’s there, buried deep within the song structure. But, I can’t seem to hear it from the New Wave styles. “Git It On” is one of the better songs on the record, but it too is somewhat weak even though it has solos, riffs, and vocals. It fall victim to the 1980’s sound. I am really missing “Train, Train.”

The musicianship is lacking. Ricky Medlocke vocals are very mild. His guitar is very weak. Think of Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose. Even the main riffs and solos are just not explosive. The rest of the band is following in Ricky’s steps. Disappointed.  

Track listing:

Side one
“Morning Dew” (Bonnie Dobson cover) – 5:27
“Living in the Limelight” (Peter Cetera cover) – 4:02
“Ride with You” – 3:33
“Get It On” – 4:29
Side two
“Young Girl” – 4:24
“Summer Days” – 3:19
“A Legend Never Dies” (RPM cover) – 3:03
“Heartbeat and Heels” – 3:15
“In for the Kill” – 3:50

Blow Up Video: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

blowupvideo.jpg1988 and AC/DC needed a strong album to make a major comeback. This was considering that “Fly On The Wall” was a U.S. commercial success. This album also marked the last album that Brian Johnson would contribute lyrics to.

Vocally speaking, Brian Johnson is riding the wave one more time. He still sounds good, but he has completely blown his pipes. Age has finally caught up with him. I call this the beginning Donald Duck years. But his vocals are much better on this album than the previous “Fly On The Wall.”

Musically, the rest of the band sounds OK. This album is the final product of the “Who Made Who” era, moving away from the style of “Fly On The Wall.” In other words, AC/DC is trying to reinvent themselves and it takes awhile to do that. This is where AC/DC was headed musically, which leads into the “Razors Edge” era which would come in 1990.

The main two flaws I hear are noise and filler within the music. Some of the song structures do repeat themselves over and over. “Two’s UP” basically sounds like leftovers from the “For Those About To Rock” record. I love the song, but there’s nothing new to it. The entire album sounds very weak, unfocused with lot’s of background noise. Now not all is lost. This album does contain some very good parts musically. The opening and verse guitar parts to “This Means War” is very up beat. Many of the songs, do have a nice melody driving it, but it does get a bit dull too. 

The music is riff heavy with shortened leads and solos. The guitar work is a bit weak. Even drummer Simon Wright isn’t sounding to hot. It’s almost as if the material was put together very quickly, the night before the recording. Cliff Williams on bass seems to be the only guy who has sort of broken away from the standard. He is laying down some bass lines that are not following along the guitars.  

Track listing:

1. “Heatseeker” 3:50
2. “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll” 3:45
3. “Meanstreak” 4:08
4. “Go Zone” 4:26
5. “Kissin’ Dynamite” 3:58
6. “Nick of Time” 4:16
7. “Some Sin for Nuthin'” 4:11
8. “Ruff Stuff” 4:28
9. “Two’s Up” 5:19
10. “This Means War” 4:21

’74 Jailbreak: AC/DC

Rating: 100%

Ac-dc-74-jailbreak-coverAlthough, released in America in 1984, this EP contains some of the early AC/DC songs that weren’t released on the High Voltage and Dirty Deeds albums. Which is a shame because, these songs are awesome. Some of the best early AC/DC songs in my opinion. Well, I’m just glad that they were eventually released in American.

I’m not going to go over the musicians, simply because of the fact that there were numerous ones. Three different drummers and two different bassists. But, listening to the songs, one would never pick up on the fact that the line ups were totally different from song to song.

What makes this EP so special? It’s a powerhouse of raw sound, great riffs, and yes, whiskey soaked high pitched vocals of Bon Scott. Every song on here is a good song. Lot’s of Blues and Rock N’ Roll influence. It contains those killer riffs, melodies, and those signature Angus Young leads and solos. It’s a wonder that these songs were released on the American media sooner than AC/DC’s 10 year birthday. Lyrically, these to me are some of the best written songs of early AC/DC.

Track listing:
1. “Jailbreak” 4:40
2. “You Ain’t Got a Hold on Me” 3:31
3. “Show Business” 4:46
4. “Soul Stripper” 6:25
5. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” 4:50

Who Made Who: AC/DC

Rating: 75%

Whomadewho.jpgSo, AC/DC did the 1986 soundtrack to the movie “Maximum Overdrive.” There’s only a few new songs here and two of them are instrumentals. Something that I thought I would never hear from AC/DC, but, this is a soundtrack album. This sound track produced another popular AC/DC song called “Who Made Who.” Other than that, nothing else to report here. Everything else, has been around plenty for a while. I think the song collection could have been a bit more exciting.

Track listing:

Who Made Who 3:23
You Shook Me All Night Long 3:29
D.T. 2:59
Sink The Pink 4:12
Ride On 5:47
Hells Bells 5:10
Shake Your Foundations 4:08
Chase The Ace 3:00
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) 5:44

For Those About To Rock: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

ForThoseAboutToRock_ACDCalbum.jpgReleased in 1981, as the follow up to the “Back In Black” album, AC/DC has created something of a international anthem. But then, as you listen to the rest of the album, it becomes more or less a hit or miss album.

The musicianship is lacking here. It’s like the morning after when you are suffering from a major hangover, and you don’t feel like doing anything. Brian Johnson’s vocals are a bit weak, but still impressive. After this album, Brian’s vocals really start going downhill as AC/DC matures. His vocals are still strong with some rasp as he hits those mid to higher level notes with in the soprano range. The guitars are seem to be coping and pasting the same styles throughout many of the songs. I can’t hardly hear Cliff Williams on bass. Phil Rudd to me is the only one that is saving this record. 

The music is lacking the raw power and intensity of explosive melodies. The music tempo is very slow, compared to the previous AC/DC albums.  It’s almost to the point, that I find myself wanting to push the skip button to fast forward to another song. Lot’s of filler on this album. The overall sound is heavier than prior albums, but there’s no drive to half of the album.  

But not all is lost on this album. Take the opening track, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).” This is over five minutes worth of pure Hard Rock. It has a powerful guitar riff. This song has become one of the best international anthems of all time. “Inject the Venom” is another good song on this album that stands out. “Evil Walks”, “C.O.D.”, “Night of the Long Knives”, and “Spellbound” are also good songs with decent riffs, but they too lack that power driven guitar that AC/DC is always known for.

Track listing:

1. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” 5:43
2. “Put the Finger on You” 3:25
3. “Let’s Get It Up” 3:53
4. “Inject the Venom” 3:31
5. “Snowballed” 3:23
6. “Evil Walks” 4:23
7. “C.O.D.” 3:19
8. “Breaking the Rules” 4:23
9. “Night of the Long Knives” 3:25
10. “Spellbound” 4:28

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: AC/DC

Rating: 100%

ddddc.jpgIn 1976, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep was released to the world, except for the U.S. which would have to wait until 1981. This album is excellent! It’s got the right dosage of Rock N’ Roll, Blues, and yes, Country music all blended into one bold sound. Angus Young is really tipping his hat to Chuck Berry.

The musicianship is super tight. I love the quirkiness of Bon Scott’s whiskey soaked vocals. Behind the power switch is Angus and Malcolm Young on the guitars. Angus really knows how to through out the best solos. Then bringing up the rear and yet, establishing the fuel for the power is bassist Mark Evans and drummer Phil Rudd.

This is a great album lyrically because of the humor in the songs. Take “Big Balls” for example. It’s full of tongue in cheek humor making one think is he talking about those parties or what’s between his legs. Simple, yet funny! Just look over the song titles. There’s a lot of great riffs and leads. The rhythm and melodies are raw and yet, explosive when you give this album a listen to. This is an example of what a Rock band should sound like. 

Track listing:

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 3:46
Love At First Feel 3:05
Big Balls 2:39
Rocker 2:46
Problem Child 5:43
There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ 3:14
Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) 6:51
Ride On 5:47
Squealer 5:12