AC/DC – ’74 Jailbreak EP Review

Forgive my nerdiness for this review, but I dislike ’74 Jailbreak‘s existence for a nerdy reason.  It is part of what makes collecting early AC/DC tunes more difficult than it should be. *pushes up glasses*

The confusion begins with its title.  It is incorrect.  The song ‘Jailbreak‘ wasn’t released or recorded in 1974.  It was part of the original Aussie version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap recorded in 1976.  With the rest of the EP’s tunes recorded in 1974 for the Aussie version of High Voltage, a more accurate title would be:

’74, Jailbreak

Meaning there are some songs on here from 1974 and ‘Jailbreak’.  But ‘Jailbreak’ is first on the track list.  So an even more accurate title would be:

Jailbreak, ’74

Just to be clear though, this EP wasn’t released in 1974.  It was released in 1984.  So I think a more accurate title would be:

Jailbreak, ’74, in ’84

Ah, but the cover photo is of Angus from no sooner than ’83.  I can tell because his Gibson SG here is set up with a vibrato bridge and a “zebra” pickup in the neck position.  This is a guitar he used almost exclusively during the Flick of The Switch tour.  See the following video (or just look at the thumbnail) and compare it with the the album cover:

 

'74 jailbreak

So really, the title should be:

Jailbreak, ’74, with a photo of Angus from no sooner than ’83, in ’84

OK, I’m taking the piss but I have to ask why does this bewildering EP exist?  Well, its premise is innocent enough.

With AC/DC’s Flick of The Switch released ’83, ’74 Jailbreak was designed to cover a gap before the band’s next album Fly On The Wall in ’85.  Ideally, what their label Atlantic should have done at this point is retire all international versions of AC/DC’s albums and made the Australian ones world-wide.  Maybe hold off on Dirty Deeds for a bit since its international release in North America just happened in ’81, but Aussie High Voltage and T.N.T would have been fair game.  And at least the mess would have begun to clean itself up 35 years ago.

But if we couldn’t have that, well… I suppose putting out some previously unreleased “rarities” isn’t the worst idea.  And it does makes sense to feature the song  ‘Jailbreak’.  Not only is it a solid rocker, it already had a video made in ’76 for Australian telly.  So, that would get them something for the MTV on the cheap.

But I can’t understand why they settled on an EP that only used 5 tracks:

  1. Jailbreak
  2. You Ain’t Got A Hold On Me
  3. Show Business
  4. Soul Stripper
  5. Baby, Please Don’t Go

…since they left 4 more still in Aussie limbo:

  1. Stick Around – Aussie High Voltage
  2. Love Song – Aussie High Voltage
  3. School Days – T.N.T.
  4. R.I.P. (Rock In Peace) – Aussie Dirty Deeds

Heck, add ‘Cold Hearted Man’, a track stuck in European limbo and we have a fairly solid album here.  By 1984 AC/DC were world-renowned so there was no excuse to hold back.

Anyway, I’ll eventually get reviewing the Aussie albums and I’ll go into more detail about the music then.  For now, I’ll just say the tunes picked for ’74 Jailbreak are a mixed bag of awesome and some forgivable “early band awkwardness”.  ‘Jailbreak‘ and the cover of Big Bill Broozy’s ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ are solid tunes.  The others are the better ones from Aussie High Voltage that I dig as an AC/DC fan.  Your mileage, however, may very.

As an AC/DC EP: 2/5
As a collector of all things AC/DC: Why does this exist?
Compared to everything else: It’s got Jailbreak on it so… 3/5

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Max The Axe – Static Electric Album Review

Full Disclosure:  I was gifted a copy of this album by the Mighty Mike Ladano who John over at 2Loud2OldMusic accurately dubbed as: Max The Axe’s “PR guy“.  Also, Max The Axe’s lead singer Eric Litwiller goes by the moniker Uncle Meat; a “character” I enjoy reading about on Mike’s blog.  So take what you will from that.

All I can say is this is my honest thoughts on the album.  If I didn’t care for it I simply would not review it.  For the 15 or so people who read this blog (I love you all!), it would not be worth the hassle of getting into it over a negative review.  If asked, I’d just pretend to be aloof and claim to haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet, Bill Murray style.

So, I say this without reserve: Static Electric is solid rock goodness.

The album has several different flavours throughout its listen.  The first thing that stood out to me during the opener ‘River Grand‘, was how Mike Koutis (AKA Max the Axe) has an identifiable Iommi growl to his guitar tone.

But by the next song, however, the tone switches gears.  ‘Next Plane to Vegas‘ has a James Bond-ish less tremble sixties guitar riff, and a few of the tracks like ‘Sick of Living‘, ‘The Other Side‘, and ‘Uptite Friday Nite‘ have a garage rock vibe.  By the time we get to the album’s closer ‘Scales of Justice‘, we get a greater refined and polished rock tune.  Almost as if it belongs on a follow-up.

Regardless of the style though, every song is Max the Axe.  Their sound maybe garage-ish at times but the guitar playing and solos are closer to 70’s metal-rock, and Eric’s Jack Black-ian vocals are a consistent force that ties the tunes together.

I really enjoyed the vocal melodies; especially the choruses.  Even ‘Randy‘ with its repeating of “Randy”.  It has mysterious way of being a weird song at first, then growing on you after a few spins.  Since I listened to this album mostly in the car without the track listing, I couldn’t believe what my ears were telling me the first time I heard ‘Randy’.  I thought… Randy?… Are they singing Randy?… Who writes a song about a guy named Randy… That’s the guy from the Trailer Park Boys.

randy

Randy?

Nah, it’s got to be Mandy or something that sounds like Randy…  but no, it is Randy.  This is now one of my favourites on the album.  Here they are doing ‘Randy’ live courtesy of their PR department’s YouTube channel.  The tune starts one minute into the video:

It’s excellent.

My favourite, however, is ‘Gods On The Radio‘.  Dang, this is one catchy tune.  The lyrics are fun with references to Scott Baio and Phil Collins.  It has a great hook with the “You Gotta” chorus too.  This is the one that I play two or three times before moving on.  Good times.

All in all, Status Electric is a fun listen.  The only tune I really didn’t care for too much is ‘Call of The Wild‘ and it is not all that bad.  Big thanks to Mike for introducing me to this band.  Make sure to check out his review of the album:

REVIEW: Max the Axe – Status Electric (2018)

And one more plug for John’s too:

Max the Axe – ‘Status Electric’ – Album Review

I’ll be keeping an eye on their facebook page and hopefully one day swing by the Kitchener-Waterloo area to catch them live.

Book Review: Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

Just like the last autobiography I read, Phil Collins is another angry dude that I wanted to read about.  I heard how he became a recluse who was fed up with all the trash said about him on the internet.  He became tired of the noise about how he “ruined” Genesis by pushing out lead singer Peter Gabriel, was responsible for cocking up the Led Zeppelin reunion at Live Aid in ’85, and produced some of Eric Clapton’s worst solo albums in the 80’s.  Well, considering what his life has been like for the last ten years I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he has been oblivious to what any internet trolls have been saying about him.

In his autobiography, Not Dead Yet Phil explains the reasoning behind his retirement is how his body is failing him.  He begun taking cortisone shots in the ’80s which would relax his vocal cords and allow him to sing through sore throats and colds.  One of the side effect of cortisone, however, is osteoporosis.  Something that he wasn’t made aware of until much later in life.  So yeah, Phil’s got some weak bones.  His back received the brunt of the disease, which is now held together by eight screws.

Phil Collins Recording In Genesis

Phil Collins, the drummer for the prog rock group Genesis.

While his body began failing him, Phil began to wind down his career.  His final album of original material was Testify in 2002 which he followed with a Farewell tour in 2004 – 05.  He then wrapped up Genesis with their farewell tour in 2007-08, and he quickly got bored.

By 2010 he was back in the recording studio making a compilation of Motown covers and he compiled his band with original members of The Funk Brothers (the band who played many of the original Motown recordings) to get an authentic sound.  He planned on getting back into touring but could only manage six shows after he pinched a nerve in his left hand.  He could no longer grip onto a drumstick on his own.  He tried taping the stick to his hand but it clearly wasn’t working.

Forced to cancel the tour meant he now had a lot of time to fill.   He unfortunately turned to the bottle to fill his time.  The alcohol abuse mixed with the medication he was on for osteoporosis had disastrous consequences and he came close to death a few times.  So, yeah… that’s what he has been up to.

Now, as for the dirt I wanted to find out about: the rumors of how he pushed Peter Gabriel out of the Genesis is false.  Phil and Genesis’ former lead singer are still good friends.  Pete wanted to leave; it’s as simple as that.  Phil begrudgingly filled the void left behind the mic after the band couldn’t agree on a new singer and the studio time was ticking away.  He is very proud of how successful Genesis became when he, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks, were the only three original members left, but that was a complete uncertainty when Pete left.  At the time all but Pete wanted the band to stay together.

peter-gabriel-and-phil-collins

Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel during the Genesis years.  They’re still friends today.

Phil also had very little to do with the Led Zeppelin’s mangled reunion at Live Aid in ’85.  Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant didn’t want to rehearse and couldn’t agree on a drummer to replace the late John Bonham.  Page wanted Tony Thompson and Plant wanted Phil.  They decided to go with two drummers.  This was before it was a Zeppelin “reunion” as John Paul Jones had yet to commit to the show, which happened at the last-minute.

Phil tried to arrange with Tony to keep the drumming simple, something he knew was necessary from experience playing with a second drummer in the past.  See what happens during Whole Lotta Love here at the 6:30 spot:

Tony is doing anything but keeping it simple, lol.  By 7:50 Phil is completely lost.

As for his work as a producer on those solo Clapton albums in the 80’s, people do remember the lackluster Behind the Sun from ’85.  He lays that pile of mediocrity on the record label who convinced Eric to re-record some tunes after hearing how “downbeat” the original was.  The result was a disjointed album that still sold much better than Clapton’s previous solo album Money and Cigarettes.  Conveniently forgotten, however, is Phil’s work on the follow-up album in 1986, August.  By then Phil’s No Jacket Required was a monster hit and the label stepped back.  This free-form collaboration of Eric’s blues rock mixed with Phil’s soul pop marked the beginning of Eric’s comeback; making August Eric’s best-selling solo album until the 90’s.

phil collins

Phil replaced all of his original album covers with current photos of his face for the Take a Look at Me Now boxset.  Unfortunately, this occurred after Not Dead Yet was published and I would have liked to get some insight on that decision.

Anyway, besides combating with the reality of aging and needing to slow down, as someone who grew from humble beginnings in London, Phil is loaded with stories and insight on becoming the only person to sell over 100 million albums as a solo artist and another 100 million as the front man for a rock band.  The only stuff I skimmed through in Not Dead Yet was when he was talking about his early childhood.  It was heavy on the British slang and I found it hard to follow, but things really pick up once we get closer to the Genesis years.  I do have a favorite story involving some Beatles, but I’m going to save it for another post.

I’m glad to see that Phil is back to touring, although at a much slower pace.  His back problems, an injury he received in the 80’s which caused one of the bones in his foot to chip, and the pinched nerve now have him sitting down when singing and using the aid of a cane to walk.  But it is a good sign that he is keeping his demons away by doing what he loves.  I recommend Phil’s book to anyone who is a fan of music in general.

 

 

AC/DC – Flick of the Switch Album Review

Waaaay back in my college days I was chatting with a buddy of mine who was (and probably still is) a fan of the heavier side of Rock ‘n Roll.  Kiss, Motley Crüe and G’NR in particular.  I asked him about his stance on AC/DC and he said he liked them but they were over played.  (In my head I’m like, Da faq?  This was 1996 ish.  They were hardly on the radio at this time. *shrugs*)  I asked him if he had heard any of their underrated  album Flick of the Switch.  The answer was no.  I told him to hold onto his hat as I grabbed my Flick CD and played it on down.  He was not impressed.

He couldn’t tell me exactly why he didn’t care for it, but he did say something was missing.  He is also the same friend who told me that Kiss’ version of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ on Kiss Alive III was better than Hendrix’s from Woodstock.  (After he played me Kiss’ version of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ he asked me what I thought.  I farted and walked out of the room.  True story.)

Flick follows an awkward attempt by AC/DC’s publishing label to give the band a radio friendly sound by upping the production on their previous album, For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).  This meant some songs were slowed down and a lot of emphasis was made on the more “melodic” backing vocals.  Determined to show how they haven’t gone flaccid, AC/DC decided to get as far away from a commercial sound as they possibly could.  With only the help of engineer Tony Platt, the band produced Flick themselves with the goal of capturing the swing of the band’s on-stage performance and bring it to the studio.

As soon as they got the sound they wanted, they quickly hammered out the tunes having done all ten within a month.  According to one source*, the only bump in the road was when previous producer, George Young joined the recording session to help with the vocals.  George had lead singer Brian Johnson rework some lyrics, and record all of them a second time.  Otherwise, there was very little tinkering done.

As much as I disagreed with my friend about Flick, it seemed that most agreed with him  considering the album wasn’t a commercial success.  With AC/DC being at their commercial peak in 1983, it should have sold extremely well.  Instead it became their poorest selling album since Powerage.  They swung the pendulum too far away from any studio polish taking away an important ingredient that help make them relatable.  I mean, out of the band’s previous albums the rougher sounding ones under-performed.  So, it made little sense to commit so heavily into going back in that direction.

 

Now, let me be clear before we get all excited.  It would be a total/complete stretch to say if Mutt Lange or a similar producer were around for Flick that it would have outsold Back In Black.  The songs are not that strong.  But I would bet real money on a less dramatic drop in sales.  I think what did the album in the end was how the Youngs knew exactly what they didn’t want Flick to be, but overlooked having a plan for what it should be.

With THAT said….

Flick of the Switch is amaze-balls as it is.  I play this one down all of the time without any urge to skip a track.  Even though the album doesn’t resonate with the masses, it does with me.  I love the boozy Bon years as much as the next guy, but I like Brain too.  Flick is loaded with his personality making it not only the most “Brian” album ever, but also the band’s heaviest.  Not in terms of sound, (it isn’t that much of a departure from the norm) but in feel.  It is raw.  Direct and angry.   It follows the thread of an angry groove that is raising a huge middle finger to the suits who tried to change them, while nodding to their fans that they will not be watered down.  I’m one of those fans. *sniff*… They are nodding to me.

Guns for Hire‘ is the best tune on it.  I love Angus’ intro.  AC/DC used it to open all of their supporting shows for the album.  Too bad they don’t play it any longer.  ‘Bedlam in Belgium‘ spins a yarn about a real life event that involves a scuffle between the Belgium police and their fans at a show they did in the late ’70s.  It’s about a real as AC/DC can get.

Flick of the Switch‘ is great with its walk up riff to the chords.  ‘Badlands‘ has a really nice groove and ‘Brainshake‘ may be the band’s most frantic song.  It is either about taking a fast car for a joy ride or rough sex.  Either way, an appropriate for AC/DC.

I love Brian’s spoken word opening for ‘Landslide‘:

I want you to hear me out there
This is for all you bad boys
This a story of the Satan rock ‘n’ roll
I want you to put your hand in your pocket
Take ten dollars out and send it to me

A big F.U. to the religious zealots who were labeling AC/DC as Satanists because some of their songs reference hell.

Flick of the Switch might not be AC/DC’s strongest, but is the “Black in Black” lineup at their most purist.  I can just watch these guys rehearse these tunes, over and over again.  And I have:

 

 

Don’t just take my word for it.  Blogger for the Bold, Super Dekes layed it down perfectly in his review of Flick when he said: “Opener Rising Power took me all of 10 seconds to realize that this was cranky DC street rock.  A no-nonsense approach to the songs…”  I couldn’t agree more.  And that’s why I love this album.

As an AC/DC album 3.5/5
Compared the pop music of today: 6/5

 

*THE SAME SOURCE CONFIRMS HOW IT WAS PHIL RUDD WHO DID ALL OF THE DRUMMING FOR FLICK BEFORE HIS SAD DECADE-ISH LONG DEPARTURE.  THERE HAVE BEEN RUMORS FLOATING AROUND HOW PHIL’S REPLACEMENT SIMON WRIGHT FINISHED OFF A FEW TRACKS, BUT THIS ISN’T TRUE.  REALLY, THOUGH.  DID WE NEED SOMEONE TO CONFIRM THAT?  JUST LISTEN TO THE DRUMMING ON FLICK AND SIMON’S ON FLY ON THE WALL, WHO MADE WHO, AND BLOW UP YOUR VIDEO.  FLICK IS ALL RUDD.

Book Review – Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty was published in 2012 and I finally got around reading it this month.  I was able to snag an ebook copy from my local library and put it onto my Kobo Reader without having to leave the couch.  What an age we live in!

What attracted me to Fogerty’s story (besides being a huge Creedence Clearwater Revival fan since I was a teen) was all that in fighting!  I knew CCR had a ton of hits in its short period of time, (3 albums loaded with top 40 hits in 1969 alone!) and then they were done as quickly as they started.  John was CCR’s singer, song writer, and lead guitarist, who no longer acquainted himself with any of his former band members.  And I’ve always wondered what went on there.

Well dang, I found out!  I mean, the story is all from John’s perspective so take it with a grain of salt.  But there is no denying how after CCR, John went on to have an amazing professional career, winning Grammys and performing with professional classic rock royalty like Bruce Springsteen, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, etc.  Meanwhile, the rest of the band pops up on the “old fart” circuit performing at casinos and smaller venues as Creedence Clearwater Revisited. So, it is clear to me where the talent lies.

creedence-clearwater-revival

From left: Doug Clifford, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, John Fogerty

Not only does John throw all of his former band mates under the bus, he then takes the bus to the local gas station, fills ‘er up, checks the tire pressure, and heads back for more.  And after reading his story, I can see why.  Between the years of 1968 to 1970 CCR was the #2 best-selling rock band in the world with The Beatles holding the #1 slot.  You would think this amount of success would have Fogerty financially set for life.  But early in their career the band signed a recording contract slanted heavily towards the label, Fantasy.  This contract would see the first 180 songs CCR would produce committed to the label.  This poor business decision would not only eroded John’ relationship with his band members including his brother/rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, it would also see him lose control of CCR’s music.

The band made a pact to put all decisions on licencing their music to covering artists, commercials, TV Shows, or films, etc. to a vote.  Shortly after the band breaks up in 1971, Fantasy purchases Tom Fogerty’s vote and frees him from his part of the 180 song debt.  Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford follow shortly after.  This means that not only is the remainder of the 180 song debt placed solely on John’s shoulders, but he will be out voted on any licencing decision by Fantasy 3 to 1.

The CCR tune you heard in “Forrest Gump”?  Fantasy’s decision.  ‘Fortunate Son’ used to hock denim in a Wrangler TV spot?  John had no say in the matter and he hated the ad.

John confronts Tom one day and asks him how he could sell out his music like that.  Tom replies with “I just wanted the money.”

John begins whittling down now his 180 song debt with his first solo project in 1973, Blue Ridge Rangers.  The album is a compilation of 12 traditional and country covers with every instrument played by John; and with just a hint of passive aggression John decides to leave his name off of the cover sleeve (This was changed on the vinyl re-issues and the CD).   It was a commercial flop with a majority of the public led to believe that is was a new country album by a group called “Blue Ridge Rangers”.  John doesn’t mind as his purpose is to be free of the 180 song debt and get back to writing for himself.  Fantasy has the last laugh, however, by informing him that the album will not count.  His debt is not simply any 180 songs, but 180 “rock songs”.

John also had to regularly fight for his cut of the royalty money he was owed as Fantasy would hold onto it for various reasons.  In an early 80’s he filed a lawsuit for a portion of the money owed to him, and he allowed his band mates to join him since each of their lawsuits were filed too late and the statute of limitations had run out.  Not only did He and his band mates win the money owed to them, but John was also awarded freedom from the ridiculous 180 song debt.  John was finally able to write for himself again, but Fantasy wasn’t done yet.

In the mid-80’s John puts out his first “debt-free” solo album, Centerfield, and it is a smash hit.  Fantasy then sues John for plagiarizing CCR.  Da faq you say?  Yep.  Despite John being the sole author of both tunes they claim the album’s first single ‘The Old Man Down the Road’ is a ripoff of CCR’s ‘Born on the Bayou’.  They were suing John for plagiarizing himself!  During the trial it is reviled how Fantasy was put up to this ridiculous claim by his former band members.  They are the ones who convinced the label that John was restructuring old CCR songs.  This was AFTER John had allowed them in on the previous lawsuit against Fantasy.  They only want that money, man.

john fogerty

John Fogerty performing in 2005-ish.  Rare is the photo of him not wearing plaid.

Besides spending way too much time in court and money on lawyers, Fortunate Son does offer John’s insight into many of the tunes he famously wrote.  He also gives shout outs to the songs that he grew up listening too which helped shape his music and guitar tone.  I was making notes throughout my read and now have a killer song list on Spotify titled “John’s Recommendations and Influences”.

I loved getting John’ perspective on not only his music, but life and how he (when he was able too) chose to live it.  The book goes off on tangents once in a while as John talks about his relationship with his current wife, and it even switches to her perspective at times.  It’s fine… but I was here for the dirt!  So, I mostly skipped it.

You won’t find much of the debauchery and drug abuse that follow most rock ‘n roll bands here.  According to John, one CCR member would pour shaving foam into the backs of hotel television sets to watch them blow up, and that is about as mischievous as the book gets.  But if you are into vendettas and lawsuits, you’ll get plenty of that here.  John is an interesting guy and I only gave you a taste here of what the book has to offer.  Highly recommended.

Mars’ Top 8 Albums from 2018

Top 8?  Yeah, the last few years have been tough on me and 2018 was no exception.  I needed a lot of comfort food this year and that came from writing/listening to my favorite band, AC/DC.  It did get my mind off things but it meant spending less time with albums from 2018.

The fact that you are reading this all, really, is because of my wife, Sarah.  As I talked to her about needing to cut down on time spent creating content in 2019, her one request was a post on my favorite albums from 2018.  She is always looking to highlight the positive when things become overwhelming and negative.  What she describes as “the light in the shadows”.  So this post is dedicated to her.

So, here we go.  8 lights that found a way to shine in 2018:

corrosion

#8 Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown

This was an immediate buy for me with Pepper Keenan back in the band on lead guitar and vocals.  Well, by immediate I mean the first moment I found a deal.  It was released in January and I believe I grabbed it sometime in March.  The album is a bit uneven but most of the tracks are a stoner-rockin’ good time.  This is where you belong, Pepper!

 

saxon-thunderbolt

#7 Saxon – Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is my first Saxon album and I was blown away by how much these geezers can rock!  Nah, forget rock.  This is MET-TAALL!  You can read my full review of the album here.

 

 

both sides of the sky cover

#6 Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides of the Sky

This is an excellent collection of half done/hidden/vaulted tracks from the greatest guitarist of all time.  A lot of what is here has been released before on compilations and bootlegs, but with mixing board in the hands of Eddie Kramer (The engineer on all of Jimi’s classic albums), you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where these tunes sound better.  You can read my full review here.

greta van fleet_peaceful army

#5 Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army

Take away all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Grip tightly onto all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Honestly, I don’t know why GVF’s strong Zeppelin vibe is seen as negative by some.  How many times have we put on a classic rock album and said “They don’t make them like this anymore”? Then, someone does it (and does it WELL) and it gets crapped on.  *shrugs*

jann arden these are the days#4 Jann Arden – These Are The Days

These Are The Days opens with the fantastic ‘Everybody’s Pulling on Me‘, and Christ on a cracker did 2018 feel that way at times.  The tune has a perfect old school Mo-Town/Doo-Wop rhythm that Jann’s voice cuts through as she delivers the melody.  The rest of the album is solid too.  Especially ‘All The Little Things‘.  It’s the kind of album that you listen to and think, I’ve heard this before. Is this a cover tune? Then you realize it is all new, but the tunes are connecting with you.

Sarah and I thought about skipping on seeing her perform live in Oshawa this past October.  Even though we needed a break, we made the effort to move some scheduling around to make it work.  I’m so glad we did!  That show was not only rockin’ but hilarious too.  Would do again.

judas priest firepower#3 Judas Priest – Firepower

The Priest is back, baby!  The best Priest album in decades.  DECADES!  I pre-ordered it when ‘Lightening Strikes‘ hit the YouTubes and I don’t do that often. Besides over-staying its welcome a wee bit, the album is otherwise solid.  I almost wish they would hang it up here and go out on a high note.   Easily my vote for the best MET-TAALL album of 2018.

 

sloan 12 cover#2 Sloan – 12

It kills me not to put this at number one.  KILLS ME!  It is so good.  That perfect mix of rock and pop, 12 is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  Usually, after listening to an album a number of times I get tired of a song or two and find myself skipping to the tracks I love.  That hasn’t happened with 12 yet, and I’m not sure if it ever will.

We did see Sloan in May at The KEE to Bala and these guys put on a show!  Even though Sarah’s boyfriend, Patrick Pentland, wasn’t there due to a family illness we had a fantastic time.  Almost all of 12 was performed, and I was not complaining!  You can read my full review of 12 right here!

Sheepdogs - changing colours LP#1 The Sheepdogs – Changing Colours

As difficult as it was to put Sloan in the #2 spot, Changing Colours was easy to place at #1.  No other album got more play by me in 2018.  The addition of my BFF Jimmy Bowskill to The Sheepdogs finally had me standing up and acknowledging a band that I have ignored for a while.  No matter what my mood, Changing Colours seem appropriate to play.  It is late 60’s/70’s rock done to perfection in 2018.

The Sheepdogs also had us visiting The KEE to Bala again in August.  Man, these guys rocked it!  BFF Jimmy had the half stack of Marshalls singing sweetly all night long.  Glad to hear their drummer is doing well with battling the big C!  You can read my full review of Changing Colours right here.

So, even though I only have eight albums, I guess you could say 2018 still had a quality over quantity vibe for me.  Also like how 3 Canadian artists cracked my top 5!  It will be interesting to see how long that record holds.  Anyway, here’s hoping more time is spent with the Rock ‘n Roll in 2019!