I bought this album when it first came out in February (limited edition of 200 in “Two High Greens” colour vinyl fact fans) and since then it’s been sitting next to the turntable as I’ve been too nervous to play it. The previous album by Blackberry Smoke blew me away (see here) – what if this one didn’t deliver????
I eventually summoned up the courage to play it last week and as the first track kicked in I had a flashback to 1976 – I was trying to convince my mum that the new Queen album “A Day At The Races” was amazing and just as good as “A Night At The Opera” whilst deep inside I ached (as only a 12 year old can) because I knew I was trying to fool myself.
Unfortunately it’s the same here, this isn’t a patch on “The Whippoorwill”, it feels as if they’re trying too hard, they’re no longer good ol’ boys enjoying themselves they’re too busy trying to match what’s gone before. Now that’s not to say that this album’s a bust, there are still some good tracks, but some (like “Let Me Help You (Find the Door)”) just don’t feel like they belong whilst others (take a bow “Rock and Roll Again”) sound just a bit too derivative.
I’m hoping that this will grow on me but initially this has to be rated as a 3 – Good but not Outstanding.
Having said all that I do love the track “Holding All The Roses” and I still want to see them live……………..
Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses (2015) – Vinyl
So here we are at Record Store Day 2015 and I’m holding with the promise I made back at the end of March – no new purchases until I’ve completed ten new posts (this is number nine). But to be honest that doesn’t bother me too much when we’re talking about RSD (2015 or any other year) – the PR machine helps get people into independent record shops which is a good thing but there’s never anything released that particularly blows my mind. Then again I suppose it’s not targeted at me, I need no excuse to go out and buy vinyl…..
I discovered Ruby the Hatchet on BandCamp a couple of months ago and immediately bought an LP, Single and TShirt bundle. Hailing from Philadelphia they play psychedelic / doom laden / stoner / Sabbath-esque (please delete / add to as applicable) rock with attitude. I was hoping to catch them play with Blues Pills in the UK but there was a Visa issue (their’s not mine) – hopefully that’ll get sorted, I need to see this group live………..
Previously I’ve skirted around Acid Mothers Temple and their convoluted membership, groups and discography – not for any musical reasons, it’s just that I know that if I get too close I’ll be subsumed into their overall ethos and culture.
The other week however I had a triple live album of theirs (well of the AMT + Melting Paraiso U.F.O. variety) land on my doorstep – having come all the way from the US it seemed churlish not to play it. And so it was with some trepidation I put on the album over the holiday weekend and tried to tiptoe along the event horizon.
The tiptoeing failed and I’m now totally within their grasp, the reason? Six sides of serious freak out music………..
“Born Free, Stone Free” – What a way to start a concert! The bastard offspring of c1972 Hawkwind and the Heaviest of Metal. Perfect.
“It Search Of Lost Divine Arc” – Pink Floyd, as they’re setting the controls for the heart of the sun, with a more modern freak attachment. Perfect.
“Pink Lady Lemonade” – Mrs P stuck her head around the door while this was playing to ask why there was satanic like music pulsing through the walls. Perfect.
“Cometary Orbital Drive” – I think my heart would have given out if I’d seen this live, just having the beat on record is enough to induce arrhythmia. The steady increase in speed during this track is a modern day “Adjust Me” taken to the extreme – it would have had Dik Mik and Del Dettmar chomping at the bit. Perfect.
“Space Speed Suicide” – What a way to finish a concert! Full overdrive as AMT try to ground anyone still standing after the previous 4 tracks. Perfect.
I like it…………
Acid Mothers Temple And The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
High On New Heaven, Live In New Haven (2015) Triple Vinyl
Born Free, Stone Free
In Search Of Lost Divine Arc
Pink Lady Lemonade – including OM Riff From The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Part One
Pink Lady Lemonade – including OM Riff From The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Part Two
Cometary Orbital Drive
Space Speed Suicide
Rate – 5/5
…..only 59 copies left on vinyl as I write this- you can get it here
Derided by the music press, who worked on the basis that big hair + anthemic songs = bombast, The Alarm were in fact a decent alternative rock group who played with true passion and wore their hearts on their sleeves in typical 80s fashion. I saw them live, virtually by accidental, around the time this album was released. Out in London one night we decided to see a concert and bought tickets for the first gig we saw – didn’t pay any attention to who the band were until The Alarm came on and blew us away. A great evening topped off by a rip roaring cover of “Pinball Wizard” during the encore, this album takes me back to those times
“Sixty-Eight Guns” still gives me a kick of adrenaline, I want to be a member of that gang knowing I’ve got to grow up but fearing what the future holds, the only certainty I have is that the gang I’ve grown up in will forever have my back.
And now they are trying to take my life away, Forever young I cannot stay, On every corner I can see them there. They don’t know my name, they don’t know my kind.
“Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?”, a perfect call to arms. The cause doesn’t matter, the fact that you stand your ground does……….
“Blaze Of Glory”, and when your best isn’t good enough and you’re being shot down by The Man, this is how you have to respond.
Okay, so looking back at the album now some of the lyrics may seem a bit pretentious but that can’t dim their effect on me back in the 80s.
Back in simpler times I used to get through a massive amount of music papers – every week without fail I’d buy Sounds, most weeks I’d get NME, about once a month I’d look at something more serious in Melody Maker and on occasion I’d get the more pop focused Record Mirror.
It was through Sounds that I picked up on NWOBHM as soon as the phrase was coined by Geoff Barton (who it turns out I still read in Classic Rock some 35+ years later) and a window was opened that I peered through with the wide-eyed amazement of a teenager peeking into a girls’ dorm. NWOBHM seemed to have everything I wanted – it coupled two of my favourite aspects of music, heavy rock with a punk attitude.
One of the stalwarts was, and still is, Saxon who I managed to see on both their Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of The Law tours in the early 80s. But before they hit true metal pay dirt there was their first release “Saxon”.
Saxon had been around for about 3 years when they recorded their first album, couple that with the fact that it was released around the same time as Barton was hitting those 6 letters on his typewrite and it’s hardly surprising that it doesn’t fit the typical NWOBHM mould.
The initial two tracks have a prog-like, Rush-like feel to them – no issue whatsoever but probably a bit too earnest for the way the musical tide was turning back then. This is then followed up by “Big Teaser”, probably the greatest song never recorded by Albert Steptoe – I always forget the mental link I have until the word ‘lecherously’ comes through the speakers and then I just can’t get the imagery out of my head.
It’s on side two that the boys really hit their stride and show us where the musical ride is going to take us and them over the subsequent years, decades – “Stallions of the Highway” remains a fundamental call to arms and so more relevant to the UK than “Born to be Wild”……..