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Update July 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Mott the Dog
 

Update July 22, 2017

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV – 5 stars

Within eighteen months, three British musicians went from virtual obscurity to being part of the best known rock band in the world.  By the end of 1971, world domination was such that Led Zeppelin could afford to release a fourth album without any sleeve notes and with no band image or song titles on the sleeve either.  It has since been called by fans a variety of names, from the obvious “Led Zeppelin IV” to the less obvious “Runes” after its many Lord of the Rings references, to ‘Four Symbols” or “Zosa”, after its inside cover motif, or plain old “No Title”.  Still, on pre-sales it went to #1 all over the world, being released on November 8, 1971, and it stayed at the top of the charts well into the new year.

Mott the Dog (left) breaks bread with Led Zeppelin guitar legend Jimmy Page at Jameson’s Irish Pub in Pattaya.

Over the following decades this album has probably generated enough income from sales to run a small country.  It has also won just about every accolade out there; voted the best rock record ever in such illustrious magazines as Classic Rock Revisited, Rolling Stone, Q, Mojo, and even the Pattaya Mail (we just had a vote and Toto, Ron the Wizard, Rick of Bryant, Editor Martin and Led Zeppelin experts Lars Faeste, Colin ‘Mottman ‘Powell, Dai Coe and the Dog said it was a unanimous decision.)

If you had wanted to put together a super group in 1971 all you had to do was call up Led Zeppelin, and there you had it.  Out of the ashes of the Yardbirds the band’s last remaining member Jimmy Page created Zeppelin (well, he had to, all the others had left) and the new band did one tour of Scandinavia as ‘The New Yardbirds’.

Page originally joined the ‘Yardbirds’ as bassist, but switched to lead to give the band a duel pronged guitar attack with a certain Jeff Beck on the other axe.  Page had long been a top session player and he was the man who gave Led Zeppelin the initial vision as well as musical gravitas.  Here was a guitarist who could shred the wallpaper off your walls one second and be as gentle as a snowflake the next.

Robert Plant quickly became the template of what a singer in a rock band should look and sound like.  His unique style of whoops, whines, and yells became his trademark and in between all this, with his clear vocals, he could always put across the stories he wanted to tell in his song writing partnership with Page.

Like Page, bass player John Paul Jones also had a previously successful career as a session player but was completely unknown outside the inner music circles.  His quiet nature, his bass playing skills, keyboard work, and help with the song writing were integral parts in the band and essential to its well being.

Then behind the drums was the man to set standards of rock ‘n’ roll to the present day, even after his tragic death more than twenty years ago, Mr. John Bonham (I mean even his name sounds like a drummer.)  This ‘God of Thunder’ only got the job because he went down with Robert Plant to keep him company on his journey from Birmingham, England, to audition for the band.  The rest - as they say - is history.

Is Led Zeppelin’s fourth album as good as its reputation?  Has it stood the test of time?  Stupid questions I know, of course it has.  You get eight tracks here, all of which are classics.  The opening one-two also allayed any fears fans may have had that the band might delve back further into its folksy roots after the rather laid back “Led Zeppelin III” of the previous year.  But the year of constant touring had honed their natural rocking instincts.

As soon as Robert Plant leads the band off with those immortal lines: ‘Hey, Hey Mama, said the way you move, Gonna make you sweat Gonna make you groove, My, My child when you shake that thing, Gonna make you burn, Gonna make you sting’ ....you know you are off into totally politically incorrect rock ‘n’ roll heaven.

The band comes in with the thunderous riff of “Black Dog” and off they fly, roaring straight the way through without giving you a second to catch your breath, then straight into the opening drum intro to “Rock and Roll.”  And what do you expect to get with a title like that?  Page just peels off one riff after another, building them up to a shattering crescendo and John Paul Jones backs this up with some of the busiest fret work ever laid down in a studio by a mere mortal of his chosen profession.  As for John (Bonzo) Bonham, he is a man at the height of his powers having the time of his life.

Other tracks include the wonderful “Four Sticks”, so called because Bonham gets the sound he wanted, drummed with four sticks simultaneously (obvious when you think about it.) and an acoustic ballad in “Going to California”.  Then there is the keyboard orientated rocker “Misty Mountain Top”, which on any other album, by any other band, would be the centerpiece of any collection.  However, here it sometimes gets overlooked by its surroundings, but comes across as a real delight in the context of the album.

There is also a raging folksy tale told with Robert Plant giving full reign to his Tolkienesque whims in the wonderful “The Battle of Evermore”, accompanied by some dexterous mandolin playing from Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.  Plant is able to display his vocal chops in his duet with Sandy Denny (ex-Fairport Convention), who in her illustrious but tragic career had probably never sung so sweet.

The album closes with one of the darkest songs Led Zeppelin ever recorded, “When the Levee Breaks”, a blues as only Led Zeppelin can play, with Plant’s vocals and harmonica play and Page’s guitar to the fore as the others lay down a rock solid spine to the song.

This was Led Zeppelin’s finest hour, and therefore rightly holds the claim to #1 album of all time.

Oh, by the way, it also includes “Stairway to Heaven” (Does anybody remember laughter?)

Led Zeppelin:

Jimmy Page - guitar and mandolin

Robert Plant - vocals and harmonica

John Paul Jones – bass, mandolin and keyboards

John Bonham - drums

Tracks List:

Black Dog

Rock and Roll

The Battle Of Evermore

Stairway To Heaven

Misty Mountain Top

Four Sticks

Going To California

Note: Written by Mott The Dog and Hells Bells. Mott The Dog can usually be found in his kennel at Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR, North Pattaya.


Update July 15, 2017

Judas Priest - ‘Painkiller’ – 5 stars

British heavy rockers Judas Priest.

By the release of Judas Priest’s 12th studio album, “Painkiller”, they were already musical superstars and considered amongst the top live acts in the world.  Their breakthrough originally came with the album “British Steel” (1980) with its three smash hit singles; “Breakin’ The Law (a song now synonymous with heavy metal throughout the world with its rebellious lyrics and heavy riffing guitar), “Living After Midnight”, and “United’ (used by many football fans as their team’s anthem... well, at least the ones called United.)

After that there were more hit albums, with “Screaming For Vengeance” (1982) being particularly popular in America.  Their stadium tours were automatic sellouts and Judas Priest were not shy at giving bands on the way up a helping hand either, including Iron Maiden.

But after great success in the Eighties, the Priest decided on a slight change of direction.  Out went technically brilliant drummer Dave Holland and in came the hard-hitting goliath of a percussionist, Scott Travis.  Also discarded were the synthesizers which Priest had been using to fill out their sound, both in the studio and in live concerts.  The results were stupendous and “Painkiller” is internationally recognized as one of the top heavy metal albums of all time.  In most charts it’s up there in the top 3.

The opening title song “Painkiller” sums up the whole album.  Beginning with the power of Travis’ drums, the temperature suddenly rises with a rattling K.K. Downing guitar break as the whole band come rolling in with one of the heaviest sounds every heard.

Rob Halford’s vocals are a step up from what anybody else has ever tried, nobody else has that range, and the dual guitar rampage by Glenn Tipton and Downing takes the whole twin-guitar thing to a new level.  Ian Hill must be close to mashing the strings of his bass guitar as he rips through them, thundering the opening song along while Scott Travis makes the Judas Priest drum-stool his own and cements his place as one of the ‘heaviest’ drummers the world has ever known.

There are several memorable moments during the 6 minutes and 7 seconds of “Painkiller”.  Rob Halford’s screams at 1 minute and 27 seconds, again at 4 minutes, and 19 seconds, and the final scream of triumph at 5 minutes 28 seconds are all earth shattering, whilst the dual guitar break, which takes the whole song into another gear at 2 minutes and 15 seconds, is unlikely to ever be repeated for pure excitement.

If after listening to this track you are not a 100% heavy metal fan, smashing your head into walls, shaking your hair uncontrollably, and have not already broken three strings on your air guitar, then you are never going to be a heavy metal monster and please go back to one-hit wonders and listen to what Simon Cowell suggests.

For those who choose to follow the righteous path however, rest assured you are not alone.  So far the band has sold close to 50 million albums worldwide and over 100,000 people turned up to see them rock the joint at the Rock in Rio music festival in 1991.

Just by reading the song titles you will be able to get a pretty good idea of what the rest of the album offers, “All Guns Blazing” being a prime example (and yes, they most certainly do).  Only on “Night Crawler” do the synthesizers make a return, giving a house of horror opening before the band coming raging back in.  “Battle of Hymn” is just a short snippet of under a minute and used for over a decade as introduction music for the band’s live sets.  Apart from that, expect no respite.

Judas Priest:

Rob Halford- vocals

K.K. Downing- guitar

Glenn Tipton- guitar

Ian Hill - bass guitar

Scott Travis - drums

Track List:

Painkiller

Hell Patrol

All Guns Blazing

Leather Rebel

Metal Meltdown

Night Crawler

Between The Hammer and The Anvil

A Touch of Evil

Battle of Hymn

One Shot at Glory

Note: Written by Hells Bells and Mott The Dog, who can often be found banging their heads together at Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park, Soi AR, North Pattaya.


Update July 8, 2017

Peter Frampton: ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ -3 stars

This was not intended to be a bad review, but come on.  After four solo albums that went nowhere, Peter Frampton suddenly brings out a live album and everybody rushes to the shops?

Now released as a two disc CD set, the concert was originally recorded in San Francisco and, according to legend, is pretty much what the band played that night with no jiggery pokery going on in the studio to tidy it up afterwards, as was the habit back in the day.  So from that point of view, so far so good.

You cannot argue with the sales figures either after the album was released in January of 1976.   It only took until mid-April to reach the top of the American Billboard charts, where it stayed in the number one slot for ten weeks, and remained in the top one hundred for ninety-seven weeks.

Three singles were released along the way, all of which were smash hits and you could not move in America without one of the songs from this album blasting out at you on the radio.  In all, the album sold eight million copies in the States and eleven million worldwide.

But then we get to the nuts and bolts.  The tracks on the album include the terribly annoying “Show Me The Way”, with its use of a talk box that enabled Frampton to ‘magically’ make his guitar talk.  But this was nothing new as many people had been using talk boxes for years.  In fact Jeff Beck had used one to devastating effect on his album “Blow By Blow” (1975) and by the time “Frampton Comes Alive” came out Beck had all but given up using his.

After a quick introduction and a great reception, Frampton and his band break into the pretty upbeat “Somethin’ Happening”, which opens things up quite nicely.  But after that it all turns a bit soulless.  I mean, who calls a song “Doobie Wah”?  The music here also starts to show up the limitations of the backing band, who, while all being competent musicians were nothing startling, and did you ever hear of them doing anything individually after being in Frampton’s band?

To a man they had to rely to a large degree on Frampton for the razzle-dazzle.  And this again tends to disappoint as he very rarely gets his guitar playing to the fore – something you would expect with his reputation as a renowned axe slinger.  Frampton was also not really known as a great singer either, pleasant maybe but eleven million albums?

Things do drag on a bit on the first CD, reaching a point of boredom on “Just The Time of Year” when Frampton is alone on stage with an acoustic guitar and sings about “suddenly yawning” and “wake me up I’m sleeping.”  From here on though it does get a lot better, with the band starting to get in a bit of a groove, although never with the crunch or power of Frampton’s previous band Humble Pie, who had also recorded a successful double live album, “Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore.”

By the time we get to the second CD you can almost see why the album was so popular, with a fine almost fourteen minute version of “Do You Feel Like We Do”, including some good audience participation and a roaring Frampton guitar solo (alas the talk box does make another appearance.)

Just when it feels like Frampton and band are coming into the home straight they then make a complete hash of the last fence as they try and pile into “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.  It sounds like a hotel lounge act has been asked to play some Rolling Stones and without rehearsal gives it a bash.  Peter Frampton is no ‘Keef’ and certainly no Mick either.

A couple of bonus tracks have been tacked onto the new updated version of the album but to be honest, they should have been left off.

Line-up:

Peter Frampton – guitar, vocals and talk box

Bob Mayo - rhythm guitar and keyboards

Stanley Sheldon - bass guitar

John Siomos – drums

Track List

Disc One:

Introduction/Somethin’s Happening

Doobie Wah

Lines on My Face

Show Me the way

It’s a Plain Shame

Wind Of Change

Just The Time of Year

Penny For Your Thoughts

Baby, I Love Your Way

I Wanna Go To The Sun

Disc Two:

Nowhere’s To Far For My Baby

(I’ll Give You) Money

Do You feel Like We Do

Shine On

White Sugar (bonus track)

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Day’s Dawning (bonus track)

Note: Written By Hells Bells and Mott the Dog. Mott and his cronies can often be found talking old Rock’n’Roll music in Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park Hotel, Soi AR , North Pattaya.


Update July 1, 2017

The Who: ‘Live at Leeds’ - 5 Stars.

Originally recorded at Leeds University in February 1970 and in the record shops by May of that year, there were many reasons for this album.  The Who had been out on the road for a year promoting their rock opera “Tommy” and had no new material to release at the time, so a live album seemed a good idea, which is why two gigs were set up in northern England once the band had returned from Europe.

The Who (from left) John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.

 

The first of these concerts took place in Hull and the second at Leeds.  There were a few problems with John Entwistle’s sound at Hull so the Leeds show was used (Live at Hull just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it anyway, does it?).  One of the other reasons for the release was that The Who were such a good live band that it made it much easier for the bootleggers to record them, hence this official version instead.

When the album came out in 1970, it appeared in what was supposed to look like a bootleg cover of the era although it was a gatefold sleeve and in the inside covers were many extras for the fans to pore over.  The first edition also only had 6 tracks on it, even allowing for the fact that “My Generation” came in at nearly 16 minutes long and “Magic Bus” at just under eight.  These numbers had been edited down to allow for the limitations of vinyl.

The album was released again on CD in 1985, again in 1987 and then once more in 1995 with extra songs and more banter between the band members.  Finally it was released in its entirety in 2001, but this time with the whole of “Tommy” on the second CD whilst all the other songs were compiled together on the first CD.  It was not until 2014 that the entire concert was released in the correct running order and with the complete banter between all band members.

But back to the gig and what a show it was!  The concert starts with the John Entwistle written “Heaven and Hell” where The Who stretch their musical muscle, then playing a few more numbers to really get the blood levels up before we get a string of their early hits thrown in for good measure.  We are treated to an outing from the first little mini-rock opera - a story of a naughty old engine driver and a young lass who makes a slight error, but is forgiven by her returning husband.  It was a bit of fun before Pete Townshend calls The Who to order and off they go, rampaging through “Tommy” for the next hour.

Certain liberties have been taken with the running order and a couple of numbers left out to fit better the electric stage version of “Tommy” (or Thomas as Pete Townshend refers to it.)  But this is The Who at their best.  John Entwistle’s bass literally pops along, holding together each song, whilst Keith Moon is Keith Moon, never was there a drummer like him and never will be again.  Roger Daltrey had by this time become a classic rock singer and here he never falters as he belts out each tune.  But it’s the man himself, Pete Townshend, who blasts the band through with some literally violent and gifted guitar work and drives them on to many peaks.  His vocals when his turn comes are also pitch perfect.  At times you can almost hear and feel Townshend’s arm windmilling on his guitar strings.

When the opera comes to an end, band and audience enjoy themselves with some old rock ’n’ roll numbers.  The Who hymn “My Generation” includes some false endings, with Townshend dragging the band back in again to carry on cleverly and getting the opening riff to “The Seeker” to bounce off the back of the University hall wall.  There are also snippets of “Naked Eye” a reprise of “See Me Feel Me”/”We’re Not Going To Take It” and a slice of the underture not played in the opera.  To finish of course we are all taken off in the “Magic Bus”.

The Who were one of the best rock ’n’ roll live bands in the world from 1969- 1978, before poor old Keith Moon succumbed to his hedonistic lifestyle.

This album is a fine monument to the time.

The Who on this album were:

Pete Townshend - guitar and vocals

Keith Moon - drums and vocals

John Entwistle - bass guitar and vocals

Roger Daltrey - vocals

Track List:

Heaven and Hell

Can’t Explain

Fortune Teller

Tattoo

Young Man Blues

Substitute

Happy Jack

I’m a Boy

A Quick One While He’s away

(Tommy)

Overture

1921

It’s a Boy

Amazing Journey

Sparks

Eyesight To the Blind

Christmas

Acid Queen

Pinball Wizard

Do You Think It’s Alright?

Fiddle About

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

There’s a Doctor

Go To The Mirror

Smash The Mirror

Miracle Cure

Sally Simpson

I’m Free

Tommy’s Holiday Camp

See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me/We’re Not Going To Take It.

Encores:

Summertime Blues

Shakin’ All Over

My Generation

Magic Bus

Note: Written by Mott the Dog and Hells Bells. Mott the Dog and crew can often be found composing a rock opera or two round the table at Jameson’s, Nova Park, Soi AR in north Pattaya.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV – 5 stars

Judas Priest - ‘Painkiller’ – 5 stars

Peter Frampton: ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ -3 stars

The Who: ‘Live at Leeds’ - 5 Stars.


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