Mott the Dog
June 23, 2018 - June 29, 2018
Rainbow: ‘Down To Earth’
After Rainbow’s first three albums with Ronnie James Dio as frontman, the
band’s de facto leader Ritchie Blackmore decided drastic changes were needed
to help achieve his ambition for mainline commercial success. So out went
singer Dio, followed by bassist and songwriter Bob Daisley and keyboard
player David Stone along with all the heavy metal epic songs of grandeur and
mythical tales. Cozy Powell was the only one to keep his drum stool, but he
too would leave after this album.
Rainbow in their entire
career never made two consecutive albums with the same line-up. Since the
first incarnation of group (altogether there have been three different time
periods for the band) there have been 27 official members, plus the ‘Man in
Black’ himself. Quite a record! During this time there have been eight
studio albums plus uncountable live albums and compilations.
So, following the
drastic purge of the line-up new members had to be found for the album “Down
to Earth” (1979). Recordings started with session musicians joining
Blackmore and Powell in Connecticut, USA. After a chance meeting with Roger
Glover, who Blackmore had fired from Deep Purple, he was brought in as
producer. Glover, far from holding any ill will just shrugged and said, “It
was a great opportunity for me. Who am I to hold a grudge?” What a nice man.
Roger Glover later took
on the bass playing duties too while keyboard wizard Don Airey was brought
in on the recommendation of Cozy Powell, as he had played in Powell’s solo
Finding a singer was
far more of a problem but Glover learned that Blackmore had been impressed
by the singer for the Marbles, who had a big hit with the song “Only One
Woman” in 1968, so Graham Bonnet was contacted and hired on the spot.
Promoted from being a lower division rhythm and blues musician to lead
singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the world he did remarkably well,
although his short haircut and Mark Taylor styled shirts never sat well with
The first music heard
from this album was the Russ Ballard penned “Since You’ve Been Gone” which
shot to number six in the British charts and broke the American Billboard
Top 100. It was just the commercial success Blackmore had been looking for.
The album also contained the self-penned, raunchy next hit single “All Night
Long”. But these are really just two good tracks amongst a wealth of other
good songs in the hard rock style. “Lost in Hollywood” and “Eyes of the
World” would instantly become stage favorites.
The playing throughout
the album is nothing short of magical and Glover’s production work brings
each song a clarity and sharpness sometimes missing from previous Rainbow
offerings. The album reached number 6 in the British charts and cracked open
the way for the band to be a major act in the United States. Of course, by
the next album both Bonnet and Powell had gone, but the ‘Man in Black’
continued on his merry way.
The deluxe edition
available now is a two CD affair but quite honestly holds very little of
interest, the extras are mostly rehearsals.
Mott the Dog rating: 5
Ritchie Blackmore -
Roger Glover – bass
Don Airey - keyboards
Cozy Powell - drums
Graham Bonnet- vocals
All Night Long
Eyes Of The World
No Time to Lose
Since You’ve Been
Love’s No Friend
Lost in Hollywood
Written By Mott the Dog and Hells Bells who can be found Down to Earth at
Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR North Pattaya.
Saturday, June 16, 2018 - June 22, 2018
AC/DC: ‘Razors Edge’
By the beginning of the
Eighties AC/DC were probably the biggest rock band in the world, or as they
preferred to be called, “A little rock & roll band, nothing more, nothing
Sadly, nothing is
certain in life and things easily change. The decade proved not to be a good
one for AC/DC and four sub-standard albums that had been panned by critics
saw the record buying public all but desert them. They were still a massive
attraction on the live market but there the crowds wanted the old hits, not
the more recent tracks from the latest albums.
As the Nineties dawned
however it was time for a new album release, and a change in the lineup also
as drummer Steve Wright left for Dio, his place being filled by Chris Slade.
There were several other notable changes too. Mike Fraser was brought in as
the sound engineer and Chris Fairbairn as producer, the latter having
previously worked with both Aerosmith and Bon Jovi.
The band recorded this
album in Ireland and Canada but lead singer Brian Johnson, who had seemed a
little off his game since “For Those About To Rock” in 1981, was not
available for the first few months of recording as he was dealing with a
messy divorce. So the decision was taken to write the songs without him and
Malcolm and Angus Young wrote the lyrics, something that Johnson later
revealed he was relieved about. The Young brothers in the future carried on
writing all the songs, allowing Johnson to concentrate on his singing.
The results in the
songwriting change were unquestionably for the better. It got AC/DC, if not
quite back firing on all six cylinders, at least up and running again. Brian
Johnson seemed to have benefited the most, with his voice having the
charisma of old again. The guitar play of the Young brothers was back to its
best and the new rhythm section worked perfectly.
There are some classic
songs on “Razors Edge” which became firm favorites with the live crowds,
allowing AC/DC to spice up their live set. Album opener (and also concert
opener for more than a decade) is the AC/DC classic “Thunderstruck” and is
still included in the band’s set today. With it’s opening Angus Young guitar
riff, the crowd chanting and Johnson telling the audience they had been
“Thunderstruck” while leering at them, it was a sure fire hit.
The opening track on
the album is followed by a trio of storming rockers right out of the AC/DC
cannon; “Fire Your Guns”, “Money Talks” (which was released with a fabulous
video that had heavy rotation on MTV), and the title cut “Razors Edge”. From
here on however it sadly all rather fades away. Quite simply two of the
songs, “Mistress For Christmas” and “Shot Of Love” are plain awful, whilst
the others all sound a bit like a version of AC/DC just going through the
But never mind, the
album did its trick and went to number two in the American Billboard Charts
and sold 5 million copies in America alone, whilst in the UK it went to
number four. AC/DC were definitely back. Why they missed out the apostrophe
in the title however is unfathomable and has not been put right to this day.
Three and a half stars out of five.
Brian Johnson - vocals
Angus Young – lead
Malcolm Young - guitar
Cliff Williams - bass
Chris Slade - drums
Fire Your Guns
Rock Your Heart Out
Are You Ready
Shot Of Love
Let’s Make It
Goodbye and Good
If You Dare
Written by Mott The Dog from Jameson’s, The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North
June 9, 2018 - June 15, 2018
Peter Banks: ‘Instinct’
This superb, but alarmingly underrated
guitarist had a really fine pedigree. First coming to notice in the mid
sixties in a wonderful flower-power band call Syn, with a certain Chris
Squires on bass, they were then joined by vocalist Jon Anderson and became
the marvelously monikered Mabel Greer’s Toy Shop. Finding this a bit of a
mouthful, and with the addition of Tony Kaye on keyboards and Bill Bruford
on drums, they transformed once more and found instant international acclaim
Two wonderful albums followed, “Yes”
and “Time and a Word” but at this point Peter Banks was booted out due to
his ambitions of entertaining an audience rather than trying to educate
them. It was after a performance at the Marquee that Mott became a fan,
always wanting to have fun and being up to having entertainment thrust in
his general direction. Watch “Dear Father” from 1970 on You Tube to get the
full might of early Yes. Even to this day, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, and
Trevor Rabin have made a career out of copying Bank’s trademark guitar
Peter Banks went on to form Flash, who
released 3 respectable albums (once described as “Yes music played by
Thunder and Lightning”), before being swamped by bad management and punk
rock. After spending the Eighties mainly in session work and looking for
suitable musicians to work with, Banks went solo in the Nineties with this
enchanting album “Instinct”.
From the first rippling guitar chords
of opening cut “No Place Like Home” to the final bell “Never The Same”,
which closes the album, your ears are held in thrall by this maestro of the
six-string. Although an instrumental album it always holds your attention by
its diversity and humour, but you will have to listen to the music to get
that. Satriani, Vai, and co would give their eye teeth to put out such a
fine collection of fretwork and tunes.
The two central passages include track
4, “Sticky Wickets”, played on a midi guitar synthesizer, which starts out
funky and then turns itself inside out to reach a shattering climax. Then,
before you have time to push the repeat button Banks is off again with track
5 (“Short Comings”), totally excessive and not at all jazzy, with a
relentless four in the bar. It’s like the night of a thousand guitars with
Peter Banks the fastest guitar slinger in town.
The final track is “Never The Same”, a
moving tribute to Banks’s late mother. Never has such a beautiful piece of
music been played on the electric guitar.
If you hear this music like me I’m sure
you will be mystified why Peter Banks did not become an international star.
The album cover and the inside sleeve
notes are worth the price of the CD alone, so you cannot lose. Dogs have
superb instinct so trust this dog’s instinct and add this to your
collection, you won’t regret it - 5 stars.
Other CD’s by Peter Banks include:
“Self Contained”, “Reduction”, “Two Sides of Peter Banks”, and “Can I Play
No Place Like Home
All Points South
Never The Same
Note: Written by Mott The Dog of
Jameson’s, The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.
June 2, 2018 - June 8, 2018
David Bowie: ‘The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust’
When this album was released in 1972,
it was nearly the cause for this Dog to dye his hair fluorescent orange and
effect blue eye shadow. Fortunately a stout collar and lead were put in
place before this manifestation took place. But nonetheless, this album had
a profound effect on the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
In soccer parlance, this album took
David Bowie from a relegation candidate in Division Three to a Premier
League champion in the blink of a mascara adorned eye. When Bowie created
Ziggy Stardust, he created a monster that would take him on one of the most
exciting roller-coaster rides in the history of the entertainment industry.
as Ziggy Stardust (right) and Trevor Bolder.
The songs that Bowie wrote for this
album were his strongest so far. Also, by taking the heavy rock from the
previous year’s “Man Who Sold The World” and the power pop of “Hunky Dory”,
which was only six months old, he created the perfect concept album. Bowie
then had the musical nuance to pick the perfect musicians to make his dreams
of stardom come true.
With the band standing satin-trousered
beside Bowie, Mick Ronson tore every ounce of emotion from his guitars and
pushed Bowie’s songs into another dimension. Listen to the gut wrenching
savagery of “Moonage Daydream” (the guitar solo at the end of which has
often been imitated but never bettered), the glittering riffs in the title
track, and the sheer unadulterated, irresistible boogie of “Suffragette
City”. This makes you realize that Bowie could never have done this without
the platinum haired Spider from Hull, Mick Ronson.
The lyrics are thrust in your face and
rammed down your throat. Then there are Bowie’s excursions into the future,
such as the image heavy “Star Man” - He’d like to come and meet us but he
thinks he’d blow our minds. This is followed by the album’s final
number, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, which also closed the live set, with the
vocalist entreating the audience to ‘hold’ him before he’s taken away.
Nevertheless, Bowie would soon tire of
the Ziggy persona (splitting up the Spiders at the peak of their powers).
This dramatic music with its swaggering saxophones, rough edged guitars,
tinkling piano, bombastic drumming and its crisp production cut a swathe
through the music industry. It created its own category of glam rock and
also changed fashion forever.
The concerts were amazing but you had
to have the music and this album was full of cutting-edge songs that hold up
Climb into your platform boots, shake
out your spandex and, as the Leper Messiah preached, “Let your imagination
5 stars for the Starman.
David Bowie - vocals, and acoustic
Mick Ronson - guitar and production
Trevor Bolder - bass guitar (and the
most spectacular sideburns ever seen)
Woody Woodmansy - drums
It Ain’t Easy
Hang Onto Yourself
Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide
Note: Written By Mott The Dog
and Hells Bells who can be found in another time warp at Jameson’s The Irish
Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.