Showing posts with label Legends of Rock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legends of Rock. Show all posts


Rock-Pop Review: Ann Wilson-The Ann Wilson Thing! - #1

Release Date: October 9, 2015
Label: Rounder

A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Ann Wilson is well known for her stellar voice and textured songs, primarily from her time with Heart. This year a much awaited solo EP has hit the shelves with a mix of original and cover songs. Focusing on blues and rock, she brings back to life many timeless classics and adds one of her own.

“Fool No More” is the original piece on the album. Electric guitar riffs are met with percussive kisses and sweltering vocals that make you long for a tall glass of ice water. Raw and twisting, the emotive lyrics stir the soul with images of dreams and empty hours spent in leisure and aimless pursuits. The guitar growls, twisting and flicking like the tail on a cat, pensive and full of beautiful menace.

Ray Charles would have been proud to hear Wilson’s rendition of his song “The Danger Zone.” A muzzy bit of vocalization winds around the listener, with breathless anticipation. A light blues feel with keyboard antics and a back bayou sense of rhythm, this piece has a tinny effect that warbles with each utterance.

“For What It’s Worth” is a jovial piece with vibrant drums and hip twisting action. A cover for the Buffalo Springfield classic, this song is hopping. Wilson rips through the lyrics and raises them back up to dizzying heights, embracing the essence of the time the song was written. Textured guitar playing licks over you and there is just no way to sit still while you absorb the magic.

“Ain’t No Way” is a resurrection of Aretha Franklin’s song. Earthy and full of the frustrations of life, the piece is blended with multi-instrumentation and Wilson’s stellar vocals. Reaching deep or skimming the surface, she makes the song her own, belting out the heartfelt emotions of women everywhere as they negotiate matters of the heart with the men in their lives. At times sharp, and often poignant the song is one of my favorites on the album.

From being part of Heart to her new solo EP, Wilson sings with purpose and conviction, laying claim to the songs she covers and even creating a new classic piece of her own with “Fool No More.” This EP is a must for any fan of Heart, The Pretenders, Elle King, Joan Jett or Blondie. Some voices just stick with you and Ann Wilson-she’s got it. Great EP and I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

5/5 Stars


1. For What It’s Worth
2. Fool No More
3. Ain’t No Way
4. Danger Zone

Key Tracks: Fool No More, Danger Zone, Ain’t No Way, For What It’s Worth

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
October 27, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review


Classic Rock Review: The Rolling Stones-Sticky Fingers Deluxe

Release Date: June 2, 2015
Label: UME

It is hard to think of rock music without The Rolling Stones.  Formed in 1962 and one of the leaders of the British Invasion, they are one of the biggest acts of the last fifty years, and do not appear to be stopping any time soon.  Considered to be one of their best albums, Sticky Fingers is their ninth British and eleventh American studio album and one of their “golden era” albums of the late sixties and early seventies.  Though now a four-piece, The Rolling Stones consisted of Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Mick Taylor (lead guitar), Bill Wyman (bass), and Charlie Watts (drums) back then.  This two disc deluxe edition is a must have album for rock fans.  With a remaster of the original and another album featuring alternative and live versions, Sticky Fingers does not disappoint.  

There might not be a better opener in rock music history than “Brown Sugar.” It is a song that once you hear it you cannot forget it.  The music is fun, playful, and upbeat that takes on a new dimension when the lyrics are considered, dealing with sex, race, slavery, and drugs.  There is a sweet horn section and the guitar riff will be forever recognizable.  Following up “Brown Sugar” is “Sway,” a great, sultry blues rock jam, with a superb outro on guitar.  “Wild Horses” is a low-key country rock ballad and a real emotional piece.   It is the kind of song where you just need to lean back and let the music wash over you and take you in. 

With an opening guitar riff that sinks into your bones, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is one beautiful rock song.  The music is lively and thrills like lightning during a summer storm.  It also has a fabulous instrumental part.  It starts around the end of the two-minute mark with Bobby Key’s saxophone solo, before some smooth guitar work takes over.  “You Gotta Move” is a short blues song that is heavy on the slide guitar.  “Bitch” really turns up the heat.  It is one jumping rock tune, with tons of punkish attitude and a great use of horns that gives the song some extra flavor.

Taking things in the other direction, “I Got the Blues” is a toned down, anguished blues rock song.  The low-key music is continued in the somber, acoustic song “Sister Morphine.”  The country rock song “Dead Flowers” has a little more pep in its step than the previous two, though the lyrics carrying some darker undertones. Capping off the album is the wonderful ballad, “Moonlight Mile.” It is a great song that is a dark and emotional journey reflecting on the loneliness of the open road.

The disc features an additional ten songs with five being alternative versions of songs from Sticky Fingers and the other five from a live performance.  The alternative version of “Brown Sugar” features Eric Clapton and there is an acoustic version of “Wild Horses” that is just as good as the original.  The condensed version of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” does not have much on the original.  The saxophone is sorely missed.  The extended version of “Bitch” is pretty rocking with instrumental parts.  The live performance songs include the single “Honky Tonk Women,” while the rest come from earlier Stones’ albums, Beggars Banquet (“Stray Cat Blues”) and Let It Bleed (“Live with Me,” “Love in Vain,” and “Midnight Rambler”).  The live versions sound clean and clear, and add a nice value to this deluxe edition.  “Live with Me” is a sweet, rocking song and the blues rock epic “Midnight Rambler.”

The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers is just an exceptional album.  This is a quintessential rock album that is a must have for fans of The Rolling Stones and rock music, in general.  I will go so far as to say that is definitely one of those albums that you should listen to before you die.  

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Brown Sugar, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Bitch, Moonlight Mile

Disc One
01.Brown Sugar
03.Wild Horses
04.Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
05.You Gotta Move
07.I Got the Blues
08.Sister Morphine
09.Dead Flowers
10.Moonlight Mile

Disc 2
01.Brown Sugar (Alternate Version with Eric Clapton) 
02.Wild Horses (Acoustic Version)
03.Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Alternate Version)
04.Bitch (Extended Version)
05.Dead Flowers (Alternate Version)
06.Live with Me (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)
07.Stray Cat Blues (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)
08.Love in Vain (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)
09.Midnight Rambler (Live At The Roundhouse, 1971)
10.Honky Tonk Women (Live The Roundhouse, 1971
Brian McKinnon - Write A Music Review Sr. Staff
July 1, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review


Rock Review: The Beatles-The White Album 180 Gram Vinyl LPs

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Label: Capitol/Parlophone

The Beatles made some giant leaps in progressing as a band with their sound with certain key albums. Specifically Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper and The White Album are the recordings that stand out.

The series of reissued albums in 180 gram vinyl this year were timed perfectly this to fall in line with the resurgence in vinyl sales that continues to gather steam.

The White Album is definitely one of my favorites from The Beatles catalog. What sounds so incredible to this day is the fact that this was a double album and every song was an eye opener. There was not an album more diverse in their catalog that can compare in showing off the band’s multitude of talents in such a spectacular way.

It has been many years since I had opened the vinyl version of this album and was surprised and very pleased to see a poster and a set of 8x10 color photos of the band members, suitable for framing I might add. This is a package that was worthy of the release. I have to hand it to the label as they did it all right, top shelf all the way just as they did on this entire series of releases.

The one thing I have never had a problem with concerning 180 gram vinyl releases is that they are too thin and become warped or unplayable. It has never happened since I started collecting vinyl again 14 years ago.

What is there to say about this album that others have not at this point? Well that is not the point of this review at all. I like to think what I write is a reminder of the brilliance of the greatest band that was every assembled. It is a masterpiece of rock music with enough diversity to keep any listener interested for the entire run of all 4 sides. That is a challenge for any band and The Beatles made it look like a walk in the park, as they always did. 

“Revolution 9” is hands down most unusual track they ever recorded. It sounds like LSD induced cacophony and it stands out as one of the songs that people remember most on the album oddly enough. It was so different it was hard to forget! The one song that gives me the creeps now is “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” because John sang lead. A touch of irony indeed and a sad reminder of the way he left us.

You cannot argue with the way they open the album with a rockin’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” It is always a difficult task selecting key tracks on any Beatles album; now tell me did they ever record a bad song? There is not one I can think of. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is another highlight and it shows how strong George Harrison was and highly underrated in his role with the band. Certainly he should have had more opportunities to contribute songs during the Beatles reign of the charts but it never happened as John and Paul were the dominate forces in the band. Perhaps they would have lasted longer if each member had equal opportunities to contribute. We will never know, but we all do understand one thing, there will never be another band that created such a buzz that continues to this day with no end in sight. The White Album was and still is a stellar release.

5/5 + Stars

Key Tracks: Back in the U.S.S.R, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Birthday, Revolution 1, Helter Skelter

Side 1:
1. Back in the U.S.S.R.
2. Dear Prudence
3. Glass Onion
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
5. Wild Honey Pie
6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun

Side 2:
1. Martha My Dear
2. I'm So Tired
3. Blackbird
4. Piggies
5. Rocky Raccoon
6. Don't Pass Me By
7. Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
8. I Will
9. Julia

Side 3:
1. Birthday
2. Yer Blues
3. Mother Nature's Son
4. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
5. Sexy Sadie
6. Helter Skelter
7. Long, Long, Long

Side 4:
1.Revolution 1
2. Honey Pie
3.Savoy Truffle
4. Cry Baby Cry
5. Revolution 9
6. Good Night
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

December 13, 2014     
Review Provided By Write A Music


Concert Review: Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Xfinity Center

Mansfield, Mass.

July 12, 2014

On a hot and humid July evening some legends of rock made their way through the Xfinity Center in Mansfield Massachusetts, the home to rock music concerts. 70s legends Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd teamed up as they did last year to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a short tour.

The opening act was a hard rocking outfit called The Dead Daisies. They were already playing by the time we made it to our seats and we immediately noticed how incredibly loud they were. Although they were quite impressive and their lead singer Jon Stevens could belt out a tune with ease and power, it would have been much more enjoyable if the volume was cranked down a few notches. If you are a good band live it is not necessary to blow the roof off with extreme volume. This is a very good band made up of veterans from many different well known bands.


Once the openers were done there was a short break to get the gear ready for the legendary Bad Company, who has three remaining original members, Paul Rodgers (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Mick Ralphs (lead guitar, background vocals) and Simon Kirke (drums, guitar). Original bass player Boz Burrell passed away in 2006. Howard Leese (guitar, 2008–present) is an additional guitarist and Todd Ronning stepped in to take over the bass duties in 2012.


This band set the bar for everyone else performing and the volume level was perfect. When I looked behind me to check out the crowd the place was packed. It did my heart good to see this kind of reception for this great music we were about to hear.

Paul Rodgers looks like he has been taking care of himself, for a man of 64 years he looks much younger and his voice is absolutely incredible - spot on for every song. I had recently picked up the Classic Rock 40th Anniversary issue dedicated to the band and watched the DVD about their career. This gave me an idea of what has been happening with the band all these years and it was a fond reminder of those first three amazing albums they released. At one point during some interviews with long time roadies, one of them commented that Rodgers was such a talented vocalist that he could sing the telephone book. After hearing Rodgers perform I would tend to agree.


The set kicked off with “Live for the Music,” which was a perfect way to get the crowd pumped, and lord knows they were. I saw an age group there that probably ranged from 40 to 60 something including a large biker contingent as well. Some folks were jumping up and down and hollering, totally energized by the performance, myself included. Rodgers and company play effortlessly and looked very content on stage. It wasn’t until half way through the set when they burst into “Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy” and they dropped the curtain on their huge logo behind the drums. I thought the effect was nice, it had that wow factor that everyone wants however I think if they changed that timing for the opening song it would even have more of an impact. Rodgers was full of energy the entire set and I never saw him reach for any water to soothe his vocals chords or to just hydrate. That is something I am accustomed to seeing so I thought that was interesting that he did not do that like his contemporaries. That just speaks volumes for the man’s wherewithal and professionalism. He is without a doubt one of the greatest rock singers of all time and his resume is impressive. Now of course Ralphs (at a spry 70) can still rock the house and Kirke drums with vim and vigor as well (he is also 64).


The Bad Company set was beyond compare and it would be most difficult to match. They closed out with an encore featuring their namesake “Bad Company.” It was everything I had hoped for and so much more.

When Lynyrd Skynyrd came on you could tell by the crowd’s reaction, although it was good, it seemed anti climatic and a bit less frenzied from what we had just experienced. I have a memory of this band that has never gone away. I had tickets to see them in Boston Garden just prior to that horrible plane crash that stole the lives of some band members. I also love their music from the 70s. So to say there is some strong feelings attached to their music would be putting things into proper context. I think Johnny Van Zant carrying on for his brother Ronnie is admirable but it’s just not the same. Gary Rossington (lead guitar) is now the only original member of the band, which for me is quite sad.


I noticed right out of the gate with their three guitar army attack that they were extremely loud and my ears actually hurt. They are fine musicians however I don’t think they need to crank on the volume so much. Perhaps if you are totally out of it because you had too many beers and smoked a big fat one it would not disturb you but that is not what I do when I go to a concert. I want the entire experience to be crystal clear and I am very observant of everything around me, not oblivious or anesthetized like some folks. That’s my choice though.


The best songs of the night wereSaturday Night Special,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and their encore “Free Bird.” I have to make mention of their colorful bass player Johnny Colt, who adorns his head with some of the most interesting hats! He started the night with some critter on his head, legs and all. It seemed mighty hot to be wearing such a thing but to each his own. 

Honestly if I had the opportunity to see Bad Company again I would not hesitate but unfortunately I do not feel the same way about Lynyrd Skynyrd. They just don’t sound like the real deal anymore. I give them all credit in the world for carrying on but at some point you need to say enough is enough. With only one original band member left it is obviously difficult to sound like the original lineup. That factor is much easier for Bad Company with three key original members still intact.

All things aside from my viewpoint, this was the highlight of my year for concerts and I will cherish the opportunity I was given to be there and write about it. Long live rock ‘n’ roll!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

Set List Bad Company:
Live for the Music
Feel Like Makin' Love
Gone, Gone, Gone
Burnin' Sky
Run With the Pack
Ready for Love
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy
Honey Child
Shooting Star
Movin' On
Can't Get Enough
Bad Company

Set List For Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Workin' for MCA
I Ain't the One
Call Me the Breeze
(J.J. Cale cover)
What's Your Name
Down South Jukin'
That Smell
Saturday Night Special
Simple Man
Mississippi Kid
Tuesday's Gone
Gimme Three Steps
Sweet Home Alabama
Free Bird