01 November 2020

1980 – What a year for rock and metal – NOVEMBER

It is  close to the end of the 1980’s retrospective look back of release, this month it is November

***

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

The fourth release following Overkill and Bomber , Motorhead, the no-nonsense , don’t give a f@@k trio were on a roll. To be honest if you are reading this and have never heard the title track where have you been? It is such a well (even overplayed) song that it has become part of the social fabric of the UK, even the main stream radio stations play it. The problem however, was that it defined the band , especially Lemmy and for many outside the rock/metal community Motorhead were forever just  churning out another version of AoS. Clearly we all know different but such has been the impact of the song that it has overshadowed the rest of the album. The twelve strong set close to 37 minutes is a tour-de-force of heavy rock”n’roll , it includes the staple favourite (We are) The road crew ,a ditty about those poor souls who graft through all conditions allowing bands to play. Bite the bullet/The chase is better than the catch is a two in one classic followed by the album closer, a Phil Taylor tub thumping masterclass The Hammer. This is an album with no fillers and has become the bands most successful release and the core of the subsequent tour and follow up , the breathtaking live album No Sleep to  Hammersmith.

Phrases such as Western Movies ,tube of super glue  , snake eyes and don’t forget the joker all come from this essential , classic and utterly defining album.

***

Bauhaus – In The Flat Field

Bauhaus formed in Northampton in 1978 before disbanding in 1983 (Although have reformed a couple of times since) but in that short time they managed to assert themselves as goth royalty. Hell, Peter Murphy is The Gothfather!

After releasing 3 singles, Bauhaus then unleashed their debut album In The Flat Field on November 3rd 1980. Unfortunately, not to great reviews – but like a fine wine, has aged well over time.

The opening track, Double Dare is arguably one of Bauhaus’ finest moments. The fuzzy/distorted bass of David J is still one of the sexiest bass sounds I have heard to this day. This, coupled with the baritone vocals of Murphy make this a goth club classic and on the rare occasion I get out, you’ll find me dancing away to Double Dare to this day.

The bar has been set with the opening track, and the rest of the album does well to reach these dizzy heights. With a contrast of high tempo songs such as In The Flatfield, Dive and St. Vitus Dance sandwiched between more atmospheric numbers like The Spy In The Cab and A God In An Alcove.

Finishing with the song Nerves. A seven minute slow burner. Starting with almost silence apart from the odd piano note and guitar sound from Daniel Ash for almost two minutes before the song kicks in which then slowly builds up to a frantic finish.

Standout tracks are Double Dare, St. Vitus Dance, Stigmata Martyr and the title track In The Flatfield.

Reviewed by Adam Thomas

***

Yes – Yesshows

As a long term Yes fan, I’ve almost become immune to the number of live albums the band have released over the years. In fact, the 22nd live release is due on 30th October – The Royal Affair Tour Live From Las Vegas. I think it’s safe to say that the band’s most productive and creative years were 1970 – 75 and it was during this time we had The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans and Relayer, a sterling volume of work that has never been beaten, in my honest opinion. Constantly revisited and revived, even next year’s tour (which was originally scheduled for this year), the band are playing the WHOLE of Relayer !!!

“Yesshows” was the band’s second live album, after the incredible, ground-breaking YESSONGS (which, as far as I’m concerned, is by far the best live album the band have ever released) – a very hard act to follow. With the band line-up at somewhat of a crossroads on the day of release, with Wakeman and Anderson out of the picture, in favour of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (Buggles) and a difference of opinion over the track listing and overall sound mix (overseen by Chris Squire RIP), Yesshows was met with mixed  reviews and band feedback.

I think it’s safe to say, this album was MEANT for CD as, along with “Ritual” (split over two halves of the original vinyl release, but intact as one track on the CD), we had the ground breaking epic “Gates Of Delirium” (side one of “Relayer”) – both tracks featuring the short-lived Patrick Moraz on keys. In fact, the CD release, which came out in 2009, featured two bonus tracks – Roundabout and I’ve Seen All Good People, so unless you’re a vinyl junkie, I’d go for the CD release, wink wink.

Kicking off with the mighty organ of “Parallels” the set features three tracks from “Going For The One”, the two aforementioned epics, the title track of their much overlooked second album “Time And A Word”, “Don’t Kill The Whale” from Tormato (which was also released as a single) and (errrrm) – that’s it !! With the two epics taking up pretty much 2 and a 1/2 sides of the double vinyl, it gives a different perspective on the live Yes sound and the start of what would become a regular trend in the Yes back catalogue. With no decent new material for over 20 years, no wonder fans hark back to the glory days of the early 70s and what the fans want, the band are more than happy to provide – as long as there’s a few bob to be made of course !!!! Worth checking out, but one for the completists if you ask me…..

Reviewed by Steve Gould

***

The following were all reviewed by Skid

 

WhiteSnake – live in the heart of the city

The double live album with its gate fold sleeve was something of a mythical creature for me . It became my vinyl record of choice. This example was recorded in two parts, in 1978 at Hammersmith Odeon and originally was a Japan only release entitled Live at Hammersmith. The remainder was again recorded at the same venue but in the July 1980 as part of the Ready and Willing tour. The line up included Coverdale with his ex Purple mates Jon Lord and Ian Paice with Neil Murray , Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden making up the rest ofd the band.

It comprises across its four sides tracks from the first two Whitesnake albums and a choice Purple cuts . This is a classic and ofter dismissed album of a band in its prime and for me when Whitesnake were a truly great British blues rock band. It is an essential listen.

 

 

***

REO Speedwagon – Hi Fidelity

The bands 9th long player and with 4 singles , two of which were big releases (Take it on the run and Keep on Loving you which reached #1 in the US singles chart) maintained the bands status as a stadium filler band in the States. The album although released late in 1980 became a biggest selling rock LP in America the following year.The band never made it to the big league overseas, but when their home countries record buying public was so huge it didnt really matter. The band are still going and still attract huge crowds.It os a great album even today and worthy to be in anyones record collection.

 

***

Motorhead – Beer drinkers and hell raisers (EP)

The 2nd Motorhead release in November, this one however was unsanctioned by the band as it was released by a former record label only a few weeks after Ace of Spades (see up) .The tracks used were taken from the original debut album sessions. This EP consisted of four tracks , two of which were covers (the ZZ Top) title track and John Mayall’s I’m your witchdoctor. On Parole was a former band member Larry Wallis penned tune leaving the only Kilminster , Clarke and Taylor written track the instrumental  Instro . It’s a lame effort by the former record label to cash on the success of the band. An extended version of this EP was released a few years later with additional tracks. That said its still a fun listen

***

Saga – Silent knight

This the 3rd release from Canada’s prog band Saga carried on with songs which were part of the “The Chapters” telling the ongoing story of a young Albert Einstein.

***

Rory Gallagher – Stage Struck

The guitar geniuses third live album recorded during his Top Priority tour with Ted McKenna (drums) and Gerry McAvoy  (bass) , it was a more rocky tempo than the previous albums and although only released as a single recoding caught the man from County Donegal in fine fettle. With much interest again around Gallagher who left Planet Earth in 1995 , this is a worthy play , but check out the album Irish Tour ’74 for a blistering master class in blues rock.

 

 

***

Witchfynde – Stage Fright

Although the band were formed in the early 1970’s they became part of the NWoBHM scene and they are still going today . This was their 2nd release and although still holding the early Satanic theme was  a direction change from their now classic debut Give em Hell. If you are new to the band give this a spin and you will understand where the later death metal bands got their inspiration. A very much underrated and undervalued band

***

Neil Young – Hawks and Doves

Mr Youngs 10th studio album recorded between 74 and 80 and followed Live Rust . It therefor needed to be good, but with a  a running time of less than 30 minutes it failed to meet the mark and is now one of those albums that is lost in the mist of times and inly mentioned during pub quiz’s. Its not a bad recording, but has a wiff of urgent contractual agreement

***

FIST – Turn the hell on

A tale of woe and poor management caused this NWoBHM band to stumble. First formed as AXE but changed the name to FIST for the release of this their debut album. However, the Canadian band also called Fist were also about in the UK at the same time so they had to change their name to Myofist. Confused? so was the public and this didn’t help Fist (UK) . The single Name,rank and Serial number got them noticed and it looked good for the boys from South Shields. This a gem of a NWoBHM record and is a typical example of the recording process in the day . The band split after ther 2nd album and subsequently reformed, split and re-formed  over the next 30 years. However the aforementioned single has assured them a place in the history records as one of the first bands to be part of the genre.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads – laughter

The 3rd long player and last on Stiff records , and although called laughter it was predominantly about more dark issues . Hit me with your rhythm stick it isn’t.

***

Midnight Oil – Bird Noises (EP)

The first EP from the band containing 4 tracks of which one was an instrumental on their own Independent label,  It is seen as the foundation to which their career still flourishes.

***

The Eagles – Live

The first live album from the America rock gods. A double live recording , mostly from the 1980 tour with a splattering of earlier recordings . However the band were already imploding and this was a release to fore-fill record company contracts. Track one side one was Hotel California , a bold start which worked well. It’s not a bad live album, but for me fails to hit the mark as the band didn’t play as a tight unit, but as blokes on stage who didn’t want to be there.

***