barstool prophets

#923: The Dead 90s (A Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list)

RECORD STORE TALES #923: The Dead 90s (A Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list)

I think it was around 1995 that I really gave up into the ’90s.

What do I mean by this?  It’s simple.  In late 1991, there was a sea change in rock music.  The old guard was suddenly unhip, while a new unkept kind of rock was surfacing in Seattle.  Within three years, classic rock bands such as Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Poison, Ratt, Whitesnake, and even the once-bulletproof Guns N’ Roses were in some sort of decline, losing key band members or just breaking up completely.  They were replaced on the charts with a swath of new bands, from Nirvana, to Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.  Rock had been on such a high in mid-91 with #1 albums by Skid Row, Metallica, Van Halen and more.  It only took months for the landscape to darken.  But really, the warnings were in place well back in ’89.

It was a disorienting change and it got to a point in the middle of the decade where my favourite bands were dropped, broken up, or transformed.  Bon Jovi survived this period unscathed, losing only the inconsequential Alec John Such.  They were one of the few exceptions.  Motley Crue put out a killer record with their new singer that was criminally panned at the time by its critics and many longtime fans.  Winger couldn’t catch a break.  Some of the bands that did put out records in the 90s released sub-par trash.  Quiet Riot:  guilty with Down to the Bone.  Judas Priest:  Jugulator.  Dokken:  Shadowlife.  Unless your name ended with Jovi, it seems like every old guard rock band put out albums that were crap, sold like shit, or both.  Then, half of ’em broke up.

What was a metal head to do?  Still buy the old bands’ records and hope for the best, yes, but when you’re buying so much shit on a wing and a prayer, you start looking for something else.  I had to open my heart to some newer bands that, I felt, had something in common with the old.

Here is a list of 11 bands that made their way in.


1. OASIS.  I still love those first three records, and all the B-sides that came along with the tide.  My mom got me into the Beatles, and while I never bought into that “the new Beatles” crap, I did like that Oasis brought back some of what I liked about the fab four.  They were the only Brit Pop band I could put my heart behind.  Not metal at all, but Lars liked ’em.  They had guitar solos at least.


2. GOO GOO DOLLS.  Right around the time of “Slide” and “Broadway”, I let the Goo Goo Dolls into my life.  They reminded me of Bon Jovi without the bombast (and the solos).  They would have to do during the time when I needed a surrogate Jovi, which happened in the late part of the 90s when Jon released the stinker Destination Anywhere.  Goo Goo Dolls nailed the lovestruck acoustic/electric vibe that was once a Bon Jovi strength.


3. THE BARSTOOL PROPHETS.  Amazing Canadian band that could have been the next Tragically Hip.  The Prophets might have been a little more hard edged, and I identified with their lyrics more than the labyrinthic words of Saint Downie.  T-Trev was a fan and he recommended I give ’em a try, and I have loved them since.


4. sandbox.  A band that did not win me through a friend or a music video, but through the live experience.  Opening for the Barenaked Ladies, sandbox (all lower case) were a bit gloomier and heavier.  But there was also something magical about their songs “Curious” and “Lustre”.  They soothed my soul when I was lonely.  Later on, I found out that guitarist Mike Smith was on a television show called Trailer Park Boys


5. THE PRODIGY.  Who didn’t buy Fat of the Land in ’97?  It was a good album and Noel Gallagher had lead vocals on one track.  This new heavy brand of electronica had hooks and a rock-like vibe.  It was like dance-y industrial rock.  I could dig it.  They even had a guitar player named — no word of a lie — Gizz Butt.


6. THE TEA PARTY.  I couldn’t get into Splendor Solis; I foolishly dismissed the band as a Zep clone.  I came to my senses on their third album The Edges of Twilight.  The Zeppelin comparisons were obvious (and I didn’t care about the Doors), but who else was making music like this anymore?  Nobody.  The Tea Party would do!


7. SLOAN.  It was not until their fourth album Navy Blues that Sloan scratched the itch.  Yes, I was a late comer.  Yes, I got into them during their commercial peak.  But the truth is it was really their double live 4 Nights at the Palais Royale that really nailed it.  One of the best live albums since the mighty Kiss Alive.  The comparisons don’t end there, as both bands feature four lead singers — a configuration I always enjoy.  (Hello, Goodbye, Beatles!)


8. RANCID.  Incredible band, two lead singers, and one great album that just slayed me.  Many of the rock bands I liked, such as Guns and Motley, extolled the merits of their punk rock backgrounds.  Just as Zeppelin and ZZ Top encouraged me to check out Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, Nikki Sixx pushed the Pistols on me.  Rancid were much better than the Pistols, but they had the same snot in their noses.  Rancid brought with them the ska and reggae side, which appealed to me immediately.


9. OUR LADY PEACE.  For one album, anyway.  Maybe it was Arnold Lanni that made this band buzz for me, but they were really a single album group.  Naveed is a monster.  Jeremy Taggart was a good enough drummer for Geddy Lee!  It had some things in common with hard rock, like loud guitars.  I could build them a bridge into my heart.


10. LIVE.  I maintain that everybody bought Throwing Copper in 1995.  This band just had tremendously broad appeal.  Unusually, every song was up to the same lofty level of quality; no duds, all keepers.  A number of strong singles led to massive radio and video play, but no followup album of the same stature ever emerged.


11. NINE INCH NAILS.  I was just starting to get into Nine Inch Nails.  The Downward Spiral is my album when it comes to this band.  They took such a long break after it that I lost interest.  What I liked were the riffs built from noise, the layered approach, the angst, the self-loathing, and the anger.  The album is still is trip to play, but I have never liked “Piggy” or “Closer” and think them a bit contrived.  Admirable though that the video for “March of the Pigs” is 100% live, music included.


Although there were many good albums made by metal bands in the 1990s that I have not mentioned, it was not enough for a music addict.  I needed to expand my horizons or remain stuck in the past.  There were more — Ben Folds Five, Steve Earle, Robbie Williams, Mel C. (yes that Mel C.) and Tonic to name a few.  Anything that had some kind of integrity of connection to the rock music I loved.  Ben Folds didn’t even have a guitar player, but his music rocked nonetheless.  These were all great picks to sample some of the best of the 90s.  Have a listen.

#884: The Long Walk Home

RECORD STORE TALES #884: The Long Walk Home

In theory, it should have taken 15 minutes for us to walk home from school.

Cross the busy Ottawa Street with the crossing guard.  Down Ottawa, left on Crosby and then right on Secord.  All the way down Secord to Hickson, Inlet and home.  Sometimes if my dad was driving home from work at the same time, he’d see us walking and pick us up.

The reality was, we usually took a lot longer.  My dad used to say that we “dawdled home”.  Most of the time, we trudged it on foot.  We began at the start in clumps of kids, who would peel off singly or in pairs for their own homes as we walked the route.

The other day I was driving that way, and decided to take a spin down Secord and the old route.  The roads were slushy and the snowbanks were high, and suddenly I had a flashback.  Why does it seem like we were always walking home in the middle of winter?  Those are the most powerful memories.  Dodging snowballs thrown by other kids, trudging through deep snow trying to make a “short cut”.  Coming home soaked and cold.  Eating some Scotch broth for lunch and then back to school for the afternoon.  I’ve driven that way lots of times, but only this one time — in the winter, with snowbanks at kid-level — did I have a flashback.

One of the only shields from the cruel outside world that I had as a kid was music.  At the moment I was driving, suddenly the power chords in “Little Death (Mary Mary)” by the Barstool Prophets hit the speakers.  “I would have loved this song as a kid,” I said aloud.

I never knew who my friends were back in those days.  A kid who claimed to be my friend one week would be a bully the next week.  There were one or two kids I knew I could trust, like Allan Runstedtler.  He was too nice and smart a kid to get caught up in that stuff, but he walked home from school in the opposite direction.  There was nobody else I could count on to stick up for me.  KK was just as likely to be throwing the snowballs at me.  Ian Johnson used to get under my skin.  “Name five songs by Iron Maiden,” he would say, instead of just teaching me about Iron Maiden like my real friends did.  But my real friends, from my neighbourhood, didn’t go to that shitty Catholic school.

The thing that I was discovering was that music like Iron Maiden made me feel good.  It made me feel temporarily bulletproof.  Something about those proud, defiant power chords.  I felt more capable of projecting pride and defiance if I had Iron Maiden behind me.  Helix, Kiss, Judas Priest — these were the bands that kept me trudging through the snow while being pelted from behind.

The Barstool Prophets song had the same effect.  As the flashbacks hit me, the guitar riff of “Little Death” pushed back against them.  Yes, I would have loved the song as a kid, had time travel existed back then.  Still working on my flux capacitor, but I’m getting there.  It’s strange, but sometimes I sit there and imagine if I had been able to allow my past self to hear certain songs.  I imagine my younger self’s reaction.  It makes me emotional.  That’s the only kind of time travel I’m able to do.  I didn’t have a bad childhood by any means, but man those bullies did a number on me.  I made it well into my 30s before being able to assess the damage that followed me right into adulthood.  I think the hardest part was not knowing who I could trust.  As it turns out, almost nobody.  By the end of the eighth grade, only Allan hadn’t picked on me.  And then I was rid of them forever as I changed school systems.

I would try to memorize songs as best as I could so I could keep them in my head while I was at school.  The teachers were part of the problem and the defiant nature of heavy metal music was, shall we say, not appreciated by Mrs. Powers.  I don’t think she commended its aesthetics, nor song titles like “Hotter Than Hell“.  She wasn’t one of my supporters as the grade school days drew to a close.  Nor was Ian Johnson, Kenny Lawrence, Kevin Kirby or any of my supposed “friends” in class.  My only friends in that cold depressing classroom were the songs by Helix and Kiss in my head.  I drew guitars in art class.

There’s a flashback for you.  Ian Johnson may have mockingly quizzed me on how many Iron Maiden songs I could name, but he vastly underestimated just what that music meant to me.  A year later he cut his hair short and was into something else.  My love affair with music never ended and only grew with me through time.  The Barstool Prophets have just shared a serious emotional moment with me, which allows them automatic entry into my soul’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It’s a pretty serious honour.  Please takes your seats with the other immortals enshrined within.  Graham Greer, Glenn Forrester, Al Morier, and Bobby Tamas — otherwise known as the Barstool Prophets — welcome to the hallowed Hall of Fame!

 

#747: Top 11 Rock Songs About Aliens

A sequel to Record Store Tales Part 148:  Navigate the Seas of the Sun

GETTING MORE TALE #747: Top 11 Rock Songs About Aliens

UFOs, life on other planets, first contact…these are subjects rarely explored in lyrics, right? If you start digging, there are actually more songs about it than you know. Make a list of songs about aliens, not human astronauts like “Space Oddity” or “Rocket Man”. (Both great tracks indeed, but not about alien intelligence.)

I also left off “Hanger 18” by Megadeth, even though the video is a landmark for aliens in rock music.  The lyrics deal mostly with Area 51, a military base, with only a few lines about aliens.  “Foreign life forms inventory, suspended state of cryogenics.”

Do you have a favourite alien song? Check out the list below. You’ll find one alien-related subject among them that dominates the rest. Can you guess what it is?


11. Judas Priest – “Abductors”
Key lyric:  “They come at night and they infiltrate you, they paralyse and they mentally rape you.”

When Rob Halford left Priest, Glenn Tipton took over writing the lyrics. Tipton is…well, he’s not a poet. “Abductors” is at the bottom of this list because the words are just a list of metaphors for maiming someone. That the maiming is done in an alien abduction seems secondary.

10. Van Halen – “Love Walks In”
Key lyric: “Some kind of alien, waits for the opening.”

This one has a tenuous connection with aliens at best, but I wanted to include it because it’s such a well known song. Sammy Hagar believes he has been abducted by aliens.  That alone makes this song a significant entry.  The lyric “Contact, asleep or awake,” can easily be interpreted as being about alien contact.

9. Dio – Magica (album)
Key lyric:  “Now we understand. All traces of Magica must be eliminated. Infection. Infection. Delete, delete…”

Ronnie James Dio only lived long enough to make one concept album of a planned trilogy. It was a sci-fi fantasy epic called Magica. The saga takes place on another planet called Blessing, which is visited by alien explorers centuries later. The fantasy elements are dominant, while the alien setting serves more as a bookend.

8. Fu Manchu – “King of the Road”
Key lyric: “Under forty over is UFO, hell bent stacked in rows, the galaxy is lined with hundreds more, small town you bet we’re sure.”

“King of the Road says you move too slow!” goes the panicked chorus.  Fu Manchu’s lyrics are usually vague, and more about setting a scene.  This one involves a chase and a repeat abduction.  “All through my head it’s happenin’ over again.”

7. Bruce Dickinson – “Abduction”
Key lyric:  “Are you the truth to sit in judgement on my sins?  Evil laser gadgets come to penetrate my skin.”

Bruce Dickinson makes the impression of a well-read science fiction fan.  “Abduction” is one of his most blatant lyrics on the subject.  He does a considerably better job of it than Judas Priest.

6. Helix – “Billy Oxygen”
Key lyric: “The ship’s landing gear was down, people started to gather round. The door slowly started to open, people were ready to listen. He said my name is Billy Oxygen, and I am the mission commander.”

Written by guitarist Brent Doerner, this Helix song was a little different than the usual rock fare.  Yes, Helix are known for writing about “Women, Whiskey & Sin”, but sometimes aliens too!  Billy Oxygen is the commander of the ES-335 (actually the model number of a Gibson guitar), and all he really wants to do is get high with some aliens.  Why not?  But he’s only got 14 days to fly!

5. Blue Oyster Cult – “Take Me Away”
Key lyric:  “Strange shapes light up the night, I’ve never seen ’em though I hope I might. Don’t ask if they are real, the men in black, their lips are sealed.”

Blue Oyster Cult get major points for singing about the men in black, long before Will Smith was doing it.  Clearly the B.O.C. guys (or at least Eric Bloom) know their conspiracy theories.  An earlier version with lyrics by Aldo Nova was called “Psycho Ward”.

4. Ace Frehley – “Remember Me”
Key lyric:  “Well I’m staring down from Venus in the dead of night, my mind is thinking back to when the world was right.”

Of course, Ace has quite a few songs about space, but they’re mostly double entendres like “Rocket Ride” (by Kiss).  “Remember Me” is a little more thoughtful.  An alien is watching from nearby Venus, a common theme from the golden age of science fiction.  He laments that Earthlings continue to wage war instead of feeding the starving.  The alien goes to Earth with a message:  make peace, or you’re not gonna last!  Very similar to Klaatu’s message in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

3. Steve Vai – “Little Green Men”
Key Lyric: “You look-a real keen, even though you are green, With those big, large heads, something off of the movie screen.”

Steve has a few titles about aliens, but some are instrumental. “Little Green Men” is a comical song that quotes the musical theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind!  Thank you, John Williams.

2. Barstool Prophets – “Thrusters”
Key lyric: “Just as I rise to leave, I hear the old familiar sound, of thrusters pounding atmosphere.”

There’s a loner out there in a field looking up at the sky, waiting to see something — anything.  “I have spent many nights, Staring at the sky, All the distant stars that shine, How I’ve longed to make them mine.”  Then he finally hears the sound of the ships returning.  “I knew that they’d come back for me.”

1. Blue Rodeo – “Cynthia”
Key lyric:  “And you stood in their beam of light, and they showed you the bones on the moon, Well I hope I get to go there, With you real soon.”

Here’s a real curve ball for #1.  Did you expect Blue Rodeo to be on the list?

Greg Keelor is in love with Cynthia, who tells him stories of being abducted by aliens.  “So you saw that Fire in the Sky, well I think that’s so cool,” says Greg, referencing the film.  He doesn’t think she’s crazy.  “You are nobody’s fool,” he sings.  “Cynthia” is unusually upbeat and happy song about aliens, though really it’s just about that crush of new love.  Greg’s so head over heels, he’d follow her anywhere.  “Cynthia won’t you take me to Pyramid Lake with you.  We could watch the space ships, Maybe they’d take us on a trip, to that never ending sky.”  Incidentally, Pyramid Lake is near Jasper, Alberta, and lakes are common areas for UFO sightings.  One wonders if “Cynthia” is based on a real person that Greg may have met.


At least six of these songs are about being abducted by aliens, using the word “abducted” in a broad sense, even if the person goes willingly.  “King of the Road” is open to interpretation.  Ace Frehley’s is surprisingly one of the more thoughtful songs, with its classic message of “make love not war” brought by an alien intelligence.

It’s Blue Rodeo who have the best tune about aliens.  By framing it in a love story and using vibrant lyrics, “Cynthia” is the winner.

REVIEW: Barstool Prophets – Last of the Big Game Hunters (1997)

STRAT

Welcome back to Canadian Rawk Week!

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Scan_20160223BARSTOOL PROPHETS – Last of the Big Game Hunters (1997 Mercury)

This album, the third and final by the Barstool Prophets, was the one that got me into the band.  You can blame T-Rev for that.  Unfortunately this album was also the last for the Prophets.  They never really hit the big time, even though it was certainly deserved.  Their biggest claim to fame is that they had to change their name from their original, The Wallflowers.  Some guy named Jakob Dylan owned that one.  Therefore, their first album was called Deflowered!

Barstool Prophets is a better name anyway.  It’s more descriptive of this band.  Picture solid Canadian bar rock, with the poetic lyrics to rival the Tragically Hip.  Both bands are similar, and fans of one should definitely check out the other.  For this CD, they got Joe Hardy (ZZ Top) to produce, and the result is a stellar collection of great sounding, upbeat yet rocking tunes.

I have a promo CD of this with a white cover.  I also have the correct cover art for the retail version.  The reason for this is, when I was living with T-Rev in our shitty apartment, some assholes stole his CD changer out of his Jeep, including his copy of this CD.  The cover art was safely inside the apartment, but without a CD to go with it, it was a kind of useless thing.  He gave the cover to me to augment my fairly plain promo CD.

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The brief title track sets the stage perfectly.  Witty words, guitars panned hard to the right and left, and an understated groove.  That’s all you need, baby.  According to the liner notes, “Barstool Prophets wrote the songs, Graham Greer wrote the words, and they slapped them all together.”  The album and songs sound much more cohesive than that implies.  “Last of the Big Game Hunters” is hooky, radio ready, tough and smart.    It’s also short and to the point, as is the following song “Upside Down”.  From experience, I can tell you that these songs work great on the road.  I have done many, many cottage road trips with this CD in the deck.  The first half of the disc is mostly rockin’ with some mellowness creeping in on the second.  It all seems to work brilliantly.

My favourite song has always been the bulletproof “Vigilante”.  This is about as intense as the Prophets get both musically and lyrically.  Edgy but low-key spoken verses give way to the blistering chorus.  Most people will have to research Bernard Goetz (I did),  who is named in the incendiary bridge:

“I am prepared to carry out, without hesitation,
A cold and calculated act of intense dedication.
I am the store clerk forced once too often to his knees,
I am the few disgruntled Postal Service employees,
I am the widowed wife, left alone to carry on,
The grieving father, I, whose one and only child is gone.
I am the hand of Justice, with finger poised to test,
I am a bigger badder better bane than Bernard Goetz.”

It’s a powerful song.

Graham Greer shares one specific interest with me, which is UFOlogy. There are two songs on the album referencing them. The first is “Weird and Wonderful”, which musically is as fast as metal. The reference is vaguely to Betty and Barney Hill, one of the first documented UFO abduction cases:

“A family driving on a lonely stretch of highway,
Returning sadly from a very pleasant holiday.
Just then the starry night is filled with blinding light,
They’d later testify they’d never seen a greater sight.”

The gist of the song is that some things are just weird and wonderful; futile to explain. I prefer searching for the answers, but perhaps the Barstool Prophets have it right.

“Running Out” mellows things down a bit, with a melodic mid-tempo groove.  It’s the radio hit “Friend of Mine” that you might remember though.  What a great song.  Shall we call it a ballad?  I guess?  Whatever — it doesn’t matter.  It’s a blunt song anyone can relate to, about what true friendship means.  “My views and dreams and favourite songs will shift and turn with the passing of time, but one thing for certain is you’d always be a friend of mine.”  Even on the ballad (?), their knack for rhythm shines through.  This is a great band — just the rhythm section players alone are interesting to isolate and listen to.  The also goes for “Tangled Up”, an acoustic song that follows.  Weaving words and rhythms seems to be this band’s forté.  And they do it with an uncanny ability to write melodies too.  Just astounding.  How did these guys not become the biggest thing ever?  Maybe it’s because it’s just too easy to compare them to The Tragically Hip.  I daresay, Barstool Prophets wrote songs that were just as edgy and just as smart, but twice as catchy in the melody department.

About the only lull in the proceedings is “Five Wheel Highway”, a low-key slow grind on the pavement.  It’s also the second longest song.  It’s loaded with a harmonica hook, but it’s not enough to keep me interested.  “More” brings us back to center, with a solid album quality track.  It’s upbeat and it has those guitar jangles that I dig.  “Hungry Joe” is amusing, a man who “lived in a dream, where he was a ladies man supreme.”  Joe seems to get what he deserves, but the song is just another catchy one that probably sounded great live.  “Get Along” then is a stomping body slam.  It’s interesting lyrically and dramatic musically.  Good mixture for cerebral rock and roll.

Back to UFOs one last time for “Thrusters”.  Slow picking leads to quavering vocals:  “I have spent many nights, staring at the sky…”  It’s an unorthodox song, with no real chorus.  “I know they’re coming back for me, but how much longer will they be?”  I think it’s a haunting song, and it builds beautifully.

Last of the Big Game Hunters is still a fine album indeed.  I’d put it on my top records of 1997 easily.  Thanks T-Rev for getting me into it!

4.5/5 stars

Part 303: Marking Your Discs

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RECORD STORE TALES Part 303:  Marking Your Discs

In the 1990’s, stealing CDs and selling them to a pawn shop or a used CD store was a fairly common way for thieves to make some money.  Today I doubt it happens at the levels I saw in the 1990’s.  You just can’t get as much for a CD today, not even close.

I had seen too many people lose valuable music to theft, and never get the discs back.  I received many visits and phone calls from upset customers, hoping that someone had sold their stolen discs to me.  But a lot of thieves were too smart to sell them in town.  They’d go somewhere else to sell them, assuming that they’d be harder to catch then.   When somebody lost dozens of CDs in a break-in, they would call all the used stores in town.  “If you see a guy bringing in a huge collection of Jazz box sets, including about a dozen Miles Davis remasters, call me.”

It was always best if you could somehow identify your collection.  Jazz box sets and Miles remasters (for example) would be easy to spot.  If somebody else called and said, “Somebody stole all my rock CDs…I had Stone Temple Pilots, Korn, Creed, Days of the New…” well, there wasn’t much hope.  These are titles that we often saw, probably every single day.  If you could somehow mark the discs as your property, however…

Different people used different methods.  In 1995, I got a call from a guy who worked at the downtown Dr. Disc.  His collection had been stolen.  He marked his discs in a unique way.  He placed a strip of tinfoil underneath the CD tray.  If somebody came in to sell a hundred CDs and they all had tinfoil under the tray, there’s your guilty party.

Most people, who didn’t care about the packaging or condition of their discs so much, would just write their name inside.  Either on the booklet, the inner tray, or the front cover.  I could never deface my music like that, and neither could T-Rev.  He came up with his own method.  Rather than mark the CD packaging itself, he wrote his initials on a tiny red sticker, and placed that somewhere unobtrusively on the CD.  If he ever wanted to remove it, he could do so without wrecking anything.

Tom didn’t share our “no permanent marks” philosophy. He embossed the front covers of his discs with a press that imprinted his initials on the front cover.  Tom gave me a couple CDs once – his initials always bothered me.  When I had the chance to swap covers with a copy that was in better condition, I did.  Tom tells me he doesn’t emboss his CDs anymore.  I’m glad he came to his senses.

T-Rev and I both have had CDs stolen, unfortunately.  Both of us had our vehicles broken into.  T-Rev never recovered the handful of discs that were in his Jeep. (I remember that one was the excellent Barstool Prophets albums Last of the Big Game Hunters.)  They never showed up, anywhere in town.  As for me, I only lost one disc – Fish’s 1998 compilation Kettle of Fish, which was inside my Discman (also stolen).  They didn’t take the CD case.  I imagine they probably threw out the CD; chances are these thieves would not enjoy the subtle sounds of Derek William Dick.  At that time, the album was not available in Canada, and I believe I had to order it directly from the official Fish site in the UK to replace it.  That cost me about $30, to replace a CD that I originally paid $7.99 for.  That was not a good day.

 

Most Unrightfully Ignored Albums of the 1990s – LeBrain’s List Part 1

In alphabetical order, here’s Part 1:  88 albums that meant the world to me in the 1990’s but never got the respect I felt they deserved.  When appropriate, I’ll pop in with comments.  Part 1!  Enjoy!

  • Aerosmith – Nine Lives (better than Get A Grip)
  • Armored Saint – Symbol of Salvation (John Bush lead vocals, nuff said)
  • Barstool Prophets – Last of the Big Game Hunters (from Ottawa Ontario Canada, great album)
  • Big House – Big House (from Edmonton Alberta, long forgotten hard rock classic)
  • The Black Crowes – Amorica (my favourite)
  • Black Sabbath – Cross Purposes (bleak gooder from the Martin-era Sabs)
  • Blue Rodeo – Nowhere To Here (psychedelically delicious)
  • Blue Rodeo – Tremelo (acoustically psychedelically delicious)
  • Bon Jovi – These Days (their most mature albeit darkest work to date)

  • Gilby Clarke – Pawnshop Guitars (the all time best GN’R solo album)
  • Alice Cooper – The Last Temptation (fans love it in hindsight, but it sold poorly in 1994)
  • Corrosion of Conformity – Deliverance (I was hooked upon hearing “Clean My Wounds”)
  • Coverdale Page – Coverdale Page (unrightfully ignored? well, most just disrespected)
  • Cry of Love – Brother (guitarist Audley Freed plays his Fenders like bluesy butter)
  • Deep Purple – Slaves & Masters (I have a soft spot for this ballady Deep Rainbow disc)
  • Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On (there are some strong forgotten tracks here)
  • Deep Purple – Purpendicular (one of the best records of their career)
  • Def Leppard – Slang (ditto)
  • Bruce Dickinson – Balls To Picasso (I believe I’ve discussed these enough in my in-depth reviews)
  • Bruce Dickinson – Accident of Birth 
  • Bruce Dickinson – The Chemical Wedding
  • Dio – Strange Highways (it took a while to grow on me, but at the time it was criminally ignored)

Part 2 of 4 coming tomorrow…