THE BEST FUCKING COLLABORATION WEEK EVER
Alas, it’s the end of THE BEST FUCKING COLLABORATION WEEK EVER!* I made a five disc Judas Priest box set for Aaron a while ago. Let’s take a close look at the tracks. Dig in!
Aaron: Custom Priest Box Set Mania!
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#380: Custom Priest Box Set Mania!
I’ve known Aaron, your incredible co-host over at the KeepsMeAlive website, for almost 20 years. For most of those 20 years we haven’t lived in the same town, so we kept in touch via email, text messages, and physical mail. It wasn’t that long ago that we were sending each other parcels semi-regularly, including musical gifts and mix CDs. Mix CDs are an art that we both take very seriously.
At one point Aaron had expressed interest in hearing more Judas Priest, so I took it upon myself to create a custom box set, by me, for him. The official Metalogy box set is pretty good, but as I said in my review for it, “just not the box set that I would have made given the opportunity.” Aaron gave me the opportunity so I decided to out-do Metalogy and go for a full five discs, and update him to the then-current Priest album Nostradamus.
I found a track listing that I drafted for that very set. The final CDs that I made for him may have differed, because I was rough-guessing my disc times here. As close as I have records of, this is the box set that I burned for Aaron. Let’s take a look at it disc by disc and see how it holds up.
Rocka Rolla – The Old Grey Whistle Test
1. One For The Road
2. Rocka Rolla
3. Diamonds and Rust
4. Dreamer Deceiver
7. Caviar and Meths
10. Dissident Aggressor
11. Better By You, Better Than Me
12. Race With The Devil
13. Stained Class
14. Beyond The Realms of Death
16. Delivering The Goods
17. Rock Forever
18. Burnin’ Up
19. The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)
20. Take On The World
21. Hell Bent For Leather
In my Metalogy review, I complained about the absence of “Rocka Rolla” and “One For the Road”. I have fixed that oversight here, but at the cost of “Never Satisfied”. It’s not the perfect trade-off. The ending to “Never Satisfied” was as epic as early Priest got, so it is a win for a loss. I replaced the live “Diamonds and Rust” with the studio version though, so that is a good thing for a listener like Aaron. I like that I included the rare “Race With the Devil”, a cover of The Gun. There is also a healthy dose of Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine. I’m not sure what I was thinking with the track order, but I probably modified that before I burned the final CD.
When the Tax Man comes for Priest’s money, he loses his head and pants!
1. Victim of Changes (Live)
2. Sinner (Live)
3. The Ripper (Live)
4. Breaking The Law (Live)
5. You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise
6. Living After Midnight
7. The Rage
8. Desert Plains
9. Heading Out To The Highway
11. Turnin’ Circles
12. Riding On The Wind
13. (Take These) Chains
15. You Got Another Thing Comin’
16. Devil’s Child
17. The Hellion / Electric Eye (Live)
18. Steeler (Live)
I see here that I included the live versions of “The Ripper” and “Victim of Changes”. I suppose that I left these on, because Unleashed in the East is such a critical live album. It simply must be represented on a box set like this, so I chose to keep a few songs, some of the best ones. I also like to include rare tracks, so I snagged the live “Steeler” from the radio broadcast CD called Concert Classics. I see a lot of personal favourites on this CD, especially from Screaming for Vengeance. Pretty damn fine disc!
In the dead of night, Love Bites
1. Love Bites
3. Rock Hard Ride Free
4. The Sentinel
5. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
6. Night Comes Down (Live)
7. Heavy Duty
8. Defenders of the Faith
9. Turbo Lover
10. Parental Guidance
12. Out In The Cold (Live)
13. Metal Gods (Live)
14. Freewheel Burning (Live)
15. Ram It Down
16. Hard As Iron
17. Blood Red Skies
From Defenders of the Faith to Ram it Down, the 80’s can be a tricky period of Judas Priest to navigate. This third CD could have been the worst. I opened with the studio version of “Love Bites”, where Metalogy utilized an unreleased live version. I think it makes a great disc opener. For rarities I went with the live “Night Comes Down” instead, a great version from the Priest Re-Masters. I also had to represent Priest…Live! from this era, so I chose its dramatic concert opener “Out in the Cold” as a live version. The live version of “Metal Gods” from that album is more melodic than others, so I went with it too. I look at this disc as some of the very best Priest from this period.
Priest with Ripper – Blood Stained, live in London
1. Heart of a Lion (Demo)
3. Hell Patrol
4. One Shot at Glory
6. Rapid Fire ‘98
7. Burn In Hell
8. A Touch of Evil (Live)
9. Blood Stained (Live)
10. One On One
11. Feed On Me
12. What’s My Name
13. Running Wild (Live)
14. The Ripper (Live)
15. Diamonds and Rust (Live)
16. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) ‘98
There it is! “Heart of a Lion” is one of the best rare Priest demos, only available on the Metalogy box set, but recorded in the Turbo era. It would make a good disc opener, but following it with “Painkiller”? I’m not sure about my transition there. It could be like a sledgehammer of awesome, or it could be an awkward stumble. I think the most difficult mixture of different periods has to be the sudden change of lead singers. When Tim “Ripper” Owens replaced Rob Halford on 1997’s Jugulator, the band’s sound changed. That’s probably why I chose a remake of the oldie “Rapid Fire” to be one of the first Ripper songs on this CD. There are also plenty of live versions here of old Priest classics, from the various live albums Priest did with Ripper. “Blood Stained” was a live take on a new Ripper song, from their ’98 Live Meltdown album. I think it’s vastly superior to the original version on Jugulator. “What’s My Name” is included as a rare B-side from the Japanese version of Demolition. On the whole I think this is a pretty good CD representing a difficult period in Priest history, and in hindsight it could use more tracks from Painkiller.
The Hellrider, live — same version that I used
1. Judas Rising
3. Worth Fighting For
6. Hellrider (Live)
7. Between the Hammer & the Anvil (Live)
8. Eat Me Alive (Live)
9. Dawn of Creation
12. Death (Live)
14. Calm Before The Storm
I remember having a really hard time with this disc. I wanted to give Nostradamus a fair shake, but as a double concept album it didn’t lend itself well to chopping up into bits for a mix CD. By the time I got to this mix CD, all I had left to include were two studio albums (Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus) and a live album (A Touch of Evil) to utilize. The version of “Hellrider” from that live album is among my favourite tracks due to Rob Halford’s over the top screaming. This disc doesn’t appear to have any rarities among its tracks. Not a bad disc but I think I could have done better here.
I remember having difficulty burning the CDs to my satisfaction. There was some quirk happening with my Nero version, and ultimately I just abandoned the project and sent the discs to Aaron. Apparently I didn’t even bother making a track list or covers for him.
Making mix CDs to my own satisfaction is a lot of work. I know I sunk a lot of time into this Priest set, ripping the discs and meticulously choosing the songs. Ultimately though, it was just fun to hand pick the Judas Priest songs to help Aaron in his exploration of this awesome band.
Monday: QUIET RIOT – Metal Health
Tuesday: DANKO JONES – Born A Lion
Wednesday: Aaron’s Black Crowes B-sides
Thursday: THE CULT – Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995
* Not the last collaboration, however. Stay tuned.