|Karo Heavy Birthday||MTM Classix |
What constitutes a classic is very open to interpretation and is normally best left to individual fans to decide. An album I would describe as an absolute classic because I grew up with it and feel a close affinity with it might be classed as dated and irrelevant by someone hearing it for the first time today.
Thanks to the Internet a whole range of melodic rock releases are now being talked about and viewed by interested readers unfamiliar with many of the titles.|
These re-issues are designed to introduce those interested people to the titles and also for LP owners to update their treasures, but those that will get most value from any individual title are the ones that grew up with the record in question.
Karo from MTM Classix just happened to be one album that breaks my just explained rule! It's an album I have had on my must get list, due to the fact I am a huge fan of vocalist Dan Lucas – reaccredited here under his real name Lutz Salzwedel. I'll call him Dan!
More hard rock than his AOR solo record, Karo lives up to its reputation for being a classic. The opening track Wanna Be Loved is everything I love about 80's hard rock and better late than never as far as getting this track.
One Of A Kind is another cool track, not to mention another anthem in Sister Sister and Call Of The Wild. The album doesn't finish as strongly as it opened, but there's enough here to warrant a recommendation. Despite reprising the album's best track, the bonus tracks don't add much value.
The first of two new versions of the song turns the rock anthem into a ballad of sorts and the second is an acoustic version, which takes the same lead vocal from the previous track, but strips everything back except for the acoustic guitar.
Written In Rock: Anthology
Do I really have to go into any explanation of Rick Springfield's importance as a songwriter or his vast musical history that stretches back to the start of the 70's?|
I thought not! But, if by some bizarre chance you have not been exposed to the man's melodic rock brilliance, this is the only place you need to go.
Written In Rock is the best Springfield compilation ever. No surprise that it's the first one Rick has actually been invited to participate in.
Together with the producer of the recent and equally great Survivor Ultimate compilation, Springfield chose the tracks that best represented his career as singer and songwriter.
A hard task given his creative output, but the 2CD 42 track set covers everything and should keep all fans and newcomers happy alike.
From his first #1 single with Australian rock pioneers Zoot to a track from the new covers album, this set takes in songs from 1970 to 2005. Rick's early career suffered several set backs, but from that time frame 4 tracks are included before he hit gold with Jessie's Girl in 1981.
}For the next 20 odd tracks it's hit single territory before diverting back into some of the more intricate and complex album tracks that crowned his career. Every album is covered here including a little stroke of brilliance that really makes the compilation complete. Two of Rick's most heartfelt tracks concerning the premature death of his father are coupled back to back – April 24, 1981 and My Father's Chair work brilliantly in unison as performed live by Rick on a recent tour and are then followed by another live version for the haunting ballad Free. I challenge anyone to have dry eyes after that 3 track emotional onslaught.
Rounding out a glorious career to date is Beautiful You and Will I from SDAA and For No One from the new The Day After Yesterday.
The compilation is made ever more essential with the inclusion of extensive liner notes from Rick and a number of rare and unseen photos.
1 point off for not including any unreleased tracks (like the awesome original version of My Depression) and 1 point off for not including Tear It All Down (from Rock Of Life). Otherwise perfect!
Totally biased option - but utterly essential nevertheless!
|Genesis Platinum Collection||Rhino|
One of the great progressive rock bands in history are also one of the great pop/rock bands of our time. Few have crossed boundaries and altered styles like Genesis have and those that did and remained both credible and profitable are even less!|
The band have had several line-up changes over the years but are best known for two different periods – the early more progressive influenced Peter Gabriel years and the more commercial Phil Collins years.
The band has been subjected to compilations before, but never on the scale of Platinum Collection. For the first time ever, all generations of Genesis are covered in once place on a 3CD set spanning 30 years and as many tracks.
No previous compilation has captured the best of the band and for that and a comprehensive look at how the band evolved, this is your CD.
Fully remastered with a nice booklet, the set is further enhanced by many of the tracks being subjected to a fresh mix by producer Nick Davis.
The accompany DVD is Genesis The Video Show. Always innovative with their music, the band was equally creative when it came to the visual medium. 30 plus videos are covered in a cool digipack with track details and pictures of all the single covers.
Purchasing both or just one of the two sets will provide long time and casual fans alike with a perfect snapshot of the band. Looking back and listening back, it becomes evident just how amazing the output of the band was.
|Helix No Rest For The Wicked||Rock Candy|
Helix's No Rest For The Wicked is an old favourite. Surely this was one of the best hard rock/sleaze rock releases to come out of Canada in its day. Some 20 years later it still sounds great and the remastering here breathes new life into the old beast.|
This isn't a rare record by any stretch, but this is the best package a Helix fan could wish for.
It follows the Rock Candy pattern of a full booklet with extensive liner notes and extracts from old magazine articles and fresh unseen band pictures. Rock Candy's releases look a million bucks and that is reason enough to make sure you have all their titles in your classics collection!
No bonus tracks on offer here, but possibly the best Helix album of them all – despite its relatively short length. Who could forget Does A Fool Ever Learn, Heavy Metal Love or Don't Get Mad Get Even? I don't recall this being such a short album though!
|Icon Night Of The Crime||Rock Candy|
I don't want these re-issue reviews to be a history lesson behind each release as the re-issues are primarily aimed at those well aware of the albums in question.|
I'll concentrate of the packaging, bonus tracks and any other pertinent info.
Icon's Night Of The Crime is one of the cult classics of the genre, rated as one of the best AOR albums of all time in an early Kerrang Magazine survey. I lived next door to drummer Pat Dixon in LA in 1993 – he was so proud of that article and had it framed on his wall.
Rightfully so – this is a melodic rock classic from a band famed for their original brand of hard rock.
This re-issue comes from new UK label Rock Candy. Beautifully packaged with an extensive booklet with fresh liner notes and unseen band pictures and news articles, the album is a needed addition to any rock collection.
The 1985 release has dated a little, but sounds great on this remaster. Interestingly the CD was re-issued only a few years ago by Axe Killer in France. This features a slightly sharper sound and a much more comprehensive CD package.
|FM Tough It Out||Bad Reputation|
FM has a strong following and their catalogue speaks for itself. Funnily enough, for whatever reason, this was the first FM album I ever owned and remains the one I never got into fully. This 1987 release saw the band get slightly tougher in an attempt to be more marketable alongside the then explosion at retail for hard rock acts, led by Def Leppard. |
The lead single Bad Luck remains a highlight, as does Someday (the Mark Free/Randall's track) and the Eric Martin covered track Every Time I Think Of You. Looking back it's a more solid album than I gave it credit for, assisted here no doubt by a fabulous sound quality thanks to the Bad Reputation remastering. Their remasters are among the best I have ever heard.
This single disc deluxe edition adds no less than 7 bonus tracks, culled from B-Sides from the album's 4 singles and a couple of live tracks. The quality isn't far from that of the original album and are a welcome addition to the set.
What you would have to class as an essential purchase for all FM fans.
|Legs Diamond Favourites Volume 1||Majestic Rock|
I brought this compilation home with me after seeing the guys play at Firefest. I used to be a casual fan of the band with a couple of LPs in the collection.
But the live show and subsequent playback of this re-ignited my interest in the guys and I must say I'm mightily impressed with the song quality of this Best Of package.|
The track list reflects a best of live set list and 2 new recordings round out this 15 track compilation. Walkaway, Rock Doktor, Stage Fright, Town Bad Girl and Out On Bail are all classic 80's rock tunes.
Being that the guys are on the eve of releasing a long waited new studio album, this compilation serves as an excellent reminder of their past and gets new and old fans up to date in one easy go.
For the band's best overall album, check out the AOR Heaven re-issue of Out On Bail, with 3 unreleased bonus tracks.
The new packaging looks great and the album sounds nicely updated. One Way Ticket, Walkaway, Out On Bail and Nobody's Fool – classic trans-Atlantic melodic hard rock.