Search This Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Album Review: Parliament - Mothership Connection (1975)

The Commodores' debut album Machine Gun is what got me listening to funk music.  A brilliant album it was - and it blew me away from the get-go.  Of course, the song "Machine Gun" I have loved for a long time now (thank you Lionel Richie) - in fact, it's one of my all-time favorite instrumentals.  But the rest of the album was a real eye-opener, and now if people ask me what album they should listen to that will blow their expectations, I point them straight in its direction.  Another highly acclaimed funk record, Mothership Connection by Parliament, is also bloody good.  Not as good as Machine Gun, but still mandatory listening for those getting into funk.  Another great opening track too - "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" will pry your ear canals wide open and leave you well and truly glued to your speakers (or headphones).  "Unfunky UFO", "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (Bump the Bump)" "Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples", and my favorite, "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)" all float my boat, with their characteristic bass-heavy, uptempo, upbeat grooves and melodies, whilst "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" and "Handcuffs" aren't quite as funky, but worth a listen anyway, if you insist.  Great stuff all around.  A

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Album Review: Dio - Holy Diver (1983)

Ronnie James Dio.  One of the greatest metal vocalists who ever lived.  Saved Black Sabbath's skin when they were looking for a new front man too.  And sadly, he is no longer with us.  But he nonetheless left an incredible legacy - just listen to Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath and you'll see why I think his voice is just the cat's freckle - I love it.  He didn't sound like Ozzy Osbourne at all, but he certainly reinvigorated the band with a refreshingly new sound and unlike Van Halen's Van Halen III, the transition to a new singer was an irrefutably successful one, one that worked perfectly, just as AC/DC's Back in Black refreshed the band for the better.  His debut album with his own band, Holy Diver, opened up further opportunities for metal and hard rock lovers to savor his incredible voice, which to this day is one of the best in the business, sitting up there with the likes of Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson.  And it ain't a bad album either - "Holy Diver" and "Rainbow in the Dark" are the songs I'm the most familiar with.  But there's also "Don't Talk to Strangers" "Straight Through the Heart" and the epic opening track " Stand Up and Shout" that also need a mention here, because they're all you need to listen to in order to get the best of out the album, although the other tracks are by no means fillers of any sorts.  The album does tank somewhat as you play through it, but that's not to say it gets terrible by any means, but it certainly doesn't save the best songs until last.  All up, a good album by a great singer.  B+

Monday, April 3, 2017

Album Review: Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti (1975)

Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.  What an album.  My two most favorite Led Zeppelin songs are found on this album - but there's no surprises there, given the record is riddled with greatness.  You will probably know my number one, "Kashmir", as well as the funky uptempo "Trampled Underfoot."  "Houses of the Holy", you would think, would be on the album of the same name.  But nope.  Not that it matters really, as I'm very glad that it is here on this double album.  And I am immensely glad I took the time to listen to this album - my attention span is fickle, and my multi-tasking abilities even worse.  But we put aside our differences today to savor an album that, on one hand, doesn't surprise me - after all, it was made by Led Zeppelin.  But amongst the drawn out numbers like "In My Time of Dying", even the slower jams were pleasant and held my attention with no effort at all.  And I'm a tempo man myself, the faster the better.  But well done songs I feel shouldn't have to rely on speed alone.  Great songwriting and that charismatic Led Zeppelin sound we've all come to grow and love make this double album a memorable experience for the better, especially as a double album.  I hate custard as a rule, but I love "Custard Pie."  "The Wanton Song", "Black Country Woman", and "Boogie With Stu" are my other recommendations.  Great stuff from a great band.  A