Hello all. Just yesterday I had the pleasure and the honor of being a part of The Lebrain Train again. As you could reasonably infer by looking at the title of the post, or just being a regular viewer of Lebrain, today we’re doing a follow-up to that. We’ll also be featuring Holen’s covers list too. But to my stuff. I’ve picked five of my entries to showcase (generally because they were far more obscure than the others) and with a few words on how I discovered them.
The 5 Covers
Electric Light Orchestra- In the Hall of the Mountain King (live 1974)
First up is the ELO number. This was a part of the incredibly good value for money purchase that was the Wembley 1978 Blu-Ray, and you can read the mega-review that that was right here.
Eric Clapton + Lenny Kravitz- All Along the Watchtower
Next up is the inevitable “All Along the Watchtower” cover. I think I just stumbled across this one through the Youtube recommendations a while back.
Shirley Manson- Samson and Delilah
Now we’ve got Shirley Manson’s bespoke cover for the TV show the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Needless to say I discovered this one through the show itself.
Bruce Dickinson- Emerald
From the Sunflower Superjam disc, it’s Bruce Dickinson himself. I’m not even sure how I discovered the disc, but I’m sure glad I did.
Stars on 45- Stars on Stevie
And last up for the regular entries is this neat little medley. This was on a compilation CD in my dad’s collection.
The Video Game Soundtrack Entry
Tony Dickinson- Solstice Title Theme
For our unique entry this week it’s this video game them. Youtube recommendations gave me this one too.
And as an added bonus we have Holen Magroin’s list for the show’s topic, which unfortunately wasn’t featured. Now this list is entirely by one band. If you know Holen then you know that band, and if you don’t know Holen then that’s a blessing and a curse. Now doubt Holen will graciously treat us to more of them in the comments section. Anyway, here’s the list.
11- Theme from Three’s Company
10- Theme from A Team
9- The Great Southern Trendkill/Rock the World (Originally by Pantera)
8- Unbelievable (Originally by EMF)
7- I Don’t Wanna Dance (Originally by Eddie Grant)
This one’s courtesy of 2Loud2OldMusic. After I named Corey Taylor as the creator of the best cover of “Rainbow in the Dark” a couple song of the weeks ago, Mr 2Loud2Old suggested I give this one a spin, so I did. And?
And it starts with one of my favorite new discoveries of the year. “HWY 666” is my favorite song on the album. It’s just got everything: powerful vocals, strong beat, definite riffing, bombastic chorus hook and manic flurious solo. And yet it never feels too crowded. I love it. The next song, I do like as well. “Black Eyes Blue” is a bit softer, to the point where the chorus is very much like a modern pop song. I almost feel a little conflicted liking it, but it’s balanced out by a nice riff/drum combo backing the vocals on the verses.
Song number three (“Samantha’s Gone”) is good too. Just some fun light rock and roll. And then we get to another banger. “Meine Lux” is another one with that manic bombast, especially on the chorus, and I love it. The guitar harmony undertone of the song also just hits the spot so well too. After this it’s “Halfway Down”. It’s not particularly different to what we’ve already heard (what with it’s stomping riff/drum combo, guitar harmonies snuck in and rapid fire solo) but it does it all well.
Things do hit a bit of a low point next though. The slower and bluesier “Silverfish” is kinda boring, and (softish upbeat) “Kansas” and (slower and heavier) “Culture Head” are both just alright. But then we hit another two top tier tunes. The first, “Everybody Dies on my Birthday”, is a great song and I love the drumming on it. The chorus rules with the call and response between the backing and lead vocals, and Corey on the verses reminds me of Nickelback, but good (meant as a compliment. I was drawing attention to the hard rock style of singing that he’s nailed).
Anyway, the second of the two, “The Maria Fire”, returns to the chorus bombast (the great effect) but with some awesome (slightly) funky midtempo bluesiness to the verses and solo. That’s the last great song though. With three songs left, “Home” is a boring piano ballad and second to last tune (rap-metal “CMFT Must Be Stopped”) is just alright. Closing number “European Tour Bus Bathroom Song” takes the heaviness and bombast up to 12, but not to great effect. I can’t usually sit through this one.
This really does feel like a solo album. More than that it feels like a reflection of Corey Taylor, and that’s a great vibe to have. I like the album quite a lot. There’s some terrific songs on it that will definitely make it onto a mix CD in the future.
We’ve got an Ozzy classic up this week. All aboard!
Top 5 Renditions
I mean, what else could it be. This album is peak solo Ozzy. And peak Randy too.
2- The Studio Version
It’s pretty damn good already, but it’s just lacking the perfected tone from the Tribute album.
3- Speak of the Devil DVD
It’s pretty close to Tribute version (obviously though with Brad Gillis on guitar), but you can just start to hear the annoying backing keyboards on the chorus creep in.
4- Live and Loud
I much prefer Zakk Wylde’s playing here. It’s got far more heaviness behind it. Ozzy still sounds a little thin, but it’s slightly less than the next entry.
5- Live at Budokan
The newest version on here, Ozzy still makes a commendable effort for the verses, but he sounds thin on the chorus unfortunately. People tend to either love or hate Zakk Wylde’s take on the guitar work, but I tend to think of it more as a welcome deviation from Randy’s take.
The Best Cover
Steve Morse fans will get a kick out of him covering the tune, and people who don’t like Sharon Osbourne will get a kick out of Daisley and Kerslake playing the tunes again. The singing is a little bit of a different take on the original, but just like with the previous entry, I feel you’ll either love it or hate it, on account on Barnes’ vocals.
I figured it was time for another Alice Cooper review, so I used the tried and true triple M method of finding albums to review: I chose the first one that popped into my head (second place went to Dragontown, so I’ll probably cover that one next). But back to Flush the Fashion. My reading beforehand told me it was quite new wave, and I wasn’t against that, given my love for Boingo.
The album starts with “Talk Talk”, with its strong beat and solid riff. I like it. I like it a lot. It’s a great start that’s unfortunately derailed immediately after, by the lead single of all things. “Clone (We’re All)” is just a little too lethargic, even with that synth in there. Alice’s delivery lacks any passion or life (as does most of the rest of the song). I know it doesn’t fit the theme, but Alice needed to put a bit more into his singing on this one. Ditto that for following track, “Pain”, similarly lethargic but messier and longer.
But we are rescued from a slip into total sleep by some direct injection of country new wave energy (didn’t think I’d ever be writing that phrase) in “Leather Boots”. It’s short and sweet and although it’s not the best Alice Cooper song, it does the job of putting some life back into the record. And “Aspirin Damage” picks up right where it left off, closing the side with the same level of quality (including riff and beat) as “Talk Talk”.
Side two opens with another good one, “Nuclear Infected”. Definitely on the better side of this album, that one is. So is the next song, “Grim Facts”. It’s probably my second favorite song on the album. The riffs have it. Then we get to “Model Citizen”, a good song, but the chorus goes on a tad too long, almost losing me.
The album is then closed out with a Stonesy track in “Dance Yourself to Death” and much better “Headlines”. Neither is at the level of “Talk Talk” or “Grim Facts”, but they certainly sit above “Pain” and its predecessor. Side two was definitely a better than side 1.
I didn’t actually realize how much Alice lent into the new wave style on this one until I heard it. It probably won’t stand up too well against heavyweight new-wavers, but Cooper’s versatility is unmatched and it should provide some good stuff off the beaten track for fans of the genre. It’s not the best Alice Cooper album either, but it still has a few standout deep cuts, and I definitely liked it.
We going small again this week, but not completely by choice. Slade don’t have the hugest live album platter, and they tried to keep the track overlap to a minimum, which is commendable anyway.
Top 3 Renditions
1- Alive II
And they didn’t need to include another version anyway because the first live version is the best. Simply the song, but live. I’ve always said that live versions are the purer form of the song, and that definitely applies here. Alive II was never as popular as Alive!, but it is easily the superior disc in my opinion.
2- Live at Koko
Slade continuing after Noddy Holder’s departure in the 90s was contentious, but Mal McNulty does a fine job in my opinion. You can’t replace Noddy, and the band don’t try to. Mal gives his own take on the song vocally, and it’s a damn good version at that.
3- The Studio Version
Definitely a little controversial to put the studio version below Mal’s, but I stand by the superior energy of the live renditions. Slade were always a live band, and try as they might, the studio couldn’t always capture that completely. It’s just not my tempo too. Dragging, just a hair.
The Best Cover
Loathe as I am to include this here, I can’t deny the success of the cover. Nor can I deny that Kevin DuBrow could fill in for Noddy Holder easily. I still feel dirty listening to it though. Keyboards are neat though.
It’s that time again everyone. Actually it’s not exactly, we’re a little late (it’s still April though so it’s fine). But anyway, Mix CD Monthly is still back, and this time with the biggest shakeup in the discs yet. Because, you see, in between making the last disc and this one, I started my own personal music collection. This commenced when I bought myself my own copy of the two-CD Best of the Beast. This meant that I could now hear all those tracks from the second disc that weren’t covered by Somewhere Back in Time. I also bought Maiden’s Killers, their debut, From Fear to Eternity (noticing a theme yet), and a couple other albums that we might discover over the course of this issue.
I also bought a bunch of songs off iTunes that my dad didn’t have in his collection but that I’d heard somewhere before (usually the radio) and wanted. And these mix CDs were the perfect place to give these digital songs I owned a physical home.
So let’s crack on with the main event then. To the track listing!
The Track Listing
Iron Maiden- Charlotte the Harlot
One of the standout songs on the first Maiden album, it’s not much of a surprise to see it here. I sequenced it up first so that it would be easy to skip when loading in the disc if my younger siblings were around when I was listening to this disc.
Jimmy Barnes- Lay Down Your Guns
The first of the radio songs, though I was quite the Jimmy Barnes fan already by this point. I just wanted to not have to rely on the radio to hear this song
Santana ft. Rob Thomas- Smooth
This one’s been a favorite of my mother’s for many many years, so it’s only natural that it rubbed off onto me (at least more than some of her other songs). And it’s hard to argue with Carlos Santana anyway.
Underworld- Underneath the Radar
Radio track number two. A pop one for sure, but also a good one. Still listen to this one sometimes.
George Harrison- Got My Mind Set on You
And following that radio one up with another. Truthfully I think this one’s just a tad dull these days.
Iron Maiden- Stranger in a Strange Land
This is a funny one. I actually didn’t have Somewhere in Time yet. I had heard this one on the Visions of the Beast DVD, and bought it on its own. I later learned the error of my hesitation when I got around to buying the full album. Ah, I could be silly at times. Not buying Somewhere in Time earlier was one of those times.
Boston- More Than a Feeling
Another radio one. I think I liked it more back then, because I don’t think too much of it nowadays. I will mention that I accidentally misspelled it as “More Than a Feelinf” when I did the photoshop mockup of the track listing.
Blondie- Call Me
Probably the only Blondie song I like, but it’s a great one.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band- Blinded by the Light
This one’s been in my life for a loooooong time. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad’s VHS of taped music videos and this was one of them. So it’s very deserving of its place on this disc, and I’m glad to have a place to listen to it when I wish.
The Beatles- While my Guitar Gently Weeps
One of my favorite Beatles tracks, especially at the time.
The Foo Fighters- Times Like These
I heard it on the radio and I liked it, so I bought it. Simple. I still like it.
AC/DC- It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rocka ‘N Roll)
I live in Australia, so AC/DC had to make it on here at some point. This was probably my favorite of their songs at the time, though my favorite AC/DC song is always changing (it’s been this one, “High Voltage”, “Problem Child”, and “Hell’s Bells” all at different points, to name a few.
Iron Maiden- The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
Some of Maiden’s heaviest and some of their best. The standout track to me from the From Fear to Eternity album
ZZ Top- Can’t Stop Rockin’
Afterburner rules, so it was only a matter of time until a song from it appeared on one of my mix CDs. And it’s one of my favorites too. “Rough Boy” (the only song they ever play from it these days) can get stuffed.
Iron Maiden- Purgatory
Easily my favorite song off Killers. This song will show up again and again. I think it might actually be the song with the most representation over all of my personal mix CDs.
Iron Maiden- Futureal
Get this: I didn’t actually own Virtual XI at this point. I actually bought this off iTunes after hearing (and seeing it) on Visions of the Beast. I really loved the song, and I still totally do.
Iron Maiden- Running Free (From Live After Death [Single Edit])
And to cap it off we have the definitive version of “Running Free” (yes Holen, I know you don’t agree with that). At the time I didn’t pick up that it was the edited version, but I prefer the edited version anyway in this case, even if it isn’t true to what was actually played (that’s what the actual album is for).
So that’s quite the tracklist. There’s plenty of variation and a good representation of my wide tastes. The metal is coming in strong with the Maiden all throughout with plenty of Maiden. But you know what I like most about this disc? It has a song from Iron Maiden’s Di’Anno era, their classic era, the Blaze era and the reunion era. And I think this is the only disc where that happens (and we’ll fact check this over the coming months). Something I find funny, though, is that the 2CD Best of the Beast that was responsible for this whole quest of music collecting only contributed one song.
The radio tracks continued to make a showing too, though I think this is the last time we’ll see them in force as I turned very much to pure metal for a while. So now that the collection expansion is in full swing, expect plenty of that metal in the upcoming issues. Or not, actually, as we’ve got an interesting little surprise for the May issue…
We’re looking at another classic album this week, though one that I’ve actually already heard before. It didn’t impress me too much then, but what about now? Short answer is no. Long answer continues on. The album commences with a minute of noise and talking. While it foreshadows some of the songs to come, I’m already tired of it. Get to the music.
Thankfully song two is a proper song. It’s nice and laid back and short. It’s not my favorite style of Pink Floyd songs, but it’s an improvement over “Speak to Me”. And then things come crashing to a halt again, with more noise and sounds, but this time it’s FOUR minutes of it. God this stuff drives me up the wall. I want music, not random noise.
And we do get some, because we’re up to “Time” now. It’s a pretty good song, but I’m not sure it’s the best payoff to all we’ve had to listen through to get here. And then it’s back to the meh. “The Great Gig in the Sky” is next and it doesn’t click with me at all, being a lot of piano and wailing for the most part. Thankfully we are rescued from these doldrums by the best song on the album. “Money” is a great song and I love the line about ‘do goody good bullshit’.
From here on out the last three songs are pretty meh, but at least they’re properly constructed songs. Now before I finish I must mention that I’m not hating on this album for the heck of it. I love Wish You Were Here and The Wall, but this is nothing like them, and not in a good way. It’s a lot of style over substance. A fair bit of the songs have noise just for noises sake. This is not the sort of prog I like.
We’re back with a full blooded song of the week this week, and what a song to do it with. One of Dio’s most famous songs, it’s got a lot of great versions. So let’s get right into it.
Top 5 Renditions
1- Live 2001 (With Deep Purple)
This is what happens when you take a great song and put one of the best bands ever behind it (not that Dio’s solo band are not terrific, just that Deep Purple are better). Everyone is on fire, but the MVP is easily Jon Lord. His iconic Hammond organ underpins plenty of the song in a way that totally hits the spot. And Dio himself is showing very little signs of his age.
2- Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986
The 1986 tour will always be my favorite of Dio’s tours. Though a couple classic songs were relegated to medleys, “Rainbow in the Dark” got the full treatment and shines in all its glory. It even sounds a little heavier here, and the keys in the back there are a nice touch.
3- The Studio Version
Dio’s always been very good at recreating this one live. Save for the occasional double tracked vocals in this version he’s usually able to include everything. And this is quite the version to begin with.
4- Holy Diver Live
Dio himself doesn’t actually have a word for slowing down. From 2005, age is merely just a number to Dio. While his range may not be what it once was, his ability to belt out a kickass rendition has not eroded one bit. The rest of the band a really solid too.
5- Live in London
A little slower and with flashier guitar playing, the groove of the song is still intact, and it’s Dio of course, so he’s going to be nailing the singing anyway. And they even get some backup vocals for the chorus too, like the studio version.
The Best Cover
Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci and Jason Christopher.
I join many people in the comments section of this video having not heard anything by Corey Taylor, nor really being interested in his work with other bands, but being absolutely blown away by this cover. Corey’s a bloody expressive singer here. The song is definitely the heaviest version and it really works like this, naturally eschewing the synth for guitars. Consider me very impressed.
As promised, here is the first review from Motörhead (a short one, albeit). It might be a little surprising to some to find that I like the band very much. I was introduced to them through a nice little greatest hits known as Deaf Forever, and let me tell you, that was a great disc. So when it came to review a Motörhead album, I chose the one with one of my early favorites on it, “I’m the Doctor”.
But I’m somewhat saddened to report that outside of the songs on Deaf Forever, the album didn’t really hit that spot. Of all the new songs to me, the only one that I was really rocking out to was “Heart of Stone” (though I definitely prefer the “Lemmy Goes to the Pub” version. The riff for “(Don’t Need) Religion” was really cool though.
That’s not to say that the album is bad. No, not at all. A Motörhead song is never bad. It’s just a question of how good it is, and unfortunately most of the songs are not good enough for me to want to listen to them again.
The verdict- 3.25/5
I will definitely listen to Deaf Forever again though.
Alright everyone, we’re staying small this week, with Judas Priest returning to the halls of song of the week.
Top 3 Renditions
1- Live in London
Ripper once again tops a Priest song of the week. His voice is just full of character and his screams are expertly placed. The delivery on the ‘I rebel but I walk tall and I demand respect’ lines just hits the spot perfectly.
2- The Studio Version
The uptempo chugging of the song was one that stood out at me on first listen, and I’ll say that the chorus sounds a little better here than on Unleashed in the East.
3- Unleashed in the East
Coming in only just behind the previous version, Unleashed in the East is… well… Unleashed in the East. Chances are it’s a great version. And this one certainly is. In this case, third place is no shame. No cover this week, as is made possible by this smaller format. See you on Wednesday for a band that’s yet to appear on this site in any capacity (to my knowledge)