Tag Archives: strangers in the night

Eugeology #13 – Masters of Reality

What rock was I living under that kept me from discovering this album before now?  There’s much to like, not the least of which is that there’s a healthy strain of blues laced throughout. That said, it’s not the kind of blues influence that has me thinking, “Okay, that riff was cool the first twelve times but enough’s enough.” Rather it’s the kind of blues influence that injects a bit of lightness to balance out the “rockier” cuts.

The band’s Wikipedia page describes them thusly:

Masters of Reality is a hard rock group formed in 1981 by guitarist and singer Chris Goss and Tim Harrington in Syracuse, New York.[1] The band is sometimes associated with the “Palm Desert Scene“, which includes bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age and many other stoner rock or (as they prefer to call it) “desert rock” bands. The band is named after the album Master of Reality by Black Sabbath.

I was nodding my head when I read this because one of my first thoughts, when I started listening, was, “These guys remind me a lot of Queens of the Stone Age” and that’s a good thing because Queens is one of my favorite bands from that era.

Honestly, I loved this album. The variety from track to track, Chris Goss’s vocals, the backing vocals, Tim Harrington’s lead guitar…I just loved all of it. Now, if you’re one of those folks who just can’t stand the blues in any way, you’ll probably disagree with me wholeheartedly.

I’m REAL interested in Tim’s take on this one because I just don’t know how he’s gonna react. He’s not a fan of southern rock, and any blues-influenced rock will have a taste of that, but this is truly bluesy so I suspect it grew on him as he listened. As always I’m interested in Eugene’s backstory for this one and I’m pretty sure this one is a true favorite of his.

Links & Notes

The Masters of Reality (Album) Wikipedia Page

The Masters of Reality Wikipedia page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #12 – Twisted Sister’s Love is For Suckers

With Eugene’s last selection, I basically trashed Sammy Hagar. Not that I think Hagar is a bad singer, but I’m just not a fan and his style distracts me enough that I have a hard time enjoying whatever song I’m listening to. This week’s selection features a singer, Dee Snider, that most people would think more likely to be annoying/distracting. He’s gimmicky and over the top, almost a parody of the 80s hair rock singer he was. Weirdly, though, I’ve always liked him.

Maybe it’s because I always loved how over the top Snider and the rest of Twisted Sister was. It was an unapologetic approach, a total schtick, and you almost had to remind yourself they were actually a pretty good band.

 

I was not real familiar with this particular album, but like everyone else alive in the mid-80s I’d heard their third album – Stay Hungry – a LOT. Hell, We’re Not Gonna Take It was essentially the anthem of my graduating class.

But this review is about Love is for Suckers and I’ll say it’s a solid effort. On my kindergarten grading sale it’s a low √+, with more √s than +s, but still enjoyable. It’s less “showy” than Stay Hungry was but it also seems a little more consistent. Simply put it’s just kinda fun.

I’m interested in Tim’s take on this one because it seems like the kind of thing he’d dig. I already know Eugene likes it, so I’m interested in his backstory for this one (those are my favorite parts of all his reviews).

Links & Notes

Love is for Suckers Wikipedia Page

Twisted Sister Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #11 – Montrose

Gotta say this up front for this album: I’ve never been a Sammy Hagar fan. Wasn’t a big fan of his solo stuff, and didn’t like his stint with Van Halen either. I can’t explain why, but I just never liked his approach to singing.

So, that being said listening to this album was kind of hard. Basically, I got tired of Hagar about halfway through the second song so I just tried to concentrate on the rest of the band as I listened.

Using my kindergarten grading system that I introduced with the last album I ended up giving this one a straight √. It might have been a √+ if anyone but Hagar had been singing, but since the lead singer is obviously a HUGE part of the band it’s awful hard to overcome that.

For instance, I really liked the start of I Don’t Want It but as soon as Hagar got into the action I just kinda had an, “ugh” reaction. Still, when Ronnie Montrose’s guitar was front and center I was really liking it. Honest to goodness that was true with almost every track of this album, so let’s just say that if you could eliminate the vocals this would be a + album.

As with UFO (Eugene’s last selection), I really enjoyed the long, 70s-style jams. If you’re a fan of that and don’t have the same problem with Hagar that I do, then you’ll like this one.

I’ve intentionally avoided reading Eugene & Tim’s reviews so that they don’t skew mine, but if I had to guess I’d say they don’t feel the same way about Hagar that I do. Wish I could explain why he has that effect on me, but it is what it is, so I’m prepared for Eugene to give me his flabbergasted look.

Links & Notes

Montrose Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #10 – UFO’s Strangers in the Night

Thank God for Wikipedia. Without it, I would have had no idea this pick of Eugene’s is considered by many aficionados to be one of the best live albums. Until he sent the link to me and Eugene I’d never heard of UFO’s Strangers in the Night, but thanks to the wonders of the internet I can pretend to have known that Slash stated this is his favorite live album.

As I stated on the last post, I’m way behind in my Eugeology listening so I’ve come up with a system to expedite my listening and reviewing: until I get caught up I’m simply keeping a playlist of the songs on the album and scoring the songs thusly: If I like the song it gets a “+”, if I think it’s passable I give it a “√” and if I don’t like it I give it a “-“. You might recognize this as the same scoring kindergarten teachers use.

So, using my system the album gets a very solid “√+”, without a single track getting a “-” and more getting “+s” than “√s.” I was going to list my favorites here, but as I listened that list got pretty damn long so suffice it to say I really like the majority of them.

What I loved about the band: lead guitar. Dude really brought it, and to my untrained ear it didn’t sound like he missed a thing. Since guitarist Michael Schenker played with the Scorpions, who I loved back in the day, I’m pretty sure I’m biased.  I also thought drums and bass were strong, but I’m no expert. Vocals were pretty good too, but as with every live album I’ve ever heard the vocals are overtaken by the instruments. In the end I really think Schenker carried the day.

What I loved about the album: solid, classic 70s-style concert jamming, which is why I really liked Love to Love (8 minutes) and Rock Bottom (11 minutes and the guitar solos are truly “Holy hell!” worthy).

Going to have to thank Eugene for turning me on to this one.

Links & Notes

Strangers in the Night Wikipedia Page

UFO Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too