Archive for October 3, 2008

UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979, Chrysalis)

  1. Natural Thing
  2. Out In The Street
  3. Only You Can Rock Me
  4. Doctor Doctor
  5. Mother Mary
  6. This Kids
  7. Love To Love
  8. Lights Out
  9. Rock Bottom
  10. Too Hot To Handle
  11. I’m A Loser
  12. Let It Roll
  13. Shoot Shoot

Total Time = 1:09:13

UFO official website

UFO has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Back when I was a kid, my local Rock radio station would play some UFO songs like ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Natural Thing’ so I was aware of who they were and what they sounded like in their classic era with Michael Schenker. I listened to MSG so I knew Schenker from there and back to UFO, I listened to Fastway and Waysted also so I knew bassist Pete Way with that connection. In the mid-80s, the same radio station would play the latest single from the band during a Rock Block or on Double-Shot Tuesday (they still have this) but they always paired it with a classic single. So when I finally got online in the middle of 1998, UFO was at the top of my list of bands to check out.

The Internet was brimming with plenty of UFO related news because the band had just released a reunion album, WALK ON WATER, in 1995 with Michael Schenker back on board. I had seen the ads in Rock magazines but I really didn’t pay them much attention. Most of the message boards and discussion lists I was on recommended starting with STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to get a good overview of the Schenker era of the band. Every song on this album is a concert staple for the band and most are still in the setlist today! All of the songs are great and the performance is solid…..Schenker is at top form, Phil Mogg is one of the best on the mic, the Pete Way/Andy Parker rhythm section is solid and you’ve got Paul Raymond rounding out the sound on guitar and keyboards/organ. That’s the classic lineup doing a setlist from their U.S. tour that is like a greatest hits album.

For my money, it doesn’t get any better than ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and the 11 minute plus ‘Rock Bottom’ on this record. They are all done with a lot of energy and superb soloing from Schenker. Another great song is ‘I’m A Loser’ (originally on 1976′s NO HEAVY PETTING), a song that has become one of my all-time UFO favorites. You get the staples also in ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ but another true highlight is the power ballad ‘Love To Love’. I have no idea how this song wasn’t a hit single back in 1977, it has that classic bluesy balladeering style with a main riff that builds up as the song goes on.

After buying STRANGERS, I started to collect the rest of the band’s discography when all the albums were reissued on CD in Japan in 1999 and 2000. I also picked up the WALK ON WATER album, started diving back into the MSG catalogue, and saw the band live in concert twice. Basically, buying this live album turned me into a major UFO fan!