CD Scavenger Hunt – June update

Another month behind as usual but here’s a large purchase update from June. I’m breaking it up just a little because the beginning of the month was boring but I caught a huge sale at the record store mid-month and Ebay was really good again…..

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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 CD (2013) – $14
Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (2013) – $12
Anvil – Hope In Hell (2013) – $9
Black Sabbath – 13 (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15
Burning Rain – Obsession (2013) – $10
Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 BluRay (2013) – $14
Megadeth – Supercollider (2013) – $12
Aerosmith – Pandora’s Box (1991) – $20 used

The beginning of the month wasn’t really exciting, just catching some new releases on sale. I picked up the new live Dio CD and the new Black Star Riders (aka Thin Lizzy) and I wanted the Dio BluRay but they only had Finding The Sacred Heart on DVD. Opened the Amazon app on my phone and started price comparisons while in the store! Found the Dio BluRay for $14 saving $2 in the process compared to the in store sale price. I started comparing the prices on the new Anvil ($4 difference), Black Sabbath ($2 difference), Burning Rain ($6 difference), Megadeth ($1 difference) so I placed an order right away. I saved $15 by checking my phone while in the record store! I know, buying online kills record shops, and I’m against killing record shops but how can I deny saving $15 online compared to the SALE prices in the store? And I also saved the sales tax! I ended up taking that $15 savings and applying it to a used original pressing of the Aerosmth Pandora’s Box set for $20 so the store still got my business.

W.E.T. – Rise Up (2013) – $18
Snakecharmer – s/t (2013) – $18
Gloryhammer – Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife (Deluxe Edition) – $0
Jorn – Traveller (2013) – $18
Timo Tolkki’s Avalon – The Land Of New Hope (2013) – $17
U.D.O. – Steelhammer (2013) – $0
Children Of Bodom – Halo Of Blood (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $16
Bon Jovi – What About Now (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15 used
Rhapsody Of Fire – Live From Chaos To Eternity (2013) – $0
Anthrax – Among The Living (1987) – $8 used
Anthrax – I’m The Man (1987) – $8 used
Slayer – Christ Illusion (2006) – $0 used
Anthrax – Spreading The Disease (1985) – $6 used
Warrel Dane – Praises To The War Machine (2008) – $4 used
Mercyful Fate – Into The Unknown (1996) – $0 used

I’ve been debating the Amazon vs. record store thing for a while but you can never pass up a great sale at the record store. Newbury Comics had a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” on all CDs mid-month so I decided to drive the 20 minutes to the Warwick, RI location with my daughter for some bargains. Is it wrong to teach my kid that you have to be first in line at the door before they open and you race for everything? That’s how it was back in the day. Of course, we were first but also the only ones there…..we got first dibs! Within 15 minutes the place was packed but I already grabbed a handbasket and had the major purchases inside. The goal was to get a lot of new releases from this year that I’ve passed on and I did an awesome job.

(Here’s a tip for all you record store rookies…..if you have the opportunity to go to the record store before a big sale like this, go immediately and put all the CDs you really want in one spot. That way you won’t miss out! I like to hide Metal CDs in the Classical section the day before. Who really shops the Classical section? How many times do you think the staff organizes the Classical section?)

Guilty as charged, I went the night before and hid 9 new releases. Did I think I was going to miss out? Maybe…..its happened before. And what if I was late getting there? Good thing I was in the area the day before! So the first 9 CDs were all high priced new releases NOT on sale (the staff usually pulls most sale stickers in advance). Some of these releases are imports (that means anything from Frontiers Records) so the new album from the Jeff Scott Soto led W.E.T. and the new Snakecharmer were $18 each but I saved $18 getting the limited edition Gloryhammer CD for free. Jorn Lande’s new album, Traveller, was expensive (AFM Records) at $18 and so was Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, The Land Of New Hope, at $17 but I scored the new U.D.O. album for free and saved $17. Saved $35 so far! I saved another $14 when I got the latest double disc live album from Rhapsody Of Fire for free when I paired it with the deluxe edition of Halo Of Blood from Children Of Bodom for $16 on sale and a $15 used copy of Bon Jovi’s What About Now (also deluxe). If you look at these CDs, the Rhapsody Of Fire was on sale for $14 but regular was $16 and both Children Of Bodom and Bon Jovi had regular prices of $22!

After I grabbed all the “hidden” CDs, I started on the used bins. I found three Anthrax albums I didn’t have on CD but have on cassette, an original pressing of Slayer’s Christ Illusion (recently reissued), and two cheap copies of Warrel Dane and Mercyful Fate. I saved $7 on the Slayer by pairing it with two Anthrax CDs, and I saved $4 on the Mercyful Fate. Total savings on free CDs this trip = $60.

Richie Sambora – Stranger In This Town (1991) – $5.50 used
Bruce Kulick – Audio Dog (2001) – $12.70
Cutty Sark – Die Tonite (1984) – $10 used vinyl
Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985) – $10 used vinyl
Rainbow – Finyl Vinyl (1983/1999 2CD reissue) – $13 used
KISS – Monster (International Tour Edition) – $16
Coney Hatch – s/t (1982) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Outa Hand (1983) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Friction (1985) – $7 used vinyl
Cheap Trick – Sex, America, Cheap Trick Box Set (1996) – $17.50 used

Can’t forget Ebay! I always watch Ebay daily because there have always been bargains since I joined in 1999. It’s not the same as it was back then but, if you search properly, the bargains are still there. I found the Richie Sambora solo album while watching a Bruce Kulick solo album from the same seller. I missed Bruce Kulick but got Richie Sambora and then had to go to another seller and pay slightly extra for Audio Dog. I picked up the two Cutty Sark vinyl LPs while searching for Die Tonite on CD at a decent price. After careful communication with the seller about the LPs condition, I pulled the trigger and paid a little extra for fast shipping. Finyl Vinyl fills the last hole in my Rainbow collection and it’s the complete two disc version and the international edition of KISS Monster was necessary for the bonus track ‘Right Here Right Now’ that was only previously available on iTunes. Add the digipak format and poster along with the bonus track to make it even more necessary for this KISS diehard. Technically, my international version is from Canada and this is the 4th version I own of this album (I also have the original release, the Wal-Mart zine pak and the Best Buy version with the 3D cover)…..all I need is a Japanese import or a German version with the alternate KISS logo! I bought more vinyl while researching Coney Hatch CDs and I got copies in really awesome condition but the real gem from Ebay this month was the Cheap Trick box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick. I’ve been immersing myself in all things Cheap Trick and I had to have this rarities box set but it’s out of print and high priced most of the time. I picked this up for $15 plus $2.50 shipping because the seller misspelled Cheap as “Cheep”. Another bargain through someone else’s mistake!

Total = $339.70

Total (year) = $1446.50

Average Price (per item) = $10.88

Total CDs (year) = 116

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7

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NOTE:
Just to compare, here’s the mid-year totals from 2012…..

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs & Blu-Rays (year) = 5

CD Scavenger Hunt (December update) — The Final Hunt of 2011

2011 is almost over and it’s been a good year for buying music. There have been so many new albums, so many reissues and so many discovered treasures that it’s been hard to keep up! Actually, I didn’t keep up…..I have literally hundreds of albums on my desk and in boxes next to it that I either bought or were sent in by bands, add in all the digital promos that were emailed in and it was another HUGE year! There is just no possible way that I can listen to every album that crosses my desk but I do make a point to give every CD I buy a listen. I’ve bought a lot this year but not nearly s much as I have in previous years. I still made purchases through online stores, band websites, Ebay, private sales and…..my favorite…..the record stores but the amount of digital and physical promos that have been submitted made up the difference and made my want list even longer. Even though I’m lucky to receive these promos, I still like to have the physical product, especially of the bands I love so I had a lot to add to my want list. Remember, record stores are a dying breed and more and more are closing every year, especially the mom & pop stores that care about the music and the customer…..go out and support them!

December is always my slowest month of the year because the holidays are right around the corner and the hard earned cash has to be spent on more important things…..like presents and holiday dinners and, well, more presents! This is also the time of year when not much comes out because most of the new albums have already been released and it’s time for labels and stores to focus on greatest hits packages. The problem is that there are ALWAYS great sales this time of year and I was able to catch a really great one this time.

So here it is, the final update of 2011…..make sure you check out my final totals and analysis at the bottom…..

Newbury Comics

I’m a regular at Newbury Comics but I’m a rabid regular when there’s a can’t miss sale! The weekend of December 9 thru December 11 was a massive sale — Buy 1 Used CD, Get 1 For $1 (Limit 5). Now I’m not passing up the chance to pad my collection with a lot of catalog releases and older titles with that kind of sale so I made the trip to my two regular Newbury Comics locations (North Attleboro, MA and Warwick, RI) over the weekend to grab as many used CDs as I could. North Attleboro was first on my list for Friday because it’s less than 10 minutes from my house, Warwick was a special trip 20 minutes away with the family so I could use them to help make purchases…..remember, limit 5 per customer! When a sale like this happens, the usual protocol is you get the lower priced CDs as the $1 ones, not this time! This time around the store gave you the CD closest to the price of the used CD you bought for $1 (example: $7.99 used CD & a $7.99 used CD for $1). That saves even more money! There were also a few new releases I grabbed as well but I will list those at the end, first is the used treasures…..

Bang Camaro – s/t (2007) – $6 used: The whole Bang Camaro concept fascinates me, any band with a dozen or so singers will do that! Add that Bang Camaro is a New England band (based out of Boston) and I want to add it to the collection because they’re a local band. I’ve been watching this CD for a while, just like I did with the band’s second album, because the price was way too high. A sale like this is clearance time for the record store so there were two copies in the racks but one was $1 higher than this one. Taking a look online, this debut CD usually sells for around $10 at most retail/auction sites so I saved $4.

Bon Jovi – Lost Highway (2007) – $1 used: I’m not the biggest Bon Jovi fan anymore but I was back in the day from the debut album through NEW JERSEY but I do like some of their singles. Never bothered to buy this when it came out because I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to be ultimately disappointed (see THE CIRCLE) but I will buy it for $1! I like the title track and ‘One Step Closer’ but this was more of a bargain deal for the completist in me. This CD was marked as used but it’s really new and sealed, the reason why it was in the used bin was because the case is broken in multiple spots and there were plenty of new copies for $15 each. The used price on this CD was $4 so I saved $3 with the sale…..ultimately saving $14 compared to the regular price.

Lou Reed & Metallica – LuLu (2011) – $10 used: I know, I know…..I should have known this album would suck but DEATH MAGNETIC gave me hope for Metallica and just how bad could the album be? I’m not going to go into a review here but I was still intrigued. Again, chalk this up to being a completist and wanting to keep the Metallica collection complete. There was no way I was going to buy this brand new especially at the $18 regular price or the $15 sale price…..$10 I can live with if I’m getting a comparably priced CD for $1. I took the chance and bought this for the $10 and saved $8 off the regular price.

Rainbow – On Stage (1977) – $1 used: Here’s a great deal because the regular price for ON STAGE is $10 and the used price was $9…..paying $1 to fill a hole in the Rainbow collection works for me! This version of ON STAGE is actually the 1997 remaster and not the original pressing but that doesn’t matter because it’s Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio live…..on stage! Buying this paired with Loutallica makes up for the wasted money on LULU because I saved a total of $9 off the regular price and I’m a huge Dio and Rainbow fan.

The Elves – And Before Elf…..There Were Elves (2011) – $8 used: I was pretty psyched to find this in the used section because this was just released by Niji Entertainment (Wendy Dio’s company) in November. I have the debut Elf record but this is Ronnie James Dio’s work before that album so it’s definitely an interesting release for me because I’m such a big Dio fan. I was going to buy this brand new anyway because the sale price of $10 was still in effect on the new copies that were in stock but I’ll take the used bargain any day! Regular price for this CD is $15, sale price was $10, so I saved $7 buying it used.

The Doors – s/t (40th Anniversary Edition) (1967/2007) – $1 used: It’s almost sacreligious to say that I never picked up The Doors’ debut album. One of the reasons why I never bought it is because the majority of the album’s tracks are on the box set and the greatest hits double disc I own already. The album has been on the want list but I’ve just never got around to it. This 40th Anniversary edition is your basic remaster with three bonus tracks: two versions of ‘Moonlight Drive’ (which eventually appeared on the second album STRANGE DAYS in 1967) and the original vocal recording of ‘Indian Summer’ (eventually released on MORRISON HOTEL in 1970). Regular price is $15, used price was $8 so I saved $7 pairing this with The Elves.

Glenn Hughes – Feel (1995) – $8 used: I love Glenn Hughes, he’s one of the best singers ever (dubbed “The Voice of Rock”) and his work with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion and his solo career is excellent. I’ve been watching FEEL for two years at the North Attleboro location and I’ve always passed it up because there were always two used copies at the same price and they have never been moved or bought. There have been lots of used CD sales in that two year span but the two copies of FEEL were always filed in the Rock section under Misc. ‘H’. That was until this sale! When I was trolling the used racks, I saw this CD…..it’s been moved! I went to the usual ‘H’ section and the other used copy wan’t there! That means I had to buy for fear that I’d never get another chance at it. I’ve never seen another copy of FEEL in any record store ever so this $8 purchase was mandatory. Turns out this copy is a Japanese import on the Zero label and the Japanese lyric sheet is included, just not the OBI strip. I checked online and the average for a Japanese import of FEEL goes for an average of $20 so I saved $8 buying it used.

System Of A Down – s/t (1998) – $1 used: I saw System Of A Down on Ozzfest 1998 on the 2nd stage and I instantly liked the band because their sound and look was so different….I went out the next day and bought this album. This was before the band broke big here in the U.S. and no one really new them. Fast forward a few years and SOAD is one of the top Metal bands (getting lumped into the Nu-Metal category) and my wife was pregnant and I was laid off for almost 4 months…..I started to sell off some CDs that I could live without to make some extra cash and I sold this CD for around $10 to a friend. I always wanted to pick this CD back up but I never got around to it because there was never a used copy available. This is the original pressing and there were a few copies for $10 each brand new but this used copy was only $6…..paired with Glenn Hughes, I saved $5.

Spinal Tap – This Is Spinal Tap soundtrack (1984) – $6 used: I love the cover of this album because it’s “none more black”. This is the original pressing of the soundtrack to the Spinal Tap movie, not the remaster, and the black album cover is the edited album cover for SMELL THE GLOVE, the album Spinal Tap was releasing and touring in the movie. Anyway, all the big hits are here and I always wanted to get the original pressing with the original mix. Can’t beat $6 used especially when my research shows a new copy of either the original or reissue pressing goes for $10…..saved $4.

Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On… (1993) – $1 used: Chalk this purchase up to me getting a solid portion of my collection on my Collectorz.com Music Collector software and having it on my cell phone. For years I’ve passed up multiple used copies of the Deep Purple CD because I thought I owned it, when I was inputting the ‘D’ section of my collection, I thought I misplaced it! Turns out I never owned it! Saw this disc in the used bin, checked the collection on my phone, and snatched it up right away. I haven’t seen a regular priced copy of THE BATTLE RAGES ON in at least 15 years so I checked online and the usual price is around $10. The used price was $6 and pairing it with Spinal Tap saved me $9 off the possible regular price.

Tattoo Rodeo – Rode Hard, Put Away Wet (1991) – $4 used: When you are a bargain hunter like myself, you pick up CDs by bands that you only know by name recognition. I remember the name Tattoo Rodeo but I’ve never heard the music or really followed up on what the band was about. I grabbed this album at it’s cheap $4 price and was happy to have it. Upon further research after the purchase, it turns out that this is a band made up of former White Sister members playing a Southern Hard Rock style. $4 isn’t a bad price to pay for a 1991 album that’s more than likely an ’80s Hard Rock album (let’s face it, that ’80s sound went as far as 1994 in some cases!). Some Ebay research shows that you can get this on average of $10 so I think I saved $6.

The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back (2005) – $1 used: I was a big fan of The Darkness when the debuted in 2003 with PERMISSION TO LAND but I never got around to buying this album…..until now. I’ve been watching this $4 used copy of ONE WAY TICKET TO HELL…AND BACK for months, maybe even years, and the excuse has always been that “it’s always there”. When the CD isn’t there, another pops up within a couple of weeks…..maybe it’s the same CD? Either way, I figured it was time to drop the money down, especially with this sale and the reuniting of The Darkness for a new album and tour. Regular price for this CD is around $10 but pairing this with Tattoo Rodeo made the price go from $4used to $1 used. Can’t beat saving around $9.

Alice Cooper – The Alice Cooper Show (1977) – $5 used: There are too many holes in the Alice Cooper collection so I’m on a mission to buy all the missing albums as soon as possible. Good news on this sale, there were a couple Alice CDs in the used bins that I didn’t own, this live album being one of them. Thank god for the Collectorz.com Music Collector software because I was able to check my collection on my phone and see what was in the Alice collection at home (I’m still in the middle of the ‘D’ section). This was an easy purchase and at $5 used t was a great bargain. There was a copy of this CD in the regular Alice Cooper section for $10 so I easily saved $5 buying used.

Lullacry – Crucify My Heart (2003) – $1 used: Here’s another band that I remembered the name of but never got around to buying. Actually, the difference this time is that I’ve heard a few songs. I compare Lullacry’s female-fronted Gothic Metal to The Gathering, Epica and After Forever so it’s a style that I like so it’s a good purchase rather than a risk. CRUCIFY MY HEART the third Lullacry album but the first to feature Tanja Lainio on lead vocals. This CD goes for around $10 in most place so the $4 used price was good to begin with but pairing this CD with Alice Cooper made the final price $1. I easily saved $9 on a band I’ve been wanting to try out for a few years and I can get an idea of  what they are about before I drop a sale price on the new album that’s coming in early 2012.

Giant – III (2001) – $10 used: This CD equals the Metallica – LuLu CD as the highest I paid this month for a used CD. Why so much for Giant’s third studio album (fourth overall if you count the live record)? Not sure. This album is 11 years old and Giant wasn’t that popular back in the day. Sure, they had a hit with the ballad ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ but that was back in 1989…..there hasn’t been much on the Giant front in the 20+ years since (4 studio albums & 2 live for a career) but Giant still remain a favorite in Melodic Rock circles. I’ve never seen III in a record store since 2001, I checked online and it still gets $15 in most places so I considered buying it. Other factors: recognized the band name, own other Giant albums, it’s on Frontiers Records (one of the best labels out there!) and it was shiny and practically brand new. One note after getting this disc home, turns ou it’s a promo copy that says “promotional, not for re-sale”. I pulled the trigger and saved around $5 but that allowed me to pair another high priced used CD to it…..

Angel – s/t (1975) – $1 used: Treasure of the month! This is an original pressing of Angel’s debut album and it is hard to find. I’ve only seen one other copy that was an original pressing and that was at least 15 years ago and it was a lot of money then. Angel is one of those ’70s Hard Rock bands that everyone forgets (like Starz) because they shared a label and management with a bigger ’70s Hard rock band…..KISS! But the Angel sound, the albums, the stage show…..it’s all good stuff! There have been a couple of Japanese reissues but not any in the U.S., even those Japanese reissues and the original Japanese pressings of ALL Angel albums go for big dollars on Ebay. This was the first album I found in the used bin and it was getting bought no matter what at $9 used but pairing it with the Giant album made it a $1 used CD. I did some research online and previous data on the original pressings (both U.S. and Japanese) from the last decade show that this CD can go as high as $100+ but, with the subsequent Japanese reissues, the price drops to normal import retail of around $25 (without shipping). The problem is that there aren’t that many copies out there on the market for sale. I’m going to put a $15 regular price on this and count it as a $14 savings.

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (1976) – $4 used: This is the second Alice Cooper album I found in the used bins and the second hole filled in the Alice collection. This was slotted right with THE ALICE COOPER SHOW so when I checked my collection on my phone, I knew that I definitely didn’t already own it. The only concern here is that I noticed that some Alice albums have been re-released as part of a “budget series” and they have a slightly altered front cover. I took this used CD over to the regular Alice Cooper section and compared it to the re-release, I checked the catalog # online also, and this turned out to be an original CD pressing. Original pressings of this record run about $9 online (the re-release in the store was $8) so I figure  saved $5 overall and filled a much needed hole on the Alice Cooper want list.

D.A.D. – Riskin’ It All (1992) – $1 used: I remember D.A.D. (Disneyland After Dark) from back in the day because of the single ‘Sleeping My Day Away’ from their fourth album, NO FUEL LEFT FOR PILGRIMS (1989). I don’t have any other D.A.D. albums (again, checking the collection on my phone!) so it was a nice pickup to go along with Alice, especially for only $1. I would have even paid the original used price of $4. This was also a name recognition thing because I remember the big controversy when the band got some success from ‘Sleeping My Day Away’ and the Disney corporation came calling on the band to change their name. If you ever find a CD, cassette or vinyl copy of D.A.D.’s first four albums with the original Disneyland After Dark band name, buy it immeadiately because it’s a collector’s item. This CD averages $8 online so I saved $7. one last cool note about this CD purchase, there’s a price tag on the actual jewel case from some mom & pop record store (can’t make out the name) from February 1999 and the price was $7.95.

Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day (2005) – $4 used: I must be getting sympathetic in my old age because I have not had the patience for any Bon Jovi album since CRUSH (2000). That album was solid and the concert was good…..until the encore of covers and I soured on Bon Jovi quick. The last Bon Jovi album I bought before the latest album, THE CIRCLE (2009), was released was 2002’s BOUNCE…..I’ve bought nothing in between. There are some catchy tunes that I’ve heard on the radio, on the music that’s played at work and at the concert I saw on The Circle Tour and that made me pick this up……that and the low $4 used price! I like the title track and ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ so maybe I’ll give this a spin and there will be other songs I’ll like. Regular price still hovers around $14 in store so I saved $10 and filled a hole in the Bon Jovi collection.

Ted Nugent – Spirit Of The Wild (1995) – $1 used: I’ve been a fan of Terrible Ted since I saw him open for Aerosmith on the Done With Mirrors tour in 1986 and realized the same guy singing ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ was the same guy from the ‘Little Miss Dangerous’ video and the Miami Vice episode! Something about the way Ted started his set by jumping over the drums, rolling on the floor and screaming into the mic (blowing out my eardrums!) will always be my first live concert memory and it was awesome! The weird thing is that save for a couple recent studio albums and a generic greatest hits collection, I don’t own much Ted…..oops, forgot LITTLE MISS DANGEROUS (1986), I own that too. There are some massive holes that need to be filled in the Ted collection so this is the first, and not the last Nuge disc, I bought this month with this sale. SPIRIT OF THE WILD usually runs around $10 if you find it new so I saved $9 pairing it with Bon Jovi.

Queen – Hot Space (1981) – $10 used: It’s about damn time! I’ve been searching and searching for HOT SPACE for years and I finally found a copy of the 1991 reissue series with the bonus track that completes the Quuen collection. When Queen announced they were re-releasing all the Queen albums again starting in late 2010, I knew someone somewhere would part with this CD to get the fresher version. I could have easily bought the new reissue of HOT SPACE but I decided that I wasn’t going to buy the entire new set of reissues and I didn’t want to “break the set”. It was a matter of time, a waiting game that’s lasted a while since I first posted a WANTED feature on HOT SPACE. Now the Queen studio collection is complete and I need to grab a couple live albums to make the entire Queen collection complete! The new HOT SPACE runs around $18 and there were a few copies to be had, this 1991 pressing goes for around $10 on Ebay if it becomes available. Going with the Ebay price, I broke even but I was able to get another much needed album by pairing it up…..

Motorhead – Motorizer (2008) - $1 used: Finally, another album I’ve been wanting to buy and fill a hole in a band’s collection. Technically, I already own MOTORIZER, the record label (SPV) sent me a promo copy back in 2008 so i could review the album. I like getting promos to review and I got this album a couple months before it was released so I never picked up when it came out because I new the music already and it was uploaded to my iPod. It’s always bothered me that I never had the actual release with the booklet and artwork, all I owned was a cardboard sleeve and the promo disc. This sale changed that! For $1, I was able to pick up a practically new copy for my collection at a great used price. Now that promo copy becomes a conversation piece and/or a collector’s item. Regular price for this CD is $15 everywhere, used price was $10, so I saved $14 pairing it with Queen.

Ted Nugent – Free-For-All (1976) – $8 used: This is technically a used CD because it’s labelled that way but it’s technically a brand new CD because it was still in the original shrinkwrap, the problem was a really broken jewel case and a few copies of this album at the regular $12 price. This is the remastered version from 1999 that contains three bonus tracks. I’m not a fanatic about original pressings but I do like to acquire them and make note of them in this column, buying a remastered Ted record at a good price is fine with me, especially since the original pressing CDs are hard to come by. Another hole filled in the classic Nuge collection (and there’s a couple more coming!) at a great price…..saved $4.

Motorhead – 1916 (1991) – $1 used: Another hole filled in the Motorhead collection! I haven’t seen a copy of 1916 in a long time and this album didn’t get the deluxe reissue treatment like the previous studio albums did. I had this on the radar not only because it was a glaring omission in the collection but because the young metalhead son of my best friend came to the house specifically to get the song ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S.’ and I didn’t have the studio version! I felt like an incomplete collector and bad Metal mentor! The quest was on, took a month, found it nice and used during a great sale. The regular price on this varies but it’s usually $10 on Ebay, the used price was $7 but it was really $1 by pairing it with the Motor City Madman…..saved $9 off regular price.

Ted Nugent – Great Gonzos! The Best Of Ted Nugent (1981) – $6 used: This gonzo greatest hits package was orginally released in 1981 but the copy I found in the used bin was the 1999 remaster three bonus tracks, one being a brand new studio recording, ‘Give Me Just A Little’. What’s exciting about this studio bonus track is that it’s co-written by Ted’s Damn Yankees bandmates Jack Blades (Night Ranger) & Tommy Shaw (Styx) along with Neal Schon (Journey). In 1999, there was talk of a Damn Yankees reunion and album but it never got off the ground, maybe this is one of those songs? I knew that there was a new copy of GREAT GONZOS in the regular Ted Nugent section so I took this over and the same 1999 remaster at regular price was $13. Buying used saved me $7 and filled another hole in the Ted collection.

Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever (1977) – $1 used: Add another CD into the Ted Nugent collection! This time it’s the classic CAT SCRATCH FEVER record and it’s another from the 1999 remaster series. This is the classic Nugent album, the one everyone knows because of the classic title track but I’ve heard the album before and it’s solid all around. There are two bonus tracks on this pressing: live versions of the title track and one of my favorites, ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’. Again, I checked this used copy alongside it’s regular priced counterpart and there was a significant savings. Regular price was $13 and the used price was $6, I’m already saving more than half buying used…..pairing this with GREAT GONZOS! made it $1 used for a $12 savings.

Ted Nugent – Weekend Warriors (1978) – $4 used: I told you I didn’t have many Ted albums in my collection! WEEKEND WARRIORS is another much needed album in the Ted Nugent collection that I bought on a great sale. This time around, this is the original pressing and NOT a 1999 remaster. I’m actually kind of disappointed that it wasn’t a remaster because all the other Ted CDs I bought were, I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and now I wonder if there are good ones on this album’s remaster. Anyway, WEEKEND WARRIORS usually sells for around $9 on Ebay whether it’s the original or reissue so buying it used saved me $5 off the regular price.

 

Now there really should be a $1 used CD attached to WEEKEND WARRIORS but I had a problem with three other CDs I picked up during this sale. I bought Ted Nugent – Craveman (2002), The Quireboys – This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll (2001) and Giant – Last Of The Runaways (1989) all for cheap dollars…..problem was that I owned them already. This is why I need to continue adding CDs to my Collectorz software, so this doesn’t happen again. I returned all three to the store almost immeadiately and I received my $6 back. The Ted Nugent and Quireboys CDs were linked together and the Giant CD would have gone with WEEKEND WARRIORS.

Now on to the new CDs…..

Mass – New Birth (Anniversary Edition) (1985/2011) – $13: I’ve been big into Mass since they released their last album, SEA OF BLACK (2010), and since I saw them open for Mr. Big last summer. Mass is a great local band (from Massachusetts) and they’ve been around since the early ’80s. NEW BIRTH originally came out in 1985 and it was re-released by Retrospect Records a few years ago. This time around NEW BIRTH gets the re-release treatment for it’s 25th anniversary on Retroactive Records, a label specializing in Chrisitan Metal with two other Mass re-releases to their credit. I’m riding high on Mass right now and I’m looking to fill up that part of my collection so I figured I’d start with this album, especially when I saw it was listed on the Newbury Comics weekly e-newsletter. I also knew I had to get there on time the Tuesday of release because there would only be a couple of copies in stock. To my surprise there were at least 10 copies available (remember, Mass is a local act) so I was able to secure this CD at a decent regular price.

Rock Goddess – Hell Hath No Fury (1984/2008 reissue) – $6: This is a score! Back in 1984, I used to cut pctures out of Hit Parader and Circus magazines and plaster them all over my bedroom walls and I used to have this picture of Rock Goddess (along with a picture of Girlschool) hanging next to a poster of Vince Neil. I never did pickup this album back in the day but I did manage to acquire it on cassette in the late ’90s when I bought a huge box of cassettes at a local mom & pop record shop for a bulk price. I’ve never seen a HELL HATH NO FURY CD in person but I do know there have been various reissues on Ebay, some of which I’m sure were bootlegs. I decided that $6 regular price wasn’t bad for a recent reissue on a label I knew….Rennaissance Records.

Scorpions – Comeblack (2011) – $15: I’ve been dying to know what this album sounds like for the last couple of months. Reviews have been hit or miss and the concept also seems hit or miss: 7 re-recorded songs and 6 covers. I’m not big on cover songs but I wouldn’t mind hearing what the Scorpions’ interpretation of their big ’80s hits would sound like in 2011. The Scorpions have been a big band in my Metal life and they are currently coming to the end of their career, at this point I’m soaking up as much Scorpions as I can! COMEBLACK (bad title!) was released everywhere except the U.S. in the Fall of 2011 so I’ve been debating this purchase for a while. I finally decided to snag it when I noticed one copy left out of the five that I’d seen for weeks. Of course, about a month after I buy it at $15, COMEBLACK gets a proper U.S. release and a nifty sale price of $10!

Autograph – The Anthology (2011) – $16: This was an expensive purchase for a band that never really made it back in the ’80s save for a couple of songs — ‘Turn Up The Radio’ and ‘Blondes In Black Cars’. I love Autograph though and I have all their albums and I enjoy them. When I saw the title of this CD, I figured that this was going to be a greatest hits style package from all four of the band’s studio albums and I didn’t need another compilation of tracks I already had! I did some research and it seems that this is a double disc release of demos, b-sides and unreleased songs…..the problem is that Autograph already had that with 1997’s MISSING PIECES and 2003’s MORE MISSING PIECES, which was the original MISSING PIECES with 7 more demo/unreleased tracks. I already own MISSING PIECES, and MORE MISSING PIECES is rare and hard to find, so I figured I’d pick this up if there was “missing pieces” to the Autograph catalog. My research shows that Disc 1 is the MORE MISSING PIECES release but with two different songs replacing two from the original 2003 release. The second disc is 12 tracks that were unreleased from the sessions for the band’s 4th album BUZZ (2003) and beyond. THE ANTHOLOGY is a pretty good archival release so I figured that I’d snag it while I could because there was only one copy up for grabs and Deadline Music is a label that doesn’t always print a bunch of copies of their releases and they go out of print quickly.

Halford – Live At Saitama Super Arena (2011) – $10: I already picked up the live DVD a few weeks prior but the actual live CD was delayed. Not sure why but it was definitely an inconvenience. Maybe it’s more of a business thing to get extra money? All I know is that there have been a lot of live CD & DVD packages coming out the last few years for around $20 and it’s just easier to get it all in one set rather than have to buy it separately. A small complaint I guess because this is the same setlist as the DVD just in audio form. I’m a huge Rob Halford fan whether it’s with Judas Priest or solo so i was buying this anyway but I just prefer to have it as a set with both formats together. For some reason, this is bothering me way more than it should! At least I got  a decent sale price and saved $4 off the $14 regular price.

Riot – Immortal Soul (2011) – $12: I’ve been looking forward to hearing IMMORTAL SOUL ever since Mark Reale announced that the classic THUNDERSTEEL era lineup would be touring and recording. I’ve been a huge Riot fan since the late ’90s when i re-discovered the band through the re-releases of FIRE DOWN UNDER (1981) and RESTLESS BREED (1982) on the High Vaultage label from GERMANY. Since then I’ve collected all the Riot albums I can with only a couple ommission and I’ve blasted the music as loud as I can! The last few Riot studio albums since the late ’90s have been solid Metal records so I expect nothing less from IMMORTAL SOUL. Good to see about a half dozen copies in the new release rack for sale AND good to see another metalhead buying a copy at the same time I was! Regular price is a whopping $17 but the sale price was $12 on the day of release so I saved $5.

Royal Hunt – Show Me How To Live (2011) – $13: Another band I discovered in the late ’90s, Royal Hunt has become one of my favorite bands of the last 15 years. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered them in late 1997/early 1998, their singer D.C. Cooper had left the band to pursue a solo career. D.C. Cooper’s vocals are awesome, he was in the running for the vacant Judas Priest gig back in the mid-’90s, and I always thought that there ws something missing from subsequent Royal Hunt albums. Don’t get me wrong, John West and Mark Boals were great replacements but I just dig D.C. Cooper. Well now he’s back in the band and this is the first studio album back and it has proper distribution through Frontiers Records. I still haven’t picked up the band’s last record, X (2010), and there are a few holes in the Royal Hunt collection so I’m hoping that SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE is really good and gets me on a serious Royal Hunt kick. Regular price is another big $17 but most Frontiers releases are that price because they are imports…..the $13 sale price helped save me $4.

White Wizzard – Flying Tigers (2011) – $10: An easy purchase here because White Wizzard have become one of my favorite new Traditional Heavy Metal bands of the last few years due to their old school, NWOBHM style. I didn’t even know that White Wizzard had a new record coming out until I noticed it in the e-newsletter sale section, that just goes to show that I haven’t been paying much attention to all things Metal for the last year or so! Regular price for this CD is $16, a little high for an Earache Records release because they have normal U.S. distribution, but the sale price was $10 the day of release so I ended up saving $6.

 

Final Stats for 2011

Total (December) = $212

Total (year) = $1145

Average Price (per item) = $8.06

Total Savings (December) = $214

Total Savings (year) = $1050

Total CDs (year) = 134

Total DVDs (year) = 7

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

Just a quick analysis…..

I bought 36 fewer items compared with 2010 (142 to 168) and I also spent a lot less compared to 2010 ($1145 to $1820). This year was the first year I decided to track an estimation of how much I saved buying used and on sale and I was able to save almost as much money as I spent with a difference between the two of $95.

Bon Jovi in concert at TD Garden (Boston, MA) – 3/1/2011

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four and a half months since I went to a live show but I was able to kick off my 2011 concert season with a trip to Boston to see Bon Jovi in concert this past Tuesday night. I’ll be very honest, I’m not a huge Bon Jovi fan. Back in the ’80s I was, especially from the first album through NEW JERSEY (1988), and I saw them live at the Providence Civic Center on both the SLIPPERY WHEN WET tour (with Cinderella) and the NEW JERSEY tour (with Skid Row). Anything after NEW JERSEY has never been my high priority list although I do have a few of their most recent albums, including THE CIRCLE (2009), and I caught them in concert back on the CRUSH tour in the Summer of 2001. The main reason I went to the concert is because I was taking my wife and Bon Jovi is her favorite Rock band. She has seen the band multiple times over the last few years including seeing the band on their home turf in New Jersey. Bon Jovi is to my wife what KISS is to me and I decided to go with her when tickets went on sale in November 2010…..$177 dollars a piece after all the Ticketmaster fees!

I’ve had the opportunity to see the band on previous tours but I swore off all Bon Jovi shows because of the show I saw in Summer 2001 supporting CRUSH. Nothing kills it for me than cover songs and Bon Jovi ended that concert with a cover of ‘Tequila’ and ‘Twist & Shout’ instead of reaching into their own catalog for something off the first two albums…..’Runaway’ maybe? That show was great until the last two songs and I was so disappointed that I haven’t seen the band live and I’ve been ultra-critical of them since. Eight years is a long time and Bon Jovi is selling out stadiums when many of their contemporaries and peers have trouble selling out theaters so it’s safe to say that they are as popular as they ever have been. My curiosity got the better of me and I got pretty psyched to see the band live after all these years, plus I heard they mix up the setlist from show to show! The concert was billed as “An Evening With Bon Jovi” so there was no opening act but that meant that there could be a possibly longer setlist, maybe a 2 to 3 hour show!

Bon Jovi setlist

Last Man Standing
You Give Love A Bad Name
Born To Be My Baby
We Weren’t Born To Follow
Lost Highway
Love’s The Only Rule
Work For The Working Man (cut short due to technical difficulties)
It’s My Life
Runaway
Just Older
We Got It Going On
Bad Medicine/Pretty Woman cover
Lay Your Hands On Me (Richie Sambora on vocals)
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
I’ll Be There For You
Bed Of Roses
Who Says You Can’t Go Home
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead/Start Me Up cover
Have A Nice Day
Keep The Faith

Encore:
Dry County
Wanted Dead Or Alive
I Love This Town
Livin’ On A Prayer

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed myself as much as I did, especially after I didn’t like the THE CIRCLE. The band did play three songs off that album (‘We Weren’t Born To Follow’, ‘Love’s The Only Rule’ & ‘Work For The Working Man’) and got them out of the way quick. The show opened with Jon Bon Jovi on a small stage behind the soundboard at the back of the arena (Paul Stanley style) right in front of us singing ‘Last Man Standing’. After the song, JBJ ran through the crowd (with security) to the stage to kick the frenzy into high gear with the classics ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ and ‘Born To Be My Baby’. So far, I’m good even though I didn’t know one word to ‘Last Man Standing’. I knew ‘We Weren’t Born To Follow’ and ‘Lost Highway’ but not ‘Love’s The Only Rule’ (from THE CIRCLE) but all three songs sounded pretty good live so I made a mental note to revisit THE CIRCLE to see if I the album might benefit from a fresh listen and a note to find the LOST HIGHWAY (2007) album at a cheap price. The show was basically going along fine, and the band sounded pretty good, until they launched into another CIRCLE song ‘Work For The Working Man’. The band got maybe 15-20 seconds in and you heard a big “pop” and there was no sound. Either the speakers went or something happened at the board but the arena, save for maybe the people up front, heard nothing. Of course the band played on being able to hear themselves through their in-ear monitors but they stopped halfway through and left the stage. After about 5 to 10 minutes, the band returned to massive cheers and kicked the show into high gear with ‘It’s My Life’.

One of my personal highlights was ‘Runaway’, the band could play anything off the first two albums and I’d be happy even though I’d prefer ‘She Don’t Know Me’ from the first record. I also was psyched to hear ‘Just Older’ from CRUSH, an album I really enjoyed when it came out. ‘We Got It Going On’ sounded decent and the crowd seemed to like it (another reason to check out LOST HIGHWAY) and then it was a double shot of NEW JERSEY tracks ‘Bad Medicne’ and ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’. ‘Bad Medicine’ is a trademark Bon Jovi classic so I would have preferred a more rocking performance without the cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman’ attached. ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ is one of my favorite Bon Jovi songs so I was psyched to hear it but Richie Sambora took over the lead vocals while Jon went backstage for a quick break. A well-deserved one too because JBJ was all over the stage and sounded great vocally. I was a little disappointed with Richie’s vocal on ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’, maybe it’s age but his voice wasn’t as strong as I’d remembered. Actually, Richie’s trademark background vocals on many of the songs during the show weren’t really that great. The other thing is that the youthful fire that the original songs had seemed a bit dim live this show, maybe it’s because the band has gone on a different direction musically over the years? Mybe it’s because the band has matured a lot more since 1986-1988? It just seemed like the classic songs from SLIPPERY WHEN WET and NEW JERSEY lacked some of that energy and seemed to follow the sound of the newer songs. After Richie was done, Jon returned to sing ‘Hallelujah’, the Leonard Cohen cover that I think was on a live DVD the band released recently. It’s a good song and JBJ does a decent job but all I can think of is Shrek!

I’m not big into Bon Jovi ballads so ‘I’ll Be There For You’ and ‘Bed Of Roses’ were boring for me but the throngs of ladies and Bon Jovi diehards (mostly women) seemed to enjoy them, the songs sounded decent live. Including ‘Bed Of Roses’, the next six songs were from the KEEP THE FAITH (1992) and HAVE A NICE DAY (2005) albums, both of which I don’t own. I always liked ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ and that was one of the “newer” songs I was hoping to hear, ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ got the crowd going but I didn’t know it…..I liked the cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’ attached to it better than the actual song! ‘Have A Nice Day’ is another “newer” Bon Jovi tune I knew and wanted to hear, very catchy and came off good live, same with the other title track ‘Keep The Faith’. The encore started with the slow ‘Dry County’ off KEEP THE FAITH which I thought was a weird way to kick off an encore but it fit as the band pushed into the classic ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’, with Rchie’s subpar vocals. ‘I Love This Town’ surprised me and now LOST HIGHWAY is on my Want List because every song I heard live from that album sounded great and , of course no show would be complete with out Bon Jovi’s signature anthem, ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.

Overall, I had a good time and I kind of feel bad that I’ve given Bon Jovi the cold shoulder when it comes to picking up some of the last few records and seeing them in concert. I enjoyed hearing the classic songs from the ’80s, although some could use some more energy and power like on the records, but I think the “newer” songs were the best of the night. I’m definitely going to have to get out to the record store and try to acquire KEEP THE FAITH, HAVE A NICE DAY and LOST HIGHWAY because every song sounded great. I’m a little surprised the band didn’t take a track from THESE DAYS (1995) or BOUNCE (2002) because the band usually represents every album live…..except for 7800 FAHRENHEIT (1985)! Can anyone tell me why they ignore 7800 FAHRENHEIT every tour? That was a great album and I would guarantee that I would see the band in concert again if they played ‘In And Out Of Love’ or ‘Tokyo Road’. That said, Bon Jovi put on a solid show and I had a surprisingly good time.

CD Scavenger Hunt – more catching up!

I have a few CD purchases to update from the last month and a few on the way when they arrive in the mail! There are a few Ebay purchases and a big one from Newbury Comics on a great sale!

Ebay

Tokyo Blade – Night Of The Blade (1984/1997 reissue) – $13: Cross another High Vaultage release off the list! I could just kick myself for not buying these High Vaultage reissues 12 years ago when they first came out, back then they were $15-$20 at the import record store. Now they are out of print and harder to find. This reissue has the original album with original vocalist Alan Marsh and includes 8 bonus tracks from three different EPs.

Autograph – Buzz (2003) – $11: Cross another CD off the WANTED list! I have been looking for this Autograph album basically since it came out. I saw it as an import in the record stores for $20 and I always passed on it. Now it’s harder to find and it goes for a higher price on Ebay. I was able to get this CD cheaper because the seller misspelled the album title by one “Z”.

Eden’s Curse – s/t (2007) – $9: Eden’s Curse has been on my radar since this debut album and I actually have their last two albums. Everytime I go to order this album online, it’s out of stock. Everytime I would watch an auction, the price would skyrocket in a bidding war. The seller that I bought this from had a bunch of these up for sale so I was able to pick this up at the $7 starting price with $2 shipping…..a great deal!

Twenty 4 Seven – Destination Everywhere (2002) – $7: Another CD off the want list and another CD that I should have bought years ago. This band features Bobby Blotzer (Ratt), John Corabi (ex-The Scream, ex-Motley Crue, ex-Ratt, ex-Union) and Robert Marcello (ex-Obsession, ex-Iron Horse, current Danger Danger). I read reviews on this disc back when it came out and I always meant to grab it but never did. The online ordering price is usually $15 + shipping but I got this from the same seller as Eden’s Curse for $5 plus $2 shipping…..another great deal!

Talon – Fallen Angels (2008) – $9: I had this on my want list when it came out in 2008 but I never got around to it. I read some good reviews online hailing it as one of the best albums of the year so I bumped it up the list but I never found it in the stores and the online ordering price was always around $20. This is the 3rd CD I bought from the same seller, and just like Eden’s Curse & Twenty 4 Seven, he had a ton of these up for auction at once. The deal was too good to pass up for $7 and the cheap shipping!

Newbury Comics

Bon Jovi – The Circle (2009) – $13: I haven’t picked up a Bon Jovi album on the day of release since CRUSH back in 2000…..even then I hadn’t bought a Bon Jovi album on the day of release since NEW JERSEY in 1988! For some reason I wanted this album. Maybe it was the media blitz the band put out? Maybe it was the various documentaries I watched on cable TV? Maybe it was seeing my wife’s excitement at the tour announcement? For some reason I wanted it…..maybe to believe that Bon Jovi had returned to their old form? I was wrong…..read my review. At least it came with a bonus DVD for value.

Halford – III: Winter Songs (2009) – $13: I will buy anything Rob Halford puts his name on because he is one of my favorite singers and Judas Priest is my second favorite band. It’s the holiday season so why not a holiday record from Halford? I was going to preorder this through the Halford website but I forgot. I was able to pick this up at a decent sale price that ended up being cheaper than buying direct from the Metal God but not by much. Read my review…..it’s the Album Of The Month for November!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle (2009) – $12: I’ve been waiting for the new TSO album for the whole year! They had a free download of one track at the beginning of the year and they delayed the album’s release to coincide with the band’s annual holiday tour. NIGHT CASTLE is a double disc set but it’s not a holiday album, it’s a concept album. TSO is usually known for their holiday music but they have branched out before on BEETHOVEN’S LAST NIGHT in 2000. It’s definitely mandatory listening, especially when one of my favorite singers, Jeff Scott Soto, is involved! Hard to believe it’s been 5 years since their last record.

Slayer – World Painted Blood (2009) – $10: If Slayer releases a new album, you buy it! I waited a week to get this one and I opted to buy the regular version instead of the deluxe with the bonus DVD and packaging…..I ended up saving an additional $10 by picking up the regular version. I haven’t even cracked the cellophane on this one yet because I have so many albums to listen to! I will probably get to listen to it this week.

I was going to Newbury Comics anyway but I ended up getting an email from the store with their new weekly “Flash Sale”…..buy 1 used CD, get 1 free. How can you pass that up? There was a limit to how many you could get (5 used and 5 free) so I searched every used bin they had but I could only come up with 3 discs and 3 free…..that’s what happens with a big collection! The very cool thing about the sale was that they charged you for the most expensive used CD and then they gave you the next most expensive free…..and so on. Usually the protocol is they charge you for the most expensive CDs and give you the cheaper ones free. I ended up saving more than I thought the way they did it this time!

King Diamond – Abigail (1987/2005 reissue) – $14 used: I’m filling the holes in my King Diamond and Mercyful Fate collections and ABIGAIL was on the list. I had my choice: the original pressing single CD for $10 or the deluxe reissue with the bonus tracks and bonus DVD for $14…..I went with the reissue because it was pure value. So I got the ABIGAIL album, 4 bonus tracks, and a DVD with 7 songs from Sweden in ’87 and 3 videos…..a great deal!

Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986) – $11 used (FREE): Saved $11 right off the bat with the sale! A lot of you are wondering how I don’t already have REIGN IN BLOOD in my collection and I admit it’s a MAJOR oversight on my part. I had it on cassette back in the day and I thought I had it on CD already. I’ve been filling the holes in my Slayer collection so when I saw it was missing I bumped it to the top of my list. Not bad getting it for nothing!

3 Inches Of Blood – Advance & Vanquish (2004) – $11 used: I started my 3 Inches Of Blood collection with their second record FIRE UP THE BLADES (2007) and I have picked up their new album and the reissue of their first independent record this year. I have been waiting to get ADVANCE & VANQUISH for a decent price for a long time, it’s usually $16-$18 regular price and I’ve never seen it used. This was the first used CD I found.

Metal Church – The Dark (1986) – $8 used (FREE): Another awesome free CD and that brings my savings up to $19! Of course this is another classic record that you might be wondering how I don’t have it in my collection. This CD replaces a long worn out cassette. The crazy thing about this CD’s price is that there were two other used copies but for higher prices. I went with the cheaper used disc trying to save extra money but the way the sale worked out I got it for nothing.

The Doors – L.A. Woman (1971) – $7 used: I’ve always been a big Doors fan and L.A. WOMAN has been that missing record for years. The singles are all on various greatest hits packages but I needed the actual album to complete the Jim Morrison led discography (I haven’t bothered to seek out the vinyl albums the band released after he died). I wasn’t going to pick this up because it’s always there used but I went through the entire store and it came down to this being one of the only albums I didn’t already own.

Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys (Part 1) (1987/2006 reissue) – $7 used (FREE): I already own KEEPER (Part 1) on CD but I started picking up the expanded reissues back in 2006 when I filled in some holes in the Helloween collection. I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and this expanded reissue has four bonus tracksand deluxe packaging. Normally I find these reissues for $20 in the stores so I couldn’t pass up finding one used in perfect condition and getting it free.

Bon Jovi – The Circle (2009)

bon_jovi_-_the_circle

Bon Jovi – The Circle (2009, Universal/Island)

  1. We Weren’t Born To Follow
  2. When We Were Beautiful
  3. Work For The Working Man
  4. Superman Tonight
  5. Bullet
  6. Thorn In My Side
  7. Live Before You Die
  8. BrokenPromiseLand
  9. Love’s The Only Rule
  10. Fast Cars
  11. Happy Now
  12. Learn To Love

Band Lineup:
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals
Richie Sambora – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums & Percussion
David Bryan  – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Hugh MacDonald – Bass
Charlie Judge – additional Keyboards & Strings

Produced by: John Shanks, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora

Country: USA

Total Time = 52:49

Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi MySpace page

I’ve been a Bon Jovi fan from way back in ’83 but I haven’t really been into the band for a few years now. Back when I was a kid, I was into the debut album and 7800° FAHRENHEIT (1985) right away with hard Rock songs like ‘She Don’t Know Me’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Tokyo Road’ and ‘In & Out Of Love’. Of course I followed the band through SLIPPERY WHEN WET (1986) and NEW JERSEY (1988), even catching both tours when they came through Rhode Island. The I lost touch of Bon Jovi. It wasn’t until their comeback album CRUSH (2000), and the hit single ‘It’s My Life’, that I bought a new Bon Jovi album. Since CRUSH, I haven’t really bothered with the band anymore due to the changes in their sound. Gone are most of the Hard Rock trademarks that made the band the success it is today and in are more Pop, Country and singer/songwriter influences…..a more mature sound for a more mature audience. I’ve let the last three studio albums pass by despite a couple of catchy single but, for some strange reason, I wanted to pick this album up right away!

THE CIRCLE opens with the ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’, a song that has that big Arena Rock sound but it sounds very similar to ‘It’s My Life’ from 2000 with some similar parts of ‘Born To Be My Baby’ on the chorus. It’s a very catchy song, uptempo and melodic with that feel good vibe that Bon Jovi does so well. Same thing goes with ‘Work For The Working Man’, it has that classic sound that mimics the mega-hit ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ especially on the bass line! Another big song for the concert circuit and possible radio single that channels fellow New Jersey resident Bruce Springsteen’s working class songwriting. I have always wondered what would happen if The Boss, JBJ and John Mellencamp would come up with if they sat in a room together and write a song, they all follow the same pattern. Sandwiched between these two rockers is the light ballad ‘When We Were Beautiful’ (also the title of the accompanying DVD). I’m not really sure what to make of this song, its definitely a radio song because it’s very Pop and pretty and Jon’s vocals are pretty good…..it has a big/full sound but it’s way too light for my tastes. I feel the same way about ‘Superman Tonight’, it has a big sound and there are some Rock flashes there but it sounds too mainstream, too Pop Rock, as if the band is going out of there way to get radio and VH-1 airplay. It’s not a bad song, the chorus saves it, but it’s not something I like.

The opening guitar of ‘Bullet’ signals a Hard Rock tune and this is the closest we’re going to get. The guitars and drums make the song and I am waiting for the harder edge to prevail but it’s more melodic and contemporary overall. The guitar solo is one of the best on the album and the harmonies are spot on, I think the lyrics and the arrangement waste the solid riffs. ‘Thorn In My Side’ starts off very ballad-like but it picks up steam and become a solid rocker. I like this one, it keeps an edge to the album and shows that Bon Jovi can still Rock a bit. Ballad time comes in with ‘Live Before You Die’ complete with emotional singing from Jon and perfect harmonies on the chorus. The orchestration and keyboards are well done and the song does build up harder in spots…..it’s not a bad song at all and the lyrics tell a story, something this band has never had a problem doing. ‘BrokenPromiseLand’ sounds pretty much like the rest of the other songs on the album and the song title bugs me, not one of my favorites. If you think that Bon Jovi copying their own songs is a problem then the opening to ‘Love’s The Only Rule’ sounds like a keyboard loop of Neil Diamond’s ‘Coming To America’…..and it annoyingly runs through the entire song. The song isn’t too bad at all, it actually has some rocking moments but David Bryan’s keyboards are a little overbearing.

I’m not really sure what the band is attempting with ‘Fast Cars’. The song title had me hoping for a Hard Rock song but it’s more like a Pop Rock song with plenty of keyboards that some band half their age would release. I read many reviews online that compared this song to Coldplay. Having never heard any Coldplay songs, I can’t confirm that but it can’t be good either. ‘Happy Now’ follows the rest of the uptempo songs on the album but it really doesn’t resonate with me, it sounds like everything else and doesn’t have much impact. The last song is ‘Learn To Love’ and it’s another ballad with some excellent harmonies and a big sound on the chorus but it kind of ends THE CIRCLE on a down note. Not that it’s a bad song but it just slowly ends, i’d rather end on a high note with an uptempo rocker.

Bottom Line:
I really wanted to pick up this new Bon Jovi album and I definitely wanted to give it a fair shot because the last few songs I’ve heard on the radio from previous releases were pretty good. The band has shown flashes of their ’80s success recently with catchy melodic rockers ont he radio, I was hoping for a lot of that on THE CIRCLE. The band delivers some but not a lot. There is a more contemporary sound, a lighter sound, that seems like the band is more concerned with the more commercial Pop Rock style of today rather than the Hard Rock style that put them on the map. Bon Jovi has always been about the songs and the JBJ/Sambora writing team has done a good job in creating songs with good melodies, insightful lyrics and trademark harmonies…..it’s just that after a while all the songs start to sound the same. I understand the band has long since removed itself from writing party rock anthems like ‘Bad Medicine’ and ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ to go in a more mature and sincere direction but I kind of hoped that a little more fire would be lit into the songs. Long time fans of the band will really enjoy this album and I can see a lot of these songs getting some time on stage during the band’s upcoming tour but fans of the ’80s Hard Rock style will be disappointed. There are some songs that lean back into that ’80s style but THE CIRCLE as a whole is directed more to contemporary Pop Rock with flashes of a harder edge mixed in. This definitely isn’t the worst Bon Jovi album but it also isn’t their best. I’d call it an average album for me, nothing to get too excited about and nothing overly surprising.

Favorite Songs:
‘We Weren’t Born To Follow’, ‘Working For The Working Man’, ‘Thorn In My Side’, ‘Live Before You Die’

Current Playlist

Day off Saturday…..here’s what was burning up the stereo and the iPod today…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): I can’t get enough of the new KISS record! I wanted to live with it a couple of weeks before I reviewed it because I didn’t want the fanboy in me to overpower the truth. After repeated listens, it’s a solid record…..better than PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998).

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): This one gets lumped in with the new KISS because Ace is part of the KISS extended family. I wanted to give this a ton of play before I reviewed it, also so I could compare it to the SONIC BOOM. Great comeback for Ace!

Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2009 reissue): I’ve had the album since late 2007 or early 2008 when I ordered it through the band’s website…..I loved it then and I love it now. I picked up the reissue for the bonus track, the never recorded, ‘Thumb Hang’. See the movie, buy the record.

Firehouse – s/t (1990): I saw the video for ‘Don’t Treat Me Bad’ on VH-1 Classic and I pulled the CD out for a fresh listen. I used to love this album back in the day! I remember no one else really got into the band until all the chicks heard ‘Love Of A Lifetime’…..everyone ended up buying it. The good news is that it’s track #11 so you can hit the <skip> button and finish the record. Check out the video, this is the first version, there’s another with a woman throwing all of Bill Leverty’s stuff out a window.

Ozzy Osbourne – Down To Earth (2001): I pulled this album out because my best friend is an Ozzy freak and we were discussing the merits of Ozzy’s last four solo albums. Obviously NO MORE TEARS (1991) and OZZMOSIS (1995) are great records, and I thought BLACK RAIN (2007) sucked, but this album is forgotten. I remember seeing the tour stop in Worcester, MA and the show wasn’t Ozzy’s best…..after a few listens, neither is the album. I like it better than BLACK RAIN.

Bon Jovi – 7800° Fahrenheit (1985): OK, I realize Bon Jovi isn’t as Metal, or even Hard Rock, as some of the other bands I usually listen to but 7800° FAHRENHEIT is a solid record. This is before Bon Jovi broke the bank so I like this & the debut a lot better. Everyone forgets ‘In And Out Of Love’ and ‘Tokyo Road’, two great songs the band should play live.

David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough (1991): I am huge Diamond Dave fan and I have bought every Diamond Dave solo album when it’s come out so I picked this up back in 1991 and I still love it today. The title track is just pure Dave. Too bad he fell out of the limelight quickly after this album, he was a great performer. He still has 3 more solo albums after this though but his was his last good one.

Thunder – Backstreet Symphony (1990): Thunder were one of those bands that came out just as my senior year in high school was ending and we all jumped on the bandwagon at the parking lot parties. ‘Dirty Love’ got a ton of airplay back in the day on local radio and on MTV, there were 2 versions of the video. I always listen to mid-90s Thunder when I got back into the band but it’s cool to re-live the debut.