WANTED: Lynyrd Skynyrd – God & Guns (2009)

WANTED

Lynyrd Skynyrd – God & Guns (2009)

I love Southern Rock. When I was a kid I used to listen to FM Rock radio all the time and bands like The Allman Brothers, .38 Special, Black Oak Arkansas and Lynyrd Skynyrd were always in rotation. In the end, it’s all Classic Rock and great music. I haven’t bought a new Lynyrd Skynyrd album since 1998 when I first got the Internet and I found the band’s then current album, TWENTY (1997), used at my favorite record store. GOD & GUNS is the band’s 4th album since then and for some reason I wanted this album really bad. I read a review on a Southern Rock website and it gave the album high praise so that caught my eye but then I received an email from Roadrunner Records about the limited edition 2 CD set…..nothing gets my collecting genes going than the words “limited edition”! The bonus CD has three new songs that are not included on the standard edition fo the album and three live songs for a few dollars more. GOD & GUNS was released in July 2009 and I didn’t get it when it was on sale and after a couple months I basically forgot about this album. Then I read a year end best of list on a website and it had this album #1…..that’s when this moved up on the want list.

Edgehill Avenue – Rambler (2009)

Edgehill Avenue - Rambler (2009)

Edgehill Avenue – Rambler (2009, Departure Records)

  1. Rambler
  2. With These Hands
  3. Just Another Day
  4. Don’t Come Round Here Anymore
  5. I’ll Be Leaving Now
  6. Just Don’t Care Anymore
  7. How You Really Feel
  8. Holding On
  9. Out Of Time
  10. Justified
  11. Justified (Radio Edit)

edgehill avenue 2009

Band Lineup:
Drew Perkins – Vocals & Guitar
Mike McLaughlin – Lead Guitar
John Poole – Bass & Backing Vocals
Lamont Melson – Drums
Paul Nevitt – Piano/Organ

Additional Musicians:
Leigh Ann Yost (tracks 5 & 9)
Daphne Luster (track 4)
Chris Greenwell (track 10 & 11)
Mark Noderer (track 10 & 11)

Producer: William Bartley
(‘Justified’ produced by Nick Stevens)

Total Time = 51:09

Edgehill Avenue
Edgehill Avenue MySpace page
Departure Records

Every once in a while I get an album on my desk that goes against everything I listen to and offers up something completely fresh…..that’s exactly what’s happened with the latest from Kentucky’s Edgehill Avenue, RAMBLER. I’ve always liked Southern Rock (bands like .38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top and Black Oak Arkansas) because it’s been a staple of pure American Rock ‘n’ Roll radio. How can you turn on a radio and not hear classic songs like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Melissa’ or ‘Hot And Nasty’? There’s a smoother edge to Southern Rock, it sounds effortless, but it also has deep roots in the Blues and Country and that’s exactly what I hear on RAMBLER. Maybe add a little Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Eagles in for good measure.

Overall, RAMBLER has a slow southern flow to it, mostly mid-tempo to ballad style tracks but there are a few uptempo songs like ‘With These Hands’ and ‘Just Don’t Care Anymore’. ‘With These Hands’ has this blues based sound complete with organ that sounds like most of Great White’s current record RISING (2009) (or what Great White tried to do on their record!) while ‘Just Don’t Care Anymore’ reminds me a little of The Allman Brothers hit ‘Ramblin’ Man’. I also like the Bluesy ‘Don’t Come Round Here Anymore’, a song that rivals a good Skynyrd tune with it’s smooth organ and pretty harmonies courtesy of Daphne Luster. Listen to the guitar solo on this song too, very cool and kind of Stevie Ray Vaughn styled. The slower songs have a lot to offer as well: ‘Just Another Day’ has a really big organ intro with some swirling guitars but it’s definitely a slow and smooth ride while the ballad ‘I’ll Be Leaving Now’ pulls out the acoustics and sounds like the Country side of The Eagles. The first single from RAMBLER turns out to be the last song on the album…..’Justified’. I’d call this song mid-tempo but there are some funky rhythms that almost go a little jazz at times. I like the trade-off solos between the organ and the electric guitar, very cool.

Bottom Line:
With a steady diet of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal it’s always nice to come across an album that is different from what you’re used to. As I mentioned before, I’m a Southern Rock fan and there are different levels of intensity just like Metal. Edgehill Avenue’s RAMBLER is a well-performed, well-produced album that blends Blues, Southern, and a touch of Jazz here and there to complete an overall grassroots sound. Most of the songs are mid-tempo and mellow but that’s exactly what I liked about the record, you can hear the different instruments play off each other without a ton of extras and there’s a lot of soul to the playing. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear songs from RAMBLER on Country radio or maybe Classic Rock radio stations that play some new artists from time to time. Definitely out of my usual musical comfort zone but a nice detour…..worth checking out.

Favorite Songs:
‘Don’t Come Round Here Anymore’, ‘With These Hands’, ‘Just Don’t Care Anymore’, “I’ll Be Leaving Now’

J.C. Cinel – Before My Eyes (2007)

J.C. Cinel – Before My Eyes (2007, Black Widow Records)

  1. Ships In The Wind
  2. Feel The Moment
  3. Sweet Dream
  4. Out In The Frontline
  5. Dear Old Friend
  6. Intro Brush
  7. Brush My Cymbals
  8. Before My Eyes
  9. What I See
  10. Voices From Nowhere
  11. Alone In The Dark
  12. Taking Chances

Main Musician: J.C. Cinel

Total Time = 48:50

J.C. Cinel official website
J.C. Cinel MySpace page
Black Widow Records

I first heard of J.C. Cinel from his Progressive rock band Wicked Minds but BEFORE MY EYES is the Italian singer/songwriter’s latest solo album. What is immeadiately obvious is that Cinel is very influenced by ’70s Rock, specifically Southern Rock, Rock, AOR, Soft Rock and Prog. Take J.C. and transport him back in time and his music would compete with the likes of The Eagles, Aerosmith, Bad Company, Steve Miller and Tom Petty.

‘Ships In the Wind’ starts the album off on an acoustic note complete with harmonica but it sounds very Lite Rock. There is a nice slide guitar added in to add some depth and some cool harmonies but it sounds like Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Things pick up with more of a Rock pace with the Steve Miller/Skynyrd styled ‘Feel The Moment’ that features some familiar sounding guitar riffs but it’s back to the acoustic basics for ‘Sweet Dream’. ‘Out In The Frontline’ is a little more uptempo and you can hear that specific southern twang to the electric guitars, more country on this song but the harmonies are really great. ‘Dear Old Friend’ is another slower acoustic based ’70s Lite Rock/Country style song and the album is starting to get a little predictable…..the music is very well done but there’s no diversity in different styles. So far I prefer the uptempo rock tunes to the acoustic AOR/Soft Rock style but the music is played very well.

I like the cool playing on ‘Brush My Eyes’ that moves from calm acoustic/harp to more electric guitar sounds and bigger vocals and the title track moves in with solid vocals. ‘What I See’ has a Skynyrd electric guitar style over the acoustics and ‘Voices From Nowhere’ moves Cinel back into that ’70s singer/songwriter, Westcoast AOR, Lite Rock radio arena. ‘Alone In The Dark’ has a little more rock to it but the keyboards are pushed way to back, I think they could support the song more if they were a little more up front in the mix. Last song is ‘Taking Chances’ and JC Cinel doesn’t really do that because we get yet another lite acoustic song.

Bottom Line:
If you like lite ’70s AOR/Rock with a touch of Southern Rock then BEFORE MY EYES is definitely in your future. The music is very well played and I really like the acoustic guitars and melodic harmonies but that’s all this album is about. I was hoping for a few real rockers mixed in but the ones that are there are still kind of on the lighter side for my tastes. It’s a good solid album but just not my style, if things got a little harder I’d be on board a little more than I am. There is enough good music here to make me check out a little more of J.C. Cinel’s solo output in the future, I just hope it’s not as light.

Favorite Songs:
‘Feel the Moment’, ‘Out In The Frontline’

The Cotton Soeterboek Band – Twisted (2008)

cotton_soeterboek_band_-_2008_-_twisted

The Cotton Soeterboek Band – Twisted (2008, Caf Fine Records)

  1. Set Me Free
  2. Pretty Maureen
  3. Twisted
  4. Colorado
  5. Leave Me Blue
  6. Little Sister
  7. Gold And Gray
  8. Still Of The Night
  9. The Game

Band Lineup:
Robert Soeterboek – Vocals
Alan Cotton – Guitars
Reynold “Butch” Carlson – Drums
Mike Davis – Bass
Joost van den Broek – Keyboards

Producers: Robert Selvaggio & The Cotton Soeterboek Band

Total Time = 31:10

Country: USA

The Cotton Soeterboek Band
The Cotton Soeterboek Band on MySpace

The Cotton Soeterboek Band is basically an all-star cast with the band members seeing time in bands like Maestro Alex Gregory, Star One, Ayreon, Rob Halford Band, After Forever and Driver. With such a diverse set of styles from the members’ previous bands. I really wasn’t sure what to make of TWISTED. If you take a look at the album cover it really doesn’t look like a Hard Rock or Heavy Metal release, I thought it looked like more of a Folk Rock type thing. You should never judge a CD by it’s cover because you can get surprised and I was! The Cotton Soeterboek Band is all about ’70s style Hard Rock, Blues, and Southern Rock all rolled together to give it that overall Classic Rock sound. Add the groovy rhythm section to the Blues based guitar of Alan Cotton, add Joost van den Broek’s keys/organ and the deep melodic vocals of Robert Soeterboek and you get a cool ’70s combination of early Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Opening track ‘Set Me Free’ sounds almost like Deep Purple combined with Bad Company Hard Rock with it’s thick guitar/organ riffs and deep soulful vocals from Soeterboek while ‘Pretty Maureen’ is a little more hook oriented and sounds like an early David Coverdale on the vocals. What I immeadiately hear from the first two tracks is that this is a really tight band of solid musicians and the interplay between the guitar and the keyboards set the tone for the entire album. The title track slows down and is extremely bluesy and I can’t stop hearing a little Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughn in the music, ‘Twisted’ sounds so familiar like I’ve heard it before on all the local classic rock radio stations. ‘Colorado’ keeps the blues base but is much more melodic with a cool soulful Coverdale delivery complete with vocal harmonies and a slow hand guitar. The keys add a depth to the song rather than trying to compete with the guitar it all sounds so natural, ‘Colorado’ is my favorite from the album.

‘Leave Me Blue’ is a cool Skynyrd/Allmans style ballad that shows off the band’s Southern side while ‘Little Sister’ picks up the Hard Rock groove like early Whitesnake. The power in ‘Little Sister’ is in the chorus where the vocal harmonies, guitar and keys all combine to hit you with a wall of sound. By the time the upbeat ‘Gold And Gray’ hits the speakers, I’ve already decided that Soeterboek really does sound like David Coverdale at his deepest. ‘Gold And Gray’ could be the twin song to ‘Colorado’ with it’s upbeat melody and tempo but it also has that Southern Rock vibe to it and you can hear the Lynyrd Skynyrd influence. More Hard Blues Rock hits with ‘Still Of The Night’ and incorporates regular piano in with the music kind of like the Allmans and Skynyrd do, the piano solo is smooth. Ending song ‘The Game’ is more of the Blues based hard Rock that started the album off and ends the album on a high note. The only drawback to TWISTED is that it’s such a short record clocking it at just over 31 minutes. The music was so good throughout the entire album that I was looking for a little more.

Bottom Line:
I’ve had the album for a long time and it’s sat in the growing pile of CDs on my desk getting lost in the shuffle. I should have played this disc as soon as I got it because it is a really awesome album that reminds me of all the great bands that I hear on the radio everyday…..it’s like a modern time capsule of the best of ’70s Rock. I really enjoyed it and I wish I could go back to this past December and pull out an album from my Top 30 so I could slot this one in. Definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future and definitely an album worth seeking out.

Favorite Songs:
‘Colorado’, ‘Gold And Gray’, ‘Set Me Free’, ‘Leave Me Blue’

CD Scavenger Hunt – Last Week’s purchases

The buying spree continued last week both in-store and on Ebay with some very good bargains and sale prices. I ended up visiting one of the local Circuit City stores that are going out of business and CDs were 40% off but selection was very slim, I ended up supplementing that visit with a stop at Newbury Comics for some new releases……

Circuit City

Black Tide - Light From Above (2008)Black Tide – Light From Above (2008) – $6: I already have this CD but it’s a CDR promo I received for review purposes (I have a digital copy also) so I really wanted the original CD. I really enjoyed the album and it made my Top 30 Albums of 2008 at #29 but I never got around to actually buying it. There were at least 20 copies of this album in the Circuit City racks for $10 but the 40% off really made the sale. The cool thing was that the guy standing next to me in the CD section saw me pick this up and he grabbed one too, he mentioned that he had it on his list to buy also. I ended up recommending a couple other albums to him and I ended up seeing him again later at Newbury Comics!

blackstonecherryfolkloreBlack Stone Cherry – Folklore And Superstition (2008) – $7.80: I never got around to picking up Black Stone Cherry’s sophomore effort despite all the great reviews I read throughout 2008. I really enjoyed the debut but I always found something else to buy when I had this CD in hand. This was another one of the bargains at 40% off that was regularly priced at $13. There were a lot of copies left in the racks so if anyone is in the North Attleboro, MA area, go get one!

Newbury Comics

3-inches-of-blood-battlecry3 Inches Of Blood – Battlecry Under A Winter Sun (2009 reissue) – $9.99: I have become a really big 3 Inches Of Blood fan in the last couple of years and I have spent that time searching for this CD. Unfortunately, the original version on Minion Music is long out of print and the band cut a deal with Sonic Unyon and Caroline Distribution to get their debut re-released in North America. To make the new edition a little special, the band included 4 bonus tracks that were previously unavailable outside Europe. Well worth the sale price and another Cd off the Want List!

avantasia-lost-in-space-part-1-and-2Avantasia – Lost In Space Parts 1 & 2 (2009 reissue) – $11.88: Avantasia has become one of my favorite concept projects and I have been trying to track down both LOST IN SPACE E.P.s at decent prices. The problem has been that most of the prices are extremely high because they were European only releases, even Ebay has been high priced. I had no idea this was coming out and I was psyched when I saw this CD stocked next to 3 Inches Of Blood in the “New Release” section. Avantasia/Edguy mainman Tobias Sammet dropped in a bonus track for this release with an extended version of ‘Lost In Space’.

grave-digger-pray-epGrave Digger – Pray E.P. (2009) – $7: I got shut out two weeks ago when I specifically went to the store to pick this up, there are a few metalheads out there like me that actually show up BEFORE the doors open on a Tuesday. I was a little late that week so I waited for a re-stock and I was able to get the only copy they had last week AND the sale price from the initial release date. It drives me insane when bands release an E.P. before a new album release because there is usually only one exclusive track to the E.P., PRAY has 3 non-album tracks and an extended version of ‘Pray’…..not too bad for 7 bucks.

ted-nugent-cravemanTed Nugent – Craveman (2002) – $4 used: I love the Motor City Madman and I think I’ve seen him more times in concert than any other band except for KISS and maybe Aerosmith. Of course, everytime I’ve seen him it’s been as an opening act for both bands so I think the total is up to 7 or 8. I never picked up CRAVEMAN when it came out and it’s been on the Want List for a long time. There are always those albums that you mena to buy, never do, and then when you want them you need to spend as little as possible. I’ve seen this over the years but always around $15 brand new, finding this used for 4 bucks is a steal!

38-special-rockin-into-the-night.38 Special – Rockin’ Into The Night (1979) – $4 used: I like me some Southern Rock and .38 Special has been a favorite of mine since I heard ‘Hold On Loosely’ (from WILD-EYED SOUTHERN BOYS) back in 1981. I don’t know what it is about .38 Special but I always make sure I look at their section for a couple of the missing albums I need. Never heard any of the tracks except the hit title track but I know the overall .38 Special sound and I’m sure it follows the triple guitar/dual drum kit, country-fried Classic Rock that they are well known for.

Ebay (prices include shipping)

WASP - Dying For The World (2002)W.A.S.P. – Dying For The World (2002) – $5.35: This has been on the WANTED! list for a long time and I have had opportunities to grab this CD but the price was always too high. I don’t know what it is really but I have this thing where if a CD is a few years old then I expect to buy it at a used or discounted price. A lot of people have emailed me to tell me that this album is really good but I think DYING FOR THE WORLD just had a bad slot in between HELLDORADO (1999) and the two NEON GOD albums (2004). The weird thing is I picked up UNHOLY TERROR (2001) and loved it so I think I just could have been in an non-W.A.S.P. phase. This completes my W.A.S.P. collection…..

torch-self-titledTorch – s/t (1983) – $22.50: This one got a little expensive because I got into a bidding war in the last hour. The good news is that the average ending price at auction hovered around $20-$30 in the last couple of months so I really paid a decent price. I remember a few years ago I was trying to grab this one on Ebay and I wouldn’t go over $15 for it and I left it on my Want List. I already have the Torch E.P. (1982) on CD and the only release that eludes me from completing this Swedish Metal band’s discography is their 1984 release ELECTRIKISS.

gammaray_theawesomeGamma Ray - Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome – Live In Montreal (2008) – $8: I already had the 2 DVD set so getting the companion double live CD just keeps the gamma ray collection up to date. I really had no intention of even buying this CD but I noticed that my favorite Ebay seller had this up for auction, brand new and starting at $5. I high bid to $10 but no one even challenged my bid and I ended up winning for $5. A 2 CD set for $5? Bargain city!

armed-forces-let-there-be-metalArmed Forces – Let There Be Metal (1984) – $9: I just posted this album in my WANTED column yesterday and I decided to blow the last $10 in my Paypal account on it. It was either this album or ELECTRIKISS and LET THERE BE METAL was the cheaper decision at $5 BUY IT NOW for a near mint vinyl. Another deciding factor was that the seller of this album answered all my questions right away whereas the seller of ELECTRIKISS has ignored my question for about two weeks. I figure that the Torch record will be there next time…..I can finally say that I actually own this album after 25 years of procrastination!

WANTED: .38 Special – A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night (2001)

WANTED

38-special-xmas-cd1

 

.38 Special – A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night (2001)

I’ve been a fan of .38 Special since 1982 when SPECIAL FORCES was released and ‘Caught Up In You’ was all over the radio and MTV. I stopped buying .38 Special albums in 1988 when Don Barnes left the band and Max Carl took over lead vocals on ROCK & ROLL STRATEGY. Over the years, I’ve seemed to acquire almost all the .38 Special albums except this holiday album. I’ve had this one on the list for a long time but I’ve only seen it once in the stores. About two years ago I saw this CD in a used bin for $15…..not worth it. I’m in the holiday spirit so I’m hoping to buy this before this Christmas.