Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath. Photo by Ben Upham.
Click on the Links below to see Rare Black Sabbath Photos:
BLACK SABBATH FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
BLACK SABBATH CONCERT PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
“Black Sabbath Scores”
by Deniese Kusel
The Press Telegram
Long Beach, Ca.
September 10, 1975
Black Sabbath’s claim to fame was that they were louder than any other rock band around. That was in 1970 when they first got together.
Sunday night at the Long Beach Arena they proved, once again, that if you pump out the decibels with enough force, people will cheer for anything.
In their first concert in two years, Black Sabbath kept the audience on their feet well after the second selection, “Hole in the Sky.”
It was obvious that the fans had missed the flamboyant group and were excited to have them back.
With the exception of a good lick sprinkled here and there and some rapid rhythmic changes on the lead guitar, Black Sabbath is just “another loud rock
band.” They were colorful, but prerdictable. The audience response was tremendous and the band worked. Their driving, hard rock sound was reminiscent of early Led Zeppelin.
Tony lommi, lead guitar, is one of few really good left-handed leads around on his customized Gibson. Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, hot after a successful
European tour, spiked his lyrics with shouts and screams. The audience ate up the fleecy costumes and theatrics.
“Snow Blind” and “Symptom of the Universe” — the latter featuring lommi — were highlights of the concert. Bass player Geezer Butler’s fluid movements and showy stage style was a dynamic force in creating the visual imagery for Black Sabbath. Drummer Bill Ward falls into the same league as the hard-hitting Ginger Baker during his days with Cream. Hanging above his drum kit, an acoustical shell captured the sound and held it together.
Clearly, a lot of effort was put into putting the group back into action.
They drew heavily from their new album “Sabotage” for their concert material. Black Sabbath is a working band and seems destined to continue their present success. If hard rock is your bag, then dig them. They go deep.
BLACK SABBATH DISCOGRAPHY:
1970 Black Sabbath
1971 Master of Reality
1972 Black Sabbath Vol. 4
1973 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1976 Technical Ecstasy
1977 We Sold our Souls for Rock ‘N’ Roll
1978 Never Say Die
1980 Live At Last
1980 Heaven and Hell
1981 Mob Rules
1982 Live Evil
1983 Born Again
1986 Seventh Star
1987 The Eternal Idol
1989 Headless Cross
1994 Cross Purposes
1995 Cross Purposes Live
2002 Past Lives
2007 Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Click the links below to see Rare Black Sabbath Photos:
BLACK SABBATH FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
BLACK SABBATH CONCERT PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
Be Bop Deluxe Rock Out in Spokane, Wa. on 11-19-76. Photo by Ben Upham.
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE MORE BE BOP DELUXE PHOTOS:
BE BOP DELUXE FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
BE BOP DELUXE PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
Be Bop Deluxe- “Fast Paced Delightful Show”
by Johnny Holmes
The Corpus Christi Times
Corpus Christi, Texas
September 19, 1977
Every time the music world threatens to dissolve itself into nothing more than a smouldering heap of mindless disco, relentless boogie and saccharine ballads, along comes a group like Be Bop Deluxe to stand it on it’s ear. More simply, Be Bop was dee-luxe in its performance last night at the Ritz.
Buddy Miles had been scheduled to open the show but was nowhere to be found, so the chore was accomplished by an impressive young band from San Antonio named Heyoka. Cranking out a couple of good ol’ rock and roll tunes, Heyoka sounded as if they knew what they were doing, but really shined during a triumvirate of original
compositions which must be their theme. The songs, “Restriction,” “Passage” and “Revelation” illustrated the group as a hybrid Black
Sabbath/Pink Floyd with a little Jethro Tull thrown in for goud measure. Like Sabbath, the vocals were always high, sometimes
screechingly so, and the rhythm low, with the keyboards adding an eerie, Floydish feel. And the band sported not one, but two flutists to
transport it beyond the realm of the ordinary. Like all new bands, Heyoka needs some work, cultivation and refinement, but there is remarkable potential, and one would hope to hear from Heyoka in the future.
True to form, Be Bop brainchild and lead guitarist Bill Nelson appeared onstage, nattily dressed in red V-neck top and matching pants, and exchanged pleasantries with the crowd. The lights went down, the volume went up and we were “Live In The Air Age.”
Be Bop Deluxe isn’t exactly your basic rock and roll band, the main difference being Nelson’s immense talent and mastery of the guitar. Not that the rest of the group is shabby — but Nelson could stand head and shoulders above most any rhythm section — and this became quite obvious as Be Bop proceeded into its show.
Deluxe’s pacing and presentation was delightful, speeding and slowing, never dwelling too long on any one tempo or style. And they kept the crowd in the palm of their hand throughout the 90-minute set. But it was Nelson’s wizardry with the guitar that caused the amazement.
From time to time, Nelson sounds like someone you know, a Jeff Beck or a Jimmy Page, but mostly he sounds like himself, a soaring, floating, streaking master of his art. Song after song, Nelson demonstrated the styles and techniques which establish him as perhaps one of the top five guitarists in the world today.
The band marched through “Fair Exchange,” the idea of which sums up Nelson’s feelings toward his music as well as his love life — instead of the body, he’s after the brain, and his heady, thoughtful performance reflected this superbly all evening long.
Nelson even played the blues, opening an extended version of “Ships In The Night” movement that could have been played by Johnny
Winter if you’d had your eyes closed before completing the regular version. Nelson’s handpicked showcase group especially shined here
particularly keyboardist Andrew Clarke the newest full-time Be Bopper, whose classy jazz-like contributions do nothing but enhance the already masterful music.
Be Bop closed out the evening with exerpts from side two of their latest studio album “Modern Music,” which details a ‘West Side Story’ of sorts. “Modern Music,” “Forbidden Lovers and “Down On Terminal Street” comprised the suite which left patrons on their feet.
The main thrust to the ending of the “Modern Music” sequence is a short but sweet song called “Make The Music Magic.” That’s exactly what Be Bop Deluxe did last night.
BE-BOP DELUXE DISCOGRAPHY:
1974 Axe Victim
1976 Sunburst Finish
1976 Modern Music
1977 Live in the Air Age
1978 Drastic Plastic
1978 The Best of and the Rest of
1981 Singles A’s and B’s
1987 Raiding the Divine Archive
1994 Radioland- BBC Radio One Live in Concert
1997 Air Age Anthology
1998 Tramcar to Tomorrow
2002 Tremulous Antennae
2002 Postcards from the Future
2011 Futurist Manifesto
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE BE BOP DELUXE PHOTOS:
BE BOP DELUXE FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
BE BOP DELUXE PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
ALEX LIFESON AND GEDDY LEE OF RUSH PERFORMING LIVE IN SPOKANE, WA. ON 9-16-77. PHOTO/ART BY BEN UPHAM.
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE MORE RUSH PHOTOS:
RUSH PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
RUSH FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
“RUSH PLAYS HEAVY METAL EPIC”
BY MARY CAMPBELL
JUNE 26, 1980
“Our music tends to be epic in proportion” says Neil Peart, drummer of the Canadian hard rock trio Rush “We think big and reach high.” “I have nothing against short songs, but having to write short becomes an external limitation. You should think big if you have a big idea.”
Alex Lifeson plays guitars Geddy Lee sings and plays bass and eight-voice synthesizers he operates with his foot. Peart says, “I have a toy box of different percussion effects “When we’re writing, we make sure the instrumental changes can be physically done. That’s a good limitation.”
When they’re performing, Peart says, “Most of our show is spent with our noses to the grindstone; there’s less jumping around and smiling. You have to concentrate at an intense level as things get more technical.”
Heavy metal is having a resurgence right now but Rush has been doing well since its fourth, breakthrough album, “2112,” in 1976. In 1977, both its 1976 albums, “2112″ and “All the World’s a Stage,” were certified gold as well as the 1977 “A Farewell To Kings.” In 1978 “Hemispheres” went gold, and this year “Permament Waves” went gold.
A lot of rock critics who formerly didn’t like them, now do, Peart says, because their music has improved. This doesn’t include Rolling Stone magazine, which said “Rush’s patented sledgehammer epics try to mesh mystical, literary lyrics with elaborate rock ‘n’ roll suites but they only succeed in turning everything into heavy metal sludge.” It mentioned “Free Will” as an exception, “the punchiest, most straightforward rocker on ‘Permanent Waves,’ ” and added. “Also, it’s hard not to be impressed by the fact that only three musicians can create such a massive, leaden sound.”
Audiences look to be mostly 16 and 17 year-old boys. The group was formed 11 years ago and Peart says. “Was turned down by every record company in Canada at least once. The management raised money and recorded the group on an independent label. Moon. It was a last resort but a good resort. That got some sporadic airplay and attracted the attention of Mercury Records.”
Rush Signed with Mercury in 1974 and Mercury issued the album, “Rush” in the United States. “I wasn’t on that album,” Peart says “I joined on its release. I was on the first tour and everything.”
Peart also became the Rush lyricist “I’d written two songs long ago. Kind of stabs at it, then forgot about it and went on drumming. “I’d always had a fascination with words since I began to read. I’m a voracious reader. I thought why not write lyrics. Neither of them were interested in writing them. I got into it, began shooting my mouth off.”
As far as the music goes. Peart says, “I’m able to contribute rhythmic ideas, which is satisfying to me It’s fulfilling enough on a personal side being involved with lyrics. Being drummer at the same time is not only fulfilling, but over the top.”
He adds that he thinks Rush has a good chance of going on together for more years because, “We’re pretty much the same in terms of abilities and we grow at the same pace. I’ve been in bands where one is better than the rest and that leads to difficulties. “We share fundamental values, too, which gives our relationship continuity and sincerity ” And their ages are about the same — Peart 27. and the other two 26 — but he doesn’t think that’s an important factor among musicians.
This year Rush has toured from mid-January to mid-June but sometimes, Peart says, they’ve toured for eight or nine months. They finished an eight-month tour of Canada, the United States and Europe in June of last year and took the first vacation in a long time. “We went home and stayed there, puttered around and led a normal life.
We all have families. You recapture your home life. All that takes time and it’s worth it. You want to make sure those things balance in your life as well. We’re not interested in being martyrs.”
Then they met at a small farm to put some music together “I hid a lot of phrases and potential titles. We arrived fresh and creative We weren’t so relaxed we couldn’t get fired up again. We were ready to get back into action. “We were able to work more quickly and comfortably than we had done in the past, when we’d rush nght into a studio after a tour and compose, rehearse and arrange everything and make it sound like we’d been playing it for six months. “That works. I’m happy with some of the things we’ve done that way But it’s not a proper way to do it “We did a short tour to get us in shape to go in the studio. Half the new album was being played every day for that time.
“So, it was much easier, to record side one than side two. As far as the listener goes, I don’t feel there’s a difference in the two sides. One piece, ‘Natural Science,’ was created entirely in the studio. I think it’s my best lyric writing and one of the best musically I love playing it every night.”
When Rush started in the United States, Mahogany Rush, a trio from Montreal, also was starting. There was some confusion, which has disappeared, Peart says. The name of the new album, “Permanent Waves,” refers to the album cover. In black and white, like the old movies the group likes, it’s an attempt to be a bit humorous A girl is
walking across a street, “unbothered by cataclysmic events taking place around her.” She has a permanent wave. There’s a tidal wave. A man is waving. Across the picture runs the wave of an electrocardiogram. Peart says, “We were thinking of the press calling the music ‘old wave.’ It’s like: how many birds can you find hidden in this drawing’…
“A lot of our records have been thematic and metaphorical in the past. In this one the work is serious and strong and sincere, presented in a more lighthearted package It’s a conscious and subconscious attempt not to take ourselves so seriously.”
1975 Fly by Night
1975 Caress of Steel
1976 All the World’s a Stage
1977 A Farewell to Kings
1980 Permanent Waves
1981 Moving Pictures
1981 Exit, Stage Left
1984 Grace Under Pressure
1985 Power Windows
1987 Hold your Fire
1989 Show of Hands (Live)
1991 Roll the Bones
1996 Test for Echo
1998 Different Stages (Live)
2002 Vapor Trails
2003 Rush in Rio (Live)
2004 Feedback (Live Covers)
2005 R30 30th Anniversary World Tour (Live)
2006 Grace Under Pressure Tour (Live)
2007 Snakes & Arrows
2008 Snakes & Arrows Live
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE RUSH PHOTOS:
RUSH PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
RUSH FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
MARTIN BARRE OF JETHRO TULL ELECTRIFIES THE AUDIENCE IN PULLMAN, WA ON 3/5/77. PHOTO BY BEN UPHAM.
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE MORE TULL PHOTOS:
JETHRO TULL PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
JETHRO TULL FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
“ANDERSON SHARPENS HIS FLUTE PLAYING”
BY GERRY GALLPAULT
THE CHRONICLE TELEGRAM
NOVEMBER 17, 1995
Ian Anderson needs to improve his flute-playing like Kelsey Grammar needs to sharpen his comic wit. But the venerable leader of rock’s legendary Jethro Tull says that’s exactly what he felt he had to do a few years ago, right up to the recent release of the group’s 28th album, “Roots to Branches” (Chrysalis/EMI).
Still, it’s an odd thing to hear from a man whose musicianship is the hallmark of a group’s sound. “I got back into playing the flute seriously a couple years back when I decided I would really try to learn to play better,” Anderson said in a recent phone interview from his English home, “and that continued with the solo project earlier this year called ‘Divinities’ and through to the new Jethro Tull album.
“The two projects were quite intertwined. In fact, there are a couple of pieces from the Jethro Tull album that were actually outlined in a basic demo before I even started working on the ‘Divinities’ project, so if s all sort of contemporary, all part of that time of 12 months that staff was coming from the same musical sources and musical interests.”
In turn, that revitalized his flute-playing. “I quite enjoyed playing the flute on the Jethro Tull album, feeling that it was a much more integral part of the music than it usually is,” Anderson said. “I usually feel that I’m putting it in because people expect to hear it, and secondly, if s sort of a decorative function. It’s usually the last thing to go on the record. “On this album, a lot of the flute was music that was very fundamental to the way the music was written and arranged.”
The result — like it or not for some Tull fans — is one of the group’s most focused albums, brimming with songs of considerable depth. One track in particular, “Valley,” is a gentle but insistent passage about intolerance, leading one to believe it’s an anti-war song aimed at Bosnia. “I guess it is,” Anderson said, “but it also could be a song about Northern Ireland or about city streets or be anything where you have people intolerant of their neighbors and jealous and suspicious, feeling that they impede each other through their proximity in some way. “It’s a song about intolerance and trying to point out to people that we don’t always get along with our neighbors, but there’s so much unnecessary aggravation for a lack of willingness to understand and to sympathize and to respect. That’s probably the most important word of all: respect You should respect people who may have a different set of beliefs.”
“Roots to Branches” entered the British charts at a respectable No. 20. It premiered at No. 114 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. Anderson couldn’t be happier. “It’s not going to be a monster hit album,” he said, “and it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I think among Jethro Tull fans it has signs of being generally approved of and seen by people as one of our better rather than one of our worst yet.
“After 27 years, I’ll settle for that”
JETHRO TULL DISCOGRAPHY:
1968 This Was
1969 Stand Up
1972 Thick as a Brick
1972 Living in the Past
1973 Passion Play
1974 War Child
1975 Minstril in the Gallery
1976 Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die
1977 Songs from the Wood
1978 Heavy Horses
1978 Bursting Out Live
1982 Broadsword and the Beast
1984 Under Wraps
1987 Crest of a Knave
1989 Rock Island
1991 Catfish Rising
1992 A Little Light Music
1993 Night Cap
1993 Box Set
1995 Roots to Branches
1999 J. Tull Dot Com
2003 Christmas Album
2004 Live at Isle of Wight 1970
2005 Aqualung Live 2005
2007 Live at Montreaux 2003
2009 Live at Madison Square Gardens (1978)
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW FOR JETHRO TULL PHOTOS:
JETHRO TULL PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
JETHRO TULL FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
NEAL SCHON (JOURNEY GUITARIST) LIVE IN SPOKANE, WA. ON 10-7-76. PHOTO/ART BY BEN UPHAM
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SEE MORE JOURNEY PHOTOS:
JOURNEY PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
“IN THE BEGINNING”
REVIEWS OF THE FIRST THREE JOURNEY ALBUMS…
JOURNEY ALBUM #1
“This is where it all started”
By A. Customer
March 5, 2002
When I was still learning about Journey, I never knew there was any music from the band prior to Steve Perry until I bought the Journey “Time 3″ box set. In it, I found pieces of early Journey when Gregg Rolie was the lead singer and I was instantly captivated. I knew I had to check Journey’s roots out, and “Journey” is one of the first CD’s I ever owned. My dad bought it for me when I got my first CD player.
Journey’s self-titled debut is an amazing album. It is a perfect example of classic fusion rock craftsmanship, and is delivered with a unique variety of twists and sounds. Neal Schon’s guitar is so energizing and full of power. He is truly magnificent, bringing forth an intense, screeching, melodic down-pour of solid rock perfection through his strings to vibrate through your ears and echo throughout your body. Then you have the relentless, thunderous drums of Aynsley Dunbar, thick with jamming effects that work flawlessly with Schon’s guitar to throw you a rock ‘n roll hammering punch like none other. Dunbar never ceases to make you want to bang your head. Gregg Rolie’s vocals are magnificent, intense, and soulful. He is one of the best keyboardists around, and his catchy melodies gel so well with Schon’s guitar, Dunbar’s drums, and of course, the powerful bass of Ross Valory, and the spectacular rhythm guitaring of George Tickner.
The album begins with one of my all-time favorite early Journey songs, “Of A Lifetime.” Check out the sizzling and smoking guitar work from Schon, and the jamming drum thumps from Dunbar. Within this feel-good song comes Rolie’s soft, free-flowing lyrics. Ross Valory’s thick, loud bass will give your ears a ride. This is definitely a party-like song, in which true fusion rock talent is shown. They were definitely having a good time with this one.
“In The Morning Day” has always been one of my favorites, because I love the melodic chords from guitarist Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie. Like with “Of A Lifetime,” the song starts out smooth and flowing with Gregg’s soft lyrics, before an eruption of guitars, keyboards, and drums.
“Khoutek” is an instrumental jammer. The main melody repeats over and over behind Neal Schon’s screeching guitar and Gregg Rolie’s swirling keyboards. Schon and Rolie seem to be taking turns showing off their talent and feeding off one another in the song which makes it very unique. Schon, Rolie, Valory, Tickner and Dunbar are fantastic here, even though it’s not one of my favorite songs.
“To Play Some Music” probably has the most lyrics of all the songs. Rolie is a pretty good singer, and it’s just a fun rock song simply about enjoying playing music and bringing joy to people in the process.
“Topaz” is another instrumental jammer and one of my very favorites. Again, the song starts very quiet with some soft Neal Schon chords and Rolie keyboard notes. Then Dunbar eases in with the drumming until the song gets quicker and quicker and then erupts in a groovy rock masterpiece of catchy guitar hooks and chords and drum beats. This song perks me up every time I listen to it.
Journey tones it down a bit with “In My Lonely Feeling (Conversations).” It is probably my least favorite song on the album. It has kind of a ho-hum , blue kind of feel to it. But at the end, the song starts jamming again. Rolie does a nice job with vocals. In virtually every album I hear, there is one song that I can’t find a lot to say about. This one is one of them.
The album finishes with my favorite on the album, “Mystery Mountain.” It is a rocking, free-flowing song that gives you a laid-back feel. I love Rolie’s keyboards in this song, and Valory’s bass really adds to the overall atmosphere of this piece. Of course Schon does his usual flawless guitar work. Rolie provides some atmospheric lyrics as well.
“Journey” is a complete, classic rock-jamming package that started the “Journey” of Journey. While the style is far from the kind of music they performed in the late 70′s and through the 80′s with Steve Perry, as well as the current style with Steve Augeri, it is still an album that is a must for all die-hard rock fans. This is pure rock that will give you a fine dose of ear-candy. These are definitive examples of Journey’s best early work!! Don’t pass this album up!!
By Roger Walker
(Morrisville, PA USA)
January 9, 2001
This review is from: Journey (Audio CD)
I bought the cassette tape of this album years ago, and admittedly was taken aback initially by it; but listening to it now, I am really blown away by it. Picture if you will Rush Meets Pink Floyd: somewhat cosmic lyrics with fantastic instrumental interplay. Listening to organist Gregg Rolie singing, you have to wonder, “Hey, no offense to Steve Perry, but why did they replace this guy?” He had (at least on this debut album) a fantastic voice; and of course his playing on the organ, piano, and synthesizer are a delight as well. Then again, there’s the super percussion work of drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and the great unsung hero of the bass guitar Ross Valory. But the most amazing instrumentalist of the original quintet (yes, there was a fifth member, rhythm guitarist George Tickner, who also co-wrote much of Journey’s early works; but you can’t really get an idea of how good a guitarist the guy was, unfortunately) is without a doubt lead guitarist Neal Schon. You have GOT to hear this album to know what I mean! Yeah, you heard the guy blaze on a lot of Journey and Bad English songs; but he just kicks tail throughout this recording! And, best of all, these five guys played TOGETHER – Schon was egged on in his playing by the interplay of the other guys, and the results are just fantastic. In particular, I recommend “Of A Lifetime,” “In My Lonely Feeling,” and “Mystery Mountain.”
JOURNEY ALBUM #2
“LOOK INTO THE FUTURE” (1976)
“Impressive new turn for Journey”
By A Customer
March 8, 2002
I first caught wind of Journey’s pre-Steve Perry days after buying the “Time 3″ box set, and I rushed to grab up Journey’s “root” albums: their debut “Journey,” this album and their third album, “Next.”
I had to special order “Look Into The Future” a few years ago, and it was well worth the wait! “Look Into The Future” is a great album in which Journey re-captures their melodic, progressive, fusion, hard rocking flavor they exhibited in their first album, “Journey.” This time around, the group presents us with a lot more vocals headed by Gregg Rolie. Rolie does a fine job as usual, driving out his intense, soulful voice out amongst Neal Schon’s power-charged guitar, Ross Valory’s flawless bass, and Aynsley Dunbar’s pounding, energized drums. Virtually every song is a polished work of art, with catchy, rhythmical performances. As with the first album, “Look Into The Future” presents us with plenty of unique twists and a variety of different sounds and jamming, shuffling beats.
Check out the bluesy groove of the opening track “On A Saturday Nite.” Schon and Dunbar do a great job here, and the song is a lot of fun. Check out Rolie’s way groovy piano/keyboard intro. In speaking of fun, you’re sure to enjoy the fun rock of the following track, “It’s All Too Much.” I believe this was originally a Beatles tune, or perhaps done by one of the Beatles. Journey does an excellent cover of this song; Journey-style of course. It’s such a powerfully charged song, courtesy of Schon’s sizzling guitar and Valory’s intese base guitar. The song really jams. But then we’re shifted back to the blues with “Anyway.” Rolie’s vocals are charged and demanding and Schon’s guitar has a free-flowing edginess that makes the song great.
Journey decides to get rough, rugged and rowdy with “She Makes Me (Feel Alright),” and down and dirty rock song crafted to Journey perfection on the wings of Rolie’s energetic vocals, Dunbar’s harsh, shuffling beats, and Schon’s smoking guitar. And if you want more edgy and rowdy rock fun, than set your CD player to track #7, “Midnight Dreamer.” The song is in the exact same ballpark as “She Makes Me (Feel Alright),” and the exact same works of musicianship by Schon, Rolie, Dunbar and Valory can be heard here.
Not only is Gregg Rolie a great classic rock vocalist, but he is also an excellent keyboardist. The intense “You’re On Your Own,” starts out with some melodic but urgent sounding Rolie keybaords and they continue throughout the song. Rolie’s keyboards and Schon’s guitar work so well together here, and Valory’s bass is heard loud and clear.
The next song is my favorite; the free-flowing, progressive, melodic “Look Into The Future.” Rolie’s voice is soulful, free-flowing and smooth as are Schon’s soft guitar chords. Again, Rolie’s thick keyboard swirls and Valory’s base bring the whole package home. This song is almost atmospheric and takes you on a mind “Journey.” The song is unique in that it is soft, contrasted by loud and more rowdy toward the end.
The album ends with a bluesy but rugged number in “I’m Gonna Leave You.” Again, Schon’s powerful guitar is clearly exhibited here as is Rolie’s edgy voice. It fits with the two other rough rock songs I mentioned previously. Dunbar’s drum beats are a jamming good time.
Journey is entertainment galore with the variety and exquisit musicianship they present on this album. You want fun? It’s here. You want edgy? It’s here. You want smooth? It’s here. You want blues? It’s here. This is overall a superb early Journey album, and one to not pass up!!
“AN EXCELLENT FOLLOW-UP TO THE FIRST ALBUM”
By Steve DeMellman
(Phoenix, Az USA)
December 29, 2007
First of all, the only Journey albums I like (and own) are the first four. Yeah, I know Infinity has Perry on vocals, but its a very musical album and I have to admit it grabs me. That said, for the pure joy of listening to beautiful musicianship, the first album is my favorite. Rolie’s vocals are easier to take (and certainly less pervasive than Perry’s) and the rhythm section is as solid as they come. Schon and Rolie’s melodic virtuosity takes the music soaring (like the album cover) while Dunbar fills in all the gaps with his exceptional drumming. On the first album, Kohoutek is a great example of the talent and energy of this band—-that number really cooks. A lot of critics deride progressive rock/fusion as being pretentious and self-indulgent. Actually, I see it as talented musicians exploring their creative urges and striving to reach their potential as artists. For those who prefer to keep rock dumb, there are plenty of three-chord posers out there doing the same-old same-old…..That said,this album, the second from Journey, called Look Into the Future, features the same pre-Perry line-up as the debut release. Greg Rolie sings a little more than on the first album but there is still plenty of tight, tasteful playing without the human voice attached. The title track is a standout. So is the jazzy direction taken in the second part of Midnight Dreamer. Journey fans who are not aware of the pre-Perry period are really missing out on how cohesive these guys sounded.
JOURNEY ALBUM #3
“Starting to lose it here? Not”!!!
By B. E Jackson (Pennsylvania)
January 17, 2009
Updated January 23, 2011-
I’m sorry for originally slamming this album. Actually “slamming” is an exaggeration- more like expressing minor disappointment. However now that I own a copy for myself -and not to mention, a freshly remastered version with superior and louder, cleaner sound quality- I can now approach it in a new light. I now *can* differentiate much of the guitar playing, and I really like what I’m hearing.
The album can best be described like this- the first half is the space rock journey, and the second half is the much heavier and bluesy side. Now this is NO ordinary rock band. Forget the fact the first 3 Journey albums are remarkably different from the Steve Perry years. Just the fact a rock band in 1977 was trying to cross into the mainstream by devoting one side to space rock and the other to blues is a risky, interesting move.
Now I will be the first to admit that the songwriting on side one doesn’t leave as much of an impression on me as side two. Some of the songs on the first side feels a bit TOO dreamy which means, occasionally, the songs feel unfocused and lack direction. This only occurs *sometimes* however. It definitely does not occur on the pop/rock classic “Spaceman”. That’s one really beautiful and sad vocal melody right there. Drifting through space alone and feeling depressed. Yup, that’s the atmosphere the song contains.
They even resemble the Magical Mystery Tour-era of the Beatles with the vocal melody in “People”. Listen to THAT excellent song. The next two songs sort of blend together in my mind as relatively aimless attempts at space rock, but they do eventually build into some excellent guitar work, so that makes up for it. Unfortunately “Here We Are” ends too soon because that guitar solo surely deserves a few extra minutes!
Now get THIS! The second side is totally insanely heavy rock and roll, some of it bluesy, some of it not too far off from resembling the classic period of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. NOW you see what it’s totally insulting when people refer to Journey as “housewife music”. Yeah, don’t even get me started…
“Hustler” is a really interesting take on the heavy blues rock genre. I love that guitar riff, and the guitar solo is *amazingly* heavy. The title has a vocal melody that is perhaps the best one on the entire album. Who can possibly hate THAT vocal melody? Seriously, who? The guitar playing in the very beginning of “Nickel & Dime” almost resembles that famous song “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens- these are a few of my favorite things” (I honestly don’t know who created that song, by the way) before suddenly EXPLODING into an electric guitar dreamers idea of a perfect heaven. “Karma” is a fairly messy and hard to distinguish blues/hard rock way to close out a wonderful album, but it is improving with more listens.
Yes Journey’s Next has improved dramatically for me thanks mainly to the better sound quality of the remastered version. Now here’s my older review, which you shouldn’t take seriously but I’m leaving it up anyway just in case you (the readers) may be in the same situation as me concerning a struggle to get into Journey’s Next. This is now officially a 5-star album (though I DID actually give it 4 stars originally, it’s honestly even better now).
Journey’s Next really shows signs that the band was about ready to change into a more commercial direction. The songwriting doesn’t quite hit the same point of excellence for me. I can’t remember how most of these songs go when the album is finished, especially the heavier parts of the songs. That doesn’t mean they’re bad songs or anything, because every song on here has its moments.
The vocals just don’t quite hit the same high point that the ones from the debut and Look to the Future did. Also, some of the vocal melodies feel like they rush along at a sloppy pace. Maybe it’s just me.
BUT, the guitar playing is really really good, and that’s why I’m giving the album a pretty decent score. Plus, the music still SOUNDS good because it’s mid 70′s hard rock with an experimental edge. The band is still pretty good here. I just feel a bit letdown with the songwriting compared to the previous two albums.
“Next” Is Awesome!!! True Classic Journey”!!!
By A Customer
March 10, 2002
I had to special order this CD a few years ago, and ever since I got it into my hot little hands, I’ve enjoyed this early Journey gem very much. This is the last album recorded by the band before Steve Perry joined. It is much like their second album “Look Into The Future” and it seems like Journey never runs out of new musical ideas to deliver to our ears. “Next” is every bit as unique as their debut, “Journey” and “Look Into The Future.” Like with the first two albums, Journey engages in powerful, sizzling creativity, and brings us a whole new set of interesting, thuderous, beats which makes you want indulge in the excitement of air-drum, air-guitar, and air-keyboard playing. Neal Schon’s guitar is just as mean as ever; full of life and bustling with activity. The fascinating, melodic charges come out at you, and are as vivid as ever. Aynsley Dunbar’s drums are as rowdy and strong as all get out. Ross Valory still proves he’s one of the best bass players around, and the voice of Gregg Rolie is a perfect fit as usual, gliding and roaring out with the amazing musical sounds. His keyboards are superb just like on the first two albums. He is never a disappointment. “Next” gives a hard-nosed, rough, rugged, melodic feel that is like no other. Songs like “Hustler,” “I Would Find You,” “Next” and “Karma” fall into this category especially. Highlights on the album are the catchy fun rock of “Spaceman,” the dreamy, melodic, free-flowing “People,” my favorite song; the edgy melodic guitar and keyboard clad “Next,” and the swirly rapidness of “Nickel And Dime.” This is a fun album with fun twists and catchy riffs. It is a partying rock album that will always be timeless!!
1976 Look into the Future
1981 Captured (Live)
1986 Raised on Radio
1996 Trial by Fire
2005 Live Houston 1981
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO SEE JOURNEY PHOTOS:
JOURNEY PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
ERIC BLOOM OF THE AMAZING BLUE OYSTER CULT IN OAKLAND, CA. ON 6-6-76. PHOTO/ART BY BEN UPHAM.
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE MORE BLUE OYSTER CULT PHOTOS:
BLUE OYSTER CULT PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
BLUE OYSTER CULT FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM
BLUE OYSTER CULT-
“ON YOUR FEET OR ON YOUR KNEES”
(LIVE ALBUM FROM 1975) REVIEWS
“No One Envied the Bands That Had To Follow Up This One”
By Bud (Seminole, Texas, USA)
June 4, 2004
When surveying Blue Oyster Cult’s catalog of live albums, it’s apparent that each of these in-concert releases was carefully placed at a specific point in the band’s career, to sum up or end a particular epoch. Such albums include “Some Enchanted Evening” (1978), “Extraterrestrial Live” (1982), and the recent triumph “A Long Day’s Night.” Each live album balanced old and new material, describing the advances and new territories discovered, while making sure to note the material from previous eras that made the progression possible. 1975′s “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees” was the first of these releases, an homage to BOC’s first three albums (all of which were landmark recordings for the heavy metal genre), and a reliable testament to what kept this great band alive-loyal touring and performing.
The blazing fury on this album completely blows away many, if not most, live albums that came before it; in 1975, Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive” was still a year away, and artists were not yet mistaking his example and disguising greatest hits albums under the live album mask (though some bands did manage to make live albums a meaningful event). Some of the only concert recordings released before “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees” that had as much fire and energy were The Who’s “Live at Leeds,” Deep Purple’s “Made in Japan,” and Bob Dylan & The Band’s “Before the Flood.”
The focus on these songs should not be so much on melody as on the fact that each of these five men are playing their guts out. The extended guitar readings that dominate the album are pure heavy metal passion and a musical bond that few bands can perfect. A perfect example is `Seven Screaming Diz-Busters,’ which features a searing guitar exercise in which drummer Albert Bouchard’s driving drum beats are kept perfectly in time with the soaring guitar work, one musician in heavy metal harmony with another. And when BOC does show a hint of restraint, it is just as hypnotic; Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser’s `Then Came the Last Days of May’ is one of the best songs written during their early era, a haunting but deceptively melodic tune about the futility and violence of the drug business. The collection closes on an appropriate note, a cover of `Born To Be Wild,’ one of the songs that coined the phrase “heavy metal.”
Perhaps it’s best that “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees” has not yet been fully remastered. The studio polishing would only take away from the raw sound that places the listener amidst the battalion of appreciative fans cheering for a band that were among the most unrelenting pioneers in heavy metal. As non-mainstream (for the 70s) as this music was, “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees” was Blue Oyster Cult’s first album to break into the Top 30, a stunning document of the innovations to come; it is both the end and the beginning of an era.
“A hearty slice of the Rabid 1970s”
By S. R.
February 16, 2005
Blue Oyster Cult recorded “On Your Feet…” at a time when they were selling out venues all over the world without the benefit of a hit single anywhere. A raw sounding record with NO OVERDUBS shows the rabidness of the band and gives a wicked slice of their first few releases with a couple cover songs thrown in, to boot. Speaking about sonics, this album will not impress you at first especially if your under the age 25, but give it a further listen a realize the time it was (I’m not saying its a badly recorded album, it just sounds like a mid 70s live album). “Then came the Last Days of May” features killer Buck Dharma solos, and is one of the coolest songs of the era, and the band’s re-working of the Yardbirds “I aint got You” is also very good rock. This is the band before “Don’t fear The Reaper” was released and before their style began to progress to a more adult-oriented rock and roll. But it’s all good, and it’s all cranked to high volume. A good lost classic for any collectors of landmark musical recordings. An interesting piece of history from an American metal band amongst a sea of British metal gods. An album worthy of the landmark title and should be on the tip of tongues of metal-heads everywhere like Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath is today. Blue Oyster Cult took a back seat to NO metal band of ANY era they just progressed beyond the (for lack of a better phrase) the teenage genre. Check it out.
“Let me take you back”
By Dr. Music
July 28, 2004
In a darkened room, set up your speakers on the floor about four feet apart. Now, lay down with your head on a pillow positioned midway between your speakers. I’m serious! Crank up Last Days of May (without making your ears bleed) and close your eyes.
Now, picture white clad Buck Dharma, bathed in blue light, standing alone in a smoky spotlight beam. A heady brew of pot and perfume permeates the air. Buck looks down as you strain against the crowd that yearns for your spot on the barrier, longing to worship at his feet. He smiles at you with his infectious grin and nods knowingly as he effortlessly produces the most unearthly, mournful wails ever to emanate from a guitar. You stare in disbelief and a shiver comes over you as if it was you in that ill-fated back seat, with your life-blood flowing and your mis-spent life slipping away before your eyes. The crush fades as the crowd becomes mesmerized. Lighters begin to pierce the darkness like stars on a moonless night. Someone nearby lets out a shrill whistle. Buck turns and your ears buzz with a harmonic ringing, like a pickup on Buck’s guitar. The solo ends with a flourish, the lights come up and he joins Eric Bloom, clad in sunglasses and a theatrical black cape, as they bring the song to a finish. The spell is broken and the air is forced from your lungs as the crowd surges forward, pinning you against the barrier. You could die a happy man now. You have witnessed one of the greatest live songs ever recorded.
This album captures Blue Oyster Cult’s musical genius and raw power like lightning in a bottle. At the time this was recorded, the sound level at a BOC concert could probably be measured on a seismograph!
Unlike most live albums, many of the songs here are actually better than the studio versions. Last Days of May compared to the studio version is like The Red and the Black compared to I’m on the Lamb: not even close. Subhuman is unbelievable! Buck flat out wails and Allen plays the Hammond like a six-string axe. Seven Screaming Dizbusters just keeps building and building to a diz-busting climax. Harvester of Eyes is transformed into a crunchy boogie that is far more enjoyable than the already good studio version.
The CD is not without its faults such as bad production, that annoying screech between two tracks, the repeat of a portion of Buck’s Boogie as a jam at the end of Maserati GT and of course, several conspicuously absent classics. Despite this, it still ranks as one of, if not THE greatest live album in rock history.
I for one would not mind if this album was remastered, if for no other reason than to get rid of that awful screech. As an owner of a vinyl copy as well, I am annoyed by the crossover added to the CD to meld four album sides into one.
“ALBERT, ALLEN, JOE, BUCK & ERIC’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE” March 29, 2006
March 29, 2006
Of all the live albums this band has ever done, this has got to be a personal best. Albert Bouchard, the band’s drummer, stated in an interview that this was his favorite. This may not be BOC’s best recorded album of all time, but it excells in surprises and unpredictability. It was listening to OYFOOYN that I was first introduced to this amazing band…they had an aura and a mystyic about them. Looking at the earlier albums later, I thought…just who are these guys, and better yet…which one was which?
SUBHUMAN: This band started off with a song that deserved a live recording. It has a certain Santana quality to it. Good starting song.
HARVESTER OF EYES: Where did that oooweeoo sound come from? Synthesizer? Guitar? And by the way, who will take responsibility for that? Eric? Buck? Allen? It’s perfect! This is the song that really introduces the album. It’s way better than the SECRET TREATIES version and is unrelenting from beginning to end.
HOT RAILS TO HELL: Joe Bouchard’s hellhole trash metal. Once again, a much different and better turn than in the studio.
RED & THE BLACK: A great song that is an all-time BOC classic, worth it all even just to hear Joe’s bass solo.
SEVEN SCREAMING DIZ-BUSTERS: The song your Baptist parents warned you about. Probably about as controversial a tune as ME-262, this entry has got some assorted treats in it.
BUCK’S BOOGIE: Penned instrumental by Buck and Albert, this jawbreaker has some of the best guitar and keyboard give-and-take ever heard.
THEN CAME THE LAST DAYS OF MAY: Blue Oyster Cult’s mellower side. Yes, this version is much better than their first album’s account. Buck’s lead guitar literally sings on this one.
CITIES ON FLAME: BOC comes roaring back with a song I’m sure all devoted BOC fans appreciate. Albert does the vocals, and this has got to be their best version…oh, to see all of this on DVD. Allen Lanier is especially impressive-to start off with keyboards (on the whole through their career Allen does not sing), and end the song with second guitar.
ME-262: As The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is an account of the Civil War from a Southern man’ perspective, this song is an account of WW2 from a German bomber pilot’s angle of vision…about as controversial a song as Walker Blues by Steve Earle. This take on the song is a little inferior to the one on SECRET TREATIES but worth it to hear all of them on guitar. This is the live part to watch the early charter members do their five-man guitar frontal assault before the audience.
BEFORE THE KISS, A REDCAP: My top-ten personal favorite from BOC. Actually, I love both takes on this one.
MASERATI GT: A song by MC5 that I’m sure BOC loved to cover. This song has a certain roadhouse quality to it and it is enhanced by Eric’s vocals and Buck’s solo guitar in it.
BORN TO BE WILD: The classic BOC live song they never wrote. Poorly recorded, it’s sometimes hard to find out exactly what they are all doing during the song. I guess it might have been better to insert a live take of ODed ON LIFE ITSELF or DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION. Or even a DVD of OYFOOYN to see what is exactly going on.
On the whole, this album closes a chapter of BOC’s first wild and crazy era. It is called the black and white period, where Blue Oyster Cult were the original bad boys your parents didn’t want to even know about, much less listen to. Nowadays, the Oyster Boys keep on rocking the house with fans ranging from teenaged kids to 40-somethings such as me and older. I guess BOC’s future may something on the order of selling out assisted living homes. One thing is for sure…they don’t look like they will ever retire from this.
“The Best Live Heavy-Metal Album of Its Time”
By BluesDuke (Las Vegas, Nevada)
August 4, 2003
After a magnificent debut album, Blue Oyster Cult’s two succeeding studio albums suffered from excellent material sounding as though it been cut in a huge hurry between concert gigs, minus the stage ambience that enhanced and amplified the band’s hyperkinetic, craftsmanlike playing style (the knitting of their guitars and keyboards had always set them apart from the usual pound-sound heavy metal) and strikingly arrayed songs. This was one heavy metal band that concentrated as much on music structure as they did on blast and flash and weren’t afraid to let a little lyricism or melodism run around loose. What a surprise, then, that the most full-sounding Blue Oyster Cult album in their pre-”Agents of Fortune” period would be a live album. With a few slight re-arrangements – the added intro/bridge of “Subhuman,” the cheeky finale bridge for “Seven Screaming Dizbusters” (with singer Eric Bloom’s smartass parody of Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange” repartee), the thundercrack, soaring four-guitar-and-bass midsection of “ME 262,” the eerie synthesiser support for an extended guitar solo (and a pretty one) on Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser’s early master ballad, “Then Came The Last Days of May” – and a couple of clever covers (especially the oddly atmospheric “I Ain’t Got You”), the Cult delivered a setfull of the exuberant, insouciant slash that made them such an in-person favorite even when their recordings weren’t selling accordingly.
Interestingly, the band divided the selections almost evenly from their first three albums: three from “Blue Oyster Cult” (including a speedball-accelerated “Before The Kiss, A Redcap” and “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”), three from “Tyranny and Mutation,” and three from “Secret Treaties,” the aforesaid pair of covers, and the concert favourite “Buck’s Boogie.” For the latter, Roeser and keyboardsman Allen Lanier trade off on some whip-it solos before Lanier eases back to play support-and-push for the guitarist’s galloping flights. It could have been a washout of self-indulgence but wasn’t; Roeser was always too sensible and tasteful a player for that (he was nothing if not the most underrated guitarist of his breed), and it didn’t hurt that the band could and did keep up with him and keep him anchored as well as they did.
As a kind of wrap-up to their early era (they were already at work on the music that would become “Agents of Fortune,” determined to take the kind of care with it that they took with their first album, avoiding the rush job of the second two), “On Your Feet or On Your Knees” was as good as it got and then some. For a band whose strength was as much their concert style as their recordings, Blue Oyster Cult would never again put forth a live album (there were two yet to come, the disappointing “Some Enchanted Evening” and the inconsistent “Extraterrestrial Live”) equal to this one’s elemental sophistication of power and sensibility.
BLUE OYSTER CULT DISCOGRAPHY:
1972 Blue Öyster Cult
1973 Tyranny and Mutation
1974 Secret Treaties
1975 On Your Feet or On Your Knees
1976 Agents of Fortune
1978 Some Enchanted Evening
1980 Cultösaurus Erectus
1981 Fire of Unknown Origin
1982 Extraterrestrial Live
1983 The Revölution by Night
1986 Club Ninja
1994 Cult Classic
1994 Live 1976
1998 Heaven Forbid
2001 Curse of the Hidden Mirror
2001 St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings
2002 A Long Day’s Night
CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE BLUE OYSTER CULT PHOTOS:
BLUE OYSTER CULT PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM
BLUE OYSTER CULT FINE ART AMERICA IMAGES BY BEN UPHAM