Single of the Week: David Coverdale – The Last Note of Freedom (12″ Single)

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

Drive through the smoke, Cole!
Drive through the smoke, Cole!

At the risk of triggering a sense of Déjà vu in returning readers, this week’s Single of the Week is… David Coverdale’s Last Note of Freedom! A song so good I bought it twice.

Back in November I found the 7” single of this track and after posting about it, I had a conversation with LeBrain (probably the longest discussion anyone has had about this track, ever!) where we uncovered many facts about this excellent song. This week I’ve picked up the 12” version for £1.50 at Record Fayre.

The appeal of the 12” is that it’s the original version of the track that was produced by Trevor Horn. The 7” single featured a sparser remix by some guy called Chris Lord-Alge. Although the sleeve of the 7” credits Chris with the remix, this same version of Last Note of Freedom appears on a compilation called Whitesnake Gold where the remix is credited to Tom Lord-Alge. It turns out the Lord-Alges have founded something of a production dynasty! There’s a Chris, Tom and the lesser-spotted Jeff.  No doubt, this vexing question of who really remixed this song still causes drama in the Lord-Alge household. I imagine their mother is always having to separate them.

The B-Side on both versions is Hans Zimmer’s Car Building (only worthwhile for its reprised guitar part from the A-Side). The 12” has the bonus of Terry Reid’s so-so cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s Gimmie Some Lovin’. Terry Reid was famously offered a spot in Jimmy Page’s New Yardbirds but was busy, suggesting Robert Plant for the spot instead. You know how that worked out.

As far as the mixes go, I think both are great. Trevor Horn’s is more dramatic with an extended intro and outro, ethnic backing vocals, more strings and more guitar overdubs. The 7” remix is stripped down and moodier. I think the remix version would be more at home on the Whitesnake albums of the period. Mixes aside though, it’s a superb song and it’s great to have both versions.


Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 31st Dec 2012

More in-my-ears action for the week that commenced with Hogmanay!

Candlemass – Live Jönköping (1st LP of the Doomology Box) This is amazing. The very first Candlemass gig from 1987! The sound quality is quite rough as you would expect.  It’s an odd one because, although it’s their first show, they had already released two of the greatest albums of all-time (Epicus, Doomicus, Metallicus and Nightfall)! So… not your average debut gig.

Pentagram – First Daze Here Too These guys are becoming a Noise-some Notes mainstay! Great cover of Under My Thumb on this one. I’ve been enjoying these compilations a lot which means I now want more ‘Ram! But I have my pesky budget to think of…

Jethro Tull – Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die LeBrain reviewed this recently so I had to give it a listen. I love Tull but, of their 70s stuff, I’ve always overlooked this one. I really enjoyed it. It was like having a new Tull album! Lots of great acoustic stuff.  Although it’s a bit short on “classics” it’s a strong album. I’ll be going back to this one.

Tygers of Pan Tang – Spellbound Or, as vocalist John Deverill might say: Spell-bah-woond. This is a great NWOBHM album and features an early appearance from superb axe-wrangler John Sykes. John Deverill’s vocals are a bit of an odd fit here though, too AOR for this type of record… despite his excellent diction.

Whitesnake – Give Me More Time (7” single) My first attempt at ripping some vinyl to mp3 and a crashingly stupid track to try it with! Cov the Gov sings so loud at the end of the tune you have to listen to the whole song to see if you got your levels right. I got there… 4 attempts later.

Praying Mantis – The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2 (12” single) Last week’s Single of the Week! And a very good one too.

Urchin – High Roller Another collection of Adrian Smith’s pre-Maiden band. Urchin were far too laid-back to fit into the nascent British Heavy Metal scene of the late 70s but there’s plenty of great ideas and playing here and it’s one of my favourite things I picked up in 2012.

Saxon – Denim and Leather, Power and the Glory and Crusader More Saxon! I just couldn’t get enough of these guys while I was on my hols over Xmas and New Year. What did you do on your holiday, HMO? Listened to SAXON! In my pants! Denim and Leather and Power and the Glory continue the band’s great run of genius songwriting but Crusader ushers in the difficult years. The title track is a fantastic epic and I enjoyed the album a lot while I was pulling down my tree! But, despite many great moments, there are hints of the American fixation that would start to heavily test the patience of the faithful. Crusader is a great album if you can overlook the dire portents.


[Saxon – Crusader]

HMO Challenge 2013!

James takes, and fails, the HMO Shopping Challenge.
James takes, and fails, the HMO Shopping Challenge.

It’s a New Year and a new Heavy Metal Overlord (not, like, an actual new Heavy Metal Overlord… I’ve not been usurped or anything) and I’m going to start 2013 with a challenge!

One of my goals when I started HMO was to be more particular about the music I buy. To an extent, this has been fairly successful! 2012 was a great year in my ears. I spent slightly less money than usual and concentrated my spending on the purchases that excited me the most!

But there’s always room for improvement. In 2012 I kept track of EVERY album I bought and how much I was spending. In light of this information, I’ve decided to revamp my How Tempting posts, my Buying Round-Ups and set myself a goal.

Based on 2012’s spending I’m going to be setting myself a monthly budget. It will be, at the most, 50% of what I spent that month in 2012 – less if the previous year’s spending was totally off the hook!

I’ll kick off each month with a How Tempting post. I’ll disclose my monthly budget and evaluate the merits of any music that’s tempting me at that point. At the end of the month a Buying Round-Up will announce my purchases and disclose my spending. As usual, there will be running totals a-go-go.

I’d love you all to chip in. Let me know what you think I should be buying, let me know if there is anything out there I might have missed and let me know if the stuff I’ve bought sucks. And please let me know if you have set yourself any music-related challenges for 2013. We’re in this together!

HMO Challenge Rules:

  • The monthly total will include: all CDs, vinyl, downloads and box sets I buy.
  • However, only singles that cost me more than £2 will be included. The Single of the Week series continues!
  • Music DVDs, but not any other DVDs, will be included.
  • No book purchases will be included, even if they are music-related.
  • Until an album purchase is disclosed, it will not appear in my Noise-some Notes. To regular readers, these posts may seem shorter than usual.

Single of the Week: Praying Mantis – The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2 (12” Single)

Praying Mantis - The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

I went on my very first record shopping jaunt of 2013 and turned up this little beauty for 99p at the excellent Record Fayre in the Trongate, Glasgow (which has the bonus of a shop Labrador! Much clapping and wagging ensued).

This is the second of three Praying Mantis singles released around the time of the band’s debut album Time Tells No Lies. If, like me, you bought Rock Candy’s reissue of Time Tells No Lies then you’ll know that it features all the songs (A and B-Sides) from the first and third of those three singles either as part of the album proper (Cheated) or as bonus tracks (everything else). So this 12” completes my collection of Time Tells No Lies-era Praying Mantis and is a great NWOBHM collectible!

The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2 B SideThe A-Side of The Soundhouse Tapes 2 is the excellent Captured City which is easily one of the band’s greatest tunes: a great title, catchy chorus and ladles of Thin Lizzy worship. The B-Side has two tracks, The Ripper and Johnny Cool. The Ripper starts off with some great riffs but feels a bit limp. Johnny Cool is better but the guitar work is still the star of the show and makes both tracks worthwhile. Excitingly, both these tracks also seem pretty hard to find anywhere else. An essential addition to my burgeoning NWOBHM collection.

I wonder where they got the idea for the title from…

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 24th December 2012

The last Noise-some Notes of 2012!

Urchin – Get Up and Get Out One of my surprise Christmas Eve freebies from the High Roller label. These excellent pre-Maiden Adrian Smith recordings are very rough around the edges but reek pleasingly of UFO, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent and pubs.

Pentagram – First Daze Here: A Vintage Collection The Devil may have the best tunes but, unfortunately for Doom-pioneers Pentagram, he didn’t run any record companies (this is pre-Simon Cowell we’re talking about here). Luckily, the ‘Ram didn’t take “no” for an answer, ploughing on for over 10 years prior to releasing their first full-length. And when the aforesaid no’s are coming from Sandy Pearlman, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons that makes the ‘Ram some plucky motherfuckers!

Rod Stewart – Storyteller (Disc 1) Rod’s early career was another story of perseverance and false starts. Trying to launch your musical career with paedo-Blues anthem Good Morning Little Schoolgirl wasn’t a great idea, was it? Not to mention adorning your debut solo-album with a picture of what could only be described as… a paedo. It’s at times like these you need a good manager to say “enough with the paedos already!”

Various Artists – New Wave of British Heavy Metal ’79 Revisited Classic compilation put together by Lars Ulrich and Geoff Barton. I wanted this (vinyl version) for years and it’s been one of my favourite purchases of the year! Especially worthwhile for the early version of Def Leppard’s Getcha Rocks Off with Frank Noon on Drums.

Saxon – Saxon, Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law and The Eagle Has Landed There are far, far worse ways to end a year of listening than filling your head with the Heavy Metal Thunder that is Saxon. The opening trio of albums was an absolutely formidable way to start a career. Blunt-instrument savagery combined with impeccable melodic sense. There are more indispensable Metal classics on these albums than you can shake a stick at. Their later failure was way more to do with bad decision making than any lack of talent. These guys had that to spare and it’s readily apparent on these early albums.

SONG OF THE WEEK: It’s got to be Saxon. Happy New Year everyone!

[Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder]

Noise-some Notes – A Fortnight in Listening 10th December 2012

My posting routine is all skew-whiff thanks to Christmas so I’m going to cram two weeks’ worth of listening into this post. Happily there was a lot of repeat listening over the two weeks so it shouldn’t be too long! Another Noise-some Notes will follow on the 31st December to bring me bang up to date. So in 2013, my weekly listening notes will be hot off the press!

Ghost – Opus Eponymous It seems like this debut album has been out for ages now. At a recent gig Ghost performed a new track, Secular Haze, after appointing a new Satanic Pope, Papa Emeritus II, to lead the band. Their new album Infestissumam is due in Spring 2013.

Candlemass – Epicus, Doomicus, Metallicus I gave this a whirl after ordering the Doomology Box Set. Epicus, Doomicus, Metallicus (surely the greatest album title ever!) is a great debut and the album that got me into the band. While I initially preferred original vocalist Johan Längqvist, I’ve since come to favour the voice of his successor, Messiah Marcolin. Happily, the Doomology set features both so I can continue to umm and ahh over this important matter.

Pentagram – First Daze Here and First Daze Here Too Doom of an even older vintage than Candlemass! Excellent bluesy Heavy Rock and the vocals from wild-eyed frontman Bobby Liebling have an exciting hint of Rod Evans about them! The liner notes are interesting too not least because they recount the band’s many failed attempts to get signed (featuring walk on parts from Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley).

Blue Öyster Cult – Spectres Superb and overlooked album from the mighty BÖC. Every Record Tells a Story did a couple of great posts about them recently which inspired me to revisit this one. You can check the posts out here and here!

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977) and Sex, America, Cheap Trick (Disc 4) Cheap Trick is one of the greatest debut albums ever, an incredible combination of sweet, melodic, blistering and twisted. I also gave the fourth disc of their excellent Box Set a whirl. It’s a great overview of their mid-late 80s career where they placed less emphasis on the blistering twistedness!

Heart – Bad Animals Mmmm… the Wilson sisters. Yum.

Richard Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Mock Tudor An artist I love more every year and 2012 was no exception. A Christmas gift of live tickets to see RT in Edinburgh should help maintain this trajectory. Thank you EVAOverload!

Cathedral – The Serpent’s Gold More Doom! I’ve got most of Cathedral’s albums but this compilation has a great vibe to it and was really well put together so I still go back to it for a blast of bowel-quakingly heavy groove. And the bonus disc (The Serpent’s Treasures) has rarities!

KISS – Hot in the Shade Or H.I.T.S. (I wonder if that was on purpose…). This was the first new album to be released during my tenure as a fan and was hugely anticipated. It didn’t disappoint – I love everything about it to this day.

SONG OF THE FORTNIGHT Hold on to your bowels! It’s Cathedral.

[Cathedral – Autumn Twilight]

Single of the Week – Christmas Special!

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

I love Christmas music and I really wanted to buy a Christmas single for this week’s Single of the Week.

I ended up trawling through four shop’s single sections and only managed to find one in the last shop I visited (Glasgow’s Record Fayre). I was hoping for maybe some Slade. Maybe Chris De Burgh’s awesome Spaceman Came Travelling or Greg Lake’s I Believe In Father Christmas… I ended up with something far more Metal. This classic from the Dark Master himself.

I’ll use this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Cliff's Mistetoe and Wine and... oh look! There's Santa Stanley!
Cliff’s Mistetoe and Wine and… oh look! There’s Santa Stanley!

Amount spent on purchase: £1

Amount spent in total so far: £491

… and classic rock too!