“If you don’t stop what you’re doing to me, I’m gonna to do it to you”
Poor Cov the Guv. He’s normally the cock of the walk but on 1979’s You ‘N’ Me the ‘snake frontman is left holding his own, wondering where his lover has been all night… and who she’s been with. This short and sweet rock ‘n’ roller is slathered with rootsy slide guitar and injects some welcome energy into the Lovehunter album. It reminds me of Deep Purple’s Lady Double Dealer: lively and direct with cheating woman lyrics and a feelgood bridge that lifts the whole song. There’s no twist or suggestion that the narrator is just a big jealous pants (a nuance that would have worked well on that catchy bridge). No, this lady is just a double dealer. But given that Cov compares her to “page three girls in the Playboy books” I can’t blame her for looking elsewhere.
Holidays In Eden is a rare instance where an album’s title track is also its weakest. But in this case, it’s not that the namesake track is terrible. It’s just that, where the rest of the album veers between lovely pop and moody storytelling, Holidays In Eden is just polite, straightforward rock that doesn’t play to the band’s strengths. The verses have a nice carefree feel and the bridge adds a bit of edge but, in particular, the chorus always struck me as a bit weak. And, if the interviews on the recent reissue box set are anything to go by, Marillion never seemed to be particularly enamoured with it either. A song they say themselves should have been “wilder” and “better than it was”. Can’t argue with that.
Any time I write about David Coverdale and Whitesnake I’m tempted to throw in a few knob gags. But I’m not going to because All In The Name Of Love is a heartfelt, serious Cov effort with The Gov feeling the post-Tawny blues and singing about it in soulful fashion. The woman troubles bring out the Free/Bad Company in his voice, which is where he’s at his best, especially when he lets loose on the wonderful bridge and closing choruses. Although it’s a bit smooth and MOR in production, I reckon this would have fit nicely on old beergut-era Whitesnake albums like Trouble and Lovehunter. It’s got a warm sound with a lovely bluesy guitar solo and a big throbbing organ underneath.
I was first introduced to Queensrÿche’sProphecy via the live version on the Building Empires VHS, before acquiring the studio version as the bonus track on the CD reissue of the band’s 1983 debut EP. Nowadays you’ll find it as a bonus track on the reissue of 1984’s The Warning because it was written during that era but I’ve since discovered it wasn’t actually recorded until the sessions for their 1986 album Rage For Order! Bloody hell. But it doesn’t really matter because this song holds it own anywhere. It’s got the classy Rage For Order production sheen but its traditional melodic metal style fits in nicely on The Warning and the EP. Some extremely bouncy riffing, catchy hooks, nice vocal harmonies and some nifty and memorable guitar soloing from Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton make Prophecy a standout favourite… wherever you hear it.
“Everything went wrong, I’m sorry boys I’ve got to let you go”
Abandon, Deep Purple’s second album with guitarist Steve Morse, didn’t quite reach the high standard set by its joyous and adventurous predecessor Purpendicular. But it did feature a batch of great, underrated tracks and Fingers To The Bone is a standout that ranks among my favourites of the Morse era. It’s the sound of a veteran band ageing gracefully: Purple depicting the harsh blow of job losses with thoughtful lyrics, beautiful guitar parts and a folky, proggy muso confidence that reminds me of 80s Tull albums like The Broadsword And The Beast. A rich and rewarding deep cut that proved Purple were far from redundant.
He was the lurking, shadowy menace on the cover of Iron Maiden’s first single Running Free and now wwoooaarghh… here’s Eddie! The band’s undying, murderous mascot was finally revealed in his full glory on the front of their self-titled debut album. His ghoulish presence amidst London’s grubby bins, doorways and streetlights perfectly evoking the rough, dangerous music on this NWOBHM classic. Iron Maiden sounds like it wants to jump you in an alleyway and cut your face. Gritty and aggressive tunes like Prowler, Transylvania and Iron Maiden taking the metal pioneered by Priest and Rainbow to a new level of raw intensity. And guided by bassist/songwriter/Genesis fan Steve Harris, there’s also plenty of ambition and excitement in the extended structures of tracks like the lucozade-powered Phantom Of The Opera. These days I gravitate to the Hendrix-y mellowness of Remember Tomorrow and Strange World but all the songs on this album have been a favourite at one point or another. The whole band impress but Paul Di’Anno’s raucous vocals and Harris’ forceful basslines deserve special mentions. The band members still whinge about the gnarly production but nobody else gives a flying fuck. Iron Maiden wants you for dead and if this album doesn’t get your blood flowing, you might as well be.