About Me

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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Romeo's Daughter - Live Review, The Railway, Bolton

Well its about 21 or possibly 22 years since I last saw a Romeos daughter headlining gig. Illness kept me away from their FF appearance, and work from their Winstanley gig a couple of few years ago! It was an absolute delight to hear that they would be playing a few select gigs across the UK in support of their latest and most mature album to date, Rapture. 

The Railway is a crackin' little venue, and on first arrival I was slightly worried by the numbers. Thankfully, lovers like me turned up in their droves which is what a band like RD truly deserve. Lets face it, they are not exactly in it for the money at this stage their career, its like a mutual love fest. They have clearly enjoyed reforming, and we in turn are thankful that the desire is there, not only to tour but to release an album that is as strong a quality as you would ever want. Little has changed since my last RD gig ( The Tiv, 90 or/91); Leigh is still gorgeous and delivers a spellbinding hold on the male members of the crowd. I know, as I kept looking across the room! Most of them were all dewy eyed! 

Andy and Ed, hold everything together, and both are still as mischievous as ever. Craig's playing, never flashy,  always effective, make sure each song is delivered to the same exacting high standard. New to the band, is Charlie on keys! 

Obviously, Rapture would take up a portion of the set, but surprisingly there seemed an absence of songs from the excellent 'Delectable' album. Despite this, RD have enough quality to chose from on just 3 albums, that other bands would take 10 to achieve

Now, RD should have been massive, and its possible that the poor 'normal' folk out there may have come across RD tunes without realising it. They've had songs covered by Chrissy Steele, Eddie Money, and a big one (Wild Child) from Heart. Shit dude they've even been covered by UK pop idols Steps! You won't get many people covering songs if they ain't worth shit. Which is an enigma to me as to why Romeos Daughter aren't better known

Tonight RD are as tight as a gnats chuff, and its probably as best as I've ever witnessed. For a small venue, the sound was superb, so hats off indeed to the Railway crew. Everything was thrown at us (except my wedding dance song I must add!), classics both old and new - Bittersweet, Lightning, Will Be and Alive from Rapture, and everything from the debut (did I say they never played Hymn!). Tight bv's from Ed and Craig lifted the songs further, and Leigh reminded us that the closer was theirs and not Hearts.

After 20-odd years I felt as if I was transported back to my wedding year (1990). Ive grown old (er) with this band, and I hope to see them over many a year just yet. Hopefully they are not finished as a great new chapter is being written in their middle age!

Trippin' Out 
Velvet Tongue 
Talking Love 
Attracted to the Animal 
Cannot Be The One 
Don't Break My Heart 
Stay With Me Tonight 
Colour You a Smile 
Inside Out 
I Cry Myself to Sleep at Night 
Heaven in the Back Seat 
Will Be (acoustic) 
Wild Child 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

T&N - Slave To The Empire Album Review

There was a time in the mid-late eighties when Dokken were high up in my list of fave bands. For about a four album spell Dokken were on fire. Due to the combined talents of Dokken / Lynch / Pilson / Brown, they gave me some of my most loved tunes. But it was all doomed to failure as Dokken & Lynch couldnt stand the sight of each other

Fast forward twenty-odd years and Don Dokken is still flying the flag, but has recently announced that the latest album, will be the last. So do you still follow Dokken, or give the 75% of the glory years a shot? Well after just one listen of Slave the answer is a resounding yes indeedee!!!

T&N (was Tooth & Nail before lawyers got involved) are made up of Lynch and Pilson, with Brian Tichy on drums for the majority (seven songs) and 'Wild' Mick Brown (when he's not doing his best Colt Seavers impression with a golf cart!) into the fold on the five fairly faithful re-recorded versions of Dokken songs. I get the impression that these versions are nearer to how they wanted the originals to sound – tougher and raw! 

Also an attractive proposition is the enlistment of 'special guests',  in Robert Mason, Dug Pinnick, Sebastian Bach, and Tim 'Ripper' Owens. So, first of all let's deal with the main reason which will attract listeners - the re-recording of Dokken classics by the afore mentioned guests (and Pilson)

Pinnick tackles Tooth and Nail, and despite his very distinctive tone, he gives it a very nice blues/soul tinged feel. For a bloke who is the wrong side of 50, he is still a brilliant performer and his range has hardly faltered.  

Robert Mason (ex-Lynch Mob) steps up for Its Not Love, and singer v song selection has been matched to great effect. Seb Bach handles the ballad 'Alone Again' extremely well. I’d have thought a more racier number would have suited him, but again the choice works! Tim Owens v Kiss of Death is slightly abrasive vs DD's original, but again the variations are interesting.

For ‘Into The Fire’, Pilson handles lead vocals, and it’s this which is the nearest vocal to the Dokken classic. Now, the surprising for some, but no so for me, is that Pilson has one hell of a set of pipes on him. Catching the Dokken albums of yesteryear, and seeing the likes of Foreigner live recently, Pilson is one of the underrated Kings of harmonies & BVs.

This fact makes for the undoubted gem of ‘STTE’. I love cover versions, but witnessing this cd after just one listen, ‘STTE’ has enough strong songs to stand on its own, and T&N don’t need to re-record the old back catalogue. That said the songs they have done from the vault are pretty cool, using their artistic licence to make subtle changes, I await the next set eagerly.

Songs like the opener and title track are perfect slices of 80s hair metal. ‘STTE’ would have fit perfectly on any decent album from that period, a catchy as fuck chorus, combined with Lynch on as good a form as I’ve heard in years makes for one cracking album. 'Sweet Unknown'  is more akin to early Lynch Mob, only with Pilson proving a better vox than Logan, 'When Eagles Die; has an epic feel with Pilson basically singing his bollox off, competing with the powerhouse drumming of Tichy and fretwork of Lynch. For 3 blokes who should know better at their ages, it’s an all out attack. 'Mind Control' is in the style of ZZ Top’s ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’. The blues oriented ‘Jesus Train’ kicks odd with a throaty, phlegmy tone from Pilson, then 'cough' is T&N firing on all 3 cylinders 

Apparently there’s more to come from the dynamic trio/s! This should definitely be allowed to happen. A debut album planted firmly in the classic/melodic rock vein chock full of originals (and decent covers of classics) that needs to be heard to be appreciated. More of the same guys, and be quick about it. Oh and get your arse over to the UK sharpish!!

SCORE : 80/100

Tracklisting -

01 - Slave To The Empire
02 - Sweet Unknown
03 - Tooth & Nail
04 - It’s Not Love
05 - Rhythm of the Soul
06 - When Eagles Die
07 - Into The Fire
08 - Alone Again
09 - Mind Control
10 - Kiss of Death
11 - Jesus Train
12 - Access Denied

George Lynch – All Guitars
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Lead Vocals (tracks 1-2,5-7,9,11-12)
Brian Tichy – Drums (tracks 1-2, 5-6, 9, 11-12), Backing Vocals
Mick Brown – Drums (tracks 3-4, 7-8, 10), Backing Vocals
Guest Vocalists:
Doug Pinnick (track 3)
Robert Mason (track 4)
Sebastian Bach (track 8)
Tim 'Ripper' Owens (track 10)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rainbow - On Stage Deluxe Edition Album Review

Also for release at the same time as the magnificent Long Live Rock and Roll (see review here - http://www.chesyrockreviews.com/2012/11/rainbow-long-live-rock-n-roll-deluxe.html ), ‘On Stage’ has been given the Deluxe treatment

I don’t know why, but I remember buying this on vinyl around '81/'82 and it was the most expensive album I had bought at that moment in my life, and remained so for many a year. Almost eight bloody quid it cost me at our local WH Smiths! It was never in the sales!!

Whilst I'm not a huge fan of live albums as they generally fall short of the live experience, ‘On Stage’ however did not and showed Rainbow at their very best;  a moving, haunting beast of a band, expanding on originals in the best prog rock sense,  with great jamming capabilities. Then there's Blackmore, let loose in a way that Deep Purple never really let him. No duelling with Jon Lord, it was Blackmore getting totally immersed in his music, turning already great songs into masterpieces. Don’t believe me, check out his playing on ‘Catch The Rainbow’, and ‘Sixteenth Century Greensleeves’ in particular and tell me this isn’t a man at the very peak of his game with the audience hanging on his every single note

 ‘On Stage’ was rare in the 70s, as Rainbow had just two albums under their belt. The third studio album was due for release late Summer 1977, but after the departures of Carey and Bain, ‘LLRNR’ didn’t surface until 1978. ‘On Stage’ bought Rainbow some valuable time. So to do ‘On Stage’ took some balls. It took years for Purple to come up with the legendary ‘Live in Japan’, yet Rainbow just two! This typified Blackmore's confidence; in his band, and particularly in his playing.

As a massive Rainbow fan, you may feel a little disappointed as the then staples of ‘A Light In The Black’, and ‘Stargazer’ are missing from the bonus section. There are valid reasons for this as the original tapes are hidden away as securely as Jimmy Savile's diaries. Only one of the eight shows recorded (four in Germany, and four in Japan) captured ‘ALITB’, but ‘Stargazer’ was played at almost every gig during this period.  Bugger!

The original ‘On Stage’ was (due to vinyl constraints) moved around from a commercial standpoint, and proves that Martin Birch was a genius, as the quality is impeccable and his editing skills in removing Powell's thunderous 1812 drum solo, and he even spliced parts of songs from different shows, resulting in an album that stands tall against any of the studio releases.

The extended versions of ‘Mistreated’, ‘Still I'm Sad’, ‘Sixteenth Century Greensleeves’, and ‘Catch The Rainbow’ are truly phenomenal versions, to the point where it’s difficult for me to dig out the originals as they are poles apart from the live versions. 

If you're buying this, then you're in it for the bonus disc as ‘On Stage’ requires little critique. Apart from the loud hiss still present (16th C in particular). As a live album, it’s up there with the very best.  Disc 2 is taken from a show in Osaka on 9/12/76 (Ah, I was 9!) so I'm assuming that the sequence of this disc is more in line with the original running order. What it does show is that Rainbow was an organic experience, growing and developing all the time, with every passing gig, with Blackmore improvising to his heart’s content, pulling the rest of the band with him in wild abandonment. ‘Catch The Rainbow’ and the ‘Medley’ being  particular examples with Ritchie showing his classical chops, and throwing in his love for ‘Lazy’ as a part of the medley as well as lots of toying with the audience, and is a good 14 mins longer than the vinyl version.

The only real addition from the original is Do You Close Your Eyes expanded and with some added welly. Despite the lack of ‘Stargazer’, ‘On Stage’ is still an album to behold and to get your mitts upon. Ritchie and Ronnie (and Rainbow) never sounded better live!

SCORE: 85/100

Disc 1 - Rainbow On Stage

Over The Rainbow
Kill The King
Medley: Man On The Silver Mountain / Blues / Starstruck
Catch The Rainbow
Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
Still I'm Sad

Disc 2 - Bonus Tracks, Live At Osaka 9.12.76

Kill The King
Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
Catch The Rainbow
Medley: Man On The Silver Mountain / Blues / Starstruck
Do You Close Your Eyes

Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll Deluxe Edition Album Review

I don’t know if I’ve stated this before (probably!), but I’m a huge, nay massive, Rainbow fan. None more so than the Blackmore/Dio pairing. Especially the period where they could do no wrong (Rising & LLRNR). For me, the Blackmore-Dio writing partnership was, and still is the best in the business ('Tarot Woman', 'Stargazer', 'Kill The King', 'LLRNR', 'Gates of Babylon etc).Forget Lennon & McCartney, Iommi & Butler, Plant & Page, this was a (brief) partnership that delivered unparalleled quality, and should have had the chance to develop further if it wasn’t for Blackmore’s desire to polish things up a little and disband this quality team. My only real criticism of Ritchie was this loss, and ultimately Sabbaths gain.

I’m also a big, big fan of this ‘Deluxe’ CD format. There’s been the Dio / Sabbath / Lizzy / Rainbow reissues which truly deserve a listen, as some of the extras are truly superb for the discerning rock/metal fan. The layout is superb, with liner notes to die for. 

Keeping up this tradition is the newly released Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. Dare I say it, but 'LLRNR' has a better flow than Rising, and the quality of songs still hold strong today, some 34 years after its original release. You get a rather nice gatefold sleeve, complete with liner notes, and lyrics which the album never had.

The jewel for me is the bonus disc, choc full of Rainbow rough mixes, a couple of songs from the (then new) band’s rehearsal’s at Shepperton Studios, including a jam-tastic version of 'LLRNR', and a clutch of songs from a US appearance on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. The latter is the last recorded vocals of Dio on a Rainbow recording, as two months later, Ronnie had also departed, leaving Blackmore and Powell as sole custodians

With the rough mixes the changes are subtle except for the barnstorming ‘The Shed (Subtle)’ much heavier than the original, and I must admit, a contender as being better than the original! It is minus the Blackmore intro, but kicks off in full force going straight for the goolies, with a bass driven section (this probably being the main reason it was dropped). The main other, being one of my all time fave Dio songs, 'Rainbow Eyes', is quite similar, but with a different phrasing. It’s minus the string section, and it’s a slightly haunting piece with Carey's keyboards simmering in the background along with Blackmore.  It’s truly a pleasure to hear these alternate versions of long loved classics.

The rehearsal pieces again are wonderful. Showing Rainbow at their most creative, a 7 minute rearranged version of LLRNR (Take 1), more typical of Rainbow's live performances, and RJD improvising as only he did, inter-playing with guitar and keys. 'Kill The King' has Daisley's playing right at fore front.

The Don Kirshner Rock Concert is Ritchie's stab at the US market. Utilising the studio backing tracks, Dio sung new vocal lines over the top, and his performance is just....Ronnie!!

I won’t really comment on the original other to say it’s one of Rock's finest from the 70s or any other era. Blackmore/Dio/Powell were on fire and the 8 songs they laid down continue to inspire and please bands and fans 35 years down the line  

However, it was all soon to change to a more radio FM chasing Rainbow, but this is a mighty fine testament to one of Rock's finest bands, and one that Blackmore would never ever get near to again. I know it's what he wanted, but this is by far the greatest era in Rainbow and Blackmore's history. Ignore all previous releases (except your beloved vinyl) and embrace the wonder that is 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll'.

This will on rotation for quite some time, and is probably my favourite of all the aforementioned Deluxe edition releases so far. Thank you Universal for (yet another) magnificent album 

Score: 95/100

Disc 1
1. Long Live Rock n Roll
2. Lady Of The Lake
3. L.A. Connection
4. Gates of Babylon
5. Kill The King
6. The Shed (Subtle)
7. Sensitive To Light
8. Rainbow Eyes

Disk 2

Rough Mixes
1. Lady Of Th Lake
2. Sensitive To Light
3. L.A. Connection
4. Kill The King
5. The Shed (Subtle)
6. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
7. Rainbow Eyes

Shepperton Film Studios rehearsal (1977)
8. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
9. Kill The King

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert (1978)
10. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
11. L.A. Connection
12. Gates Of Babylon
13. L.A. Connection (outtake version)
14. Gates Of Babylon (outtake version)