By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
LITA FORD – OUT FOR BLOOD (1983)
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t always “discover” an artist on their first album. I can usually count on finding an interesting new musician two or three albums into their career. This is much like how I discover new authors to read as well. But I like to go back and get the earlier works so that I have a fuller appreciation of where they came from and what they were like before they made the music that caught my attention.
Such is the case with Lita Ford. As you might imagine, I never really knew of her before she hit MTV paydirt with “Kiss Me Deadly”. I quickly bought the Lita album but then found out that she had two solo albums before it and of her connection to The Runaways.
Back then I was able to track down cassette copies of both Out For Blood and Dancin’ On The Edge, but those copies have long since worn out. I’ve been looking for replacements for a while and finally got my hands on them just recently. One surprising thing I learned is that there are two versions of the album artwork. You can see both versions below. My copy of the album features the reissued version of the artwork.
The first thing you’ll notice when listening to this album is that the production work is far more raw than anything she’s done from Lita forward. If you are only familiar with her later work, this might throw you off for a bit.
Now, I’ve seen Lita Ford live in concert and when she played the album’s title track, it was fantastic. It is the album opener here and does get things off to a rousing start. But I found both “Stay With Me Baby” and “Just A Feeling” a bit more problematic for me. While both songs are flat out rockers, they just kind of sit there waiting for something to make the songs come together. Unfortunately, it never seems to happen.
This particular development had me worried for the rest of the album but thankfully the last two songs on Side 1 allayed some of my fears. The musical vibe created for “Ready, Willing And Able” gave that track an extra dose of adrenaline and “Die For Me Only (Black Widow)” was just a balls out great rocker.
Side 2 kicked off with the Pete Heimlich written “Rock ‘n’ Roll Made Me What I Am Today”, and it is a flat out great track that is a simple anthemic declaration of rock and roll intent. The song “Anyway That You Want Me” has that ballad vibe but there’s a bit of guitar hanging around in the background waiting to cut loose. This happens during the song’s chorus and makes for an interesting kind of schizophrenic change to the track. Things closed out with another straight forward rocker called “I Can’t Stand It”. The song was particularly good with the solo on the track’s outro.
I’m not going to claim this is a great album. It has some definite peaks and valleys in terms of song quality. You know where Lita Ford was going, but it is definitely a fun listen to see where she started things off. If you are a fan of Lita’s, you’d be remiss if you haven’t check this album out before now.
NOTES OF INTEREST: Ford wrote four of the songs on the album on her own and co-wrote four others with Neil Merryweather, who produced and played bass on the album. However, according to his Wikipedia page, he was never paid for both his production work or management of Lita from this time. It led him to quitting the music business for a few years.
The drummer on Out For Blood was Dusty Watson, who would go on to play with both Rhino Bucket and Supersuckers.
The song “Any Way That You Want Me” was written by Chip Taylor, who is probably best known for writing the songs “Angel of The Morning” (a version by singer Juice Newton was a big hit) and “Wild Thing”, the hit song for The Troggs and recorded by numerous other performers. He’s also the uncle of actress Angelina Jolie.