All posts by limelightmagazine

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – AC/DC’S ‘DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP’

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.

AC/DC – DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP (1976)

While this series generally covers albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s, on occasion I like to throw in an outlier album just to mix things up. This week, I’m doing that very thing by taking a look at the 1976 AC/DC album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

There’s two reasons for this. The first is that I was able to pick up a remarkably well preserved copy of the album on that same recent shopping trip that yielded that Ratt EP I wrote about in the previous article I did for The Cassette Chronicles. The other reason is that as luck would have it, this is the 45th anniversary of the album’s original release. Since I’ve never heard the album in full, it seems like the perfect time to mark the occasion.

While I freely admit that my knowledge of the band’s earliest material is a lot more spotty than stuff that has come later in their career, I am slowly acquiring those early albums when I can find them cheap enough. What I discovered with this album is that it features not only some timeless hits for AC/DC but in its entirety, the album is quite remarkable.

Usually when I write about well known albums, I tend to skip over the “big hits” because everyone knows them and everyone has written endlessly about them. I don’t have much new to say about the songs.

But on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the three staple songs are ingrained with me on a personal level that I can’t simply say I like them and move on. All three songs are on Side One of the cassette and I’m going to start with the side closing “Problem Child” first. I’ve heard the song on the radio numerous times before and I’ve always liked hearing it. But as I sat listening to it for this article, I seemed to take to the song on a deeper level than when I’m hearing it on the radio. I came away newly impressed with just how killer the music sounds on the song. Given the expectations of an AC/DC song, the track is a hard-hitting rocker but there’s something just out and out cool about how the band just cuts loose throughout the track and then even ups the ante towards the song’s end. Oddly, this made me think that Bon Scott’s vocals for the song are actually the lesser light in a battle being the singer and the music. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying he did a bad job. I just mean, the music seemed to overwhelm me to point that I wasn’t paying quite the same attention to his singing as I normally would.

The album’s title track opens Side One and that instantly identifiable and ever so memorable guitar sound that kicks off the song resonates with me as strongly today as when I first heard the song (a few years after the album was released). I love the fantastic lyrical content contained in the song too. While listening, I realized that I still found myself banging my head and doing a really poor impression of Bon Scott’s vocals as I sang along. Seriously, I am terrible at singing but I did get the phrasing right at least.

As for “Big Balls”, what can I say? I just love the song. When I wrote about the Back In Black album for The Cassette Chronicles back in May of 2018, I felt I had to go back a bit further to explain how I came to know of AC/DC. In that article I wrote about “Big Balls” saying the following:

“Now before I talk about the album’s track list I should go back a little further. Despite not being a full-fledged rock and metal fan until about 1983-1984, I was at least a little bit aware of AC/DC, much to the chagrin of a few nuns and laypeople who worked at the Catholic school I was attending while in the fourth grade.

It was about that time that the boys in the school discovered the band’s song “Big Balls” and for totally immature males, this was THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME! And you haven’t lived until you see the horrified faces of the teachers in the school as they hear a bunch of pre-adolescent boys running down the hallway singing the lyrics to the song. I managed to get in trouble for that despite the fact I wasn’t involved, having the misfortune of bad timing as I came out of the bathroom at the same time one of the teachers caught the other boys in the hallway. Still, it was freaking hilarious at the time.”

And that still rings true for me. In some ways, “Big Balls” might just be my favorite AC/DC song. I love the double entendre lyrics, though seriously, does anyone really believe they are more than single entendre? And the way Bon Scott delivers the vocal performance really gives the song such a memorable spin. He manages to make it seem like he’s delivering a serious set of lyrics while at the same time you can just feel that he’s got that “I aim to misbehave” mischievous grin on his face.

After those three songs, the other two tracks on Side One might be be in danger of being seen as a bit of a letdown, but they are actually incredibly impressive. “Love At First Feel” is another rocking stomp and Bon Scott delivers the last line in the song’s chorus in such a way that he’s practically cackling with glee.

Meanwhile, “Rocker” bursts out of the speakers with no break between it and the preceding “Big Balls” track. Angus and Malcolm Young are immense on this track which initially struck me as being very similar in tone to a 50’s or 60’s pop rock track. Obviously, the band injected a far harder rocking sheen over the material but that feeling of the bare bones of the song being inspired by old time rock and roll didn’t disappear for me. And the way Bon Scott tears into the vocal track with such vicious abandon really drove the song home for me.

And that’s just the first side of the album. For Side Two, things start off with “There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin'”. This song is pretty good all by itself but it made an even deeper impression on me when I found the swinging tempo of the music had me snapping my fingers to the rhythmic beat of the track. I like when I get moved to do something like that when you consider I probably wouldn’t do it if asked to do it by the band or fellow fans.

The lyrical content of “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting To Be A Millionaire)” could probably describe the life story of pretty much any musician ever. The pacing was just a slight downturn in tempo from the full on bluesy rock fireworks. It seemed like it would cut loose at any moment but it doesn’t really do that until the late going.

As I said, my familiarity with the earlier material from the AC/DC discography is mostly, if not totally, from the “hits”. So you’ll have to forgive me that I really had no way of realizing just how amazing the song “Ride On” was until now. First, I’d never heard it before and then the way the song was structured blew me away. It’s a very slow moving song, almost sedate in its pacing. But what really got to me was the thoroughly amazing way the understated vocal take from Bon Scott came across. There’s no gleeful ribald slant to the vocals, not ballsy rocking delivery. Instead, it is an emotional wallop that plays it straight from start to finish and it just killed me with its sincerity. And when you add in a rather impressive guitar solo from Angus Young, you can throw “Ride On” onto my list of favorite AC/DC songs right now.

The album closing “Squealer” starts off in much the same fashion as “Ride On”. The slow and steady delivery and the far more restrained vocals. But as the song progresses, the pace picks up and then a killer musical soundtrack kicks in. The guitar work from the Youngs as well as the rhythm section of Mark Evans and Phil Rudd from the solo through the final fadeout pushes the song towards greatness and brings the album to a fittingly superb conclusion.

While I knew of three songs on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, I got to have a new appreciation for them as I listened to the album in its entirety for the first time ever. But more importantly, I got to discover that the full nine track album is a marvelous collection that spotlights the early part of the band’s career and provides the listener with a fantastic musical experience, bar none.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The original Australian release of the album contained the song “Jailbreak” but this was dropped from the international release. According to Wikipedia, the song didn’t get released worldwide until 1984.

The international versions of the title track, “Problem Child” and “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)” are shorter than how they appear on the Australian version of the album. Over the years both versions of these songs have made their way on to various reissues.

George Young, the brother of Angus and Malcolm Young, produced the album and is credit with playing bass on “Big Balls”.

The Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album has sold over 6 million copies in the US making it the band’s best selling album behind Back In Black and Highway To Hell.

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “BENSON” (1979-1986)

On the final Friday of every month in 2021, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight one of the filming locations for Benson, which aired on ABC from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the TV show while the photo underneath is what the location looks like when we visited the location.

The filming location used for exterior shots of the “governor’s mansion” is located at 1365 South Oakland Avenue in Pasadena, California.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – RATT’S SELF-TITLED EP

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.

RATT – RATT (1983)

If ignorance is not an excuse, then I have no real way to explain how it is that I either never knew or somehow blocked from my memory that the band Ratt released a self-titled EP before they put out their full-length debut album Out of the Cellar.

I say this because on a recent shopping excursion to my favorite local independent record shop, I learned the store had purchased a sizeable cassette collection. While I dug my way through the tapes that seemed to be in rather amazing condition, I came across the Ratt EP and couldn’t for the life of me remember ever hearing about it. Obviously I had to buy the cassette.

What I learned about the album is that it was surprisingly good. For me, I’ve always loved Out of the Cellar as the band’s best release and after that, Ratt was more of a “songs that got played on the radio and MTV” kind of band. I heard a couple of their other albums in full but the singles always seemed to outshine the album tracks for me.

The EP showcases the band in their most rocking style, forgoing any attempt at a ballad track. Each of the six songs is a pretty fast moving rocker and given that this is the earliest recorded output for Ratt, their sound seems a bit more raw than the polished production sound of their other albums.

The opening song “Sweet Cheater” is probably my favorite track on this EP. It’s a really hard-driving and hard-hitting number that struck me as being one of the heavier sounding tracks Ratt has in their song catalog. And that previously mentioned rawer feel to the music is fully evidenced here.

The song “You Think You’re Tough” is pretty fast moving as well but it is just a bit slower in tempo than “Sweet Cheater”. When I first heard it, I wasn’t sure what I thought but when I went back and listened to it again, I really thought it hit home with me a lot more the second time around.

I will say that I thought the chorus for “U Got It” came off a bit more simplistic than I think I would’ve liked. I mean, it fit the song fine but it just felt like it was missing a little something extra to make it more memorable. But that said, I did like the song as a whole. I liked “Tell The World” as well.

There’s an earlier version of the song “Back For More” on the EP as well. The song got the re-recorded treatment for the Out of the Cellar album but it made for interesting listening to hear this previous version. There’s some noticeable differences in the song but the basic framework of the song is pretty much the same with both renditions of the track.

The EP closes out with a cover of the Memphis blues and soul singer Rufus Thomas song “Walkin’ The Dog”. Aerosmith did their own version of the song back in 1973 but it was Thomas who originally wrote and performed the song. This rendition is likely more comparable to the Aerosmith version but I enjoyed listening to it.

One of the things I found out while looking up information on this release online was that when the band hit it big with Out of the Cellar, their record label remixed the EP to give it more of a polished production sheen and bring it in line with how the group sounded on their debut album and then reissued the EP. I’m not actually sure which version of the album I have here but I’m probably going to say that it is the remixed edition. Still, despite the possible production changes, the band’s somewhat rawer feel for this earliest material manages to still shine through.

I was pretty pleased to discover (or thanks to a potentially faulty memory, re-discover) this EP. It gives me a new viewpoint on the band’s music and I’m glad to say that I found the music pretty entertaining. So much so that I may just have to think about checking out some of their other albums all over again and write about them down the line.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The European version of the Ratt EP contains an additional track. It’s an earlier recording of the song “You’re In Trouble” which found its re-recorded way onto the Out of the Cellar album as well.

The model for the EP’s cover art was Tawny Kitaen. At the time, she was the girlfriend of Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – BLACKEYED SUSAN’S “ELECTRIC RATTLEBONE”

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.

BLACKEYED SUSAN – ELECTRIC RATTLEBONE (1991)

Due in large part to the fact that I wasn’t much of a fan of Britny Fox beyond the song and video for “Girlschool”, I don’t see it as unreasonable that I never bothered checking out singer “Dizzy” Dean Davidson’s new band Blackeyed Susan after he left Britny Fox.

However, seeing as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Blackeyed Susan’s debut album Electric Rattlebone, I thought it would be the perfect time to at least give the music a chance.

And I have to say, I really am quite surprised to find just how much I loved the album! While Britny Fox was squarely in the glam rock side of the 80’s rock era, Davidson took Blackeyed Susan into a more blues rock driven sound and style. This choice, even three decades after the fact, turned out to be the right one in terms of getting me to enjoy what I was hearing.

If you didn’t know that the music was going to be bluesy hard rock before listening to the album, the brief title track that opens up side one of the album clues you in pretty quickly. That song bleeds into “Satisfaction” which is a fast moving rocker with a real catchy vibe to it. It didn’t take that long for me to find myself humming along to the song’s chorus.

The song “Sympathy” brings that bluesier sound even more to the forefront and gives you one of the album’s best tracks. The “Old Lady Snow” song has a great sound to it as well, with a rocking tempo and a perfectly cast female backing vocalists that helps enhance the vocals for the track. You can chalk this up as another of the album’s highlights.

And given that this was 1991 and the power ballad was still a necessary evil for any rock band to include, you have a song like “Ride With Me”. But with this particular song, I thought the songwriting bypassed being overly emotionally manipulative. Sure it is sentimental, but not in a sappy kind of way. This actually worked to give the song a bit more gravitas in my mind.

The side-closing “Don’t Bring Me Down” is a power rocking track. It’s not quite as fast moving as a couple of the other songs on Side One (at the start anyway) but it definitely doesn’t lack in the rock right in your face department.

The second side of the album opens with “Indica”, a brief instrumental with a Middle Eastern sound from the use of a sitar. I can’t say it did much for me, but it certainly does serve as a table setter for the rest of Side Two.

While I didn’t think much of the instrumental, I loved “She’s So Fine”, another great rocking anthem for the band. The song “How Long” is slower in pace but is no less effective as it goes for a heavily blues flavored down and dirty vibe.

The album closes out on a very high note with the songs “Holiday” and “Heart Of The City”. Both tracks have a rocking intensity that leaves you wanting more. The latter song is an ode to the city of Philadelphia but the lyrical sentiments could work for anyone that has an attachment to their own hometown.

My relative disinterest in Britny Fox left me on the outside looking in when it came to Blackeyed Susan. It is safe to say that I just assumed the music would be the same thing as Britny Fox. For that, I definitely made an ass of myself. Thirty years later, I found myself rocking out to music that freely admit that I should have discovered long before now. However, now that I’m finally on board I can honestly say that I’m glad to find out that Electric Rattlebone is an excitingly energetic slice of driving blues rock that I hope to keep playing many times over!

NOTES OF INTEREST: While I really like the album now, Electric Rattlebone did not catch on with the music world at the time it was released. It was branded a commercial failure and the band’s record label pulled support for the band while it was on tour for the album.

The ballad “Best Of Friends” is dedicated to original Britny Fox drummer Tony “Stix” Destra, who was killed in a car accident in 1987.

The only other release that I saw listed for the band came in 1992. According to Wikipedia, it was a self-released demo called Just A Taste.

Guitarist Rick Criniti had been Cinderella’s keyboardist before joining Blackeyed Susan. But he left Blackeyed Susan midway through the tour. I’m not sure of the timing, but I’m guessing his departure came BEFORE the label pulled the band’s support.

Magazine advertisement for Blackeyed Susan’s Electric Rattlebone

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ” (1979)

On the final Friday of every month in 2021, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight some of the filming locations for Escape From Alcatraz (1979), which starred Clint Eastwood and was directed by Don Siegel. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the movie while the photo underneath it is what the location looks like when I visited in September 2014. There were renovations taking place on Alcatraz Island at this time so I did my best to get the shots to align.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – ELECTRIC BOYS’ ‘GROOVUS MAXIMUS’

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.

ELECTRIC BOYS – GROOVUS MAXIMUS (1992)

When it came time to start putting together this article you are now reading, I originally thought I was going to be writing an opening that talked about how I had never heard anything from the Swedish rockers Electric Boys.

And that’s why it is always good to do research. As it turns out, while I’m sure that I haven’t heard much from the band before listening to this second album from the band, I had actually heard the one song that they are probably most remembered for. On their debut album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride, they had the song “All Lips N’ Hips”. I wasn’t sure that I remembered the song but one quick trip to Youtube and I remembered the song (if not the actual video for it). It’s a huge sounding prime cut of 80’s metal with a big chorus and a great overall inviting soundtrack.

That said, while I probably have mostly heard that song via Dee Snider’s radio show The House of Hair, it did bring me back to when the song would’ve been originally released and I liked that metaphorical trip back through time.

I may not have heard anything else from the band, but when I pulled the group’s second album Groovus Maximus out of ‘The Big Box of Cassettes’, I was game to see what I might discover for myself. Of course, this would be one of the rare occasions where the cassette involved would be playing for the first time. Yes, the cassette was still in its original wrapping. It was apparently bought from a Strawberries record store back in the day for the whopping price of $9.99.

The Electric Boys had kind of a hybrid sound, where they crossed their hard rock inclinations with a heaping helping of funk mixed in. It’s a sound that for the most part worked in their favor on this album.

The album opened with the title cut, the first of five straight fast moving rocker type tracks on Side One. The title track has what should be an expected great rhythmic feel to it. The vocals from Conny Bloom (who wrote all the songs on the album) grab you from the start and the song’s one line chorus is an immediate earworm.

The songs “Knee Deep In You” and “The Sky Is Crying” are superb offerings. Meanwhile, there seems to be a slightly grittier tone to the vocals on “Fire In The House”, a song that is definitely more metal than funk driven.

The song “Mary In The Mystery World” starts out with a misleadingly slow intro before the song then bursts out of the speakers in a cacophonous explosion of noisy rock and roll. The main lyrical verses to the song are a bit slower in delivery but the chorus moves quite a bit more lively. I was struck by just how much of a Cheap Trick vibe I got off of the song.

The last track on the first side of the album is the not quite a ballad song “Bed of Roses”. It is near enough to that song style but it does have a bit more of a pulse in terms of tempo. Unfortunately, the song didn’t quite fully endear itself to me.

So for the most part I enjoyed the first side of Groovus Maximus. I had great expectations when I flipped over the cassette for side two and initially that hope for greatness was rewarded.

The opening song of Side Two is the powerfully rocking track “She’s Into Something Heavy”. The album is kicked up another notch on “Bad Motherfunker” which has an incredible serving of guitar work, including a solo that I enjoyed quite a bit.

But I really had trouble getting into the pretty standard power ballad “Dying To Be Loved”. And while they are both somewhat frenetic rock songs, “When Love Explodes” and “Tambourine” were pedestrian tracks at best.

I will say that Groovus Maximus closes out on a high note though. “Tear It Up” is an all attitude song with a fantastic sound to it. I loved the second verse in the song, even though if they tried to put that into a song in today’s climate, they’d likely get a bunch of crap thrown at them.

The last song is an instrumental called “March of the Spirits”. I freely admit that I have my ups and downs when it comes to instrumental music at times but this cut was actually quite good and I would definitely recommend it.

As I researched the album, I learned that Groovus Maximus did not live up to label expectations when it was released. Of course, given that the release came as the grunge sound was taking over music, I don’t think anyone should’ve been surprised that this album didn’t set the sales chart ablaze. And while I do think the second side of the album is a bit of a letdown, overall I can’t help but say that I really enjoyed giving Electric Boys a full first deep listen. The band has a really good sound that appealed to me right off as I played the cassette. I definitely missed the boat on them the first time around but I’m glad that I am on board now.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Electric Boys split up in 1994 but got back together in 2009 and are still active to this day. Their seventh overall studio album is set to be released sometime in 2021 and will be called Ups!de Down.

During the time the band was on hiatus, singer Conny Bloom and bassist Andy Christell spent some time as members of Hanoi Rocks.

Magazine advertisement for Electric Boys’ Groovus Maximus

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – ALDO NOVA’S ‘BLOOD ON THE BRICKS’

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.

ALDO NOVA – BLOOD ON THE BRICKS (1991)

I don’t think it is that much of a shock to most music lovers that when you think of Aldo Nova, that thought likely begins and then ends pretty quickly with the hit song “Fantasy” from his self-titled debut album. It’s maybe a little unfair to sum up his career that way, but it isn’t exactly totally inaccurate either.

I have to put myself in this particular category as well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any other song from Nova until I pulled this album out of The Big Box of Cassettes to write this article.

But for all the prior lack of knowledge about Nova’s music, I can’t help but think that I really missed out by not having listened to Blood On The Bricks before now. The fact that this is the 30th anniversary of the album’s release makes it a perfect time to finally listen to it, I’d say.

The album contains a number of highly charged rockers, full of amped up guitar rock with keyboards adding depth to the overall sound. Throw in a couple of ballads that don’t make you want to puncture your ear drums and it turns out you have quite the overlooked album.

Blood On The Bricks opens up with the title track and it does the intended job of getting things going with a kinetic burst of energy. The song moves pretty fast, with melody aplenty. The song is pretty darn catchy too. It’s a perfect kind of single for the time of the album’s initial release.

The next couple of tracks on the first side of the tape are also full on rock and roll numbers. “Medicine Man” was the third of three singles released from the album and it’s damn good as well. But I really liked “Bang Bang” a whole lot too. It may not have the most original title but the actual song itself was just…COOL!

I mentioned that the album has a couple of power ballads. The song on Side One is called “Someday”. It was the second single released from the album. While it didn’t really make much noise on the singles chart, I thought it was a decent enough track. I was a bit surprised to find that I didn’t really get into the song “Young Love” all that much. It’s an okay sounding rocker (co-written by Bryan Adams collaborator Jim Vallance) but it just didn’t really do much to differentiate itself to me.

When you flip the tape over to Side Two, you get treated to another solidly rocking opening track in “Modern World”. Of the ten songs on the album, it is one of my favorites. There’s a great feeling of aggressively melodic rock and roll that helps sell the song to you.

While “This Ain’t Love” was a bit disappointing to me, the second power ballad, “Hey Ronnie (Veronica’s Song)”, more than made up for it. “Someday” was decent but this one found me really enjoying the fullness of the track each time I listened to it.

Blood On The Bricks closes out with a couple of straight on rockers. I thought “Touch of Madness” was decent but Aldo Nova definitely saved the best for the very last number on the album. The song “Bright Lights” is over six minutes long and it is an astoundingly great song! It is simply my favorite song on the album and I would definitely say that for me, I like it even better than “Fantasy”. If that’s a blasphemous statement for fans of Nova, so be it.

I’m definitely one of those people who would only think of the song “Fantasy” if someone had asked me anything about Aldo Nova. But after listening to Blood On The Bricks, it has become quite clear that there is a lot more to discover about the artist and this album is the definitive proof of that newfound belief.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The album was produced by Jon Bon Jovi and features Randy Jackson (the former American Idol judge) on bass. The Japanese edition of the album contains the bonus track “Dance of the Dead”. This was the first album in six years, the fourth overall album in the Aldo Nova’s discography. According to his Wikipedia page, three more albums (for a total of seven) have been released.

Kenny Aronoff, who spent 16 plus years recording and touring with John Mellencamp, performed all the drum tracks on Blood On The Bricks. Aronoff has had a lengthy and varied career having performed or recorded with everyone from Tony Iommi, Melissa Etheridge (the only time I’ve actually seen him perform live), Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mick Jagger and many more.

Aldo Nova has collaborated with a number of notable artists as a writer and producer. The biggest name among these is undoubtedly Celine Dion.

Magazine advertisement for Aldo Nova’s Blood on the Bricks

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “COMA” (1978)

On the final Friday of every month in 2021, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight some of the filming locations for Coma (1978), which was directed by Michael Crichton. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the movie while the photo underneath it is what the location looks like when I visited in November 2020.

The filming locations for those featured below were taken at the following addresses:

Photo 1: This is currently Boston Medical Center, located at 39 Worcester Square in Boston, MA.

Photos 2-4: The building used for the Jefferson Institute is located at 191 Spring Street in Lexington, MA. It is currently the offices of Mimecast and formerly Xerox.

The Cassette Chronicles – XYZ’s ‘Hungry’

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.

XYZ – HUNGRY (1991)

Like many, I first became aware of XYZ when their self-titled debut album was released in 1989. I remember seeing a magazine trade ad for the album and I was intrigued. After all in 1989, I was 18 and in my glory as a rock and metal fan.

That magazine ad stuck with me because I could swear that I remember seeing not only that Don Dokken had produced the album but that Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan being credited in the ad as having a hand in the production as well. But that appears not to be the case since it is just Dokken that got the credits. I’m guessing that it must be my faulty memory playing another trick on me.

I guess that I liked the album well enough, but the band didn’t really stick with me that much and they kind of faded from my playlist at the time. I know that the album disappeared from my collection as well. So it probably isn’t much of a surprise that I never bought the Hungry album.

I don’t even remember hearing the single release “Face Down In The Gutter” when the album got its 1991 release. I know now that there is a video for the song but I didn’t see that either. Apparently it didn’t get a lot of play on MTV at the time because of some controversy about the way women in the video were dressed.

When I pulled the Hungry album out of The Big Box of Cassettes, I was intrigued that I’d now discover what the band had to offer me in the album’s 30th anniversary year. And I’ve got to say that I came away pretty darn pleased!

The single is the opening song on the album and it’s got a fast paced rocking style. Overall, it is just a great sounding track and has a pretty catchy and memorable chorus. I liked it immediately.

Even more impressive to me was “Don’t Say No”. Like most of the songs on Hungry, it’s got an in your face aggressively rocking feel to it, but at the same time has a fantastic hook and great melodies. I’ve got to say that I really loved the guitar work from guitarist Marc Diglio. And though I’m sure it’s well established that Terry Ilous is a damn good singer, it is here that I really came to appreciate that fact for myself.

When it comes to cover songs, I’m both picky and fickle about what makes a good cover. And there are some bands that I don’t feel should be covered by anyone because you simply can’t do the original songs justice no matter how hard you try. One of those bands is Free. There’s just something about their music that defies replication in my mind. I don’t know why I feel that way but it also extends to Bad Company and I’m guessing part of the reason may be that I’m so loyal to the vocals of Paul Rodgers. However, I came away highly impressed with XYZ’s cover of “Fire And Water”, the title track of Free’s third album. It may not be exactly like the original but I thought this version really worked well.

The rest of Side One of the album is just as impressive with the songs “When The Night Comes Down”, “Off To The Sun” and the side closing “Feels Good”. That last song pretty much sums up how I felt after listening to the first side and spoiler alert…the album as a whole.

Side Two breaks through from the start with “Shake Down The Walls”. It’s got a rocking immediacy to it and I can just imagine being in the audience at a show and just pumping my fist in the air to this track.

You’ll note that as yet I’ve not described any song with the dreaded “power ballad” term. That ends quickly on Side Two with the song “When I Find Love”. While I’ve found some ballads in recent albums that I’ve actually enjoyed, this song will not be joining the list. While it checks all the expected boxes for a power ballad to be successful, it just seemed to set my teeth on edge.

The song “H.H. Boogie” is flat out awesome and a great showcase for Marc Diglio. There’s a swinging feel to the song’s tempo and everything about this song made me want to hear it over and over again. The band gets even more aggressively paced on the song “The Sun Also Rises In Hell”. The song really got my blood pumping as the band as a whole combined to put on a fantastic performance with this track. I love just how hard-edged the song sounds and along with “H.H. Boogie”, is among my favorite cuts on the album.

Hungry closes out on a continued roll with the songs “A Roll Of The Dice” and “Whiskey On A Heartache”. The two tracks are both rockers and continue to demonstrate that while I may have taken until this release marked its 30th anniversary to “discover” it, better late than never is definitely true.

Seriously, this album is a superbly entertaining release and I know that if the band ever returns to my area whenever lives concerts return, I’m going to be in the audience…fists pumping in belated but fervent fandom!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Hungry album failed to chart when it was released and led to the departure of guitarist Marc Diglio and drummer Paul Monroe. The band recruited new members Tony Marcus and Joey Shapiro for the tour and they are still in the current lineup today.

Personally, I thought the album cover art was a bit cartoonishly silly but I loved the “warning” in the liner notes saying that the recording may contain subliminal messages. The CD release of the album contains the bonus track “Two Wrongs Can Make A Right”. It isn’t on the cassette

Musician Jeff Paris co-wrote three of the songs on the album as well as co-arranged the band’s cover of “Fire And Water”. Over the course of his career he has written songs with and/or for Y&T, Lita Ford, Mr. Big and Vixen and others. He’s sometimes credited as Geoffrey Leib. Paris has released six solo albums as well.

Magazine advertisement for XYZs “Hungry.”

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – TOTO’S ‘ISOLATION’

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.

(WRITER’S NOTE: Welcome to the fifth year of The Cassette Chronicles. Thanks for continuing to read the articles in this series. Just a reminder that for the first six months of 2021, The Cassette Chronicles will be on a twice monthly schedule instead of the usual weekly one.)

TOTO – ISOLATION (1984)

In the interest of full disclosure, the only reason I bought the Isolation album oh so many years ago was on the basis of the lead single “Stranger In Town”. The song became a Top 30 hit but the problem with that is that two years after the Toto IV album, both the band and record label had far greater expectations for the song and album as a whole.

The song has a really catchy pop single feel to it and a lively guitar track as well. And since I was 13 years old at the time, the lyric containing the phrase “son of a bitch” was kind of forbidden fruit for some reason. No, I make no claims to being a great thinker at the time!

What I do remember about the album from when I originally listened to it is that I didn’t really care for the rest of the album. It was all about “Stranger In Town” for me and none of the other songs registered with me like that one did. I can’t even say if I’ve ever listened to the album in the decades since it was originally put out. So as I started listening to the album for this piece, I was surprised to find the first side rather entertaining. Funny how time and growing as a music fan alters opinions, eh?

The first four tracks, including “Stranger In Town” are fast paced rocking type songs. While the side ending “How Does It Feel” is more of a ballad and was released as a single, it didn’t make a dent in the charts. As for the songs “Carmen”, “Lion” and “Angel Don’t Cry”, each track might’ve lacked the pop chart bonafides, but they turned out to be perfect “album tracks”. Strong vocals combined with flashy guitar work and amplified keyboards made for a propulsive musical soundtrack.

The album featured three different people tackling the lead vocals. Fergie Frederiksen was the newest member of the lineup after the firing of singer Bobby Kimball (though Kimball is credited with providing “additional backing vocals” in the liner notes). Frederiksen sang lead on seven of Isolation’s tracks. Guitarist Steve Lukather was the lead on “How Does It Feel” and keyboardist David Paich sang lead on the “Stranger In Town” and “Holyanna” songs. He also sang co-lead vocals on the album opening “Carmen”.

The album’s second side started off with with “Endless”. This song was apparently the band’s choice for the first single but they got overruled by the record label. Still, it’s not a bad song and did eventually get released as a single in the UK in 1985.

The album’s title track is a bit more restrained in tempo at the start but the pace soon picks up. And it does pack in a strong guitar sound with a brief but effective solo too. “Mr. Friendly” was a vibrant little number that comes off to me as one of the stronger overall tracks on the album.

I really got into “Change of Heart”, which is driven by David Paich’s keyboards and the song has an uptempo and epic feel to it. I was also captivated by “Holyanna” which has not only a great musical sound but an interesting story in the lyrics as well.

As I said, when this album was first released, I bought it but found myself essentially uninterested in any of the songs other than “Stranger In Town”. But now that I’ve listened to this as a far better formed music fan, I can see that there was quite a few tracks that I should’ve enjoyed the last three plus decades or so. I didn’t know anything of the behind the scenes upheaval that seems to have affected the creation of the music at the time but whatever the reasons for the relative failure of the album’s commercial fortunes may be, I think Toto fans might just have to give Isolation a new evaluation. They just might find themselves as surprised as I was to see just what they may have missed the first time around.

NOTES OF INTEREST: While the Isolation album did eventually achieve gold status in the US, the prevailing school of thought was that the album was a commercial failure. Compounding matters further was the financially disastrous tour in support of the album. Rock Candy Records released a remastered edition of the album in 2015. It’s one of seven remasters the label has done with the band’s back catalog.

Besides the Isolation album, Toto was working on the soundtrack for the movie Dune. That album was also released in 1984. The first attempt at the cover art for Isolation was designed by the movie’s director David Lynch, but it wasn’t used.

The video for “Stranger In Town” featured actor Brad Dourif, who has had a lengthy career in TV and film. Some of his best known work includes One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Dune and Blue Velvet. He also played “Grima Wormtongue” in the Lord of the Rings film series. He also provided the voice of the murderous doll in the Chucky (a.k.a. Child’s Play) horror films. His TV work includes guest stints on Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5 and a co-starring role on Deadwood.