Category Archives: Cassette Chronicles



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.


With apologies to Angela Lansbury, the story of Metallica’s Master of Puppets album is a tale as old as time. Or at least as of just a few days before this article is posted online, a tale that started thirty-seven years ago.

Back in 1986, Metallica was coming off two well received albums that had taken the metal underground by storm. But I don’t think anyone was prepared for what the band would put forth on their third release. And that’s where I think we can leave off with any kind of in-depth recap of the history of the album and the band.

Yes, the band has sold at least six million copies of Master of Puppets. Yes, their bassist Cliff Burton died during the tour for the album. And yes, the album to this day remains not only a touchstone for the thrash metal genre but continues to be one of the most influential metal albums of all time.

There’s not much I can add to those facts and surely nothing I might come up with would likely be considered new information. So let’s just skip all that and head right into my own experience with the album and band.

The first thing you should know is that this is where I came to discover Metallica. I had never heard of, much less listened to, Kill ‘Em All or Ride The Lightning before getting into the band with Master of Puppets. I’m not sure where I heard it first, but my introduction to Metallica came courtesy of the song “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. It’s the last song on Side One of the cassette but it definitely was the first song I’d ever heard from the band. Come to think of it, it might’ve been Dr. Metal on 94 HJY’s “The Metal Zone” radio program where I first heard the song. I remember being taken with the way the song started off. I had no way of knowing when I first heard the song that the band’s songwriting had taken on a whole new dimension for Master of Puppets. But I did know that I loved the way Metallica created this creepy sound to give a depth of feeling to a song that I still marvel at. As the song’s vocal kicks in, things are moving in an insistent but methodical manner. But when you get to the chorus,  you can hear how things kick up and you wonder how long it will be before Metallica just blows off the slower side of their music to go full on blitzkrieg. You don’t have to wait all that long. As you get past the second chorus, the slower stylization on the song disappear and listeners get a full-throated roar from James Hetfield. Add in the explosive solo and killer overall extended outro and you have a song that is hard to beat.

I should mention that the cassette I’m listening to for this article happens to be the one I bought back in the day. And I can tell you that I remember hearing the opening strains of “Battery”, which starts off far slower and more deeply intense than the rest of the song, that when the song’s more untamed fury kicks off in full, it felt like you were being repeatedly punched in the face by an in his prime Mike Tyson. It was just savage the way you were buffetted by each new sonic attack in the song.

And there’s no let up on the album’s title track which still holds me entranced as it plays even now. It captures you and doesn’t let you go until the final notes.

Of course it isn’t all razor sharp guitars and rip snorting vocals either. No instead James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, the aforementioned Cliff Burton and Lars Ulrich, turn the pace of the album down a bit with “The Thing That Should Not Be”. If you think it sounds like the title of a horror movie or something, go with that feeling. While the pacing is far more stripped back in terms of speed, there’s still a strong current of ripsnorting fury employed in a noticeable but still somehow subtle manner.

And when you flip the tape over to Side Two, you are once again immersed into a relentlessly unforgiving metallic explosion. I’m not sure where the song “Disposable Heroes” ranks in Metallica’s catalog, but I know that when I was listening to the album all those years ago, this song did it for me. You don’t really get a chance to breath with this song. You listen to the guitar work alone and it’s like being hit with the kind of G-forces that keep you locked into your seat unable to move. But the way Hetfield blows the roof off with his vocals always gets me. He wrote all the lyrics to the songs and really killed it with the anti-war sentiments for this song. I still find myself singing along (badly) to the track whenever I listen to it and I’m amazed how powerful it remains still.

In the 80’s, it wasn’t exactly uncommon for metal bands to have an anti-religion song at some point along the way. Seems only fair considering how much religious charlatans made from attacking metal music at every turn. And that’s exactly what Metallica does with “Leper Messiah”. It’s still rather timely even now and nothing is spared in the lyrical tirade. And since I have no use for religion myself,  you can be assured that this song hit home with me both back then and even now.

Now, I’m not going to blow smoke here or anything but as much as I love this album, it took me a long time to really appreciate the song “Orion”. It all really boils down to the fact that at the time of the Master of Puppets release, I was not really a huge instrumental fan. Hell, it would probably still be a stretch to call me one now. Sure I like a lot more instrumental music now but it generally isn’t something I seek out FIRST. That said, as years passed, I became far more into the song. It’s essentially built around Cliff Burton’s bass playing but there’s so much going on in the song that hearing any lyrics might’ve taken away what everyone got to experience with the track being an instrumental.

The “Orion” song is over eight minutes long so at first, I needed the near masochistic thump of the album closing “Damage, Inc.” But the song is a lot more than just a relic of a pick-me-up impression I had a long time ago. It rockets the listener along yet another explosive shockwave of sonic fury. And as Hetfield rages vocally, you get Hammett, Burton and Ulrich thundering alongside of him until you are finally almost quite physically spent and welcome the end of the album because you need to rest up if you want to listen again.

When I decided to listen to the album in order to do this article, I realized that it had actually been a while since I had sat down to give it a good listen. Now more than ever, I’m glad I did. Because Metallica really did hit their stride perfectly on Master of Puppets. No matter what you think of how their career trajectory has gone since this album, the eight songs that comprise Master of Puppets did more for Metallica’s legacy than practically any other band in metal. It was a masterpiece then, it is a masterpiece now. Go on, dig it out and take another listen and be prepared to be hit with an unstoppable sense of shock and awe at just what this album accomplished.

NOTES OF INTEREST: I didn’t see Metallica in concert until the tour for the …And Justice For All album. But when they played songs from the Master of Puppets album, they just absolutely killed me in that live setting as much as the studio versions of the songs do even now.

I own a CD edition of Master of Puppets but I never got the 2017 box set or that digital reissue that is mentioned on the Wikipedia page for the album.



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.


If it is possible to love and album and still feel as if a large portion of it is fraudently credited, the self-titled debut album from Witness is definitely a candidate. While the band lineup for their sole release is listed as Debbie Davis on vocals, Joey Huffman on keyboards and guitars, Eddie Boyd on drums along with guitarist Damon Johnson and bassist Eddie Usher, both Johnson and Usher never played a note on the album. And almost the entire album was written by outside writers.

This has left me torn over the past few decades because I love the album but knowing the band’s creative contributions were relatively negligible is a thorn in my side. But setting that aside, the Witness album always entertains me when I pull it off the wall mounted cassette rack.

Released in 1988, there is a highly commercially accessible sound to the band’s rock and roll style. Which makes the fact that it pretty much sank like a stone upon its release particularly galling to me. I know I bought this in a store but I can’t remember if I knew about it beforehand or if it was one of those albums I bought on spec. I know the Side One track “Do It Till We Drop” with its highly-charged sexual lyrics sure made an impression on me back in the day. Of course, the case could be made that it was referring more to simply rocking out when everyone else didn’t want you to, but I was 17 when this album came out so I went with the sex overtones interpretation which has stuck with me to this day. That was the album’s single and it did apparently get some airplay on Headbanger’s Ball (though I don’t remember ever seeing it). The song is a slice of pure 80’s rock with a killer chorus that gets stronger with the big bold backing vocals behind Davis.

As for the rest of Side One, the album opens with the song “Show Me What You Got” and it is a surefire way to kick things off. It’s got an immediate earworm melody woven into the fast moving tempo of the music. You know, each time I listen to the album I just get a charge running through me. I know that the album is not very well known but as I move through each song, I come away impressed with how fantastic the music sounds and the great vocal performance from singer Debbie Davis. Plus, the lyrical content flows nicely and features some really great individual lines at times.

The song “Am I Wrong” (co-written by Michael Bolton) seems like it would be a ballad given it’s title but the song is anything but slow. Rather, it bursts out of your speakers and just kicks your butt. It’s a killer track start to finish, period.

The start of “Desperate Lover” is slightly slower in tempo at the start but that doesn’t last long and soon the sonic fireworks take over and suddenly you are bingeing on another choice hard rock gem. If you want a ballad, then the side closing song “Let Me Be The One” is for you. And hold on to your hats, it’s one for me too! Yes indeed, I actually quite enjoy this song a lot. It conveys the expected emotional content of the lyrics but doesn’t cross over into saccharine sweetness and thirty-five years later, still holds up rather well.

As for Side Two, things start off with a pretty interesting track. Yes, “You’re Not My Lover” is a pretty fantastic track but what really made this one interesting was its pedigree. While I believe I read somewhere that there was some contractual issue that forced them to be credited as the songwriters under pseudonyms, the track was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child. As for the song, it’s pretty damn good. It’s got a great hook and when you combine it with a killer chorus, this is a hit single worthy type of track.

While keyboardist Joey Huffman plays a big part of the music on each track, I thought he was most especially featured on “Jump Into The Fire”. Not only does his intro set up the song but his playing informs the rest of the music throughout the track.

Meanwhile, another song that could’ve or should’ve been a hit single is “When It Comes From The Heart”. It quickly establishes itself with a full on hard rocking pace and the performance gets into your blood. Debbie Davis sounds so damn good here.

On “Borrowed Time”, the music is so relentless all I could think of as a description of how the playing came off was “take no prisoners”. Just fast and powerful, you can’t help but feel energized as you listen to the song.

The album comes to a close with a straight ahead rocker called “Back To You”. It’s got the same kind of energy running through it as with most of the rest of the album and as the track hits the fade out, I was struck by how much I just wanted to start playing the album again.

My cassette copy of the Witness album is still in great shape and that is a good thing because I’m not sure it is all that widely available on CD. While I haven’t checked eBay in a good long while, I remember being shocked a number of years ago when some small record label had put it out on CD. My brother actually liked the album so I ended up getting it for him as a present for either his birthday or Christmas. Of course, it was an opportunity missed for me because I should’ve bought two copies so I had one for myself. I say that because soon that company was gone and I was out of luck.

Then I believe UK record label Rock Candy Records had announced they were going to reissue the album. They always do a great job with their reissues so I was excited to get the chance to buy it again. But for whatever reason, they ended up pulling the album before it ever got released. I wrote to the company asking why and while I don’t remember exactly what they said, I think it was some kind of rights issue. Occasionally, I still send them a message asking if they might get around to putting it out again.

You might ask why I keep doing that for an album that very few people likely even remember. But the simple fact is I think this is an absolute lost classic of 80’s melodic hard rock. People really missed the boat on Witness the band and Witness the album. If you have been paying attention above, I like every track on the album and for me, it is pretty much a perfect album. It sounds of its era but you just can’t go wrong with any of the songs on the album. This is an album that should’ve put Witness on the big stage and if you are a fan of this type of music, it needs to have an exalted place in your collection. I know it sure has that in mine!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The majority of the guitar playing on the Witness album seems to have been provided by Journey’s Neal Schon (who also co-wrote the songs “Borrowed Time” and “Back To You”)  , Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis and .38 Special’s Danny Chauncey. Journey drummer Steve Smith also appears on the album.

While guitarist Damon Johnson didn’t play on the album, he didn’t do too badly for himself after the breakup. He fronted his own band Brother Cane, was part of Alice Cooper’s band and played for both Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders. He also has a solo career. I saw him open for UFO and got to meet him after the show. I mentioned that I had this album and thought about bringing it but didn’t know if he would’ve wanted to sign it because he didn’t play on it. Surprisingly, he said that I should’ve brought it because he would’ve been glad to sign it.

Debbie Davis co-wrote three of the songs on the album. Keyboardist Joey Huffman was part of Brother Cane with Johnson and would also play with Matchbox 20 and Soul Asylum.

Former Europe guitarist Kee Marcello is thanked in the album liner notes, though its not clear what he was being thanked for.

The song “You’re Not My Lover” was first released by the Swedish hard rock band Dalton in 1987 on their album The Race Is On. The song is officially titled “You’re Not My Lover (But You Were Last Night)” on their version of the track.



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.


Spoiler alert! The Cinderella Heartbreak Station album is by far my favorite album from the band.

Now originally, that statement of fact was because I didn’t much care for the band’s first two albums (other than the hit singles) when they were first released. The Night Songs and Long Cold Winter releases never really found a home in my music-loving heart back in the day.

Of course, that changed when I wrote about both of those albums for this series back in 2018. As I listened to both of them for the pieces I was writing, I finally made the connection with the material that I wish I’d had back in the 1980s. Suddenly, I loved both albums a LOT!

But Heartbreak Station was still at the top of my album rankings for the band. However, it has been a little while since I took the time to listen to the album. I still own the original cassette I bought back in 1990 (though I also recently bought the album on CD as well), so I decided it was time to pull it off the wall mounted cassette rack and immerse myself once again in the album that found the band’s reconfigured sound compared to both Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones.

Any thoughts that I might feel differently about Heartbreak Station than I had in the past were pretty much immediately laid to rest. The side one opening “The More Things Change” was everywhere when the album was first released and it is an explosive hard rocking number that gets you fired up and sets the stage for what’s to come on the rest of the album. The pure stomp of “Sick For The Cure” also gets your heart racing too!

Meanwhile, the song “Shelter Me” was the band’s hit single from the album. It hit #36 overall and I loved the way the song was propelled by a solid musical score and some great incisive lyrics. The song started off a bit low key but then hits you with much more of a whallop as the song played through.

I mentioned that the album’s sound got compared to Aerosmith before and I think the strongest evidence of that is on the song “Love’s Got Me Doin’ Time”. It’s got a lively step to the music but there’s a funky vibe at the same time. And Tom Keifer’s vocals really do give off that Steven Tyler flare for the dramatic delivery too.

The other two songs on Side One lean more into the soft pedal delivery. The album’s title track is a power ballad of sorts. But with a solid sense of style and lacking in the watered down muck that is power ballad lyricism, the song remains both beautiful and strong even now. About halfway through the song, the music gets more intense but carries through with the reflective sounding lyrics to the end.

That kind of lyrical looking back is also infused into the song “One For Rock And Roll”. It’s not remotely a ballad, featuring a slightly restrained yet uptempo pace. The song just gives off a great vibe and the lyrics are a clear case of looking back at what was.

All in all, a strong six songs before you flip the cassette over and head on in to Side Two.

 If you were expecting Cinderella to kick off that second side of the album with another fists in the air hard rocking anthem, you would find yourself in for a bit of a twist. Instead, the band gives you “Dead Man’s Road”. And if you close  your eyes after hitting the play button, you will almost certainly find yourself feeling like you were listening to that music with a side of twang that features in almost every western movie. You can feel the wind blowing and the tumbleweeds passing by throughout the song, even though the music does change to a more uptempo style after the first lyrical verse of the track.

But if it is that electric charge of rock and roll you want, you are going to get it in spades on the song “Make Your Own Way”. Fast moving from the start, I loved the guitar work that fueled the music as a whole and the chorus was outstanding here.

While I still like  the song “Electric Love”, I found that as I listened to it for this article, the groove based rocker didn’t quite hit home with me as it has done in the past. I don’t know why I thought that way when I listened to the song but there it is.

Still, the album does close out high on the hog with two songs that really shine bright. You’ve got the blazing rocker “Love Gone Bad”. This one is made magic by the perfect combination of some smoking hot music and the biting and vicious sounding vocal delivery from Tom Keifer. Not that I didn’t love the song before now, but this one probably rose up in my favorite songs list because of how it came off to me now.

And then comes the song “Winds of Change”. It is similar in tone and style to the album’s title track. It’s got a restrained feel to it at first, kind of slow and deliberately paced. But the song draws you in. There’s a bit more musical drama set forth towards the end of the song but nothing that really calls to mind the word “rocking”. Instead, the album just fades out on a softer note but yet you feel satisfied nonetheless. It’s a great song and shows off (yet again) the balancing act Cinderella had down pat between their various song styles.

As I said at the start, the Heartbreak Station release is my favorite Cinderella album. While it may essentially cast off the glam rock stylings that were at least mostly prevalent from the first two albums, the blues rock sound that is threaded throughout this album is just plain badass in my eyes. Cinderella really hit their peak on this album and the album is still a great listen to this day. I agree with what Tom Keifer sings on “One For Rock and Roll”…”as long as I’ve got rock and roll, I’m forever young!”

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Heartbreak Station album ended up being certified platinum and hit #19 on the album chart. Singer Tom Keifer wrote all of the songs on his own except for the song “Love’s Got Me Doin’ Time”, which has a co-write credit for bassist Eric Brittingham.

Former Uriah Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley is credited for playing the organ on the songs “Sick For The Cure”, “Make Your Own Way” and “Love Gone Bad”.



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.


After releasing the Born in America album in 1983, Riot was absent from the metal scene until the 1988 album Thundersteel. But the band turned right around after that with the release of The Privilege of Power in 1990.

I’ve had only a passing acquaintance with most of the band’s catalog. Besides this and the Thundersteel album, the only Riot releases I’ve heard have been 1997’s Inishmore and 1999’s Sons of Society. And if I’m being honest, Inishmore was the only one I well and truly liked start to finish.

I had never heard The Privilege of Power before listening to it for this article. According to the Wikipedia listing, the album’s material is considered a bit more experimental than their past material and a bit of a concept album. Adding a horn section to a couple of songs doesn’t seem overly experimental to me but I guess I’ll let that slide. But as for the notion of this album being a concept album, I’m a bit mystified as to how. Riot does use a variety of audio clips to set the stage for most of the songs, but I’m not quite sure how that by itself makes it a concept release.

Side One features five songs bookended by tracks that showcase Riot’s ability to craft explosively fast metallic fury. On the opening track “On Your Knees”, the long audio clip intro was kind of wearying but once the music bursts out of your speakers, you are in for one hell of a ride musically. I loved the way this track got me pumped up big time. Sadly, I was brought back down to Earth a little bit because I wasn’t all that taken with singer Tony Moore’s vocals on this track.

For me, it seemed the soaring vocals were kind of lost in the mix at times and I found it a bit distracting.

But things quickly turned around with the next track “Metal Soldiers”. The pacing is a bit slower but still uptempo. The sound delivers quite a musical thump than an all-out blitkrieg. In all you get kind of an anthemic vibe from the track. And Tony Moore’s vocals are far more definitive here.

“Runaway” impressed me. The song starts off much, much slower. The guitar line accompanying the song through the first verse is incredible and it recurs throughout the song. After that first verse, the song moves towards a more uptempo peace with an impressive vocal turn.

Guitarist Mark Reale, who also produced and co-wrote seven of the ten tracks on The Privilege of Power is a beast on this record. The song “Killer” features a sizzling edgy riff. If that wasn’t enough to make the song cool, the use of the horn section gives an added heft to the musical score and the guest vocal appearance from Joe Lynn Turner further enlivens the track.

As I said, the first side of the album is bookended by songs that are similar in structure. “Dance of Death” is lightning fast. Much like “On Your Knees”, the music is just amazing. But once again, Tony Moore’s vocals gets lost in the mix again. I like his vocals in general but it seems whenever he had to hit the upper stratosphere of his vocal range, the music buried what he was singing at times.

The second side of The Privilege of Power opens with the song “Storming The Gates of Hell” and if ever a song lived up to its title, it would be this one. The pacing is relentless as Riot attacks every note of the song like it was actually storming those gates. I have to say I was getting a little psyched up as I listened to the song.

While Riot was exactly trying to court the reiging musical sound in 1990, I thought the track “Maryanne” came closest to sounding like a power ballad that you’d hear from any band that had struck it big with a similar type song. There’s a great sounding hook to the music and I thought the song’s lyrical content was pretty darn good as well. While “Little Miss Death” employed a far quicker pace, much like “Maryanne”, the song was made that much better with a strong vocal turn.

The last two songs on the album are both over 7 minutes long but not a note is wasted nor feels drawn out in the least. “Black Leather and Glittering Steel” starts off with an attacking tempo at the start and continues that non-stop explosiveness until the very last note. If you can’t feel yourself getting amped up as the song hits your eardrums, you have to get yourself checked out.

The closing song is actually an instrumental cover song. When I first read the song on the album’s track listing, I wondered how it would be serving as part of this supposed conceptual piece that The Privilege of Power is reputed to be. Well, I’m still not sold on that aspect of the album but I know that I found that Riot’s cover of the Al Di Meola song “Racing With the Devil On A Spanish Highway (Revisited)” made me worry less about a concept album and just jam out to how monstrously good this song sounded. I’m not exactly the biggest instrumental fan in the world but when I find a piece that I actually like, it really has struck a chord with me. Such is the case with this song. I’m going to seek out the original version so I can compare the two versions.

So in the final analysis, I had a slight issue with how singer Tony Moore’s vocals came out on a couple of the songs. Other than that, I would say that with The Privilege of Power, I have now found a companion piece to their Inishmore album. Yes, in a totally cliched way of complimenting the album, this was an album that was a privilege to listen to at long last.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Privilege of Power has been reissued twice. The first time came in 2003. The second reissue was as a vinyl combo with the Thundersteel album in 2013.

Drummer Bobby Jarzombek has played with a who’s who of metal bands including Fates Warning, Halford, Iced Earth and Sebastian Bach. He is currently part of country megastar George Strait’s Ace in the Hole backing band.

Guitarist Mark Reale passed away in 2011 due to complications from Crohn’s disease. The band has continued onward but they are currently known under the name Riot V.



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 7th year of The Cassette Chronicles series! I hope you enjoy this year’s batch of articles as much as the previous years and thanks for continuing to come back and read with each new published piece.)


It was nearly three years ago when I featured the Great White album Hooked for The Cassette Chronicles series. I had thought about doing another album from their discography but never quite got around to it.

But I finally got the urge to write about the band once again and I have a big purchase of CDs to thank for it. My local independent record shop has been making some huge CD collection purchases in recent months and I’ve been buying up a lot of what I could find that interested me. It’s a case of filling in holes in my collection. One of those buying trips saw me grabbing up a bunch of the Great White albums that I didn’t have beforehand. After I had wiped out what the shop had, I had a good portion of the band’s music. But I was missing their first two releases (as well as their last two). I really wanted to check out the early two so I wandered over to the cassette wall in the store and as luck would have it I found a copy of Shot in the Dark.

My memory may be playing tricks on me but I have a vague recollection of having once had a dubbed cassette copy of this album. But I don’t really remember thinking much of it at the time other than the song “Face The Day”. And it is long gone from the collection. So I now had the chance to give a much better listen to the album nearly 37 years after its original release.

What did I think? Well…it’s much, much better than I gave it credit for back in the 1980s.

The first side of the album opens with the song “She Shakes Me” and while I did think there was a bit too much of an echo chamber sound with the vocals from Jack Russell, it still comes out as a pretty hot rocking song. Fast paced and fuel injected, the song gets you fired up from the get-go.

As I was listening to “What Do You Do” I had a bit of trouble the first time around. I didn’t really get into the song. But on successive listens, I liked the way the song flowed rhythmically. It has a great uptempo drive to it and there’s a bit of a swinging swagger to the overall performance. This track ended up growing on me quickly.

Great White closed out the first side of Shot in the Dark with two cover tracks. The first is “Face The Day” which was originally done by The Angels. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the original version but I know that I love Great White’s version. It’s starts off a bit slow in the intro but the band quickly turns up the volume and pacing. Everything came together nicely and the song turned out to be an early classic track for them.

The second cover was of the Spencer Davis Group song “Gimme Some Lovin'”. I actually like the original version so I usually find that covers of songs I already like sometimes annoy me. That was not the case here though. While Great White’s version is seemingly a lot faster paced and way more “rocked” up, I think the band did a great job making their own version of the song.

For the second side of Shot in the Dark, the band kicks things off with the title track. And I thought it was kind of cool that the song’s intro is constructed so that it kind of reflects the album’s cover art. There’s a bit of a musical flourish after that before a slightly slower delivery is used for the vocals in the main lyrical sections. Of course, when the chorus comes in, so does a faster paced delivery of the vocals behind a musical score that gets more intense as well.

Though the song does feature more of an uptempo feel musically, the way the vocals are done for “Is Anybody There” give the song a darker and cinematic feel. It made for an interesting mix and therefore I was really digging the song a lot as I listened.

While “Run Away” starts off with more of a midtempo beat, the song grows into a much faster paced rocker over the course of the song.

The closing number is “Waiting For Love”. Now, I’m sure you will think this song is a ballad based on the song title. I know that I did. That might’ve given me some pause before the song started coming out of my speakers.

I’m a big fan of Great White’s “Save Your Love” and find it very hard for them to top that one with any other ballad track. (Though a couple of songs on the 1999 Can’t Get There From Here album comes pretty damn close.) The one time I saw Great White live, when they played “Save Your Love”, Jack Russell delivered such a performance that he held the crowd in his thrall and got a standing ovation for that rendition alone.

So you can understand my feelings of reluctance regarding “Waiting For Love”. And the song does start off in a ballad-like fashion. But after the first verse, instead of going towards the traditional and/or expected power ballad territory, the song abandons the balladry for a surprisingly effective mid-to-uptempo rocker. The lyrical content is still what you would find in a ballad but the more powerful soundtrack accompanying the vocals makes it a far better track than I was expecting at the start.

The liner notes for Shot in the Dark make note of the fact that the album was recorded in just 15 days. That probably accounts for the rawer feel to the sound of the release. But the quick recording process doesn’t diminish how good the songs turned out to be. I know that is speaking with a whole bunch of hindsight since I didn’t think much of the album when I first heard it back in the day. But time can help change an opinion when you have distance and a better grasp on things. And that’s definitely how I came to find that Great White’s Shot in the Dark is a fabulous listen, a look at the early days of the band just before they were about to explode in full on the music scene!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The version of the album I have is from Capitol Records. But Shot in the Dark was originally released by Telegraph Records. There are some differences between the two including slight title changes, different mixes and some slightly different music on certain songs. (Look up the album’s Wikipedia page for full details). The album got a remastered release on CD through Razor & Tie. The Japanese version of the CD has a cover of the Jimi Hendrix song “Red House” as a bonus track.

While Michael Lardie has been a longtime member of Great White, he’s only credited as an “additional musician” on Shot in the Dark with the band officially being a four piece at the time. This album was the debut of Audie Desbrow on drums.



How was your 2022? For me, there were some challenges. Those challenges ended up affecting just how much content I could produce for The Cassette Chronicles during my 6th year of writing the series here at Limelight Magazine.

The good news is that the albums I did get to write about provided some great musical experiences that I already knew and a bunch of a new experiences with albums I’d never heard until I decided to write about them for the series.

I’m hoping that 2023 sees not only a return to being able to produce some more articles and I get to head back to the concert halls as well. But until then, take a look back at ten albums I spotlighted this past year.

The Cassette Chronicles will return in January 2023 and once again, I thank everyone for taking the time to read the articles!

Please click on the cassette title to read the article.













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.


Since I hadn’t heard Y&T’s Endangered Species album before now, I wasn’t all that surprised that it took me a couple of listens before I came around to appreciating the album in full. But don’t think that means I didn’t like some of the material on the album from the start, it is just that there were a couple of songs that took that extra time to grow on me.

Of course, that doesn’t apply to the opening track “Hello, Hello (I’m Back Again)”. That is a full-on powerful monster rock track. When the song is in full gear, the full band is ready to blow the metaphorical roof of the place, and Dave Meniketti’s vocals get right up in your face. It’s just a killer track and given Meniketti’s recent health issues, I would love to see this song as an opening number for a concert tour. A kind of serving notice to the rock world kind of thing.

The follow-up track “Black Gold” is another ballsy sounding rocker but rather than a full out blitz of a musical soundtrack, this one develops more of a burning groove sound that endears itself to the listener pretty quickly. The song’s extended musical outro was fantastically interesting to me. Of course, the more full-on rocking style returns on “Gimme The Beat” with Y&T as a whole simply on fire from start to finish.

“God Only Knows” is a power ballad type of song, but I thought it had more of an emphasis on the “power” side of things throughout most of the track. I liked the song but definitely found myself enjoying it more when the band was more forthright in their delivery.

I’m not sure if it is my ears playing tricks on me or not but when the band gets to rocking out on the song “Sumthin’ 4 Nuth’n”, I thought the sound had a little extra bit of grittiness to not only the music but to Meniketti’s vocals as well. Whatever it was, this was definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s just got a great feel overall and I liked the way everything just seemed to come together perfectly for this one.

As for the Side One closer “Still Falling”, the band did mess with expectations a bit. The song does start off as a ballad, but Y&T quickly turn away from the slower feel and turn the track into a crushing rocker.

Side 2 of Endangered Species wastes no time in getting down to the business of rocking your socks off! The song “Voices” explodes from your speakers and if you were expecting to experience any kind of doldrums, abandon those hopes. Because Y&T is just on fire throughout this song.

The song “I Wanna Cry” was one of the songs that took me a bit to appreciate. The song has a mid-tempo pace throughout. Almost as if Y&T were trying to play the song under the radar or something. But when the chorus for the song comes around, the intensity of the delivery increases and suddenly, even if for just a few seconds here and there, the track just bursts with a fireball of intensity.

The song “Sail On By” was the one song from Endangered Species that was played during the Y&T concert I saw back in 2019, the show that converted me into a fan.  I described it in a review of the show I did as being very cool. And as I listened to the studio version here, I was once again struck by just how cool the song sounded to me. It bounces along in a mid-to-uptempo style and that slightly nostalgic set of lyrics really grabs me each time I hear the song. I just can’t get enough of this song.

Y&T gets back into their more explosive rock and roll side with “Can’t Stop The Rain”. There’s a great guitar sound and there is just a killer feel to the song in its entirety. My notes for this article included the notation “Killer Track” and there’s just no better way to sum it up.

The song “Try To Believe” starts off a little slower in tempo but that changes as the song plays out. It has a great feel to it and I found myself enjoying quite a bit. But what really surprised me was the album closing “Rocco”. It’s listed as a bonus track online but there’s no indication of it on the cassette itself. However, the fact that this is an instrumental track that actually really “worked” for me was perhaps the biggest surprise of them all for me.

I am continually amazed on two fronts when it comes to Y&T. The first part is that I spent so much time pretty much ignoring the band’s music. And the second part is that each time I check out one of their studio albums, I come away just that much more impressed with what they accomplished. And that ends up being the case once again with Endangered Species. Yes, it did take me a couple listens to really sink my teeth into the album as a whole, but once I got there…DAMN this is such a fantastic album!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Endangered Species album would be the last studio release for Y&T until 2010’s Facemelter.

The UK version of the album has the track listing in a different order than the US release. The Japanese edition has a thirteenth track, an acoustic rendition of “Hands Of Time”, listed as a bonus track.

Bassist Phil Kennemore, who passed away in 2011, wrote the track-by-track notes for each song on the Endangered Species liner notes.



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.


You would think I’d stop being surprised by this, but after listening to the Kik Tracee album No Rules for the first time ever, I was struck by how good this turned out to be. Of course, since they were among the third generation of glam bands in the 1980s / early 1990s heyday of metal music, they pretty much disappeared without a trace once grunge took over the music scene.

But that doesn’t invalidate No Rules as a damn fine album. In fact, the album had enough going for it that had it been released earlier in the 80s, they just might have made a far greater impression on the scene.

The first side of the album opens with the song “Don’t Need Rules”, which a a humdinger of a rock and roll number with which to kick things off with. I found myself loving the vocals from Stephen Shareaux from the start. He had both grit and gravitas threaded throughout his performance. And the guitar work on a bunch of the songs was phenomenal. The song “You’re So Strange” starts off with more of a moderate pace but grows into more of a blown out rocker and the solo in the song really stands out. Guitarist Michael Marquis had some chops!

The song that really got me fully embedded with the band’s sound was the full bore rocker “Trash City”. There’s something about the way this song flows that really had me wanting to pump my fists in the air. “Hard Time” is another fantastic rocker that kept my energy level flying high throughout the song.

Sadly,  the first side of No Rules has a catastrophic mis-step on it that initially had me wondering what the hell the band was thinking…and then what the label people were thinking by letting the band record and release their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”. I’ll give the song some credit by having a compelling twist to the upgraded tempo of the music, but I hated the way the vocals came out and no matter how much I might have appreciated the music, it was just a total failure to my ears overall.

But that’s the only mistake I felt Kik Tracee had on the first side of the album. Hell, even their ballad is amazing. It’s called “Big Western Sky” and I thought it was just an instant ear grabbing track for me. It has a scope and death to the music that fits the images conjured in my mind by the song’s title. And since Kik Tracee had been referred to as a clone of Guns N’ Roses, I thought this song was where I first heard Shareaux’s vocals sound significantly like Axl Rose. But I didn’t consider it a bad thing necessarily because the song is just so damn good.

As for Side Two, I did tend to enjoy the music here as well. But the closing track, the 43 second “Fade Dunaway”, was kind of useless piffle for me.

But the album side did start out rather nicely. The song “Generation Express” has a brief slow intro that then launches into a fast moving and blazingly paced rocking soundtrack. And it is DAMN CATCHY too!

I have to admit, I got a little distracted the first time I listened to the album so I had to go back and listen to the next three songs on Side Two again. I was at work and my attention to detail had to be a little more focused on a task I was doing while listening to the album. But once I gave those songs my full attention, I found that “Soul Shaker” was a stunningly great track. It actually does showcase more of soulful vocal turn (combined with the requisite rock and roll fuel mixed in of course). It’s a song that has a lot going for it and it needs to be heard by a larger audience. I loved the rocker “Tangerine Man” a lot as well.

The song “Lost” goes for more of a midtempo feel, though I wouldn’t quite call it a ballad. The song starts out mostly with vocals and guitars and pretty much stays that way the whole way through. But the more in-your-face rock returns with “Velvet Crush”, a song that has a real hard driving stomp to it. And the song “Rattlesnake Eyes (Strawberry Jam)” was a blazing rocker that caught my ear right from the start. Definitely one of the best individual tracks on the album.

Kik Tracee may not have made too much of a mark on the latter part of heavy metal’s decade of dominance but looking back at the No Rules album with the benefit of three decades of hindsight, this album has almost everything you could possibly want in rock/metal release of the early 1990s. And the band does it with almost effortless aplomb. Yes, I’d like to wipe their cover of “Mrs. Robinson” from my brain but otherwise, there is no doubt here that No Rules is a flat out fantastic album that definitely should be given a new listen by many a music fan.

NOTES OF INTEREST – The album was produced by Slaughter bassist Dana Strum. While the No Rules album was the band’s only official studio release, they had been working on an album called Center of a Tension when they broke up in 1993. The album remains unfinished.

There was a 2-disc compilation called Big Western Sky (recycling a song title on No Rules for the album’s title) released in 1997 that had demos, rarities and B-sides. There was also an EP called Field Trip that had been released in 1992.

Kik Tracee bassist Rob Grad appeared (with his new band Superfine) on a 1997 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.



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.


For an exceedingly long time now I’ve found that while I liked the various Alice Cooper songs that got airplay either on classic rock radio stations like 94 HJY in Providence, RI or had their big moment in the sun as videos on MTV during the 1980s, I had never found my way to actually owning any Alice Cooper albums. I had even seen him twice in concert without picking up any releases.

That changed when the album Paranormal was released back in 2017. I had reviewed that album for another website and had a blast listening to it. Then I had gotten a copy of The Last Temptation release on cassette for an as yet unwritten article in this series.

Recently, I bought some CDs from an online friend and the Trash and Hey Stoopid albums were included in that small lot.

So it was kind of funny when Limelight co-grand poobah Jay Kenney picked up the Constrictor album on a buying trip and sent it to me with the suggestion to write about it to coincide with Halloween. I mean, it is kind of perfect. The ultimate “shock rocker” fits the whole Halloween vibe. And this piece is going live four days before the big sugar rush day.

Since I had never heard the album before, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever heard anything from it. As it turned out I had heard a couple of tracks in the past but certainly not in a large number of years.

In fact, I think the most notable thing about this album for me back in the day would’ve been the addition of guitarist Kane Roberts. Constrictor was his first album with the band, and given how muscle bound he was, Roberts (no relation by the way) certainly would’ve made quite the visual impression. But what I didn’t know until I looked at the album’s track listing online is that he co-wrote all the songs on Constrictor with Alice Cooper. There were four songs that included one other co-writer as well but essentially the album was a Cooper/Roberts creation.

But how were the songs in terms of quality? The answer is: Pretty Damn Good!

The album opens with the song “Teenage Frankenstein”. It’s one of the two tracks I remembered and it kickstarts the album off quite nicely. The rocking track has a great hook and I really enjoyed the flow of the lyrical content as well. It’s one of two songs that were featured on the Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives soundtrack but stands on its own superbly.

The entire album is a full-on rocking affair, no ballads need apply here. And that’s a good thing. I really liked how the band just kept the adrenaline flowing from track to track and kept me as a listener on a high flying level of enjoyment.

As for the other songs on Side One, I thought “Give It Up” was a pure blazing number with its racing tempo. Meanwhile, “Life And Death Of The Party” and “Simple Disobedience” both were fueled by an electric sense of attitude. 

I will say that I thought the title of “Thrill My Gorilla” was silly and/or stupid sounding but there’s something about the performance and how charged it is that found me rocking out each time I listened to the track.

Moving on to Side Two of Constrictor, the song “The World Needs Guts” has a seemingly very pointed lyrical take combined with a fantastic soundtrack behind Alice Cooper’s vocals. This killer track is further enhanced by an incredible sounding guitar solo that I really dug.

The song “Trick Bag” was a fast moving number that has its moments but it was the song “Crawlin'” that really caught my ear. It resonated strongly with me for some reason. It’s an impassioned rocker that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It has a simple yet catchy chorus and I played this track a few extra times above and beyond playing through the album to write this article.

The song “The Great American Success Story” is relentlessly paced with Alice Cooper and company just bursting out of the speakers like a bomb and doing their own kind of shake, rattling and rolling through this track. 

And then comes the closing track which is the second of the two tracks I was previously familiar with beforehand. “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” served as the theme for the Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives movie and I’m pretty sure that’s where I had actually heard it from. Either that or I saw the video for it. Either way, I remember liking the song back in the day. While I do still like it now, I noticed that while the other songs on Constrictor are strongly defined by an aggressive and all-out guitar driven attack, this track is completely different in construction and tone. It is almost out of place here because the song is driven more by keyboards than guitar. Again, it isn’t a bad song but after nine songs of guitar rock, the track just took me by surprise with the change in song style.

While I haven’t launched a full fledged campaign to purchase every album from Alice Cooper, I have now found that every time I pick up one of the band’s releases (at long last), I go for one hell of a damn good musical ride. Constrictor easily continues that streak with a solid combination of a great performance from both Alice Cooper himself as well as the hot new guitarist (back in 1986, I mean) Kane Roberts. In short, I loved this album!

NOTES OF INTEREST: This was the 9th studio album from Alice Cooper and besides the introduction of guitarist Kane Roberts, Constrictor was the first album to feature Kip Winger on bass. Also, drummer David Rosenberg made his first and only recording appearance with the band too.

“Teenage Frankenstein” and “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” were the two songs featured on that Friday The 13th movie but there was a third song written for the movie called “Hard Rock Summer”. However, it was never commercially released until the 1999 release The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper.

“The Great American Success Story” track was supposed to be for the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back To School, but the song ended up not being used for the soundtrack.



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.


A little over five years ago, I wrote about John Parr’s second album Running The Endless Mile. In that piece, I mentioned that my plan had been to write about Parr’s self-titled debut album instead but the player ate the tape before I could hear the whole album.

Wouldn’t you know it, I tracked down a new copy of the album on cassette (at long last) and can finally do the article I had planned on five years ago. The funny thing is as I was preparing to listen to the album, even with the deadline looming, I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to do the piece. I had considered pushing the article back and just write about a different album. And then Parr’s monster hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” came on the radio station I have to listen to at work. I took it as a sign to cowboy up and get busy listening and writing.

There were three songs that were released as singles from the John Parr album and the sequencing was such that they are the first three songs on the album as well.

I think anyone that was listening to Top-40 radio in the 1980’s is likely quite familiar with the song “Naughty Naughty”, but before we get to that one I thought the other two singles would be interesting to talk about. Neither “Magical” or “Love Grammar” made much of a dent on the singles chart so it’s not surprising that I can’t recall ever hearing either song.

But they do both prove worthwhile some 38 years after they were originally released. “Magical” was co-written by Meatloaf (who Parr had worked with on the former’s Bad Attitude album. It’s a lively little number drenched in part with sexual imagery and a pretty strong vocal take from John Parr. It took me a couple of listens but I really got into the song’s rocking tempo.

As for “Love Grammar”, I found it to be an interesting yet weird song. It starts off as a ballad but as the song launches into the chorus, Parr almost seems like he’s yelling that part of the track. Keyboards play a big role throughout the album but their presence here is immense. It’s also the first song I can ever remember hearing that used actual rules of grammar as song lyrics (not counting “Weird” Al Yankovic’s song “Word Crimes”). While the song overall was decent, I thought it worked much better when the pacing was more uptempo.

And now we can talk about “Naughty Naughty”. The odd thing is that while I’ve heard this song many times over the past four decades, I thought it was a bit more successful than it actually was. Sure, it was a Top-40 hit, but I never realized that it only hit #23 as a single. Given how much I liked the song then and still get a charge whenever I hear it now, I was surprised to say the least. The song has a great hook to it and a solidly rocking driving beat. Even as I was listening to it for this article, I got a charge when the opening part of the song started playing. It’s just a damn good song that brings me back to a particular time and place when I listen to the track.

The last two songs on the first side of the album proved to be another kind of challenge for me. That’s because the start of both “Treat Me Like An Animal” and “She’s Gonna Love You To Death” started out in kind of a mid-paced groove. And neither song was proving all that intriguing to me. But a funny thing happened along the way. Each track got more upbeat as it progressed and the soundtrack for each one started drawing me back in. It took a little work but I ended up liking each track.

And then you flip over the cassette for Side Two and come to a screeching halt right off the bat. While the song “Revenge” is pretty much a rocking style of song, this one simply never came together for me and it would definitely be a skip track for me on any future plays of the album.

As for the song “Heartbreaker”, I liked a good majority of the song. The main lyrical passages really grab your ear. But I was left utterly cold by the song’s chorus. It falls flat largely due to the way John Parr’s vocals are performed. They seem entirely too soft in comparison to the rest of the song. I should point out that I did love the guitar solo in “Heartbreaker” though.

Call me crazy but if I’d heard this album back in 1984, I would’ve been all over the song “Somebody Stole My Thunder”. The intro is a very driving rock sound. As the vocals kick in, the pace slows down a bit before getting a little more fiery for the chorus and packing another great rock punch. I’d call this one of my favorites for sure.

The album closes with the song “Don’t Leave Your Mark On Me”. This track really seemed to be going on a different path than the rest of the songs on the album. It’s got a slightly darker tone to both the music and the lyrical content and as the song plays, Parr’s vocals enliven the song that much more. I’m not quite sure I know what the intent of the song and the lyrics were, even after looking them up online. But what I do know is that the song definitely made its mark on me.

While I wasn’t crazy about the whole package that was the Running The Endless Mile album, John Parr’s self-titled debut album sure seemed to have a lot going for it. It may have run completely under the radar save for the hit single “Naughty Naughty” but there’s plenty of solid music throughout the album and I think fans of 80’s pop rock will find it time well spent if they give this album a spin.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The 1985 UK release of the John Parr album added the “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” track to the album. It doesn’t appear on the US release that I have given that the song wasn’t even recorded at the time, so far as I know.

Toto’s Simon Phillips plays drums on two songs while his bandmates Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro all make guest appearances as well.