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THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – DIRTY LOOKS ‘TURN OF THE SCREW’

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.

DIRTY LOOKS – TURN OF THE SCREW (1989)

In 1989, rock and metal was still in the midst of its decade plus run of glory years. I was 18 and enjoying not only the soon to occur release from the shackles of high school life, but musically speaking it felt like I was in the prime years of my fandom as well.

But as always seems to occur writing this series, despite knowing so much about the music of my teen years, I always seem to learn that there was still so much that I both didn’t know and completely missed out on.

Such is the case with the band Dirty Looks. The band with a heavily AC/DC like sound (though as I listened to this album, I got a huge Kix vibe as well) had gotten some pretty big notices with their 1988 album Cool From The Wire and the single “Oh Ruby”. While I knew the band existed, I only have a vague recollection of that song and I can’t say that I ever really paid much attention to them.

So when I pulled this album out of The Big Box of Cassettes, I knew that I would be in for pretty much a brand new listening experience. And I have to say, I came away pretty impressed by what I heard.

The first side of the album is a raucously entertaining rock and roll show. The six songs on Side One are all hard rocking in nature. The album opens with the instantly affecting “Turn Of The Screw (Who’s Screwing You)”. The song has all the earmarks for a rocking single from the 1980’s. There’s a big vocal, massive guitars and just a hook laden chorus that will soon have you singing along. The same could be said for the next track “Nobody Rides For Free”, which has that same kind of melodic driving rock feel combined with a big backing vocal sound for the song’s chorus.

I’m a fan of the thrash metal band Overkill. One of the things I really enjoy about some of their songs is the way the pace is so unrelentingly fast that the only way to make the vocals keep up with the music is to deliver them with a machine gun rapid fire pace. While Overkill and Dirty Looks are far apart in musical styles, that machine gun delivery shows up on the song “C’Mon Frenchie”. It’s the most balls out aggressive track on the first side and that unrelenting (yet still full of melody) delivery of both the music and vocals made this track really hit home for me.

The main lyrical passages for “Take What Ya Get” are delivered in a slightly more restrained vocal tone with the soundtrack remaining fully uptempo. The intensity of the vocals picks up immensely during the chorus. The rhythmic feel of “Hot Flash Jelly Roll” helps offset what even the most ardent Dirty Looks fan has to admit is just a goofy song title.

The first side of the album closes out on the hard-charging “Always A Loser” which also manages to whet the appetite for what’s to come on Side Two.

But a funny thing happened on the way to flipping over the cassette to Side Two. I found it a little harder to fully get into the five songs on that side the first time I listened to the album. I don’t know what the problem was but my mind seemed to wander in and out and I know that I didn’t get to appreciate the material enough to write about it after just one listen.

Of course, once I focused and listened again, a clearer picture emerged and it turned out that Side Two was damn good too. It opens with the song “L.A. Anna” which is a lively paced rocker. The first time through I thought the main lyrical passages were great but that the chorus was a little muddied in the mix. As it turns out, my ears must’ve been playing tricks on me because that actually wasn’t the case. I will say that I thought the song’s fade out was a little weakness for the track as a whole but still, I did enjoy the song.

The song “Slammin’ To The Big Beat” was just a flat out great song with a huge hook to draw you in while “Love Screams” is fast rocking with a kicking musical pallet and a big vocal sound. The solo for the song was particularly noteworthy to me.

The band’s “power ballad” song “Go Away” breaks up the album’s full-on rocking nature but the song isn’t all that bad when it focuses more on the power part of the song style’s description.

And when the band closes out the album with a teeth-gnashingly aggressive “Have Some Balls”, it just confirms that Turn Of The Screw stands up as one immensely entertaining album of gritty, aggressive and melodic hard rock and amply demonstrates just how much I’ve missed the boat on Dirty Looks!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The album’s producer was Jon Janson. According to what I was able to find online, his name is actually John Jansen and he’s had a hell of a varied career as a producer (among other jobs) in both rock and pop music. Among his credits (as a producer or otherwise) are the artists Jimi Hendrix, Warrant, Cinderella, Britny Fox, Billy Squier, Meatloaf, Barry Manilow, Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler.

Beau Hill was the original choice to produce Turn Of The Screw but the band didn’t like the way he was making them sound so the two parties parted ways.

Some of the percussion on the album is credited to “Buddy Love” but on the minimal liner notes for the cassette it says he appears courtesy of Frankie La Rocka. I knew I recognized that name but it took me a minute to place it. He was the drummer for the band Scandal (I wrote about them in previous article in this series). It turns out La Rocka used the Buddy Love alias to appear on some recordings including Turn Of The Screw.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – RATT’S ‘REACH FOR THE SKY’

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 – REACH FOR THE SKY (1988)

As I’ve continued “discovering” the Ratt back catalog the last few weeks, I’ve mentioned in articles how their Reach For The Sky album was one of only two Ratt albums I had in my collection. And given that my copy of this album was a dubbed copy, I think I only get half credit for it.

Now that I have a real copy of the tape in my possession, it seems like the perfect time to give the album a new listen. While I had that dubbed copy all these years, I don’t think I’ve really listened to it much, if at all, since I first got my hands on it.

I was interested to see just what it was about this album that made me dub a copy of it from a friend of mine back in 1988. I knew that I loved the two songs (“Way Cool Jr.” and “I Want A Woman”) as I heard them on the radio and saw their videos on MTV. But was there more to it than those two songs?

As I listened to Side One of the album, I started to think that perhaps that it was the two singles that made up the entire reason I wanted the album. “Way Cool Jr.” is still a good song though I wasn’t quite as captivated by it as I was back then. But man, “I Want A Woman” holds up stunningly well. I loved the song then and that feeling remains the same after listening to it for this article. The chorus flows perfectly and I really dug the various turns of phrase for the rest of the lyrical content. I’d go so far as saying that if I was making a list of my all-time favorite Ratt songs, this one would definitely make the list.

But I was somewhat taken aback by the rest of the songs on Side One. While the opening song “City To City” and “Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds” are decent enough songs, they didn’t really stir up fond recollections for me or anything. As for the album’s sole ballad track, “I Want To Love You Tonight”, did absolutely nothing for me. Even the fact that it featured far more of a power driven musical score than the softer ballad pacing, it just falls completely flat on my ears.

So after Side One finished, I have to say I was thinking that Side Two might continue the slight letdown I was feeling.

But Ratt struck like a bolt of lightning out of the blue with the opening “Chain Reaction”. The song is a blazing rocker that has a killer sound to it and I just loved how the song turned out. It sees the band shining more of a spotlight on the faster and more aggressive side of their music.

I should point out that as I listened to this side of the album, I found that I had very little memory of each of the five included tracks. So it was almost like a completely new listen for me. But as I moved through each song, it became pretty clear that I just flat out loved this side of the album a LOT!

The songs “No Surprise” and “What’s It Gonna Be” are solidly uptempo numbers that get you hooked quickly and the rocker “Bottom Line” has a great chorus with a nice melodic hook of its own. The album finishing track “What I’m After” is pretty damn fantastic all on its own too but I really liked the track’s guitar solo as well.

The fact that I had a completely different reaction to those three non-single tracks on the first side of Ratt’s Reach For The Sky is something I’m chalking up to the passage of time giving me a different perspective on those individual tracks. But what I do know is that the album has plenty of music that will give listeners a continued jolt of excitement. The two singles will always draw in the fans but what really got me was rediscovering the great music that is contained on Side Two of the album. Go ahead and take a new listen to Reach For The Sky and I think you’ll agree!

NOTES OF INTEREST: While the album did go platinum, the general reception for Reach For The Sky seemed to be less than what the band had been hoping for. Their supporting tour was a relatively short seven months. When Ratt’s next album (Detonator) was released, the B-side for the first single “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job” featured the Reach For The Sky song “What’s It Gonna Be”. According to the album’s Wikipedia entry, this was done in a bid to get fans to go back and check out Reach For The Sky.

The original plan was to have Mike Stone produce the entire album but due to recording issues, Beau Hill was brought in as a co-producer to “salvage” the material. It would be the last album Hill would be involved with for Ratt. He also co-wrote six of the album’s eleven tracks.

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “A QUIET PLACE” (2018)

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 A Quiet Place (2018), which was directed by John Krasinski. 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 October 2020. These photos were taken in Pawling and New Paltz, NY.

CHERYL WHEELER RETURNS TO THE SPIRE CENTER IN PLYMOUTH, MA

PLYMOUTH – Cheryl Wheeler, a folk icon who must be seen to be appreciated, will perform at The Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth, Mass., on Friday, October 15, 2021, at 8 p.m. This show is presented by JKB Management and Booking. Tickets are available through the venue’s website by clicking HERE.

Wheeler is known for her gifted songwriting, beautiful voice, and entertaining stage presence.

Even if you are not already familiar with Wheeler, you’ve probably already heard her music. Mixing keen insight with humor and pathos, her songs have been covered by artists like Peter, Paul and Mary, Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Bette Midler, and more.

From other people’s comments about her, you learn that she is a natural storyteller with a fantastic sense of humor. But until you see her in person, you never really believe what you’ve been told about her. Interestingly enough, almost half of the songs she performs during her shows have never been recorded!

Her first public performance was at a Hootenanny when she was 12. She started writing her own songs when she was 17. Her funny stories between songs reveal her talent for diversity. Each time she tells a story, it will be a little bit different, so even if you’ve heard it before, you still find yourself laughing.

The Spire is located at 25 ½ Court Street in Plymouth. The venue features superior acoustics, custom state of the art lighting and sound systems and original period architectural details, offering patrons an exceptional performing arts experience.

Advance tickets are available through the venue’s website by clicking HERE.

2021 LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS

This afternoon’s Limelight Magazine Music Awards at the Vault Music Hall in New Bedford, MA, was the first to air exclusively on YouTube with a limited, in-person audience following Covid-19 indoor protocols for events in restaurants. Click HERE to watch the video.

We’d like to thank our friends Stormstress for hosting the ceremony, blindspot, Kala Farnham, Jay Psaros, and Prateek for pre-recording their live performances, the radio DJs who helped spread the word about the event, Vault Music Hall for allowing us to use their facility, and everyone who took the time out of their schedules to either watch online or attend in person despite the Covid-19 protocols.

Furthermore, we’d like to acknowledge one last time New Bedford City Councilor Ian Abreu and the New England Music Awards for being the primary sponsors for this event as well as Music Go Round, Athena’s by Michelle M., Boston Rock Radio, East Coast Alice – The Ultimate Alice Cooper Experience, Kokopelli Realty, Rick’s Music World, Seth’s Rock Report, Shell Shock Acoustic, Soundcheck Studios, Taylespun Studio Contemporary Fine Art, Underground Recording Co., Don Burton Media, Purchase Street Records, and the Vault Music Hall for sponsoring the individual awards.

– Jay & Katie, Co-Owners, Limelight Magazine/JKB Entertainment Group

Here’s the final run down of all the nominees, including the winners and runner ups. Congratulations to everyone listed on this ballot!

Album/EP of the Year (Group)  (Sponsored by Purchase Street Records)

  • Bad Marriage – Bad Marriage [WINNER]
  • The Blue Ribbons – Thoughts and Prayers
  • The DayBreakers – Worn Out Dream
  • First Bourne – Pick Up The Torch
  • Red Reveal – Red Reveal
  • Renegade Cartel – Dear World [RUNNER UP]
  • Special Guests – Alumninaughty
  • The Varsity Club – Cobblestones

Album/EP of the Year(Solo Artist)  (Sponsored by Underground Recording Co.)

  • Katie Dobbins – There is Light [WINNER]
  • Carissa Johnson – A Hundred Restless Thoughts [RUNNER UP]
  • Brandon Manter – Off My Mind
  • Amanda McCarthy – Road Trip
  • Grace Morrison – Reasons
  • Monica Rizzio – Sunshine is Free
  • Brian Sances – All My Might
  • Jennifer Truesdale – Trough the Circle

Band of the Year (Sponsored by Music Go Round)

  • Bad Marriage [WINNER]
  • Crooked Coast
  • The DayBreakers
  • The Devils Twins
  • First Bourne
  • Lily Black [RUNNER UP]
  • Exit 18
  • Moment of Clarity

Country Artist of the Year  (Sponsored by Vault Music Hall)

  • Back Rhodes
  • Houston Bernard Band
  • Blame the Whiskey [WINNER]
  • Annie Brobst
  • Darren Bissette Band
  • April Cushman [RUNNER UP]
  • Martin and Kelly
  • Carly Tefft

Female Vocalist of the Year (Sponsored by Athena’s by Michelle M)

  • Giuliana Amaral (of Band, Inc.) [WINNER]
  • Gianna Botticelli (a.k.a. Ghost Grl)
  • Kala Farnham
  • Bethany Lawson (of Plastic Angels)
  • Shonna Lee (of Payback)
  • Sarah Levecque
  • Julie Rhodes [RUNNER UP]
  • Amalia Ververis (of Melic Moon)

Frontperson of the Year  (Sponsored by East Coast Alice – The Ultimate Alice Cooper Experience)

  • Nicole Marie Coogan (The Devil’s Twins) [RUNNER UP]
  • Ben Cote (The Ben Cote Band)
  • Alexa Economou (blindspot) [WINNER]
  • Sean FitzGerald (The NB Rude Boys)
  • Carly Kraft (Coral Moons)
  • Jon Paquin (Bad Marriage)
  • James Rohr (The Blue Ribbons)
  • Jackson Wetherbee (The Elovaters)

Hard Rock/Metal Act of the Year  (Sponsored by Boston Rock Radio)

  • Afterimage [RUNNER UP]
  • Devil in the Mist
  • Heavy AmericA  
  • One Time Mountain
  • Purging Sin
  • Red Sky Mary
  • SiXteenX20 [WINNER]
  • Verscythe

 Live Artist of the Year  (Sponsored by Rick’s Music World)

  • The Ben Cote Band [WINNER]
  • Bird Mancini
  • Ashley Jordan
  • Lady Lupine
  • Sons Lunaris
  • Jay Psaros
  • Soul Box [RUNNER UP]
  • We Own Land

Male Vocalist of the Year  (Sponsored by Soundcheck Studios)

  • Sam Luke Chase
  • Nate Cozzolino
  • Shaun England
  • Chris Fitz
  • Joe Merrick [RUNNER UP]
  • Sam Robbins
  • Michael Spaulding
  • Sam Vlasich (of Red Sky Mary) [WINNER]

New Artist of the Year  (Sponsored by Music Go Round)

  • Amplifier Heads
  • Blacktop Strut [RUNNER UP – TIE]
  • Coral Moons
  • Left of Love [RUNNER UP – TIE]
  • Major Moment
  • Melic Moon
  • Red Reveal [WINNER]
  • Abigail Vail

Singer/Songwriter of the Year (Sponsored by Taylespun Studio Contemporary Fine Art)

  • Cara Brindisi
  • Katie Dobbins
  • Kathleen Healy
  • Mary McAvoy
  • Brian Sances
  • Hayley Sabella
  • Ilene Springer [RUNNER UP]
  • Matt Zajac [WINNER]

 Song of the Year (Sponsored by Shell Shock Acoustic)

  • Beautiful Tuesday – “Manteca”
  • Coral Moons – “Fall In Love”
  • Crooked Coast – “Summer”
  • Mark Erelli – “Her Town Now”
  • Lockette – “In the Dark”
  • Amanda McCarthy – “Tiki Bar” [RUNNER UP]
  • Parts Per Million – “No More Days” [WINNER]
  • Magen Tracy & the Missed Connections – “Dirty Little Secret”

Tribute Band of the Year  (Sponsored by Music Go Round)

  • Abraxas – A Tribute to Santana
  • The American Who – A Tribute to The Who
  • Heartbreaker – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin [WINNER – TIE]
  • Judas Rising – A Tribute to Judas Priest
  • Live Bullet – A Tribute to Bob Seger [RUNNER UP]
  • The Sickness – A Tribute to Disturbed [WINNER – TIE]
  • We Are Hydrogen – A Tribute to Phish
  • The Young Americans – A Tribute to David Bowie

 Video of the Year (Group)  (Sponsored by Seth’s Rock Report)

  • Bad Marriage – “Gateway Drug” [WINNER]
  • blindspot – “Upside Down”
  • Damnation – “Fighting For”
  • Grenon – “Goodbye” [RUNNER UP]
  • Groundlift – “Outta My Head”
  • Major Moment – “May Leave Scars”
  • Special Guests – “Spring Break”
  • The Wolff Sisters – “Drive”

Video of the Year (Solo Artist)  (Sponsored by Don Burton Media)

  • Lisa Bastoni – “Nearby”
  • Kate Eppers – “The Wishing Well” [WINNER]
  • Will Evans – “Family Tree”
  • Kala Farnham – “David”
  • Jamie Hart – “Get Closer”
  • Josh Knowles – “Same”
  • Daniel Miller (featuring Ward Hayden) – “Your Man”
  • Prateek Poddar – “The Gang’s All Gone” [RUNNER UP]

Young Performer of the Year  (Sponsored by Kokopelli Realty)

  • American Ink
  • Sam Chetkin
  • Color Killer
  • Grenon
  • Off Kilter [RUNNER UP]
  • The Nolan Leite Experience
  • Morrissey Blvd [WINNER]
  • Roll Over White

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – RATT’S ‘DANCING UNDERCOVER’

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 – DANCING UNDERCOVER (1986)

As I got around to picking up another Ratt album to check out, I wasn’t sure what I might remember about the band’s Dancing Undercover and what would be completely new to me. Like many of their albums, I’d never heard the full album before now.

I have to say that I found myself quite surprised to discover that Dancing Undercover is quite an enjoyably rocking ride from start to finish. And that’s not just due to the fact of the three singles from the album either.

Those three singles (and the accompanying videos that would air on MTV) are all on the first side of the cassette. The album opens with “Dance”, which despite the fact I remember the song so well, didn’t even make the Top 40 chart. For a time when metal ruled the world, discovering that one of the band’s better known tracks didn’t make a dent in the chart was a bit of a surprise.

The songs “Slip Of The Lip” and “Body Talk” close out Side One and both are fast moving pieces that have quite the melodic hook and that big vocal sound you’d expect from the Ratt. Like “Dance”, I remember both of these songs from back when they were released and since they get played regularly on specialty radio shows, I’ve heard them any number of times in the ensuing passage of time.

Both “One Good Lover” and “Drive Me Crazy” are pretty intense, with the latter track coming through with even more of an aggressively driving sound than you’d usually expect. There’s also a somewhat heavier sound to the chorus, the backing vocals giving a fuller sound to that part of the song overall.

The entirety of Dancing Undercover are balls-out rockers from start to finish, with no ballads to muck up the works. While that lack of a ballad may leave you thinking that the music all sounds the same, there’s enough variation threaded throughout the different songs that even with the pedal pushed down to the floor, the music never descends into annoying noise.

When the second side of the cassette started, I was struck by an feeling of familiarity with the song “Looking For Love”. The chorus was very memorable to me for some reason. But I can’t place why that is. The song was never released as a single and like I said before, I’ve never heard the album before now. Whatever the reason for why I was familiar with it, the song was fantastic!

The band follows that song up with “7th Avenue” which has a nice rhythmic swing to the delivery of the music and Stephen Pearcy’s vocals. I really got into how the song was presented and though I thought the abrupt way the song ended was a bit of a pain, overall this is a song I would love to hear a lot more.

The songs “It Doesn’t Matter” and “Take A Chance” continue that blazing rocker feel to the music but the album’s closing track had a bit more of an interesting makeup for me.

The opening intro of “Enough Is Enough” has a far different sound than the pure speedy blitzkrieg opening riff that most of the rest of the songs on the album employs. The song does immediately turn more towards that fiery rock and roll sound after the opening, but my ear was really caught by the song’s intro.

Dancing Undercover features ten songs in all and while I still think of the Out Of The Cellar album as my favorite Ratt release, there isn’t a bad track on this album. The decision to eschew putting a syrupy ballad on the release and instead just rock out all the way through gives the album a big lift in my eyes as well. This is simply a flat out superb album!

NOTES OF INTEREST: Two of the songs from Dancing Undercover were used in other forms of media. “Dance” was featured in an episode of Miami Vice while “Body Talk” appeared on the soundtrack for the Eddie Murphy film The Golden Child.

According to the song’s entry page on Wikipedia, the opening riff of “Body Talk” had been floating around for guitarist Warren DeMartini for years but it was never developed into a full song until bassist Juan Croucier wrote pretty much the rest of the song in a day when the band was dealing with a deadline.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – GIANT’S ‘tIME TO BURN’

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.

GIANT – TIME TO BURN (1992)

In 1992, depending on what part of the year we are talking about, grunge was either taking over or had already taken over the rock music scene. Record labels lost interest in bands of the 1980’s “hair metal” scene and so a lot of music got lost in the shuffle.

You can count Giant’s Time To Burn as one of those albums that will likely never get the credit it deserves because it got so overlooked when it was released in March of 1992. And I say this as someone who is just as guilty as the rest of the rock community who’ve never heard the album before now.

About three and a half years ago, I wrote about the Giant’s first album Last Of The Runaways. I ended up liking it a lot more then than when I first heard it back in the day. So when I pulled Time To Burn, which had never been opened from its original wrapping, from The Big Box of Cassettes, I figured that after 29 years since it was put out, it might just be time to check out what I’d been missing out on all these years.

As it turned out, I was missing out on quite a lot.

The band’s lineup of Dann Huff on vocals and guitar, his brother David Huff on drums, keyboardist Alan Pasqua and bassist Mike Brignardello kicked off the album with the rambunctiously rousing rocker “Thunder And Lightning”, a song that comes complete with fantastic melodic hooks, a killer so and a big vibrant solo that instantly catches your ear.

After that, the band is really off to the races (for the most part). The rest of Side One features two more fiery rock and roll numbers in “Lay It On The Line” (which is NOT a cover of the better known song by Canadian rockers Triumph) and “Stay”. There is the expected “power ballad” to close out the first side in “Lost In Paradise”. It fits the mold of what to expect from that type of song, but it wasn’t half bad in the end.

The most intriguing song to me on Side One was “Chained”. While none of the tracks from this album made a real dent in the singles charts, “Chained” did make a little noise on Billboard’s Rock Tracks sub-chart. I can see why it did too. The song opens up dramatically slower than “Thunder And Lightning”, the track that preceded it. There’s a definite bluesy feel to the song’s intro, but that soon gives way to a far more in-your-face rocker that bursts out of the speakers. That slower, bluesy feel returns later in the song but the mix of the two tempos really caught my ear.

When you flip the cassette over, the music starts off with an extremely brief instrumental called “Smoulder”. It features that same kind of bluesy streak to the sound. It serves as a companion lead in to the album’s title track.

Speaking of that title track, can I just say “WOW!” I was totally blown away by the “Time To Burn” song. Brimming with a heaping helping of melody, the song still features an aggressively rocking pace. It’s like a shot of adrenaline right to the heart. Dann Huff’s rapid fire delivery of the song’s vocals gave an even sharper edge to the overall quality of the song. Along with “Thunder And Lightning”, it is probably my favorite track on the album.

While the title of “I’ll Be There (When It’s Over)” might strike you as a ballad song, it’s actually a really good hard rocking number. But if you are looking for more in the way of slower paced tracks, Side Two of Time To Burn has a double shot for you.

“Without You” is a power ballad that places a good deal more emphasis on the “power” aspect of the music. It starts off slow and steady in its pacing as you might expect. But as the song progresses, the more uptempo feel takes over and doesn’t waste time switching back and forth between the two levels of pace. I enjoyed that one a lot.

If however you are looking for something that is much more in the vein of a “traditional” rock and roll power ballad, check out “Now Until Forever” and you’ll get exactly what you want. For me, I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much.

The album ends on a full bore rocker in “Get Used To It”. It’s all about a six-string fueled attitude and sonic attack on this song and gives Time To Burn the smashing number to bring the album to a fitting conclusion.

Giant’s Time To Burn is an album that never got it’s due, whether from me or the rock audience at large. Hell, there hasn’t even been a reissue of the album like Rock Candy Records did for Last Of The Runaways. But now that I’ve heard the album, I realize just how much of an underappreciated gem the album really is. It’s about damn time for any music fan who hasn’t realized this to take a look back for themselves and discover just what is so special about Time To Burn for themselves!

NOTES OF INTEREST: Time To Burn is the second of Giant’s four studio albums. The band’s third album was released in 2001 and called III. The fourth album, Promise Land, came out in 2010. While vocalist/guitarist Dann Huff wasn’t a member of the band for that fourth album, he did co-write seven of the tracks and played guitar on two of them. Taking his place in the band was singer Terry Brock (Seventh Key) and guitarist John Roth (Winger).

Terry Thomas, who produced the band’s first album Last Of The Runaways, was the producer for Time To Burn as well. Jim Vallance, who is best known for his songwriting partnership with Bryan Adams, co-wrote the songs “I’ll Be There (When It’s Over)” and “Without You”.

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE” (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 I Spit On Your Grave (1978), which starred Camille Keaton and was directed by Meir Zarchi. 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 October 2020. These photos were taken in Kent, CT.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – RATT’S ‘INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY”

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 – INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY (1985)

As I wrote in my article a month or so ago about the self-titled EP from Ratt, other than their debut album Out of the Cellar, the band has been kind of “songs played on the radio” kind of thing for me. I also wrote that I’d heard a couple of their other albums in full, but it turns out I was off a little bit on that claim. Instead, I’ve only heard one other album from the band. That was the 1988 release Reach For The Sky, which had a couple of great songs on it. But truth be told, I never actually bought the album. I had a dubbed cassette copy that I got from a friend of mine.

With Reach For The Sky being Ratt’s fourth studio album, that means I missed out on hearing both Invasion Of Your Privacy and Dancing Undercover. Because I was so taken by that EP I wrote about, I said I wanted to check out those albums I missed. And now seems as good a time as any to get started on that path.

Invasion Of Your Privacy is likely best remembered for the two big hit songs that still make the playlist on specialty shows and any radio station that plays the music of the 1980’s metal era. Both “You’re In Love” and “Lay It Down” are on Side One of the cassette and they are both uptempo numbers with the expected hook to draw in the listener. I still rather enjoy each track whenever I heard them and that didn’t change as I listened to the album in order to write this article.

I was a little surprised to learn that there had been a third single released from the album though. The song “What You Give Is What You Get” is on Side Two of the album, but I had no previous memory of hearing the song on the radio. But as I heard it for possibly the first time ever, I was quite taken with it. Fast moving in tempo, the song had a really cool rhythmic feel to it as well.

But let’s get back to the rest of Side One, shall we.

Like I said, both of the hits from the album are on this side. But the songs “Never Use Love” and “Give It All” join those hits in the harder rocking style employed by the band. However, I didn’t really think they were overly noteworthy. Fine as album tracks but definitely a notch below the better songs here.

The only attempt at a ballad or more accurately put, power ballad is the side closing “Closer To My Heart”. While the title and the song’s lyrical content definitely fall into that softer side lovey-dovey type of song, I didn’t think it quite fit the ballad category. It certainly starts off that way but in my mind, the “power” part of things plays a larger role here than in just the song’s chorus. Because of that, this track sits a whole lot better with me. Yeah, I actually enjoyed it.

Moving on to the second side of the album, the opening track “Between The Eyes” rocked out musically but overall I thought this one was just marking time.

But the rest of the album is fantastic. After “What You Give Is What You Give”, the album burns bright with the track “Got Me On The Line”. Unless I’m misreading how the song plays out, it kind of sounds like the track was inspired by those phone sex lines so prevalent in the 80’s. Now if I’m wrong, don’t lose your mind. I’m just saying that is the impression I got, it’s not like I haven’t misread something before. Still, the song was fantastic and when I play this album again, it will be one of the songs I look forward to hearing the most.

The song “You Should Know By Now” is pretty darn good with the music a strong selling point to me. And the album closing “Dangerous But Worth The Risk” struck me as a song that could’ve been used as a single. Between the guitar work from Robbin Crosby and Warren De Martin and a vocal performance from Stephen Pearcy that was quite enjoyable, it does a great job of bringing the album to a fittingly rocking close.

It’s been over 35 years since the original release of Invasion Of Your Privacy and despite not getting around to listening to it in full in all that time, it was a pleasant little surprise to find out just how much good material there was to be had on the album. So good in fact, that it is keeping alive that spark of curiosity that will have me tracking down other albums from the band that I’ve missed out on until now. I can’t think of a better latter day testament than that.

NOTES OF INTEREST: Invasion Of Your Privacy went double platinum in the US. The songwriting credits for the album are shared (in varying combinations) by every member of the group except drummer Bobby Blotzer.

The album was produced by Beau Hill, who had done the production for Out Of The Cellar. He would go on to produce Ratt’s next two albums (Dancing Undercover and Reach For The Sky) as well. His list of credits as a producer, songwriter and even as a performer are extensive. Hill was one of the founders of Interscope Records.

The cover model for the album is Marianne Gravatte, who was the Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1983. She also appeared in the video for the song “Lay It Down”.

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.