Monday, 5 September 2011

September’s First 5ive: A Rough Rebound in Stereo


Time for another completely random snapshot of the hordes of tunes currently living on me ipod…for September 2011, the first 5 songs out of a possible 11011 are:
1.       Toto – Gift of Faith (Live)
2.       Marc Hunter – Get So Rough
3.       Genesis – Down and Out
4.       Uriah Heep – On the Rebound
5.       The Cars – Moving in Stereo
Toto – Gift of Faith (Live) (from Falling in Between Live – 2008)
Recorded at the beginning of what would turn out to be Toto’s last full tour before their initial split, this rocking track from 1995’s Tambu was featured in the career-spanning medley/jam that was the centrepiece of the latter half of the show. As such we only get two and a half minutes from a song that was originally over seven minutes long, so it isn’t great out of context of that medley. Musically, as always with anything Toto-related, this is a fabulous performance, but Steve Lukather’s lead vocals are pretty rough (Greg Phillanganes part at the end makes this even more obvious) and this whole era just looks like a weird footnote in the overall history of the band these days – something I wouldn’t have said at the time, I admit.(7/10)
Marc Hunter – Get So Rough (from Talks to Strangers – 1994)
The opening cut from Hunter’s final solo album (He managed one more with Dragon the following year, before tragically succumbing to throat cancer in 1998). Hunter remains New Zealand’s best-ever rock vocalist and his early death left a gaping void that will likely never be filled. This is a perfect example of the way he could lend his voice to a fairly lightweight number and imbue it with a sense of passion that lifts it far above the realms of the mediocre. But you don’t need to take my word for it, check out the promotional clip below…(8/10)

Genesis – Down and Out (from And Then There Were Three… – 1978)
Strange, I love this song when I hear it, but aside from big single Follow You, Follow Me, the only track from this album that I can ever manage to play in my head is Deep in the Motherlode, which was the other side opener. Ah well. (9/10)

Uriah Heep – On the Rebound (from Abominog – 1982)
I’m sure I’m not alone in losing track of Uriah Heep’s many and varied configurations from throughout the years, but here we have a cut from 4th (I think) vocalist Pete Goalby’s first of three albums as their frontman. A cover of a track writer Russ Ballard had reached US#58 with two years before, this became the album’s lead single in the UK, which the band weren’t too pleased about. Heep were never a singles-oriented band anyway, so the fact that their version failed to chart was hardly a shock for the new line-up (who were probably happy enough in receiving their best reviews and album sales since Return to Fantasy in 1975). Nor was it a reflection on the quality of the recording – in fact, it should have been a hit, it sure sounds like one – far more than Ballard’s original in fact – compare them below and see what you think…  (9/10)

The Cars – Moving in Stereo (from The Cars – 1978)
The Cars debut is widely considered amongst the best first-albums in rock history, and while I’m not prone to agreeing with rock critics, I’ll concede that it is a very strong album indeed. This track was never a single, but received a decent amount of airplay at the time (before mine, of course!) , playing it’s part in the mass success of the album (certified at least 6-times platinum in the US)  (9/10)

So, another strong showing with an average score of 8.2, just a shade below the score from the last first five, from June. Hopefully this trend will continue next time (whenever that may be!). 

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