Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 6/1/17
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
The rock world was dealt another blow this week with the passing of Gregg Allman. The southern rock legend passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer. We will have a special tribute to him tomorrow on Hard Rock Daddy. For now, here are some of my personal favorites from him…
THE GREGG ALLMAN BAND – “I’m No Angel” (1987)
The day before Gregg Allman passed away, I heard “I’m No Angel” on the radio, and it got me to thinking. There were rumors that he was in hospice care, and then those rumors were denied by his people. Sadly, the rumors turned out to be true.
“I’m No Angel” is not only my favorite song by Allman, but also one of my all-time favorites in general. While the song has a much more commercial feel than much of his work with the Allman Brothers, there is something very real, gritty and uplifting about it. Although the lyrics seem to be autobiographical, Allman wasn’t the actual writer of the song, nor was he the first one to record it. Five years before Allman made it famous, it was released by Bill Medley on his album, Here And Now. Still, this version is the one that is still getting played 30 years later. The beauty of this song is that it showcases the warmth and soul in his voice in a way that appeals to those who don’t necessarily listen to southern rock.
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS – “Midnight Rider” (1970)
It’s hard to pick one song from The Allman Brothers, but “Midnight Rider” is one that always resonated with me the most. Although the song is fairly simple, and only clocks in at around three minutes long, it has an epic feel because of the haunting, soulful vocals of Gregg Allman. The backstory about the song adds to the intrigue…
Allman began writing “Midnight Rider” in a rented cabin called “Idlewild South” (which is the name of the band’s second album) in Macon, Georgia. The remote cabin gave Allman the freedom to smoke marijuana while writing.
Needing some help to finish the lyrics, he enlisted the help of one of the band’s roadies (Robert Kim Payne). Payne had grown weary of hearing Allman sing the song over and over again and “hearing the band play the same shit over and over again until they got it right.” Allman was stuck on the third verse. With both men high on marijuana, Payne threw out the lines… “I’ve gone passed the point of caring…some old bed, I’ll soon be sharing.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
When the song was done, the duo broke into Capricorn Sound Studios to record it. The song actually achieved more success when it was released by Allman as a soloist than it did with The Allman Brothers.
This has nothing to do with “Midnight Rider,” but those outside of New York City may be surprised to find that The Allman Brothers were hometown heroes. What makes their star power even more impressive is the fact that they are from Jacksonville, Florida. The band owned the month of March at the Beacon Theater for many years.
The run began with four shows in September of 1989. In the spring of 1992, they played ten shows. And then, for the following 19 years, the band played between 8-19 shows each March. In 2010, the Beacon Theater shows stopped because the theater had booked an extended engagement for Cirque du Soleil, but returned in 2011 (when they played 13 shows). By the end of the shows in 2011, the band had played 200 shows at the Beacon. Their last show ever at the theater was on October 28, 2014.
GREGG ALLMAN – “Tuesday’s Gone” (2015)
After Gregg Allman’s passing, a video of Allman covering Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic, “Tuesday’s Gone,” (live in 2015) was posted by Skynyrd’s label. In the video, Allman looks and sounds as good as ever. You would never know that he was in his late 60s at the time, or that he would be gone so soon after battling liver cancer.
It’s hard to do justice to a song like this, but Allman’s cover is nothing short of brilliant. He stayed true to the original, allowing only his distinct vocal interpretation to be the difference. This song always had a bit of a melancholic feel, but seeing it right after his passing makes the song that much sadder.
RIP Gregg! You were a true southern rock legend, and you will be missed…
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
WITCHFINDER GENERAL – “Witchfinder General” (1982)
When people talk about the new wave of British heavy metal, bands such as Iron Maiden and Motorhead come to mind. Even in the more underground circuit, bands such as Diamondhead and Venom may come to mind. If you delve a little more underground, one will find this gem, Witchfinder General. Their 1982 release Death Penalty is one of the pioneering albums in the genre and probably one of the first doom metal albums to be released. Listen to any Witchfinder General song and you will hear the obvious Black Sabbath influence. Named after the movie of the same name, the band released three full-length albums before disbanding in 1984. They reformed briefly in 2008 (and released an album), but never played live after that. With an album cover to shock the censors, Witchfinder General undoubtedly left their mark. They are probably one of the best bands to have come out of the NWOBHM.
ANGEL WITCH – “Angel Witch” (1980)
Another band from the new wave of British Heavy Metal is London’s Angel Witch. The band has influenced so many metal musicians, it is hard to deny their importance in the genre. Musicians from classic metal to thrash to death all cite Angel Witch as a huge influence in their writing styles. Check out their song “Angel Witch” and you’ll know why. From the opening riff to the tempo to the catchy chorus, Angel Witch is another band from the NWOBHM that left its mark on metal.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
POP EVIL – “Jupiter In June” (2008)
This plaintive June song comes from the album Lipstick on the Mirror by Michigan rockers, Pop Evil. The band had already released some material independently under the name TenFive, but it was after signing with a label and releasing their 2008 debut album as Pop Evil that they achieved commercial success.
FLYING COLORS – “June” (2012)
California band Spock’s Beard originally wrote and performed this progressive rock tune. Here it is covered live by the supergroup Flying Colors. The voices blend beautifully and there is some truly heartfelt accompaniment from Steve Morse’s guitar.