Tag Archives: mvd audio

“Almost Unplugged” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Almost Unplugged”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 4/7/2009
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Recorded during the band’s tour for the “Secret Society” album, they decided to do a one-off acoustic show and lucky for all of their fans they made sure to capture it on audio and video for all of us to enjoy. While unplugged albums are no longer something new and have been done to death in the eyes of some music fans, the interesting aspect of how Europe did it was in their decision to not only deliver classics from their older releases alongside their newest material, but also some well considered covers that truly suit them. Joey Tempest shows us that he hasn’t lost a single note of his register as he sings new classics like “Got To Have Faith” from the bands “Start From The Dark” CD and reaches all the way back for gems like “The Final Countdown” and “Memories” that comes from the bands very first release. I must admit that I liked the piece from “Secret Society” in this fashion with “Forever Traveling” much more than I liked it on the original studio recording, and I guess that this was based on my preferring “SFTD” a lot more than the album that was its follow up.
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“Live in San Fran 1981” by Iggy Pop

Artist: Iggy Pop
Title: “Live in San Fran 1981”
Label: MVD Audio/Thousand Miles Records
Release Date: December 11, 2007
Genre: Proto-Punk, Garage Rock
Rating: 1/5

Considering just how seminal the work of Iggy Pop is, the shoddy quality of this live album is a damned shame. Unless handled by a major label, live albums frequently sound like they were recorded underwater in the bowl while someone deposited a huge, high-fiber toilet fish atop the microphone — see the Misfits’ “Evilive” or the Damned’s “Live at Shepperton, 1980” as painful cases in point — and while this Iggy chronicle features clear music, the vocals could just as well be someone vomiting up mud into a bucket. Sure the Iggmeister does not wield the dulcet tones of a Robert Plant or a certainly not those of a David Vanian, but he does have a charm and style all his own, not that you’d ever be able to determine that here. The set list is also something of a disappointment, being an uninspired hodgepodge of his work both solo and with his initial band, the Stooges, so this album is pretty much a lose/lose situation. If you’re a seasoned Iggy fan you’re definitely not missing anything by skipping this, and if you’re new to Iggy I’d strongly urge you to ignore this and head straight for either the first Stooges album of for the classic “Raw Power.”
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“Greatest Hits Live” by 707

Artist: 707
Title: “Greatest Hits Live”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 6/5/2007
Genre: Melodic Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Take a trip back in time with me and the guys in 707 as we revisit a solid selection of live concert performances that perfectly captures this talented group and also provides a look at how Rock history was progressing at the time. In the early 80’s they were a growing sensation but one that might have easily passed you by if you had limited exposure to when they were at their best. That is the good thing about albums like this one as they live on forever because of it and it provides a great document to what they were all about. The group on this recording featured Kevin Russell (guitar, vocals), Todd Howarth (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Phil Bryant (bass, vocals), and Jim McClarty (drums). Founding member Duke McFadden had chosen to move on by this time so he is not featured on the recording. Many will remember Todd the best as he went on to join Ace Frehley’s band and also do keyboards for Cheap Trick for many years. There’s only nine tunes to enjoy on the album but in one sense that’s all you need to have to understand just how “fan friendly” this stuff was. There are big choruses on every tune since ¾ of the lineup provided vocals and the guitars and bass crunch when necessary while the drums provide that solid backbone with just an added touch of flair tossed in to keep it interesting.
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“24/7/365: The Tribute To Led Zeppelin” by Frankie Banali & Friends

Artist: Frankie Banali & Friends
Title: “24/7/365: The Tribute To Led Zeppelin”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 9/18/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

When one considers the legendary status that Led Zeppelin holds in the annals of Rock Music history they are reminded of how the group not only effectively created a genre but how they also set the guidelines to follow for decades to come. With that being said – anyone who undertakes a tribute album of their music knows full well that it needs to be done not only with the proper levels of respect, but also needs to be something that the listener can get through in one sitting without lambasting the artist who did it. Drummer Frankie Banali, most noted for his work in both Quiet Riot and W.A.S.P. has taken this project and the reservations people might have had about it very serious and the end result is a very interesting album to listen to. It was a heartfelt mission of the drummer who had long been inspired by the band and Mr. John Henry Bonham to do this properly and for the project he would assemble different singers and guitarists from across the Hard Rock scene. If you had ever heard Banali perform over the years then you would instantly recognize many feels and grooves that come from the influence of Bonzo. So how does this come off as a finished product well it very simply is one of the better tribute releases on the market based on how pure and dead on the overall musical output sounds. Having grown up musically in the big eighties I really enjoyed hearing many of the era’s luminaries trying their luck at singing the Zeppelin classics. Glenn Hughes is probably the most legendary voice on the album and one of Banali’s favorite singers of all time but I admit that I enjoyed Don Dokken and Robin McCauley’s takes on “Kashmir” and “Out On The Tiles” most of all.
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“Greatest Hits Live” by New England

Artist: New England
Title: “Greatest Hits Live”
Label: MVD Audio
Release Date: 6/5/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Fans of Melodic Rock will definitely enjoy this gem from over twenty five years ago as the band New England is captured live in concert presenting their greatest numbers in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Their name might ring a bell to the some of the older KISS fans as back during the “Dynasty” tour New England was the bands sole support act and their sound seemed the perfect difference to that which KISS was delivering night after night. I admit that I was not one of their earlier followers but I enjoyed being able to hear this CD as an adult because the skillful level of musicianship and keen AOR melodies found me realizing that I was listening to something very special indeed. The band was comprised of Boston, MA residents John Fannon (guitar, vocals), Hirsh Gardner (drums, vocals), Gary Shea (bass) and Jimmy Waldo (keyboards, vocals) and together they delivered some really solid tunes and should have achieved a lot more success than they seemed to. Their main hit was “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” and not only did it break the Billboard Top 40 when such a thing had more relevance, but it can still be heard on some classic rock stations of today. The tune was by no means their only claim to fame as they had songs like “Nothing To Fear” and “Hey You’re On The Run” which also showed the signs and style that was found in late 70’s Progressive Rock.
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