Owned since: 2016ish
Genre: Not a lot of heavy metal
Where I bought it: This is one of the few records I own out of my mom’s small but sturdy collection
Label/pressing: Warner Special Products
The promo record is pretty much dead in its physical form these days. Songs just get released loose digitally and sometimes you get EP selections before album releases, but the days of disc or vinyl versions of them are long gone. Nobody really misses them also; I got a ton of CD ones still around the place and barely look at them. But you had a ton of sampler promo discs from the 60’s to the 90’s. Labels would put on a lot of pre-released tracks on a cheap (mostly duo disc) vinyl sampler to get people exposed to more of their product. It’s a nice way to snag some new tracks for 3-5 dollars for 2 records. This Heavy Metal comp is very much not Heavy Metal, it’s a selection of stuff Warner, Atlantic and some others released around 1970-1974. A weird mishmash of classic (Grateful Dead, Radar Love and Smoke on the Water) mixed with some great other tracks and 70’s rock cuts. Not only rock, strangely enough there is a WAR track on this and no it’s not Low Rider.
I don’t own that many promo samplers, they really don’t pop up in record stores. Over the years it just seemed record stores didn’t seem to take anymore, with good reason. I mean, if you want Smoke on the Water you will just grab Machine Head for the tenner in place of this compilation. They’re pretty much a throwaway relic these days, but also pretty nifty. Like, I honestly think records like this can make for nice background music or be a good starter point for people wanting to buy vinyl. They’re dirt cheap when you encounter them still, so that’s cool and this record includes some gems.
My copy sports a cut out corner which meant it was mostly likely deadstock/overstock from the labels they then sold in mass cheap to stores. You will run into them quite often, honestly if you find them grab them up if you like the record. The sleeve might have a hole in the corner or a small cut, but the vinyl is most of the time in good shape as is the rest of the cover. I never really got the collector madness for perfect covers. I think around 65% (if not more) of my collection is second hand, and honestly it’s the way to go for collecting if you are just there for the music. Go to church sales, badly located thrift stores and jubilees and you will at least walk away with an OK copy of Carole King’s Tapestry for 1 buck.
Anyway, off to 4 sides of vinyl races we go with the track teardown a.k.a I shout about classic rock
MC5 – Kick out of The Jams
What an opener, MC5’s proto-punk has aged well and they are a good fit here. The Detroit ever changing band never became the stars the label and they wanted to be but this record is a stone cold classic. Very leftist,but also a bunch of sellout weirdos. Limos and everything. They got booted off Electra after this record by attacking Hudson department stores via ads for not carrying their record. This live record is the best thing they put out, but their studio albums are pretty great also.
Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Now mostly known for its inclusion in a Marvel movie, Sabbath’s Iron Man is one of metal’s evergreen. A slow chugging headbanger of a song with some prime Ozzie Osbourne screeching above it, which neatly follows the guitar lines on this which I always thought is a cool effect. First found on Sabbath’s seminal Paranoid record, this is well a song everyone knows or should know.
Alice Cooper – I’m Eighteen
The inclusion of this was the reason why my mom bought it. My parents are pretty big Cooper fans which even led to me and them seeing him live some years back. Solid showman still. I’m Eighteen is of course a song of teen rebellion that is the first ‘real’ Alice Cooper album. The two records they did under Zappa’s “management” are good but Love it to Death is the first to really showcase their poppy hard-rock sound. Another evergreen of (hard)-rock pretty much and pretty much proto-glam? It’s so weird this came out in 1971, it sounds at least like it’s from 3-5 years later. Recalls a lot of the more down tempo Stooges stuff, also, in the bass.
Jimi Hendrix – Freedom
From the posthumous The Cry of Love, this is solid but also not too much rocker with a heavy funk influence about it. It’s a shame really that all the studio Band of outdated word always leaves me pretty cold. It’s a bunch of great musicians working their asses off, but it never reaches the height of that amazing live record.
The James Gang – Must Be Love
Oh hey it’s The James Gang record that has Tommy Bolin on it. I like Rides Again quite a bit, but that is quite different from this. Way more bluesy and those pre-Eagles Joe Walsh vocals are great. This is, uhm, not for me, loads of fancy guitar work and a weird funk feel to it that just doesn’t work. Pretty much I’m sure what the in-between sounds like, utter indifference from me.
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water (Made in Japan version)
Of the big hard-rock giants, (prime) Deep Purple are by far my favorites. Just a perfect mess of a bunch of great musicians with one hell of a vocalist. Made in Japan is still one of the best live albums to this day for me, such a loud record. This version of their biggest evergreen is by far the best one out there which gives the original some weight with some loud ass organ playing by John Lord. Sadly not included: the version of Highway Star, which is just endless organ fiddling.
T. Rex – Bang a Gong (Get It On)
Electric Warrior is one of the few records I legit feel bad about that I don’t own a copy. I used to have it on CD but that is long gone and I never found a decentely priced vinyl copy of it. Marc Bolan’s masterpiece of stupid 50’s rock, proto-punk (just listen to all the two chord riffs on this) and glam-rock is maybe the best record to come out of the whole glam wave. Just an utter great bit of bubblegum rock music. Bang a Gong is of course it’s most famous song, 4.5 minutes of a blues riff played to infinity with some inane lyrics about getting it on near whispered by Bolan. And that’s all a massive positive.
The J. Geils Band – Give It To Me
I know literally two J. Geils things, and it’s their live album Full House (which is excellent) and their cheesy 80’s hit Centerfold (which is not). I never really had any need to check out their studio albums and this is not helping it. White man reggae pretty much which includes a harmonica solo, hard pass.
Dr John – Right Place Wrong Time
I got to see Dr John at one of the last tours he did and it was well kinda cool? His voice was mostly shot, but the piano playing at-least was still there. This is the title & opening track of his great In The Right Place record where he is backed by the Meters. Extremely swampy New Orleans R&B stuff with some of the funkiest bass backing you heard in a fair bit. Excellent, excellent.
Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er
Oh god, it’s the Led Zeppelin white reggae song. Please make it stop.
Buffalo Springfield – Bluebird
Oh hey, it’s one of the weaker tracks of Buffalo Springfield Again. Which still means it’s good! Nice little country fused tune from Young, Stills & Co. that recalls The Byrds around Fifth Dimension a fair bit, but never comes near to that. People love this song, but I always found its genre hopping a bit tiring and uneven. But hey, still good stuff.
Faces – Cindy Incidentally
This is a weird Faces song choice but whatever, bet it was recent a the time. From the excellent Ooh La La this has some prime Rod Stewart smokey vocals and a solid bar band groove by the band led by a piano that sounds like it is falling apart. Solid little song, I would’ve liked the title track or Stay With Me here a lot better.
The Doors – Touch Me
From 13 the record it says on the cover. This is of-course from The Soft Parade except this is a remixed version, which is even more compressed and bass filled. I never liked the Soft Parade and Touch Me still feels like an extremely gaudy little pop song that just doesn’t work with those strings and stuff. Bad song, even worse record. Skip it.
The Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man
‘Lord I wasssss born a rambelin maaannnn’ classic non-jam mode Allman Brothers so this is Southern-ass rock music. The first Allman record without Duane Allman is a lot smoother than their earlier stuff, but it’s a good fit. This is one great song; catchy on one side but also recalling the old moaning ramblin’ country songs. Some tremendous bluesy guitar on this also.
Delaney & Bonnie – Only You and I Know (on tour with Eric Clapton version)
I never cared much for Clapton outside of Cream and this boring retread of a thing that just sounds like Ike & Tina Turner to me just doesn’t do it for me.
Van Morrison – Domino
Oh hey, it’s another man endlessly digging a hole for himself these days. His Band and the Street Choir is a weak record sandwiched between two great ones. Domino is a fun retread of soul stuff but of course the version to seek out is on It’s Too Late to Stop Now, not here. Anyway, cute little song, never got the fuss why this is as much a classic on the level of Moondance.
Eagles – Outlaw Man
My mom loves the Eagles, it’s one of the few bands she is really big into so I heard Desperado a fair bit growing up. It’s a bunch of studio musicians doing smooth country rock. Outlaw Man is the rawest they get, and it’s still pretty withdrawn, but this is a solid little song if you take away those stupid lead vocals. Glenn Grey’s vocals are just an ill fit with the pretty loud (for The Eagles) country rock backing on this.
Yes – Starship Trooper (A. Life Seeker B. Disillusion C. Wurm) (Yessongs version)
I really enjoy (some of) Yes and they for sure will get covered later on in the series. Yessongs is way too long at 2 hours, but hey a single track of it rules. One of my favorite tracks of the Yes Album, this live version rules, Wakeman does a good job doing the Hammond and synths for a song he wasn’t originally on. Not a lot more about this.
Golden Earring – Radar Love
Hey it’s another band that will get covered later. You will be surprised how little Golden Earring albums I own for a Dutch person, but I’ve enjoyed their stuff in spots a fair bit. This is one of the two songs (well, maybe three if you count Hocus Pocus) that the Netherlands delivered to the classic rock cannon. It’s a great rock song that I’ve heard around a million times that really keeps on building and building and building.
Grateful Dead – Johnny B. Goode (1971 live version of Grateful Dead)
If I was born a couple decades earlier and in the USA, the chance I would’ve been a Deadhead would be, well, honestly pretty big. I never really got into bands like Phish or the likes but boy do I love me some Dead. This is a pretty straight cover of the Chuck Berry original from the none-archival live album that is not Live/Dead with Bob Weir taking vocals. Pretty loud and crunchy, good stuff but why not include the excellent version of Big Railroad Blues from this record.
Foghat – What a Shame
‘Remember the Foghat rule, your fourth album should be double lined’-Bob Odenkirk, Yo La Tengo’s Sugarcube video. Status Quo but without the good live record, bonehead music 2.0. Stuff that reeks of beer and bad fitting jeans jackets.
Uriah Heep – Stealin’
Weird song, starts as a slow burn near doowop song and then goes full blown into hard rock. Some loud organ work on this and honestly a big Spirit in the Sky AND Arthur Brown feel to this all. I’ve heard worse, I heard a lot better but I’ve heard worse.
War – Lonely Feelin
An early Eric Burdon-less War song that dips really deep into soul music mostly, with a big thundering bass on the background and, of course, hand claps. It feels a bit seeking still, but this a solid soul song with some heavy funk to it all.
Blues Image – Blue Captain Ride
Closing out is one of the few songs I never have heard before. This sounds like it’s straight out of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. That kind of Three Dog Night poppy rock that mostly has an infectious chorus and high pitched minimal use of a guitar. It’s fine.
Overall, a weird little collection that really seems to gel really poorly in spots. Like all these bands have a pretty normal band set-up? That is the only thing I found them all having in common. Anyway, I’m off to listen to some Dead.