Friday, September 26, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 110: Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Welcome to the Pleasuredome

By: March

Album - Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Artist - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Key Players - Brian Nash - lead guitars, Paul Rutherford -vocals and "dancer", Mark O'Toole - bass and backing vocals, Holly Johnson - lead vocals.
Peter Gill - drums.
Produced By - Trevor Horn

Release Date - October 29, 1984

What caused me to blow off the dust? - You hear a single now and again, but honestly I can't tell you the last time this record even got played..I swear.

Overview - This was the debut album from Liverpool based Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Rumored to have gotten their name from a New Yorker magazine article headline with a picture of Frank Sinatra beneath..rumors neither confirmed or denied. The band which formed in the very early 1980s would garner label interest based on just a few singles. Their biggest track "Relax" was released almost a full year before the album was, and didn't garner a lot of attention, that is until a DJ on BBC Radio played the record, and "really" listened to the words. According to reports the DJ (Mike Read) stopped the record during the song and called it "disgusting". A few days later (and months after it was released) the song was banned by the BBC..and it then went to #1. The band would score two #1 singles and 2 #2 singles from this record. They'd release a follow up that was largely ignored and the band imploded.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album track listing is sort of all over the place. That being said a little history on it, then we can look at the tracks. When the vinyl lp was released it was on two records (4 sides) Side 1 was called F/Pray Frankie Pray. Side 2 G/Frankie say". Side 3 "T/stay Frankie Stay and Side 4 was H/ Play Frankie play. So FGTH or Pray say stay and play. Considering the album was filled with spoken word interludes and partial songs that bled in to well as tracks that had longer titles than you are used to, well its easy to get confused as you go track by track. When the cd is placed in a cd player it shows 15 tracks. Following the track listing of FGTH there are 18...confused? This was modified some on later pressings of the cds in my research. The 15 tracks listed here are base on the initial cd pressing (which omitted two cover songs as well) so that being said here we go.

A long orchestral swell beings "The World is My Oyster". There is spoken word and even some opera singing buried in there. Keyboards dominate and they sort of flash out some samples of what is in store with the "yeeeeeahh" that leads in to "Two Tribes" that is later on the record. The incredibly long (13+ minutes) and rather ambitious "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" follows. It is ambitious since this is sort of dance/pop record as you'd thing, but the samples of birds chirping mixed with long instrumental interludes. Vocals..then another interlude. The song doesn't get really rolling for the first 2 minutes..then it plugs along fine to about the seven minute mark, then it sort of repeats. Towards the end there is a lot of passion in the backing vocals. Also to note, Steve Howe (Yes) played acoustic guitar on the track. The money track "Relax" follows. Instantly recognizable this song still holds up to this day. Not nearly as "shocking" by todays standards make of the lyrics what you will. A sort of odd cover of the track (made famous by Edwin Starr) "War". There is a deep keyboard groove to the track and fills in some spoken word sections done by a well known voice over guy (that sounds like Ronald Reagan). The song focus heavily on the chorus "War...what is it good for". Its an average cover. Another massive single from the record is "Two Tribes". On the album it clocks in at close to 10 minutes in length. Opening with an air raid siren and a larger sounding symphonic interlude Patrick Allen returns. Mr. Allen had voiced over Nuclear Warning Ads for the UK gives a booming and scary run down of what to do in the event of nuclear war (bring the bodies out side but be sure to tag them first for identification purposes). It is all about the cold war..remember the video?(great stuff). The song as you know it probably starts about 5:30 in. The next track is a spoken interlude called "The Last Voice" following the same lines of "Id the bodies etc". Up next is the wonder why they covered "This" song. Bruce Springsteens "Born to Run". It is a pretty straight forward rocking version of it. Gone are the keyboards etc, its a really a commendable cover version. "Happy Hi" comes up with the sounds of a playground. The song is a lot slower feeling than the last few and it seems like the band wants to spread their wings. It sounds a little "loungy" almost, which sort of doesn't bode well to what we have heard so far. Back to that 80's pop sound we get "Wish (the Lads were here). It is quick both lyrically and musically and the bass and keyboards have equal billing in the mix. "The Ballad of 32" follows with a rally horn into a car crash. It is an instrumental track that has an early "Cure" feel to it. We get rolling again once more on "Krisco Kisses". Horns fill over the top of a bass guitar run and the guitar gets more of a showcase on the track. The band tries another direction on this with stop/start verses and chorus and tempo changes, but it feels sort of out of place. "Black Night White Light" opens with light keyboards and gets a booming sing along as it progresses. The band all seems to sing on the track giving it a full sound. There is even a guitar solo (albeit it brief). A single tapping drum opens up "The Only Star in Heaven". The lyrics at the start are sort of spoken/rap before the band comes in. The song has some nice call and response in the verse between Johnson and a female voice. "The Power of Love" was released as the bands third single from the record, and due to a video for the song has sort of been branded a "holiday song". It is a ballad filled with lush strings. It is a stark contrast to the "cold war fueled new wave" we got used to on prior tracks.

Where are they now? - So much of their story is of the "Behind the Music" caliber. The band broke up in 1986 mostly due to Johnson distancing himself from the rest of the band. Johnson would have moderate success as a solo artist, has written a book and is an artist. Paul Rutherford attempted a solo career after the demise of FGTH but it was short lived. He currently lives in New Zealand with his long term partner. Peter Gill was involved in the FGTH attempts at re-forming and worked on other projects since. Mark O'Toole was also involved in the attempts to re-form. He plays bass in a band called Trapped by Mormons who released a record in 2003. Brian Nash has released three solo records since the bands breaking up including the 2008 release "A Lo Minimo"

VH1 tried to have the band re-unite for the program "Bands Reunited" but they did not perform. The band still has reservations about performing with one another. There was a re-formation of sorts, but with out all the original members that did tour, but had to indicate to fans that they were not the real deal. In mid 2007 it was reported that Gill, Rutherford, and O'Toole formed a new band, but by the end of 2007 that band too had collapsed when the new singer departed.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live...but I know someone that has.

FDF Overall Take
- A bit dated at times yet still suprsingly fresh at times. The strong songs outweigh the weak and it might not be "macho" to have the whole cd, chances are if you hear one of the good songs you sing along.

Links -
The band has an Official Site
Holly Johnson official site here
Brian Nash here and myspace here.
Mark O'Toole has a band called Trapped By Mormons

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The MP3's have been removed. They were Relax, Born to Runa nd Wish (the Lads Were here)

All the tracks taken from "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" which you can purchase here

Like what you see? Bookmark us!

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, September 19, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 109: Terence Trent D'Arby - Introducing the Hardline According to

Album - Introducing the Hardline According to...
Artist - Terence Trent D'Arby
Key Players - Terence Trent D'Arby - lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, baritone saxophone. All other tracks had various players.
Produced By - Martyn Ware, D'Arby and Howard Grey

Release Date - October 5, 1987 (US release)

What caused me to blow off the dust? I had the tape of this since high school and it got a lot of play time back then. I never had bought it on cd for some reason and recently saw it in a used cd bin for 3.00, so I snatched it up. The dust was not too thick on the cd..but the tape was pretty dusty.

Overview - The album would be his most well known release. Upon its release in the UK it sold over 1 million copies in 3 days and would go on to sell over 12 million copies world wide. D'Arby would win a Grammy for the record as well as a Soul Train award.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Sounding like a needle on a record a simple few drum clicks before the chorus comes up on "If You All Get To Heaven". We are suddenly in church and mass in underway. D'Arby has a few lines coming off a echo chamber like device. The lead vocals are deep and warm but once the verse begins D'Arby brings it up many and ocative. The song sort of has the same feel throughout and sets somewhat of a tone, albeit a false one to these ears, as to what is to come. A quick piano run and D'Arby speaks the first few lines of "If You Let Me Stay" before the whole thing falls in to a wonderful soul groove. This is a great track and it mashes so well with "Wishing Well". "Wishing Well" has a simple drum line before D'Arby comes in with a growly, yet playful sounding vocal portion. The quirky keyboard line will bring a smile your 80's loving music face but the strong backing work of the bass keeps this song well in focus. Towards the end there are some "Prince like" wails and you can hear the baritone saxophone line pushed up a little more in the mix. "I'll Never Turn My Back On You (Father's Words)" has punchier guitar intro with a strong bass line underneath. The vocal track at times feels a little "forced" but remains consistent. It almost feels like two different songs as well. There is a full horn section later in the track that ads a nice touch. A tapping snare drum brings up "Dance Little Sister" to which D'Arby screams "Get up outta your rocking chair grandma!" A lot of smooth "ohhs and ahhs" and the horn section again ads a nice touch. The song has a very strong Stevie Wonder/soul feel to it. The chorus is sung in an aggressive, yet suitable for the track. The more laid back and piano led "Seven More Days" follows and keeping with the smooth track "Let's Go Forward" is up next. There is a short spoken vocal intro and he repeats the track names a few times before going in vocally on a high note. The track is sort of an easy listening track. The shortest track on the record "Rain" follows and is really just a re-vamped take on the children's "rain rain go away come again another day" song/rhyme. There is also a ripped off riff from the theme to "Green Acres" at the start of the track. The very "Smooth Operator" (Sade) sounding "Sign Your Name" comes up. A staple D'Arby track that was played at more than a fair share of weddings at the time I am sure. The totally acapella "As Yet Untitled" is a welcome change. The entire track is done acapllea and after many tracks that sound good but a little overdone musically, this is a great track. The album wraps up with the very do-wop feeling "Who's Loving You".

Where are they now? - If you have read this far (thank you) you are probably wondering the same thing. After a series of dreams he adopted the name Sananda Maitreya in the fall of 2001. In interviews he has gone on to say that Terence Trent D'Arby was dead. Maitreya currently lives in Italy and has continued to work in music, both as a performer and label founder. His latest release is called Nigor Mortis and it was released in 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seem him live.

FDF Overall Take - After a lot of years there are still a lot of real gems on this record. D'Arby had the ego and charisma to take this record to the masses. He may have been a little ahead of his time since his follow up records didn't do as well with fans and critics. Still, if you can track this record down, or blow the dust off your copy you'll again see that tucked in there are a few great gems.

Links -
Official page for Sanandama here a very outdated blogspot and myspace may garner your attention.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
***mp3s have been removed. They were, If you let me Stay, Wishing Well and Dance Little Sister

All tracks taken from Hardline..which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, September 12, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 108: Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair

Album - Songs from the Big Chair
Artist - Tears for Fears
Key Players - Roland Orzabal - guitar, keyboards, vocals, piano. Curt Smith - bass guitar, vocals. Ian Stanley - keyboards. Manny Elias - drums.
Produced By - Chris Hughes

Release Date - February 27, 1985

What caused me to blow off the dust? - One of those moments you catch yourself singing a random line of a song, that wasn't really a huge hit and wondering at first "what the heck is this song I was just singing and where did that come from"? Well it came from this one, so here we go.

Overview - Hailing from Bath, England this was Tears for Fears second release. The duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith would go on to international stardom with this record. The album would reach #2 on the UK charts and it would remain in the top 30 for close to a year. It would reach #1 in the U.S. and hold that spot for 5 weeks. The band would launch a massive tour in support, take a hiatus, come back with a record, lose a member, then reform once more.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The lead off track "Shout" takes little time to get rolling. Almost immediately the chorus is chanted over the speakers awash with keyboards. The keyboard portions at time sort of have a heavy drone to them. There breakdown at about the 2:40 to 3:30 mark of the track that has two keyboard parts, one sort of higher while the other holds the bottom. The higher female vocals are sung by Sandy McLelland and it adds a rich full sound. The track then wraps up with a guitar solo. Opening with a wonderful sounding saxophone "The Working Hour" follows. There is keyboards that are nice and light and the song is vocal free for the first two minutes. Orzabal has a clear and strong voice on the track. The run thru of the song really shines with the saxophone portion(s). The sax parts were played by two different players. William Gregory played the long solos while Mel Collins offers up the shorter bursts that are just as warm and exciting. The song that launched the band in the U.S. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". There is not a lot to say about the track, the stand out moment comes near the end as the guitar solo flashes over the listener. If there was ever a track that is the epitome of an 80's synth pop (in a song not a lot might know) is. "Mothers Talk". There are hard electric drums and the lyrics are given out at about as quick as the band ever could, or would deliver them. The keyboards have a real great punch to them and the guitar riff with the harmonized vocals. The bass stands out later in the track and it all wraps up with a two plus minute instrumental break down. The polar opposite of the last track is the somber "I Believe". It is a very laid back track with breathy vocals. The piano led track has a a deep think tone to it and Orzabal gives many lines in a higher vocal octave range. To me, this is the weakest track on the record, it just does little for me. The shortest and largely instrumental track "Broken" is next. The track sounds like a cast off from the Miami Vice television show (think the theme song). The vocals don't come in until about 1:45 and the verse is given quickly before the words 'broken' are sung and held. Another single from the record "Head over Heels" is next. The piano opening sets the tone then keyboards are layered over the top. A "Sister Christian" like drum beat brings up to the vocals and we are off to the races. There are phased drums and heavy piano work throughout. In listening I was impressed to hear some strong bass lines underneath all this. This track goes right in to a live version of "Broken". This version is vocal free and if it is really live, its spot on. The album closes with the haunting "Listen". The very laid back track is filled with keyboard mixed with the sounds of what a UFO control deck might have for gadgets. The instrumental portions of this track are more interesting that the vocal portions.

Where are they now? - Following this record and a massive tour the band was big enough to be asked to perform on Live Aid. They dropped out at the last minute and waited a few years to release "The Seeds of Love" album. After touring for that Smith left the band for over 10 years while Orzabal continued to tour and record under the Tears for Fears name. The last studio album was in 2004 and it was called "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending". Curt Smith released a solo record called "Halfway, pleased" in May of 2008 here in the US.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- Tears for Fears was the very first concert I went to. It was October 2, 1985 at the Centrum in Worcester MA. I remember parts of it, mostly the fact the girl I had the longest crush on agreed to go with me to the show.

FDF Overall Take - I have a soft spot for this record. I started getting in to music around this time and I remember liking this band before the "jocks" at my school blasted their cassette copies at high school parties. It might only be 8 tracks long but it is one of the few records I can listen to front to back and not skip a song (although there is one that I can't wait for it to be over). When the bigger singles are sort of your least favorite, well there is something to be said for that. Curious to see where the new record takes them honestly.

Links -

Official site here
Curt Smith site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3s have been removed.

All three of the tracks taken from "Songs from the Big Chair" which you can buy

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, September 05, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 107 Beck - Midnite Vultures

Album - Midnite Vultures
Artist - Beck
Key Players - Justin Meldal-Johnsen - bass, Roger Joseph Manning - keyboards/synthesizer, Smoky Hormel - guitars, Joey Waronker - drums, David Brown - horns, David Ralicke - horns, Jon Birdsong - horns. Beck Hansen - syth, guitar, piano,keyboard, lead vocals.
Produced By - Beck Hansen

Release Date - November 23, 1999

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- My iPod seems to be loaded with about 40+ Beck songs, culled from various records. I realized recently that this record was not only not on the iPod, but it had been unlistened to for a fair amount of time. So, here we go.

Overview - Midnite Vultures is the fourth major label studio album from Beck. On this album Beck continued with his mixture of musical styles and the result, although slow sales wise, delighted fans and critics alike. The accolades continue to this day with regard to this "less than million seller" and Beck has continued to work on his music. He has also been one of the more popular bands/artists to appear on Saturday Night Live, appearing (as of this writing) six times.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Horns and canned drums bring up the lead off single "Sexx Laws". This uptempo and catchy opener sets the tone for what lies ahead. The drums are basic, but very effective. Even more horns and a strong bass starts up "Nicotine & Gravy". The slower feeling track has some fun vocal breakdowns and adds a lot of 70's funk feel both musically and vocally. An even more fun synth and horns are prominent in "Mixed Bizness". The vocals are phased between speakers on a cool sounding sort of delay loop. The track ends with 25 seconds of noise that are reported to be the sounds of robots "doing the nasty". Sounding a little like a track that went missing from the film Blade Runner is "Get Real Paid". The vocals once more get a robotic treatment. "Hollywood Freaks" has a strong hip hop feel with a solid back beat. Sort of quirky lyrics like "Sex in the halls..Niagara Falls" is sort of funny as it is just silly. Toss in some funk then wah wah guitars..mix with some vocal cross fades and you got it. The opening riff to "Peaches & Cream" sounds lifted from something, but I can't tell what. The vocals and music are a little slower than the previous tracks. Beck sings in a high voice at times and there seems to be a few "Prince like" screams tossed in there. The very tropical sounding "Broken Train" adds a nice touch to the record. It almost switches gears towards a strong Stevie Wonder based jam. The harder sounding "Milk & Honey" is sort of a head scratcher. The guitars are up, then out of nowhere it seems like a heavy piano line is dropped. Toss in some odd sounding instruments the track sort of rolls along like a slower Frank Zappa knock off. To add to your ears confusion there is a really prominent acoustic guitar break as well. Piano remains on the slower feeling "Beautiful Way". That is all quickly erased as the crunchy guitar on "Pressure Zone" opens up. Toss on some human beat box as the song gets rolling with samples of swords being drawn from their sheaths. The album closer "Debra" begins with a smooth horn intro and it all seems sort of "out of place". There are splashes of organ and some high vocals once more. Horns do a nice job filling in the voids and the guitar gets a wah wah yet clicky guitar workout. The track ends with 7 minutes of silence before a minute long section of electronic noise..not worth sticking around for.

Where are they now? - Beck is still active both recording and touring. His most recent effort is called "Modern Guilt" and it was released in the Spring of 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The only time I have seen Beck live was on the H.O.R.D.E Tour on August 8, 1997 at what is now the Comcast Center. The evening was a lot of fun with bands like Neil Young on the bill as well. One funny moment was about mid-set when Beck reported from the stage he was about to embark on a rare, never before heard song than ran 10+ minutes long and he hoped people would like it...after a few scattered claps the band launched in to "Loser", which is probably the most well known track from Beck.

FDF Overall Take - At this time there is no "best of" Beck and that is probably a good thing. This gets even the casual fan to dive into his catalog a little more. There are hidden gems on all his records. Chances are you have Mellow Gold and Odelay (get this right now if you don't have it) but Midnite Vultures might be that decent "next"Beck album you need to get.

Links -

Official site
Beck on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3s have been removed. They were:
Sexx Laws
Peaches + Cream
Milk and Honey

All the tracks were taken from Midnite Vultures which you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.