#39 – Long Way to the Top by Nantucket.
Okay. Let me first start by saying a few things. One, I am hanging my head in shame. Two, I am in awe. Three, where… in the honey-baked Hades have I been? On the negative, let me say something, too: I have never liked “It’s a Long Way to the Top” from AC/DC. I just don’t really care for AC/DC in any form of the band. There are songs, yes, but for the most part, meh. Okay, there. That’s out of the way. Movin’ on…
Oh. My. Goodness. You get past that AC/DC cover (the whole album was dedicated to Bon Scott who had passed away before the album was released in 1980) and this album is alive!!! Caveat: I’m writing this on a Monday where I usually write on Thursday mornings. I’ve already listened to it my standard six times with number seven happening right now. As I said, I hang my head in shame because I had always thought that them being from North Carolina and having the name Nantucket they were a Southern Rock band and I don’t like that stuff. Yes, I am aware that Nantucket isn’t in the south. I think they really are a Southern Rock band, but this album isn’t very “suth’en.” I don’t even know that I’d actually call this a hard rock band as much as I’d call it a hard rocking pop rock band. I can only go by this album, though.
There are serious themed songs and some very not-serious songs; a little tongue-in-cheeky. The non-serious would be “Time Bomb,” “Rugburn” and “Zella” a final hidden track written about a dog. “Time Bomb” is about a jealous guy who thinks some other dude is after his woman and he starts threatening to go all “Al Capone” on him if he even gets near her house. “Rugburn” is about a guy meeting a girl but he’s too poor to have furniture but he thinks the carpet is comfortable and you can guess what happens.
Some serious stuff on the album, but probably the most serious is “50 More” which, from what I can tell, is about the Who concert in Cincinnati where several people died after a stampede when the arena only opened two doors to a general admission show and people were rushing to get the best spot in front of the stage. The lyrics go, “Fifty more through the door. Let em in, rock and roll. Twenty-five push outside, gettin’ hard to control. Understand it’s the end. Tragedy Ohio.”
There is cool saxophone all over this album from Eddie Blair is also the keyboard player. That’s not something you get from a lot of Southern Rock. What I love the most are the phenomenal harmonies and unpredictable melodies. They’re not what you’re expecting on your first listen and they’re both complex and fun. Larry Uzzell’s vocals are indicative of some range and dynamic presence. He has smooth transitions to those high parts and he gets a little gruff in spots and a little more tender when the time comes.
Tommy Redd – the guitarist and main songwriter – wrote some great tunes. Mark Downing’s leads aren’t showy but, these songs don’t really need that. I believe the tunes are meant to speak for themselves and not showcase virtuosity. Kenny Soule is a bouncy drummer that is, yes, my favorite word for drummers, solid. There are runs and fills and they’re great, but like Downing, it’s not showy. Pee Wee Watson’s bass work is pretty riffy and it’s cool. Listen to “Turn the Radio On” for a little showcase for PWW.
Where have I been, indeed? This is perhaps one of my favorite albums that Eugene has thrown on us. I don’t dislike any songs on here. Some I like more than others, but none that I dislike. And, so, I’ll admit, going back and listening again, I even started bobbing and singing along to “It’s a Long Way to the Top.” I can’t say enough about how I love when the harder tension is broken by lighter melodic harmonies. If I’m picking my faves, then I’ll have to go with “Time Bomb,” “50 More,” “Media Darlin’,” “Over and Over Again,” “Tell Me,” “Rescue” and my absolute favorite, “Rock of the 80’s.” That’s seven and there are only 12 (13 if you count “Zella”) tunes, so basically the whole thing. I’m looking for this on vinyl. I want this, badly. Thank you so much, Eug for assigning it. Again, I apologize to the “music gods” for avoiding this until now. I am ashamed…
Eug and Jon need to catch up!!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“It’s gotten so meticulous. Almost ridiculous. Rock of the 80’s. Let’s have some fun. Rock of the 80’s. Bring out the sun. Rock of the 80’s. Let’s have some fun.
Let’s have some fun.” – “Rock of the 80’s” (Redd)