We’re 1/5 of the way through this list. Wow. Time’s fun when you’re having flies. Last week, I felt the entry was a clunker. I still do. But, outside Eugene, who I knew would be disappointed with my assessment, there were a couple of others who disagreed with me. I’m okay with that. As I always tell Jon, just write what you feel. There is no right or wrong, just opinion.
When I saw this week’s entry from Eugene come through, I was a little eye-rolley. I think we reviewed this when Eugene was still on The Less Desirables. I don’t think I cared about it one way or another then. Well, this time I listened more than once. I’m glad I did. Let’s do it…
#10 – Strangers in the Night by UFO.
First, I will say that I really do not like live albums. I don’t like that raw sound. I like polished and produced. I don’t feed on the same energy as many people do when they listen to live albums. Live albums to me are like undercooked chicken. I can’t get the chef’s vision for the dish. I want the production; I want the polish. Even KISS Alive! and KISS Alive II, I feel the same way about. Yes, they got me started in on KISS, but to me it was more than just the live show. At that, even a bombastic live show doesn’t always come through on the audio without the video. So, that’s a strike against the album from the start.
That being said, you can erase that strike. The album made up for that aspect just by being pretty fantastic. But, here’s the part where Eugene screams at his device/computer, “what!?!”
I had never even heard of UFO until Eugene mentioned them, just a few years back. If I had heard of them prior to that, I certainly don’t remember it. I started watching That Metal Show on VH1 Classic and Eddie Trunk was always raving about the band. I couldn’t figure out how a band I had never even heard of was so popular. Granted I don’t know a lot about those kinds of bands and such and I absolutely know that just because I don’t hear of them doesn’t mean anything, really. It matters not now, I’ll admit, but okay.
I had heard of Michael Schenker, though. I hadn’t heard much of his music, but when I was just getting into playing instruments and such, the Michael Schenker Group or McAuley-Schenker Group was always featured in hard rock tabulature books. I may even have a song or two in my collection at home. Before Eddie Trunk’s arse kissing and fawning over the man-child, axe-weilding attributes of Michael, the only Schenker I really, really knew of was Michael’s brother Rudolph and that was because he was in the Scorpions. Turns out, at the ripe age of 17, Michael was in the Scorpions, as well. Even when he recorded this album, at the age of 22 when he left UFO (this album represents the concert tour that he was on when he left the group) he was playing like someone with 20+ years experience. That’s just natural talent. Getting it done.
But, we have to move past just the MS part of the equation because this is much more than the Michael Schenker Show. Phil Mogg’s vocals are very strong. He has range and depth. His emotions come through brightly and not mucked up like some live recordings tend to do to vocals. At times he reminds me of Bruce Springsteen. At other times he sounds kind of like Ted Nugent. I don’t like those times as much. But, he always is “on.”
Pete Way is a great bass player who played with a lot of big acts, including Ozzy Osbourne and Fastway. His runs have presence and tasteful. His tone is fantastic on this, too. Andy Parker is a solid drummer that has flash without losing sight of the meter. The band gets a double attack from Paul Raymond who is rhythm guitar and keys. I’m kind of not into the rock organ for the most part, but Raymond is spot on. It fits the M.O. of this album. The harmony vocals throughout are fantastic, as well.
There’s plenty of songs on here to say were “great.” “Hot n’ Ready,” “Let It Roll,” “Natural Thing,” “Out in the Street,” “Mother Mary” and “This Kid’s” (both of which were studio tracks with a hall type reverb and canned crowd music added), “Doctor Doctor,” “Lights Out,” “Rock Bottom” (which I could have done without the extended jam session), and “Too Hot to Handle.” Those would be my faves on the album. If I was picking just one, it would be “Doctor Doctor,” if for no other reason but the hook of the chorus. Lots of riffs, lots of slower power ballads, lots of hooks, lots of great melodies. This album is pretty righteous, even for a live album. UFO were pretty awesome. Too bad I didn’t find that out until now. But, again, that’s the point of this project, right? I will have to get Jonathan to be on the look out for this album at Underdog Records. I’d love to have it on vinyl.
I can’t wait o hear Eug’s and Jon’s thoughts on this album, which by the way, Jon is two albums behind and Eug is one behind, as of this writing. They need to get with it, I say. Alright, Mr. Sims, I’m ready for my close-up… er, next album. And, both of you write your darned posts. You’re leaving me out here by myself! I kid… mostly.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Doctor doctor, please. Oh I’m goin’ fast. Doctor doctor, please, oh, I’m goin’ fast. It’s only just a moment. She’s turning paranoid. That’s not a situation for a nervous boy.” – “Doctor Doctor” (Schenker/Mogg)