KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

ALICE COOPER Part 2 – Hard Hearted Alice

Alice Cooper Photo (from School's Out single)The early 1970’s were a great time to be the Alice Cooper band. Hit records, sold out tours, and success beyond their wildest dreams. Over the course of their first four albums, which I discussed in my previous post, they went from late-60’s psychedelic garage rock also-rans to rock ‘n’ roll hit makers, but they were only scratching the surface. The band, which consisted of singer Alice Cooper (formerly Vincent Furnier), guitarists Glen Buxton & Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neil Smith, were definitely one of the best hard rock groups of their time, even though their glam/horror look & stage antics overshadowed their underrated musicianship and songwriting abilities. The final three albums by the original group, prior to Alice becoming a solo artist, found them enjoying their success but not succumbing to it, resulting in some of their best & most enduring songs. Prior to this past week I had probably only listened to each of them a handful of times over the years, so although I knew there would be plenty of good music I didn’t expect the diversity that’s on display. Their secret weapon, at least on the first two albums to be discussed here, is producer Bob Ezrin. His arranging, songwriting and production skills elevated them from a great band to a legendary one. I don’t think his contributions can be overstated.

Alice Cooper - School's OutSchool’s Out (1972) was the band’s first mega-successful album, reaching the Top 5 and spawning the huge hit single, “School’s Out.” This rockin’ teenage anthem, which was written by all five band members, is a statement of intent that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The taunting/teasing vocals, especially the part that features actual children’s voices, give it a unique flavor (children singing became an Ezrin production choice that he would use for other artists). The rebellious nature of the lyrics (“We got no class and we got no principals”… or is that ‘principles’?) was a precursor to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” and The Ramones’ “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.” “Luney Tune,” a song about a man locked up in an asylum, has a cool syncopated, almost Latin rhythm with a fat bass line and searing lead guitar. The strings & horns at 1:40 (and the violin later on) were a nice surprise. “Blue Turk” is slow & slinky, like Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” There’s a great hook at, “You’re so very picturesque, you’re so very cold. Tastes like roses on your breath but graveyard on your soul.” The jazzy horns add an authentic swinging late-night vibe. “My Stars,” written by Alice & Ezrin, is a long, dramatic song with climbing piano runs & precision drumming that breaks into a manic jazz/psychedelic section with rapid-fire vocals (“Come all ye faithful you know all you people should come to me…”). “Public Animal #9” was one of the few Alice songs I knew growing up. Back then I sensed a connection between it and my favorite band, Kiss, thinking it could be a Gene Simmons tune, and although I’m not sure I hear that as clearly anymore (other than Alice’s growling vocals at the end), it’s still a wonderful song; a bouncy pop-rocker that reminds me a bit of The Beatles’ “Hey Bulldog.” The super catchy melody & infectious handclaps belie the defiant nature of the lyrics about a bad-boy student (“Hey Mr. Bluelegs, where are you taking me? I’m like a lifer in the state penitentiary”).

[Alice Cooper – “Public Animal #9”]

“Alma Mater” begins with the sound of rain and soft acoustic guitar, with Alice’s processed vocals. Production-wise it recalls The Beatles (aka The White Album), with equal parts Lennon & McCartney. I love the jazz-light music and the great melody at, “But you know it breaks my heart to leave you…” I wonder if this is sung by the same bad-boy character from earlier in the record who will actually miss school & his friends. Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. Album closer “Grande Finale” is a chugging, funky instrumental with synths and horns that could be a ‘70s soundtrack song. Musically it points to Welcome To My Nightmare, the first solo Alice Cooper album that I’ll be discussing in my next post. One other song worth noting is “Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets,” which captures the feeling of a West Side Story-like gang musical before giving way to some actual music from that show. It features fantastic musicianship and clever lyrics, but it didn’t hold up after multiple listens. School’s Out cemented their reputation as a premier hard rock band, but the diversity on display shows that they were capable of so much more than that limited description.

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar BabiesWith Billion Dollar Babies (1973) they had their first #1 album. The overall theme seems to be celebrating, as well as dissecting, the effects of their massive success, offering humorous songs of debauchery after their quick rise to fame. Two notable additions are guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who filled in on several songs while Bruce &/or Buxton were unable to perform. Both of these brilliant players featured heavily on some key Lou Reed albums (produced by Ezrin) as well as Alice’s solo work later in the decade. Album opener “Hello Hooray” is a cover of a song written by Canadian songwriter Rolf Kemp and previously recorded by angel-voiced singer Judy Collins. It’s like a splashy glam-rock overture, setting the celebratory mood for the rest of the album: “Hello, hooray, let the show begin, I’ve been ready.” In some ways it’s similar to Pink Floyd’s “In The Flesh” (which began their concept album The Wall), except here they show no contempt for their audience. “Raped And Freezin’” is a stomping riff-rocker with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about Alice being taken advantage of by the woman who picked him up hitchhiking (“Hey, I think I got a live one”). The title is misleading; it’s so catchy and lots of fun. “Elected” is a much tighter re-write of their earlier song, “Reflected,” which finds them skewering the popularity contest of the political process. It could also be seen as them seeking approval from their fans (“I never lied to you, I’ve always been cool…I gotta get the vote & I told you about school”). “Generation Landslide” begins like a peppier, sped up take on The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” before moving on to a subtly driving groove. It’s very pretty & melodic with a sheen of menace. Alice accepts the fact that society can’t get past the band’s look and stage antics, with self-referential lyrics like, “And I laugh to myself at the men and the ladies, who never conceived of us billion dollar babies.”

“No More Mr. Nice Guy” was a Top 25 hit and is still one of Alice’s most recognizable songs. It’s a Stones-y riff-rocker with a pop edge, and covers similar lyrical territory as “Generation Landslide.” He tries to present himself as “a sweet sweet thing” but understands that he’s “no more Mr. Clean…they say he’s sick, he’s obscene.” Many people would be surprised to find out that Donovan, the Scottish singer-songwriter with all those Alice Cooper Photo (from Billion Dollar Babies)folk/pop/psychedelic hits in the ‘60s & ‘70s, alternates vocals with Alice on “Billion Dollar Babies.” It features a creative drum pattern, dual guitars and a chugging rhythm, and is simply fantastic from start to finish. “Mary Ann” is a short and sweet piano ballad that reminds me of Harry Nilsson. “I Love The Dead” closes things out on a dark & macabre note. This is the Alice Cooper that most fans think of, with dramatic music & lyrics that could be the basis of a horror movie. It’s subtle & intense, and the playing by everyone involved is stellar. I’m not sure there are any other artists who can turn a song about necrophilia (“I have other uses for you, darling”) into a sing-along. I believe “Unfinished Sweet” is a commentary about everyone wanting a piece of the band that covers a little too much ground over the course of 6+ minutes. It’s notable for a reference to the James Bond theme, which will tie in to a song from the next album. Billion Dollar Babies is probably the strongest of the band’s first 6 albums. I’m sure some fans feel that it’s a little over the top (like comparing Elton John’s expansive Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to his more subtle earlier albums), but song-for-song I found it to be their most consistent work.

Alice Cooper Photo (live 1973, Billion Dollar Babies tour)AThe 2-CD Deluxe Edition contains an 11 song live performance from 1973 that includes 8 songs from Billion Dollar Babies plus powerful versions of “I’m Eighteen,” “Dead Babies” and “My Stars.” As the only officially released document of the original Alice Cooper band in concert during their commercial zenith, it makes this version the definitive statement on an already essential album. The band is on fire from the first note, plowing through the songs as if their lives depended on it. There are no particular standout tracks; it’s something that should be experienced in its entirety. As an added bonus, there are two studio outtakes, “Coal Black Model T” and “Son Of Billion Dollar Babies (Generation Landslide),” as well as “Slick Black Limousine” which originally appeared as a flexi-disc in a UK magazine. All three of these songs are fun but inconsequential, with the band showing their love of early Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis on the first & third, and the middle track sounding like a polished demo version.

The final album by the original band, Muscle Of Love (1973), doesn’t seem to have the reputation of its predecessors but I’m not sure why. It may not have the consistent Alice Cooper - Muscle Of Lovesongwriting of the previous album, but to my ears it’s every bit as good as the other high points in their catalog so far. Ezrin stepped aside this time, so production duties were handled by Jack Douglas (best known for Aerosmith, Cheap Trick & John Lennon) and Jack Richardson. The album may be lacking some of Ezrin’s panache, but the more straightforward punchy production is a perfect fit for these songs about sex, depravity & debauchery. “Big Apple Dreamin’ (Hippo)” has a sleazy midtempo groove with wailing guitar throughout. There’s a great melody at “New York is waiting for you and me baby, waiting to swallow us down,” and I love the subtle nod to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” in the instrumental section (at least, that’s what it sounds like to me). The organ intro to “Hard Hearted Alice” reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” It slowly builds with acoustic guitar & soft vocals moving to a nice falsetto that’s similar to John Lennon (“Time…is free as a jailbird, at least that’s what I’ve heard”), and then shifts at 1:45 to an uptempo jazzy groove. “Crazy Little Child” is a piano-based barroom blues that’s a cross between Elton John and New Orleans jazz. Guest musician Bob Dolin plays some beautiful piano runs. This isn’t far off from Tom Waits’ early material and shows how diverse this band was.

Alice Cooper Photo (from Muscle Of Love)“Working Up A Sweat” is catchy but a little silly; an upbeat rock shuffle with bluesy harmonica and tasty slide guitar. It was probably a lot more enjoyable to hear it live, if they ever did perform it. “Muscle Of Love” is a fast-driving splashy rocker with a catchy chorus (“Holy muscle of love…”) and a super tight arrangement. “Man With The Golden Gun” was written specifically for the James Bond movie of the same name, but was submitted too late for inclusion. Instead of throwing it on the scrap heap they made the right decision and placed it on this album. I haven’t heard the theme song by Lulu in many years, but I can’t imagine anything being more appropriate for the movie than this incredible performance. It swings & grooves; it’s over the top yet subtle at the same time. Alice shows how flexible his voice is, and it’s particularly strong at “But you’ll never see him” and “You better believe…” “Teenage Lament ‘74” is a noteworthy highlight. It’s midtempo dramatic pop with a killer chorus that features backing vocals by Liza Minnelli & The Pointer Sisters: “What are you gonna do? I tell you what I’m gonna do. Why don’t you go away? I’m gonna leave today.” I’ve been singing that in my head all week.

[Alice Cooper – “Teenage Lament ’74”]

The album closes with “Woman Machine,” a pulsing midtempo rocker that’s more about sonic textures & space-age psychedelic effects than memorable verses & choruses, although there’s a decent hook when they sing, “Oh, woman machine.” I’m curious to find out if other fans enjoy this album as much as I do. Although the band was disintegrating during the recording sessions, you wouldn’t know it from the final product. It’s a shame that these five guys never recorded another album together.

Coming up next time I’ll be discussing the beginning of Alice Cooper’s career as a solo artist. I grew up with one of the albums that I’ll be revisiting, but I’m only vaguely familiar with the others. Over the next week I’ll be listening to them numerous times until I really know the songs, and I hope they live up to my expectations. Until then, please let me know what you think about the final three albums by the original Alice Cooper band. Thanks.

Advertisements

33 comments on “ALICE COOPER Part 2 – Hard Hearted Alice

  1. stephen1001
    April 26, 2013

    Another solid exploration – I think you’d be a good fit for a guest seminar at this NYU course, what a dream teaching gig! http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/questlove-heads-to-the-classroom-for-classic-albums-course-at-nyu-20121017

    Like

    • Thanks for thinking I’d be a good fit for this course. It would be fun, but there are two problems: (1) they probably want people with a higher profile than I have, and (2) I would probably freeze in front of a classroom like Ralph Kramden in front of TV cameras. I like being on stage, but only when I’m behind a drum kit. That’s where I feel comfortable.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Which of these albums appears on the 1001 Albums list?

      Like

  2. mikeladano
    April 26, 2013

    This right here, for me, is a handful of the best album Alice ever made. I agree with your take on Muscle of Love too. I’m not sure why it’s considered lesser (perhaps due to the lack of Bob Ezrin?) but I enjoy it very much.

    So yes — here’s one fan who enjoys it as much as you do.

    Like

    • Glad we agree, Mike. I can’t imagine a more consistent batch of albums in the Alice catalog, but hopefully I’ll be proven wrong. Nice to know I’m not the only one who loves Muscle Of Love. For me it comes down to songwriting & musicianship, and that album is every bit as strong as any of their previous albums. Plus, it’s got the great James Bond theme that never was. How many records can make that claim?

      Like

      • mikeladano
        April 26, 2013

        I truthfully can’t remember how the Lulu song goes. I’ve heard it (love the movie, seen it twice recently actually) but I can’t think of how the damn song goes!

        Have you read the book, Billion Dollar Baby? It’s all about this whole period, the making of the album, the tour, before the fallout. Really interesting read. Glen Buxton was not even on the album, very sad. Live they didn’t have his guitar turned up, it was inaudible. Each guy in the band seemed jealous of the other guys.

        Like

      • Haven’t read that book, Mike. It sounds like a great read but I barely have time to proof-read my own posts these days, let alone add another book to the pile. I’ll add it to my retirement list. That’ll happen eventually. Haha.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        April 26, 2013

        It’s a great collectible if you can find it! I got a worn copy for $10 or so, but then I saw it going for stupid money on eBay. I guess it’s out of print and has been for many years. The author Bob Greene and a journalist/fan who pitched the idea of playing a character on Alice’s 1974 Christmas tour, and doing a series of articles about it.

        So he was in the inner circle, observed a lot of stuff, from the end of the making of the album to the tour. He actually sings backup vocals on Woman Machine and Hard Hearted Alice — if you check the credits you will see Bob Greene.

        Like

      • Good to know those details. Thanks for sharing.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        April 26, 2013

        Err…”Bob Greene WAS a fan / journalist”. Not and.

        And you talk about proofreading! 😉

        Like

  3. Hank
    April 26, 2013

    My two cents about the “Muscle Of Love” album: The problem I’ve always had with the album is thematic, not musical. Regardless of whether we are are talking about Alice the band or Alice the singer, the “Alice Cooper point-of-view” is mostly missing from it. I’m finding it difficult to put this into words…the two singles (the title track and “Teenage Lament ’74”) are both great, but the rest of the material just doesn’t seem to offer any particular perspective beyond a vague, world-weary cynicism–as though the grandiose, defiant, outraged youth of “School’s Out,” “Generation Landslide”, and “I’m Eighteen” has given way to a general world-weary cynicism.

    The detached depictions of marginalized characters such as the prostitute in “Never Been Sold Before” or Jackson in “Crazy Little Child” seem especially odd in that the “Alice Cooper” persona would come to embody and champion both of these characters along with every other marginalized member of society; it’s odd to hear Vincent Furnier merely relate their stories rather than bring them to life a la Dwight Fry, or the kid in “Lost In America”, or a clone, or Spider, or Steven.

    Along the same lines–“The Man With The Golden Gun” would have been outstanding as Bond theme music, but here it just comes off as a glossier, peppier, more lightweight version of “Desperado.” And I don’t know if the guys in the AC band were having relationship issues, but the songs in “MOL” don’t really depict women or relationships in a particularly positive way–“Woman Machine” and “Working Up A Sweat” seem to anticipate some of the silly cartoon mysogyny of Alice’s late-80’s hair-metal era (“Trash”, “Trick Bag”), rather than the playful relationship chaos of “Be My Lover” “Under my Wheels” or “You Drive Me Nervous.”

    Does this make “Muscle of Love” a bad album? No, but it’s just not an album that is particularly representative of the Alice Cooper catalog.

    Like

    • mikeladano
      April 26, 2013

      I hear what you’re saying Hank. It lacks a single, Alice theme or point of view. It’s more fragmented, and I get a sense of tiredness too. Like, “This is the very best we are capable of right now.” Glen was sick and whatnot… But still a great record. Kind of like a Deep Purple Who Do We Think We Are. Considered a lesser album than the one before, but strong in its own ways.

      Like

      • Mike, I didn’t get a sense that they were running out of steam and delivering the most that they were capable of, although it’s a valid point. Maybe it’s not as “classic” as some of the others, but I loved it just as much.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        April 26, 2013

        I play it as frequently. Maybe from the influence of reading that book, I am reading things into the music. I read the book long before I found a copy of the album, so it wasn’t until after that I heard any songs except for “Teenage Lament ’74”. I finally got it on vinyl (with box) before eventually locating an import CD. List price was over $20 for this one on CD!

        Like

    • Hank, you made a lot of great points and I can’t argue with any of them. I guess I was able to enjoy the songs without needing a theme to hold them together. Perhaps my perspective would be different had I been a fan from the beginning and came to this album with certain expectations. Instead, I’ve been a casual fan who’s only now trying to learn all of their albums. Song for song, “Muscle” made as strong an impression on me as any of their previous albums. If I gave numerical grades it might be slightly lower than its three or four predecessors, but I still think it’s an essential part of their discography. As for the possible misogyny, all I’ll say is: it was the 70’s and they weren’t unique in this regard.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback. I really appreciate it. I’m eager to hear other Fran’s opinions.

      Like

  4. Hank
    April 26, 2013

    I just want to be clear: I don’t dislike the album, I’m not saying it’s a bad album–if anything, I’m an Alice apologist, and I have a hunch that in a few weeks I may well be the lone voice defending albums like “Special Forces” and “Trash”. I can’t even say that my thoughts on MOL indicate anything that’s “wrong” with the album, as the whole “Alice” persona was still in its formative stages. I should also say, however, that the “Muscle Of Love” packing is one of the greatest ever created–probably a major reason why Alice collectors prefer vinyl to CD, and accordingly, also one of the coolest Japanese mini-sleeve titles on the market.

    Finally, I just realized that I completely failed to pontificate on “School’s Out” and “Billion Dollar Babies. I’ll probably wind up babbling on about them before too long…

    Like

  5. Hank
    April 30, 2013

    In hindsight, I’m not sure what else I can add about “School’s Out” and “Billion Dollar Babies”, other than I’ve said many times that Disc 2 of the deluxe edition of BDB is my all-time favorite bonus disc for any album by any artist; I discovered only last year, however, that the live material on that disc can also be seen in the vintage film “Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper,” which was unseen for decades after a brief 1974 theatrical release before showing up on DVD in 2005.

    Some of the more recent Alice best-of comps contain the single edits of songs from this era, which is great for collectors of such things, but might prove disappointing–“Hello Hooray” was butchered, and also misspelled (as “Hello Hurray”) on the original 45 label. Also–“Gutter Cats Vs. The Jets” was edited into simply “Gutter Cats” for release as the b-side to “School’s Out,” presumably eliminating the need to pay royalties to the composers of “West Side Story”.

    Also–I don’t know if you were going to mention “Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits” at all. I believe it came out after “Muscle Of Love” and was the first AC album I ever bought. I’m told that it contained remixes from the original album versions, but I’ve never noticed any significant differences. Doesn’t mean they’re not there, of course.

    One final rarity–the b-side to the “Slick Black Limousine” flexi-disc was an interesting montage called “Extracts From ‘Billion Dollar Babies’.”

    Like

    • mikeladano
      April 30, 2013

      Hey Hank! That is some cool information, I didn’t know that. I found it on Discogs:

      http://www.discogs.com/Alice-Cooper-Slick-Black-Limousine/release/424485

      They’re affordable, I’m wondering what the quality is like on a flexi-disc…

      Like

      • Mike, you must be thrilled to discover a new rarity, especially one that’s not just another CD single or promo pressing. A flexi-disc with an additional bonus track sounds pretty cool, and the fact that it’s reasonably priced makes it even better. I had a couple of flexi-discs when I was younger. They never sounded very good but I loved that I could play music on a flimsy piece of plastic that was stuck in a magazine. The one I specifically remember was Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” as part of a US Army recruitment ad. That thing is long gone.

        Happy to be back from a few days out of town. Now I can return to some music listening, and hopefully I’ll have my next post on Alice ready by the end of the weekend.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        May 1, 2013

        Rich I will be adding this to the collection at some point. I never owned any flexi-discs as a kid, I would love to have a magazine with a disc intact.

        Looking forward to the next installment of Alice. I’m pretty much still on board with Alice through the next three studio albums. He didn’t lose me until after rehab!

        Like

      • Mike, since I know you like some of Alice’s recent stuff, I’ll be curious to find out when you came back to his music after he initially lost you. I’ve been having mixed feelings about the albums I’m listening to this week. I need to give them another few listens before I figure out how I feel about them.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        May 2, 2013

        I’m excited and curious about the discussion that follows too.

        Like

    • I would have to go through my collection to find other bonus discs before determining my favorite, but it’s hard to imagine a better collection of previously unreleased live recordings than the BDB disc 2. Once I’ve wrapped up the Alice discography, I may finally have to buy a copy of the Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper DVD. I considered picking it up when it was released, but I don’t have as much time as I’d like to watch music DVDs & Blu-Rays so I’m very picky about what I spend my money on.

      I won’t be including the Greatest Hits album in this series since I never owned it. I wonder what the differences are on the “remixed” versions. Sometimes they’ll call it a remix but it’s really just a slight edit (like an early fade-out).

      Amazing that there’s another rarity on top of the “Slick Black Limousine” flexi-disc, which was already a rarity. I wonder why they didn’t include the extracts on the deluxe edition. There was certainly enough space between the two discs.

      Thanks for all the info, Hank.

      Like

      • Hank
        May 4, 2013

        I took a while to pick up the “Good To See You…” DVD for no better reason than I’m just not a huge fan of concert DVD’s–I’d much rather listen to live music, especially, say, in the car, than sit on the couch and watch a concert unfold. This title is a good example–as revolutionary as the Alice Cooper stage show probably was for 1973, it is fairly rudimentary by any modern standard, especially Cooper’s own.

        In addition, this is not great filmmaking. The original film included interstitial comedy scenes–I’m hesitant to call them “skits” or “sketches” because that would imply that some sort of story or character structure provided the creative framework for them–that infailingly grind everything to a halt every few minutes; fortunately, there is a “Concert Only” menu options that conveniently chops out all 20-25 minutes of this.

        The DVD does contain sporadically interesting commentary by Alice (turns out the Nixon impersonator pummeled onstage by the band at the close of the show did indeed spend a year on tour with the band just for this thirty-second gag) but all of the movie music, except for the two-song encore (“School’s Out” and “Under My Wheels”) is on the “Billion Dollar Babies” bonus disc. Compared to that bonus disc, to me the DVD is interesting, but not essential, but I’m probably in the minority–I’m sure that more people would prefer to be able to watch the show rather than just hear it.

        Oh, and I would imagine that YOU might be able to hear that flexi-disc b-side on that one TUBE-like website out there.

        Like

      • Thanks for the feedback on the “Good To See You…” DVD. It’s something I’d like to see once, but I’m not sure it’s worth purchasing the DVD for one viewing. I pretty much feel the same way as you regarding concert videos. I will still buy the occasional disc for certain bands, but I find that I barely have patience to sit through them unless I have something else going on (like ironing, reading the newspaper, etc). It comes down to the amount of free time I have available, which is limited these days. Fortunately, a lot of cable channels (Palladia, HDNet, PBS) constantly show great concerts that are often edited versions of DVDs, so I can at least get a sampler.

        Good about about the “tube” website for hearing those rarities. It’s something I’ll seek out after I wrap up Alice’s catalog. I know Mike will want to own the physical product, but I’ll be happy merely hearing the music.

        Hoping to get my next Alice post up sometime this week. A lot of things have been conspiring to keep me from writing it since last week, but I’m eager to get to it shortly.

        Like

  6. Heavy Metal Overload
    May 1, 2013

    Great stuff as always Rich. I always rated this era of AC very highly although I’ve never owned ‘Muscle of Love’. I always imagined the selections on the ‘Life and Crimes…’ were all I needed. I might need to get the whole thing after reading your review. I certainly like the songs from it that I’ve heard, especially ‘Teenage Lament ’74’.

    For me ‘Love It To Death’ through to BDB was just a brilliant run of great albums. Hard to top.

    Like

    • Thanks, HMO. Please let me know what you think if/when you give Muscle Of Love a listen. Maybe I’m more open to it than some other fans because I didn’t listen to it with any expectations that it needed to live up to Billion Dollar Babies. I think it holds up well against everything that came before it.

      I totally agree with your last sentence. Hard to top indeed.

      Like

  7. Mark
    June 26, 2013

    To be honest, Muscle of Love is one of my least listened to Alice albums and I have them all. They had made so many masterpiece albums by that point, this one didn’t measure up for me.

    Like

    • I agree that Muscle Of Love wasn’t quite up to the level of what came before it, but considering the turmoil the band was in at the time it’s better than we could’ve expected. My feeling is that, just because it’s not a masterpiece doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable or worth multiple listens. But I can understand with so many great albums in the catalog why it would be one of your least played.

      Like

  8. Pingback: KamerTunesBlog Year In Review 2013 | KamerTunesBlog

  9. uvulapie
    May 15, 2014

    It was during this era that Cooper had bragged about being an alcoholic but he never slurred or stumbled such that no one could tell when we was on stage. I beg to differ. In listening to the live tracks from the deluxe Billion Dollar Babies you can hear Cooper messing up constantly. However Smith and Dunaway keep the rhythm section solid, allowing Cooper to screw up. If either of them messed up as much as Alice the music would have been a chaotic mess.

    Like

    • Good points about Alice during this era, although I didn’t realize he was so under the influence during this period. I thought his alcoholism was at its worst later in the decade & through the first half of the ’80s. Perhaps he assumed that most of his audience was wasted, which is why no one could tell if he messed up on stage. It’s also possible that some of his screw-ups have to do with all the theatricality going on. Not that I’m defending him…just playing devil’s advocate. And I completely agree about the rhythm section keeping things together. The original A.C. Band was simply a killer unit in the studio & on stage.

      Like

  10. nelson
    July 29, 2014

    Love the Coop. Been listening to Muscle for the past few days (having had it my entire adult life). I’ve decided it’s up there with the previous 4, it’s just not as catchy which isn’t the same as being bad.

    Like

    • Hi Nelson. It’s always nice to meet a fellow Coop fan, especially one who loved Muscle Of Love. It’s absolutely as good as any of the albums from the original AC band.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Rich

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to KamerTunesBlog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 308 other followers

Archives

%d bloggers like this: