Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
Welcome to the first KamerTunesBlog weekly series. A few years ago on my Facebook page I wrote a paragraph about my favorite albums from 1983 each week in a series I called “Thirty Year Thursday.” 1983 had been a pivotal year for me, musically & otherwise, so it was fun to start conversations about albums that had a lot of meaning to me and, for the most part, held up extremely well over the course of three decades. Between those posts & my blog activity I was pretty exhausted by the end of 2013, so I decided to put the series on the back-burner. 2016 seems like the perfect time to resurrect Thirty Year Thursday, only now it’ll be featured here each week. Just like its TYT predecessor, 1986 was an extremely memorable year for me: I turned 20, watched my two favorite sports teams (the Mets and the Giants) finally win the World Series and Super Bowl, formed the first incarnation of my college cover band which resulted in several lifelong friendships, went through my first break-up, started working my third record store job during school breaks and enjoyed great records from my favorite bands as well as many new discoveries.
The mid-‘80s aren’t generally regarded as the peak years for rock music, which is understandable when you consider the questionable production choices and synthetic sounds of that era. However, many artists transcended those limitations and, in spite of the frequently “dated” sound, some of my all-time favorite albums hit record store shelves in 1986. For the first half of the year I will focus on the albums I owned & played multiple times in ‘86, and then I will discuss the records from ’86 that I discovered in later years. Hopefully I’ll remind you about some long-forgotten gems and maybe even convince the doubters that the ‘80s were pretty good after all. Most importantly, I look forward to chatting with my fellow music lovers who lived through that period…and those who wish they had. This will be a fun little project for me as I practice the verbal brevity I hope to bring to my regular blog posts (which will continue throughout 2016 in addition to Thirty Year Thursday). I hope you like my first choice. See you next Thursday.
Artist: THE FIRM
Album: MEAN BUSINESS
I already wrote about the brief discography of The Firm in my Two And Through post so I won’t rehash that here. I’ll just say that this second & final album by Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers and the outstanding rhythm section of Tony Franklin & Chris Slade was one of my most-played albums of 1986. It’s not as cohesive as their debut and the songwriting isn’t quite as strong, but the musicianship is unsurprisingly great and Rodgers’ voice is as powerful as it’s ever been. The strongest tracks are “Live In Peace” (which was originally featured on Rodgers’ debut solo album), album opener “Fortune Hunter” (which was based on a riff Page first attempted in 1981 for the aborted XYZ project with the Yes rhythm section of Chris Squire & Alan White), the #1 Mainstream Rock hit “All The Kings Horses” and the gospel-flavored “Spirit Of Love.” I was also fortunate to see them on this tour, having missed their first tour the previous year. I’m not sure how Mean Business would sound to someone hearing it for the first time now, but I still love it and I’m immediately transported back in time whenever I play it.
“All The King’s Horses”: