KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – THE FIRM “THE FIRM”

Excitement was high when the guitarist from my favorite band had joined forces with one of my favorite singers (whose band, Bad Company, was previously featured in this series) and formed a new group called The Firm. Their eponymous debut was one of my most-played albums of 1985 and, although it is sonically date-stamped to that era, the songs & performances hold up all these years later. I already highlighted the two albums they released during their brief existence in the Two And Through post, and you can read my comments about their debut below.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.

 

 

From TWO AND THROUGH – My Favorite Two-Album Artists:

Led Zeppelin has been my favorite band since around 1979, and after the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980 I have closely followed the careers of the three surviving band members. I’ve also liked Bad Company for nearly as long, but never as passionately as with Zeppelin. When Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page partnered with longtime Bad Company (and future Queen) vocalist Paul Rodgers at the ARMS Benefit Concert in 1983 at Madison Square Garden (which also included the talents of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Simon Phillips and many more brilliant musicians), I was fortunate to witness the seeds of The Firm that would bear fruit two years later. The lineup was completed by drummer Chris Slade (the chrome-domed skin beater for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and, later, AC/DC among many others) and bassist Tony Franklin (best known for his work with Roy Harper and as a member of Blue Murder). I’m not sure how their two albums would sound to someone hearing them for the first time nearly 30 years later, but when they were released my excitement about new music from Jimmy Page allowed me to overlook some of the inconsistencies in the songwriting and production. On the self-titled debut album, “Radioactive” was an excellent choice for leadoff single, a then-modern rock track with a quirky lead guitar figure that only Page could have summoned. It reached #1 on the Album Rock Tracks chart. The rest of the album features seemingly straightforward songs, although most of them have little rhythmic or melodic twists that make them unique. Favorites include “Closer,” “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” their version of The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (showcasing Rodgers’ soulful vocals) and the 9-minute epic “Midnight Moonlight.”

 

Who else was listening to this album back in ’85? If you’ve played it recently, do you think it’s held up after 35 years? If this is your first exposure to them, please let me know what you think.

 

I’ll be back with another classic debut from the mid-’80s in two weeks.

10 comments on “Satur-debut – THE FIRM “THE FIRM”

  1. 80smetalman
    January 4, 2020

    Sorry if I’m repeating myself but I think what doomed The Firm was the fact they were not the Led Zeppelin/Bad Company hybrid many people were expecting. I managed to get over that and started enjoying the album but many people didn’t.

    Like

    • I agree with your assessment of why they weren’t as huge as they should have been. The tour I saw in ’86 was well-received but I think a lot of people just wanted to hear Zeppelin and Bad Company songs. I loved both Firm albums and was thrilled to hear those songs. I felt the same way when I saw Robert Plant’s first tour and he only did solo material. It didn’t bother me that he wasn’t playing any Zeppelin songs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. deKE
    January 5, 2020

    Nice choice Rich. The current issue of Rock Candy Magazine has a 10-page interview with Slade/Franklin and Rodgers. Pretty interesting to learn that they only signed up for a two-album deal. Radioactive is a great track. I need to track those two albums on vinyl.

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    • Thanks, Derek. I never knew the history of the band or their contracts, but I’m not surprised it was a limited deal considering the two main guys involved. I would have liked to hear more from them but perhaps they hit a wall and didn’t have anything else to say as a group. Maybe that’s why they recycled older ideas and re-recorded a Rodgers solo track on the second album. Had they stayed together, Slade never would have brought his mammoth drumming to AC/DC’s The Razors Edge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        January 6, 2020

        Rodgers wanted only to commit to two albums as he said he was raising a young family at the time so I think that had something to do with it as well.
        In this day and age of reissue a live show would be cool to hear as the bootleg vids on youtube don’t really do them justice.

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      • A couple of years later Rodgers formed the very short-lived group The Law with drummer Kenney Jones. I guess he was tired of spending time with his young family by then. Haha. Have you ever heard that album? It’s pretty forgettable.

        As for The Firm, I agree that an official live album/DVD would be nice, but I don’t see it happening. I remember when HBO broadcast a concert from the first tour. I didn’t have HBO so I had a friend record it for me. Would like to see it again in better quality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • deKE
        January 8, 2020

        I remember seeing adds for The Law album. That was the early 90’s i think. Didn’t Adams/Vallance contribute a song or am I tripping. haha
        They should remix that live show on audio and release it.

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      • Good memory, as it was released in 1991 and there was, in fact, an Adams/Vallance track. I knew you were right when I read your comment but had to look it up to be sure. As for the Firm live show, I completely agree, but it’s unlikely to happen. It’s like Page & Rodgers have completely forgotten about The Firm.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. wardo68
    January 5, 2020

    A guilty pleasure, but still a pleasure. Both albums.

    Like

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