With the decade coming towards its end, 1988 was a genuine mixed bag. Pet Shop Boys released some of their best ever work; Elton John’s ‘Reg Strikes Back’ album marked somewhat of a comeback for the megastar after five years of intermittently enjoyable material and Jane Wiedlin hit the UK singles chart with ‘Rush Hour’, arguably one of the decade’s greatest pop singles.
Boston’s Dirty Truckers have never been shy of showing a cheeky side and applying that to some good old-fashioned, trashy riffs. This has rarely been offered in such a direct way as on ‘Little Mine’, the lead single from their 2020 compilation disc ‘Second Dose’. It’s barely two lines in before frontman Tom Baker sings of someone in their “birthday suit” before applying that image to “a twinkle in your eye”. Granted, it’s merely saucy and certainly not on the same level as David Coverdale singing about leg-spreading less than a minute into the Whitesnake debut LP from ’78, but there’s something about this sexual memory that sort of sets the trashy tone for the following thirty minutes. In terms of music, there’s plenty within this tune’s Slim Dunlap meets Keef Richards schtick. If anything, its combination of relentless pace and unfussy backing vocals makes everyone sound more energised than before: the riffs are ballsy; the lead vocals husky…and combined, the bar-room sound really flies. It sounds so much like classic Truckers, even a one line hook can’t hold it back. Sliding into ‘Hotel Highway View’ the disc effectively opens with a massive one-two suckerpunch. A number that highlights John Brookhouse’s sleazy guitar, the band deliver a three minute musical love letter to Johnny Thunders. It’s bread and butter stuff for them, but sounds great. If you love that grubby rock ‘n’ roll style, you’ll definitely find yourself being swept along by the band’s energy.
It took Mick Terry a very long time to record and release his second album ‘Days Go By’. The record started to take early form just a year after his 2010 debut ‘The Grown Ups’ and a couple of songs – ‘Pop’s A Dirty Word’ and ‘Riverbend’ – appeared online in early versions around that time.
The final record, though, seemed to have a tricky birth. Real life got in the way. Having a Transatlantic producer and differing time zones didn’t help. Eventually making its way into the world about five years later than planned, ‘Days Go By’ was worth waiting for. Each one of its tracks resembled a classically retro pop nugget; a musical love letter to AM radio artists like Andrew Gold and 10cc.
By the end of 2019, Jeff Scott Soto had celebrated thirty five years in the music business. One of melodic rock’s most gifted vocalists, in that time he’s released six solo albums and over thirty more as a full-time frontman with a band. Obviously, you’d expect such an extensive career to take in a live album or two already, but by the spring of 2020, Jeff had no fewer than seven live albums to his credit (three with Talisman and four solo), so in that regard, fans have been more than well served. With three of those already covering his output for Frontiers Records admirably, there’s initially a feeling that 2020’s ‘Loud & Live In Milan’ might just be surplus to requirements…
As the world continues to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become the norm for websites to offer various archive live shows for entertainment. Radiohead have raided their archives and uploaded previously unavailable live sets. Other artists have released free music via Bandcamp to surprise their fans.