CD Review: Rory Gallagher "The Beat Club Sessions"

CD Review: Rory Gallagher "The Beat Club Sessions" 
Eagle Rock / Capo
All Access Review:  B+

No stranger to cameras and lights, Rory Gallagher was a regular on the German TV show “Beat Club” in the early ‘70s, appearing four times over a span of two years, once with his band Taste in 1970 and three others in 1971-72 to showcase material from his brilliant first two solo albums. Listening to The Beat Club Sessions, it’s easy to see why he was asked back time and time again.

From the vaults come 90 minutes of sensational unreleased live material from those shows, all pulled together for this latest testament to Gallagher’s mastery of blues guitar. Intended as a companion piece to the two-DVD “Ghost Blues” package Eagle also released in September that is purported to be the first complete and fully authorized documentary of Gallagher’s life and career, The Beat Club Sessions provides a taste of Gallagher’s inestimable live prowess and a remarkable look at how the Irish guitar gunslinger reinvigorated favorites from his small, but magnificent catalog on stage.

And what a flavorful sampler this is, from the propulsive, double-barreled blast of “Laundromat” and “Hands Up” to intricate and wistful acoustic readings of “Just the Smile” and “I Don’t Know Where I’m Going” – every piece is powerful, beautifully played and joyously articulated. The slow stomp and slide guitar frenzy of “I Could’ve Had Religion” brings to life the ghosts of the Delta blues heroes Gallagher worshipped, and “Used To Be” smolders with intensity, with Gallagher’s slashing solo a stiletto across the neck and his coal-fired band playing with verve and passion, the trio closing the song with a raucous meltdown of pounding drums, thumping bass and soaring six-string magic.

There’s a hard edge to Gallagher’s playing here, and he’s at his sharpest on a dynamic, serrated version of “Messin’ with the Kid” that serves as the live collection’s blistering finale. Handling “Crest of a Wave” with a more melodic touch, Gallagher reveals a less bombastic, more fluid and artful aspect of his instrumental genius. If only the package had more to it.

The liner notes are too short to be sweet and more detailed historical context for Gallagher’s performances on “Beat Club” would have made this essential. Perhaps “Ghost Blues” will fill in the cracks.

-Peter Lindblad

DVD Review: Rush "Classic Albums: 2112 & Moving Pictures"

DVD Review: Rush - "Classic Albums: 2112 and Moving Pictures"
Eagle Vision
All Access Review: B

Perhaps predictably, Rush took a lot of heat for throwing in their lot with Ayn Rand as they did on 1976’s 2112. Her controversial writings were viewed by many as promoting a selfishly individualistic philosophy that sanctioned greed and scoffed at the notion of a common good.

Drummer/lyricist Neil Peart and the rest of Rush looked at Rand and saw something different in works like “Anthem” and “The Fountainhead.” In Rand, they found something of an intellectual freedom fighter, a warrior of strong mental fortitude in the fight against repressive totalitarianism and mind control. What they had, in essence, was an ally.

Influenced by the writings of Rand and those of science fiction writer Samuel R. Delaney as well, Peart constructed for Side 1 of 2112 an epic futuristic tale of a world where technology reigns supreme and art – music especially – is crushed under the heels of priests who knew, implicitly, what was best for the people. And yet, somehow, as told in this latest installment of Eagle Vision’s Classic Albums series, Rush was demonized for it. Critics went so far as to call them right-wing extremists and even Neo-Nazi sympathizers, when all Rush wanted to do was say a little something about staying true to yourself and your artistic vision.

2112 was the epitome of transitional records. On one side, there’s a conceptual suite, at once angry and piercingly loud, but also contemplative and melodic, pieced together in defiance of record company mandates to be more commercial. Once the rebellion had ended in the crashing chaos of “Oracle: The,” which Peart sees as the cavalry coming to save the day, Rush moves on to the shorter, more compact songs – the ones Mercury Records wanted more of, particularly after the weird and incomprehensible Caress of Steel – that make up Side 2.

Exploring the exotic, drug-fueled nature of “A Passage to Bangkok” and the contrasting lightness and dark shadows of imagination in “The Twilight Zone,” the DVD goes into great detail in telling the story of 2112. Peart, guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Geddy Lee all end up sharing fascinating memories of the making of 2112, with producer Terry Brown also revealing much about the studio process. Context and insight provided by esteemed music writer David Fricke and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins flesh out the history of Rush’s break-though record, while Mercury promotions man Cliff Burnstein explains how tough it was for him to sell a conceptual record, or at least half of one, to a label that wanted no part of that.

What feels ham-fisted is how the film segues into Moving Pictures. In a sense, it tries too hard to find a connection between the two landmark records. History has shown that 2112 and Moving Pictures are clearly the most important works in Rush’s catalog, but, maybe due to time constraints or the lack of supporting material, the filmmakers gloss over how the band evolved between those works. And where they artfully lay the foundation and backdrop for 2112, less attention is given to what led up to Moving Pictures, though passing mention is made of Rush’s interest in New Wave and Punk and how that helped inform the record. The Moving Pictures segment is salvaged, however, by the deep, expansive analysis of “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “YYZ” and “Red Barchetta.”

While “2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums” does much to celebrate Rush’s musicianship and the complexity of their compositions, perhaps the film bit off more than it could chew here. Maybe separating the stories behind both records would have made for fuller, richer and more satisfying storytelling. Still, if you’re a Rush fan and these two records are among your favorites, there is much here to enjoy, especially the interviews. Candid, open and refreshingly defiant, Peart, Lifeson and Lee are engaging subjects, and watching them, up close, work through some of the most interesting parts of these great songs on their instruments is an absolute pleasure.

-Peter Lindblad 


Riff This! Rock Gods' Guitars Hit Auction Block


Kip Winger Warwick Bass
The bass guitar that Kip offered up - an authentic Warwick Corvette ProLine - left us speechless.......and we're sure it will make your head spin as well. Ever since the start of the 2002 Summer tour with Poison, Kip has played this very guitar extensively. For eight years, it has been his most trusted sidekick, as is easily evidenced by the countless photos and videos. Better yet, Kip walked off stage with it after the most recent Blackwood Creek show in Denver.

To quote Kip; "Man, this really has been one of my all-time favorites. Originally, it had a green finish but I painted it black right after the tour with Poison. It's been with me ever since and anyone who's been to a Winger show in the last 8 years, here or overseas, has seen me playing it. During the last show, the front pick-up crapped out on me and I intended to have it repaired. But now that it's going in the auction, I'll let the future owner decide what he or she wants to do."

The bass does indeed show the type of wear one would expect from extensive use. There's the usual (minor) dents, scratches and even some missing paint chips but in all fairness, the guitar wouldn't have character without it. And speaking of this particular model - which ranks among the elite in the vast line of Warwick bass guitars - this rather pricey instrument trademarks are its well-balanced attack and starting transient, with a consistently clear deep bass register, a warm gently growling mid-range and pleasant soft highs. The Corvette ProLine's body consists of two pieces of hard, Flamed Maple. A Wenge fingerboard is glued to the five-piece Ovangkol neck, which slots neatly into the body and is secured by four bolts in individual recessed metal bushes. Kip replaced the standard MEC pick-ups with two EMG pick-ups. It has gorgeous gold hardware and comes in the original "Rockbag" soft travel case, which has some light damage across the bottom but is overall in excellent condition.

Warwick basses has endorsed the greatest bass players over the years such as Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Adam Clayton, Bootsy Collins and Robert Trujullio. It is no surprise to see Kip playing this majestic and exquisite instrument. Kip signed the bass on the back, which makes this without question the single most exclusive and desirable Kip Winger collectibles one could ever own.

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Kip Winger.

Auction Link: Lot 1189


Al Jourgensen Buck Satan # 1
Each auction has it's 'crown jewels' and as far as the Al Jourgensen collection goes, this very one might just be it. Offered here is Al's infamous "Buck Satan # 1" Ibanez custom made guitar, which he used extensively for touring and recording between 1996 and 2006. This guitar can be seen in many concert photos, as well as in the 'Lay Lady Lay' video.

Equally impressive is the fact that this prototype guitar is only of ONLY two ever made by Ibanez, exclusively for Al Jourgensen. The second one, aptly titled Buck Satan # 2, is also offered in the auction.

The guitar features mother-of-pearl inlay around the entire side of the body, silver hardware, 2 Humbucker pick-ups and 2 tone/ volume knobs.

The E-string is broken but is included in the original guitar case, which further contains a pack of D'Addario string and the original guitar strap. The guitar shows moderate surface wear but is overall in excellent condition.

Not only is this an amazing collectible for guitar collectors - after all, no other Ibanez of this kind is in circulation - but this is also the very first time that Al has offered a guitar from his private collection in public.

You wanted a 'Holy Grail' item.....well, this is it!

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Al Jourgensen of Ministry.

Auction Link:  Lot 1026


Al Jourgensen Buck Satan # 2
Equally rare as its bigger brother - the Buck Satan # 1 - is this amazingly stunning and flat-out super-cool 'Buck Satan # 2' guitar, which was exclusively designed as a prototype for Al Jourgensen by Ibanez.

Al passionately loved this guitar and used it extensively on the road. It was used between 1996 and 2006 on tours such as 'Sphinc Tour' (1996), 'Clitour-US' (1999), 'Evil Doer Tour' (2004) and the 'Masterba-Tour' (2006).

The guitar features mother-of-pearl inlay around the entire side of the body, silver hardware, 2 Humbucker pick-ups and 2 tone/ volume knobs. It comes in the original case and shows moderate surface wear from stage and studio use. Overall however, this true museum piece is in excellent condition.

Not only is this an amazing collectible for guitar collectors - after all, no other Ibanez of this kind is in circulation - but this is also the very first time that Al has offered a guitar from his private collection in public. Will you be one of the very, very lucky few?

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Al Jourgensen of Ministry.

Item Link: Lot 1027


Andy Larocque Guitar
Known for his signature guitar style of incorporating neoclassical elements into his playing, Andy LaRocque career began in the early days of the N.W.O.B.H.M. as the lead guitarist for metal horror band King Diamond, with whom he has been a member since 1985.

In addition to over two decades of touring and sharing stages around the world with Metal's most outstanding musicians, Andy has produced and engineered top metal bands like Falconer and Evergrey. Bands like Death, At The Gates, In Flames and Dimmu Borgir have called upon Andy as a guest musician to deliver a dose of fierce, lightning fast, heavy guitar. His peerless and influential playing style is admired by so many and without a doubt has earned him a place in the immortal ranks of heavy metal's finest!

Andy is also a Grammy nominated artist for the song "Never Ending Hill" from the King Diamond album "Give me Your Soul...Please" (2007).

Featured here is a most remarkable guitar that will appeal to King Diamond fans, as well as guitar aficionados; Andy's very own Caparison TAT II, which was used during the recording of "Give Me Your Soul....Please".

Caparison Guitars is a Japan-based manufacturer of high-end custom shop electric guitars and endorses a growing numbers of top guitarists and "shredders". The TAT II is an arch top 'Soloist' type guitar that features neck-thru maple construction, 24-fret ebony fingerboard with abalone inlays, alder body wings, Schaller bridge, bound neck & headstock, and a unique one-of-a-kind ' Eastern Red Sunset' finish. The TAT II has a custom made Humbucker (Caparison) and 2 single coil pick-ups with a push/push coil tap switch. This along with the 3-way toggle gives you six distinct tones. Even unplugged, the guitar sounds very loud!

Andy received this guitar from the owner of Caparison in 2002 and will include the personal letter and original documents. Most recently, Andy used the guitar for composing some of the upcoming King Diamond material.

In all, this is a top-tier instrument with great history and provenance. The guitar will be shipped directly from Andy's recording studio in Sweden.

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Andy LaRocque.

Auction Link: Lot 1234


John 5 Fender Telecaster & Foot Cast
Pete Townsend started it, Paul Stanley perfected it and John 5 has taken it to a new level! Yup, we're talking about the art of smashing guitars. Where Townshend's were unpredictable and spontaneous, Stanley's were highly choreographed and intended as a fan souvenir. Our man John 5 however doesn't simply smash his guitar....he beats the living daylight out of it with the same aggression, passion and madness he bends his strings and shreds his way through the night.

During several shows on the summer 2010 tour, Rob Zombie would challenge John 5 to a bet, with the livelihood of his guitar at stake. John would lose the bet and consequently smash it, much to the joy of the audience (and Rob). Now, before y'all get carried away, John wouldn't smash his own J5 Fender Telecaster but would instead reach for the more economically priced Squier model.

Since pitching a broken guitar (or parts thereof) into the audience has because a bit hazardous (people do get injured in the fights that break out over getting a piece of it), John would instead toss the scraps to his tech and that was pretty much the end of it. On rare occasions the body or neck would stay somewhat intact and the few that survived were offered by John to his fans.

However, he saved a special one for a special event and that's what we have up for grabs in this fantastic lot. On the eve of the August 3, 2010 show in Raleigh, North Carolina, John broke his foot and initially feared that he wouldn't be able to do the show. A quick trip to the hospital and a cast later, John was good to go. For John 5 fans you know that "taking it easy on stage" would prove to be a challenge, but he managed to do the full show, including the "smashing of the guitar", which is the one featured here. The guitar is broken in several places but is complete and was signed by John on the chrome pick guard.

Agreed, this by itself would be a prestigious memento for any collector. After all, John 5 is one of today's absolute premier guitar players; period! Owning one of his very few 'battle axes' is plenty reason to draw envy and admiration but why stop here? To make this lot unparalleled, John has added the cast for his broken foot that he got prior to the Raleigh show and supported him for the remainder of the tour. The cast too has been signed.

Whether you're a John 5 admirer or a guitar aficionado, you're not going to find anything like this ever again. Talk 'bout a true one-of-a-kind doesn't get any more authentic than this!

Auction Link:  Lot 1241


Pantera Fully Signed Guitar
If there ever was a 'Holy Grail' Pantera collectible, then it is this amazing, fully-signed Washburn 'Dime Slime' guitar! Out of appreciation for all the years of hard work, support and tremendous successes, all four Pantera band members signed this killer Dimebag signature model Washburn guitar for their manager Walter O'Brien back in 1998.

The signatures read;

* Dimebag; "To Waltino O.B.! Light It Up, Watch It Go, But Don't Make Me Hot. Ya' Boy, Dimebag, CFH '98"
* Rex: "Walt - Here's To Good Times, Love Bro - Rex"
* Phil: "Walt, May We All Die In The South (O.K., Not Really!) P.'98"
* Vinnie: "Thanks For Everything!! Vinnie Paul 1998 X"

The guitar (serial # S97117040) is in absolute mint condition and comes complete with a Dimebag guitar pick, a Dimebag signature guitar strap, a sealed pack of 12 Dimebag signature guitar picks in the original packaging and a brand new 'Dime Cry Baby From Hell" wah pedal (in the original box, complete with inserts).

Also included is a clear display case (with black backing), which measures 50 x 20 x 7 inches. The case is optional as its significant weight will ass substantially to the cost of shipping.

All together, you'll be hard pressed to find a more prestigious Pantera collectible than this!!

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by former Pantera manager Walter O'Brien.

Auction Link: Lot 1140


Al Jourgensen Coffin Guitar 
Designed by Al Jourgensen himself, Schechter guitars made a half-dozen 'Coffin' guitars exclusively for the 2008 Final World Tour (also known as the C-U-LaTour). The guitars were made in three colors; black (of course), white and cherry red.

Al took the black and red guitars on the road with him, leaving the red one back in El Paso for studio work. The cherry red guitar as featured in this lot was used by Al for recordings over the past 2 years. Judging from the height of the bridge - which is slightly elevated - Al most recently used it for "slide" work.

The guitar, which is also signed by Al on the back, has gold hardware, mother-of-pearl inlays and Gibson 500T Humbucker pick-ups. It comes in the original case and is in pristine condition.

Al's gracious decision to offer one of his only six in existence beloved 'Coffins' to the public, which makes this one of the most prestigious Ministry collectibles to own. Naturally, for guitar aficionados this guitar is equally thrilling, knowing that you will own this high-end piece of art, of which only two in this color were ever made....and only one will ever belong to anyone else than Al Jourgensen.

Included is a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Al Jourgensen of Ministry.

Auction Link: Lot 1029

The Rock Gods 'n Metal Monsters Auction also features additional instruments and gear, including artist used keyboards, speakers, mic stands, drums and complete drum kits, percussion items, flight cases and more. Check out the complete collection of auction items in the Instruments & Equipment category at Backstage Auctions.

Auction ends on Sunday, November 7th. Rock on Over to the Auction Tab and register for your VIP All Access Pass. 

Over 200 Sealed NWOBHM Records Head to Auction

The Rock Gods 'n Metal Monsters auction is offering more than 200 sealed records from illustrious record labels such as Neat Records and Heavy Metal Records in its Rock Gods and Metal Monsters Auction, which ends Nov. 7, 2010.

“At the 11th hour, we received an incredible collection of sealed — early 1980s — heavy metal albums that is so impressive, it is sure to spin some heads,” said Backstage Auctions founder and president Jacques van Gool. “We’ve got sealed albums from some of the most notable metal lables of the past few decades, including Neat Records, Roadrunner, Metal Blade, Shrapnel, Heavy Metal Records and Enigma, among others — which are a goldmine for the true metal music collector.”

Good- condition vinyl is selling for record prices, and the growing demand easily outranks the supply. As such, Backstage Auctions was elated when it received this truly “last-minute” consignment from a now-defunct import record distributor in Asia, which consigned more than 200 of these elusive gems, highlighted by the fact that each and every copy is still sealed. Once metal icons such as Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest and Def Leppard had kicked the doors wide open to the glorious days of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, small and independent record companies mushroomed across Europe and America, giving birth to legendary labels such as Neat Records, Heavy Metal Records, Killerwatt, Roadrunner, Metal Blade, Megaforce and Shrapnel. The legions of metal fans around the globe were so vast and hungry that — weekly — literally dozens of new releases were pressed and distributed to thousands of records stores.

Few things back in the early 1980s were as exciting as rushing home with the newest Neat Records release, just to hear what the next New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band had to offer.

“Even for the most seasoned metal collector, this treasure chest of records contains an unmatched depth of obscure titles,” van Gool said. “Truth to be told, I would have the hardest time to decide what to do with any of these records — keep them sealed or set ‘em free and soak up the sounds that defined the ’80s. And yes, those sounds royally ticked off our suffering neighbors downstairs. I vividly remember how much my parents resented my Friday afternoon return from my local record shop, armed with a bag full of fresh metal, ready for another weekend of headbanging and air-guitar. I suppose I learned early on that the more your parents hated it, the better the album probably was.”

In addition to precious discs by Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Judas Priest and Saxon, the collection is loaded with exceptionally rare releases from historic labels such as Neat Records (18 titles), Roadrunner (28 titles), Heavy Metal Records (12 titles) and Metal Blade (15 titles), featuring illustrious names such as Venom, Jaguar, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch, Cirith Ungol, Bitch, The Rods, Raven, Pandemonium, Armored Saint, Tysondog, Anvil, Trouble, Blitzkrieg, Battleaxe, Tokyo Blade, Chastain, Mad Max, Fates Warning, Avenger and War Machine.

The complete auction catalog showcases amazing pieces direct from the private collections of Al Jourgensen (Ministry); Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake, Dio); Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri); Scott Rockenfeld (Queensryche); Kip Winger (Winger); Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath, Aerosmith); Andy Laroque (King Diamond); John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson); and Walter O’Brien (Concrete Management).

Whether you’re in the market for a smashed John 5 guitar, vintage concert photos of KISS, Black Sabbath or AC/DC, original art by Marilyn Manson, RIAA record awards or Ministry master recording reels, this auction has just about everything to get a metal fan or collector excited.

 Lots include rare artist-signed collectibles, recordings, concert photos and negatives, original artwork, promotional and concert posters, record awards, backstage passes, promotional merchandise, stage gear, artist-worn apparel, drumsticks, exclusive ephemera, tour books and some really cool road cases.

For more details on the more than 500 lots featured in this auction simply click on the AUCTION tab at the top or click here: Rock Gods 'n Metal Monsters Auction.

This article was written and originally posted by Goldmine Magazine.