It’s Always Better Live – Live Album Week… Seeing UFOs and Strangers In The Night

So there are two types of live albums… One that is a collection of songs recorded live on a given tour, or perhaps, like yesterday, from shows over a period of time.  The other is capturing one particular show just as it went down, with little editing and overdubs.  Obviously both involve picking what is hopefully the best or most interesting.

Wolfgang’s Vault is my main go to source for live shows.  Check it out.  And 100.3 The Sound is doing all live music tomorrow, some vinyl, too.  Love it!

This one goes out to a lot of folks, but specifically Michelle and Jason!

Many of you have heard me fondly reminisce about a teen tour I took across this great country and the musical education I got in the back of the bus.  Sadly, I did not get the “other” kind of education in the back of the bus… The ladies just did not love me when I was younger… I mean, they thought I was (the dreaded word) “cute”, but they always seemed to line up for the bad boys.  Sigh…

I could have been yours, Karen!

While today’s album did not come out of Jason’s boom box, it does come to us courtesy of the man himself… Jason sent me a nice note on Facebook and a whole list of some of his current listenings.

I’ll quote him here… “Probably the best band you never heard in your life. In fact, most people have never heard them. These guys just never hit it big in the US but they are incredible. Many people, including me, consider their live album “Strangers In The Night” to be the greatest live album ever. Give that a spin from beginning to end and I think you will be blown away.”

UFO – Strangers In The Night

I had heard of UFO… but I’ll be honest, Jason… I cannot say that I have listened to them a lot.  Metal has always been my weak area… It just never fit in with my listening world.  That’s not to say I didn’t like it… or don’t like it… but it was not something I would necessarily grab.  Yes, you did get me into Judas Priest and hard rockers AC/DC and Van Halen.  I would hate to feel like I let you down… but perhaps I did not wear enough black and listen to enough Heavy Metal.  Can I get a do over?

As I like to jokingly say… When Jason says listen, I listen.  But hey, I actually do it and here I go again.

Thee were some great metal bands in the ’80s… Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dokken, Motley Crue, Ratt, Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult and Motorhead are just a few.  Their influences were groups like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Humble Pie and Iron Butterfly.  I actually had a lot of these bands in my playlists back in the day, so maybe I was more metal than I give myself credit for.

But Jason is right… UFO never quite hit.  It reminds me a bit of the story of Anvil… Not as zany and crazy, but just frustrating to have so much talent and not make it as big as your peers.  If you have not seen that film you absolutely must.

Seems like band members were going in and out of UFO, which cannot be great, and certainly does not help a band grow and develop… but who knows why this band out of Britain never took hold.

I have to say… I really love this album.  Really!

It came out in 1979.  The songs were recorded in 1978 at shows in Chicago and Louisville, and some of the songs were recorded from a show on their tour with Blue Öyster Cult.

“Strangers in the Night is often listed by critics and fans as one of the best live rock albums of all time.”

Slash, former guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and current guitarist for Velvet Revolver, has stated that this is his favorite live album.”

I love the “fill in” on “Cherry” where Phil sounds like, for better or worse, Keith Richards in all his drunken glory.  And “Love to Love” is now one of my favorite rock ballads.

As I said before, I had heard of UFO, but did not really know them.  I do now and this album is an awfully great way of saying hello and getting nicely acquainted.  It is so musical and just so damn good, and the band is so tight… Phil Mogg has such a great rock voice and Michael Schenker is an amazing axe man.  Add in Paul Raymond on rhythm guitar and keys, Pete Way on bass and Andy Parker on drums and you got quite a lineup.  Michael would leave the band right after this and while a rotating door had talent coming and going, it did not help their situation.

Whatever they were not, this album is quite a testament to what they were… a great heavy metal, rock n’ roll band… and it is all captured LIVE!


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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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