The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Wednesday April 8, 2015
Inside the Rambling On Juke Box today: ‘60s garage rock immortality and a gem from Whitesnake (yes, Whitesnake).
The Sonics - This is the Sonics (2015)
When a ‘60s band comes out with new music, especially one known for being heavier, it’s usually difficult to get back to the raw feeling of their best music. The Sonics succeed largely due to the raucous, hasn’t-missed-a-beat Little Richard vocals of Roslie. Their grunge-y, dirty rhythm and blues sound hasn’t lost any of its freshness. It doesn’t hurt that White Stripes producer Jim Diamond knows exactly what to do with them.
To use a phrase Jerry Lee Lewis coined, This is the Sonics is all killer, no filler. Highlights: “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover,” “Spend the Night.”
Whitesnake, "Still of the Night"
Hair metal gets a bad reputation. Some of it is deserving but unilateral distaste towards it is unfair. So it’s not the Bach or the Beatles or Miles Davis, I get it. It still has many good qualities that are missing from many other forms of music: a sense of fun, heart, lack of pretension, and the willingness to rock without apologies among them.
In a way it’s unfair to call Whitesnake hair metal. They had the look and the sound but they were in its upper echelon. Remember, their leader David Coverdale had a successful run in the ‘70s with progressive legends Deep Purple. His sense of musicality put Whitesnake in a different place than most of their ‘80s rock counterparts.
Better known for power ballad “Here I Go Again,” their major statement was the intense riff rock of “Still of the Night.” It was one of the first songs that made an impression on me. As a kid my older brother Mike would always play it in his white ‘80s Mustang. I heard a lot of great music from dubbed cassettes in that thing. I hadn’t listened to much music when I first heard it so the fury of Coverdale’s vocals and the blistering guitar literally made my jaw drop. The guitar sound (especially the power chords), riffs, and drumming are visceral and engaging.
If you've never heard "Still of the Night" (or perhaps haven't for awhile) give it a try with fresh ears. Its energy and freshness may surprise you - and give you a new appreciation for '80s rock.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.