Monthly newsletter 2024

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to The Story of Rock and Roll 2024.  We are now in Season 7 and this is the first newsletter for 2024.  We have a new look for the show adverts on social media and a revamped Diabolical Challenge.  But first, we start the year by closing off 2023 and include some of the best tracks released in 2023.  You should be pleasantly surprised by the quality of Rock and Metal released over the last twelve months.   The shows covered here were from S6E49 through to S6E52 and are available on podcast on most of the podcast platforms.  Quick links to all things TSORR are at the end of the newsletter.  Please share the newsletter with anyone who may be interested. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2023

It was a busy year; we had many noticeable releases and the TSORR Best Albums of 2023 looks like this.  ‘Best’ means I enjoyed them the most. 

Tsorr best albums 2023

The highlight of the year was the TSORR 6th Birthday celebration that was conducted live on Rebel Rock Radio on 12 December 2023 in S6E51.  This year was special as it was correct to the day and not just the week.  The Story of Rock and Roll Radio Show first aired from the Mix 93.8 FM community station in Midrand Johannesburg on Thursday 21 December 2017. 

TSORR Day 1 has been referred to as 2112 ever since.  This year 2112 fell on a Thursday so we had a special party.  The episode covered as many of the tracks that are especially meaningful to the show, and I tried to get through the most played bands and tracks of the last 6 years.  ACDC have been the most-played band, followed by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Tom Petty, and The Stranglers.  With a rough playlist of 9 hours of music, I managed to present a great 3 hour show that fully represented what TSORR is all about.  Catch it on S6E51 on the podcast site. 

Here’s a sample of a few.  ‘Ghosts of Berlin’, a track written by Piet Botha in 2013 and recorded by The Lyzyrd Kyngz is one of my favourite tracks ever.  The band consisted of  Arthur and Rudolph Dennis, Piet Botha, and Adrian John Graham, the track gets to the heart of what TSORR is all about, you should feel the emotional pull.  RIP Piet

In the same vein, we listened to Atlantic City off Springsteen’s masterpiece NebraskaWarren Zane’s book Deliver Me from Nowhere – The Making of Nebraska was one of my favourite books in 2023.  It is one I will read over and over again.  If you are a fan of the album Deliver Me From Nowhere is essential reading.      

But I don’t want to drag you down here, not everything is so black and white, here’s the song that started it all; John Paul Young with ‘Yesterdays Hero

Four others that made a huge impact on TSORR: KISS, Van Halen, Judas Priest, and Guns ‘n’ Roses

THE DIABOLICAL CHALLENGE

Each week we look at four albums selected from a specific year and try to figure out which of these four you would take if you could only take one.  It isn’t about the ‘best’ album, it is about the album that means the most to you personally for whatever reason.  For many of us, these albums formed a soundtrack to our lives a certain stages like high school, early relationships, good times, bad times, and all that.  Here are the years we looked at:      

   

S6E49 = 1970

S6E50 = 1999

S6E51 = 2012

S6E52 = 2023

1970

The tracks played were:

Iron Man’ (Black Sabbath), ‘Speed King’ (Deep Purple), ‘Gypsy’ (Uriah Heep), and ‘Celebration Day’ (Led Zeppelin).  As far as Diabolical Challenges go this was one of those most Diabolical.  There have been their fair share of tough challenges, 1980, 1984, and 1991, spring to mind, and this was another one of those.  In the end, it came down to Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep.  I expected Sabbath to take it but thought Led Zep would be second favourite.  There wasn’t a lot between them to be honest, and most people would be happy with any of these.  It is great how well they stand up 52 years later.          

1970

1999

The tracks played were:

Parallel Universe’ (Red Chili Peppers), ‘The Dolphins Cry’ (LIVE), ‘What’s My Age Again’ (Blink 182), and ‘Lit Up’ (Buckcherry).  This was a fun challenge.  The Facebook votes were between RHCP and Blink 182 but lots of people said that these days they listen to The Distance From Here the most, suggesting it has aged the best.  These four albums were exceptional and for RHCP and Blink 182 their commercial peaks.  The TSORR central vote, as expected, was the correct one.  Buckcherry all the way!  Back in 1999, Napster was in full force and we were flooded with Nu Metal which most people were not paying for.  Napster allowed a massive amount of music which would normally have been culled by basic economic theory, to get out into the world.  With a price of zero, the demand was infinite, and we had plenty of ‘not so good’ to wade through.  As far as I am concerned Buckcherry saved rock and roll in 1999.  The swagger, the power, the guts, and the grit, the sound of raw G’n’R style guitar restored my faith in good times rock and roll.  With one album Josh Todd and the lads reminded us that we can rise above extreme negativity tuned to drop D and feel good again. 

2012

The tracks that were scheduled to be played were:

The Wreckers’ (Rush), Stalingrad (Accept), ‘I Miss the Misery’ (Halestorm), and ‘Stay Frosty’ (Van Halen).  The songs didn’t get played due to birthday celebrations, but the votes came in off Facebook and the verdict was Clockwork Angels

2012

2023

Under You’, (Foo Fighters), ‘The Big Goodbye’ (Alice Cooper), ‘Angry’, (The Rolling Stones), and Lux AEterna (Metallica).  These were the biggest albums of the year but also on the last show of 2023, we paid a lot of attention to the incredible quality of, what I am calling, the rise of New Classic Metal

If you want to know what New Classic Metal sounds like check out S6E52 and listen to these albums VandenbergSin, JelusickFollow the Blind Man, Elegant WeaponsHorns For a Halo, Girish and the ChroniclesBack on Earth, and Joel Hoekstra’s 13Crash of Life

THE IMMORTALS

The Immortals, tracks over 7 min long, that demonstrate what a band is capable of when not worrying about airplay on daytime radio continues to be very well supported on the show.  We started with ‘Blood Red Skies’ off Priest’s 1988 release Ram It Down.  This slow burner opened Side 2 of the album and was included on the Live set of the Epitaph Tour.  It is also the last album to feature Dave Holland on drums. 

In S6E49 I played a cover of Bad Company’s ‘Live For the Music’ by Roger Kaye.  I met Roger at high school.  He was a supremely talented musician, a multi-instrumentalist with, as far as I could hear, perfect pitch.  Roger was an amazing drummer and had a golden voice reminiscent of one of his heroes, Ronnie James Dio.  During the show mentioned a track he had recorded where he interpreted Mozart and did the entire K550 using an electric guitar.  The full story of this is in the book The Story of Rock and Roll so we won’t go into it here.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KECQBOW

I mentioned the track and a few listeners asked me to play it so we did just that on S6E50.  It is a testament to Roger’s talent and dedication and well worthy of being considered Immortal.

For the 6th birthday episode (S6E51) there was only one track that would suffice for the Immortals slot.  The significance of the number 2112 to the birth of the TSORR Radio Show made it fitting that we played the title track off Rush’s phenomenal 2112 album in its glorious entirety.  The track is 20 minutes long, so we needed the Diabolical Challenge to donate its slot to this very worthy cause

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NEW RELEASES & NEW DISCOVERIES & SAD LOSSES

With the Christmas season upon us, and the new releases seemed to have dried up.  Then suddenly about two weeks before the end I found out that back in September Dino Jelusick dropped one of the best albums of the year.  Follow the Blind Man by Jelusick features Dino on vocals, Ivan Keller on guitars, Luka Broderick on bass and, Mario Lepoglavec on drums.  It is a powerful album no question.  

Also, in September I missed Kings of the Asylum the brand-new release from Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons.  They have a new vocalist, Joel Peters, and he fits the band perfectly.  Spare a minute to reflect on how Phil Campbell has got life totally sorted out.  He knew Motörhead died with Lemmy but instead of starting a new band with other musicians and living under the gigantean shadow of Motörhead he formed a band with his 3 sons Todd, Tyla, and Dana, and made it all about them instead.  Incredible, hats off to Phil.  Respect \m/ Good Job. 

IT’S WHAT YOU SAY THAT COUNTS

One of the greatest things about growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s was having the lyric sheets printed out on the album’s inner sleeve.  That’s why we know all the words kids!  These were a couple of lyrics that were mentioned during shows. 

2112

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read
The songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure
To your eye
One for all and all for one
Work together
Common sons
Never need to wonder
How or why

Rush – 1976 (S6E51)

SOUTH AFRICAN SCENE

It was thin pickings as the year closed, but we did get a new single release from guitar maestro Dan Patlansky.  The track is called ‘Who I Am’ and it is fantastic. It will be on his new release Movin On which should be out in the New Year.  Dan is a world-class blues guitarist and has won numerous awards in international magazines. I absolutely love this track, it has a different vibe to it, more of a rock vibe.  The tone he gets on the solos is better than anything else I have heard this year in a comparable genre.  This is not luck, Dan believes that tone is one of the most important aspects of playing and he has worked relentlessly on perfecting it.  I am seeing Dan in February, and I will get his thoughts on the new album then.

CHEERS @#$%’s

The shows discussed in this month’s newsletter can be heard as podcasts S6E49S6E52.  Feel free to drop me a message on The Story of Rock and Roll Facebook page or via email at thestoryofrockandroll1@gmail.com.  If you want to be added to TSORR Central WhatsApp Group, send me your number on this email address and I will add you. 

For those of you who are new to TSORR here are the quick references to find The Story of Rock and Roll Radio Show:

THURSDAY’s Live on Rebel Rock Radio from 19h00 – 22h00 South African time.  www.rrr.cat

FRIDAY’s on Bulldogs Radio [6:00]-[7:00] PM catch TSORR Turbo https://bulldogs-radio.com/, respectively.  

PODCAST: The three-hour show is available as a podcast on most popular podcast sites, including Apple, Overcast, Castbox, and Google, or get it here at the host site https://www.buzzsprout.com/273305.

TSORR PLAYLIST:  For Spotify junkies, you can get TSORR Best of the Month playlists at

X: https://twitter.com/TSORR1/

WEBSITE:  https://thestoryofrockandroll.com/

INSTAGRAM:  https://www.instagram.com/thestoryofrockandroll/?hl=en

Don’t forget to support TSORR by getting yourself a copy of the book on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KECQBOW or contact me for a paperback copy.  

Take care and keep rocking. 

James