Thursday, March 02, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 8 - April Wine 'Harder... Faster'

I was always a passive April Wine fan. Sure, I knew the ‘The Nature of the Beast’ album. Everyone seemed to own it back in 1981. “Just Between You and Me” was everywhere! It was a favorite for the couples skate at Skateland USA. And “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” was a staple on the AOR station 107.5 KZL as well as the aforementioned song.

But I never owned anything else until I dated a girl that LOVED some April Wine. I discovered the greatness of the ‘First Glance’ album and the kick ass song “Roller”. But when she got to ‘Harder… Faster’, I became a bigger fan of April Wine. And when I worked for Capitol Records in the 1990s, I got as many of their compact discs that I could. I purchased used vinyl albums too. She won me over to April Wine.

So that’s why I chose ‘Harder… Faster’ as one of my top 50 great hard rock albums. I just don’t think April Wine, from Canada, get the respect they deserve in America. When bass player Steve Lang died back in early February, I had to explain who he was and what April Wine songs people would know.

April Wine were a rock band that possessed a talent for writing catchy tunes. And when they wanted to melt your face, they could flip a switch and you’d be blistered.

“I Like To Rock” leads off the album with a catchy hook and lyrics about… What else? Rockin’ with a side of sexual innuendo. And that extends over to the songs like “Say Hello”, “Ladies Man”, “Babes In Arms”, and “Better Do It Well”. I always thought it was cool how they worked papaya into that last song. It made it seem somewhat less dirty for some reason.

But overall, the album is stocked full of hooks. “I Like To Rock”, “Say Hello”, “Ladies Man”, “Babes In Arms”, and “Better Do It Well” could give any aspiring hit maker a good course in how to build a catchy song.

And if that weren’t enough, you get a pretty darn good cover of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” to close it out. And it is the longest cut on the album.

The shorter and catchier tunes were a precursor to the much more polished and hit producing album ‘The Nature of the Beast’.

I remember being disappointed when Myles Goodwyn and Brian Greenway both released solo albums on Atlantic during 1988. They just weren’t the same without the other. But I have them in my collection nonetheless.

If you’ve never heard any April Wine… Here are a few places to start:
‘Harder… Faster’
‘The Nature of the Beast’
And ‘First Glance’

See what Jon Lowder and Tim Beeman had to say about the album that I chose for them this week.

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