Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mr Mike's High School Record Collection: April Wine - Power Play

I've been watching MTV30 on VH1 Classic this weekend which has been fun, except I was expecting to see music videos (since that is what MTV used to show). Instead they are showing mostly clips from their various non music shows mixed in with VMA music performances. It seems the memory of the channel itself has removed video clips from their past. I was going to do a post on my favorite music videos from the MTV glory days (and still might) but while looking for old clips to rave about I stumbled across a forgotten album: April Wine Power Play. So that's the theme of today's post. Let's see how many wine metaphors I can pour into this bota. Oh yeah, I know nothing of wine and don't like the taste of most of them. Master Of Wine I am not.

1. Anything You Want, You Got It

One of my favorite opening tracks to any album ever, this hard charging rocker is designed to light up arenas from coast to coast. The ultimate aperitif, it was easy to envision a field of raised fists held high when Myles Goodwin would ask "Do you want it?" and the audience would reply "Yeah!" I imagined this was an awesome concert opener, too bad I didn't get to see the Wine in action when they were in season.

2. Enough Is Enough

The Bordeaux of Power Play, this was the song most people heard from this record. Funny though, I didn't buy this album for "Enough Is Enough" but for the song after it. Still loved this song once I heard it, particularly the guitar part underneath the "You fill me up until I get enough" line 'cause it reminded me of pumping gas into a car. Oh sorry, I think I meant to say the decanting process. Anyway, the video is a fine tribute to early 80s variety with the band trucking and shouting on the CB for girls. Remember the CB craze? When we used to wear trucker hats and talk jibberish ending with a 10-4 good buddy or a cackling Burt Reynolds laugh? Glad I rewatched this video, all these years I thought the solo was by Brian Greenway (one of three axe slingers in classic April Wine) but it turns out to be Gary Moffet. (the third guitarist? Myles Goodwin. He sings. He dances. He does it all!!!). You know what would have made this video better though? An orangutan and seven gorgeous lady truckers. Left turn Clyde.

3. If You See Kay

The song I bought this for, a song whose video I saw on public television no less. They sounded out a dirty word, how could I not buy this?? My friends tried to tell me this group was plonk, I ignored them and was sold on the song / video that easily fit in with the Caddyshack / Fast Times At Ridgemont High varietal. Hard to believe this and Bryan Adams "Cuts Like A Knife" was considered racy by todays standards. When Britney Spears released "If You Seek Amy" my mind screamed "stop ripping off April Wine!". I say my mind because if I screamed it aloud I would 1) be considered crazy and 2) probably asked what an April Wine is. April Wine what's that? It's a Canadian rock band with a drummer that looks like one of WWF's Bushwackers led by a curly haired dude but that's not important right now.

4. What If We Fall In Love

It's important to let Wine breathe, so we get a nice ballad here not too far off from their big hit "Just Between You And Me". I like the song yet thought it was a verse section too long, sort of like a fine wine aging into vinegar. Good place for a ballad though, gotta play up the romantic side at least once when the other songs are about possessiveness and lust.

5. Waiting On A Miracle

This upbeat rocker I've been indifferent to so I'll use this space to talk about some other things April Wine. Like the album cover to Power Play. It shows a kid playing a video game (that for some reason reminds me of Tempest on the side of the box) of April Wine with Myles Goodwin on screen arms outstretched in rock and roll victory / ecstasy. So wait, you're telling me there is a video game and rock music together in the same place? (I used to love Tempest, wasn't very good and usually died a lot once the spikes appeared. Early round victories where you get to spin the control and watch the Tempest spin all over the grid on the way to the next grid was the best though) April Wine, you're talking my language. Oh, and one other visual note I'd like to say I was pissed when the fancy April Wine logo was discontinued on the following record (the mediocre Animal Grace disc).

6. Doin It Right

OK, I'm wore out on wine phrases. You win April Wine! Now they're doin it right...on the wrong side of town. Side 2 of the cassette took a little while for me to get into. So much work involved with flipping a tape over, you have to push eject and rewind and then play - I can't handle all this manual labor. Power Play was released when record companies were trying to push cassette tapes over vinyl records, so it was made in nifty blue plastic and emphasized the emblem XDR which meant expanded dynamic range. This is just before record companies went bonus track crazy in it's final effort to bury vinyl (bet those record boys regret that move now.) Oh yeah, back to "Doin It Right". Typical mildly rebellious rock and rollers bragging about rocking in a semi dangerous situation type anthem. It works, I like this jam.

7. Ain't Got Your Love

This song is cool, nice struttin piece of hard rock. This was my favorite song on side 2, just had a good groove and energy to it. You know as much as I like April Wine, I don't know much about the band members other than their nationality (Canadian). So lets see what I can find out about these guys that's of interest. Well, one thing right off lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Myles Goodwyn spells his name "Goodwyn" not "Goodwin" like I've been writing this entire post. That's good info! Guitarist Brian Greenway is said to be a computer enthusiast on the April Wine site and seems to respond on their message board. Did not know that either. Can't find any info on Gary Moffet, but hey I just found out he did the solo on "Enough Is Enough" does that count? Bassist Steve Lang according to the April Wine message board is a rich man working a corporate job. According to wikipedia, drummer Jerry Mercer (the Bushwackers looking guy) he had been both a cattle rancher and IBM computer programmer. That's some versatility.

8. Blood Money

"Blood Money" is one of two tunes I don't remember now. I'm playing it now to see if it's familiar, I might have fast forwarded past it back in the day. I think I did. I don't remember this song at all.

9. Tell Me Why

A good amount of time went by, decades maybe, before I realized this was a Beatles cover. This version is so slowed down compared to the original that I didn't recognize it. And that's not a bad thing since I like April Wine's take better than the Fab Four's. Has more of a I wanna say Everly Brothers feel to it, a pensiveness that I like. I hadn't seen the video before today, it's pretty funny, Nice slow burn joke even though you see the end coming. She's got the jack :)

10. Runners In The Night

Song two that I don't remember. Playing's a decent hard rocker. Guess I was hoping for a fast paced whiplash guitars big finish.

Too bad I had jumped on the April Wine train just in time to watch them fall apart. The next album had the awesome "This Could Be The Right One" and that was about it. By the time we got to Walking On Fire there really wasn't a band anymore. There was however this video for "Rock Myself To Sleep" that tries to distract you from the lack of band members with some Heather Locklear inspired "sexy" dancing and extreme closeups of Myles Goodwyn's noggin.

April Wine was an awesome band, I think they might still be around with Goodwyn and Greenway so I'll say is an awesome band.


Rock Brigade Blogger said...

Hey Mr. Mike,

April Wine contines to tour extensively up here in Canada with Goodwyn and Greenway still in the band. Some of their old music was hard to resist such as the album you described. I have only went out and seen them play live once a few years back and unfortnately I was not impressed. Who knows - maybe it was an off night and I should give them another chance.

Mr. Mike said...

Bummer to hear they're not as strong live, they're one of those wish list bands I'd like to have seen someday. Oh well,at least I have Nature Of The Beast spinning in my car CD player this week :)