Saturday, December 21, 2013

Highway Song

After 8 years, this is the sequel to Blackfoot!  Before going any further you should probably hit that link and read the back story about how vintage Blackfoot is a sacred band to me.  Go ahead... I'll wait...  Finished?  Cool...   This band photo from 1980-81 sums up why they were so badass:

A Southern Rock band who toured with Iron Maiden and who wore Motörhead shirts in the early-80's.. 'Nuff said!  Also note that Rickey Medlocke's shirt is a Motörhead - Deutschland tee!  As I said in my 2005 post, Blackfoot weren't your typical Southern Rock band. Jakson Spires and bassist Greg Walker were Native Americans, which set them apart from the White Boys and Rednecks immediately. They were more like a Southern Rock Metal band... Not in the way Pantera was called a "Southern" Metal band because they were simply from the South. No, Blackfoot combined the pounding bottom end and guitar riffing of classic European Metal with Southern fried lyrics and dueling guitars. A unique band IMO.  I was fortunate to have seen Blackfoot twice at the height of their prowess:

Oakland - 1980

 Oakland - 1981

I was already into Blackfoot when I saw them with The Who in 1980 and my friend and I listened to their Tomcattin' album as we drove to the show.  The 1981 shows on Blackfoot's Marauder Tour with Def Leppard supporting on their High 'N Dry Tour remains one of my favorite concerts ever. 

Anyway, as I mentioned in that post from 2005, to honor the fans on their April 1982 U.K. Tour, Blackfoot released limited edition versions of a 7" live single for each of the 20 cities in England, Scotland, and Ireland on the tour. They were the same live recordings of 'Highway Song' b/w 'Fly Away', but each had a sticker specific to those cities. How cool is that?!

[From the Umlaut Archives]

Fast forward to the 21st Century and I recently acquired several more of those 1982 U.K. Tour singles:

Dude, time travel does exist... at least in my head!  Four down and 16 more to go.  While throwing this post together I remembered that a U.K. penpal back in The Day had traded me his copy of the 1982 U.K. Marauder Tour program:

[From the Umlaut Archives]

I had also forgotten that this penpal had taped his ticket stub from the show he went to inside:

The ticket is from the 2nd show of that 1982 U.K. Tour in the city of Hull.  As represented by the singles pictured above, Birmingham was 1st show of the tour and Manchester the 3rd show. The Geeks shall inherit the Earth.. Anyway, I'm sure the kidz reading this have already fallen asleep... but Blackfoot meant a lot to this old man and their output specifically from 1979-82 is still sacred to me.  Blackfoot were a band who crossed over from the U.S. to the early-80's European Metal scene in a pretty profound way.  Seeing that kind of crossover between European Metal and American Rock bands in the early 80's was unheard of until Blackfoot. The band was embraced by the European Metal scene, especially in England... and they were a fucking GREAT live band... Fucking great..

Zurich, Switzerland - 1982

In the years since those ancient times I've seen the latter day versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd... and the only reason I wanted to see them was because Rickey Medlocke is in the band now.  Also, James Hetfield was / is a Blackfoot fan... so you might be able to draw a conclusion about the Gibson Explorer.  I will now crack open a beer and toast Blackfoot and their memory...

"Highway Song is as lonely as the road I'm on..."

Addendum 1/13/14:  THANKS to Tour Manager Doug for sending me the Birmingham single!