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Y & T - 1982 Black Tiger

ALBUM: Black Tiger
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2008, Kreshendo (UK), KRECD18 * 2009, Meanstreak, MMC09107 * plus numerous Japanese reissues


LINEUP: Dave Meniketti - vocals, guitars * Joey Alves - guitars * Phil Kennemore - bass * Leonard Haze - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 From The Moon * 02 Open Fire * 03 Don't Wanna Lose * 04 Hell Or High Water * 05 Forever * 06 Black Tiger * 07 Barroom Boogie * 08 My Way Or The Highway * 09 Winds Of Change


It goes without question that Y&T's 'Earthshaker' album was an absolute game-changer in the world of heavy metal in 1981. Along with an abbreviated name change, and a stylistic change from their two earlier albums under the Yesterday And Today banner for London Records, the Bay Area legends unleashed upon the listening public with a vengeance. A&M Records gave the band loads of promo for the next album in 1982, the equally powerful 'Black Tiger'. Thankfully this time around, 'Black Tiger' was an easily acquired LP in most markets outside of the USA, unlike 'Earthshaker', which was a hard to come by import. Y&T came over to the UK to record the album, with boom producer Max Norman at the helm. The album cover features a mechanized 'transformer like' black tiger, similar imagery to that of the third Doc Holliday album 'Modern Medicine' released the following year - also on A&M Records. This album features nine tracks (one is an instrumental).

The Songs
Indeed, it is that instrumental 'From The Moon' which sets the scene, with some twin lead guitars from Meniketti and Alves paving the way. One of the band's most enduring tracks over the years has been 'Open Fire'. This is chugging metal, and pretty much continues on from the 'Earthshaker' era without blinking an eye. 'Don't Wanna Lose' has more of a melodic tinge to it, keeping to the Night Ranger side of the curb than say Ozzy Osbourne. 'Hell Or Highwater' is the band's party-anthem moment, with Meniketti doing a few chatty moments a la David Lee Roth. You can tell this is a great live number with many audience participation parts included within, especially the outtro chant. 'Forever' is one of my favourite tracks on the album, featuring galloping guitars and a very user-friendly chorus. The title track is next, and prowls across your speaker space with animalistic intent. Meniketti and Alves give this one an elevated presence. 'Barroom Boogie' is another anthem, though isn't really blues based boogie as the song-title might suggest. It's a continuation of Y&T's powerful brand of metal. 'My Way Or The Highway' much like 'Don't Wanna Lose' earlier on, keeps things closer to a hard rock style, rather than all out metal. This is a style the band would perfect on later albums; in particular 1985's 'Down For The Count'. The last track 'Winds Of Change' is Y&T's sweeping ballad. Perhaps Part II of their song 'I Believe In You'? The acoustic intro will have you comparing this to Canadians Triumph at their balladic best.

In Summary
For me, all of the Y&T back-catalogue on A&M during the 80's era are worth investing in. Some are better than others, but Y&T's ride during this timeframe was one most of us joined in without a second thought. Initially, the album was very hard to trace as a CD, though Japan did step up to the plate and released a handful of reissues. There is a 2008 version from the UK label Kreshendo, though their quality is dubious, but in fairness I haven't listened to that particular reissue myself. Dave Meniketti has his own Meanstreak label now, where the Y&T albums can be obtained. Follow the link..

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#1 | DEMONAOR on August 27 2015 02:03:03
A great album like Earthshaker.
#2 | Nick C on August 27 2015 18:16:10
A and M released a nifty little 4CD box set - called the AandM years 1981 - 1985. With Earthshaker, Black Tiger, Mean Streak, In Rock We Trust, Down For The Count, Open Fire and Live on the Friday Rock Show...great value. Discs sound good to these ears.
#3 | Explorer on August 27 2015 19:50:31
Absolutely Nick!, a cracking buy.A perfect starter for anyone who wants to get into the band.
#4 | gdazegod on August 27 2015 23:03:05
Yes, 'Black Tiger' was a long overdue addition to the GDM pages. Alun had written many of the reviews previously, and this one was a glaring gap. The two Yesterday And Today albums are also in my sights for coverage.. very very shortly.
#5 | tompa on August 27 2015 23:59:33
Initally I felt this one was a bit of a letdown which was probably down to the high standards set by the Earthshaker album. So my point of view after the first couple of listens was a bit unfair. But, yeah, only eight songs and I have never got into Barroom Boogie and My Way Or The Highway.
#6 | Nick C on August 28 2015 10:57:40
I have to echo Tompa on this exactly, in fact completely even regarding the songs he can't get into either. I bought Meanstreak afterwards and had the same kind of feel as I did with Black Tiger in that the album again didn't quite do it for me. I lost interest for a while after that, I actually sold my Meanstreak and Black Tiger albums. But kept My Yesterday and Today and Struck Down and obviously Earthshaker albums (plus a pic disc single haha!). I bought Earthshaker on Jap CD as it was such a great album, plus my vinyl was goosed from lending it out so much. Then a few years later at a sale I picked up Open Fire mainly because I love the track Summertime Girls...and a few years later again picked up Contagious. So when the little box set came out it was a no-brainer. As mentioned at the start of the review 1981 Earthshaker was a game changer and for me two albums really shook up hard rock that year the aforementioned Earthshaker and The Rods major label debut on Arista. Although both bands have released great albums since I don't think either quite matched those releases - must have been something in the water that year.
#7 | dangerzone on August 28 2015 14:21:31
For me this doesn't come close to 'Meanstreak' 'In Rock We Trust' or even 'Contagious.' Certainly 'Black Tiger' and 'Open Fire' are metal classics, but overall the material here is surprisingly weak, just a year following 'Earthshaker' as well.
#8 | AOR Lee on September 02 2015 05:58:19
I really enjoy Don't Wanna Lose, bordering on AOR (keyboard free at this stage of course). Forever is another standout, terrific chorus. Solid if unspectacular album. I reckon on Meanstreak they got right what they were going for here - highly melodic hard rock with tinges of metal and AOR at times, delivered over a more consistent set of songs

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