Lillian Axe – ‘Love + War’ (re-issue)

 

THE BAND:
Ron Taylor – lead vocals
Steve Blaze – lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
Jon Ster – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
Rob Stratton – bass guitars
Danny King – drums

 

 

TRACK FRAGM ENTS:
1.) "All's Fair in Love and War" – This track opens with the snare and keyboard.  Both where done with an effects added to them.  Over the eleventh snare crack Steve begins playing very subtle lead guitar licks.   Underneath the eleventh lick Steve underbudded another set of lead licks.  This lead licks was either done with an effects pedal or some sort of studio effect.  I didn’t count to see how many measures this pre-intro was.  This opening musical section lead to a bass drum pattern.  Over the top of the bass drum pattern Ron began speaking a vocal line.  Underneath the spoken vocal line there were eight rhythm guitar riffs.  If it wasn’t for these riffs the spoken vocal would have been very useless.  The last spoken sentence was repeated except with a vocal scream.  At this point the rhythm guitar, bass and drum line kicks-in.  There was lead guitar pick slides that lead to the short stand intro.  There was a second pick slide that connecting the main musical intro with the musical verse.  Steve and Jon changed the rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse.  After the first lyric line of the verse there was a couple tom-tom fills a lot with a lead guitar lick.  This was repeated after the second lyric line.  I don’t know why however still to this day when I hear these little lead licks on this part of the song I get cold chills.  To me in this was recorded in 1989 I still get chills listening to the hook in this chorus of this song.  The second verse was arranged just as the first.  After the second chorus there was a much laid back melodic lead guitar solo.  As many times as I have listened to this song, well over one-thousand, I have never noticed that Rob was playing pretty much the notes as Steve was playing for the lead solo.  For the solo and lyric line afterwards there was a drastic musical change.  For this musical change the band slowed the B.P. M. The coda consisted of a very cool musical change that contain a acoustic guitar arrangement. 
2.) “She Likes It on Top" – This track opens with a rhythm guitar riff.   There was a couple lead guitar licks within the rhythm riff.  Underneath the opening riff there was a hi-hat pattern.  After the opening riff Danny kicked the drum line in with a snare/bass drum pattern.  Over the top of the second measure Ron sings a few vocal accents along with a vocal line.  The rhythm guitar for the musical verse was basically the same as the one for the intro section.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus.  There was a very short drum fill connecting the musical pre-chorus with the chorus.  For the musical chorus Steve and Jon play the same rhythm guitar arrangement except Steve throws in a few lead licks.  Much like the lead licks used within the guitar arrangement of the intro section.  To connect the first chorus with the second verse there was a minor lead guitar solo.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section.  For this breakdown the band not changed the rhythm guitar arrangement however they also lowed the music down.  Though this is nothing new within songwriting I did however find it rather amazing at such a young age.  Here it is Lillian’s sophomore release and they are writing song as seasoned professionals!  After the breakdown Jon and Steve play two different rhythm guitar arrangements that lead to the lead guitar solo.  Steve wrote a very simple melodic guitar solo for the main solo section.  In the middle of the solo the band slowed down the music just a little.  Over the top of this section Ron sings a vocal accent.  The coda consisted of a minor lead guitar solo. 
3.) "Diana" – This song opens with a cymbal crash underneath what sounds like an amplified acoustic guitar rhythm.  The drum line of this intro consisted of four cymbal crashes.  In between the cymbal crashes Danny keeps time with his hi-hat.  After two measures Danny plays a tom-tom fill to kick-in the main intro.  After the tom-tom fill Steve plays a minor lead guitar solo.  Underneath the minor lead guitar solo Jon plays the same rhythm arrangement that opened the song.  The musical verse consisted of the same rhythm guitar arrangement as the intro.  After the last lyric line of verse Steve slowly brings in an electric guitar rhythm.  The musical chorus consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  Ron did and still does have an amazing vocal range.  The chorus on this song is just one of the many songs that he sang with Lillian Axe that shows that great range.  Underneath the lyric lines of the second verse Steve plays several licks instead of the standard rhythm.  This is just one of the many reasons why Steve is such a great songwriter! At times through the chorus underneath the main amplified acoustic you can just hear a standard acoustic.  After the third chorus there was an electric guitar solo.  Underneath the lyric lines of the coda there was a second minor solo.

4.) "Down on You” -  No matter how talented a band is or was in the eighties they all had that straight forward simple hard rock song. “Down On You” is Lillian Axe’s.   
5.) "The World Stopped Turning” - Still almost thirty years later and I am still blown away by this song!!!
6.) "Ghost of Winter" - This is another song on this release that still after almost thirty years completely blows me away!

7.) “My Number”- This track opens with a girl laughing.  The girl is interrupted with a man saying, “Hey you over here”.  Steve opens the musical intro with a short pick slide.  After the short pick slide Steve plays a rhythm riff.  This rhythm riff is repeated four times.  Over the top of these for riffs there you can hear a woman saying, “Let me just give you my number” and then a man going “shhh…ok” Underneath the woman and rhythm guitar a lead guitar kicks-in with a pick slide.  The pick slide lead to several lead guitar notes.  After the lead notes the musical verse kicks-in. There was a lead guitar lick connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  The rhythm guitar of the musical verse was very similar to the one Steve wrote for the musical intro.  There was a backing vocal in between the sixth and seventh lyric line.  After the ninth lyric line there was a lead vocal echo followed directly by a backing vocal.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  Each vocal line of the chorus was followed by a lead vocal echo along with a backing vocal. There is a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  The lyric lines of the second verse was arranged just like the first with backing vocals scattered in between the lead vocal lines.  After the second verse there was a music arrangement change.  Underneath the lead vocal lines of the last verse there was several ZSteve Blaze klead guitar licks.
8.) “Show A Little Love” – This track opens with Steve playing a rhythm guitar riff.  Steve repeats the same riff twice.  The third riff was pretty much the same riff with added notes.  After the fourth riff underneath the rhythm guitar arrangement there was a huge tom-tom fill.  For the drum line Danny King overdubbed a cowbell over the top of his hi-hat and snare drum.  Instead of a click track the cowbell was used to keep time.  Over the top of the main intro section Steve plays a minor lead guitar solo.  The lead guitar solo leads into the musical verse.  There was not only a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse but also Danny switched his bass drum rhythm to a shuffle pattern.  The lyric line consisted of a rest in between the lyric line.  In between the first lyric line Steve played a few lead licks.  Danny plated the same pattern as Steve on his drums, connecting the fourth and fifth lyric lines Steve played several lead guitar notes Danny played the same rhythm on his drums.  The chorus consisted of a huge Steve Blaze and Ron Taylor vocal and music hook!!!!! After the second chorus the breakdown with the guitar and snare drum has to be one of the best I have ever heard! After the breakdown there’re was a lead guitar solo.  After the breakdown there was a repeat of the chorus.
8.) “Show A Little Love” – This track opens with Steve playing a rhythm guitar riff.  Steve repeats the same riff twice.  The third riff was pretty much the same riff with added notes.  After the fourth riff underneath the rhythm guitar arrangement there was a huge tom-tom fill.  For the drum line Danny King overdubbed a cowbell over the top of his hi-hat and snare drum.  Instead of a click track the cowbell was used to keep time.  Over the top of the main intro section Steve plays a minor lead guitar solo.  The lead guitar solo leads into the musical verse.  There was not only a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse but also Danny switched his bass drum rhythm to a shuffle pattern.  The lyric line consisted of a rest in between the lyric line.  In between the first lyric line Steve played a few lead licks.  Danny plated the same pattern as Steve on his drums, connecting the fourth and fifth lyric lines Steve played several lead guitar notes Danny played the same rhythm on his drums.  The chorus consisted of a huge Steve Blaze and Ron Taylor vocal and music hook!!!!! After the second chorus the breakdown with the guitar and snare drum has to be one of the best I have ever heard! After the breakdown there’re was a lead guitar solo.  After the breakdown there was a repeat of the chorus.


    Released in September 1989 ‘Love + War’ was the last CD Lillian released on MCA Records. I put all the blame of the release not selling well on the shoulders of the promotions department of MCA.
    For their sophomore release the band hired legendary producer Tony Platt who worked with such great artist as, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Bob Marley, Iron Maiden, Shy, Buddy Guy and Foreigner and produced a CD ten times better.
    Lillian Axe’s ‘self’titled
release was awas a great release’   usually a band will hit a sophomore slump with their second release however not with Lillian Axe. They hit the studio hard and came away with an amazing CD.  Uoy can hear that the band has grown lyrically and musically with ‘Love + War’ especially with songs like, “Alls Fair In Love And War”, “The World Stop Turning”, “Ghost Of Winter” and “Shoe A Little Love”.  If their first CD great then their sophomore release was amazing!!!!
    I have been a fan of Lillian Axe for thirty-four years now.  Though through over the years their music has got better and better some of the songs on ‘Love + War’ still to this day stands the test of time! Especially songs such as ‘Ghost Of Winter’  If you did not buy this at its time of its original release not is the time to purchase it!  This is an essential classic that belongs in everyone’s CD collection!!!!