Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blackfoot - Siogo

In 1983, a lesser known band named Blackfoot, tried to revamp their sound and style to keep up with the heavy metal acts that were currently breaking into (and sometimes ruling) the radio airwaves. The end result was Siogo, a talented, enjoyable, hard rocking record with moments of brilliance. Is Siogo worth scouring the back bins of your local record store to own and cherish? Let’ spin the disc and find out.

Kicking off with a rocking keyboard intro, Siogo starts with a great track, Send Me An Angel. A fast paced rocker with quick drum beats, heavy guitar riffs, and fast breaks, Send Me An Angel is a stellar opener and serves well to set up what’s to come on the remainder of the disc.

Heart’s Grown Cold is an extremely catchy fist in the air, sing along, song. The keyboard melodies blend well with the guitars, Charlie Hargrett’s solos sound excellent, and the high-pitched backing vocals of LALA blend velvet smooth with Rick Medlocke’s chants of “Honey, let me tell you how your heart’s grown cold!” This is a foot stomping rocker if I ever heard one and without a doubt the best song on the disc.

White Man’s Land is an interesting song discussing the burden of taxes, the trials and tribulations of a typical day in the life of the average American. The message is still poignant today, 26 years after the song was written. That shows the longevity and timelessness of the lyrics. It also shows how little progress we’ve made in a quarter century.

Rick Medlocke has an excellent voice, and I’m really surprised that he never took off with Blackfoot or any other band. While his guitar playing leaves a little to be desired, due to the basic nature and ability of his simplistic riffs, his vocals are amazing. He sounds like a lead singer that’s hungry for stardom, and it may have served the band better if Rick had decided to just be the vocal front man, paving the way to bring in someone else on guitar.

Charlie Hargrett plays excellent guitar on this album. His chops are strong and his lead solos are a pleasurable ear experience. While lesser known than other guitarist of the 80s, Hargrett is talented enough to keep up with the best of them, and it specifically shows on the opening of We’re Going Down. The intro guitar riff is a catchy, heavy metal explosion with some great fret work by Charlie. His solo on this number is inspiring and had Blackfoot been more in the mainstream, a lot of today’s guitarists would be listing Charlie Hargrett as an influence on their playing style.

Rife with heavy keyboards throughout the record, Siogo is dominated at times by keyboardist Ken Hensley. While basic in its 1-2-3-4 beat, the keyboards do add an additional layer to the music that would not be there otherwise. Certain tracks, such as Teenage Idol, would not sound even close to the same if the keyboards were removed.

Galloping melodies, keyboard heavy tracks, and fun rock and roll dominate this record. Overall, Siogo is a great listen and still relevant in the late 2000s, which is a testament to an album that was recorded in the early 80s. Seek this one out on EBay, or in a local record store near you. It’s worthy of your time and you’ll be glad you made the investment.

Ryo’s Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Track List
Send Me An Angel
Heart’s Grown Cold
We’re Goin’ Down
Teenage Idol
Goin’ In Circles
Run For Cover
White Man’s Land
Sail Away
Drivin’ Fool

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