Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

July 19, 2012

Y&T (aka Yesterday & Today) ~ Unearthed, Vol. 1 (comp)

(Click on heading for official Y&T/Dave Meniketti website.)
Style: hard rock
Label: Meanstreak Music Co.
Year: 2003
Home: n/a

Members: Dave Meniketti ~ vocals/guitars/bass/keyboards
Joey Alves ~ guitar
Phil Kennemore ~ bass/b. vocals
Jimmy DeGrasso ~ drums
Leonard Haze ~ drums/b. vocals

Additional: John Nymann, Bill Costa ~ b. vocals
Taylor Rhodes ~ keyboards

Y&T, previously known as Yesterday & Today, are a band that deserves a re-evaluation. In 2001 the band reunited for the second time & released Unearthed Vol. 1 featuring seventeen unreleased demos spanning from 1974 to 2003. This is the perfect starting point for that re-evaluation. Known more for their 70's studio albums than later ones, the Yesterday & Today era, & ultimately stronger on stage than in the studio, if this collection had been released as a normal album in the early 80's instead of the less than stellar albums they did put out, their reputation would be far different. It's ashame that only fans will probably grab this & Vol. 2 as it might be the best album they released in over a decade. Though, note, only one song is from 1974, with all the rest is 80's/90's material, so this is clearly an 80's album, not a true compilation as it advertises itself. Some nugget seekers will be surely be disappointed. But, outside of that one inclusion at the end, being that the music is from the same time period gives the album an evenness not always found in demo collections. Great remastering & original high quality recordings also help, with only a few songs pulled from cassette tape showing any glimmer of something less, giving the songs all a polish sound. One would be hard pressed to know how any of the songs are in demo form. But, demo here being simply the fact they weren't released until now, not necessarily representing incompleteness. Though, according to the linear notes the music is “rough, with all the warts (& magic) expected from a demo” culled from “nearly 100 tunes locked away in the Y&T vaults”. You could have fooled me. As to why this is such a stellar album, & the first recommendation I would give to anyone who wants to know Y&T's music, is the diverse range of music. Seventeen tracks, versus the typical dozen of an album, span a range of approaches lyrically & musically, not falling into the trap of all sounding alike as they were all written for the same album, nor was this album released under label pressure to have a hit. The only odd track is 1974's "Rockazoid Rolleroid" at the end. A strange pyschedelic multi-vocal space-rock song reminiscent of the first Alice Cooper Band album meets David Bowie & nothing like the Y&T this album is unearthing. It's not bad, but out of place. The one attraction is that it is a true nugget from their first demo tape. All the tracks are unheard demos that were never finalized for formal release, but almost all of them have hit potential, check out "In The Name Of Love" for proof. The only exceptions is the inclusion of the original version of "Hard Times" from Ten & "Wild If I Wanna" of which 38 seconds was used in the film Out Of Bounds. "I Make Believe" & "Give Me Rock", both written in 1982 for Black Tiger, are the only two songs given a second chance with new lyrics & solos in 2003. Also of note is that the album is split between line-ups fairly evenly with eight tracks with the Meniketti, Kennemore & DeGrasso line-up & six with the Meniketti, Kennemore, Alves & Haze line-up. Casual fans will probably not notice as the focus is all on the Meniketti most of the time, as it is, as frontman & songwriter. Sadly no recordings from Stef Burns few years as rhythm guitarist. A super feature of the album, making it worth buying not downloading, is extensive linear notes including quotes about every song from every band member, plus co-writer John Nymann. They're funny & as interesting to read as the album is to listen to. In 2011 Kennemore passed away from cancer, but Y&T continues.

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