Monday, February 22, 2016


Melody: a sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds; a rhythmic of single tones organized as an aesthetic whole (Merriam-Webster)

I love Saturday mornings. It's the one day that I (usually) don't have to be anywhere by a certain time, giving me a foretaste of what retirement will feel like. Is it any wonder that it's my favorite time of the week?

My typical Saturday morning involves coffee, reading, writing and listening to music while lounging in my sweats or pajama bottoms. And the earlier, the better. No sleeping in for this fellow. The earliest I leave the house is usually sometime after lunch. Have I mentioned how much I love Saturday's?

The routine was broken up a little bit this past weekend, but not due to work or anything other unpleasantries. In fact, it was intentional and involved going to Hastings to pick up a CD that had been released the previous day. I probably wouldn't have done such an out-of-the-ordinary thing if it wasn't something I've been anticipating for, oh, 30 years.

Heavy Crown, the debut album by Last in Line ( featuring 3/4 of the original Dio lineup) is something I've been waiting for all that time- not that I thought it would ever happen. I was/am a big fan of the first three Dio albums, primarily because of the guitar playing of Vivian Campbell, whose melodic playing is fused with blazing speed and is very reminiscent of his hero- Gary Moore. After his firing from Dio, Viv spent a tour with Whitesnake, did a couple albums with the River Dogs (among other projects) before settling in with Def Leppard 24 years ago. While I did like his stuff with River Dogs, I feel like his talent is wasted with Leppard. So his return to 'guitar hero' status with the Dio-ish sounds of Last in Line are a welcomed treat.

Something else that was very welcomed arrived Saturday- a trade package from Greg over at Night Owl Cards. This one, in particular, was like music to my ears. A melody, if you will, with a number of singles from seven different sets, organized as an aesthetically pleasing whole. (note: there are seven pitches in the diatonic scale. Coincidence?)

The '79 Topps set seems to be a difficult one to find cards in nrmt condition. Most of the cards in my set are in less than mint condition- so these cards from Greg will fit right at home in my binder. The set also brought an end to 1970's cardboard. While '70s cardboard are not my favorites (I'm an '80s man), there's no denying that no other decade featured as many colorful characters- which provides us bloggers plenty of material write about.

Ronnie James Dio was hired by Black Sabbath in June of 1979, replacing former vocalist Ozzy Osborne. Dio would record two albums with Sabbath- 1980's Heaven and Hell and 1981's The Mob Rules- before setting off on his own in November of 1982 to put together his own band. He would recruit the aforementioned Vivian Campbell (a 20 year-old unknown at the time) as his guitarist and the band would release their debut album, Holy Diver, in May of 1983.

When it comes to music, 1982 and 1983 are two of my favorites for the hard-rock/metal genre; those years are also among my favorites for Topps sets, and Greg included these two much-needed cards for my sets.

The last year I would buy any baseball cards before my return to the Hobby would have been 1984- and very few were bought that year. My interests were quickly changing and in the fall of 1984 I would buy my first guitar.

Although I was still a huge sports fan, my hero worship would move from athletes to musicians such as Campbell. The ending of my collecting wasn't the only 'end of an era' at that time; in August of 1985, Dio would release its third and final studio album with Vivian, who would be fired shortly after the Sacred Heart tour.

I may not have collected during this time, but I have since made up for that lost time and purchased a lot of '85 Topps cards to build a set. I was in need of 327 (!!!) to finish the set until Greg sent me the following 8 cards. With a wantlist now standing at 319, I still have the card collector blues.

Another set I've decided to take on with very little to start out with is the 1995 Topps set. Night Owl was kind enough to send 7 cards to help me out (there we are with that number 7 again!). The good news is that I found an eBay seller who had an auction for a 'complete your set'-type of lot. But that's a post for a different day. Anyway, the '95 set had some interesting photography, but is one of the ugliest sets they've ever done- IMO.

One of Viv's trademarks is his use of 'double stops'- or two-note harmony runs. Simply put, it's playing two notes at the same time. Included in this package from Greg were two cards from 2014 Update and Highlights or whatever it's called these days.

Rhythmically, Viv used a lot of the standard rock/metal root 5 and root 6 bar/power chords while in Dio. The final of the seven sets included many from the 2015 Update set- 26 in fact. But since that's an awful lot of scanning I'm going to stick with the music theme and scan five or six.

Thanks again for the welcomed additions to the collection, Greg. Oh, and one other thing...

ROCK ON!  \m/

RIP, Jimmy Bain