domingo, 26 de março de 2017

The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet 1968

The Stones forsook psychedelic experimentation to return to their blues roots on this celebrated album, which was immediately acclaimed as one of their landmark achievements. A strong acoustic Delta blues flavor colors much of the material, particularly "Salt of the Earth" and "No Expectations," which features some beautiful slide guitar work. Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: "Street Fighting Man," a reflection of the political turbulence of 1968, was one of their most innovative singles, and "Sympathy for the Devil," with its fire-dancing guitar licks, leering Jagger vocals, African rhythms, and explicitly satanic lyrics, was an image-defining epic. On "Stray Cat Blues," Jagger and crew began to explore the kind of decadent sexual sleaze that they would take to the point of self-parody by the mid-'70s. At the time, though, the approach was still fresh, and the lyrical bite of most of the material ensured Beggars Banquet's place as one of the top blues-based rock records of all time. AMG.

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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name 1971

David Crosby's debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name is a one-shot wonder of dreamy but ominous California ambience. The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration (the angelic chorale-vocal showcase on "Orleans" and the a cappella closer, "I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here") to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken. No one before or since has gotten as much mileage out of a wordless vocal as Crosby does on "Tamalpais High (At About 3)" and "Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)," and because the music is so relaxed, each song turns into its own panoramic vista. Those who don't go for trippy Aquarian sentiment, however, may be slightly put off by the obscure, cosmic storytelling of the gorgeous "Laughing" or the ambiguous (but pointed) social questioning of "What Are Their Names," but in actuality it is an incredibly focused album. Even when a song as pretty as "Traction in the Rain" shimmers with its picked guitars and autoharp, the album is coated in a distinct, persistent menace that is impossible to shake. It is a shame that Crosby would continue to descend throughout the remainder of the decade and the beginning of the next into aimless drug addiction, and that he would not issue another solo album until 18 years later. As it is, If I Could Only Remember My Name is a shambolic masterpiece, meandering but transcendentally so, full of frayed threads. Not only is it among the finest splinter albums out of the CSNY diaspora, it is one of the defining moments of hungover spirituality from the era. AMG.

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Nucleus - We'll Talk About It Later 1970

Although Nucleus made an acclaimed performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1970, the U.K. proto-fusionists never became particularly popular in the States, with much of their recorded output only available as import releases. In fact, in certain quarters Nucleus is known primarily as a source of musicians who joined the latter-day Soft Machine, itself a group that never moved too far beyond cult status. Composer/keyboardist/reedman Karl Jenkins, drummer John Marshall, bassist Roy Babbington, and guitarist Allan Holdsworth all played with Nucleus at one time or another, and all had moved over to the Soft Machine lineup by the time the Softs (with Mike Ratledge the only original remaining member of the band) issued Bundles in 1975. Nucleus' second album, 1970's We'll Talk About It Later, might be of particular interest to fans of Bundles-era Soft Machine given the presence of "Song for the Bearded Lady," a Jenkins composition that later appeared in altered form on Bundles as "Hazard Profile," a vehicle for one of Holdsworth's most stunningly fleet-fingered solos on record. "Song for the Bearded Lady" kicks off We'll Talk About It Later with a fanfare and funky unison and counterpoint riffing that segue into a spacious groove and Ian Carr trumpet solo echoing the influence of electric Miles from the same time period. Chris Spedding was the band's guitarist here, and one shouldn't expect Holdsworth-style pyrotechnics from him; Spedding was a blues-rocker more than a jazzer and generally took a back seat to the soloing skills of CarrJenkins, and New Zealand saxophonist Brian Smith (whose duet with drummer Marshall at the conclusion of "Easter 1916" -- inspired by the Yeats poem about the Irish nationalist uprising in Dublin -- approaches the wildness of some of the era's most incendiary free jazz). The band is at its best when firing on all cylinders (the title track, for example), but the album's mood changes are for the most part effective; "Lullaby for a Lonely Child" is a lovely down-tempo ballad (who would've guessed from that title?) with an understated horn/sax line from Carr and Smith and atmospheric bouzouki from Spedding imparting a Mediterranean flavor. New millennial listeners might wish for a time machine to go back and tell this band to lose the occasional vocals, however. The uncredited singing in "Ballad of Joe Pimp" might seem laughably polite during the age of gangsta rap; this Joe Pimp sounds about as streetwise as Gilbert O'Sullivan of "Alone Again (Naturally)" fame. Still, the song seems prescient -- its tempo and instrumentation are akin to Pink Floyd's "Money," which appeared on the scene several years later. Given Carr's long trumpet and flügelhorn lines, Jenkins' probing oboe and funk-filled electric keyboards, Spedding's rockish wah-wah guitar, Smith's freewheeling sax work, and the powerful rhythmic foundation of drummer Marshall and bassist Jeff Clyne, this version of Nucleus should appeal to any fan of late-'60s/early-'70s fusion -- either the Soft Machine-esque Brit variety or the stateside explorations of the Miles Davis school. But We'll Talk About It Later shouldn't be viewed merely through the prism of other artists; Nucleus was an original band that deserves considerably more attention than it got for pioneering a form of jazz-rock that has, for the most part, aged quite well, and We'll Talk About It Later is a noteworthy release from a strong Nucleus incarnation. [In 1995, BGO Records re-released We'll Talk About It Later in a two-CD package that also included Nucleus' first album, Elastic Rock.] AMG.

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Jack Bruce - Things We Like 1970

Enthusiasts expecting to hear a continuation of the type of material that Jack Bruce (bass) had been responsible for during his tenure(s) with Cream or the Graham Bond Organisation might be in for quite a shock when spinning Things We Like (1970) for the first time. Instead of an album's worth of blues-based rockers, the seven instrumentals feature Bruce with other former Graham Bond stablemates John McLaughlin (guitar), Jon Hiseman (drums), and Dick Heckstall-Smith (sax) performing post-bop and free jazz. A majority of the compositions were penned by Bruce in his preteen days of formal scholarship at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, where he also mastered the cello and composed a string quartet at the age of 11. After having gained significant clout from CreamBruce assembled what was initially a trio. However, after a chance meeting with McLaughlin -- who was so broke he had to refuse an offer to fly stateside to join the newly formed Tony Williams Lifetime -- Bruce incorporated the guitarist into the fold in order to help him finance his journey, which was ultimately successful. The entire effort was recorded and mixed in less than a week during August of 1968 -- less than three months prior to the infamous Farewell Concert of Cream at the Royal Albert Hall on November 26, 1968.
As a testament to Bruce's expansive musical tastes, capabilities, and horizons, this disc sounds more like a collection of Rahsaan Roland Kirk sides than anything even remotely connected with Cream. This is especially true of the frenetic pacing of the brief opener, "Over the Cliff." Heckstall-Smith's ability to perform alto and soprano saxophone simultaneously likewise lends itself to Kirk's distinct reed polyphony. "Statues" is an interesting exercise, again with Heckstall-Smith providing some excellent extemporaneous blows during the darkly toned introduction working well against the nimble melody. While Hiseman's style is decidedly less aggressive than that of Ginger Baker, his drumming helps to amalgamate the song's various sections. McLaughlin's unmistakably sinuous leads are commanding throughout the "Sam Enchanted Dick" medley, with a cover of Milt Jackson's "Sam's Sack" and a Heckstall-Smith original titled "Rills Thrills." The tempo is slowed on the smoky cover of Mel Tormé's "Born to Be Blue." This interpretation is part West Coast cool and part Chicago-style blues. McLaughlin's contributions to "HCKHH Blues" is similar to that of Robert Fripp's jazzy fretwork throughout the Islands (1971) era King Crimson. While it was the first of Bruce's solo records to be recorded, he chose to issue the more rock-oriented Songs for a Tailor (1969) prior to Things We Like, which was perhaps considered an indulgent side project rather than a permanent musical diversion. [The 2003 CD reissue contains the previously unissued track "Ageing, Jack Bruce, Three, from Scotland, England," which is another brilliant Heckstall-Smith piece with all four musicians in top form -- especially McLaughlin, who provokes a variety of sonic imagery, ranging from intense fingerpicking to chiming notes and chord augmentations.] AMG.

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Navasota - Rootin' 1972

The Year was 1969. The new Blues Rock music had taken the country by storm, and five lads from Southheast Texas had their own vision of how to create this sound. Steve Long (guitar), Ray Pawlik (guitar), Dicky Sony (vocals), Lindsey Minter (drums), and Paul Minter (bass) formed the band Navasota!
By 1972, Navasota had signed a record deal with ABC Dunhill Records, and they were off to Los Angeles to record the album Rootin´. This album was produced by Gary Katz, and Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame!
Such artists as Skunk Baxter and Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan, from the Turtles, were featured on the album, and Donald Fagen also played piano on some of the songs, Fagen and Becker even wrote the song “Canyon Ladies” for the effort.

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Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa 1969

The Grateful Dead's third studio effort was also the first that the band did without any Warner Bros. staff producers or engineers hampering their creative lifestyle and subsequent processes. As they had done with their previous release, Anthem of the Sunthe Dead were actively seeking new forays and pushing envelopes on several fronts simultaneously during Aoxomoxoa (1968) -- which was created under the working title of "Earthquake Country." This was no doubt bolstered by the serendipitous technological revolution which essentially allowed the Dead to re-record the entire contents when given free reign at the appropriately named Pacific High Recording facility. As fate would have it, they gained virtually unlimited access to the newly acquired Ampex MM-1000 -- the very first 16-track tape machines ever produced -- which was absolutely state of the art in late 1968. The band was also experiencing new directions artistically. This was primarily the net result of the budding relationship between primary (by default) melodic contributor Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) and Robert Hunter (lyrics), who began his nearly 30-year association with the Grateful Dead in earnest during these sessions. When the LP hit the racks in the early summer of 1969, Deadheads were greeted by some of the freshest and most innovative sounds to develop from the thriving Bay Area music scene. The disc includes seminal psychedelic rockers such as "St. Stephen," "China Cat Sunflower," and "Cosmic Charlie," as well as hints of the acoustic direction their music would take on the Baroque-influenced "Mountains of the Moon" and "Rosemary." The folky "Dupree's Diamond Blues" -- which itself was loosely based on the traditional "Betty & Dupree" -- would likewise foreshadow the sound of their next two studio long-players, Workingman's Dead (1969) and American Beauty (1970). The too-trippy-for-its-own-good "What's Become of the Baby" is buried beneath layers of over-indulgence. This is unfortunate, as Hunter's surreal lyrics and Garcia's understated vocals languish beneath the soupy sonics. In 1972, Aoxomoxoa was overhauled, and the original mix -- which includes several significant differences such as an a cappella vocal tag at the tail end of "Doin' That Rag" -- has yet to be reissued in any form. When the title was reworked for inclusion in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set, three previously unreleased and incomplete studio instrumental jams -- respectively titled "Clementine Jam," "Nobody's Spoonful Jam," and "The Eleven Jam" -- as well as a live rendering of "Cosmic Charlie" from a January 1969 performance were added as "bonus material(s)." AMG.

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Lou Reed - Rock 'n' Roll Animal 1974

In 1974, after the commercial disaster of his album BerlinLou Reed needed a hit, and Rock N' Roll Animal was a rare display of commercial acumen on his part, just the right album at just the right time. Recorded in concert with Reed's crack road band at the peak of their form, Rock N' Roll Animal offered a set of his most anthemic songs (most dating from his days with the Velvet Underground) in arrangements that presented his lean, effective melodies and street-level lyrics in their most user-friendly form (or at least as user friendly as an album with a song called "Heroin" can get). Early-'70s arena rock bombast is often the order of the day, but guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter use their six-string muscle to lift these songs up, not weigh them down, and with Reed's passionate but controlled vocals riding over the top, "Sweet Jane," "White Light/White Heat," and "Rock 'n' Roll" finally sound like the radio hits they always should have been. Reed would rarely sound this commercial again, but Rock N' Roll Animal proves he could please a crowd when he had to. AMG.

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sexta-feira, 24 de março de 2017


Getting back home from 2nd liver transplant! Posting soon! Keep in touch. Take care and enjoy life.