domingo, 19 de maio de 2024

The Moody Blues - A Question Of Balance 1970

The Moody Blues' first real attempt at a harder rock sound still has some psychedelic elements, but they're achieved with an overall leaner studio sound. The group was trying to take stock of itself at this time and came up with some surprisingly strong, lean numbers (Michael Pinder's Mellotron is surprisingly restrained until the final number, "The Balance"), which also embraced politics for the first time ("Question" seemed to display the dislocation that a lot of younger listeners were feeling during Vietnam). The surprisingly jagged opening track, "Question," recorded several months earlier, became a popular concert number as well as a number two (or number one, depending upon whose chart one looks at) single. Graeme Edge's "Don't You Feel Small" and Justin Hayward's "It's Up to You" both had a great beat, but the real highlight here is John Lodge's "Tortoise and the Hare," a fast-paced number that the band used to rip through in concert with some searing guitar solos by HaywardRay Thomas' "And the Tide Rushes In" (written in the wake of a fight with his wife) is one of the prettiest psychedelic songs ever written, a sweetly languid piece with some gorgeous shimmering instrumental effects. The 1997 remastered edition brings out the guitar sound with amazing force and clarity, and the notes tell a lot about the turmoil the band was starting to feel after three years of whirlwind success. The only loss is the absence of the lyrics included in earlier editions. AMG.

listen here

Impacto Cinco - Lágrimas Azuis 1975

It was 1975, when the Rio Grande do Norte group Impacto Cinco, known as a dance band, ended up in the studios of the CBS record company to record the LP Lágrimas Azuis. At that time, the fifth had no idea that it was making strong marks in the history of Brazilian music, as the album is currently one of the 10 most coveted in Brazilian rock, mentioned on specialized websites and in international auctions.

listen here

Bubble Puppy - A Gathering Of Promises 1969

Recording for International Artists Records, the crazed Texas label that brought the world such acid-damaged visionaries as the 13th Floor Elevatorsthe Red KrayolaLost & Found, and Electric Rubayyat, the Bubble Puppy seemed by comparison to be a beacon of semi sanity -- a rather typical psychedelic band of the period who seemed more interested in having a good time and cranking up the amps than in reimagining the size and shape of the inner cosmos. But that's not to say they weren't a good psychedelic band -- the band's best-known tune, "Hot Smoke and Sassafras," was a charging guitar-heavy rocker that deservedly became a hit single, and its flip side, "Loney," was nearly as good. Truth to tell, those two songs are the most interesting tracks on the Bubble Puppy's first album, A Gathering of Promises, but the rest of the material is certainly more than just filler -- softer tunes such as "It's Safe to Say" and the title cut show off the band's surprisingly strong harmonies and folk-rock influences, while the interlocking guitars of Todd Potter and Rod Prince drive "Beginning," "Hurry Sundown," and the epic "I've Got to Reach You." The Bubble Puppy could write and play like seasoned pros, and with the exception of "I've Got to Reach You" they had the sense to wrap up their tunes in three or four minutes so that this album actually manages to end before it wears out its welcome. It's not exactly a work of life-changing genius, but "A Gathering of Promises" is still a noticeably stronger and better-crafted album than most bands of their time and place were turning out, and if it had enjoyed wider distribution (and another song or two as good as the single) who knows where they could have ended up. [The 2004 reissue tacks on monophonic single mixes of "Hot Smoke and Sassafras," "Lonely," "Hurry Sundown," and "Beginning," as well as four songs from non-LP singles; the mono mixes certainly boast a lot more punch than the often eccentric stereo versions, and "Thinkin' About Thinkin'" is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of hook-heavy guitar mauling that should have made the cut for the LP.] AMG.

listen here

segunda-feira, 13 de maio de 2024

Brian Short - Anything For A Laugh

Brian Short (1948 – 2014) was an English singer who emerged as the frontman of Black Cat Bones. His solo album, Anything for a Laugh, appeared in 1971 on Transatlantic Records. The 12-song album features 11 originals, including “Blue Tuesday,” “Don’t You Need Me Anymore,” “Emily,” “Wishing Well” and “Winter Comes.” Also included is a cover of the Randy Newman composition “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.” The album was produced by Mike Finesilver (Love Sculpture, Kingdom Come, Ross, Gonzalez, J.A.L.N. Band). He later wrote songs for Jeff Beck and Hummingbird.

listen here

Parish Hall - Parish Hall (1970

Parish Hall was a power trio from the California Bay Area. The band consisted of Gary Wagner (guitar, piano, vocals), John Haden (bass), and Steve Adams (drums). Specializing in a hard rock/blues rock sound, their album was originally released near the end of 1970 on a small local California record label. Reminiscent of the sound of another popular trio of the day, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Parish Hall had begun to gain the recognition of some European collectors by the late 1990s, and originals have fetched high prices in collector's markets. All songs on this album are originals written by Wagner and hold up well when compared to other hard rock acts. The album has been reissued by Akarma with the original artwork and digitally remastered sound. AMG.

listen here

Aynsley Dunbar - Blue Whale 1970

Rock journeyman Aynsley Dunbar has proven himself one of the finest drummers in the business for over twenty years, whether as a member of several bands or as a session musician. Dunbar began his career on the British blues-rock scene, playing with Champion Jack Dupree and Eddie Boyd before becoming the drummer for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 1967; he was influenced by jazz and the Who's Keith Moon as well. During this time, Dunbar also played on Jeff Beck's seminal Truth sessions, and also met Frank Zappa in Belgium; when Zappa broke up the first edition of the Mothers of Invention, he invited Dunbar to join his new band. Dunbar first appeared with Zappa as a guitarist on Uncle Meat, but soon assumed drum chores in the Flo and Eddie version of the Mothers, appearing on such albums as Chunga's RevengeFillmore East: June 1971, and 200 Motels, and playing music that gave him a chance to show off his jazzier chops. In the meantime, Dunbar also formed a blues-rock band called the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, which featured guitarist/vocalist John Moorshead, bassist Alex Dmochowski, and organist Victor Brox. The group released several albums from 1969-1970, including a self-titled effort, Doctor Dunbar's Prescription, and To Mum From Aynsley and the Boys. When Flo and Eddie jumped ship in 1972 after a deranged fan pushed Zappa from the stage, confining him to a wheelchair, Dunbar joined their backing band for a short while, although he would also return to work with Zappa on studio projects like Waka/JawakaThe Grand Wazoo, and Apostrophe', as well as continuing his periodic studio work for other artists. He briefly formed an association with David Bowie around 1973-74 for the albums Pin-Ups and Diamond Dogs, but in 1975, Dunbar decided to join a new jazz-rock fusion group called Journey. He remained with the band up through 1978's Infinity, departing as Journey brought in vocalist Steve Perry and shifted their sound towards arena-rock. Dunbar next joined Jefferson Starship in 1978, staying put through 1982's Winds of Change. He resurfaced several years later with Whitesnake and played drums on the band's 1987 commercial breakthrough. However, Dunbar was again gone by the next Whitesnake album; he has since returned to the blues rock he started his career with, working with such artists as Pat Travers. AMG.

listen here

Carson - Blown 1972

Carson was an Australian blues rock and boogie rock band, formed in January 1970 in Melbourne as Carson County Band. They had a top 30 hit single on the Go-Set National Top 40 with "Boogie" in September 1972. The group released their debut studio album, Blown, in November on EMI and Harvest Records, which peaked at No. 14 on the Go-Set Top 20 Albums. Their performance at the second Sunbury Pop Festival in late January 1973 was issued as a live album, On the Air, in April but the group had already disbanded.

Member, John Capek had left by mid 1970 and relocated to North America by 1973 where he worked as a composer (often with Marc Jordan), record producer, and keyboardist in Toronto, Canada, and Los Angeles, United States. After Carson disbanded, Broderick Smith formed the country rock band The Dingoes in 1973 and had a successful solo career.

listen here

Hate - Hate Kills 1970

Without a doubt, Hate (with their only LP) is one of the most underrated UK progressive bands from the early 70’s! This dark, sinister, and sometimes psychedelic music resembled a combination of early Procol Harum/Atomic Rooster-like Hammond organ sounds; tasty guitar leads, and emotional, Spooky Tooth-like vocals. The session was engineered by Tom Allom who 10 years later gained fame by producing albums for Judas Priest and Def Leppard. Carefully remastered Hate Kills LP is simply a lost, progressive gem!

listen here

Bronco - Ace of Sunlight 1971

Formed in August 1969 by Jess Roden following his split from The Alan Bown Set, Bronco was signed to Island Records and released two albums 'Country Home' and 'Ace of Sunlight'. Roden left the band mid 1972 to start a solo career, guitarist Robbie Blunt soon followed, the remaining members drafted in Paul Lockey on vocals (who both Kevyn Gammond and Pete Robinson knew from various incarnations of The Band of Joy) and Dan Fone on guitar, they released one last album this time with Polydor records 'Smoking Mixture'. Bronco's bass player John Pasternak died of a heart attack in September 1986. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant fronted a tribute event for Pasternak in December of that year. Two Bronco tracks are featured on Island Records compilation albums: "Love" appears on Bumpers released in 1970 and "Sudden Street" appears on El Pea (1971).
More recently the Bronco track 'Time Slips Away' has been included on the Island Records compilation 'Meet On The Ledge', released as part of Island's 50th anniversary in 2009.

listen here

quarta-feira, 1 de maio de 2024

Greezy Wheels - Juz Loves Dem Ol' 1975

Greezy Wheels is an Austin, Texas-based progressive country band formed in the 1970s. They played more frequently at the Armadillo World Headquarters than any other band in the history of the venues. They are regarded as the Armadillo house band and are elected members of the Austin Music Hall Of Fame.

Greezy Wheels' music is a raucous blend of rock, funk, R&B, alt-country, and Ozarks. In their early days, they were the only band with a female fiddler, Sweet Mary Hattersley. Sweet Mary consistently brought the crowd to a screaming frenzy state with her version of the "Orange Blossom Special." The music of Greezy Wheels reflected the cultural dichotomy of Austin in the 1970s — a unique place where hippies had roots deep in the heart of Texas. Greezy Wheels opened Willie Nelson's first-ever Armadillo World Headquarters show, putting him in front of the hippies who then adopted him and have been his fans ever since. They have shared the stage with (literally) too many greats to name. 

listen here

Boz Scaggs - Boz Scaggs 1969

Departing from the Steve Miller Band after a two-album stint, Boz Scaggs found himself on his own but not without support. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, his friend, helped him sign with Atlantic Records and the label had him set up shop in Muscle Shoals, recording his debut album with that legendary set of studio musicians, known for their down-and-dirty backing work for Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, among many other Southern soul legends. The Muscle Shoals rhythm section, occasionally augmented by guitarist Duane Allman, gives this music genuine grit, but this isn't necessarily a straight-up blue-eyed soul record, even if the opening "I'm Easy" and "I'll Be Long Gone" are certainly as deeply soulful as anything cut at Muscle Shoals. Even at this early stage Scaggs wasn't content to stay in one place, and he crafted a kind of Americana fantasia here, also dabbling in country and blues along with the soul and R&B that grounds this record. Suppose the country shuffle "Now You're Gone" sounds just slightly a shade bit too vaudeville for its own good. In that case, it only stands out because the rest of the record is pitch-perfect, from the Jimmie Rodgers cover "Waiting for a Train" and the folky "Look What I Got!" to the extended 11-minute blues workout "Loan Me a Dime," which functions as much as a showcase for a blazing Duane Allman as it does for Boz. But even with that show-stealing turn, and even with the Muscle Shoals musicians giving this album its muscle and part of its soul, this album is still thoroughly a showcase for Boz Scaggs' musical vision, which even at this stage is wide and deep. It would grow smoother and more assured over the years, but the slight bit of raggedness suits the funky, down-home performances and helps make this a great debut and an enduring blue-eyed soul masterpiece. AMG.

listen here

Gravy Train - Gravy Train 1970

Jethro Tull and Comus had a baby, and they named it Gravy Train. That's not strictly accurate, of course, but as the band's eponymous debut opens with the fluid changes of "The New One," it's not too far of a reach, either. Richly harmonic, daringly jam-laden, and peppered with guitar roars that simply defy comparison, Gravy Train is the sound of the British underground at its most joyously liberated peak -- a time when a bunch of apparent freaks could simply go into a major recording studio and let rip. Except Gravy Train's concept of "letting rip" has more in common with a symphony orchestra than the Edgar Broughton Band. Without, of course, the orchestra. But there's a moment in the midst of "Think of Life" that cannot help but put one in mind of later Deep Purple, as the flute and guitar battle for supremacy, while the blues workout "Coast Road" is as breathtaking as any of that genre's better-feted exponents. If Gravy Train has any faults whatsoever, the fascination with peculiar vocal effects can grow a little wearing, especially as frontman Norman Barrett already appears to have a fabulous range of his own -- "Dedication to Sid," in particular, glories in such trickery, although the heartbeat bassline that runs through the number is so hypnotic that it's easy to forget everything else that's going on. In fact, Gravy Train is littered with moments like that, an album of so many surprises that even when you think you know it, you can still find something else you'd never noticed. And it all adds up to a genuine minor classic. AMG.

listen here

Bold - Bold 1969

ABC released plenty of psychedelic LPs in the late '60s that were weird, awkward mixtures of West Coast psychedelia, heavy rock, blues, pop, and more, often burdened by subpar songwriting and performers who seemed ill at ease or inexperienced in the studios. The sole Bold album fits into that niche, but if it's any recommendation or consolation, as such records go, it's certainly one of the better ones. Actually it's not bad, and a little lighter and less ponderous than most such efforts, though the lack of outstanding original material or mega-personality limits its appeal to psychedelic collectors. In addition to the trendy psychedelic-age ingredients listed earlier, Bold also added some quasi-classical organ once in a while, particularly on the opening instrumental, "Lullaby Opus Four"; "Free Fogue" even sounds like new-age music. They're also good vocal harmonizers, which lends otherwise generic late-'60s psychedelic hard rockers like "Friendly Smile" a nice buoyancy. And a bent for folk-rock asserts itself once in a while, in the wistful "Changing Seasons," the Buffalo Springfield-flavored "Child of Love" and "Words Don't Make It," and the pretty nice, stretched-out cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." The entire album is included on the Misty Lane CD reissue Lullaby Opus Four, which also adds both sides of the two more garage-oriented singles they recorded prior to the album for Cameo and Dynovoice, as well as both sides of the mid-'60s single by the Esquires, the group that evolved into Bold. AMG.

listen here

Catapilla - Catapilla 1971

The debut album by one of the most dramatic and certainly the most visionary of all the British prog bands saddled with the epithet jazz-rock opens with little care for any of that. Taking a deep draught from the King Crimson/Van Der Graaf Generator book of sonic brutality, the opening "Naked Death" is a hard-riffing, thunderous clatter of apocalyptic imagery which -- if Crimson hadn't already dropped the same bomb with "21st Century Schizoid Man" -- might have proved as lethal as the weaponry it discusses. The same taste for Armageddon permeates the remainder of the album. Some spectacular moments drift through the carnage; Robert Calvert's sax and Graham Wilson's guitar might be most comfortable in full bludgeoning mode, but they can show restraint as well. Unfortunately, vocalist Anna Meek is allowed no such luxury, coming across in places like an extremely bad-tempered Sonja Kristina and in others like a dehumanized version of Lydia Lunch. But if the first three tracks, clocking in at 15, four, and six minutes, respectively, leave you feeling battered, bruised, and maybe not inclined to walk this way again, 24 minutes of the closing "Embryonic Fusion" place Catapilla firmly back on course. A solid, sax-driven suite, of course, it has its share of death, doom, and destruction-type lyrics and enough moments of spine-chilling chaos to remind you that Van Der Graaf's similarly side-long "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" was fresh on the racks as this album came together. Unfortunately, such comparisons -- though valid -- are also unhelpful. No matter how influenced one band might be by another, it takes a lot more than a Xerox mind to pull off a piece of music this long this successfully. The fact is, Catapilla not only completes the marathon, they also leave you wondering how 24 minutes passed so quickly. AMG.

listen here

segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2024

Atomic Rooster - Atomic Rooster 1970

The incipient incarnation of Atomic Rooster -- with Vincent Crane (organ/vocals), Nick Graham (vocals/bass), and Carl Palmer (drums) -- was together just long enough to document its debut, Atomic Roooster (1970) -- (note: the extra O is intentional). Before the last-minute addition of Graham -- the only bassist Atomic Rooster ever had -- the band emerged from the remnants of the then recently defunct Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The material was primarily courtesy of Crane and consisted of heavier sides. His versatility is evident throughout the impressive array of styles ranging from the folk-inspired pastoral "Winter" to the bluesy horn arrangement heard on "Broken Wings." This directly contrasts driving rockers such as the album's edgy opener, "Friday 13th," or the aggressive "S.L.Y." "Decline and Fall" is a jazz-infused number boasting some exceptional if not incendiary instrumental interaction, most notably from Crane and Palmer. Lyrically, Crane reveals his penchant for dark imagery, including the fatalistic "What is the point of going on?" chorus that runs through the aforementioned "Winter" or the sexually snide "And So to Bed." Support was bolstered by strong live appearances, positive word-of-mouth, and a few significant BBC Radio sessions -- all of which resulted in Atomic Roooster making a respectable showing at number 49 on the U.K. LP charts. By the time the platter was picked up by Elektra Records in North America, the personnel had already changed with John Cann (guitar/vocals) replacing Graham. In an interesting move, they decided that Cann should also overdub guitar parts to "S.L.Y." and "Before Tomorrow," as well as provide a new vocal to "Friday 13th." The transformation didn't end there, either, as the original running order was also significantly altered. Parties interested in hearing both should locate the 2004 reissue, as the supplementary selections feature the U.S. version(s), plus a pair of uniformly excellent selections broadcast on BBC Radio -- "Friday 13th" and "Seven Lonely Streets" (aka "Seven Streets") from Atomic Rooster's follow-up LP, Death Walks Behind You (1970). Of further historical note is that the live-in-the-studio BBC recordings were documented less than a week before the departure of Palmer, effectively ending the first lineup. AMG.

listen here