sábado, 31 de dezembro de 2016


Wish to everybody all the best in this new year 2017!

Barbara Thompson - Jubiaba 1978

Thompson’s recordings have run the gamut from jazz-rock fusion and modern creative jazz to world and folk musics and even modern classical, and she has also composed music for theater productions (beginning a working relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1978) and for film and television soundtracks. In 1996 Thompson was awarded the rank of MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to music. Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1997, but continued to record and tour into the new millennium, while devoting much of her energies to composing. Her albums during the 2000s have included two releases on Intuition, Barbara Thompson and FriendsIn the Eye of a Storm (2003) and Paraphernalia’s Never Say Goodbye (2007). AMG.

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The Illinois Speed Press - Duet 1970

Paul Cotton's country-rock tendencies step to the forefront over co-leader Kal David's blues-rock on this second, and final, album by Illinois Speed Press. Following its release, Cotton left to fill the slot left by Jim Messina's departure from Poco, later leading that band to its greatest commercial success. Duet contains the original recording of "Bad Weather," a Cotton composition that became a popular standard in Poco's repertoire after its inclusion on From the Inside in 1971. AMG.

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sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2016

Cream - Wheels of Fire 1968

If Disraeli Gears was the album where Cream came into their own, its successor, Wheels of Fire, finds the trio in full fight, capturing every side of their multi-faceted personality, even hinting at the internal pressures that soon would tear the band asunder. A dense, unwieldy double album split into an LP of new studio material and an LP of live material, it's sprawling and scattered, at once awesome in its achievement and maddening in how it falls just short of greatness. It misses its goal not because one LP works and the other doesn't, but because both the live and studio sets suffer from strikingly similar flaws, deriving from the constant power struggle between the trio. Of the three, Ginger Baker comes up short, contributing the passable "Passing the Time" and "Those Were the Days," which are overshadowed by how he extends his solo drum showcase "Toad" to a numbing quarter of an hour and trips upon the Wind & the Willows whimsy of "Pressed Rat and Warthog," whose studied eccentricity pales next to Eric Clapton's nimble, eerily cheerful "Anyone for Tennis." In almost every regard, Wheels of Fire is a terrific showcase for Clapton as a guitarist, especially on the first side of the live album with "Crossroads," a mighty encapsulation of all of his strengths. Some of that is studio trickery, as producer Felix Pappalardi cut together the best bits of a winding improvisation to a tight four minutes, giving this track a relentless momentum that's exceptionally exciting, but there's no denying that Clapton is at a peak here, whether he's tearing off solos on a 17-minute "Spoonful" or goosing "White Room" toward the heights of madness. But it's the architect of "White Room," bassist Jack Bruce, who, along with his collaborator Peter Brown, reaches a peak as a songwriter. Aside from the monumental "White Room," he has the lovely, wistful "As You Said," the cinematic "Deserted Cities of the Heart," and the slow, cynical blues "Politician," all among Cream's very best work. And in many ways Wheels of Fire is indeed filled with Cream's very best work, since it also captures the fury and invention (and indulgence) of the band at its peak on the stage and in the studio, but as it tries to find a delicate balance between these three titanic egos, it doesn't quite add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. But taken alone, those individual parts are often quite tremendous. AMG.

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Pharoah Sanders - Tauhid 1967

Tauhid marks the 1966 Impulse debut of tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who had already gained fame as a flame-throwing saxophonist of the "new thing" playing with John Coltrane. However, Sanders' tenor appearance doesn't saturate the atmosphere on this session; far from it. Sanders is content to patiently let the moods of these three pieces develop, whether it be through the percussion of Roger Blank and Nat Bettis, guitarist Sonny Sharrock, or his own piccolo. For those looking for Sanders' patented screeching tenor throughout, Tauhid will disappoint. AMG.

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Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces Of A Man 1971

Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match. His unique proto-rap vocal style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media -- the very entity attacked in this song -- has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, the message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless. More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist. On tracks like the reflective "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and the title track, Scott-Heron's voice is complemented perfectly by the soulful keyboards of Brian Jackson. On "Lady Day and John Coltrane," he not only celebrates jazz legends of the past in his words but in his vocal performance, one that is filled with enough soul and innovation to make Coltrane and Billie Holiday nod their heads in approval. More than three decades after its release, Pieces of a Man is just as -- if not more -- powerful and influential today as it was the day it was released. AMG.

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Marcus Belgrave - Gemini 1974

The nonet with the master trumpeter is sometimes funky, spacy, or swinging, but always potent. On this LP with Roy BrooksWendell HarrisonHarold McKinney and Phil Ranelin, the band sounds twice its size due to the expansive compositional stance of the leader. AMG.

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Groundhogs - Thank Christ For The Bomb 1970

Thank Christ for the Bomb was the first Groundhogs album to indicate that the group had a lifespan longer than the already-fading British blues boom suggested. It was also the first in the sequence of semi-conceptual masterpieces that the group cut following their decision to abandon the mellow blues of their earlier works and pursue the socially aware, prog-inflected bent that culminated with 1972's seminal Who Will Save the World? album. They were rewarded with their first ever Top Ten hit and purchasers were rewarded with an album that still packs a visceral punch in and around Tony McPhee's dark, doom-laden lyrics. With the exception of the truly magisterial title track, the nine tracks err on the side of brevity. Only one song, the semi-acoustic "Garden," strays over the five-minute mark, while four more barely touch three-and-one-half minutes. Yet the overall sense of the album is almost bulldozing, and it is surely no coincidence that, engineering alongside McPhee's self-production, Martin Birch came to the Groundhogs fresh from Deep Purple in Rock and wore that experience firmly on his sleeve. Volume and dynamics aside, there are few points of comparison between the two albums -- if the Groundhogs have any direct kin, it would have to be either the similarly three-piece Budgie or a better-organized Edgar Broughton Band. But, just as Deep Purple was advancing the cause of heavy rock by proving that you didn't need to be heavy all the time, so Thank Christ for the Bomb shifts between light and dark, introspection and outspokenness, loud and, well, louder. Even the acoustic guitars can make your ears bleed when they feel like it and, although the anti-war sentiments of "Thank Christ for the Bomb" seem an over-wordy echo of Purple's similarly themed "Child in Time," it is no less effective for it. Elements of Thank Christ for the Bomb do seem overdone today, not the least of which is the title track's opening recitation (a history of 20th century war, would you believe?). But it still has the ability to chill, thrill, and kill any doubts that such long-windiness might evoke, while the truths that were evident to McPhee in 1970 aren't too far from reality today. [Originally issued in 1970, the LP was reissued on CD in 2007 and features bonus tracks.] AMG.

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Mel & Tim - Mel & Tim 1973

Although it wasn't released long after Mel & Tim's big 1972 hit "Starting All Over Again," the duo's self-titled album (their second for Stax) wasn't a commercial success. It has a little more personality than the average LP issued by Stax in its final years, but not that much more. Largely comprised of material from Prince Philip Mitchell (who wrote "Starting All Over Again"), and co-produced by Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins (who also played on the record) of Muscle Shoals Sound, it's fairly smooth early-'70s duo-sung soul. The stirring, socially wary "Same Folk," which seems a bit influenced by the kind of thing Bill Withers was doing around the same time, is a highlight, despite its similarity to "Starting All Over Again." The opener, "Keep the Faith" (written by Mark James, most famous for composing Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds"), is also among the stronger tracks due to its inspirational tone and intricate layered arrangement. Much of the rest of the album is standard '70s romantic soul, with a gentler, more subdued feel than the typical Stax production. Mild funk permeates "Making Love Is My Thing," which cuts to the chase much more quickly than the infinite number of similar soul songs, declaring "partying, well, it's all right, but I don't like to party all night" before the instruments swell and the woman backup singers announce, "making love is my thing." AMG.

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Mike Gibbs - Just Ahead 1972

Progressive arranger, conductor, composer, pianist, and trombonist. Good at organizing great talent to play his original music, this native of Zimbabwe studied in UK and Boston. He was a disciple of Herb Pomeroy, and worked with Carla Bley. AMG.

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Norman Greenbaum - Back Home Again 1970

Best-known for his 1970 hit "Spirit in the Sky," singer/songwriter Norman Greenbaum was born November 20, 1942, in Malden, MA. He began his musical career while a student at Boston University, playing area coffeehouses before relocating to the West Coast during the mid-'60s and forming a kind of psychedelic jug band dubbed Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band. After issuing the 1966 single "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago," which fell just shy of reaching the Top 50, the group disbanded, and Greenbaum subsequently formed a series of short-lived acts before finally returning to his solo career in 1968. A year later he issued his debut LP, Spirit in the Sky, releasing several unsuccessful singles before reaching the Top Three with the smash title track, which sold some two million copies. It proved to be Greenbaum's only hit, however, as follow-ups like 1970's "Canned Ham" and the next year's "California Earthquake" tanked; after the release of 1972's Petaluma, he retreated from music to focus on his California dairy farm, but returned to show business during the mid-'80s in a managerial capacity, also promoting a number of concerts. AMG.

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Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin' 1966

When the Northern soulsters of Motown were employing strings and pop elements, Sam & Dave rejected pop wholesale and made sure they kept their Memphis soul simple and raw. Their albums never sounded heavily produced, and therein lies much of the appeal of Hold on, I'm Comin' (their first album for Atlantic). This duo didn't believe in hiding behind lavish productions. Like the blues and gospel artists who paved the way for soul music, Sam & Dave knew how to seize the moment. From such major hits as "You Don't Know Like I Know" and the title song to solid album tracks like the riveting "It's a Wonder" and the tough yet vulnerable ballad "Just Me," this album epitomizes Memphis soul in all its unpretentious, down-home glory. AMG.

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Bröselmaschine - Bröselmaschine 1971

Languorous atmospheres, lovely vocals, iridescent melodies, and shimmering solos combine on Bröselmaschine's self-titled 1971 debut album, the apotheosis of the German folk-prog scene. The quintet took their cue from England's Canterbury scene and even a traditional folk song, "Lassie," from that green and pleasant land. The band's signature sound was derived from Jenni Schucker's delicate and at times ethereal vocals in harmony with Willi Kissmer's stronger tenor, and that sound took on a Teutonic tinge when the pair switched from English to German lyrics. But it was the group's extraordinary use of acoustic and electric guitars that cemented its reputation. On "The Old Man's Song," one of four vocal cuts on the set, Kissmer's wah-wah guitar wafts and winds around Peter Bursch's acoustic strums. On "Gitarrenstück," the electric leads smolder like embers around the fiery acoustic rhythm guitar, while Schucker's wordless vocals float hauntingly above. It's the flute that soars overhead on "Gedanken," counterpointed by the moody Spanish-styled guitar, which itself is offset by the excitement of Kissmer's electric lead. Lutz Ringer's bassline adds an almost funky flair to "Lassie," and is also crucial to the album's two instrumentals, "Schmetterling" and the wittily titled "Nossa Bova." The former is a showcase for the band's percussionist, Mike Hellbach, who fills the number with tablas, instantly taking the sound into Eastern climes, a sighting enhanced by Bursch's sitar, even as a pastoral flute delicately dances above and the acoustic guitar shimmers in an ecstasy of chiming strums below. "Nossa Bova" also utilizes tablas, but its setting shivers between the Spanish plains and England's rolling rural hills. The music is gorgeous, but it's the relaxed atmospheres that truly entrance; there's not a forced note or extravagant moment within, with the music easily ebbing and flowing like water downhill. So self-confident were the bandmembers that they had no need for flashy musicianship, preferring instead to impress by the very understatement of their solos. The ambience is exquisite, casting a spell that isn't broken until the final note fades. A masterful album from start to finish. AMG.

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sábado, 17 de dezembro de 2016

Buddy Miles - Expressway To Your Skull 1968

Although Buddy Miles' alchemical fusion of psychedelia, blues, and soul did not truly coalesce until his masterpiece Them Changes, his debut LP, Expressway to Your Skull, remains an inspired and original statement of intent, a record that's both timeless and an unmistakable product of counterculture consciousness. Each of the album's seven songs is a fascinating montage of sounds and styles -- acid-fuzz guitar collides with zig-zagging funk horns, and shrieking keyboards meet juke joint blues riffs head on. Not everything works -- a cover of Sam & Dave's "Wrap It Up" is more leaden than lively, and the instrumental "Funky Mule" feels like filler -- but the remaining material is brilliant, its twists and turns navigated by Miles' deeply soulful vocals and monster drumming. AMG.

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Max Roach & Abdullah Ibrahim - Streams of Consciousness 1977

Abdullah Ibrahim and Max Roach entered the studio in 1977 with no preplanning of any kind, producing a powerful session of duo improvisation in Streams of Consciousness. Their long opener, the title track, is never dull, even at 21 minutes. Roach provides unaccompanied segues as Ibrahimrepeatedly ducks out and returns powerful themes one after another (each one complemented beautifully by the drummer). They touch on African chants, gospel-like themes, and a bit of avant-garde. "Acclamation" has the feeling of being composed, building to a feverish pitch before ending quietly with Roach's unaccompanied cymbals. Roach is initially at the forefront of "Consanguinity," with Ibrahiminserting brief, choppy chords, though the pianist takes on a much greater role as it progresses, finishing with a wave of tremolo chords. Sadly, they have yet to record together in the decades following this remarkable recording. AMG.

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Dave Miller & Leith Corbett - Reflections Of A Pioneer 1970

The LP was released in around September 1970 with the evocative title Reflections Of A Pioneer, from Dave's song of the same name which was in part a tribute to his grandfather, who had died not long before in New Zealand. The title track was also lifted for a single, backed by Leith's rocky 323527 Charles. For many years the album has been one of the most sought-after collector's items of the period, but happily it was remastered and re-released on CD in 2000 by Vicious Sloth.
An unexpected opportunity opened up for Dave at the press reception for Reflections -- he was approached by Soundblast magazine to write for them, and within a short time he became one of their regular writers. His work for Soundblast also led him to meet many visiting overseas stars including the members of Led Zeppelin and Yes.

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The Human Instinct - Burning Up Years 1969

The Human Instinct have a cult reputation as one of New Zealand's finest bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. After hearing their debut, one's tempted to say that the cult has survived in large part because so few people have heard them. For the most part it's wanky period blues-rock, heavily Hendrix- and (to a lesser extent) Cream-influenced. The guitar work (by Billy TK) is skilled and overlong, and the seven songs -- four by non-band member Jesse Harper -- are usually ho-hum heavy rock. Harper gets the writing credit for "I Think I'll Go Back Home," but it sure sounds a heck of a lot like Neil Young's "Everybody Knows this Is Nowhere." The most interesting number is the closing title track, which gives Billy TK a chance to freak out on guitar, but even that goes on way too long. AMG.

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Shape of the Rain - Riley, Riley, Wood and Waggett 1971

Shape of the Rain an uk band from Sheffield released this album imaginatevly titled "Riley, Riley, Wood and Waggett" on the RCA subsidiary label Neon in 1971. Members were Keith and Len Riley, Brian Wood and Tag Waggett.

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Tully - Tully 1970

Tully was an Australia progressive rock band that performed in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.

The first of two Tully incarnations was initially a quartet- John Blake, Robert Taylor, Richard Lockwood, and Michael Carlos met playing together in Levi Smith?s Clefs in 1968, an R&B group. The four men left to form Tully. They began playing improvisational music at the defunct Caesar?s Disco, but were sacked as the patrons complained that they couldn?t dance to the music. The band recruited Terry Wilson to sing, and soon the quintet were commissioned by Bill Munro of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to do six TV shows that would be called Fusions. Fusions earned them a wider audience, and it wasn?t long before Tully were invited to perform at other venues and to play whatever they desired.

Entrepreneur Harry Miller got Tully to perform as the backing band for the Australian cast production of the rock musical Hair. Annoyed by their antics and practical jokes, however, Miller eventually replaced Tully. At this time, Blake left the group, and Taylor?s friend, Ken Firth, filled in. This line-up recorded Tully?s first LP. Their live performances kept true with their psychedelic generation, as sometimes their sets meandered into avant-garde improvisations, the drummer setting his kit up as a work of art rather than as something to be played, and all five of them standing at the front of the stage and proclaiming ?I love you? to the audience.

The Arts Council brought together Tully and their antithesis- a delicate and gentle group called Extradition- to tour together. Surprisingly, this pairing not only became friends, but decided to unite as a new band, still under the banner of Tully. This more robust group recorded the second Tully album, Sea of Joy (soundtrack to a Paul Witzig film), and their third and final album, Loving is Hard. Tully disbanded not long after this, as income became sparse and ideologies became varied.

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Horslips - Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part 1972

Get ready for the ride of your life through Irish folk-rock styles. The opening track of the group's debut album, with its pipes, button accordion, and percussion, could pass for any Chieftains record, but then the electricity kicks in on "Hall of Mirrors," and the rest is melodic rock, not so much folk-rock as folkish rock, recalling early GenesisJohn Fean sounds like he's playing folk melodies even as he plays runs on his electric guitar on "The Clergy's Lamentation," and the group follows this with an anthem-like piece of Gaelic rock ("An Bratach Ban") with a dance-like instrumental break. "Bim Istigh Ag Ol" is probably the best track on the album, and "Hall of Mirrors" and "Furniture" remained in their stage act for years, the latter, with its superb middle section -- favorably recalling Steve Howe's playing with Yeson their early albums -- transformed into a 15-minute epic. And just when you think you've got them pegged as a progressive folk-rock outfit, they deliver the exquisitely languid, almost impressionistic "The Shamrock Shore" and the playful "Dance for Yer Daddy," which sounds like the Chieftains with vocals until Fean's electric guitar kicks in. And Fean's playing on "The Musical Priest," by itself, is worth the price of the album. AMG.

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Barbara Lynn - You'll Lose a Good Thing 1963

and blues embellishment. Huey P. Meaux produced this early-'60s record, which featured the classic title track. Other Lynn numbers, like "I'll Suffer," were equally outstanding; Lynn was sometimes tough and confrontational, and tender, inviting or anguished at other times. Meaux didn't clutter the works with unnecessary firepower; his arrangements and charts were just enough to augment Lynn's sturdy vocals. Lynn also wrote ten of the 12 songs. AMG.

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Mike Cooper - Trout Steel 1970

With his sophomore effort for Dawn, everything came together for guitarist and songwriter Mike CooperTrout Steel established him as one of the pre-eminent players on the Brit folk and blues scenes. Given his organic approach to composing; his truly dazzling abilities with acoustic and slide guitars; and his predilection for just the right sidemen and arrangements, Cooper was among the most poised musicians of his generation, and Trout Steel proves the point time and again over its 11 tracks.  The disc opens with the heartbreaking "That's How," with restrained string arrangements and a solo alto saxophone courtesy of Mike Osborne, who was as versed in Van Morrison's brand of Celtic R&B as he was in Ornette Coleman's new melodic ideas. From the lilting vocal and strummed guitars, the tune just breaks itself into pieces continually. The driving, pulsating, countryside blues of "Sitting Here Watching" is followed by guest Stefan Grossman accompanying Cooper's own droning, open-string blues and Tampa Red-style flatpicking. The 11-and-a-half-minute "I've Got Mine" is a soundtrack without a film, and shows the first hints of where Cooper wanted to travel: into the roots of jazz. Half the cats on the record were in Mike Westbrook's band at the time to garnish his deep British blues and historical sense of troubadour revelry. The title track is a hard country tune -- in the old, weird, American sense of the word -- with Cooper sliding like a demon to provide his melodic accompaniment. His vocals, wonderfully reedy and open, howl through the longing in the lyric and help to portray the notions of travel and stasis in the story. The record closes with two unanticipated tracks that lend immeasurably to the depth and dimension Cooper displayed at the time, and where he wanted to go as a musician: one was the completely improvisational number "Pharaoh's March," dedicated to Pharaoh Sanders, which showcased an entire saxophone section wailing it out with a restrained modal tension held by the guitar for over seven minutes. The other is "Weeping Rose," a lilting love song rooted firmly in the soil of the British folk tradition of the vanquished rambler heading off to journey once more. After the complete strangeness of "Pharaoh's March," it was exactly what was needed to make the disc go out whispering and closed; rather than aching, raw, and uncertain. But even here, this song, with its complex rhythmic guitar pattern, offers in its lyrics the notion of restlessness: "Go ahead, I'll meet you further/down the road." Cooper capped off his greatest album with both a hint and a warning that he was not about to do the same thing twice. What a ride Trout Steel is: exhilarating and adventurous each time it is played. AMG.

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terça-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2016

Luther Grosvenor - Under Open Skies 1971

Under Open Skies is a very strong album by the Island recording artist who left Spooky Tooth and joined Mott the Hoople after that group left Island for CBS. "Ride On" begins the festivities with Grosvenor playing both bass and lead guitar; Spooky Tooth's Mick Kellie provides the drums; John Hawken is on piano; and harmonies are by Jim Capaldi of Traffic and the man Luther Grosvenorreplaced in Mott the HoopleMick RalphsHere is the oddity of Under Open Skies, where Verden Allen's "Soft Ground" really disrupted the flow of the All the Young Dudes album, a tune like "Here Comes the Queen" would have been dynamite for Ian Hunter and the boys. (After writing this review, Justin Purington of the Mott the Hoople website, Justabuzz.com, noted they did perform the song live in 1974, and that it rocked.) While that band was being over-extended was the time to lean heavily on Grosvenor. He came off like a hired gun rather than Mick Ralphs' true replacement, and this highly creative work shows just what he could have truly brought to the Mott table if he was given the chance. "When I Met You" has the Move's Trevor Burton on bass, inspired guitar playing by Grosvenor, and a vocal by the artist leaning toward Steve Winwood. The title track is just amazing, Trevor Burton and Mick Kellie making up two-thirds of the three- piece band which pulls of this brilliant Githa Grosvenor/Luther Grosvenor pre-Ariel Bender composition. That the reconstituted Mott or British Lions failed to pick up on this individual to continue their work is just a shame. They went in a failed heavy metal direction while the possible key to their success was in this spirited and very complete work. The title track is mystical and amazing, while the inside cover has a tremendous photo of Grosvenor dressed up like Ozzy Osbourne in white cape, immersed by beautiful green trees, and a small pig to the far left. With Jim Capaldi's Oh, How We Danced and John "Rabbit" Bundrick's Broken ArrowUnder Open Skies by Luther Grosvenor is part of a unique trilogy of discs on Island records by sidemen who crafted records more complete than some of the discs by the groups they played in -- TrafficFree, and Spooky Tooth -- respectively. Musicians overlap on all three of these recordings. Nice, touching liner notes by Jim Capaldi are included as well. "Waiting" would have been a nice moment for Spooky Tooth, while "Rocket" recalls Denny Laine's "Say You Don't Mind." If Grosvenor submitted this as a term paper, the teacher would have to give it an A+. AMG.

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