sexta-feira, 17 de abril de 2020

Quintessence - Dive Deep 1971

In the early '70s, progressive rock was heading in several different directions. There was the ultra-classical influenced Emerson, Lake & Palmer which ultimately ended in overblown performances that became too complicated for the casual pop or rock fan to enjoy, there were the bands that became heavier and more song-orientated like Deep Purple, and then there were the bands that had religion at their heart, mainly Eastern religions, the Incredible String Band and Quintessence fell into this latter category with all its members devotees of the Hindu faith, unusual at the time for Westerners. Dive DeepQuintessence's third album, was effectively more of what had come before, with long instrumental passages, sometimes with definable themes and sometimes sounding as if the band had instructions to jam and see what happened. Not afraid to stretch their songs to around the ten-minute mark, there were only six tracks -- of which "Epitaph for Tomorrow" had a guitar solo running through it and which could be described as the forerunner of Tubular Bells -- and the final track, "Sri Ram Chant," made liberal use of the sitar, Raja Ram's flute, Indian rhythms throughout, and a mantra mentioning Krishna at every opportunity. Much simpler was the title track, "Dive Deep," which opened the album and owed more to '60s folk than prog or religious rock. This led into the 11-minute track "Dance for the One" with a six-minute intro of meandering flute, never once managing a recognizable tune. Quintessence never made it into the big league, and this was not totally surprising based on the evidence of Dive Deep, which was their final album for Island before trying their luck on the newly founded Neon label (part of the RCA group and home to what RCA hoped what be their progressive equivalent of Harvest, Vertigo or Deram). Apart from one further week at number 50 in the charts with the album SelfQuintessence never really happened and the internal arguments that led the group to split increased. AMG

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Rare Earth - One World 1971

What was necessary for this Motown act was a bit of an identity come the third album, and One World did nothing to define the individuals of this sextet, but Norman Whitfield's machine shop production on the remake of "(I Know) I'm Losing You," from the previous Ecology album, was pure genius. They emulate it on "I Just Want to Celebrate," and by doing so create a diamond in the rough. Woodwind player Gil Bridges' "Someone to Love" shows Brit rock leanings, as does bassist John Persh's "Any Man Can Be a Fool," but it's second-generation, watered-down Brit rock, and without the inclusion of their last Top Ten hit, the summer of 1971's "I Just Want to Celebrate" written by non-members N. Zesses and D. Fekaris, the album would've been an instant bargain-bin candidate. The beautiful gatefold painting by England's Roger Dean looks like it inspired Bloodrock's 1972 Passage album cover, and it probably did. Producer Tom Baird's "The Road" is just dreadful, the production lackluster on a song that was definitely born to wander aimlessly. Guitarist Ray Monette, keyboard player Mark Olson, and conga/percussionist Ed Guzman actually outdo Baird in a bad way with "Under God's Light," which is even worse than the song that came before it. God may not have been pleased. Pete Rivera's "If I Die" and "The Seed" are filler, while the cover of Ray Charles' "What I'd Say" sounds little like that icon's work, and is one of their weaker arrangements. They should've stretched "I Just Want to Celebrate" across the side of an album à la "Get Ready," but didn't. At least 15 other acts would name their albums One World after this album's release, artists from John Denver to Phil Manzanera, so couple that innovation with the beautiful Roger Dean artwork and the superb hit, and you can forgive the other seven tracks. Buy the 45 rpm and stick it inside the album jacket. AMG.

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The Beatles - Let It Be 1970

The only Beatles album to occasion negative, even hostile reviews, there are few other rock records as controversial as Let It Be. First off, several facts need to be explained: although released in May 1970, this was not their final album, but largely recorded in early 1969, way before Abbey RoadPhil Spector was enlisted in early 1970 to do some post-production work, but did not work with the band as a unit, as George Martin and Glyn Johns had on the sessions themselves; Spector's work was limited to mixing and some overdubs. And, although his use of strings has generated much criticism, by and large he left the original performances to stand as is: only "The Long and Winding Road" and (to a lesser degree) "Across the Universe" and "I Me Mine" get the wall-of-sound layers of strings and female choruses. Although most of the album, then, has a live-in-the-studio feel, the main problem was that the material wasn't uniformly strong, and that the Beatles themselves were in fairly lousy moods due to inter-group tension. All that said, the album is on the whole underrated, even discounting the fact that a sub-standard Beatles record is better than almost any other group's best work. McCartney in particular offers several gems: the gospelish "Let It Be," which has some of his best lyrics; "Get Back," one of his hardest rockers; and the melodic "The Long and Winding Road," ruined by Spector's heavy-handed overdubs (the superior string-less, choir-less version was finally released on Anthology Vol. 3). The folky "Two of Us," with John and Paul harmonizing together, was also a highlight. Most of the rest of the material, by contrast, was going through the motions to some degree, although there are some good moments of straight hard rock in "I've Got a Feeling" and "Dig a Pony." As flawed and bumpy as it is, it's an album well worth having, as when the Beatles were in top form here, they were as good as ever. AMG.

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Nick Drake - Bryter Layter 1970

With even more of the Fairport Convention crew helping him out -- including bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks along with, again, a bit of help from Richard Thompson -- as well as John Cale and a variety of others, Drake tackled another excellent selection of songs on his second album. Demonstrating the abilities shown on Five Leaves Left didn't consist of a fluke, Bryter Layter featured another set of exquisitely arranged and performed tunes, with producer Joe Boyd and orchestrator Robert Kirby reprising their roles from the earlier release. Starting with the elegant instrumental "Introduction," as lovely a mood-setting piece as one would want, Bryter Layter indulges in a more playful sound at many points, showing that Drake was far from being a constant king of depression. While his performances remain generally low-key and his voice quietly passionate, the arrangements and surrounding musicians add a considerable amount of pep, as on the jazzy groove of the lengthy "Poor Boy." The argument could be made that this contravenes the spirit of Drake's work, but it feels more like a calmer equivalent to the genre-sliding experiments of Van Morrison at around the same time. Numbers that retain a softer approach, like "At the Chime of a City Clock," still possess a gentle drive to them. Cale's additions unsurprisingly favor the classically trained side of his personality, with particularly brilliant results on "Northern Sky." As his performances on keyboards and celeste help set the atmosphere, Drake reaches for a perfectly artful reflection on loss and loneliness and succeeds wonderfully. AMG.

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Ndikho Xaba - Ndikho Xaba and The Natives 1969

Privately pressed in San Francisco on the Trilyte label in 1969, Ndikho Xaba and the Natives have joined the pantheon of holy grails for Spiritual Jazz collectors. now repressed on the excellent Matsuli Music imprint! Ndikho Xaba was born in 1934 in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa. For thirty-four years 1964 - 1998 he lived in exile in the US, Canada, and Tanzania. Originally issued by Trilyte Records out of Oakland, California, this 1970 recording is bracing, freewheeling Now Thing, suffused with SA idioms, and focussed by a political urgency wiring together US Black Power, Black Aesthetics and the anti-apartheid front-line like nothing else. You can hear Trane from the off a spiritual offering to my ancestors and plenty of Sun Ra, with whom The Natives several times shared double-bills. (Xaba was to become close with Phil Cohran and the AACM.) Freedom is a gutbucket-soul rendition of the people�s anthem; Nomusa is dedicated to Xaba's new wife, a poet and CORE activist from Chicago. The thunderous finale Makhosi features drummer Keita from the West Indies, and Baba Duru, who studied percussion in India, before winding up with Xaba blowing eerily through a horn made from a giant piece of tubular seaweed. The original sleeve notes were written by Thulani Davis; Ntozake Shange is thanked (by her brand-new name). The reissue recovers the handbill for a FREE ANGELA DAVIS rally, where Brother Ndiko & his friends will play some soulful African music! That's Plunky from the Oneness Of Juju playing saxophones and flute. Besides sterling notes by Francis Gooding, there is a lovely reminiscence from him. After worrying about having cocked up the start of his solo in Nomusa, he ends by attributing to Xaba his own lives work as a political activist, educator, and musician: Ndikho is a revolutionary musician and unsung hero.

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Pacific Sound - Forget Your Dream 1972

In the mid-‘60s, the British invasion reached sleepy old Switzerland and overtook the local music scene there. Many bands were formed at schools and youth clubs that wanted to imitate their heroes. Without any rhythm and blues or rock'n'roll roots of their own, it was difficult for young musicians to develop originality. Most of the bands were playing cover versions of their idols’ international hits providing them not only with acclaim but also lots of gigs at local dances.

This was also the case with Val-De-Travers in the French-speaking Swiss canton of Neuchatel. Thus began the story of Pacific Sound. Four friends, Chris Meyer (vocals), Mark Treuthardt (guitar, bass), Diego Lecci (drums) and Roger Page (keyboards) were practicing there for their next gig at the Ballroom in their birthplace of Motiers.

Yves Dubois, a friend and fan of the band, was urging the band to "stop playing ballrooms, start writing your own songs, form a pop band!!" The band decided he was right as they were fed up with playing covers of international hits and began to work on their own ideas. Yves started to look after the band's organizational matters and became a sort of manager.

On Roger's suggestion, the band called themselves Pacific Sound and within a few months began to take shape with a set of almost all original compositions. After playing gigs in their own region the band gained confidence and played nearby France.
The next step on the ladder of success was to release a record. Yves invited Rare Records (from La-Chaux-De-Fonds) producer J. P. Louvin to a gig. Louvin was impressed and offered the band to record a single for his label.
At the end of 1970, the band recorded "The Drug Just Told Me" and "The Green-Eyed Girl" at the Stephan Sulke Studio in Biel. The single was a success. Pacific Sound was on a roll and a couple of weeks later they went back to the same studio and producer to record "Ballad To Jimi" and "Thick Fog" for release next year on Splendid Records.
Fans and critics applauded the single, the band's originality and creativity were praised. The single won the first prize at the 1971 European Pop Jury in Cannes and was Pacific Sound's breakthrough. It was also released in 18 countries on 8 different labels including Decca, Phillips, CBS, and RCA.
Following the release of the prize-winning single "Ballad To Jimi", the popularity of the band increased dramatically and they were showered with gig offers. The band toured successfully throughout Switzerland. Louvin suggested the band record an LP. Early in 1972, they went back to the Sulke Studio and recorded 7 new songs which, in addition to "Thick Fog", made up the LP "Forget Your Dream!", which was released in 1972 on Splendid Records.
The LP was well received and a European tour was arranged with gigs in Belgium, England, Holland, Germany, and France. The band needed to upgrade their equipment for larger gigs, so Roger took out a bank loan, but just as the tour was about to start, the rest of the band, including manager Yves, left Roger in the lurch. Louvin suggested to Roger to look for replacement musicians and a new line-up was created.
However, it never recaptured the old Pacific Sound spirit. The new line-up didn't gel musically and Roger was left with his debts which were paid with the money made on the tour. And that is the end of a wonderful story. Nowadays Roger lives in a small village near Neuchatel and is a professional musician (by Roger Page).

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Santana - III 1971

Santana III is an album that undeservingly stands in the shadows behind the towering legend that is the band's second album, Abraxas. This was also the album that brought guitarist Neal Schon -- who was 17 years old -- into the original core lineup of Santana. Percussionist Thomas "Coke" Escovedo was brought in to replace (temporarily) José Chepitó Areas, who had suffered a brain aneurysm, yet who recovered quickly and rejoined the band. The rest were Carlos, organist Gregg Rolie, drummer Michael Schrieve, bassist David Brown, and conguero Michael Carabello. "Batuka" is the powerful first evidence of something being very different. The band was rawer, darker, and more powerful with twin leads and Schon's harder, edgier rock & roll sound paired with Carlos' blend of ecstatic high notes and soulful fills. It cooks -- funky, mean, and tough. "Batuka" immediately transforms itself into "No One to Depend On," by EscovedoCarabello, and Rolie. The middle section is highlighted by frantic handclaps, call-and-response lines between Schon and Rolie, and Carlos joining the fray until the entire track explodes into a frenzied finale. And what's most remarkable is that the set just keeps on cooking, from the subtle slow burn of "Taboo" to the percussive jam workout that is "Toussaint l'Overture," a live staple in the band's set list recorded here for the first time (and featuring some cooking Rolie organ work at its beginning). "Everybody's Everything" is here, as is "Guajira" and "Jungle Strut" -- tunes that are still part of Santana's live show. With acoustic guitars, gorgeous hand percussion, and Santana's fragile lead vocal, "Everything's Coming Our Way" is the only "feel good" track here, but it's a fitting way to begin winding the album down with its Schon and Santana guitar breaks. The album ends with a completely transformed reading of Tito Puente's "Para los Rumberos," complete with horns and frantic, almost insanely fast hand drumming and cowbell playing. It's an album that has aged extremely well due to its spare production (by Carlos and the band) and its live sound. This is essential Santana, a record that deserves to be reconsidered in light of its lasting abundance and vision. AMG.

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O.C. Smith - Hickory Holler Revisited 1968

O.C. Smith began as a jazz vocalist and later moved into country and R&B. The Louisiana vocalist was hired to replace Joe Williams in Count Basie's band in the early '60s after cutting some unsuccessful records for Cadence and others in the '50s. He sang with Basie's band from 1961 to 1963. Following a period where he sang country and even had a hit with "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp," Smith moved into soul. His biggest hit was "Little Green Apples," which was number two on both the pop and R&B charts in 1968. His other big R&B single was "Daddy's Little Man," which reached number nine in 1969. Smith stayed on Columbia until 1974, but didn't score any more big records. He moved to Caribou in 1976 and recorded later for Shady Brooks, Family, Motown, and Rendezvous. In 1985 he began to balance his work in the recording studio with his new passion for Christian ministry, but despite the fact that he founded his own church in Los Angeles, The City of Angels Church of Religious Science, he continued to perform and record until the time of his death on November 23, 2001. AMG.

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Papa Bear's Medicine Show - A Memory Album (1970)

Interesting rock band from Canada that sounds a bit like a mixture of Doors and Lovin' Spoonful.

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Family - Family Entertainment 1969

Family Entertainment followed on the heels of Family's Music in a Doll's House with the band's first incarnation: Roger Chapman (harmonica/tenor sax/vocals), Rick Grech (violin/cello/bass guitar/vocals), Rob Townsend (percussion/drums), John "Charlie" Whitney (guitar/pedal steel guitar/keyboards), and Jim King (harmonica/keyboards/soprano sax/tenor sax/vocals). While not totally dismissing their psychedelic leanings, much of the material bears a stronger acoustic influence, in much the same manner as Fairport Convention and Traffic were also exploring. The jazzy sitar lead of "Face in the Cloud" and the even more prominent Eastern-flavored "Summer '67" somewhat date the affair, and are contrasted by the beautifully noir and trippy "How-Hi-the-Li" (which may have been the impetus for Chicago's "Wishing You Were Here") and the upbeat "Hung Up Down," sporting Grech's unmistakable violin as it wafts over the rural and slightly surreal lyrics. These sides are set against the edgy "Weaver's Answer," which immediately establishes a broader spectrum of styles, most notably given Chapman's commanding if not slightly intimidating vocals. Whitney's blistering fretwork yields bite to the Grech-penned "Second Generation Woman," while "Emotions," another full-tilt rocker, is infused with an apparent R&B homage. Interested parties should note that Family Entertainment and Music in a Doll's House were issued in a double-disc package featuring a commendable 24-bit digital remastering rendering all other versions useless -- especially the early-'90s pressing on the German Line label. Not only are both LPs included, but the 45s "Scene Through the Eye of a Lens" and "Gypsy Woman" are finally brought into the digital domain. The accompanying 40-page liner booklet is likewise a feast for the eyes. AMG.

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sábado, 11 de abril de 2020

John Stewart - Bombs Away Dream Babies 1979

After departing the Kingston Trio and struggling for more than a decade to find success with his critically acclaimed folk albums, John Stewart finally reached his commercial peak with 1979's Bombs Away Dream Babies. It hit the Top Ten and temporarily turned him into a "new" pop star at age 40. Stewart's folk leanings are evident on this album, but it's mostly a straightforward pop/rock affair. The guest performances by Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham on guitar and Stevie Nicks on background vocals certainly helped, especially since they were still riding high on the success of Rumours. "Gold" was a thinly veiled criticism of the music business set to a smooth shuffle beat. Ironically, it became a Top Five hit. The bittersweet "Lost Her in the Sun" and the darkly dramatic "Midnight Wind" also hit the Top 40. AMG.

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Paul Butterfield - Put It In Your Ear 1976

In 1975 Paul Butterfield backed Muddy Waters once again on The Woodstock Album, the last LP release ever on Chess. Butterfield subsequently pursued a solo career, with diminishing returns. His Henry Glover-produced solo debut, Put It in Your Ear, appeared in 1976.
The same year, he appeared in the Band's farewell concert film, The Last Waltz. Over the next few years, Butterfield mostly confined himself to session work; he attempted a comeback in 1981 with legendary Memphis soul producer Willie Mitchell, but the sessions — released as North-South — were burdened by synthesizers and weak material. By this time, Butterfield's health was in decline; years of heavy drinking were beginning to catch up to him, and he also contracted peritonitis, a painful intestinal condition. At some point — none of his friends knew quite when — Butterfield also developed an addiction to heroin; he'd been stridently opposed to it as a bandleader, leading to speculation that he was trying to ease his peritonitis symptoms. He began to play more gigs in Los Angeles during the early '80s, and eventually relocated there permanently; he also toured on a limited basis during the mid-'80s, and in 1986 released his final album, The Legendary Paul Butterfield Rides Again.
However, his addiction was bankrupting him, and in the past half-decade, he'd seen Mike Bloomfield, Muddy Waters, and manager Albert Grossman pass away, each loss leaving him shaken. On May 4, 1987, Butterfield himself died of a drug overdose; he was not quite 45 years old.

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Madeline Bell - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me 1968

Madeline Bell was born July 23, 1942, in Newark, NJ, and was strongly influenced by her grandmother, who had been a singer. Bell was raised by her grandmother after her parents divorced. Showing a bent toward creative arts, Bell first took piano lessons at 50 cents a pop, but couldn't master the complexities of the keyboard. Next, her grandmother paid for dancing lessons and discovered Madeline would never be confused with Ginger Rogers or Josephine Baker, so the lessons stopped. By the fifth grade, Bell found her calling -- singing -- and she regularly appeared in school shows. At age 11, she pantomimed "Santa Baby," a tune popularized by Eartha KittBell regularly attended church and sang in the choir. She later joined a group called Four Jacks & a Jill, who sung on street corners. Madeline Bell was the Jill. At 16, she joined the Glovertones, a gospel group, who sang gospel on weekends, often traveling hundreds of miles in an old dilapidated station wagon, to gigs that paid five dollars a member. The station wagon often broke down and many times Bell showed up for work (in a supermarket as a meat wrapper) on Monday mornings both frustrated and dead tired. Luckily, she had an understanding boss, and besides, she could wrap 75 chickens in an hour, which easily made her the fastest chicken wrapper in the house. Her productivity was helped by the R&B music coming from the radio her boss graciously let her play while working.
Her first big break occurred when she met Alex Bradford around 1961 and was invited to join his group after successfully passing an audition. She stayed with Bradford for two years, crisscrossing the United States, playing in too many cities to mention. At the time, Bradford was considered one of the top male gospel vocalists. Toward the end of Bell's first year with the Bradford Singers, they were asked to appear in Black Nativity, a traveling musical that toured all over America and Europe. It was in Britain that she befriended the late Dusty Springfield and performed on many of her background sessions. She also worked in the studio behind Kiki DeeDoris TroyJoe BrownLesley Duncan, and Kenny Lynch, to name a few. By that time, she had left the Bradford Singers and settled in England. In 1968, six years after settling in England, a bigshot at the United Kingdoms' Philips Records heard her working in a studio and offered a contract.She first released "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," which had previously been recorded by Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's sister and a fellow native of Newark. Phillips initially released the record in the States on their Mod label, then switched it to Philips when it began to catch fire. It eventually went to number 26 in the United States. A year later she joined Blue MinkRoger Cook's group, and stayed for four years, scoring on "Melting Pot" (number three, U.K.), and "Our World" (which climbed to number 64 in the States in 1970). Other sides did well in England, "Randy" (number nine), "Banner Man" (number three), and "Stay With Me" (number 11).
Leaving Blue Mink, she returned to both the lucrative world of session singing and soloing in the Netherlands. Bell made a name for herself by contributing with Tom Parker on some CD productions that were popular arrangements of classical compositions. The discs sold quite well. She appeared in the London stage production, Space, hitting the charts again at number 60 with "My Love Is Music," on which she was the featured vocalist. She also toured with the Swingmates throughout the Netherlands and had a leading part in A Night at the Cotton Club. With the Swingmates, she recorded a CD, Have You Met Miss Bell. Still singing, she appears in England clubs like Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with her group Madeline Bell & her Musicians. She visits the States occasionally, but England has been home to the Jerseyite since 1962.
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Rain - Norsk Suite 1969

Norway's most well-kept secret has been betrayed and solved! This great band has only released a very rare 45rpm EP, which was the soundtrack for the Norwegian movie 'Rivalen'.
Very much like Frank Zappa and The Mothers, RAIN's complex compositions were based on the skills of modern classic composers such as Varèse and Strawinsky. As a strong influence, they've mentioned Vanilla Fudge. The album features 10 excellent tracks with horns and orchestral arrangement, great fuzz guitar, Hammond organ, and amazing vocals.
This Norwegian rock band had a strong urge to exceed limits, both musically and technically. Rain's members were Carl Jurgen Kionig (drums), Knut Heljar Hagen (organ, piano, vocals, bass) and Asmund Feidje (guitar, violin, vocals, bass). Album was recorded in 1969-'70. Besides 7 own compositions they played mind-blowing versions of 'A Day In The Life', 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Isolation'. Their very complex and difficult arrangements required a lot of practice, but the band managed to turn their concerts into a total experience with a spectacular psychedelic light-show and experiments with "surround" sound. Rockasteria.

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Quarteto 1111 - Onde Quando Como Porque Cantamos Pessoas Vivas 1975

Quarteto 1111 was founded in 1967 in Estoril and is one of the most influential progressive rock and psychedelic rock bands in Portugal. Originally formed by Miguel Artur da Silveira (Drums), José Cid (Vocals and Keyboard), António Moniz Pereira (Guitar) and Jorge Moniz Pereira (Bass). Latter members included Tozé Brito and Mike Sargent.

It was one of the many musical groups inspired in The Shadows. Originally called the Mystery Group (Conjunto Mistério), the name later changed to 1111 Quartet (Quarteto 1111). The name was inspired by phone number of the band's rehearsal place, at the drummer's house.

Quarteto 1111 was the first symphonic rock band in Portugal. Since 1968-69 they got media attention through a hit single, "El Rei D. Sebastião", actually with lyrics about the theme of the lost Portuguese king, who supposedly died in the fields of Morocco during the battle of Alcácer-Quibir (a loss that would eventually lead to Portugal losing its independence to Spain). All the myths related with the return of King Sebastian -- a quite anchored Portuguese myth -- were fairly treated in this song. The harpsichord made its first appearance in Portuguese rock music. A single with the English version of the song was published in Great Britain. José Cid was the band leader, composer, keyboard player and lead singer. The rest of the band had a classic formation influenced by the usual Beatles line-up, but with a sound and song structure that reminds the early Moody Blues. The following album continued in the same vein, combining melodic songs with newly progressive instruments, namely the Mellotron. Later on the band evolved to late 70's pop sound.

The band (with Michel, Tozé Brito and Mike Sargent) briefly reunited in 24 November 2007, during a José Cid show, where the rest of the band joined him onstage and played four songs from their work.

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Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot - Bonnie and Clyde 1968

Bonnie and Clyde isn't actually a full-fledged collaboration between Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot; during their storied mid-'60s fling the two French cultural icons recorded just a handful of tracks together, only a couple of which appear here. Nevertheless, this is a worthwhile collection. In addition to the pair's "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Comic Strip," this album features earlier Gainsbourg numbers, as well as Bardot recordings of compositions by Gainsbourg and others. The moody title track alone justifies the price of admission. Bardot's vocals inject a wistful melodic dimension into Gainsbourg's sung-spoken account of the ill-fated gangsters, producing one of pop music's great duets. Gainsbourg was enthralled by American pop culture and the cabaret-style "Comic Strip" memorably exemplifies that orientation. His lyrics lure Bardot into his cartoon world and she provides the requisite onomatopoeic interjections ("Shebam! Pow! Blop! Wizz!"). In a similarly American vein, on "Bubble Gum," a Gainsbourg-penned Bardot single, she sings about love and candy over a plinky-plonk saloon piano evoking the silent film era. Elsewhere, Gainsbourg's Hollywood fascination takes a B-Movie turn, the camp "Docteur Jekyll et Monsieur Hyde" suggesting the Monks at the Eurovision Song Contest. There was always more to Gainsbourg's work than his love of Americana, though, and his incorporation of Afro-Caribbean rhythms was especially striking: "Pauvre Lola," for instance, percolates with an infectious beat. Despite much of this material's playful character, listeners also glimpse another side of Gainsbourg. During his career, he sang about Harley motorcycles and incest and composed a song that involved simulated farting, but he was also deeply cultured. In that vein, "Baudelaire" places the 19th century poet's "Le Serpent Qui Danse" in an unlikely tropical lounge setting. Of course, no Gainsbourg collection would be complete without a nod to his dissolute side, and "Intoxicated Man" fits the bill with its appropriately louche, swaggering groove. AMG.

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