quinta-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2020

Happy New Year!!!

One more year is gone, and what a year! Anyway, more to come yes!!! Thanks to all visitors, new ones and those who come frequently for some time.  B., Alfred, Adriana, Mauro Filipe, Vasily, E.W., Snakeboy, Mara, George, Bill (24hrDejaVu), Zapata, and so many more. So, thanks for sharing life around!!! Happy New Year 2021!


segunda-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2020

The Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! 1970

Recorded during their American tour in late 1969 and centered around live versions of material from the Beggars Banquet-Let It Bleed era, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! is often acclaimed as one of the top live rock albums of all time, although its appeal has dimmed a little today. The live versions are reasonably different from the studio ones, but ultimately not as good, a notable exception being the long workout of "Midnight Rambler," with extended harmonica solos and the unforgettable section where the pace slows to a bump-and-grind crawl. Some Stones aficionados, in fact, prefer a bootleg from the same tour (Liver Than You'll Ever Be, to which this album was unleashed in response), or their amazing the-show-must-go-on performance in the jaws of hell at Altamont (preserved in the Gimme Shelter film). Fans who are unconcerned with picky comparisons such as these will still find Ya-Ya's an outstanding album, and it's certainly the Stones' best official live recording. AMG.

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Pink Floyd - More 1969

Commissioned as a soundtrack to the seldom-seen French hippie movie of the same name, More was a Pink Floyd album in its own right, reaching the Top Ten in Britain. The group's atmospheric music was a natural for movies, but when assembled for record, these pieces were unavoidably a bit patchwork, ranging from folky ballads to fierce electronic instrumentals to incidental mood music. Several of the tracks are pleasantly inconsequential, but this record does include some strong compositions, especially "Cymbaline," "Green Is the Colour," and "The Nile Song." All of these developed into stronger pieces in live performances, and better, high-quality versions are available on numerous bootlegs. AMG.

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The Moody Blues - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour 1971

The best-realized of their classic albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was also the last of the group's albums for almost a decade to be done under reasonably happy and satisfying circumstances -- for the last time with this lineup, they went into the studio with a reasonably full song bag and a lot of ambition and brought both as far as time would allow, across close to four months (interrupted by a tour of the United States right in the middle). Virtually everywhere you listen on this record, the lush melodies and the sound of Michael Pinder's Mellotron (augmented here by the Moog synthesizer and a brace of other instruments) just sweep over the music, and where they don't, Justin Hayward's guitar pyrotechnics on pieces like "The Story in Your Eyes" elevate the hard rocking side of the music, in tandem with John Lodge's muscular bass work -- which still leaves plenty of room for a cello here, and a grand piano there, on top of Ray Thomas' flute, and Graeme Edge's ever more ambitious percussion. "Emily's Song." "Nice to Be Here," and "My Song" are among the best work the group ever did, and "The Story in Your Eyes" is the best rock number they ever cut, with a bracing beat and the kind of lyrical complexity one more expected out of George Harrison at the time. Sad to say, the group would never be this happy with an album again -- at least not for a lot of years -- or with their commitment to being a group, though they would leave one more highly worthwhile album before taking a hiatus for most of the rest of the 1970s. AMG.

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Moby Grape - Wow 1968

Between the time that Moby Grape released their brilliant self-titled debut and when their second album Wow appeared in 1968, a little thing called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band happened, and for the next few years, it was no longer enough for a band with some claim to importance to just play rock & roll, even if they approached it with the freshness and imagination Moby Grape displayed on their first LP. Bowing to the pervading influences of the day, Wow is a far more ambitious album than Moby Grape, trading in the latter's energetic simplicity for an expansive production complete with strings, horns, and lots of willful eccentricities, best typified by the helium-treated vocals on the hillbilly pastiche "Funky Tunk" and "Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot," a woozy '60s dance band number complete with an introduction from Arthur Godfrey (the band went so far as to master the tune at 78 rpm on the original vinyl edition). While at first glance Wow pales in comparison to the instant classic Moby Grape, repeated listening reveals this album has plenty of strengths despite the excess gingerbread; the horn-driven boogie of "Can't Be So Bad" swings hard, "Murder in My Heart for the Judge" is a tough and funky blues number, "He," "Rose Colored Eyes," and "Bitter Wind" are lovely folk-rock tunes with shimmering harmonies (even if the latter is marred by a pretentious noise collage at the close), and "Motorcycle Irene" is a witty tribute to a hard-living' biker mama. Wow lacks the rev-it-up spirit of Moby Grape's masterpiece, but Peter LewisJerry Miller, and Skip Spence's guitar work are just as impressive and richly layered, and the group's harmonies and songwriting chops are still in solid shape. While the unobtrusive production on Moby Grape showcased the group's many virtues, those attributes are visible on Wow despite the layers of studio excess, which sapped the momentum and charm of this band without snuffing them out altogether. AMG.

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It's A Beautiful Day - It's A Beautiful Day 1969

Although they are not one of the better-known San Francisco bands to have emerged from the ballroom circuit of the late '60s and early '70s, It's a Beautiful Day were no less memorable for their unique progressive rock style that contrasted well with the Bay Area psychedelic scene. Led by David LaFlamme (flute/violin/vocals) and his wife, Linda LaFlamme (keyboards), the six-piece unit on this album vacillates between light and ethereal pieces such as the lead-off cut, "White Bird," to the heavier, prog rock-influenced "Bombay Calling." One of the most distinct characteristics of It's a Beautiful Day is their instrumentation. The prominence of David LaFlamme -- former violin soloist with the Utah Symphony and original member of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks -- adds a refinement to It's a Beautiful Day's sound. Likewise, the intricate melodies -- mostly composed by the LaFlammes -- are structured around the band's immense virtuosity, a prime example being the exquisitely haunting harpsichord-driven "Girl With No Eyes." The noir framework, as well as lyrics such as "...she's just a reflection of all of the time I've been high," point rather candidly to the hallucinogenic nature of the song's -- if not the band's -- influences. The same can be said of the languidly eerie "Bulgaria." The almost chant-like quality of the track slowly crescendos into an hypnotic and dreamlike sonic journey -- led by LaFlamme's brilliant violin work. By virtue of being a Bay Area fixture in the late '60s, It's a Beautiful Day could also easily double as a hippie dance band -- which they can also execute with great aplomb -- as the wildly up-tempo "Time Is" amply proves. It's a Beautiful Day remains as a timepiece and evidence of how sophisticated rock & roll had become in the fertile environs of the San Francisco music scene. AMG.

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Steamhammer - Speech 1972

Musically, Steamhammer was the cream of the crop of all rock bands from their thriving primordial era. In the realm of power rock trios, they were comparable to Cream. Yet this band is far superior in every way, but they failed to get the rave reviews and critical attention that the flashier Cream garnered. Diverging from the typical power rock style on Speech, their fourth and final album, the band found themselves in a dilemma without their vocalist, who had left after the previous release, Mountains. This led to a radical development for the band. Instead of hiring a new singer, the rest of the group picked up the slack, and reduced the role of the vocals significantly, opting for a progressive jam style that was hugely innovative for its time. Guitarist Martin Pugh offers a crashing, furious style that mixes Jimmy Page with early Robert FrippWhen Pugh seeks passages of beauty and tranquility, he finds them with ease, but when he aims for intensity, watch out! He literally attacks the listener, pounding them with his mammoth, perfectly executed riffs. Meanwhile, bassist Louis Cennamo is so talented and innovative that he single-handedly brought the bow into rock music with his bowed bass intro to the album. Several years before Page would pick up the bow for "Kashmir," Cennamo uses the bowed bass as means to an end, not for simple effect. Just as a normal bassist alone, masters within the genre owe their lifeblood to him. For he is able to play along with just about the toughest, most technical drumming around, that of drummer Mick Bradley, who is easily the most accomplished musician of the trio. To state that he is rock's greatest drummer is simply not enough. His energetic approach to the drum kit helped him become one of the first and only drummers in rock history, along with King Crimson's Michael Giles, to use polyrhythmic drumming, a style commonly used by jazz drummers. His dynamic performance on the primarily instrumental "For Against," which blows away John Bonham's "Moby Dick" and Ginger Baker's "Toad" in a heartbeat. On this album, there was a rumor that the band received some secret vocal and lyrical help from Yardbirds vocalist Keith Relf. Whether or not this is true remains a mystery, but what is fact, sadly, is that not long after this album Mick Bradley succumbed to Leukemia and passed away. This marked the end of Steamhammer, but the other two members forged on, forming a band called ArmageddonSpeech is one of rock's finest and most creative hours, and one tends to wonder where Steamhammer could have gone from this point on had it not been for obscurity and sudden tragedy. AMG.

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terça-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2020

Gal Costa - Gal 1969

After Caetano Veloso broke out with his solo debut, the self-titled 1968 release recognized as the building block for the now infamous Brazilian Tropicalia movement, his friends and musical peers released similar albums, always upping the ante in terms of outrageousness and inventiveness. This release, the second of two self-titled albums released by Gal Costa in 1969, set the high watermark in terms of overall insanity and complete experimental freedom for the entire lot; not Veloso nor Gilberto GilTom Zé, or even the rambunctious Os Mutantes stepped this far out into psychedelia, and even though Costa had hinted at the noisier aspects she was interested in exploring with her previous release, this album must have shocked listeners when it arrived on the shelves. In fact, 35 years of MPB -- or music from anywhere else in the world for that matter -- hasn't heard another sonic assault quite like this. Costa is a ball of contradictions here: overtly wild but in control; sweet and accessible, yet brash; and, at times, almost violent as she screams and moans her way through the album while spindly, whiny guitars mix with soulful bass grooves, bombastic drums, exotic horns, woodwinds, and strings. The sonic textures are taken completely over the top with judicious use of delays, reverbs, and various production techniques new and exciting at the time. When taken all together, the listener may not at first notice the high quality of the songwriting for the unreal, emotional freak-outs laced throughout the performances. Costa's crazy improvisations over Caetano Veloso's tune "The Empty Boat" serve as evidence of this delightful impulsiveness when placed side by side with Veloso's own rather forward-thinking recording of the song, which sounds positively conservative by comparison. All in all, Gal Costa is an indescribable, unpredictable, ambitious, and fun record preserving a slice of time when Brazil was at its most controversial state musically and politically and is a must-have for any psychedelic collection. AMG.

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Spirit - Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus 1970

Although Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus has the reputation of being Spirit's most far-out album, it actually contains the most disciplined songwriting and playing of the original lineup, cutting back on some of the drifting and offering some of their more melodic tunes. The lilting "Nature's Way" was the most endearing FM standard on the album, which also included some of Spirit's best songs in "Animal Zoo" and "Mr. Skin." [The 1996 CD reissue has four bonus tracks, though these are on the nonessential side: mono versions of "Animal Zoo" and "Morning Will Come," the 1970 single "Red Light Roll On," and the previously unissued "Rougher Road."] AMG.

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Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & David Freiberg - Baron Von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun 1973

Credited to Paul KantnerGrace Slick, and David FreibergBaron von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun was the first album made by these erstwhile members of Jefferson Airplane since the breakup of that group. Like such other spin-off projects as Blows Against the Empire and Sunfighter, this one featured a supporting cast of San Francisco Bay Area musicians including present and former members of a variety of groups, such as the Grateful Dead (lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, percussionist Mickey Hart, and lyricist Robert Hunter, who wrote the words to "Harp Tree Lament"), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (singer David Crosby), and the Flying Burrito Brothers (bassist Chris Ethridge), as well as other former members of the Airplane and future members of Jefferson StarshipThe Pointer Sisters even guested on one track. Despite the co-billing, the album's guiding force was Slick, who sang on every track and wrote or co-wrote six of the ten songs, though there was still room for the unbilled Jack Traylor to write, play acoustic guitar, and sing lead vocals on the song "Flowers of the Night," a celebration of monarchial overthrows throughout history. Perhaps more outside songwriting should have been employed, since the compositions here were second-rate. The public was catching on, too: Kantner's Blows Against the Empire had reached the Top 20, but Baron von Tollbooth didn't come near the Top 100. The team would attempt one more splinter project, Slick's "solo" album Manhole, before reorganizing as Jefferson Starship in 1974 with the notable return of singer/songwriter Marty Balin. AMG

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Hapshash And The Coloured Coat - Featuring The Human Host And The Heavy Metal Kids 1967

 

Hapshash And The Coloured Coat was the name adopted by graphic artists Michael English and Nigel Weymouth. They met in London, England, in 1966, collaborating on the Love Festival poster that showed the joint influence of Man Ray and US pop artist Tom Wesselman. Their work defined the romanticism of the English Underground movement and included posters promoting the Soft Machine, Tomorrow, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Brown, as well as concerts held at the UFO Club and Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre, both located in London. Having become acquainted with producer/svengali Guy Stevens, English and Weymouth recorded their debut album. Hapshash And The Coloured Coat featured lengthy, semi-improvised pieces fused to hard, repetitive riffs and chanted vocals. The accompaniment was supplied by Stevens’ protégés Art. Housed in a de rigueur psychedelic sleeve and pressed on red vinyl, the album became a lynchpin release of the English ‘underground’ movement. However, with Stevens now in absentia and English preferring art to music, it was largely left to Weymouth to record Western Flyer. Groundhogs’ guitarist Tony McPhee and future Wombles producer/songwriter Mike Batt assisted on a set encompassing pop, progressive, and Cajun styles, all delivered in a suitably quirky manner. English and Weymouth sundered their partnership soon afterward. AMG.

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Los Bravos - Black Is Black 1966

Los Bravos formed in 1966, just as the British Invasion was on the wane, or so the liner notes to this first-time CD reissue say. The group was led by former Mike & the Runaways singer Michael Volker Kogel (born in Berlin, Germany, in 1944). The other four original members -- bassist Miguel Vicens Danus (born in Corunna, Spain, 1943), guitarist Tony Martinez (born in Madrid, Spain, 1944), organist Manuel Fernandez (Sevilla, Spain, 1942), and drummer Pablo Sanllehi (Barcelona, Spain, 1943) -- had all been working together previously in the Spanish group Los Sonors. Upon coming together to try their hand at cracking the English-speaking European pop market, this new configuration changed their name for a one-off single on Columbia Records' Spanish division before they eventually signed with Decca Records' Spanish division. They were assigned to work with successful British producer/arranger/conductor/composer Ivor Raymonde (who had already scored numerous U.K. hits with Marty WildeBilly FuryDave Berry, and others) in England. The result of this union of talent and proven production skills produced the band's first single, the rhythm-driven "Black Is Black," that same year. It shot up the charts to number two in the U.K. and on August 10, 1966, it charted on Billboard and CashBox. Soon the band enjoyed moderate to major success around the world. In addition to the band's big hit, this CD reissue of Black Is Black features the group's U.K. follow-up, "I Don't Care," which recalls the Walker Brothers with its similar vocal/horn-laden arrangement -- as well as a handful of smartly produced, upbeat British Invasion-style pop numbers (Los Bravos were also influenced by black American soul and R&B acts, especially those on Motown). This first-time ever CD reissue -- produced by Ed Strait for Retroactive Records -- also reproduces the original LP cover photograph and design, along with rare photos, lengthy liner notes, and a full discography. AMG.

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The Pretty Things - Silk Torpedo 1974

Silk Torpedo provides an interesting glance into the glam era. Beginning with "Dream" -- a ghostly instrumental prelude that the group's friends in Led Zeppelin would later cop for "In the Evening" -- this album launches into "Joey," a superb combination of piano boogie, crashing drums, and melodramatic choruses draped in Hammond organ. Phil May's vocals on this piece run somewhere between Ian Hunter and Steve Tyler, and are every bit as effective. "Maybe You Tried" is a glittering slice of glam rock, all pouting and hip-thrusting, with a simply killer guitar hook from Pete Tolson. From this strong start, though, the album falters into a torpid sort of introspection. Still, "Belfast Cowboys" deserves kudos for taking on the Irish question long before U2 was taking its first music lessons. The CD reissue adds live versions of "Singapore Silk Torpedo" and "Dream/Joey," both recorded in 1974. AMG.

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Wild Turkey - Battle Hymn 1971

Bass-player Glenn Cornick (b. 23 April 1947, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England), then known as Glenn Barnard, began his musical career as a member of the mid-60s outfit, Joey And The Jailbreakers. He also worked with a number of similarly underachieving outfits, such as the Vikings, Formula One, the Hobos and the Executives. Eventually he graduated into Blackpool’s John Evan’s Smash, soon to become known as Jethro Tull. Famous as much for his psychedelic costumes as his musicianship, Cornick spent three successful years with the band until quitting in 1970. Cornick recruited Jon Blackmore (guitar), Graham Williams (lead guitar), John ‘Pugwash’ Weathers (b. 2 February 1947, Carmarthen, Glamorganshire, Wales; drums, ex-Eyes Of Blue) and Gary Pickford Hopkins (guitar, vocals, ex-Eyes Of Blue) to become Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey. However, within months of the band’s first rehearsals, Williams and Weathers had both defected to Graham Bond’s group. Their replacements were Man’s original drummer, Jeff Jones, and lead guitarist Alan ‘Tweke’ Lewis. The band had also shortened its name simply to Wild Turkey by the time its debut, Battle Hymn, was released for Chrysalis Records in 1972. Reviews were good and the band seemed to be in the ascendancy as they played regularly to audiences of up to 20, 000 as support to Black Sabbath. Soon after a successful support to Jethro Tull in America, Jon Blackmore deserted the band for a writing career with the New Musical Express, and Cornick recruited former roadie Steve Gurl (keyboards) and Mick Dyche (drums). The new line up’s only single, ‘Good Old Days’, preceded the release of Turkey in 1973. However, it failed to match the impact of the debut and the band imploded.

Lewis joined Man, and was temporarily replaced by future Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden (b. Bernard John Marsden, 7 May 1951, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England). Jones was replaced on drums by Kevin Currie, but no third album was forthcoming. Until, that is, in 1996, when a phone call from Barry Riddington of HTD Records encouraged Cornick to reassemble Wild Turkey, with Pickford Hopkins and Lewis also taking part in the reunion. AMG.

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domingo, 20 de dezembro de 2020

Ry Cooder - Bop Till You Drop 1979

Following his conceptual 1978 release, JazzRy Cooder returned the next year with the R&B/soul-based Bop Till You Drop. The first major-label, digitally recorded album, Bop is a nice set of moderately known to obscure tunes from the '50s and '60s (along with a Cooder/Tim Drummond original) that doesn't always live up to its promise. Cooder and his excellent band, which includes the rhythm section of Tim Drummond and Jim Keltner along with guitarist David Lindley, understand the material and are more than capable of laying down a decent groove, but something must have gotten lost in translation from what was played to what came across on the recording. There's a thinness to the tracks that undermines the performances, which according to Cooder is due to the digital recording. If you check out the live version of Bop Till You Drop's opener, "Little Sister," from the No Nukes record (using the same band), you can see what surely could have been. Still, Bop is worthwhile given Cooder's penchant for choosing great tunes, as well as the tight performances, brilliant guitar work, and a handful of great guest vocalists (including Chaka Khan). A few of the highlights include his arrangement of the early-'60s Elvis hit "Little Sister," the soulful "The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor)," an instrumental take on Ike & Tina Turner's "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine," and "I Can't Win," featuring Cooder's longtime cohort Bobby King on lead vocal. AMG.

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sábado, 19 de dezembro de 2020

Pearls Before Swine - One Nation Underground 1967

Psychedelic-folk debut from one of the most erudite, literate minds in rock, Thomas D. Rapp (and the first of his ever-changing Swine). Although the songs here lack some cohesion, this is still a stunning piece of work, from the nightmarish sleeve art -- the "Hell Panel" from Hieronymus Bosch's 15th century painting "Garden of Delights" -- to the strange yet powerful songs. "Another Time," the most memorable selection, is an understated acoustic song, the first that Rapp ever penned, based on his experience in a horrific car crash where he walked away unscathed. Of similar mood is the beautiful "Ballad of an Amber Lady." "Drop Out" is a straightforward song built around a popular credo of the '60s. "Uncle John" is one of the earliest protest songs about the Vietnam War. Strangest (and funniest) of all is "(Oh Dear) Miss Morse," where Rapp adopts a Victorian persona and sounds out the Morse code spelling of F-U-C-K, accompanied by banjo and Farfisa organ. AMG. 

Blodwyn Pig - Getting To This 1970

A quirky detour of late-'60s British progressive/blues rock, Blodwyn Pig was founded by former Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left Tull after the This Was album. Abrahams was joined by bassist Andy Pyle, drummer Ron Berg, and Jack Lancaster, who gave the outfit their most distinctive colorings via his saxophone and flute. On their two albums, they explored a jazz/blues/progressive style somewhat in the mold of (unsurprisingly) Jethro Tull, but with a lighter feel. They also bore some similarities to John Mayall's jazzy late-'60s versions of the Bluesbreakers, or perhaps Colosseum, but with more eclectic material. Both of their LPs made the British Top Ten, though the players' instrumental skills were handicapped by thin vocals and erratic (though oft-imaginative) material. The group were effectively finished by Abrahams' departure after 1970's Getting to This. They briefly reunited in the mid-'70s, and Abrahams was part of a different lineup that reformed in the late '80s; they have since issued a couple of albums in the 1990s. AMG.

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