lunedì 15 giugno 2015

Damnation - Which Is the Justice, Which Is the Thief 1971

Biography : Though this was the first album they issued as Damnation, Second Damnation does, in fact, feature the same band that played on the earlier two albums credited to the Damnation of Adam Blessing. It's the source of some controversy among both Damnation and their fans, due to the addition of string and horn arrangements by members of the Cleveland Orchestra into which the group had no input. While it's unfortunate they didn't have creative control of this part of the production, to be honest, the orchestration makes it more interesting, and certainly more haunting, than many similar early-'70s records by okay-but-not-great hard rock bands. Damnation (or the Damnation of Adam Blessing, if you prefer) always did have a lighter touch than most other early-'70s hard rock groups, and made better use of background vocal harmonies than most such acts, so the collaboration isn't as incongruous as it might seem on paper. The original material with added orchestration included some of their best songs, such as the riddling lyric of "Fingers on a Windmill," and the Gregorian chant-tinged instrumental "Turned to Stone." Listeners who like the band because of their hard rock will find the curtain-closing "Sweet Dream Lady" excessive, but actually it's a quite tuneful farewell ballad that avoids over-sentimentality. Some of the tracks without orchestration are pretty respectable too, particularly the tough, mildly funky hard rock of "We Don't Need It." The highlight, though, has to be "Sometimes I Feel Like I Just Can't Go On," a down-and-out blues on which Blessing's vocals are a match for the best anguished blue-eyed soul belters, à la Lonnie Mack or Roy Head. Blessing's performance on this track is the best aspect of anything the group recorded, though unfortunately it wasn't a path they explored elsewhere. Review by Richie Unterberger

Tracklist:
01.Fingers on a Windmill 3:18
02.We Don't Need It 3:00
03.Easy Come, Easy Go 3:47
04.Running Away 4:47
05.Turned to Stone 3:03
06.Please Stay Mine 2:44
07.Sometimes I Feel Like I Just Can't Go on 4:04
08.Leaving It Up to You 3:49
09.Sweet Dream Lady 5:39

Damnation:
Adam Blessing (Bill Constable) - lead vocals
Bob Kalamasz - lead guitar, backing vocals
Jim Quinn - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Ray Benich - bass guitar
Bill Schwark - drums
Kenny Constable - lead vocals, backing vocals

sabato 6 giugno 2015

Empire (feat. Peter Banks) - Mark I (One Way Records) 1974

Biography : Recorded in 1974, this has a few fillers, and it occasionally falls into the prog habit of going six minutes when four would do, but it's still mystifying that this perfectly solid collection would go missing for so long. Empire's sound bridges the West Coast funk of Cold Blood and the jazzy guitar of early Yes, and it works surprisingly well. The charging "Out of Our Hands" has some clever guitar effects thrown in, and a startling moment where Foxx's vocals rise up like a kettle on the boil. Magnusson's keyboards lend a velvety smoothness to the lovelorn "More Than Words," and the country twang of "Hear My Voice On the Radio" is so appropriately radio-friendly that it's shocking that it wasn't released as a single. Review by Paul Collins

Tracklist:
01.Out Of Our Hands
02.More Than Words
03.Someone Who Cares
04.For A Lifetime
05.Hear My Voice On The Radio
06.Shooting Star
- Part 1 - From The Top
- Part 2 - Common Ground
- Part 3 - Iceland On The Rocks
- Part 4 - Shooting Star
07. Sky At Night

Line-up:
Peter Banks - guitar, vocals, keyboards
Sydney Foxx - vocals
Jakob Magnusson - keyboards, vocals
John Giblin - bass, vocals
Preson Ross-Heyman - drums
and:
Phil Collins - drums, backing vocals
Sam Gopal - sitar

venerdì 5 giugno 2015

Black Widow - The Ultimate Sacrifice (2004 Castle Music) 1970 (Repost)

Biography : Black Widow may have enjoyed a reasonably long and defiantly varied career. But to anyone who cares, they will be remembered for just one song, "Come to the Sabbat" -- not a hit single, but a standout on a cheapo label compilation in the early '70s, and destined to live on for decades after the band. Naturally, the accompanying Sacrifice album has bounced along in its wake, first as an increasingly expensive vinyl collectors' item, more recently as a regular on the CD reissue circuit, and here it comes again, this time bearing more primal Black Widow than you could ever have dreamed of hearing. Ultimate Sacrifice: One opens, naturally, with the original seven-song album. More fascinating, however, is the chance to hear five of the seven ("Way to Power" and "Attack of the Demon" are absent) in their original demo form, where they are revealed, if anything, to be even more dramatic than on the final vinyl. "In Ancient Days" in particular profits from the looseness of the performance, while "Come to the Sabbat" packs a feel of abandonment that makes the familiar version seem quite sedate. Of course, the bonus tracks are really only of interest if you truly worship the original record, and, once past "Come to the Sabbat," there probably aren't many people who feel that strongly. But the liners tell the band's tale well, the remastering is impressive, and if you're not doing anything next weekend, you might well want to drop by Black Widow's house. They've got somebody visiting, you know. (In 2004, Castle reissued Sacrifice on CD with five bonus tracks, retitling it Ultimate Sacrifice: One.) allmusic.com

Tracklist:
01.In Ancient Days 7:40
02.Way to Power 3:58
03.Come to the Sabbat 4:56
04.Conjuration 5:45
05.Seduction 5:38
06.Attack of the Demon 5:37
07.Sacrifice 11:10
08.In Ancient Days (Demo Bonus Track)
09.Come to the Sabbat (Demo Bonus Track)
10.Conjuration (Demo Bonus Track)
11.Seduction (Demo Bonus Track)
12.Sacrifice (Demo Bonus Track)

Black Widow:
Jim Gannon - lead guitar, vibes, spanish guitar
Zoot Taylor - organ, piano
Kip Trevor - vocals
Clive Jones - flute, saxophone, clarinet
Bob Bond - bass guitar
Clive Box - drums & percussion

sabato 30 maggio 2015

Hotlegs - You Didn't Like It Because You Didn't Think Of It - The Complete Sessions (2012 Grapefruit Records) 1970 - 1971

Biography : One of the finest archive products of the pre-CD age, You Didn't Like It was released in the U.K. in 1975, at the height of 10cc's success, as a reminder that there was more, so much more, to the members' past incarnation as Hotlegs than the hit "Neanderthal Man." Rounding up every track that the ultimately ill-starred combo cut -- that is, the entire Thinks: School Stinks album, plus four additional performances -- You Didn't Like It not only took the edge off an increasingly desperate collectors market (copies of that original album were impossible to come by), it also reminded listeners just how much of Hotlegs' legacy had been bequeathed to the members' next project. "Fly Away," itself re-recorded from a Godley-Creme contribution to a 1969 Marmalade label sampler, offers the prototype for any number of subsequent ballads -- innocent vocal, innocent song, but a deceptive beast of a lyric. "How Many Times" (the doomed U.S. follow-up to the hit "Neanderthal Man"), "Take Me Back," and "All God's Children" each had a close relation lurking within the 10cc catalog, while "You Didn't Like It" itself had already been pressed back into surface, as the first 10cc album's closing "Fresh Air for My Mama." "You Didn't Like It" is one of four songs appended to the original Thinks album. Of the remainder, "Lady Sadie" was released as a single in 1971 and went absolutely nowhere, while "Today" and "The Loser" saw service on the "second" Hotlegs album, Songs. Despite such generosity, however, You Didn't Like It fared no better than either of its predecessors, and, bitterly, one remembers why. 10cc at the time were universally regarded among the most creative bands on the planet. Hotlegs, on the other hand, were good for one thing and one thing only. "I'm a Neanderthal man -- CRASH; you're a Neanderthal girl -- CRASH...." And collectors notwithstanding, that was never going to change.  Review by Dave Thompson

Tracklist:
01. Neanderthal Man 4:15
02. How Many Times 4:18
03. Desperate Dan 2:19
04. Take Me Back 5:01
05. Um Wah, Um Woh 5:07
06. Suite F.A. 12:49
- a) First Movement: On My Way
- b) Second Movement: Indecision
- c) Third Movement: The Return
07. Fly Away 2:45
08. Run Baby Run 2:53
09. All God's Children 4:00
10. The Loser 3:39
11. Today 4:03
12. Lady Sadie 4:20
13. You Didn't Like It, Because You Didn't Think Of It 4:33
14. Neanderthal Man (alternative US mix) 4:18

Line.up:
Eric Stewart - vocals, guitar, bass, moog
Kevin Godley - vocals, drums, percussion
Lol Creme - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
and:
Graham Gouldman - bass guitar
Mike Timoney - organ
Peter Tattersall - left-handed boogey piano
Rod Morton - on-beat tambourine
Baz Barker - violin
Ian Brookes - trumpet
Mike Bell - saxophone

domenica 24 maggio 2015

Bon Scott & Fraternity - Complete Sessions (2CD Raven) 1971 - 1972

Biography : Complete Sessions 1971-72 gathers together all of Fraternity's recordings, most of which feature Bon Scott, who would later gain fame as the lead singer of AC/DC. Fans of that hard-rocking group will be disappointed if looking to find kindred spirits here though, as Fraternity was a hippie band inspired by rock of the prog, country, and boogie variety. And while Scott's vocal is unmistakable, there is a vibrato present that was ultimately shaved off for the stripped-down AC/DC. Oftentimes Fraternity sounds like a group unable to decide if they wanted to be the next Procol Harum or Australia's version of the Band, resulting in an unusual hybrid of prog rock and country-rock. They would also delve into the blues on occasion, which is when the closest comparisons to AC/DC can be made. This double-disc collection also includes Fraternity's first single (recorded before Scott joined), previously unreleased tracks, and two excerpts from Bon Scott radio interviews conducted during the late '70s. Review by Bart Bealmear

CD1:
01.Seasons Of Change (Single Version) 3:37
02.Livestock 3:40
03.Summerville 4:22
04.Raglan's Folly 6:02
05.Cool Spot 4:54
06.Grand Canyon Spot 4:54
07.Jupiter's Landscape 2:47
08.You Have A God 2:26
09.It 8:23
10.The Race (Part 1) 2:57
11.The Race (Part 2) 4:13
12.Why Did It Have To Be Me 2:39
13.Question 3:38

CD2:
01.The Shape I'm In 3:39
02.If You Got It (Single Version) 3:53
03.Welfare Boogie 3:42
04.Annabelle 3:58
05.Seasons Of Change 3:54
06.You Have A God 3:10
07.Hemming's Farm 3:47
08.Raglan's Folly 4:41
09.Getting Off 3:25
10.Sommerville R.I.P. 3:53
11.Canyon Suite 7:20
12.If You Got It 4:06
13.'Battle Of The Sounds' Sequence (includes Seasons of Change and If You Got It) 4:39
14.Bon Scott Talks With David Day Of 5KA, Adelaide, 1977 2:30
15.Bon Scott Talks With Sheila Renay Of KSJO, San Jose, 1978 1:53

Fraternity:
Bon Scott - Lead Vocals
Mick Jurd - Lead Guitars
John Freeman - Drums
John Bisset - Keyboards, Vocals
Bruce Howe - Bass, Vocals
"Uncle" John Eyers - Harmonica
Sam See - Slide Guitar, Piano
Tony Buettel - Drums

venerdì 15 maggio 2015

Tidal Wave - Spider Spider The Best Of Tidal Wave (2008 Fresh Music) 1969 - 1971

Biography : Tidal Wave are probably best known for their bubblegum pop hits ‘Spider Spider’ and ‘Mango Mango’ in 1969 and 1970 respectively, but they were so much more than that. Yes, they did play pop and they had a few hits, which were featured on the top radio stations at the time, Springbok Radio and LM Radio. Both stations are long gone, but sadly missed and fondly remembered by many South Africans who grew up without TV. However Tidal Wave also played some very interesting psychedelic pop rock enhanced by the fuzz guitar sounds of Mike Pilot, who formed the hard rock band Stingray in the late 70s. They also played backing for various musicians. It all started with a man named Terry Dempsey, songwriter and record producer. Dempsey was born in England and came to South Africa in 1968. He wrote and produced The Staccatos first song, ‘Butchers And Bakers’ in 1968. This song had originally been recorded by UK freakbeat band Les Fleur De Lys in 1967, though they called themselves Chocolate Frog at the time.
Dempsey recalls; "Early in 1968 I met Roy Naturman at Gallo studios with Grahame Beggs, South Africa's young pioneer record producer on a Flames recording session. Roy was playing piano and he was cooking - so was the recording! Shortly thereafter Roy invited me to a popular night spot to hear the band he was playing with, The In Crowd where I met a very impressive soul singer called Peter Vee, lead vocalist with the band."

"The bass player was a man who many years later became one of the world’s biggest music men, Clive Calder", continues Dempsey. "A few weeks later Roy Naturman phoned me to tell me that the band was breaking up and would I be interested in recording a new band he was putting together with the drummer from The In Crowd, Mike Koch, Ken Haycock as bass player and lead guitarist/singer Mike Pilot both of whom came from The Brackets.
"Mike Koch was in a band called The Creeping Greens, much cooler and hipper than The Brackets," recalls Russel Pope, guitarist for The Brackets." Pope adds, "The Brackets were basically into covering a lot of 60's, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, melody pop as opposed to people like The Navarones, The A-Cads and The In Crowd who were all into R&B. They probably thought we were a novelty act although they all recognised that Mike Pilot was a phenomenon of some sort. Clive Calder wrote a b-side for one of The Brackets singles, who knew he would end up a billionaire." "What a hot unit this proved to be," says Dempsey about Tidal Wave, "they were the first band to be released on my newly formed independent record label STORM with the title ‘Man On A String’." Dempsey formed the STORM label in November 1968 and later formed a second label, MAP (Management, Agents and Promotions). ‘Man On A String’ with ‘That’s Why The Girl Is Crying’ on its b-side was released in 1969 but failed to make any impression on the radio charts at the time, however it is fondly remembered by many fans. ‘Man On A String’ was followed by ‘With Tears In My Eyes’ which also failed to trouble any of the radio chart compilers. ‘With Tears In My Eyes’ was also released as a single in the UK in October 1969 on the Decca label, but failed to garner any interest from UK fans.

Music collector Peter Alston wrote in the very first issue of the SA Rock Digest e-mag in January 1999, "Their best ever (in my humble view) was ‘With Tears In My Eyes’ which was vaguely popular in late 1969 (pre-"Spider Spider") but which is extremely hard to find; frustrating for me as it is well within my personal top 10." In fact when asked to provide a list, ‘With Tears In My Eyes’ appeared at number one in Alston’s All-Time South African Top Ten with ‘Man On A String’ at number ten, sandwiching artists like Freedoms Children, The A-Cads, The Dream Merchants, The Staccatos and David Kramer.
"In Kimberley in 1971", Alston continues, "Tidal Wave and Otis Waygood appeared as a double bill. Probably the second best concert I've attended. (The best was undoubtedly Barclay James Harvest). Tidal Wave - in concert - were asked to do ‘With Tears In My Eyes’ but declined, saying the acoustics weren’t right and a full orchestra was needed to do it justice." "Dempsey considers Tidal Wave as one of the country’s top groups – ‘I’d say within the top five’", wrote Earl Moorhouse in an article published in the Teenage supplement to Personality magazine on 9th October 1969. "’I’d say within the top five’".

Moorhouse was writing about the Storm Power Circus, an idea of Dempsey’s to combine jazz and pop. Moorhouse wrote: "Storm Power Circus made its big splash at Ciro's, Johannesburg's hot pop night-spot, in July this year. The place was a sell-out, crammed with teenyboppers and the usual in-crowd of pop critics. They didn't say much; they never do. There was the Tidal Wave grooving it up front, the Brass Explosion punching out their big sound and the go-go girls working up a sweat. And the teenyboppers loving it."
"Tidal Wave comprises Mike Pilot, Mike Koch, Roy Naturman and Kenny Haycock, all pop veterans," continues Moorhouse’s article, "They have played in some of the country's best-known groups including the Brackets, Birds of a Feather, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and the In Crowd. As a result they have few illusions about the pop world; they know how superficial it is. They believe in hard work. In fact to interview them I had to gatecrash a practice session and, while I was talking to one of them, the other three went on with their music. Group leader Roy Naturman (organ/electric piano) told me; ‘We all understand one another. None of us has particular ideas about personal gains. Sure we've made money. We get along. But we're not doing this for money.’" Moorhouse also refers to Brass Explosion’s Robin Netscher. "Netscher is the driving force behind the fat brass sound that is becoming a feature of STORM singles. He handles all the musical direction at recording sessions and also arranges the jazz-flavoured music for the Storm Power Circus. Commenting on the welding of pop and jazz, he said, ‘The type of music played by Blood, Sweat and Tears is very popular but, up to now, when the kids have asked a group to play something off their LPs it hasn't been complete. The brass has been missing. Now, for the first time, they'll hear the whole music. This - the meeting of pop and jazz - is a great thing. It just had to come.’"
"At a given point in time," recalls Terry Dempsey, "we all went to bed in mono and woke up in stereo and the world never looked back. ‘Spider Spider’ saw Tidal Wave go to number one for the first and only time, although ‘Mango Mango’ outsold ‘Spider Spider’ by a long way." ‘Spider Spider’ hit the number one spot on the Springbok Radio Charts in April 1970 and also achieved number eight on LM Radio. ‘Green Mamba’ which was released in late 1970 followed this hit and it managed to get to number 16 on the Springbok Radio charts.
In August 1970, an album titled simply ‘Tidal Wave’ was released and included ‘Spider Spider’, ‘Green Mamba’ and their next big hit ‘Mango Mango’. This song, with its nonsensical lyrics and repeated phrase of ‘sixty-nine, sixty-nine’, hit number seven on Springbok in late 1970 and achieved top five on LM Radio in January 1971.
In 1971, according to the History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz, Tidal Wave supplied the music for the soundtrack of the movie, ‘Lindi’, composed and produced by Terry Dempsey. Mike Koch and Roy Naturman left Tidal Wave and a last single was released in 1971 titled ‘Money Baby’ (b/w ‘I’ve Got To Get Away’) that featured drummer Kevin Kruger and keyboardist Aidan ‘Dooley’ Mason. This song went to number 15 on the Springbok charts and did even better on LM Radio going to number nine. After a couple more line-up changes, sadly, Tidal Wave was no more. As an aside, Terry Dempsey was referred to as the "music machine" at the time and was never far from the Springbok and LM Radio hit parades with songs written and produced by him. Dave Mills, Lance James, Lauren Copley, John Edmond and others all enjoyed chart success thanks to Dempsey’s involvement. Teenage star, Lauren Copley recorded a Terry Dempsey song ‘Daydreamer’ in 1972 and when covered by US teen sensation David Cassidy it went to number 1 in the UK. It sold well over a million worldwide with in excess of 250 000 copies in Britain alone, according to Joseph Murrells’ ‘Million Selling Records’ book. There is a wide variety of music styles covered on this Tidal Wave retrospective CD. Lovers of end-of-the-sixties psychedelic pop and rock will discover many hidden gems here including the progressive rock sounds of ‘Get It Out Of Your System’ which would not have been out of place on an Abstract Truth album. This CD also includes the funky soul sounds of ‘Town Girl’, featuring Peter Vee’s lead vocal, which was previously unreleased.

Tidal Wave is fondly remembered by many and now all their music; the hits, misses and rarities can be found in one place. Brian Currin, April 2007

Tracklist:
01.Put It All Together 3:07
02.I've Got To Get Away 2:30
03.With Tears In My Eyes 3:14
04.Green Mamba 2:43
05.Town Girl 3:01
06.Spider Spider 2:41
07.Morning Light 3:32
08.Mango Mango 4:03
09.Give Ma An A 3:13
10.Money Baby 3:13
11.We Wanna Know 2:35
12.Colonel Mustard 2:41
13.Get It Out Of Your System 2:49
14.All In A Dream 2:56
15.Man On A String 2:46
16.That's Why The Girl Is Crying 4:09
17.Crazy Horse 2:25

Tidal Wave:
Mike Pilot - vocals, guitar
Ken Haycock - bass
Roy Naturman - keyboards (1968-70)
Mike Koch - drums (1968-70)
Aidan "Dooley" Mason - keyboards (1970-71)
Kevin Kruger - drums (1971)
Ivor Back - drums (1971)


sabato 9 maggio 2015

Bob Seger - Brand New Morning (2009 Lost Diamonds) 1971

Biography : Bob Seger's Mongrel may have been a terrific album, but nobody heard it, just like its predecessor. So Capitol was ready to drop him and wanted a contract-fulfilling album as soon as possible. Seger delivered the low-key, introspective Brand New Morning to get out of the deal. Later he claimed that the album was a collection of demos released somewhat against his will, but listening to the record it's hard to believe that these intimate yet fully realized songs were bare-bone work versions. Furthermore, it's hard to see these as just a collection of tossed-off tunes, since they're well-rounded and uniformly engaging, not throwaways. In light of Seger's past prior to Brand New Morning and the records that followed it, it's easy to see why he's disowned it, since it's no rock & roll album — it's a singer/songwriter album. It's the first and only time that his ambitions as a songwriter are laid bare, which may make it uncomfortable for him in retrospect. He needn't be worried, since Brand New Morning is a fine album on its own terms. Yes, none of the songs resonate as deeply as the best ballads on his other records, and there are times where it feels like he's very conscious of proving himself as a writer, but in light of his later work, that's quite charming. That's what makes the album something more than a curiosity and into something quietly pivotal in Seger's catalog. There are no classics here (though the title track, "Maybe Today," "Sometimes," and "Railroad Days" are all very good), but the charm of the record is hearing Seger consciously working on his craft. He's occasionally too earnest, or a little precious, yet it's an endearing transitional album. Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tracklist:
01.Brand New Morning 3:24
02.Maybe Today 3:12
03.Sometimes 5:15
04.You Know Who You Are 3:18
05.Railroad Days 6:57
06.Louise 2:49
07.Song for Him 4:36
08.Something Like 3:30

Bob Seger - acoustic guitar, piano, vocals

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Welcome to the Electric Music for a Mind and Body

Welcome to the Electric Music for a Mind and Body