sabato 1 agosto 2015

Aera - Humanum Est & Hand und Fuss 1974 - 1976

 
Biography : AERA is a band from Germany who performs progressive fusion in the style of NUCLEUS, EMBRYO and DZYAN. Spacey guitar passages are the strongest characteristic in their music, as well as good flute and saxophone passages. They have 6 albums, of which "Humanum Est" is considered their best effort. Bruno Aun

Aera come from the great tradition of Bavarian jazz-rock oriented progressive bands like Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, etc., with a style unique to that area, originating as a highly inventive fusion band, with strong percussion, driving rhythms and lots of space for solos from guitar, sax and flute. Whilst lead by Muck Groh they recorded two albums: HUMANUM EST which presented a most proficient instrumental band with a strong identity, with multi-tracked guitar riffing and near on ever-present wind solos, and then HAND UND FUSS, which was a touch more varied, due to the addition of violin and with Lucky Schmidt dealing more forceful rhythms in a jazzier concoction... - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"

Aera from Munich belonged to a group of bands with tight connections to Embryo (others were Missus Beastly, Munju, Real Ax Band, Snowball and some more). Several members of these band frequently exchanged between each others bands during their existence. Not surprisingly they all played a similar and typical musical style, a kind of German fusion/jazz rock with strong sax and flute. Such kind of music is thus dominant on all Aera LPs as they did not change too much throughout the years. If one likes Embryo in their middle seventies period (with Mal Waldron and Charly Mariano), before they went into the ethno-field, one might give also Aera a try. - Achim Breiling, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock

After leaving the flute-centered Ihre Kinder in 1972, guitarist Muck Groh formed the jazz-rock Aera. Similar in sound to mid-period Embryo, Ihre Kinder relied heavily on flutes and saxophones. The band's first album, the all-instrumental Humanum Est, was entirely written by the guitarist. However, by the time of their second album Hand Und Fuss (1976), the musical leadership of the band had switched to wheelchair-bound saxophonist and flautist Klaus Kreuzeder, who included vocals on some of his songs. Although the group disbanded not long after their sophomore effort, Kreuzeder reformed the group in 1978 and released four albums before ending the group for good in 1982. Geoff Orens, AMG

AERA has been a little-known band hailing from a small Bavarian village called “Mechelwind” (hence the title of one track on their second album). Similar to related band EMBRYO members were coming and going but originally the band consisted of guitarist Muck Groh (IHRE KINDER), bass player Dieter Bauer (2066 AND THEN), drummer Wolfgang Teske and wheelchair-bound Klaus Kreuzeder on sax and flute. They issued altogether four studio albums and one live one with changing line-ups and exhibiting different music styles. Their first two releases which can be obtained as a 2-in-1 CD (being a very worthy purchase that luckily I happen to own) are basically revealing a lively jazz-rock sound at times with extended jammin’ not that far away from EMBRYO, KRAAN or NUCLEUS. Their debut “Humanum Est” here in review was already quite an impressing demonstration of their musical prowess though still lacking a bit of variation which is nicely compensated by the addition of their second one on the CD-reissue. The six fully instrumental compositions, all written by guitarist Muck Groh can be basically described as guitar-dominated laid-back virtuoso jazz-rock with some blues and folk tossed in. Very noteable are Kreuzeder’s presentations on sax and flute, two instruments belonging to my favourites in that kind of music. Though being by all means a very noteworthy debut and a highly enjoyable album especially on second side of this record the music seams to become a bit meandering and repetitive. Thus without his counterpart “Hand und Fuss” “Humanum Est” might appear slightly disappointing for advanced Krautrock fans after a few spins. Nevertheless AERA can be considered as another very interesting band within the rich German progressive scene of the 70’s. Moreover it has been one of those making music just for fun without any commerial concern what’s demonstrated very well by the fact that their debut has been rejected by all commercial labels forcing them to publish it on their own one “Erlkonig”. By the way for those wondering what the oddly sounding titles actually mean: they are some sensible nonsense partly in ancient Bavarian idiom that is even incomprehensible to some native speakers like me. Dieter Fischer, ProgArchives.com

Without any doubts “Hand und Fuss” has been the more sophisticated and varied one of AERA’s first two albums. From the original line-up only Groh and Kreutzeder was left-over and their sound gained a lot from the addition of violinist Christoph Krieger. Musical leadership has been taken over more or less by Kreutzeder and composing has been shared between Groh and the new bass player Peter Malinowski . Their new drummer Lucky Schmidt managed to bring much more forceful rhythms with a jazzier orientation into their music. Musicianship by all band members is here absolutely outstanding and each of the seven compositions is a little gem on its own. Highlights are the highly diversified “Mechelwind”, the inventive “Elephen Elephants” with an amazing drum solo and the bolero-type “Kamele On”. But the remaining tracks are really not inferior at all to those ones. Maybe worth mentioning that Klaus Kreutzeder presents some jazzy scat singing on “Ad Absurdum”, actually the only “vocals” apart from some weird yowling in the finish of the last track.
Finally it’s just left to say for me that I’d highly recommend AERA’s second album to any Kraut- and Jazz-rock fan best achieved by buying the CD-reissue which combines both of their first two releases for highest value/money ratio. Dieter Fischer, ProgArchives.com

Aera was a very capable, occasionally excellent, German band that specialized in largely instrumental music that straddled the fence between jazz-rock and progressive rock. Their debut LP, Humanum Est, leans more toward the progressive rock end of the spectrum. It features the riff-based compositions of guitarist Muck Groh, who was previously in Ihre Kinder - a progressive folk-rock band. Listening to this LP, it's not hard to fathom Groh's involvement in folk music: he's fond of his twelve string, and his intricate leads and solos on that instrument bring Dan Ar Bras to mind. On the electric 6-string, he leans toward a Jeff Beck / Janne Schaffer sort of approach - he's not really a jazz guitarist, but an accomplished soloist in a creative blues-rock vein. The bulk of Aera's jazz influence at this point could be credited to the band's other main soloist, soprano saxophonist / flutist Klaus Kreuzeder - he's quite good. On the minus side, the rhythm section (drummer Wolfgang Teske and bassists Dieter Bauer and Peter Malinowsky) is somewhere between wooden and serviceable. Groh, Kreuzeder (now on alto sax, in addition to flute and soprano sax), and Malinowsky (who also does brief novelty vocals on 2 tracks) are aboard for Aera's 2nd LP, Hand und Fuss. New members include violinist Christoph Krieger and drummer Lucky Schmidt. Though Krieger is decent enough - he sounds pretty nice in unison with Kreuzeder, and he provides an additional solo voice - it is Schmidt's dynamic, jazzy kit work that really kicks Hand und Fuss up several notches above Humanum Est. Several of the compositions (all by Groh, or Groh and Malinowsky) have a vague Mahavishnu feel. As a guitar soloist, however, Groh still resembles Ted Nugent more than he does John McLaughlin. Kreuzeder's playing is even stronger than on Humanum Est - an amazing feat when you consider that he is confined to a wheelchair. The great variety and increased complexity of the compositions is the most appealing aspect of this recording - it's hard to imagine fans of instrumental progressive rock and jazz-rock not liking this LP. Though Hand und Fuss may not floor you with jaw-dropping chops and astounding technique, there's a folksy warmth to it that I find lacking in much of the fusion / progressive genre. The music on Hand und Fuss is undeniably charming, imaginative, distinctive, and still bears repeated listening. For many, this will be their finest moment. Dave Wayne, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock

Tracklist:
Humanum Est 1974
01.Papa Doing 8:22
02.Demmerawäng 7:07
03.Hodibbel 5:37
04.Sechs Achtel 10:45
05.Jonas Schläft 4:20
06.Alois' Flötending 2:26

Hand und Fuss 1976
07.Mechelwind 9:24
08.Alabaster Keaton 3:06
09.Wrdlbrmfd 5:33
10.Elephen Elephants 8:40
11.Herbstzeitlos 2:27
12.Ad Absurdum 5:06
13.Kamele On 5:35

Line-up:
Wolgang Teske - drums
Klaus Kreuzeder - saxophone & flute
Dieter Bauer - bass
Muck Groh - guitar
Peter Malinowsky - bass
Christoph Krieger - violin
Lucky Schmidt - drums, vocal
Als Gast Onkel Latzi - Bariton-saxophone & oboe

giovedì 30 luglio 2015

M.O.T.U.S. - Machine Of The Universal Space (2010 Flawed Gems) 1972

Biography : Psych Jazzy Prog (France), Original release 1972. Feat. Ian Jelfs , future member of french prog group "Alice". Prog rock with jazz influences. In some tracks you can here strong influences of early Caravan. Some guitar parts are in style of early Allan Holdsworth playing. Great Hammond organ sounds in classic rock style. Guitar and vocalist play before (with Mell Collins) in legendary Circus band.

M.O.T.U.S. were a French progressive band that had a very English sound, due largely to the fact that they had an English singer in Ian Jelfs (formerly of the UK band Circus). Their material was heavish, with quite a few jazzy chord progressions and guitar parts. To be honest with you, their material was pretty good, but nothing to get all that excited about, and their sound was maybe like a cross between early Caravan (with the organ style) and some of the more "rock-based" Vertigo acts.

The only album from the Frech progressive quartet (inc. one British member) appeared on the market in 1972 (on a small Connection label) and featured English lyrics sung by Ian Jelfs - former guitarist of the UK progressive rock formation Circus (of Mel Collins fame). This rare album will certainly delight the majority of fans of early Caravan, Traffic and Brian Auger's Trinity (circa 1970) - with dominant and powerful Hammond organ sounds; tight rhythm section and impressive, jazzy guitar licks (somewhat similar to Allan Holdsworth and Robert Fripp). This LP doesn't contain any fillers and certainly belongs to the top of the early 70's French progressive rock. This CD has been carefully remastered (from original source) and sounds deliciously! Flawed Gems

Tracklist:
01.Let It Get Higher 3:41
02.Summer Song 3:36
03.Ba'albeck Stone 3:39
04.Out in the Open 3:50
05.Green Star 3:22
06.Taihnanaco Road 3:10
07.Aldebarente 4:54
08.Mesopotamie Natale 5:40
09.Proxima 2:41

Line-up:
Ian Jelfs - guitar, lead vocal
Michel Coeuriot - organ, keyboards, vocal, percussion
Gilles Papiri - bass guitar, percussion
Philippe Combelle - drums, percussion

martedì 28 luglio 2015

John's Children - A Strange Affair (2CD 2013 Cherry Red Records) 1966 - 1970

Biography:John's Children were a 60's Pop-Art-Mod-Psyche influenced group from Leatherhead, England. The group consisted of Andy Ellison on lead vocals, John Hewlett on bass guitar, Geoff McClelland on guitar, who was later replaced by Marc Bolan, and Chris Townson on drums. This excellent 2cd collection consists of all of the band's singles, as well as solo singles by Andy Ellison, alternate versions & mixes, instrumental tracks, as well as their infamous, much maligned "The Legendary Orgasm Album". Disc one consists of 26 tracks with a duration of nearly 70 minutes, while Disc 2 offers up a generous 75 minutes. So, there is much to discover and savor here for any fan of 60's Mod-Psyche tunes. One effect of some 45 years looking back is putting all of these tunes offered here a more focused and insightful perspective. This package includes an excellent 24 page booklet written by Andy Ellison, which is adapted from his forthcoming autobiography. The notes reveal a track-by-track journey through each and every tune, as well as providing some absolutely astounding and insightful background and history of this infamous group. I must admit that the excellent booklet with it's excellent revelations definitely sealed the deal between grading this collection 5, rather than 4 stars. John's Children became infamous for their live shows which featured outrageous anarchy as they fought each other on stage, used fake blood and feathers for shock effect, trashed their instruments, and ultimately were banned and thrown off a tour in Germany when they incited the crowd to riot and trash the venue they were playing in. There are many accounts of how they actually upstaged The Who, themselves, during this German tour. Unfortunately, the riot police had to intervene and essentially all of their instruments and equipment were destroyed by the demented, frenzied, crowd. They even had to flea Germany with the riot police in close pursuit. Pete Townsend, himself, commented that they were "too loud and destructive". Well with that as poignant background, let us focus on the music on these 2 discs. The legendary manager Simon Napier-Bell took over as manager and wanted the group to take up a "Flower-Power_Psychedelic" identity. Disc 1 includes all of their singles & rarities, while disc 2 includes the "Legendary Orgasm Album", as well as bonus tracks that include said alternate versions, mixes, demos, and instrumentals. One major perk here are 3 different versions of the superb single, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", with it's dreamy refrain of "petals & flowers-petals & flowers". Napier-Bell was aiming for early "Flower-Power" with this single. What is even more interesting here is that the record label Track Records only made a box or 2 of only 25 copies of the single for the press and the band. Unfortunately, Chris threw most of his like Frisbees into the fields behind John's house in Leatherhead. It is now one of the most collectible singles of all time and changes hands for close to a fortune. Actually, a copy of the single was auctioned for 3,7000 pounds back in 2002! Would you care to bid for one now? Moving along to their very much maligned "Orgasm" L.P., which was their only studio Album, it was projected for release in March, 1967, but it's US release was blocked by The Daughters Of The American Revolution, who objected to its title! It was finally released in September, 1970, but did not sell well at that time. I remember buying the cd version which was put out by the British label Cherry Red in 1997 and being quite impressed by the tracks, which I thought were a live concert but was actually overdubbed screams taken from The Beatles Soundtrack of "A Hard Day's Night". I should mention that the 1997 release was a reissue of a 1982 release. I still find it very appropriate for parties, as the sound is not that good but the excitement somehow rings through quite well.I should mention that Marc Bolan replaced Geoff McClelland as the group's lead guitarist but was only with John's Children for a matter of 4-5 months. But Marc did manage to contribute some quality sides before he left to pursue his Tyrannosaurus Rex era, and then later his T. Rex glitter era. The group's 1st single, originally titled "Smashed! Blocked!", was re-titled "The Love I Thought I'd Found" because of its druggy connotations as the BBC were worried about the word "blocked", which was slang for being high on amphetamines. Their 2nd single, "Just What You Want-Just What You'll Get", includes a start/stop rhythm, manic backing vocals, and early, pioneering backwards guitar. "Desdemona" is a quality track, which was released just after Marc had just joined, but, unfortunately, it got banned in both the USA & the BBC, deemed unsuitable to play due to the line, "lift up your skirt and fly". At this point one could not help but wonder when, if ever, these guys could catch a break. Moving along to another strong track, which is often considered as Marc's finest moment lyrically, we get "Sara, Crazy Child". Listening to repeated plays of this track, one can almost sense the further development of Marc's Glitter Stage. Other strong tracks included are, "Come And Play with Me In The Garden", "Go-Go Girl", which was another tune penned by Bolan, "Jagged Time Lapse", and 2 versions of "Hippy Gumbo", one sung by Andy, as well as one sung by Marc. Ellison's fine liner notes proclaim "I once asked Marc what "Hippy Gumbo" was about but he just looked at me and said, "I don't know, man!". So I never asked him about his lyrics again". This collection also includes 3 rather rare demos from 1965, as done by an early incantation of the group by The Silence, "Down Down", Cold On Me", and "Forgive Me If I'm Wrong". All 3 tracks display a promising future sound for John's Children. The 2nd disc, which features "The Legendary Orgasm Album", also includes some very insightful alternate versions. Included in these are an alternate version of "Strange Affair", which includes backing vocals by none other than Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, and Madeline Bell! I've listened to this collection over 20 x over the past 3 weeks and I still find it very good to excellent. I always hear new sounds that add to each listening. I should stress that for this collection, for the most part, the producers have gone back to the original vinyl sources. Included in the booklet, there is an excellent quote by manager Simon Napier-Bell. It reads, "The group never quite achieved the success I thought they should, which may have been my fault, or perhaps theirs, or maybe just the way the record business always requires a bit of extra luck whoever you are, and not everyone gets it. Listening to these tracks confirms how good they could be musically, and it's great to hear them again after all this time. For me-a memory of very happy times" In summing up, A Strange Affair-Indeed! All fans of The Small Faces Decca-era, early Who, early Kinks, and The Misunderstood should appreciate this excellent release. Highly Recommended!

Tracklist CD1 Singles & Rarities:
*John's Children
01.The Love I Thought I'd Found 3:01)
02.Strange Affair 2:06
03.Just What You Want - Just What You'll Get 3:01
04.But She's Mine 1:59
05.Desdemona 2:24
06.Remember Thomas À Becket 2:20
07.Midsummer Night's Scene 2:35
08.Sara, Crazy Child 2:04
09.Come And Play With Me In The Garden 2:17
10.Go-Go Girl 2:09
11.Jagged Time Lapse 2:47
*Andy Ellison
12.Arthur Green 3:42
13.It's Been A Long Time 3:21
14.Fool From Upper Eden 2:54
15.Another Lucky Lie 1:57
16.You Can't Do That 2:48
17.Cornflake Zoo 2:03
18.Help! 2:29
19.Casbah Candy 2:02
20.Hippy Gumbo 2:08
*The Silence
21.Down Down 3:00
22.Cold On Me 3:04
23.Forgive Me If I'm Wrong 4:06
*John's Children
24.Mustang Ford 2:24
25.Not The Sort Of Girl You Take To Bed 2:27
26.Sally Was An Angel [Vocal] 3:11

Tracklist CD2 Orgasm & Bonus Tracks:
01.Killer Ben 2:29
02.Jagged Time Lapse 3:12
03.Smashed! Blocked! 3:19
04.You're A Nothing 3:33
05.Not The Sort Of Girl 2:07
06.Cold On Me 2:50
07.Leave Me Alone 3:11
08.Let Me Know 3:25
09.Just What You Want - Just What You'll Get 3:32
10.Why Do You Lie 5:06
Bonus Tracks:
11.Strange Affair (Alternate Mix) 2:02
12.But She's Mine (Alternate Mix) 2:00
13.The Love I Thought I'd Found (First Version) 3:09
14.Desdemona (''Why Do You Have To Lie'' Version) 2:24
15.Remember Thomas À Becket (Alternate Version) 2:36
16.Midsummer Night's Scene (Alternate Version) 2:37
17.Sara, Crazy Child (German Single) 2:28
18.Jagged Time Lapse (Alternate Version) 2:48
19.It's Been A Long Time (Stereo Mix) 3:10
20.You Can't Do That (Acetate Version) 2:59
21.Hippy Gumbo (Marc Bolan Vocal) 2:36
22.Not The Sort Of Girl You Take To Bed (Alternate Version) 2:41
23.Sally Was An Angel (Instrumental) 3:11
24.Come And Play With Me In The Garden (Instrumental) 2:10
25.The Perfumed Garden Of Gulliver Smith (Instrumental) 2:41
26.Midsummer Night's Scene (Alternate Mix) 2:37 

Line-up:
Andy Ellison - vocals
Geoff McClelland - guitar
Marc Bolan - guitar
John Hewlett - bass guitar
Chris Townson - drums, guitar

lunedì 27 luglio 2015

Dragonwyck - Chapter 2 (2006 World in Sound) 1972

Biography : In 1972, Dragonwyck became the Saturday night house band at The Viking. The Viking Saloon was a loud, packed, smoke filled rock club that featured live entertainment, hard liquor and a rowdy crowd six nights a week. It was THE place to get drunk,get high and listen to loud bands. Dragonwyck’s popularity at The Viking led to engagements at other Cleveland clubs (Otto’s Site, Tom Jones Backroom, The Crazy Horse, The Spectrum, The Avon and Amherst Jail Night Clubs, The Cove at Geneva on the Lake) and a series of High School and College concerts.
After 8 months of performing their new sound live, Dragonwyck set out to record a new album. As copies of the Dragonwyck II album began to circulate in early 1973, the interest of the press, audiences and agencies became much greater. As people began to realize the talents of the band,they began playing better venues and drawing larger crowds.,they performed at the Cleveland Agora (the premier venue in the area), with “Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks” and opened for the newly formed English band, “FOGHAT”.
With Dragonwycks’ unusual musical arrangements and lead singer Bill Petijohn’s stage theatrics, the bands live concerts were drawing more and more attention. By 1974,they moved to much larger clubs, added weeknight shows sponsored by Budweiser Beer at Cleveland’s House of Bud.
Concert dates supporting THE EDGAR WINTER GROUP and GOLDEN EARING added to Dragonwyck’s offers to tour nationally. However, John Hall had a promising career as a design engineer and had no desire to travel outside of the Northern Ohio area. Not wanting Dragonwyck to miss opportunities that were being presented to them, he asked to be replaced..Having found Hall’s replacement in keyboardist, Jerry Moran,whose playing was harder and more rock orientated than that of Hall’s orchestrated approach. Dragonwyck recorded a single,“Lovin’ The Boys” b/w “The Music” in 1974. Shortly after this release the band broke up. - When World In Sound Records,released in 2004 the music of Dragonwyck, Tom Brehm felt like doing it again. In 2006 he set up his 1968 original Dragonwyck guitar, a Gibson 335, and with other World In Sound musicians,the right line-up is found to return back on stage with the music written between 1968-73.
Dragonwyck personnel 2006: Tom Brehm - Guitar, Vocals; Steff Bollack - Drums; Karsten Kullinna - Bass; Josh Maccoy - Vocals; Winfried Rimbach-Sator - Keyboards. Review by my friend adamus67

Tracklist:
01.Kimberly 0:32
02.He Loves You 3:18
03.Fire Climbs 6:41
04.Relics 5:11
05.Freedom Son 3:57
06.Lady 3:47
07.Run To The Devil 3:45
08.Dead Man 4:15
09.The Music 3:14
10.Forever Only Last A Little While 4:40
11.Lovin' The Boys (Single 74) 3:14
12.The Music (Single 74) 3:07

Line-up:
Tom Brehm - guitars
Bill Pettijohn - vocals
John Hall - keyboards
Mikey Gerchak - bass
Jack Boessneck - drums


domenica 26 luglio 2015

Dragonwyck - Dragonwyck (2004 World in Sound) 1970

Biography : Cleveland psychedelic quintet Dragonwyck was formed in 1969 by singer Bill Pettijohn, guitarist Tommy Brame, keyboardist Kenneth Staab, bassist Michael Gerchak and drummer Jack Boessneck. Profoundly influenced by the Doors, the group released no official recordings during its lifetime, although copies of an album-length acetate from 1971 remain highly prized by collectors. Two years later, Dragonwyck recorded a second acetate, this one clearly inspired by the Moody Blues; favoring a boogie-rock approach in their final months, the group dissolved in 1975, with Pettijohn going on to helm the long-running Doors tribute band Moonlight Drive. Review  by Jason Ankeny
The group from Cleveland was one of the most promising bands in that area, opened shows for bands as Foghat, Golden Earring, Edgar Winter Group etc. The mood of the music is dark, mystic and strong influenced of the times' spirit, the hippie age -- anything goes. Dragonwyck, began 1969 in Cleveland, Ohio. The original members were Mike Gerchak, Jack Boessneck, Tom Brehm, Bill Pettijohn and Kenneth Staab. During 1970,Dragonwyck recorded a 7 song demonstration record at Landon Magnetic Sound in Garfield Heights, Ohio and Audio Recording in Cleveland, Ohio. On September 14th, 1970, 85 copies of the 12 inch vinyl record were pressed at Pama Records in Cleveland. In 1990, 400 copies of the vinyl album were re-released by Rockadelic Records, Texas. Kenneth Staab died in Florida in 1973.

This band is a milestone for all heavy/psychedelic music collectors. Jim Morrison and The Doors brought main inspiration to Dragonwyck?s music, with the small difference; the songs are heavier and more progressive; the sound is not just dominated by great vocals, there are lots of freaked out heavy guitar solos and swirling Hammond B3 organ, which brings the individual note to the music.

Dragonwyck was a full time working band they rehearsed nightly and continued to write new material. Summer of 1971,keyboardist John Hall joined the group. With John in the group,the bands sound became more orchestrated. The band re-vamped arrangements of their first album, and added new original material to their set list. New instrumentation was added with Boessneck playing flute, Brehm on 12-string guitar and electric violin, Hall on Mellotron and Moog, and Gerchak on a multiple of bass guitars. Dragonwyck also added large amounts of equipment. Along with new instruments,Dragonwyck featured a matching backline of 300 and 600 watt Canadian built “Traynor” amplifiers. This was going to be a very LOUD band. With new songs and equipment, Dragonwyck set out to find a venue to showcase their orchestrated sound. They found one; The Viking Saloon at Chester Ave, Cleveland (now demolished) Review by my friend adamus67

Tracklist:
01.My Future Waits  5:41
02.Ideas within You 1:01
03.Fire Climbs 9:04
04.Run To The Devil 3:57
05.God´s Dream 4:43
06.Ancient Child 4:59
07.The Vision 2:34
Bonus Tracks:
08.Fire Climbs (Sunrise Recordings 1968) 4:30
09.Flowers Grow Free (Sunrise Recordings 1968) 3:14
10.The Vision (Sunrise Recordings 1968) 7:05
11.Anything I´d Give (Sunrise Recordings 1968) 3:14
12.Ancient Child (Sunrise Recordings 1968) 4:52

Line-up:
Bill Pettijohn - vocals
Tom Brehm - guitar
Skip Foster - keyboards
Pat Osines - bass
Jeff Richards - bass

sabato 25 luglio 2015

Felt - Felt (2010 Flawed Gems) 1971

Biography : Felt was formed in Alabama in the late '60s around the talents of Myke Jackson (guitars), Mike Neel (drums), Tommy Gilstrap (bass), Stan Lee (guitars), and Allan Dalrymple (keyboards). The band's self-titled album, released on the small Nasco label in 1971, contains half-a-dozen original songs written for the most part by Jackson. The mostly blues-styled songs on this album are full of great guitar work and contain fine Beatles-esque harmony vocals. While most of this album has a blues feeling to it, some of the songs hint of progressive rock with swirling keyboards, intense drumming, and blistering guitar solos. The album has recently been discovered for its musical excellence and has become a very rare collectors' item. Guitarist Lee would later go on to become a member of punk band the Dickies in the late '70s. This welcome re-release by Akarma Records features a reproduction of the original foldout album graphics in the mini-LP-styled Akarmapack. Review by Keith Pettipas

The leader of the group, the main composer, guitarist and singer in one person was 17-year-old Myke Jackson. It's hard to believe that such a young boy was able to compose music so mature. On the album is only six recordings.

What is striking at first listen,it is sometimes almost melodic Beatles songs. This impression certainly can refer listening to the beautiful 'Look At The Sun'. At first only piano, almost pained voice and moving (romantic) melody. Enters rest of the group and would like to make such songs last forever. These recordings can listen endlessly. Then a jazzy, he played in quite a fast-paced 'Now She's Gone'. In the central part is followed by a sudden slowdown,extraordinary piece. The band created here wonderful colors, moods.

'Weepin' Mama Blues' was another song that betrayed fascination with the achievements of the Beatles. Played solemnly theme brings to mind the 'I Want You' from the album 'Abbey Road', popular quartet... whole while obvious blues tinge. Ingenious entrance to the recording of 'World' looked more like the end of the music as if just ended. Enjoys a moment, then suddenly the band entered like a hurricane. The song was based on contrasts. Once it was quiet, reflective. In a moment sharply, almost aggressively, and the singer's voice became vociferous, almost angry. I'm really impressed by these compositions. Their cohesion, ingenuity and indeed brilliant melodies. Extremely emotional performance. There is no shadow of routine, wykalkulowania. With each sound beats honesty and authenticity. This is the domain of classic rock.

The most important on the album seems to be, however, extended composition 'The Change'. It can be considered as a summary of the entire disc Felt. As the lens is focused because everything on the album the best. Calm, inspired the main theme. Then a natural transition for a little more lively theme, then suddenly is only repeating the same guitar sound one. After a while, there is organ background, joined by other instruments and music is gaining momentum. Almost floating in the air. This piece reminds me of 'The New Yorker', theme of the compositions 'Flight' derived from 'As Your Mind Flies By' group Rare Bird. Here really going on very much. Although I must add that the song has a very thoughtful design. It is easy to extract individual episodes. The true genius of magic in the form of ten minutes. Ending album 'Destination' has a little jazz tone. Again, all it is sewn with a bit of melancholy and contrast aggressive guitar inputs and bodies which phenomenally stipple this song.

It's hard to break away from the music. Memorable. In addition, all enveloped in a delicate psychedelic haze. What a pity that group of Felt left behind,only one album as though from another fairy tale, which then slowly went away to rest.
The original LP was released by a tiny label Nasco and today is terribly difficult to get. The ideal condition is achieved prices oscillating in the range 500-600$. Review by my friend adamus67

Tracklist:
01.Look At The Sun 3:16
02.Now She's Gone 5:30
03.Weepin' Mama Blues 4:42
04.World 5:39
05.The Change 10:12
06.Destination 6:40

Line-up:
Myke Jackson - Guitars
Mike Neel - Drums
Tommy Gilstrap - Bass
Stan Lee - Guitars
Allan Dalrymple - Keyboards

martedì 21 luglio 2015

Epitaph - Epitaph (2005 Digipack Edition) 1971

Biography : Along with Lucifer's Friend, Blackwater Park, and other bands even more obscure, Epitaph were members of a curious fraternity of '70s German bands that featured British singers. Founded in Dortmund in late 1969 by vocalist/guitarist Cliff Jackson and his compatriot James McGillivray, plus locally bred bassist Bernd Kolbe, Epitaph were originally named Fagau's Epitaph, but decided to shorten it after moving to Hanover, where they eventually signed with Polydor. Second guitarist Klaus Walz joined the fold halfway through the sessions for their eponymous debut (released in 1971), which, along with its successor, Stop, Look & Listen (1972), contained only five lengthy tracks, largely comprised of post-psych progressive rock, spiced with occasional jazz accents and widespread twin-guitar harmonies. Neither LP succeeded at introducing the band to a significant audience, though, and McGillivray had quit by year's end, being replaced by German drummer Achim Wielert, just as Epitaph were beginning to experiment with a more compact and direct hard rock style. This was previewed by the two singles they released in 1973, but Polydor still decided it was time to cut their ties to the group, who surprisingly headed off to America almost immediately, drawn by the promises of a start-up indie label called Billingsgate.

Epitaph wound up recording their third and most critically acclaimed LP, 1974's Outside the Law, in Chicago, afterwards embarking on a tour of the U.S. with ex-Karthago drummer Norbert Lehmann -- only to have it rudely interrupted when Billingsgate went bankrupt. Drained by their string of bad luck and feeling lucky simply to escape back to Germany without being held responsible for Billingsgate's debts, Epitaph called it quits in January of 1975. But Cliff Jackson couldn't resist reviving Epitaph just a few months later, gradually rebuilding their damaged reputation until a revamped band -- rounded out by guitarist Heinz Glass, keyboardist Michael Karch, bassist Harvey Janssen, and drummer Fritz Randow -- finally re-emerged with 1979's Return to Reality album. Now pursuing a semi-heavy metal angle, this edition of Epitaph recorded two more, poorly received LPs (1980's oddly named See You in Alaska and 1981's Live), and then Jackson reunited the Outside the Law lineup for 1982's Danger Man. Also given to heavier rock sounds, and also unsuccessful, the latter finally proved to be Epitaph's, well, epitaph, barring very rare concert reunions thereafter. Review by Eduardo Rivadavia

Tracklist:
01.Moving To The Country 5:14
02.Visions 5:26
03.Hopelessly 8:16
04. Little Maggie 8:35
05.Early Morning 10:04
Bonus Tracks:
06.London Town Girl 3:28
07.Autumn 71 4:29
08.Are You Ready 4:28
09.I'm Trying 5:33
10.Changing World 5:50

Line-up:
Cliff Jackson - Guitar, Vocals
Klaus Walz - Guitar, Vocals
Bernd Kolbe - Bass, Mellotron, Vocals
Jim McGillivray - Drums, Vocals

domenica 19 luglio 2015

Hotlegs (pre 10cc) - Thinks School Stinks (2009 Japan Mini-Sleeves CD) 1971

Biography : The rudiments of history should be familiar to all. Fresh from the breakup of the Mindbenders, guitarist Eric Stewart and songwriter Graham Gouldman opened their own Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England. Joined by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley, but temporarily shedding Gouldman, who promptly relocated to New York, the gang were experimenting with drum sounds when a passing record company executive spotted a hit amongst the hitting -- "Neanderthal Man," the most distinctive smash of 1970, was born, and by year's end the trio was working on an entire album. The fact that only one other track, the tribal joke "Um Wah Um Woh," even glanced in the direction of "Neanderthal Man" lets you know just how seriously Hotlegs were taking their fame. Few people would care about Hotlegs today had the trio (plus the returning Gouldman) not subsequently reinvented themselves as 10cc, and it is reassuring to note that much of that band's instant charm and excitement is already present amid Thinks: School Stinks. The 12-minute "Suite F.A." actively fore- and overshadows Godley-Creme's next attempt at elongating their artform, The Original Soundtrack's similarly protracted "Une Nuit a Paris," while the aforementioned "Um Wah" packs a wildly panning guitar solo to die for. Similarly, the angelic ballads which Godley long continued prone to (the lovely "Fly Away," "Take Me Back"); the seering guitar leads which were Stewart's specialty; and the utterly skewed lyrical twists which Creme so relished are all present and correct. Unfortunately, few Hotlegs fans wanted angelic ballads, seering guitar leads, and lyrical twists, and Thinks ultimately became better regarded for its sleeve than its contents -- the school desk stuffed with an unsavory smorgasbord of cigarette butts, broken cookies, titillating pin-ups, a sneaker, odd socks, and an occupied gas mask would later be borrowed by Alice Cooper for School's Out, two years later. Hotlegs' masterpiece would be left to molder for another 24 years, until it finally reappeared on CD with adequate sound and an utterly truncated sleeve. Review by Dave Thompson

Tracklist:
01.Neanderthal Man 4:19
02.How Many Times 3:57
03.Desperate Dan 2:12
04.Take Me Back 5:01
05.Um Wah,Um Woh! 5:30
06.Suite F.A. 1st Movement : On My Way 7:10
07.Suite F.A. 2nd Movement : Indecision 2:45
08.Suite F.A. 3rd Movement : The Return 2:52
09.Fly Away 2:43
10.Run Baby Run 2:50
11.All God's Children 4:55

Line-up:
Eric Stewart - vocals, guitar, bass, moog
Kevin Godley - vocals, drums, percussion
Lol Creme - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
Graham Gouldman - bass guitar

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Welcome to the Electric Music for a Mind and Body

Welcome to the Electric Music for a Mind and Body