Monday, December 28, 2009

Tempest - Living In Fear

I enjoy the first Tempest album quite a lot. The music continues where Colosseum ended and has a lot of similarities with Jack Bruce's work especially on Dark House. This is, I believe, thanks to Hiseman's composing. The music is a bit more rock oriented than Colosseum was. The rhythm section Clarke & Hiseman provides a solid ground for the soloists to work on.

Paul Williams left in June 1973, and his later adventures includes playing the music of blues legend Robert Johnson. He was followed a month later by Holdsworth, who joined Soft Machine, and later Gong, UK, Jean-Luc Pontyand also played with drummer John Stevens among other things.

Tempest Mark 2 (June 1973 to June 1974) consisted of

Jon Hiseman: drums
Mark Clarke: bass
Ollie Halsall: guitar, keyboards, vocals

Ollie Halsall had joined on guitar, keyboards and vocals. Halsall had worked with Timebox which developed into Patto, and also recorded with Scaffold and Brian Eno.

The band's music has been claimed to be more jazz influenced on the second album Living In Fear (Bronze ILPS 9267). For me at least the music is not so different from Tempest, though it has clearly moved a step away from Colosseum. Like the first it was recorded at Air London in October and November 1973.

Track listing:

Funeral Empire (Halsall)

Paperback Writer (Lennon/McCartney)

Star Gazer (Clarke/Bottomley)

Dance To My Tune (Clarke/Bottomley)

Living In Fear (Halsall)

Yeah Yeah Yeah (Halsall/Hiseman)

Waiting For A Miracle (Halsall)

Turn Around (Clarke/Bottomley)

The second album is dominated by Halsall's vocals and guitar. The rhythm section continues as on the first album to build complex rhythms for Halsall to use as a trampolene for his improvisations. Another fine album.

After the split
Hiseman organised a new Colosseum II in 1975
Clarke went to play with Natural Gas,  Mountain and Rainbow.
Halsall went on to play with Kevin Ayers, Boxer and John Otway.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Woody Woodmansey's U-Boat

Mick "Woody" Woodmansey was raised (as were several influential musicians of the 70s British rock scene) in the English county of Yorkshire, although somewhat farther north than the thriving music community that centered itself around Hull. His interest in the drums developed at the tender age of five, and by fourteen he had formed his first band: an ensemble named The Mutations. This was followed by three years in The Roadrunners, after which he was brought into the ranks of Hull mainstays The Rats in 1969, as a replacement for the departing John Cambridge (who had been tempted away to London by an offer to join Mick Wayne's new band -- and soon-to-be David Bowie back-up -- Junior's Eyes). This new line-up of The Rats did not continue for much longer, and by March of 1970 Woodmansey was himself moving to London to work once again with Rats guitarist Mick Ronson in the Bowie-fronted superhero quartet The Hype -- replacing for the second time drummer John Cambridge, who had abandoned The Hype to join The Mandrakes.

The Hype continued for a short while without Bowie, changing its name to Ronno before releasing the single The Fourth Hour of My Sleep in 1971 on the Vertigo label. The single was received with an enormous upsurge of disinterest, putting the future of the unit in question; but before a complete dispersal could take place, all three members (Woodmansey, Ronson and producer/musician Tony Visconti) were again roped in by Bowie to act as his backing band for the album The Man Who Sold the World (1971). Woodmandsey continued his association with Bowie for three more albums: Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972), and Aladdin Sane (1973). It was the second of these that ultimately cemented the drummers place in music history, as the Ziggy/Spiders spectacle continues to be the most highly revered period of Bowie's work -- despite the extremely brief span of its existence.

Two years after Bowie dissolved the Spiders, the rhythm section of Woodmansey and bassist Trevor Bolder founded their own Spiders From Mars, replacing Bowie and Ronson with Pete McDonald and Dave Black (respectively), and fleshing out the line-up with keyboardist Mike Garson; an eponymous album released the following year was met with little enthusiasm, and the project was abandoned shortly afterwards.

 A year later Woodmansey assembled Woody Woodmansey's U-boat, but its sole offering in 1977 did not fare much better. For the next decade the drummer kept a much lower profile, recording with Screen Idols (on their Premiere LP, 1979) and Dexy's Midnight Runners (Don't Stand Me Down, 1985), as well as making occasional live appearances with arists including Art Garfunkel and Paul McCartney.

After Mick Ronson's untimely death in 1993, Woodmansey and Bolder once again assumed The Spider's moniker for a tribute concert held in honor of the guitarist at the Hammersmith Apollo in London; the pair were joined by Def Leppard members Joe Elliott and Phil Collen in a repetoire consisting mostly of early 70s Bowie material, with appearances also being made by Ian Hunter, Bill Nelson and Roger Daltrey. The Spiders staged a second tribute in Hull in 1997 with a different selection of guests, and both shows were eventually released together as a 2 CD set on the Citadel label. That same year, The two Spiders and the two Leppards continued their collaboration in the guise of Cybernauts, touring the UK and issuing one of the shows as a limited-run CD. A second Cybernauts tour was undertaken in Japan during 2001.

In 1976 Woody tried to build up a new career with his own band U-Boat, recorded an album and supported Uriah Heep on there Firefly tour.

U-Boat was a five piece group with Phil Murray (vocals), Frankie Marshall (Keyboards), MacKintyre Duncan (guitars, vocals), Phil Plant (bass) and Woody Woodmansey (drums, vocals). Their debut album came out on the famous Bronze label and was produced by Gerry Bron, who had successfully supervised lots of  Uriah Heep recordings.

The album, Has severall interesting tracks on it, but completely failed to succeed comercially, and this fact led to an early end of the band's existence. So U-Boat became less than a footnote in rock history.
Bass - Phil Plant

Drums, Percussion, Vocals - Woody Woodmansey

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals - MacKintyre Duncan

Piano, Piano [Electric], Organ, Synthesizer - Frankie Marshall

Vocals - Phil Murray

Producer - Gerry Bron

Engineer - Mark Dearnley

Engineer [Assistant] - Trevor Hallesy


1. U-Boat
2. Movie Star
3. Slow Down
4. Star Machine
5. I'm In Love
6. Rock Show
7. Let You Be
8. Hope They Come Back
9. Oo La La
10. From The Top


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tempest - Tempest


After the split of Colosseum in October 1971 Jon Hiseman formed Tempest in the summer of 1972. Tempest lasted for two years until June 1974.

Tempest Mark 1 (June 1972 to June 1973) consisted of

Jon Hiseman: drums

Mark Clarke: bass

Paul Williams: vocals

Allan Holdsworth: guitar

Hiseman and Clarke had, of course, played together in Colosseum.

Paul Williams had played bass with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band (on two Columbia - that's EMI's Columbia - LPs It Should've Been Me and Zoot! Live At Klooks Kleek) and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (on parts of the live A Diary Of A Band and the single Suspicions). He came more to the attention of the record buying public as the singer of Juicy Lucy on their second LP Lie Back And Enjoy It (Vertigo) and the next two Get A Whiff Of This and Pieces.

Allan Holdsworth played on Nucleus' album Belladonna before his time with Tempest, but other than that I have no more information; maybe later...

The band made one album Tempest (Bronze ILPS 9220). It was recorded at Air London Recording Studios in November 1972 and produced by Jon Hiseman. The album was released in January 1973.

Track listing:

Gorgon (Hiseman/Clarke/Holdsworth)   5:44
Foyers Of Fun (Hiseman/Clarke/Holdsworth)   3:39
Dark House (Hiseman/Clarke/Holdsworth)   5:02
Brothers (Hiseman/Holdsworth)  3:36
Up And On (Edwards/Holdsworth)   4:20
Grey And Black (Clarke/Bottomley)  2:28
Strangeher (Hiseman/Clarke)  4:08
Upon Tomorrow (Clempson/Hiseman)  6:42


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Elton John - Chartbusters Go Pop

Chartbusters Go Pop! 20 Legendary Covers from 1969/70 as Sung by Elton John is an album of cover versions of hit singles.

These were taken from the time prior to Elton John's first success as a solo performer and were used on budget-priced compilations of hit songs by nameless 'soundalike' performers under such brand names as Top of The Pops and Hot Hits .

These compilations were extremely cheap and sold in vast quantities in the years before compilations featuring the original artists were on sale from such labels as K-Tel. On this particular album some of the tracks do not sound like Elton because he was trying to replicate the sound of the original artist as best he could

The title is no joke, but dead-on truth in advertising. Circa 1970, Elton helped pay the rent and gain studio expertise as a session vocalist for British quickie budget exploitation LPs that "re-created" the sound of current hit singles. Elton takes on such vintage AM mothballs as "In the Summertime," "Up Around the Bend," "My Baby Loves Lovin'," "Yellow River," and "Signed Sealed Delivered" here, along with a few songs that were only hits in the U.K. These records were never intended to be taken seriously as artistic statements, and one suspects that the studio players were having fun at someone else's expense on "In the Summertime," with farting raspberry noises and ridiculous orgiastic grunts by John during the instrumental break. Most of the time, though, he played it straight, his supple pipes proving to possess the necessary versatile anonymity required of such projects. This reissue, complete with scholarly liner notes, aspires to do nothing more than preserve this footnote in the budding superstar's career, of interest mostly to completists and novelty seekers. As far as unintentionally funny moments go, the highlight has to be John extolling, "To be young, gifted and black, that's where it's at!" on his cover of the Nina Simone classic. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

As a piece of history, this is interesting. They all sound like Elton (EXCEPT "It's All in the Game" Which has been pointed out to me is obviously one mr David Byron), and the arrangements are serviceable. The "original hits by the original artists" are better, but this is a good addition for a completist.

01  "My Baby Loves Lovin'" - 2:44 (White Plains)
02  "Cotton Fields" - 2:47 (Lead Belly, popular cover by The Beach Boys)
03  "Lady D'Arbanville" - 3:41 (Cat Stevens)
04  "Natural Sinner" - 2:50 (Fair Weather)
05  "United We Stand" - 2:48 (Brotherhood of Man)
06  "Spirit in the Sky" - 3:37 (Norman Greenbaum)
07  "Travelin' Band" - 2:16 (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
08  "I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top" - 3:42 (The Hollies)
09  "Good Morning Freedom" - 3:07 (Blue Mink)
10  "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" - 3:04 (Nina Simone)
11  "In the Summertime" - 2:51 (Mungo Jerry)
12  "Up Around the Bend" - 2:38 (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
13  "Snake in the Grass" - 3:02 (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich)
14  "Neanderthal Man" - 3:35 (Hotlegs)
15  "She Sold Me Magic" - 1:56 (Lou Christie)
16  "Come and Get It" - 2:14 (Paul McCartney, popularized by Badfinger)
17  "Love of the Common People" - 2:33 (Waylon Jennings, popular cover by Nicky Thomas)
18  "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" - 2:32 (Stevie Wonder)
19  "It's All in the Game" - 2:23 (Tommy Edwards, popular cover by the Four Tops)
20  "Yellow River" - 2:35 (Christie)


Saturday, December 19, 2009

By Invitation Only - Vinyl Rip - 1976 Various Artists

By Invitation Only displays the genuine regard in which Alan Freeman was held by all those included on the album. Having contributions by Led
Zepplin Yes, The Rolling Stones and Emerson, Lake And Palmer on one double album was an unbelievable coup and that their agreement was secured following a personal invitation from Freeman is attested to by copies of a number of hand-written replies on the inside cover. Nowadays, compilations are viewed as such a lucrative money spinner that even the biggest bands allow their material to be used but, in 1976, this was a veritable triumph.

Apart from its unique nature, the main reason I was looking forward to Pick Of The Pops becoming a regular series was the opportunities it offered to widen my musical boundaries. Not until over twenty years later, and the beginning of Uncut magazine's Unconditionally Guaranteed collection, would a compilation demand the same attention. So, here, contributions by The Pretty Things, PFM, Wally and Heavy Metal Kids are as important as anything by the big guns.

It may be a well worn phrase. but never more apt than here: they don't make them like this anymore.

1. Whole Lotta Love performed by Led Zeppelin - 5:31

2. It's Only Rock & Roll (But I Like It) performed by Rolling Stones - 5:08

3. Love the One You're With performed by Stephen Stills - 3:04

4. Pick Up the Pieces performed by Average White Band - 3:59

5. Expecting to Fly performed by Buffalo Springfield - 3:40

6. World Became the World performed by Marconi, Premiata Forneria - 4:43

7. Rock & Roll Man performed by Heavy Metal Kids - 4:52

8. Yours Is No Disgrace performed by Yes - 9:45

9. Nez Perce performed by Wally - 4:59

10. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face performed by Roberta Flack - 4:20

11. Karn Evil 9:1st Impression, Pt. 1 & 2 [Complete] (Emerson/Lake/Palmer) - 13:22

12. Sound Chaser performed by Yes - 9:45

13. The Immigrant Song performed by Led Zeppelin - 2:22

14. Angie performed by Rolling Stones - 4:32

15. Only You Know and I Know performed by Delaney & Bonnie - 4:23

16. Somewhere performed by Aretha Franklin - 6:16

17. Is It Only Love performed by Pretty Things, The - 5:06

Link Part 1

part 2