Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fame & Price/Price & Fame - Together

As the organist in the first Animals lineup, Alan Price was perhaps the most important instrumental contributor to their early run of hits. He left the group in 1965 after only a year or so of international success (he can be seen talking about his departure with Bob Dylan in the rockumentary Don't Look Back) to work on a solo career. Leading the Alan Price Set, he had a Top Ten British hit in 1966 with a reworking of "I Put a Spell on You," complete with Animals-ish organ breaks and bluesy vocals. His subsequent run of British hits between 1966 and 1968 -- "Hi-Lili-Hi-Lo," "Simon Smith and His Dancing Bear," "The House That Jack Built," and "Don't Stop the Carnival" -- were in a much lighter vein, drawing from British music hall influences. "Simon Smith and His Dancing Bear," from 1967, was one of the first Randy Newman songs to gain international exposure, though Price's version -- like all his British hits -- went virtually unnoticed in the U.S. A versatile entertainer, Price collaborated with Georgie Fame, hosted TV shows, and scored plays in the years following the breakup of the Alan Price Set in 1968. He composed the score to Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man!, where his spare and droll songs served almost as a Greek chorus to the surreal, whimsical film (Price himself has a small role in the movie). His 1974 concept album, Between Today and Yesterday, was his most critically acclaimed work.

Georgie Fame's swinging, surprisingly credible blend of jazz and
American RB earned him a substantial following in his native U.K., where he scored three number one singles during the '60s. Fame played piano and organ in addition to singing, and was influenced by the likes of Mose Allison, Booker T. the MG's, and Louis Jordan. Early in his career, he also peppered his repertoire with Jamaican ska and bluebeat tunes, helping to popularize that genre in England; during his later years, he was one of the few jazz singers of any stripe to take an interest in the vanishing art of vocalese, and earned much general respect from jazz critics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Fame was born Clive Powell on June 26, 1943, in Leigh, Lancashire (near Manchester, England). He began playing piano at a young age, and performed with several groups around Manchester as a teenager, when he was particularly fond of Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1959, his family moved to London, where the 16 year old was discovered by songwriter Lionel Bart (best known for the musical +Oliver). Bart took Powell to talent manager Larry Parnes, who promoted British rockers like Billy Fury, Marty Wilde, Johnny Gentle, and Vince Eager. Powell naturally had to be renamed as well, and as Georgie Fame, he played piano behind Wilde and Eager before officially joining Fury's backing band, the Blue Flames, in the summer of 1961. (the Blue Flames also included guitarist Colin Green, saxophonist Mick Eve, bassist Tony Makins, and drummer Red Reece.) When Fury let the band go at the end of the year, Fame became their lead singer, and they hit the London club circuit playing a distinctive blend of rock, pop, RB, jazz, and ska. Their budding reputation landed them a residency at the West End jazz club the Flamingo, and thanks to the American servicemen who frequented the club and lent Fame their records, he discovered the Hammond B3 organ, becoming one of the very few British musicians to adopt the instrument in late 1962. From there, the Blue Flames became one of the most popular live bands in London. In 1963, they signed with EMI Columbia, and in early 1964 released their acclaimed debut LP, Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo. It wasn't a hot seller at first, and likewise their first three singles all flopped, but word of the group was spreading.

Finally, in early 1965, Fame hit the charts with "Yeh Yeh," a swinging tune recorded by Latin jazz legend Mongo Santamaria and given lyrics by vocalese virtuoso Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks Ross. "Yeh Yeh" went all the way to number one on the British charts, and Fame started living up to his stage name (although the song barely missed the Top 20 in America). His 1965 LP Fame at Last reached the British Top 20, and after several more minor hits, he had another British number one with "Getaway" in 1966. After one more LP with the original Blue Flames, 1966's Sweet Thing, Fame broke up the band and recorded solo; over the next few years, his backing bands included drummer Mitch Mitchell (later of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) and the young guitarist John McLaughlin (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra).

At the outset, Fame's solo career was just as productive as before, kicking off with the Top Ten bigband LP Sound Venture (recorded with Harry South's orchestra); thanks to its success, he toured with the legendary Count Basie the following year. Several hit singles followed over the next few years, including "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde," which became his third British charttopper in late 1967 and, the following year, his only Top Ten hit in America. But by 1969, his success was beginning to tail off; hoping to make inroads into the more adultoriented cabaret circuit, Fame was moving more and more into straightup pop and away from his roots. In 1971, he teamed up with onetime Animals organist Alan Price and recorded an album of critically reviled MOR pop, Fame Price; the partnership produced a nearTop Ten hit in "Rosetta," but ended in 1973. Fame reformed the Blue Flames with original guitarist Colin Green in 1974 and attempted to return to RB, but his records for Island attracted little attention. He spent much of the '70s and '80s making ends meet by performing on TV and the cabaret circuit, as well as writing advertising jingles; he also continued to make records, to little fanfare.

In 1989, Fame played organ on Van Morrison's Avalon Sunset album, which grew into a fruitful collaboration over the course of the '90s; Fame played on all of Morrison's albums through 1997's The Healing Game, received cobilling on Morrison's 1996 jazz album How Long Has This Been Going On, and even served a stint as Morrison's musical director. Meanwhile, Fame's own solo work during the '90s received some of his best reviews since the '60s, starting with 1991's jazzy Cool Cat Blues, which featured a duet with Morrison on "Moondance." 1995's Three Line Whip featured his sons Tristan and James Powell on guitar and drums, respectively, and 1996's The Blues and Me further enhanced his growing jazz credibility. In 1998, Fame split with Morrison to record and tour with former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman's new group the Rhythm Kings, contributing organ and vocals to several albums. In 2000, now signed to Ben Sidran's Go Jazz label, Fame released the acclaimed Poet in New York, which established him as an impressive student of jazz's vocalese tradition.

- Steve Huey, All Music Guide


1. Rosetta
2. Yellow Man
3. Dole Song
4. Time I Moved On
5. John and Mary
6. Here and Now
7. Home Is Where Your Heart Is
8. Ballad of Billy Joe
9. That's How Strong My Love Is
10. Blue Condition
11. I Can't Take It Much Longer


The Macc Lads - Twenty Golden Crates

The Macc Lads - the self proclaimed "rudest crudest lewdest drunkest band in Christendom" - formed in the late 1970s in Macclesfield, UK, playing a fusion of punk and hard rock. Their career spanned the years 1981 to 1995 and they became notorious for their irreverent and foul mouthed lyrics, political incorrectness, drinking, sexism and homophobia. They managed to offend a great many people and were repeatedly banned from venues and radio stations whilst retaining a die hard fan base.

They are perhaps best described as the musical equivalent of the Viz comic, sharing many of the same themes (although Splodgenessabounds claimed the same). Indeed an early Viz character Brown Bottle made his first (and thus far only) live appearance in the music video for the song Barrel's Round.

Their song lyrics cover an array of subjects, including beer, sex, chips 'n' gravy, football, fighting, and bodily functions. "Newcy Brown" beer makes an appearance in one song, as does Willies (JW Lees), but Boddingtons is the beer of choice for a true Macc Lad. And according to the Lads' songs, forcing a gay man to drink several pints of Boddingtons will change his sexual orientation. Numerous synonyms for female genitalia, sexual intercourse, and homosexuals have been coined by The Macc Lads throughout the years, which is a great source of pride. However, frontman/bassist Muttley McLad is reported to have said that his proudest achievement is rhyming "George Michael" with "menstrual cycle".

Track Reviews

1. No Sheep 'til Buxton – This song within the first 2 words you realise about any group of people that have an overfriendly relationship with Sheep, such as the Welsh (apparently). Great song and one that I’m sure was their most popular single, though I can’t find any evidence of that at the moment.
“Sheep, Sheep, everywhere, all the farmer's daughters have a sheepskin coat
Sheep, Sheep, everywhere, they've got to wear a woolly if they want to pull a bloke.”

2. Sweaty Betty – The whole song is about Betty who appears to be the fattest, sweatiest, smelliest, woman in all of Macclesfield. This song was also the 2nd Macc Lads song I had ever heard and it introduced me to the term mutton dagger, which the wife doesn’t approve of. You realise at the end that the guy being sung about quite fancies Betty and was chuffed he got his leg over. It’s another good song that’s been put together well and with the exception of the swearing probably could have been released as a single.
“Flabby arse, sweaty breasts, thirty eight chins, she was a mound of flesh.”

3. Buenos Aires – This is basically 2 fingers up at Argentina or Iraq depending on which version you hear. The one on this album is the Iraq one and basically the idea is that Sadam Hussein stands no chance against lads that know how to hold their beer, another very funny but very un-PC song.

Original Buenos Aires - “You can keep that poof Ardiles, we're going to have your Malvinas”
Updated Version - “Give us back fat Terry Waite, or get a Dr Marten in the face”

4. Beer 'n' Sex 'n' Chips 'n' Gravy – If you know a Macc Lads song then it could well be this one. This is a short quick song about the basic needs of a Macc Lad. Apparently they still go out in Macc and still act like idiots, getting drunk and getting into fights. Nice little double-entendre in this song:
'Can you hold your liquor love?'
'Yes I can, always by the ears.'

5. Guess Me Weight – Another song about sex and about how good the lads are at getting it and having it. Couple more double-entendres in this but not really printable ones. Again another song that is really good but not for the easily offended.

6. Maid Of Ale – The lads spot a hitchhiker on the M65, they think she’s from Macclesfield due to the state of her, but it turns out she owned a pub in London. Another song that follows the Macc Lads story telling songs, this is quite good as it actually makes sense, unlike a lot of songs nowadays that rant out about random rubbish that apparently constitutes a song. This song also has the best 2 lines in any Macc Lads song comparing the hitch-hiker to a feminine hygiene product…

7. Ben Nevis – Hooray, a song about flatulence. Ben Nevis is one of the band members who was considered one of the fatties, however the fatties got their revenge by jumping on the thinnies at every opportunity. This song is quite simply about being trapped in a van with Ben following his consumption of Four chicken curries, eight tandooris, boiled eggs & three kebabs.
“F***! F***! Abandon truck! All the windows steaming up”

8. Blackpool – A song about going to Blackpool to drink and fight and the introduction of the word Groat-os (made up as it rhymes with photo’s). It’s an alright song but not a favourite

9. Dan's Underpant – Having been to the new Indian restaurant called the New Delhi the lads obviously worse for wear went to a party, but Dan (see also Desparate Dan on Beer Necessities review) has more bodily function issues. Another intriguing song that is actually quite good but again not one you’d play in front of the parents as it’s quite disgusting.

10. Knock Knock – A series of knock knock jokes with a very rude theme, a very short song though with 3 verses and choruses in just over 1 minute. Again, not for those easily offended.

11. Gordon's Revenge – If you’ve watched Team America this is similar to “I’m so Ronery” sung by Kim Jong Il. However in this case it’s the owner of the Chinese/Chip Shop who sings about the abuse that he gets but also about how he gets his revenge. If you liked Ronery then you’ll like this, if you were offended by Ronery then you’ll definitely be offended by this.

12. My Pub – Very good song this, it’s about how a traditional pub, one that the lads have been served in for 20 years, suddenly turns into a wine bar with a strict dress code and serving fizzy lager rather than the usual Tetleys or Boddies.
“What the f*** have they done to my pub?”

13. Charlotte – A song about a woman in Macclesfield who has somewhat of a reputation, apparently many women have claimed to be Charlotte but the band won’t admit who it’s about. This is a totally a bloke song about being desperate at the end of the night and looking for the girl most likely to say yes.

14. Dead Cat – This song is about a gig the lads went to that was banned (not a surprise as about half of the gigs they tried to have were cancelled for some reason). They then just wanted to go and have some beer and pull some girls. This isn’t a great song and although it’s got a good chorus the verses let it down a lot.

15. Boddies – This song is about one of the band who’s been with a woman and thus not been down “The Bear’s Head” for drinking sessions with Boddingtons. The Macc Lads feel that Lager is basically a fizzy foreign kind of pop, consumed by women and children. Quite a short song again but to the point and you know exactly what the song is about and what point they are getting across.

16. Fluffy Pup – This is a very good song with a female lead as well which is strange to hear on Lads track. It’s basically about a guy who’s trying to chuck his girlfriend but she talks in front of his mates about all the romantic things they did. He’s obviously not very happy about this and tries to get her to shut up.

17. Julie The Schooly – This song is about a young girl one of the lads went out with, it’s not clear how old she was but at a guess I’d say 15. Also like most of the women in the songs she’s portrayed as a rather dirty girl, both in appearance and attitude.

18. Lady Muck – As the name suggests she had a fur coat and no knickers. Basically about a very posh woman who one of the lads managed to attract and they were impressed that didn’t swear even when she spilt her chips and gravy. It’s an ok song but lower down the list of good songs on the album.

19. Miss Macclesfield – This song is similar to Sk8ter Boi by Avril Lavigne but with a Macc Lads twist. Basically one of the lads went to school with this girl who went on to win Miss Macclesfield, she then thought she was above everyone else and went off to be a toff. however if she came back now the lads wouldn’t care. It’s quite a good song and good to see they haven’t just filled the end of the album with bad tracks.
“She may have been a beauty queen, but I'd rather go down the pub.”

20. Nagasaki Sauce – A song basically describing an evening out for the lads culminating in going down Gordon’s (see track 11) for chips n gravy and half a dozen other dishes. It’s a simple song that’s sung very much in a group style.

21. Barrels Round – Barrel was one of the roadies for the band, and half past ten was his turn for a round. This song heavily features the kazoo which of often turns up in Macc Lads songs especially ones like this, which are very upbeat and sees the lads enjoying themselves. Admittedly it’s whilst being drunk and singing about getting more drunk.

22. Twenty Pints – Another song about being a Macc Lad, how you need to drink twenty pints in order to prove your worth. Then you go outside for a fight, then down to Images (Macclesfield’s best nightclub) to chat up women and drink more. This song is very much the Macc Lads and you can see them doing this in their heyday and also apparently still now they are out regularly.

23. Saturday Night – Last song on the album and one that’s similar to the last and revolves around being a Macc Lad, drinking and fighting and swearing at anyone who isn’t a Lad. It’s funny, because it’s true, they really are like this and what makes it funnier is that their proud of it.

Overall this is a great album for this style of music, it’s hilarious and with many short songs there’s bound to be a few that you like, provided you’re not offended within the first 2 words of the album… Sheep Sha**ers.

Summary: Excellent compilation album


Thursday, February 26, 2009

John Miles - Zaragon

Originally a pupil at the Jarrow School, Miles was a member of a local band called The Influence (which also included Paul Thompson, later drummer with Roxy Music; and Vic Malcolm, later lead guitarist with Geordie.) He also formed The John Miles Set before starting his solo career in 1971.

During the 1970s he issued eighteen singles and four albums, including Rebel (1976), Stranger In The City (1977), and Zaragon (1978). However, Miles had most success with singles; in addition to "Music", he also charted with "Highfly" (1975), "Remember Yesterday" (1976), and "Slow Down" (1977).[1] Most of his songs were co-written with his bassist, Bob Marshall. "Slow Down" was also featured in the 1979 movie Players starring Ali McGraw and Dean Paul Martin.

In 1976 and 1977 he made several appearances on the British pop TV show Supersonic.

In the 1980s, he continued to record and tour. In 1983, a new radio station in the South of England, Radio Mercury, used parts from the song "Music" for their link jingles. The song itself also received extensive airplay on the station.

Miles has toured with Tina Turner since 1987, often filling in for Bryan Adams when the latter was unavailable to join her on tour for their duet. Miles is also a frequent guest vocalist on albums by The Alan Parsons Project. He also appeared on Jimmy Page's 1988 album Outrider.

Throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Miles was the music director to Tina Turner on her various tours, and played on several of her albums. He also played Hammond organ on Joe Cocker's album Night Calls (1992). Today he is still making music, which he famously refers to as his "first love".

In 1990, Miles participated in the UK heat of A Song for Europe with the song "Where I Belong", which came second.

In 2002 he issued the DVD John Miles - Live In Concert.

In 2007 Miles performed in Gelsenkirchen, Germany with the German band Pur and sang two songs. One of those songs, "Abenteuerland", Miles sang with Pur in German. The concert is available on the DVD, Pur-Friends-Live-Schalke-2007.

In October 2008, Miles began touring once again with Tina Turner. Turner had an extensive American-European Tour, stretching from October 2008 to late April 2009.

The release of Zaragon followed an extremely successful period in the career of John Miles who, during 1976 and 1977, had enjoyed two hit albums (Rebel and Stranger In The City) and four successful singles. Decca remained Miles' record label in the UK but, for the US release, Arista paid $500,000 to buy out his contract with London Records. An advance of $500,000 made this into a million-dollar album before release.


In a change of direction from his earlier material (most notably his signature single Music), Miles decided not to use orchestral backing on Zaragon. Miles played guitars, keyboards and synthesisers on the album, with Barry Black on drums and Bob Marshall on bass.
The opening track, Overture, was a rock epic in which keyboards took the place of the orchestral backing on his earlier material. The track is notable for an outstanding guitar solo by Miles. The long, three-part Nice Man Jack - a song about Jack the Ripper - was the centrepiece of the album, whilst the title track was science fiction orientated.

Album and Singles

Zaragon reached 43 in the UK charts, a respectable showing given that musical fashions were moving away from "epic-rock" towards punk and disco. The album was not released on CD until March 2008, thirty years after Zaragon first appeared.

The only single release in the UK was No Hard Feelings which the New Musical Express described as "an agreeable ballad". The b-side of the single was Mitre Square, the second part of the Nice Man Jack trilogy. In Spain, the order was reversed, with Mitre Square the a-side.


All songs written by Marshall/Miles

1. "Overture" - 8:15
2. "Borderline" - 4:56
3. "I Have Never Been In Love Before" - 5:07
4. "No Hard Feelings" - 3:22
5. "Plain Jane" - 8:09
6. "Nice Man Jack": - 7:45
1. Kensington Gardens
2. Mitre Square
3. Harley Street
7. "Zaragon" - 5:31


* John Miles: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Synthesisers
* Bob Marshall: Bass
* Barry Black: Drums


Spinal Tap - This is Spinal Tap

Some people who have grown up in a post-'80s generation fail to recognize the rock group Spinal Tap, and the reason they probably don't is because the band is totally fictitious. Spinal Tap comes from the 1984 satirical movie This Is Spinal Tap, a Rob Reiner film starring actors/comedians Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer. The film, which poked fun at such bands as Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, placed the comics as members of a wacky, ill-minded '70s band facing a popularity dive in the '80s. The picture was a moderate success, and the supporting soundtrack (in which the cast members even played their own instruments) was a smash hit. In fact, the soundtrack itself described the rock & roll of the '80s so well that it made many people who hadn't seen the movie think that Spinal Tap was a real group. According to This Is Spinal Tap, the band's story goes as follows:

Good friends David St. Hubbins (McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (Guest) of Great Britain joined forces in 1964 after seeing their similar musical tastes, forming the Originals. After finding out that there was already a group of that title, they would go through a series of name changes until finally joining up with bassist Ronnie Pudding and drummer John "Stumpy" Pepys, becoming the Thamesmen. They released two minor hit singles, "Gimme Some Money" and "Cups and Cakes," songs that established them as a unique and noticeable band. After a tour in the United Kingdom, the group would continuously change their name until finally settling on Spinal Tap, hiring keyboardist Denny Upham. Pudding would leave shortly afterwards to form Pudding People, and was replaced by Derek Smalls (Shearer). With this lineup, the band recorded "Listen to the Flower People," which would be released on the 1967 single Spinal Tap Sings "Listen to the Flower People" and Other Favorites. A surprise hit, the single went gold in the United Kingdom and the band toured worldwide, although their following LP, We Are All Flower People, was rather unsuccessful. After Upham was fired and replaced with Ross MacLochness, the group released Matchstick Men (1968) and Silent but Deadly (1969), their first live album.

The band's "success" came to a halt when Pepys died in a bizarre gardening accident in 1969. He was replaced with Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, and this lineup would release Brainhammer (1970), Nerve Damage (1971), and Blood to Let (1972). Intravenus de Milo, which was the group's seventh record and released in 1974, is still known to be the first album to ever reach the status of bronze, which a band can only attain if one million copies of an album are returned. Childs choked to death on an unknown offender's vomit that same year, and was replaced with Peter James Bond for the 1975 release The Sun Never Sweats. A tour would follow, inspiring their second live album, Jap Habit. Shortly afterwards, MacLochness and manager Glynn Hampton left the band to pursue their own interests. They were replaced with keyboardist Viv Savage and manager Ian Faith, who would both take part in the minor hit LP Bent for the Rent. Trouble began when the group sued their record label, Megaphone, for back royalties, but the label counter-sued, claiming they had a "lack of talent." The band reluctantly stayed with this label until 1977, when their latest release, Rock and Roll Creation, became a surprise hit in the United States due to the hit single "Nice n' Stinky." They quickly signed with Polymer Records and began to record their new album, but were halted when Bond spontaneously combusted on-stage. He was immediately replaced with drummer Mick Shrimpton, and the group released Shark Sandwich in 1980, which contained the hit "Sex Farm." Shark Sandwich was followed by a European tour, but demand for the band's U.S. appearance grew so large that they decided to tour America in support of their 1982 album, Smell the Glove.

Spinal Tap's 1982 tour got off to a bad start when some of their biggest gigs were canceled, and they were forced to play in much smaller arenas. Smell the Glove's release would also be postponed after the public expressed disdain for its sexually explicit cover. (When the album was finally shipped, both sides of the cover were solid black, a decision made by Faith rather than the band members.) U.S. appeal continued to decrease, and the band grew further apart due to Hubbins' and Tufnel's opposing ideas. A mistake in prop sizing would prompt the group to fire Faith and replace him with Hubbins' mistress, Jeanine Pettibone. Shortly afterward, Tufnel momentarily quit the band, frustrated with their sudden downfall and Pettibone's poor management. Unable to find a decent replacement, what was left of the group talked about retiring after the tour, but this idea was soon forgotten when Tufnel and Faith returned for the band's final U.S. performance and one Japanese gig. Despite Shrimpton's sudden combustion and his short replacement, Joe "Mama" Bessemer, in hiding after many of the group's props were reported stolen, both shows were a success. In 1983, the band would split and go their separate ways. Hubbins married Pettibone and opened up a soccer "clinic," Tufnel retired to his home in London to begin an inventing career, and Smalls joined and toured with the Christian metal band Lamb's Blood. Both Savage and Faith would die under unusual circumstances.

It wasn't until 1992, when Spinal Tap seemed almost forgotten, that rumors began to erupt (in real life) that they had re-formed and were working on a new album. The band proved these rumors true when they appeared on the MTV Music Awards (with new drummer Ric Shrimpton and keyboardist C.J. Vanston), announcing their return to the spotlight with their upcoming album, Break Like the Wind. The record was released that fall, featuring the hits "Bitch School" and "Majesty of Rock," along with appearances by Slash, Cher, and Joe Satriani. The band embarked on another tour, finishing in London to record their first and only live video cassette, Return of Spinal Tap, to be released in 1993. After the tour, they once again faded away.

Although Spinal Tap may never release another album, film another movie, or do another tour, their work provides rock fans with authentic '80s metal that, ironically, surpasses the work of many of the artists they imitated. A song entitled "Goat Boy" was recorded for an IBM commercial in 1995 and an official Internet site was set up in 1996, showing the public's interest in keeping this mythical band alive. And while McKean, Guest, and Shearer express no desire to ever don the silly wigs and outrageous costumes again, hope remains in the hearts of the many metal fans they reached that Spinal Tap will once again make their triumphant return. ~ Barry Weber, All Music Guide


1. Hell Hole (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 3:07)
(From the LP Smell the Glove,1982)

2. Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 2:38)
(From the LP Intravenus de Milo,1974)

3. Heavy Duty (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 4:28)
(Fom the LP Bent for the Rent,1976)

4. Rock & Roll Creation (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 4:08)
(From the LP Rock and Roll Creation,1977)

5. America (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 3:31)
(Previously unavailable)

6. Cups and Cakes (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 1:33)
(Single,circa 1965)

7. Big Bottom (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 3:32)
(From the LP Brain-Hammer,1973)

8. Sex Farm (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 3:20)
(From the LP Shark Sandwich,1980)

9. Stonehenge (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 4:36)
(From the LP The Sun Never Sweats,1975)

10. Gimme Some Money (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 2:26)
(Single, 1965)

11. (Listen to the) Flower People (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 2:38)
From the LP Spinal Tap Sings Listen to the Flower People and Other Favorites,1967)

12. Christmas With the Devil [*] (Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 4:28)
(Bonus Track)

13. Christmas With the Devil [Scratch Mix][*] ( Guest, Shearer, McKean, Reiner 4:42)
(Bonus Track)


Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Previously known as The Bakerloo Blues Line, the Tamworth, Staffordshire based Bakerloo originally formed in the mid-sixties with a line up
comprising Dave 'Clem' Clempson (guitar/vocals), Terry Poole (bass) and Keith Baker (drums).

The Jazzy Power Blues style of the band led to them being compared to the likes of Cream and the individual playing skills of each member were
definitely of a comparable nature. Their manager Jim Simpson, who also looked after Black Sabbath when they were known as Earth, organised a U.K.
tour under the banner of 'Big Bear Ffolly' which saw the band, along with fellow Midlands groups Earth, Locomotive and Tea And Symphony tour up and
down the country, each act gaining experience and a considerable following in the process. Indeed, Bakerloo provided the support the night Led Zeppelin
made their Marquee Club debut on 18th October 1968.

Signing to EMI's 'progressive' label Harvest Records in the middle of 1969, they debuted with the single 'Driving Backwards'/'Once Upon A Time' (HAR 5004)
in July and followed it up with their self-titled album in December, on which they were supplemented by session trumpeter Jerry Salisbury.
The LP has now become a much sought-after collectors item with mint copies changing hands for BP65. However, shortly after its release,
Clempson accepted an offer to replace James Litherland in Colosseum and Bakerloo folded.*

Clem Clempson stayed with Colosseum for two years and three albums before taking over from Peter Frampton in Humble Pie. When he left them in 1975,
he recorded with Roger Daltrey on 'Ride A Rock Horse' and then teamed up with ex-Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron in the ill-fated Rough Diamond for
their self-titled album of 1977, and then formed the short-lived Champion. Since then, he has become one of the most in-demand session guitarists,
working with the likes of Cozy Powell, Tom Waits, Jack Bruce, Colin Blunstone, The Records and Finbar Furey, to name a few.
Keith Baker supplied the drums on Uriah Heep's 'Salisbury' album, whilst Terry Poole played on Graham Bond's 'We Put Our Magick On You' LP before
becoming a respected session man.

Following taken from

Bakerloo originally formed around 1968 under the moniker ‘Bakerloo Blues Line’ in the Birmingham area. The line-up then was Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson on guitar and vocals, Terry Poole on bass and John Hinch on drums. Initially they stuck to a largely blues based set, yet like so many of the innovative acts of the era grew tired of the formula and began to experiment.
They attracted Black Sabbath’s future manager Jim Simpson, and attracted a considerable following- enough to win them a slot on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show ‘Top Gear’. However, there was a touch of Spinal Tap syndrome with drummers as Hinch was replaced with a multitude of players until they finally settled on Keith Baker. They also decided to drop the ‘Blues Line’ and became the shortened Bakerloo, and were put on a package tour called ‘Big Bear Ffolly’ (which inspired Bakerloo’s song of the same name) with other local bands Tea and Symphony, Locomotive (another highly innovative proto prog combo) and Earth, who would of course later evolve into the massively successful Black Sabbath.
They recorded their album prior to getting a record deal under the aegis of legendary, recently deceased producer Gus Dudgeon yet eventually, Simpson secured a deal with the new ‘progressive/underground’ imprint Harvest Records, which housed the likes of Pink Floyd, Edgar Broughton Band and aforementioned fellow Brummies, Tea and Symphony.
Though the album received very enthusiastic reviews and the band had a sizeable cult following, it sold little. This was a shame, because it remains a genuinely ‘progressive’ album with blues, jazz, classical and heavy rock meeting head-on, yet seamlessly.
However, internal ructions ripped the band apart anyway and despite some line-up reshuffles, with noted rock drummer Cozy Powell joining the band. That line-up lasted a small amount of time before Jon Hiseman, who had been impressed with Clempson’s guitar prowess, invited him to join the legendary jazz rock combo Colosseum. Keith Baker joined Uriah Heep for their classic ‘Salisbury’ album and Terry Poole turned up on blues/jazz rock innovator Graham Bond’s albums of the era.
Clempson, after Colosseum split, went on to work with heavy rockers Humble Pie who were a massive success, and Rough Diamond with ex-Uriah Heep singer David Byron, who were not. Clempson continued to work with a variety of artists. However, the other members seemingly fell off the radar after the 1970s.
Still, Bakerloo’s one and only album (a real collector’s item in original vinyl format) is a definite underrated classic and has a lot to offer fans of the genre.

1: Big Bear Folly Dave "Clem" Clempson (3:57)
2: Bring It on Home Willie Dixon (4:18)
3: Drivin' Bachwards Johann Sebastian Bach (2:08)
4: Last Blues Dave "Clem" Clempson (7:06)
5: Gang Bang Dave "Clem" Clempson (6:17)
6: This Worried Feeling Dave "Clem" Clempson (7:05)
7: Son of Moonshine Dave "Clem" Clempson (14:54)
8: Once Upon a Time [*] Dave "Clem" Clempson (3:39)
9: This Worried Feeling [Alternate Take][#][*] Dave "Clem" Clempson (5:45)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Alex Harvey - The Impossible Dream

Alex Harvey was a British journeyman rocker who enjoyed a brief period of widespread popularity in the mid-'70s after decades of struggle. Growing up in Scotland, he turned to music in his late teens and was in a skiffle band by 1955. By 1959, it had evolved into the Alex Harvey Big Soul Band. Harvey took the group to Hamburg, West Germany in the early '60s, there recording his first LP, Alex Harvey and His Soul Band, in the fall of 1963, which did not feature the band. He and his group made their London debut in February 1964, and the same year he recorded The Blues, which essentially was a solo record. In 1965, Harvey dissolved the Big Soul Band and later returned to Glasgow. But he was back in London in 1967, assembling Giant Moth, a psychedelic group that existed only for a short time. He then accepted a job working in the pit band of the musical Hair and while doing so recorded Having a Hair Rave up Live from the Shaftsbury Theatre. In 1969, he released Roman Wall Blues, his first solo effort in five years. Up to this point, none of his musical efforts had attracted much attention. But in the early '70s, he recruited the Scottish band Tear Gas -- consisting of Zal Cleminson, Chris Glen, Hugh McKenna, and Ted McKenna -- christening the resulting quintet the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Their first two albums, Framed (1972) and Next (1973), didn't sell, but in the fall of 1974 The Impossible Dream became Harvey's first chart record in the U.K. (It briefly made the American charts in March 1975.) Tomorrow Belongs to Me followed in the spring of 1975, hitting the Top Ten along with the Top Ten singles placing of Harvey's flamboyant cover of the Tom Jones hit "Delilah." With that, Next belatedly made the charts, and in September Sensational Alex Harvey Band Live came out and reached the Top 20 (also making the Top 100 in the U.S), as "Gamblin' Bar Room Blues" became a Top 40 single. This commercial success continued into 1976, with Penthouse Tapes entering the LP charts in April and becoming a Top 20 hit, "Boston Tea Party" making the singles charts in June and making a Top 20 showing, and SAHB Stories following in July and just missing the Top Ten.

In 1977, Harvey and the band recorded separately, SAHB without Alex (as it was billed) issuing Fourplay, while the leader made Alex Harvey Presents the Loch Ness Monster. A final album together, Rock Drill, was followed by the group's breakup. Harvey was back with his New Band in 1979 and an album called The Mafia Stole My Guitar, but his moment, so long in coming, had passed. Nevertheless, he kept on rocking and was on tour in Belgium when he succumbed to a heart attack in 1982 just before his 47th birthday. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Yup, this is a good un! This album almost equals the strength of SAHB in live performance. Well maybe it doesn't completely get there, but it's definitely got an atmosphere of it's own and features some interesting sides to the band.

The album opens up with some heavy beating of the skins which leads us into Vambo, a number I'm sure you've all familiar with and part one of a piece titled The Hot City Symphony. This features an extremely bizarre music sequence between axe man Zal Cleminson and keyboard man Hugh McKennam (and) leads into Man in the Jar which opens up with a familiar tune, and leads into an Alex Harvey Marlon Brando cum Mickey Spillane type rap. The musical arrangement is neat and it features a nice solo from Zal.

River of Love features a heavy riff, laced with Spanish guitar which makes an odd combination. Gosh, I do believe it's a love song.

I do believe that Harvey's album was going to be called Can't Get Enough. Well I would take the track that closes side one and is called Long Hair Music as the title track. A good ol' rocker, this track would definitely make a nice single. And don't take the stylus off too quickly at the end. Sergeant Fury seemed to be a tailor made hit, yet it didn't even touch the charts as a single. It opens up with some trad-jazz type music which then leads into a Harvey riff. The band are solid and punchy while Harvey sings lyrics like, "I wanna be rich and famous" with insane credibility - you never know when to take this band seriously.

Weights Made of Lead has a basic train beat with a bizarre Cleminson lick over the top. Harvey sings the blues. To portray the full lunacy of this band, what more do you need than a medley of Money Honey and The Impossible Dream?

You find yourself writhing on the floor in mass confusion while the next track, Tomahawk Kid opens up quietly and leads into a rather heavy-orientated track where Harvey takes on the role of story teller. (What a versatile character.) The final track, appropriately titled Anthem, builds up to a thunderous climax featuring choirs and things like that.

This album has caught the full dynamics and insanity of the group, and everyone should have one installed in their homes. Then Alex may be able to achieve his impossible dream?"

Track Listings
1. Hot City Symphony: Vambo/Man in the Jar
2. River of Love
3. Long Hair Music
4. Hey
5. Sergeant Fury
6. Weights Made of Lead
7. Money Honey/Impossible Dream
8. Tomahawk Kid
9. Anthem


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rick Wakeman - 1984

Original LP cover

Richard Christopher Wakeman (born 18 May 1949 in Perivale, London) is an English keyboard player best known as the keyboardist for progressive rock group Yes. Originally a classically trained pianist, he was a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards and in the use of a rock band in combination with orchestra and choir.He purchased his first electronic keyboard, a Minimoog, from the actor Jack Wild. Wakeman was able to buy it for half the regular selling price because Wild thought it did not work as it only played one note at a time.He hosts a regular radio show on Planet Rock.

Wakeman was born in the suburb of Perivale, West London, and attended Drayton Manor Grammar School. He initially studied piano, clarinet, orchestration and modern music at the Royal College of Music, but he left of his own accord after a year and a half in favour of work as a session musician.

In 1970-1971, Wakeman played with Strawbs, recording with them the albums Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios and From the Witchwood. Formerly, he had already contributed as a session musician to the Strawbs's album Dragonfly (1970).

Especially in 1969-1973, Wakeman was also a very active studio musician, playing with such artists as David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Al Stewart notably playing piano (and/or Mellotron) on Bowie's Space Oddity, Life on Mars, Changes and Oh! You Pretty Things, and Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens. (In 1985, Wakeman collaborated again with Bowie to Absolute Beginners).

Wakeman joined Yes in 1971, after keyboardist Tony Kaye was asked to leave the band because of his refusal to play anything more than the Hammond organ. His first album with the band was Fragile released 1971 in the UK and 1972 in the US, and very nearly his last was Tales from Topographic Oceans, released in 1973. He also played on the studio album Close to the Edge (his favourite Yes album) and his live performances with the group were released as Yessongs. He left the band following the Tales from Topographic Oceans tour.

During his time with Yes, he released his first solo album, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1973), which showcases his skills with various electronic and acoustic keyboard instruments. Some members of Yes played their respective instruments on certain tracks.

His next solo album was Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974), a very successful concept album combining his rock band (the English Rock Ensemble) with a symphonic orchestra and a choir.

In 1975, he released the concept album The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which was supported by a live show featuring ice skating theatrical performances accompanied by a large number of musicians (his rock band, an orchestra and two choirs). The show was very well received, but its cost was extravagant and also caused Wakeman to declare bankruptcy.
Of all the members of Yes, Wakeman is the only non-vegetarian, a difference which contributed to his first departure from the band. The primary reason for that initial departure, however, was musical differences. Wakeman felt Tales from Topographic Oceans was thin on substance and did not connect with its themes. Further, he did not enjoy the experience of reproducing the entire work on stage each night. He felt the length of the songs prohibited the band from playing many of their more popular songs of the time. Following the tour, as the band began work on what would become Relayer, Wakeman felt further alienated from the group. Disenchanted with the direction in which Yes was going, and already into a successful solo career, Wakeman jumped ship.

He rejoined Yes for their 1977 album Going for the One, which especially features him in the famous 'epic' Awaken. He remained until their next album, Tormato, a year later. He is reputed to have given the album its name by throwing a tomato at a showing of the art used for the album's cover.
In 1989, he joined with three fellow ex-Yes members to form Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (a.k.a. ABWH). After ABWH's first album, some of the completed tracks for a planned second album were merged with tracks from an in-progress Yes album to create the album Union. Wakeman, along with the combined members of both bands then joined to form a Yes supergroup (made up of past and present members of Yes) for the subsequent tour in 1991. When the tour ended a year later, Wakeman left again. He then returned in 1996 for the Keys to Ascension albums but left before the band could tour. In 2002, he rejoined Yes and has been with the group ever since, but also enjoys a successful solo career.

He has also performed as a guest or session musician for artists such as:

* Alice Cooper,
* John Williams,
* Brotherhood of Man,
* Elton John,
* Lou Reed,
* David Bowie (notably mellotron on 'Space Oddity', piano on 'Life On Mars' and 'Changes'),
* Cat Stevens (including piano on Stevens' hit cover of the hymn "Morning Has Broken"),
* T. Rex,
* Ozzy Osbourne,
* Black Sabbath (playing keyboards on "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Who are You" on 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath),
* Brian May
* Vivian Stanshall (keyboard on Teddy Boys Don't Knit)

Reissue CD Cover

Although Wakeman was a noted player of the Hammond Organ and the Minimoog, he also played a key part in the popularisation of the Mellotron – an electronic musical instrument that used a bank of prerecorded tape strips, activated by each key on its keyboard. It proved too unwieldy and unreliable for regular touring, and Rick eventually doused his in petrol and set fire to it in a field . Undeterred, Rick worked with David Biro to develop the Birotron, which used the then popular 8-track cassette format rather than bare tape strips. Also because of the advent of digital keyboards at that time, the Birotron was not a commercial or technical success. Only 35 Birotrons were produced, and Rick eventually threw his across the stage after it broke down mid-concert, an action he now regrets, as there are only 6 known remaining examples.

He has written the soundtracks for two films by Ken Russell: Lisztomania (1975), which features vocals from Roger Daltrey and which takes as its starting point the music of Liszt and Wagner; and Crimes of Passion (1985), much of which is built around themes taken from Dvořák's New World Symphony.

As announced on the official Yes website, Rick Wakeman would not be joining Yes on their 40th Anniversary tour, he would instead be replaced by his son Oliver Wakeman (the tour was cancelled because of Jon Anderson's poor health). In 2008, Wakeman has been touring with a solo show, "Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show", an evening of biography, stories and music.

LP Back


1a. Overture Part One
1b. Overture Part Two
1c. Wargames
2. Julia
3. The Hymn
4. The Room (Brainwash) - Part One And Part Two
5. Robot Man
6. Sorry
7. No Name
8. Forgotten Memories
9. The Proles
10. 1984


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jon Anderson - Song Of Seven

Jon Anderson was born in the town of Accrington, Lancashire, England, in a family of Irish ancestry, his parents being Albert and Kathleen Anderson. He was later to drop the "h" from his first name in 1971, as he had a dream where he was given the name "Jonathan". Thus, on The Yes Album he is still credited as "John", and on the next album Fragile, credited as "Jon".
He attended St. John's Infants School in Accrington, and made a tentative start to his musical career at an early age by playing the washboard in "Little John's Skiffle Group", which played songs by Lonnie Donegan among others. Anderson left school at the age of fifteen, and went through a series of jobs including working as a farm hand, lorry driver, and a milkman. He also tried to pursue a football career in the club he is still a fan of, Accrington Stanley F.C., but he was eventually turned down because of his frail constitution.

Early career

In 1962, Anderson joined The Warriors (also known as The Electric Warriors), where he and his brother Tony shared the role of lead vocalist. He quit this band in 1967, released two solo singles in 1968 under the pseudonym Hans Christian Anderson, and then briefly sang for the bands The Gun and The Open Mind.

In the summer of 1968, Anderson met bassist Chris Squire and joined him in a group called Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which had previously included guitarist Peter Banks. Anderson fronted this band, but ended up leaving again before the summer was over. He remarks on his website that his time with the band consisted of "too many drugs, not enough fun!".


Anderson, Squire, and Banks went on to form Yes, with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Their debut album was released in 1969. He stayed with the group until 1980, and this period is now known as the classic period of Yes. Jon was a major creative force and band leader throughout the period (describing himself as the 'team captain'; nicknamed by his bandmates "Napoleon" for his diminutive stature and leadership of the band)-- and is recognized as the main instigator of the series of epics produced by Yes at the time. His role in creating such complex pieces as Close to the Edge, Awaken, and especially The Gates of Delirium is central, despite his limited instrumental abilities.
He rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983 which produced their most commercially successful album 90125 with newcomer Trevor Rabin, and departed again in 1988 over the band's continued pursuit of major commercial success and mainstream radio play. In 1989, Anderson and other former Yes members formed the group Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (ABWH), augmented by bassist Tony Levin who had played with drummer Bill Bruford in King Crimson. After the successful first ABWH album, a bizarre series of business deals caused ABWH to reunite with the then-current members of Yes, who had been out of the public eye while searching for a new lead singer. The resulting eight-man band assumed the name Yes, and the album Union (1991) was assembled from various pieces of an in-progress second ABWH album as well as recordings that "Yes proper" had been working on, without Anderson. A successful tour followed, but the eight-man lineup of Yes never recorded a complete album together before splintering in 1992. Many more personnel changes followed, but Anderson has been with the band ever since. He appears on all Yes albums except their 1980 album Drama.
Vocalist Jon Anderson performing in concert with Yes in 1977

Anderson was fond of experimenting within the band, also adding to what were at times conflicted relationships within the band and with management. He originally wanted to record the album Tales from Topographic Oceans in the middle of the woods, and instead decided to put hay and animal cut-outs all over the recording studio, causing lice to infest one of Rick Wakeman's keyboards.In another incident, Anderson had tiles installed in the studio, to simulate the echo effect of one's vocals in a bathroom.

Anderson last performed with Yes in 2004. A tour planned for summer 2008 with Anderson was cancelled when he suffered acute respiratory failure. The band have since announced a tour without him and he has been replaced by Benoît David, singer in a Yes tribute act Close to the Edge.

Vocal and lyrical style

It is a commonly held misconception that Jon Anderson sings falsetto, a vocal technique which artificially produces high, airy notes by using only the ligamentous edges of the vocal cords; however, Jon Anderson does not sing falsetto. His normal singing (and speaking) voice is naturally above the tenor range. In a 2008 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jon stated, "I'm an alto tenor and I can sing certain high notes, but I could never sing falsetto, so I go and hit them high."

Anderson is also responsible for most of the mystically-themed lyrics and concepts which are part of many Yes releases. These elements are crucial components of the classic Yes sound, but have occasionally alienated some members of the band (most notably Bruford and Rick Wakeman), contributing to their leaving the group. The lyrics are frequently inspired by various books Anderson has enjoyed, from Tolstoy's War and Peace to Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. A footnote in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi inspired an entire double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973). Recurring themes include environmentalism, pacifism and sun-worship.

Song of Seven is Jon Anderson’s most conventional album to date, sounding at times like a spiritually informed Supertramp. A handful of these tracks are carryovers from the last Yes sessions, rendered here in a straightforward style by the studio musicians on hand. While less well received than his collaborative effort with Vangelis released earlier in the year, Short Stories, this record is much more accessible and engaging. Unlike the conceptual Olias of Sunhillow, Song of Seven is simply a collection of songs, many with a positive message and a catchy melody. A few qualify as actual pop songs - “Don’t Forget (Nostalgia),” “Heart of the Matter” and “Take Your Time” for example - delivered with a charm and sincerity unique to Anderson. The opening “For You For Me” is more in line with the free-form vocalizing of Short Stories, “Hear It” and “Days” perhaps the closest match to Olias’ acoustic magic. The album’s high point is the title track, which recalls the melodic epics of Yes, albeit on a more modest scale. Likewise, “Some Are Born” and “Everybody Loves You” are memorable songs that deliver Jon’s message of love and hope in pleasant arrangements. The music, predictably light on its feet, is anchored by traditional instrumentation: fretless bassist John Giblin, keyboardist Ronnie Leahy, guitarist Ian Barinson and percussionist Maurice (Morris) Pert add an element of substance lacking in Jon’s earlier work, although some may find the results mundane by comparison. I have yet to read a positive account of this album, but it’s one of my favorites from Jon, unpretentious and disarmingly sweet.


1. FOR YOU FOR ME 4:24
4. HEART OF THE MATTER (Jon Anderson/Ronnie Leahy) 4:18
5. HEAR IT 1:48
8. DAYS 3:24
9. SONG OF SEVEN 11:07

All songs written by Jon Anderson unless noted


JON ANDERSON -- vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, harp
IAN BARINSON -- guitar, bass, sing song vocals
RONNIE LEAHY -- keyboards
MAURICE PERT -- drums, percussion
CHRISTOPHER RAINBOW -- backing vocals, sing song vocals, choir
Damian James Anderson -- Korg keyboards (5), countdown and countup (9)
Deborah Leigh Anderson -- harmony (5)
Petite Jade Anderson -- countdown and countup (9)
Jack Bruce -- bass (4)
Clem Clemson -- guitar (4,9)
Johnny Dankworth -- alto sax (3)
Delme String Quartet -- strings (9)
Mel -- bass (5)
Dick Morrisay (sic) -- sax (2,4)
Dave Ogden -- string arrangement (9)
Simon Phillips -- drums (4)
Mike Dunne -- engineer
Brian Gaylor -- electronics
John Martin -- coordination and instruments


Steve Hillage - L

After leaving Gong, Steve Hillage undertook what became a very successful solo career. After the critical and relative commercial success of "Fish Rising", which was recorded while still a member of Gong, it was clear by all concerned that Hillage was a man of huge talent. Putting Hillage together with producer Todd Rundgren was a masterstroke. Using Rundgren's own band at the time, Utopia for the recording sessions the combination of Hillages stratospheric guitar playing and new age bravura and Rundgren's commercially richly textured production techniques was a hit. The resulting album "L" was sharp and focussed, mixing original material and covers of songs by Donovan and George Harrison, which Hillage made his own.

Though many may argue this stuff was very much of it's time (remember how it was featured in "The Young Ones"!), but today listening to "It's All Too Much" can still put a beatific smile on your face. There is still something special about this music, maybe made more so when placed within today's much more cynical world.

The standout track is clearly the lengthy and mainly instrumental "Lunar Musick Suite". Purportedly recorded at full moon, Hillage's synth guitar playing is ecstatically searing and the trumpet solo by Don Cherry is soulfully sublime as it leads up to the hugely satisfying climax!


1. Hurdy Gurdy Man
2. Hurdy Gurdy Glissando
3. Electrick Gypsies
4. Om Nama Shivaya
5. Lunar Musick Suite
6. It's All Too Much
Total Time: 43:48


- Steve Hillage / electric guitar, guitar synthesizer, vocals, synthesizers, shenai
+ Don cherry / trumpets, bells, voice, tamboura
- Miquette Giraudy / voice, vibes
- Larry Karush / tabla
- Sonja Malkine / 15th century hurdy gurdy
- Roger Powell / piano, synthesizers
- Kasim Sulton / bass
- John Wilcox / drums
L is the second studio album by British progressive rock musician Steve Hillage.

It was recorded primarily in New York, at the Secret Sound, Woodstock, N.Y., and was produced and engineered by Todd Rundgren, using musicians from Todd Rundgren's band Utopia and others.

According to liner notes supplied with the US pressing, Rundgren had only just become aware of Hillage, and following a letter from Hillage to Rundgren, and a reply from Rundgren, Hillage travelled to New York to meet, and the agreement to work together flowed from that.

The cover features a clean shaven Hillage (most of the publicity shots of Hillage during the 1970's show him with a full beard) holding his guitar, brightly backlit.

Unusually for Hillage, half the songs on this album are covers. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" was written by Donovan P. Leitch, "Om Nama Shivaya" was written by Kesar Singh Nariula and Uma Nanda, and "It's All Too Much" was written by George Harrison, and appeared originally on the album Yellow Submarine in 1969 by The Beatles.

The original Virgin catalogue number for this album on vinyl was V2066. An American pressing was issued on Atlantic Records, catalogue number SD 18205.

The album entered the UK charts on 16 October 1976, where it stayed for 12 weeks, hitting a peak of number 10[1]. This was the most successful of Steve Hillage's solo career albums, the next most successful being Motivation Radio and Green, which reached numbers 28 and 30 respectively.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hermen Rarebell - Nip in the Bud

Herman Rarebell began his life on the 18th of November 1949 in Saarbrucken, Germany, his zodiac sign being Scorpio. By the age of 12 his passion for drumming was so extreme that he would practice on anything available, including an old sloped chair. His song writing was influenced by the music of Led Zeppelin, a group which he still loves.

After qualifying in drums and piano at the Music School in Saarbrucken, and after he played with Mastermen (1965) and with Fuggs Blues (1968) he moved on to England from 1971 to 1977 where he was hoping to find the next great Heavy Metal Band and there Michael Schenker introduced him to the Scorpions and began his international career as drummer and songwriter for the Scorpions. He was a driving force for the band, leading it with the full sound of his drums and especially during the live appearances, making the band perform the songs in a spectacular way. He was an important composer in the history of the group, writing classic songs like "Another piece of meat", "Falling in Love" and the second single from Savage Amusement "Passion rules the game" and writing the lyrics for some of the most classic songs of the band like "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "Make It Real", "Dynamite", "Blackout", "Arizona", "Bad Boys Running Wild", "Don't Stop At the Top", "Tease Me Please Me" and other songs. In 1982 he released his first solo album Nip In The Bud (which he re-recorded as Herman ze German & Friends with the help of some friends of his as guest such as members of Dokken, Great White, Ratt etc.) It is worth noting that he is and was the only musician of the Scorpions who did his own solo project while still a full member of the band.

In April of 1996 he left the band following their 1993 album Face the Heat and the third Scorpions' live album Live Bites. His career with the band has seen his name on an international reputation boasting 32 million album sales. Surely with his absence, the consistency of the group was lost and the change in the sound was obvious to all the fans.

Maybe the fatigue from the non stop touring, maybe the disagreements regarding the recordings and musical directions of the upcoming Scorpions album (Pure Instinct) and making the acquaintance with Prince Albert were some of the reasons he decided to leave the group and to get involved with a new challenge, to become a producer and to co-find the record company Monaco Records. He participated in many of the projects as a drummer and he released a second solo album under the label called Stings Like a Scorpion, while he had already released Nip in the bud and Herman Ze German and Friends while he was still with the Scorpions which were produced by Ric Browde. The two albums are essentially the same but the latter has re-recorded vocals and a re-mix courtesy of Michael Wagener. The track "I'll Say Goodbye" was co-written with Dokken main man Don Dokken. Artists on the album include bassist Juan Croucier of Ratt, vocalists Don Dokken, Jack Russell of Great White, Charlie Huhn of Victory, Steve Marriott and guitarists Chris Storey and David Cooper. His artistic restlessness lead him to a project with his wife Claudia Raab, former 7 Sins saxophonist and well known actress, and released a debut album The Rhythm of Art. Its musical direction was atmospheric dance music with saxophone, drums and electronic music. Herman also performed with some live appearances under the Art Meets Music project with shows which would become a lot more than regular Rock n' Roll events, also featuring dancers as well as featuring original paintings by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and Ronald Muri, founder of the "Pop-Expressionist Movement". He participated in the Drum Legends project with his friend Pete York (ex Spencer Davis Group) where they released a live CD & DVD with the contribution of Jazz drummer C.Antonini. He also released a great 'soft' album with the Monte Carlo Pop Orchestra (Let me take you to the moon) as well as a single with the singer of Unlimited Ray Slijngaard (a remake of the song "The Eye of The Tiger") showing his need to experiment.

01. Messing Around
02. Two Timer
03. Havin' a Good Time
04. Rock Your Balls
05. Triangle
06. Slob
07. Junk Junk
08. Do It
09. Pancake
10. I'll Say Goodbye


Mick Ronson-Slaughter On 10th Avenue

Reflecting, a decade after the fact, on his launch as a solo rock & roll superstar, Mick Ronson shrugged indifferently, as though he'd really had no say in the matter. David Bowie had just "retired" and, in the absence of the singing sensation with whom Ronson had already risen to unexpected heights, manager Tony DeFries was anxious to keep at least one of his many pots boiling. "Tony said to me, 'okay, we can make you a big star, get you a deal with RCA, all that.' So I said 'wonderful,' and went off to make my own record."

Was there ever a launch like the one which awaited Mick Ronson? For a few weeks through the early spring of 1974, you couldn't turn around without his blonde tresses and sad doe eyes staring out from the video still selected to represent his solo career: "Slaughter on 10th Avenue," a histrionic guitar rendition of the Richard Rodgers movie classic, was an inspired choice, and the accompanying video -- Ronson watching helplessly as his girl is gunned down on the street -- remains one of the unseen classics of the genre. No mere miming potboiler for this Kid -- Ronson got the full Hollywood treatment. The same can be said for the accompanying album. Slaughter on 10th Avenue remains a startling achievement, however it is viewed. Guitar gods, after all, were ten-a-penny through the 1970s. But could Ritchie Blackmore sing? Jimmy Page? Robin Trower? Ronno's voice wasn't strong, but with sensitive material and lyrics he could get behind, he was unbeatable. A deliciously Pelvis-less "Love Me Tender" opens the album with warm depth and sparkling cadences; "Only After Dark," co-written with one-time SRC main man Scott Richardson, proved he hadn't left the hard riffing behind. The watchword throughout was variety -- from the proto-Springsteen-esque "Growing Up and I'm Fine" (the first and only Bowie/Ronson composition to be publicly acknowledged) to the chest-beating Euro-angst of "Music Is Lethal" -- all were a showcase for Ronson the performer, rather than the man who garroted Gibsons for fun, and initial reviews of the album made that point. Of course, the guitar didn't get off scot-free. The scorching ARP/guitar duel which concludes "Hey Ma, Get Papa" and, of course, the title track itself were evidence of Ronson's love for his day job, but today, it is the absence of screeching, squealing, neck-twisting frenzy which has ensured that Slaughter on 10th Avenue remain so much more than just another guitar picker's solo record; that the album does, in fact, stand alongside any of Bowie's own, immediately post-Ronson albums as a snapshot of a special time, when the triple disciplines of glam, rock and "Precious Art" slammed into one another without a care in the world. [Reissued with bonus live tracks.] ~ Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

Track listing

1. "Love Me Tender" (Ken Darby)
2. "Growing Up and I'm Fine" (David Bowie)
3. "Only After Dark" (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson)
4. "Music Is Lethal" (David Bowie, Lucio Battisti)
5. "I'm the One" (Annette Peacock)
6. "Pleasure Man/Hey Ma Get Papa" (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson, David Bowie)
7. "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" (Richard Rodgers)

Bonus Tracks

1. "Solo on 10th Avenue" (Richard Rodgers) [Live]
2. "Leave My Heart Alone" (Craig Fuller) [Original B-Side - Live]
3. "Love Me Tender" [Live]
4. "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" [Live]


* Mick Ronson - guitar, piano, vocals, arrangement, conductor
* Trevor Bolder - bass, trumpet, trombone
* Aynsley Dunbar - drums, percussion
* Mike Garson - piano, electric piano, organ
* David Hentschel - arp on "Hey Ma Get Papa"
* Margaret Ronson - backing vocals
* Dennis MacKay - backing vocals
* Sidney Sax - strings


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gordon Giltrap - The Platinum Collection (Vinyl Rip)

Gordon Giltrap (born 6 April 1948, at the British Home for Mothers and Babies, Brenchley, Kent) is an English acoustic and electric guitarist and composer, whose musical styles cross multiple genres - folk, blues, folk rock, pop, classical and rock.

Giltrap started to learn the guitar at the age of twelve. Never receiving any formal tuition on the instrument, he gradually developed his own style and technique.

His musical career started to take off in the 1960s, playing live in London in the folk scene, alongside contemporaries such as Bert Jansch (who greatly influenced the young guitarist), John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield.

At the age of eighteen he signed to Transatlantic Records and released a couple of albums. While popular on the folk and university circuit, the 1970s marked a turning point and much greater recognition. At this time Giltrap started to concentrate on more purely instrumental pieces, and in 1976 released the album Visionary, based on the art and poetry of William Blake.

The success of this album prompted Giltrap to give up the singer/songwriter approach and form the Gordon Giltrap Band, which toured extensively in the UK at that time. A follow-up album, Perilous Journey, consolidated his success, being named at one of the best albums of 1977 by The Sunday Times. A single taken from the album, "Heartsong", received extensive airplay and reaching #21 in the UK Singles Chart. The track was later used as the signature tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. The next album Fear of the Dark was released in 1978.

By the end of the 1970s he was commissioned to write a number of notable pieces, such as the classically inspired The Brotherhood, based on the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, and The Eye of the Wind Rhapsody[1], an orchestral work celebrating the exploration of the New World by British sailing ships. In the 1990s, Gordon played a key role in Cliff Richard's Heathcliff musical, playing the musical narrator. He also composed a number of pieces for the show.

He is also a regular columnist for Acoustic magazine, along with Martin Taylor, Doyle Dykes, Simon Mayor and Julie Ellison.

Disc 1

1. Heartsong
2. The Price Of Experience
3. Vision
4. Inner Dream
5. Night
6. Revelation
7. Awakening
8. From The Four Winds
9. Lucifer's Cage
10. Night Rider
11. Morbio Gorge
12. The Deserter

Disc 2

1. Oh Well
2. The Tyger
3. The Ecchoing Green
4. Pastoral
5. Fast Approaching
6. 0 Jerusalem
7. Fear Of The Dark
8. Quest
9. Cascade
10. Reflections And Despair
11. Visitation
12. Weary Eyes

Double LP covering music from the period 1976 - 1979

Released on LP and MC on

Sorry for the delay
This is a vinly rip
It shows the limatations of 20 odd years of abuse
If you like this album go out and buy origanal music from the artist


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Byron Band - On The Rocks

Best known as Uriah Heep's legendary frontman and vocalist with this album, and his newly formed friendship/song writing partnership with Robin George, On The Rocks saw David Byron come up with an absolute corker of an album. The original vinyl album was itself a classic, but now with the inclusion of a handful of bonus tracks this CD release is the must have format. On The Rocks is at least as strong as anything David Byron recorded with Uriah Heep - yes that is a powerful statement, and yes I am a huge Byron era Heep fan too - but it's true. The only probelm with this album is that it contained the only officially released material by the relatively short-lived Byron Band........until of course when Robin George dusted off some demos and live recordings a few years back for the Lost And Found 2CD release - which is also a very worthwhile collection of material, especially if you want to see just how some of the classic tracks from On The Rocks came to life.

On the Rocks is an album by The Byron Band, taking its name from their singer, British Rock vocalist, David Byron.

Despite featuring Byron and lauded guitarist Robin George the album didn't achieve commercial success.

The original UK vinyl release, on Creole Records, came with a poster of the sleeve's artwork.

Currently OOP, it was available on CD on the German specialist label Repertoire (Repertoire REP 431), with bonus tracks as detailed below. For completists, this release had a cream inlay tray.

Track listing

1. Rebecca (Byron / George) – 4:01
2. Bad Girl (Byron / George) – 4:52
3. How Do You Sleep (Byron / George) – 6:09
4. Little By Little (Byron / George) – 3:54
5. Start Believing (Byron / George) – 4:04
6. Never Say Die (Byron / George) – 4:25
7. King (Byron / George) – 3:40
8. Piece Of My Love (Byron / George) – 6:47

1993 CD release bonus tracks:

1. Every Inch Of The Way (Byron / Boone) – 3:25 / Single release
2. Routine (Byron / Boone) – 3:52 / b-side of 'Every Inch Of The Way'
3. Tired Eyes (Byron / George) – 2:39 / b-side of 'Rebecca' single.
4. Every Inch Of The Way (Byron / Boone) – 4:58 / Long version out-take, previously unreleased

Band members

* David Byron: Vocals
* Robin George: Guitars
* Mel Collins: Saxophones
* Bob Jackson: Keyboards
* Roger Flavelle: Bass
* John Shearer: Drums and Percussion

Other Credits

* Background Vocals: The Powder Puffs
* Bass Guitar on "Little By Little" by Robin George
* Engineered by: David Baker
* Mixed by: Robin George, David Baker & David Byron
* Produced and Arranged by: Robin George
* Executive Producer: David Byron
* Mastered by: Melvyn Abrahams (Strawberry Mastering Ltd.)
* Cover Design: Lon Goddard (Thanks Simon)



Various Artists - Guitar Speak

In 1988, the IRS No Speak label began releasing albums in the "Guitar Speak" trilogy. In this project, various guitarists were called upon to provide new material for compilation releases. The guitarists surveyed in this series generally came from diverse musical backgrounds -- making objective reviewing even more difficult than usual, but also making the listening process quite rewarding for the open-minded.

It almost goes without saying that an album of this sort would probably appeal primarily to "professionals" of the guitar craft. Not being such a professional myself, I hasten to point out that this review is intended to judge the final musical product at least as much as "the technical prowess" of the guitarist in question. Matters of speed, precision, and range are very important things. But they aren't the only important things.

In general, the first Guitar Speak album is a valuable collection of various styles, with each guitarist given enough space to showcase their abilities to the desired extent. The two high points of the album, from my perspective, are the works of Alvin Lee and Steve Howe.

Alvin Lee's performance was somewhat of a surprise to me, given that I've never heard Ten Years After, nor did I believe them to be a group that I would be interested in. This piece, however, was an excellent showcase of Lee's skills, moving from sweeping melodies to driving riffs, and even taking the time to indulge in a two-hand tapping section. It's unquestionably a "hard rock" piece, but nonetheless a very good one. David Hubbard's keyboards were also incorporated well. An excellent way to the begin the album.

The excellence of Steve Howe's piece was, of course, much less surprising to me. "Sharp On Attack" (which has since resurfaced in an alternate form on Homebrew, and also appears of Yesoteric 3) is an excellent display of Howe's talents. Steve uses more guitars on his piece than anyone else on this album (five, to be precise), and the internal diversity which results makes it well worth it. The acoustic opening provides excellent flavouring, and the middle section of the piece ranks among Howe's better melodies of recent years. This piece must be considered as the second official installment in Howe's redemption for the early 1980s (with "Sketches In The Sun" being the first), and it does its job well.

The surprise of the album, from my perspective, was that Steve Hunter's piece was so good. "Urban Strut" starts off in a less-than-promising way, but quickly develops into a decent blues-prog jam with one of the better melodies on the album.

Most of the other tracks on the album fall into the "good but not great" category. The late Randy California's "The Prisoner" is a rather dark piece, developing towards a strangely cathartic (for the listener, that is) section towards the end -- I liked it, but not quite enough to grant it a higher rating. Eric Johnson's "Western Flyer" features various clever developments on the guitar, but never quite breaks through into something really special (a microcosmic glimpse at Johnson's career, some might argue).

Leslie West's "Let Me Out'A Here" is notable for being the first track on the album not to feature drums in any capacity. ;) On its own, its also a good piece, pushing forth a good melody with various "dark" chords.

Ronnie Montrose's "Blood Alley 152" is the only mistake on the album. Montrose apparently wrote this piece after excising all of the jazz influences from his system, and the listener must suffer as a result. Bludgeoning power chords (vaguely reminiscent of "Don't Fear The Reaper") mingle with really dumb rhythm guitar parts to create a show-offy piece without much substance at all. The quiet section of the piece isn't very interesting either. A few decent spots appear in scattered locations, but aren't enough to save the piece. The " * * 1/2 " rating is granted mostly for the objective fact that Montrose is, from a technical level, possessing of some reasonable skill; my subjective rating would be lower. Placing this piece directly before "Sharp On Attack" must be regarded as a considerable error on someone's part.

Phil Manzanera's "Sphinx" is a bit of a disappointment. The opening section (featuring acoustic percussion, bass, and only an incidental acoustic guitar section) is fairly interesting, but Manzanera's electric spotlight in the main body of the song... well... isn't all that interesting, frankly. There is some entertainment value to the piece, perhaps, but this could have been much better.

Rick Derringer's "Sloe Moon Rising" isn't too interesting at first, but it gets better toward the end. Not a terribly notable piece, but listenable enough. Pete Haycock's "Danjo" has a (surprise!) banjo-esque opening, which unfortunately doesn't really develop quite as well as it could. It's still good, but the main body of the piece doesn't sustain the character of the introduction.

Hank Marvin's "Captain Zlogg" might appeal to Shadows fans, or fans of early-'60s Surf Music in general. For my own part, I found it to be a decent piece, with an interesting middle section, but somewhat lacking. The closing section also struck me as being a bit hackneyed.

Robby Krieger's "Strut-A-Various" is a decent ending for the album, with good work by all of the players involved. The composition seems a bit unfocused, at times, but the general value of the track still comes through.

The casual music fan might balk at the idea of an album of guitar spotlights, but those with a serious interest in guitar-driven progressive music should consider checking this album out.
The Christopher Currie

(review originally posted to on 25 Apr 1997)

Artist: Track: Rating:

1. Alvin Lee No Limit * * * * 1/2
2. Randy California The Prisoner * * * 1/2
3. Eric Johnson Western Flyer * * * 1/2
4. Leslie West Let Me Out'A Here * * * 1/2
5. Ronnie Montrose Blood Alley 152 * * 1/2
6. Steve Howe Sharp On Attack * * * * 1/2
7. Phil Manzanera Sphinx * * *
8. Rick Derringer Sloe Moon Rising * * *
9. Pete Haycock Danjo * * * 1/2
10. Steve Hunter Urban Strut * * * *
11. Hank Marvin Captain Zlogg * * *
12. Robby Krieger Strut-A-Various * * * 1/2

Additional Musicians:

* David Hubbard: keyboards (track 1)
* Ed Cassidy: percussion (track 2)
* Liberty: bass (track 2)
* Tommy Taylor: drums (track 3)
* Roscoe Beck: bass (track 3)
* Glenn Letsch: bass (track 5)
* Dean Johnson: drums (track 5)
* Nigel Glockner: drums (track 6)
* John Wetton: bass guitar, Taurus pedals (track 7)
* Mikey Sturges: drums/percussion (track 7)
* Nick Parker: drums (track 8)
* CP Roth: keyboards (track 8)
* Nigel Bowers: sax (track 9)
* Livingston Brown: bass (track 9)
* Chris Bucknell: keyboards (track 9)
* Lucienne Haycock: vox harmony (track 9)
* Bruce Gary: drums (track 10)
* Jim Johnson: bass (track 10)
* John Hernandez and John Avila: bass and drums (track 12)
* Earth, Wind & Fire brass section: horns (track 12)