Monday, March 30, 2009

UK - UK 1978

In some ways UK represented both the last hurrah of progressive music’s golden age, and the standard by which all other supergroups that followed would be judged. The impeccable technical precision, complex yet modern arrangements, and dynamic live performances made them an overnight legend whose reputation has far outlasted their brief existence. No other supergroup, progressive or otherwise, has had such an immediate and lasting impact.

The band was formed in 1978 by bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford, both fresh from the USA tour (and accompanying live album) of KING CRIMSON. Keyboardist & violinist Eddie Jobson had also played on the KC tour and album, but was better known for his brilliant work on a string of ROXY MUSIC albums, as well as their seventies live album, “Viva!”. Wetton briefly secured guitar wiz-kid Eric Johnson for the band as well, but Johnson’s own project (the “Seven Wonders” solo album) and the legal wranglings that were accompanying it would cause Johnson to quickly withdraw and be replaced by another guitar virtuoso, Allan Holdsworth, who had worked with SOFT MACHINE and GONG, in addition to his solo work before joining UK. This was the first in what would become a series of lineup changes before the band would disband for good less than two years later.

The star-studded lineup had no trouble securing a record deal, and Polydor released their self-titled debut on the E.G. label that same year, which is often credited as the first successful rock supergroup studio release ever. The music is characterized by layered synthesizers, jazz-inspired guitars and bass, and in general by exceptionally high-quality musicianship. The band followed the release with a lengthy promotional tour.

Bruford would release a couple of albums under the BRUFORD BAND name following this tour, and would eventually return to the KING CRIMSON lineup for their “Discipline” release in 1981. Holdsworth also appeared on the BRUFORD BAND releases, and would later issue a series of solo albums in addition to a wide range of session appearances. Terry Bozzio (FRANK ZAPPA, GROUP 87) would replace Bruford, and the trio would release the band’s second and final studio album a year later (“Danger Money”). Without a replacement for Holdsworth, this album suffered due to overcompensation on violin and keyboards, and the band disbanded following after the Japanese leg of the promotional tour. A live album of that tour would be released shortly after, but the band was finished. There were rumors of a reunion in the nineties, but despite the fact that most of the members would work together on occasion following the band’s demise, no UK collaboration would occur. Wetton would go on to commercial success with ASIA, and Bozzio would likewise strike it rich with MISSING PERSONS.

UK generated a brilliant flash of publicity when they formed at the end of the progressive music decade. But the fickle and rapidly changing tastes of the public, record label pressure to commercialize their sound, and other more lucrative opportunities all combined to bring about a rapid end to a fascinating lineup. GTR, ASIA, and many others would travel down the supergroup path in UK’s wake, but none would do it with more style.

UK deserve a place in the Archives for the impressive resumes of its various members, the essentially classic self-titled debut they issued in 1978, and the influence they had over an entire generation of top-notch progressive and rock musicians by piloting the concept of a super group of musicians being brought together for the sole purpose of capitalizing on each other’s sounds.

reviewed by Bob Moore

Track listing

1. "In the Dead of Night" (Jobson/Wetton) 5:36
2. "By the Light of Day" (Jobson/Wetton) 4:40
3. "Presto Vivace and Reprise" (Jobson/Wetton) 3:06
4. "Thirty Years" (Wetton/Jobson/Bruford) 8:02
5. "Alaska" (Jobson) 4:38
6. "Time to Kill" (Jobson/Wetton/Bruford) 5:00
7. "Nevermore" (Holdsworth/Jobson/Wetton) 8:09
8. "Mental Medication" (Holdsworth/Bruford/Jobson) 7:24

Note: The first three tracks belong to a suite entitled "In the Dead of Night."


* Eddie Jobson: Electric Violin, keyboards and Electronics
* John Wetton: Voice and bass
* Allan Holdsworth: guitars
* Bill Bruford: Kit drums and percussion


Natural Gas - Natural Gas

Natural Gas
(Private Stock PS 2011)

Produced by: Felix Pappalardi


Joey Molland: guitar, vocals
Mark Clarke: bass, vocals
Peter Wood: keyboards
Jerry Shirley: drums

In the summer of '75, Joey Molland and former COLOSSEUM and URIAH HEEP bassist Mark Clarke discussed forming a group together. Both of them were originally planning to record solo albums. The solo albums were skipped when former HUMBLE PIE drummer Jerry Shirley joined the duo of musicians. They decided to form a group together, which they called NATURAL GAS.

It didn't take long to add to the trio with the new arrival of David Kaffinetti on keyboards. After rehearsing and after some inittiall concerts David Kaffinetti left and the others had to search for a new keyboard player.

After recording a few demos Peter Wood (formerly with the SUTHERLAND BROTHERS AND QUIVER) replaced David Keffinetti. The band relocated to L.A. as the former BEATLES roadie Mal Evans wanted to produce the band. In the end the band used former MOUNTAIN bassist Felix Pappalardi to produce their album. After the release of this debut album, the group went on tour in support of Peter Frampton's FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE. During the tour the inevitable musical differences surfaced and on conclusion Joey Molland left NATURAL GAS.


1 Little Darlin’ (Joey Molland)
2 Once Again, A Love Song (Joey Molland)
3 You Can Do It
4 I’ve Been Waiting (Joey Molland)
5 I Believe It’s Love
6 The Right Time
7 Christmas Song (Joey Molland)
8 Miracle Man
9 Dark Cloud (Joey Molland)
10 St. Louis Blues



Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Lawton - Heartbeat


A Brit by birth, John Lawton moved to Hamburg, Germany, when he was with a band called Stone Wall. He stayed there when the band moved on, feeling that this might be the place to get his break. He didn't have to wait long. Peter Hecht, Dieter Horns, Peter Hesslein, and Joachim Reitenbach were members of a band called the German Bonds. The five joined together to record an album under the band name of Asterix in 1970, then changed their name to Lucifer's Friend and continued under that name. He recorded their debut and subsequent releases With Lucifer's Friend. His next group was Les Humphries Singers. He managed to do both of these bands concurrently, as Lucifer's Friend, for the most part were only a studio group.

He continued on doing this double duty until 1976 when he became the new singer for Uriah Heep. He remained with the group for the next three years, leaving to pursue a solo career. However, his album did not light up the charts and Lawton found himself back performing both with Les Humphries Singers and Lucifer's Friend. He also formed a band called Gun Hill and kept himself busy performing with all three of those groups. ~ Gary Hill, All Music Guide

John Lawton's 1980 solo album on RCA, Heartbeat, was a Lucifer's Friend album in everything but name, with the lineup from Sneak Me In performing as backup musicians on that project. Lawton's official return, Mean Machine, found the band returning to heavy metal, this time in the vein of Rainbow. The band officially broke up in 1982 but briefly reformed in the early 1990s to release a new CD, Sumo Grip.

Track List

1. Lola
2. Heartbeat
3. Return To Sender
4. Christine
5. Breaking Out
6. Rainbow Chasing
7. Stairways
8. Daddy's In The Money
9. What A Woman
10. Darkness Over The Island

Bonus Tracks:
11. I'ts Alright With Me
12. Hold Back The Night
13. Let It Ride
14. Downhill Run


Lucifers Friend - Banquet

A German outfit fronted by a British singer, Lucifer's Friend first gained minor notoriety, and later major cult status, as both early practitioners of heavy metal and progressive rock. Formed in 1970 Hamburg, by former German Bonds members Peter Hesslein (guitar), Peter Hecht (keyboards), Dieter Horns (bass), and Joachim Rietenbach (drums), the group was initially dubbed Asterix and recorded an entire album's worth of material before connecting with singer John Lawton, whose then band, Stonewall, was playing a residency at the city's famed Top Ten Club. Lawton's vocals would grace Asterix's only, eponymous album later the same year, and all involved were excited enough by the results that they immediately began collaborating on more material with which to relaunch the band under the provocative new moniker of Lucifer's Friend. Released in early 1971, the Lucifer's Friend album contained organ-intensive hard rock along the same lines as contemporary proto-metal bands like Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, and, especially, Uriah Heep, for whom, coincidentally, Lawton would wind up singing several years down the line. But, for now, Lucifer's Friend's biggest challenge was a problematic aversion to touring, as well as a compositional restlessness that saw their sophomore effort, 1972's curiously named Where the Groupies Killed the Blues, morphing drastically to acquire progressive rock tendencies reminiscent of King Crimson and, to a lesser degree, the quickly emerging Krautrock acts of the period. These compositional experiments would only intensify on 1973's I'm Just a Rock 'n' Roll Singer, which added entire brass sections in the vein of Chicago Transit Authority, and 1974's Banquet (featuring new drummer Herbert Bornhold), which soared upon even jazzier elements and symphonic arrangements delivered with help from the James Last Orchestra. Lucifer's Friend would finally reign in such extravagance on 1976's Mind Exploding LP (where Bornhold was demoted to percussionist behind new drummer Curt Cress), and they even considered increasing their touring engagements, but their only problem now was that Lawton had quit -- accepting the offer to join Uriah Heep that was mentioned earlier. Scotsman Mike Starrs (formerly singer for Colosseum II) was brought in to replace him and Lucifer's Friend proceeded to abruptly abandon their progressive past for good, embracing melodic mainstream rock on a pair of albums: 1978's Good Time Warrior and 1980's Sneak Me In (adding second keyboardist Adrian Askew). Then, John Lawton returned for a final, harder-rocking Lucifer's Friend album, 1981's Mean Machine, after which the group officially split up until 1994's one-off reunion LP, Sumo Grip. Interestingly, through all of these years and stylistic changes, it's ironic that The original self titled Lucifer's Friend album -- more so than their more abundant prog rock releases -- has enjoyed the most frequent reissues, being considered a classic document of early heavy metal. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, All Music Guide

Track List

1. Spanish Galleon 11:52
2. Thus Spoke Oberon 6:47
3. High Flying Lady - Goodbye 3:43
4. Sorrow 11:39
5. Dirty Old Town 4:46


Asterix -S/T

Asterix was a direct predecessor of Lucifer's Friend , and released a self-titled album in 1970. There also was one single with a slightly different lineup, i.e. without Lawton. Which is included as bonus material on this release

From an original post on ChrisGoesRock which sadly no longer seems to exist anymore

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Artwork Included

Asterix was a direct predecessor of Lucifer's Friend; released one (eponymous) album in 1970. Technically, this was the first Lucifer's Friend album,
only under a different name. Also, one single was released featuring a slightly altered line-up, without John's involvement.

Peter Hesslein began his musical career way back in 1963 with a band called the Giants. Peter Hecht and Dieter Horns were both members of a group known as
the German Bonds, from 1965 onwards. Peter Hesslein joined the Bonds in 1968 which survived until 1970. At this point the various members took up the
study of graphic design in an attempt to forge more sensible careers.

But the call of rock’n’roll was too strong and in late 1970, the ex-Bonds men, together with Joachim Reitenbach , decided to record a new album.
They needed a lead singer and eventually found John Lawton who had been with the group Stonewall.

The new band took the name Lucifer's Friend and released their first album 'Asterix' in 1970. Their first three albums were undeniably influenced by
contemporary British bands such as Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. 'Lucifer's Friend' was released on the Phillips label in January 1971 followed
by 'Where The Groupies Killed The Blues' (1972). Lucifer's Friend' was given rave reviews particularly in America where the Chicago Express compared
them to Led Zeppelin. This encouraged the five-piece to commence a heavy touring schedule, a policy which later backfired. Gradually their music had
become a shade more sophisticated and serious jazz and symphonic influences were detected by critics and fans. This was no doubt due to the increasing
importance of 'progressive rock' which seemed to appeal to college students and university audiences rather more than good old heavy metal. It was also
more interesting for musicians to play and presented them with new challenges.

Track List

01. Everybody (Bonus Single)
02. If I Could Fly (Bonus Single)
03. Look Out
04. Gone From My Life
05. Broken Home
06. Time Again
07. Jump Into My Action
08. Open Up Your Mind
09. Corner Street Girl
10. Chance In You
11. Morning At My Dawn


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lone Star - Firing On All Six

Stylish, Welsh Hard Rock merchants centered upon former UNIVERSE and SKID ROW guitarist PAUL CHAPMAN.LONE STAR was originally called IONA Prior to adopting the LONE STAR title, a formative drummer, Steve Williams, joined QUEST in 1973 before he journeyed onto premier Welsh rockers BUDGIE.In turn QUEST bassist Ray Jones joined LONE STAR in 1974.During 1975, with original vocalist Kenny Driscoll, LONE STAR debuted with a British support slot to TED NUGENT to promote the Epic released ‘Lone Star’ album. Driscoll was to pack his bags in 1977 and was replaced by former TRAPPER vocalist JOHN SLOMAN, who recorded the second album, 'Firing On All Six', with the group. The group failed to survive though and guitarist Paul Chapman, following rehearsals with German act the SCORPIONS, rejoined UFO replacing the errant Michael Schenker whom he had covered for previously. A proposed third LONE STAR album 'Riding High' was shelved,finally seeing a belated release in 1999.Sloman would, after contributing keyboards to UFO's'The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent' album, end up joining URIAH HEEP for a period. Post URIAH HEEP Sloman formed part of the short lived BADLANDS project assembled by ex-TYGERS OF PAN TANG guitarist JOHN SYKES and ex WHITESNAKE bassist Neil Murray. BADLANDS folded when Sykes got the call to join THIN LIZZY and Sloman went solo.Drummer Dixie Lee teamed up with WILD HORSES before joining Canadian act STARCHILD then British Metal act PERSIAN RISK.He would also sit in on demos for the proto OZZY OSBOURNEband. Chapman's guitar partner Tony Smith formed SCREEN IDOLS with whom he released one album, 'Premiere', in 1979.

"Firing on all six" is one of those albums which many of those of us of a certain age remember with warm affection. Although with the passing of time it may now sound rather prosaic, at the time of its release it was actually quite exciting and original.
Some of that originality stemmed from the multi-phonic tones of the synthesizer keyboards, something which was still quite a novelty in the late 1970s. By the time of this album, original vocalist Ken Driscoll had moved on, to be replaced by a 20 year old John Sloman. Sloman's introduction brought with it hints of the LED ZEPPELIN sound, especially on tracks such as "The Ballad Of Crafty Jack" and "Lovely Lubina", the latter sounding spookily like the music on the "Presence" album at times. He would later go on to work for a short while with URIAH HEEP, where it was generally felt he was a fish out of water. Here though his high vocals are perfect for the style of music Lone Star create.
The sound of Lone Star (not to be confused with the US band of that name, these lads are Welsh) is fresh, it's exciting. Admittedly it is not particularly progressive, generally sticking to formulaic structures with strong harmonised choruses and sweeping synth or guitar breaks. The opening "Bells of Berlin" sets out the stall perfectly. There is perhaps a hint of ASIA in the power chords and big sound. Interestingly, this song and "Hypnotic mover" were written by the band before Driscoll departed. Sloman however does a wonderful job on making "Bells.." his own.
The eight tracks all clock in around the five minute mark, affording the band a little more space to move beyond the brief pop tenets on which the songs are based. The delicate ballad "Seasons in your eyes" offers the only let up in the pace, the orchestration reportedly being the work of Jeff Wayne.
There are a couple of fillers along the way. "Rivers overflowing" is a rather directionless funky number, although even here the chorus is adequate if not remarkable.
The other stand out track is the closing "All of us to all of you". If ever a track was written to become a band's anthem, this is it. From the opening unaccompanied guitar chords we are immediately swept along by swirling organ and a powerful beat. Sloman rattles out a brief verse and we're into a harmonic "No time to lose" chorus. As the synth solo builds the excitement, the drums lift the pace and the band leave the stage in an ever rising burst of the song title.
Listening to the album now, time has not been as kind to it as it might have been. The bookend tracks still sound wonderful, but the songs in-between have lost some of their bite. This though, for those of us who were there is an album to be remembered with true fondness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

America Strikes Back - The Sounds Album Volume 5 - Various Vinyl Rip

Great compilation album released in 1980

This was a sounds magazine release(in the UK), I really cant remember if this came free with the mag or not as I picked my copy up second hand (or perhaps i just borrowed it from a friend and "forgot" to give it back). Anyway as I still play this quite regularly I thought it was time to give
it the wave repair treatment

Track list

1 Bad Motor Scooter - Sammy Hagar
Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon 19th April 1980

2 Ladies Man - April Wine
From The Album 'Harder.....Faster'

3 Narita - Riot
From The Album 'Narita'

4 High Class In Borrowd Shoes - Max Webster
From The Album 'Magnetic Air'

5 Armageddon - Prism
From The Album 'Armageddon'

6 Party Professionals - Motels
From The Album 'Careful'

7 White Hot - Red Rider
From The Album 'Don't Fight It'

8 Bad Case Of Lovin' You - Moon Martin
Recorded Live At El Mocambo

9 Savoir Faire - Mink De Ville
From The Album 'Le Chat Bleu'

10 The Big Beat - Billy Squire
From The Album 'The Tale Of The Tape'

Heavy Metal Kids - Kitsch

In the beginning…

There was Mickey Waller, Ronnie Thomas, Keith Boyce, Gary Holton and Danny Peyronel…a gang of boisterous boys from South London and the East End. Danny completed the initial two-guitar line-up when Barry Paul left the band. It was 1973…

After a grueling apprenticeship at the legendary Speakeasy Club, THE musicians' watering hole run by co-manager Laurie O'Leary, the boys were spotted by 60's icon Dave Dee, then head of A&R at the new London branch of Atlantic Records.

Armed with a world-wide record contract with the home of Led Zeppelin and Aretha Franklin, in January '74 they went into London's Olympic Studios to record their first album, HEAVY METAL KIDS, with Dave Dee as producer.

They toured Britain and the continent to exhaustion, establishing their brand of rebellious, raucous rock 'n' roll… inspiring a generation of other rebels and setting the stage for an all-out revolution that would change the face of popular music only three years later.

They appeared in 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' on the BBC, broke every record there was to break at London's Marquee, did Reading Festival (as they did every single year they were around) and just played, played, played… In January '75, the lads went in to Island's Basing Street Studios, to record ANVIL CHORUS, this time with producer Andy Johns.

After working together on most of the new songs, Mickey stepped down just before going in the studio and Cosmo took his place.The lads finally hit the US on a whirlwind tour with the likes of Alice Cooper, KISS and Rush.True to form, the tour was full of adventure! They got kicked off the KISS portion, after Gary and Danny were spotted rolling with laughter on the side of the stage at the sight of Gene Simmon's hair catching fire while doing his 'fire-swallowing' routine. Then Gary broke his leg falling off stage and had to end the tour in a cast.

Back in the UK, and after a tour of France, Germany and Scotland, Danny left to join UFO. Before going, he recommended John Sinclair, from The Jackie Lynton Band, to take his place. In an age of few truly rockin' keyboard players, he'd made an impression when Jackie played the Speakeasy.Manager Ricki Farr then took the band away from Atlantic and had them sign to Mickie Most's RAK Records.

Produced by the legendary Mickie himself, they recorded a third album, KITSCH. Cosmo was gone and Barry Paul, a good mate of the boys who had played with them in the early days, joined the band.

More of the usual grueling touring followed, peppered with a ton of TV appearances both in Britain and the continent. The RAK period was coming to a close and John would be the next to go, on his way to Uriah Heep. Guitarist Jay Williams was brought in to complete what was to be the last formation and record the single 'Delirious', before the Heavy Metal Kids' long tea-break started... Their cult status has grown over the years, around the undeniable influence they had on the birth of the punk movement and the new wave of british heavy metal… many claim they were the trigger for so much that came in their wake. A good look at today's bands from both sides of the Atlantic is enough to support this claim.

Track list

1 Overture
2 Chelsea Kids
3 From Heaven to Hell & Back Again
4 Cry For Me
5 She's no Angel
6 Jackie the Lad
7 Docking In
8 Squalliday Inn
9 Hey little girl(single b-side 1977)
10 Delirious (single 1976)

The Heavy Metal Kids Are

Gary Holton - Lead Vocals
John Sinclair - Keyboards,Vocals
Keith Boyce - Drums
Barry Paul - Guitar,Vocals
Ron Thomas - Bass,Vocals

Produced By Mickie Most


Trapeze - Hold On Vinyl Rip

The opening track, "Don't Ask Me How I Know," introduced Trapeze listeners to a new vocalist when the group's "Hold On" recording was released around 1979. Singer Pete Goalby sounds a bit like the group's longtime guitarist/vocalist Mel Galley, though not quite as nasal or sharp in the upper register. And without the record sleeve notes in hand, you might not have guessed the band's line-up had changed.

But the writing style on "Hold On" marks this album as separate from the rest of the Trapeze collection. The funk influence, most evident on '74's "Hot Wire" album, stays to the shadows here, peeking around corners in just a few tracks. Solid rock tunes and soulful ballads rule the song selection on this CD, where on earlier Trapeze records these styles were represented but were flavored heavily with funk, jazz and blues.

Goalby, who does the bulk of the lead vocals and some guitar work on "Hold On," probably wasn't at the root of the shift in sound. Of the album's nine songs, three are written by him, the most inventive being "Livin' On Love" where you'll hear some nimble vocal lines and harmonies with Galley. The six remaining tracks are Galley compositions, and even the more up-tempo songs among these have a melancholy tone.

"Running" may rank as the album's most driving rock song, dotted with creative harmonies and trading of vocal lines between Galley and Goalby. "You Are" shows that Goalby can sing with feeling and features more high range harmonies from Mel Galley. Fans of Galley's singing will be interested in "Time Will Heal," a pain-soaked, slow number that puts him at the lead microphone.

Originally released on Aura Records (and re-released on CD by Purple Pyramid), "Hold On" proved to be the last Trapeze studio effort. Original drummer Dave Holland was still in the band, as was bassist Pete Wright who joined after Glenn Hughes moved to Deep Purple. Guitarist Rob Kendrick, part of the group for "Hot Wire" and its follow-up, "Trapeze," is not listed as a contributor. "Hold On" demonstrates another stage in the evolution of Trapeze -- funk feel fading, rock replacing it -- as the '70s came to a close.

All songs written by Mel Galley, except where noted.

Side one

1. "Don't Ask Me How I Know" (Pete Goalby) – 2:48
2. "Take Good Care" – 3:34
3. "When You Go to Heaven" (Pete Goalby) – 4:08
4. "Livin' on Love" (Pete Goalby) – 3:47
5. "Hold On" – 5:02

Side two

1. "Don't Break My Heart" – 5:43
2. "Running" – 4:27
3. "You Are" – 4:45
4. "Time Will Heal" – 6:37


* Mel Galley – guitars, vocals
* Dave Holland – drums, percussion
* Pete Goalby – lead vocals, guitar
* Pete Wright – bass

Running Order (For German Release)

1. Running
2. Livin' On Love
3. Don't Ask Me How I Know
4. Take Good Care Of Me
5. Time Will Heal
6. Hold On
7. Don't Break My Heart
8. When You Get To Heaven
9. You Are

Steve Huey called Hold On by Trapeze, reissued on CD in 1998, their "final proper studio album (and) quite possibly their best, as the group had perfected the sort of blustery heavy rock that filled arenas in the mid- to late-'70s." Credit must be given to the late producer of the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Miller, who smoothed out the gruff sound of a band like Motörhead, handing that particular group Overkill and Bomber, two metal classics that would not be the same without the production maestro's participation. Miller was also involved with the Plasmatics at this point in time, working multiple projects by influential bands who may not have had the impact of Jagger and Richards, but were still musically vital. So, too, with the straight-ahead blues-rock of Trapeze featuring founding members Mel Galley and Dave Holland. Miller tightens up their sound and puts it in a very proper setting, Savoy Brown with a bit of an edge. Mr. Jimmy's appreciation of the fusion of blues and rock was fundamental to his production style, and though there are none of his trademark percussion sounds here, extras that frosted the cake for artists from the Rolling Stones to Johnny Thunders, the three Pete Goalby originals, and six songs from guitarist Mel Galley play with briskness and uniform continuity from track to track. The toughness of "Take Good Care" and "When You Get to Heaven" is matched by the two best songs on the disc, the poppy title track, "Hold On," and the exquisite slow sustain of "Time Will Heal." You can hear Bad Company and Humble Pie in the grooves, the last song reflected in the back cover of a full moon and clouds against a night sky. It also recalls music Jimmy Miller created ten years earlier with the Hungarian group Locomotiv GT and Doug Fieger of Sky (later, the Knack). "Don't Break My Heart" veers off from Rolling Stones to Free, solid British rock with bite. Hold On by Trapeze may have a second life as Jimmy Miller's work outside of the Stones finds renewed appreciation. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stratus - Throwing Shapes Vinyl Rip

Stratus, the band that was already a partially formed Praying Mantis, featured the Troy brothers, as you might expect, with a pre Uriah Heep Bernie Shaw on vocals, which you might not.
Despite 1984's relatively primitive recording technology, 'Throwing Shapes' sounds remarkably clean and remarkably textured. Once again proving that rock album longevity derives almost entirely from good songwriting and musicianship.

The band's sound was some distance from NWOBHM. Peppered with pomp keyboard touches and poppy tunes, it leaned more toward AOR than Metal.
It wasn't a world beating sound, but you could hear a band with flair and ambition in abundance, whose influences emanated from the other side of the Atlantic.

This 9 track album opens with 3 perfectly formed rock songs, carefully crafted and cleverly self contained. It would be unfair to be critical of opener 'Back Street Lover's clichéd title and lyrical content. Yes, it's typical of the album, but to be honest, it's typical of most rock songs of the era.
The song sails in on an ocean of keyboards and picks up on some neat fretwork flourishes and special FX, striving (successfully) to create a dramatic framework for the song. Bernie Shaw's unmistakeable vocals and studied style do much to give this song the sense of conviction it needs.

The bright, invigorating 'Gimme Something' showcases the band's compact harmonies, while 'Even If It Takes' goes a step further, diving confidently into the cross currents of AOR and Pomp rock.
Inevitably, track 4, the piano led 'Give Me One More Chance' is a ballad. Shaw's vocals, uplifting axe soloing and the song's majestic sweep work a treat. British eighties' AOR at its absolute best.

Elsewhere, 'Never Say No' nods its head respectfully to NWOBHM, the pacey 'Run For Your Life' maintains side 2 momentum and 'Enough Is Enough' revisits the band's flirtation with North American Pomp Rock.

Good stuff. Maybe not addictive, but loveable just the same.

Written by Brian
Monday, October 20, 2008


Record Mirror - Private Pleasures - Vinyl Rip

More Indie via Phonogram's Custom Label for this compilation issued by Record Mirror to showcase some of the new names of the time: Dire Straits,for instance,had only just made their first album and the British Lions were a band formed by ex Mott The Hoople members,ditto Godley & Creme from 10 c.c.
Lindisfarne,the North East folk rock band,had actually just reformed after a number of hits in the early 70s
More interesting were City Boy,formerly a folk band from Birmingham and Sandy McLelland & the Backline who only made 2 albums,unlike Graham Parker & the Rumour who had just made their 4th but who were to remain Cult artistes forevermore.
Bethnal were named for the London area they were from and had just made their 2nd album with Pete Townshend acting as musical director,his brother in law producer.
The "Robert Johnson" who appears on this sampler is nothing to do with the 30s blues singer

Original Cover Notes

Side One

Graham Parker and The Rumour "Heat in Harlem"

In 1976,petrol pump attendant Graham Parker fronted a group of first class musicians from such bands as Ducks Deluxe and Brinsley Shwarz. The result was a powerfull combination which became Graham Parker and the Rumour. Four albums and myriad singles later,the band have been termed the best live act in Britain,whilethier albums have received every conceivable award. In addition,the Rumour have recorded a fine album on their own. Graham Parker & the Rumour Continue to gain ground through world-wide tours and unique,stylised rock Their next album is scheduled for early 1979

Sandy and the Backline "The Jokers Just a Fool"

Formed in January 1978, Sandy & the Backline is a seven - piece band led by Glasgow born Sandy Mclelland,ex lead singer of local band Chico. Their debut was at the Saints & Sinners club in Feb '78. Since that time,the band have toured consistently, making ready for the recording of their debut album in early '79. Their first single "Like a Hurricane", revealed their capacity to handle material from funk to light rock with a wide vocal range,brass section and a skillfull rhythm unit

Dire Straits "Down by the Waterline"

Formed in London's Deptford area by writer/singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler and bassist John Ilsley in 1977,with the addition of guitarist brother David Knopfler and session drummer Pick Withers resulted in demo tapes so impressive that DJ/ writer Charlie Gillett aired them on his radio show. In early 1978 Phonogram signed the band and the LP "Dire Straits" was recorded. Released in June '78 it charted in the U.K. three times.charted in Germany,Sweden,Switzerland,Belgium and went platinum in Holland. A superbly original work,it inspired producer Jerry Wexler to take on production of the second LP,due in early '79

Airwaves "Love Stop"

Producer Pat Moran and guitarist Ray Martinez brought in bassist John David and drummer Dave Charles to form Airwaves-a studio band with great vocal capacity,resident within the Rockfield studio complex in Wales. Officially operative in 1976, several singles were released on another label before the bands recent signing to phonogram. The trio,with producer Moran,release their first album "New Day" this year. Each member has a long list of musical credits,which include associations with names including Help Yourself,Love Sculpture,Deke Leonard and Andy Fairweather Low

Lindisfarne "Kings Cross"

In 1972 Lindisfarne were Britain's top selling albums band and on the singles front they didn't lag behind either. "Fog on the Tyne" was a number one album,while the "Nicely out of Tune" and "Dingley Dell" albums made the top ten. In '73 after consistent success, Lindisfarne split up. Rod Clements,SimonCowe and Ray Laidlaw went on to form "Jack the Lad" while Ray Jackson and Alan Hull continued their association with "Lindisfarne II".Christmas '77 saw the original Lindisfarne doing a series of reunion gigs and deciding to reform."Back and Forth"released in June '78 on phonogram showed that the band had retained all their magic. "Run for Home", the single from the album, charted and now with the release of "Magic In the Air", a double live album recorded at their ,77 reunion gigs, Lindisfarne are back and better than ever

Side Two

Robert Johnson "Responsibility"

At age 16, brilliant Memphis guitarist Robert Johnson became the only white musician in Isaac Hayes band. Since then, Robert has played for just about every notable artist from America's country-rock south , including the Staples Singers And Ann Peebles. In the early seventies Robert made a pilgrimage to England, where he worked with John Entwhistle's Ox and impressed Mick Jagger enough to gain an audition for Taylors position with the Stones (alas - a personality clash occurred). Currently Robert has signed with his trio to Ensign records and is recording his first album of original material

Bethnal "Who We Gonna Blame"

Bethnal are a loud and powerful band able to combine power sensitivity and aggression with outstanding musical ability. A four piece outfit, they have been five years in the making. Three are self-taught musicians. After a life of day jobs and solid rehearsing in the evenings the band first secured a one off deal with DJM. In august '77,Bethnal signed with phonogram and did a support stint on Hawkwind's extensive British tour,followed by a short tour with the Steve Gibbons Band. Their debut album "Dangerous Times", produced by Kenny Laguna, Received much critical acclaim.

British Lions "One More Chance"

The lions are basically a combination of the old "Mott" which featured Ray Major,Buffin,Morgan Fisher and Overend Watts with the addition of John Fiddler from Medicine Head. Last Nov/Dec, saw the lions on tour as support to Status Quo and this year as support to Judas Priest. There is a new album in the pipeline for release early next year which will tie in with a new series of dates

Lol & Kev "Art School Canteen"

Together since the late sixties, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme released duet records in 1969, prior to joining Eric Stewart to form Hotlegs in 1970. They continued on to form 10cc with Stewart and Graham Gouldman in 1972. this extremely successful band featured both Kevin and Lol heavily until the parting of the ways in '76. With their intention to further explore the areas of studio technique,production and song-writing.They invented the all-purpose gizmo guitar attachment, released the monumental triple album set "consequences"and the highly acclaimed "L" album,earning them a silver disc this year

City Boy "Dear Jean"

The group was started in Birmingham by Lol Mason and Steve Broughton in 1970, starting their career in earnest as an acoustic folk band. They changed their musical direction in March 1974, presenting an act which included electrical instruments and original compositions.With this act they made their professional debut at Barbarellas in Birmingham in September 1974. In January 1977, Roy Ward became their drummer in the bands only ever line-up change. After many "hot tips"by the musical press as one of the bands to watch, the predictions came true in the summer of 1978 when their single "5705" became their first hit in Britain (they had already had a couple of hit albums in America) and earned them a Silver Disc


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports - Vinyl Rip

Fictitious Sports is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Nick Mason solo album. It is a collaborative effort between songwriter Carla Bley, Robert Wyatt, Karen Kraft, and assorted brass players. Mason merely provided drums and percussion, and was for some curious reason granted top billing as a result.

It should be noted that, despite various listings to the contrary, this album is billed as Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports (ie. similar to "Bill Bruford's Earthworks"), rather than as "Fictitious Sports, an album by Nick Mason". This may justify the crediting to a certain extent, but still provides precious little consolation for those wondering why Bley and Wyatt were shut out of the top billing. It is possible that the creators of this album hoped that Mason's membership in Pink Floyd would result in boosted album sales; if this was the reason behind the curious crediting job, however, it proved to be of little avail.

NMFS has generally not received favourable reviews from its listeners, and there is a very simple reason for this: the music herein is generally far removed from Pink Floyd's recordings, and curious PF fans who came across this album probably had no idea what to do with it. This album does have a potential market, however, in fans of the Canterbury scene (and fans of Carla Bley's jazz-humour recordings might find it a worthwhile purchase as well). As such, despite its general separation from the Pink Floyd legacy, this album does not deserve to be entirely ignored by progressive fans.

The album begins on an odd note with "Can't Get My Motor To Start", the only track to feature Karen Kraft as the primary vocalist. The track begins with a catchy guitar riff and a drum line which is more notable for its high presence in the mix than for anything which Mason is actually playing. Kraft's vocals are sung-spoken jazz lines of the Annette Peacock variety, and they fit this track fairly well; whether or not the bizarre lyrics contain double-entendres or not may be left to the discretion of the listener. The song is a bit rough-hewn in parts, largely due to the presence of many of the "additional voices" thrown in to a generally chaotic result; the music, moreover, twice shifts to a simple bass/drums pattern which allows solos (of the harmonica and trumpet, respectively) to develop. Ultimately, the irritating and clever elements generally cancel each other out, leaving a fairly good pop-jazz number as the result.

This track, however, is something of an anomaly on the album. The rest of the work features Robert Wyatt on lead vocals, and is generally less "upbeat" than the leadoff track. "I Was Wrong" is the first track in this trend; once again, the drums and bass provide the foundations from which other instruments (notably the brass section) are occasionally granted the spotlight. The lyrics, however, are the primary feature of this track; Wyatt's deadpan vocals are perfect in describing a skeptic's encounter with alien life in the form of music. One wonders if the "space guitars" reference could relate in some way to Allen Bryant's album of the same name (from 1977). One also wonders if a parody of PF was intended. Either way, it's an interesting number.

"Siam" is even better. The music features vaguely "eastern" keyboard lines, a very good recurring guitar riff, steady drum lines, and lyrics which are amazingly bad in a clever way. Wyatt's voice is deadpan as ever, reciting the absurd lyrics without ever missing a beat; a strange (and long) brass solo before the second verse seems appropriately absurd in context.

"Hot Water" is something of an "odd song out" on the album, in that it actually *does* come fairly close to the mainstream of 1970s progressive music. Chris Spedding's guitar lines are remarkably Floydian, and the concluding solo is too close to Gilmour's style to be coincidental. Wyatt sings the number in a more "progressive" manner as well, as might be expected (although some might claim that he sounds a bit too much like an Alan Parsons Project vocalist in this context). The song, however, is marred by (1) the fact that Karen Kraft's duet vocals don't fit the style of music very well, and (2) the fact that the entire "song" section of the track seems underwritten. Still, this is only a few notches away from a four-star rating, and is a good way to end the first side.

Side Two begins with "Boo To You Too", a novelty number advising musicians to respond in turn to heckling from their audiences. This reviewer could do without the low brass notes at absurd moments, but the track is fairly good otherwise. Much of the song involves Wyatt singing unintelligible lyrics over a ludicrous boogie-woogie piano line; the guitarist is here closer to Steve Howe than anyone else in the progressive world, and provides two decent solos as such. A decent diversion.

"Do Ya?" is a relative lull. The performances are still fairly good, with Bley, Wyatt and the horn section presenting notable efforts. As against this, even the fact that it was written as a transparent parody can't disguise the fact that the "unironic ballad" sections of the track aren't very interesting, and Wyatt's absurd accent towards the end doesn't provide the comic relief that was presumably intended. Kraft, once again, sounds out of place.

"Wervin'" returns the album to an upbeat, pop/jazz-oriented mode. The musical foundation for the track sounds oddly similar to the Talking Heads's "I Zimbra" at times; the bass is mixed extremely high, and takes an extremely extroverted role at times. An extremely long trumpet solo appears in the middle of the track. The lyrics, sung by Wyatt with the cast of additional voices, are not actually clear as to what they're describing -- nonetheless, the singing falls into the "catchy if meaningless" category.

The album concludes with it's most bizarre track, entitled "I'm A Mineralist". This number consists of Wyatt -- again using his most deadpan voice -- describing a cradle to grave fetish for minerally-based objects. The musical accompaniment takes the form of an absurdly out-of-place requiem/lament piece. The lyrics once again return to the depths reached in "Siam" -- although some credit must be given for "Erik Satie gets my rocks off, Cage is a dream/Philip Glass is mineralist to the extreme" (which, of course, leads to an instrumental passage of Glass-esque repetition). While some might find the project a bit dubious, this song certainly succeeds within its intentions.

As regards Nick Mason ... well ... he doesn't really do very much. The drums are mixed rather high throughout the album, but aside from a few percussion rolls at the end of "Siam", he doesn't do terribly much of note.

Pink Floyd fans are cautioned, but Canterbury fans are strongly recommended to check this album out. General progressive fans may find it an interesting side-project (in the careers of all artists concerned) as well.
The Christopher Currie

(review originally posted to on 28 September 1997)

Track Listings

1. Can't get my motor to start (3:35)
2. I was wrong (4:10)
3. Siam (4:46)
4. Hot river (5:11)
5. Boo to you too (3:24)
6. Do ya ? (4:29)
7. Wervin' (3:55)
8. I'm a mineralist (6:14)

Total Time: 35:51

- Nick Mason / drums
, percussion
- Robert Wyatt / vocals
- Karen Kraft / vocals
- Chris Spedding / guitars
- Carla Bley / keyboards
- Gary Windo / tenor, bass clarinet, flute
- Gary Valente / trombones
- Mike Mantler / trumpets
- Howard Johnson / tuba
- Steve Swallow / bass
- Terry Adams / piano, harmonica, clavinet
- Gary Windo, Carlos Ward, D. Sharpe, Gary Valente, Vincent Chancey & Earl McIntyre / additional voices


Bumpers - Island Sampler (1970) Vinyl Rip Original Pink Island Label

In the late sixties British record labels started to release a selection of their artists’ material on records known as samplers. These were not intended as bumpers up front anthologies or compilations – the purpose was to allow listeners the opportunity to sample a range of acts at a reduced price, showcasing in particular those for whom there was not a conventional singles market and hence little opportunity for radio airplay in the UK. Columbia’s “The Rock Machine Turns You On” and Liberty Records “Gutbucket” started the trend, but Island Records produced a series of gems from “Nice Enough to Eat” and “You Can All Join In” in 1969, to “Bumpers” in 1970 and “El Pea” in 1971. “Bumpers” was, as it’s name would suggest, the pick of the crop, with an eclectic yet cohesive collection of music across two 33rpm vinyl discs. The album came out in two pressings, one with the pink label and "i" logo, the other with the label displaying a palm motif on a white background and a pink rim. There are subtle differences between the recordings (as noted by Dave Sanderson), although the variations on overseas versions were much more fundamental, with a wholly different selection of tracks for the Antipodes (see here). In addition the sleeve notes and label information are shoddily compiled - to the numerous errors recorded by Bob McBeath at The ProgArchives add that John & Beverley Martyn are simply called "John & Beverley" on the back of the album. Incidentally, I have little idea what the motif on the back of the album represents, nor where the picture inside the album was taken, but I can tell you why there is the choice of artwork on the front - it is because those distinctive basketball-style shoes, popular in Britain at the time, were known as "Bumpers".

1970 was the year that 18 year olds got the vote, and women got equal pay. The first transatlantic Boeing 747 flight arrived at Heathrow and Britons got a taste of the new decimal currency ahead of decimalization in 1971. Ted Heath led a Conservative victory in the General Elections in a decade which would end with Margaret Thatcher in power. Tonga and Fiji gained independence from Great Britain, signaling the last small death throes of the British Empire, whilst white Rhodesians and the IRA initiated their own brands of independence movements. Across the pond, Americans protested for and against their invasion of Vietnam and Cambodia, and the National Guard shot unarmed students on the campus of Kent State University. A dazzling Brazilian team led by Pele won and retained the Jules Rimet Trophy, football’s World Cup trophy won by England four years earlier at Wembley stadium. bumpers inside left

Simon & Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, Andy Williams, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin has the biggest album successes of the year, and Elvis Presley topped a singles chart which had Rolf Harris’s “Two Little Boys” heading up the chart at the start of the year. This was the year of the Isle Of Wight festival that featured Jimi Hendrix, who was to die in London in September and achieve a posthumous number one single with “Voodoo Chile”. The Beatles split up and Janis Joplin died. Mariah Carey was born.

The music scene appeared remarkably vibrant, and Island Records was arguably the most innovative and diverse label around, and easily the most successful independent label before its founder, Chris Blackwell, sold it to A&M (PolyGram) in 1989. Blackwell had started in the record industry in 1958 in his native Jamaica, promoting the emerging bluebeat and ska sounds. He had a crossover hit with “My Boy Lollipop” from Millie Small in 1964, by which time he had moved his Island Records label to Notting Hill Gate bumpers inside rightin London. The label would expand to include a diverse range of pop, rock, folk, jazz, blues, reggae, progressive, underground and experimental acts that included the Spencer Davis Group, ELP, Bob Marley, Robert Palmer and U2. Along the way it developed a reputation for originality that attracted maverick and talented producers such as Joe Boyd and Guy Stevens. And, of course, the artists featured on Bumpers. Incidentally the pink label period releases are lovingly documented in a series of articles in "Record Collector" magazine between September and December 1996. I once read that Chris Salewicz was going to write a history of Island Records but I guess it is still a work in progress - should be a good read when it finally comes out. And Joe Boyd has written an outstanding book on the music industry called "White Bicycles" which co-incides with the time he was associated with Island.

Track Listings

Side 1
1. Every Mother's Son by Traffic (7:08)
2. Love by Bronco (4:42)
3. I Am The Walrus by Spooky Tooth (6:20)
4. Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga by Quintessence (5:15)

Side Two:
5. Thunderbuck Ram by Mott The Hoople (4:50)
6. Nothing To Say by Jethro Tull (5:10)
7. Going Back West by Jimmy Cliff (5:43)
8. Send Your Son To Die by Blodwyn Pig (4:35, shown as 5:35 on label)
9. Little Woman by Dave Mason (2:30)

Side Three:
10. Go Out And Get It by John and Beverley Martyn (3:06)
11. Cadence and Cascade by King Crimson (3:43)
12. I'm Reaching Out On All Sides by If (5:40)
13. Oh I Wept by Free (4:25)
14. Hazey Jane by Nick Drake (4:28)

Side Four:
15. Walk Awhile by Fairport Convention (4:00)
16. Maybe You're Right by Cat Stevens (3:00)
17. Island by Renaissance (5:57)
18. The Sea by Fotheringay (5:29)
19. Take Me To Your Leader by Clouds (2:55)

More Info on this album can be found here


Vinyl rip Here


Side three of this album was just too badly damaged to clean so for the sake of continuity I've replaced them with mp3's from various sources

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Various - Just Good Songs

A great compilation album circa 1976 from k-tel records

1. Hold the Line - Toto
2. Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann,s Earthband
3. Lady - Styx
4. Free Me - Uriah Heep
5. Arms of Mary - Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
6. You've got a Friend - James Taylor
7. Do i Love You - Luke
8. Year of the Cat - Al Stewart
9. Cold as Ice - Foreigner
10. Hard Rock Cafe - Carole King
11. Black Magic Woman - Santanta
12. Love is Alive - Gary Wright
13. Walk on the Wilde Side - Lou Reed
14. I Cant Stand it no More - Peter Frampton
15. What a Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers
16. Dance the Night Away - Van Halen


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bronz - Taken By Storm

Line-up :
Max Bacon - Vocals
Chris Goulstone - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Shawn Kirkpatrick - Guitar, Vocals
Paul Webb - Bass, Vocals
Carl Matthews - Drums

1. Send Down An Angel 04:33
2. Heat Of The Night 05:12
3. The Cold Truth 03:30
4. Night Runner 03:07
5. Taken By Storm 04:00
6. Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya (New England cover) 03:40
7. Sweet Lady 04:39
8. Harder Than Diamond 03:56
9. Tiger 03:02
10. Loneliness Is Mine 04:01
Total playing time 39:40


Uriah Heep - Still 'Eavy, Still Proud

Uriah Heep:
Mick Box (vocals, guitar)
Phil Lanzon (vocals, keyboards)
Trevor Bolder (vocals, bass)
Lee Kerslake (vocals, drums)
Bernie Shaw (vocals).
Digitally remastered by Mike Brown and Robert M. Corich

With all the best-of's, live albums, and odds and ends collections issued over the years from Uriah Heep, it's easy to lose track. To make matters even more confusing, 1994's STILL 'EAVY, STILL PROUD is a mixture of both live material and rarities, but contains many highlights.
You'll find live takes of such Uriah Heep standards as the epic "Gypsy," the tranquil "Lady in Black," and the hard rocker "Easy Livin'," plus rare versions of such tracks as "Corina," "Playing for Time," and perhaps the best track of them all--"Valley of Kings." For longtime Heep fans looking for rare material, STILL 'EAVY, STILL PROUD is recommended.

Original LP liner notes

To celebrate twenty years in rock, having survived all the rigors and turbulence that entails, and still look to the future with renewed vigor and optimism is truly exceptional. URIAH HEEP are such an exception.

With a unique combination of melody, harmony and power they have influenced and inspired millions of people worldwide. From their Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble album debut in 1970, through to the excellent Raging Silence last spring (their seventeenth studio album), HEEPhave traveled their own individual course, accepting the challenges that each new year presented and always breaking new ground.

It has been an adventure that has seen few parallels; the last few years speeding by in a whirlwind of global travel, as the band increasingly cast their gaze to new horizons, leaving some thirty-eight countries touched by the sound and vivacity of URIAH HEEP.

This album reflects the band's outstanding musical achievements, in a combination of re-recordings and original tracks, starting with Gypsy (the first track on the first side of their first album) and finishing with a remix of their most recent single, Blood Red Roses.

Track List

1. GYPSY (7.40) live recording (November 1989) for Central Television
2. JULY MORNING (10.26) live recording (November 1989) for Central Television
3. MR MAJESTIC (4.59) live recording (November 1989) for Central Television
4. LADY IN BLACK (6.11) live recording (November 1989) for Central Television
5. EASY LIVIN' (3.10) from Live In Moscow 1988
6. TOO SCARED TOO RUN (4.12) from Live In Moscow 1988
7. CORINA (4.42) from Live In Moscow 1988
8. SPLIT IMAGE (2.45) recorded as a video single for a film soundtrack
9. PLAYING FOR TIME (4.32) recorded in 1981 during the Ridge Farm sessions, Previously unreleased version
10. VALLEY OF KINGS (5.25) recorded in 1981 during the Ridge Farm sessions
11. I’M ALIVE AGAIN (3.39) recorded in 1981 during the Ridge Farm sessions. Previously unreleased
12. PACIFIC HIGHWAY (4.48) studio demo recording and mix. Previously unreleased version
13. MR MAJESTIC (4.59) studio demo recording and mix. Previously unreleased version
14. CORINA (3.49) studio demo recording and mix. Previously unreleased version.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Rock Workshop - The Very Last Time

It’s probably accurate to claim that Rock Workshop couldn’t exist today. Only during the early seventies did record labels bestow upon bands the flexibility and freedom that led to the creation of such original and often avant-garde albums.
Rock Workshop were just such an innovative project. The band formed in 1971 when guitarist Ray Russell (who had previously worked with Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames) colluded with the legendary singer Alex Harvey. Russell had first met Harvey after standing in for Harvey’s brother Leslie (of Stone The Crows) in the musical ‘Hair’ (at a tender age).
Their shared enthusiasm in producing more left-field material enabled them to recruit a sprawling band of twelve members that included a lively brass section.
Their debut album ‘Rock Workshop’ was recorded over a two-day period in April 1970, and released soon afterwards, though it surprisingly failed to make any substantial impact on the charts. Containing such tracks as ‘Hole In Her Stocking’ and ‘Born In The City’- both delivered with Alex Harvey’s hefty vocals- and it remains fresh even today.
Yet the record label was sufficiently impressed with the debut to fund a second album.
Regrettably, by the time of the recording of the second album, Alex Harvey had effectively left the band in order to pursue his own career (with the first of many Sensational Alex Harvey Band albums being released in 1972).
Replacing Harvey were Al Greed (who had sung on a number of the songs on the first album) and the somewhat mysterious figure of Ginger who only worked with the band on this record.
This release is enhanced by the inclusion of some previously unreleased material, which Russell has recently unearthed, that were recorded in the period between the first and second album.
“Well, these are tracks that I didn’t know that I had. I found the tapes, along with a few photos of Alex, in the bottom of a box in my loft,” he smiles. “I’m actually amazed that the tapes have survived so long as they were left out in my barn for ages!”
Including rehearsals (with Harvey on vocals) of tracks such as ‘Wade In The Water’ and ‘Ice Cold’ along with live material recorded at London’s Goldsmiths College they provide a valuable insight into how the band arranged and performed their material in a live setting.

Artist: Rockworkshop
Album: The Very Last Time (UK Bonus Tracks)


1 Living Reason (Russell) 4:13
2 Street War, Pts. 1-2 (Russell) 9:12
3 Going Home (Greed, Russell) 5:42
4 What's Mine Is Mine (Greed, Russell) 2:54
5 Weeping Wood Mandalas (Russell) 1:51
6 Forgotten How to Live (Greed, Harper, Russell) 4:00
7 Light as Light (Greed, Russell) 3:49
8 I Think It's.... (Greed, Rushton, Russell) 4:01
9 Ella Banta Dum Bundy (Russell) 6:22
10 Very Last Time (Russell) 3:31
11 Is This the End.... Baby? (Russell) 0:51
12 Let My Bluebird Sing (live) (Harvey, Russell) 4:04
13 Wade in the Water (Traditional) 3:41
14 Ice Cold (Russell, Shepard) 3:04
15 Heavy Weather (live) (Russell) 4:39
16 Patterns (Russell) 2:44
17 Watch Your Step (Russell) 4:16
18 Ashen Besher (Russell) 5:28

Rock Workshop In The Studio

Harry Beckett - Horn
Bob Downes - Wind
Alan Greed - Keyboards, Vocals
Ginger Harper - Vocals
Bud Parkes - Horn
Brian Miller - Keyboards
Tony Roberts - Wind
Darryl Runswick - Bass
Alan Rushton - Drums
Ray Russell - Guitar
Derek Wadsworth - Trombone
Tony Uter - Percussion
Phil Wainman - Percussion


Rock Workshop - With Alex Harvey & Ray Russell

A product of the early-70's, Rock Workshop were formed by Ray Russell and Alex Harvey and became an expansive band of thirteen musicians who created an innovative and technically articulate form of experimental rhythm and blues.

Ray Russell recalls that he was playing with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames and then appeared in the 'Hair' musical together with Alex Harvey's brother Les. From this meeting, and Alex Harvey's involvement on backing vocals in the musical, the idea of Rock Workshop was born.

The collective's first album was issued in 1971 to great critical acclaim. However, due to their record company wanting to market them as an English 'Blood Sweat And Tears', they never achieved great commercial success. A second album was released before the band folded and Alex Harvey went on to great commercial and critical success with his own band.


Formed in 1970, this fluid but short-lived jazz rock group formed by Ray Russell (guitar) and featured several of the UK's leading young jazz musicians, and originally included Harry Beckett (trumpet/flugelhorn), Bob Downes (saxophone), Bud Parkes (trumpet) and Tony Roberts (trumpet/woodwind), Derek Wadsworth (trombone) Alan Greed (vocals) and Brian Miller (keyboards), Daryl Runswick (bass), Alan Rushton and Robin Jones (drums). Several were involved in other, simultaneous projects, notably solo albums by Downes and Russell and session appearances for albums at that time by Jack Bruce, Keef Hartley and Harvey. Wadsworth and Parkes appeared on the latter's solo album, Roman Wall Blues, and Harvey reciprocated by singing on most of Rock Workshop. Their second album For The Very Last Time featured percussionists Phil Wainman and Tony Uter in place of Jones, while Ginger Harper was added on vocals. The individual members then went their separate ways. Rock Workshop in particular remains an underrated gem, featuring Russell's frantic "Spoin Kop" and the evocative and brassy "Primrose Hill". Although both vinyl albums have long since been deleted, they represent a bold attempt at fusing what would be termed rock jazz as opposed to jazz rock. The debut was finally reissued in 2003 by Angel Air. This welcome release has bonus tracks and the running order changed yet the original version of "Primrose Hill" is sadly replaced by an inferior alternate take.
Artist: Rock Workshop
Album: Rock Workshop (Bonus Tracks)

1 Ice Cold (Russell, Shepherd) 2:58
2 Wade in the Water (Traditional) 3:45
3 Hole in Her Stocking (Harvey, Russell) 4:09
4 He Looks at Me/Mooncross Grov (Russell) 10:19
5 Spine Cop (Russell) 3:47
6 Born in the City (Russell) 3:01
7 Theme for Freedom (Russell) 7:34
8 You to Lose (Cameron, Russell) 6:41
9 Spine Cop (alternate take) (Russell) 3:50
10 Hole in Her Stocking (alternate take) (Harvey, Russell) 5:31
11 Born in the City (alternate take) (Russell) 2:47
12 You to Lose (alternate take) (Cameron, Russell) 5:25
13 Primrose Hill (Russell, Shepherd) 5:41
14 Return of the Goddess (Russell) 5:40
Harry Beckett - Horn
Bob Downes - Wind
Alan Greed - Keyboards, Vocals
Alexander Harvey - Vocals
Robin Jones - Drums
Brian Miller - Keyboards
Tony Roberts - Wind
Darryl Runswick - Bass
Alan Rushton - Drums
Ray Russell - Guitar
Derek Wadsworth - Trombone


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sipder - Rough Justice

This is the second Spider album that gets released on CD, possibly for their first time ever, and it’s 1983s “Rough Justice” not to be confused with Tytan’s album by the same name.

By 1983, Spider had come along way in many many ways. They had switched half a dozen of labels, released as many singles or more in the process and had several tours with prestigious bands under their belts. 1983 found them signed with A&M, another prestigious label… and on the brink of releasing their sophomore effort. “Rough justice” kickstarts quite capably with the anthemic “Here we go rock’n roll” and contains quite a few more typical songs in the vein of their debut or even a tad heavier like ”death row”, but seems to drift away from the norm in a number of occasions, most notably the very melodic “Martyred (For What I love)” and the rather complex “The minstrel” and folky and longwinded “Midsummer morning” that show the bands capability to break away from the boogie niche… Unfortunately that would also seem to be the band’s down fall, as the public didn’t seem to pick on the bands slightly more refined direction. Troubles with the press and the fact that “Here we go rock n roll” and “Breakaway” a number based on an original by the relatively unknown combo DEAD END KIDS the singles that were released in support of the album, were met by general disinterest, forced the band to go into touring and label hunting immediately after the albums release. Another album which was closer to the bands original sound ensued on the smalltime RPT label (which KRESCENDO also intends to put out) after an unsuccessful attempt by Mausoleum to put it out, and the band disbanded a few years later in 1986… all in all it’s sad, since this second album shows the band maturing…

Sadly, I can predict the the good-for-nothing know-it-all journos of my homeland, will just squash this album without hesitation, just as if it were a spider, as it’s 2008 – and “we cannot be pretending it’s 1986 anymore” and well there is not going to be an ad campaign behind it… at best, they will do a 3 line review and give it a 5/10 just to say they ‘ve done something… such is life… which makes me wonder who the real insects are….

Worth bying if you ‘re into old school stuff and you like NWOBHM, URIAH HEEP and or STATS QUO.
Reviewer: Dimitrios Fatouros

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Krokus - Krokus (The first Album)

The so-called “Ice Breaker ”…the first steps for the founding members.

Line-up: Chris Von Rohr - Tommy Kiefer - Remo Spadino - Hansi Droz

Krokus also known - (by the band in particular) - as First Album, is the self-titled first album from Swiss Heavy Metal band Krokus. It was the only Krokus album to feature Hansi Droz and Remo Spadino. The album has become a collectors item since it was limited pressed and has never been reissued and is only available on the original vinyl.

The band name "Krokus" evolved from the word for a flower common to the region of southern Europe, the crocus. Early in the spring of 1975, band founder Chris von Rohr observed a field of these flowers while traveling by train. He was returning from L'Ecole des Chefs located in France after an aborted career in the culinary arts, and it was around this time the idea for a Metal band was formed. The band members stated that it was the perfect name, since it features "Rock" right in the middle

01. Majale
02. Angela Part 1.
03. Energy
04. Mostsaphin
05. No Way
06. Eventide Clockworks
07. Freak Dream
08. Jumpin' In
09. Insalata Mysta
10. Angela Part 2.
11. Just Like Everyday


Robin George - Go Down Fighting (rare single vinyl rip)

Issued after his work with the Byron Band, released on Arista records this single has done the rounds and is not in the best of condition Still if you like Robins music it is well worth giving it a listen