tisdag 20 april 2021

The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome (1st Edition Japan Release with Sticker) UK 2016

290:- (SHM-CD Japan Limited Remaster Edition. 3-delat Digipack Konvolut. 1:a utgåva med klistermärke.)

Blue & Lonesome is a covers album by the Rolling Stones—their 23rd British and 25th American studio album—released on 2 December 2016. It is the band's first album to feature only cover songs, and their first studio release since 2005's A Bigger Bang, with its eleven-year gap being the longest between two albums from the band. Despite the short time length of just around 43 minutes, the album was released as a double LP. "Just Your Fool", a Buddy Johnson cover (though the Rolling Stones version is based on Little Walter's arrangement) was released as the first single from the album on 6 October. The name of the album is from a song which Little Walter wrote, "Blue and Lonesome".

Though there had been an eleven-year gap between albums, the Rolling Stones kept the same basic production and musician team as A Bigger Bang. Joining vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards as producers was Don Was, who had been working with the group for most of the prior two decades. In the studio were band members Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Charlie Watts (drums), alongside contract players Darryl Jones (bass), Chuck Leavell (keyboards) and Matt Clifford (multi-instrumentalist). Eric Clapton contributed guitar on two tracks and drummer Jim Keltner plays percussion on another.

Blue & Lonesome was recorded in just three days in December 2015. In April 2016, at the launch of the Rolling Stones career retrospective Exhibitionism, the band confirmed that their new album was due to be released "some time in the autumn". Richards said the album would feature "a lot of Chicago blues". Eric Clapton plays guitar on two tracks; he was recording his own album in the same studio as the Stones were and was asked to play on a few tracks. The album is entirely blues-based, consisting of covers of artists such as Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter.

This is the first album since Dirty Work (1986) to not feature any guitar playing from Jagger (who instead concentrates completely on vocals and harmonica), although he is pictured in the album's booklet playing guitar during the album's sessions. It is also the first album since Black and Blue (1976) to not feature a lead vocal from Richards. Likewise, it is also the first album since Dirty Work to release a lead single that was not a Jagger/Richards composition with "Just Your Fool".

Recorded over a marathon three-day session in December, 2015 the album was released a year later to robust sales; reaching number one on the album charts in the UK and over a dozen other countries, and number four in the US. It was certified gold or platinum in several countries. 

As Keith Richards tells it, the Rolling Stones' first-ever all-blues album is the result of the band learning how to play in the unfamiliar surroundings of Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios. To ease into the new place, the Stones decided to knock out a version of Little Walter's "Blue and Lonesome" and it sounded good enough that the band decided to cut a few more covers, winding up with a full album of Chicago blues in a few days. The Stones haven't worked at such swift speed in decades -- not since the early '60s, when they were churning out two albums a year -- and much of the appeal of Blue & Lonesome lies in its casualness: by being tossed off, the album highlights how the Stones play together as a band, blending instinct and skill. 


Blue & Lonesome isn't a showcase for virtuoso playing -- even Eric Clapton's two smoldering solos are part of the tapestry -- but rather a groove record, emphasizing feel and interplay while never losing sight of the song. Such commitment to song is one of the reasons Blue & Lonesome winds up as an unexpected triumph from Mick Jagger. A blues album from the Stones always seemed like a dream project for Keith Richards, who always championed the  band's blues roots, but it's Jagger who dominates the album, playing searing harp and singing with nuance and power. 

Always a guarded performer -- back in 1974, he scoffed at the notion of letting his feelings flood on the page -- Jagger seems freed, pouring heart into the slow burners and uptempo shuffles alike. The rest of the Stones match his commitment and that's what makes Blue & Lonesome something remarkable. Conceptually, it's clever -- if this winds up being the last Rolling Stones album, it provides a nice bookend to their 1964 debut -- but it's artistically satisfying because it's the Rolling Stones allowing themselves to simply lay back and play for sheer enjoyment. It's a rare thing that will likely seem all the more valuable over the years.

The Band:
Mick Jagger – lead vocals, harmonica
 Keith Richards – electric guitar
 Charlie Watts – drums
 Ronnie Wood – electric guitar

Additional musicians:
 Darryl Jones – bass guitar
 Chuck Leavell – keyboards
 Eric Clapton – slide guitar on "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing", lead electric guitar on "I Can't Quit You Baby"
 Matt Clifford – Wurlitzer piano, electric keyboards, Hammond B3
 Jim Keltner – percussion on "Hoo Doo Blues"

01  "Just Your Fool" Little Walter  02:16
02. "Commit a Crime" Howlin' Wolf  03:38
03. "Blue and Lonesome" Little Walter  03:07
04. "All of Your Love" Magic Sam  04:46
05. "I Gotta Go" Little Walter  03:26
06. "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" Miles GraysonLermon Horton  04:30
07. "Ride 'Em on Down" Eddie Taylor  02:48
08. "Hate to See You Go" Little Walter 03:20
09. "Hoo Doo Blues" Otis HicksJerry West  02:36
10. "Little Rain" Ewart G.Abner Jr.Jimmy Reed  03:32
11. "Just Like I Treat You" Willie Dixon  03:24
12. "I Can't Quit You Baby" Willie Dixon  05:13

måndag 19 april 2021

The Savage Rose - Wild Child (Progressive Rock Denmark 1973)

290:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. Albumet släpptes av "Belle Antique" i Mars 2020. Utgången utgåva. Endast detta exemplar i lager.)

One of their better efforts originally released in 1973. The R&B influence retreats in favor of a tender, melodic approach emphasizing the organ, piano, and accordions on a strong set that favors their European folk influences. Eight remastered tracks.

One of the most well-known rock groups from Continental Europe, Denmark's Savage Rose recorded a wealth of intriguing and eclectic progressive rock in the late '60s and '70s. In their early work, one hears faint echoes of the Airplane, Doors, Pink Floyd, and other psychedelic heavyweights combined with classical jazz and Danish-Euro folk elements. 

Their arrangements rely heavily on an incandescent, watery organ that sounds like nothing so much as psychedelic aquarium music. The most striking aspect of the band's sound, however, was the vocals of lead singer Annisette. Her childish wispy and sensual phrasing can suddenly break into jarring, almost histrionic wailing, like a Janis Joplin with Yoko Ono-isms, and eerily foreshadows Kate Bush's style.

Stars in their native land, Savage Rose also achieved a bit of underground success abroad, and several of their albums were released in North America. Between 1968 and 1978, the group released nine albums, moving from vaguely psychedelic rock and the heavily gospel-influenced Refugee to the nearly classical ballet score Dodens Triumf and the folky, nearly all-Danish Solen Var Ogsa Din (their first eight albums were sung entirely in English).

Always a radical band -- the Black Panthers even invited the group to play at a benefit for Bobby Seale after hearing one of Savage Rose's records -- they took the extremely radical step of withdrawing from the studio entirely by the end of 1970s to focus on using their music to support leftist political causes. Although they continued to make music and perform, they were often heard at benefits and free concerts, actually playing in Lebanese hospitals, schools, and refugee camps at the P.L.O.'s invitation. 

They eased back into recording in the early '80s with Danish-language efforts on small labels, eventually getting back into the mainstream music business with established distribution. Their mid-'90s album, Black Angel, was their first English-language recording in many years, and a substantial Danish hit. By this time the only remaining members from the original band were Thomas Koppel and Annisette (now his wife); Koppel also records and composes symphonic music as a solo artist.

01 Wild Child  6:00
02 Stewball Was so Tired  3:20
03 Las cinco de la tarde  2:00
04 Madhouse Wedding  5:00
05 Ain't My Baby Beautiful  4:30
06 Tarantula  3:10
07 The Shoeshine Boy Is Dead  5:20
08 Screams of Captured Birds  5:40

fredag 16 april 2021

Morley Grey - The Only Truth (Very Rare Heavy Psych US 1972)

100:- (Akarma Records Mini LP CD. Albumet som alla samlare av US Heavy Psychedelia skulle vilja som originalutgåva. Visst, det går att få på ett original i nyskick om du har en tjock plånbok. Det är bättre att ha en Mini LP CD att lyssna på, istället för inget alls. Här ha du en återutgivning till ett bra pris.)

Based out of Alliance, OH (in the eastern part of the state about 30 miles from Akron, which is a polite way of saying in the middle of nowhere), Morly Grey were a power trio whose sole album, 1972's The Only Truth (the first and only LP from local label Starshine Records), has become a much-bootlegged collector's item among fans of classic psychedelia and prog rock. 

For years, folks speculated that The Only Truth actually dated from 1969, and the album's sound and approach do seem a bit behind its times; Cream and Blue Cheer are clear influences here (without Cream's heavier blues angles or Blue Cheer's monolithic ferocity), though one can also hear the shadows of latter-day acts such as Grand Funk Railroad and the James Gang in Tim Roller's guitar work, which shifts back and forth between gutsy power chords and graceful lead figures. 

The ghosts of a number of noted power trios can also be heard in the limber basslines of Mark Roller and drummer Paul Cassidy's firm rhythms and colorful fills (Bob LaNave took over for Cassidy on three cuts, including on the 17-minute title track). The album's artwork suggests that Morly Grey may have been an early Jesus Rock band, but a listen to The Only Truth confirms otherwise, as the band seem far more interested in slightly trippy ponderings about brotherhood, love, and the war in Vietnam than either God or His son. 

As is the case with so many prog/psych collectors items, the rarity of The Only Truth (and the fact it was created by an unknown band from a small Midwestern town) is what makes genre obsessives salivate as much as the music, and while this is no lost masterwork, it's strong, well-crafted stuff for the era. The production is simple but clear and straightforward, the interplay between the musicians is genuinely impressive, and if Tim Roller's guitar meanders on the extended tracks, his chops were very good and his bandmates were clearly a match for his talents. If Morly Grey had been on a bigger label or based out of a bigger town, they might have gone far, and The Only Truth deserves a wider hearing outside of collectors' circles.

The Band:
Tim Roller - Guitar
Mark Roller - Bass, Vocals
Bob Lanave - Drums

01. Peace Officer  05:30
02. You Came to Me  04:14
03. Who Can I Say You Are  03:40
04. I'm Afraid  04:32
05. Our Time  06:29
06. After Me Again  03:07
07. A Feeling for You  02:33
08. The Only Truth  17:02

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Staple Singers - Be What You Are (Very Rare Soul/Funk US 1973)

300:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Mini LP som släpptes av P-Vine 1997. En av de svåraste Mini LP av "Stax" utgåvorna som det Japanska skivbolaget P-Vine  började ge ut 1996. P-Vine har släppt det mesta från Stax/Volt albumen. Jag har inte haft albumet till salu någon gång sedan 2008. Mycket svår att hitta.)

By the early '70s, despite a roster that included the Dramatics and Isaac Hayes, Stax Records was winding down. The Staple Singers, signed to the label in the late '60s, always provided hit singles and respected album efforts. 

Despite their gospel beginnings, the Staple Singers' biggest draws became Pops Staples' blues-based "devil's music" guitar and Mavis Staples' breathy and sexy vocals. Their 1972 album, Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, all but set the template for their subsequent work. Be What You Are in some respects is an often overly cautious follow-up. 

The first single, "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)," comes off as a softer take on "I'll Take You There." While the implications of having a narrow lyrical scope did impede the group somewhat, Be What You Are has the group mining familiar terrain with minimal wear. Tracks like "Love Comes in All Colors," "Tellin' Lies," and the masterful "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend" are all strong and well-produced tracks in the group's rural yet urbane style. 

The effort's lone cover of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands," despite Mavis Staples' lead, comes up short due to the perfection of the Withers original. Mavis Staples also gets two solo efforts here, including Bettye Crutcher's tough "Drown Yourself" and the spare "Heaven." Be What You Are isn't as strong or innovative as its predecessor, but it is a cohesive album and a must-have for fans.

01. "Be What You Are" Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, Carl Hampton  05:03
02. "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)" Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, Carl Hampton  04:29
03. "Medley: Love Comes in All Colors/Tellin' Lies" Bettye Crutcher/Carl Smith  08:51
04. "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend" Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, Carl Hampton 04:04
05. "Drown Yourself" Bettye Crutcher  04:38
06. "I Ain't Raisin' No Sand" Darryl Carter, Mack Rice  06:33
07. "Grandma's Hands" Bill Withers  02:43
08. "Bridges Instead of Walls" Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, Carl Hampton 04:04
09. "I'm on Your Side" Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, Carl Hampton 04:00
10. "That's What Friends Are For" Parsons, Penney, Mack Rice  04:16
11. "Heaven" Terry Manning 03:36

måndag 29 mars 2021

Still Life - Selftitled (Eftertraktad Progressive Rock UK 1971)

320:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Vertigo Records Progressive Rock Album. Har alltid varit eftertraktad och svår att hitta som Mini LP, för att inte tala om originalalbumet. Utgången utgåva sedan länge, så passa på.)

Still Life was a British progressive rock band characterized by expert Hammond organ playing, intricate and original vocal harmonies, and an agile and precise rhythm section. They had one self-titled album that was originally released in 1971 and later re-released in 2003. The album credits kept an aura of mystery about their membership. Martin Cure (Martin Cure And The Peeps), and Graham Amos (Rainbows (band), Terry Howells and Alan Savage were believed to be involved.

Bassist Graham Amos and vocalist Martin Cure began their musical experience in 1963 in a Coventry based band called The Sabres. They later formed The Peeps in 1965. The other two members of the band were Roy Albrighton (guitar) and Paul Wilkinson (drums). The Peeps recorded five SPs for Philips Records (1966–68). In 1968, they recruited Terry Howells on organ (ex-Ray King Soul Band). Their drummer, P. Wilkinson, left the band in 1968 (he joined a band called Flying Machine). 

With a new drummer, Gordon Reed (ex-Vampires), the group's name was changed to Rainbows. They recorded two singles for CBS Records. The Rainbows also had some gigs in Hamburg, Germany, and when they were finished there their guitarist, R. Albrighton, decided to stay in Germany (later, he formed a band called Nektar). 

When Rainbows came back to England, Reed left the band. The three remaining musicians: Amos, Cure, and Howells, changed a band name to Still Life. Alan Savage was recruited at short notice prior to the new line-up recording their debut album. It was recorded at Nova Sound Recording Studios, near Marble Arch, London.

Savage was involved with the recording on the following dates: 1, 2, 5, 6 and 13 October 1970. The album was mixed on 26 October. Stephen Shane produced the album, which was released through Vertigo Records. The Allmusic journalist, Richie Unterberger, noted "The record was early organ-dominated progressive rock, its lyrical themes dwelling upon uneasy doubt and sadness, the melodies colored with the gothic classicism prevalent in much of the genre during the period". The band had a recording contract to produce six such albums, but they drifted apart.

Amos was living in England, but he died in June 2003. Howells now lives in Switzerland, and in April 2012 recorded a solo album, Tangerine Puddles. The album is solo piano, with all composition by Howells. 

Savage lives in Northampton, and still plays the drums. Martin Cure joined Cupid's Inspiration in 1971, and in 1980, he and his friends from Cupid's Inspiration formed a group called Chevy. 

In 1981, they had a record deal with Avatar Records and recorded one album and three singles. In 1983, Cure played with the group Red on Red. He now has his own PA company but still does occasional gigs with Cupid's Inspiration and The Rouges.

The Band
Martin Cure - vocal
Graham Amos - bas
Terry Howells - keyboards
Alan Savage - drums

01. People In Black (8:20)
02. Don't Go (4:37)
03. October Witches (8:05)
04. Love Song No. 6 (I'll Never Love You Girl) (6:37)
05. Dreams (7:34)
06. Time (6:26)

onsdag 24 mars 2021

The Rolling Stones - No.2 (Second UK Album 1964) Original UK "Flipback" Konvolut Samt Original UK Låtar

320:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. För 1:a gången utgiven med det Engelska "Flipback Konvolutet" samt UK låtarna på denna, deras 2:a album. Denna UK utgåva är endast utgiven i Japan. O.B.S., endast 1 exemplar i lager.)

The Rolling Stones No. 2 is the second UK studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in 1965 following the success of their 1964 debut album The Rolling Stones. It followed its predecessor's tendency to largely feature American R&B and rock and roll covers. However, it does contain three compositions from the still-developing Mick Jagger/Keith Richards songwriting team.

On Dutch and German pressings of the album, the title is listed as The Rolling Stones Vol. 2 on the front cover, although the back of the album cover lists the title as The Rolling Stones No. 2.

Using the cover shot for 12 X 5, the second US-released album in October 1964, The Rolling Stones No. 2's track listing would largely be emulated on the upcoming US release of The Rolling Stones, Now!. While Eric Easton was co-credited as producer alongside Andrew Loog Oldham on The Rolling Stones' debut album, Oldham takes full production duties for The Rolling Stones No. 2, which was recorded sporadically in the UK and US during 1964.

A huge hit in the UK upon release, The Rolling Stones No. 2 spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in early 1965, becoming one of the year's biggest sellers in the UK.

According to Bill Wyman in his book Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band, John Lennon said of The Rolling Stones No. 2: "The album's great, but I don't like five-minute numbers."

The group's second British album actually appeared after their second U.S. LP, mostly owing to the fact that the British rock & roll audience wasn't focused on the long-player as a medium (singles and EPs were the driving force of the business in England then). It uses the same David Bailey cover shot that had graced the U.S.-issued 12 X 5 album two and a half months earlier, but only four songs -- "Under the Boardwalk," "Suzie Q," "Grown Up Wrong," and "Time Is on My Side" -- overlap on the two albums. 

Rather, Rolling Stones No. 2 offered seven songs that weren't to make it out in America until four months later on The Rolling Stones Now!, and they're all solid numbers: "Off the Hook," "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," "Down Home Girl," "You Can't Catch Me," "What a Shame," "Pain in My Heart," and "Down the Road Apiece," plus one of the group's best blues covers, their version of Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied," which wasn't released in America until 1973 and features some killer slide playing by Brian Jones. The U.K. LP also had the advantage of only being released in mono, so there are no "rechanneled stereo" copies with which to concern oneself.

Due to ABKCO's preference towards the American albums, they overlooked both The Rolling Stones and The Rolling Stones No. 2 for CD release in 1986 and during its remastering series in 2002. Consequently, the album was out of print for many years and was thus widely bootlegged by collectors.

The Rolling Stones No. 2 was again made available to the public as part of a limited edition vinyl box set, titled "The Rolling Stones 1964–1969", in November 2010 and (by itself) digitally at the same time. The original title was also re-instated as part of The Rolling Stones in Mono box set, released on 30 September 2016.

01. "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"  Solomon Burke, Bert Berns, Jerry Wexler  05:03
02. "Down Home Girl"  Jerry Leiber, Arthur Butler  04:11
03. "You Can't Catch Me"  Chuck Berry  03:38
04. "Time Is on My Side" ("guitar intro" version)  Norman Meade a.k.a. Jerry Ragovoy  02:58
05. "What a Shame"  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards  03:03
06. "Grown Up Wrong"  Jagger, Richards  01:5
07. "Down the Road Apiece"  Don Raye  02:55
08. "Under the Boardwalk"  Arthur Resnick, Kenny Young  02:48
09. "I Can't Be Satisfied"   Muddy Waters  03:26
10. "Pain in My Heart"  Allen Toussaint  02:11
11. "Off the Hook"  Jagger, Richards  02:38
12. "Suzie-Q"  Dale Hawkins, Stan Lewis, Eleanor Broadwater  01:51

måndag 15 mars 2021

The Rolling Stones - No.1 (Decca UK 1964) Original UK "Flipback" Konvolut Samt Original UK Låtar

320:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. För 1:a gången utgiven med det Engelska "Flipback Konvolutet" samt UK låtarna på denna, deras 1:a album. Denna UK utgåva är endast utgiven i Japan. O.B.S., endast 1 exemplar i lager.)

The Rolling Stones is the debut studio album by English rock band the Rolling Stones, released by Decca Records in the UK on 16 April 1964. The American edition of the LP, with a slightly different track list, came out on London Records on 30 May 1964, subtitled England's Newest Hit Makers, which later became its official title.

Recorded at Regent Sound Studios in London over the course of five days in January and February 1964, The Rolling Stones was produced by then-managers Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton. The album was originally released by Decca Records in the UK, while the US version appeared on the London Records label.

The majority of the tracks reflect the band's love for R&B. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (whose professional name until 1978 omitted the "s" in his surname) were fledgling songwriters during early 1964, contributing only one original composition to the album: "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)". Two songs are credited to "Nanker Phelge" – a pseudonym the band used for group compositions from 1963 to 1965. Phil Spector and Gene Pitney both contributed to the recording sessions, and are referred to as "Uncle Phil and Uncle Gene" in the subtitle of the Phelge instrumental "Now I've Got a Witness".

First pressings of the album, with matrix numbers ending in 1A, 2A, 1B, and 2B, have a 2:52 version of "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)", which was pressed from the wrong master tape. Subsequent pressings include the 4:06 version. Early labels and covers also have misprints with the fourth track on side 1 listed as "Mona", which was later changed to "I Need You Baby"", the subtitle of "Now I've Got a Witness" written "Like Uncle Gene and Uncle Phil", the word 'If' omitted from "You Can Make It If You Try", and 'Dozier' spelt 'Bozier'. "Route 66" is listed as "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" on some versions of the album, and some later versions of the album have "I Need You Baby" listed as "Mona (I Need You Baby)" and the subtitles of "Now I've Got a Witness" and "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" removed entirely.

The album cover photo was taken by Nicholas Wright. The cover bears no title or identifying information other than the photo and the Decca logo – an "unheard of" design concept originated by manager Andrew Oldham.
Upon its release, The Rolling Stones became one of 1964's biggest sellers in the UK, staying at No. 1 for twelve weeks.

The original British version of the album was released on compact disc in 1984, but became out-of-print on CD for many years afterwards. In November 2010, it was made available as part of a limited edition vinyl box set titled The Rolling Stones 1964–1969, and by itself digitally at the same time. The original title was also re-instated as part of the Rolling Stones in Mono CD box set, released on 30 September 2016. The album was only released in mono in both the UK and US; no true stereo mix was ever made.

The US version of the album, originally subtitled but later officially called England's Newest Hit Makers, was the band's debut US album and was released by London Records on 30 May 1964, a month-and-a-half after the British version. The track "Not Fade Away" (the A-side of the band's third UK single) replaced "I Need You Baby", and the titles of the tracks "Now I've Got a Witness (Like Uncle Phil and Uncle Gene)" and "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" were shortened to "Now I've Got a Witness" and "Tell Me" on most versions of the American release. Upon its release, The Rolling Stones reached No. 11 in the US, going gold in the process. To date, this is the Stones' only American studio album that has failed to place in the top five on the Billboard album charts. In August 2002, the album, by now officially called England's Newest Hit Makers, was reissued as a new remastered CD and SACD Digipak by ABKCO.

UK edition
01. "Route 66"  Bobby Troup   02:20
02. "I Just Want to Make Love to You"  Willie Dixon  02:17
03. "Honest I Do"  Jimmy Reed  02:09
04. "Mona (I Need You Baby)"  Ellas McDaniel  03:33
05. "Now I've Got a Witness"  Nanker Phelge  02:29
06. "Little by Little"  Nanker Phelge, Phil Spector  02:39
07. "I'm a King Bee"  James Moore  02:35
08. "Carol"  Chuck Berry  02:33
09. "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)"  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards  04:05
10. "Can I Get a Witness"  Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland  02:55
11. "You Can Make It If You Try"  Ted Jarrett  02:01
12. "Walking the Dog"  Rufus Thomas  03:10

torsdag 1 oktober 2020

Gravy Train - Ballad of a Peaceful Man (2nd Album UK Hardrock 1971)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Exakt kopia av original albumet. Utvik konvolut. Laminerat konvolut. Svår att få tag i då den släpptes redan år 2000.)

Released in late 1971, (A Ballad of) A Peaceful Man was Gravy Train's second - and probably their most praised - album. Unlike their heavier debut, this album sports some lovely string arrangements, provided by Nick Harrison.

A unique feature of the album is that it splits the heavy tracks from the lighter tracks: all the ballads are on side 1, while all the rockers are on side 2.

Among the lesser-feted jewels released by the Vertigo label during its swirly-logo purple patch, Gravy Train's restful hybrid of jazz-tinged virtuosity, folky pastorals, and heartfelt vocalizing peaks on this, their second album, and that despite A Ballad of a Peaceful Man doing little more than treading water when compared to the experimental peaks of its predecessor. 

Part of the album's appeal lies in the then-novel concept of splitting its contents neatly in half, the hard rockers on one side, the softer material on the other. On the whole, the ballads have dated a lot better than the monsters, particularly "Alone in Georgia," which clashes sweet soul with (of all things!) Southern rock and, for some reason, sounds a lot like the Heavy Metal Kids. 

But that is not to denounce the sheer power of the band in full flood. The title track postulates an unholy collision of Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster, and shows off Norman Barrett's vocals to maximum effect, while "Won't Talk About It" is almost stubbornly likable, and that despite prophesying every yowling power ballad of the '80s and beyond. Best of all, though, is the spookily atmospheric "Home Again," all throbbing percussion, primal flute, and timeless melancholy. On an album that flirts across a variety of moods, the moodiest track of all makes for a breathtaking finale. 


♦ Norman Barrett – Guitar, Vocals 
♦ Barry Davenport – Drums 
♦ J.D. Hughes – Keyboards, Vocals, Wind 
♦ Lester Williams – Bass, Vocals 

01. "Alone in Georgia" – 4:35 

02. "(A Ballad Of) A Peaceful Man" – 7:06 
03. "Julie's Delight" – 6:58 
04. "Messenger" – 5:58 
05. "Can Anybody Hear Me" – 2:59 
06. "Old Tin Box" – 4:45 
07. "Won't Talk about It" – 3:00 
08. "Home Again" – 3:25 

Dr.Z - Three Parts To My Soul (Bra Progressiv Rock UK 1970)

290:- (Original Gimmick utvikomslag. Åtråvärd bland "Vertigo" samlarna. Utgången utgåva sedan 2001. Mycket svår att hitta nu.)

One of the great, lost prog rock albums, Dr. Z's "Three Parts to My Soul" ended up being one of the rarest albums on the "swirl" Vertigo label, with only 60 copies said to exist. Luckily it was reissued many times, starting with Second Battle in Germany, Si- Wan in Korea, Universal in Japan, and most recently Akarma in Italy. Most of these reissues replicate the original gimmick cover (a die-cut fold-out cover not unlike ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery").

Dr. Z was lead by North Wales university professor Keith Keyes, who handles keyboards (harpsichord, piano, organ), as well as vocals, with Bob Watkins on drums, and Rob Watson on bass. This is another album, like BLACK WIDOW's "Sacrifice", that featured lyrics that flirted with the occult in a prog rock setting. 

Here Keyes had the idea that in the afterlife, your soul is divided in to three parts, with a Latin term to each, Spiritus, Manes et Umbra. Spiritus was the soul that goes to heaven, Manes is the soul that's damned to Hell, and Umbra being the soul that stays on Earth to eternally haunt. 

There are some people who don't think this album is particularly good. OK, so don't expect polished YES/GENESIS-influenced prog here. What you get is early British prog, dominated mainly by harpsichord, with occult lyrics and very peculiar vocals, trying to sound "evil". The production isn't the greatest in the world, although it was produced by Patrick Campbell-Lyons of NIRVANA (the late '60s/early '70s UK band that is, hardly the Kurt Cobain-led grunge band everyone knows of).

"Evil Woman's Manly Child" is said to be a reverse of the Ten Commandments. Here you get two voices, a whispered voice and a sung voice. This is truly one of the album's many high points. "Spiritus, Manes et Umbra" could almost sound like a hit if things worked out a bit different for the band (and of course, rid of the drum solo). It's such a catchy little song. 

"Summer For the Rose" shows some psychedelic elements, showing how in 1971, the 1960s hadn't totally vanished. "Burn in Anger" is a piano-dominated ballad that truly screams 1971, while "Too Well Satisfied" is one of those cheesy songs with lots of appeal. "In a Token of Despair" is the closing ballad, regarding the spirit that haunts the Earth. 

The entire album has that theatrical quality. Many of the reissues come with two bonus cuts, "Lady Ladybird" and "People in the Street", which was released as a single back in 1970 on Fontana. What's really interesting about these two cuts, written by Keith Keyes as on "Three Parts to My Soul", is you will find absolutely no signs of occult subject matters in these two songs. "Lady Ladybird" is a pretty cheery number. 

"People in the Street" on the other hand sounds too much like straight-up pop, lacking the charm of "Lady Ladybird". But for "Three Parts to My Soul", this might not to be everyone's taste, but I like the album, regardless what might be said. 

Line-up / Musicians
♦ Keith Keyes - piano, harpsichord, organ, vocals, composer & producer
♦ Rob Watson - bass guitar
♦ Bob Watkins - drums, percussion

01. Evil Woman's Manly Child (4:47)
02. Spiritus, Manes et Umbra (11:51)
03. Summer for the Rose (4:32)
04. Burn in Anger (3:25)
05. Too Well Satisfied (5:49)
06. In a Token of Despair (10:31)

Bonus tracks:
07. Lady Ladybird (2:46)
08. People in the Street (3:08)

måndag 10 augusti 2020

Amondüül - Wolf City (German Progressive Rock 1972)

320:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. Utgåva från Belle Antique Records. Amondüül's 5:e album.)

Wolf City is the fifth studio album released by the German Krautrock band Amon Düül II.

Like its predecessor, Carnival in Babylon, Wolf City is a more conventional recording than the band's earlier albums, with shorter track times and more straightforward song structures. This was likely due to the band's increasing commercial popularity, both at home and in the UK. Despite this, some of the album's tracks, such as "Jail-House-Frog" and "Deutsch Nepal", are still overtly experimental.

Amon Düül II's fifth studio album is a more conventional recording than most, though there's still a lot of the involved experimenting and dark undercurrent which sets the band apart from the mainstream, along with the off-kilter hooks and odd humor which saved them from being lumped alongside more serious (and less easy to take seriously) prog rock outfits. 

After the lengthy explorations of Tanz der Lemminge, Wolf City seems targeted to an extent at a commercial English-speaking audience, perhaps reflective of their increased status in the United Kingdom, if not in America. Regardless, opening song "Surrounded by the Stars," the longest track on the album at just under eight minutes, is also one of the band's best, with strong vocals from Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz, a dramatic building verse (complete with mock choir), an equally dramatic violin-accompanied instrumental break, and a catchy chorus leading to a fun little freakout. 

Knaup actually takes the lead vocals more often this time out and turns in some lovely performances, as on the beautiful, perhaps slightly precious "Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man," with a great full-band performance that grows from a nice restraint to a slam-bang, epic rockout. Lothar Meid gets his moments in as well, his sometimes straightforward, sometimes not-so-much vocals adding to the overall effect as before. 

The one full instrumental, "Wie der Wind am Ende Einer Strasse," is excellent, with guest Indian musicians adding extra instrumentation to an intoxicating, spacious performance. While Wolf City generally sounds like a tight band playing things live or near-live, there are some equally gripping moments clearly resulting from studio work, like the strange loop opening the title track (percussion, guitar?). 

Concluding with the groovy good-time "Sleepwalker's Timeless Bridge," including some fantastic E-Bow guitar work, Wolf City works the balance between art and accessibility and does so with resounding success.

Amon Düül II
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz – vocals
 Chris Karrer – guitars, soprano saxophone, violin
♦ John Weinzierl – guitars
 Falk-Ulrich Rogner – organ, clavioline, synthesizer
♦ Lothar Meid – bass, vocals, synthesizer
 D. Secundus Fichelscher – drums, vocals, guitars

Guest personnel
 Jimmy Jackson – choir organ, piano
 Olaf Kübler – soprano saxophone, vocals
 Peter Leopold – synthesizer, timpani, vocals
 Al Sri Al Gromer – sitar
 Pandit Shankar Lal – tablas
 Liz van Neienhoff – tambura
 Paul Heyda – violin
 Rolf Zacher – vocals

01. "Surrounded by the Stars"  Karrer/Rogner  07:44
02. "Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man"  Weinzierl  05:03
03. "Jail-House-Frog"  Weinzierl  04:50
04. "Wolf City" Karrer/Fichelscher/Rogner/Weinzierl/Meid  03:18
05. "Wie der Wind am Ende einer Strasse"  Karrer/Fichelscher/Rogner/Weinzierl/Meid  05:42
06. "Deutsch Nepal"  Kübler/Meid  02:56
07. "Sleepwalker's Timeless Bridge"  Fichelscher/Rogner  04:54

Bonus Tracks:
01. "Kindermörderlied"  Karrer  05:59
02. "Mystic Blutsturz"  Weinzierl/Knaup-Krötenschwanz  10:11
03. "Düülirium"  Karrer/Kühler/Weinzierl/Knaup-Krötenschwanz  04:25

lördag 21 mars 2020

Circus - Selftitled (Progressiv Rock UK 1969 på "Transatlantic Etiketten)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Släppes av "Arcangelo" 2006. Mycket svår att hitta. Denna Mini LP säljs nu på "Discogs" för mellan 400-900:-. Laminerat utvikomslag. Mycket svår att hitta.)

Circus was one of the first bands to feature the talents of the well-known flutist and sax-player Mel Collins. Their self-titled debut was their only album, and consisted mostly of cover-material, but also a couple of tunes written by Collins. 

Musically this is typical early progressive rock that varies between the heavy, jazzy and psychedelic. Their heavy side is showed best through their really raw adaptation of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" that opens the album. Two other of the other cover-tunes, Charles Mingus' "Il B.S." and the traditional tune "St. Thomas", demonstrated the jazz-influenced side of the band. Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises" had been turned into a typical flute-driven progressive rock track with an instrumental break in the middle. 

The same goes for Mama and the Papas' "Monday, Monday". But my personal favourite is the airy and atmospheric progressive ballad "Pleasures of a Lifetime" that was penned by Collins himself. His two other songs, the short instrumental "Goodnight John Morgan" and the psychedelic "Father of My Daughter" were less impressive, but still listenable enough. Despite the wide use of cover-material, this is a good and solid album that will appeal to fans of flute/sax-driven progressive rock. 

The term ‘pioneer’ seems perfect to describe the early achievements of the Transatlantic record label. They imported blues, folk, and jazz from the States and provided an outlet for a whole wealth of otherwise 'impossible to get' music to the UK market. 

Within a year or two of their birth in 1961, they began to record new British sounds and led the way in the growing folk and blues movement of the latter half of the sixties. By 1969 the fiercely independent label’s eclectic philosophy had seen them releasing records in rock, pop, and even ragtime. 

It was the debut eponymous album from UK band Circus in 1969 that saw them venture into the progressive rock world. This highly collectable album is been re-released on the "Arcangelo" (Arc-7098) Recordings label, having been 24-Bit re-mastered, and appears with laminated sleeve, Fold-out cover and informative liner notes.

The newly re-named Circus had already achieved chart success under the cumbersome moniker of Philip Goodhand-Tait and the Stormsville Shakers. It hardly rolled off the tongue, and as the late sixties arrived they sensibly changed their name.

Two singles produced by Manfred Mann’s singer Mike D’Arbo faded into obscurity. But their song “Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday” was covered by Love Affair on the flip side of their hit single “Everlasting Love.” 

When Goodhand-Tait left to write more material for Love Affair, Circus decided to move away from the singles market and go into more experimental territory. 

At this time the band consisted of Ian Jeffs on guitar and vocals, drummer Chris Burrows, bass player Kirk Riddle and renowned sax and flu player Mel Collins who also covered flute.

It would be impossible to try and list everyone that Mel Collins has played with over the years. Names such as The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, King Crimson, Camel, Caravan, Humble Pie, Uriah Heep, Dire Straits, Bad Company, and many more, spring to mind.

Back in 1969, Circus were busy developing a jazz fusion style. This was a period that saw the rise of bands such as The Nice, Soft Machine, Colosseum, and the newly formed King Crimson. In the album notes Mel describes the period by saying, “it was a very creative time where you were allowed to experiment. There wasn’t a formula you had to stick to.” 

When Transatlantic stepped in and signed Circus the Guildford band quickly found themselves in the studio with producer Ray Singer who had achieved success with Ray Sarstedt’s hit “ Where Do You Go To My Lovely.” In just two days the band went through their established live set, while Singer did his best to capture the band’s spirit in the time allowed. 

The album sold well and has subsequently become something of a sought after collectors item. It is also best remembered for its two cover songs, The Beatles “Norwegian Wood,” which opens the album, and “Monday, Monday,” a huge hit for The Mamas & The Papas.

“Norwegian Wood” takes the song to a whole new level, not always a popular thing to do amongst Beatles purists. Having said that, this cover is bravely and successfully innovative. If anything, it takes the song along a logical path. Ian Jeffs even sounds Beatle-esque with his vocals. But it’s the jazz elements that lift the version on high building towards a soaring crescendo before regrouping along original Beatle lines. It’s a stunningly effective opener.

The next track, “Pleasure Of A Lifetime”, written by Mel Collins, is a gentle meandering and melancholic track that features his father Derek on alto-flute. The upbeat “St. Thomas” arrives with its ‘live extended free form jam’ flavor and features some excellent flute playing by Mel Collins. 

The all too brief “Goodnight John Morgan” takes us easily into late night jazz. You can see the swirls of cigarette smoke and the lonely guy at the end of the bar staring into his empty glass on this one. Mel’s “Father Of My Daughter” recaptures the melancholic feel of earlier with another gentle breeze of a song set above acoustic guitar and flute. 

The up-tempo theme-tune feel to the instrumental “II BS” leads into the well chosen cover of “Monday, Monday.” The album closes with one of its highlights, the laid back of ease of “Don’t Make Promises,” which slowly opens out into something quite special as Mel once again shows his flute expertise. 

Sadly , it was to prove the last track released by Circus. When the band began to write material for a second album they were simply unable to deliver and the band folded.

Largely forgotten over the years, save for those buyers of collectable vinyl, Circus’s debut album has finally been given the makeover it deserves. In part it is very much of its time. Yet there remains something fresh and alive about the recording that make it an enjoyable and rewarding trip. 

Maybe this was, in part, due to the manner of its recording as a mainly ‘live’ studio album. Either way, the high quality of the musicianship is evident from the very first bars of the brave statement that is “Norwegian Wood.” If only they could have come up with some more.

  • The Band
  • Ian Jelfs - Guitar, Vocals
  •  Chris Burrows - Drums  
  •  Riddle - Bass
  •  Collins - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
  •  Bleasby - Percussion

01.  Wood (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 7:22
02. Pleasures Of A Lifetime (Mel Collins) - 8:21
03. St. Thomas (Mel Collins) - 3:33
04. Goodnight John Morgan (Mel Collins) - 1:47
05. Father Of My Daughter (Mel Collins) - 3:19
06. II B.S. (Charles Mingus) - 6:28
07. Monday Monday (John Phillips) - 4:18
08. Don't Make Promises (Tim Hardin) - 4:42