onsdag 17 januari 2018

T. Rex - Futuristic Dragon (UK 1976 + 3 Bonus Tracks)

240:- (24-Bit K2 HD Pro Remaster. Bolans nästa sista album från 1976 med 3 Bonus Track. Albumet har fått höga betyg från "AMG", "Discogs" och "Rate Your Music". Mycket bra album.Gavs ut som Mini LP i september 2017.)

The most blatantly, and brilliantly, portentous of Marc Bolan's albums since the transitional blurring of boundaries that was Beard of Stars, almost seven years prior, Futuristic Dragon opens on a wave of unrelenting feedback, guitars and bombast, setting an apocalyptic mood for the record which persists long after that brief (two minutes) overture is over. Indeed, even the quintessential bop of the succeeding "Jupiter Liar" is irrevocably flavored by what came before, dirty guitars churning beneath a classic Bolan melody, and the lyrics a spiteful masterpiece. 

Futuristic Dragon is the eleventh studio album and a UK-only release by English glam rock act T. Rex, released on 30 January 1976 by EMI Records. The album features some unusually dense production from Bolan, especially on "Chrome Sitar" and "Calling All Destroyers", which contained unusual musical embellishments such as sitar and other sonic sound effects. These hint that he had been listening to old Phil Spector records.

The album features sleeve illustration by artist George Underwood, who had first worked with Bolan on the 1968 Tyrannosaurus Rex album My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows.

Live recordings of the successful tour T. Rex undertook that year in the UK (the first since the birth of his son with Gloria Jones, Rolan Bolan) show him to be returning to form from the cocaine addiction, alleged Napoleon complex and weight gain which had plagued him since late 1973, when his star began to fall. In many of these bootleg recordings, often done by members of the audience, Bolan thanks the audience for coming, and admits that he did not know if they would. He was heartened by the response received on the two aforementioned hit singles, and set to work on a new album immediately.

One factor which also sparked Bolan's renewed interest in music was the emergence of punk. Photos from early 1977 show Bolan at a pub/restaurant with members of The Ramones. He toured in spring 1977 with The Damned, and on the Granada TV show Marc, which he hosted, guests of his included The Boomtown Rats, The Jam, and Generation X.

Preceded by the release of two UK Top-40-hit singles from the album, "New York City" (No. 15) and "Dreamy Lady" (No. 30), Futuristic Dragon was released on 30 January 1976. It reached No. 50 in the UK Albums Chart; T. Rex's first album to register in the charts since Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow in 1974.

Futuristic Dragon was reasonably well received by critics.

In her retrospective review of the album, Whitney Strub of PopMatters wrote "By the time Futuristic Dragon arrived, Bolan was considered a has-been. But the album defies expectation, presenting a surprisingly consistent set of tunes dovetailing with the burgeoning disco scene without entirely partaking of it." Stephen M. Deusner of Pitchfork wrote "Futuristic Dragon has enough winning moments to suggest an upturn [...] [the album] blows smoke on its second half, with songs like 'Sensation Boulevard' and the schlock-disco 'Ride My Wheels' derailing the first half's chugging momentum. Nevertheless, the album wins your sympathies: It's good enough to make you wish it were better.

Marc Bolan – vocals, guitars, moog
Gloria Jones – backing vocals, clavinet
Steve Currie – bass guitar
Davy Lutton – drums
Jimmie Haskell – string instruments

01. "Futuristic Dragon" (Introduction)  01:52
02. "Jupiter Liar"  03:40
03. "Chrome Sitar"  03:13
04. "All Alone"  02:48
05. "New York City"  03:55
06. "My Little Baby"  03:06
07. "Calling All Destroyers"  03:53
08. "Theme for a Dragon"  02:00
09. "Sensation Boulevard"  03:48
10. "Ride My Wheels"  02:25
11. "Dreamy Lady"  02:51
12. "Dawn Storm"  03:42
13. "Casual Agent"  02:53

Bonus Tracks:
14. "City Port"  02:43
15. "Laser Love"  03:35
16. "Life's An Elevator"  02:24 

tisdag 9 januari 2018

Argent - Ring of Hands (UK 1971)

240:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Argents 2:a album. Progressive Rock'n Roll album. Släpptes på Mini LP 2008 och är för länge sedan utgången.)

Argent was an English rock band founded in 1969 by keyboardist Rod Argent, formerly of The Zombies. They were best known for their songs "Hold Your Head Up" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You".

Original members of the band were Rod Argent, bassist Jim Rodford (Argent's cousin and formerly with the Mike Cotton Sound), drummer Bob Henrit and guitarist/keyboardist Russ Ballard (both formerly with The Roulettes and Unit 4 + 2). Lead vocal duties were shared between Ballard, Rodford and Argent.

The first three demos from Argent, recorded in the autumn of 1968 featured Mac MacLeod on bass guitar, though he would not become a member of the group. Rod Argent, Chris White (former Zombies bassist, producer, songwriter) and Russ Ballard were the group's songwriters.

Argent's biggest hit was the Rod Argent and Chris White composition "Hold Your Head Up", featuring lead vocals by Russ Ballard, from the All Together Now album, which, in a heavily edited single form, reached No. 5 in the US. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The sound of the band was a mix of rock and pop, but also covered more progressive rock territory in songs like "The Coming of Kohoutek", an instrumental from their Nexus album.

Öppna bilden i ett nytt fönster för 100%

Ring of Hands is, more often than not, overshadowed by the albums that surrounded it. Argent's debut included Russ Ballard's "Liar," and 1972's All Together Now was the album that yielded their Top Five hit "Hold Your Head Up," while 1973's In Deep produced "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You," which became a bigger hit for Kiss in 1992. 

But Ring of Hands is one of Argent's most progressively oriented albums, with most of its energy and dynamics coming from Rod Argent's keyboard playing. This album shines the spotlight a little brighter on Rod Argent than on Ballard, and its weight lies more on the band's ability to produce some impressive progressive rock than to create lyrically based rock & roll. 

Argent himself is spectacular throughout most of the album, lending his lone, rich keyboard solos to tracks like "Lothlorien," "Cast Your Spell Uranus," and "Sleep Won't Help Me." The album does wander into pop familiarity from time to time, but only mildly, like on "Chained" or "Where Are We Going Wrong," and, even so, Rod Argent's playing appropriately protrudes through most of songs to give Ring of Hands an independent feel from all of the albums that followed. In 1999, Sony's Collectables reissued the album with a bonus track; Rod Argent's "He's a Dynamo," which was written one year after the release of the original Ring of Hands album.

01. "Celebration"  02:55
02. "Sweet Mary"  04:06
03. "Cast Your Spell Uranus"  04:31
04. "Lothlorien"  07:50
05. "Chained"  05:19
06. "Rejoice"  03:46
07. "Pleasure"  04:52
08. "Sleep Won't Help Me"  05:11
09. "Where Are We Going Wrong"  04:10

fredag 29 december 2017

Tom Blossom Toes Box Som Ska Innehålla Deras Två Album + B.B. Blunder - Worker's Playtime

150:- Tom Box från 2006 som ska innehålla följande 3 album från bl.a. Engelska "Marmalade Label". Boxen är laminerad och i nyskick.

Denna tomma box ska innehålla följande tre album:

Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean (UK 1967) AIRAC-1172, 2006-02-08

Blossom Toes - If Only For A Moment (UK 1969) AIRAC-1173, 2006-02-08

B.B. Blunder - Worker's Playtime (UK 1971) AIRAC-1174, 2006-02-15

Tom Dawn Box Som Ska Innehålla "Heron" Och "Comus" Från "Dawn Label"

150:- Tom box från 2005 som ska innehålla följande 3 album här nedan från engelska "Dawn Label" Boxen är "laminerad" och i nyskick.

Denna tomma Box ska innehålla följande tre album:

Heron - Heron + Bonus EP (Arcangelo ARC-7011, 2004-07-16)

Heron - Twice As Nice & Half The Price (2CD) (Arcangelo ARC-7053, 2004-07-16)

Comus - First Utterance + Bonus EP  (Arcangelo ARC-7123, 2005-12-24)

måndag 25 december 2017

America - Holiday (US 1974)

250:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Bra rock album som blev en big hit i USA. Producerad i London av "George Martin". Denna Mini LP släpptes 2007 och svår att hitta.)

America fully recovered from Hat Trick's dismal results with 1974's Holiday, with producer George Martin's influence rubbing off on both of the album's Top Five singles. With "Tin Man"'s wonderfully polished soft pop ease and the wispiness of "Lonely People," the band was able to recapture the same formula that put early hits like "A Horse with No Name," "I Need You," and "Ventura Highway" in the Top Ten. 

The difference with "Holiday" is that their light and breezy melodies and attractive folk-rock sound filtered through more than just the two hit tracks on the album. 

"Another Try," "Old Man Took," "In the Country," and even the cliché-sounding "Baby It's Up to You" contain a sturdy enough mixture of guitar and harmony to rise them above inessential filler, at least as far as America's material is concerned. Cuts like "Mad Dog" and "Hollywood" suffer somewhat from trite lyrics and a seemingly hurried compositional formula, but this album as a whole ascertained that the group was definitely showing their true potential once more. 

The album that followed Holiday, 1975's Hearts, showed even stronger improvement, taking the overly catchy "Sister Golden Hair" to number one and scoring a Top 20 hit with the Sunday morning frailty of "Daisy Jane."

Holiday is the fourth original studio album by the American folk rock band America, released on the Warner Bros. Records label in June 1974. The album was produced in London by noted record producer George Martin.

The album was a big hit in the US, reaching number 3 on the Billboard album chart and being certified gold by the RIAA. It produced two hit singles: "Tin Man" reached number 4 on the Billboard singles chart and went to number 1 on both the adult contemporary chart as well as the Radio & Records chart; and "Lonely People" which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard singles chart and also hit number 1 on the adult contemporary chart. Several other songs received radio airplay on FM stations playing album tracks, including "Baby It's Up To You" and "Another Try". The album was also released on Quadrophonic reel-to-reel tape for 4-channel enthusiasts.

Bandmember Dewey Bunnell was thrilled at the prospect of working with Martin as producer. He was quoted as saying that it "was great working with George. It was like we knew each other. We were familiar with the Beatles, of course, and we had that British sense of humor." In a separate interview, Dan Peek recalled to Circus magazine: "Gerry (Beckley) had been in England, and we'd talked about using George Martin as our producer. He's such a hot arranger, thinking about all the stuff he's done. There were several other people we wanted to use, but that idea sort of flashed and George was available."

It was the recording debut of America's longtime drummer Willie Leacox, who is in the car in the cover photo.

01. "Miniature" Gerry Beckley 01:12
02. "Tin Man" Dewey Bunnell 03:27
03. "Another Try" Beckley 03:16
04. "Lonely People" Dan Peek, Catherine Peek 02:27
05. "Glad to See You" D. Peek 03:42
06. "Mad Dog" Beckley 02:39
07. "Hollywood" Bunnell 02:49
08. "Baby It's Up to You" Beckley 02:24
09. "You" D. Peek 02:25
10. "Old Man Took" Bunnell 03:10
11. "What Does It Matter" Beckley 02:18
12. "In the Country" D. Peek 02:58

söndag 24 december 2017

John McLaughlin - Where Fortune Smiles (Rare Jazzrock UK 1971)

320:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. McLaughlins utgåva på "Dawn Label" från 1971. Albumet är oerhört sällsynt som Mini LP och släpptes på "Arcangelo Records" i Japan. Utgången utgåva sedan många år.)

The truth be told, Where Fortune Smiles was not originally released under the leadership of John McLaughlin. Its reissue on CD with McLaughlin as leader seems to exist for marketing purposes only. 

The reissue notes indicate a 1971 recording date, but my memories of its original release on PYE Records suggest that it was recorded a year earlier. (However, memories can fade.) The other members of the quintet—bassist Dave Holland, saxophonist John Surman (also on Extrapolation ), vibist Karl Berger, and drummer Stu Martin—each contribute equally to this outing.

The compositions, all by McLaughlin and Surman, have strong head arrangements that are not directly quoted in the free improvisations that follow. Fortune does not even hint at rock or fusion. Do not expect any of the usual clear themes, call and response playing, or unison lines. These differences, which may confound many McLaughlin fans, are also its greatest strengths.

Free jazz is what this release is all about. For listeners who don't normally immerse themselves in this sort of thing, it's a record that can be enjoyed only about once a year. But it remains a must-listen. Whoa! Listen...is that a quote which will later turn into "One Word" from Birds Of Fire ? Listen to McLaughlin's far-out guitar. Listen to Holland's resonating bass. Listen to Surman as he reveals things to come. Listen for a historical perspective on music which McLaughlin would later deliver.

Where Fortune Smiles is a jazz fusion LP credited to John McLaughlin, John Surman, Dave Holland, Karl Berger, and Stu Martin on Dawn Records DNLS ASD 3018, which was recorded in 1970 and released in 1971 in a stereo format.

Jazz critic Scott Yanow wrote: “McLaughlin's raw sound was starting to take shape by this time and his impeccable chops are on full display. So too are those of the underrated vibraphonist Karl Berger and, of course, soprano saxophonist Surman. The foundation is held loosely in place by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Stu Martin. It's a challenging but interesting listen, especially given McLaughlin's later success and popularity.”

As released in 1971 on Dawn records, and a subsequent 1975 release on Pye, the album was credited to all participating musicians, with no one receiving top billing. With the reissue on CD in 1993, the album was retroactively credited to McLaughlin alone, a move suggested to have been for "marketing purposes only".[ Composition credits and solo times are shared more or less equally between McLaughlin and Surman, and McLaughlin is not understood to have acted in a leadership capacity for the sessions.

A one-off studio record between 5 accomplished musicians who never recorded as a group subsequently, the two studio efforts necessary to complete the album were fit in between and/or after: John Surman working with Barre Phillips and Stu Martin in “The Trio” (Dawn LP – DNLS 3006), John McLaughlin working with Miles Davis, Karl touring with Don Cherry in Europe, and Dave also working with Miles.

Where Fortune Smiles is really a John Surman recording, but subsequent re-releases have passed the credit on to John McLaughlin (for obvious reasons). The music is similar to but more dense than Extrapolation. McLaughlin's raw sound was starting to take shape by this time and his impeccable chops are on full display. So too are those of the underrated vibraphonist Karl Berger and, of course, soprano saxophonist Surman. The foundation is held loosely in place by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Stu Martin. It's a challenging but interesting listen, especially given McLaughlin's later success and popularity. Although his creativity would peak with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti, he never sounded more free and exploratory than he does here. Highly recommended for its historical significance as well as some excellent playing.

 John McLaughlin - guitar
 John Surman - soprano & baritone saxes (all except 3.)
 Karl Berger - piano (all except 2.)
 Dave Holland - bass (all except 2.3.)
 Stu Martin - drums (all except 2.3.)

01. Glancing Backwards (for Junior) - (8:54) (J.Surman)
02. Earth Bound Hearts - (4:15) (J.McLaughlin)
03. Where Fortune Smiles - (4:01) (J.Surman)
04. New Place, Old Place - (10:24) (J.McLaughlin)
05. Hope - (7:19) (J.McLaughlin)

America - Homecoming (Great 2nd Album US 1972)

250:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Trippel utvik omslag. Deras 2:a album från 1972. Nu utgången sedan  2007. Svår att hitta.)

Homecoming is a 1972 album by America. Acoustic guitar-based, with a more pronounced electric guitar and keyboard section than previous releases, Homecoming helped launch the career of America, and includes one of their best known hits, "Ventura Highway".

Homecoming peaked at #9 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart and was certified platinum by the RIAA. It produced three hit singles: "Ventura Highway" which peaked at #8 on the Billboard singles chart and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart; "Don't Cross the River" which hit #35 on Billboard and #23 on the Adult Contemporary chart; and "Only in Your Heart" peaked at #62 on Billboard's Pop singles chart. Several other songs received radio airplay on FM stations playing album tracks including "To Each His Own", "California Revisited", and "Cornwall Blank".

Homecoming, America's finest album, refines and focuses the folk-pop approach found on their debut release. The songs here are tighter and more forthright, with fewer extended solo instrumental sections than before. 

The sound quality is clear and bright; the colorful arrangements, while still acoustic guitar-based, feature more electric guitar and keyboards. 

The performance quality is more assured, among the most urgently committed the group would ever put on vinyl. 

Verses are still sometimes banal and clunky ("You can't disregard your friends/But life gets so hard when you reach the end") or cryptic ("Sorry, boy, but I've been hit by purple rain"), 

but a number of the song subjects here exhibit a yearning sense of wanderlust and love of the outdoors that proves to be highly evocative and compelling (particularly on "Moon Song," "Ventura Highway," "California Revisited," and "Cornwall Blank"). 

Chordal progressions are sophisticated and contain many subtle surprises. A few new style wrinkles can be seen in the country-influenced "Don't Cross the River," the drivingly gutsy 

"California Revisited" (perhaps the hardest-rocking song the group would ever produce), and the hushed yet mildly funky "Head & Heart." 

Chart hits from this release include "Ventura Highway," 

"Only in Your Heart," and "Don't Cross the River," but each song here has something to recommend it. 

This top-flight album is a very rewarding listen. 

01. "Ventura Highway" - (Dewey Bunnell) 3:32 
02. "To Each His Own" - (Gerry Beckley) 3:13 
03. "Don't Cross the River" - (Dan Peek) 2:30 
04. "Moon Song" - (Bunnell) 3:41 
05. "Only in Your Heart" - (Beckley) 3:16 
06. "Till the Sun Comes Up Again" - (Beckley) 2:12 
07. "Cornwall Blank - (Bunnell) 4:19 
08. "Head & Heart" - (John Martyn) 3:49 
09. "California Revisited" - (Peek) 3:03 
10. "Saturn Nights" - (Peek) 3:31

måndag 11 december 2017

Heron - Simple as One, Two & Three + Promo Singel (Folkrock Japan 2011)

250:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition + Promo SingelNyinspelat album med denna legendariska folkrock grupp. Endast utgiven i japan i en mycket liten upplaga.)

Traffic may have been the first to establish what was to become something of a late Sixties cliché by ‘getting it together in the country’, but Berkshire folkies Heron took the rural conceit a stage further by actually recording both of their albums in a field.  Both releases – their 1970 debut album Heron and the in the following year’s specially-priced double LP Twice As Nice And Half The Price – were made within the soft white underbelly of the British folk rock movement, and now warrant hefty price tags amongst collectors of the rarer artefacts of that particular genre.

Heron’s suburban genesis occurred in 1967 at the Dolphin Folk Club in Maidenhead, where Tony Pook (vocals), Roy Apps (guitar, vocals) and Robert Collins (guitar) first came together in desultory fashion as a loose-knit collective inspired by Dylan and the early Incredible String Band. By the following year, Collins was out of the picture as, with the addition of fellow local folk club habitués Gerald ‘G.T.’ Moore (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Martin Hayward (guitar), they settled down to become Heron.  Moore was a particularly interesting acquisition, having led brass-based soul band Gerald T. Moore and The Memphis Gents, local heroes to Reading mods before Moore had decamped to Maidenhead to attend art school. 

With an abundance of songwriting talent in their line-up, the band began to cut rough demos of their early songs. “We started sitting around at home with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder”,recalls Roy Apps. “Then we took the tapes up to London and started knocking on doors.  We were completely fearless. We just phoned people up, and said,‘We’re coming round with a tape’, and turned up! Eventually Essex Music signed us up for publishing.”

Heron were signed to Essex by the late Gus Dudgeon, who would subsequently describe their style as “English pastoral, with a sunny, summer’s day feel…  I’d been working for quite a long time with Ralph McTell, who, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, was the most successful British folk act, I suppose. Essex Music was probably the most successful publishing company as far as folk music was concerned, so inevitably a lot of folk acts would come our way in terms of getting deals and publishing and so on.”  

In addition to Ralph McTell, Dudgeon was also working at the time with the pre-fame likes of Elton John and David Bowie. The latter, incidentally, had a very minor cameo role in the early Heron story. “After he’d had his big hit with ‘Space Oddity’, he went quiet for a while and ran this folk club in Beckenham”, relates Roy Apps, who, as Entertainments Secretary at Reading College of Technology, was in the useful position of being able to book his own band as support act for the likes of McTell. “He saw us playing somewhere, and, out of the blue, he booked us to play at his club. It's quite a memory that David Bowie carried my PA into a folk club... once!"

Martin Hayward left the band just before they signed at the beginning of the new decade to Pye’s new ‘underground’ label Dawn. His replacement was keyboardist Steve Jones, who recalls how the band came to sign with Dawn.“We knew a local musician, blues guitarist Mike Cooper, who was doing quite well.  Through him we met Peter Eden, who was Donovan’s discoverer (Eden had also produced such like-minded talents as Mick Softley and Bill Fay), and he was persuaded to listen to Heron. He really liked what he heard, and decided to do an album with us. Dawn were quite adventurous, and were going for more alternative bands such as Mungo Jerry – who, like us, didn’t use drums. Through Peter, we got onto the label.”

Jones had initially been brought in as a session musician for studio work, but he fitted in so well that he was asked to become a permanent member. Ironically, that ‘studio work’ finished almost as soon as it had begun. In July 1970, Heron recorded two songs, ‘River Of Fortune’ and ‘Some Kinda Big Thing’, at Pye Studios with the assistance of Dawn label manager Peter Eden. But despite Eden’s guidance, Heron decided that they hadn’t enjoyed the experience of recording in a studio environment. “We hated it”, admits Roy Apps. “We were so used to playing to audiences, and having something coming back and being relaxed, that the pressure of being in a recording studio – well, we just couldn’t perform.” The proposed single release was cancelled (both tracks receive their first official release on our anthology), and Heron resolved to record all future releases alfresco.

Thus it was that, in the summer of 1970, the band and their loved ones decamped to Appleford in Berkshire (coincidentally no more than three or four miles from Traffic’s own rural retreat in Aston Tirrold), staying at the farmhouse where Tony Pook’s family lived. It was out in the field at the back of the farm that, with the assistance of the Pye Mobile Unit, they recorded their self-titled debut album, full of thoughtful, gentle songs framed by the band’s raggedly charming sound. With the possible exception of the uplifting, endearingly modest trad singalong ‘Sally Goodin’ (two versions), pretty much everything had a strong sense of coherence and uniformity of mood, with the sound of birds singing in the trees adding to the album’s relaxed vibe. Amongst the highlights were a couple of Roy Apps songs, the musty, atmospheric ballad ‘Yellow Roses’ and the Bert Jansch-style ‘For You’, while Tony Pook’s majestic ‘Lord And Master’ was similarly full of wistful, sun-dappled harmonies and meshing acoustic guitars and keyboards.  

However, the band’s ability to merge English rural idyll and blissed-out counterculture sentiments perhaps peaked with ‘Upon Reflection’, an Apps song crammed with such evocative lines as “sitting in your mother’s garden smoking Lebanese beneath the privet hedge”. Sadly there was no room for the beautiful ‘Rosalind’, which now makes its first public appearance – as does the complete version of ‘Harlequin 2’, which shed its final two minutes when released. Given the extraneous background noise, it’s tempting to suggest that the song was truncated on release for that reason – but apparently not, as Steve Jones explains. “We set up a separate microphone a hundred yards or so from where the band was playing to deliberately pick up the sounds of nature. Eventually, in fact, we had to ‘dirty up’ the sound because the background noise was cleaner than we wanted it. But ‘Harlequin 2’ was cut short on record for the simple fact that we played it wrong, and the track just fell apart towards the end!” 

Released in November 1970, the album was a genuine achievement, but sadly failed to make any real impact - despite the band’s concurrent appearance on the infamous, loss-leading Dawn Penny Concerts tour, which featured a quartet of Dawn bands for an admission price of one pre-decimal penny. “Wherever we went, we had good turnouts for the Penny Concert tour”, reflects Steve Jones. “The reception to the various bands differed from venue to venue – we got a standing ovation in Bristol, for example, whereas it was Titus Groan who went down well in Birmingham. But we were a quiet band, and we felt more comfortable when we played more intimate gigs.”

“My main recollection of the Penny Concert tour”, adds Roy Apps, “is the incredible reception we got for the gig at the Colston Hall in Bristol, with three thousand people standing on the seats – it took me hours to work off the adrenalin. But I also remember the endless waits we had to put up with in the Red Bus offices trying to collect our expenses, and also the ‘barging’ incident!  All the bands on the tour were intent on being the last on – that inferred ‘top of the bill’ status – but we couldn’t care less.  We suggested that all the bands simply took it in turn. So after one of the managements had been particularly irritating, I ‘accidentally’ barged into him as he entered the dressing room and quipped the classically hippie apology – ‘Sorry man…’  By the time we were back in London, the brushing of shoulders had become ‘Roy beat up the band manager’!”

Despite their Radio One session debut in January 1971 as part of John Peel’s Sunday Concert, sales of the Heron album failed to pick up. What was needed to break the band, it seemed, was a hit single. It almost happened.  Released in April, the maxi-single featured four tracks (a fifth song, ‘Friend’, was recorded but omitted at the last minute – sadly this track no longer survives in the Pye/Dawn archives) including a suitably bucolic take on Dylan’s ‘Only A Hobo’ and, as lead track, a hook-laden G.T. Moore song entitled ‘Bye And Bye’. With the normally influential Tony Blackburn making it his Record of the Week, ‘Bye And Bye’ received copious Radio One airplay, as Steve Jones recalls.  “Everyone was playing it – Tony Blackburn, John Peel, Radio Luxembourg’s Kid Jensen… suddenly it was all happening! And we sat back, just waiting to be millionaires.  

Instead of which, you just couldn’t buy the single. Apparently there’d been a vinyl problem initially, so they only pressed one or two thousand copies. Then there was a strike of delivery van drivers, so you just couldn’t get the single. From being on a high, suddenly we plummeted. It took a lot of steam out of us.”  

Despite this disappointment, Heron carried on. After being invited by David Bowie to appear as his support band at a June 1971 concert for Radio One, they hatched plans to record a second album.  Tony Pook: “The engineer on our first album knew some people in Devon who rented out cottages, and he arranged for us to do the album down there – so we all piled into the vehicles with our massive £250 advance from Pye Records!” The band booked a week at West Emlett Cottage, a gamekeeper’s cottage in a small wood situated to the south of the village of Black Dog, and once again recorded out in the gardens. This time, though, their sound was fleshed out slightly at times by the presence of auxiliary members Mike Finesilver (bass), Terry Gittings (drums), Bill Boazman (electric guitar) and their old friend and fellow Dawn artist Mike Cooper (slide guitar), who also took the front cover photo (Heron had recently appeared as backing vocalists on Cooper’s album Trout Steel, by the way). With G.T. Moore in particularly prolific form, this time Heron came up with enough material to fill a double album, and such wise, gentle songs as Tony Pook’s ‘Wanderer’ and Moore’s lovely ‘Winter Harlequin’ made Twice As Nice And Half The Price a rewarding if rather sprawling 2LP set, full of understated harmonies and a rootsy, organic instrumental mix that, on tracks like ‘John Brown’ (an early, unreleased Dylan song kitted out with a new melody) and the punchy ‘Big A’, were occasionally reminiscent of the Band.

But the combination of enjoyable but essentially lightweight cover versions of ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ and ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ (which, like Woody Guthrie’s ‘The Great Dust Storm’, had been staples in G.T. Moore’s pre-Heron, R&B/soul repertoire) and a sprinkling of sub-standard originals like the deliberately charmless ‘Getting ‘Em Down’ (“We recorded it that way as a bit of a joke”, admits Steve Jones.  “There was always a strong sense of humour in the band.”) has led Heron to belatedly conclude that the release of a two-LP package was a mistake. “We spent two fabulous weeks just doing what we wanted to do - hanging out, singing and playing”, recalls Tony Pook. “We released Twice As Nice And Half The Price as a double album, but we shouldn’t have done so. I think that there was enough material there for one very good album, but one quite mediocre double album. But we wanted two records for the price of one. That was the hippie ethos behind it, for people to get value for money – which I think they did.”

Twice As Nice And Half The Price was released in October 1971 but failed to pull up any trees (probably not the most appropriate expression to use about such an environmentally-aware group of musicians).  A concurrent single, the understated ‘Take Me Back Home’ (b/w ‘Minstrel And A King’), fared no better in sales terms – in retrospect, perhaps the album’s most commercial offering, the catchy ‘My Turn To Cry’, would have been a better choice.  As it turned out, ‘Take Me Back Home’ and Twice As Nice And Half The Price were to prove Heron’s final releases for the Dawn label, with a belated return to the hated Pye Studios in August 1972 (the hitherto-unissued track that was recorded during this session, ‘If It’s Love’, suggests a far more rock-oriented band) proving to be abortive. Tensions within the band then led to the departure of G.T. Moore, with Roy Apps now giving the band’s side of the story.  “It became very difficult to work with him.  

There was one gig – quite a big gig, actually, paying us what was quite a lot of money at the time – at which he turned up with a pennywhistle.  And he was our lead guitarist! Normally he played mandolin, guitar and everything else, but he decided in his wisdom that he was going to do this particular gig on a pennywhistle.  We were a folk act, but he really wanted a rock band at the time, then after that he wanted a reggae band, then he wanted all three.  And eventually, when it became obvious that the record company weren’t going to be behind us, we sort of drifted apart, I suppose.”

After Heron played their third and final Radio One session in August 1972 (on the Bob Harris-fronted Sounds of the Seventies), the band imploded. Moore issued a solo single through Jonathan King’s UK label in October 1972 before signing to the Charisma label as G.T. Moore and The Reggae Guitars (who also featured his friend and erstwhile Heron colleague Martin Hayward), also backing Persian singer Shusha on her mid-Seventies albums for UA. Meanwhile, Heron’s name continued to be used for sundry post-Moore ventures, including a late Seventies/early Eighties version of the band with Terry Clarke, who subsequently left to pursue a solo career.  Various low-key recordings were made in the undertow of an increased level of interest in the band on the burgeoning Rare Record market.  

The culmination of three decades of sporadic activity occurred in 1997 when, with Gerry Power replacing the long-lost Moore, Heron returned to Black Dog for a reunion album that was quickly followed by a video/DVD charting the band’s myriad adventures. At the end of the week they gave a farewell concert to the Black Dog villagers, just as they had done some twenty-six summers earlier… Later in 2011 the original line-up got back together to record a new album and to do a couple of gigs in the UK. Their new album 'Simple As One Two Three' was released in Japan in August 2011 and is now also digitally available. Later in 2013 they also releasing a Dylan cover album called 'Jokerman - Songs of Bob Bylan'. Currently doing gigs in both UK and Europe. 

01. In The End (words & music: Roy Apps)02. The Magpie’s Song (words & music: G.T. Moore)

03. You Took Your Time (words & music: Roy Apps)
04. Let The Good Times Roll (words & music: G.T. Moore)
05. Home (words & music: Roy Apps)
06. Boogie Woogie (Buggy Wuggy) (words & music: G.T. Moore)
07. You Were All I Need (words & music: Roy Apps & Martin Rushent)
08. Sunshine (Feels Alright) (words & music: G.T. Moore)
09. Barcelona (words & music: Roy Apps)
10. King’s Road (words & music: G.T. Moore)
11. Welcome To America (words & music: Roy Apps)
12. One Two Three (The Ballad Of Notting Hill Gate) (words & music: G.T. Moore)
13. Si Bheag Si Mhor (music: Turlough O'Carolan)