Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 26 September 1969 (LP 1991 ?)
Label: ??? (Russia), B 00001
Style: Rock
Country: Liverpool, England
Time: 47:46
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 292 Mb

Yes, I know it wasn`t long ago since my last reprint of a Lennon interview, but this one was unavoidable. They absolutely were on the brink of splitting and they did make some very good albums solo after the Beatles. In a lot of ways that was a good thing as we got to have more great albums to listen to, but you always ask; “What if…?”
Read on!

Beatles are on the brink of splitting.
One group is just not big enough for all this talent.

By Alan Smith.
I MAY be wrong, and I hope I am, but these are dark days for the Beatles. I begin to wonder how much longer their association can stand the strain of their own individual talent.
JOHN LENNON pulls toward Peace and his Plastic Ono Band; RINGO Pulls toward a bigger and better film career; GEORGE HARRISON jumps toward his own prolific songwriting; and PAUL McCARTNEY pulls himself away to Scotland, his own songs . . . and silence.
Certainly, John and Paul are on opposite sides of a heavy wall of difference and self-inflicted gloom. And the bond between them can hardly have been more weak, or their opposing interests more strong.
A few days ago John and Yoko and I talked in a one-hour fifteen minute exclusive interview for NME (partly filmed for BBC-1’s look at the world of John and Yoko Lennon in ” 24 Hours”), and during that time he gave me frank answers to this mental rift with Paul and the present state of the Beatles.
He was pleasant, together, straightforward, mellow and resolute, and only in references to Paul did his voice drop in doubt.
He told me: “Paul and I both have differences of opinion on how things should be run. But instead of it being a private argument about how an LP should be done, or a certain track, it’s now a larger argument about the organisation of Apple itself.
“Whether we both want the same thing from Apple in the end is a matter of opinion. But how to achieve it — that’s where we digress.
“Mainly, we disagree on the Klein bit. But you know, I don’t really want to discuss Paul without him here. It’s just that as far as I can see, Paul was always waiting for This Guy to just appear and come and save us from the mess we were in.

Pull out.
“And we were in a mess, and only my saying it to the Press that time enabled Klein to hear about it and come over.
“I’m a quarter of this building, and it became a question of whether I should pull my money out if I could — which I probably can’t.
“I did say I wanted out at one time. It was just that all my income was going in to Apple and being wasted by the joy-riding people who were here. In fact, that was just the minute bit of it. I just wanted it to stop.
“It’s no use pretending we can be here all the time when that kind of thing is going on. We needed a business man. No Beatle can spend his days here checking the accounts.
“There was also the question of the four of us holding different opinions on different things, and the staff not knowing where they where or who to listen to.
“I know that’s what’s going on all the time. People come to me and say `Paul wants this done, what do you think?, `and they know damn well what I think and they say `alright,’ and then they go to Paul and say John wants this done, he’s off again.

Instuctions.
“The result is that we kept sending in different instructions and nothing was being done. Like people anywhere, they were getting away with what they could. We were naive and stupid.
“What I want is for the freeloading to stop, but the old Apple spirit to remain. The spirit will be there, because if Apple is not a problem to the Beatles — which it was — it just can’t help but get better.
“Our job is to put the creative side into Apple. If the Beatles never recorded together again, but each put their creative efforts through Apple… that at least would be better than me having a company, Paul having a company, George having a company, and Ringo having a company. “Together we at least have that much more power.
“I know now that the original concept of helping everybody doesn’t work in its purest form. All you get are the bums and freeloaders everybody else turns down.
“The only way we can help other artists at Apple is the same way the Beatles helped other artists … by breaking new barriers. That’s what we didn’t get before. We sat back, and we started to believe our own publicity, to tell ourselves how the Beatles helped people get long hair, and the Beatles started off this, and the other.
“The Beatles split up? It just depends how much we all want to record together. I don’t know if I want to record together again. I go off and on it. I really do.
“The problem is that in the old days, when we needed an album Paul and I got together and produced enough songs for it.
“Nowadays, there’s three of us writing prolifically and trying to fit it all onto one album. Or we have to think of a double album every time, which takes six months.
“That’s the hang-up we have. It’s not a personal ‘The Beatles are fighting’ thing, so much as an actual, physical problem.
“What do you do? I don’t want to spend six months making an album I have two tracks on! And neither do Paul or George, probably. That’s the problem. If we can overcome that, maybe it’ll sort itself out.
“None of us want to be background musicians most of the time. It’s a waste. We didn’t spend ten years making it to have the freedom of recording studios, to be able to have two tracks on an album.
“It’s not like we spend our time wrestling in the studio trying to get our own songs on. We all do it the same way . . . we take it in turns to record a track. It’s just that usually in the past, George lost out. Because Paul and I are tougher.
“It’s nothing new, the way things are. It’s human. We’ve always said we’ve had fights It’s no news that we argue. I’m more interested in my songs. Paul’s more interested in his, and George is more interested in his. That’s always been.
“This is why I’ve started with the Plastic Ono and working with Yoko . . . to have more outlet. There isn’t enough outlet for me in the Beatles. The Ono Band is my escape valve. And how important that gets, as compared to the Beatles for me, I’ll have to wait and see.
“You have to realise that there’s a peculiar situation in that if ‘Cold Turkey’ had had the name ‘Beatles’ on it, probably it would have been a No. 1.

“Abbey Road”.
“‘Cold Turkey’ has got Ringo and me on, and yet on half the Beatles’ tracks of ‘Abbey Road,’ I’m not on, or half the tracks on the double album — and even way back. Sometimes there might be only two Beatles on a track.
“It’s got to the situation where if we have the name `Beatle’ on it, it sells. So you get to think: ‘What are we selling? Do they buy it because it’s worth it, or just because it says ‘Beatles?’
“George is in the same position. I mean, he’s got songs he’s been trying to get on since 1920. He’s got to make an album of his own. And maybe if he puts ‘Beatles’ on the label rather than George Harrison, it might sell more. That’s the drag.
“Of course we could each make an album and call it ‘The Beatles.’ But that would be cheating. And that’s not my scene.
“Anyway, folks, remember the Plastic Ono Band LP from Toronto released December the 12th, with a nice picture of the sky, and a fab calendar inside of a year’s events with John and Yoko, with poetry and fun.”
(ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, December 13, 1969)

01. A1 Come Together (04:21)
02. A2 Something (03:04)
03. A3 Maxwell's Silver Hammer (03:28)
04. A4 Oh Darling (03:28)
05. A5 Octopus's Garden (02:51)
06. A6 I Want You (She's So Heavy) (07:51)
07. B1 Here Comes The Sun (03:06)
08. B2 Because (02:46)
09. B3 You Never Give Me Your Money (04:03)
10. B4 Sun King (02:30)
11. B5 Mean Mr. Mustard (01:05)
12. B6 Polythene Pam (01:18)
13. B7 She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (01:52)
14. B8 Golden Slumbers (01:32)
15. B9 Carry That Weight (01:37)
16. B10 The End (02:18)
17. B11 Her Majesty (00:29)

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma (1969) (Vinyl 2xLP)

Year: 1969 (LP ????)
Label: EMI Records, Harvest Records (UK), SHDW 1, SHDW 2
Style: Rock, Psychedelia
Country: London, England
Time: 39:34, 46:42
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 236, 251 Mb

Pink Floyd have the last laugh. By Nick Logan.
When the Tremeloes can talk about playing progressive material then the day is dawning for the complete establishment into pop of a stream of music once laughed at and contemptuously dismissed as a short-lived fad.
Three or so years back when it was all starting, Pink Floyd were getting a rough ride from the pop pundits… but went on to do perhaps more than any other group to open the way for the new breed of pop musicians who in 1969 have made their presence felt in no uncertain manner.
As far as last laughs and all that, Pink Floyd have plenty to chuckle about.
“When we started in UFO it was a beautiful place to play,” recalled Floyd keyboard wizard Richard Wright when we spoke last week. “But when we went outside London nobody wanted to know. People used to throw bottles at us.
“At the same time we had a slight hit with See Emily Play and people expected us to play Top 20 stuff. Instead we came along with this strange music they didn’t understand.
“People just didn’t believe in us; I think they regarded us as a huge joke,” continued Richard without bitterness. “They saw us as a lot of freaks getting up on stage and playing freakish music.
“I’ll never forget Pete Murray saying on ‘Juke Box Jury’ that we were just a cult and would last for six months.”
Groundwork
From the groundwork laid by the Floyd and their contemporaries the whole Underground network, along with the University circuit, built up.
Could Richard forsee the progressive boom? “I knew it would happen some time but I didn’t know if it would happen quickly or slowly.
“I don’t think we could have seen it happening to such an extent where today the Underground is now the overground and Underground groups are getting better money than the teenyboppers.
“Yes I would agree that it is today’s pop music, and it is really nice because there are so many groups playing good music and it is accepted everywhere.”
Everywhere? “Well there are still a few places where a few people will walk out, but generally speaking it just gets better and better.
“Even Glasgow, which you might expect to be an incredibly bad scene for a group like us, is a really beautiful place to play.”
What did Richard think changed it?
It was UFO; it was groups like us and the whole hippie philosphy that was connected with it.
“And because the pop thing was then so shallow and empty and people wanted better things. Now because of it even straight pop is becoming better.
“Audiences now demand that you must he able to play your instrument — it’s not just a question of having a pretty face or wearing way out clothes. I should think it’s pretty hard to establish yourself as a teenybopper group now.
“It’s nice too that what has happened in the past three-four years has encouraged really good musicians to care about what is happening in pop and to form their own bands.
“It is very encouraging to find that what you believe in is commercial.”
Successes
After a couple of medium successes with singles, the Floyd dropped away from the market to make their name through albums. Their double set, “Ummagumma,” is at No 9 in this week’s NME Chart.
I asked Richard if the group had any inclinations to return to singles, with the successes of Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull in mind.
“Well we had that one hit and then two after that didn’t make it,” he replied. “Then we came to realise that it was not important to get hits and that, in fact, a No 1 for us might be a bit of a drag.
“I find the whole business of pop and Top Of The Pops a drag, and the singles scene is a dying market anyway.
“I’m not putting it down. If we got a single that went to No 1 it might be nice but it wouldn’t be important because that’s not what we are about.”
He see nothing wrong however, with other groups breaking into the singles field; nor does he feel it will do them any harm.
“It is rubbish to say they have gone commercial,” he maintains. “Bands like Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac believe in what they are playing and in the end it always comes down to the music.
“It is not a question of a sell-out — it means in fact that pop is growing up.
“From now on I believe pop music will be good music. There will be still more change but the standards have been raised and I cannot see them going down again.”
Pink Floyd, of late, have encountered a great deal of success in the film world with their scores for “The Committee” and “More,” released as their last hit album, and Richard sees this as further proof of the new acceptance for progressive music.
In this field they’ve recently completed the score for a TV cartoon series in the States — the producer asked them to do it after hearing “Saucerfull Of Secrets” — and for an Italian film to be released here in February.
An album of the music will be released at the same time and as the group will be recording a further album later this month there are plenty of Floyd goodies on the horizon.
“Film scores are very hard work,” commented Richard. “On the Italian film we worked solidly day and night for two weeks to produce 20 minutes of music. But it is very satisfying work and we’d like to do more of it.”
He went on to reveal that the score also contains some un-Floydian segments; the group using blues and country and western music at certain points.
New Tour
In February they start a concert tour at London’s Albert Hall and plan to develop more the Azemuth Co-ordinator used on previous dates.
Richard explained it is a stereo system with either four or eight speakers that can be set up around a concert hall so that the audience is completely immersed in the sound — 360 degrees stereo if you like.
They would also like to work with an orchestra. “We want to write a complete work for the orchestra and ourselves so that the group is another part of the orchestra.”
Then, if it is possible, the orchestra would be split up and positioned around the hall — along with the speakers — so the audience would he sitting in the middle of the music.
I don’t think they fear any competition from the Trems with that!
(ARTICLE ABOUT Pink Floyd FROM New Musical Express, December 13, 1969)

LP1
01. A1 Astronomy Domine (08:27)
02. A2 Careful With That Axe Eugene (08:47)
03. B1 Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (09:24)
04. B2 A Saucerful of Secrets (12:54)

LP2
01. C1 Sysyphus (Wright) (13:23)
02. C2a Grantchester Meadows (Waters) (07:55)
03. C2b Several Species Of Small Furry Animals (Waters) (04:23)
04. D1 The Narrow Way (Gilmour) (12:15)
05. D2 The Grand Vizier's Garden Party (Mason) (08:44)

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Julian Lennon - Valotte (1984) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 15 October 1984, Recorded February–August 1984, (LP 1987)
Label: Melodia Records (Russia), C60 25595 002
Style: Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 39:13
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 257 Mb

"When Julian Lennon Joined the Family Business with 'Valotte'":
John Lennon's eldest son, Julian, had to know he'd be faced with a lot of unfair comparisons when he decided to start his own recording career: Following in a parent's professional footsteps can always be tricky, and that goes at least double when the parent in question was a beloved public figure whose life ended in a heartbreaking act of senseless violence. With his debut album, Valotte, however, Julian proved he was more than just a famous surname.
In fact, according to Lennon lore, Julian sent his first series of demos out anonymously, thus acquiring the interest of Charisma Records boss Tony Stratton-Smith purely on the strength of his work. It makes for a great story – and it's probably exactly what anyone else would do if they were trying to establish themselves apart from a famous parent.
Even if it's true, that somewhat disingenuously skirts the issue that would ultimately dog Valotte along with each subsequent Julian Lennon record: Vocally and melodically, he can't help but sound a lot like his dad.
"It's not a conscious effort to sing like that. When you sing, you sing," Julian protested in a 1986 interview with Creem. "It's not like I'm like -- what do you call those guys who mimic people? Whatever comes out, comes out. Especially for the first album: That's when I really started singing, so there's no way I knew how to mimic anybody. It was just what came natural."
Regardless, with John Lennon's murder still less than five years in the past – and his last posthumous solo hit, "Nobody Told Me," having hit the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic earlier in 1984 – Julian quickly found himself besieged by fans and critics who either thought he sounded too much or not enough like John. Selling two million copies of your first album, as Julian eventually did with Valotte, can be a bewildering experience even under the best of circumstances; for Lennon, who was only 21 at the time, it must have been particularly discombobulating.
It also didn't help that, while it was public knowledge that John had left Julian's mother Cynthia for Yoko Ono when he was a young boy – and that they hadn't always enjoyed a particularly close relationship – many chose to believe he was little more than an idly wealthy kid trading on his family connections to record a vanity album between cashing trust fund checks, no matter how earnestly (and delicately) he tried to point out that it wasn't true.
"No, I didn't," Lennon told an incredulous Melody Maker in 1984 when asked if he had a lot of money growing up. "Still haven't – never have had. I've had as much as anyone else." In fact, Lennon added, while he stood to eventually inherit part of a trust, he and his mother had "been scraping around in flats ever since the word go."
Whatever Lennon's personal financial situation, no scraping sounds were heard in the grooves of Valotte, which was recorded over several months in 1984 in some of the finest studios around, including Muscle Shoals and the Hit Factory. At the helm was Phil Ramone, who Lennon had requested after hearing his work for Billy Joel, and a number of session ringers were drafted for the sessions, including bassist Marcus Miller, percussionist Ralph MacDonald, and legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans, who contributed the chirping hook on the album's biggest single, "Too Late for Goodbyes."
Lennon's label, Atlantic Records, seemed to treat him like a prestige artist all the way around, even hiring director Sam Peckinpah to shoot the "Too Late for Goodbyes" video, and at least initially, their efforts paid off: Valotte peaked in the Top 20 in the U.S. and the U.K., spinning off singles to pop, rock, dance, and adult contemporary formats while Lennon took to the road for his first tour. If the reviews were occasionally dismissive, the public seemed more than willing to embrace Julian as an artist in his own right.
As can so often be the case with young artists who achieve early success, however, that momentum proved difficult to sustain over subsequent releases. Lennon's second release, 1986's The Secret Value of Daydreaming, marked a commercial step down from its predecessor, followed by a steep tumble down the charts for 1989's Mr. Jordan and 1991's Help Yourself. That represented a doubly frustrating decline because it found him losing audience interest and label support just as he started coming into his own as a singer/songwriter – an evolution evidenced by lovely later singles like 1991's "Saltwater").
Looking back, it was a problem Lennon saw developing as early as Valotte. "When the reviews came in and the criticism came in, it was obvious where other people's minds were at as far as I was concerned. People obviously had their own visions or opinions of me that stuck," he admitted in a 1991 interview. "And it's not that I felt I was living under somebody's shadow, but I believe that the press – and, to a degree, the public, because of the press – had created a shadow for me to live under and it was hard to ignore."
"Yes, I have had a few knock-backs – too many to mention. Pulling myself back up on the horse, time and time again, over many years, has been tough," he admitted in 2013. "I have been close to quitting on numerous occasions, especially when after the release of an album the comparisons begin without people having even listened to it."
Still, as he noted in a separate interview, Julian refused to to turn his back on music. "It never goes away, really. But also I get restless if I just do the same thing all the time. My mind wanders too much," he offered in response to a question about his long delays between albums.
"Slowly but surely, after extensive periods of time away from music, it tends to all flood back," Julian added. "Then it’s a question of working with those ideas."
And if Julian Lennon never hits the commercial or creative heights attained by his father, he's long since made his peace with that. "I think everybody should earn their own way in life," he mused during a radio special after Valotte was released. "I mean, if anything is going to come out of anything later, that's fine, but I think at least you should really get out there and have a go for yourself. In the end, success is much more sweeter that way. You're actually proud of what you've done. You had to do it to gain whatever you got from it, you know."
(ultimateclassicrock.com)

01. A1 Valotte (04:20)
02. A2 O.K. For You (03:42)
03. A3 On The Phone (04:53)
04. A4 Space (04:26)
05. A5 Well I Don't Know (04:37)
06. B1 Too Late For Goodbyes (03:38)
07. B2 Lonely (03:56)
08. B3 Say You're Wrong (03:33)
09. B4 Jesse (03:53)
10. B5 Let Me Be (02:09)

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 12 September 1975, (LP 1991)
Label: AnTrop Records - П91 00213/14, 32395/96
Style: Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 45:28
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 256 Mb

During the writing and production of Wish You Were Here, the members of Pink Floyd were grasping with the their new found stardom and the pressure to deliver another hit album. A serious bout of collective writers block and frequent tour interruptions further added to this pressure over the course of 1974 and early 1975, but eventually the concept came into being and the fine album was completed. While this record was almost totally composed by bassist Roger Waters, and much of its focus is former band member Syd Barrett, this album is really a tour de force for guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, who contributes some indelible textures, riffs and licks throughout the album.
Following the worldwide success of 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, the group negotiated a new contract which gave them a reported advance of $1,000,000. While touring Europe in 1974, the group composed three extended songs. Two of these, “Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy” would be held over and reworked as the tracks “Sheep” and Dogs” respectively on the 1977 album Animals. The third piece, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” would become the bookend centerpiece around which this loose concept album would be built.
Wish You Were Here was produced by Pink Floyd as a band with the assistance of engineer Brian Humphries, who had previously worked with the group on the 1969 soundtrack album More. Like its predecessor, the album was recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios. Being that Humphries never worked there before, he encountered some early difficulties.
But the technical difficulties were nothing compared to the incredible coincidence of Barrett showing up during the mixing of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” which was obviously written about him. Barrett had arrived to attend Gilmour’s wedding on June 5, 1975, while all four band members were in the mixing room. Not a single one of them recognized him at first as he had shaved his head and eyebrows. Once they all realized that it was him, it was obvious that he was unable to partake in a normal conversation and had no idea that he was the subject of the song they were mixing that day. This put a damper on the wedding and unfortunately no member of Pink Floyd saw Syd Barrett again until they attended his 2006 funeral.
The first section of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” sounds totally new age during the beginning section, which was originally developed as “Household Objects”, an experimental piece using ARP synth, Hammond organ and wine glass harmonica. After this long intro, the second instrumental section is much more musically rewarding, built on an indelible four note riff by Gilmour, above which he adds a bluesy lead and below which there is crisp and steady playing by the rest of the group. This second section acts as a kind of overture for the album, with Wright performing a calm synth solo that previews a later piece and Gilmour returning with a more blistering lead. After 8:45, the song proper finally begins with Waters on lead vocals delivering poetic lyrics which describe his take on Barrett’s plight. Gilmour adds a superior, double-tracked lead in between the two verses and the final two minutes of the track is dedicated to an extended sax solo by Dick Parry above a new riff before song dissolves into a link to the next track.
“Welcome to the Machine” is a textual track with an abundance of synth and sound effects and the most substantial in studio production. However, this is probably the least musically creative as it is just a strummed acoustic which guides along the dark and mechanical sound effects with little to no traditional rhythms. The song does build a bit in the middle but then unfortunately reverts back to same arrangement for the last verse, missing an opportunity to bring it to a stronger sonic level. The album’s second side starts with Gilmour’s wild, treated guitar riffs which are expertly accompanied by Waters’ bass and Wright’s electric piano for a rich rhythmic experience. Wright then adds the signature synth riff, leading to the verses which feature guest Roy Harper on lead vocals, who was brought in when both Waters and Gilmour were unsatisfied with their respective attempts at singing the song. In any case, Harper’s style fits nicely with the Pink Floyd sound, seeming to split the difference between Waters and Gilmour in style, while adding his own flourish to the end of each chorus. The final two minutes of the song are dedicated to a Gilmour guitar lead over increasingly funky rhythms by the rest of the band, especially Mason who gets more and more intense as the outro proceeds.
Starting with a unique sonic intro, “Wish You Were Here” is the true highlight of the album, as stripped-down acoustic track featuring Gilmour’s gruff and folksy vocals. The song’s full arrangement contains tremendous plethora of musical tid-bits ranging from a county-type piano, to a bluesy, slide acoustic lead, to the modern sounding synth pads. This unidirectional track’s hook comes during the single final verse. which leads to the song’s climatic outro featuring Gilmour vocally mocking his own lead acoustic while the song fades into a distant wind effect. This leads to the second suite of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, which starts with a cool bass and guitar thump very reminiscent to “One of These Days” from 1971’s Meddle, right down to the distorted lap steel guitar played by Gilmour. After an abrupt return to the main theme for two verses, the suite just as abruptly turns to a funky clavinet-driven section led by Wright, which is entertaining in spite of the fact that it breaks the musical cohesion. The final parts of the song seem to be extraneous as they really seem to lack focus and direction, just pure filler to fill out the album before a long, anticlimactic fade, a really unfortunate way to end this fine album.
Wish You Were Here became an instant commercial success, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, with EMI reportedly unable to print enough copies to satisfy initial demand. Both Gilmour and Wright have cited this album as their favorite by the band and, while it had initially received lukewarm critical reviews, the album has grown to near universal acclaim over the past four decades. Wright and David Gilmour have each cited Wish You Were Here as their favorite Pink Floyd album.
Classic Rock Review
Posted on September 12, 2015
CategoriesAlbum Reviews
Tags1975 Albums, 2015 Reviews, Album Reviews by Ric Albano, British Artists, David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters
Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1975 albums.

01. A1 Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) (13:54)
02. A2 Welcome To The Machine (07:46)
03. B1 Have A Cigar (05:04)
04. B2 Wish You Were Here (05:52)
05. B3 Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9) (12:50)

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Paice Ashton Lord - Malice In Wonderland (1976) (Vinyl 1st press)

Year: 1976 (LP 1976, 1st press)
Label: Oyster, Polydor Records (UK), SUPER 2391 269
Style: Hard rock, Rock
Country: England
Time: 43:57
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 293 Mb

When DEEP PURPLE disbanded in 1976, Jon Lord and Ian Paice decided to start a new band, not trying to recreate what they already had with DEEP PURPLE but to explore new musical directions.
As frontman they recruited singer and keyboard player Tony Ashton. Jon Lord had already collaborated with Tony Ashton composing the soundtrack for “The Last Rebel” (published 1971 as “Musical score composed by Tony Ashon & Jon Lord, performed by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke”) and on “First Of The Big Bands” (published 1974 as “Tony Ashton & Jon Lord”), an album which could be seen as some sort of blueprint for “Malice in Wonderland”.
The lineup was completed with Paul Martinez on bass and Bernie Marsden on guitar, a brass section fronted by Howie Casey and two female background singers, Sheila McKinley and Jeanette McKinley.
The recordings took place in Munich in autumn 1976 in basement studio of the Arabella hotel (inspiration for the song “Arabella”) and the album was released in early 1977, surprising many DEEP PURPLE fans with a mix of Rock, Blues, Funk and Jazz.
To promote the album, a tour covering major European cities had been planned, but as tickets didn’t sell as expected, most dates were dropped from the oncoming tour, leaving just five British dates to be performed.
As time went by, Tony Ashton felt more and more uncomfortable with his role as frontman of PAL and it also turned out the fans needed more time to adjust to the sound of Paice Ashton Lord as expected. By the end of 1977, the band started the recordings for a second album, but as the momentum was gone the album was never finished and the band called it quits in 1978.
(thehighwaystar.com)

Ian Paice - drums, percussion
Tony Ashton - vocals, keyboards
Jon Lord - keyboards, synthesizer
Paul Martinez - bass
Bernie Marsden - guitar, backing vocals

Technical:
Martin Birch - engineer

01. A1 Ghost Story (05:45)
02. A2 Remember The Good Times (05:46)
03. A3 Arabella (04:07)
04. A4 Silas And Jerome (03:24)
05. A5 Dance With Me Baby (03:20)
06. B1 On The Road Again, Again (03:59)
07. B2 Sneaky Private Lee (06:09)
08. B3 I'm Gonna Stop Drinking (05:16)
09. B4 Malice In Wonderland (06:07)

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Uriah Heep - Very Eavy Very Umble (1970) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 1970 (LP 1992)
Label: SNC Records (Russia), ME 1995-6
Style: Hard Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 39:59
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 252 Mb

ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 20, 1975 (geirmykl.wordpress.com)
You don`t have to be a genius to figure out that this journalist is not a big fan of Uriah Heep. Kudos to him for admitting that it is so and trying his best to write a “balanced” review of their album. Well, at least as far as he is able to in the circumstances. His use of the English language suggests that Mr. Erskine was a well-read and intelligent music journalist. Unfortunately, Mr. Erskine died an early death, but lives on through his writing.
Personally, I still believe that Heep should be in the Rock`n`Roll Hall of Fame. Their long career and “Easy Livin`” alone should send them there.
One of the first records I ever had given to me to review was Uriah Heep`s “Demons And Wizards”.
I was Disc`s cub reporter then, trying hard to make a name for myself as some kind of verbal marksman – sniggering at the cut of the lead singer`s trousers as I took aim.
The outcome of the resultant review was a couple of acidic paras, in which I confessed to tossing the album over an adjacent hedge.
Roger Dean`s sleeve remained pinned to the kitchen wall – I only liked looking at the pictures, you see.
The extremities of people`s reactions to their music has always worked for rather than against the Heep.
I hated that album, but at least it was substantial enough to inspire an emotion as intense as hatred. Using the Zappa definition (he having developed the same ethos with regard to his signing of the latterday repulso-rock figure A. Cooper) this alone was conclusive evidence that Heep were destined for a major career.
Subsequently, I discovered that I wasn`t prejudiced against Heavy Metal at all.
Sabbath are great because they have no real pretensions musically. Even in the lyrical sense they are unpretentious, despite token concessions to passing “controversial” themes like ecology and neuroses. Which, you`ll have noticed, are never allowed to take precedence over the Sabbs` definitive H. Metal equation.
Heep, however, remind me of a poor man`s Deep Purple – unwilling to come clean and own up to the fact that they`re really no more erudite or imaginative than the Sabbs.
Instead, like Purple, they have aspirations to respectability and “progressiveness” by structuring their material along the delicate neo-classical lines of Jon Lord`s flirtation with the L.P.O.
Heep`s keyboardman, the gentlemanly Ken Hensley, must in part be responsible for the growth of this neo-classical tangent judging by the calmer, more pensive nature of his solo projects.
As yet, former Family/King Crimson bassman John Wetton appears to have had little effect in changing the group`s direction on record, while guitarist Mick Box and vocalist David Byron are Hensley`s polar opposites, still adhering conservatively to the traditional formalised precepts of volume and garishness.
The result – through five years of unchanging popularity, four drummers and three bassplayers – has been somewhat schizophrenic.
Artistically, the band has never qualified as “progressive”, while at the same time it cannot ever have been said to represent true Heavy Metal.
To me they typify that peculiarly English principle of Saving Face represented by the compulsive national need to dress mutton as lamb.
In this respect groups like Uriah Heep are direct descendants of the ghastly late `60s-movement in pop which required that musicians “prove their intelligence”, over mainstream pop by being as musically inscrutable and elitist as possible.
Which was only really another “anti-hero” guise, equally phoney because it was only a Pavlovian reaction to the other extreme.
The whole thing was so patently wooden and literal; half a decade later we still have musicians in this country who believe the hang-over maxim that the overdub is some kind of panacea and ju ju.
This, despite the almost universal acknowledgement of bands like The Wailers and Little Feat – both of whom continually realise the impact of the maxim of “If in doubt, leave it out”, which is one of the founding principles of black music.
Some people are even beginning to acknowledge the greatness of pop bands like the Small Faces and the Spencer Davis Group.
The Heep are the nearest parallel we have to the late Vanilla Fudge in terms of the scale of their misinterpretation of their raw materials.
They`re much too inhibited to strip down and make real unashamed quality Heavy Metal like Iggy`s “Fun House” or “Raw Power”.
Heep are too genteel by half – instead of wasting their time on quasi-magical lyrics and virtuoso organ runs they should dig out even a fraction of Iggy, and the Feelgoods` energy and some kind of working vocabulary of stirring (but simple) guitar riffs.
As it is, it`s a wonder they haven`t all got piles from sitting on the fence so long.
Track listings are as follows:
Side One: “Gypsy” (recorded 1970 with Paul Newton, bass; Alex Napier, drums. From “Very `Eavy, Very `Umble”. “Bird Of Prey” (rec. Nov. `70, same line up, “Salisbury” album). “July Morning” (July 1971. Ian Clarke, drums, Manfred Mann, moog. From “Look At Yourself.”) “Look At Yourself” (Same date. With Osibisa`s rhythm section).
Side Two: “Easy Livin`” (`72. Gary Thain, bass. Lee Kerslake, drums. From “Demons & Wizards”). “The Wizard” (`72. Same album). “Sweet Lorraine” (October `72. “Magician`s Birthday”). “Stealin`” (June `73. “Sweet Freedom”). “Suicidal Man (ditto. `74. “Wonderworld”). “Return To Fantasy” (`75. John Wetton, bass).
It might be worth remembering that to date Heep have sold in excess of 10 million albums.
By Pete Erskine

-David Byron – lead vocals
-Ken Hensley – piano, organ, mellotron, slide guitar, vocals
-Mick Box – lead & acoustic guitars, vocals
-Paul Newton – bass guitar, vocals
-Ollie Olsson – drums, percussion
Our thanks to:
-Alex Napier (drums all tracks excepting A4, B1)
-Colin Wood (keyboard on A3, B4)

01. A1 Gypsy (06:36)
02. A2 Walking In Your Shadow (04:31)
03. A3 Come Away Melinda (03:46)
04. A4 Lucy Blues (05:03)
05. B1 Dreammare (04:37)
06. B2 Real Turned On (03:39)
07. B3 I'll Keep On Trying (05:25)
08. B4 Wake Up (Set Your Sights) (06:18)

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda (1968) (Vinyl)

Year: 1968 (LP 1973)
Label: Atlantic Records (Germany), ATL 40022
Style: Hard Rock, Classic Rock
Country: San Diego, California, US
Time: 36:27
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 251 Mb

Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album review
Is Iron Butterfly's psychedelic classic all about one song?
Ah, Iron Butterfly. Jimmy Page liked their name so much he called his outfit Led Zeppelin, and that’s about all they’re known for, right?
Far from it. This, their second album, was the sound of Summer ‘68 in the States. They were briefly perceived as more vital than Hendrix or The Doors. It sold a million within a year and has since passed thirty million - not bad for “forgotten” one-hit-wonders. On top of that, their crossover from flower-power and beads into heavier riff-based terrain caught the hippies-getting-darker zeitgeist and contributed to inventing the metal genre. They were both a part of the LA psychedelic scene with The Seeds and The Strawberry Alarm Clock, and somehow, on the 17-minute title track here, accidentally prog.
So it’s all about that title track?
Or Side 2, as it used to be. Truly it’s a thing of wonder, as a bass riff greatly indebted to Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love - and pre-empting Geezer Butler’s trademarks - prowls in near-Gothic grandeur beneath Doug Ingle’s stentorian vocals, hit-and-miss guitars and a “strictly chickenshit” organ which Rolling Stone at the time claimed bored them to death. Then there’s the drum solo, which defies logic by being not boring at all. The whole piece shouldn’t hang together and make sense, but does.
Presumably Iron Butterfly laboured long and hard to get this classic recording just so?
Actually it was a studio sound-check on which they largely jammed and improvised, while waiting for their tardy producer to show up. By blind chance, the engineer was taping as a test. Even the title/refrain was a slurred, misheard mondegreen – for Adam and Eve’s backyard ("in the garden of Eden") – which stuck.
Do we even need to bother with the old Side 1 then?
They’re generally dismissed in the shadow of the Himalayan range that is In-A-Gadda…, yet those five three or four minute poppier songs stand up well today and are rather fun. Their acid-licked sunshine serves as a radiant counterbalance to their negative’s majestic gloom. Flowers And Beads and Are You Happy are content to have their own summer of love whether anyone else is playing along or not.
So this historic artefact now lurches back to life?
With bonus tracks including the under-three-minutes single edit of that 17-minute behemoth, surely one of the most ruthless cutting jobs of all time. (Strange but true: Boney M liked it so much they covered it in 1980, only to have their biggest flop.) And there’s a good package of notes, photos, etc. In 1976 this was the first album ever awarded platinum status. It may have been a freak, but it’s still a beautiful monster.
By Chris Roberts June 13, 2018

01. A1 Most Anything You Want (03:45)
02. A2 Flowers And Beads (03:09)
03. A3 My Mirage (04:55)
04. A4 Terminator (02:53)
05. A5 Are You Happy (04:33)
06. B1 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:10)

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1990) (Compilation) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 1990 (LP 1990)
Label: Melodia Records (Russia), C90 29145 002
Style: Hard Rock
Country: Birmingham, England
Time: 40:31
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 270 Mb

Black Sabbath, British band whose bludgeoning brand of rock defined heavy metal in the 1970s. The principal members were Ozzy Osbourne (byname of John Osbourne; b. December 3, 1948, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England), Terry (“Geezer”) Butler (b. July 17, 1949, Birmingham), Tony Iommi (b. February 19, 1948, Birmingham), and Bill Ward (b. May 5, 1948, Birmingham).
Osbourne, Butler, Iommi, and Ward, schoolmates in Birmingham in the late 1960s, formed the blues bands Polka Tulk and Earth. These evolved into Black Sabbath, which was named after a Butler song inspired by a Boris Karloff movie. The band cultivated a dark and foreboding image with ominous guitar riffs, slow-churn tempos, and Osbourne’s sullen vocals. Black Sabbath’s lyrics, soaked in occult imagery, and coarse musicianship were reviled by critics and shunned by radio programmers, but constant touring turned them into stars, and songs such as “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” and “War Pigs” became metal classics. By the end of the 1970s they had sold millions of records and had become the standard by which virtually every heavy metal band had to measure itself. Osbourne left the band in the late 1970s, and Ward and Butler later followed him out. Iommi kept the Black Sabbath name alive throughout the 1980s with a variety of musicians, and Osbourne forged a solo career marked by outrageous drug-fueled antics, best-selling albums, and the hugely popular MTV reality show The Osbournes (2002–05), which followed Osbourne and his family. In the 1990s the original lineup reunited on several occasions and released the live album Reunion (1998). It featured the single “Iron Man,” which earned the group its first Grammy Award, for best metal performance. Black Sabbath was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 2013 the Rick Rubin-produced 13—the first Black Sabbath studio recording in 25 years on which Osbourne, Butler, and Iommi played together—topped charts around the world. The band won its second Grammy for the single “God Is Dead?” Black Sabbath embarked upon a farewell tour in 2015, with a final performance two years later; a live album and film, The End: Live in Birmingham, commemorated the show.
(britannica.com)

01. A1 Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath) (06:17)
02. A2 N.I.B (Black Sabbath) (06:08)
03. A3 Behind The Wall Of Sleep (Black Sabbath) (03:43)
04. A4 Planet Caravan (Paranoid) (04:26)
05. B1 Paranoid (Paranoid) (02:52)
06. B2 Electric Funeral (Paranoid) (04:51)
07. B3 Fairies Wear Boots (Paranoid) (06:15)
08. B4 Iron Man (Paranoid) (05:55)

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Chris Rea - On The Beach (1986) (Russian Vinyl)

Year: 1986 (LP 1988)
Label: Melodia Records (Russia), C60 26421 008
Style: Pop
Country: Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Time: 49:21
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 297 Mb

Christopher Anton Rea, 4 March 1951, Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England. Rea is a singer-songwriter and guitarist with a wide following throughout Europe. Of Irish/Italian parentage, he grew up in the north-east of England where his family owned an ice cream parlour. Rea’s first band was Magdalene, a local band in which he replaced David Coverdale, who had joined Deep Purple. As Beautiful Losers, the band won a national talent contest in 1975 but remained unsuccessful. Rea went solo, signing to Magnet Records where Gus Dudgeon produced his first album. With a title referring to a suggested stage-name for Rea, it included the impassioned ‘Fool (If You Think It’s Over)’, which reached the Top 20 in the US and was later covered successfully in the UK by Elkie Brooks.
With Britain in the grip of punk and new wave, Rea’s earliest supporters were in Germany, and throughout the first part of the 80s he steadily gained in popularity across the Continent through his gruff, bluesy singing and rock guitar solos, notably the instrumental track, ‘Deltics’. His backing group was led by experienced keyboards player Max Middleton. Rea’s most successful record at this time was ‘I Can Hear Your Heartbeat’ from 1983’s Water Sign. In Britain, the breakthrough album proved to be 1985’s Shamrock Diaries. Both it and ‘Stainsby Girls’ (a slice of nostalgia for the northern England of Rea’s adolescence) reached the Top 30 in 1985. Two years later, Dancing With Strangers briefly went to number 2 in the UK charts and ‘Let’s Dance’ hit the Top 20, although the gritty ‘Joys Of Christmas’ was commercially unsuccessful.
In 1988, WEA Records acquired Rea’s contract through buying Magnet, and issued a compilation album (New Light Through Old Windows), which sold well throughout Europe. The album reached the Top 5 in the UK and suddenly Rea was fashionable, something that this unpretentious artist has been trying to live down ever since. A series of minor hits during 1988 included a re-recorded version of an earlier song ‘On The Beach’, and a Christmas EP featuring one of his most endearing tracks, ‘Driving Home For Christmas’. In late 1989, Rea released his first UK number 1 hit The Road To Hell, one of the most successful albums of the late 80s. The powerful title track told of an encounter with the ghost of the singer’s mother and a warning that he had betrayed his roots (it also served as a critique of the notorious M25 ring road). Like its predecessor, 1991’s Auberge topped the UK chart while its title track reached the UK Top 20. ‘Nothing To Fear’ and God’s Great Banana Skin enjoyed notable success the following year, while ‘Julia’ a track from Espresso Logic became the singer’s twenty-seventh UK hit in November 1993.
Rea remained loyal to his roots, refusing to join the rock cognoscenti, but seriously overreached himself with 1996’s misguided film project, La Passione. He sensibly returned to easily accessible, crafted MOR on The Blue Cafe (1998). The following year he took the lead role in Michael Winner’s black comedy Parting Shots, and released the disappointing The Road To Hell Part 2. In summer 2000, Rea enjoyed an unlikely club hit in Ibiza with José Padilla’s remix of ‘All Summer Long’, taken from King Of The Beach.
The following year Rea underwent a life-threatening operation that removed his pancreas and duodenum. After recovery Rea fulfilled a vow he made on his sick bed and returned to his blues roots on Dancing Down The Stony Road, an acclaimed and sincere 2002 recording on which both his voice and slide guitar were in exquisite form. The album was released on Rea’s own Jazzee Blue imprint. A prolific glut of releases over the next five years paid testament to the artist’s renewed passion for music. Blue Street (Five Guitars) (2003) and The Blue Jukebox (2004) steered Rea towards jazzier territory, while in 2005 he released an impressive box set featuring 137 new songs and an 80 page book of his paintings. Rea also recorded two albums under the Hofner Blue Notes moniker, the latter an impressive 3-CD/2-LP package.
(The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.)

01. A1 On The Beach (05:12)
02. A2 Little Blonde Plaits (04:22)
03. A3 Giverny (05:46)
04. A4 Lucky Day (04:01)
05. A5 Just Passing Through (05:24)
06. B1 It's All Gone (07:32)
07. B2 Hello Friend (04:23)
08. B3 Two Roads (03:46)
09. B4 Light Of Hope (04:38)
10. B5 Auf Immer Und Ewig (04:12)

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Zodiac - Music In The Universe (1983) (Vinyl)

Year: 1983 (LP 1983)
Label: Melodia Records (Russia), C60-18365-6
Style: Instrumental, Electronic Music, Rock, Pop
Country: Riga, Latvia
Time: 32:42
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 198 Mb

Zodiac was a space disco music band that existed in the 1980s in Latvia, then a part of Soviet Union. The band was extremely popular in the Soviet Union and has been credited by critics as the Soviet answer to the French band Space who were popular at the time.
Zodiac was formed by Janis Lusens, then studying composition at the Latvian State Conservatory in Riga (now Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music). The other four members of the group were also students of various faculties of the same conservatory.
Zodiac's first vinyl record "Disco Alliance" was released in 1980 on the monopolist Melodiya label, during the band members' studentship. The album was produced by Aleksandrs Griva, who was also the father of band member Zane Griva. The music featured a lot of then-unusual synthesized sounds and effects together with more conventional euro disco elements.
The second album "Music in the Universe" released two years later was much inspired by a meeting with cosmonauts in the Star City, Moscow and their tales about space flights. The music of the second album was much more rock-influenced than the first.
During that time the band also performed the music of Viktor Vlasov for the films "Woman's Joys and Sorrows", 1982 and "The Tank Crew", 1983, the soundtracks for the both films were released on a vinyl record "Music from the Films" in 1985. The music of the group was also used in the documentary film about the cosmonaut artist Alexei Leonov "Star Palette", 1982.
The album "In Memoriam" was composed and produced by Janis Lusens alone and released in 1989. The album was dedicated to the ancient and modern cultural and natural heritage of Latvia. The sounding of the album turned from disco to light techno/synthpop while gaining a lot of classical music influences as well as the influence of Jean Michel Jarre's ambient works.
The last album "Clouds'" was released in 1991 by RiTonis (former Melodiya). It contains a hit song of the early 1990s in Latvia "My favourite flowers".
"Disco Alliance" and "Music in the Universe" were released together on compact disc by Mikrofona Ieraksti (which represents EMI in the Baltic states).
In the early 2000s, the Russian electronic duo PPK recorded a remix of Zodiac's composition "Zodiac" from the "Disco Alliance" album. This remix, titled "Reload", entered the charts in a number of territories.
(en.wikipedia.org)

Musicians:

Bass - Ivars Pilka
Design (Cover) - J. Truls, M. Argalis
Directed By (Art Director) - Alexander Griva
Drums - Andris Reinis
Guitar - Aivars Gudrais (tracks: A2 to A4, B2), Dzintars Sagens (tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Liner Notes - Aivars Baumanis
Piano, Synthesizer - Janis Lusens

01. A1 The Mysterious Galaxy (04:51)
02. A2 Laser Illumination (04:22)
03. A3 Silver Dream (03:41)
04. A4 Photo Finish (J. Lusens) (04:44)
05. B1 The Other Side Of Heaven (05:54)
06. B2 In The Light Of Saturn (03:55)
07. B3 Flight Over El Dorado (J. Lusens) (05:14)

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