Monday, March 29, 2021

Golden Earring - Moontan (1973) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 1973 (LP 1973)
Label: Track Records (U.K.), 2406-112
Style: Rock, Classic Rock
Country: The Hague, Netherlands (1961–2021)
Time: 39:54
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 263 Mb

Golden Earring: Moontan - Album Of The Week Club review. Dutch one-hit wonders Golden Earring prove there's so much more to their arsenal than Radar Love. (By Classic Rock October 08, 2019)
Leaving aside any bias over one of ’70s rock’s most overplayed, albeit significant, hit singles, Moontan was the album that brought the Dutch band Golden Earring’s progressive leanings right to the surface.
You can hear what’s in store on the opening track Candy’s Going Bad, which kicks off in the style of an early-70s heavy rocker, but expands to become a much moodier piece more in keeping with Van der Graaf Generator. OK, so that might be a fluke, but how do you then explain Are You Receiving Me? It’s a cosmic, Hawkwind-style excursion; a 10-minute psychedelic journey in which the technical brilliance of guitarists George Kooymans and Eelco Gelling is augmented by plunging saxophone notations from Bertus Borgers.
However, Moontan’s crowning glory is the song Vanilla Queen, a sumptuous epic that encourages every strength in the band to come through. Rinus Gerritsen’s use of synthesiser washes acknowledges a krautrock influence, while the way in which solo acoustic guitar is used as the fulcrum in one passage and the way the instrumental juxtapositions build are clearly inspired by Mike Oldfield.
Formed as long ago as 1961, Golden Earring enjoyed a golden period from the late 60s onwards, touring with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and King Crimson among others.
But it was Moontan was that broke the Dutch band in America, where it was originally released with a different cover and track listing. It made the Top 20, and is still regarded by many fans as their finest work. 
It shows off their dedication to innovation and disregard for conformity. Golden Earring were prepared to be both progressive and accessible, and had the ability to tie both ends of these different musical strands together.

01. A1 Radar Love (06:27)
02. A2 Candy's Going Bad (06:14)
03. A3 Vanilla Queen (09:18)
04. B1 Big Tree, Blue Sea (08:16)
05. B2 Are You Receiving Me (09:36)

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Georgie Fame and Alan Price - Together (1971) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 1971 (LP 1971)
Label: CBS Records (Netherlands), S 64392
Style: Rock, Pop
Country: UK
Time: 40:31
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 233 Mb

How We Met: 46. Georgie Fame and Alan Price.
I was doing a residency at the Flamingo in Wardour Street in London during the winter of 1963, when I heard about this band from Newcastle called the Animals. In my break I walked over to the Scene Club to hear them. Eric Burdon was jumping up and down on this black baby grand piano singing a John Lee Hooker song called 'Big Boss Man'. Alan was seated at his organ, a Vox Continental. I think they were wearing dark three-button Italian suits with black ties, which was de rigueur for lots of groups at the time. I went and knocked on the band room door to say hello, and said I'd meet Alan the next day at this pub called De Hems in Macclesfield Street, where you could get steak and kidney and oyster pudding, as well as good beer.
After that we lived out of each other's pockets for a while. We had the same love of sport as well as the same kind of music. We both came from Northern backgrounds, so drinking was a social interest, to say the least - though we'd never get deliberately out of it. Sometimes we'd go off at short notice and while away the hours in Paris discos. They had a bit more class than the English ones.
We started working together in the early Seventies. One evening, we were both on the same bill at Bradford University. We were in the urinal, and that's when we said: 'Let's form a band.' The catalyst was when we appeared on Lulu's live TV show together. We shared a piano, wore rented tails, and sang 'Back in the USSR', the Beatles song - so we had this crazy idea. We got the strings in the orchestra to play the theme from Dr Zhivago, while we staged a mock battle and interrupted each others' playing. We ended up rolling on the floor pretending to fight. Word has it that Billy Cotton Jnr was strolling along the gantry at the time and said 'Give these boys a series.' This became The Price of Fame.
(Full version:

01. A1 Rosetta (02:53)
02. A2 Yellow Man (03:43)
03. A3 The Dole Song (02:50)
04. A4 Time I Moved On (04:12)
05. A5 John And Mary (03:34)
06. A6 Here And Now (02:53)
07. B1 Home Is Where Your Heart Is (03:23)
08. B2 Ballad Of Billy Joe (04:28)
09. B3 That's How Strong My Love Is (05:10)
10. B4 Blue Condition (03:36)
11. B5 I Can't Take It Much Longer (03:44)

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Rainbow - Rainbow Rising (1976) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 15 May 1976 (LP 1976)
Label: Oyster / Polydor Records (UK), 2490 137
Style: Hard Rock
Country: Hertford, England
Time: 33:38
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 259 Mb

Unhappy with Deep Purple’s increasingly funk-oriented direction, Ritchie Blackmore left his band in 1974 and formed Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio. And with Rising, Rainbow’s second LP, they produced an album that rivalled (some would even say surpassed) Purple’s finest work. “Everybody who’s heard it thinks it’s my best playing in a long time, which I suppose is a compliment,” the famously testy guitarist remarked in 1976, at the time of the album’s release. “Then again, what do they know?” But it didn’t take a musicologist to appreciate the quasi-mystical power of “Tarot Woman” (which featured an unexpectedly futuristic-sounding synth intro from Tony Carey), the arena-ready boogie of “Starstruck,” the twin Tolkein-esque epics “Stargazer” and “A Light in the Black,” or the fiery, dynamic fashion in which Blackmore and Co. dished them out. Sadly, Rising would mark Rainbow’s artistic peak, as Blackmore would soon steer the band in more commercially oriented directions. “He was perturbed that he wasn’t being played on the radio, and decided to go a different route,” bassist Jimmy Bain lamented to Classic Rock in 2014. “He didn’t think we were going to get successful, because Rising was too heavy.” D.E.
(The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time - Rolling Stone. Magazine)

01. A1 Tarot Woman (06:02)
02. A2 Run With The Wolf (03:44)
03. A3 Starstruck (04:08)
04. A4 Do You Close Your Eyes (03:02)
05. B1 Stargazer (08:29)
06. B2 A Light In The Black (08:12)

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Angel Station (1979) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 9 March 1979 (LP 1979)
Label: Bronze Records (Germany), 200 367-320
Style: Pop Rock, Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 38:41
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 251 Mb

I don't have the least - nay, not the tiniest - nadah, not the teensy-weensy-schminsy-Britney-Spearsey idea of why this record turned out to be so much better and so much more adequate and enjoyable than the previous two, but fact is, it did, and I'm positively stumped.
After a few moments' reflexation worthy of a Rodin statue, though, here's what I have to say: Angel Station is really seriously different from its predecessors in many objective aspects. First, there's a lot of covers, and the choices are mainly solid. Second, the album is much more pop-oriented, with more songs, less pompous generic instrumental passages and less pretention in general - all the while retaining some edge, though. Third, Chris Thompson is really good here, taking things ever so slightly tongue-in-cheekier than before. I mean, not a single song sounds as straightforward, dumb, and choking with self-exaltation as 'Davy's On The Road Again (To Get His Piece Of Mouldy Cheese)'.
In all, Manfred Mann obviously wanted to step away from the stale prog formula that had rendered most of his formerly creative output so utterly unlistenable - and he did, and in his honour I must say that he did not choose the simplest way. There are slight New Wave elements on here, but none of the generic synth-pop that was about to replace disco, and no disco either. Well, okay, so I guess some of these songs could have been called "synth-pop", but it's not that synth-pop, you know. It's Manfred Mann synth-pop that he'd been doing ever since the world began, much like Jim Morrison did with the blues. These are really interesting pop songs with really interesting hooks. Not everything works, but not everything is supposed to work.
The two first songs are easily the best ones; I had spent truly delightful minutes humming 'You Angel You' to myself - hey, what a delightful poppy little gem! what optimism! catchiness! grace! power! ooh! - when I realized it was actually a Dylan cover, but it's just that by this time it looks like Manfred Mann's main motto was "If you can recognize a cover version, it ain't worth shit", first really aprobated on the Springsteen covers and now stretched over to Mr Zimmerman (apparently, the Boss proved to be way too trivial for Manfred Mann or something). Unfortunately, I can't verify this hypothesis on the other covers whose originals I've never heard, but all the same, the lyrically tedious eco-rocker "Don't Kill It Carol" ("it" is just a flower, if I'm not mistaken) is absolutely infectious melodically, with a wonderful "bass/talkbox guitar" interplay, great descending basslines and a dancey ABBA-esque chorus. Really smokin' guitar and keyboard solos as well, with my opinion on Mr Chris Thompson improving in spades. Heck, this is the first album where I never actually miss the lack of Mick Rogers, the poor chap.
Another positive highlight is the weird, near-mystical ode 'Angels At My Gate', in this reviewer's humble opinion, one of the best songs in Manfred Mann's entire catalog. The AMG review had an interesting idea about how Peter Gabriel's 'Games Without Frontieres' might have been influenced by this composition, and hey well you know, they just might have something there; in any case, it's hardly any worse, and sports pretty much the same thrilling otherworldly atmosphere, with echoey ominous drums, misty vocals and heavenly synths somewhere high up in the sky. And the only thing that can keep that threatening chorus out of your head - '58, 56, 54, good angels at my door...' is the fact that you can easily mess up the numbers.
The rest of the album is mainly dedicated to over-arranged ballads and stuff like that, but it's still much of an improvement. Take, er, 'Waiting For The Rain', for instance; now doesn't it sound fresh and luvverly with real violins thrown in and all? And the synths actually hidden in the background? Now have the courage to admit, if Styx had gone ahead and done a song like that, they'd put the wheezing synths ahead and they'd also sing this with soooo much more of that thing they usually call "feeling" (but in the case of Styx, I wouldn't dare to speak that term out loud). And Manfred Mann just goes with the violins, and that's a pretty damn hot violin solo out there, countryish and yet classically-influenced all at once.
But it's not even the end - no, the final tune is 'Resurrection', a cute little poppy ditty about the commercialization of religion (with the notably memorable refrain 'We'll sell them Jesus dirty books too, I wonder what Billy Graham will do'). The best closer to a Manfred Mann album I've heard in years. Yoopee, it is the best Manfred Mann album I've heard in years, even if there's still some filler I'm not going to discuss. Well okay, so I've only been listening to Manfred Mann for a few months now, so you do your own little maths and I'll write my own piddly little reviews and in the meantime let's just hope and pray somebody in the future has an anti-commercial nerve to go ahead and make this album available for the general public.
(Album Reviews;

01. A1 Don't Kill It Carol (06:14)
02. A2 You Angel You (04:01)
03. A3 Hollywood Town (05:08)
04. A4 Belle Of The Earth (02:44)
05. A5 Platform End (01:30)
06. B1 Angels At My Gate (04:50)
07. B2 You Are - I Am (05:14)
08. B3 Waiting For The Rain (06:17)
09. B4 Resurrection (02:38)

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Asia - Astra (1985) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: November 1985 (LP 1985)
Label: Geffen Records (U.S.), GHS 24072
Style: Pop Rock, Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 44:58
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 304 Mb

Astra is the third studio album by British rock band Asia, released on 30 November 1985 by Geffen Records. It was their last full-length studio album with co-founding vocalist and bassist John Wetton until Phoenix (2008), released after the original line-up reunited in 2006. Astra is the first of two albums from Asia - the other is Then And Now - with Swiss guitarist Mandy Meyer, who replaced Steve Howe.
Started in 1984, it marked the return of Wetton to the group after his firing in September 1983. He had been replaced by Emerson, Lake & Palmer co-founder Greg Lake, temporarily, for the concerts at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in December 1983. The opening night of these shows, highly advertised as Asia in Asia, was the first in the history of MTV to be broadcast via satellite transmission. Following a two-month stint, Lake had left Asia and soon Wetton had been convinced to come back. The latter agreed, but made it a condition to his return that Howe depart the line-up. By the time sessions for Astra began, the group had recruited Meyer, a former guitarist of the Swiss hard rock band Krokus. This personnel change marked a shift in musical direction for Asia to a more edgy, slightly arena rock and metal sound.
Continuing the trend from Alpha (1983), the main composers on Astra were Wetton and keyboard player Geoff Downes. Two songs, "Voice of America" and "Wishing", were started by Wetton during his time away from the group, initially towards a solo album. "Hard on Me" was written solely by Wetton at the end of the sessions, when the label complained about the lack of a potential hit single.[citation needed] One of the out-take tracks, "We Move as One", was used by former ABBA vocalist Agnetha Faltskog for her solo album Eyes of a Woman (1985).
Astra was recorded at Westside Studios, The Townhouse Studios and Sarm West Studios, all of which are located in London. Like the two previous recordings, it was produced by Mike Stone, but this time with the participation from Downes. The album was originally intended to be titled Arcadia, but was changed prior to the release to avoid confusion, when it was learned that a side project of the same name of Duran Duran was being recorded at the same time. The cover artwork was designed by Roger Dean, who had collaborated with Asia since their debut.
Astra has received mixed reception from music critics. Sandy Robertson in his review for Sounds gave the album a rating of just one star out of five. However, Matt Collar has given the album a retrospective rating of three stars out of five on AllMusic. He has called Astra "a solid prog rock outing" and "a truly underrated '80s rock album and a must-hear for fans".

01. A1 Go (04:08)
02. A2 Voice of America (04:28)
03. A3 Hard on Me (03:36)
04. A4 Wishing (04:17)
05. A5 Rock and Roll Dream (06:46)
06. B1 Countdown to Zero (04:17)
07. B2 Love Now Till Eterninty (04:13)
08. B3 Too Late (04:13)
09. B4 Suspicion (03:46)
10. B5 After the War (05:10)

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Asia - Asia (1982) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 18 March 1982 (LP 24 Jun, 1982)
Label: Suzy Records (Yugoslavia), 85577, CB 1271
Style: Pop Rock, Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 44:20
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 296 Mb

Asia are an English rock supergroup formed in London in 1981. The most commercially successful line-up was its original, which consisted of four members of different progressive rock bands of the 1970s: lead vocalist and bassist John Wetton of King Crimson and U.K., guitarist Steve Howe of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes of Yes and The Buggles, and drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their debut album, Asia, released in 1982, remains their best selling album and went to number one in several countries. The lead single from the album, "Heat of the Moment", remains their top charting and best-known song, reaching the top 40 in over a dozen markets and peaking in the U.S. at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
The band underwent multiple line-up changes before the original four members reunited in 2006. As a result, a band called Asia Featuring John Payne exists as a continuation of John Payne's career as Asia's frontman from 1991 until Wetton's return in 2006. In 2013, the original line-up was broken once again when Howe retired from the band and was replaced by guitarist Sam Coulson. After a few years of inactivity, Billy Sherwood (of Yes, World Trade and Circa:) replaced an ailing Wetton (who died shortly thereafter) in Asia for a summer 2017 tour with Journey. Following the end of the tour, the band went on hiatus again, re-emerging in 2019 with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal replacing both Sherwood on vocals and Coulson on guitar.

01. A1 Heat Of The Moment (03:52)
02. A2 Only Time Will Tell (04:49)
03. A3 Sole Survivor (04:52)
04. A4 One Step Closer (04:18)
05. A5 Time Again (04:46)
06. B1 Wildest Dreams (05:08)
07. B2 Without You (05:08)
08. B3 Cutting It Fine (05:41)
09. B4 Here Comes The Feeling (05:42)

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Yngwie Malmsteen - Fire & Ice (1992) CD

Year: 7 February 1992 (CD 1992)
Label: Elektra Records (Europe), 7559-61137-2
Style: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Country: Stockholm, Sweden (30 June 1963)
Time: 64:45
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 439 Mb

After the disappointment that was Eclipse, Malmsteen comes back with Fire and Ice and, sadly, the same formula is used here. The excess on this record is big; as this is the first album that surpasses the hour mark and the first in which he opens with an instrumental. You just feel that the songs are a platform for Malmsteen to prove that he is a great guitarist. Unlike his 80's output, the songs on Fire and Ice have a hard rock style with very little catchiness.
The performances are what we should expect from musicians playing with Malmsteen. There is nothing to complain on this department as the album is filled with guitar leads that only Malmsteen can provide. Fire and Ice is the last release with singer Goran Edman, and he is improved from Eclipse. The problem with him is that he still lacks the necessary power and personality, adding very little to the songs - though there are no performances like in "Motherless Child", he is much more consistent here.
There is some good stuff here like: "C'est la vie" in which Malmsteen uses a sitar, "How Many Miles to Babylon", "Forever is a Long Time" and the leads on the title track. However we have heard this many times and done better to boot. At the end of the day Fire and Ice is not an easy record to digest, making it a chore to listen to all the way through. If Malmsteen could have trimmed it down 20 minutes or so we would have a great record; instead as it stands this is a slightly above average album.
(; reviewed by Hermer Arroyo; March 29, 2009)

01. Perpetual (04:14)
02. Dragonfly (04:49)
03. Teaser (03:29)
04. How Many Miles To Babylon (06:10)
05. Cry No More (05:17)
06. No Mercy (05:32)
07. C'est La Vie (05:19)
08. Leviathan (04:24)
09. Fire And Ice (04:31)
10. Forever Is A Long Time (04:28)
11. I'm My Own Enemy (06:09)
12. All I Want Is Everything (04:02)
13. Golden Dawn (01:28)
14. Final Curtain (04:46)

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Friday, March 12, 2021

Rory Gallagher - Irish Tour '74 (1974) CD

Year: 21 July 1974 (CD 24.08.2005)
Label: RCA / Capo / BMG Records (Japan), BVCM-37642
Style: Blues Rock, Hard Rock
Country: Cork, Ireland (2 March 1948 - 14 June 1995)
Time: 71:49
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 503 Mb

Born: Mar 2, 1949 in Ballyshannon, Ireland
Died: Jun 14, 1995 in London, England
Genres: Blues
Styles: British Blues, Blues-Rock
Instruments: Slide Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar

For a career that was cut short by illness and a premature death, guitarist, singer and songwriter Rory Gallagher sure accomplished a lot in the blues music world. Although Gallagher didn't tour the U.S. nearly enough, spending most of his time in Europe, he was known for his no-holds-barred, marathon live shows at clubs and theaters around the United States.
Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Irish Republic on March 2, 1949. He passed away from complications owing to liver transplant surgery on June 14, 1995, at age 46. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Cork City in the south, and at age nine, he became fascinated with American blues and folk singers he heard on the radio. An avid record collector, he had a wide range of influences including Leadbelly, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Gallagher would always try to mix some simple country blues songs onto his recordings.
Gallagher began his recording career after moving to London, when he formed a trio called Taste. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1969 in England and later picked up for U.S. distribution by Atco/Atlantic. Between 1969 and 1971, with producer Tony Colton behind the board, Gallagher recorded three albums with the group before they split up. Gallagher began performing under his own name in 1971, after recording his 1970 debut, Rory Gallagher for Polydor Records in the UK. The album was picked up for U.S. distribution by Atlantic Records, and later that year he recorded Deuce, also released by Atlantic in the U.S.
His prolific output continued, as he followed up Deuce with Live in Europe (1972) and Blueprint and Tatoo, both in 1973. Irish Tour 1974, like Live in Europe, did a good job of capturing the excitement of his live shows on tape, and he followed that with Calling Card for Chrysalis in 1976, and Photo Finish and Jinx for the same label in 1978 and 1982. By this point Gallagher had made several world tours, and he took a few years rest from the road. He got back into recording and performing live again with the 1987 release (in the U.K.) of Defender. His last album, Fresh Evidence, was released in 1991 on the Capo/I.R.S. label. Capo was his own record and publishing company that he set up in the hopes of eventually exposing other great blues talents.
Some of Gallagher's best work on record wasn't under his own name, it's stuff he recorded with Muddy Waters on The London Sessions (Chess, 1972) and with Albert King on Live (RCA/Utopia). Gallagher made his last U.S. tours in 1985 and 1991, and admitted in interviews that he'd always been a guitarist who fed off the instant reaction and feedback a live audience can provide.
In a 1991 interview, he told this writer: "I try to sit down and write a Rory Gallagher song, which generally happens to be quite bluesy. I try to find different issues, different themes and different topics that haven't been covered before...I've done songs in all the different styles...train blues, drinking blues, economic blues. But I try to find a slightly different angle on all these things. The music can be very traditional, but you can sort of creep into the future with the lyrics."
For a good introduction to Gallagher's unparalleled prowess as a guitarist, singer and songwriter, pick up Irish Tour 1974, Calling Card or Fresh Evidence, all available on compact disc.
(; Richard Skelly; All Music Guide)

01. Cradle Rock (07:38)
02. I Wonder Who (07:52)
03. Tattoo'd Lady (05:04)
04. Too Much Alcohol (08:30)
05. As The Crow Flies (06:02)
06. A Million Miles Away (09:29)
07. Walk On Hot Coals (11:13)
08. Who's That Coming (10:05)
09. Back On My Stompin' Ground (After Hours) (05:18)
10. Maritime (00:33)

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965) CD

Year: October 1965 (CD 1987)
Label: Elektra Records (U.S.), 7294-2
Style: Blues Rock, Blues, Harmonica Blues
Country: Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (December 17, 1942 - May 4, 1987)
Time: 38:07
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 239 Mb

Seen in context, this is the album that, way back in 1965, brought the sound of the blues and that of R&B – from the perspective of the club scene operating in the wilder parts of Chicago – to the many, mainly, white ears (to borrow a phrase from The Clash’s many years into the future nugget ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’) who wanted to listen in, or at least wanted to check out just what was that electrifying sound that lots of folks were beginning to cotton onto; in light of the ongoing success of British-based acts like the phenomenal Rolling Stones, Animals and Yardbirds who had been at pains to give recognition and heap praise upon the original American blues players and writers. So anyway, Butterfileld’s Blues Band were formed around harmonica man and lead singer Paul Butterfield, and his guitarist friend Elvin Bishop, persuading some of Howlin’ Wolf’s rhythm section,including drummer Sam Lay, to join them for some live club gigs. It’s said that Paul Rothschild of Elektra records saw them and swiftly signed them on board. These were the first results of a career that lasted until 1971. The bulk of the lead guitar parts on this debut album, however, were played by new recruit Mike Bloomfield, with Billy Davenport substituting for the ailing Sam Lay, but, nonetheless, what they produced back then hinged upon a fairly robust round-up of such classics of the genre that included the likes of ‘Mellow Down Easy’, ‘I Got My Mojo Working’, ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘Shake You Money-Maker’. Although if I’m being honest , and despite the virtuosity on display, especially the obvious skills of Bloomfield – although I find he overplays sometimes and can be far too overwhelming and bombastic at times – I’d say these are, on the whole, pretty non-extraordinary interpretations compared to some scorching versions heard over the years: The Misunderstood, The Druids of Stonehenge and a few more names besides… ; but that’s what I was meaning earlier about putting things into context …
In addition to these mostly up-beat selections, there are some items of the torturous ballad variety also in evidence, foremost among them ‘Last Night’ and ‘Blues With A Feeling’. For sheer harmonica joy and guitar enlightenment, however, I’d perhaps pick ‘Screamin’ and ‘Our Love Is Drifting’ over any others.
For better or worse, the Butterfield’s definitely pointed the way forward a lot of the time, their song selections wrapped in a great, raw sound blanket, through which one can easily catch a glimpse of the future in some of the extended, San Francisco ballroom-style guitar heroics that occasionally and insidiously slide into the mix. But tiny portholes into what would constitute some strands of US psychedelia aside, I’m still not all that convinced, and find a lot of what’s on offer just that little bit too, dare I say it, pedestrian. Maybe I’d change my opinion on another day, perhaps while listening on a cold winter’s night, but at present, on a sunnysummer morning...
(Review made by Lenny Helsing. 2013.

01. Born In Chicago (03:08)
02. Shake Your Moneymaker (02:28)
03. Blues With A Feeling (04:24)
04. Thank You Mr. Poobah (04:07)
05. I Got My Mojo Working (03:34)
06. Mellow Down Easy (02:51)
07. Screamin' (04:36)
08. Our Love Is Drifting (03:34)
09. Mystery Train (02:36)
10. Last Night (04:18)
11. Look Over Yonders Wall (02:26)

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Monday, March 8, 2021

Grand Funk Railroad - Phoenix (1972) CD

Year: September 15, 1972 (CD 2002)
Label: Capitol Records (Europe), 72435-41723-2-8
Style: Hard Rock, Rock
Country: Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Time: 46:39
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 302 Mb

No, I'm not a Grand Funk fan yet, not by a long shot. But the group is getting better, and even the recent management hassles it has been going through have not dampened the gradual improvement in its musicality.
True enough, much of the space here is devoted to the kind of heavy-bottomed, simple-minded interpretation of the music of earlier, better groups (like Cream and the Rolling Stones) that has been the sum and substance of earlier Grand Funk outings. But there are also a few pleasant moments of acoustic gentleness, some good harmonica playing from Mark Farner, and the beginning of a feeling for textures in Don Brewer's drumming.
Not a lot to brag about, and for all the Grand Funk fans who are dashing to their typewriters at this very moment to send me the usual murder threats, it really won't make much difference. For those folks, the hotly-hyped trio can do no wrong. But for this listener, one step up may be a small one, but it's one worth making, and worth noting as well, nonetheless.
(Don Heckman, Stereo Review, 1/73)

Grand Funk have by now attained an almost permanent place in rock's hierarchy. They have legions of devoted, ready followers at every performance and lining up to buy their every album. Disappointing no one, and perhaps surprising a few, is the actual musicaI intelligence that is apparent on most of this album. Utilization of the wizardry of Doug Kershaw is an unexpected delight. The single "Rock 'n' Roll Soul" included.
(Billboard, 1972.)

If nothing else, this latest Grand Funk offering should be given an award for best biographical album of the year.
Whether Funk, like the Phoenix, will be able to soar from its ashes or have to crawl for a time looking for a take-off area, will be determined by future albums, not this one. Which is not to say this is a bad album. It is, to date, their best.
The most important differences in the group, and the music, are the addition of Craig Frost as permanent keyboard player and the elimination of an outside producer.
As passe as the organ may be as a viable instrument in contemporary music, Frost fills dozens of holes that have long been notorious in Funk arrangements. Not all of them, mind you, just some. Mark Farner also does a little over-zealous organ work on "Flight Of The Phoenix," an otherwise good-timey piece, neatly accentuated by Doug Kershaw's electric fiddle.
There is a certain looseness to this album that is perhaps created through the knowledge that the project belongs to Grand Funk alone. Farner, Brewer & Schacher brought it through composition to production and they are obviously pleased with themselves. No need thinking that material is totally different than what has gone before. The teeth-grinding guitar and drum solos still dominate, but they are softened slightly by Funk's much-improved harmony.
Phoenix is, by no means, a great album. It is, however, good enough to warrant the attention of all of us who previously ignored the name Grand Funk. If this is an indication of what we can expect from now on, we may even get to like them.
(Pat Baird, Words & Music, 1/73.)

01. Flight Of The Phoenix (03:38)
02. Trying To Get Away (04:11)
03. Someone (04:04)
04. She Got To Move Me (04:48)
05. Rain Keeps Fallin' (03:25)
06. I Just Gotta Know (03:52)
07. So You Won't Have To Die (03:21)
08. Freedom Is For Children (06:06)
09. Gotta Find Me A Better Day (04:07)
10. Rock 'N' Roll Soul (03:40)
11. Flight Of The Phoenix (2002 Remix with Extended Ending) (05:21)

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