Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Sunstorm (Joe Lynn Turner) - Edge Of Tomorrow (2016) CD

Year: May 13, 2016 (CD 2016)
Label: Irond Records (Russia), IROND CD 16-1886
Style: AOR, Hard Rock, Arena Rock
Country: U.S.
Time: 51:55
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 384 Mb

EDGE OF TOMORROW is the fourth album by AOR/hard rock "super group" Sunstorm. One of extraordinary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner’s project groups, Sunstorm started over a decade ago with Turner and the majority of Pink Cream 69, along with song writers Jim Peterik (Survivor) and Dann Huff. The group released three well-regarded albums before Turner took a break to record with Carmine Appice and others. For whatever reason, when Turner decided to regroup Sunstorm, keeping the melodic style of the previous albums but with a vision of adding a harder edge, he did not bring back his PC69 friends but rather turned to the skills of Frontiers Records man-about-town, Alessandro Del Vecchio.
The results, as evidenced on EDGE OF TOMORROW are, in my opinion, the strongest, most aggressive album ever done by the band. Don’t let that mislead you, this album is still jammed full of Turner’s powerful vocals, melodies, hooks, and catchy riffs, but there is definitely song extra fire in this Sunstorm. As well, the lyrics, while still dwelling on relationships, love, women, etc., seem to have a more forceful tone to them.
The band wastes no time in introducing their updated style with album highlight, "Don’t Walk Away from a Goodbye", a great up-tempo rocker that’s followed stylistically on the album by "Heart of the Storm", and especially "You Hold Me Down". Of course the rest of the record is filled by the band’s trademark melodic rock and ballads, but Sunstorm 2016 is definitely a tougher beast than it used to be.
As my colleague JP wrote in his 2012 review of the band’s EMOTIONAL FIRE, Sunstorm is "world-class". That still hold true in 2016 and all fans of melodic hard rock should not miss out on EDGE OF TOMORROW.
(metal-rules.com/2016/08/01/sunstorm-edge-of-tomorrow) (August 1, 2016)

01. Don't Walk Away From A Goodbye (05:08)
02. Edge Of Tomorrow (06:07)
03. Nothing Left To Say (04:55)
04. Heart Of The Storm (04:44)
05. The Sound Of Goodbye (05:25)
06. The Darkness Of This Dawn (04:25)
07. You Hold Me Down (04:20)
08. Angel Eyes (04:57)
09. Everything You've Got (04:07)
10. Tangled In Blue (03:33)
11. Burning Fire (04:11)


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Monday, August 30, 2021

Pretty Things - The Rhythm & Blues Years (2xCD) 2001 CD

Year: 1964-1966 (CD 29 October 2001)
Label: Recall 2cd Records (Europe), SMDCD 343
Style: Rhythm & Blues, Blues Rock, Rock
Country: London, England
Time: 49:35, 47:03
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 169, 171 Mb

Everybody's got to have an idol, an ideal that one strives to reach and, if possible, surpass. For the Pretty Things, such an ideal were the Rolling Stones. This was really a predictable thing, though: the band was founded around 1964 by Dick Taylor, former bass player for the Stones before they actually had a recording contract. Dick quit the band because of financial troubles and personal ambitions (not content with his minor role since Brian Jones shoved him in the background), and became one of the founding fathers for the Pretty Things - but the band still kept a tight connection with the Stones. Initially, their image was supposed to be modelled after the Stones, only even more hardcore: they were even wilder, had even longer hair, and were banned from even more TV shows than the Stones ever have. At least, that's how the legend goes. Too bad that the actual music played by the Pretties was nowhere near as enduring as the Stones' stuff: the band was nowhere near as professional or talented, and their lead singer, Phil May, had, to put it mildly, a pretty limited vocal potential. Thus, the Pretties' early albums are rife with filler, even if the aggressive rock'n'roll energy contained in their best stuff easily compensates for the weaker numbers.
This all began to change around the Summer of Love epoch: unlike gazillions of their even less talented and/or ambitiousd colleagues, the Pretties had time and will to jump on the accelerating rock music wagon (together with the Stones!) and drifted away into artsier, more sophisticated territory. Unfortunately, the band never really made the big time; despite a few moderate hits, their image had already been soldered as that of second-rate Stones imitators, and this, taken together with poor management and inner lineup problems, never did much to improve the band's financial situation. And yet, it's the late Sixties that count for the Pretties - not every band can successfully transform itself from a basic R'n'B outfit into a full-blown psychedelic machine, but that's exactly what happened. The 1967 record, Emotions, is a minor (and thoroughly underrated) Brit-pop/psycho gem, but, of course, it's the 1968 tour de force, S. F. Sorrow, that the Pretties are going to be remembered for, if they are going to be remembered at all: the first rock opera (or 'rock narrative', whatever), a cohesive and complex album with a level of twistedness and sophistication no other former R'n'B band, not even the Stones, would ever achieve. If anything, S. F. Sorrow just goes to show that the band had serious potential in them, and were actually able to realize that potential instead of always drag in the shadow of their superior pals.
Too bad neither Emotions nor S. F. Sorrow hit the big time; after their failure, the disillusioned Dick Taylor quit the band, and although it dragged on for half a decade more, fuelled mostly by the energy of Phil May, and released three more LPs at least one of which (Parachute) is said to be very good, by the mid-70s it was obvious that there was simply nowhere else to go. The Pretties therefore disbanded into nothing, and despite several attempts at reunions and even some new studio output and live performances in the Nineties, they're still a pretty dark spot in popular culture.
I'm not an avid fan, of course, but one thing is obvious - the Pretty Things are more than just a potential bait for collectors of Sixties' antiques (and while we're at it, it is every Sixties' antiques collector's duty to procure the band's catalog in its entirety, now!). They didn't have that much talent in them, nor did they possess a particular thoughtful inspired talented creative guy; most of the band's best compositions are group efforts. Yet they seem to have possessed a certain 'group mentality' that was enough for their records, at least, the 1967-68 ones, not to sound like weak pathetic clones, but instead provoke a strong and deep emotional reaction. They were trend-followers, but they didn't follow these trends in half-measures: there's enough soul and feeling in their music to make it likeable. They never deserve anything more than a weak two on the band rating scale, that's for sure, but neither should they just be allowed to sink in the general mire of talentless mid-Sixties rip-offs because, frankly speaking, they were better than most. Don't believe me? Buy S. F. Sorrow today and spin it three times in a row to see what I mean. Then slowly and gradually work your way forwards and backwards, never letting your expectations run before the actual music - and hoopla, you just might have something there.

01. Judgement Day (02:48)
02. The Moon Is Rising (02:33)
03. I'm Gonna Find Me A Substitute (02:58)
04. 13 Chester Street (02:21)
05. Oh Baby Doll (03:02)
06. Get a Buzz (04:00)
07. Don't Bring Me Down (02:11)
08. Sittin' All Alone (02:48)
09. You'll Never Do It Baby (02:27)
10. Come See Me (02:40)
11. Rosalyn (02:21)
12. She's Fine, She's Mine (04:24)
13. I Can Never Say (02:37)
14. Get Yourself Home (02:16)
15. I Had a Dream (02:59)
16. Me Needing You (01:58)
17. It's Been So Long (05:06)

01. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (03:04)
02. Rainin' in My Heart (02:31)
03. Big Boss Man (02:39)
04. Unknown Blues (03:48)
05. We'll Play House (02:33)
06. Don't Lie to Me (03:53)
07. I Want Your Love (02:17)
08. Roadrunner (03:11)
09. We'll Be Together (02:11)
10. Honey, I Need (01:59)
11. Cry to Me (02:52)
12. Buzz the Jerk (01:55)
13. Big City (02:02)
14. London Town (02:26)
15. Out in the Night (02:41)
16. Vivian Prince (05:14)
17. Pretty Thing (01:39)


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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Wicked Lady - The Axeman Cometh (1969-1972) CD

Year: 1969-1972 (CD 2012)
Label: Guerssen Records (Spain), GUESSCD 042
Style: Heavy Psych, Hard Rock
Country: Northamptonshire, England
Time: 60:04
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 291 Mb

Wicked Lady exemplifies the "record collector" bands that gain new life through reissues: in this case, Kissing Spell's albums The Axeman Cometh and Psychotic Overkill. Their appearance marked some belated recognition for the power trio, which Northampton singer-guitarist Martin Weaver formed in 1968 with drummer "Mad" Dick Smith and bassist Bob Jeffries.
However, Wicked Lady never came within a whisper of the stratospheric status attained by Cream, or the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The band's liberal use of feedback - and large biker following - kept them relegated to clubs, even during the twilight hours of the psychedelic era. Awash in drink and drugs, Wicked Lady split up in 1970, but Smith and Weaver soon regrouped with new bassist, Del "German Head" Morley.
The new lineup duly set about documenting its existence, as captured on Psychotic Overkill - whose feel is looser than Axeman Cometh. The effect is a shotgun marriage of Black Sabbath-style rifferama, supported by a less risk-taking rhythm section. Weaver's vocal style lacks charisma, but his wah-wah and fuzz-driven guitar style carries the day. The highlights include a bluesy cover of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child," the sex 'n' drugs snapshot of "Sin City," and the howling, 21-minute epic, "Ship Of Ghosts."
But Wicked Lady's erratic ways proved too difficult for clubowners, who eventually refused to let them play. (At one gig, the band reportedly played the same song over and over until an irritated management pulled the plug on them.) Wicked Lady imploded in 1972, but Weaver rebounded that same year by joining the Dark, a more psychedelic- and progressive-outfit. Their Round The Edges album became a Holy Grail for collectors - because only a handful of copies were made for band members and their associates. (Kissing Spell reissued the album in 1991.)
Weaver next teamed with classically-trained keyboardist Dave "Doc" Wadley - who'd worked with a pre-Sabbath Tony Iommi - in the Mind Doctors. Kissing Spell also reissued On The Threshold Of Reality, an album of laidback instrumental "head" music.Weaver most recently surfaced on the re-formed Dark's Anonymous Days (1996), which featured material written in the 1970s and 1990s.

01. Run the Night (05:13)
02. War Cloud (07:40)
03. The Axeman Cometh (06:55)
04. Life And Death (10:03)
05. Wicked Lady (06:07)
06. Out of the Dark (10:18)
07. Rebel (03:36)
08. Living on the Edge (10:09)


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Friday, August 27, 2021

Yngwie Malmsteen - The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection (Japan Edition) (1991) CD

Year: 1991 (CD July 16, 1997) (Recorded    1984–1990)
Label: Polydor Records (Japan), POCP 2559
Style: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Country: Stockholm, Sweden (30 June, 1963)
Time: 72:58
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 517 Mb

Yngwie Malmsteen's over-the-top, dazzling guitar playing fills the grooves of this long LP: "The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection", brought to your ears by the guy who said that he doesn't owe Ritchie Blackmore a thing, notwithstanding several (most) of these tracks sound a lot like Rainbow...
Except "I'll See the Light Tonight", which sounds a lot like Dio, an ex-Rainbow singer.
Malmsteen rose to fame in the 1980s, after his tenure with Alcatrazz, melodic heavy-metal band with Euro flavor, formed in Los Angeles by Graham Bonnet, after that, Malmsteen recorded a couple of solo LPs that were surprising and innovative for the metal world back in 1984 or 85, mostly because of Malmsteen's guitar technique.
On this CD, and throughout 73 minutes of music, Yngwie Malmsteen entertains us with agile finger, classical baroque-ism applied to cliched hard-rock, arpeggios, solos, pizzicati, staccati, and a style that sounds self-indulgent, dramatic, cheesy and refined at the same time, backed here by his singing puppets Jeff-Scott Soto, ex-Rainbow Joe Lynn-Turner, Mark Boals and Goran Edman, an army of bland-excellent vocalists to give some human warmth to Malmsteen's mechanical, inhuman proficiency.
But another Yngwie Malmsteen's appeal (more important to me than his speedy fingers) is (or was) his ability to create good hard-rock tunes, like the aforementioned "I'll See the Light Tonight", "Queen in Love", "Making Love", or "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget", title created by the rancorous Malmsteen, who appears on the cover of this selection, holding his Fender Stratocaster, and saying exactly that: "You don't remember, but I... HA! I'll never forget... ", as the respectable reader can corroborate.
Overall a good and commendable collection of melodic heavy-metal songs from the '80s, by the creator of an instantly recognizable -and imitated- style.
(rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/yngwie-malmsteen/the-yngwie-malmsteen-collection/) (death_metal_doll Jun 01 2016)

01. Black Star (04:51)
02. Far Beyond The Sun (05:49)
03. I'll See The Light Tonight (04:24)
04. You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget (04:29)
05. Liar (04:07)
06. Queen In Love (04:01)
07. Hold On (05:11)
08. Heaven Tonight (04:06)
09. Deja Vu (04:16)
10. Guitar Solo (Trilogy Suite Op: 5/Spasebo Blues) (10:20)
11. Spanish Castle Magic (06:43)
12. Judas (04:25)
13. Making Love (Extended Guitar Solo) (06:23)
14. Eclipse (03:46)


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Jody Grind - Far Canal (Japan Edition) (1970) CD

Year: 1970 (CD December 20, 2006)
Label: Universal Music (Japan), POCE 1084
Style: Psychedelia, Hard Rock, Rock
Country: London, U.K. (1966-1970)
Time: 44:12
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 272 Mb

Early UK prog group lead by keyboardist Tim Hinkley, that released two albums on the folk specialist label Transatlantic Records. The first being a sort of psychedelic brass-rock called One Step On, the second (recorded with a completely different line-uo bar Hinkley) being a bit proggier, the unfocused Far Canal.
In 1965 he formed the Hammond Organ trio Jody Grind, with lead guitarist Ivan Zagni and drummer Barry Wilson. The trio recorded two albums One Step On (1969) and Far Canal which featured Bernie Holland on all guitars and Pete Gavin on drums (1970) (album cover details), for the British record label Transatlantic Records. Hinkley also recorded the album Bloodletting (1979), with Boxer.

01. We've Had It (05:07)
02. Bath Sister (03:29)
03. Jump Bead Jed (07:15)
04. O Paradiso (07:36)
05. Plastic Shit (07:20)
06. Vegetable Oblivion (02:10)
07. Red Worms & Lice (07:25)
08. Ballad For Bidget (03:47)


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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Kevin Ayers - Odd Ditties (1976) CD

Year: 1976 (CD March 12, 2014)
Label: Parlophone Records (Japan), WPCR-15528
Style: Psychedelia, Canterbury Scene, Afro Rock, Latin Rock
Country: Kent, England (16 August 1944 - 18 February 2013)
Time: 64:03
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 401 Mb

It is indeed an oddity that, for all the considerable ambition of his albums, this collection of singles and unreleased outtakes may be Ayers' most satisfying LP. Why? Perhaps because when he's constrained within the 45 format, he taps his strongest and most endearing qualities: easygoing, singalong melodies, droll, nonchalant (even non sequitur) lyrics, good-natured sotto voce vocals, even female backup harmonies. There's little trace of the inaccessible, difficult (usually instrumental) passages that occupy much of the space on his early albums. Spanning 1969 to 1973, this includes eight tracks that wound up on flop singles, as well as six outtakes from the albums he recorded during this period, though there were no obvious reasons for their exclusion (too pop oriented, perhaps?). These are, indeed, "odd ditties": catchy, with occasional Caribbean rhythms and French lyrics, but way too goofball to be taken to heart by a mass audience, at times sounding like a more together Syd Barrett. Needless to say, none of these nifty tunes were anything close to hits. But if they had been, the world would have been a better place.

Musicians include David Bedford (1, 3-9); Whack Skins (1); the Ladybirds (1,5,6,8,9); David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair & Richard Coughlan (ex Caravan 2); Lol Coxhill (3-5); Mike Oldfield (3-6, 8); Mick Fincher (3-5); Dave Dufort (6,8); Tony Carr (7); Bridget St. John (8); Greyhound (10); Archie Legget (11-13); Eddie Sparrow (11-14); Duncan Brown (11); Doris Troy, Liza Strike, Barry St. John (12); Keith Bachelor, Harry Smith, Roy Smith-Field (14).

01. Soon, Soon, Soon (03:25)
02. Singing A Song In The Morning (02:54)
03. Gemini Child (03:18)
04. Puis-je? (03:42)
05. Butterfly Dance (03:46)
06. Stars (03:34)
07. Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes (03:26)
08. Jolie Madame (02:26)
09. Lady Rachel (04:51)
10. Connie On A Rubber Band (02:54)
11. Fake Mexican Tourist Blues (04:38)
12. Don't Sing No More Sad Songs (03:45)
13. Take Me To Tahiti (03:37)
14. Caribbean Moon (03:05)
15. Star (Single Version) (bonus track) (04:21)
16. Religious Experience (Singing A Song In The Morning) (bonus track) (04:46)
17. Hat (bonus track) (05:28)

KevinAyers76OddDitties_back.jpgKevinAyers76OddDitties_front.jpgKevinAyers76OddDitties_book _1.jpg

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Grand Funk Railroad - Mark, Don & Mel 1969–71 (1972) CD

Year: 1972 (Recorded 1969-1971) (CD May 15, 2012)
Label: Icon Classic (U.S.), ICON 1023
Style: Hard Rock, Blues Rock
Country: Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Time: 41:21, 39:40
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 267, 264 Mb

Digitally remastered edition of this best-selling collection of tracks from the American rockers. Following the enormous success of the first six Grand Funk Railroad albums, Capitol Records decided that it was time for a summary of the first stage of the band's career and a two-LP Best of was assembled. The next studio album, Phoenix, would feature keyboardist Craig Frost, who would eventually become the fourth member of the band so this release is comprised of the power trio era hits. Mark, Don & Mel features the classic tracks "Time Machine", "Heartbreaker" and "Paranoid", which received heavy FM and AM radio play back in the day. The album also includes the band's first truly huge Top 5 single, "Footstompin' Music".
Mark, Don & Mel: 1969–71 is a rock album by Grand Funk Railroad that was released in 1972. It is a compilation of early highlights from both studio and live performances while the band was managed by Terry Knight. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified gold by the RIAA.
There is a clear-cut divide in Grand Funk Railroad's material; this chronicles the band's early period under flamboyant manager Terry Knight, who was bound and determined to prove that Grand Funk wa the biggest thing in rock and roll. This collection is a great overview of this period and is suggested for those who don't want to wade through the chaff in order to get the gems. This captures the band when they were mere kids looking to become the monsters they later became.
Grand Funk Railroad (Mark Farner, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher) broke out big in the late sixties with a huge rock sound that emulated the hard working sounds of the town they grew up in, forever making Flint, Michigan a familiar name to millions. From the release of their very first album "Grand Funk" and over a career that spans decades of many hit recordings, GFR has truly stood the test of time.

With multiple gold and platinum albums under their belt, and historic sold out shows like Shea Stadium, the brass at Capitol Records in 1972 honored this power trio with their first greatest hits collection the gold and platinum "Mark, Don & Mel."
The album was a blockbuster as it reached the upper rungs of the sales charts, making this a smash hit with both rock and pop audiences, proving once again their career was of historic merit. Filled with multiple hits spread out over 4 big sides, the amazing album takes off with the classic Time Machine?plus more power rockers like Into The Sun?Inside Looking Out?and Heartbreaker.


01. Time Machine (03:45)
02. Into The Sun (06:28)
03. Heartbreraker (06:34)
04. Feelin' Alright (04:26)
05. Footstompin' Music (03:47)
06. Paranoid (07:49)
07. Loneliness (08:29)


01. Are You Ready - Mark, Don & Mel (03:39)
02. Mean Mistreater - Mark, Don & Mel (04:58)
03. T.N.U.C. - Mark, Don & Mel (11:31)
04. Inside Looking Out  - Mark, Don & Mel (09:33)
05. Closer To Home - Mark, Don & Mel (09:57)



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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Roger Glover (ex Deep Purple) - If Life Was Easy (2011) CD

Year: July 11, 2011 (CD 2011)
Label: Souz Music (Russia), SZCD 7319-11
Style: Rock, Blues Rock
Country: Brecon, Wales (30 November 1945)
Time: 54:45
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 378 Mb

If Life Was Easy is the fifth solo album by Deep Purple's bass player Roger Glover released by earMusic/edel on July 11, 2011. The album was recorded in 2007 but due to personal reasons it wasn't released until 2011. Like its predecessor, Snapshot (2002), it features The Guilty Party which includes Randall Bramblett and Gillian Glover. Guest appearances are from Nazareth's Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew as well as Walther Gallay and Sahaj Ticotin.

On top of him being the longtime bassist of Deep Purple, Roger Glover is a songwriter, producer and instrumentalist of amazing depth and style – as is evident on his solo CD If Life Was Easy. Enlisting a group of musicians around him he calls the Guilty Party, this stellar 16-song disc came to fruition for Glover during a decade he calls “turbulent”.
The CD opens with a sloppy, guitar and featuring some fantastic, quirky instrument layering, with Glover playing baslama (that odd-stringed instrument with a bowl like-bottom, most commonly used in Turkey), giving the tune a shaky Middle Eastern resonance. There’s also Randall Bramblett’s great sax work at the end.
We all know a guy like Glover won’t see mainstream radio airplay, but this tune would do well as a lead-off hit. As a big fan of Nazareth, it’s great to hear their sandpaper vocalist Dan McCafferty going over the top on “The Dream I Had” (Nazareth was one of many bands/artists Glover has had a hand in producing over the years), with a perfect slide by Oz Noy and some truly grumbling low bass work from Glover. “Moonlight,” a slower bluesy number, features Glover’s wife Gillian on vocals and some exquisite fretless bass playing from you-know-who.
The best songs on “Life” are the ones where it’s all Glover. “The Car Won’t Start” basically features him playing almost all instruments and singing on what is a great white reggae tune – with some fantastic harmonica playing to boot! “Box Of Tricks” is a dirty, tour de force with one other musician: drummer Elliot Deneberg, The title track showcases some of Glover’s acoustic guitar playing, reminiscent of Leo Kottke (no mean feat to be sure). “Staring Into Space” is a sea-shanty-like acoustic tune with a great vocal from Glover. All these song feature the full lyrical expression of Glover’s turbulent decade.
The full complement of the Guilty Party is evident on the rousing “Stand Together,” a gospelly roll featuring Randall Bramblett on vocals, Don Airey on piano and Oz Noy on guitar, captured with that full rich production Glover does so well. “Feel Like A King” feels the most Purplish of all these songs, a great hard-rocking number with vocals from Glover and Sahaj Ticotin.
If Life Was Easy is about the best produced, written and played album you’re going to hear all year. Roger Glover brings the full range of his powers to bear. There isn’t one moment wasted or one misstep. The musicians are spot on, the songwriting shows depth, and the lyrics are in keeping with the age of the artist and his experiences. Do you get the idea? I like this CD. Purple fan or any kind of music fan – you owe it to yourself to grab If Life Was Easy.
(vintagerock.com/if-life-was-easy-roger-glover-the-guilty-party-cd-review) (Ralph Greco, Jr.)

01. Don't Look Now (Everything Has Changed) (04:06)
02. The Dream I Had (03:28)
03. Moonlight (02:48)
04. The Car Won't Start (03:34)
05. Box Of Tricks (03:34)
06. If Life Was Easy (02:31)
07. Stand Together (04:47)
08. Welcome To The Moon (02:33)
09. Set Your Imagination Free (03:36)
10. When Life Gets To The Bone (02:59)
11. When The Day Is Done (02:57)
12. Get Away (Can't Let You) (03:29)
13. Staring Into Space (03:40)
14. The Ghost Of Your Smile (04:31)
15. Cruel World (02:21)
16. Feel Like A King (03:44)


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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Slapp Happy - Sort of (1972) CD

Year: 1972 (CD 1999)
Label: Blueprint Records (U.K.), BP318CD
Style: Avant-Rock, Krautrock, Art Rock
Country: German / English 1972–1975
Time: 46:07
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 284 Mb

Slapp Happy was formed in 1972 in Hamburg, Germany by British experimental composer Anthony Moore. Moore had recorded two avant-garde/experimental solo LPs for Polydor Germany, but they rejected his third because it was not commercial enough. As a result of the rejection, he proposed a pop project with his girlfriend (and soon to be wife), Dagmar Krause from Hamburg, and a visiting American friend, Peter Blegvad. At the time, Krause couldn't sing because of problems with her voice, but when she heard Blegvad's singing she agreed to sing for the group.
With krautrock group Faust as a backing band, Slapp Happy recorded a debut album, Sort Of, for Polydor Germany in 1972. The songs were simple, primitive pop, a "naive rock" as Peter Blegvad put it. Commercially, the LP did not go very far, primarily because Slapp Happy refused to perform live.
In 1973 they returned to the studio (again with Faust as their backing band) to record their second album, Casablanca Moon. After the commercial failure of Sort Of, Polydor had demanded more pop-sounding material, and so Moore and Blegvad wrote "straight" pop songs, but Polydor was still not happy and refused to release it.

Slapp Happy then left Polydor Germany and moved to London where a record deal was signed a deal with the then emerging Virgin Records label, which was looking for experimental groups. Faust and Henry Cow had already signed up. At Virgin's Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, Slapp Happy re-recorded Casablanca Moon with the help of session musicians (under the direction of violinist Graham Preskett) and Virgin released it as Slapp Happy in 1974. It was not until 1980 that Recommended Records released the original Casablanca Moon (with Faust) as Acnalbasac Noom (the words of the original title written backwards). Comparison of the two releases revealed two very different musical arrangements. Acnalbasac Noom had a raw and unsophisticated feel about it, whereas Casablanca Moon tended to be more sentimental with more complex arrangements, including a string orchestra.
In June 1974, there were plans for a joint appearance by Slapp Happy and Virgin label mates Henry Cow and Robert Wyatt at a free concert in Hyde Park in London, but this was cancelled at the last minute. However, on 25 June Slapp Happy recorded a Top Gear session for the BBC, enlisting the help of former or current Cow members Geoff Leigh, Fred Frith and Lindsay Cooper, plus Robert Wyatt, who contributed guest vocals and percussion to a version of Blegvad's "A Little Something" from Casablanca Moon. Credited as "Slapp Happy & Friends", this was later released in 1994 on Wyatt's compilation album, Flotsam Jetsam.
The idea to collaborate with Henry Cow eventually materialised in November 1974 when Slapp Happy asked them to provide instrumental backing, much as Faust had done on the first two albums. The resulting Desperate Straights was released under the name "Slapp Happy/Henry Cow". The success of this collaboration surprised everyone, considering how dissimilar the two bands were, and the two bands merged. The music often had a Berlin Cabaret feel about it with a taste of avant-garde jazz.
The merged group returned to the studio in early 1975 to record Henry Cow's In Praise of Learning (as "Henry Cow/Slapp Happy"). The only real contribution from Slapp Happy (besides Dagmar's singing) was the Moore/Blegvad song "War", which blended in well with the album's political aggression. But differences in approach between the two groups had come to a head in April 1975 and Anthony Moore and Peter Blegvad quit, suggesting that Henry Cow's music was too serious (and political) for their liking. Dagmar Krause, however, elected to remain with Henry Cow, who needed a vocalist. This effectively spelt the end of Slapp Happy as a band. Slapp Happy did, however, record one more single, "Johnny's Dead", without Krause, which was released in July 1975.

01. Just a Conversation (04:07)
02. Paradise Express (02:38)
03. I Got Evil (02:33)
04. Little Girls World (03:34)
05. Tutankhamun (02:15)
06. Mono Plane (06:52)
07. Blue Flower (05:21)
08. I'm All Alone (02:52)
09. Who's Gonna Help Me Now (02:28)
10. Small Hands of Stone (04:43)
11. Sort Of (02:21)
12. Heading for Kyoto (03:10)
13. Jumping Jonah (Bonus Track) (03:07)


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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Silver Metre (ex Blue Cheer) - Silver Metre (1969) CD

Year: 1969 (CD 1998)
Label: Lizard Records (Germany), LR 0708-2
Style: Rock, Hard Rock
Country: San Francisco, U.S.
Time: 41:46
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 269 Mb

Silver Metre was a short-lived, San Francisco-based outfit formed by Leigh Stevens, previously with Blue Cheer, and Mick Waller from the Jeff Beck Group. Together with Tom Cowan and Pete Sears, the band released one album in 1970. The album, recorded in England, is basic heavy rock with a spattering of psychedelia. A mix of originals and covers songs, it includes three Elton John/Bernie Taupin compositions: "Country Comforts," "Now They've Found Me," and "Sixty Years On." While the album did not make much impact upon its original release on the small National General label in the U.S., it is of interest to collectors because of the early Waller-Stevens connection. Stephens and Waller would later move on to the British-based band Pilot, a short-lived early-'70s outfit, while Pete Sears was later in Stoneground and Jefferson Starship.

In the summer of 1969, Sears left Trader Horne just before they began recording. Blue Cheer guitarist Leigh Stephens invited him to California for the first time. Sears, Stephens, Micky Waller (drummer), and Jack Reynolds (singer) formed Silver Metre.
"Silver Metre formed in Venice Beach and Santa Monica, California after my first trip to the United States at age 21...We recorded our first of a two-album deal with National General Records at Trident Studios, Wardour St, London. Our managers were Charlie Osborne, and later Tom Donahue who got us the deal...The money for our second album mysteriously disappeared...but I won’t go into that, other than to say it wasn’t the record companies fault."
(Pete Sears)

Silver Metre, named after Ben Dixon's "The Silver Meter" from Along Came John, formed in 1969, evolving out of the Red Weather recording sessions, with Micky Waller (drummer), just fired from the Jeff Beck Group, Stephens, Pete Sears, and Jack Reynolds (singer). They recorded one album at Trident Studios in London, England, released on National General Records, produced by their manager, FM rock radio pioneer Tom Donahue. Contributing music and lyrics included Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Leigh Stephens, Pete Sears, and Tom Coman.

01. Now They've Found Me (Ballad of a Well Known Gun) (03:40)
02. Naughty Lady (04:39)
03. Gangbang (04:41)
04. Country Comforts (03:25)
05. Superstar (03:45)
06. Sixty Years (04:18)
07. Compromising Situation (03:48)
08. Cocklewood Monster (05:18)
09. Night Flight (04:14)
10. Dog End (03:53)


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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Jody Grind - One Step On (Japan Edition) (1969) CD

Year: 1969 (CD December 20, 2006)
Label: Strange Days Records (Japan), POCE-1083
Style: Rock, Art Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Country: London, U.K. (1966-1970)
Time: 39:50
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 231 Mb

Early UK prog group lead by keyboardist Tim Hinkley, that released two albums on the folk specialist label Transatlantic Records. The first being a sort of psychedelic brass-rock called One Step On, the second (recorded with a completely different line-uo bar Hinkley) being a bit proggier, the unfocused Far Canal.
In 1965 he formed the Hammond Organ trio Jody Grind, with lead guitarist Ivan Zagni and drummer Barry Wilson. The trio recorded two albums One Step On (1969) and Far Canal which featured Bernie Holland on all guitars and Pete Gavin on drums (1970) (album cover details), for the British record label Transatlantic Records. Hinkley also recorded the album Bloodletting (1979), with Boxer.

01. One Step On (18:46)
02. Little Message (04:42)
03. Night Today (05:04)
04. U.S.A. (06:40)
05. Rock 'N Roll Man (04:36)


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