Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ginger Baker - At His Best [Vinyl Rip, 2xLP] (1972)

Year: 1972 (LP 1972)
Label: Polydor Records (USA), PD-3504
Style: Rock
Country: London, England (19 August 1939 - 6 October 2019)
Time: 32:21, 31:38
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 215, 207 Mb

Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer and a co-founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s and 1970s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer", for a style that melded jazz and African rhythms and pioneered both jazz fusion and world music.
Baker gained early fame as a member of Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation, both times alongside bassist Jack Bruce, with whom Baker would often clash. In 1966, Baker and Bruce joined guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, which achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker's and Bruce's volatile relationship. After briefly working with Clapton in Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker's Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music. Among Baker's other collaborations are his work with Gary Moore, Masters of Reality, Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Atomic Rooster, Bill Laswell, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Ginger Baker's Energy.
Baker's drumming is regarded for its style, showmanship, and use of two bass drums instead of the conventional one. In his early days, he performed lengthy drum solos, most notably in the Cream song "Toad", one of the earliest recorded examples in rock music. Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream in 1993, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008, and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016. Baker was noted for his eccentric, often self-destructive lifestyle, and he struggled with heroin addiction for many years. He was married four times and fathered three children.

01. A1 Let Me Ride (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force 2) (04:22)
02. A2 Had To Cry Today (1969 Blind Faith) (08:48)
03. A3 I Don't Want To Go On Without You (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force 2) (03:54)
04. B1 Do What You Like (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force) (15:16)
05. C1 Da Da Man (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force) (07:16)
06. C2 Sweet Wine (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force 2) (03:38)
07. C3 Well All Right (1969 Blind Faith) (04:25)
08. D1 Can't Find My Way Home (1969 Blind Faith) (03:18)
09. D2 Aiko Biaye (1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force) (13:00)

Ginger-Baker72-At-His-Best-front-LP z-Ginger-Baker72-At-His-Best-400 Ginger-Baker72-At-His-Best-back Ginger-Baker72-At-His-Best-label1-4


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Bad Company - Rough Diamonds (1982)

Year: August 1982 (CD 1982)
Label: Swan Song (USA), 7 90001-2
Style: Rock
Country: Albury, Surrey, England
Time: 38:45
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 238 Mb

Three years is a long time between albums, but Bad Company’s Rough Diamonds — their first LP since 1979’s Desolation Angels — only makes one wish the band had stayed away even longer. Next to such mid-Seventies scorchers as “Can’t Get Enough” and “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad,” the witless, Free-style blues-rock shuffles and bloodless boogie tunes that make up this LP are embarrassing.
There are a few uncut gems here. “Electricland” actually opens the album on a promising note, with Simon Kirke’s tight drum trot pushing up against the song’s dark mood and Paul Rodgers’ chilling coyote howl. And “Cross Country Boy” sounds absolutely energetic, sandwiched as it is between an antique Chuck Berry stroll (bassist Boz Burrell’s “Ballad of the Band”) and a sluggish country-blues travelogue (guitarist Mick Ralphs’ “Old Mexico”).
But whereas Bad Company used to reinvest Sixties electric Anglo-blues cliches with energy and conviction, Rough Diamonds simply finds the group underlining those cliches in dull funk outings (“Untie the Knot”) and lame blues (“Nuthin’ on the TV”). In fact, the only cutting thing about this album is the cover’s serrated edge.

Rough Diamonds is the sixth studio album by the English rock band Bad Company. The album was released in August 1982. Rough Diamonds, like its predecessor, Desolation Angels, was recorded at Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey, England in March and April 1981 and engineered by Max Norman (famed for his work with Ozzy Osbourne).
It was the last album by Bad Company's original line-up and the most recent studio album to feature Paul Rodgers. The sessions were rough going from the beginning. First, their manager, Peter Grant, withdrew from view after the death of Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham in 1980. Then, on another occasion, a fistfight broke out between Paul Rodgers and Boz Burrell, the two bandmates restrained by Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke.
The album's opening track, "Electricland", written by Rodgers, was the album's biggest hit. Rodgers' "Painted Face" also received substantial airplay on rock stations. The album became the original line-up's worst-selling album, reaching a disappointing No. 26 on the Billboard album charts in 1982. The album was remastered and re-released in 1994.

01. Electricland (05:29)
02. Untie The Knot (04:11)
03. Nuthin' On The TV (03:48)
04. Painted Face (03:28)
05. Kickdown (03:37)
06. Ballad Of The Band (02:14)
07. Cross Country Boy (03:02)
08. Old Mexico (03:51)
09. Downhill Ryder (04:14)
10. Racetrack (04:47)

Bad-Company82-Rough-back Bad-Company82-Rough-book-1 Bad-Company82-Rough-book-2

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Robert Plant - Manic Nirvana (1990)

Year: 19 March 1990 (CD 1990)
Label: Es Paranza Records (U.S.), 7 91336-2
Style: Hard Rock, Rock
Country: West Bromwich, England (born August 20, 1948)
Time: 49:37
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 323 Mb

Manic Nirvana is the fifth studio album by former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, released March 19, 1990 on Es Paranza Records. The lead single, "Big Love", reached #35 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and its follow-up, "Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes on You)", held #1 on the same chart for six consecutive weeks. The vinyl release had 10 songs (five per side) rather than 11, omitting "She Said".
Robert Plant made big news on 1988’s NOW AND ZEN as he, for practically the first time in his solo career, seemed to fully embrace the legacy of Led Zeppelin. It was something he had studiously avoided on previous records, though, to be honest, on songs like “Burning Down One Side” from his first solo album, or “Other Arms” from his second, he couldn’t help but put a little lemon squeeze into the mix. SHAKEN ‘N’ STIRRED (1985), though, had been devoid of much that could even be called bluesy, replaced by a strange coldness that surprised even his most devoted fans.
No, NOW AND ZEN brought back something Plant had lacked, in part by getting Jimmy Page involved on “Heaven Knows” and “Tall Cool One,” and even sampling Zeppelin riffs and vocals on the latter song, a gimmick that made it a hit, and enabled Plant to sell three million copies of the album. It can be argued, though, that it wasn’t until 1990’s MANIC NIRVANA that everything truly came together – where Plant was able to channel his past and incorporate it into a heavy but complex contemporary sound, where he was able to take his blues and move forward with them, to excellent effect.
From the guitar figure that starts "Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes on You)” – a sort of declaration of the big rock to come – MANIC NIRVANA crackles with an urgency Plant hadn’t been much interested in mustering with his previous few records. The guitar cuts through some of the more superfluous production tricks (the hand-clappy percussion in particular), cracking the song open so Plant can open up. The “talk about love” pre-chorus also gives him the opportunity to slide into his upper register, which is another welcome sign.
Guitarist Doug Boyle piles on the riffs – the chugging figure on “Nirvana,” the Page-like blast on “Tie Dye on the Highway,” the bluesy slide on “S S S & Q” – and Plant matches them with the swagger in his voice. It’s not that he yields completely to the six-string pyrotechnics; the synth-heavy “Anniversary” gives him space to stretch and give in to the song’s inherent drama (though it also contains Boyle’s best solo on the record, so there’s that). “Liar’s Dance,” conversely, peels back the production, providing Plant with room to go deep into the blues, a circumstance he clearly relishes.
By the time the spacy, quasi-psychedelic “Watching You” fades out and Plant has screamed, moaned and sung his fill, you realize what kind of a trip he’s taken you on, and you’re happy to have gotten to ride along. MANIC NIRVANA is Robert Plant at his post-Zeppelin best, embracing his past and present in a titanic rock sound that’ll crack your windows and rattle your walls, if you let it. And you really should.

01. Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes On You) (04:11)
02. Big Love (04:35)
03. S S S & Q (04:38)
04. I Cried (04:54)
05. She Said (05:13)
06. Nirvana (04:30)
07. Tie Dye On The Highway (05:16)
08. Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night (04:17)
09. Anniversary (05:02)
10. Liars Dance (02:34)
11. Watching You (04:21)

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Abacus - Everything You Need, Midway (2 albums) (1972, 1973)

Year: 1972 / 1973 (CD 2004)
Label: Progressive Line (Australia), PL 600
Style: Prog Rock, Rock
Country: Germany
Time: 78:15
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 505 Mb

German progressive rock band Abacus released four albums during the early '70s; a self-titled debut in 1971 was followed by Everything You Need and Just a Day's Journey Away the following year and Midway in 1974.

ABACUS is surely a big name for everyone interested in rock music. The band formed in 1971 made their breakthrough at the Germersheim rock festival, where ABACUS drew not less applause from the 300,000 visitors than PINK FLOYD, SANTANA or ELP which appeared on stage as well. Jurgen Wimpelberg takes on himself to play keyboards, guitars, drum programming as well as vocals.
After a lengthy absence from the recording scene, German band are back with a new album, "Fire Behind Bars". They develop Pop melodies into a wide instrumental manner, with gorgeous neo-classical and symphonic sequences. In a vein near GENESIS, GREENSLADE or PINK FLOYD. ABACUS offers a modern and attractive Progressive Rock music.

01. Anyway We Can (Song For H.) (04:28)
02. Slide Away (04:48)
03. Ivan Hood The White Knight (03:47)
04. Things We Do (06:11)
05. Everything You Need (20:18)
06. Let's Face The Voices And Dance (03:23)
07. Including Revelation (01:17)
08. Me And You (04:23)
09. 11 Farden (02:08)
10. (You're Not) The One I Love (03:44)
11. For The Moment (Unaware) (02:39)
12. Be Beholding (03:46)
13. Herman The German (03:17)
14. Here We Go (03:27)
15. Midway (10:31)

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Gary Moore - Live At The Marquee [Vinyl Rip] (1983)

Year: 21 September 1983 (LP 1993)
Label: SNC Records (Russia), SNC-0081
Style: Hard Rock
Country: Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Time: 50:59
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 335 Mb

One of British rock’s greatest secret weapons, Gary Moore has never received the attention or props that he deserves as one of the Emerald Isle’s wildest and most talented guitarslingers. It is certainly not his immense skills that have prevented him from gaining more than a token stateside audience, although his penchant for skipping from project to project might provide some reasons for his obscurity. After fronting the early ’70s British blooze-rock outfit Skid Row, Moore banged out hard rock with Thin Lizzy, flirted with jazz/fusion as a member of Colosseum II, and played on solo albums by folks like Cozy Powell and Greg Lake. Moore’s own solo efforts have run the gamut from heavy metal to improvisational jazz to hardcore blues. For all of his genre hopping, Moore might be pegged as a dilettante but for the fact that no matter the style of music, he plays it so damn well...
Live At the Marquee is taken from a 1980 show captured at London’s Marquee Club and is probably as good a representation of Moore’s six-string skills as one might find. Although this critic personally prefers the blues bashing Moore practiced during the ’90s, the metal-tinged rock and jazzy fretwork found on Live At the Marquee is nevertheless impressive. Fronting a band that includes journeyman MVP drummer Tommy Aldridge, the Irish guitar wizard runs through a set that includes the hard-driving title cut from his 1979 solo album, Back On the Streets and the wonderfully sublime “Parisienne Walkway,” Moore’s first U.K. hit. “Run To Your Mama” rocks with a rabid ferocity, Moore’s lightning-quick runs highlighting an otherwise generic “kiss-off” song while “You” plays like melodic new wave pop. The soaring, operatic “Nuclear Attackv and the thrash-and-bash instrumentation of “Dallas Warhead” (with Aldridge’s manic drum solo) close out Live At the Marquee with a proper showing of Moore’s heavy metal skills.

01. A1 Back On The Streets (05:31)
02. A2 Run To Your Mama (05:22)
03. A3 Dancin (05:36)
04. A4 She's Got You (07:07)
05. B1 Parisienne Walkways (07:45)
06. B2 You (04:24)
07. B3 Nuclear Attack (04:54)
08. B4 She's Got You (10:17)

Gary-Moore83-Live-At-The-Marquee-label Gary-Moore83-Live-At-The-Marquee-front-LP Gary-Moore83-Live-At-The-Marquee-front Gary-Moore83-Live-At-The-Marquee-back

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Bloodrock - Bloodrock (1970)

Year: March 1970 (CD 2010)
Label: Dogtoire Records (Russia), DGTR010915
Style: Hard Rock, Rock
Country: Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. (1969–1975)
Time: 48:15
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 309 Mb

1969 saw the first rumblings of heavy metal with debut releases from bands likes of Mott the Hoople and Grand Funk Railroad. Bloodrock, a Texas-based quintet, also released their debut during this time (and like Grand Funk Railroad, they were managed and produced by Terry Knight). Bloodrock may not be as well remembered today as the aforementioned groups, but their first release remains a cult favorite among fans of hard rock. Their sound is reminiscent of Deep Purple, with electric guitar and organ dueling over a throbbing beat. However, Jim Rutledge's gruff, whiskey-throated vocals lend a rural tinge to the group's music that sets them apart. As expected for a heavy metal band, the songwriting themes tend to be pretty ominous: "Double Cross" is a gleeful hymn to revenge, and "Timepiece" recounts the final thoughts of a death row prisoner about to be sent to the gallows. The band doesn't always know when to edit their jams ("Timepiece"), and some of the songs feel more like a collection of riffs than fully thought-out compositions ("Wicked Truth"), but the group's powerful attack helps smooth over the rough spots to make an engaging slab of proto-metal. The album's highlights are the final two songs: "Fantastic Piece of Architecture" uses a combination of Doors-like funereal organ and piano to create a creepy atmosphere, and "Melvin Laid an Egg" blends pile-driving riffs with gentle bridges of piano, and harmony vocals to bring its surreal lyric about a freak-show-dwelling capitalist to life. Overall, Bloodrock lacks the crossover appeal to win fans outside of its cult reputation, but it remains an interesting listen for those interested in the development of heavy metal.

01. Gotta Find A Way (06:32)
02. Castle Of Thoughts (03:25)
03. Fatback (03:21)
04. Double Cross (05:15)
05. Timepiece (05:58)
06. Wicked Truth (04:46)
07. Gimme Your Head (02:43)
08. Fantastic Piece Of Architecture (08:46)
09. Melvin Laid An Egg (bonus track) (07:24)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher (1971)

Year: 23 May 1971 (CD July 25, 1996)
Label: TDK Records (Japan), TDCN 5593
Style: Blues Rock, Blues, Rock
Country: Cork, Ireland (March 2, 1948 - 14 June 1995)
Time: 47:44
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 292 Mb

William Rory Gallagher (2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues and rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher formed the band Taste in the late 1960s and recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47.
Rory Gallagher's 1971 solo debut picks up where Taste's final album On the Boards left off; it is a solid album that is tightly focused on delivering some original tracks that reflected more of Rory as an artist than his raucous, blues-rock signature. Rory's solo debut births songs that meant more than being more skeletons for his incisive Strat picking; "Laundromat", "Hands Up", and "Sinner Boy", arguably three of Rory's best songs, distinctive riffs that were early concert favourites, but the album's ballads were some of Gallagher's strongest. "For the Last Time," "Just the Smile" and the acoustic "I'm Not Surprised" mixed strains of Delta blues with strong melodic sensibilities into songs of rare poignancy, especially for an artist who was best known for his scorching leads. In this respect Gallagher was an early model for Eric Clapton, whose solo career followed a similar path. Interestingly, Gallagher seems rather restrained throughout his debut, holding back the fret-burning in favor of strong songs. He opens up on the album's jazzy, seven-minute finale "Can't Believe It's You" which even features an alto sax, an instrument Gallagher all but abandoned on later albums. "Gypsy Woman"'s slashing slide guitar and vocals sound as impassioned any other track; shuffle "It Takes Time" isn't quite as impressive but still shows how comfortable Gallagher is with straight blues.

01. Laundromat (04:39)
02. Just The Smile (03:41)
03. I Fall Apart (05:12)
04. Wave Myself Goodbye (03:31)
05. Hands Up (05:25)
06. Sinner Boy (05:04)
07. For The Last Time (06:34)
08. It's You (02:39)
09. I'm Not Surprised (03:38)
10. Can't Believe It's True (07:17)

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Monday, September 20, 2021

UFO - High Stakes and Dangerous Men [Russian Vinyl] (1992)

Year: February 1992 (LP 1993)
Label: SNC Records (Russia), MZE 0115
Style: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Country: London, England
Time: 53:17
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 384 Mb

Although HIGH STAKES & DANGEROUS MEN still wasn't a full-fledged UFO reunion, it did bring bassist Pete Way back into the fold. After several lack luster albums with Tommy McClendon on guitar, Phil Mogg changes the game once again with the very capable (and much more tasteful) Lawrence Archer. Archer plays with a nice blend of firepower and soul that isn’t unlike their current guitarist, Vinnie Moore. The players here (now including drummer Clive Edwards) blend much more organically then they had on MISDEMEANOR.
I felt a bit indifferent about this album when I first listened to it many years ago, but have come to recognize that it was a step in the right direction for UFO. The songwriting isn’t quite strong enough to really make this album stand out too much in their catalog, but there are some fine moments with “Borderline” and “Running Up The Highway”, which does sound a bit like the old Easybeats song “Good Times”. While not an exceptional album, HIGH STAKES & DANGEROUS MEN is important in establishing the stylistic template that UFO would embrace during the Vinnie Moore era.
( (Rob Dwyer)

01. A1 Borderline (05:17)
02. A2 Primed For Time (03:22)
03. A3 She's The One (03:46)
04. A4 Ain't Life Sweet (03:42)
05. A5 Don't Want To Lose You (05:40)
06. A6 Burnin' Fire (04:02)
07. B1 Running Up The Highway (04:49)
08. B2 Back Door Man (05:07)
09. B3 One Of Those Nights (04:13)
10. B4 Revolution (04:06)
11. B5 Love Deadly Love (04:53)
12. B6 Let The Good Time Roll (04:15)

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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Horace Silver - The Jody Grind (1966)

Year: Early March 1967 (CD 1991)
Label: Blue Note Records (U.S.), CDP 7 84250 2
Style: Jazz, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Jazz Fusion
Country: Connecticut, U.S. (September 2, 1928 - June 18, 2014)
Time: 39:42
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 237 Mb

Following the subtly modern bent of much of The Cape Verdean Blues, Horace Silver recommitted himself to his trademark "funky jazz" sound on The Jody Grind. Yet he also consciously chose to keep a superbly advanced front line, with players like trumpeter Woody Shaw (retained from the Cape Verdean session), altoist/flutist James Spaulding, and tenor saxophonist Tyrone Washington. Thus, of all Silver's groove-centered records, The Jody Grind winds up as possibly the most challenging. It's also one of the most underappreciated; Silver's piano playing is at its rhythmic, funky best throughout, brimming over with confidence and good cheer, and evoking memories of the classic feel of his early-'60s quintet. His compositions have a similarly bright overtone, which (as the liner notes allude to) was becoming increasingly rare in mid-'60s jazz as the fury of the avant-garde and the Civil Rights upheaval began to seep into jazz's wider consciousness. The title cut is a playful, overlooked classic on the funky side of hard bop; Silver kicks it with a tasty groove, giving the rest of the musicians plenty to play off of. The whole group absolutely burns through "Grease Piece," a terrific hard swinger full of smoking solo statements from just about everyone on down to drum whiz Roger Humphries. Really, the whole album is packed with great grooves and tight solos, epitomizing the best virtues of Silver's music. For those who have digested classics like Song for My Father, Blowin' the Blues Away, and Finger Poppin', The Jody Grind is one of the best places to go next.

From the perspective of the 21st century, it is clear that few jazz musicians had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the '50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the '60s and '70s.
Silver's earliest musical influence was the Cape Verdean folk music he heard from his Portuguese-born father. Later, after he had begun playing piano and saxophone as a high schooler, Silver came under the spell of blues singers and boogie-woogie pianists, as well as boppers like Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. In 1950, Stan Getz played a concert in Hartford, Connecticut, with a pickup rhythm section that included Silver, drummer Walter Bolden, and bassist Joe Calloway. So impressed was Getz, he hired the whole trio. Silver had been saving his money to move to New York anyway; his hiring by Getz sealed the deal.
Silver worked with Getz for a year, then began to freelance around the city with such big-time players as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Oscar Pettiford. In 1952, he recorded with Lou Donaldson for the Blue Note label; this date led him to his first recordings as a leader. In 1953, he joined forces with Art Blakey to form a cooperative under their joint leadership. The band's first album, Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, was a milestone in the development of the genre that came to be known as hard bop. Many of the tunes penned by Silver for that record -- "The Preacher," "Doodlin'," "Room 608" -- became jazz classics. By 1956, Silver had left the Messengers to record on his own. The series of Blue Note albums that followed established him for all time as one of jazz's major composer/pianists. LPs like Blowin' the Blues Away and Song for My Father (both recorded by an ensemble that included Silver's longtime sidemen Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook) featured Silver's harmonically sophisticated and formally distinctive compositions for small jazz ensemble.
Silver's piano style -- terse, imaginative, and utterly funky -- became a model for subsequent mainstream pianists to emulate. Some of the most influential horn players of the '50s, '60s, and '70s first attained a measure of prominence with Silver -- musicians like Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, and the Brecker Brothers all played in Silver's band at a point early in their careers. Silver has even affected members of the avant-garde; Cecil Taylor confesses a Silver influence, and trumpeter Dave Douglas played briefly in a Silver combo.
Silver recorded exclusively for Blue Note until that label's eclipse in the late '70s, whereupon he started his own label, Silveto. Silver's '80s work was poorly distributed. During that time he began writing lyrics to his compositions, and his work began to display a concern with music's metaphysical powers, as exemplified by album titles like Music to Ease Your Disease and Spiritualizing the Senses. In the '90s, Silver abandoned his label venture and began recording for Columbia. With his re-emergence on a major label, Silver once again received a measure of the attention his contributions deserve. Certainly, no one ever contributed a larger and more vital body of original compositions to the jazz canon. Silver died in New York on June 18, 2014 at the age of 85.

01. The Jody Grind (05:50)
02. Mary Lou (07:09)
03. Mexican Hip Dance (05:53)
04. Blue Silver (05:59)
05. Grease Piece (07:31)
06. Dimples (07:17)

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Kevin Ayers - The Unfairground (2007)

Year: September 2007 (CD 2007)
Label: Tuition Records (Germany), TIN 0130 2
Style: Rock, Alternative Rock, Folk Rock
Country: Kent, England (16 August 1944 - 18 February 2013)
Time: 34:02
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 204 Mb

1960s singer-songwriter Kevin Ayers sings ‘Funny how the situation changes’, at the start of The Unfairground, his first album for fifteen years. How true that appears to be, given the biographical facts surrounding this formerly psychedelic, and almost mythic, ex-Soft Machine operator. Running to seed, as the story goes, in the south of France, he gets re-discovered, hauled back to the UK and a batch of new songs – recorded on the hoof in a range of locations – is conjured around Ayers’ wry, addictive, but ever so slightly broken, vocals.
And what a result! Although no Joy Of A Toy – Ayers’ 1969 crazed, poetic, tour de force - The Unfairground is a compelling return, with songs covering the usual suspect narratives of girl lost/girl found, wrists nearly slit, ageing and having a good time disgracefully. His lyrics are, as hoped, top notch, going down memory lane on “Only Heaven Knows”, beseeching a lover to return on the exquisitely beguiling “Baby Come Home”, and on the album’s centrepiece, “Brainstorm”, a claustrophobic, almost paranoid, lyric cries for the dream to live on, or…’a storm could just blow me away’.
Beside Ayers’ undemonstrative, even flat, but always beguiling, delivery, the music arrangements are top notch throughout. A Spanish feel predominates from what sounds like a Mexican bass band and flamenco guitar, laid over a range of styles from whimsical guitar-based picking to country music, and to the discordantly bitter sweet, rather faded charms, of the British fairground.
The return of Kevin Ayers might not trigger a riot, but on this form its reason to get very excited indeed.

01. Only Heaven Knows (02:46)
02. Cold Shoulder (03:08)
03. Baby Come Home (02:35)
04. Wide Awake (02:54)
05. Walk On Water (03:14)
06. Friends And Strangers (03:36)
07. Shine A Light (03:47)
08. Brainstorm (04:31)
09. Unfairground (03:50)
10. Run Run Run (03:36)

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Grand Funk Railroad - Bosnia (2xCD, Live) (1997)

Year: 1997 (CD 1997)
Label: Capitol Records (Europe), 72438-21935-2-4
Style: Classic Rock, Hard Rock
Country: Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Time: 64:19, 36:25
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 463, 253 Mb

Many people have thought many things about Grand Funk Railroad, but chances are, no one ever thought they were politically conscious, despite songs like "People Let's Stop the War," "Save the Land," and "Freedom Is for Children." That's only one of the reasons why the double-disc Bosnia seems so odd: it's hard to believe that the band had even heard of Bosnia, much less care about what was happening there. Evidently, the Bosnian ambassador went to high school in Cleveland, where he became a huge Grand Funk fan, and years later, that somehow led to the band giving a Bosnian relief benefit concert in Detroit in the spring of 1997. Since this was a special event -- not only were they reuniting, but they were doing it for a cause -- the trio decided to augment their lineup with a four-piece horn section led by the Silver Bullet Band's Alto Reed and, on occasion, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which was under the direction of notorious Letterman lounge lizard Paul Shaffer. It's a lineup that flirts with kitsch, and since nobody involved with the project realizes that, it's even weirder and campier than it would be if the whole thing was intentional. So, Bosnia captures the bulk of Grand Funk's set, featuring 20 songs over two CDs. Of course all of their hits are here. It's the kind of overblown performance that has been out of favor since the late '70s, and it does sound outdated in the '90s. Naturally, that means that anyone who wasn't already a Grand Funk Railroad fan will be repelled by the sheer size and sound of Bosnia, but for those who have loyally stood by the band over the years, it's an interesting set, even though it's more of a memento than a real record.


01. 2001: A Space Odyssey (01:25)
02. Are You Ready (03:25)
03. Rock 'n Roll Soul (03:49)
04. Footstompin' Music (04:18)
05. Time Machine (03:28)
06. Medley: Paranoid / Sin's a Good Man's Brother / Mr. Limousine Driver (07:16)
07. Heartbreaker (07:37)
08. Aimless Lady (03:52)
09. T.N.U.C. (07:24)
10. Inside Looking Out (10:22)
11. Shinin' On (03:37)
12. The Loco-Motion (03:40)
13. We're an American Band (03:58)


01. Overture (02:59)
02. Mean Mistreater (04:26)
03. Some Kind Of Wonderful (03:58)
04. To Get Back In (04:01)
05. Bad Time (02:56)
06. I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home (09:03)
07. Loneliness (08:59)

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