DECAMERON - Discography 1973/76
Decameron were an English folk rock and progressive rock band, existing from 1968 to 1976. Decameron released four albums: Say Hello to the Band (1973), Mammoth Special (1974), Third Light (1975), and Tomorrow's Pantomime (1976). Initially formed in 1968 in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) by Johnny Coppin (guitar, vocals) and Dave Bell (guitar, vocals), the band were augmented in 1971 by the addition of Al Fenn on lead guitar and mandolin and Geoff March on violin and cello. Their first managers included future comedian Jasper Carrott. They originally signed to Vertigo Records in 1973 and recorded their debut album Say Hello to the Band that year. By 1974 the band's line-up changed with Dik Cadbury joining the group on Lead and 12-string acoustic guitar and bass. Geoff March incorporated Keyboards into his repertoire and the band signed to Mooncrest Records to record the album Mammoth Special, which showed a turn towards more introspective and progressive material that was to define their sound for the remaining years of their existence. Rumours of a missing 3rd album called Beyond the Light or Beyond the Days have circulated incessantly. It was even given a catalog number, but it was ultimately scrapped, although supposedly some of its material has surfaced on compilations since.In 1975, now on Transatlantic Records, Third Light was produced by Tom Allom. A year later they added drummer Bob Critchley and released Tomorrow's Pantomime. The sales were disappointing and Decameron disbanded shortly thereafter.
V.A. - Have A Nice Decade: The '70s Pop Culture Box (1998)
For anyone who grew up during the last days of AM radio, anyone who remembers gas shortages, disco scarves, and feathered hair, this mammoth seven-disc box set, Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box, will be a holy grail of nostalgia. First of all, the discs themselves contain a staggering 164 tracks. Basically, if you remember the song, it's probably included: from enduring chestnuts even today's teenagers can sing ("Fire and Rain," "Fly Like an Eagle") to obscure gems of kitsch like "The Night Chicago Died" and the supremely maudlin "Billy Don't Be a Hero." If you were born in the 1960s, you'll probably find this stuff enjoyable rather than embarrassing (to the degree that you can think back on your adolescence without cringing). But don't let the music distract you from the packaging, either. The box is covered in avocado-green shag carpeting (embroidered with a happy-face pattern), and the booklet contains photos of all the artists, essays on the politics and culture of the period, and capsule references to notable events, fads, and people. Only Rhino Records could have put out a reissue package of music, images, and text this perfect.
SUZANNE VEGA - Live At Montreux 2004 (2006, DVD Audio Rip)
Suzanne Vega is an American singer-songwriter, musician and record producer, best known for her folk-inspired music. Vega's music career spans almost 40 years. She came to prominence in the mid 1980s, releasing four singles that entered the Top 40 charts in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s, including "Marlene on the Wall", "Left of Center", "Luka" and "No Cheap Thrill". "Tom's Diner", which was originally released as an a cappella recording on Vega's second album, Solitude Standing (1987), was remixed in 1990 as a dance track by English electronic duo DNA with Vega as featured artist, and it became a Top 10 hit in over five countries. The song was used as a test during the creation of the mp3 format. The critical role of her song in the development of the MP3 compression prompted Vega to be given the title of "The Mother of the mp3". Vega has released nine studio albums to date, the latest of which is Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers, released in 2016.
Suzanne Vega broke through with her eponymous debut album in 1985 in both Europe and America. The album featured the hits Marlene On The Wall and Left Of Center. She hit even greater heights with her second album Solitude Standing, which contained the hits Luka and Toms Diner. In many ways, she opened the way for the rush of female singer-songwriters that followed in the late eighties and early nineties. She continues to have hit albums and to play to packed houses on both sides of the Atlantic. This DVD/CD captures Suzanne Vega making her second appearance at the Montreux Festival in 2004. Accompanied by a full band (her first appearance was as a duo), she plays many of her most popular tracks including 99.9FΊ, Marlene On The Wall, When Heroes Go Down, Left Of Center, Solitude Standing, Blood Makes Noise, Luka and Tom's Diner.
HYDRA - Discography 1974 - 2005
Hydra was one of those 70s Southern rock bands that didnt quite reach the commercial success they deserved. Hydra released three excellent albums between 1974 and 1977 before becoming frustrated with the growth of their success along with some management issues. They broke up in 1977 and have since only played handful of live shows in few different occasions. Hydra was started in Atlanta, Georgia around 1968 by Steve Pace (drums) and Spencer Kirkpatrick (guitar) and Wayne Bruce (vocals/guitar) under the name Noah Mayflower. They briefly changed their name to Osmosis before taking the name Hydra in 1971 and added Orville Davis to bass.
After building a reputation as killer live band by supporting various major bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Top, Phil Walden signed them to his Capricorn Record label in 1973. Hydra΄s self-titled debut album came out in 1974. After year of touring and writing new songs on the road, their sophomore effort, Land Of Money, was released in 1975 and bassist Orville Davis left the band soon after to launch his own career as a country singer.
In 1976 Hydra signed a deal with Polydor Records and Rock the World came out in 1977 featuring three piece band with Wayne Bruce switching from guitar to bass, but by the end of 1977 Hydra broke up only to make a brief come back in 1997 with handful of live shows. In 2005 Hydra played two more live dates, which were recorded into a live album called Hydra: Live After All These Years. The band haven΄t completely shut out the option of recording new music under Hydra name in the future.
STEVE LUKATHER & JOSEPH WILLIAMS (2021)
Steve Lukather aka "Luke" and Joseph Williams released individual solo albums on February 26, 2021 via The Players Club / Mascot Label Group. Both artists have made significant contributions to the others album.
Toto bandleader, studio guitarist, and all-around six-string ace Steve Lukather proves he still has all of his magic on his new solo album I Found The Sun Again. The record features a mix of original and cover songs impressively rendered by Lukather and a band of friends and luminaries that includes Ringo Starr, drummer Greg Bissonette, keyboardist Jeff Babko, and bassists Jorgen Carlsson and John Pierce. Toto band-mate David Paich performs piano and organ across the album, as well. Joseph Williams also sings on multiple tracks, wrote string and horn arrangements, and contributes some additional keys. Lukather co-produced the set with Ken Freeman, who also took care of the engineering and mixing chores. I Found The Sun Again is full of killer songs, outstanding musicianship, and the kind of organic hooks youd expect from someone with Lukathers pop/rock pedigree.
The musicians and singers on Joseph Williams' new record Denizen Tenant reads like a whos who of players that have been in the artists life over the past four decades. Amongst these contributors are band-mates from Toto David Paich and Steve Lukather. Simon Phillips, Leland Sklar, Lenny Castro, Nathan East, all of whom enjoyed tenures in Toto are also featured players on the album. Denizen Tenant features a dozen new recordings. Amongst these are a cover of The Beatles "If I Fell," which Williams cites as the one specific song that taught him about the power of harmonies and vocal arrangements. On Peter Gabriel's "Dont Give Up," a very special guest performance is featured in his daughter Hannah laying down a vocal track. Across the recorded repertoire, there is a consistent presence of performances by guitarists Steve Lukather and Mike Landau alongside percussionist Lenny Castro.
ALICE COOPER - Detroit Stories (2021)
The veteran shock-rocker returns to his roots with a boisterous celebration of the Motor Citys storied hard-rock scene of the 60s and 70s. Who would have thought that three of the most life-affirming albums released during the Covid-19 pandemic would be by septuagenarian, old-school rockers? Following hot on the heels of Blue Oyster Cults ferocious comeback The Symbol Remains and AC/DCs Lazarus-like return on Power Up, Alice Cooper has followed up his 2019 back-to-the-source Breadcrumbs EP with a full-length album that pays homage to Detroits original high-energy rock & roll scene which gave the world The Stooges, The MC5, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, The Rationals, Bob Seger and of course, the Alice Cooper group. Detroit Stories includes cover versions of key songs from the Detroit rock scenes glory days, mixed with a glut of new songs that bristle with the raw pre-punk energy of the MC5 circa Back in the USA and High Time, the politically-charged groups second and third albums respectively. The album also features a number of Detroit/Michigan luminaries, including Wayne Kramer of the MC5 and Mark Farner of the influential Flint, Michigan group Grand Funk Railroad, along with the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper group and blues-rock virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. Its no surprise that original Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin is back at the helm for this, Coopers 21st solo album. Unsurprisingly, Ezrin steers an assured path through the varied musical currents of Detroit Stories, resulting in a lengthy album that nevertheless hangs together as a cohesive whole.
CHRIS SPEDDING - The First 4... (1970/76)
Chris Spedding is an English musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and record producer. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Spedding is best known for his studio session work. By the early 1970s, he had become one of the most sought-after session guitarists in England. Spedding has played on and produced many albums and singles. He has also been a member of eleven rock bands: the Battered Ornaments, Frank Ricotti Quartet, King Mob, Mike Batt and Friends, Necessaries, Nucleus, Ricky Norton, Sharks, Trigger, and The Wombles. AllMusic has described Spedding as "one of the UK's most versatile session guitarists, [he] has had a long career on two continents that saw him tackle nearly every style of rock and roll, as well as sporadically attempting a solo career.
Chris Spedding's debut LP, Songs Without Words was released in 1970 on Odeon Records out of Japan. As the title sests, Songs Without Words is an instrumental album. The album is an interesting avant garde jazz workout. Fans of the later Spedding material will find it very challenging but jazz aficionados will appreciate his skill and diverse musical prowess.
Backwood Progression is Chris Spedding's second album that was released in the UK on the Harvest label in 1970. With this album, Spedding falls a bit into the singer-songwriter genre with a fine collection of mostly folk rock songs. Although, he does amp it up and rock hard on songs like the great "She's My Friend". His trademark guitar shines as does some beautiful piano compliments. He delivers his deadpan vocal stylings with a bit more "singing" than you might find on his punkish albums of the late 70's. This somewhat rare gem is a fine addition to any rock collection and a prized piece to any Chris Spedding fan.
Chris Spedding released his third LP, The Only Lick I Know in 1972 on UK's Harvest Records. Another fine collection featuring the great "White Lady" and "Don't Leave Me". This somewhat rare album is essential for Chris Spedding fans and people who like excellent guitar rock will find it very enjoyable. You start to see traces of the stylings Chris Spedding would utilize on his late 70's albums.
Though this eponymous masterpiece was not Chris Spedding's first solo album, it was the first to impact on the record buying public at large. Spiralling out of his so-memorable hit "Motorbiking," it established the leather-clad, quiff-topped Spedding as the first guitar-hero pin-up of the punk era, a full year before even punk's progenitors had heard of the term. Certainly great swathes of what eventually emerged amid the British new wave was bodily borrowed from Spedding, both visually and, with a few fashionable refinements, visually. Chris Spedding sounds like its maker looked: tight, mean, and taking no trash from no-one. The future anthem "Guitar Jamboree" could easily have been replayed with switchblades, while his take on Chuck Berry's "School Days" has a lot more in mind than class work and gym. Electrifying, too, are "Jump in My Car" and "Bedsit Girl." Economically riff-driven guitar pop was nothing new, of course, but rarely had it been executed with such a glowering swagger. Short, sharp and never less than brittle, Chris Spedding has few of the frills that Spedding so adeptly draped over other people's records, few of the twists and turns that distinguished his work with Sharks or later, alone. But, if ever anyone figures out how to fit a CD player into a motorcycle helmet, this should be the first album anybody buys to play on it.
DON AIREY AND FRIENDS - Live in Hamburg (2021)
Don Airey is the keyboard player of Deep Purple. With the iconic British band, he succeeded in doing what would have been impossible for any other keyboard player, substituting the legendary founding member Jon Lord, accidentally one of his idols. Don's career has been incredible. His contribution has marked the history of hard rock. From his works with Ozzy Osbourne on the first albums, through Michael Schenker Group, three great album with Rainbow (together with Roger Glover and of course Ritchie Blackmore), until playing all keyboards on Whitesnake's smash album "1987", Judas Priest's Painkiller and many albums from Gary Moore, including the hit "Still Got The Blues" for which Airey wrote and arranged all the orchestral parts. This concert has been recorded in Hamburg, during the club tour of his solo album "One Of A Kind". The show is a selection of Don's favourite songs from his unique career. A "Hard Rock songbook", played live in a superb way by a band including Carl Sentance (the current singer from Nazareth) and the guitar rising star Simon McBride who will release his new solo album on earMUSIC in 2021.
Recorded absolutely live in March 2017 at the Fabrik Club in Hamburg, it features Carl Sentance vocals, Simon McBride guitar, Laurence Cottle bass, and Jon Finnigan on drums!
Check the credits on any number of rock albums from the late '60s through the '80s, especially Rolling Stones albums, and you'll come across the name Nicky Hopkins. For almost two decades, he was the most in-demand session pianist in rock; the Beatles, Kinks, Who, Jeff Beck Group, Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane -- there was hardly a major rock band in the world that hadn't benefited from Hopkins' deft touch at the keyboards. Born in London in 1944, Hopkins honed his chops with Screaming Lord Sutch and British bluesmeister Cyril Davies before producer Shel Talmy absconded with him to provide keyboards on early Kinks and Who albums. Hopkins' biggest break was in 1967, when he worked with the Stones on Their Satanic Majesties Request; it was the start of a professional relationship with the band that would last until 1980. Hopkins only recorded three solo albums, the second of which, The Tin Man Was a Dreamer, was a surprisingly solid, engaging record that, frankly, no one thought he was capable of recording. Frail and often in ill health, Hopkins never toured much, preferring the studio to the road. Sadly, his chronic health problems culminated in his death in October 1994.
No Introduction Necessary is a "super session" studio album. Initially it was conceived as debut album by Keith De Groot (aka Gerry Temple), a new singer discovered by producer Reg Tracey. It featured Albert Lee and Big Jim Sullivan on guitars, John Paul Jones on bass, Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, Chris Hughes on saxophone and Clem Cattini on drums. The sessions took place at Olympic Studios in London. Nine songs had been completed when neither Lee nor Sullivan were going to be able to take part in next booked session. Tracey called Jimmy Page (who had already worked on Beck's Bolero with Jones and Hopkins) for the last round of recordings. Page's participation likely took place in either September or December 1967 during breaks from touring with the Yardbirds.
Nicky Hopkins' finest solo album, the memorably titled The Tin Man Was A Dreamer is a solid piece of engagingly edgy pop-rock -- picture Elton John's early '70s work with more variety, a few rough edges, and a bit less ego. As one would expect, Hopkins' piano playing (augmented by the organ in spots) dominates most of the songs, but there's ample room for strong contributions from George Harrison (working as "George O'Hara") on lead and slide guitar on four of the tracks, and Mick Taylor on lead and acoustic guitars on four tracks; the rest of the band includes Klaus Voormann on bass and Bobby Keys on sax, as well as future Tubes alumnus Prairie Prince on drums. Highlights include the hauntingly beautiful ballad "Dolly", the closest thing to a potential hit on this album, featuring a moving vocal performance by Hopkins (who wasn't known as a singer), with a beautifully understated lead guitar contribution by Taylor; the instrumental "Edward", featuring Hopkins' piano and organ rippling across a wide range of musical textures; the pounding, pumping rocker "Speed On", which offers Hopkins and his songwriting partner Jerry Williams on vocals; the wittily scatalogoical "Banana Anna"; "Lawyer's Lament", with its exquisite harmonies and Taylor's sensitive lead playing; and the rollicking "Pig's Boogie", which crosses paths with the work of Merrill Moore and Jerry Lee Lewis. This isn't a perfect album, lacking the pronounced pop hooks of, say, Elton John's work of the same period, to put it across to the public, or the personality flash to go with the virtuosity to make Hopkins into a star, but it is a very worthwhile foray into center-stage by one of rock's most renowned side- and session men. Reissued on CD by Sony Music in Japan in the 1990's.
V.A. - Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 - Vol's 1 & 2 (2019)
A 50th anniversary of Ann Arbor Blues Festival celebration collecting 24 previously unheard songs by such blues legends as Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, James Cotton, Son House, Magic Sam, T-Bone Walker, Junior Wells, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lightnin Hopkins, J. B. Hutto & His Hawks, Roosevelt Sykes, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Big Joe Williams, Charlie Musselwhite and more. The first ever release of music recorded live at the landmark event, ANN ARBOR BLUES FESTIVAL 1969 will be available in two individual 2x LP volumes, exclusively on 180 gram vinyl.
The historic gathering was presented by a small group of blues-obsessed University of Michigan students determined to give their blues heroes a public spotlight where they might shine before it was too late. Among those enterprising student-promoters was John Fishel, whose teenage brother Jim Fishel, gathered some friends to help record the festival as a personal memento. Taking advantage of their all-access pass and jling a small Norelco tape recorder from set to set, the friends let the 1D4 tape roll. Though field recordings in the literal sense of the term, they capture the brilliance of the musicians, the excitement of the crowd and the loose, convivial nature of the entire festival. Those tapes, long thought to be lost, have now been lovingly restored to capture the electric energy of the landmark concert. Both volumes include never-before-seen photographs, an exclusive reminiscence from Jim Fishel, and extensive liner notes by Parker Fishel, Sophie Abramowitz and David Beal.
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com