IRISH COFFEE - Irish Coffee (1971) & Irish Coffee II (2004)
Irish Coffee are a hard rock band from Aalst, East Flanders, Belgium, that officially started playing in 1970. They are best remembered for their single "Masterpiece" which made it to the Belgian charts. The band's music was a combination of hard rock and blues rock, with searing lead guitar parts and strong vocals. The band broke up in 1975 but reformed in 2002 with a new organist and bassist. In 1971 the band's self-titled album was released on Triangle Records, with all the tracks on the LP having been written mostly by Souffreau and Van Der Schueren. In September 1971, a single coupling the songs "Carry On" and "Child" was released, again on Triangle Records, and these songs were later added as bonus tracks to the 1992 reissue of the Irish Coffee album on the Voodoo label. The band went on to play so many concerts that Hugo Verhoye decided to leave, and he was replaced by Raf Lenssens before the song "Down Down Down" was released as a single at the end of the year. In the spring of 1973, Jean Van Der Schueren left the band to continue his classical guitar studies, and he was replaced by Luc De Clus, who had been playing guitar since the age of five. In June 1974, "Witchy Lady" (b/w "I'm Hers") was released on the Barclay Records label and received quite a large amount of radio airplay but unfortunately failed to reach the charts. In 1992, the former band members released Irish Coffee recordings on CD on their own Voodoo Records label and they played a reunion show on July 9, 1993 in Aalst. The line-up for this concert included Souffreau, Verhoye, and De Clus, along with Geert Maesschalk on bass guitar and Chris Taerwe on keyboards. The reformed band started playing concerts and clubs in 2002 and had new songs by the end of 2003. "Brand New Day" was released as a promotional single in 2004. Their self-titled album was released by Fuzzy Records in 2004, and is dedicated to Paul Lambert.
DOLLY PARTON, EMMYLOU HARRIS, LINDA RONSTADT - The Complete Trio Collection (2016)
Longtime friends and admirers of one another, Parton, Ronstadt and Harris first attempted to record an album together in the mid-1970s, but scheduling conflicts and other difficulties (including the fact that the three women all recorded for different record labels) prevented its release. Finally a collaboration effort went to full fruition, being produced by George Massenburg. When Trio was released in early 1987, it spawned four huge country hit singles – including the country No. 1 remake of the Phil Spector-penned 1958 hit by The Teddy Bears, "To Know Him Is To Love Him". The album hit No. 1 on the U.S. country albums chart – where it held for five consecutive weeks – and No. 6 on the main Billboard album chart. It won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It was also nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy alongside Michael Jackson, U2, Prince and Whitney Houston, as well as best country song for "Telling Me Lies". It was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. A dozen years after the release of their multi-Platinum, Grammy-winning Trio album, the country music supergroup returned with another in the same vein. Five of the ten tracks on this album first appeared on Linda Ronstadt's 1995 album Feels Like Home, minus Parton's vocals. These five tracks were "Lover's Return", "High Sierra", a cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" (with Valerie Carter and string arrangements by David Campbell), "The Blue Train" (a Top 40 solo hit for Ronstadt), and the title song to the Ronstadt album, the Randy Newman-composed "Feels Like Home". The Gold-selling album reached the Top Five on Billboard 's Country Albums chart, as well as No. 62 on Billboard 's main album listing.
The Complete Trio Collection is compilation album by American singer-songwriters Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. It brings together newly remastered versions of their two award-winning albums, 1987's Trio and 1999's Trio II, with a third disc compiling 20 alternate takes and unreleased material.
NEIL YOUNG - The Times (2020)
The seven-track collection captures the “Porch Episode” of Young’s Fireside Sessions series from back in July. That performance introduced fans to the updated version of “Lookin’ for a Leader 2020”, which reworks the lyrics to specifically target Trump and the current US political climate in 2020. The EP takes its name from another featured track: a cover of Bob Dylan’s classic “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. The Times is rounded out by five cuts from various stages in Young’s catalog, all of which are particularly relevant to today: “Ohio”, “Alabama”, “Southern Man”, “Campaigner”, and the Homegrown cut “Little Wing”.
The iconic songwriter offers a selection of tunes from across his catalog, performed live in his house and recorded with an iPad. It sounds as starkly homemade as you’d expect.
CARAVAN - The Decca / Deram Years (An Anthology) 
Among the most beloved purveyors of the “Canterbury Sound” – that particular strand of psychedelic British rock – is the boundary-pushing ensemble, Caravan. The band was formed in Canterbury in 1968 (from the remnants of the soul group The Wilde Flowers) and at various times included Pye Hastings on guitar and vocals, Richard Sinclair on bass guitar and vocals, Dave Sinclair on keyboards, and Richard Coughlan on drums. By the following year, the band had secured a contract with Decca and were recording their first long-player for the imprint, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All For You. If I Could… makes up the first disc of UMC’s monumental new box set that celebrate the Canterbury heroes: The Decca/Deram Years (An Anthology) 1970-1975. Due out tomorrow, September 6, the 9-CD set presents their complete studio work on the Decca and Deram labels. These include their aforementioned label debut, plus In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971), Waterloo Lily (1972), For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973), the live effort Caravan & The New Symphonia (1974), and Cunning Stunts (1975). Each studio album is supplemented with bonus tracks, including rare demos, outtakes, instrumental versions, early versions, alternate mixes, and more. In addition to the studio material, The Decca/Deram Years also features two live sets: Live at the Fairfield Halls, 1974 and a two-disc compendium of radio recordings entitled The Show of Our Lives: Live at the BBC, 1970-1975. Altogether, The Decca/Deram Years (An Anthology) 1970-1975 promises to be a comprehensive collection that collates an era, complete with deluxe packaging. Each album is presented in a gatefold digipak featuring original album art. These sleeves are enclosed in a luxurious slipcase that’s accompanied by a 44-page essay that details the life and art of the definitive Canterbury Sound group.
The set collects the remastered 2001 reissues of the band’s six classic Decca/Deram albums (including bonus material), as well as Live At The Fairfield Halls, 1974 and The Show Of Our Lives: Live At The BBC 1970-1975. 8 gatefold digipaks with original album artwork are packaged in a rigid slipcase with an accompanying 44 page booklet detailing the history of the definitive ‘Canterbury Sound’ band
V.A. - Bumpers (1970) [LP Rip]
Bumpers is a double sampler album from Island Records, released in Europe and Australia in 1970; there were minor variations in track listings within Europe but the Australian release was fundamentally different. The title refers to the training shoes which can be seen on the front of the album cover but there may also be a less obvious reference to the meaning "unusually large, abundant or excellent". The album is left to present itself; there are no sleeve notes, the gatefold interior consists of a photograph showing publicity shots of the featured acts attached to the bole of a tree, without any identification. This image is flanked by the track listings, but even there, the information given is unreliable. Unlike its predecessors You Can All Join In and Nice Enough To Eat, there are no credits for cover art (the cover art was by Tony Wright, his first sleeve for Island), photography or design. The English version of the album came out in two pressings, one with the pink label and "i" logo, the other with the label displaying a palm motif on a white background and a pink rim, each version with some minor variations in the production of individual tracks.
MOTT THE HOOPLE - Live At HMV Hammersmith Apollo 2009 (2009)
Sometimes if you wait long enough, musical miracles happen in your lifetime. Pink Floyd reforming at Live 8 before the untimely passing of keyboardist Rick Wright, Genesis inducted in the rock and roll hall of fame, and, as is documented on Live At HMV Hammersmith Apollo 2009, Verden Allen, Dale Griffin, Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs and Overend Watts came together again as the mighty Mott The Hoople for a series of reunion concerts in merry old England. This disc set is an “instant” release, meaning it was originally made available for sale to the audience, right after the show. The recording is as it was performed, with no overdubs. It’s Mott The Hoople on October 1, 2009 — warts and all.
October 2009 saw the return of one of the most dominant Glam Rock bands of the early to mid 1970s. Mott the Hoople returned to the Hammersmith Apollo for five sell out shows which saw the bands original line-up reunited for the first time in 35 years! With the combined talents of Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Verden Allen, Pete Overend Watts and Dale Buffin Griffin as well as Martin Chambers (The Pretenders) the shows featured hit songs including perhaps their most popular track 'All The Young Dudes'. This double disc set was recorded at the bands opening show of their reunion shows and features 22 tracks.
JOE BONAMASSA - Royal Tea [Special Edition with 2 Bonus Tracks] (2020)
From the album’s title to the choice of Abbey Road Studios as the recording locale, Joe Bonamassa makes every effort to channel the aura of the great British Blues explosion on his latest LP, Royal Tea. Not wanting to appear the slightest bit lukewarm about his approach, Bonamassa even enlists a little collaborative writing help from former Cream lyricist Pete Brown, Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, and Jools Holland. With the setting saturated in English decor, listeners might be expecting a set of late ‘60s “near-covers” that hue incredibly close to offerings of that era. Bonamassa and company avoid a heavy-handed tribute to the genre and instead opt for subtle injections and inflections of the style into ten original tracks that would sound as fresh in past generations as they do today. There are brief nods to famous licks of yesteryear, hints of Jeff Beck to be found on distorted solos, and echoes of Clapton’s airy tone on slower passages, but these arise organically and never feel forced or aped. Royal Tea doesn’t fixate on tempos, tones, or accompaniment. Opening with orchestral strings, “When One Door Opens” weds the baroque intro with a heavy main riff and faint female backing vocals to create a very large soundscape. Anton Fig’s cracking drums herald the second half of the composition in which Bonamassa decorates with some fuzzed-wah guitar fills. Equally heavy is the following “Royal Tea.” Punctuated guitar licks and Reese Wynans’s Hammond Organ bursts propel the verses’ clever call-and-response interplay between Bonamassa and the backing vocalists.
The remainder of the album isn’t as overt in its display of certain aspects British influence, but the overall power and focused songwriting are constant. A slower number like the single “Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye” holds taut through a unique structure and strong verse/chorus dynamic. Even in longer, more relaxed instrumental sections, Bonamassa’s playing remains sharp and doesn’t meander. Perhaps the most interesting stretch of the LP is the final four-song run in which none of the songs sound remotely alike. “I Didn’t Think She Would Do It” might be the best of the group with its cool intro and sleek rotating-speaker affected vocals. The hard-charging, dual-riffed track boasts a couple of creative changes and some of Bonamassa’s best solo work. Slower and less electrified in tone and instrumentation, the ominous “Beyond The Silence” features the set’s best vocal performance and excellent work by Wynans. Different again is the concise acoustic finale, “Savannah,” stylistically poles apart from the album opener. Most of the British overtones on Royal Tea aren’t scattered upon the surface but enmeshed subtly. In a way, this is to be expected, as British Blues, not American Blues, ensnared the young Bonamassa and have always influenced his style and guitar playing. When set against basic nostalgia, original songs and artistic nuance usually win the day as they do here. The willingness to reconceive this era rather than just revisit it makes Royal Tea a great album and an intriguing listen.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Letter To You (2020)
Letter To You is Bruce Springsteen’s new studio album with the E Street Band, and is a rock album fuelled by the band's heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound. Recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, Letter To You is Springsteen’s 20th studio album, and is his first album including the E Street Band since 2012’s High Hopes and their first performances together since 2016’s The River Tour. “I love the emotional nature of Letter To You,” says Springsteen. “And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.” Letter to You includes nine recently written Springsteen songs, as well as new recordings of three of his legendary, but previously unreleased, compositions from the 1970s, Janey Needs a Shooter, If I Was the Priest, and Song for Orphans. Springsteen is joined on Letter To You by Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max , Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons. The album was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen, mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.
ALI MAAS & MICKY MOODY - Who's Directing Your Movie? (2020)
Ali Maas has always specialised in writing original material with thought-provoking lyrics and inventive melodies. After an initial period of studio work, and live session singing, she progressed onto the indie rock scene as lead singer and writer for the critically acclaimed band McQueen. During this time, Ali also developed her skills as an artist and currently runs her own one-woman enterprise, making mixed media artwork and leather work for the interior design industry. Her first love is and always has been music. Aside from his well-documented time with Whitesnake, guitarist Micky Moody was also a member of Juicy Lucy, Snafu, Frankie Miller’s Full House, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, The Moody Marsden Band, The Company of Snakes, M3 and Snakecharmer. He has also been a very active session musician, author and creator of library music.
Written and recorded throughout 2018 and 2019, the album is a journey through genre and style, yet tied together by the core inspirations of classic storyteller songwriting such as Bob Dylan and Richard Thompson; and ultimately the crafting of a unique voice in unison from this. The stylistic shifts in the album, which touches upon everything from Bluegrass, Folk, Americana, and Classic Rock, are inspired by artists such as Robert Plant’s ability of reinvention.
JEFFERSON STARSHIP - Mother Of The Sun (2020)
Jefferson Starship release new music for the first time in 12 years, although it is only seven songs so not quite an album but maybe longer than an EP. Jefferson Starship/Starship have been through many line-up changes down the years and indeed Mickey Thomas keeps the Starship name alive through touring (Jefferson Starship became Starship in 1985). The current line-up features founding singer/multi-instrumentalist David Freiberg, drummer Donny Baldwin (who has been in the various JS/Starship line-ups since 1982), vocalist Cathy Richardson, keyboards player Chris Smith, and guitarist Jude Gold. In a further connection to the band’s past, original bassist Pete Sears appears on three songs (he was also in Starship!). The seven tracks include two songs co-written by original Jefferson Starship/Jefferson Airplane members Grace Slick and Marty Balin. Seven songs, of which one is a live version and another an extended version, may seem slim pickings for a twelve year wait, however Jefferson Starship have gone for quality over quantity. Great to see them still making new music and here’s hoping they can get back on the road next year to tour these songs and the Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship classics.
DOUG 'Cosmo' CLIFFORD - Cosmo (1972) & Magic Window (2020)
Originally released in 1972, Cosmo - the only solo effort from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford - was recorded not long after the breakup of the legendary Bay Area band. Encompassing elements of country and R&B, plus plenty of up-tempo hooks, Cosmo includes eight original compositions, plus covers of tracks from the Spencer Davis Group ("I’m a Man"), John Sebastian’s "Daydream"and Doug Sahm’s "She’s About a Mover".The album features CCR’s bassist Stu Cook on rhythm guitar, legendary sideman and Stax session musician Donald Duck" Dunn on bass, plus members of Tower of Power on horns. Available for the first time in 45 years, the album is newly remastered by Clifford, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in an old-school-style, tip-on jacket. A perfect addition to every CCR fan’s record collection.
After Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up in the early 1970s, drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford released a self-titled solo album, featuring music that was somewhat in the same vein as what CCR was doing. He then, along with CCR bassist Stu Cook, joined the Don Harrison Band, and seemed to abandon any sort of solo career. However, now a previously unreleased solo album is making its way into the world, and for many of us, it is our first opportunity to hear him sing. And it turns out he has a pretty damn good voice. These tracks were recorded in 1985, the same year fellow CCR member John Fogerty released Centerfield, to put things into some sort of perspective. This album (Magic Window) has quite a different sound and vibe from that album. It features all original material, written or co-written by Doug “Cosmo” Clifford. Joining the vocalist/drummer on these tracks are Russell DaShiell on guitar, synthesizer and backing vocals; Chris Solberg on bass and keys; and – on a couple of tracks – Rob Polomsky on rhythm guitar.
THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP - The Singles (2003)
Spencer Davis, Welsh musician and founder of the Spencer Davis Group, died Monday while being treated for pneumonia in the hospital. He was 81.
The best collection of Spencer Davis tracks out there and you can find quite a few. No live recordings. No fillers. Just the original single versions of all of their hits plus, as a bonus, some dandy Traffic tracks for good measure. Spencer Davis broke out with teenage Steve Winwood on the hammond organ and snarling out mighty mature vocals for a kid. Keep On Running, Somebody Help Me, Gimme Some Lovin and I'm a Man - suddenly putting these guys at the top of the heap of British Invasion bands. Steve left the band to form Traffic and in came Eddie Hardin - who actually sounded a lot like Steve. However Eddie was not devoted to blues influenced rock so the styles varied: Time Seller, After Tea and Don't Want You No More. The With Their New Face On LP signaled a new more pop psych sound - great music but the hits ceased despite several solid LPs in the 1970s. The Singles covers the Winwood period solidly and tips the hat to the Hardin period. Then a pivot and we are off to Traffic - a band that embraced these pop psych influences, tossed in some jazz and arguably wrote one of the all time classics - Feeling Alright (thank you Dave Mason). Glory days for music. Steve went on to global success after success. Spencer Davis kept the brand going, made some interesting country influenced solo LPs and toured with the hits.
CARL PERKINS & FRIENDS - Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session (1986)
Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session was a televised concert that was taped live at Limehouse Studios in London, England on 21 October 1985. The show featured rock n' roll pioneer Carl Perkins along with friends as guest stars, including Eric Clapton, former Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr, as well as Dave Edmunds who acted as musical director for the show. Most of the repertoire performed in the concert consisted of Perkins' classic rockabilly songs from the 1950s. It was directed by Tom Gutteridge. The concert special was originally broadcast in 1985 on Channel 4 in the UK and on Cinemax in 1986 with introductory comments by Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The show was shown on Channel 4 on 1 January 1986. Perkins performed 16 songs, with two encores, in an extraordinary performance. Perkins and his friends ended the session by singing his most famous song, 30 years after its writing, which brought Perkins to tears. The concert is a memorable highlight of Carl Perkins' later career and has been highly praised by fans for the spirited performances delivered by Perkins and his famous guests. It was the first public performance by George Harrison in more than ten years.
ELVIN BISHOP & CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE - 100 Years Of Blues (2020)
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame guitarist Elvin Bishop and Grammy-winning harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite drop their first-ever album as a duo, 100 Years of Blues, September 25th, 2020 on Alligator Records. Both have long, distinguished musical careers that reach back to the 1960s, have toured the world and elsewhere, and have tracked dozens of albums but have never released a record of just the two of them putting out their blues. That’s a little surprising, considering that they’re close friends and fishing buddies, but life is busy when you’re among the finest blues musicians in the world. Produced by Kid Andersen, 100 Years of Blues is a lowdown, back porch type of session that features nine new original songs by Elvin and Charlie and covers of numbers by Roosevelt Sykes, Leroy Carr and Sonny Boy Williamson. It’s the kind of set blues fans love the best: unadorned, raw, and real, with nothing to get in the way of what these two do best. Elvin and Charlie have been soaking the blues up since their childhoods in the American South. Bishop came up in Oklahoma and Musselwhite in Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Both began playing their instruments with no plans to become pros but both also wound up in Chicago, the blues capital, in the early 60s. Bishop came north to attend college and Musselwhite came looking for work. They ended up being some of the only white faces in Chicago’s South Side blues clubs but were quickly accepted by the veteran musicians they met – Elvin by Little Smokey Smothers, Hound Dog Taylor, J.T. Brown, and Junior Wells, and Charlie by Big Joe Williams, Big Walter Horton, and, eventually, by Muddy Waters. Both men went on to win fame by introducing blues music to the rock and roll crowd. Bishop did it with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and his own genre-bending Elvin Bishop Group and Musselwhite made his mark with his wide-ranging and influential recordings as the leader of his own band. The two have remained in the top level of American musicians ever since and have become permanent parts of blues history.
FRED CHAPELLIER - Best Of 25 Years On The Road (2020)
If the Blues is the music of one’s life, we can only rejoice of the release of this double CD (combining studio and live recordings) celebrating the 25 first years of Fred Chapelier’s career. It means that this compilation is only a step in a career in progress. Be assured that you will get many more opportunities to praise the outsized talent of such an endearing character. Meanwhile, enjoy the pleasure to immerse into this beautiful slice of a career whose main asset is certainly consistency. Because Chapellier never had any « warm up period » contrary to some first albums whose sole quality seem to be their very existence. « Blues Devil » in 2003 and « L’Sil du Blues » in 2005 have been unanimously hailed for their artistic achievement. Chapellier is world class and it was only natural that, when he joined Dixiefrog in 2007, he paid homage to his world class idol Roy Buchanan (« A Tribute to Roy Buchanan »). A CD considered as a milestone, recorded, of course, with a galaxy of world class musicians: Billy Price, the last lead singer in Buchanan’s band, Neal Black, Tom Principato and Jean-Alain Roussel, also co-producer of the album.
What came next was a magnificent musical journey made up of 8 albums.In some he was calling the shots, such as in « Electric Fingers » and « It Never Comes Easy » when others were shared projects: « Night Work » and « Live on Stage » with Billy Price, « BTC » with Neal Black and Nico Wayne Toussaint or « Set Me Free » with The Gents and excellent vocals by Dale Blade. Not forgetting two live recordings, « Electric Communion » and the fabulous « Fred Chapellier Plays Peter Green », another of Chapellier’s world class idol, Green being the founder of Fleetwood Mac. What an amazing range for this mind blowing guitar player who is also (mostly?) a top songwriter and a natural born Soul singer. The whole range of his sonic richness is truly remarkable, a fact vividly expressed in the 32 tracks of this double CD (18 studio recordings and 14 songs captured live). If the Blues is the unifying thread of the album, Soul music is never far away and it’s no coincidence that the studio part of the CD opens with an impeccable version of Bobby « Blue » Bland’s « Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City », Bland being viewed as one of the creators of the Soul Blues genre. As a great news never comes alone, two completely new dazzlings songs grace the album: « I’m A Ram » in the live part and « Beyond The Moon – Part II » in the studio section. Just perfect !
EAGLES - Live From The Forum MMXVIII (2020)
Today the Eagles retain an appeal that transcends both generation and genre, cementing the band’s role as enduring musical icons. As the best-selling American band of the ’70s, and one of the top-selling acts of all time, the Eagles have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, scored six #1 albums and topped the singles charts five times. They have won six GRAMMY® Awards, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, in their first year of eligibility, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016. The Eagles spent most of 2018 on the road with an extensive North American tour that found Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit joined by two new bandmates: Deacon Frey and Vince Gill. Earning rave reviews from fans and critics alike, the quintet was firing on all cylinders when they arrived at the Forum in Los Angeles for three sold-out, hometown shows on September 12, 14, and 15. Highlights from all three shows have now been compiled for a new 26-song live album and concert film Live From The Forum MMXVIII. Live From The Forum MMXVIII captures definitive live performances of the band’s most iconic hits (“Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Life In The Fast Lane,” “Desperado”) and beloved album tracks (“Ol’ 55,” “Those Shoes”), along with some of the individual members’ biggest solo smashes (Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer,” Vince Gill’s “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way”).
Live from The Forum MMXVIII captures Eagles’ triumphant three-night stand at the Forum on Sept. 12, 14 and 15, 2018. Highlights from all three nights have been compiled into this concert film, which features 26 songs and includes the first Eagles recordings with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey.
ALBERT KING - Funky London (1994) & The Heat Of The Blues (2007)
Albert King cut his teeth on the blues circuits of Arkansas and St. Louis, developing his style in a number of electric outfits. His recording career was, at least initially, erratic, though the quality of the sides he cut for the Parrot, King, and Coun-Tree imprints certainly was not. It wasn't until King signed to Stax in 1966, however, and the guitarist's electric blues fused with the muscular bass, funky guitars, and sparkling horns of the label's outstanding session players, that he found his first home. King stayed with the label for eight years, leaving only when Stax was entering its financial decline. Funky London manages to dig up a few from the period that nearly got away, compiling three 45 sides and six unreleased tracks. The singles include a pair of instrumentals (a cover of James Brown's "Cold Sweat" and "Funky London," a dispensable, up-tempo 12-bar workout) and one vocal ("Can't You See What You're Doing to Me"). By the nature of the material, those songs and the six that follow lack the cohesiveness of an album, though the quality of the music ultimately prevails. Downshifting for "Lonesome," the combo is steeped in the blues. After a false start ("What's the matter with y'all!?" asks King), the band begins again, King's crying guitar lines joined by keyboard commentary, smoky threads of wah-wah guitar and an exquisite horn arrangement. "Sweet Fingers" is an excellent example of funky blues ensemble playing and "Driving Wheel" a fine interpretation of the Roosevelt Sykes tune. Perhaps most important is the fact that the majority of the music here maintains the standards established on King's official Stax releases, making this a desirable set.
Albert King was one of the Three Kings of the electric Blues guitar. Together with his unrelated namesakes, B.B. and Freddie, he defined post-World War II electric Blues, influencing the future sounds of Blues, Soul and Rock & Roll. A master of the single-string attack, Albert played his trademark Flying V guitar left-handed, without re-stringing the instrument, thus creating his own distinctive style and totally unique tone. He influenced a new generation of guitar players that included the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. A value-added combination of four of the blues guitar legend Albert King's albums, dating from the 1970s to the 1990s, this two-disc best-of notably includes his 1979 Allen Toussaint-produced set New Orleans Heat, as well as the workmanlike R&B of 1977's Albert King. Among the highlights are a reworking of Toussaint's "Get Out My Life Woman" and the guitarist's own "Born Under a Bad Sign," and there's also the bonus of King's unlikely yet frequently performed version of Ray Noble's standard "The Very Thought of You," with full string accompaniment. As you'd expect from a chronicle of the master's late-period work, funky, fatback rhythm, horns, and stinging guitar work predominate, overlaid with King's good-natured, relaxed baritone vocals.
THE ROLLING STONES - Genuine Black Box 1961-1974 [Volume 1-3] (2010)
Rolling Stones compilations have been produced and in circulation almost from the beginning of the band. The first was Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) released in 1966, and the intervening years saw many more including Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) in 1969. Three were released in 1971 alone. The first two, Stone Age, and Gimme Shelter were issued without the consent of the band. The third was Hot Rocks 1964-1971 issued in December. It was compiled with the band’s consent and served as a summary of the Decca years. Genuine Black Box on Scorpio is the latest and perhaps best attempt at this much lost compilation. It is six discs dating from the earliest Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys session to Mick Taylor’s final studio recordings with the band encompassing 144 performances collected together in a comprehensive anthology. “Presenting the best available quality, studio outtake, demo, rehearsal, alternative, rare, withdrawn or otherwise unavailable recordings from the band’s golden era, this collection provides the most authoritative overview to date of The Rolling Stones’ recording career.” The three 2CD titles are packaged in a double slimline jewel case, each with thick booklets with copious amounts of liner notes and annotations for each track and printed on glossy high quality paper. The three are housed in a thick slip case and several post cards are also included in the packaging. This has to be one of the nicest looking and sounding Rolling Stones titles produced.
This amazing strictly limited edition box set is a collection of material spanning the peak years of the Rolling Stones from 1961 to 1974. It collects almost eight hours of the choicest rarities, unissued songs, rehearsals, demos, instrumentals, alternate mixes, outtakes and more from the band's earliest known recordings through to the final session Mick Taylor played on. Featuring 144 performances in the best existing quality this is the definitive collection detailing the first 13 years of the Rolling Stones. Limited edition of 1000 numbered copies.
STRETCH - The First 3... (1975/77)
Stretch were a 1970s British rock band that grew from the collaboration between Elmer Gantry (real name Dave Terry) and Kirby (real name Graham) Gregory. Gantry had been the frontman of Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera. Kirby had been a member of Curved Air.
The story of Stretch and their one great song, Why Did You Do That Thing?, is odd but wonderful. It begins with a group of musicians cobbled together by Fleetwood Mac's manager to impersonate the real Mac for a US tour. The ruse failed and – the faux Mac unmasked – the tour fell apart amid acrimony. Frontman Elmer Gantry (a pseudonym taken by Dave Terry from a Sinclair Lewis novel about a hellfire preacher) and guitarist Graham "Kirby" Gregory formed Stretch on their ignominious return to London. Kirby promptly wrote Why Did You It? – in a spirit of bitter recrimination over the tour debacle – and by November it was in the charts, where it stayed for nine weeks. Lyrically, it comes close, I think, in its reproachful fury to Dylan's scabrous masterpiece, Positively 4th Street. Still more surprisingly, it was that rarest of birds: a work of lasting genius from a mid-70s white funk band. Except they weren't a funk band. An unstable admixture, thrown together by circumstance, Stretch couldn't make up their minds what they were dabbling in country, rock and folk. At the height of their success, they were even supporting Rainbow. The fabulous, punchy jazz-funk beat of Why … was more or less a stylistic accident; Gantry's Barry White-esque growl a put-up job. But it is a simply fantastic song one that stands the test of time long after that curious mid-decade phase of dodgy genre-melding experimentation was swept away by punk's merciless anti-music.
JOHN LENNON - Gimme Some Truth (2020)
Released on John Lennon's 80th birthday, Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes is designed as a deluxe celebration of Lennon's solo catalog. Housed in a slipcover and bearing a handsome 124-page hardcover book with some nice song-by-song liner notes culled from Lennon interviews, Gimme Some Truth covers rather familiar territory in terms of songs - there are 36 here, starting with "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)" and running through the posthumous hit "Nobody Told Me," hitting nearly all the familiar points along the way (Some Time in New York City, which was bypassed on 2010's Power to the People: The Hits, is represented here by "Angela," a deep cut making its debut on a hits compilation). The attraction isn't the song selection per se as much as it is the Ultimate Mixes, a new set of clean, clear revisions from the original tapes. These are also available on the box's two CDs and one Blu-Ray, which also features 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos mixes. With the understandable exception of "Grow Old with Me," a recording which can't help but betray its humble roots, everything here does sound brighter than its original, and more expansive, too. This is especially apparent on "Instant Karma!," "Cold Turkey," and the selections from Mind Games, all recordings that were quite dense and colorful upon their original release, but here they almost sparkle. Whether this is an improvement is a matter of personal taste, but it's true that the Ultimate Mixes do deliver a state-of-the-art aural upgrade, which is a selling point for fans who have purchased this material before.
DOC HOLLIDAY - Doc Holliday [Collector's Edition] (1981) & Doc Holliday Rides Again (1981) & 25: Absolutely Live (2008)
Although they shared the stage with some of the bigger names during Southern rock's '70s heyday, Doc Holliday never quite managed to reach that level, but has managed to make a name for itself with fans of the genre. The band's origin can be traced back to 1971 when guitarist and lead singer Bruce Brookshire formed a blues band called Roundhouse with his brother. By the end of the decade, Roundhouse had gained the attention of Molly Hatchet's manager, setting into play circumstances that would see the band, now rechristened Doc Holliday, secure a deal with A&M Records in 1980. Featuring a lineup of Brookshire, guitarist Rick Skelton, keyboard player Eddie Stone, bass player John Samuelson, and drummer Herman Nixon, their self-titled debut was released the following year. They continued to cultivate an audience with the follow-up, Doc Holliday Rides Again, sharing bills with acts ranging from Black Sabbath and Loverboy to Gregg Allman and Molly Hatchet. However, working with producer Mack (Billy Squier, Queen) for their third album, Modern Medicine, proved to exacerbate tensions within the group. The resulting album, which saw the group try and incorporate early '80s rock into its sound, failed miserably, costing Doc Holliday its record deal and causing the band to split up. However, they would reunite for 1986's Danger Zone (which found them returning to their roots) and continue to record and tour throughout the '80s and into the '90s, although most of the band's focus would shift to European markets that were proving to be more receptive during this period. In 1999, their first three albums were re-released, including their first-time issuances on CD. Brookshire released a solo album, The Damascus Road, in 2001, which was a departure to an acoustic-based record that reflected his burgeoning Christian beliefs. However, as the common thread, Brookshire continued to keep Doc Holliday together and the group released A Better Road later that same year.
CAT STEVENS - Tea for the Tillerman (1970) [Deluxe Edition 2CD, 2008] & Tea For The Tillerman2 (2020)
Tea for the Tillerman is the fourth studio album by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, released in November 1970. Stevens' second album released during the year 1970, Tea for the Tillerman includes many of his best-known songs such as "Where Do the Children Play?", "Hard Headed Woman", "Wild World", "Sad Lisa", "Into White", and "Father and Son". Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record's cover. With "Wild World" as an advance single, this was the album that brought Stevens worldwide fame. In a retrospective five-star review, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann praised Stevens' themes of spirituality and transcendence, and felt that he had continued to show his ability as a pop melodicist: "As a result, Tea for the Tillerman became a big seller and, for the second time in four years, its creator became a pop star." On 18 November 2003, Rolling Stone included this album in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list at number 206, and 208 in a 2012 revised list In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2007, the album was included in the list of "The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time", released by The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The album itself charted into the top 10 in the United States. In November 2008, a "Deluxe Edition" was released featuring a second disc of demos and live recordings.
50 years after the release of the original era-defining album, T4TT2 sees Yusuf reimagine the same eleven songs for a new age with dramatic results. T4TT2 is released on September 18th 2020. The album, which includes previously released singles “Where Do The Children Play?,” “On The Road To Find Out” and latest release “Father And Son,” is already receiving critical acclaim across the globe. Mojo confirms that there is "tangible conceptual integrity across these beefier, richly detailed new versions,” and the album is described as “a powerful way to track the passing of time" by the NME. Rolling Stone enthused, “The new renditions of the 11 Tea for the Tillerman tracks are not note-for-note recreations. In many cases, they are lusher than the sparse originals and some take surprising left turns, like a funkafied ‘Longer Boats’ featuring guest vocals from rapper Brother Ali. ‘Wild World,’ meanwhile, now sounds almost like a waltz. That said, Yusuf worked hard to maintain the same spirit of the originals.” Billboard eed, “The reinvention upends many of the familiar arrangements, while staying blessedly true to the mission of the album—to explore life and oneself fearlessly” while Forbes hailed it as “a fascinating project.” American Songwriter declared, “the unmistakable, rich, booming voice of Yusuf / Cat Stevens is in fantastic form.”
ROBERT PLANT - Gigging Deep: Subterranea (2020)
Digging Deep contains groundbreaking tracks from each of the eight masterful solo albums by the eight-time Grammy award winner, including a number of songs featured in Digging Deep with Robert Plant. Highlights include the #1 rock hit Hurting Kind and Grammy-nominated Shine It All Around, as well as previously unreleased exclusive releases of Nothing Takes the Place of You (written by New Orleans musician Toussaint McCall and recorded for the 2013 film Winter In The Blood), Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up – Part 1) from the soon to be released album Band of Joy Volume 2 and a spectacular duet version of Charley Feathers rockabilly classic Too Much Alike with Patty Griffin. On Digging Deep, Plant is accompanied by a truly remarkable line-up of musicians, including Jimmy Page, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, Phil Collins, Nigel Kennedy, Richard Thompson and his brothers Strange Sensation / The Sensational Space Shifters. Robert Plant’s music is the result of a lifelong journey in which he has explored music from the Welsh borders to the Sahara and from Nashville to the Misty Mountains. The influences and friends he gathered along the way resonate in his songs.
Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”
Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists. Eddie Van Halen was something of a musical contradiction. He was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument, but he couldn’t read music. He was a classically trained pianist who also created some of the most distinctive guitar riffs in rock history. He was a Dutch immigrant who was considered one of the greatest American guitarists of his generation.
The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — formed in 1974 in Pasadena, California. They were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together. They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band called Mammoth. Their 1978 release “Van Halen” opened with a blistering “Runnin’ With the Devil” and then Eddie Van Halen showed off his astonishing skills in the next song, “Eruption,” a furious 1:42 minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird. The album also contained a cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love.” Van Halen released albums on a yearly timetable — “Van Halen II” (1979), “Women and Children First” (1980), “Fair Warning” (1981) and “Diver Down” (1982) — until the monumental “1984,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts (only behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”). Rolling Stone ranked “1984” No. 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.
COCKNEY REBEL - The Human Menagerie (1973) & The Psychomodo (1974)
Indulging for the first time in Cockney Rebel's debut album -- and one uses the word "indulging" deliberately, for like so much else that's this delicious, you cannot help but feel faintly sinful when it's over is like waking up from a really weird dream, and discovering that reality is weirder still. A handful of Human Menagerie's songs are slight, even forced, and certainly indicative of the group's inexperience. But others the labyrinthine "Sebastian," the loquacious "Death Trip" in particular possess confidence, arrogance, and a doomed, decadent madness which astounds. Subject to ruthless dissection, Steve Harley's lyrics were essentially nonsense, a stream of disconnected images whose most gallant achievement is that they usually rhyme. But what could have been perceived as a weakness or, more generously, an emotionally overwrought attempt to blend Byron with Burroughs is actually their strength. Few of the songs are about anything in particular. But with Roy Thomas Baker's sub-orchestral production driving strings and things to unimaginable heights, and Cockney Rebel's own unique instrumentation -- no lead guitar, but a killer violin pursuing its own twisted journey, those images gel more solidly than the best constructed story. The Human Menagerie is a dark cabaret the darkest. Though Harley has furiously decried the band's historical inclusion in the glam rock pack, there's no separating the nocturnal theatrics of "Muriel the Actor," "Mirror Freak," or "What Ruthy Said" from at least the fringes of the movement. The difference is, other artists simply sung about absinthe and Sweet Ipomoea. Harley actually knew what they were. Unquestionably, he drew from many of the same literary, artistic, and celluloid sources as both David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, the only performers who could reasonably claim to have preempted his vision. But he went far beyond them, through the Berlin of Isherwood to the reality of the Weimar; past the Fritz Lang movies which everyone's seen, to the unpublished screenplays which no one has read. And though Harley might not have been the first cultural genius of his age, he was the first who wasn't content to simply zap the prevailing zeitgeist. He wanted to suck out its soul. And he very nearly succeeded.
If The Human Menagerie, Cockney Rebel's debut album, was a journey into the bowels of decadent cabaret, The Psychomodo, their second, is like a trip to the circus. Except the clowns were more sickly perverted than clowns normally are, and the fun house was filled with rattlesnakes and spiders. Such twists on innocent childhood imagery have transfixed authors from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, but Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel were the first band to set that same dread to music, and the only ones to make it work. The Psychomodo was also the band's breakthrough album. The Human Menagerie drew wild reviews and curious sales, but it existed as a cult album even after "Judy Teen" swung out of nowhere to give the band a hit single in spring 1974. Then "Mr Soft" rode his bloodied big top themes into town and Rebelmania erupted. The Psychomodo, still possessing one of the most elegantly threatening jackets of any album ever, had no alternative but to clean up. Harley's themes remained essentially the same as last time out fey, fractured alienation; studied, splintered melancholia, and shattered shards of imagery which mean more in the mind than they ever could on paper. Both the swirling "Ritz" and the ponderous "Cavaliers" are little more than litanies of one-liners, pregnant with disconnected symbolism ("blow-job blues and boogaloos"... "morgue-like lips and waitress tips"), but they are mesmerizing nevertheless. Reversing the nature of The Human Menagerie, the crucial songs here are not those extended epics. Rather, it is the paranoid vignette of "Sweet Dreams," surely written in the numbing first light of that precipitous fame; the panicked brainstorm of the title track; and the stuttering, chopping, hysterical nightmare of "Beautiful Dream" (absent from the original LP, but restored as a CD bonus track) which stake out the album's parameters. The hopelessly romantic "Bed in the Corner" opens another door entirely relatively straightforward, astoundingly melodic, it was (though nobody realized it at the time) the closest thing in sight to the music Harley would be making later in the decade. Here, however, it swerves in another direction entirely, the dawn of a closing triptych completed by "Sling It" and "Tumbling Down" which encompasses ten of the most heartstoppingly breathless, and emotionally draining minutes in '70s rock. Indeed, though the latter's final refrain was reduced to pitifully parodic singalong the moment it got out on-stage, on record it retains both its potency and its purpose. "Oh dear!" Harley intones, "look what they've done to the blues." The fact is, he did it all himself and people have been trying to undo it ever since.
FREEDOM - 1969 - 1972
A spin-off of Procol Harum, Freedom was formed by guitarist Ray Royer and drummer Bobby Harrison. Both of them were in Procol Harum's lineup at the outset for their debut "A Whiter Shade of Pale" single, but were ousted almost immediately when Procol singer, Gary Brooker, enlisted his former bandmates from the Paramounts, Robin Trower and Barry Wilson, as replacements. Freedom's early sound, perhaps unsurprisingly, echoed Procol Harum's in its prominent use of organ and piano, as well as heavy rock guitar, and like Procol Harum's early records, captured late British psychedelia as it was starting to inch toward progressive rock. Freedom wasn't a Procol Harum clone, though, with a somewhat poppier take on psychedelia that was closer to Traffic than Procol Harum. Their initial lineup only released two singles in 1968 before breaking up, also recording a soundtrack for an obscure Italian film by Dino De Laurentis, Attraction/Black on White. The soundtrack LP was given a limited release in Italy -- so limited, in fact, that the group members themselves were unaware that it had come out. Recorded with noted future producers Eddie Kramer and Glyn Johns engineering, this was reissued on CD in 1999, and is actually a pretty good if derivative slice of late-'60s British psychedelia.
In 1968, Harrison decided to reorganize the band completely -- in fact, so totally that he was the only remaining original member. More albums came out in the late '60s and early '70s which, in keeping with overall British rock trends of the period, were in a much heavier, hard, bluesier style. These were middle-of-the-pack, or a little lower than the middle-of-the-pack, efforts with nothing to make them stand out from the crowd in a clogged field. They did get to tour the U.S. as support for Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, and broke up in 1972 after some personnel changes. Harrison became the lead singer in the little-known Snafu, while guitarist Roger Saunders, from the later incarnation of the band, did some session work, joined Medicine Head, and played in Gary Glitter's group during the '80s.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD - Sounds Of The South: MCA Years [1973-1988] (2007)
Lynyrd Skynyrd is the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious Southern image and a hard rock swagger. Skynyrd never relied on the jazzy improvisations of the Allman Brothers. Instead, they were a hard-living, hard-driving rock & roll band. They may have jammed endlessly on-stage, but their music remained firmly entrenched in blues, rock, and country. Throughout the band's early records, frontman Ronnie Van Zant demonstrated a knack for lyrical detail and a down-to-earth honesty that had more in common with country than rock & roll. During the height of Skynyrd's popularity in the mid-'70s, they adopted a more muscular and gritty blues-rock sound that yielded the classic rock standards "Sweet Home Alabama," "Simple Man," "What's Your Name," "That Smell," "Gimme Three Steps," and "Free Bird." The group ceased operations after the tragic deaths of Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines, who were killed in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977. Skynyrd re-formed in 1987 with Ronnie's younger sibling Johnny Van Zant on vocals, and guitarist and co-founder Gary Rossington, who would serve as the group's sole constant member over the years.
Limited Edition eight CD box set featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd's original MCA albums digitally remastered and expanded and housed in miniature LP sleeves. Included in this box are: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973/five bonus tracks), Second Helping (1974/three bonus tracks), Nuthin' Fancy (1975/two bonus tracks), Gimme Back My Bullets (1976/two bonus tracks), the two disc One More For The Road (1976/eight bonus tracks), Street Survivors (1977/five bonus tracks) and Southern By The Grace Of God: Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour Vol. One. Universal.
BLACK STAR RIDERS - Discography 2013 - 2019
The Black Star Riders are a hard rock band that grew out of the re-formation of Thin Lizzy. Their roots go back to 2010, when longstanding guitarist Scott Gorham was re-forming the group (again); there have been several resurrections since 1996. Reunion members included Gorham, original drummer Brian Downey, and former keyboard player Darren Wharton, with bassist Marco Mendoza, vocalist Rick Warwick, and a series of guitarists including Viv Campbell, Richard Fortus, Damon Johnson, and Christian Martucci. The band issued their debut album, All Hell Breaks Loose, in 2013, and continued to hone their signature blend of classic rock and roots-driven hard rock on subsequent outings like The Killer Instinct (2015), Heavy Fire (2017), and Another State of Grace (2019).
Thin Lizzy played shows in 2010 and 2011, but they also began to write material for a new album to be recorded under the band's name. Gorham and Downey weren't comfortable using the Thin Lizzy name to cut new songs out of respect for the late Phil Lynott. The Black Star Riders' moniker was decided on in late 2012, inspired by the name of an outlaw gang in the film Tombstone. Before their debut recording sessions, Downey left the group, citing his inability to endure the long and rigorous touring schedule that would be demanded of a new group. Wharton also left to concentrate on his primary band, Dare. Gorham recruited former Alice Cooper and Megadeth drummer Jimmy DeGrasso to complete the lineup. The Black Star Riders' debut album, All Hell Breaks Loose, was produced by Kevin Shirley and released by Nuclear Blast in the late spring of 2013. 2014 saw the departure of Marco Mendoza and the arrival of Ratt and Lynch Mob bassist Robbie Crane. It also saw the release of the band's sophomore outing, Killer Instinct, which featured the singles "Finest Hour" and the driving title cut.
In 2016, the band issued a new single, "When the Night Comes In," in anticipation of the release of their third studio long-player, Heavy Fire, which arrived in February 2017. That same year, drummer DeGrasso departed the band, replaced by Black Label Society's Chad Szeliga. European and U.S. tours followed into 2018 before founding member Damon Johnson parted ways with the band to focus on his own solo career. Replaced by Stone Sour's Christian Martucci, the newly refreshed line-up returned to the studio in early 2019 to record their fourth album. Produced by Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Uriah Heep), the resulting album, Another State of Grace, was issued in September.
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD - Good Singin' Good Playin' (1976)
Good Singin' Good Playin' is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The album was released on August 2, 1976, by MCA Records.
The band had actually broken up, but after Frank Zappa expressed interest in producing an album for them, they reassembled for one more attempt at success. Recorded in 1976 for MCA Records, this album included a guest performance by Zappa, playing lead guitar on the song "Out to Get You". Although the pairing seemed bizarre, Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer said, "His whole viewpoint on what rock and roll is all about is basically the same as ours.... Keep it as simple as possible and really bring the balls out of this thing." Zappa said, "All I did was, in a documentary way, make a record which tells you exactly what they really sound like. For the first time on record you can hear Grand Funk Railroad ... and they're fantastic, fan-tastic with an F three times taller than you!" Grand Funk decided on the first day of overdubs to split up again, although Zappa stayed until 4 a.m. trying to talk them out of it. The album wasn't a commercial success, only making it to #52 in the Billboard Top 200. The album was the final release to feature both bassist Mel Schacher and keyboardist Craig Frost.
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