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BLACK WIDOW - Sacrifice (1970) & Come To The Sabbat: The Anthology (2003)
Leicester, England-based Black Widow formed in 1969 from the ashes of blue-eyed soul band Pesky Gee! Jim Gannon (vocals, guitar, vibraphone), Kip Trevor (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Zoot Taylor (keyboards), Clive Jones (woodwinds), Bob Bond (bass), and Clive Box (drums) played dark, allegedly satanically inspired rock along the lines of Black Sabbath, and gained plenty of attention and controversy for their theatrical live sets. Black Widow made the U.K. Top 40 with their 1970 debut album, Sacrifice. Despite, or perhaps because of, the focus on their occult trappings, they moved away from their dark roots with their 1971 self-titled album and continued this trend with the following year's Black Widow III. By this time, however, lack of critical and label support, plus many lineup changes, caused the group to falter. Late in 1972, after losing their deal with CBS Records, Black Widow recorded Return to the Sabbat, a self-produced set that did not see the light of day until 1999, when it was released by Blueprint Records. A tribute album, Come to the Sabbat, appeared later that year as well.
Sacrifice is the debut album by English rock band Black Widow. It was issued in March 1970 through CBS Records and was produced by Patrick Meehan Jr. The album features the band's best known song "Come to the Sabbat" and its lyrical themes are centred on Satanism and occultism. Sacrifice reached No. 32 on the UK Albums Chart.
GROUNDHOGS - The United Artists Years [1972-1976] (2013)
The Groundhogs are a British rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.
This 3-CD set is a companion to the earlier ‘The Liberty Years 1968-19722 which charted the band’s transformation from blues to proto-heavy rockers. But it was only with ‘Split’ that the band hit proverbial paydirt. It is commemorated here with the inclusion of several tracks in a complete 1972 BBC In Concert. This BBC concert (and one from 1974) have been available on CD before (save for four tracks), originally on Windsong and later on the abbreviated 2002 release ‘BBC Live In Concert’. By 19722s ‘Hogwash’ (the first with Clive Brooks on drums) the band had lost their earlier frenetic blues rock drive as they honed the sound to an altogether more refined and produced situation. This is also evidenced in the “bonus” 7” edit of ‘Live A Little Lady’ from 19762s ‘Crosscut Saw’. This album and the same year’s penultimate UA release, ‘Black Diamond’, are also included here although they didn’t make any real impact at the time and perhaps even less so now on reinvestigation.
HOWLIN’ WOLF - The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions (1971) [Deluxe Edition, 2002]
The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions was not a high point in the careers of either Howlin' Wolf or the guest superstars Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Stevie Winwood, and Ringo Starr, though it's not as bad as some blues purists make it out to be. Still, one has to wonder whether a deluxe edition two-CD set, padding out the original with an entire disc of previously unreleased alternate takes/alternate mixes (and three tracks from the same sessions that eventually showed up on the 1974 compilation London Revisited, which also included material by Muddy Waters), was really justified. The material existed, however, and fewer and fewer leftovers from the Chess catalog were available at the beginning of the 21st century. So here it is, bolstered by lengthy and entertaining liner notes spotlighting memories from producer Norman Dayron. The original album, presented here in its original mix, was adequate but flawed, for it seemed like the players, whether because they were in awe of and/or uncomfortable with Howlin' Wolf, went through the numbers tentatively, with an ill-at-ease looseness. A more serious flaw was that the program consisted entirely of remakes of classic Wolf tunes (some admittedly obscure) that couldn't help but suffer in comparison with the earlier originals. The alternate versions really aren't all that different from the ones selected for the album, and some, in fact, are just alternate mixes. There are, however, some occasional notable differences, like "What a Woman!" with an organ overdub,"Poor Boy" with different lyrics, "The Red Rooster" with an alternate piano, a rawer "Who's Been Talking" with lots of studio chat, an inferior "Do the Do" that does go on more than twice as long as the album rendition, and a "rehearsal take" (the only such item here) of "Worried About My Baby" that's far sparser than the one ultimately chosen.
SLADE - Cum On Feel The Hitz: The Best Of Slade (2020)
Cum On Feel The Hitz is a superlative and comprehensive collection of Slade singles from 1970 to 1991. Cum On Feel The Hitz is released as a double CD and a 2LP collection: the CD comprises of 43 singles, while the double vinyl features 24 singles. Cum On Feel The Hitz includes all six of their UK Number one singles: "Coz I Luv You”, “Take Me Bak ‘Ome”, ”Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, “Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me“ and “Merry Xmas Everybody” and a total of 16 Top 10 singles. The affection for Slade’s music and attitude remains undimmed today, as 1973’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” has gone on to become Britain’s best loved Christmas song.
Formed in Wolverhampton in 1966, Slade's chart career spanned 3 decades. Slade were unstoppable throughout the seventies becoming one of Europe's biggest bands, releasing 6 smash hit albums, including three No-1’s, and their hit singles are synonymous with the era. The sensational songwriting partnership of Noddy Holder and Jim Lea provided a soundtrack to the Glam Generation and with a run of 17 consecutive Top 20 singles between 1971 and 1976, no other act of the period experienced such success. In the eighties Slade enjoyed a renaissance, buoyed by a spectacular appearance at the Reading Festival in 1980, their hits included “My oh My” , which reached number 2 in 1983 and a year later with “Run Runaway”, cementing their legacy as one of the UK’s greatest bands. The iconic Slade are one of the most exciting bands to ever come out of Great Britain and this collection serves as testament to the high quality of Slade's unique and distinctive talent.
BERNIE MARSDEN - And About Time Too (1979) & Look At Me Now (1981)
Bernie Marsden was well into a recording career when he struck out on his own for 1979's And About Time Too, which may explain the album's joking title. At the time, Marsden was playing guitar in Whitesnake, following years with UFO, Wild Turkey, Cozy Powell's Hammer, and Babe Ruth, among others, so he had a significant résumé, all sesting that he was ready for a spot of heavy rocking, but And About Time Too is much softer than his past or present, a slick and phased collection of '70s album pop and rock featuring such impressive players as Powell, Jack Bruce, Ian Paice, and Jon Lord. Again, all this sests a harder record than what And About Time Too actually is. Certainly, much of its appeal is down to its period stylings, particularly when he indulges himself on a piece of sprightly pop like "Love Made a Fool of Me" or "Sad Clown" songs that could've crossed over from album rock to adult contemporary and these tunes are strong enough that they make such heavy blues workouts as the grinding "Brief Encounter" and the woozy, solo-laden closer "Head the Ball" feel like detours even when they're much closer to Marsden's main line of work. Other remnants of the time, such as the heavy layers of analog synths from Don Airey and the long stretches of instrumental pyrotechnics, keep this somewhat at a remove from modern listeners, but it is those aforementioned poppier numbers that do make this worth a spin; they may not capture Marsden at his most representative but they may capture him at his best.
Bernie Marsden's first solo album, And About Time Too, did well enough to warrant a sequel and so he set about recording Look at Me Now, an LP that appeared in 1981, the same year he played on Whitesnake's Come an' Get It. Many members of Whitesnake appear here too drummer Ian Paice, bassist Neil Murray, and keyboardist Jon Lord pretty much play throughout the whole thing and while this is certainly loud and rocking, it's not heavy the way Whitesnake was back in 1981. It simultaneously has a brighter arena rock punch and a bit of a prog rock bent (the instrumental "Byblos Shack"), taking its time to delve into lyrical instrumental ballads ("After All the Madness"), but usually playing along the straight and narrow. Sometimes this gets pretty silly "Can You Do It? (Rock City Blues)" lives up to its title but it opens strongly with a pair of propulsive AOR pop tunes, "Look at Me Now" and "So Far Away," tunes that are far more melodic than Whitesnake but not quite distinguished by Marsden's guy-next-door vocals. Marsden may not be compelling, but he seems like a good bloke throughout Look at Me Now and, similarly, the album isn't much but it's a nice enough artifact of where pre-MTV hard rock met pop.
SKID ROW - Skid (1970) & 34 Hours (1971) [Remastered 2001/2007]
The band was formed in 1967, comprising Brush Shiels on bass guitar, Noel (Nollaig) Bridgeman (currently with Van Morrison) on drums, Phil Lynott on vocals, and Bernard (Bernie) Cheevers on lead guitar. Cheevers was replaced by the 16-year-old Gary Moore in 1969, and the band recorded a single, "Misdemeanour Dream Felicity"/"New Places, Old Faces", for the Irish "Song Records" label (the only recording of Lynott with Skid Row). Later that year Shiels dropped Lynott from the line-up, converting Skid Row to a power trio by making Moore the lead vocalist. By way of compensation, he taught Lynott to play bass, and Lynott went on to international fame as founder, bassist and vocalist for Thin Lizzy. The band recorded a second single for "Song", "Saturday Morning Man"/"Mervyn Aldridge". These two singles,plus three tracks from a BBC recording, were issued on the "Hux" label as "Live and on Song"" in April 2006. Skid Row played support to many of the great rock groups of the sixties, including Fleetwood Mac. Moore was influenced by the Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, who was in turn impressed by Moore's guitar playing and introduced him to the Columbia record company.
The band released its first album "Skid", in October 1970. A second LP, entitled "34 Hours" - so entitled because it took them a mere 34 hours to record it - was released in 1971. Moore left the band in December 1971 (he was replaced by Paul Chapman, later of UFO) and later played with Thin Lizzy. Chapman left in July 1972.The rest of their recorded material was released in 1990 and 1991.
LESLIE WEST - Blues To Die For (2003)
Leslie West, lead vocalist and guitarist of the hard rock band Mountain, has died. A pioneer in “heavy” guitar-playing, the influence of West’s work can be felt in various genres. He was 75 years old, the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Leslie West first gained recognition as the lead guitarist for the Vagrants, a locally popular 1960s Long Island group. One of that group's singles was produced by Felix Pappalardi, a bass player who also produced Cream. After the Vagrants and Cream split up, Pappalardi played bass on and produced West's debut solo album, Mountain (July 1969). Following its release, the two teamed up with drummer Norman Smart (soon replaced by Corky Laing) and keyboard player Steve Knight to form the band Mountain, which cut the albums Climbing! (February 1970; a gold-selling LP featuring the Top 40 single "Mississippi Queen"), Nantucket Sleighride (January 1971; which also went gold), and Flowers of Evil (November 1971). In 1972, Pappalardi left Mountain to return to being a producer. (Posthumous record releases included Mountain Live (The Road Goes on Forever) [April 1972] and The Best of Mountain [February 1973].) West and Laing joined with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce to form West, Bruce & Laing. The trio recorded two studio albums, Why Dontcha (October 1972) and Whatever Turns You On (July 1973). (A live album, Live 'N' Kickin', was released in April 1974.) Bruce quit in the summer of 1973, and West and Laing briefly formed Leslie West's Wild West Show. Then West, Pappalardi, Alan Schwartherg (drums), and Bob Mann (keyboards) re-formed Mountain, recording a double live album, Twin Peaks (February 1974), in Osaka, Japan, in August 1973. This was followed by a Mountain studio album, Avalanche (July 1974), made by West, Pappalardi, Laing, and Knight. Then Mountain split again, and West formed the Leslie West Band, releasing The Great Fatsby (April 1975) (which featured Mick Jagger) and The Leslie West Band (1976) (which featured Mick Jones, later of Foreigner). Bedeviled by substance abuse problems, West retired from music for a time, then cleared up and again re-formed Mountain with Laing and bassist Mark Clarke (Pappalardi had died in 1983) for Go for Your Life (March 1985). The group broke up again, and West made Theme (1988), again teaming with Jack Bruce. West then participated in the Guitar Speaks (1988) and Night of the Guitar (1989) recordings of legendary rock guitarists for IRS Records' Illegal subsidiary. His next solo album was Alligator (August 1989), followed by Dodgin' the Dirt (1994). In 1994, West and Laing teamed with ex-Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding in another edition of Mountain, recording two tracks for the compilation Over the Top (1995). The solo As Phat as It Gets followed in 1999. After an album for Voiceprint, Guitarded, in 2004, West released two blues-inflected albums for Blues Bureau International, 2005's Got Blooze and 2006's Blue Me. West lost a leg due to complications from type 2 diabetes in June of 2011, but it didn't slow him down much. He released Unusual Suspects, which featured guest spots from guitarists Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, and Steve Lukather three months later in September...
FUNKY JUNCTION - Play A Tribute To Deep Purple (1973)
Funky Junction were an Irish rock band formed in 1972 specifically to record a single album of songs made famous by British band Deep Purple, which was released as Funky Junction Play a Tribute to Deep Purple in January 1973. Among the band's lineup were all three members of the early 1970s incarnation of Thin Lizzy. The project was brought about by a German businessman named Leo Muller, who contacted Irish group Thin Lizzy to record the album. Muller was an alias used by Dave Miller, a record producer and proprietor of several budget music companies. The group members were not enthusiastic, as they were trying to forge their own style and identity, but they needed the money. Thin Lizzy's vocalist, Phil Lynott, decided that he was unable to sing like Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, so restricted himself to playing bass guitar and singing backing vocals. The band brought in Benny White, singer with the Dublin group Elmer Fudd, because they generally performed Deep Purple covers during gigs. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey referred to White as "really an Ian Gillan clone". Thin Lizzy did not have a keyboard player in their lineup, so Elmer Fudd's keyboardist Dave "Mojo" Lennox, later in Blodwyn Pig, was also asked to participate. Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell stated that White and Lennox were each paid "around £60" to travel to De Lane Lea Studios in London to record the album. The album was released in the UK and the USA on the Stereo Gold Award label, and on the Sonic Records label in Germany. For the German release, the band's name was changed to "The Rock Machine" with the album title being changed to "The Rock Machine Play the Best of Deep Purple".
PAUL McCARTNEY - McCartney III (2020)
Paul McCartney faced the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 like he faced so many other unexpected challenges in his life: he set out to make music on his own. The title of McCartney III positions it as a direct sequel to 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, albums he made in the wake of the respective dissolutions of the Beatles and Wings, a sentiment that rings true in some ways but not in others. Certainly, the one-man-band approach unites all three albums, as does their arrival at the dawn of a new decade, yet McCartney III doesn't contain a clear undercurrent of Paul processing change in the wake of loss. He doesn't spend the record trying to "Find My Way," as he puts it on the album's second song, but rather simply existing, drawing evident pleasure from the process of writing and recording new music. This also means McCartney III doesn't quite have the shock of the new the way that the homespun McCartney and synth-laden McCartney II do; he's not attempting new forms or ideas, instead returning to themes that have served him well over the years, whether they're plucked acoustic ditties, plaintive piano ballads, or stomping rockers. Execution makes a big difference, though. Where 2018's Egypt Station was designed with the charts specifically in mind -- Paul went so far as to hire producers Greg Kurstin and Ryan Tedder for the record, hoping they'd give him a modern sheen -- McCartney III is constructed at a modest scale, the arrangements so uncluttered that it's easy to hear the years on McCartney's voice. Maybe he can't hit the high notes he way he used to, maybe he sounds a bit weathered, but the change in his singing has a profoundly humanizing effect, especially when heard in conjunction with his distinctive drumming and fuzzed-out guitars. Within these contours, it's possible to trace the distance between the three McCartney albums. Despite these signs of age, McCartney III isn't an album about mortality, it's about finding sustenance in rough times. McCartney nods to sadness and loneliness on "Deep Deep Feeling" and conjures a fleeting sense of wistfulness on "Pretty Boys," then balances these moments of sadness with the sweet "The Kiss of Venus," the sugar-coated rallying call "Seize the Day," and the vulgar jabs of "Lavatory Lil." Individually, these moments may not seem particularly eccentric, yet when they're collected as an album, they add up to a charmingly off-kilter record, an album that benefits from its modest origins and McCartney's willingness to not polish too many of his rough edges.
ROCKPILE - Seconds Of Pleasure (1980)
Though Rockpile managed only one, nigh-perfect album at the height of the '80s new wave boom, its members Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams had played together in various incarnations, in some instances for over a decade: Edmunds and drummer Williams had been in the '60s power trio Love Sculpture; all had played on Lowe's '78 album Jesus of Cool and Edmunds's '79 collection Repeat When Necessary. But Seconds of Pleasure became their most complete and satisfying pop statement if their ironic swan song, as well. This newly remastered collection features the complete original album, as informed and vibrant a tribute to American rockabilly and R&B roots (with an amped-up take of Joe Tex's "If Sugar Was as Sweet as You" and inviting reworkings of Gene Chandler's "Teacher Teacher" and Chuck Berry's obscure "Oh What a Thrill") as any contemporary group has ever managed--especially considering three quarters of the material is either Rockpile originals or contemporary compositions, like "Wrong Again" by Squeeze songwriters/mainstays Difford and Tilbrook. The generous slate of bonus tracks features all four acoustic, live-in-the studio tracks from the Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds Sing the Everly Brothers tribute EP distributed with initial pressings of the LP; two fine live BBC recordings from '77; a cover of Graham Parker's "Back to Schooldays"; a band original, "They Called It Rock"; and a blistering live rendition of Parker's "Crawling from the Wreckage" from one of the band's last appearances together at the Concert for Kampuchea. Though Lowe may now downplay them as "a posh bar band" who "specialized in playing Chuck Berry music four times faster than anyone else," Rockpile was truly one of the great rock bands of their or any era.
LOVE SCULPTURE - Blues Helping (1968) & Forms and Feelings (1969)
A British blues-rock band of the late '60s that, despite being very good, would normally be relegated to footnote status if it were not for the fact that the lead guitarist of this trio was the soon-to-be-famous Dave Edmunds. Like many similar bands of the times, Love Sculpture was really a showpiece for Edmunds' guitar-playing talents (which on the first LP are considerable), and little else. The covers are well-chosen, slightly revved-up, but mostly reverent versions of blues classics. They had a fluke hit in 1968 with a cover of the classical piece "Sabre Dance," rearranged for guitar. After two LPs, Love Sculpture split up in 1970. Edmunds went on to solo success ("I Hear You Knockin'") and a long, sometimes contentious relationship with ex-Brinsley Schwarz bassist Nick Lowe, which culminated in the great band Rockpile. Still, Love Sculpture, though slightly dated, is a hoot to listen. And Edmunds, full of youthful bravado and dazzling technique, certainly knows his way up and down a fret board.
MUD - The Singles ‘67-’78 (1997)
Mud (now Mud II) are an English glam rock band, formed in February 1966. Their earlier success came in a pop and then glam rock style, while later hits were influenced by 1950s rock and roll, and are best remembered for their hit singles "Tiger Feet", which was the UK's best-selling single of 1974, and "Lonely This Christmas" which reached Christmas number 1 in December 1974. After signing to Rak Records and teaming up with songwriters/producers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, the band had fourteen UK Top 20 hits between 1973 and 1976, including three number ones.
Although countless Mud compilations have been released over the years, none of them managed to cover every phase of the group's career. This was remedied in 1997 with the release of The Singles '67-'78. This overwhelmingly generous collection spans two discs and includes the A- and B-sides of each single the group released. Of course, the most impressive tracks are the hits from the group's stint at RAK Records: the combination of pop hooks and guitar firepower utilized for stomping glam classics like "Tiger Feet" and "Dynamite" still sound fresh and exciting today. However, this set also unearths some surprisingly good tracks from the group's oft-overlooked periods at Private Stock and RCA Records: "L'L'Lucy" is a full-throttle rock tune built on a smile-inducing vocal stutter hook and the languid yet catchy "Slow Talking Boy" is unlike anything else in the Mud catalog. Unfortunately, this generous array of material means the listener has to sit through more than one dud along the way, like the pleasant but inconsequential covers of "Lean on Me" and "Drift Away." Even hardcore Mud fans may be tempted to scan through filler tracks like these. That said, The Singles '67-'78 remains the definitive way for any glam fan to explore the full history of this underrated group and it further enhances its value with a nice set of liner notes that include track-by-track commentary from lead vocalist Les Gray. Casual listeners will probably be better off with a single-disc compilation, but The Singles '67-'78 is the collection of choice for Mud enthusiasts.
KEB' MO' - 1994/2000
Guitarist/vocalist Keb' Mo' draws heavily on the old-fashioned country-blues style of Robert Johnson while keeping his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. A skilled frontman as well as an accomplished sideman, he writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz- and rock-oriented bands. His 1994 solo debut, Keb' Mo', was a critical and popular success that typified his modern spin on vintage blues, and 2006's Suitcase was another laid-back but committed set rooted in acoustic sounds. 2017's TajMo found Keb' Mo' collaborating with fellow idiosyncratic acoustic blues artist Taj Mahal, and 2019's Oklahoma was a full-bodied effort that included cameos by Mahal, Rosanne Cash, Robert Randolph, and others; both albums earned him Grammy Awards.
Born Kevin Moore in Los Angeles to parents of Southern descent, he was exposed to gospel music at a young age. At 21, Moore joined an R&B band who were later hired for a tour by Papa John Creach; as a result, Moore played on three of Creach's albums. Opening for jazz and rock artists such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jefferson Starship, and Loggins & Messina helped further broaden Moore's horizons and musical abilities. Moore cut an R&B-based solo album, Rainmaker, in 1980 for Casablanca, which promptly folded. In 1983, he joined Monk Higgins' band as a guitarist and met a number of blues musicians who collectively increased his understanding of the genre. He subsequently joined a vocal group called the Rose Brothers and gigged around Los Angeles. In 1990, Moore portrayed a Delta bluesman in a local play, Rabbit Foot, and then played Robert Johnson in a docudrama entitled Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? He released his self-titled debut album as Keb' Mo' in 1994, featuring two Robert Johnson covers, 11 songs written or co-written by Moore, and his guitar and banjo work.
His second album, Just Like You, saw Keb' Mo' stretching his legs by working with a full band and tackling several rock-based songs. The gamble paid off, and Just Like You won the artist his first Grammy Award. Slow Down followed in 1998 and netted Mo' another Grammy, and Door was issued two years later. Big Wide Grin followed in 2001, while 2004 saw the release of two albums, Keep It Simple (which won him another Grammy) and Peace...Back by Popular Demand. Suitcase was issued in 2006 on Red Ink Records. The self-produced The Reflection appeared five years later in 2011; the first release on his own label, Yolabelle International, the album featured guest spots from India.Arie, Vince Gill, Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, Mindi Abair, and David T. Walker. The Reflection performed well, peaking at two on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album. Keb' Mo' followed the record with BLUESAmericana, which appeared in the spring of 2014. That Hot Pink Blues Album, a live set recorded on the BLUESAmericana tour, showed up in the spring of 2016. In 2017, Keb' Mo' teamed with Taj Mahal to spotlight the good-time side of the blues on TajMo, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. He returned in June 2019 with Oklahoma, an eclectic and politically conscious set that was released on Concord Records. The album debuted at number two on the national Blues charts, and went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album. In October 2019, Keb' Mo' released his first holiday album, Moonlight, Mistletoe, And You.
KIRSTY MacCOLL - All I Ever Wanted: The Anthology (2014)
Kirsty MacColl, daughter of folk singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl, began her own musical career while still in her teens, singing in a band called the Addix, and eventually signed to the legendary Stiff Records. Her first single, the modern girl group gem, "They Don't Know," was released in 1979. Though it failed in the charts, it was later a major hit for Tracey Ullman. Kirsty MacColl switched to Polydor in the '80s and landed a U.K. Top 40 hit with the novelty song "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)." She followed the single with her first LP, Desperate Character, in 1981. In 1984, she married producer Steve Lillywhite and put her solo career on hold, raising their two children and working as a backup singer. MacColl returned in 1989 with a more mature effort, Kite, which reached the U.K. Top 40. Two more albums, Electric Landlady (1991) and Titanic Days (1993), displayed great talent and diversity and, above all, good pop sensibilities. On December 18, 2000, MacColl was killed by a speedboat while swimming off of the coast of Mexico. Less than six months later, her final album, Tropical Brainstorm, was released on Instinct.
All I Ever Wanted: The Anthology is a two-disc compilation by the British singer and songwriter Kirsty MacColl, released by Salvo in 2014. The set contains 43 tracks from across MacColl's career and a 32-page booklet.
THE BYRDS - There Is A Season (2006)
There Is a Season is a four-CD and one DVD box set by the American rock band The Byrds that was released on September 26, 2006 by Columbia/Legacy. It comprises 99 tracks and includes material from every one of the band's twelve studio albums, presented in roughly chronological order. The bonus DVD features ten clips of the Byrds lip-synching their hits on television programs between 1965 and 1967. Upon release, the box set failed to reach the Billboard 200 chart or the UK Albums Chart. There Is a Season supplants the band's earlier box set, The Byrds, which was released in October 1990. Unlike its predecessor, There Is a Season includes material pre-dating the band's 1965 debut single for Columbia Records "Mr. Tambourine Man". This pre-fame period in the group's history is represented by a number of demo recordings from the band's 1964 rehearsals at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles (when they were known as The Jet Set), and both sides of a 1964 single released by the group under the pseudonym The Beefeaters. The set also includes selections from the band's 1973 reunion album Byrds and two 1973 recordings from the Banjoman film—a period also not covered by the first box set. There Is a Season also includes more songs written by founding member Gene Clark, as a response to criticism that the first box set had neglected to properly represent his contributions to the band.
Although There Is a Season was generally well received critically, a number of reviews expressed disappointment over the relatively small number of previously unreleased tracks included in the set. Joe Tangari, writing for Pitchfork Media, praised the compilation's well chosen track listing but expressed confusion as to who the box set was aimed at, since most hardcore fans would already own the majority of its contents. Alexis Petridis was also unenthusiastic about the contents of the set in his review for The Guardian: "Bearing only five previously unreleased tracks – all live, all with a distinct air of 'so what?' – There Is a Season smacks less of curating an important artist's legacy than of record company desperation at the lucrative back-catalogue well running dry."
FLEETWOOD MAC - Greatest Hits (1989)
When the average music fan thinks of Fleetwood Mac, images of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham usually automatically come to mind, as well as the pop perfection of such mega-sellers as Rumours. But the late-'60s/early-'70s version of Mac was a completely different band stylistically: a blues outfit led by guitar great Peter Green. And this is the era that the 2002 compilation Best of the Best (Gold) focuses on. It's rather humorous to think of how many casual fans must have picked up this set expecting "Rhiannon," but instead received such bluesy tours de force as "Albatross." However, that's not to say that the "Peter Green-era" Fleetwood Mac wasn't exceptional in its own right, as such standout tracks as "Coming Home," "Stop Messin' Round," and "Love That Burns" exemplify. In fact, Green's Mac was much more authentic sounding than other blues-based rock bands that were lighting up the charts around this time (Cream, Led Zeppelin, etc.). Best of the Best (Gold) is a fine summary of Fleetwood Mac's bluesy, and oft-overlooked, past.
TONY SPINNER - Love Is The Answer (2020)
Tony Spinner is an authentic, legit, modern day guitar hero who speaks the six string truth; a bonafide, all natural “Old School” guitar rocker with soulful vocals who is heavily inspired and influlenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Billy Gibbons and a host of countless other excellent glassic guitarists who wrote the book of rock. Having recorded and toured for many years with TOTO, Paul Gilbert & Pat Travers to name a few, Tony Spinner is a seasoned, world-class, professional musician who was born to rock & has devoted his life to musical passion.
Outstanding, tenth solo disc by this excellent Blues/Rock Axeslinger from Jonesboro, Arkansas featuring 12 tracks of awesome, dynamic, soul-powered, retrofied, blues-based guitar rock mojo that lands solid with endless amounts of musical strenth, depth and maturity. From start to finish, “Love Is the Answer” is an essential, highly enjoyable, way-kool, Tony Spinner disc on Grooveyard Records that rocks the blues and shines brite with talent & excellence.
THIN LIZZY - Life-Live (1983) & Still Dangerous [Live At Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977] (2009)
Life (subtitled Live, and labelled Life:Live on the original vinyl LP editions) is a double live album by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, released in 1983. This double album was recorded during their farewell tour in 1983, principally at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, UK. Phil Lynott had felt reluctantly that it was time to disband the group after the 1983 tour and to mark the occasion, former Thin Lizzy guitarists Eric Bell (1969–73), Brian Robertson (1974–78) and Gary Moore (1974, 1977 and 1978–79) joined the band on stage at the end of these gigs to do some numbers. This was called "The All-Star Jam". The versions of "Renegade", "Hollywood" and "Killer on the Loose" featuring Snowy White had been performed two years earlier when he was still with the band. White's participation was only credited to "Renegade". Lynott described the slower tempo version of "Don't Believe a Word" as being the original arrangement. A version of the song with the slower arrangement appears on Moore's Back on the Streets album from 1978, with Lynott on bass guitar and lead vocals and Brian Downey on drums. During the performance of "The Rocker", all of the guitarists (except for White) played at the same time (Moore, John Sykes, Scott Gorham, Robertson and Bell), making a total of eight members on stage performing at once (including keyboard player Darren Wharton).
Still Dangerous is a live album by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. It was compiled from two live concerts by the band at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia, at 20 & 21 October 1977 during the tour in support of their Bad Reputation album. No overdubs were made to any tracks so the album is completely live. The tracks "Cowboy Song", "The Boys Are Back in Town", "Massacre" and "Emerald" were previously released on the album Live and Dangerous, while "Me and the Boys" was issued as the B-side to the "Rosalie" live single taken from that album, albeit in heavily edited form, running over three minutes shorter. "Bad Reputation" and "Emerald" are bonus tracks made only available as downloads outside Japan. They are also available as a bonus 7" 45 RPM single on the U.S. vinyl version of the release. The live recordings of "Jailbreak", "Cowboy Song", and "The Boys are Back in Town" from this album are available as downloadable content as a Thin Lizzy track pack for the music video game Rock Band. The album features the common live Thin Lizzy practice of running one song straight into some more popular hit, typically using the ending note of one as the starting note of the next, notably with "Cowboy Song" which finishes with the first note of "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Soldier of Fortune" which leads directly into "Jailbreak". This live version of "The Boys Are Back in Town" is used over the end credits of the film The Expendables (rather than the more well-known studio version from Jailbreak).
EVA CASSIDY - Vinyl Collection (2014)
The heart-ting story of Eva Cassidy reads almost like the plot of a "Movie of the Week" tearjerker. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, the painfully shy Cassidy earned a local reputation as a masterful interpreter of standards from virtually any genre, blessed with technical agility and a searching passion that cut straight to the emotional core of her material. Despite the evocative instrument that was Cassidy's voice, record companies shied away from her, unsure of how to market her eclectic repertoire; for her part, Cassidy adamantly refused to allow herself to be pigeonholed, prizing the music above any potential fame. In 1996, just when she had begun to record more frequently on a small, local basis, Cassidy was diagnosed with cancer, which had already spread throughout her body and rapidly claimed her life. But her story didn't end there; her music was posthumously championed by a BBC disc jockey, and amazingly, the anthology Songbird became a number one million-selling smash in England.
This Eva Cassidy five-LP set contains five albums – including Songbird – pressed onto 180g vinyl along with a bonus twelve-inch vinyl record that is exclusive to this box. The Vinyl Collection set is hand-numbered and limited to just 3000 copies. The lift off lid box contains the following remastered albums: Songbird, Time After Time, Imagine, American Tune and Somewhere. The twelve-inch contains recordings of What A Wonderful World and You Take My Breath Away. Two 12”x12” prints come with this box including one of an original painting by Eva Cassidy.
DEEP PURPLE - Abandon (1998) & Total Abandon Australia '99 (1999) 
Abandon is the sixteenth studio album by the British hard rock band Deep Purple, released in the Spring of 1998. It was Deep Purple's second album with Steve Morse on guitar and the last album to feature founding member Jon Lord prior to his departure in 2002. The album was followed by a successful 1998/1999 world tour which brought Deep Purple to Australia for the first time in 15 years. In 1999 a live album and DVD Total Abandon: Australia '99 recorded in Melbourne on 20 April 1999 was released. The album title is actually a pun from Ian Gillan – "A Band On" – and the album was followed by the "A Band on Tour". Then uniquely for a Deep Purple studio album, it featured a reworking of a previously recorded song – "Bloodsucker" from Deep Purple in Rock (here spelled "Bludsucker"). "Don't Make Me Happy" was mistakenly mastered in mono and not amended on the album, one of the two versions of the song released on a promotional single was mastered in stereo.
Total Abandon: Australia '99 is a double live album and DVD by British hard rock band Deep Purple, recorded at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on 20 April 1999. When the album was released in September 1999, it was only available in Australia. From 12 October 1999, it was made available as a mail order merchandise in Europe. Later, it was also sold in music stores. In USA, the album was not released until 2012; this edition was cut to only one disc. The single-disc version of Total Abandon: Australia '99 features the legendary early-'70s Deep Purple lineup with guitarist Steve Morse replacing Ritchie Blackmore. Fan favorites such as "Woman from Tokyo," "Highway Star," and "Smoke on the Water" are highlighted, as are lesser heard album tracks and four songs written by this particular lineup. Bear in mind that the single-disc version excludes four songs: "Lazy," "Perfect Strangers," "Speed King," and "Steve Morse Guitar Solo." While these performances are definitely worth hearing, casual listeners should stick with Made in Japan from 1972.
METROPOLIS - The Power Of The Night (1999)
“The Power of the Night” is the debut album by American AOR project “Metropolis”, originally released in 1999 by MTM Music. “Metropolis” is a melodic rock duo between heroes of the genre, Peter Fredette and Stan Meissner. Peter handles the lead vocals and bass while Stan contributes the guitars, keyboards and drums. All songs on “The Power of the Night” are written by Meissner, also benefiting by external contributions here and there. Those familiar with Stan’s solo works should note that “Metropolis” is a substantially guitar driven album featuring equal amounts of guitars and keyboards- riffs, rhythm parts, melodic lines and harmonious solos are all included here. One simply has to comment on the stellar vocal performance that characterizes entirely “The Power of the night”. Peter Fredette is at the top of his game on this one in terms of performance, effectively justifying the decision of having his lead vocals over Meissner’s on “Metropolis”. Being well over a decade since the release of “Metropolis”, one rightfully regards “The Power of the Night” a classic of the Adult oriented rock genre. Songs like “Wild and Blue”, “Restless Moon”, “Whatever it is”, “The best is good enough” and the title track are immense moments of melodic rock that still hold their own in the contemporary scene.
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT - The Symbol Remains (2020)
The Symbol Remains is the fifteenth studio album by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on October 9, 2020.The title comes from a lyric on Blue Öyster Cult's 1983 LP The Revolution By Night in the song “Shadow Of California.“ This is the band's first studio release since 2001's Curse of the Hidden Mirror, making it the longest gap between the band's studio albums. It also marks the recording debut by long-time members Jules Radino and Richie Castellano, as well as the first studio album since 1985's Club Ninja to not feature Allen Lanier, who died in 2013. The Symbol Remains has received a positive reception from critics, and "The Alchemist" in particular has been the subject of particular praise. The album holds a 77/100 aggregate rating on Metacritic as of November 2020. Dom Lawson of Blabbermouth.net gave the album a positive review, citing songs like "Box in My Head" and "The Alchemist" as high points on the album. Scott McLennan of The Arts Fuse hailed "The Alchemist" as "a sprawling tale of a cursed monarchy, palace treachery, and sorcery", and noting that Bloom's performance on the track was at "peak harrowing form." McLennan also praised Dharma's "speedy country-rock riff" playing on "Train True (Lennie's Song)." Thom Jurek of Allmusic hailed the album as a "thoroughly inspired" return for the band, and compared the sound of many of the album's songs to Blue Öyster Cult's back catalogue, as well as groups like Head East and Iron Maiden.
HELP - Help (1971) + Second Coming (1971) 
Help were a 1970s psychedelic, acid, hard rock power trio from California. The band comprised Jack Merrill (vocals, guitar), Ron Rochan (vocals, bass guitar, percussion), and Chet McCracken (vocals, drums, percussion, formerly of the Evergreen Blueshoes). They released two albums on Decca Records in 1970 and 1971. Help's first album hasn't attracted as much attention as their collector-friendly second, but it's by far the superior record. It's a solid mix of rural rock, folk rock and pop, and rocks really hard despite there not being any distortion on the guitars. There appear to be no instrumental overdubs, just a trio of guitar, bass and drums, yet the excellent musicianship (especially the rock-solid rhythm section) makes the sound full and rich. Side one is full of energy, melodic songwriting, and excellent vocals, and is solid all the way through. Side two is somewhat less inspired, but still pretty good, and the album is definitely recommended. This much heavier second album is the one that most collectors know, due to lots of fuzz and wah wah on the guitars. The sparse trio format is the same as on the first album, except that the clean guitar is replaced by distortion and effects. Strangely enough, that makes the sound less full than on the debut. It admittedly sounds pretty cool, but after a few listens it becomes apparent that the songwriting is actually pretty weak, with only two or three songs at a high standard. Worth listening to for those songs, but overall a patchy record.
H.P. LOVECRAFT - Dreams in the Witch House (2005)
H. P. Lovecraft was an American psychedelic rock band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1967 and named after the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Much of the band's music was possessed of a haunting, eerie ambience, and consisted of material that was inspired by the macabre writings of the author whose name they had adopted. Combining elements of psychedelia and folk rock, the band's sound was marked by the striking vocal harmonies of ex-folk singer George Edwards and the classically trained Dave Michaels.In addition, Michaels' multi-instrumentalist abilities on organ, piano, harpsichord, clarinet and recorder provided the band with a richer sonic palette than many of their contemporaries. The band was signed to Philips Records in 1967 and released its first single, "Anyway That You Want Me", in the early part of that year. Their first album, H. P. Lovecraft, followed in late 1967 and included what is arguably the band's best-known song, "The White Ship". The band then relocated to San Francisco, California, where they became a frequent attraction at various San Francisco Bay Area venues, including The Fillmore and the Winterland Ballroom.In 1968, a second album, H. P. Lovecraft II, appeared, but the group disbanded in early 1969.
Digitally remastered collection from the legendary Chicago Psychedelic band containing their entire recorded output on one CD. 23 tracks including previously uncompiled alternate single versions of 'The White Ship' and 'Keeper of the Keys'. The complete recordings by this cult-favorite 60s psychedelic Chicago band, who were coveted by collectors from California to England but who remained a mystery for decades (with no pictures or facts to be found). Previously unseen photos and recent band interviews join The Drifter; The White Ship; Mobius Trip; High Flying Bird; Its All Over for You23 tracks including ultra-rare bonus cuts!
BERNIE TORME - Wild Irish (1997) & White Trash Guitar (1999)
Hard rock guitarist Bernie Torme has had several opportunities to break through to the big time as a hired gun with established (or promising) artists, but each time, circumstances prevented him from doing so. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Torme first picked up the guitar at the age of 11, looking up to such fellow Irish-bred guitarists as Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, and Thin Lizzy's Eric Bell for inspiration early on. It wasn't long until Torme found himself playing in local bands, before leaving for London during the early '70s. While in London, Torme formed a hard rockin' trio, Scrapyard, which eventually changed its name to the Bernie Torme Band and turned to a more basic, punk style (reflective of what was going on at the time in England). Despite issuing a pair of singles and consistently touring the United Kingdom, the Bernie Torme Band failed to take off commercially. With the group on its last legs, the guitarist accepted an invitation by ex-Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan to join his group, Gillan, in the late '70s. Torme's tenure with Gillan was a short yet successful one, as the group enjoyed three Top Ten U.K. albums (1979's Mr. Universe, 1980's Glory Road, and the 1981 chart-topper, Future Shock), in addition to extensive worldwide tours of Europe, Japan, and the United States. Despite Gillan's success, Torme surprisingly left the group in 1981 (stating "boredom" as the reason for his exit), and joined up with veteran prog rockers Atomic Rooster. Torme's initial tenure with Atomic Rooster was a fleeting one; although he toured with the group, Torme never appeared on any of the group's studio albums (Torme would sporadically return back to the group, and an archival live album, Live in Germany 1983, was issued in 2000). But Torme's reputation as one of rock's most promising guitarists helped land him a gig as Ozzy Osbourne's new guitarist in the spring of 1982. Osbourne had just suffered the tragic loss of guitarist Randy Rhoads, and with a string of arena headlining shows on the horizon, Osbourne opted to regroup and honor the dates. But Torme's main desire was to return to a new outfit he was putting together at the time, Electric Gypsies, and after only a couple of weeks of live shows with Osbourne, Torme returned back to England (future Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis replaced Torme in Osbourne's band). Electric Gypsies issued three obscure albums, Turn Out the Lights, Electric Gypsies, and Live, before the band changed its name to Torme. The newly renamed group included ex-Girl/future L.A. Guns member Phil Lewis on vocals, and issued three additional recordings, Back to Babylon, Die Pretty Die Young, and Official Live Bootleg. But, like Electric Gypsies, Torme failed to get off the ground and had split up by the late '80s.
Once more, it didn't take Torme long to be invited to join another group, Desperado, this time a heavy metal supergroup of sorts (featuring ex-Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, ex-Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr, and bassist Marc Russell). The group appeared to be a promising ticket to stardom in the U.S. for Torme, as Elektra Records signed the quartet. But friction between the group and Elektra prevented the band's debut from being released, and caused the breakup of Desperado (years later, the album was finally issued independently under the title Bloodied, but Unbowed). During the '90s, Torme continued to write and play for Snider's subsequent projects, including Widowmaker's Blood & Bullets and Stand By for Pain, as well as lending his talents to recordings by the Walker Brothers, Mammoth, and Rene Berg (as well as issuing an album with ex-Samson singer Gary Owen, Demolition Ball). The late '90s saw Torme form a power trio with former Anti-Nowhere League members Chris Jones (drums) and John Pearc (bass); issuing the double-disc Wild Irish in 1997 and White Trash Guitar in 1999 (by the early 21st century, Jones had been replaced with new member Simon Jeffrey). Torme also runs his own record label, Retrowrek Records, which specializes in releasing albums from all eras or his career, including a collection of tracks spanning 1977 through 1979 titled Punk or What, as well as reissues of such early titles as Turn Out the Lights and Electric Gypsies, among many others.
JOHN LENNON - Imagine (1971) [MFSL, 2000, @FLAC]
On the evening on this day 1980, John Lennon was shot dead in the archway of the Dakota, his home in New York City.
Imagine is the second studio album by English musician John Lennon, released on 9 September 1971 by Apple Records. Co-produced by Lennon, his wife Yoko Ono and Phil Spector, the album's lush sound contrasts the basic, small-group arrangements of his first album , John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), while the opening title track is widely considered to be his signature song.Lennon recorded the album from early to mid-1971 at Ascot Sound Studios, Abbey Road Studios and the Record Plant in New York City, with supporting musicians that included his ex-Beatles bandmate George Harrison, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, bassist Klaus Voormann and drummers Alan White and Jim Keltner. Its lyrics reflect peace, love, politics, Lennon's experience with primal scream therapy, and, following a period of high personal tensions, an attack on his former writing partner Paul McCartney in "How Do You Sleep?". Extensive footage from the sessions was recorded for a scrapped documentary; parts were released on the documentary film Imagine: John Lennon (1988). The documentary John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, based on that footage, was released in 2018. Imagine was a critical and commercial success, peaking at number one on both the UK Albums Chart and US Billboard 200. Along with John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, it is considered one of Lennon's finest solo albums.
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL or MoFi) is a record label specializing in the production of audiophile recordings. The company is best known for its reissued vinyl LP records, compact discs, and Super Audio CDs but has also produced other formats. In the late 1970s the label earned a reputation for high-quality audio from its Original Master Recording LPs, which had been recorded with its half-speed mastering process. The company was purchased in 1999 by Music Direct in Chicago. In the 21st century, Mobile Fidelity's sales grew with a renewed interest in vinyl.
IAN GILLAN BAND - Discography (1976/77)
Child in Time is the debut album by British jazz rock band Ian Gillan Band, released in 1976. The album took its title from the Deep Purple song "Child in Time", a version of which appears the LP. The album reached No. 36 on Swedish charts and No. 55 in UK.This was Ian Gillan's first release after leaving Deep Purple and also features his former Deep Purple colleague bassist Roger Glover as album's producer.[Deep Purple fans were outraged, Heavy Metallurgists ran shrieking for cover. But Ian Gillan's first post-Purple project remains one of the hardest, loudest and most exciting of all the mothership's myriad offspring and the fact that Child in Time is such a brutally funky album only amplifies its achievements. How easy it would have been, after all, for Gillan to simply fall back on all the past glories that his audience was hoping he'd be replaying. Instead, even the album's title lifted, of course, from one of Purple's most sacred classics was a joke. "Child in Time" was replayed within, of course. But you'd have a hard time recognizing it. It's strange looking back on the Deep Purple story, it's the arrival of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes that heralds the band's own flirtation with da funk, and the departure of Gillan and Roger Glover (the latter producer of this album) that allowed them into the family in the first place.
Clear Air Turbulence is the second studio album by British jazz rock band Ian Gillan Band, released in 1977 with cover by Chris Foss. The album was initially worked on during the period July 1976 to September 1976. A UK tour was promoted, though all of the dates were cancelled until April 1977 in order that the new album could be rerecorded and remixed at Kingsway Recorders, London. When Ian Gillan was recording his solo albums in the late 1970s and early '80s, Deep Purple's influence never went away. But Gillan did make an effort to try different things, and he was at his most experimental on Clear Air Turbulence. Enjoyable, if uneven, this album illustrates Gillan's willingness to take some chances. While the singer favors an aggressive hard rock groove on "Money Lender," the jazz fusion-influenced touches of "Over the Hill," "Goodhand Liza" and the title song could lead you to believe that you'd been listening to Weather Report and Return to Forever. Had Chick Corea formed an alliance with Deep Purple, perhaps it might sound something like "Over the Hill." Heavy metal and hard rock are in short supply on this album, which employs no less than five horn players and shows that Gillan didn't want to be a headbanger 100-percent of the time.
Scarabus is the third and the last studio album by British jazz rock band Ian Gillan Band, released in October 1977. The album was reissued in 1982 by Virgin Records in the height of popularity of Ian Gillan's group Gillan (a CD edition followed in 1989). The CD reissue included an extra track, "My Baby Loves Me". This track, recorded live at the Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on 22 September 1977, was originally part of the double LP set Live at the Budokan, and had been omitted from the UK release in error. Ian Gillan re-used the vocal melody of the title track "Scarabus" on the song "Disturbing the Priest" six years later, on the album Born Again (1983) during his short tenure with the British hard rock/heavy metal band Black Sabbath. The guitar riff on "Mercury High" is the same as the one played by guitarist Ray Fenwick on "Back USA" from his 1971 solo album Keep America Beautiful, Get a Haircut.
GILLAN - The First 4... (1978/81)
A separate entity from the Ian Gillan Band and distinct from Ian Gillan the solo artist, Gillan was a band bearing the ex-Deep Purple frontman's name which provided an outlet for his straight-ahead hard rock inclinations (as opposed to the prog rock tendencies of the Ian Gillan Band or Ian Gillan's more polished solo material of the 1990s). Gillan the singer put the band together in 1978, initially recruiting Steve Byrd (guitar), John McCoy (bass), Colin Towns (keyboards, ex-Ian Gillan Band), and Pete Barnacle (drums); this lineup proved short-lived, recording a self-titled Japanese-only album before disintegrating. Bernie Torme replaced Byrd, and Mick Underwood took over for Barnacle; this shift resulted in 1979's Mr. Universe, a surprise U.K. hit album. Further recordings followed in 1980's Glory Road and 1981's Future Shock and Double Trouble (the latter featuring one live record and one record of new studio material). Future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers replaced Torme in 1981, in time for 1982's Magic, which would be the final Gillan album before Ian Gillan joined Black Sabbath. Following his 1990 solo record Naked Thunder, Ian Gillan reassembled a version of Gillan with guitarist Steve Morris for the 1991 LP Toolbox; however, the more polished approach was at odds with the old band's lean, down-and-dirty hard rock. Live albums and rarities continued to appear throughout the '90s, as Ian Gillan returned to making solo records.
Gillan is the debut studio album by British hard rock band Gillan, released on October 5, 1978 only in Japan then later in Australia and New Zealand. Although not released domestically in the UK, the album sold well as an import, aided by positive press reviews. The sleeve notes of the original release credit Liam Genocky as playing drums and percussion, while the 1993 release "Gillan – The Japanese Album" instead credits Pete Barnacle.
Mr. Universe is the second studio album by the British hard rock band Gillan, and the first with the classic line-up with Ian Gillan, Colin Towns, John McCoy, Bernie Tormé and Mick Underwood. Released in October 1979. The album reached No. 11 in the UK Albums Chart, and sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Glory Road is the third studio album by the British hard rock band Gillan, released in October 1980. The album reached No. 3 in the UK album charts. The US version of the album had a slightly different running order and included "Your Mother Was Right" instead of "Sleeping on the Job". The song "Unchain Your Brain" was re-recorded and released on Ian Gillan's 2006 release Gillan's Inn. Glory Road was also released in the UK as a limited edition double LP and contained the free LP For Gillan Fans Only. When Glory Road was eventually released on CD, most of the For Gillan Fans Only material was included as bonus tracks.
Future Shock is the fourth studio album by the British hard rock band Gillan. Released by Virgin in 1981, it reached number 2 in the UK album chart; this would remain the band's highest placing. The title is taken from Alvin Toffler's book Future Shock. The original vinyl LP had a gatefold sleeve, with centre pages. Cover painting is by Alan Daniels for Young Artists. In 2005, Future Shock was ranked number 467 in the German Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.
BOB DYLAN - 50th Anniversary Collection 1970 (2020)
A tiny number of Bob Dylan fans scored a valuable collectible on Sunday when a three-disc collection of songs cut in 1970, including the legendary George Harrison sessions, was quietly put on sale via the U.K. store Badlands. “This release is strictly limited to 1 unit per customer,” the store wrote when announcing Bob Dylan – 50th Anniversary Collection 1970. “Extremely limited release. It will sell out instantly … Thank you and best of luck.” This collection was released in response to a European law stipulating that recordings enter the public domain 50 years after their creation if they aren’t officially released by the copyright holder. To avoid legal Bob Dylan bootlegs from flooding the market, his camp has released yearly copyright protection releases going back to 2012 when the complete 1962 recordings came out.
This new one likely has a broader appeal than previous ones since it features Dylan and George Harrison’s complete May 1st, 1970 session where they casually jam on Dylan oldies like “One Too Many Mornings” and “It Ain’t Me Babe” along with the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and numerous tunes from the then-in-progress New Morning. It has circulated as a bootleg for years, but the sound quality on this is presumably a significant upgrade from anything heard before. It is rounded out by other recordings from the New Morning sessions where Dylan is joined by session pros like organist Al Kooper, bassist Charlie Daniels, drummer Russ Kunkel, guitarist David Bromberg, bassist Stu Woods and drummer Alvin Rogers.
LESLIE'S MOTEL - Dirty Sheets (1972)
Leslie’s Motel was formed in 1971, by core trio Bill Tullis (vocals, rhythm guitar, tambourine), Mike Seibold (lead guitar, vocals), and Richard Bush (organ, piano). The three were not novices by any stretch, as Bush had been a keyboard player with the soul band Tom Dooley & The Lovelights. Seibold and Tullis were both in one of Louisville’s earliest heavy blues bands, Conception, which Tullis put an end to after seeing The Allman Joys (pre-The Allman Brothers Band) in Nashville during that time. Apparently quite impressed by them, Tullis is on public record stating “I knew my musical path was going to change… Mike and I disbanded Conception and sought out some new musicians to be a part of this southern rock sound.” Those new musicians eventually settled on was Ray Barrickman (bass, vocals), Paul Hoemi (drums), and Roy Blumenfeld (drums, congas, hand claps). Together, the six musicians rehearsed in a garage off of Dixie Highway in Louisville. En route to each rehearsal, they passed by the inspiration for their name, Leslie’s Motel. An alleged “house of ill repute” mainly frequented by soldiers from Fort Knox, the motel was known to be open for business according to how their sign was lit. It was not long until the band, Leslie’s Motel, built a reputation for stunning onstage jams reminiscent of acts like Ten Years After and Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The band played the eastern seaboard club circuit from as far north as Boston to as far west as St. Louis, and south to Florida. From all accounts, they were well embraced in all locales. So much so that the group was offered the opportunity to open for large name national acts like Ted Nugent, John Lee Hooker, Rory Gallagher, Charlie Daniels, MC5, Mitch Ryder, and many other artists.
In 1972, Leslie’s Motel entered a Louisville recording studio, King Studios, where they recorded their début album with The Oxfords’ guitarist Jay Petach as the producer. What resulted was the nine-song ‘Dirty Sheets‘ album, which was then unsuccessfully shopped to Capricorn Records, Bell Records, and a few Nashville based Mom and Pops, and this is where our story goes off the rails. Well, not so much off the rails as much as off the books – as in history books, online sources, word of mouth, or even a whispered rumor. ‘Dirty Sheets‘ was shelved. The album went unreleased, and then, being designated to the limbo that is “the shelf”, there it sat for nearly four decades. Leslie’s Motel continued to perform live in venues and on stages throughout the east coast until the players parted ways in 1976. The guys went on with their lives, some moved on to other bands, some joined the mainstream society as former musicians. The years passed to become decades until our tale picked back up in the year 2009. This was when Bill Tullis was contacted by Roger Maglio, the owner of Gear Fab Records, and Maglio was quite interested in releasing the nearly forgotten ‘Dirty Sheets‘ album.
V.A. - The Inner Flame: A Rainer Ptacek Tribute (1997)
Combining two currently popular trends in compilation albums, this disc is both a tribute record and a charity project, the subject in each case being singer/songwriter/guitarist Rainer Ptácek, a friend of Robert Plant, who has recorded several of his songs as B-sides. The German-born Ptácek grew up in Chicago and now lives in Tucson, where he suffers from cancer. The set includes recordings by Plant with Ptácek and with Jimmy Page, by previous tribute/charity recipients Vic Chesnutt and Victoria Williams, and by such other notable musicians as Emmylou Harris, Evan Dando of the Lemonheads, PJ Harvey, and Jonathan Richman. Ptácek appears on six of the 14 tracks, singing and/or playing National steel guitar. The songs are sparely arranged (many of them acoustic), with a distinct Delta blues feel: Ptácek's chief influence seems to be Robert Johnson. His lyrics are preoccupied with moral quandaries. "He was innocent," and goes a line in the title track, "but that was a long time ago," and another song is called "I Am a Sinner." This is not easy listening by any means, but it displays a gritty determination that is appealing. And, of course, completists of the named artists will want to pick it up.
BOB DYLAN - 50th Anniversary Collection 1969 (2019)
Out of the blue, early December 2019, Badlands Online announced a strictly limited version, exclusively UK release of Bob Dylan’s 50th Anniversary Collection from the days of 1969, just a month after the release of “Travelin Thru, 1967-69, Bootleg Series Vol 15” (which I posted about both before and after the release). The few sets available were sold out immediately. The 2-cd set is following similarly strictly limited collections from both 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965 (the last one a free download of 208 tracks exclusively for buyers of the collector’s edition of “Cutting Edge” – 1965-66 – Bootleg Series Vol 12). The sets are also known as copyright extension releases, primarily securing copyright in Europe for songs that otherwise would move into public domain fifty years after they were recorded. “Travelin’ Thru” was a curated volume of the Bootleg Series, consisting just one chosen track of each song presented from the albums “John Wesley Harding” and “Nashville Skyline”. This method differs from the one chosen for both “Cutting Edge”, “Complete Basement Tapes” and “More Blood, More Tracks”, where we got all usable tracks. Paradise for some, exhausting for others. To each his own. As for “Travelin’ Thru” the set consists of different “chapters” of recordings, but this time, a bit disappointing, with no more surviving tracks from John Wesley Harding Sessions. The 44 tracks can roughly be sorted in three main “chapters”:
*Nashville Skyline Sessions – outtakes - (16 tracks, 5 different songs)
*Dylan/Cash Sessions – February 1969 - (23 tracks, 9 songs)
*Self Portrait Sessions – outtakes, 26th of April and 3rd of May 1969 - (5 tracks, 4 songs)
THE DAMNATION OF ADAM BLESSING - S/T (1969) & The Second Damnation (1970) 
The Damnation Of Adam Blessing were mainly a psychedelic rock band coming from Cleveland that never got the attention they deserved. The name was taken after a book of Vin Packer of the same name written in 1961. The band was formed in 1968 with Adam Blessing (real name Bill Constable) on lead vocals, Jim Quinn on rhythm guitars, Bob Kalamasz on lead guitars, Ray Benick on bass and Bill Schwark on drums. Bob, Ray and Bill were playing before in a garage band called Dust (not the known one) while Adam and Jim were together in an unknown band. After a contract with United Artists in 1969, they released their self titled album the same year. The album was full of vocal melodies and beautiful guitars filling their mid-paced songs. I really like the bass and the drum sound on this one! Also, some jazz influences are thrown here especially in the guitar licks. Some songs that are particularly very good are the psych one "Le Voyage", the beautiful ballad "Lonely" and the blues rock "Last Train To Clarksville" which reminds me a bit of the great Grand Funk Railroad.
After changing the name to Damnation, the band recorded their second album called "The Second Damnation" in 1970. The sound became a little heavier maybe lacking part of the atmosphere the first album had. More hard rock oriented with Constable's vocals a little high in the mix, this one was more consistent and tight than their first and it is my personal favourite. Songs like the heavy psych Driver and In The Morning, the beautiful slow paced Everyone and the pure psych Money Tree were perfect examples of the band's great form. A year later, Damnation recorded "Which Is The Justice, Which Is The Thief" and it was a step forward due to the band's decision to add violin and more acoustic parts to their songs. Drummer Bill Schwark was replaced by Adam's brother Ken Constable. Fans were dissapointed because of the change in the sound direction "accusing" the band for commercialism! A huge mistake in my humble opinion because many of the songs included here are very good and well played. Indeed, the sound was softer and maybe mainstream but i don't think the songs were intended for radio play! Just listen to "Fingers On A Windmill", "Running Away" and "Sweet Dream Lady" and you'll find out the band's inspiration at the time. In 1973, the band changed their name once again to Glory releasing an album simply called Glory and shortly after this they dissapeared from the scene. In 2000, Damnation of Adam Blessing reunited and performed in front of fans at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in their hometown Cleveland. The band should be memorised for Bill Constable's great vocals, beautiful and smart guitar playing and well constructed songs that maybe were ahead of their time.
THE SHARKS - First Water (1973) + Jab It In Your Eye (1974) 
Sharks are a British rock band, formed in September 1972, by the ex-Free bass player, Andy Fraser, upon his departure from Free. They were signed to Island Records and were highly rated by critics, especially for Chris Spedding's tasteful guitar work. The initial line-up consisted of Fraser (bass, piano), Snips (real name, Steve Parsons) (vocals), Spedding (guitar) and a Canadian, Marty Simon (drums). Sharks' first gig was in October 1972, in Islington and they played a few clubs in Europe during December 1972, before returning to London, to record their debut album. In January & February 1973, Sharks embarked on a UK tour, playing clubs and universities. To promote the band, whilst touring, Chris Spedding customized his Pontiac Le Mans, fitting a shark fin on the roof and fibreglass teeth on the grill. On 19 February 1973, on the way back to London from a gig in Cleethorpes, the car skidded and hit a tree. Fraser suffered injuries to his wrist and, during recuperation, had second thoughts about the band. After a short break, the band went back on the road in March and April, opening for Roxy Music, although Fraser had some difficulty playing with his injury. On 17 March, they made an appearance on the BBC Two programme, Old Grey Whistle Test. The tour ended on 15 April, in Cardiff.
Sharks' debut album, First Water, was released in the same month, to critical acclaim, but Fraser left shortly afterwards and the band began searching for a replacement. Those considered included Tom Robinson, Ric Grech and Boz Burrell. Mick Jagger then recommended a bass player from Memphis, Tennessee, Busta Cherry Jones, who joined in July 1973, along with the ex-Audience keyboard player, Nick Judd. A new UK tour with this line-up began in September 1973 and ran through until March 1974, when their second album, Jab It in Yore Eye, was released. The band then toured the United States during April and May 1974, travelling in the same bus used by The Beatles on their first American tour, in 1964. The first two albums of the band were described as a mixture of woozy blues and hard rock.
PINK FLOYD - Delicate Sound Of Thunder (1988) [2019 Remix, 2020]
The Pink Floyd of the late 1980s was an altogether different proposition to the band that had grown to prominence since the late 1960s. After ‘The Final Cut’ in 1983, frontman, bassist and lyricist Roger Waters quit to go solo, assuming that without his stewardship, Pink Floyd would quietly die. Feeling himself suddenly liberated, lead guitarist David Gilmour had other ideas. Following an infamously bitter legal wrangle over the rights to record as ‘Pink Floyd’ (Gilmour won), the band carried on without Waters and charted a new direction. ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’ was David Gilmour’s audacious and successful message, building on the success of ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’, to let people know that Pink Floyd was still in business, albeit under new management, and that there was a direct and pure bloodline between the halcyon early days and the present. It worked, and Gilmour proved he could measure up as a charismatic front man and lead singer. Without Waters’ cynicism and spikiness, Pink Floyd is more of a cleaner celebration of the music. It ought to be conceded that, lyrically at least, the newer tracks were not on the same level as the best of Waters, but Gilmour and Wright were talented musicians who put the music front and centre, rather than the words – a complete reversal of the direction Roger Waters took. ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’ is a fantastic and authentic Pink Floyd live experience for all but the most die-hard of Roger Waters fans. For the average listener and for lovers of every era and line-up of Pink Floyd, it’s a greatest hits compilation live performance from prog rock legends.
Great 2020 re-release of the classic Pink Floyd live album with a new mix (involving David Gilmour himself) and extra tracks make this an essential purchase. Listening to it on good headphones is a must.
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