WISHBONE ASH - The First 4... (1970/73)
Wishbone Ash is the first studio album by Wishbone Ash. It peaked at number 29 in the UK Albums Chart in January 1971. The band opened for Deep Purple in early 1970. Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was jamming during the band's soundcheck, when Wishbone guitarist Andy Powell joined in and began jamming with Blackmore. After the show, Blackmore recommended that MCA Records sign the band. Deep Purple producer Derek Lawrence produced this album, which features elements of blues, jazz, progressive rock, and psychedelic improvisation.
Pilgrimage is the second studio album by the rock band Wishbone Ash. The album focuses more on folk and acoustic music as opposed to the blues rock sound that dominated the first album. The album also contains an instrumental jazz workout ("Vas Dis") and a four-part harmony vocal track in the spirit of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young ("Valediction"). The album sold well, reaching no. 14 in the UK Albums Chart, but the band reached their creative and commercial peak with their next studio release, Argus.
Argus is the third album by the British rock band Wishbone Ash, released in April 1972. It is their most commercially and critically successful album. It peaked at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart. The album is medieval-themed, featuring a blend of progressive rock, folk, and hard rock, and is considered a landmark album in the progression of twin-lead guitar harmonisation, later adopted by bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The sound engineer on Argus was Martin Birch, who also worked with Deep Purple, later with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and other hard rock bands. The bulk of the lyrics were provided by bassist/lead vocalist Martin Turner, although all members are credited with the music and arrangements. The album was produced by Derek Lawrence.
Wishbone Four is the fourth studio album by British rock band Wishbone Ash, released in 1973. It was a departure from their previous album, Argus, in that it lacked that recording's overall cohesion and atmosphere and the loose conceptual framework of a stately, pastoral and warring medieval England. Containing only hints of the extended twin-lead guitar harmonies, Wishbone Four's stylistic variety found its footing in acoustic folk elements in half of the eight-song set ("Ballad of the Beacon", "Everybody Needs a Friend", "Sorrel" and "Sing Out the Song"), two aggressive and melodic starters on each side of the vinyl release (Side 1: So Many Things to Say" and Side 2: "Doctor"), and the band's first use of horns on the semi-autobiographical "rave-up" touring song "No Easy Road". The album peaked at No. 12 in the UK Albums Chart.
SCORPIONS - The First 4... (1972/76)
Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock, heavy metal, and glam metal. The lineup from 1978 to 1992 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar), Matthias Jabs (lead guitar), Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums). The band's only continuous member has been Schenker, although Meine has appeared on all of Scorpions' studio albums, while Jabs has been a consistent member since 1978, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee have been in the band since 2003 and 2016 respectively. Known best for their 1984 anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and the 1990 ballad "Wind of Change," German rockers Scorpions have sold over 22 million records, making them one of the most successful rock bands to ever come out of Continental Europe.
Lonesome Crow is the debut album by German hard rock band Scorpions. It was recorded soon after Scorpions became a fully professional band under the production of Conny Plank, apparently in only six or seven days, and released 9 February 1972 in West Germany as the soundtrack to the German anti-drug movie Das Kalte Paradies, and May 1973 in the United States. The album's style is darkly melodic, typical for early Scorpions but unlike their later work.
Fly to the Rainbow is the second studio album by German hard rock band Scorpions. It was released on 1 November 1974 in the United States. In support of the Lonesome Crow album Scorpions toured as the opening act for the British rock band UFO. At the end of the tour Scorpions lead guitarist Michael Schenker was asked to fill an open position as UFO's guitarist and accepted the position. Schenker's departure temporarily resulted in the breakup of the band but Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine ultimately merged with the band Dawn Road. The new band consisted of guitarist Ulrich Roth replacing Michael as well as drummer Jürgen Rosenthal and bass guitarist Francis Buchholz. The new line up assumed the Scorpions name and recorded Fly to the Rainbow. Three songs on Fly to the Rainbow were co-written with departing guitarist Michael Schenker as part of his agreement on leaving the band.
In Trance (the third studio album by German rock band Scorpions) was released by RCA Records in 1975. The music was a complete departure from the progressive Krautrock of the two previous albums. Instead, a Hard rock-sound of shorter and tighter arrangements with which the band would achieve their later global success and fame emerged. Extended suites in the vein of songs such as: "Lonesome Crow" and "Fly to the Rainbow" are absent altogether. It is the first album by the band to contain the now-famous logo and controversial artwork.
Virgin Killer is the fourth studio album by German rock band Scorpions. It was released in 1976 and was the band's first album to attract attention outside Europe. The title is described as being a reference to time as the killer of innocence. The original cover featured a nude prepubescent girl, which stirred controversy in the UK, US and elsewhere. As a result, the album was re-issued with a different cover in some countries. In December 2008, the image again gave rise to controversy when the British Internet Watch Foundation placed certain pages from Wikipedia on its internet blacklist, since it considered the image to be "potentially illegal" under the Protection of Children Act 1978. This resulted in much of the UK being prevented from editing Wikipedia, and significant public debate on the decision. The decision was reversed by the IWF after four days of blocking.
THE BABYS - Silver Dreams: Complete Albums 1975 - 1980 (2019)
The Babys are probably better known for what their various members achieved later in their careers; singer John Waite’s massive solo success with the single ‘Missing You’ in 1984, and keyboard player Jonathan Cain, who would go on to be a principal member and song writer with Journey. In fact you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Babys were an American band, such was their impact on the US during the latter half of the 1970s and into the early 1980s, but their origins go back to London in 1974, when keyboard player Mike Corby met Adrian Millar, who were joined by Wally Stocker on lead guitar, Tony Brock on drums, and singer/ bass guitarist John Waite. Although an album was recorded and shelved in 1975, included here on CD6 as “The Official Unofficial BABYS Album”, for the debut album proper they signed to Chrysalis Records in 1976 to release their eponymous debut, “The Babys”. Co-produced by Bob Ezrin, “The Babys” set their stall out from the beginning as melodic rockers, propelled by John Waite’s bluesy, soulful vocals. Bonus tracks are ‘If You’ve Got The Time’ (Alternative Mix), ‘Head Above The Waves’ (B-Side) and ‘If You’ve Got The Time’ (mono). Released within a year, 1977’s “Broken Heart” featured the hit singles ‘Isn’t It Time’ (US #13 & UK #45) and ‘Silver Dreams’. This time the album was produced by Ron Nevison, famed for his work for The Who, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Bad Company, as well as Chrysalis label mates UFO. Bonus tracks are ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’, ‘Silver Dreams (mono)’, plus single edit and mono versions of ‘Isn’t It Time’. Sticking with Ron Nevison for 1978’s “Head First”, The Babys had trimmed down to a three-piece of John Waite, Wally Stocker and Tony Brock. Peaking at #22, “Head First” was their highest charting US album, and features the singles ‘Every Time I Think Of You’ (US #13) plus the title track, ‘Head First’. Produced by Keith Olsen, famed for his platinum work with the Rick Springfield, Pat Benatar, Heart, Whitesnake, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, by 1980’s “Union Jacks” The Babys had been joined by Jonathan Cain on keyboards and Ricky Phillips on bass. Featuring the singles ‘Midnight Rendezvous’ and ‘Back On My Feet Again’, mono versions of these tracks are also included as bonus tracks. Sticking with producer Keith Olsen, and maintaining the same line-up as “Union Jacks”, their fifth and final album in as many years was 1980’s “On The Edge”. Featuring mono versions of ‘Turn And Walk Away’ and ‘Postcard’, The Babys split shortly after the album’s release.
“Silver Dreams: The Complete Albums 1975-1980” is a fitting and thorough testament to a band that truly deserved to crossover into mainstream success. As a bonus, this collection’s 6th disc kicks off with the live, promo only “Live At The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia” from a 1977 concert whilst promoting their debut record. To complete the picture we go back to their very first recordings, with the aforementioned “The Official Unofficial BABYS Album”.
V.A. - Stay Awake [Various Interpretations Of Music From Vintage Disney Films] (1988)
Music has always been a linchpin of Disney films. Virtually every production released by The Walt Disney Company, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to Frozen II, hinges on a song. Some are joyous, and others are sorrowful. Some are showstopping numbers, replete with dazzling displays of sound and colour, and others are quiet and heartrending, imparting wishes and dreams that could come true with the wave of a magic wand. These songs are imprinted in the brains of millions, if not billions of people. The late Hal Willner understood that, and that’s why, decades after its release, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films remains such a spellbinding listen.
Stay Awake (Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films) is a tribute album released in 1988 featuring Disney covers performed by famous artists of the time. The album was produced by Hal Willner and released through A&M records. The album was ranked by NME as the 37th best album of 1988.
MICK RONSON - Slaughter On 10th Avenue (1974) & Play Don't Worry (1975)
Michael Ronson (1946 – 1993) was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. He achieved critical and commercial success working with David Bowie as one of the Spiders from Mars. He was a session musician who recorded five studio albums with Bowie followed by four with Ian Hunter, and also worked as a sideman in touring bands with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.
Slaughter on 10th Avenue is the debut album by English guitarist Mick Ronson, then-guitarist of David Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars. It was released in February 1974 by RCA Records. For inspiration, Ronson relied on Annette Peacock's 1972 album I'm the One; he used the title track and her arrangement of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender". Two songs were co-written by Ronson with Scott Richardson, who had been involved in the Ann Arbor music scene since the mid-'60s and came to prominence as lead singer of the SRC. Richardson was brought into the Bowie camp by Angie Bowie, who met him through Ron Asheton of the Stooges. During the recording of the album, Ronson considered putting together a new band with Richardson, Aynsley Dunbar, and Trevor Bolder, to be called the Fallen Angels, but plans fell through.
Play Don't Worry is the second album by English guitarist and singer Mick Ronson, recorded in 1974 and released in January 1975 after his several projects in the early seventies together with David Bowie, Lou Reed and the band the Spiders from Mars. It contains mainly covers arranged by Ronson for his own sound, covering everyone from Pure Prairie League, The Velvet Underground and Little Richard. The backing track to "White Light/White Heat" was salvaged from Bowie's Pin Ups sessions. The title track was co-written by Bob Sargeant, later producer to The Beat amongst others, who released an album First Starring Role in April 1974 which included Ronson on recorder and producing four tracks.
GEORGIA SATELLITES - Ultimate (2021)
At a time when rock & roll didn't care about its roots, the Georgia Satellites came crashing into the charts with a surprise hit single to remind everybody where the music had come from. The hit single, 1986's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," rocked as hard as an old Chuck Berry song, as well as being almost as clever. The Satellites weren't a back-to-basics roots rock band, either their straightforward sound borrowed equally from Berry, the Rolling Stones, the Faces, Little Feat, and AC/DC, with a Southern backwoods bent. At their best, the Satellites were just a damn good rock & roll band, driven by the classic yet fresh songwriting of lead singer/guitarist Dan Baird. On the strength of "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," their first major-label album sold well, but the follow-up, Open All Night, did not; radio and MTV had treated the band as a kind of novelty a bunch of hicks kicking out rock & roll offered a break between the slick pop-metal of Bon Jovi and the introspective pop of Peter Gabriel. By the time they released Open All Night in 1988, no one was interested, even if the album was only slightly weaker than the debut. After one more album, 1989's In the Land of Salvation and Sin, the band called it quits. Guitarist Rick Richards joined Izzy Stradlin's Ju Ju Hounds three years later; Baird pursued a solo career and had a small hit in late 1992 with "I Love You Period." In 1996, he helped form the Yayhoos after releasing his second solo album. The Yayhoos have two albums, the most recent being 2006's Put the Hammer Down. During the mid-'90s, the Georgia Satellites reunited without Baird. They released Shaken Not Stirred in 1997.
Spanning the years 1986 to 1990, the band released three studio albums and various singles that feature on this collection plus the related bonus tracks taken from the band’s b-sides and 12” releases. It is the definitive collection of the band’s material available.
CROW - The First 4... (1969/72)
Crow was a Minneapolis-St. Paul-based blues rock band, that was first active from 1967 to 1972. They are best known for the song "Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)", which was notably covered by Black Sabbath (on their debut album) and Ike & Tina Turner. Crow was formed in 1967 by singer David Wagner, guitarist Dick Wiegand, bassist Larry Wiegand, keyboardist Kink Middlemist, and drummer Harry Nehls under the name South 40, which was used until the group went national. Nehls was replaced by Denny Craswell at that time. Columbia Records brought them in to record a demo in 1969; they passed, and Crow was signed to Amaret Records.
In 1969, Crow’s debut album Crow Music was recorded. The single "Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)" made the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 that fall, peaking at #19 the following January. Crow by Crow and Mosaic were the follow-up releases in 1970 and 1971, respectively. Several later singles managed to chart, although none reached the heights of "Evil Woman". Eventually, the band wanted to move to Elektra Records, but Amaret would not release them from their recording contract while retaining their name. Wagner left the group in 1971; the band replaced him with Mick Stanhope and attempted to move forward, but collapsed for good in 1972. David Wagner recorded a solo album for Amaret in late 1972 titled: d/b/a Crow.
They disbanded in 1972, but reformed again in 1980. This version of Crow included original lead vocalist David Wagner, John Richardson and Jeff Christensen on lead guitar/vocals, Denny Johnson on bass and Robby Belleville on drums. From September 1980 to July 1981, they recorded many sessions, which resulted in a new studio album titled Crow on the Run in 1982. This version of Crow disbanded in early 1982. In 1988, Crow reformed and they continued to play concerts all over the United States. All the members have won Minnesota Music Awards for their own individual instruments. In 2005, they were inducted into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame and, in 2009, the Iowa Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame.
NICO - The First 4... (1967/74)
One of the most fascinating figures of rock's fringes, Nico hobnobbed, worked, and was romantically linked with an incredible assortment of the most legendary entertainers of the '60s. The paradox of her career was that she herself never attained the fame of her peers, pursuing a distinctly individualistic and uncompromising musical career that was uncommercial, but wholly admirable and influential. Nico first rose to fame as a European supermodel, also landing a bit part in Fellini's La Dolce Vita film and giving birth to a son by Alain Delon. In 1965, she attracted the attention of Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, who gave her a chance to record for his Immediate label, though the resulting single, which also featured Brian Jones and Jimmy Page on guitars, flopped. Shortly afterward, she moved to New York, where Andy Warhol installed her as a vestigial presence and occasional lead singer for the Velvet Underground. The band never really accepted her as a bona fide member and she departed in 1967, but not before contributing unforgettable deadpan vocals to three of the songs on their classic 1967 debut album.
Nico embarked on a solo career, recording folk-rock-flavored songs for her debut Chelsea Girl album with assistance from Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, and John Cale. Her 1969 follow-up, The Marble Index, was a dramatic departure that unveiled her doom-laden, gothic persona, produced by Cale and prominently featuring her deep vocals, impenetrable lyrics, and ghostly harmonium. Her subsequent '70s albums explored much the same territory, with assistance from Cale and influential art rockers like Eno and Phil Manzanera. Her career fell into disarray during the rest of the '70s and the '80s as she strled with a massive drug habit and tangled personal life. She released several live albums on various labels, but the ill-planned Drama of Exile and the more successful Camera Obscura were her only coherent studio efforts until she died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Ibiza in 1988.
The original goth rocker, Nico's albums are demanding and bleak, but map a unique and starkly powerful vision that has become more influential with age. An intimate of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, the Velvet Underground, the Stones, Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, and others, her fascinating story is recounted in the biography Nico: The Life & Lies of an Icon by Richard Witts, published in Great Britain by Virgin books; The End by James Young is a seedy look at her drug-addled final years by a member of her touring band.
SANTANA - Lotus (1974) & Live At The Fillmore '68 (1997)
Lotus is a 1974 live album by the Latin rock band Santana, recorded at the Osaka KMsei Nenkin Kaikan, Osaka, Japan in July 1973, during their Caravanserai Tour. It was originally released in 1974 as a triple vinyl LP in Japan only. This version of the album was later released internationally. It features the same "New Santana Band" that recorded Welcome, and combines that group's jazz and spiritual influences with performances of earlier Latin rock favorites like "Oye Como Va."
Live at the Fillmore 1968 is a (double CD) live album by Santana, recorded between December 19 and December 22, 1968, at the Fillmore West and released in 1997. Two-CD package drawn from performances at the Fillmore West in December 1968, with an early lineup including Bob Livingston on drums and Marcus Malone on congas (both of whom would be gone by the time the group recorded their official debut in 1969). The band sound only a bit more tentative here than they would in their Woodstock-era incarnation, running through several of the highlights of their first album ("Jingo," "Persuasion," "Soul Sacrifice," and "Treat"). More interesting to collectors will be the five songs that have not previously appeared on any Santana recording, including covers of songs by jazzmen Chico Hamilton and Willie Bobo and a half-hour original jam that concludes the set, "Freeway." The sound is excellent and the arrangements a bit more improv-oriented than what ended up on the early studio records. Its appeal isn't solely limited to committed fans; on its own terms it's a fine release, highlighted by some burning organ-guitar interplay in particular.
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND - The First 4... (1972/73)
An R&B band that only played pop to get on the charts, Manfred Mann and its various permutations ranked among the most adept British Invasion acts in both styles. South African-born keyboardist Manfred Mann was originally an aspiring jazz player, moving toward R&B when more blues-oriented sounds became in vogue in England in the early '60s. Original Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones was one of the best British Invasion singers, and his resonant vocals were the best feature of their early R&B sides, which had a slightly jazzier and smoother touch than the early work of the Rolling Stones and Animals. It was a couple covers of obscure girl group songs, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (the Exciters) and "Sha La La" (the Shirelles), that broke the group internationally -- "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" reached number one in the States, and "Sha La La" just missed the Top Ten. The Paul Jones lineup never duplicated this success, although "Come Tomorrow" and "Pretty Flamingo" were smaller hits.
From 1964 to 1966, they took the approach of playing gutsy pop/rock on their singles (including the original version of "My Little Red Book") and soul and R&B on their albums, with occasional detours into jazz, Dylan (their cover of his then-unreleased "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" was a big British hit), and competent original material. Jones left for a solo career and acting in 1966, and the group reformed around singer Mike D'Abo (Beatle friend Klaus Voormann was also in this aggregation on bass). Adopting an even more pop-oriented approach for the singles, with occasional psychedelic and progressive touches, the band ran off a string of Top Ten hits in their homeland until 1969, although the only one to hit the jackpot in the U.S. was their cover of another unreleased Dylan song, "The Mighty Quinn."
Mann dissolved the D'Abo lineup in 1969 to form Manfred Mann Chapter Three with drummer Mike H, who had been in the band since the beginning. The outfit's early jazz-rock efforts were interesting, but not very popular, and Manfred steered the ship back toward mainstream rock by forming yet another incarnation, Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The heavier, more synthesizer-oriented outfit made quite a few albums in the 1970s; 1976's The Roaring Silence made the Top Ten, and featured the number one hit "Blinded by the Light" (Mann also made the Top 40 with another Springsteen cover, "Spirit in the Night"). Ironically, despite Mann's oft-proclaimed preferences for serious explorations of jazz, blues, and progressive music, it's his pop/rock recordings that hold up best, and for which he'll be remembered most.
STIVE MILLER BAND - The First 4... (1968/69)
The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California. The band is led by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals. The group had a string of mid- to late-1970s hit singles that are staples of classic rock radio, as well as several earlier psychedelic rock albums. Miller left his first band to move to San Francisco and form the Steve Miller Blues Band. Shortly after Harvey Kornspan negotiated the band's contract with Capitol Records in 1967, the band shortened its name to the Steve Miller Band. In February 1968, the band recorded its debut album, Children of the Future. It went on to produce the albums Sailor, Brave New World, Your Saving Grace, Number 5, Rock Love, Fly Like an Eagle, Book of Dreams, among others. The band's Greatest Hits 1974–78, released in 1978, sold over 13 million copies. In 2016, Steve Miller was inducted as a solo artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Children of the Future is the debut album by American rock band Steve Miller Band, released in 1968 by Capitol Records. The album was produced by notable British record producer-engineer Glyn Johns.
Sailor is the second album by American rock group The Steve Miller Band, released in October 1968 by Capitol Records. Like the band's previous album, Children of the Future, Sailor was produced by Glyn Johns. Unlike its predecessor which was recorded in London, England, Sailor was recorded in Los Angeles, California. It was the last Steve Miller Band album to feature contributions by original members Boz Scaggs and Jim Peterman. Scaggs went on to a successful solo career.
Brave New World is the third album by American rock band Steve Miller Band, released in 1969. It is the band's first album following the departure of founding members Boz Scaggs and Jim Peterman, with Ben Sidran replacing Peterman on keyboards. The track "My Dark Hour" featured Paul McCartney (credited as "Paul Ramon") on backing vocals, drums, guitar and bass guitar, and he performed additional backing vocals on "Celebration Song". "My Dark Hour" was recorded in a late-night session on May 9, 1969 after an acrimonious argument between McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr over signing a contract appointing Allen Klein as The Beatles' financial manager. Lennon, Harrison and Starr walked out, while McCartney remained at Olympic Studios. Miller was the only member of the band to attend the session, and the song emerged from him and McCartney jamming.
Your Saving Grace is the fourth album by American rock band Steve Miller Band, released in November 1969. Your Saving Grace is a much more earthy collection of tunes when compared to the band's previous three long-players. While there are distinct psychedelic remnants of the Boz Scaggs (guitar/vocals) and Jim Peterman (keyboards) era, the addition of keyboardists Ben Sidran and Nicky Hopkins -- which began on the Steve Miller Band's previous effort, Brave New World -- adds a jazzier facet to this second incarnation of the group. Harking back to the band's blues roots, Your Saving Grace includes a couple of distinct blues originals -- such as the up-tempo and gospel-doused "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around" and a somewhat uninspired arrangement of "Motherless Children," which sounds more synchronous with the Sailor or Brave New World albums.
TOAD - The First 4... (1971/93)
Toad was a Swiss hard rock band, formed by ex-Brainticket members in Basel, Switzerland during 1970. Their best known songs were covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There", along with originals "Usin' My Life" and "Stay!". Their first two albums were engineered by Martin Birch. Though the band was not commercially successful outside of their own country, they were a popular live act because of their furiosity, musicianship and stage antics. Most notably when lead guitarist Vic Vergeat played the guitar with his teeth. Their concerts were often compared to those of Jimi Hendrix. The band went through lineup changes during its history, but the longest lasting and most consistent lineup was Vic Vergeat: lead guitar and vocals, Werner Frhlich: bass and vocals and Cosimo Lampis: drums.
In 1970, European psychedelic rock band Brainticket was about to release their first album, featuring Werner Frhlich on bass and Cosimo Lampis on drums. They departed the group and formed Toad with Vittorio 'Vic' Vergeat, who was briefly in the British space rock group Hawkwind , on guitar. They began writing and recording material for their first album in late 1970, and in 1971, Toad released their self-titled album and the single "Stay!," which did fairly well and made a great deal of headway in the Swiss charts: a feat that no other hard rock band had ever accomplished in that country. The album was mixed by the legendary British producer Martin Birch (who also produced for Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath). The album also features Benjamin "Beni" Jaeger on vocals, who would leave once the album was finished. As their first album was being released in 1971, Toad performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival that was recorded live by the Swiss Television, but the footage was lost and to date there seems to be no further copy.
In 1972, the band released Tomorrow Blue, which was in a more blues direction and without a lead vocalist (with Vergeat and Frhlich taking over vocal duties). Like their first album, it was engineered by the British record producer Martin Birch. The album also included Helmut Lipsky on violin, who played prominently on the tracks "Blind Chapman's Tales", "Change In Time" and the single "Green Ham." Later the same year, the band recorded the album Open Fire: Live in Basel 1972 which included covers of Hendrix's "Red House" and the Band of Gypsys "Who Knows." They waited until 1974 to release their third album, Dreams, which featured the popular single 'Purple Haze'. After that, their history remains largely undocumented except for a live album recorded in Geneva during 1978 and a studio album released in the early 1990s with different versions of the band. The rest of the 1970s and 1980s were spent appearing on a few compilations, releasing live albums and performing while slowly fading into relative obscurity. During 1993, Toad released the studio album, "Stop This Crime". Following its release, original drummer Cosimo Lampis departed from the group and was replaced by Claudio Salsi who would remain until Toad broke up. After Lampis departed from the band, he would go on to create a school in Sardinia.
GEFF HARRISON - Together & With The London Symphonic Rock Orchestra (1977) 
After the success of the re-released first album of Twenty Sixty Six And Then (24/02/2017, MIG) MIG comes up now with a complex Collectors Premium edition of two further classics by Geff Harrison. After the break-up of Twenty Sixty Six And Then, Geff Harrison became the singer with among other bands Kin Ping Meh, before he made his dream come true: to collaborate with a big orchestra, the London Symphonic-Rock Orchestra. Ralph Siegel was persuaded to finance the whole project. Trevor Jones who had also worked with the Moody Blues sat in the producer's chair. It has always been important for Geff Harrison to be present on Europe's stages. To go on tour with the London Symphonic Rock Orchestra plus a band would have been too expensive. That is why the busy Brit went into the studio for a second time in 1977 to record with his Geff Harrison Band the album "Together". Often, Geff has been compared to Rod Stewart. A lot of critics came up with the comparison after listening to the opener of the album "Together", the midtempo ballad "Red Sky Tonight". Geff himself always took this quite calmly: "What can I do if my voice sounds practically similar and we accidentally happen to move within the same genre?" - eElaborately designed 2 CD Boxset (Digi), 16-page Booklet including unreleased photos und detailled Linernotes - 6 bonustracks! (never released before!)
BBM - Around the Next Dream (1994)
BBM ("Baker Bruce Moore") is the name of the short-lived power trio, formed in 1993 by long-established artists, bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Gary Moore (both of whom had collaborated previously on Moore's Corridors of Power) and drummer Ginger Baker (who, with Bruce, was part of Cream - considered one of the first power trios). They released just one studio album, entitled "Around the Next Dream", which was released on the Virgin record label. It reached Number 9 in the UK Albums Chart in the summer of 1994, but spent only four weeks in the listings. The track, "Where in the World" was issued as a single, reaching Number 57 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1994. Much of the work was written by Moore with contributions by Bruce and Baker. The album cover featured a picture of Baker. The band went on a short UK tour to coincide with the album's release and also played a handful of rock festivals on the continent, before disbanding.
Bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, former Cream bandmates, teamed up with guitarist Gary Moore in 1994 for Around the Next Dream, which recalled both their harder-rocking blues elements as well as their prog rock tendencies.
KING CRIMSON - 50th Anniversary Download 01-50 [Anniversary Edition] (2019)
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, King Crimson released 50 rare or unusual tracks from the archives. Starting on 13th January 2019, the date the band was formed in the Fulham Palace Café in 1969, these tracks released one a week for the remaining 50 weeks of 2019. Each track introduced by a commentary from David Singleton, King Crimson manager and producer. Incl. all 50 front and back covers in pdf.
ARETHA FRANKLIN - The Queen Of Soul (2014)
The Queen Of Soul creates a rich musical portrait of Franklin's incomparable run at Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1976. Packed with 87 songs arranged chronologically, the set opens with generous selections from the first five studio albums she recorded for the label - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, and Soul '69. Recorded between 1967 and 1968, all five of the albums topped the R&B charts and gave the world classics like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," and the #1 smash "Respect." The set also mixes in several rare outtakes of songs like "It Was You" from Aretha Arrives and "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" from Soul '69. The collection also spotlights the great music Franklin recorded in the 1970s, including the two albums she released to open the decade - This Girl's in Love with You and Spirit in the Dark. The former boasted an electrifying version of the Band's "The Weight" with Duane Allman on slide guitar, while the latter featured the hit "Don't Play That Song." Along with several singles from this era ("Spanish Harlem" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), THE QUEEN OF SOUL also gathers up several live performances with "Spirit in the Dark" (Reprise with Ray Charles) from Aretha Live at the Fillmore West (1971), plus several songs from her live album Amazing Grace (1972). The latter recording won the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance in 1973 and remains Franklin's best-selling album to date.
ARGENT - Encore: Live in Concert (1974) & The BBC Sessions (1997)
Encore: Live in Concert is a live double-LP by Argent which was released in December 1974, on Epic Records. The performance includes the Rod Argent-penned Zombies hit "Time of the Season" (1968). The sound captured on this album combines equal measures of progressive rock and hard-driving pop/rock into a whole that never lost its sight on rock & roll, as on "Thunder and Lightning" and "Music of the Spheres," or the more traditional sound of "Keep on Rollin'." With Ballard's guitar and the rhythm section of Jim Rodford (bass) and Bob Henrit (drums), the band could only stray so far from rock, and they and keyboardist Rod Argent, pulling in those opposite directions, ended up creating a scintillating whole on much of this record. Even the extended jams are focused and always maintain some serious forward momentum, though the opener, "The Coming of Kohoutek," comes dangerously close to fatal digression one can only quote Berlioz so far before the piece it's in loses its purpose as rock & roll.
Split over five sessions, covering 31 months, inevitably meant there would be some duplication. Three songs feature twice and it would be churlish to complain regarding archive releases from the Beeb, given their profligate habit of deleting their archives, both in audio and the visual arts. It's just a pity that "Keep on Rolling" features twice as it is one of Argent's poorest numbers, being basically honky-tonk rock. There is also, again this was highly probable, some duplication with the "Encore" album. The rest of the material offers no surprises in terms of set-lists; their huge hit "Hold Your Head Up" being particularly successful and features some really nice Hammond Work from Rod Argent. There is plenty for the Hammond fan to enjoy here and it features on most tracks. Argent also plays piano and a synth' on one number. Their song "Liar", which appeared on the debut album, still fails to match the Three Dog Night version. It's a rare occurrence when the writers of a song are "bettered" by the cover version but the American band's hit has a far better flow and greater sense of drama. Argent's reading, as with the studio version, has a funkier feel and, subsequently, loses any contrast. Perhaps if I'd heard the Argent version first things would be different. Overall, a very good collection of Argent's BBC sessions.
MICK FLEETWOOD & FRIENDS - Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green And The Early Years Of Fleetwood Mac (2020)
Legendary drummer, Mick Fleetwood enlisted an all-star cast for a one-of-a-kind concert honouring the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its founder, Peter Green which was held on 25th February 2020 at the London, Palladium. The bill included Neil Finn (Crowded House), Noel Gallagher (Oasis), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), John Mayall (Blues Breakers), Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac), Jeremy Spencer (Fleetwood Mac), Pete Townshend (The Who), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones). Legendary producer Glyn Johns (Small Faces & The Beatles) joined as the executive sound producer and the house band featured Mick Fleetwood himself along with Andy Fairweather Low, Dave Bronze, Rick Vito, Zak Starkey, Jonny Lang and Ricky Peterson. Fleetwood, who curated the list of artists performing, said: “The concert is a celebration of those early blues days where we all began, and it’s important to recognize the profound impact Peter and the early Fleetwood Mac had on the world of music. Peter was my greatest mentor and it gives me such joy to pay tribute to his incredible talent. I am honoured to be sharing the stage with some of the many artists Peter has inspired over the years and who share my great respect for this remarkable musician. ‘Then Play On’...”
MATCHING MOLE - Matching Mole (1972) & Little Red Record (1972) [Deluxe Editions, 2012]
Between his departure from the Soft Machine and the proper beginning of his solo career, Robert Wyatt steered Matching Mole, an outfit which bore much similarity to his later work with Soft Machine. Indeed, the name Matching Mole was chosen as a subtle pun on Soft Machine (the sound of the English words "matching mole" are very similar to the French translation of "soft machine," machine molle). However, Matching Mole didn't measure up to either his best Soft Machine work or his best solo outings. Although Wyatt occasionally let his vocal charm and humor shine, in the main Matching Mole was an outlet for the improvisational talents of the band, which often veered from inspiration into dated fusionoid noodling. The first lineup of Matching Mole also included former Caravan member Dave Sinclair on keyboards, Phil Miller on guitar, and Bill MacCormick. Wyatt wrote most of the material on the 1972 self-titled debut. By the follow-up, Little Red Record (also 1972), Sinclair had been replaced by David MacRae, and the group had become a more democratic enterprise, with all the members contributing material more or less equally. Robert Fripp produced the second LP, and Eno guested on synthesizer on one track, though neither celebrity dramatically affected or improved the band's sound. Never destined to be a commercial enterprise, Matching Mole had folded by the end of 1972; Wyatt began his lengthy solo career, and Phil Miller went on to two other Canterbury art rock bands, Hatfield & the North and National Health.
The opening track, "O Caroline," is indicative of Wyatt at his best: art rock with a human face, a playful vocal, and soul. Much of the record is instrumental improvisation, though, with the humor largely confined to the song titles ("Instant Pussy," "Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening"). For every nifty passage (the extended melancholy Mellotron solo on "Immediate Curtain," the goofy scat vocals on "Signed Curtain"), there's equal or greater instrumental patter. Some art rock devotees really get behind this album, but it doesn't count among the more enduring statements by the Canterbury crowd.
Released later in the same year as their debut, this 1972 album was the band's last. The punningly titled band (an English pronunciation of the French translation of Robert Wyatt's previous band, Soft Machine) broke up just after it was issued. This outing is a bit more experimental than its predecessor, favoring a range of sonic experiments, such as "Gloria Gloom." This also marked the debut of one of Wyatt's most gorgeous enduring songs, "God Song." Its quiet bearing actually points the way for his classic solo albums that followed a few years later (Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard). Produced by Robert Fripp, this album presents the more intellectual and introspective side of the era's British progressive bands. It has aged very well over the decades and is an important chapter in Wyatt's varied career and output.
STATUS QUO - The First 4... (1968-1971) [with bonus tracks]
Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo is the debut studio album by the English rock band Status Quo, released in September 1968. It features several covers, including "Green Tambourine" by The Lemon Pipers. The album's lead single was originally intended to be "Gentleman Joe's Sidewalk Café", with the original Francis Rossi composition "Pictures of Matchstick Men" as the b-side, but these songs were eventually swapped round. It reached #7 in the UK, and remains the band's only major hit single in the US, where it reached #12. It also reached #8 in Canada. A second single, Rossi's "Black Veils of Melancholy" (with organist Roy Lynes' non-album track "To Be Free" as the b-side), flopped and has even been called "a carbon copy of "Pictures of Matchstick Men"". The third single, "Ice in the Sun", was written for the band by Marty Wilde and Ronnie Scott (not the jazz musician), with the Rossi/Parfitt composition "When My Mind Is Not Live" as the b-side. It reached #8 in the UK, and #29 in Canada. The album itself was released on 27 September 1968, and failed to make the UK album charts.
Spare Parts is the second studio album by the English rock band Status Quo, and the final one in the psychedelic vein. It is also the first in which the group's roadie Bob Young began writing and co-writing songs for and with the band. The album covers a song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, "You're Just What I Was Looking for Today". Only one song was slated for a single release. This was the Anthony King written song "Are You Growing Tired of My Love", backed with the Alan Lancaster composition "So Ends Another Life". Released in April 1969 it reached no. 46 in UK singles charts. The album was released in September 1969 but wasn't a commercial success.
Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon is the third studio album by English rock band Status Quo. It was the first album by the band to leave behind their early psychedelic sound and begin experimenting with the hard rock style which remains their signature sound, as well as the last album to feature keyboardist Roy Lynes. The new album was released in August 1970, and failed to chart. The band began experimenting with a new sound when they hired Australian singer-songwriter Carl Groszmann to write a song for them. That song became "Down the Dustpipe", released as a non-album single in March 1970, with the Francis Rossi/Rick Parfitt song "Face Without a Soul" – from the band's previous album Spare Parts – as its B-side. The song, remarked Rossi, “was the [first] to feature our soon-to-be trademark boogie shuffle” and became one of the most popular numbers in their live set. The single took the media by surprise as it was so different in sound from their previous work. BBC Radio 1 presenter Tony Blackburn dismissed it on-air the first time he played it with the comment, "Down the dustbin for this one." Nevertheless, it was an instant hit, reaching #12 in the UK and remaining in the top 50 for a 17 weeks.
Dog of Two Head is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Status Quo released by Pye Records in November 1971. At the time of recording, the band consisted of Francis Rossi (credited on the sleeve as Mike Rossi), Rick Parfitt (credited as Ritchie Parfitt), Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan (credited as John Coughlan). They had released a non-album single that March, a Rossi/Young song called "Tune to the Music", but it was not a hit. The band then set to work writing and recording a new album. A couple of the songs, such as the opening track "Umleitung" (German for 'diversion') had been written the previous year. A single from the album, Rossi and Young's "Mean Girl", was to become a UK #20 hit some time later, in April 1973, after they had their third top ten British hit single with "Paper Plane", from their next album Piledriver.
THE OUTLAWS - The First 4... (1975/78)
Southern rock unit the Outlaws were formed in Tampa, Florida, in 1972 by singers/guitarists Hughie Thomasson and Henry Paul, bassist Frank O'Keefe, and drummer Monte Yoho. With the 1973 addition of guitarist Billy Jones, the lineup was complete, and after a year of intense touring the band became the first act signed to Arista under Clive Davis; the Outlaws' self-titled 1975 album spotlighted their Eagles-influenced harmonies and Allman Brothers-like guitar attack, yielding the Top 40 hit "There Goes Another Love Song." In the wake of 1977's Bill Szymczyk-produced Hurry Sundown, both Paul and O'Keefe exited, with guitarist Freddie Salem, bassist Harvey Dalton Arnold, and second drummer David Dix signing on for the 1978 concert set Bring It Back Alive and the studio effort Playin' to Win. The lineup shuffles continued when Arnold announced his departure following 1979's In the Eye of the Storm, with bassist Rick Cua recruited for the next year's Ghost Riders in the Sky, which netted a Top 40 entry with its title track, a rendition of the Vaughn Monroe favorite. Yoho left to rejoin Henry Paul soon after, and with the subsequent exit of Jones, only Thomasson remained from the original Outlaws roster - not surprisingly, the group disbanded upon completing 1982's Los Hombres Malo.
A year later, Thomasson and Paul formed a new Outlaws lineup, adding guitarist Chris Hicks, bassist Barry Borden, and drummer Jeff Howell; after issuing 1986's Soldiers of Fortune, Paul again quit the band, with the remaining quartet returning in 1993 with Hittin' the Road. While Paul resurfaced in 1994 in the chart-topping contemporary country band BlackHawk, Thomasson later toured with the re-formed Lynyrd Skynyrd while continuing to lead the Outlaws, releasing So Low in 2000. Sadly, Jones and O'Keefe died within three weeks of one another in early 1995. In 2005, original members Thomasson, Paul, Yoho, and David Dix reunited as the Outlaws, rounding out the lineup with three members of BlackHawk, guitarist Chris Anderson, bassist Randy Threet, and keyboardist Dave Robbins. Paul and Robbins departed a year later to concentrate again on BlackHawk, while Thomasson, the only original member of the Outlaws to make it through all of the band's configurations, kept things going, reportedly finishing a new studio album, Once an Outlaw, before his death from a heart attack in 2007.
In 2012, a new edition of the Outlaws released a studio album, It's About Pride. Dedicated to Hughie Thomasson, Billy Jones, and Frank O'Keefe, the album featured Henry Paul, Monte Yoho, Chris Anderson, Randy Threet, and Dave Robbins from the Once an Outlaw lineup, alongside new members Billy Crain (guitar) and Joe Lala (percussion). In 2013, Billy Crain left the band due to medical problems, and Joe Lala died in 2014 after a bout with lung cancer. Steve Grisham, who played with the Outlaws from 1983 to 1986, rejoined the group as guitarist. A new concert album from this edition of the band, titled Legacy Live, arrived in 2016.
WALTER ROSSI - Walter Rossi (1976) + Six Strings Nine Lives (1978) + Diamonds For The Kid (1980) + One Foot in Hell (1984)
Walter Rossi is an Italian-Canadian musician who was active from the 1960s to 2000s. As a guitarist, he played for Wilson Picket and the Buddy Miles Express in the 1960s. With his own bands, Rossi played with Influence and Luke & The Apostles from the 1960s to 1970s. After his tenure with Charlee, Rossi worked as a session musician throughout the 1970s with Boule Noire, Michel Pagliaro and Nanette Workman. As a musician, Rossi debuted with his self-titled album in 1976. Following Walter Rossi, he released Six Strings, Nine Lives in 1978 and Diamonds For the Kid in 1980. For his music career, Rossi briefly played in a masked music group known as Les Cagoulards during the early 1960s. He later became part of The Soulmates in the mid-1960s before becoming a backing guitarist for Wilson Pickett. During his time with Pickett, Rossi became interested in guitar solos while watching a rock festival in the United States. Following the concerts, Rossi began to practice his solos daily for several hours. During his musical career, Rossi started Influence in the late 1960s before playing with the Buddy Miles Express. After starting Luke & The Apostles in 1970, Rossi became a member of Charlee in 1972. While with Charlee, Rossi was asked in 1973 to play lead guitar for David Bowie and take over Mick Ronson's spot. Due to his father's illness, Rossi declined the request to play with Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust Tour. Throughout the 1970s, Rossi worked as a session musician.
During this time period, Rossi was a nominee for the Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year category at the Juno Awards of 1978. He later won this category at the Juno Awards of 1980. In between the Juno Awards, Rossi was nominated for Rock Album of the Year with Six Strings, Nine Lives at the 1979 Félix Awards. After two additional Felix Award nominations in the 1980s, Rossi released One Foot In Heaven, One Foot In Hell in 1984. He then worked as a music producer in North America before publishing Secret Sins in 2005.
GEORGE HARRISON & FRIENDS - The Concert for Bangladesh (1971) 
The Concert for Bangladesh (or Bangla Desh, as the country's name was originally spelt) was a pair of benefit concerts organised by former Beatles guitarist George Harrison and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar. The shows were held at 2:30 and 8:00 pm on Sunday, 1 August 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to raise international awareness of, and fund relief for refugees from East Pakistan, following the Bangladesh Liberation War-related genocide. The concerts were followed by a bestselling live album, a boxed three-record set, and Apple Films' concert documentary, which opened in cinemas in the spring of 1972. The event was the first-ever benefit of such a magnitude, and featured a supergroup of performers that included Harrison, fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger. In addition, Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan – both of whom had ancestral roots in Bangladesh – performed an opening set of Indian classical music. The concerts were attended by a total of 40,000 people, and the initial gate receipts raised close to $250,000 for Bangladesh relief, which was administered by UNICEF. After collecting the musicians easily, Harrison found it extremely difficult to get the recording industry to release the rights for performers to share the stage, and millions of dollars raised from the album and film were tied up in IRS tax escrow accounts for years, but the Concert for Bangladesh is recognised as a highly successful and influential humanitarian aid project, generating both awareness and considerable funds as well as providing valuable lessons and inspiration for projects that followed, such as Live Aid. By 1985, through revenue raised from the Concert for Bangladesh live album and film, an estimated $12 million had been sent to Bangladesh, and sales of the live album and DVD release of the film continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. Decades later, Shankar would say of the overwhelming success of the event: "In one day, the whole world knew the name of Bangladesh. It was a fantastic occasion."
BUX - We Come To Play (1976) 
BUX was an American hard rock/boogie rock band that is best known for having lead guitarist Punky Meadows and bassist Mickie Jones both of whom joined Angel, and lead singer Ralph Morman who was with the Joe Perry Project from 1979–1980 and Savoy Brown from 1980-1982. BUX was a hard rock band composed of guitarist James Newlon, guitarist Punky Meadows, lead singer Ralph Morman, bassist Mickie Jones, and drummer Rocky Isaac. In April 1973, Capitol Records signed the band and rushed them into the studio to record their debut album. Within five months the album was complete, but Capitol chose not to release the recordings because the band split up due to inner-conflicts, therefore unable to tour in support of the album. Meadows and Jones left to form Angel and their debut was released the following year. A few months later the group reformed and once again continued performing the nightclub circuits on the east coast. By late 1975, Angel was in full swing and enjoying national exposure. Capitol, sensing an opportunity to cash in on the band's success in relation to Meadows and Jones being former Bux members, issued the album they had canned two years prior, releasing it in February 1976 under the title "We Came To Play." Though some ardent Angel fans snapped them up eagerly, sales were slow, which has in retrospect been blamed on the record company's mishandling of promotion by not releasing an official single. Lead Vocalist Ralph Morman went on to sing for Joe Perry's first solo album Let the Music Do the Talking, and recorded two albums as lead singer for Savoy Brown in the early 1980s, including that band's highest-charting American single, "Run to Me," in 1981. Bassist Mickie Jones died in San Dimas, California on 5 September 2009, after a long battle with liver cancer. Jones performed on four Angel albums (Angel, Helluva Band, On Earth As It Is In Heaven, and An Anthology). He toured extensively with the band in the United States for several years. Both Jones and Meadows were asked to join the New York Dolls but declined. After leaving Angel he formed the LA band Empire and was the lead singer. Empire included drummer Steve Riley (LA Guns). Over the years he became interested in film production and would later work in the film industry. Meadows lives in North Carolina as of 2013.
Future Foghat guitarist Erik Cartwright joined the band in early 1974 after Meadows and Jones left. Cartwright is pictured on both the front and back covers of the group's album release, although he did not actually perform on any of the songs, nor is his name listed as one of the players. Jack Douglas produced the Bux album. In recent years, "We Came To Play" has become a highly sought-after item for vinyl collectors, and it has thus far not been reissued on CD.
THE FEMININE COMPLEX - Livin' Love (1969)
Nashville, 1966: five young girls teach themselves their instruments playing along to the radio. Initially named 'The Pivots' and by the end of '67 christened as The Feminine Complex, they were playing out and developing a local following including radio and television appearances. They created their own versions of popular songs, a style that reflected their need to express their own experience of girlhood. Gender bending 'boys' songs' they simply changed the lyrics, modifying the major characters and pronouns creating a space for themselves inside the music where they were able to become the agents of their own wishes, needs and desires. Come '68, they appeared on NBC's nationally syndicated Showcase '68, hosted by Lloyd Thaxton paving way to their cult status. It is not allegorical to say that in some way, they widened the entrance to the historical vacuum that a generation later would come to be filled by Riot Grrrl and rock 'n' roll camps for girls. The Feminine Complex were not just a good band because they were girls, or because they were the first girls. They are a good band because they are. Lucky for us, we have these recordings, so we can continue to hear why. Features the original '69 album plus 11 originally unissued bonus tracks!
THE YARDBIRDS - Over Under Sideways Down [Roger The Engineer] (1966)
Beginning as one of rock's all-time great (and influential) blues-rock bands, the Yardbirds had taken a turn toward the psychedelic side of things once Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton, as evidenced by 1966's Over Under Sideways Down. As with Beatles and Rolling Stones albums from around this era, the U.K. and U.S. versions would often differ with album titles and altered track listings, and as a result, quite a few tracks slipped through the cracks. The same was true of the Yardbirds. But the 2002 Repertoire reissue of Over Under Sideways Down finally compiles all the tracks from this era on one single disc -- the end result being 22 tracks of the Yardbirds at their creative peak. For anyone who was wondering if Beck could truly fill in for Clapton, he was silenced by the playful "Jeff's Boogie," which shows the guitarist was one of the more technically proficient blues-rock players of the time, as well as lending a gloriously Middle Eastern riff to the trippy title track. But the 2002 edition improves the classic original even further, as it includes selections from the Yardbirds' short-lived Jeff Beck-Jimmy Page lineup: "Happenings Ten Years Ago" and one of the group's most underrated tracks, "Psycho Daisies." For longtime fans looking to replace their vinyl or newcomers to '60s British blues, the 2002 Repertoire edition of Over Under Sideways Down is a must-have.
TONY JOE WHITE - Smoke From The Chimney (2021)
Tony Joe White was such a great American songwriter for the simple reason that he always wrote sincerely about what he knew and what he felt, using concise, direct sentences with no fluff. He never hid the pain, the joy or the wistfulness in his words or how he delivered them. A common man’s Ernest Hemingway, growing up on a cotton farm, once driving a dump truck for a living and fishing around his native northeastern Louisiana environs, the Swamp Fox grew up connecting the music of Lightnin’ Hopkins as much as who, like Hemingway did, found communion with the great outdoors. These themes and other aspects of his life’s experiences filtered into his songs from the start, with “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night In Georgia.”
The title song from White’s much-anticipated posthumous release Smoke From the Chimney takes his semi-autobiographical approach a little further, reflecting on times long past. Unveiled a few days ago with this video and on the usual streaming/download services, “Smoke From the Chimney” is full of nostalgia from a man a sizing up an entire life from the standpoint of someone who is near the end of it. Dan Auerbach applies sensitive production to this simple country folk tune; the arrangement inconspicuously bobs in and out of with layers of contrasting guitars (including a nylon string one), a church organ, wordless background vocals and even hints of horns that give the song a dash of RnB. But Tony Joe’s deep baritone, softly moaning at barely above the whisper, remains at the center of it all.
JODY GRIND - One Step On (1969) & Far Canal (1970)
British progressive rock band Jody Grind issued two obscure albums combining hard rock, jazz, blues, and classical influences with lineups emphasizing Hammond organ, guitar, and drums. Prone to long instrumental riffing and rather ponderous, stern original material, they were similar to other very early organ-oriented U.K. progressive rock acts. But they did not possess the originality, or songwriting or vocal talent, to match well-known exponents of the style such as the various groups in which organists Keith Emerson, Vincent Crane, and Brian Auger played.
The mainstay of Jody Grind was Hammond organist Tim Hinkley, who'd played in the Bo Street Runners (who for a time also included drummer Mick Fleetwood) and the Chicago Line Blues Band. Hinkley then formed a band to back British singer Elkie Brooks, but though they never ended up backing the vocalist, he and the two other musicians, guitarist Ivan Zagni and drummer Martin Harriman, decided to form a group of their own at the end of 1968. Initially called Nova, they changed their name to Jody Grind (after a song by jazzman Horace Silver). By the time they signed to Transatlantic in April 1969, Barry Wilson had replaced Harriman on drums. Renaissance bassist Louis Cennamo (previously in the Chicago Line Blues Band and later in Armageddon) was not a member, but helped out on their 1969 debut album, One Step On, which also included brass arrangements. Shortly after its release, the band's personnel overturned with the departure of Zagni and Wilson. Hinkley kept the band going with new guitarist/singer Bernie Holland and drummer Pete Gavin, opting for a somewhat more eclectic and hard rock-oriented (and less jazz-influenced) approach on 1970's Far Canal. Neither album made a commercial impact, however, and they broke up around the time Far Canal was released. Hinkley later played in Vinegar Joe (who also included Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer) before becoming a session musician.
BADGER - One Live Badger (1973) & White Lady (1974)
The early '70s marked the heyday of progressive rock it seemed like every time you turned around and everywhere you looked, there were top-flight bands like Yes, King Crimson, ELP, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, et al., all around, and their emulators and lesser rivals spreading out as far as the eye could see. Badger was part of that whole scene, a Yes offshoot group that managed to get signed by the same label. Officially, the group's origins go back to 1972 and Tony Kaye's departure from Flash, the group he'd co-founded with his fellow ex-Yes alumni, guitarist Peter Banks. Kaye was a virtuoso who favored more traditional instruments such as the Hammond organ over the more modern Moog synthesizer (not that he didn't play the latter, but he used the organ more prominently), and who had the bad fortune to have been succeeded in Yes by the much flashier Rick Wakeman. This time out, he was going to put together his own progressive rock supergroup, on a firmer footing than Flash (whose work had sometimes strayed too close to that of Yes). The ex-Yes keyboard player called on his longtime friend David Foster, who had managed to skirt the orbit of Yes several times without ever being asked into that lineup (in part because his instrument was the bass, and Yes was incredibly well covered in that department by Chris Squire). Foster had been a member of the Warriors, Yes lead singer Jon Anderson's mid-'60s group, and had co-authored songs with Anderson on Yes' second album, Time and a Word. Kaye had ended up working with Foster on what was ultimately to be an unreleased Foster album when Kaye quit Yes in 1971, he initially joined Banks in founding Flash, but after his exit from the latter, Kaye and Foster decided to finally take the plunge. They recruited drummer Roy Dyke, lately a member of Family and, before that, Ashton, Gardner & Dyke -- he was a Liverpool veteran whose career went back to the early '60s and the Remo 4 and Brian Epstein protégé Tommy Quickly, and had played on one hit single, Ashton, Gardner & Dyke's "Resurrection Shuffle"; he, in turn, steered the organizers to Brian Parrish, an ex-member of Medicine Head and Three Man Army, who had played with Paul Gurvitz and Mike Kellie in an outfit called Parrish & Gurvitz, who'd cut one LP for Regal Zonophone. The quartet, christened Badger, fit together perfectly, and after some rehearsals began building a name for itself on a European tour opening for Black Sabbath.
One Live Badger is the easier Badger album to find, and the one worth having anyway. As the album's title indicates, the band also took the unusual step of making their first album a live recording of original songs. It has aged very well with all the energy of live performance, there's none of the usual studio excesses or noodling of the era. The Yes connection via Tony Kaye is abundantly evident; the album was co-produced by Yes singer Jon Anderson, uses long instrumental breaks and prominent Hammond organ solos, and features the obligatory Roger Dean cover art. Nonetheless, the brooding lyrics and soulful harmonies make comparisons to Traffic and Blind Faith a much closer musical match. The first half of the album is excellent, kicking off with the pleasingly hoarse vocals of David Foster on the full-tilt rocker "Wheel of Fortune" and the pensive "Fountain." There's an especially tight rhythm section underlying the restrained guitar work of "Wind of Change," combining to produce the album's best song. But the second half of the album, with rather mopy numbers like "The Preacher," doesn't quite keep up this momentum. Reissued as a CD in 1993 by Repertoire Records.
With the addition of Jackie Lomax, Badger's fusion of soul and art rock now strongly favored the soul side of the equation. Recorded in New Orleans with veteran arranger and producer Allen Toussaint, White Lady is scarcely recognizable as the same band; without a paste-in of Roger Dean's logo on the back cover, you'd never guess these lads hailed from anywhere past Bourbon Street. Fans expecting prog-rock were sure to be disappointed, but it didn't matter: the band had already called it a day before the album came out. But in retrospect, it's not a half-bad effort. "A Dream of You" has smoky vocals, warbling Hammond organ, and a slick vocal and brass backing reminiscent of Van Morrison. "Don't Pull the Trigger" is easily the most satisfying track, though, with Barry Bailey's slide guitar jabbing over the telegraph staccato of Toussaint's repeating piano. The rest of the album is passable filler, though it ends with a decent shot at superfly urban funk in "The Hole Thing." Toussaint himself plays on a number of songs, and Jeff Beck even shows up to lend a hand on the title track.
ARTHUR LEE & LOVE - Coming Through To You: The Live Recordings [1970-2004] (2015)
At the forefront of the West Coast psychedelic movement—with their graceful yet disquieting mix of stately arrangements, pre-punk angst, and fractured, enigmatic lyrics—Love provided an important link between the jangle of The Byrds and the apocalyptic bite of The Doors. One of rock’s most inscrutable auteurs, singer-songwriter Arthur Lee was every inch a rock star—some said a black Mick Jagger—with his lean, dangerous visage, diamond-shaped granny glasses, prodigious sexual appetite, and a wardrobe that Jimi Hendrix emulated and drove Brian Jones pea-green with envy. More than once, Jim Morrison remarked he hoped his band would be as big as Love. But Lee was a reclusive introvert who hated to tour outside Los Angeles, which hindered the success of the band and led to a scarcity of live recordings. Fortunately, the sleuths at RockBeat managed to unearth live tracks from the ‘70s, ‘90s and ‘00s; five never-before-released songs; and one disc of rather high-quality fan recordings. They span the band’s lifetime, exploring different lineups and shifts in focus, including a near-complete latter-day re-creation of the group’s classic Forever Changes, several acoustic performances and a scattering of covers, including Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning.” Despite the stylistic differences, Lee’s unnerving presence and eccentric voice were always at the core of Love: slurry, blurry, dry, but all-knowing. Not surprisingly, over the years, his voice lost some of its range and prettiness. His falsettos feel like parodies in the ‘90s version of the band, but his bruised soul and pragmatic worldview were intact until his 2006 death from leukemia, dispensing sound advice for generations to come and always returning to one of his central themes: that the world is what you make of it, not the way you want it to be.
GARY MOORE - How Blue Can You Get (2021)
Despite buying Peter Green’s legendary Les Paul as a precocious teenager in Skid Row in the late 60s, it took Gary Moore another 20 years to ‘come out’ as a blues guitarist. During that time he built up a formidable reputation as a rock/metal axeman, much of it within his rumbustious relationship (to put it mildly) with Phil Lynott. But it left him dissatisfied – “like a dog chasing his tail”, as he put it. He finally made the career change with 1990’s well-received Still Got The Blues and never looked back, although his commercial minders managed to eek a few more hard rock throwbacks out of him. Moore released a dozen or so fine blues albums before his premature death in 2011, and left behind a pile of unreleased tracks, from which How Blue Can You Get was collated.
Half the tracks are covers, starting with a hard-hitting, well-greased version of Freddie King’s I’m Tore Down, with Moore’s mean, gritty voice sliding all over the place and his vicious guitar phrases doing much the same. That’s followed by the instrumental Steppin’ Out, originally by pianist Memphis Slim before Eric Clapton adopted it. Moore follows Clapton’s template for one verse before heading off in his own direction, never losing sight of the opening riff. Moore’s own In My Dreams is a slow blues from the book of Parisienne Walkways, with a drifting ambience and ‘Greeny’ guitar that is broken by a ridiculously loud time-keeping rim shot. There are also balance problems on BB King’s How Blue Can You Get, on which the vocals get submerged beneath the guitar. Looking At Your Picture rolls and tumbles, with Moore’s vocals providing a remorseful edge, but the guitar solo never takes off and eventually breaks down in frustration. He then transforms Love Can Make A Fool Of You (from his 1982 album Corridors Of Power) with a blues feeling that culminates in this album’s most sublime solo. That just leaves a meaty cover of Elmore James’s Done Somebody Wrong and Moore’s own slow, emotive Living With The Blues. Moore’s legion of fans won’t mind the imperfections, but whether the grumpy British blues purists – already suspicious of Moore’s habit of throwing in the occasional hard rock guitar trick – will be equally forgiving is another matter.
EAGLE - Come Under Nancy's Tent (1970)
From the remnants of Beantown's pseudo-psychedelic Beacon Street Union flew the equally short-lived Eagle. After issuing two virtually unheard long-players, the BSU were unceremoniously dropped by their record company in late 1968. By 1970, John Lincoln Wright (vocals), Robert Rosenblatt (keyboards/brass), Richard Weissberg (drums/percussion), and Wayne Ulaky (bass) had honed their sound in a much more earthy fashion, creating an accessible vibe, contrasting the over-produced sound of their former incarnation. However, they did maintain the strong melodic sensibility that had driven the better material from both Eyes of the Beacon Street Union (1968) and The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens (1968). In keeping with the current trends, Come Under Nancy's Tent (1970), which was ultimately Eagle's sole release, blends both solid and otherwise aggressive electric rock with the lilting countrified sound of the singer/songwriter and early-'70s folk movement. "Pack Up" commences the effort with a driving, propulsive Bo Diddley beat and traveling rhythm. "Brown Hair" stands as one of the better sides on the disc, with its easier acoustic melody. This counters the noir brooding of "City Girl" and the exemplary and slightly trippy "Comin' Home Day." There are a couple of straight-laced rockers as well -- "Snake in the Grass" has a danceable groove that is uncannily similar to the Routers' early surf instrumental "Let's Go," and "Separated" is likewise an uptempo toe-tapper. In 2003, Come Under Nancy's Tent was issued on CD as part of the three-disc State of the Union box set, restoring the title after over 30 years of being out of print.
LEE KERSLAKE - Eleventeen (2021)
With a career that goes back to the 1960s, Lee Kerslake's first step into the rock limelight was with The Gods, recording "Genesis" in 1968 and "To Samuel A Son" in 1969. Joining Toe Fat for their self-titled debut in 1970, via 1970's "Orgasm" by Head Machine, so far Lee had shared his musical journey with multi-instrumentalist and song writer Ken Hensley. This musical connection and friendship would be further cemented in 1972 when Lee joined Ken in Uriah Heep for the classic "Demons & Wizards" LP, remaining behind Heep's drum kit for the best part of 30 plus years. Lee also found time to make cameos drumming for Ken Hensley and David Byron solo records along the way, and most notably as a founder member of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band, drumming on the multi-platinum "Blizzard Of Ozz" in 1980 and "Diary Of A Madman in 1981. He also appeared with super group Living Loud, a band featuring bassist Bob Daisley, guitarist Steve Morse, singer Jimmy Barnes and keyboard player Don Airey.
"Eleventeen" is a collection of eight songs, seven of them written or co-written by Lee. Lee offers notes and insights for each track, saying "Take Nothing For Granted" "is based around my wife and then some," evidently with tongue firmly in cheek. Elsewhere, "Where Do We Go From Here", according to Lee, is about how "ot's all too late to realize… where do we go from here? I've had to many argumentative girls in my life!!!" "You May Be By Yourself (But You're Never Alone)" was written "when Bob Daisley gave such a loving look to Squish, his daughter. It moved me all those years ago." According to URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box's dedication on the album, "The song 'Port And A Brandy' made me smile as we have shared many of them together over the years." Next up is a heartfelt rendition of Carole King's timeless "You've Got A Friend", which Lee dedicates to "all of my friends past and present who I have loved through music." "Eleventeen" concludes with the instrumental "Mom", which Lee wrote for "all the mums in the world who we should never take for granted."
DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS - David Clayton-Thomas! (1969) & David Clayton-Thomas (1972)
David Clayton-Thomas fronted Blood, Sweat & Tears during their popular peak, singing the hits "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "And When I Die," "Hi-De-Ho," and his composition "Spinning Wheel." The latter sested the musical ambitions he harbored and after the group's hot streak cooled in 1972, he set out on a solo career that he quickly put on ice so he could return to the group in 1975. From that point forward, Clayton-Thomas alternated between Blood, Sweat & Tears and a solo career, eventually leaving the band for good in 2004. Once he departed, he stayed on the road as a solo attraction, occasionally entering the studio for a new recording.
David Clayton-Thomas! (1969) was issued soon after the singer had made his recording debut with Blood, Sweat & Tears, taking both himself and the band to superstardom. Clayton-Thomas has said that this LP was a cash-in, compiled by a producer who located unreleased pre-Blood, Sweat & Tears tapes that Thomas made in Canada, and then dubbed them with horns to make them sound more like Blood, Sweat & Tears. The result isn't entirely disreputable, but in the manner of such records, there's a curious exploitative feel about the product, right down to its basic artwork and total lack of liner notes and musician credits. It consists almost entirely of blues, R&B, and soul covers on the order of "I Got a Woman," "Stormy Monday," "Tobacco Road," "Boom Boom," and "Poison Ivy." (Clayton-Thomas is awarded the writing credits for a couple of tunes that are in fact covers of Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talkin'" and Elmore James' "Done Somebody Wrong.") It's not too imaginative, as the set is basically that of a blues-soul-oriented mid-'60s cover band. But Clayton-Thomas does sing the material reasonably well, the backing combo grooving along in a slightly jazzy soul-rock mode, with organ and occasional raw garage rock guitar. The overdubbed horns do sound awkward, though, as if they're indeed trying to shove the tracks in a more Blood, Sweat & Tears direction. If this was going to have been released at all, it would have been better to leave the original tapes unaltered.
David Clayton-Thomas (1972): Digitally remastered edition of Clayton-Thomas' solo album released just after his departure as lead vocalist of Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1972. His solo sound does not deviate much from that with his former compadres (many of whom appear on these sessions). The difference was that Clayton-Thomas was in charge of this project and chose the songs and decided the arrangements himself for the most personal musical statement he could make.
KEN HENSLEY - My Book Of Answers (2021)
On 5th November 2020 it was with great sadness that Ken Hensley, former Uriah Heep keyboard player and songwriter passed away peacefully following a very short illness. Hensley was one of the most important musicians of the past half-a-century. His work with Uriah Heep in the 1970s helped to make the band hugely influential. He also collaborated with bands such as Blackfoot, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella, as well as building a very successful solo career. As a writer he was responsible for such classics as ‘Lady In Black’, ‘Easy Livin”, “July Morning” and ‘Look At Yourself’. Few artists can claim to have had a musical career and pedigree as long, varied and impressive. After forming The Gods in mid-1960s London with future Stones and Mayall guitarist Mick Taylor, Ken made brief appearances with Toe Fat and Head Machine before joining Uriah Heep in time for the band’s debut album, “Very ‘Eavy… Very ‘Umble”. His solo career kicked off in 1973 with “Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf”, and Ken remained as busy and prolific as ever, with sales in excess of 45 million albums. “My Book Of Answers” started with a chance encounter at Alicante airport on a flight bound for Moscow in 2018, when Russian businessman Vladimir Emelin (whose hobby is writing poetry) approached Ken. Vladimir didn’t have a background in the music industry, and had never made a record but had been a big rock fan all his life, with a special appreciation of Ken.
Ken Hensley said: “As someone who does not believe in coincidence, I would like to say that it all happened by “divine chance”! A chance meeting at Alicante Airport, scribbled notes exchanged on board the flight to Moscow, a few emails, a private concert and then a meeting at the Soho Bar in Alicante Harbour.” From translations of Vladimir’s Russian words into English, Ken fashioned choruses and verses until he had the basis for nine original new songs. The main stumbling block to starting this record was finding the time to create it. And then the pandemic happened. Thankfully advances in modern technology meant that this album could be created and completed remotely. The album sees Ken also returning to play slide and lead guitars as well as his classic Hammond playing and of course lead vocals. “My Book Of Answers” was finished and scheduled for release before his death. Cherry Red are extremely proud to represent this very special record. Ken had more collaborations planned, including a combined book of their poetry. We’ll leave the last word to Ken: “Vladimir and I hope that you will get some real pleasure from something that really defined itself as we went along…”
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