GRACE SLICK - Solo Discography 1973/84
Grace Slick is an American artist, painter and retired singer-songwriter. Slick was a key figure in San Francisco's early psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s. With a music career spanning four decades, she first performed with The Great Society, but is best known for her work with Jefferson Airplane and the subsequent successor bands Jefferson Starship and Starship. Slick and Jefferson Airplane first achieved fame with their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, which included the top-ten Billboard hits "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love". She provided the lead vocals on both tracks. With Starship, she sang co-lead for two number one hits, "We Built This City" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now". She would also release four solo albums. Slick retired from music in 1990, but continues to be active in the visual arts field.
"Manhole" is Grace Slick's first solo album credited solely to her (she had previously recorded Sunfighter with Paul Kantner and Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun with Kantner and David Freiberg, both of whom co-produced Manhole). The album was recorded in 1973, when Jefferson Airplane had stopped touring, and Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were making the Hot Tuna album, The Phosphorescent Rat. All the members who would form Jefferson Starship in 1974 performed on this album, except for Papa John Creach. The album was conceived as a soundtrack to a movie, (noted by the title of the second track, "Theme from the Movie Manhole"), although there was no such movie made. Grace drew all of the artwork for the album, and wrote on the cover "Child Type Odd Art by Grace." The album only reached #127 on the Billboard charts.
"Dreams" is Grace Slick's 1980 album. The album was recorded in NYC without any previous or current members of Jefferson Starship. Steve Price of Pablo Cruise plays drums on "Garden of Man." One single, "Seasons", was released in the States to promote the album. In the United Kingdom the track "Dreams" was lifted as a single. The album itself rose to #32 on the Billboard charts. It also reached #28 in the UK album Chart.
"Welcome to the Wrecking Ball!" is Grace Slick's 1981 follow-up to her solo album Dreams (1980). Her third solo album, it was released before stepping back into her old position in Jefferson Starship. The lyrics of the first track include numerous references to Slick's dislike of rock journalists and critics. The songs Slick wrote for side-B of the album are closer in style to the psychedelic songs of Jefferson Airplane than to the songs on the previous album Dreams, and the song "No More Heroes" contains vocal overlays and tape effects speeding up and slowing down the song. The album rose to #48 on the Billboard charts.
"Software" is Grace Slick's 1984 album. This album was recorded after she had re-joined Jefferson Starship. After working on this album, Peter Wolf would go on to contribute to Jefferson Starship's 1984 album, Nuclear Furniture.
FRIJID PINK - The First Four... (1970/74)
Frijid Pink was a Detroit-based, blues rock band formed in 1967. They started releasing singles in 1969, in the hope of getting some success. Fortunately their distorted-guitar cover version of "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. This made Frijid Pink release their first, self-titled, album in 1970, including their massive hit. The line-up included Kelly Green on vocals, Gary Ray Thompson on guitars, Tom Harris on bass, Richard Stevers on drums, and additional keyboardist Larry Zelanka. However, this album, as well as their following, "Defrosted", also released in 1970, showed no traces of Prog, but was simply straight-forward Blues Rock, with some Psych influences.
In spite of that, it only took 2 years for Frijid Pink to take a more Progressive direction. Now, with new vocalist, Jon Wearing, and new guitarist, Craig Webb, Frijid Pink created "Earth Omen", leaving behind their former, straight-forward Blues Rock style, and moving towards a Heavy Progressive sound in the style of Uriah Heep, with remarkable Hammond organ and powerful guitar riffs. Unfortunately, in 1975 Frijid Pink went through another personnel change, leaving out vocalist Jon Wearing, who was the only one interested in exploring new grounds (he died on January 4, 2009). This brought about their final album, "All Pink Inside", showing once again a straight-forward Blues Rock band, with nothing new to show to the masses. The band finally disbanded soon after its release.
However, in 2007 Frijid Pink reformed, and have since been engaged in a series of live performances in the US. They have also been recording a new album, which should be released later in 2009. While Frijid Pink are not a 100% prog band, their third album, "Earth Omen", definitely shows a Heavy Rock band with a Progressive sound, very much in the vein of the already mentioned Uriah Heep, as well as Atomic Rooster. Recommended to all 70's Heavy Prog lovers.
BONNIE RAITT - The First Four... (1970/73)
Bonnie Raitt is the self-titled debut album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1971. The astounding thing about Bonnie Raitt's blues album isn't that it's the work of a preternaturally gifted blues woman, it's that Raitt doesn't choose to stick to the blues. She's decided to blend her love of classic folk blues with folk music, including new folk-rock tunes, along with a slight R&B, New Orleans, and jazz bent and a mellow Californian vibe. Surely, Bonnie Raitt is a record of its times, as much as Jackson Browne's first album is, but with this, she not only sketches out the blueprint for her future recordings, but for the roots music that would later be labeled as Americana. The reason that Bonnie Raitt works is that she is such a warm, subtle singer. She never oversells these songs, she lays back and sings them with heart and wonderfully textured reading. Her singing is complemented by her band, who is equally as warm, relaxed, and engaging. This is music that goes down so easy, it's only on the subsequent plays that you realize how fully realized and textured it is. A terrific debut that has only grown in stature since its release.
Bonnie Raitt may have switched producers for her second album Give It Up, hiring Michael Cuscuna, but she hasn't switched her style, sticking with the thoroughly engaging blend of folk, blues, R&B, and Californian soft rock. If anything, she's strengthened her formula here, making the divisions between the genres nearly indistinguishable. Take the title track, for instance. It opens with a bluesy acoustic guitar before kicking into a New Orleans brass band about halfway through -- and the great thing about it is that Raitt makes the switch sound natural, even inevitable, never forced. And that's just the tip of the iceberg here, since Give It Up is filled with great songs, delivered in familiar, yet always surprising, ways by Raitt and her skilled band. For those that want to pigeonhole her as a white blues singer, she delivers the lovely "Nothing Seems to Matter," a gentle mid-tempo number that's as mellow as Linda Ronstadt and far more seductive. That's the key to Give It Up: Yes, Raitt can be earthy and sexy, but she balances it with an inviting sensuality that makes the record glow. It's all delivered in a fantastic set of originals and covers performed so naturally it's hard to tell them apart and roots music so thoroughly fused that it all sounds original, even when it's possible to spot the individual elements or influences. Raitt would go on to greater chart successes, but she not only had trouble topping this record, generations of singers, from Sheryl Crow to Shelby Lynne, have used this as a touchstone. One of the great Southern California records.
This album is an overlooked gem in the catalog of Bonnie Raitt. On Takin' My Time, she wears her influences proudly in an eclectic musical mix containing blues, jazz, folk, New Orleans R&B, and calypso. Although she did not write her own material for this album, she demonstrates an excellent ear for songs and chooses material from some of the best songwriters of the day. She is a great interpreter, and her renditions of Jackson Browne's "I Thought I Was a Child" and Randy Newman's "Guilty" from this album are the definitive versions of these songs. The highlights of this album are the romantic ballads "I Gave My Love a Candle" and "Cry Like a Rainstorm," where Raitt adds an emotional depth to the performance unusual for such a young woman. (Perhaps that's a result of her spending time with elder statesmen of the blues community such as Mississippi Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace.) Although the faster-paced songs like the calypso "Wah She Go Do" seem a little out of place, the playful tune is welcome among an album filled with the heartache of the slower tunes. Despite being a relative newcomer, Raitt had already earned the respect of her mentors and her peers, as evidenced by the musical contributions of Taj Mahal, and Little Feat members Lowell George and Bill Payne on the album. This is the last consistent album she would make until her comeback in the mid-'80s.
Bonnie Raitt had delivered three stellar albums, but chart success wasn't forthcoming, even if good reviews and a cult following were. So, she teamed with producer Jerry Ragovoy for Streetlights and attempted to make the crossover record that Warner so desperately wished she'd release. Over the years, the concessions that she made here -- particularly the middle-of-the road arrangements (as opposed to the appealingly laid-back sounds of her previous records), the occasional use of strings, but also some of the song selections -- have consigned Streetlights to noble failure status. There's no denying that's essentially what Streetlights is, but that makes it out to seem worse than it really is. It winds up paling to the wonderful ease and warm sensuality of her first three albums -- she only occasionally hits that balance -- but it's still undeniably pleasant, and there are moments here where she really pulls off some terrific work, including the opening cover of Joni Mitchell's "That Song About the Midway," a good version of John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery," and the much-touted take on Allen Toussaint's "What Is Success." It may be easy to lament the suppression of the laid-back sexiness and organic feel of Raitt's earlier records, but there's still enough here in that spirit to make this worthwhile.
From just south of Medford, Oregon in the tiny burg of Phoenix (population 600) came the teen band the Navarros. Guitarist Rick Bolz, drummer John Morrison and bassist George Glenn hooked up with singer/keyboardist Dyan Hoffman. After cutting a rowdy single for an Oregon label called Corby, the band came to San Francisco for a weekend and quickly became psychedelicized, moving as far away from the previous surf and R&B stance as their fuzztone pedals and Farfisa organs would carry them. After losing members to the draft (guitarist Ron Raschdorf and drummer W.A. Farrens replaced the departing John Morrison and temporary guitarist George Campbell), they changed their name to the Neighb'rhood Children. Recording their lone album at Golden State Recorders for release on the microscopic Acta label, 1968 looked to be the year for the band. They toured constantly behind the album, working everything from go-go clubs to one-off concerts with the Who, the Grass Roots and a small mini-tour with the Beau Brummels. Upon several close calls on the road, the group found religion and changed their name to White Horse. After finding that no label would release their second album (by all reports much more contemplative, laidback and acoustic than their debut), the group disbanded in 1970. Bolz responded to the years of road burnout by getting back to nature, buying a surplus parachute, turning it into a teepee and living off the land, hunting and fishing, while the others returned to home, hearth and semi-normal lives.
From the opening fuzz guitar and Farfisa organ riffs of "Feeling Zero," and this is a definite step back in time to a far trippier era of rock & roll. The music contained here is largely a shamelessly derivative batch with nods to all the then-current trends; the Grace Slick-Jefferson Airplane inspired vocals on the title track and "Changes Brought to Me," the pure British pop of their hit "Please Leave Me Alone," "Happy World of Captain K" and "Hobbit's Dream," the Yardbirds-style raveup of "Chocolate Angel," and the "Paint It Black"-era Stones bounce of "Up Down Turn Around World" are all earmarks of an isolated time in rock history that, although often replicated, can never be truly duplicated. But the minor-key riffing on "Patterns," the dirgelike version of "Louie Louie," and tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top version of "Over the Rainbow" show that there was also some originality to the band's offerings as well. This retrospective includes 24 tracks, ten unissued, featuring alternate takes of "Feeling Zero" and the title track, all from the original master tapes. In light of all the retro hoopla surrounding this kind of sound, this collection stands as a small landmark to the style. Get your lava lamp warmed up for this one.
YES - The Quest (2021)
The Quest is the twenty-second studio album by English progressive rock band Yes, released on 1 October 2021 by InsideOut Music and Sony Music. It is their first studio album featuring Billy Sherwood since The Ladder (1999), having replaced founding bassist Chris Squire following his death in 2015, and their first without any original members. It was produced by guitarist Steve Howe. After completing touring commitments in July 2019, Yes began to collaborate on new material by exchanging ideas for songs online. The subsequent COVID-19 pandemic caused all touring to be cancelled in March 2020, which presented the opportunity for them to focus on the album during lockdown. When the songs had been arranged, the album was recorded in California and England and orchestral arrangements by Paul K. Joyce were performed by the FAMES Orchestra in North Macedonia. Frontman Jon Davison was the main lyricist, who wrote about various themes including hope, optimism, and environmental issues. The Quest was released in various formats, including CD, LP, Blu-ray Disc, and on digital platforms, and debuted on the UK Albums Chart at number 20. It received generally positive reviews for Howe's production and as an overall improvement over Yes' previous album Heaven & Earth (2014).
DAVID BOWIE - The First Four... (1967/71)
David Bowie is the self-titled debut studio album by English musician David Bowie. It was released in the UK on 1 June 1967 with Deram Records. Its style and content is often said to bear little overt resemblance to the type of music that he was later known for, such as the folk rock influenced "Space Oddity" or the glam rock of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have said, "a listener strictly accustomed to David Bowie in his assorted '70s guises would probably find this debut album either shocking or else simply quaint", while biographer David Buckley describes its status in the Bowie discography as "the vinyl equivalent of the madwoman in the attic". Nicholas Pegg contends that "it seems a pity that David Bowie is only ever considered in terms of what we can extrapolate from it [...] Thankfully, it does seem that pop musicologists are at last beginning to regard David Bowie not just as a quirky set of embryonic twitterings, but as an album that's actually worth considering in its own right".
David Bowie (commonly known as Space Oddity) is the second studio album by English musician David Bowie. After the commercial failure of his 1967 self-titled debut album, Bowie acquired a new manager, Kenneth Pitt, who commissioned a promotional film in hopes of widening the artist's audience. For the film, Bowie wrote a new song, titled "Space Oddity", a tale about a fictional astronaut. The song earned Bowie a contract with Mercury Records, who agreed to finance production of a new album, with Pitt hiring Tony Visconti to produce. Due to his dislike of the song, Visconti appointed engineer Gus Dudgeon to produce a re-recording for release as a lead single, while he produced the rest of the album. Recording for the new album began in June 1969 and continued until early October, at Trident Studios in London. It featured an array of collaborators, including Herbie Flowers, Rick Wakeman, Terry Cox and the band Junior's Eyes. Departing from the music hall style of Bowie's 1967 debut, David Bowie instead features folk rock and psychedelic rock songs. Lyrically, the songs contain themes that were influenced by events happening in Bowie's life at the time, including former relationships and festivals he attended. Released as a single in July 1969, "Space Oddity" peaked at number five in the UK later in the year, earning Bowie his first commercial hit.
The Man Who Sold the World is the third studio album by English musician David Bowie. It was originally released by Mercury Records in the United States on 4 November 1970 and in the United Kingdom on 10 April 1971. The album was produced by Tony Visconti and recorded at Trident and Advision Studios in London during April and May 1970. It features the first appearances of guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick Woodmansey on a Bowie record, who would later become famous as members of the Spiders from Mars. Following the largely acoustic and folk rock sound of Bowie's previous 1969 self-titled album, The Man Who Sold the World marked a shift toward hard rock, with elements of blues rock. The lyrics are also darker than his previous releases, exploring themes of insanity, religion, technology and war. None of the songs from the album were released as official singles, although some tracks appeared as B-sides of singles between 1970 and 1973. Originally titled Metrobolist, a play on Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis, the title was changed at the last minute by Mercury without Bowie's consultation. The album was released with different cover artwork in the US and the UK. For the US release, the artwork was a cartoon-like drawing of a cowboy in front of an asylum. It was drawn by Michael J. Weller and based on an image of actor John Wayne. Bowie was unenthusiastic about the cover, so he enlisted Keith MacMillan to shoot an alternate cover. The final image, featuring Bowie wearing a blue dress designed by fashion designer Michael Fish, was used as the cover for the UK release.
Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA Records. Following the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie took time off from recording and touring. He settled down to write new songs, composing on piano rather than guitar as on earlier tracks. Following a tour of the United States, Bowie assembled a new backing band consisting of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and began to record a new album in mid-1971 at Trident Studios in London. Future Yes member Rick Wakeman contributed on piano. Bowie co-produced the album with Ken Scott, who had engineered Bowie's previous two records. Compared to the guitar-driven hard rock sound of The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie opted for a warmer, more melodic piano-based pop rock and art pop style on Hunky Dory. His lyrical concerns on the record range from the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention on "Changes", to occultism and Nietzschean philosophy on "Oh! You Pretty Things" and "Quicksand"; several songs make cultural and literary references. He was also inspired by his stateside tour to write songs dedicated to three American icons: Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed. The song "Kooks" was dedicated to Bowie's newborn son Duncan. The album's cover artwork, photographed in monochrome and subsequently recoloured, features Bowie in a pose inspired by actresses of the Hollywood Golden Age.
MEDICINE HEAD - The First Four... (1970/73)
Formed in Stafford, England in 1968, the British blues duo Medicine Head were comprised of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist John Fiddler and Peter Hope-Evans, who played the harmonica and jew's harp. Upon their formation at art college, Medicine Head became a staple of the local club circuit, eventually recording a demo which found its way to influential BBC radio personality John Peel, who began championing the track "His Guiding Hand." Other DJs soon followed suit, and quickly the duo was on the brink of stardom.
With Peel's continued assistance, Medicine Head entered the studio to begin recording their 1970 debut LP New Bottles Old Medicine. Their focus shifted from basic blues to a more intricate sound for 1971's Heavy on the Drum, produced by former Yardbird Keith Relf; after scoring a surprise hit with the single "(And the) Pictures in the Sky," Hope-Evans left the group, and was replaced by Relf and drummer John Davies for 1972's The Dark Side of the Moon. Hope-Evans rejoined prior to 1973's One and One Is One, which launched the title track to the Top Three of the U.K. singles chart.
Now a five-piece also including guitarist Roger Saunders, onetime Family drummer Rob Townsend and bassist George Ford, Medicine Head notched two more hit singles, "Rising Sun" and "Slip and Slide," but 1974's Thru' a Five failed to chart, and the group began to disintegrate. Only Fiddler and Hope-Evans remained by the time of 1976's Two Man Band, and after one last single, "Me and Suzy Hit the Floor," Medicine Head officially disbanded. Fiddler later resurfaced in the British Lions, followed by a stint in Box of Frogs and finally a solo career, while Hope-Evans contributed to the Pete Townshend albums Empty Glass and White City.
MARK KNOPFLER - The Studio Albums 1996-2007 (2021)
Mark Knopfler, singer-songwriter, record producer and composer, is one of the most successful musicians the UK has ever produced and is often cited as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He first came to prominence in the 70s & 80s as leader of Dire Straits, who created many of the signature songs of the era including “Sultans Of Swing,” “Money For Nothing,” “Romeo And Juliet,” and “Walk Of Life.” The band broke up in 1995 and Knopfler set off on a new path as a solo artist. In the ensuing years, Knopfler has released nine solo albums of sophisticated rootsy rock and has continued to tour the globe with his band, delighting audiences wherever he goes. Over the years, Knopfler has written the music for several films, including Local Hero , Cal, The Princess Bride, Last Exit To Brooklyn and Wag The Dog and has played and recorded with many artists, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Tina Turner, Randy Newman and the late Chet Atkins. Knopfler was made an OBE in 1999 and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ivor Novellos in 2012. Gathering his first five post-Dire Straits solo albums (not counting film scores), and a bonus disc of B-sides titled The Gravy Train, this collection is as sleepy and nonchalant as an old friend’s affable shrug. Knopfler does what he does, blending folk, blues, country and rock into a tension-free take on Americana that’s faintly personal but more about delivering a carpet atmosphere of reflective rumination.
The audio of each album has been newly remastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios in London. 6 CD remastered collection in clamshell-style box. CDs housed in wallets with folded double-sided printed inserts.
SANTANA - Blessings and Miracles (2021)
Carlos Santana has spent the past decade or so getting back to his roots after a run of all-star collaboration albums made him a chart-topping and Grammy-winning superstar at the turn of the century. His last album, 2019's Africa Speaks, was a purely Latin rock record made with drummer wife Cindy Blackman and producer Rick Rubin; the one before that, Santana IV, featured members from the Santana band's classic '70s lineup. For Blessings and Miracles, the band's 26th album overall, he returns to the formula he perfected on 1999's chart-topping Supernatural and last visited on 2005's All That I Am. He's even asked back some old friends, like Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, who helped propel Supernatural to historic chart success via the ubiquitous "Smooth" and fills a similar role in the 21st century update "Move." The result is pretty much what you'd expect from an album that pairs Santana with artists from his generation (Steve Winwood finally gets around to covering "A Whiter Shade of Pale") with some younger fans (country outlier Chris Stapleton), plus plenty of guitar heroics (from Carlos and Metallica's Kirk Hammett) to go around: It's all over the place, but not without occasional highlights. The two opening instrumentals – "Ghost of Future Pull / New Light" and "Santana Celebration" – have more in common with the band's earliest years than the star-packed Arista era, but by the time Stapleton shows up for "Joy," Blessings and Miracles has settled into a groove that's part Abraxas, part Shaman. That back-and-forth lands mostly on common ground during the LP's hour-long running time. It helps that Santana isn't overshadowed by his guest stars as he often was on those multiplatinum records. Most of them fit the program this time, so for the most part there's no crowbarring trendy pop stars into the mix (though G-Eazy's rap turn in "She's Fire" sounds like it was brought in from another session). That makes Blessings and Miracles less relevant and exciting than Supernatural at times, but it's a more genuine representation of Santana's music as they roll into another decade.
GONG - The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy (2015)
No one with well-functioning ears could ever accuse Daevid Allen and Gong of being besotted with the music of change but singularly lacking in tonal glamour. A precursor to most so-called “movements” in the UK before the advent of the likes of David Bowie and Talkin Heads Gong delivered on so many fronts; picking up on the heft of everything from the Blues and Jazz to the Beatles, the music of Gong delivered it all with swing and regal polish. This exquisitely re-mastered and repackaged anthology – both as 3-volume set of 180-gram LPs and a coffee-table-sized presentation of a 4-CD boxed-set (both audiophile editions) the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy from Charly Records (UK)is the epitomé of spit and polish of Gong. Musical textures, as always, are uncommonly rich, the bass-line full and lustrous, and the playing throughout is as wildly expressive as you could wish for, especially in the warmth of the audiophile edition LPs. Vocals are kept taut and on the move at all times, judiciously modulated tempos leap out at you burning with the fire of originality. Brass and woodwinds ring resplendent reaching an impressive full height soon after the opening bell, progressing spring-like as Gong perform their madcap gambol in the English sun.
The CD boxed-set comes with a “bonus” disc (naturally) featuring four original tracks and three other songs, but it’s no marketing gimmick; just a disc of wonderfully expressive Gong music that is essential listening for anyone interested in what happened in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Both sets are remarkably annotated – ‘remarkably’ because it’s probably unlikely that Gong kept organised notes, what with so much going on in a Gong Universe that is more offbeat than ‘commercial’. And yet the producers found enough in the Gong archives to make both packages something to die for. Daevid Allen, is, of course responsible for the magical illustrations and, of course, the glorious music that fills these sets from end to end with more than something he called “The D.D.T. Blues” and with “Perfect Mystery”. Listening afresh to Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and You one rediscovers the expressive madcap capers that emerge afresh in such consistently lyrical music as “The Pot Head Pixies” and “ZERO the HERO and the WiTCH’S Spell” from Flying TeapotAngel’s Egg. “Thoughts for Naught” and “A Sprinkling of Clouds” is music that gives me energy, emotion and everything else in You. I have to say that listening to the LPs feeds the impulse to fall on the side of vinyl-collecting. However, the CDs make terrific listening as well. And both packages are, after all, imbued with the unmistakeable nobility that was at the epicenter of Daevid Allen’s musical and visual art.
GONG [DAEVID ALLEN'S GONG] - The First Four... (1969/73)
Magick Brother is the debut studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, recorded in Paris during September and October 1969. The band's recently recruited bass player Christian Tritsch was not ready in time to play on the album, and so singer/songwriter/guitarist Daevid Allen played the bass guitar himself; a photo of Allen recording bass tracks for the album is featured on the cover artwork. They also made use of jazz contrabass (double bass) players Earl Freeman and Barre Phillips, who were recording for the label at the same time, on three tracks. Occasional early Gong collaborator Dieter Gewissler, who normally played violin, also contributed some "free" bowed contrabass to two tracks. The LP sleeves were printed before the final track order and titles had been decided and so the songs "Rational Anthem" (AKA "Change the World") and "Glad To Sad To Say" were listed the wrong way round. Shortly afterwards, the band played its debut gig at the BYG Actuel Festival in the small town of Amougies, Belgium, on 27 October 1969, introduced to the stage by bemused compere Frank Zappa.
Camembert Electrique is the second studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, recorded and originally released in 1971 on the French BYG Actuel label. The album was recorded at Château d'Hérouville near Paris, France, produced by Pierre Lattès and engineered by Gilles Salle. The album was originally released in France in October 1971 on BYG Actuel, and reissued in the UK in 1974 by Virgin Records, where it sold for 59p, the price of a single, a marketing scheme Virgin had used the year before for the album The Faust Tapes by Faust, in the hope that greatly discounted albums would give more exposure to the artists and encourage sales of their regularly priced albums, although these discounted albums did not qualify for album chart listings. It was also issued twice on Virgin's Caroline Records budget label, still at a discount price, but no longer priced as low as a single. In the late 1970s it was reissued on Charly Records whose edition was in print in the UK concurrently with Virgin's.
Flying Teapot is the third studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, originally released by Virgin Records in May 1973. It was the second entry in the Virgin catalogue and was released on the same day as the first, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. It was re-issued later in the year, with different cover art, by BYG Actuel in France and Japan. Recorded at Virgin's Manor Studios, in Oxfordshire, England, it was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and engineered by "Simon Sandwitch 2 aided by Tom Zen" (Simon Heyworth and Tom Newman). Subtitled Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 1, it is the first of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums, followed by Angel's Egg in December and You the following October. This trilogy forms a central part of the Gong mythology. The Flying Teapot idea itself was influenced by Russell's teapot. It was the first Gong album to feature English guitarist Steve Hillage, although he contributed relatively little as he arrived late in the recording process. According to Daevid Allen, "Steve Hillage arrived eventually, but there wasn't a lot of space left. He played some rhythmick wa wa [sic], some jazzy chords and a spacey solo on 'Flying Teapot'." In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #35 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".
Angels Egg is the fourth studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, released on Virgin Records in December 1973. It was recorded using the Manor Mobile studio at Gong's communal home, Pavillon du Hay, Voisines, France, and mixed at The Manor, Oxfordshire, England. The album was produced by "Gong under the direction of Giorgio Gomelsky". Angels Egg is the second in Gong's Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums, following Flying Teapot and preceding You. The trilogy forms a central part of the Gong mythology. The original album did not have an apostrophe in the title. The original vinyl edition came with a booklet containing an extensive explanation of the mythology, including lyrics, a glossary of terms, and profiles of characters in the story and band members. This edition also had a gatefold cover (omitted in later pressings), a plain inky blue innersleeve to match the gatefold and booklet, and had the original black and white Virgin label which was discontinued after 1973; it was one of the last albums to use the original label. Some copies had a sticker over top of the female nude in the moon on the cover. The CD version released by Virgin Records, and later reissued on Charly Records contains an extra track: "Ooby-Scooby Doomsday or The D-day DJs Got the D.D.T. Blues", that ends with a male voice choir glissando (questionably regarded by some as a parody on Pink Floyd's "Echoes"), starting with "Ahhhh" and ending with "Chooo", mimicking a sneeze. The track was originally released on the Live Etc. album but was excluded from the CD release (which reissued that double album as one disc), and included on this album instead.
JOHNNY WINTER - The First Four... (1969/70)
Johnny Winter (1944 - 2014) was an American singer and guitarist. Winter was known for his high-energy blues rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s. He also produced three Grammy Award–winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
The Progressive Blues Experiment is the debut album by American blues rock musician Johnny Winter. He recorded it in August 1968 at the Vulcan Gas Company, an Austin music club, with his original trio of Tommy Shannon on bass guitar and John "Red" Turner on drums. The album features a mix of Winter originals and older blues songs, including the standards "Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Help Me", and "Forty-Four". Local Austin, Texas-based Sonobeat Records issued the album with a plain white cover in late 1968. After Winter signed to Columbia Records, the rights were sold to Imperial Records, who reissued it in March 1969. The Imperial edition, with a new cover, reached number 40 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Johnny Winter is Johnny Winter's second studio album. Columbia Records released the album in 1969, after signing Winter to the label for a reported $600,000. As with his first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, Winter mixes some original compositions with songs originally recorded by blues artists. The album reached number 24 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Second Winter is the third studio album by Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, released in 1969. The original plan was to edit the songs from the recording session into one album but it was later thought that all the recordings were good enough to be released. The album was released as a "three-sided" LP, with a blank fourth side on the original vinyl. Two more songs, "Tell the Truth" and "Early in the Morning" were left unfinished but released on a 2004 re-release of the album.
Johnny Winter And is the fourth studio album by Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, released in 1970. Besides Winter, the group included guitarist Rick Derringer, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs and drummer Randy Zehringer, all former members of the McCoys. This was the first album released with Rick Derringer as a sideman. It was also the name of his band for a short time.
Formed in Liverpool, England, in 1973 by singer Dave Lloyd, guitarist Mick Devonport, bassist Keith Mulholland, and drummer John Mylett, hard rockers Nutz distinguished themselves as one of the decade's most undistinguished second-tier acts. None of their four albums for A&M -- 1974's Nutz, 1975's Nutz Too, 1976's Hard Nutz (introducing keyboard player Kenny Newton), or 1977's Nutz Live Cutz -- fared particularly well, and occasional support tours with Black Sabbath and Budgie (not to mention a Friday night slot at the 1976 Reading Festival) also failed to further their cause. By 1979 the band was sputtering to a halt, but when their song "Bootliggers" was surprisingly chosen for inclusion on 1980's Metal for Muthas (a compilation of emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal talent like Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis, and Samson), Nutz decided to cash in on the younger generation by reinventing themselves as Rage. This barely disguised new version of Nutz (not to be confused with the German power metal trio that appeared a few years later) ejected their keyboard player, recruited additional guitarist Terry Steers, and went on to record three more albums before finally breaking up in 1984.
The first album by Nutz was an interesting and varied affair in which the band played with several different styles without losing their identity. Many of the songs use acoustic or progressive rock introductions to lead into blues-rock pieces, sometimes in very inventive ways. There are also some very successful progressive folk songs, a direction the band dropped after this album. It's a shame, as the catchy, carnival-like "Round and Round" suggested that this band could have done some fine things with the style. It's a track that bears repeated listening, the parade-ground drumming overlaid by acoustic and electric guitars and a simple but urgent vocal line. Here and throughout the album the vocal harmonies are impressive, more so than on any of their later works. Nutz got everything right on their first album, but somehow failed to build on this solid foundation.
The second Nutz album was a bit more basic than the first, with more of a focus on blues-based hard rock and a slicker, more professional feel. Still, the band managed to keep things interesting with acoustic textures and some interesting time changes in the course of the album. The instrumentation bears comparisons to Led Zeppelin in spots, though vocalist Dave Lloyd's appealing bluesy rasp is from a whole different tradition than Robert Plant's. The rest of the band fills in with some effective harmonies, and there are moments when their hook-laden hard rock shows a sophistication that is above most of their peers. The weak spot is the songwriting, which is fairly throughout. The sole exception is "Dear Diary," a lovely little piece that shows that the band can give a delicate performance to more personal material. On the whole, Nutz Too is a pleasant listen, though not quite as memorable as the albums that came before or after.
The last studio album from Nutz shows some lyrical growth from their sophomore effort, and is also improved by the presence of keyboard player Kenny Newton. The band turns in their usual bluesy boogie rock with progressive elements, but with a bit more vigor and nuance than usual. There are some interesting transitions between songs and some genuinely inventive arrangements. Nutz never did have the consistency to be a major act, but Hard Nutz shows that they did have a good set of rock instincts, and if they only had had a first-rate songwriter, they could have gone far.
GRAHAM NASH - The First Four... (1971/86)
Graham Nash is a British-American singer-songwriter and musician. Nash is known for his light tenor voice and for his songwriting contributions as a member of the English pop/rock group the Hollies and the folk-rock supergroups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash became an American citizen on 14 August 1978 and holds dual citizenship with the United Kingdom and the United States. Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997 and as a member of the Hollies in 2010. Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours List for services to music and to charity. Nash holds four honorary doctorates, including one from New York Institute of Technology, one in Music from the University of Salford in 2011 and his latest Doctorate in Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's debut solo studio album. Released in May 1971, it was one of four high-profile albums (all charting within the top fifteen) released by each partner of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping Déjà Vu album of 1970, along with After the Gold Rush (Neil Young, September 1970), Stephen Stills (Stephen Stills, November 1970) and If I Could Only Remember My Name (David Crosby, February 1971). It peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and the single "Chicago" made it to No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.
Wild Tales is the second solo studio album by Graham Nash, released on Atlantic Records in 1974. It peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard 200. Nash blamed its failure to chart higher in the United States on a supposed lack of support and promotion from Atlantic Records. Following the protracted breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in late 1974 and early 1975, Nash left the label and signed a contract with ABC Records as a duo with his CSNY partner David Crosby. Contrary to later reports, the darker tone of this album was not inspired by the murder of Nash's then-girlfriend, Amy Gossage, by her brother, an event that occurred more than a year after the release of this album and the dissolution of their relationship. Rather, Nash was in a somber mood in the wake of the failures of his earlier relationships with Joni Mitchell and Rita Coolidge, and the unwillingness at the time of the other members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to reunite for a new album.
Earth & Sky is the third solo studio album by Graham Nash, released in February 1980 on Capitol Records.
Innocent Eyes is the fourth solo studio album by Graham Nash, released in 1986. The influence of reggae shows in the hit song "Chippin' Away." The album reached No. 136 on the Billboard charts.
THE SMALL FACES - The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette: The Immediate Anthology (1999)
Surely not another Small Faces compilation CD. Well what makes this one different? To put it simply, it was only recently that the group succeeded in securing their royalties and that was only after Ronnie and Steve had both died. Therefore much of the Small Faces material released more recently is legitimate and the band receive their dues. Furthermore, the tracks have been remastered, giving them a clarity and power not evident on the budget issues. Recommendation: no matter how much Small Faces you have in your collection, the is the definitive anthology covering the years on Immediate Records. This also scores over the previously available Immediate Years boxed set as it contains virtually no filler. There is one version of each track from the Immediate recordings with the exception of the heavy rocker Wham Bam Thank You Mam (wrongly labelled as Wham Bam Thank You Man) which is an alternate stereo mix and the US single version of Mad John. There are also two recording that were previously unavailable, The War of the Worlds and Take My Time. These are both instrumentals and actually add little to the existing body of work on this CD. The PP Arnold single (If You Think You're) Groovy is included as it is a Marriott/Lane composition and features backing by the band. This is a great track.
As stated earlier, The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette contains all the Immediate tracks including singles, album tracks and some rarities. The entire contents of the Small Faces, the first album on Immediate (Making Time September 1997) follows the singles I Can't Make It and its b-side Just Passing and Here Come The Nice. There is then a short break for the two excellent singles Itchycoo Park and the absolutely stunning Tin Soldier. The latter may be less well-known but it is by far and away the most popular Small Faces tracks with reader of Room for Ravers, the Small Faces Web page and it was recently voted tenth best single of all time by readers of the UK magazine Mojo. Tin Soldier combines the great elements from all four members of the band. If you don't know this one you haven't lived. By the way, it's PP Arnold on the backing vocals here. What comes next shows just how far the Small Faces were able to progress given their new freedom, if not cash, through the Immediate deal. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake was partly new Small Faces album and partly concept, much better than even Sergeant Pepper by the way. The tracks finishing disc one of this CD set represent side one of Ogden's, the true highlights being Afterglow (Of Your Love), a song Marriott thought was little more than a soppy love song, and Ronnie Lane's Song of a Baker. The best-known song though finishes the disc. Lazy Sunday is one of the band's best known songs even though they did not want it released as a single. They felt, maybe correctly, that it made the band more music hall then rock or psychedelic. Great track though! Disc two starts with the concept second side of Ogden's. The narration is by Stanley Unwin and this adds an important element to the story of Mad John. Like some of the tracks on side one of Ogden's, we can again witness the roots of heavy rock through songs like Rollin' Over. After the high of Ogden's it was difficult for the band to progress. Marriott moved towards heavier rock and eventually Humble Pie and the remainder of the band teamed up with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form the Faces. However, they managed to complete some wonderful songs, many of which were issued as The Autumn Stone, a compilation of latter work and a strong track itself. A personal favourite is the cover of Tim Hardin's Red Balloon. The remainder is made up of rarities and oddities but there is some good material here. So this is the best recorded version of the Immediate material and stands head and shoulders above the earlier budget reissues. If you weren't a fan before, you will be afterwards.
COPPERHEAD - Copperhead (1973)
Copperhead was an American rock and roll group founded by guitarist John Cipollina, after leaving the band Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1970. Copperhead originally consisted of Cipollina on lead guitar, Gary Phillips on vocals and second guitar and organ, Jim McPherson on vocals, piano and bass, Pete Sears on piano and bass, and David Weber on drums. Copperhead was originally signed to the Just Sunshine recording label but, in 1972, (Sears left to fly back to England and record with Rod Stewart and play in a band with Nicky Hopkins; bassist Hutch Hutchinson replaced him) it was signed to a major-label record deal by Clive Davis at Columbia Records and recorded its debut album entitled, Copperhead, released in 1973. The first album was a commercial failure, and Columbia refused to release their second album and Copperhead disbanded.
RONNIE MONTROSE - The First Four Solo... (1978/90)
Guitarist Ronnie Montrose began his career as a backing musician, playing with Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, and Edgar Winter. He finally formed his own band in 1973. Named after the guitarist, Montrose also featured vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church, and drummer Denny Carmassi; they released their debut album in 1974, and Church was replaced by Alan Fitzgerald shortly after its release. Arriving the following year, Paper Money confirmed the band's status as one of the more popular hard rock acts of its era. However, Hagar was fired after completing the Paper Money tour. Bob James replaced him and keyboardist Jim Alcivar joined the band, yet Montrose's next two albums - 1975's Warner Brothers Presents Montrose and 1976's Jump on It - were commercial failures.
Ronnie Montrose broke up the band after the release of Jump on It and began his own solo career with the all-instrumental Open Fire (1978). Montrose then formed another hard rock group, Gamma, which recorded three albums between 1979 and 1982. After they broke up in 1982, Montrose picked up his solo career once again. He released a rather low-key album, Territory, in 1983, following it four years later in 1987 with the hard-rocking and impressive Mean (attributing it to Gamma). The Speed of Sound appeared in 1988, with The Diva Station, a semi-instrumental mesh of soul, pop, metal, and jazz, arriving in 1990.
Montrose began putting more of his time into production work, but continued to release solo albums, including Mutatis Mutandis (1991), Music from Here (1994), Mr. Bones (1996), Roll Over and Play Live! (1999), and Bearings (1999), before reuniting Gamma for a fourth album in 2000. Montrose continued his production and session work, and would tour regularly over the last dozen years of his life, despite battling prostate cancer during the late 2000s. A self-inflicted gunshot ended his life on March 3, 2012. Montrose's final studio LP, which he had been working on prior to his death, was released in 2017; 10x10 was a guest-packed affair featuring the core trio of Montrose, Styx bassist Ricky Phillips, and Kiss drummer Eric Singer, with appearances by Sammy Hagar, Phil Collen, Glenn Hughes, Tommy Shaw, and Edgar Winter.
MICK ABRAHAMS BAND - A Musical Evening With The Mick Abrahams Band (1971) & At Last (1972)
The roots of Mick Abrahams' musical career were typical of aspiring guitarists in the mid-sixties, taking in stints with R&B groups like The Hustlers, The Toggery Five, Screaming Lord Sutch, Neil Christian's Crusaders (replacing Jimmy Page) and his own McGregor's Engine. By late 1967, Mick had become a founder member of Jethro Tull, and throughout 1968 the band built up a reputation based on the already distinctive blues guitar of Abrahams and the flute playing and wild stage persona of Ian Anderson. The band's unique blend of blues, jazz and rock was reflected in their first album This Was, an immediate UK chart hit. However, having two such strong personalities as a twin focus was always going to be a recipe for musical incompatibility, and Abrahams jumped ship at the end of 1968. While Tull sailed a new course away from the blues under Captain Anderson, Mick formed his own band, dubbed Blodwyn Pig by a stoned hippy friend just back from the Buddhist trail. Their two albums, 1969's Ahead Rings Out and 1970's Getting To This, were a delightful amalgam of the 'progressive blues' of This Was and the jazzier influences of saxophonist Jack Lancaster, and both albums spent several weeks in the UK Top Ten charts. America also embraced the band in the course of two tours there.
At that stage Blodwyn Pig looked destined for great things - but the old ogre of musical differences reared its ugly head, and Abrahams left his own band. Blodwyn Pig soldiered on for a while, but Mick's presence had been too vital a factor in their success and the Pig died. The early seventies saw Mick on Top Of The Pops and In Concert on Radio One with The Mick Abrahams Band, showcasing two fine guitar-driven rock albums in (A Musical Evening With) Mick Abrahams and At Last. The band enjoyed success throughout Europe, but record company support was less encouraging and after a short-lived Blodwyn Pig reunion in 1974 (immortalised via another Radio One live broadcast), a disillusioned Mick Abrahams effectively quit the music business.
V.A. - No Nukes: From The Muse Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future (1979)
No Nukes: The Muse Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future was a 1979 triple live album that contained selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective. Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall were the key organizers of the event and guiding forces behind the album.
This was the first official appearance of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's much ballyhooed live act on record, and their "Detroit Medley", a staple of the encores of their regular shows, achieved considerable album-oriented rock airplay. Otherwise the album did not get much radio attention, as many of the artists held back their best-known material from appearing on it or emphasized collaborative performances. The album was certified a gold record by the RIAA in September 1980. It was reissued as a two-CD set by Elektra Records in October 1997.
RICK DERRINGER - Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo (1996) + Live (2001)
Rick Derringer is an American guitarist, vocalist, producer and songwriter. He came to prominence in the 1960s as founding member of his band, The McCoys. At that time, they were taken to New York City to record what became the number one hit song "Hang on Sloopy". The McCoys then had seven songs that charted in the top 100, including versions of "Fever" and "Come on Let’s Go". In March 1974, Derringer had another major hit with his own song, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo". He has worked extensively with the brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, playing lead guitar in their bands, and also producing all of their gold and platinum disc recordings. He has worked with Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper and "Weird Al" Yankovic, producing Yankovic's Grammy Award-winning songs "Eat It" and "Fat". "Eat It" included Derringer's guitar solo, which emulated Eddie Van Halen's solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It". The work he did with Yankovic convinced Vince McMahon, the president of the World Wrestling Federation, that Derringer should be the producer of The Wrestling Album (1985) and then the follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II (1987). The albums included the entrance song for Hulk Hogan, "Real American", and the Demolition tag team, "Demolition".
Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo: Best of Rick Derringer collects all of Derringer's biggest hits and his album-rock staples, making it an excellent retrospective of his heyday as a popular arena rocker in the mid-'70s.
Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo - Live: 2001 release with live recordings from the 1983 King Biscuit Flower Hour vaults.
JETHRO TULL - Nightcap (1993)
Nightcap: The Unreleased Masters 1973–1991 (1993) is a double compilation album by Jethro Tull released on 22 November 1993. It contains much of the band's previously unreleased material. The first disc contains material recorded in August 1972, much of which was re-recorded and re-arranged for the band's sixth album, A Passion Play (the lyrics of "Critique Oblique" and "Scenario" actually refer to the "passion play" in question). The songs "Scenario", "Audition" and "No Rehearsal" initially appeared on the 20 Years of Jethro Tull box set as a single track entitled "The Chateau d'Isaster Tapes". This humorous title is also used on Nightcap as the title of the entire first disc. The material on the first disc was mixed and arranged as the aforementioned three tracks were on the 20 Years box set with numerous flute overdubs by Ian Anderson, but excludes the songs "Big Top" and "Sailor". All "Chateau d'Isaster" material was included as part of the 2014 re-release of A Passion Play, without any overdubs. The second disc contains unreleased material recorded between 1974 and 1991, in particular extra songs from the sessions for The Broadsword and the Beast. Most, but not all, of these songs also appear as bonus tracks on remastered versions of Jethro Tull's 1970's albums. The album was produced in limited quantities with proceeds going to charity.
THE HIGHWAYMEN - American Outlaws Live (2016)
The Highwaymen - Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson - were country music’s first bonafide “supergroup,” an epic quartet of blockbuster star power comprised of the four prime forces of America’s outlaw country music revolution.
The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws is a deluxe 3CD/1DVD (or 3CD/1 Blu-ray) box set including a) two audio discs recorded live at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, March 14, 1990; b) an audio disc with tracks recorded live at various Farm Aid Festivals and c) a previously unreleased full-length concert film recorded live at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, March 14, 1990 and transferred from the original film reels especially for this collection. As an added bonus, The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws debuts a previously unreleased recording of “One Too Many Mornings,” an alternate take of a Bob Dylan song which appeared on Heroes, a 1986 collaboration album by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. The track’s new incarnation includes vocals recorded by Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson in 2014.
STAMPEDERS - The First Four (1971/73)
The early '70s saw a mini-boom in America for Canadian-born rockers -- apart from major players like Neil Young and the Band, and singles chart fixtures like the Guess Who, there was an entire wave of one-hit and near-one-hit wonders. The Stampeders were part of this group, a trio originally from Calgary, Alberta, who hit the Top Ten in 1971 with the infectiously catchy "Sweet City Woman." They later charted low in the Hot 100 with "Devil You," and brushed the Top 40 in 1976 with "Hit the Road Jack." The Stampeders were originally formed as a rock sextet in 1964, playing the bar circuit in Calgary before they set out for Toronto in 1966, playing local clubs and building a name for themselves. They saw limited success as a recording act in Canada with the single "Morning Magic" in 1968, but it was soon after this that the group was reduced to a trio: Rich Dodson (guitar), Ronnie King (bass), and Kim Berly (drums). A year later, this version of the Stampeders had their first real success on record with the sublimely beautiful country-rocker "Carry Me," which charted in Canada and got released in America. Then, in 1971, they were signed to Bell Records, the New York-based label best known as the home of such pop/rock outfits as the Partridge Family and Tony Orlando & Dawn.
That summer, they had the biggest hit of their career with "Sweet City Woman," a genial piece of midtempo country-rock that reached the American Top Ten and did even better in Canada, so well and so widely played that some younger listeners from "down north" came to resent the group and its success. The group released an album to accompany the single, but somehow, "Sweet City Woman" was one of those songs that just didn't entice listeners to make the jump to laying out the extra money for the LP - the Sweet City Woman album never did much, although the group was popular enough for a time to justify three subsequent albums (for different labels, including Capitol) and a bunch of singles, none of which sold very well. Ironically, "Sweet City Woman" wasn't very representative of the Stampeders' sound, only one facet of it. Their music had its romantic side, but also incorporated elements of CCR-style swamp rock and roots rock, as befitted a band that had made its living playing bars in the Canadian far west. Their last entry on the American charts was a version of "Hit the Road Jack" which included a telephone conversation with disc jockey Wolfman Jack, which reached number 40 in 1976. This was around the time that the Wolfman had been made a virtual fixture in American popular culture, courtesy of George Lucas' American Graffiti and his subsequent appearances on television.
LINDISFARNE - The First Four (1970/70)
Lindisfarne are an English folk rock band from Newcastle upon Tyne established in 1968 (originally called Brethren). The original line-up comprised Alan Hull (vocals, guitar, piano), Ray Jackson (vocals, mandolin, harmonica), Simon Cowe (guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards), Rod Clements (bass guitar, violin) and Ray Laidlaw (drums).They are best known for the albums Nicely Out of Tune (1970), Fog on the Tyne (1971) (which became the biggest selling UK album in 1972), Dingly Dell (1972) and Back and Fourth (1978), and for the success of songs such as "Meet Me on the Corner", "Lady Eleanor", "Run for Home", "Fog on the Tyne" and "We Can Swing Together". The group began as The Downtown Faction, led by Rod Clements, then changed their name to Brethren. In 1968, they were joined by Alan Hull and became Lindisfarne, after the small island, Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland.
In 1970 Tony Stratton-Smith signed them to Charisma Records and their debut album Nicely Out of Tune was released that year. This album defined their mixture of bright harmony and up tempo folk rock. Neither single released from the album, "Clear White Light" or "Lady Eleanor", charted; nor did the album itself at first. However, the band obtained a strong following from its popular live concerts and built a reputation as one of the top festival bands. Their second album Fog on the Tyne (1971) produced by Bob Johnston, began their commercial success. This album reached No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart the following year. The extracted single "Meet Me on the Corner", composed by Clements and sung by Jackson, reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart and remains the only Lindisfarne song to win an Ivor Novello Award. The performance of this song on BBC TV's Top of the Pops featured Laidlaw striking a large bass drum with a rubber fish. "Lady Eleanor" was reissued as a follow-up to "Meet Me on the Corner" and reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 82 in the US. The debut album Nicely Out of Tune belatedly made the UK Albums Chart Top 10 and the band began to attract a larger media following, with some[who?] calling Hull the greatest songwriter since Bob Dylan. The band were referred to as the "1970s Beatles".
In 1972 they recorded their third album Dingly Dell, but the band were unhappy with the initial production and remixed it themselves. It was released in September 1972 and entered the Top 10 in the first week, receiving lukewarm reviews. The ecologically themed single "All Fall Down" was a UK Singles Chart No. 34 hit and the second single "Court in the Act" failed completely. Internal tensions surfaced during a disappointing tour of Australia in early 1973. Hull initially considered leaving the band, but was persuaded to reconsider. It was agreed that he and Jackson would keep the group name while Cowe, Clements and Laidlaw left to form their own outfit Jack The Lad. They were replaced by Tommy Duffy (bass guitar), Kenny Craddock (keyboards), Charlie Harcourt (guitar) and Paul Nichols (drums). The new line-up lacked the appeal of the original and with Hull also pursuing a solo career, the band's next two albums Roll on Ruby and Happy Daze and the subsequent singles failed to chart and they disbanded in 1975.
CLIFFORD / WRIGHT - For All the Money in the World (2021)
It may have taken 35 years, but CCR drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford’s supergroup, Clifford/Wright, is finally seeing the light of day. His concept was to assemble a mix of brilliant musicians, write an album’s worth of original songs, then record, mix and master the record. Once completed, he intentionally shelved the album and safely stored it in “Cosmo’s Vault.” Waiting for the right time to release the music. He brought in bassist and longtime friend Steve Wright from the Greg Kihn Band to help. Clifford and Wright, not only served as the rhythm section, but also worked as songwriting team, penning more than a dozen original songs for the album. Apparently 2021 is the right time to release the music. For All The Money In The World is the first from this trove of music by Clifford/Wright. It’s an impressively solid mix of rock with elements of pop and blues throughout. The albums was recorded in 1986 and there are definitely moments when this record feels like a mid-1980s album, especially the liberal use of keyboards throughout (most notably on “Lost Pride Fever” and the closing track, “You’re Gonna Love Again”). But there are also plenty of songs here that are more timeless, that could have just have easily been recorded last year. Keith England was brought in to handle vocals for this project and it’s obvious why; he has a great raspy voice, not unlike a Faces’ era Rod Stewart, that lends perfectly to the songs here. Among the strongest ones are the title track which opens the album, the driving “She Told me So,” and stellar, bluesy “I see Your Silhouette.”
Along with Clifford, Wright and England, the group included guitarists Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band), Jimmy Lyon (Eddie Money) and Joe Satriani, keyboard players Tim Gorman (The Who) and Pat Mosca (Greg Kihn Band). As the first album of songs from Cosmo’s Vault to see the light of day, For All The Money In The World serves as a great prelude for what will hopefully be the first of many releases from these archives.
PURE FOOD AND DRUG ACT - Choice Cuts (1972)
Pure Food and Drug Act (listed in The All Music Guide to the Blues, the Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music) was a band that was formed in the early 1970s by Don "Sugarcane" Harris. The band began with Paul Lagos on drums, Larry Taylor on bass and Randy Resnick on guitar. Resnick was at that time experimenting with a one and two handed tapping technique which later became a standard guitarist's tool. The group played small rooms in the Los Angeles area, such as the Troubadour and the Ash Grove, for several months. While the band was searching for a record deal, Larry Taylor allegedly began to tire of Don's constant lateness and irresponsibility and decided to continue his career with John Mayall. At the same time, Harvey Mandel, a Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat and Mayall alumnus, was brought in to beef up the accompaniment and to stimulate record label interest, as he already had a following from his Chicago blues days. To replace Taylor on bass, a relative newcomer, Victor Conte, was recruited from Common Ground, a funk band in Fresno that Resnick had played in. Conte went on to play in Tower of Power and with Herbie Hancock in his Monster Band.
Choice Cuts was the band's only album, recorded live in Seattle in 1972, but it was mostly unsuccessful. Allegedly because of Don's unreliable nature, the band rarely rehearsed. Live performances included extended solos and improvised ensemble sections, and one song would often last 20 minutes or more. Various line-up changes took place until the band broke up a few years after releasing its first album.
SPOOKY TOOTH - The Island Years (An Anthology) 1967-1974 
Part of the early-'70s British hard rock scene, Spooky Tooth grew out of the bluesy VIPs and prog rock group Art and consisted of vocalist Mike Harrison, keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright, guitarist Luther Grosvenor, bassist Greg Ridley, and drummer Mike Kellie. The group built a following through countless gigs and recorded its debut album, It's All About, in 1968. Spooky Two became their most successful album in the U.S.; afterwards, Ridley left to join Humble Pie and was replaced by Andy Leigh. Following 1970's Ceremony, Wright left to form Wonderwheel, while Grosvenor took the name Ariel Bender and joined Stealers Wheel and later Mott the Hoople. The addition of three members of Joe Cocker's Grease Band - Henry McCullough, Chris Stainton, and Alan Spenner - was not enough to keep the band afloat, and Spooky Tooth broke up after The Last Puff in 1970. A reunion in 1973 with Wright, Harrison, and future Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones produced several LPs, including the moderately successful You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw, but personnel shifts and a lack of top-notch material ended the project in 1974. Wright went on to a successful solo career, scoring pop hits like "Dream Weaver," and Mike Kellie later joined the punk-pop Only Ones.
The Island Years is a comprehensive anthology featuring the work British rock band Spooky Tooth who released seven studio albums between 1968 and 1974. This new box set features all of those long players and even steps back a year to 1967 to make room for Supernatural Fairy Tales, an album recorded by an earlier incarnation of the band called Art. The Island Years is available as a nine-CD box set or an eight-LP collection. All of the albums feature rare bonus material and the anthology ends with a full concert from April 1972, recorded in Germany. In total, there is over 30 previously unreleased recordings.
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com