Monday, April 25, 2016

The Reels - Requiem (1992)

(Australian 1976 - 1991, 2007 - Present)
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Late in 1979 it looked like a band with the most unlikely origins would be one of Australia's biggest hopes for the eighties.
The Reels had bounced out of the New South Wales town of Dubbo, hardly famous for its rock groups, with an album they had put down in a mobile studio. A couple of hit singles were cut from it and the band was on its way. But, by February, 1980, all the excitement surrounding the Reels had died down and virtually nothing was heard of them until July when they cropped up again on Countdown.
"Well, we broke off with our management and we wanted to re-assess everything we were doing because we weren't very happy" singer David Mason explained. "Then we started rehearsing again in Dubbo and got our Reels by Rail tour going."
The tour took the band through eastern Australia by train and was the build-up to recording a follow-up album to their self titled debut, which, by the way, was released in more than twenty countries. And the band got itself back on track - literally - under its own management.
"We just used different agencies for the tour and we want to employ someone to handle negotiations with our record company for us" Mason said, "we can handle the image part of it pretty well, but we need someone to organise things like contracts..a money person, that's what we need. None of us is into money too much. But it's hard to get someone who will just manage those things for you and not try to take control of you. We want to be totally in control of the creative side, things like the albums covers as well as the music. We don't have our record company telling us what to do because we're commercial anyway, so we don't need a manager running that side of things."


The reels are Mason, Colin Newham and Karen Ansell (keyboards), Craig Hooper (guitar), Paul Abrahams (bass) and John Bliss (drums). And proof of Mason's statement about their ability to be commercial is in almost every song they play.
Often dismissed as simple, sometimes labelled punk by those who obviously don't know, the Reel's music, in fact, is as close as most bands ever get to producing a radio programmer's dream come true. And all that hope for the 1980's is alive and kicking. [Feature article from Countdown Annual, 1980. p54]
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The Reels 1980
The Reels Stop Gigging
Live gigs are likely to be a rarity from now on for The Reels, with the electro-pop threesome electing to concentrate more on recording and making videos.
This fresh decision, announced by vocalist Dave Mason, is a surprise not only to the band's followers.,. "Our manager - and our bank manager - will freak out when they hear it," he said shortly after the group returned to Sydney after about five months of being "Aussie tourists" in the United States, England and Europe,
"We're just not interested in live gigs," he said, "We just want to record and make videos, and write songs.
Asked to elaborate, Dave said the trouble lay with the crowds, venue owners, the people who book venues, and the attitude of those in the industry,
"When you are in a band you have to get out there and pay your dues — but you have to play in places where people get knifed end girls get raped.
"Who wants that? We don't want to encourage that any more. It doesn't suit the band's image."
However, Dave said the group was interested in "nice gigs" with the right type of audience, and was interested in playing to kids, though he did not think a tour of schools was likely.
He recalled the days in his hometown of Dubbo. when once a week he went to see a major gig at a dance open to everyone,
"That sort of scene's just died in Australia, but it's still thriving In England." There were no venues in Australia for anyone under 17 years old. "Kids are trained in Australia to become yobbos if they want to get interested in the rock and roll scene," Overseas the rock and roll scene was the same, said Dave, but it was worse in London, especially the venues.
I think they are past caring about what audiences want. They cram in so many people you can't breathe. They turn off the air conditioning so you will buy more booze. Who cares, as long as you are making money?
"If they think that is the only way to make a buck, they have got to be kidding. "It is okay for some bands, who basically cater tor people who like that."
Dave said there was still pressure on The Reels to work in such venues "We'll just look at different ways of making money ... or we'll have to do with less money.
"We will play, but only when we want to. And when we're ready to, it will be in places we want to play in."
Dave said the "very recent" decision about live performances was voted on two to one by the group.
For exposure, Dave sees the possibilities of television "just endless"
"We have the best TV in the world here, especially with Channel 0. But television doesn't respect bands,
"Only when performers are megastars or are so old they are just about to hit the clubs do they get on TV.
"You can get on Simon Townsend's 'Wonderworld', which is great, or Countdown - but it is horrible as they refuse to have a studio audience now.

The Reels 1984
 We're not Interested in playing rock and roll gigs - we find them repulsive,"
It was a silly thing to do, to take away the kids," in England one could get up at 7am and see a band on television - "You can see top 40 groups in the studio performing as part of the entertainment on shows."
Back In Australia, said Dave, the same old groups were appearing in outdoor concerts.
"We very rarely have an amiable line-up. The set-up is not right for us, especially when using tape machines,"
And while Australia produced the best heavy metal bands In the world, it could at the same time produce the best pop bands. "Isn't it wonderful that the Models are on the top 10 at long last.
"Rock and roll is not everybody's taste." Dave said he was not bitter nor unhappy.
"We just can't go on. We have just got to stop and concentrate. I know we can still produce records and put them out to the marketplace.
"I think we can sell records without having to go live. "But when we do go live, we want to put on a show - a spectacle.
"People pay $7 to see Return Of The Jedi and know they have seen something great, but if they pay $7 for a band, what have they seen?
"We have always tried to use visuals in our shows, but they have never been appreciated. We have been using slides for three years, and now other groups are using them." [Article by Louis Edwards. Countdown Magazine, Jan 1984. p16]
Mason and Hooper
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy of this compilation 'best of' album. I believe it was released on cassette tape as well.  Full album artwork and scans of the two Countdown articles are also included.  One of my favourite tracks by the Reels is their cover of the Bacharach classic "This Guy's In Love" and it featured on my own wedding video back in 86'.
Question:  Shouldn't men get time off for good behavior after 30 years of marriage?  Well.....shouldn't we??
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Track Listing 
01 - Love Will Find A Way
02 - Prefab Heart
03 - After The News
04 - According To My Heart
05 - Shout & Deliver
06 - Quasimodo's Dream
07 - No.3
08 - This Guy's In Love
09 - Last Night (I Couldn't Get To Sleep)
10 - Happiness
11 - Bad Moon Rising
12 - World's End
13 - Love Grows
14 - Forever Now
15 - I Don't Love You Anymore
16 - Bad Moon Rising (Filthy Lucre Remix)

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The Reels were over time:
Dave Mason - Vocals
Craig Hooper - Guitar and Synthesisers
Colin Newham - Keyboards, Sax and Guitar
John Bliss, Stephan Fidock - Drums
Tony Martin, Paul Abrahams - Bass
Karen Ansell - Synthesiser
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The Reels Requiem FLACs (338MB)
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The Reels Requiem MP3s (126Mb)
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prince - R.I.P (21-04-2016)

(U.S 1978 - 2016)

The award-winning singer, songwriter and actor — born Prince Rogers Nelson — became an international superstar in 1982 after his breakthrough album 1999. He famously changed his stage name to a symbol in 1993.

In his lifetime, the Purple Rain singer won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

He sold tens of millions of albums worldwide in a career that spanned several decades and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Prince’s publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed his death.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” the publicist said in a statement. “There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”




A TRULY SAD DAY FOR ALL WHO HEARD OR SAW PRINCE PERFORM 

This post pays tribute to his sheer musical genius. MP3's (256kps) with limited Artwork

Track Listing
01 - Sign O The Times
02 - Play In The Sunshine
03 - Little Red Corvette
04 - Housequake
05 - Girls And Boys
06 - Slow Love
07 - I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
08 - Hot Thing
09 - Now's The Time
10 - Drum Solo
11 - Let's Go Crazy
12 - When Doves Cry
13 - Purple Rain
14 - 1999
15 - The Cross 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kiss - Allphones Arena, Sydney (2015) Ex. Bootleg

(U.S 1973-Present)
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The godfathers of rock, KISS, announced they were touring Australia in October, 2015 as part of a 40th Anniversary World Tour.
The six-concert tour took off in Perth on October 3, then moved to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle.
The band’s latest show, "The Spider", featured a giant computer-controlled monster arachnid hanging over the stage as part of a 43-tonne set with 900 pyrotechnics and 400,000 watts of sound.
Supporting them were super group 'The Dead Daisies', featuring Richard Fortus from Guns ‘n’ Roses and John Corabi from Motley Crue.
Only two members of the original KISS lineup remain: Paul Stanley, 63, and Gene Simmons, 65, alongside percussionist Eric Singer, now on his third tour of duty in the band, and lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, who joined in 2002.
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Concert Review 1
As for Kiss, what can you say that hasn’t been said a hundred times before? There are so few bands these days so self-aware and so gloriously over the top that somehow the well-worn cliché of their performance always manages to suspend disbelief and exceed expectations. As a veteran of just two Kiss shows two decades apart tonight just seems so much more than I could have imagined, or remember. Sure it’s cheesy, sure Paul’s sincerity, which is overwhelming at times seems too much, but in the context of the show it all makes perfect sense.


From Stanley’s pouts and ruffling of his glorious mane, to Simmons’ evil stares and fire-breathing antic Kiss has finally got to that point in their career 40 years on where the parody has become part of the enjoyment of the show. And whilst die-hards may moan about the face-paint worn by Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer – those guys are both an integral part of the spectacle.

Opening with the band descending from ‘The Spider’ the huge stage set the band has brought over to Australia for the first time – almost an update of the old Alive II staging – it’s gloves off; and as the riff from ‘Detroit Rock City’ hits with smoke and lasers and all manner of pyrotechnics in play its going to be a glorious visual as well as aural experience.

Tonight the set-list was spot on, bringing back as it does a slew of mid-period Creatures of the Night material -  starting with the title track and adding a rather fine ‘I Love it Loud’ and ‘War Machine’. It’s a welcome surprise interspersed at it is with the vintage: ‘Deuce’ ad ‘Do You Love Me’ (always a favourite that one!) and the newer ‘Psycho Circus’ and ‘Hell or Hallelujah’.

Gene Simmons
Of course it’s the set pieces that steal a lot of the thunder – from Gene’s blood spitting bass solo, during which he flies back up to the belly of the spider; to his fire-breathing during  ‘War Machine’ and Paul’s flying fox visit to the cheaper seats during an impeccable ‘Love Gun’ . But tonight every song had its pyrotechnic accompaniment, and the big screens reflect on the past forty years with some cool shots from the archive.

Closing the main part of the show the much-loved ‘Black Diamond’ still takes some beating. The encores of course were unforgettable: ‘Shout It Out Loud’ giving way to ‘I Was Made for Loving You’ before ‘Rock and Roll all Nite’ and several tons of white confetti  closed the set, and opened up the Australia leg of the World Tour. [Review taken from therockpit.net]
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Paul Stanley
Concert Review 2
We wanted the best and, oh man, did we get the best!

As any one of the near-capacity crowd of twenty-thousand who packed into Sydney’s Allphones Arena last night can attest, the power of a KISS show is still immense even after forty years.

Or, perhaps it’s because they've had four decades of experience playing stadiums and arenas – think of that, how many other bands can lay such a claim? Other than the Rolling Stones, not many at all – that Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer know what it takes to grab an audience by the scruff of the neck, buffet them with heavy guitars, thumping drums, flame bursts, lasers, smoke bombs and some of the greatest rock anthems ever written, and send them home happy.


If you were in the audience last night, and you didn't enjoy the show, which ran for a pleasing two hours, you’re either lying to yourself or you hate rock music. KISS know what their fans want, and they deliver in spades. The new spider stage – something you have to see to believe – is the centrepiece of a spectacle that is unrivalled in rock today, and will probably never be topped in the annals of rock music history…except maybe the next time KISS tour.

Of course, Australia has always been a happy hunting ground for KISS, stretching way back to the 1980 tour dubbed Kisteria, but Australians are notoriously fickle when it comes to performing artists not from these shores. Big overseas acts have been roundly panned and abandoned here. Not so, KISS. Despite line-up changes over the years, and a switch from face paint to being unmasked, a few farewell tours, and some more line-up changes, the band still draws a crowd.

It was the band’s third show in as many nights, having played Melbourne twice, and singer Paul Stanley, who’s voice is, let’s face it, not what it used to be, could probably have done with more of a break between performances. His voice was wearing thin towards the end, but the ample supply of Gene Simmons-sung numbers – including ‘War Machine’, ‘I Love It Loud’ and a pulsating ‘God Of Thunder’ sung from the Allphones rafters – saved the show from disaster.


Look, everyone knows that Stanley’s voice isn't what it once was. The people in charge of the tour should have recognised that three shows in a row might not have been the smart move. Stanley was searching hard for the high notes late, and not always finding them. It was a situation that could easily have been avoided. A day or two off and Stanley would've been fine. It’s just as well that KISS aren't playing tonight.

Aside from Stanley’s voice giving up the ghost late, this was a powerful show. I love the new set list that includes a more even split of songs sung by Stanley and Simmons (and Eric Singer’s ‘Black Diamond’ was as good a vocal performance as there was all night) simply because there are some great Gene songs that didn't always get a look in. The afore-mentioned ‘War Machine’, for example. That is a brilliant song to hear live!

Just as you would expect, all the old favourites were there – ‘Detroit Rock City’ to open, as the Spider Stage lowered the band from the rafters to the stage, ‘Lick It Up’, ‘Love Gun’, ‘Deuce’, ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’, ‘Shout it out Loud’ and the memorable confetti-soaked show closer, ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ – and all sung with a searing, hard edge. As good rock should be!


‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ may sound disco-tinged on a record, but on the stage, it’s as heavy a song as the band has in their catalogue. ‘Love Gun’ is even more bombastic live than on the record (and was sung by Stanley after taking a flying fox across to a B-stage in the middle of the arena), and everything from Creatures of the Night is titanium-tough. Even ‘Hell or Hallelujah’ from KISS’s most recent release, 2012’s Monster, is epic. It’s going to be a classic, Stanley tells us. And, having heard it live a few times now, I don’t doubt it.

Then there was the flame, smoke, fireworks and laser lights that, nightly, transform KISS from being a normal rock band to one of the can’t-miss Bucket List performs in the history of rock. Gene’s blood spitting and fire breathing isn’t new, but it’s a It’s an assault on the senses in the very best sense of the world, and I remain convinced that the band’s arsenal of things that go BOOM! Is bigger than some small country’s!

For guys who are getting on in age, they move so smoothly around the stage, despite doing it in platform heels, clad in gear that, whilst it looks good, probably isn’t hugely practical for what they do. Gene must sweating like a machine beneath his body-encasing armour, but he never shows it. His on-stage act, whilst perhaps bordering on comical/pantomime at times, is a highlight.


Paul Stanley is the ultimate showman. The way he commands an audience is beyond impressive, as is his ability to move around the stage like he’s gliding a few inches above it. He’s definitely the ying to Simmons’ Yang, and the two as an on-stage force are just about unparalleled in rock. You think of great on-stage combinations – Jagger and Richards, Axl and Slash, Bono and The Edge, Springsteen and Clemons – and realise that Stanley and Simmons are right up there. 

Special mention to Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer on guitar and drums. They’re brilliant musicians – and, by all accounts, brilliant people, too – and KISS fans should thank them for their service rather than comparing them to their predecessors. After all, without their efforts in the wake of well-publicised issues with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, there’s a very good chance that KISS wouldn’t exist today. For mine, Singer is a better drummer than Criss ever was.

KISS! You’ve delivered another epic. Can’t wait to see you again!  [Review by Kitch at blogkitch.blogspot.com.au]
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The Party Never Ends For Kiss
(Rolling Stone Article, Nov 2015, p31) 

"More than four decades after forming, the legendary rockers return to Australia"

When  KISS  first  toured Australia in 1980, they were, says frontman Paul Stanley, "prisoners of the hotel", such was the pandemonium surrounding the band. "It was amazing to be front page news every day and to meet some incredible people and some equally incredible women," he titters. Thirty-five years on, Kiss are returning once again this month, bringing with them their 'spider' stage production. Stanley checked in ahead of the tour to reflect on the band's career.

You've been doing this for 42 years. Is there anything left for you to learn about playing live?

I'm pretty good at it. But that doesn't mean I enjoy it any less. What happened with time is I cherish what I do that much more. So to be up on stage, I don't know how much I have to learn at this point, but I savour what I've created and what the fans give back.


Is there an era where you think the band was at the peak of their powers creatively?

People tend to see that initial surge as the high point, and quite honestly I think we've eclipsed that. I believe that Sonic Boom [2009] or Monster [2012] are as good as anything we've done, it's just that anything that's classic has to go through a period of time. "Psycho Circus", "Lick it Up", those are now classics, but they weren't classics when they came out. So in terms j of firing on all cylinders, we've never fired ! on more efficient cylinders than we do now.

2015 marks 40 years since the Kiss Alive tour. Is that hard to process?

It's hard to digest it. Forty years is a lifetime, and to think that I'm doing today what I did then, nothing's really changed. This has been my life. If 40 years is a lifetime, well, it's been mine.

Any plans to follow up the 'Destroyer' and 'Love Gun' reissues with more from your back catalogue?

We'll see. At the moment the plate's full, but tomorrow the phone may ring and someone will say, "Why don't you go in and remix Rock and Roll Over?" Who knows. Each day brings a new surprise.

So there's no strategy? That seems odd for a band like Kiss.

No, none.

For all the adoration Kiss receives, is there anything you don't think you get enough credit for?

I get all the credit I need from the people who count. And the people who don't give credit don't count. If you deny the truth, then why would I waste my time? I only have time for the people who share my beliefs. I'm not here to make converts. [Interview by Rod Yates]


This post consists of MP3's (320kps) sourced from Drac Ulla at bootlegsworldwide with thanks. Limited artwork is compensated by loads of tour photos and stage shots.  The quality of this concert is quite remarkable for a bootleg and the recording has been more than likely sourced from the main mixing board.  I only wish I had made the effort to go to their earlier Melbourne concert at the Rod Laver Centre and would be interested in hearing from anyone who might have attended.

Track Listing
CD1
01. Intro
02. Detroit Rock City  
03. Deuce
04. Psycho Circus
05. Creatures of the Night
06. I Love It Loud
07. War Machine
08. Do You Love Me
09. Hell or Hallelujah
10. Guitar and Drum Solos
11. Calling Dr. Love


CD2
12. Lick It Up
13. Bass Solo
14. God of Thunder
15. Cold Gin
16. Love Gun
17. Intro: Black Diamond
18. Black Diamond
19. Shandi
20. Shout It Out Loud 
21. I Was Made for Lovin' You 
22. Rock and Roll All Nite  



Kiss Link (248Mb)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Galapagos Duck - Endangered Species (1985)

(Australian 1969 - Present)
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Galapagos Duck is an Australian jazz band. Formed in 1969, they have an extensive history of international touring, including:
-Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
-Jazz Yatra Festival, Bombay, India
-American Musexpo
-Singapore International Jazz Festival
-Queenstown Jazz Festival, New Zealand
-Vanuatu International Jazz Festival, Vanuatu

The band formed in 1969 for the winter season at "The Kosciusko Ski Chalet, Charlottes Pass".
Before it moved to The Rocks Push jazz club in Sydney, the band in 1969 was Marty Mooney and Tom Hare (reeds), Chris Qua (bass and trumpet), and Des Windsor (piano and organ).

Bruce Viles (owner of the Rocks Push) established The Basement jazz club at Circular Quay in 1973 and the Galapagos Duck opened there as the house band. At that time, the personnel was Marty Mooney and Tom Hare (reeds), Chris Qua (bass and trumpet), Willie Qua (drums and reeds) and 
Doug Robson (piano).

Some of the top names in Australian jazz have worked with the band at one time or another, including Dave Levy, Roger Frampton (no relation to Peter I'm afraid!), Col Nolan, Paul McNamara and Warren Daly (ex-Daly-Wilson Big Band). For more info, see their website  and a previous post I made for their 1977 Magnum album.

How the ‘Duck’ got its name
I’ve heard a few versions of the story, but this was told me by Tom Hare and John Connelly during my radio interview in the 1980s in Townsville. The “Duck Flies North” tour was to promote their “Endangered Species” album, sponsored by the Australian Wildlife Society : ‘In the early days at “The Basement” in Sydney the band shared the stage with an assortment of props for various functions. Alongside the old paraphernalia was a large wheel with a clapper that produced a loud clacking-quacking sound when it was spun around the numbers on the outer edge, giving rise to much humour in dull moments.

Around this time general conversation was rife about the discovery of the last giant tortoise left on the Galapagos Islands, nicknamed “Lonely George”. Spike Milligan was a firm follower of the band, often sitting in on trumpet and when a visitor to the club asked him the name of the band, in his own peculiar habit of zany humour, Spike told him: “it sounds like a Galapagos Duck”.
The following week the new chum was heard telling his friends loudly, “Oh, they’re the Galapagos Duck”. The name stuck. It is often misspelt, but seldom forgotten, and followers agree the band will never become an 'endangered species'. 
[from Bundaberg-Jazz-Waves-Newsletter-Issue 25-February-2015, Editor: Valerie Brown]

Album Review
Galapagos Duck would be counted as one of Australia's best-known jazz bands (which may not be saying that much, in truth). With a constantly changing personnel, they have been in existence since 1969, when the original members got together to play some gigs in the NSW snowfields 
during ski season.

Since then the band has travelled a long musical road through most spectra of the jazz idiom, owing to the eclectic strengths of various members of the band. Their sound is unique, partly owing to their wide-ranging use of idiom, and the fact that over time most members of the band have been multi-instrumentalists, which means that in any one night or recording the line-up of instruments can change from tune to tune.

Endangered Species was released in 1985, in aid of the World Wildlife Fund. I suppose in some ways it could be termed as a concept album, in that the songs are about specific endangered species, or wildlife in general, with one song about the Greenpeace organisation.
As with most albums created around a concept, there are high points and low points in this recording. In fact quite often it is the grooves that stand out, rather than the tunes as a whole. The riff in Hindsight is very catchy, the groove in China Bear is good, (the lyrics aren't!), Living Planet has a great funk feel, and Grizzly Bear is a classic R'n'B type groove.

There are also some tunes here that hark back to traditional jazz, Wombat Walk being one of them. All the instrumentalists are top notch, with especially good trombone playing - in fact a few of the tunes feature a frontline of trombone and tenor sax, which perhaps shouldn't work as well as it does, given they are playing in the same voice.

The album is let down by it's lyrics - four tunes are sung, and the lyrics are somewhat trite (especially in Poor Little Bustard), which is a shame, as they make this album less than the sum of it's parts. 
[Review by Roger Clark, from A View Over The Bell, 2011]

The reason I've included this album here is because it is a great introduction to jazz - many styles are included here, the improvisation is good and easy to follow, and the grooves get into your head. 
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my newly acquired vinyl copy (found tucked away in a box of jazz records at a garage sale) which literally sparkled when I inspected its condition. No crackles and pops on this one folks.  Full album artwork and label scans (ABC records) included.  
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Track Listing
01 - Hindsight (Tasmanian Tiger) 4:27
02 - Wombat Walk 3:42
03 - Whale Song 4:05
04 - Rhino Rag 4:06
05 - China Bear 3:45
06 - In The Wild 5:00
07 - Living Planet 5:07
08 - Greenpeace 3:26
09 - Grizzly Bear 4:13
10 - Poor Little Bustard 3:45
11 - Save The Duck 3:05
12 - In The Wild Pt II 2:40
13 - Whale Song 4:44
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Galapagos Duck consists of: 
Tom Hare - Saxaphones, trumpet, flugelhorn, drums
Greg Foster - Trombone, harmonica, didgeridoo, ocarina, vocal
Bob Egger - Keyboards
John Conley - Electric bass and guitar
Len Barnard - Drums, percussion, washboard and vocal
Nicky Crayson - Vocals
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Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dream Academy - Selftitled (1985) plus Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1983–1991, 2014).
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The Dream Academy are an English folk rock, dream pop and sophisti-pop band, comprising singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes, multi-instrumentalist Kate St John, and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel.

In America and Australia, The Dream Academy tends to be best known for one song: “Life in a Northern Town.” Thankfully, this is an instance where one can safely say that if you're going to be known for one song, that's a pretty great one to be known for, but it in no way comes close to telling you who the group really was, how they came about, or what sort of legacy they've left behind beyond that one song. For example, did you know they actually had two top-40 hits? True story. History tends to forget that “The Love Parade” actually hit #37.

Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel wrote "Life In A Northern Town", and was dedicated to the singer Nick Drake, who was 26 years old in 1974 when he died of an antidepressant overdose which may have been suicide. His work was very influential to many British musicians and songwriters, and his legend grew after his death.



The song was not specifically about Nick Drake, as some suppose, but merely dedicated to his memory. Laird-Clowes recalled to Mojo magazine in a 2011 interview: "The song was created in a Southgate bedsit where Gilbert Gabriel had a room. We wrote it while sitting on a floor. Just two guitars - one nylon strung with just three strings on it, while the other was the same guitar that was on the cover of Nick Drake's Bryter Layter. We had the idea, even before we sat down, to write a folk song with an African-style chorus. We started it and when we got to the verse melody, there was something about it that reminded me of Nick Drake, who I had been turned on to in 1972 by Roundhouse DJ Jeff Dexter. It was Jeff who first informed me what a brilliant record Bryter Layter was. He claimed, 'I know where that guitar is and one day we'll get hold of it.'


I was working at the RCA record factory in Ladbroke Grove at the time and bought Nick Drake's guitar for £100. When the single was completed I dedicated it to Nick."
"Northern Town" started life with a different title. Laird-Clowes told Mojo that he had befriended Paul Simon at one point and the two stayed in touch. He recalled: "I played him the song and he asked, 'What are you going to call it - 'Ah Hey Ma Ma Ma?' I told him that we intended to name it 'Morning Lasted All Day.' 'That's no good,' he said and so I came up with 'Life In A Northern Town.' which he thought was a great title."
The song's subject matter was inspired by the time Laird-Clowes spent working on a music TV program that was produced in the north east England city of Newcastle. He recalled to Mojo: "The lyric emerged because I was an early presenter on The Tube and Geoff Wonfor, who went on to shoot The Beatles Anthology series, showed me the long lines of people unemployed and the shipyards that were closed down. That's what 'Life in Northern Town' is really all about."

David Gilmour (aka Pink Floyd) helped produce The Dream Academy selftitled album with Nick Laird-Clowes. Initially, Dream Academy's record label - Warner Brothers - didn't want to release this song, as they felt it needed more drums. The band refused and it became a worldwide hit. [extracts from rhino.com]

.This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl and is accompanied with artwork for LP only. As an added bonus, I have included two additional tracks, both taken from my prized 12" Single featuring the extended version of "Life In A Northern Town" and the non-album track "Test Tape No3".   If you liked their big hit single, then you won't be disappointed with this album release.
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Track Listing
01 - Life In A Northern Town
02 - (Poised On) The Edge Of Forever
03 - (Johnny) New Light
04 - In Places On The Run
05 - This World
06 - Bound To Be
07 - Moving On
08 - The Love Parade
09 - The Party
10 - One Dream
11 - Test Tape No3 (Bonus Single)
12 - Life In A Northern Town (Bonus Single Extended Version)

Nick Laird-Clowes - Guitar / Vocals / Harmonica
Gilbert Gabriel - Keyboards / Vocals
Kate St. John - Oboe / Piano Accordion, Tenor Saxophone / Vocals
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The Dream Academy (125Mb)
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bonham - The Disregard of Timekeeping (1989)

(U.K 1989 - 1992)
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Jason Bonham first began playing drums at the age of four, and appeared with his father in the film The Song Remains the Same, drumming on a scaled-down kit. At 17, he joined his first band, Airrace. In 1985, he joined Virginia Wolf, making two albums and touring the US supporting the Firm.In 1988, Bonham joined former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for his Outrider album and tour. In May of the same year, Bonham appeared with the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin for a performance at Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in New York City.

In 1989, Bonham appeared as a special guest at the Moscow Music Peace Festival, performing the song "Rock and Roll" with many major rock stars of the day. That same year, he formed his own band, Bonham, whose Zeppelin-inflected first release. ' The Disregard of Timekeeping' had a hit single, "Wait for You" and the music video for the subsequent single "Guilty" did get some play; however, after a lukewarm reception for their 1992 release, 'Mad Hatter', the band was dissolved, and Bonham concentrated on session work and guest appearances.
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Review1
I have no doubt that being the son of a famous father opens doors in the music business just like any other. But, nepotism aside, obscurity is only one bad review away and if you can't perform you'll soon be found out by public and critics alike. So, after the indifferent reaction to his previous band Virginia Wolf, Jason Bonham had his entire future riding on the success of this group. In fact, I would suggest it smacks of desperation by all concerned that they feel they have to sell themselves on the strength of Bonham's name. Personally, I find it impossible to judge whether Bonham the drummer is up to scratch. How can you distinguish one from another unless you are a drummer?

To give tub-thumpers the benefit of the doubt maybe you have to understand the technicalities to make any sort of call. As to Bonham the band, the fact they disappeared with little more than a ripple is more to do with bad timing than any musical deficiency. In truth, this traditional style of rock was very much in the decline at the time of the album's release and so it was almost destined to fail.
Bonham are certainly not afraid of the inevitable comparisons with Led Zeppelin, in act they seem to actively encourage them with Daniel MacMaster sounding uncannily like Robert Plant. The Disregard Of Timekeeping is not a brilliant album, but released only five years earlier and who knows?

Review2
It shouldn't be surprising that the debut album by a band fronted by Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, would bear a resemblance to the music of Dad's band. But The Disregard of Timekeeping doesn't so much sound like a Led Zeppelin album as it does like one of the solo albums by former Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. That is to say, it is altogether more conventional and controlled -- more pop, in a word -- than Zeppelin, which could be quite adventurous at times.

Here, Bonham-the-group sets up majestic guitar/keyboard riff patterns; Daniel MacMaster, in a familiar tenor screech, repeats simple chorus hooks; and Bonham-the-drummer pounds away in the familiar hard, woody sound of his father. The result is palatable, but without the famous name it would be hard to distinguish from the army of other Zep imitators. [AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann]

This post was mainly chosen as I am a long standing Zep fan - Black Dog was my initiation and Rock 'N' Roll was their swan song (pun intended), so I do enjoy a bit of good skin action when it comes around. Who better to continue this on but the son of the great John Bonham. This post was ripped from my cassette tape release into MP3 format (320kps) and includes full artwork for the CD release. The sound quality is excellent (and in some ways superior to vinyl) and should keep most head bangers out there happy.

Tracklist
01 - The Disregard Of Timekeeping 2:09
02 - Wait For You 5:00
03 - Bringing Me Down 4:18
04 - Guilty 4:35

05 - Holding On Forever 4:55
06 - Dreams 7:51
07 - Don't Walk Away 4:41
08 - Playing To Win 6:52
09 - Cross Me And See 5:24
10 - Just Another Day 4:24
11 - Room For Us All 7:10


Jason Bonham - drums, percussion
Daniel MacMaster - lead vocals
Ian Hatton - lead & rhythm guitars
John Smithson - bass, keyboards


Bonham Link  (132Mb)
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Patch - The Star Suite (1973)

(Australian 1973)
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'The Star Suite' is an interpretation of the Four Elements of the Zodiac: Air, Fire, Water & Earth by an all Australian studio band called Patch.
The idea of this Aussie project, based in Melbourne, was conceived by renowned producer Peter Dawkins (Dragon, Billy Thorpe, Australian Crawl, Billy T, Rabbit, Mi Sex Pseudo Echo and Air Supply), who gathered a line-up of rock veterans and session musicians to play music inspired by the four elements of the Zodiac. ''The star suite'' came out in 1973 on the Harvest label.

Patch was mainly made up of Ariel and Taman Shud personnel, guitarist and fine folk singer /songwriter, Mike McClellan and others. It is not hard to pick out Spectrum / Ariel's Mike Rudd's guitar in the mix along with keyboardist Tony Esterman, New Zealander Rod Coe on bass and drummer Doug Gallacher, later of Madden & Harris.

They were supported by a number of guests, like percussionist Ian Bloxsom from Crossfire, Tony Ansell on organ, bassist Bill Putt, also of Spectrum and Ariel, cellist Nathan Waks, Ariel's and Taman Shud's guitarist Tim Gaze and saxophonist Doug Foskett.

Peter Dawkins
Liner Notes (thanks to Ozmuze at Midoztouch2 for transcription)
An original and stimulating concept in music, this suite depicts the most fundamental and profound aspect of astrological symbolism, that of the consideration of the signs of the zodiac in relation to the elements of fire, earth, air and water. One of the most important and ancient classifications (the very starting point of astrological development) and which are personified in four specific and quite definite horoscopical “types” of people. The connecting theme, evident throughout the different movements, has its correspondence in astrology in the common denominator that unites all people, that is, the similarities that are derived simply from the basic human factor involved, which can occasionally become submerged in efforts aimed at detailed interpretation and analysis, and attempts to define the characteristics of every zodiac personality by keeping each separate and distinctly and recognizably different.
Each movement musically portrays the division of that particular “element” into three, that of cardinal, fixed and mutable, and the extension of the initial primary types into the more subtle categories of the twelve signs. The make-up of each of us is a vast yet delicate merging and balancing of varied yet often contradictory character traits, which find clear and genuine connections via our personal natal chart, with the planetary patterns formed at the actual moment, date and place of birth. Every person should be able to give ample reign to their imagination and should find in each of the movements of this suite startling musical ideas that strike chords of identification in the more perceptive regions of the mind (with perhaps an especial rapport with the “element” that singularly might be the most predominant in his own individual horoscope).
I hope that you enjoy this sensitive and beautifully artistic expression of the elements as much as I have. by Karen Moregold.

Mike Rudd & Bill Putt
Review
Four long, instrumental tracks with a gentle atmosphere was what Patch had created and the opening ''Air'' sounds pretty promising, despite its soft and elaborate atmosphere, it sounds like the instrumental efforts of Goldon Giltrap, featuring a heavy acoustic content next to some jazzy keyboards and mellow electric guitars and swirling around orchestral, Fusion and light, psychedelic overtones.I am afraid that the next three pieces are not as good, even if the extended running times give promise for some charming musicianship.''Fire'' holds a very long Classical-drenched harpsichord theme, which is not really memorable, then the music sinks into a mellow Fusion style with decent organ and electric piano, before evolving into some kind of electric Folk Rock.

''Water'' is without question the jazziest cut of the album, but it lacks the nerve and density of the better bands of the style, again the keyboard work is worth mentioning, but I can find no relation between the stretched jazzy experiments and the following Psych/Folk environments on acoustic guitar and organ. ''Earth'' is a constantly developing Fusion piece, opening with flute and acoustic guitars, synthesisers and calm electric textures take over, but the addition of sax after the middle make this one sound more like Jazz Funk.

The music is entirely instrumental and is progressive at its best. Despite being made up of only 4 tracks and being over 40 minutes long, it is by no means boring. It has an ethereal, dreamy feel, building to great climaxes, all rather good, really. Overall, the music is generally better than the awful cover.
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This post consists of MP3's (256kps) ripped from vinyl (sourced on the web many moons ago) and includes limited artwork.  Note that the rip is a single file Album Wrap. This Australian album is rather obscure and has sold for $50-$150 over the past five years, when it has turned up for sale.  Grab this rip while you can!
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Tracks Listing
01.  Air (9:15)
02.  Fire (10:41)
03.  Water (10:57)
04.  Earth (11.14)

Line-up / Musicians
- Peter Dawkins / concept, composer, producer
- Mike Rudd / electric guitar, composer
- Mike McClellan / acoustic guitar, composer
- Doug Gallacher / drums
- Tony Esterman / keyboards
- Rod Coe / bass

Supporting Musicians:

- Bill Putt / bass (4)
- Tony Ansell / organ (2,3)
- Nathan Waks / electric cello (1,4)
- Tim Gaze / electric guitar (1,2,4)
- Ian Bloxham / percussion (3,4)
- The Bennelong Trio, Peter Draper / guitar (4, opening)
- The Bennelong Trio, Brian Strong / cello (4, opening)
- The Bennelong Trio, Nick Negerovich / flute (4, opening)
- Mike Perjanik / ARP synthesizer (1-3)
- Doug Fosket / saxophone (4)  'Awesome solo by the way !'  
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