Monday, October 15, 2018

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Underdog (1979)

(U.S 1970 - Present)
Bringing their run during the high-times seventies to a close, Atlanta Rhythm Section shipped the Underdog album in 1979. With original drummer and songwriter Robert Nix leaving ARS prior to the studio sessions for Underdog, the revamped line-up take several songs for a pronounced move in a mellow direction. Nevertheless, ARS continued to lean in with the-South-is-gonna-rise-again passion, as Underdog is introduced via the down-home tag-team of "Do It or Die" and "Born Ready". The seven-minute combo of "I Hate the Blues", and the Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson penned "Let's Go Get Stoned," takes the listener for a pipe dream ride, while the boys from Doraville, Georgia, trip back to their sixties roots in Classics IV with a reworked version of the smooth "Spooky". The updated cover of "Spooky" was issued as a single by Polydor Records, as was "Do It or Die", but neither number was a match for the previous chart success of "So Into You", "Imaginary Lover", and "I'm Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight".
Album Review  (taken from Atlanta Rhythm Section website)
 Released in 1979, this is another excellent album that continued ARS' popular success and documents the band continuing to make quality music-even though the critical and popular tide that had swelled through the late 1970s had reached its peak. The album features eight original songs, one of them incorporating a well known Ashford & Simpson song. The tone of this collection is softer, as only a couple of songs truly rock out, but the songwriting and musicianship continues at the superior levels the group had established previously. While two songs would break out as singles, overall it's another superior set of tunes.

The material and performances are consistently strong throughout the album, and along with a mix of tempos create a beautiful work from beginning to end. "Do It or Die" provides a pop musical mission statement to open and leads into the rock of "Born Ready" and the blues of "I Hate the Blues" / "Let's Go Get Stoned". "While Time is Left" is a musical masterpiece, and "It's Only Music" and "Spooky" gradually slow the pace and carry the set home to a personal close.

1. Do It Or Die
 The opener is a lovely tune with a melancholy sound that is a fitting follow up to the singles from the previous album. The vocals project both strength and resignation, and provide a great centerpiece, with the instrumentalists providing a beautiful background but never stepping forward.
2. Born Ready
 Guitars provide the lead in as the tempo picks up. This song features some trademark breaks in tempo, but overall the intensity builds to a polished but driving closing-top quality Southern rock with a pop finish.

3. I Hate The Blues
 This combination of songs, an approach unique in the ARS catalog, starts with a steady rolling, uptempo blues with a strong vocal and sharp, driving musical backing. Instead of shifting tempos within a song as they have done so often and well, this time there is one total tempo shift to a slower
paced cover that swells into soaring vocals and musical support, and builds to a classic blues finish.
4. Indigo Passion
 The band presents another beautiful ballad, with vocals sharing the twists and turns of life and love and a musical performances that provide a colorful background tableau.
5. While Time Is Left
 A beautiful mid-tempo song that combines many of the elements that have made ARS' music unique. From the beginning, the production sets a tone and the words create a picture. The tempos shift and the instruments break out through the course of this classic, timeless song..
6. It's Only Music
 The driving rhythm pushes the restrained sound at the beginning of the song to build throughout this examination of the band's success. A trademark break leads into guitar soloing and an uptempo verse that breaks briefly for the wishful utterance "disco go" before closing with a rousing guitar workout.
7. Spooky
 A re-recording of this song that had been a hit for the Classics IV, one of the groups that was the genesis for ARS. This version is largely true to the original with a slow but steady tempo. Upgraded production techniques give this version a brighter sound, and the powerful vocals lead into some extended guitar and keyboard soloing that make this remake a classic in its own right.
8. My Song
 The album closes with an acoustic ballad that's a rumination on how much the musician has to give of themselves as a performer on a stage. The acoustic guitar and vocal perfectly capture the desire to "let this be a song for me." After all, ARS had given musically up to this point, it was a request that deserved to be honored.
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) taken from my A+ vinyl and includes full album artwork plus label scans. Not sure if this one has been released individually on CD but it has appeared alongside The Boys From Doraville as a double pack.  The killer track for me on this album is "Spooky" with its catchy groove and simple lyrics and although this album is not as strong as their previous two albums, it still shows why ARS were considered one of the best Southern Blues Bands in the 70's.
Track listing
01 - Do It or Die 3:27
02 - Born Ready 3:54
03 - I Hate the Blues / Let's Go Get Stoned 7:12
04 - Indigo Passion 3:56
05 - While Time Is Left 5:20
06 - It's Only Music 5:33
07 - Spooky 4:57
08 - My Song 3:15

ARS are:
Barry Bailey - Guitar
Robert Nix - Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Ronnie Hammond - Vocals, Background Vocals
Paul Goddard - Bass
Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
J.R. Cobb - Guitar, Background Vocals
Atlanta Rhythm Section Link (91Mb)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Captain Beyond - Lost & Found 1972-1973 (2017)

(U.S 1971-79, 1998-2003)
Wow!… That is what I have to say. Wow!  
A collector's dream come true - vintage demo tracks, never heard before, from the space rock super group Captain Beyond including one unreleased song not found anywhere else!
The first Captain Beyond record is an all time classic and this companion release is a great find. 
The A side of this album opens with the totally unreleased and cool song called "Uranus" from the first recording sessions. Then you have a 20 min suite, which made up bands first demo, in a more raw in your face version. Side B starts with "Icarus" which appeared on the 3rd album but this is the demo version with Rod Evans on vocals! Then you have a more raw and aggressive version of "Raging River of Fear" that includes a slide solo not on the original version. The companion album ends with "Dancing Madly Backwards".  This is great stuff. The LP has a nice printed inner sleeve with the whole story and a lot of old pictures of the band and you get a card with the number of your LP. Limited to 1000 copies on vinyl but also available on CD [extract from writingaboutmusic]

Liner Notes:
The Music In This Collection Has Changed The World

If you're already a fan of Captain Beyond, you've been waiting to hear this for more than four decades. And if you're new to the band, then congratulations! You're not simply getting in on the ground floor of one of the early seventies' most legendary bands, you are hearing the self-same tape that so impressed the Allman Brothers when they first heard it that they demanded their manager sign its makers on the spot.

Not that Captain Beyond were ever likely to have any shortage of suitors. "'Supergroup" is not a particularly fashionable term these day - too many not-so-super groups have hopelessly devalued it over the years. Back in the early 1970s, though, it felt like every one-was waiting to be wowed by the next one, and Captain Beyond met every expectation.

Vocalist Rod Evans had been the frontman in the original Deep Purple, leading them through the first three albums that made the rest of I the band's career even feasible. Bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt flew with the almighty Iron Butterfly, and drummer Bobby Caldwell had most recently been sighted with the Johnny Winter Group, at a lime when— as Bobby puts it— "we were one of the biggest concert groups in the world, maybe not in terms of selling records, but live, we were huge."

He wasn't even sure whether he wanted to join a new group. When a telegram arrived from Dorman and Reinhardt, "saying Iron Butterfly is about to cave in and they'd like to do something with me" he simply laid it to one side.

"I wasn't about to quit what I was doing because it was as big as you could get. But then Johnny decided all of a sudden that he was going to take some time off, and I thought 'well, how long is this going to be? And nobody could give us an answer, so I went out to meet Lee and Rhino, and they had already contacted Rod and that's what happened. We were starting to put this band together"

What you are holding in your hand now is the story of what happened next.

"All of these tapes have been in my possession for a long lime, and for the Captain Beyond die-hard fans, they've never heard any of this before," says Bobby of the songs that make up this collection. I've been sitting on these songs for many years, and they go right back to the start, and the original demo that we made out at Rhino's house when we first got together.
"We recorded this twenty minute demo at Rhino's house on a four track Scully machine. He had this whole set up in his house, and we recorded this twenty minutes worth of music, which was the whole 'I Can't Feel Nothing" grouping of songs.

"I don't call it a medley or a suite or anything, but it's something. It's a group of songs— 'I Can't Feel Nothing Part1', 'As the Moon Speaks', 'Astral Lady', 'As the Moon Speaks {Return)' and 'I Can't Feel Nothing. Part2'— which we recorded, and this was the demo that we were going to use to get a deal.
Nobody's realty heard it. We took it and shopped it around to a number of people, but then, one fateful evening, I went over to meet with Duane and Greg Allman while they were in town, and I played it for them. Rhino and Lee were with me, and Duane and Greg flipped out. They totally freaked out.

"Duane, he just jumped out of his chair, 'man I've got to call Phil' — Phil Walden, the Allmans' manager—and he called him from the hotel that night, 'You've got to hear these people and this music.' In Duane's words, it was something along the lines of 'unbelievable".

Walden was already aware of Bobby and Rhino; in fact, Bobby describes himself as the Allmans' "third noisemaker," occasionally sitting in on shows to add further drums and percussion to the group's already formidable line-up.

"He knew me because I'd been playing with the Allman Brothers when I was with Johnny Winter, and he knew Rhino because he'd been hanging out with them in Macon. So he asked us to come down the next day and meet with him, then he signed us to his label, Capricorn, and it became this big energy vortex around everything. And that's what happened on that."
Twice the length of the version that would be recorded for Captain Beyond's self-titled debut album in 1972, "I Can't Feel Nothing" is the sound of the band at its most ambitious, and most impressive. In fact, across the board, Bobby admits, "the demos, I believe, are better than what we did on the album." And to prove "I Can't Feel Nothing"" was no fluke, he directs your ears to 'Raging River of Fear'.

"Raging River of Fear" is another demo that is a burning version, a blistering version. And it's very different to the one that's on our first album. If you listen, Rhino is playing slide guitar in the song, and that's not a part of the version we eventually recorded."

Released in 1972, Captain Beyond's self titled debut album remains one of the foundation stones of American prog, pointing out directions that the likes of Journey and Rush would later transform into FM radio gold but which, at this time, truly were the province of the British underground. Captain Beyond was the sound of the music crossing the ocean and firmly embedding itself into the American heartland. Who knows what might have happened had the band stayed together?

But the original Captain Beyond line-up fell apart following the first album, as Bobby headed off to join Rick Derringer. He rejoined for the tour that followed the release of the band's second album, 'Sufficiently Breathless', but then Rod Evans departed, and it would be four more years before the Captain returned for one final LP, 'Dawn Explosion'.

That's where this collection's, opening number, "Icarus" originally appeared. But, says Bobby, the song itself had been around for a long time before then, and here's the proof. "This is the original "Icarus" that we recorded, at the beginning, with Rod singing. And nobody has heard it.

"Yes, we later recorded it later on, when we were with Warners and Rod had left the band. Willy Daffern was the new singer. But this is the original version, the original demo, and it's an outstanding vocal. Rod wrote the lyrics to it and it's done very well."

So far as Bobby is concerned, however, the album's real find is a song that "nobody has heard outside of the band, and that's "Uranus Expressway". The other songs have been heard in different versions on record, but this is one that no-one has ever heard, period." He doesn't recall why it was never used, probably they just ran out of time on the records. But here it is in all its glory and it's magnificent.

Bobby himself is both proud, and thrilled, that these performances are finally seeing the light of day. Demos, after all, are rarely made for anybody's ears but the band and their record company; few musicians ever imagined a day when they might be asked to release them in their own right.

"But I had to play these for myself, just to listen to them, and they sound so great, especially as demos. The historic part of it is that they've never been heard, but musically, they hold up so well."

"Songs always turn out different from one lime to another, depending on all sorts of circumstances. But there's places on these recordings that I think are — and I'm the worst critic Of anything I do — they're really quite good and a lot better, in some places, than the album versions".

Listen, and you might well find yourself agreeing with him. — by Dave Thompson
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from a CD copy (thanks to Yeni Metin Belgesi) and includes full album artwork for both vinyl & CD releases.  From what I can gather, vinyl releases are in either red or purple - very cool indeed. 
I've said it before in previous Captain Beyond posts that this group blew me away when I first heard their debut album, and to now hear these demo's and unheard material from their 1972 era has left me, well, speechless. Absolutely mind blowing folks. I think I've died and gone to heaven !
01. Uranus Expressway
02. I Can’t Feel Nothing, Pt. 1 
03. As the Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea)
04. Astral Lady
05. As the Moon Speaks (Return)
06. I Can’t Feel Nothing, Pt. 2
07. Icarus
08. Raging River of Fear
09. Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air)
10. Myopic Void 
Bass – Lee Dorman
Drums, Vocals – Bobby Caldwell
Guitar – Rhino
Lead Vocals – Rod Evans

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mark Holden - Moments (1979)

(Australian 1974 - Present)
Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Mark Holden studied law for sometime before leaving law school to enter the Entertainment Business. He very quickly developed into one of Australia's most accomplished and respected stage and television entertainers during the early 70's.

Mark also commenced his recording career with EMI Records back in 1975, and just as quickly as he succeeded in the acting side of the business, did he succeed in the music charts. In just over 18 months Mark scored 5 Top Forty Hit Singles including; "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" (reached No. 13),  "I Wanna Make You My Lady" (reached No. 11),  "Last Romance" (reached No. 11),  "Hey, My Love" (reached No. 32) and "Reach Out for the One Who Loves You" (reached No. 17).

From 1975 to 1976, Holden performed as Joseph in the first Australian production of  'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' at the Seymour Centre, Sydney. He was the first pop star in the world to play the lead role.

Mark also recorded 3 albums for EMI all of which accomplished chart success and earned him several Gold and Platinum album awards. In the early 80's Mark headed off to America to pursue his song writing/acting career, however, has had far more success writing for and developing other performers, singers and songwriters around the world.  In 1983, he released a self-titled album on the Mercury label, but it failed to launch his career in the US as planned. In 1984 Holden founded his own International Publishing Company "Dream Dealers Music".

Since that time, Mark has continued his successful artist development/songwriting with such artists as; Belinda Carlisle, Joey Lawrence,  The Temptations, Jose Feliciano, Kathy Sledge (Sister Sledge),  Vanessa Williams, Baywatch's David Hasselhoff (also a major recording artist in Germany), and recently has enjoyed success in the major German market via Jeremy Jackson's No. 1 Album, of which Holden wrote 8 tracks.
Mark Holden 1978
Mark Holden Sings Again!
(Article from Women's Weekly, 23 Jan, 2017)
The iconic pop star is staging a comeback after a life-changing health scare writes CRAIG BENNETT

Former '70s pop icon, turned Australian Idol judge Mark Holden is brimming with excitement on the eve of his comeback after a cancer scare.
"I lost about 80 per cent of my singing voice after surgery and intensive radiation for thyroid cancer in 2010. So to be singing again is a miracle," reveals Mark as he welcomed Woman's Day into his Melbourne home. Mark's cancer ordeal began in 2009, when he discovered a lump on his neck.

"It was initially thought to be a harmless cyst. After a second opinion, I was shocked to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer".
"The surgery and radiation knocked me around. My strong speaking voice had been reduced to a whisper following the op, and I was very quiet for months," the 62-year-old singer admits.
The dreaded disease has run in Mark's family: his beloved dad Ron died of prostate cancer at 61, while his sister Jennifer survived breast cancer before tragically succumbing to pancreatic cancer in 2011, also aged just 61.
"Jennifer's death was the most painful and shocking time of my life. We were so close," tells Mark
"My beautiful wife Anna, our daughter Katie, my son Cane [from a previous relationship] and my brother Craig were towers of strength", Mark says of dealing with his sister's death and his own diagnosis.

Once his speaking voice began to return, Mark was horrified to discover he could barely sing and feared his career would be over.
Luckily, his road to recovery came about thanks to his friend Dr Jonathan Welch. The former musical theatre star and voice teacher is also the founder of the School of Hard Knocks - a choir that is both a fundraising initiative and a group encouraging those who've suffered cancer to find their voice again,
Jonathon worked with Mark, and through persistence, his singing .. voice gradually began to return. However, Mark says his voice is now vastly different - he's lost some of his high range.

Adelaide-born Mark's life has been a non-stop rollercoaster. A professional singer from his early teens, after appearing on The Ernie Sigley Show in 1972 he signed a record deal and became an overnight pop sensation as "The Carnation Kid" on Countdown.

"My gimmick was giving red carnations to the pretty girls. I had a string of hit songs and I was the Justin Bieber of the day - minus the scandals!" says Mark,
Next came acting, with a stint as I hunky Dr Greg Mason in the 70's TV soapie 'The Young Doctors' working alongside alongside none other than the very 'sexy' Abigail (see below).

But hungry for a fresh start, Mark headed to Los Angeles in 1980 for songwriting.  "I wrote about 500 songs and became a record producer, working with some of the best, from The Temptations and Fleetwood Mac, to Belinda Carlisle and Donnie Osmond.
"There  were pinch-yourself moments. Once I inadvertently insulted Elton John, and never heard from him again! "I produced four of David Hasselhoff's albums," he adds. "We became great friends".

Mark Holden with Abigail (Young Doctors)
Mark met "the love of his life", wife Anna, now 57, at a club in LA. "Anna and I were together for 10 years before marrying in 1992," he says. "We always laugh when reliving the craziness of our wedding day". "We arrived so late we missed our slot at the registry office but eventually found another minister to marry us!"

The Holdens moved to Australia after their daughter Katie was born in 1995. Since his return, Mark has enjoyed many showbiz "touchdowns", helping to establish Vanessa Amorosi's career and writing songs for Delta Goodrem, among others, though he's best known for his time as a judge on Australian Idol. "I loved [the show], and was saddened to be fired in 2008;" he admits. "I had two years to go on my contract, so they paid me out. I kept a diary, and coming out this May will be a book, 'My Idol Years'." (see below)

Mark then went on to complete his law degree and has been a barrister for the past eight years, calling his career change unfinished business.
"I started out studying law, which derailed when I signed my first record deal," he smiles.
Now his health is back on track, the future is bright and he can't wait. [extract from Women's Weekly]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy and includes full album artwork. Finding a copy of this on vinyl is really hard and even Ebay comes up blank. I have vivid memories of Mark Holden first appearing on Countdown back in its hey day, and Mark was certainly a hot item for the pre-pubescent young girls that swarmed the audience, as well as some of their mums !
He wasn't really my cup of tea of course but over the years I've grown to appreciate Mark's contribution to the Aussie music industry and launching other young hopefuls during his Australian Idol years.
1 Carry Me Down 2:06
2 Never Gonna Fall In Love Again 3:17
3 I Wanna Make You My Lady 2:40
4 Last Romance 2:49
5 Hey My Love 3:09
6 Took My Heart To The Party 4:07
7 Reach Out For The One Who Loves You 2:58
8 Let’s Go Dancing 3:26
9 Where Are You Girl 3:26
10 Sweet Morning Smile In Your Eyes/You Set My Dreams To Music 3:34
11 Firefly 3:21
12 Let Me Love You Once Before You Go 2:59
Mark Holden FLAC Link (237Mb)
Mark Holden MP3 Link (76Mb)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Peter McKenna - 2 Singles (1970 / 1971)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

In recognition of the 2018 AFL Grand Final,  played today between Collingwood and the premiers West Coast, I thought it relevant to post another footy magic moment that took place behind the microphone rather than on the field, back in the 70's.

Peter McKenna, a mop-topped Collingwood spearhead who became a TV star and singer on the back of his cult-hero status with the AFL Magpie masses, caused a sensation when he decided to join despised rival team Carlton in 1977.

In an interview with AFL media rep 'Howard Kotton', McKenna (now 71), was quick to point out the club he played for before joining Carlton was the Devonport Magpies in 1976 when he moved to the Apple Isle to accept a teaching appointment.  

"The way people made out over the years was that I walked out on Collingwood to go to Carlton and it wasn't like that at all," he said.

McKenna had retired from League football in 1975 after losing part of a kidney playing for Collingwood reserves.   After a season in Tasmania, the star full-forward returned to Victoria determined to have one last crack at the big time. 

He completed the pre-season under new Collingwood coach Tom Hafey and was in supreme physical condition.  Despite performing well in the practice matches, the Magpies' offer to the spearhead was far from adequate and reluctantly forced him to look elsewhere. 

"I really don't think Collingwood wanted me," he recalled. "They offered me a pittance to play – it was $300 a game and if I got dropped to the seconds I would get $100 a game.   "I said: 'How about making it $300 a game regardless?' and they said no. I just thought that was unfair." 

McKenna fielded offers from several clubs including Fitzroy and South Melbourne before deciding to join the Blues, a club he respected immensely [extract from the AFL website]

In relation to Peter McKenna producing a pop record, his first single was released just before the 1970 Grand Final (coincidentally Collingwood were the runners up in that Grand Final as well) and was titled "Things to Remember". McKenna release another single in the following year entitled "Smile All The While" which was written by Johnny Young. 

L-R: Tony Shaw, Joffa Corfe,
Peter McKenna & Eddie McGuire
McKenna's voice is OK, and he carries a tune just fine, with no flats or sharps, and for 1970 it wasn't that bad. That said, it ain't that great either! He didn't really push his range or vocal ability, and to be honest, the song is an American sounding stinker. Neither of these releases were a success and only stalwart Collingwood supporters probably picked up these recordings making them somewhat of a rarity. 

One thing that McKenna will be remembered for (and not his singing) is his kicking style that revolutionized football. He was the first player to adopt and perfect the drop punt on a full time basis and his accuracy was astounding. This led to other players gradually taking it up and the game became faster and more precise as the drop kick and torpedo (which were notoriously hit and miss and took longer to execute) were phased out. 

He was a true pioneer and champion of the game, in fact he took on Beatles like cult status among the Collingwood supporters as he was the first player to grow long hair, young girls behind the goals would shriek and squeal with delight whenever he went near the ball and every game was like a pop concert, there will never be a time like it again.
So this month's WOCK on Vinyl post is a mixed bag, the O is definitely for Obscure (thanks to Ozzie Musicman for providing these rarites) but the W&C are for West Coast who stole the match from Collingwood today!    Post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from vinyl and includes label scans from both 45's

1970 Single
A  - Things To Remember (Buckley McKinnon)
B  - Lady Oh Lady (Buckley McKinnon)

1971 Single
A - Smile All The While (Johnny Young)
B - It Takes Time (Elkhard)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tony Banks - The Fugitive (1983) + Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1967 - Present)
This 2nd album by Genesis's keyboard player 'Tony Banks' hit the shops in June 1983, a few months before the eponymous Genesis album, and  some hints of what was to come can be heard here. It was the first album that Tony provided all the vocals for, cruelly he places his voice in a register between Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) and Louis Armstrong, I would say that overall his voice is closer to Al Stewart / Stephen Bishop with a hint of Julian Lennon, so in reality, not that bad at all. In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd swear you were listening to an Al Stewart album if you only listened to the last track "Moving Under",  which by the way is my favourite track on this album.

Cover image based on this photo
The opening track "This is Love" has some quite heavy moments indicating to me at least that perhaps some of the heavier Genesis riffs may not be the domain of Mike Rutherford. It is labelled as ‘Rock’, and with those elements of guitars, bass, and drums, not being dependent on the Banksian keyboards it does deserve to be placed in that musical genre.

It has its moments too, the instrumentals Thirty Three’s and Charm clearly demonstrating Tony’s flair for composition. Thirty Three’s is more structured and traditional, Charm is quirky and experimental. Charm for me was the piece of choice for filling up the space on mix tapes, perhaps also showing why he was in demand for a few soundtracks around that time, sadly it’s a case of nice tunes but the wrong films. In a moment of daydreams it would have been nice to see what he would have done with Ladyhawke; nice film, very cheesy soundtrack.

It was the eighties though, and instruments of the acoustic variety are noticeable by their absence which is a shame given their use by Genesis in the early days. Guitars and bass are the constants, provided by Daryl Stuermer and Mo Foster respectively; drumming comes from three sources dependant on the sound Tony was trying to achieve; Tony Beard, Steve Gadd and Andy Duncan, all renowned drummers in their own right.

Tony Banks - Early Genesis
In the pecking order of Genesis solo albums, Tony comes last. Unjustly, but last nonetheless. With compositions on a par with erstwhile members Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett, he deserves more recognition. Taken out of the band, had he been the leaver rather than any other member, the sound that was/is Genesis would have been lacking. Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins have produced some great pop singles and albums, but that sound, the central core is Tony, and this album really does reveal that.

Soppy and sentimental? Probably, but he can rock when he wants, and with a significant edge; when pop-like the tunes have enough complication or depth to raise them above chart material, and perhaps that is the problem. They are tunes that require a listen rather than being 3-minute background noise, the hooks are there but are not in your face. Tony’s Al Stewart/Julian Lennon voice is fine, likeable even, but like Julian, Tony’s output is lost in the beast that is Genesis (John being Julian’s shadow caster).

The video of "This is Love" is a fun if historic item, it is okay and contains the ubiquitous iguana that appeared in so many video’s of the era; the iguana is believed to have retired to the Galapagos Islands with a hefty pension. Warning: it also contains that rare sighting of a laughing Tony Banks. Rumours of grumpiness may be overstated.

Tony Banks 1983
There are a number of guest musicians on the album. Daryl Stuermer, (live) guitarist with Genesis and Phil collins, plays the guitar. Other musicians involved are Mo Foster (E-bass) and Tony Beard, Steve Gadd and Andy Duncan who all play the drums on different songs. Tony produced the album himself, with Stephen Short as a co-producer. Short had previously been involved with the production of Wind & Wuthering. The Fugitive is a pop / soft-rock album almost throughout.

I like this album, but some of that is down to nostalgia. It deserved better, though of Tony’s solo output I prefer A Curious Feeling.

Tony Banks Today
Like his later solo albums, The Fugitive was not a huge success, though it definitely had potential. Neither the album nor the singles entered the charts. As with many of Tony's solo projects the problem is that they are too cramped. He should have written music for the old Genesis fans and pay some attention to the taste of the masses... Most songs have not aged very well. Though the reviewer likes Tony's voice, he does not think it always fits the songs. The album is still worthwhile listening to, and along with his more recent 1991 album Still, it is a good point at which to start exploring  the solo oeuvre of Tony Banks.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my pristine vinyl, purchased in amongst a collection of Genesis albums at the Geelong Bazaar. Thankfully the price tag on this wasn't anything like the Genesis albums. I suspect the seller didn't have a clue and I already had the Genesis LP's.  It is interesting to note that Banks recorded on Atlantic and not with Genesis's Charisma label.
This is an enjoyable album to listen to and as already mentioned, one would be forgiven thinking they were listening to an Al Stewart album, rather than a key member of Genesis.
Full album artwork and label scans are included, along with two bonus tracks, sourced from the CD release.
Track Listing
01. This is Love (5:17)
02. Man of Spells (3:48)
03. And The Wheels Keep Turning (4:48)
04. Say You’ll Never Leave Me (4:35)
05. Thirty Three’s (4:43)
06. By You (4:33)
07. At The Edge Of The Night (6:02)
08. Charm (5:27)
09. Moving Under (6:04)
10. K2 (4:02) Bonus Track
11. Sometime Never (3:42)  Bonus Track

Tony Banks – Keyboards & Vocals
Daryl Stuermer – Guitars
Mo Foster – Bass
Tony Beard – Drums
Steve Gadd – Drums
Andy Duncan – Drums

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Zoot - Zoot Out (1971) + Rare BonusTrack

(Australian 1966 - 1971)
The Zoot was a four piece power pop/hard rock band formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 1966. Darryl Cotton (Aust), Gerard Bertelkamp (Dutch aka. Beeb Birtles) and John Darcy (U.K) came together in 1966, with drummer Teddy Higgins, to form Down The Line - later renamed as Strings Unlimited (with not a violin to be seen!) and then eventually changing their name to Zoot. Each Sunday morning the group would tape the ABC radio replay of British T.V's 'Top Of The Pops' and knock out passable stage versions of unreleased-in-Australia hits by the Move, Small Faces and The Hollies. It was then that they recorded their cover of The Moves hit single "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" in 1967, at the Nationwide Studios in Adelaide.

They played  many clubs and discos around Adelaide, gradually gathering a strong following. As a group, they relocated to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and performed in several Australian cities under a variety of names. In 1967 they fully adopted the name Zoot. Amongst the more notable members of Zoot were founder Beeb Birtles, Darryl Cotton, and Rick Springfield.

In mid-1968, their management promoted them under the slogan "Think Pink – Think Zoot" – all band members wore pink costumes; Darryl Cotton's car was repainted pink; his pet dog, Monty, had its fur dyed pink; and their main performing venue, Birties Disco, was pink-themed throughout.

Zoot were voted Top Australian Group in teen pop Go-Set magazine's reader poll published in June 1969. Unfortunately they were subject to homophobic ridicule for their use of pink outfits, and on tour in Brisbane, Cotton was injured in an assault by street toughs. Early in 1970 Zoot finally discarded their pink outfits and attempted to shift their image and music towards heavier rock from the earlier teeny-bopper pop In December that year, they released their most successful single, "Eleanor Rigby", which was a hard rock cover version of The Beatles' ballad and by March 1971 it had peaked in the Aussie top five. Go-Set magazine listed Zoot's 'Eleanor Rigby' in it's Top Records for the Year of 1971 at No. 12.

The Zoot, - T.V Week Pin Ups April 4, 1970
Ironically, they’re probably best remembered these days for their classic heavy-metal version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” — and also for the fact that Zoot was first successful outing for two future stars — solo performer and soapie heart-throb Rick Springfield, and Little River Band lynch pin Beeb Birtles.

In May 1971, despite the top 30 charting of their next single, "Freak" / "Evol Rock", the group soon disbanded, and all four members moved onto to bigger and better things  [extract from]

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from a recently acquired vinyl copy, found at my local Sunday Flee Market.  To my delight, upon further inspection I found a T.V Week Pin Up Poster of the group inside the album cover  in excellent condition (see scan above).  As usual, full album artwork and label scans are included.
Because the vinyl is in excellent condition, I think this is one of the better rips circulating the traps at the moment. To sweeten the deal, I am also including a very rare recording made by the group back in 1967 called "I Can Hear The Grass Growing", recorded at the Nationwide Studios in Hindley St, Adelaide in 1967.

Track Listing
01 You Better Get Going
02 One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four
03 Monty and Me 
04 About Time
05 Mr. Songwriter
06 Flying
07 Hey Pinky
08 Strange Things
09 Eleanor Rigby
10 Turn Your Head
11 The Freak
12 Evil Child
13 I Can Hear The Grass Grow (Bonus) *

*  First recording by the Zoot (The Move cover), recorded at the Nationwide Studios in Hindley St, Adelaide in 1967 and taken from Big Beat Cellar Scene


Darryl Cotton – Vocals, Guitar 
Beeb Birtles – Bass Guitar, Vocals 
1965 -71
Teddy Higgins – Drums 1967-68
Rick Brewer -Drums 1968-71
John D’Arcy – Guitar 1965-68
Steve Stone – Guitar 1968
Roger Hicks – Guitar 1968-69
Rick Springfield – Guitar, Vocals 1969-71
Zoot Out FLACS Link (258Mb)
Zoot Out MP3 Link (108Mb)

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Who - Boris The Spider: Live in Ludwigshafen, 7-11-1975 (Bootleg)

(U.K 1964–1982, 1989, 1996 – present)
This is a great Japanese bootleg from the Who By Numbers tour in 1975, and was the last gig played in Germany before their U.S tour started. It is a factory pressed CD and is an audience recording. I would rate it as a 8/10. It comes as a nice glossy laminated LP replica style sleeve, 2 great discs this is the entire show...minus the encore "Magic Bus".
One month before this recording was made, 'The Who By Numbers' album was released on October 18th in the UK, where it peaked at No.7 in the charts. The album then entered the US albums chart on November 1st, where it peaked at No.8
By this time, a non-concept album by The Who was a concept in itself and on this album the ten new songs were linked thematically by Pete Townshend's growing concern with age and disillusionment. Several tracks: notably 'However Much I Booze,''In A Hand Or A Face' and 'How Many Friends'
were explicitly connected with Pete's anxiety in this direction, and John Entwistle's sole contribution 'Success Story' ran along similar lines. 
Elsewhere, 'Slip Kid' was a neat, latter-day teen anthem, 'Squeeze Box' was a Jaunty, semi-humorous song (with Pete on accordion) chosen asa single and 'Blue, Red And Grey,' virtually a solo track by Pete, movingly recounts disenchantment with the rock'n'roll lifestyle so enjoyed by Keith Moon and many of his peers. 

Clad in a sleeve designed by John Entwistle , the front cover incorporated a join-up-the-dots picture of The Who.

In the book Eyewitness: The Who by Johnny Black,  Entwistle states:
The cover drawing only took me hour, but the dots took about three hours. I took it down to the studio while we were mixing and got the worst artist in the room to fill it in. Discovered I'd left two inside legs out.
We were talking it in turns to do the covers. It was Pete's turn before me and he did the Quadrophenia cover, which cost about the same as a small house back then, about $16,000. My cover cost $32.

The record was also noticeable for a complete lack of the synthesizer parts that had been such a notable feature of the group's two previous albums. Instead, Nicky Hopkins added a generous amount of gentle piano. Instrumentally The Who showed no signs of flagging: Roger's vocals - particularly on "Dreaming From The Waist'and 'Imagine A Man'- were both melodic and inspiring, while Keith's usual bombastic drumming belied the physical deterioration brought about by his alcoholic tendencies. 'Dreaming From The Waist' included some popping bass lines that are among the finest John Entwistle has ever recorded and which would be further spotlighted in The Who's upcoming live performances.

While the standard of composition reached just short of that attained on Who's Next, The Who By Numbers opened the doors to an overt autobiographical style that served to emphasise Pete Townsend's honest approach to his work. By expressing his anxieties through the music of The. Who, he acknowledged the fact that the group are - and always will be-a band of the people whose problems could be shared with those people. According to the old adage, a problem shared is a problem halved and thus the tour that followed the release of The Who By Numbers saw the group return to the kind of form they displayed in pre-Quadrophenia days.

The Who 1975
The Who By Numbers was the first Who album (aside from Roger Daltrey's Ride A Rock Horse) to appear on the Polydor label, and was thus the first public indication of the severance of The Who's long-standing relationship with managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp and their jointly owned Track Records. The litigation between The Who and their former managers was settled out of court shortly after the release of this album and the two former film directors who had played such a crucial role in The Who's career went their own way from this point onwards.

They had, by this time, fallen out with each other   . over financial matters and when Lambert issued a badly phrased press release that to some extent brought the squabbling out into the open, the split became irreversible. For the remainder of the decade Stamp involved himself in film work and quietly enjoyed his fortune, while Lambert spiralled downhill, squandering his fortune on drink and drugs.

Keith Moon 1975
"Kit bought a palace in Venice on the Grand Canal and tried to cultivate high society friends there," says Chris Welch who has written a biography of Lambert. "He was forced to leave Venice. He set fire to the palace and he ended up owing money all over town. He was an alcoholic and he was hooked on heroin and was forced to undergo treatment for this in a Swiss clinic. Back in London he was busted for cocaine after being shopped to the police by a pusher that he owed money to. He always felt very bitter that he didn't receive the credit he deserved for his work with Pete Towns/tend on Tommy."

Various people, including Pete Townshend, offered Kit Lambert a helping hand as his condition worsened but to no avail. Lambert died aged forty-five in April, 1981, after falling down the stairs at his mother's house in Fulham. That night, by all accounts, he had been involved in a drunken brawl at a night club in Kensington and had returned home injured from the beating he received. It was a sad and ignominious end fora man whose creative guidance and explosive vision had done so much to promote the career of the group he loved.

In September, 1975, The Who regrouped to rehearse for a lengthy series of tours that would take in Britain, Europe and, in three separate' visits, the United States. Fresh from his trip to America on soothing Meher Baba business, a refreshed and spiritually rejuvenated Pete Townshend walked into the first rehearsal smiling, a fact noted by Keith Moon as both unusual yet indicative of happier times to come.

The British leg of the tour opened with two concerts before large audiences at the New Bingley Halls near Stoke-on-Trenton 4-and 5 October, and from the programme selected it was apparent that Pete Townshend had exorcised his fears about the danger of The Who becoming a revivalist act. Though only two new songs from The Who By Numbers - 'Squeeze Box' and 'Dreaming From The Waist' - appeared in the set, The Who displayed an almost boyish enthusiasm for their older material, especially on the second night.

Opening with 'I Can't Explain' (now in its eleventh year!), they crashed through 'Substitute,' 'Magic Bus'and 'My Generation' from pre-Tommy days with wild abandon. Tommy itself was well represented with a half-hour medley, and Who's Next was represented by four songs, 'Baba O'Riley,' 'Behind Blue Eyes,' 'My Wife'and 'Won't Get Fooled Again,'the latter now a show stopper that featured Pete Townshend's longest Jump ever. Inevitably, perhaps, The Who had come to the collective conclusion to celebrate, rather than fear, their considerable catalogue of influential material. The result not only satisfied the fans but, happily, the group themselves.

Lighting engineer John Wolff had occupied his time | industriously during the group's lengthy sabbatical and had become adept in the operation of lasers, an effect that growing numbers of top rock acts were utilising in this period. Though The Who had always eschewed such gimmicks as dry ice and mirror balls, they threw themselves wholeheartedly behind Wolff's plans and from this tour onwards The Who's concerts featured a galaxy of lasers. Thin strands of spiralling light now emanated from behind Keith Moon's drum kit, flickering over Roger Daltrey's head up into the vastness of the auditoria. Such was Wolff's skill in handling these lasers that within a year he would become a recognised authority on the subject and hold his own exhibition of lasers and holograms in London.

The tour moved to Manchester for two nights at the Belle Vue arena where the newly discovered camaraderie within the band resulted in shows that the now notorious Roy Carr described in NME as "... so intense as to sap every ounce of energy from the spectator, but it's an energy that's generated by a positive sense of purpose and not hate or anger."
Speaking to Carr after the concert, Roger Daltrey expressed his gratitude to the NME for bringing The Who's internal problems out into the open. "Now there aren't any fences for any of us to hide behind and that's the reason why I feel The Who are much better than they've ever been, simply because there is no excuse that any of us can make. If someone throws a tantrum on stage now, it's their bleedin' fault. Nobody's gonna hide behind The Who.

"The Who have always put their balls on the line," he added. "If they didn't then that kind of controversial publicity would have broken up any other group. Things like that interview are always bleedin' hard to do, but The Who can do it; and as everyone can see, use it to our mutual advantage. Pete's now fired with renewed energy. He realises that, despite what he said, The Who are the band that they used to be. It's Just that it got hidden under all that morass of over kill publicity."
After a concert at the Glasgow Apollo on 15 October, Keith Moon proved in his inimitable way that The Who were as anarchic as ever by falling foul of British Airways at Prestwick Airport. After an exchange of opinions with both police and airline staff over a broken computer, Keith was fined £6O for disturbing the peace. He later admitted that his net prof it at the end of the British tour was amere £46.7O.

The British tour climaxed with four concerts at the Wembley Arena in London and was followed by dates in Germany and Holland. [extract from The Illustrated Biography The Who, by Chris Charlesworth, Omnibus Press, 1982, Section 1975]

This leg began on 27th October at the Ahoy in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and ended on 7th November at the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Ludwigshafen in Germany, from where this recording originated. By this time, the band was already starting to pare down the set list. Here is a fairly typical set for this leg of the tour (actually from a concert in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 31 October).

"I Can't Explain"
"Squeeze Box"
"Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)
"Baba O'Riley"
"Behind Blue Eyes" (not on 2nd November)
"Dreaming from the Waist"
"Amazing Journey"/"Sparks"
"The Acid Queen"
"Fiddle About" (Entwistle)
"Pinball Wizard"
"I'm Free"
"Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)
"We're Not Gonna Take It"/"See Me, Feel Me"
"Summertime Blues"
"Bargain" (Dropped after 31st October)
"My Generation"
"Won't Get Fooled Again"
Encores (variations of the following list):
Performed on 3rd November.
"Magic Bus"
Performed on 7th November.
This post consists of MP3's ripped from my Killing Floor bootleg and includes album artwork and concert photos (thanks to Klaus Hiltscher).  I've also include artwork for an alternative release of the same concert by NSU (see below).  This boot is a must for all Who fans, and shouldn't be missed.
As a side note, if you've got the Who By Numbers album and weren't tempted to join the dots like most Who fans, the virgin cover is worth big bucks.  I picked up my copy for $1.99 back in the 70's from Brash Sutton in Geelong from the sale box, and thankfully left it alone!
1-01  I Can't Explain
1-02  Substitute
1-03  Squeeze Box
1-04  Baba O'Riley
1-05  Boris The Spider
1-06  Drowned
1-07  However Much I Booze
1-08  Dreaming From The Waist
1-09  Behind Blue Eyes
2-01  Amazing Journey - Sparks
2-02  The Acid Queen
2-03  Fiddle About
2-04  Pinball Wizard
2-05  I'm Free
2-06  Tommy's Holiday Camp
2-07  We're Not Gonna Take It
2-08  See Me, Feel Me
2-09  Summertime Blues
2-10  My Generation /Join Together /
         Road Runner /My Generation
2-11  Naked Eye
The Who:
Roger Daltrey - Vocals
Pete Townshend - Guitar
John Entwistle - Bass, Vocals
Keith Moon - Drums, Vocals