Saturday, July 31, 2010

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - White Mammoth On The M1 (Mammoth)

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Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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Some time ago, I purchased a compilation CD of Progressive Rock called 'Classic Rock' and came across this bizzare and very Weird track by a group called Mammoth. On further investigation, it turns out that this UK band only played together between 1987 and 1989, playing mostly 'heavy metal'.
However, the track in question 'White Mammoth On The M1' is far removed from heavy metal and sounds like the soundtrack for a Sci Fi movie with a music score produced by Yoko Ono - very Avante Garde! As the track title implies, the music is representative of what a large Wooly Mammoth might sound like (and hear) if it was slowly walking along a freeway (M1) in the middle of the night. Beyond this, it is too hard to describe what this track sounds like, so why not download it and have a listen yourself.
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MAMMOTH were a truly larger than life rock outfit led by a 'mountain man' vocalist Nicky Moore and big bald bearded bassist John McCoy famed for his former years in chart topping Ian Gillan. The band lasted from late 1986 to the end of 1989 but only released two albums.
John McCoy is a British bass guitarist who is best known for his work with Ian Gillan and Mammoth as well as numerous other bands and sessions since the late 1960s.
Post-Gillan, John McCoy recruited session drummer Vinnie "Tubby" Reed, guitarist "Big" Mac Baker and vocalist Nicky Moore to form a band initially called Dinosaur. The name was already in use by a Californian band, so McCoy renamed his new outfit Mammoth. The name was also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the large size of the band members: McCoy weighed 120 kg, Reed 140 kg, Baker 152 kg and Moore 127 kg.
The band toured with Whitesnake and Marillion and were well-received by fans. They released one single, "Fatman", and two albums, Mammoth and XXXL. In 1988 the entire band appeared in the film Just Ask For Diamond, playing the henchmen. Musically, commercial success eluded them however and the band eventually split in 1989, with McCoy becoming an independent producer. As the band's nostalgic popularity increased in later years, the few records that were released became collector's items - vinyl copies of the album trading hands for as much as $120.
For a full biography, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A850024
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I have included some choice photos of the band and their wooly mascot, along with a 320kps rip from CD of 'White Mammoth On The M1', for this W.O.C.K on vinyl posting..

Mammoth Link (6Mb) REPOST
Link

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nova - Blink (1975)

(Italian 1975-78)
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Initially named Uno, the band was created in London in the mid-70's by ex-members of Cervello and Osanna, namely guitarist Corrado Rustici, guitarist Danilo Rustici and sax & flute player Elio D'Anna. The roster of permanent and guest musicians spread over their four albums is impressive: Morris Pert, Phil Collins, Ric Parnell (Ibis, Atomic Rooster), Narada Michael Walden (Mahavishna Orchestra, Santana) and Franco Lo Previte (Circus 2000, Duello Madre) and that only covers the drums & percussion department. Other contributors include keyboard player Renato Rosset, classical conga virtuoso Zakir Hussain and three bassists: Percy Jones, Barry Johnson (Lenny White's band Twennynine) and Luciano Milanese.
Nova released four albums between 1976 and 1978 (see other Nova postings)
'Blink', their first LP, is not as polished as the others but still offers lengthy jams with sumptuous guitar/sax dialogues. All four albums were released by Arista (a non-Italian label) of which only 'Blink', is available on CD. Danilo Rustici left after the first album (to reform Osanna), and Renato Rosset joined Nova in his place. [extract from Nova's MySpace page]
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Review
A logical precursor to Brand X, Nova is an Italian fusion band that features the mind-numbing bass and drum interplay similar to that of Brand X, but follows through with guitar, sax and vocals as well. Vocals are in English, and unlike many Italian bands that use English vocals, the singing does not detract from the overall quality of the music. After listening a few times, I realized that Nova has four lead instruments: The guitars, sax, bass and drums all play lead-styled lines, at the same time, for the most part. The overall product is a very complex jam with occasional vocals. Any fan of Brand X, Mahavishna Orchestra or Return to Forever will find this interesting listening.
I reckon it is fantastic - another long lost Italian classic. The point that everyone misses with Nova is that 'Blink' is a completely amazing album full of technical complexities on the level of Zappa's best. They recorded three more albums, but 'Blink' stands on its own.
The album consists of six tracks, all divided into two parts, all giving high-energy and an enthralling jazz-rock experience. The four sung tracks are in very good English (all things considered), but really this is a minor aspect as all five musos are dishing out impressive
200 kph jazz fusion with impressive technical abilities. I would not actually say they reach Mahavishna or RTF's technical and virtuosic level, but they get pretty damn close.
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Rip for this posting was taken from CD at 320kps and includes full album artwork. CD depicted below is the Japanese Mini-LP released in 1994.
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Tracks Listing
01.  Tailor made - Part 1 & Part 2 (5:09)
02.  Something inside keeps you down - Part 1 & Part 2 (6:11)
03.  Nova - Part 1 & Part 2 (7:10)

04.  Used to be easy - Part 1 & Part 2 (5:12)

05.  Toy - Part 1 & Part 2 (4:21)

06.  Stroll on - Part 1 & Part 2 (10:33)

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Band Members:
Elio D'Anna - alto (2-3-6), soprano (1-3-4) & tenor (5-6) saxes, flute (2)

Franco Loprevite - drums

Luciano Milanese - bass

Corrado Rustici - lead vocals (1-2-4-6), acoustic (2) & electric guitars

Danilo Rustici - electric guitar

Morris Pert - percussion

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Nova Link (75Mb) Link Fixed 29/10/2015
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jimi Hendrix - Redhouse (Variations On A Theme)

(U.S 1967-1970)
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."Red House" is a blues song, written by famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix and originally recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
There are two different takes of this song: the original version (mono) that appeared on the UK issue of Are You Experienced?, and the alternate version (stereo) featured on the 1969 USA Smash Hits compilation on which bass player Noel Redding plays electric guitar tuned down to resemble a bass guitar. Despite Hendrix's complaints, the song was omitted from the USA issue of Are You Experienced because the recording company reportedly argued that "America does not like blues".
The original mono take became available in the USA & Canada when it was released (minus the chat at the end) on the posthumous Blues album. The alternate stereo take (3:50) recorded around the same time (included in this compilation), was unavailable outside of USA & Canada until the Kiss The Sky CD compilation. The Blues album also features a live studio jam version - onto which Hendrix's introduction from a different jam has been dubbed - "Electric Church Red House". This was recorded by Jimi at TTG Studios in LA on 10/29/68 with Buddy Miles on drums and featuring Lee Michaels playing Hammond organ. This version is included in this compilation bootleg. For a full description of the 3 studio versions, see Vagabond's World
While playing Red House at Woodstock, Hendrix snapped his high E-string in the middle of the performance and kept playing the second half of the song with just five strings. "Long" versions of the song like the Woodstock rendition are generally about 6–10 minutes. One of the longest live versions of the song is a nearly thirteen-minute long version on 5/24/69 at the San Diego Sports Arena, which is found on Hendrix in the West, a live album sampling four different shows.

"Red House" was inspired by Hendrix's first love Betty Jean Morgan and the New York apartment where Hendrix first met Keith Richard's then-girlfriend Linda Keith.
The song has been covered by many other blues musicians, and is widely regarded as a blues standard to be judged by. [extract from wikipedia]
.The posting was ripped from CD at 320kps. Limited artwork is supplied.
.Red House Lyrics
(by Jimi Hendrix)

. Well there's a red house over yonder
That's where my baby stays
Lord there's a red house over yonder
Oh that's where my baby stays
I ain't been home to see my baby
In ninety-nine and one half days
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Wait a minute, something wrong here
My key won't unlock this door
Wait a minute, something wrong here
Lord have mercy this
key won't unlock this door
(something wrong here)
I gotta bad, bad feeling
My baby don't live here no more
(That's ok, I still got my guitar...look out!)
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Well I might as well look back over yonder
Way back up over the hill
Lord I might as well go back over yonder
Way back yonder across the hill
Even though my baby don't love me no more
I know her sister will

[taken from bluesforpeace.com]
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Track Listing
01 - Red House, Berkeley, CA, 5-30-70 (7:33)
02 - Red House, Newport Pop, Devonshire Downs, CA, 6-20-69 (8:15)
03 - Red House, Studio, Hollywood, CA, 1969 (7:22)
04 - Red House, LA Forum, CA 4-26-69 (10:56)
05 - Red House, Albert Hall, London, England, 2-24-69 (11:41)
06 - Red House, Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 10-10-68 (14:16)
07 - Red House, San Diego, 5-24-69 (13:07)
08 - Red House, Olympic Studios, London. England April 69 (3:50)

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Redhouse Link (153Mb) New Link 17/03/2015
Link

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Australian Crawl - Phalanx (Live 1983) + Bonus Track

(Australian 1978–1986)
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Australian Crawl (often called Aussie Crawl by fans) was an Australian rock band founded by James Reyne (lead vocals / piano), Brad Robinson (rhythm guitar), Paul Williams (bass guitar), Simon Binks (lead guitar) and David Reyne (drums) in 1978. David Reyne soon left and was replaced by Bill McDonough (drums, percussion). They were later joined by his brother Guy McDonough (vocals, rhythm guitar). The band was named after the front crawl swimming style also known as the Australian crawl.
After their 1980 debut album, 'The Boys Light' Up reached #4, Australian Crawl had two #1 albums; 1981's 'Sirocco' and 1982's 'Sons of Beaches'. Their early singles reached the top 25 but none broke into the Top Ten; their best performing single was #1 hit "Reckless" which showed a more mature approach than earlier hits, and came from their 1983 Semantics EP.
'Phalanx' was their first live album and was recorded live at concerts at Bombay Rock Gold Coast, Queensland and at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in October, 1983, during the 'Semantics' tour. The album was initially released on vinyl in December, 1983 and was re-released on CD in May, 1995. The album reached #4 on the National Album Charts being released by EMI. The title of the album is derived from the name for the ancient Greek battle formation where long spears were presented from behind a wall of overlapping shields. The title can also refer more generally to a close-knit group of people, in this case the audience. The cover features distinctive cartoon images by Michael Leunig with the front depicting five sharks swimming towards a lone wader – they are revealed to be five other swimmers with shark fin hair. The back cover cartoon depicts a stage manager warning "Five Minutes Mr. Reyne" at the dressing room door. Meanwhile Reyne is combing his hair backwards with Brylcream liberally applied, a guitar and a half-full bottle are nearby. Phalanx was also released by Geffen Records in Europe but under a different title, Australian Crawl: Live, and with a different cover, from which this rip was taken. [Extracts from wikipedia]
'Phalanx' was the Crawl's fourth album... It yielded a rollicking single, in the form of the band's raucous cover of The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie"... As this album lodged itself at the top of the charts, the Crawl were off to England for some pre-Christmas shows with Duran Duran. [Glen A. Baker, 1983]
This is not their greatest live album ('The Final Wave' released in 1986 is far superior) but it is a good indication of what Australian Crawl sounded like live - their sound was full and fairly true to the that which they produced in the studio. The B-Side selection of tracks is much stronger than the A-Side featuring some of their big singles like - "Boys Light Up" and "Errol".
The reggae track "The Night" from their Semantics EP is the weakest track in the set and some classic Crawl such as "Downhearted" and "Beautiful People" are distinctly missing.
The rip was taken from CD at 320kps and includes full album artwork along with the European cover. I have also included a bonus live track "Six Days On The Road" taken from the Rocking Australia Live concert (double LP rec. live at the EON-FM/In-jeanious series of concerts 1982)
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Track Listing
01 - Unpublished Critics (5:51)
02 - The Night (3:50)
03 - La Califusa (3:01)
04 - Love Beats Me Up (4:33)
05 - Things Don't Seem (3:58)
06 - White Limbo (3:43)
07 - Louie Louie (5:48)
08 - Errol (3:32)
09 - Reckless (Don't Be So) 5:41
10 - The Boys Light Up (5:30)
11 - Six Days On The Road [Bonus Track] (2:55)

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Band members:
James Reyne (Lead vocals, keyboards, guitar)
Simon Binks (Lead guitar)
Guy McDonough (Vocals, rhythm guitar)
Brad Robinson (Rhythm guitar)
Paul Williams (Bass)
John Watson (Drums)
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Australian Crawl Link (95Mb) Link Fixed 31/0102015

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Smak - Black Lady (1978)

    (Yugoslavian-Serbian 1971 - 1981, 1986, 1992 1994 - present)
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    SMAK was formed 1971 in Kragujevac, the present Serbia and Montenegro, by a guitar virtuoso Radomir Mihajlovic nicknamed "Tocak" (the Wheel). The first stable line-up was assembled in late 1974 including Slobodan Stojanovic (drums), Zoran Milanovic (bass), Boris Arandjelovic (vocals) and Lazar Ristovski (keyboards).
    Their music has always been rhythmically and harmonically advanced. Interesting points about their compositions include the abundant use of odd rhythms, vocal improvisations (scat singing), lengthy improvisations from all of the musicians, and uniquely-styled lyrics using mostly very short words due to the relative difficulty of using complex Serbian words in singing. Many of the lyrics were written by bohemian-minded poets and artists who were in friendly relations with the band.
    During 1977-78 Ristovski was replaced by first Miki Petkovski and then by Tibor Levay on keyboards, while in the period 1979-81 Dado Topic (ex TIME, KORNI GRUPA) collaborated with SMAK as producer and occasional guest vocalist before the band broke-up in late 1981. The original line-up gathered again in 1986 with a new keyboardist Milan Djurdjevic, but after the release of one LP they split again. The third comeback of SMAK happened in 1992 with Ristovski again as a member, when they mostly played concerts in Serbia and issued a live album. Finally, in 1994 SMAK re-appeared again, this time along with Tocak and Stojanovic they added younger musicians: Dejan Stojanovic (second drum kit), Dejan Najdanovic (vocals), Vlado Samardzic (bass) and Milan Milosavljevic (guitar).
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    SMAK was celebrated for Tocak's virtuosity in guitar playing, inspired and modelled primarily after Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, but with a very unique expressive warmth and an unprecedented, sophisticated way of incorporating Serbian folk motifs into his compositions and improvisations.
    The band also made interesting and powerful, if not always successful, attempts of fusing hard rock and jazz (in the vein of Mahavishnu Orchestra and other super-influential fusion bands from the 70's), prog-rock and blues, with Arandjelovic's falsetto vocal often used as a melodic instrument, rather than just a vessel to carry the lyrics. "Ulazak u harem", a folk-inspired instrumental, originally composed by Jarakovic Dragoljub-Jarak, one of Tocak's first guitar teachers, issued as a hit-single in 1975, showcased Tocak as the definitive guitar-hero and legend of the ex-Yugoslavian 1970s music scene, while the albums "Crna dama" ("Black Lady", 1977) and "Stranice Nasegvremena" ("The Pages of Our Time", 1978) were highly celebrated among prog fans and were even released in English versions aimed at the international market.
    Their reunion, from the second half of the 1980s onward, turned the musical direction of the band towards a more bland mainstream rock style, abandoning any prog elements, but after re-appearing in 1994. SMAK turned their musical attention back to hard rock with strong jazz and prog leanings. Tocak has, in the meantime, fully matured as a guitarist on a never-ending quest for perfection, and spent more than 20 years providing professional guitar tuition to a huge number of students in the ex-Yugoslavian territory.
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    Album Review
    The band spent the spring
    of 1977 in London recording the album 'Crna dama' (alias Black Lady). All the lyrics were written by Mirko Glišić, and all the music was written by Mihajlović, except the music for the track "Tegoba", with music written by Petkovski. The album was produced by Martin Levan and featured luxurious cover designed by Dragan S. Stefanović. The album saw big success, with hard rock-oriented title track, ballad "Stvar ljubavi", instrumental track "Domaći zadatak" ("Homework") dedicated to Bijelo Dugme, the track "Halo" which featured Arenđelović's scat singing, jazz rock track "Tegoba", and folk-oriented "Daire" and "Plava pesma", last two featuring string quartet Harmonium from London. The album received positive reactions by the critics, although Glišić's lyrics received mostly negative reactions. The band went on a successful tour and Crna dama was certificated gold record. The album gave the opportunity to the band to sign for the Frankfurt-based record label Bellaphon Records, which released the album 'Black Lady', featuring songs from 'Crna dama' with English language lyrics. This is the post provided here and is a rare find indeed.
    Melody Maker published an album review which described Smak as "a poor copy of Taste and Deep Purple", while the album saw a positive review in Guitar Player. At the end of the year the band was proclaimed The Band of the Year in the Džuboks annual voting.
    In January 1978, at the Midem music industry trade fair in Cannes, the 'Crna dama' rights were bought by Fantasy Records and the Spanish branch of RCA Records, and the album was released with a completely different look.
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    I purchased my copy of 'Black Lady' from an import shop in Melbourne which specialised in German and European rock. The cover was again another reason why I was initially drawn to this album and when I heard the track "Hello" as recommended by the record dealer, I was sold. The guitar work of Tocak totally blew me away when I first heard it and the screeching vocals of Boris Arandjelovic only added fuel to the fire. I didn't bother listening to the rest of the album - I just wanted to get home as quickly as I could and listen to it with a set of headphones - to get the best loudest-stereo affect. I'm sure SMAK is partly responsible for my diminished hearing in later years !
    As far as I can gather, the cover itself is not widely available and is very different to the that of the original
    Yugoslavian print. I have yet to find this cover published on any websites, so I suspect my cover scans are a first.
    The rip was taken from Vinyl at 256kps and includes both sets of LP covers, along with select photos of the band.
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    Track Listing
    1. Black Lady (3:34)
    2. Matter Of Love (5:09)
    3. Domestic Lesson (7:43)
    4. Hello (4:04)
    5. Suffer (6:46)
    6. Tambourine (3:45)
    7. Here Alone (Sad Once More) (4:26)

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    Band Members:
    Boris Arandjelovic (vocals)

    Radomir Mihajlovic-Tocak (guitars)

    Miodrag Petkovski-Miki (keyboards)

    Zoran Milanovic (bass)

    Slobodan Stojanovic-Kepa (drums)

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    The Harmonium Quartet
    Pat Nalling, John Knight (violins)

    Brian Mack (viola)

    Ben Kennard (cello)

    Maurice Pert (percussion)

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    Smak Link (68Mb) REPOSTED 4/11/2012
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    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Crossfire - East Of Where (1980)

    (Australian 1974 - 1982, Present)
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    This jazz rock group was formed in 1974 and based in Sydney, Australia. The band originally comprised of Jim Kelly (guitar), Greg Lyon (bass), Ian Bloxsom (percussion), Michael Kenny (piano), Steve Hopes (drums) and Tony Buchanan (saxophone). Crossfire were of a high enough standard of musicianship to gather worldwide recognition, the band served a long apprenticeship in jazz venues, often as the backing band for other artists, with the various members still concentrating on session work. Early on the band showed a lot of blues influence in their playing probably due to members having played in R&B and soul bands previously. By the late 70s the band was touring widely overseas, spending time in Asia, Europe and America, having played such prestigious gigs as the Newport Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott's in London and The Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1982. They recorded seven albums while together, including a live album with U.S. vocalist Michael Franks and produced Australia's first direct-to-disc LP in 1978. Crossfire also performed on collaborative tours with Lee Ritenour, Don Grusin, and Randy Brecker
    In 2007, ORiGiN released a collection of their best instrumental pieces entitled 'Hystorical Records' . A collectable item celebrating the bands music and also coinciding with a newly reformed line up of Crossfire who begun touring again in 2007 after a break of approx 15 years [extract from lascintasrecuperadas.blogspot.com]
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    Guitarist, Jim Kelly has long been recognised as one of our finest guitarists and through the late Seventies and Eighties he was a sought-after session musician. After The Affair he became one of the scores of top musos who passed through the ranks of Levi Smith's Clefs, followed by a stint in Mother Earth, which featured a young Renee Geyer on lead vocals. In 1974, Jim and Mick Kenny formed Crossfire, Australia's most successful jazz-rock fusion band. In 1990, Jim moved to Lismore where he took up the position of Head of Guitar Studies at Southern Cross University. He has released five solo Albums and has written a guitar instruction book, The Dominant Seventh Chord and Then the Blues. As well as being a guest clinician at teaching institutions throughout Australia, Jim remains a popular performer at major jazz venues and festivals. [extract from Milesago.com)]
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    Tony Buchanan played saxophone & woodwinds and currently plays with the very talented vocalist Jo Jo Smith. Tony studied saxophone with Frank Smith in Melbourne, Graham Lyall in Sydney, Joe Allard, Eddie Daniels and David Leibman in New York.
    His musical career spans more than 35 years and was a long time member of Crossfire. Tony has played in countless bands and ensembles during his career and is known to many of his peers as 'The God Father of Sax'
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    Tony has performed and recorded with musical greats such as: Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Lee Ritenour, Michael Franks, Ronny Scott, Maynard Ferguson, Mel Torme, Debbie Reynolds, Shirley Maclaine, Tubby Hayes, Jo Jo Smith and many others.
    Tony has taught saxophone at: Sydney Grammar, Southern Cross University in Lismore, Conservation of Music in Brisbane, Melbourne Grammar (boys), Melbourne Grammar (girls), Box Hill Tafe and Victorian College of the Arts. [extract from www.jojosmithsoul.com]
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    In this Crossfire posting, the band plays with some funk guitar riffs, rhodes and various woodwinds and brass, often with several instruments played through wah-wah pedals. Listening to it again now, more than thirty years later, I think I can hear what they might have been listening to - maybe some guitar work from Return to Forever, some Eddie Henderson wah-wah or the wonderful fusion played by Weather Report and Miles Davis. If you enjoy jazz fusion, then you are really going to enjoy this album.
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    Rip was taken from vinyl at 320kps and full album artwork is included.
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    Track Listing
    01 - Bob's Ya Uncle
    02 - Roll The Ivory Dice
    03 - Let Sco'
    04 - Parade
    05 - Malice In Wonderland
    06 - Where's The man In The Fat Suit
    07 - Away In D Major
    08 - East Of Where

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    Band Members:
    Jim Kelly (Guitars)
    Michael Kenny (Keyboards)
    Tony Buchanan (Tenor / Soprano Sax, Flute)
    Phil Scorgie (Bass)
    Ian Bloxsom (Percussion, Mallets)
    Steve Hopes (Drums)
    .
    Crossfire Link (94Mb) REPOST
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    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Moody Blues - Greatest Hits (1989)

    (U.K 1964 - Present)
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    The Moody Blues are an English psychedelic rock band originally from Erdington in the city of Birmingham. Founding members Michael Pinder and Ray Thomas performed an initially rhythm and blues-based sound in Birmingham in 1964 along with Graeme Edge and others, and were later joined by John Lodge and Justin Hayward as they inspired and evolved the progressive rock style. Among their innovations was a fusion with classical music, most notably in their seminal 1967 album 'Days of Future Passed' which features their all time classic track "The Night: (Nights in White Satin)"
    .
    Although they're best known today for their lush, lyrically and musically profound (some would say bombastic) psychedelic-era albums and singles, the Moody Blues started out as one of the better R&B based combos of the British Invasion. The Moody Blues' history began in Birmingham, England, where one of the more successful bands during that time was El Riot and the Rebels, co-founded by Ray Thomas (harmonica, vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals). Pinder left the band, first for a gig with Jackie Lynton and then a stint in the Army. In May of 1963, he and Thomas reunited under the auspices of the Krew Cats. They were good enough to get overseas bookings in Germany, where English rock bands were the rage. Upon their return to Birmingham in November of 1963, the entire English musical landscape was occupied by 250 groups, all of them vying for gigs in perhaps a dozen clubs. Thomas and Pinder decided to try and go professional, recruiting members from some of the best groups working in Birmingham. This included Denny Laine (vocals, guitar), Graeme Edge (drums), and Clint Warwick (bass, vocals). The Moody Blues made their debut in Birmingham in May of 1964, and quickly earned the notice and later the services of manager Tony Secunda. A major tour was quickly booked, and the band landed an engagement at the Marquee Club, which resulted in a contract with England's Decca Records less than six months after their formation. The group's first single, "Steal Your Heart Away," released in September of 1964, didn't touch the British charts.
    .
    Their second single "Go Now," released in November of 1964, fulfilled every expectation and more, reaching number one in England; in America, it peaked at number 10. Following it up was easier said than done. Despite their fledgling songwriting efforts and the access they had to American demos, this version of the Moody Blues never came up with another single success. By the end of the spring of 1965, the frustration was palpable within the band. The group decided to make their fourth single, "From the Bottom of My Heart," an experiment with a different sound. Unfortunately, the single only reached number 22 on the British charts following its release in May of 1965. Ultimately, the grind of touring coupled with the strains facing the group, became too much for Warwick, who exited in the spring of 1966, and by August of 1966 Laine had left as well. Warwick was replaced by John Lodge. His introduction to the band was followed in late 1966 by the addition of Justin Hayward.
    .
    The reconstituted Moody Blues set about keeping afloat financially, mostly playing in Europe, recording the occasional single. Their big break came from Deram Records, an imprint of their Decca label, which in 1967 decided that it needed a long-playing record to promote its new "Deramic Stereo." The Moody Blues were picked for the proposed project, a rock version of Dvorak's New World Symphony, and immediately convinced the staff producer and the engineer to abandon the source material and permit the group to use a series of its own compositions that depicted an archetypal "day," from morning to night. Using the tracks laid down by the band, and orchestrated by conductor Peter Knight, the resulting album 'Days of Future Passed' became a landmark in the band's history. The mix of rock and classical sounds was new, and at first puzzled the record company, but eventually the record was issued. This album, and its singles "Nights in White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon," hooked directly into the musical sides of the Summer of Love and its aftermath. In 'Search of the Lost Chord' (1968) abandoned the orchestra in favor of the Mellotron, which quickly became a part of their signature sound.
    .
    By the time of 1969's 'To Our Children's Children's Children', the group found themselves painted into something of a corner. Working in the studio with the process of overdubbing, they'd created albums that were essentially the work of 20 or 30 Moody Blues. Beginning with 'A Question of Balance' (1970), the group made the decision to record albums that they could play in concert, reducing their reliance on overdubbing and toughening up their sound. By the release of 'Seventh Sojourn' (1972), the strain of touring and recording steadily for five years was beginning to take its toll, and following an extended international tour, the band decided to take a break from working together, which ultimately lasted five years. During this era, Hayward and Lodge recorded a very successful duet album, 'Blue Jays' (1975), and all five members did solo albums. By 1977, however, the group members had made the decision to reunite, a process complicated by the fact that Pinder had moved to California during that period. Although all five participated in the resulting album, 'Octave' (1978), there were stresses during its recording, and Pinder was ultimately unhappy enough with the LP to decline to tour with the band. The reunion tour was a success, with Patrick Moraz (ex-Yes) brought in to replace Pinder on the keyboards, and the album topped the charts.
    .
    The group's follow-up record, 'Long Distance Voyager' (1981), was even more popular, though by this time a schism was beginning to develop between the band and the critical community. Although they continued to reach the middle levels of the charts, and even ascended reasonably close to the top with the Hayward single "In Your Wildest Dreams" (1986), the Moody Blues were no longer anywhere near the cutting edge of music. By the end of the 1980s, they were perceived as a nostalgia act, albeit one with a huge audience. In 1989, Threshold released a Greatest Hits album on both vinyl and CD (as posted here). In 1994, a four-CD set called 'Time Traveller' was released. A new studio effort, 'Strange Times', followed in 1999 and 'Live at the Royal Albert Hall' 2000 followed a year later [ Bruce Eder myspace\thebestmoodybluesprofile]
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    "Greatest Hits" released by Threshold in 1989 is more like the Table of Contents rather than a full on anthology album. A mixture of songs from the band's late 60's/early 70's heyday and their early 80's "comeback" period, it misses some important highlights. For instance, the band's 1965 classic "Go Now," is nowhere to be seen. Neither are such gems as "New Horizons," and "For My Lady" to name a few. There is nothing wrong with the songs that were included here, there just aren't nearly enough of them to make this a representative collection. Of course the vinyl release had an excuse with its length limitations, but surely when the CD version was released, Threshold could have added these as extra tracks.
    Consequently, I have taken the liberty of adding them into this post as bonus tracks. Likewise, one should also note that two of the tracks included are re-makes (Isn't Life Strange & Questions) and in my opinion not as good as the originals.
    The Rip was taken from CD version at 256kps and includes full album artwork. I have also included some choice photos of the band.
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    Discography:
    1965: The Magnificent Moodies

    1967: Days of Future Passed

    1968: In Search of the Lost Chord

    1969: On the Threshold of a Dream

    1969: To Our Children's Children's Children

    1970: A Question of Balance

    1971: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

    1972: Seventh Sojourn

    1978: Octave

    1981: Long Distance Voyager

    1983: The Present

    1986: The Other Side of Life

    1988: Sur La Mer

    1991: Keys of the Kingdom

    1999: Strange Times

    2003: December

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    Track Listing
    01 - Your Wildest Dreams* - 4:51

    02 - The Voice* - 5:17

    03 - Gemini Dream* - 4:09

    04 - The Story In Your Eyes - 3:06

    05 - Tuesday Afternoon - 4:53

    06 - Isn't Life Strange (1988 version) - 6:41

    07 - Nights in White Satin - 7:39

    08 - I Know You're Out There Somewhere* - 6:39

    09 - The Other Side of Life* - 6:52 (not on vinyl LP (Europe only)

    10 - Ride My See-Saw - 3:47

    11 - I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) - 4:20
    12 - Question (1988 version) - 5:45

    [Bonus Tracks]

    13 - Go Now - 3:14

    14 - New Horizons - 5:10

    15 - For My Lady - 3:57

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    Band Members
    Justin Hayward (Guitar/Vocals)

    John Lodge (Bass/Vocals)

    Graeme Edge (Drums)

    Ray Thomas (Flutes, Harmonicas, Vocals)

    Mike Pinder (Keyboards/Vocals)

    * Patrick Moraz (Keyboards)
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    Moody Blues Link (122Mb) REPOST
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    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Haze - Hazecolor-Dia (1971)

    (German 1971)
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    I bought this album from an import shop sale bin many, many years ago (attracted by the multi-coloured cellophane cover) Not sure what happened to it but I most likely traded it - apparently it is now a very hard to find collectors item!
    Historically undocumented, there's not a lot I can tell you about Haze. However, Bacillus Records must have deemed them as important, in that they presented their debut LP in a unique cover - an LP size transparency slide (known as a "dia" in Germany) in the style used by Agfa!
    Hazecolor-Dia was a Hauke & Dierks production, recorded during April 1971 at the Clerks Studio. The gimmick sleeve was created by designer Walter Seyffer, who also created the cover of the Nine Days Wonder debut album and was their singer, too.
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    Haze were amongst the first to present the uniquely German "hard-rock" sound, into which they mixed a complex variety of progressive elements, featuring guitars to the fore and quite a bizarre vocalist. They were also typical of the Bacillus Records sound, if more song based than most, venturing on to psychedelic and blues realms.
    Recorded in 1971, this German album is a complex progressive rock effort with plenty of excellent guitar playing and some nice psychedelic touches (as one would expect by its psychedelic cover)
    Haze play interesting hard-rock that reminds me of early Nektar or Message. All five tracks were written by Dietmar Low. Slow, cleverly-arranged heavy progressive rock numbers, psychedelically fueled with a faint blues tinge, featuring humorous lyrics: "A Way To Find Paradise" tells about a hippy's struggle to get his hashish to smoke! Scherler really had a strange and wild voice (he usually screamed as loudly as he could), adding much to their gutsy freak rock style. Several tracks also featured flute (the flute player is not identified on the cover)
    Haze, in part, seem to draw inspiration from The Edgar Broughton Band, Arthur Brown, and Captain Beefheart. This, their only album is recommended for all freak rock fans!
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    The rip was taken from CD remaster at 320kps and includes full album artwork. Enjoy!
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    Track Listing
    01 - Peaceful Nonsense (7.18)
    02 - Fast Career (8.35)
    03 - Be Yourself (6.26)
    04 - A Way To Find the Paradise (6.58)
    05 - Decision (10.14)

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    Band Members:
    Christian Scherler (vocals)
    Heinz Schwab (lead guitar)
    Hans-Jürg Frei (guitar, organ)
    Dietmar Löw (bass)
    Kurt Frei (drums)
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    Haze link (93Mb) Link Fixed 27/01/2013
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    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Savanna Silver Band - Pure Silver (1977)

    (Australian 1977-79)
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    This relatively unknown Melbourne band played the pub circuit during the late seventies and were renowned for their jazz / funk style of music, filled with melodic synth and woodwind melodies, backed by solid percussion sounds from Anthony Doyle and Alex Pertout. I was lucky enough to see the band play at the Tankerville Arms Hotel (corner Johnson & Nicholson Street Fitzroy) in 1978 and still have vivid memories of their latin-american stage show, with large tree ferns and palms scattered about the stage complemented by an array of bright colors created by their stage lighting.
    They played tracks from their recently released debut album 'Pure Silver' and on reflection can say that they were able to fully reproduce their studio sound on stage. Every song they played drew me in more and more, but highlights were definitely "Ruby Running Faker", "Mr. Featherman" and the haunting "Just Remember".
    Michael Savanna-Silver's voice (backed by Olga Binos and Meryle Petein) was pitch perfect and thanks to the favorable acoustics of the venue the lyrics were a powerful aspect of their overall sound.
    Needless to say, I hunted down a copy of their album (released on an independent label 'Champagne Records') and although it had a rather drab silver-coloured LP cover, the music inside was brilliant. However, I suspect the band realised this shortcoming when they changed record companies in 1979 ( 'Image Records' ) and later re-released the album under a new title 'It Takes A Woman' sporting a red coloured, more inviting album cover. I have seen a copy of this re-release recently at a collectors market, but couldn't justify the $50 price tag!
    The album is excellent for a debut LP and was produced and engineered by the well known Gil Matthews (former drummer for 'Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs' and founder of Aztec Music) Unfortunately this is their only LP and both of their single's A & B sides were also taken from this album.
    If you haven't heard this album and you like artists such as Larry Carlton, Steve Khan, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, or even Osibisa, then you are going to love the Savanna Silver Band. Either way, I recommend you give it a try - you won't be disappointed.
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    The rip was taken from vinyl at 320kps and includes full album artwork (silver version I'm afraid)
    A big thank you to ecrob from Midoztouch, for providing me with the scan of his cassette tape cover for the alternative release by Image.
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    Tracklisting
    01 - Ruby Running Faker (3:28)

    02 - Like I Do (5:33)
    03 - Chaser (0:43)
    04 - Coming Home (4:17)
    05 - It Takes A Woman (4:20)
    06 - Take A Giant Step (4:21)
    07 - Why (3:00)
    08 - Foolish People (3:59)
    09 - Mr. Featherman (5:00)
    10 - Just Remember (4:43)

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    Band Members:
    Michael Savanna Silver (Lead Vocals, Guitar [12 String], Synthesizer, Gong, Percussion)

    Paul Wheeler (Bass)

    Mel Stainton (Clarinet)

    Alejandro Pertout Navarro (Congas, Timbales, Percussion [Latin])
    Anthony Doyle (Drums, Percussion)

    Tony Pedroza (Guitar)

    Graham Jenks (Rhythm Guitar)

    Meryle Petein , Olga Binos (Backing Vocals)

    Russell Smith (Saxophone)

    Miguel Carranza (Trombone)

    John McCulloch , Tim Fettes (Trumpet)

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    Savannah Silver Band (77Mb) REPOST
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