Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WOCK On Vinyl - ALF: Stuck On Earth (1986)

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Before things get too serious at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be considered to be either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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The television series ALF was a show that ran from 1986-1990. It stared an alien named Gordon Shumway, nicknamed ALF (abbreviation of Alien Life Form), who was originally from the planet Melmac and crash landed on Earth into the garage of the Tanner family. The series followed ALF on his misadventures while on Earth staying with the Tanner family. The show sparked huge popularization throughout the 80s and 90s for the shows main character ALF and it led to the movie Project: ALF, which was released on February 17, 1996. The TV series aired with 99 episodes, but never quite made it to 100!

In 1986, Ben Liebrand made a mix with samples from some ‘Alf’-episodes. This track (stuck on earth) became a worldwide hit. In the USA screenplayer-writer-contracts got rewritten because this was the 1st time ‘comedy-show’-texts where used in musical tracks. And the contracts didn’t include the use of the texts in ‘non-TV’-media.

Off course you think: "Yeah - what a funny track but nothing special" - OK, I agree with that but then I am listening to the flip-side and then you can hear what a brilliant producer Ben Liebrand was. The "Melmac"-track drags you with Alf over the interstate... ! Really nice bass line and a beautiful production with lots of synths and sequencing by Ben Liebrand ! Nice! In the eighties "Stuck on Earth" was played on the dutch radio network at "The Curry & Van Inkel Show".

If your interested in reading more about this crazy Extra Terrestrial Goof-Ball, you can find just about everything there is to know at Alfanatic


I guess this month's WOCK on Vinyl post covers both the Weird and the Crazy, or is it simply Out of this World......I'll let you be the judge.  Ripped from my vinyl 45 in mp3 format (320kps) and includes cover scans.

Track Listing
01 - Stuck On Earth
02 - Cruisin' On Melmac Interstate

ALF  (21Mb)
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feather - The Nest Of Feather (1977-1979)

(Australian 1976-80)
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Rising from the ashes of seminal Australian blues rock band Blackfeather, Feather took its maiden flight in late 1976. Long time Blackfeather front man Neale Johns had departed unexpectedly for the U.K., leaving the other members of the band to ponder their future.By that time Blackfeather’s style had shifted to a more straight pop-rock focus, and the line-up had evolved to feature Ray Vanderby (keyboards), Lee Brossman (bass), Warwick Fraser (drums), and Warwick’s 14 year old brother Stuart on guitar. Vanderby left the nest shortly after Johns’ departure, so the rest of the band recruited ex-Fraternity singer John Swan and ex-Bullett guitarist Wayne Smith, taking on the new moniker Feather.
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The band scored its first big break soon after with a support slot for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on an Australian tour. Feather then settled back to hone their new harder edged guitar driven sound on the mushrooming pub rock scene. CBS had retained an interest in the band, and in May 1977 Feather released their debut single ‘Girl Trouble’. The single received a solid amount of airplay but couldn’t land a spot on the national charts, despite having one of the strongest guitar hooks I’ve heard on an Australian rock track. Reputedly Feather had laid down enough tracks in the studio for an album, tentatively titled ‘Going Through Changes’, but sadly the album never saw the light of day (even though Chris Spencer's Who's Who's of Australian Rock lists it?). I was fortunate enough to come across a CD copy of the classic ‘Girl Trouble’ via its inclusion on a 90s CD compilations called ‘Do Yourself A Favour: Best Of The Countdown Years’.

Feather continued to play throughout 1977, and for a few weeks during July John Swan’s brother Jimmy Barnes, on sabbatical from Cold Chisel, shared the lead vocal duties. In November ‘77 Feather underwent a couple of key personnel changes, when bassist Lee Brossman and guitarist Wayne Smith left the group. Bassist Mark Mitchell and ex-Finch guitarist Chris Jones were brought into the flock. In
Stuart Fraser
April 1978 Feather were scheduled to tour as the support act for the Ted Mulry Gang on their three month nationwide ‘Disturbing The Peace’ tour, but the band was thrown into chaos when singer John Swan also flew the coup.

Ex-Class vocalist Gary Conlan stepped into the fray for the tour and for Feather’s two track contribution to the various artists album ‘Canned Rock’, a live gig performed at Parramatta Gaol. By 1980 Feather were performing under the moniker of Kid Colt, and by year’s end the Fraser Brothers, along with Mark Mitchell, had left to join singer Karen Smith in a new project called Smith, signalling the end of Feather’s flight.

Smith issued two rock singles ‘Nightlights’ ( April 1981) and ‘Lonely Man’ (June 1981), but neither made an impact, and within a year Smith had split. Drummer Warwick Fraser went on to play with a myriad of acts including The Screaming Tribesmen, Peter Wells Band and Died Pretty. Guitarist whiz-kid Stuart Fraser had no trouble landing a gig either, playing for a time with his brother Warwick in The Change, and playing with ex-Feather vocalist John Swan when Swan had taken on the name Swanee. Stuart Fraser was later a founding member of Australian pop-rock band Noiseworks, who
Lee Brosman and Warwick Fraser
enjoyed a hugely successful run from the mid 80s through early 90s. Fraser also found time to be a key member of John Farnham’s band. Meanwhile ex-Feather bass player Lee Brossman had kept busy forging out a career as a much sought after session player and touring bassist. He toured with the legendary Jackson Browne on Browne’s ‘Running On Empty’ Australian tour in the late 70s. Brossman also did session work with the likes of Renee Geyer, and worked in the States for several years. He is still active in the music business on a casual basis, in recent years playing with the popular Australian cover band The Amigos [extract from retrouniverse.blogspot]
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The following is an article from JUKE magazine featuring the newly formed 'Feather.'

From Blackfeather To Feather
IF the members of Feather were the least bit superstitious they would be thinking twice about accompanying the Ted Mulry Gang on a national tour. After all. Rabbit and Taste fell apart after such a venture and Feather itself split down the centre after a short jaunt with TMG late last year.
But one of the qualities that has emerged through the various lineup changes of the band, dating back to the Blackfeather days, is the ability to persist. Each combination seems to have been blessed with a determination — however short-lived — to carry on the fluctuating tradition of rock and roll.
As it happens, the present three-month-old lineup of John Swan (vocals), Mark Mitchell (bass), Chris Jones (guitar), Stuart Fraser (guitar) and Warwick Fraser (drums) is not at all superstitious and plans to survive the forthcoming TMG tour if only to prove a point.

FEATHER 1977
"We want to prove the band is a staying band," Stuart says. "It's pretty hard to get a group of guys together and keep it that way. But we know it's going to work out."
Fairly normal words, those, especially for a group of guys with a fresh start in mind. It's an aim most would have. And if it does prove to be true, it will raise a few amazed eyebrows because Feather's forerunner, Blackfeather, has probably seen more members pass through its' ranks than any other rock band in the country.
The name, Blackfeather, was dropped a little more than a year ago, and replaced with Feather and new blood. For most of last year there was John, Stuart, Warwick; and Lee Brosman and Wayne Smith — the two who left after the TMG November tour, (John assures us Ted is not at all to blame and is totally bewildered as to why bands choose his Tours to break up on).


"Blackfeather really has nothing to do with us any more" says Warwick. "Although I suppose people will always think we are a continuation of that band."
"The line-up now," says John,"is a lot punchier — it has a different musical direction. The whole act on tour will be original. At the moment we are stripping down songs, thinking about harmonies and writing new material".
"The great thing about the band now is that, musically, we all have the same ideas — we haven't had a chance to do them on stage."
"Punk has become very trendy, so we've been doing a hit of that too. The audiences don't seem to mind — in fact, they are usually happy to come with you wherever you want to take them."
"It's important to keep lyrics to street level, so you're not tripping over the kids heads."
If Chris Jones has any second thoughts about leaving Finch to join Feather, he's not showing it. The prospects for Finch do, after all, look pretty hot. There's the single and the album doing very well and the signing with international label Portrait will probably lure the band overseas soon.
"I knew all that was happening," Chris says, "But it didn't change my mind about leaving. I had wanted to leave six months before, because the vibes in the band just weren't good, I jumped into the fire quickly when I joined Finch but I had watched Feather for ages and really liked the band.
"I never thought there would be a vacancy but when I knew there was, I auditioned straight away"
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Chris Jones On TMG Tour
Feather, like Finch, records for CBS and the band has one single to its credit, the rocky number 'Girl Trouble', that inexplicably did not do particularly well on the charts.
"Basically, that song was a feeler for us," John explains, "It enabled the hand to get used to the studio and was great for TV exposure. We'll be doing the next one on a better footing.

"We were a little disappointed about air play for 'Girl Trouble' but most radio stations won't look at your first single — and we didn't really expect the band to be a one-hit wonder."
At the moment Feather is on a one-month mini tour that started in Adelaide and will finish in Tasmania where the guys will meet up with TMG to begin the three-month national tour on April 26.
"The mini tour is mainly a pub-circuit one," Stuart says. "That way we play to audiences all the time."
Adds John, "The tour might mean our musical direction will change, if only in that the rough edges will come off. We'll be doing about a gig a night on the main tour so it must improve and change things, By the time we get back from the TMG tour, we'll have the right material for an album. At the moment that's only in its Embryo Stages."


Mark Mitchell, the other new Feather recruit,is justifiably excited about the prospect of a national tour. The touring and playing scene is fairly new to him.
Like his big-time brother, Tony (Sherbet), Mark's preference lies with bass,and no,Tony didn't teach himself to play. "I taught myself Mark says,"It was the usual case of putting a record on and trying to follow it."
Mark has found that having Tony Mitchell for a brother has its advantages and disadvantages: "I've got the name behind me, so it has helped in that way — otherwise I would probably still be regarded as just another bass player."
"The only problem," says Mark, who is a dead ringer for Tony (except his hair is a lighter brown), "is that you are instantly recognised at gigs. That's something Mark finds discomforting, being unused to the mobbing of enthusiastic fans."
The current version of Feather is a fairly young one. Stuart's at the tail end of 16, Chris, Mark and Warwick claim to be in the vicinity of 19 and John is a few years older again. Consequently, the band attracts a young crowd but whether that will be to the detriment of the band's musical credibility remains to be seen.
Warwick Fraser at Chequers
"We know we draw a young-girl crowd," says Stuart. "But we'd rather have a bunch of screaming girls than a quiet group of people at the Lifesaver who are out of it anyway."
For such a basically young band, Feather doesn't have any startling, idealistic dreams. They're sensibly realistic guys who are aware of the ropes.
"I take the whole deal a lot more seriously than I used to," says John. "Rock and roll used to be an excuse for going out and getting drunk . . I don't swagger out of pubs anymore. The band is a way of life that has to be treated well.
"There comes a time when you have to pull yourself together and look at what you are doing. You have to realise you have an obligation to the people you are working with."
It's an attitude that seems to be reflected in Feather's hard-core rock music, although only the next few months will tell whether it has all been worth the time and the trouble.
"Our music isn't really all that different from anyone else's," John admits, "But there are a lot of bands that get into that Bad Company trap — the one-chord scene that doesn't have enough aggression — they don't think enough about dynamics. "If you want it to work, you have to do it with a bit of yourself thrown in."
— Sasanne Moore (JUKE, May 6, 1978)
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This post consists of a compilation I put together of tracks recorded by Feather's over their 4 year life span, with tracks ripped from vinyl (One Single, Canned Rock, The Long Live Evolution Concert) and others sourced from the web. All tracks are in mp3 format (320kps).  Full album artwork and band photos are included, along with a scan of the JUKE newspaper article transcribed above.
Feather were are great Aussie rock band that never 'flew' to the top, yet they were an integral stepping stone for the musical careers of both Swanee and Stuart Fraser. This was also my first attempt at putting together some CD artwork to go with a post, a little amateurish I know but it does the job I guess.
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Track listing
01 - Girl Trouble (A-Side Single)
02 - Sweet Melinda (B-Side Single)
03 - Here With Me (Live at Parramatta Gaol 1979)
04 - Bad Blood (Live at Parramatta Gaol 1979)
05 - Girl Trouble (ABC)
06 - The Open Road (ABC)
07 - Rock N Roll Medley (ABC)
08 - Sleeping Around (Live)
09 - Light As A Feather (Live)
10 - Free And Easy (Live)
11 - Hot Street (Live)
12 - Out Of Time With Life (Live)
13 - Girl Trouble (Countdown)
14 - Light As A Feather (Countdown)
15 - Free And Easy (JJ Long Live the Evolution Concert)


Tracks 1,2:       45-Single (released 1977 by CBS, BA222307)
Tracks 3,4:       Canned Rock (released by Alberts, APLP-042)
Tracks 5-7:       The Real Thing (Broadcasted by the ABC, 1977)
Tracks 8-12:     Band recordings (Sourced from Feather's Myspace page)
Tracks 13-14:    Sourced from YouTube
Track  15:         Long Live The Evolution - The Best Of Double J Rock, 1977


Feather members were:
John Swan, Gary Conlan (vocals)
Wayne Smith, Stuart Fraser, Chris Jones (guitar)
Lee Brossman, Mark Mitchell (bass)
Warwick Fraser (drums)
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Feather Link (104Mb)
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Various Artists - Underground 70' (1975)

(Various 70's Artists)
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Another compilation, this time featuring a range of bands with Underground status at that time. Most bands featured had come or evolved from the late 60's with some going onto bigger and better things (eg. Chicago Transit Authority, Al Kooper, Moby Grape).
The first thing that caught my attention with this album was the great cover, featuring Jerry Goodman from the Flock who went onto play violin in the famous jazz fusion group Mahavishnu Orchestra.
The second attraction was the Purple Vinyl pressing which certainly made this garage sale find worth while. The inclusion of the early Chicago track with other obscurities certainly put the icing on the cake.
The following is brief background information on each of the bands featured in this conglomerate of psychedelic, jazz, funk and acid rock. Hope ya enjoy it
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CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY
Chicago Transit Authority was the initial name of the band currently known as Chicago. They called themselves Chicago Transit Authority from their beginnings in February 1967 until their self-titled debut album came out in April 1969. By the time they recorded their second album late that year, they had shortened their name to Chicago after the CTA (Chicago’s public transportation agency) threatened to sue the band.
In their original incarnation, keyboardist Robert Lamm, guitarist Terry Kath and bassist Peter Cetera all shared lead vocals, while James Pankow, Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider handled all brass and woodwinds and Danny Seraphine played drums. Lamm, Kath and Pankow were the band's main composers at this juncture.
Released in April 1969, The Chicago Transit Authority (sometimes informally referred to simply as "CTA") proved to be an immediate hit, reaching #17 in the US and #9 in the UK. While critical reaction was also strong, the album initially failed to produce any hit singles, with the group seen as an album-oriented collective. In 1970 and 1971, "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" (#7), "Beginnings" (#7) and "Questions 67 and 68" (#71/#24 re-release) would all prove to be belated hits. Buoyed by the success of their later albums, the album stayed on the charts for a then-record 171 weeks, and was certified gold (and later platinum and double platinum).

THE FLOCK
The Flock was a Chicago-based jazz-rock band that released two records on Columbia records in 1969 (The Flock) and 1970 (Dinosaur Swamps). Like their hometown contemporaries Chicago Transit Authority, the Flock relied heavily on electric guitar and horns. But the sound took a wicked quantum leap thanks to Goodman, a conservatory-trained violinist who had been the band’s guitar tech. Goodman, went on to become a member of Mahavishnu Orchestra and a solo artist.
The members at the time of their 1969 studio recording were Fred Glickstein (guitar, lead vocals), Jerry Goodman (violin), Jerry Smith (bass), Ron Karpman (drums), Rick Canoff (saxophone), Tom Webb (saxophone) and Frank Posa (trumpet).

AL KOOPER
You Never Know Who Your Friends Are was the second album by New York City-based singer-songwriter Al Kooper, issued in 1969 on Columbia Records.
A continuation of sorts of his début, the album finds Kooper continuing to create an eclectic mix of rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, pop and blues, though without the psychedelics that had somewhat permeated through I Stand Alone. Utilizing a large group of musicians under the direction of Charlie Calello known collectively as "The Al Kooper Big Band", Kooper strayed away from the heavy string orchestrations of his début as well.
Relying on more original compositions, with a full nine of twelve tracks by Kooper (with the remaining three by Motown staff songwriters or Harry Nilsson), the album further helped to cement Kooper's reputation as a consummate artist. 

THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS
The Chambers Brothers was a soul-music group, best known for its 1968 hit record, the 11-minute long song "Time Has Come Today". The group was part of the wave of new music that integrated American blues and gospel traditions with modern psychedelic and rock elements. Based on their Southern roots, the brothers brought a raw authenticity to their recordings and live performances that was missing from many other acts of that era. Their music has been kept alive through heavy use in film soundtracks.
"Wake Up" comes from their double album 'Love, Peace and Happiness' which was released in December of 1969. It consisted of some live material recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore East and some studio recordings.
In "Love, Peace and Happiness", the phrase "That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind" is paraphrased as, "Its a small step for man, but its a giant leap for all mankind".

APPALOOSA
Appaloosa's self-titled 1969 LP matched singer/acoustic guitarist John Parker Compton's thoughtful, melodic compositions to sympathetic arrangements featuring fellow band members Robin Batteau on violin, Eugene Rosov on cello, and David Reiser on electric bass. In both its combination of instruments and the absence of a drummer, it was a most unusual instrumental lineup for a rock band, even at a time when boundaries and restrictions were routinely bent. The core quartet were bolstered by top session players (including members of Blood, Sweat & Tears) and, above all, producer Al Kooper, who also added a lot of his own keyboards and guitar to the album. Kooper himself played electric harpsichord, electric guitar, organ, vibraphone, piano, and electric piano, as well as doing string arrangements on the featured track "Rosalie" Rosalie was originally performed for years as a folk song but Kooper folk-rocked it up with piano and electric guitar to an almost Fairport Convention style but still being country-esque as well.
For more information on Appaloosa, see richieunterberger.com

NRBQ
NRBQ is an American rock band founded in 1967. The abbreviation "NRBQ" stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (originally Quintet). It is known for its live performances, containing a high degree of spontaneity and levity, and blending rock, pop, jazz, blues and Tin Pan Alley styles. Its best known line-up is the 1974–1994 quartet of pianist Terry Adams, bassist Joey Spampinato, guitarist Al Anderson, and drummer Tom Ardolino. The band's music is a rollicking blend of all types of music from The Beatles to modern jazz. This cover of Eddie Cochran's big hit "C'mon Everybody" was released in 1969 on both their self-titled album and as a single.


NRBQ's devoted following was stoked by years of legendary live shows. The band never works with a set list, so fans never knew what songs to expect. In addition to its own compositions, the band performs a broad range of cover material, and has even worked no-refusal audience requests into its act.
However, all of this admiration from peers and fans has never resulted in chart-topping success. The band made only one appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in its nearly 40-year recording career ("Get That Gasoline Blues" reached No. 70 in 1974.)

DON ELLIS
Don Ellis (July 25, 1934–December 17, 1978) was an American jazz trumpeter, drummer, composer and bandleader. He is best known for his extensive musical experimentation, particularly in the area of unusual time signatures. Later in his life he worked as a film composer, among other works contributing a score to 1971's The French Connection and 1973's The Seven-Ups.
In early 1969, the Don Ellis Orchestra was back in Columbia Studios to record "The Don Ellis Band Goes Underground", a collection of several pop songs (arranged by Ellis) and some Ellis originals. The album features vocalist Patti Allen on songs by Laura Nyro, The Isley Brothers, and Sly Stone. It also includes "House In The Country" which was the theme from the French Connection (1972) and featured here on Underground '70

PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC
Pacific Gas & Electric was an American blues rock band in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by singer Charlie Allen. Their biggest hit was "Are You Ready?" The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1967, by guitarist Tom Marshall, bassist Brent Block, second guitarist Glenn Schwartz (previously of The James Gang) and drummer Charlie Allen, who had previously played in the band Bluesberry Jam. When it became clear that Allen was the best singer in the new group, he became the front man, and Frank Cook, previously of Canned Heat, came into the band on drums. Originally known as the Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band, they shortened their name when they signed to Kent Records, releasing the album Get It On in early 1968. The record was not a success, but following the band's performance at the Miami Pop Festival in May 1968 they were signed by Columbia Records.Their first album for Columbia, Pacific Gas and Electric, was issued in 1969, but they achieved greater success with their next album, 'Are You Ready' in 1970. The title track reached # 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the album was recorded, Cook was injured in a car accident and was replaced on drums by Ron Woods, Cook staying on as manager. Marshall and Schwartz left, and were replaced by Frank Petricca (bass) and Ken Utterback (guitar), with Brent Block moving to rhythm guitar before leaving later in 1970. Unusually for the time, the band contained both black and white musicians, which led to rioting and gunfire on one occasion when the band, who toured widely, performed in Raleigh, North Carolina.

SPIRIT
Spirit was an American jazz/hard rock/progressive rock/psychedelic band founded in 1967, based in Los Angeles, California.
The original lineup of the group evolved from an earlier Los Angeles band, The Red Roosters, which included Randy California (guitars, vocals), Mark Andes (bass) and Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion). With the addition of California's stepfather Ed Cassidy (drums), and keyboard player John Locke the new band was originally named the Spirits Rebellious (after a book by Khalil Gibran) but was soon shortened simply to Spirit. In 1966 Randy California had also played with Jimi Hendrix (then known as Jimmy James) in his band, The Blue Flame.
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Cassidy was instantly recognizable by his shaven head (hence his nickname "Mr. Skin") and his fondness for wearing black. He was around twenty years older than the rest of the group (born in 1923). His earlier career was primarily in jazz and included stints with Cannonball Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Roland Kirk, Thelonious Monk and Lee Konitz. He was a founding member of Rising Sons with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.
"New Dope In Town" was the closing track from their 3rd LP 'Clear' and is considered to be the most powerful track on the album

JACOBS CREEK
A rare major label psych gem. Released by Columbia Records in 1968, Jacobs Creek one and only released album deserves you're acid-riddled attention. Not a blown out fuzz monster by any means, Jacobs Creek trades in well written songs, tight vocal harmonies and the occasional egregious over use of a horn section. Steve Burgh's lead guitar is the definite highlight of the proceedings.
This New Jersey band was lead by brothers Lon and Derrek Van Eaton, who are best-known for the subsequent music they made for The Beatles’ Apple label. The sole album made by Jacobs Creek was a fine collection of acid-tinged rural rock, which first appeared in 1969. With arrangements encompassing electric guitars, horns and sitar, it’s an eclectic treat for fans of vintage psychedelia.

Lon and Derek Van Eaton would go on to release an album on Apple Records in 1972 entitled “Brother” (with some involvement from Ringo Starr and George Harrison) and another in 1974 for A&M Records called “Who Do You Out Do”, while Burgh next surfaced playing bass on David Bromberg’s own eponymous debut, beginning a session career that would quickly grow to include dates in support of John Prine, Steve Goodman, and Willie Nelson (1973’s classic Shotgun Willie).
Burgh spent much of the mid-’70s serving as musical director for Phoebe Snow, and in 1977 he contributed guitar to Billy Joel’s breakthrough effort The Stranger, appearing on the Grammy-winning “Just the Way You Are.” (Max Collodie). If you like this track "Behind The Door", you can now purchase a CD release of their one and only LP by Aurora records at the Rare Record Shop online.

MOBY GRAPE
Moby Grape is an American rock group from the 1960s, known for having all five members contribute to singing and songwriting and that collectively merged elements of folk music, blues, country, and jazz together with rock and psychedelic music.
Due to the strength of their debut album, several critics consider Moby Grape to be the best rock band to emerge from the San Francisco music scene in the late sixties. The group continues to perform occasionally. As described by Jeff Tamarkin, "The Grape's saga is one of squandered potential, absurdly misguided decisions, bad-luck, blunders and excruciating heartbreak, all set to the tune of some of the greatest rock and roll ever to emerge from San Francisco. Moby Grape could have had it all, but they ended up with nothing, and less."
The group was formed in late 1966 in San Francisco, at the initiation of Skip Spence and Matthew Katz. Both were previously associated with Jefferson Airplane?Spence as the band's first drummer, playing on their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, and Katz as the band's manager.
Both had been dismissed by the group. Katz encouraged Spence to form a band similar to Jefferson Airplane, with varied songwriting and vocal work by several group members, and with Katz as the manager. According to Peter Lewis, "Matthew (Katz) brought the spirit of conflict into the band. He didn't want it to be an equal partnership. He wanted it all."
The band name, judicially determined to have been chosen by Bob Mosley and Skip Spence, came from the punch line of the joke "What's big and purple and lives in the ocean?".
"Looper", a jazzy guitar exploration, was one of the very first tracks that Moby Grape ever cut. It quickly became a classic piece of folk-rock, yet with the pronounced country edge that was always a Grape trademark. Despite the bizarre title (which may have been a nickname for a loved one) it's a rather piercing love song.
This version of "Looper" comes off their fourth album entitled Truly Fine Citizen. After completing this album, the band went on awal until 1971 when they reunited temporarily with Skip Spence and Bob Mosley to record the reunion album, 20 Granite Creek. The band soon fell apart again afterwards.

ILLINOIS SPEED PRESS
Illinois Speed Press (ISP) was an American rock band formed - originally, in 1965, as The Rovin' Kind - in Chicago, later relocating to California. Illinois Speed Press was a Chicago-spawned band whose sound combined elements of R&B and country music in a powerful double-lead-guitar attack. It was enough to turn them into stars in Chicago, get them a contract with a major label, and a move to Los Angeles, paving the way for longtime careers for their two guitarists. Though the Illinois Speed Press was a late-'60s phenomenon in Chicago, their roots went back a full decade, traceable to a late-'50s band called "the Capitols" (no relation to the soul outfit of that name), who played local high school functions and the YMCA. They began a series of name changes — some voluntary and some imposed by outside forces — in the early '60s, most of which reflected the changing musical sensibilities of the era.
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James Guercio discovered the 'Rovin' Kind' at the Chicago Whiskey-A-Go-Go, where they were the house band. He offered them management and production and brought them back to Los Angeles where they were signed to CBS/Columbia Records under their new name, Illinois Speed Press (ISP). The name change happened in February 1968.
ISP toured the country from 1966 to 1971 playing with such prolific musicians and bands as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Steppenwolf, The Grateful Dead, Chicago, Led Zeppelin and many more. Though much of the personnel changed over the years, Paul Cotton (of Poco fame) and Kal David remained as the driving force. Though the band only released two records, ISP remains an underground favorite for those who were privileged enough to see this band perform.  
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AORTA
Formed in Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 1967, Aorta initially consisted of Jim Donlinger (guitar, vocals), Jim Nyholt (piano, organ), Dan Hoagland (tenor saxophone), Bobby Jones (bass, vocals) and William Herman (drums). In February 1968, Hoagland left to join the Chicago Transit Authority, later known as Chicago.
Aorta was a highly talented rock band from Rockford, IL that released two albums throughout 1969 and 1970. The band was originally known as the Exceptions, a popular soul rock group that played around the Chicago area and released a handful of singles. In 1969, Columbia released their debut record which featured a nice mix of organ and guitar with a strong psychedelic flow throughout most songs.
This album was housed in a beautiful, graphic sleeve that has always overshadowed the great music from within. Musically speaking, Aorta’s sound comes close to Boston band Listening or even the more psychedelic aspects of early Blood, Sweat and Tears during its Al Kooper phase. There seems to be some kind of concept that reoccurs under the Mein Vein theme. Aorta is solid throughout though, featuring strong musicianship, inventive studio wizardry, superb songs with a healthy dose of fuzz guitar and wonderful string and horn arrangements. Heart Attack is the second track from the album. After splitting up in 1970, two members Mike Been and Jim Donlinger joined H. P. Lovecraft.
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This post consists of an MP3 rip from my Very Purple Vinyl (German Pressing) and includes full album artwork, along with a select range of band photos as featured.  The condition of the vinyl wasn't fantastic, but I have painstakingly removed any of the clicks and pops that were evident. Hope you enjoy this broad range of early 70's 'Underground Music'.
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Track Listing

01.   Introduction (Chicago Transit Authority)  6:35    
02.   Tired Of Waiting (The Flock)  4:40    
03.   You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (Al Kooper) 2:58    
04.   Wake Up (The Chambers Brothers)  2:15    
05.   Rosalie (Appaloosa)  4:20    

06.   C'mon Everybody ( NRBQ)   3:01    
07.   House In The Country (Don Ellis)   2:46    
08.   Bluesbuster (Pacific Gas & Electric)   2:56    
09.   New Dope In The Town (Spirit)   4:24    

10.   Behind The Door (Jacobs Creek)  4:00    
11.   Looper (Moby Grape)  2:58     
12.  Hard Luck Story (Illinois Speed Press)  4:43    
13.   Heart Attack (Aorta)  2:30

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Underground '70 Link (110Mb)  New Link 17/06/2014

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ayers Rock - Big Red Rock (1974) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1973-81)
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Ayers Rock was the leading Australian 'jazz-rock' group of the 70s, fusing rock with influences from soul, R&B, jazz and Latin music. The band was built on world-class standards of playing and complex arrangements, and inspired by overseas groups such as Traffic, Santana and Weather Report. The original members were all seasoned players, widely regarded as among the best musos in the country, and their musical connections were woven through a series of major bands of the 60s and early 70s.
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(Note: Back cover shown right is from U.S release)

Ayers Rock were one of the first groups signed to Michael Gudinski's newly established Mushroom label, and their debut single, "Rock'n'Roll Fight", was issued at the end of 1973. Ayers Rock's debut album Big Red Rock was taped live before an invited audience at Armstrong's Studios in Melbourne over two nights in September 1974. The live-in-the-studio approach worked extremely well for Ayers Rock, and the album clearly demonstrated why their awesome live 'chops' had made them such a popular concert attraction. But it also was something of a necessity for the cash-strapped label -- they took the same approach with another early signing, Mackenzie Theory. The Ayers Rock LP reportedly cost Mushroom a mere $5,000 to record.
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Big Red Rock was a commercial success for Mushroom, showcasing the band's considerable prowess and the material was a good balance between the more commercial song-based material of McGuire and Brown and the more adventurous instrumentals. The LP features three songs by McGuire, including their memorable second single, the Latin-flavored "Lady Montego", a song that dated back to McGuire's stint in Friends; an earlier, slower version appears (in a live recording) on the Garrison: The Final Blow LP (see earlier posting)
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Big Red Rock also features two excellent pieces by Loughnan, two songs by Chris Brown, and a dazzling cover of Joe Zawinul's "Boogie Woogie Waltz", originally recorded by Weather Report (who were at that time virtually unknown in Australia). Loughnan's power-jam "Crazy Boys" is also worth hearing for its hilarious intro; dedicated to an unnamed Sydney hamburger joint, it includes a sly reference to a "Gudinski burger" and very funny joke about "Dr Hopontopovus, the Greek gynaecologist".
As Vernon Joyson has noted, Ayers Rock's recordings suggest that there was some dilemma about whether they should pursue a more expansive instrumental-based approach or opt for a more song-based commercial sound. From the evidence of Big Red Rock, its arguable that its the instrumental tracks -- "Crazy Boys", "Big Red Rock" and the brilliant cover of "Boogie Woogie Waltz -- that stand up best today, but the demands of radio airplay and gigging meant that this dilemma was never satifactorily resolved, and the group's relatively short lifespan and small catalogue meant that they never really got the chance to reach their full potential.
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In the late 1975, Ayers Rock performed at the final gigs at Melbourne's fabled Reefer Cabaret. Live versions of the Stones "Gimme Shelter" and "Boogie Woogie Waltz" were included on the double-album A-Reefer-Derci, culled from performances from the last two nights on 30 and 31 December 1975, and released by Mushroom in 1976. Like Mushroom's earlier Garrison: The Final Blow set, it commemorated the closure of the venue and was a means of thanking the Reefer Cabaret for supporting Mushroom's artists during 1974-75 [extract from Milesago]
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Big Red Rock is one of my favourite jazz-rock albums (in amongst greats such as Al Di Meola, Mahavishna Orchestra and Weather Report) and should be recognised as one of the finest albums produced by an Australian band. I particularly like the B-Side of this album, as it showcases some spectacular jazz riffs ands solos that blow my mind every time I listen to it. Of course the A-Side highlight is their hit single 'Lady Montego' which was a true innovation at the time, as it was the first 'hit single' release in Australia that had a live recording atmosphere associated with it.

The rip provided here was taken from CD at 320kps and includes full album artwork plus bonus live tracks taken from Reefer Derci and Sunbury concerts. There are also photos included taken from their performance at the "Australian Concert for Bangladesh in 1975"
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Track Listing
01 - Lady Montego
02 - Talkin' About You
03 - Goin' Home
04 - Crazy Boys (The Hamburger Song)
05 - Nostalgic Blues
06 - Big Red Rock
07 - Boogie Woogie Waltz
08 - Get Out Of The Country
[Bonus Tracks]
09 - Boogie Woogie Waltz (Live at the Reefer)
10 - Gimme Shelter (Live at the Reefer)
11 - Morning Magic (Live at Sunbury)

Band Members:
Chris Brown (Electric & Acoustic 12-string Guitars / Lead Vocals)
Col Loughnan (Tenor, baritone, electric soprano saxes / Vocals / Flute / Electric piano / Percussion)
James Doyle (Electric and Acoustic 6-string Guitars / Percussion / Multron guitar)
Duncan McGuire (Fender jazz and fretless basses)
Mark Kennedy (Drums / Percussion)

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Ayers Rock Link (125Mb) Link Fixed 1/09/2015
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Budgie - Electric Ballrom, Milwaukee (1978) Bootleg

(U.K 1971 - Present)
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Budgie's seventh album, 'Impeckable', arrived in January 1978. The following month saw a well attended clutch of UK theatre shows prior to engaging in their lengthiest US trek - quaintly entitled the 'Hide Your Pussy Tour', taking the band right through the summer months. Budgie had previously recruited the ex-Quest member in second guitarist Myf Isaacs. Their next foray stateside produced the much in demand 'Live At Atlantic Studios' live tapes and this bootleg set called 'The Electric Ballroom', material much sought after by collectors. Isaac also played on their Impeckage album,although he is notlisted in the album credits as a band member, but rather only listed with thanks.
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L-R:  Tony Bourge,  Myf Isaac,  Steve Williams,  Burke Shelley

Upon their return to Britain Budgie unceremoniously split with Isaacs who went onto other Welsh acts such as Bando, Crys and Eden. Budgie decided to retain their guitar arsenal with the recruitment of Rob Kendrick as a replacement for Isaacs. The year was seen out with a further successful run of UK concerts throughout October and November. Tony Bourge left Budgie in July- Aug 1978, only two months after this recording in Milwaukee.
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Bootleg Background
Budgie coming to town was a big thing!  Getting free passes to it was a dream.  The show was great, I got a few photos and autographs on LPs and press pictures.  Then I found out that the brother of this guy I knew worked for the company that did the sound for the show.  When the guy said that I could have a copy of the tape his brother made, I rushed over to their house with my reel-to-reel machine. This seed is an unadulterated digital copy of my 1st generation tape of the show.  The first track is missing a bit of the beginning because, as I was told, the brother was a little slow in hitting the record button.  There's a tape flip in track 8.
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Photos thanks to Alan Perry
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I traded it quite a few times over the years and parts of the show appeared on a couple of bootlegs, "Live At the Electric Ballroom" and "Dodge City" (I hope the bootleggers didn't use one of my traded cassettes).  The date often gets listed as April 5th, but it was May 4th as the scan of a pass will show.  I also scanned in one of my old faded photos from the show (see next to pass).  Burke is without his glasses because, as we were told, he had gotten them broken the night before in a scuffle in some bar (probably Chicago! just joking).  So here it is in all of it's glory! [original poster unknown]
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NOTE: There is another release of this bootleg floating around with the same title released by Wild Street, however the track listing is inferior (with some of the tracks incorrectly labelled using non-standard Budgie titles) and is also missing tracks, as well as citing the incorrect date as 4 May, 1975.  A rather pathetic effort all round to be honest - typical of some second rate bootleggers.
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This post consists of an mp3 rip (converted from FLAC) and includes full album artwork and photos of the band from 1978. The sound quality of this soundboard is very good and Tony Bourge is on fire with his guitar work, introducing some new riffs amongst his standard ones. The only short-coming of this recording is that track 1. "Melt The Ice Away" cuts in while there is a brief outage during track 8. "Don't Dilute the Water " due to a tape flip.
Overall, a must for all Budgie enthusiasts and a rarity to find indeed. But be warned, don't let em' fly off with your pussy. LOL
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Track Listing
 01. Melt the Ice Away   (cuts in)
0 2. In the Grip of a Tyrefitter's Hand

03. Smile Boy Smile
04. In For the Kill (Medley)
05. Love For You and Me
06. Parents
07. Who Do You Want For Your Love?
08. Don't Dilute the Water  (tape flip during)
09. Sky High Percentage
10. Breaking All the House Rules
11. Zoom Club
12. Breadfan

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Band Members:
Burke Shelley - bass, lead vocals
Tony Bourge - lead guitar
Myf Isaac - rhythm guitar
Steve Williams - drums


Electric Ballroom Link (194Mb)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Scary Bill - Selftitled (1989) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1987-1989)
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Here is a lost gem from the late 80's.
I first stumbled upon this album at a garage sale, and it was the 'Garth Porter' reference on the back cover that first caught my attention. It was only when I got home and played this album that I realised that I had found a real gem. Because the 80's was not a popular period  of music for me at the time (New Wave and Punk were dominating the music scene), I missed out on some really great music - particular with respect to Aussie bands, and Scary Bill was one such band.
Scary Bill was formed in 1987 in St.Kilda, Melbourne and their debut album was produced by ex-Sherbet keyboardist Garth Porter (with the exception of "Cross Roads" and "I Can't Raise My Gun" which were produced by Mark Opitz).
The idea of the band came about when Phil Hyde and Kim Sampson (both originally from Adelaide) bumped into each other at the Esplanade Hotel (St Kilda) sometime in late '86 or early '87. The first line up was Phil Hyde (Vocals and Guitar), Kim Sampson (Drums), Steve  Gunther (Guitar) and Neil Kelly on Bass (also from Adelaide).
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The band used to rehearse in a picture framing factory somewhere in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Down the back of the factory was a machine that was used for cutting metal picture frames. It was old and rickety, and presumably a bit scary to use. One of the staff had written "Scary Bill" on it. It was then revealed to the band that this particular staff member (female) grew up in a town where a very strange man used to wander the streets, who had been nicknamed Scary Bill. 
Neil left after a few months, and Rob O'Connell joined  the band. Scary Bill were a kind of "tough country" band at that stage, with a residency at the Great Britain Hotel, Richmond. Rob O'Connell (and Alan Powell) have been playing together in bands for about 35 years! Kim worked with them for a year or two in another band called 'Temper Temper', and finally encouraged them to move from Sydney to Melbourne. Kim was playing in both Scary Bill and Temper Temper until Scary Bill was signed.
Rob quit Scary Bill in 1988 and was quickly replaced by Steve 'Chuck' Carter. Chuck had played in many bands, including a brief stint with Geisha and a band which also featured Paul Hester (but a long time before Crowded House was formed).
Soon after this, Scary Bill won a 3XY competition (band of the month), and soon after were signed to Polygram, with Mark Opitz (Angels, Cold Chisel, Richard Clapton, Divinyls, Noiseworks) to produce their first and only album. But 3 months into the project, there was a falling out between Mark and their management, and so a replacement producer was found - namely Garth Porter.
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Mark Opitz was very much a rock producer, and went for a raw guitar band sound. However, "Cross Roads" is the only song on the album that was fully produced by Mark. "I Can't Raise A Gun" was also produced by Mark, but had a remix done by Garth. (Planet X was also produced by Mark, but didn't appear on the album and was released as a single sometime later).
Garth Porter's approach was almost the opposite to Mark Opitz. We went from raw guitar production, to a cleaner, more produced sound. These two different producing styles didn't really gel, and the best songs are those fully produced by one or the other.
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Their first single released in November, 1988 "Crossroads / Living In This Town" reached #80 on the Aria Charts. Mark Demetrius wrote in Rolling Stone (Jan, 1989 p80)  "Scary Bill's 'Crossroads (Welcome Stranger)' is a simple slinky crystal-clear boogie with solid booming production, razor sharp guitar and a neat line in disilusion. The B-side 'Living In This Town' is equally fed-up, but amusing...Oh Town/Why did they build you at all? It sounds incongruously like Little Feat having a party"
They also released a video clip to promote the single, and it was filmed in the cattle pavilion at the Melbourne Show grounds. They made the giant metal heart at the picture framing factory to use in the clip - and is featured both at the start and towards the end of the clip.
A promotional photo was also taken with the heart as shown below. Their follow up single "Western World / Over The Hills" did slightly better, reaching #74 on the Aria Charts in June, 1989.
Video clips of both singles can be seen on YouTube at the following locations: Cross Roads  and Western World
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Scary Bill also produced a demo of Planet X which won a music award, which resulted in the performance at the top of the Myer building in Melbourne. The compare was Daryl Cotton, when he hosted the children's TV program "The Early Bird Show" with Marty The Monster. I have also included this video clip in this post as it serves two purposes, firstly to give you a better insight into the band members and also as a tribute to the late 'Darryl Cotton' who had an huge impact on Australian music both on and off the stage.
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So, what happened to the guys once Scary Bill disbanded in late 1989?

A new band was formed immediately after Scary Bill comprising of Kim Sampson, Steve Gunther, Steve Carter, Paul Gatcum (who played sax on the Scary Bill album and was a long standing member of the Tinsley Waterhouse Band), Peter de Ryk on keyboards, Tania Pizzari and Jane Peachy on vocals. The band was called 'Magic Circle' and entered the Yamaha rock contest in '92, winning the Victorian division. They were eventually beaten in the National competition by a Sydney band called Body Works.
Phil Hyde went on to work with Broderick Smith for a few years playing guitar on his 1992 LP 'Suitcase' and 1994 LP 'My Shiralee', as well as co-writing many tracks with him, including the recent release 'Snowblind Moon'. About 7 years ago, he started writing and recording together again with Kim Sampson. Phil still stays in touch, but now has his own home recording system set up and plugs away at his own material. He still does a bit of co-writing with a variety of people, including Colin Hay and Kim Gyngell.
In fact, Colin Hay was a big fan of Scary Bill in their early days, and gigged with them on several occasions. The picture below was taken from one such session.
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Steve Gunther started a family and pretty much dropped out of the music scene (although he borrowed a bass guitar from Kim recently to jam with a blues band). Steve Carter continued to play in a covers band while Neil Kelly studied music and became an academic/music teacher.
Kim Sampson and Rob O'Connell reunited some years ago to form 'Brown Paper Bag', as a result of rekindling the period of Temper Temper from '86-'87. The band consists of Rob O'Connor (Guitar, Bass,Vocals), Alan Powell (guitar), Clint Quan (Bass,Backing vocals) and of course Kim Sampson on drums.
Brown Paper Bag have been likened to Black Crows, Led Zeppelin and Midnight Oil and you can find more information about this band (and their latest CD) on their website.
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This post consists of an mp3 rip (320kps) taken from my virgin vinyl copy. Full album artwork and all band photos are included plus label scans. I am also including a couple of bonus live tracks - firstly the "Planet X" recording from the Early Bird Show (recorded on the rooftop of the Melbourne Myers Apartment Store) and a live recording of "Western World" which was showcased on Countdown in late 1989.
I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Kim Sampson who kindly provided me with a majority of the band's biography and photos included in this post. When I first started researching Scary Bill there was scant information available, but I was lucky enough to find the connection between Kim's current band and Scary Bill, and made contact with him. It is always a buzz to correspond with band members directly and acquire information first hand and Kim has been more than generous with his time.  It's a shame that Scary Bill never hit the BIG time, as they were all very talented musicians. Their music and lyrics are very catchy and both singles should have been instant hits. A couple of other standout tracks on the album for me are "Into Your Heart" and "I Can't Raise A Gun (Anymore)".
So, if you haven't heard this album, then do yourself a favour and grab it now, cause' this is one album that should definitely not slip under the radar again.
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Track Listing
01 - Western World
02 - The People's Palace
03 - One Big Love
04 - Silver Top
05 - Cross Roads
06 - Into Your Heart
07 - Fine Time

08 - I Can't Raise A Gun (Anymore)
09 - Station
10 - Baby
11 - Planet X (Bonus Live)
12 - Western World (Bonus Live)

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Band members:
Phillip Hyde (Vocals, Guitar)
Steve Gunther (Guitars, Vocals)
Steve 'Chuck' Carter (Bass, Vocals)
Kim Sampson (Drums, Vocals)
Guest Artists:
Saxaphone - Paul Gatcum
Backing Vocals - Lisa Bade, Nicky Nichols, Greg Hine

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Scary Bill Link (133Mb)
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