Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Selftitled (1989) + Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1988 - 1990)
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In 1983, singer Jon Anderson returned to Yes to record lead vocals on their 1983 studio album 90125, which saw Yes adopt a musical direction that was more commercial and pop-oriented. The line-up during this time included bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and guitarist Trevor Rabin who wrote the majority of 90125. The release of 90125 saw Yes reach their greatest commercial success which was followed by their 1987 album Big Generator.

In September 1988, Anderson left Yes citing his growing dissatisfaction with the band's commercial direction. He spent his summer on the Greek island of Hydra writing songs with Vangelis, where he first came up with the idea of making music with the past Yes line-up of guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and drummer Bill Bruford.

On his return trip from Hydra, Anderson met Howe in London who presented him with his musical ideas including the chorus of "Brother of Mine" and "Birthright". Five weeks were spent producing demo tracks at La Frette Studios in Paris. Anderson asked musician Milton McDonald to help with the project and play additional guitars. Bruford recalled meeting Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, and former Yes manager Brian Lane, at the airport in London. He said, "Oh, we're in trouble here. This obviously meant it was some sort of Yes project ... I thought I was just going to put some drums on a Jon Anderson solo record".

Recording moved to AIR Studios on the island of Montserrat for six weeks. Bruford saw the recording location as "a deal clincher". It was there when Bruford suggested to have his King Crimson bandmate Tony Levin play bass on the album. Bruford noticed Anderson being "on strong form ... he conducted proceedings without fear of let or hindrance" from the problematic times recording with Yes. When recording was complete, Anderson supervised the album's mixing sessions at Bearsville Studios with mixing engineers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero.


On 31 May 1989, weeks before the release of their album and tour, the group were subject to a suit filed by Yes that wished to prevent Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe from mentioning the name "Yes" in their promotional material, suggest or calling attention to Yes music which they argued may cause "confusion in the minds of the public over which group is the real Yes", and prohibit Anderson from speaking of his former membership in Yes. The suit was based on a separation agreement entered into by each past and present member of Yes in May 1984 that specified who was entitled to use the Yes name; any "withdrawing partner" from the group could no longer use the name or mention they were in the band before, after a specified date.

Yes argued that Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe had "wrongfully converted" the Yes name in an advertisement for Los Angeles Times that promoted their upcoming concert as "an evening of Yes music plus". Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe filed a response on 5 June; their attorneys called Yes's suit "an outrageous attempt ... to stop the media and public from comparing ABWH's new recording with theirs". According to former Yes tour co-ordinator Jim Halley, "the European promoters began splashing the name Yes all over the posters ... in the end they came to an accommodation". Anderson stressed, "we never said we were Yes. It was the record company!"

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was released on 20 June 1989 through Arista Records. The album peaked at number 14 in the UK and number 30 in the US. It went on to reach the top 30 in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, and Sweden. The album sold 750,000 copies.

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe offered a decidedly old-school rebuttal to the progressively more produced sound Yes used throughout the ’80s, leaning heavily on the band’s prog roots with a nine-song set that included four lengthy suites: “Themes,” “Brother of Mine,” and “Order of the Universe.” With expanded running times aplenty, mystical artwork, and portentous-sounding song titles like “Birthright” and “The Meeting,” it gave the appearance of vintage Yes — although the truth turned out to be somewhat different.

Jon Anderson's tenor wails through spacy lyrics, Rick Wakeman constructs cathedrals of synthesized sound, Steve Howe rips high-pitched guitar leads, and Bill Bruford makes his drums sound like timpani. For all that, it's a pedestrian effort for these veterans, not as bombastic as some of their stuff, not as inspired as others, but it definitely has the "Yes" sound. "She Gives Me Love" even refers to "Long Distance Runaround."

In an interview with Bruford and Jeff Giles (Ultimateclassicrock.com), he talks about the single taken from the album  "Why ‘Brother of Mine’ wasn’t a hit I’ve no idea at all,” he grumbled. “The only possible explanation I have is that it was edited by [Arista boss] Clive Davis, who has the kiss of death when editing singles.”

But it wasn’t just having single edits imposed on longer tracks that derailed the group. “There was a brief window, I think … there was a brief opportunity for that band to have flourished. I thought there were moments in the music … that I thought showed intelligence and genuine scope, and a genuine future for the participants. If the participants had managed to close their ears to of all the nonsense being spoken in their ears, of course by [manager] Brian Lane and record companies, then they had a chance at a future. However, I think that window closed pretty much as quickly as it opened, I’m not sure everybody else noticed it.”

Of course, bands don’t just find themselves in situations where they’re beholden to record company interests. “The problem with bands like Yes all the time has been over-consumption of resources, greed on the one hand and indolence on the other, particularly indolence, huge sums of money consumed for no reason whatsoever, completely thoughtlessly,” Bruford argued. But as for the music on the record? “I’m pretty happy, I mean they’re essentially Jon’s songs. I had very little to do with them. I thought that Jon was on strong form for that album.” [extract from Yes Minus One: The History of ‘Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe’]

In 1990, tracks for a second studio album were included with songs recorded by Yes to make the thirteenth Yes album, Union (1991). This marked the end of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and the start of the eight-member Yes formation until 1992, comprising Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Yes musicians Chris Squire, Trevor Rabin, Tony Kaye, and Alan White.
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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork from both CD and Vinyl. I distinctly remember being confused when I first saw this album in the record racks and wondered why Yes was recording under their individual names. Not having Google back in those days, I could only guess that their name change was  related to some 'legal dispute' between band members or with their record company. Because the record was released by Arista and not Atlantic I assumed it was about record companies. It seems it was all about the trade name 'Yes' and the ownership rights to use the name.  Anyhow, I love this album and with a majority of the original band members playing on this record, I still catalog it in amongst my other Yes albums. Although my vinyl is in pristine condition and still chose to  provide a rip from my CD copy to provide the highest sound quality. I have also included a couple of bonus tracks - taken from their single release Brother of Mine. The edited version of the title track and a non-album "Vultures In The City" complete this post. Enjoy
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Track Listing
01 - Themes
02 - Fist Of Fire
03 - Brother Of Mine
04 - Birthright
05 - The Meeting
06 - Quartet
07 - Teakbois
08 - Order Of The Universe
09 - Let's Pretend
10 - [Bonus Track] Vultures (In The City)
11 - [Bonus Track] Brother Of Mine (Single Version)

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Band Members:
Jon Anderson (Vocals)
Bill Bruford (Acoustic and Electronic Drums)
Rick Wakeman (Keyboards)
Steve Howe (Guitar)

Additional artists:
Tony Levin (Bass and Vocals)
Matt Clifford (Keyboards, Programming, Vocals)
Milton McDonald (Rhythm Guitar)
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ABWH Link ( 188Mb)
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Various Artists - FM The Original Movie Soundtrack (1978)

(Various Artists 1972 - 1978)
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On the 3rd April, 1978 the movie FM received its premier in Los Angeles although many European countries would have to wait till the end of the year. The film was Linda Ronstadt's first movie appearance although she would only appear in a concert setting at the end of the movie and did not actually have an acting role.

With an advertising tagline of 'No Static At All', the film told the story of the fictional Los Angeles radio station Q-SKY, that had become the number one station in the area mainly due to the music they played and because they were running the station the way they wanted to run it. The movie focuses on the battle between rebellious head of the station Jeff Dugan, played by Michael Brandon, and his corporate bosses, who wanted more advertising and less music. The movie also starred Eileen Brennan as Mother, burned out from being a DJ, Cleavon Little as the hip late-night DJ ~The Prince of Darkness and Martin Mull who portrayed a self-centered romantic who wanted to be more than just a DJ. Although the  film's plot was thin it was saved by the music, especially the tracks performed by Linda, although she had second thoughts about appearing in the movie and even refused to appear in any publicity photos for the film.

The concert footage was excellent with Linda looking stunning in a loose shirt over a striped t-shirt with tight pants that were tucked into knee-high boots. She performed powerful versions of 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me', Tumbling Dice' and Elvis' 'Love Me Tender', All three songs were filmed during her 'Simple Dreams' tour at a concert in Houston, Texas. A soundtrack album was released that featured Steely Dan, Bob Seger, Dan Fogelberg, The Eagles, James Taylor and Linda whose live versions of 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me' and Tumbling Dice' were included.
The film was based on an FM radio station but following its release, many AM stations started playing an edited version of the title song on which an A was substituted for the F of FM!

The film was not well received and one reviewer felt that "FM is likely to please only those who find incendiary power in the sound of Joe Walsh's voice backed by a bland pseudo-reggae instrumental track." In the book Hollywood Rock, compiled by Marshall Crenshaw and featuring several different reviewers, Andy Langer wrote: "If FM weren't so concerned with painting radio as a good guy in the battle against corporate America, a little extra wit might have made this movie Spinal Tap's natural forerunner." He also felt that it wasted an ideal opportunity to exploit the humour and personality of the seventies radio scene but did praise both Linda's and Jimmy Buffet's performances. There are similarities between FM and the TV series WKRP In Cincinnati which premiered the same year and it is possible that WKRP had its beginnings in FM. Many felt that the film would appeal to seventies nostalgia buffs and that, as a peek into what was a crazy decade, it would become a good time capsule [extract from Linda Ronstadt: A Life In Music by Peter Lewry, 2010]
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The Bands / Albums
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Steely Dan - Can't Buy A Thrill (1972)
In 1972, nobody really knew quite what to make of Steely Dan and their debut album Can't Buy A Thrill, not even founding members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. However, those that saw them as just another polished West Coast rock outfit were missing the point. Although the album was just the first step of a voyage of musical discovery, there was already plenty to distinguish Steely Dan from the pack.
While the vocal harmonies here are often suggestive of Crosby, Stills, Nash, And Young, the arrangements reach new levels of sophistication. Miles Davis had previously had a go at fusing rock and jazz, but when Fagen's vocals drop in after the exquisite Latin jazz intro to "Do It Again," you know these guys were really on to something. When Denny Dias'electric sitar solo comes in, you know they could really nail it.

Vocalist David Palmer, who did not feature on any later albums, has his finest moments on "Dirty Work" even if he lacks Fagen's snarl and bite. His inclusion was arguably an attempt to make their sound even more radio friendly than it already was."Reeling In The Years" sounds like a classic hit single after just a few bars. Unforgettable buzzy guitar solos give way to indelible lush choruses propelled by Walter Seeker's bass. It's foot-stomping fun but executed with a precision that was to become a Steely Dan trademark.
Billboard were masters of understatement when they said this album would have "good hit possibilities for a group that should be around for some time."

"FM (No Static at All)" is the title theme to the 1978 film FM and Soundtrack. It made the US Top Forty that year when released as a single, a success relative to the film it was from, which failed at the box office and has remained obscure since then. Musically, it is a complex jazz-rock composition driven by its bass, guitar and piano parts, typical of the band's sound from this period; its lyrics look askance at the album-oriented rock format of many FM radio stations at that time, in contrast to the film's celebration of it.

It was the first single Steely Dan released on MCA Records (which had released the soundtrack), predating MCA's acquisition of ABC Records, the band's previous label, by one year. At the time of its release, the band's album Aja was enjoying great critical and commercial success, leading some listeners to assume that "FM" was also on that album. It was not, although it has since been included on some of the band's compilation albums.

However, it had been recorded during the same sessions as Aja and employed some of the same studio musicians and recording personnel, in addition to band members and songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Among them were saxophonist Pete Christlieb and drummer Jeff Porcaro; several members of the Eagles sang backing vocals.

Bob Seger - Night Moves (1976)
Eight albums into his career, Bob Seger finally caught some mass success with the release of Live Bullet, a concert album recorded by the Michigan native at Detroit's Cobo Hall. The road veteran and his Silver Bullet Band were working on their next studio LP, Night Moves, at the time, a record that showed both their honed chops and Seger's mix of songwriting maturity and nods to the classic rock 'n' roll of his teen years. With some help from the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Night Moves brought Seger to national acclaim thanks to bar anthems like the title track "Nightmoves" and the retrospective "Mainstreet." Those are the hits that still get played on classic rock radio, but "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," "The Fire Down Below," and "Mary Lou" are feel-good stompers that showcase Seger's often-overlooked singing, a unique voice that sits comfortably between John Fogerty and Brian Johnson.
Popular music critic Robert Christgau wrote that the riffs on Night Moves were classic rock and roll riffs, like those performed by Chuck Berry or the Rolling Stones, and that the album was about rock and roll for those who are no longer in their teens, like the song "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". The Rolling Stone review of the album by Kit Rachlis stated that the album was one of the best to come out of 1976-77, that Seger sounded like Rod Stewart and wrote lyrics like Bruce Springsteen, and that album was classic rock and roll.

Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle (1976)
It took the Steve Miller Band eight years and nine albums before they finally hit the big time. They got a taste of it in 1973 when the title track to "The Joker" reached No. 1. But "Fly Like an Eagle", which was released in April 1976, took Miller and his group to a whole new level.

At least half of the album’s dozens songs are classics today, with three of them scoring huge on the pop chart: “Take the Money and Run,” the first single, which stopped at No. 11; “Rock’n Me,” the second of Steve Miller Band’s three No. 1 hits; and the title cut, which stayed at No. 2 for two weeks.

Fly Like an Eagle turned them into one of music’s biggest acts in the mid-’70s. Miller was the star, singing, playing guitar and keyboards, producing and writing or co-writing nine of the songs. The band at the time included Lonnie Turner on bass and drummer Gary Mallaber, but the LP also featured contributions by harmonica player James Cotton, session guitarist Led Dudek and the Doobie Brothers‘ John McFee.

Foreigner - Selftitled (1977)
Formed in New York City in 1976 by British-born guitarist Mick Jones (not the Clash one) and King Crimson founder member Ian McDonald, slick stadium rockers Foreigner released their highly acclaimed, selftitled album in 1977, which spawned the hit "Cold As Ice". Sales for that and the following year's Double Vision confirmed that Foreigner had hit upon a top-dollar trademark sound.
But the inexhaustible Jones and his songwriting Lou Gramm (vocals) weren't content with laurel resting. In 1979, a return to gritty basics on the Head Games album led to artistic clashes and the first of several personnel reshuffles within the Foreigner camp. Subsequently, their fourth album, 4, made No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1981. It contained a hit single in an unexpected vein: "Waiting For A Girl Like You."

It's combination of lyrical delicacy and rock-oriented musical bombast is a style that is a cliche today and
has come to be known as the power ballad but it was then uncommon. 1984's Agent Provocateur gave Foreigner their biggest transatlantic success to date: "I Want to Know What Love Is" - an authentic, emotive gospel-inspired epic, penned by Jones - went to No. 1 in the UK and held the same position on the U.S. Billboard charts for two weeks from February 2, 1985, confirming Foreigner's position as power ballad masters.
Despite numerous ongoing sagas involving ego clashes, solo projects, dissolutions, and reshuffles, the kings of windswept power-pop still rock on today. But we all know that without that first hit Cold As Ice, none of this would have happened.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Selftitled (1976)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a popular straight-ahead rock band who have proven themselves as both socially conscious as well as acclaimed hit makers. Guitarist Mike Campbell is the main musical counterpart to lead singer Tom Petty. Formed in Florida, the group’s first album was issued in 1976, including the then-little noticed single “Breakdown.”  The song peaked at number 40 in 1978, after the group’s second album became a minor hit. Dylan Sevey tells how the song came about on his blog

“‘Breakdown,’ I wrote that, and we cut it. It was really long. Maybe seven or eight minutes … And somewhere near the end, [Mike] played that lick … Dwight Twilley came in, and when that lick came by, he goes, ‘That’s the lick! Oh man, that’s the lick!’ So we stopped the tape, rolled back and listened to that lick. And I said, ‘Yeah’ … By now it’s one or two in the morning. And I called [The Heartbreakers] and had them all come back. They had all gone home. I called them, and they came back at two-thirty or three in the morning, and we cut the song. The version you now know.”

After reading Tom’s recollection of the “Breakdown” recording session, the mood of the song makes a lot more sense. In fact, with its laid-back groove, interweaving parts, and spacious atmosphere, it’s almost impossible to imagine it being recorded any time other than the middle of the night. The Heartbreakers’ drive and determination paid off; the late-night session spawned the first great song they ever committed to record.

The group has scored a series of massive hits, such as “Refugee,” “You Got Lucky,” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” In 1981, the group resisted “superstar pricing” for their new album, winning support of their fans for not going greedy like the record companies. The band survived New Wave but never selling out, but still making some subtle changes from album to album. In later years, they would incorporate more acoustic and folk-oriented sounds and themes.

Randy Meiser - Selftitled (1978)
Randy Meisner (born March 8, 1946) is an American former musician, singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of Poco and the Eagles. Throughout his professional musical career, Meisner's main role was that of bassist and backing high-harmony vocalist as both a group member and session musician.

His self-titled debut solo studio album was released in mid 1978, on Asylum in the United States, and in the United Kingdom.  It was recorded shortly after his departure from the Eagles and in a fairly short amount of time so that he could fulfill his contract with Asylum. I think this is probably the reason that Randy's only writing credit on the album is a cover of Take It to the Limit.

The track "Bad Man" was the first song on the album. It was written by Glenn Frey and JD Souther sometime in the early 70s. I remember reading that it was intended for one of the early Eagles albums (either Eagles or On the Border.) While it isn't the best song lyrically it did manage to make it onto the soundtrack for the movie FM, which also included an appearance by his one-time employer Linda Ronstadt.

Linda Ronstandt - Simple Dreams (1978)
Linda Ronstadt recorded a gender-altered version of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" during 1977. Ronstadt has stated that Jackson Browne originally pitched the song to her, teaching it to her in the living room of her Malibu home. Ronstadt's interpretation was produced by Peter Asher for her multi-platinum album 'Simple Dreams' while a live version appeared on this soundtrack album to the smash 1978 movie FM.

"Tumbling Dice" is a song written and performed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. An updated cover version from a female perspective was a Top 40 hit single for Linda Ronstadt in 1978, and was also included in the film FM and on her album 'Simple Dreams'.

One of the most successful albums of Ronstadt's career, Simple Dreams spent five successive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard album chart in late 1977, displacing Fleetwood Mac's Rumours after it had held that position for a record-breaking 29 weeks.
Simple Dreams sold over 3½ million copies in less than a year in the United States alone—a record for a female artist. Among female recording artists at that time, only Carole King, with her album Tapestry, had sold more copies of an album.

Jimmy Buffett  - Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
James "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American musician, songwriter, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee, during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the folk rock Down to Earth, in 1970.

During the 1980s, Buffett made far more money from his tours than his albums and became known as a popular concert draw. He released a series of albums during the following twenty years, primarily to his devoted audience, and also branched into writing and merchandising.

"Livingston Saturday Night" is a remake of a significantly different version Buffett recorded for the 1975 Rancho Deluxe soundtrack with a number of lyrical changes. The Son of a Son of a Sailor version of the song also appeared on the soundtrack to the 1978 movie FM that featured a cameo appearance by Buffett. Jimmy Buffett released the studio version of the single "Livingston Saturday Night" when the movie FM came out in 1978 and entered the Billboard Charts on April 12, reaching #52.

Dan Fogelberg - Souvenirs (1974)
Dan Fogelberg was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. He is best known for his early 1980s hits, including "Longer" (1980), "Leader of the Band" (1981), and "Same Old Lang Syne" (1981).

In the early 70's Dan Fogelberg began to record in Los Angeles with guitarist/producer Joe Walsh. Fogelberg quickly discovered that he had a sympathetic and enthusiastic partner in Walsh, and everything literally fell into place, even Graham Nash's presence (at Walsh's request) singing harmonies on the resulting album, 'Souvenirs', which featured a range of renowned Los Angeles-based musicians. The results were more than golden -- they ended up double platinum, with the single "Part of the Plan" reaching the Top 20 in 1974 and Souvenirs rode those charts for six months and sold steadily for years after. The album had mostly the same mix of elements as its predecessor, but this time it was widely heard and accepted.

"There's A Place In The World For A Gambler" -- a full bodied, grandiose ballad -- was written by Fogelberg and was the 11th and final track on his 1974 Souvenirs album. It also appears on the soundtrack to the movie FM, and was produced by Joe Walsh, who supplied backing vocals.

Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)
The Stranger was the third album from the 28-year-old Billy Joel, who had just begun making a living from his music, having played in piano bars throughout high school in New York to supplement the income of his single mother. Whilst he had already achieved headline status with 1974's 'Streetlife Serenade', 'The Stranger' was Joel's first album to hit number one on the charts and remained Columbia Records' biggest selling album until 1985. It also prompted his biggest tour yet, playing 54 shows in the United States and Europe in the fall of 1977.

The nine-track-long album produced four singles; "Just The Way You Are" that provided his first two Grammy Awards in 1979,"Movin'Out (Anthony's Song)" with its teen rebellion message and car sounds included, the gentler "She's Always A Woman," and the infectious "Only The Good Die Young." Whilst the lyrics are poetic and clever, the album has a youthful appeal and Joel's gift for storytelling is particularly poignant on the astonising "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant."

Musically diverse, Joel's dynamic songwriting is further dramatized in the title track's quiet piano introduction before rocking out in the middle section incorporating a barrage of electric guitars, concluding with the haunting sound of whistling. An amazing 24 people played various parts on the recording. The album is reasonably warm in tone, but slightly eerie in its execution, further exemplified by the stark black-and-white image of a bare-footed, suit-and-tie-wearing Joel, sitting on a bed looking at a mask with boxing gloves hanging in the background.

The Eagles - Hotel California (1976)
Released in December 1976, Hotel California depicts the emotional burnout of the West Coast scene after peace and love hardened into cynical hedonism. The soundtrack of decadent times, it went on to sell more than 16 million copies. It is a mature work from a band whose reflections on the cost of excess had been formed the hard way—by five years of hit records and touring. As founder member Glenn Frey said, the album "explores the underbelly of success, the darker side of paradise."

Part delirious road trip, part murder ballad, the title track's lilting tempo and stinging guitar lines evoke a place where evil lurks behind potted palms and welcoming smiles; the searing lead duel between Joe Walsh and Don Felder is one of the most memorable in rock. Shifting focus from widescreen excess to close-up portraits of the damage done is one of the album's hallmarks. "Life In The Fast Lane" sends us on a dirty boogie down the freeway with a callous pair of socialites—only to encounter their smoking wreckage in the next track, "Wasted Time," a grandly orchestrated ballad of compromised, disappointed lives.

The band's country roots are present throughout, most notably on "New Kid In Town," where Walsh's electric piano evokes the sleepy sadness of a Mexican cantina amid vocal harmonies as lush as a manicured Hollywood lawn. In many ways Hotel California represents everything that punk came to destroy: glassily perfect production, harmonized guitar solos, and "themes." But like many musical styles in their last bloom, West Coast country-rock reached a refinement in Hotel California never equaled again.

Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (1976)
When Boz Scaggs released Silk Degrees in March 1976, he was on his way to a five-times platinum smash. We know that now. The truth is, the album didn’t immediately start spooling off huge hits. The lead single “It’s Over” only reached No. 38 in 1976. But then came “Lowdown,” a Grammy-award winning No. 3 smash co-written with David Paich, later of Toto fame. It also streaked to No. 5 on both the R&B and the now-defunct disco charts.

Scaggs’ career was, after a two-album late-1960s stint with Steve Miller and six previous solo releases, finally on its way. “Lido Shuffle” from Silk Degrees would go to No. 11 in 1977, opening the door for four consecutive Top 20 singles in 1980 alone. Known initially as a blues-rocking gun-slinger, Silk Degrees also highlighted a period in which Boz Scaggs went from being a guitarist who sang toward a new musical persona as a vocalist who also played a little guitar. Members of the backup band on "Lido Shuffle" include David Paich, Jeff Porcaro and David Hungate who later went on to form Toto

Boston - Selftitled (1976)
After the celebration of the Bicententennial in the United States, engineer-turned-guitarist Donald "Tom" Scholz and his bandmates unleashed soft rock's ultimate Christmas present in December 1976.
Scholz, recording demos since 1970, borrowed Aerosmith's equipment to cut an album in November 1975. He recorded at studios across Los Angeles, to conform to union regulations requiring approved engineers, yet only one of those tracks made the album. For the rest, Scholz slaved over a hot console at home while his bandmates indulged in Californian excess (hence drummer Sib Hashian's herbal surname).

The set was Scholz's take on the Cream/Zeppelin template and boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals by Brad Delp.There was not a synth in sight, yet "Foreplay" is as space age as the UFO-inspired sleeve. "There was a rumor that I wrote the entire first album with a computer program," recalled Scholz. "Smokin"' rocks like a juggernaut, while the boisterous "Rock And Roll Band" and engaging "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"are outstanding slices of pristine rock.

Then there is the definitive anthem "More Than A Feeling." Alternately lilting and loud, it sounds like a blueprint for "Smells Like Teen Spirit"—Nirvana even took to vamping it when they played "Teen Spirit" live. The song's enduring popularity helped make Boston a multi-platinum monster. Clocking up its 17 millionth sale in 2003, this album cannot be stopped.

Doobie Brothers - Takin' To The Streets (1976)
Takin' It to the Streets is the sixth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1976. It was the first album to feature Michael McDonald on lead vocals and produced the featured track  "It Keeps you Running" and the hit single "Takin' It to the Streets"

By late 1974, touring was beginning to take its toll on the band, especially leader Tom Johnston. Things became worse during touring in support of Stampede when Johnston was diagnosed with stomach ulcers. His condition worsened and several shows had to be canceled. With Johnston forced to reduce his involvement with the band, the other members considered just calling it quits but Jeff Baxter suggested calling up friend and fellow Steely Dan graduate Michael McDonald who at the time was between gigs and living in a garage apartment. McDonald was reluctant at first, feeling he was not what they wanted, according to him, "...they were looking for someone who could play Hammond B-3 organ and a lot of keyboards, and I was just a songwriter/piano hacker. But more than anything, I think they were looking for a singer to fill Johnston's shoes." He agreed to join them and met them at the Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans where they moved on to a warehouse to rehearse for the next two days. Expecting to be finished once touring was completed, McDonald was surprised when the band invited him to the studio to work on 'Takin' To The Streets'.

James Taylor - J.T (1977)
James Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. One of his better mid-period albums, JT includes the sunny hit "Your Smiling Face", the requisite R&B cover "Handy Man" and the charming "Secret o' Life. JT reached #4 on the Billboard charts and sold more than 3 million copies in the United States alone. In fact, every album that Taylor released from 1977 to 2007 sold over a million copies.


Joe Walsh - But Seriously, Folks (1978)
"Life's Been Good" is a 1978 song by Joe Walsh, which first appeared on the soundtrack to the film FM. The original eight-minute version was released on Walsh's album But Seriously, Folks..., and an edited 4½ minute single version peaked at #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100,[1] remaining his biggest solo hit.

As far as studio albums go, But Seriously Folks was Joe Walsh's most insightful and melodic. But Seriously Folks, released in 1978, was the album the Eagles should have made rather than the mediocre The Long Run. It captures a reflective song cycle along the same thematic lines of Pet Sounds, only for the '70s. The album's introspective outlook glides through rejuvenation ("Tomorrow," "Over and Over"), recapturing the simple pleasures of the past ("Indian Summer"), mid-career indecision ("At the Station," "Second Hand Store"), and a melancholy instrumental ("Theme From Boat Weirdos"). The disc's finale, "Life's Been Good," is a sarcastic and bittersweet ode to Walsh's "rock star-party guy" persona which reached the Top 10 on the pop charts and became a staple of FM rock radio.

Queen - News Of The World (1977)
News of the World is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. News of the World was the band's second album to be recorded at Sarm West and Wessex Studios, London, and engineered by Mike Stone, and was co-produced by the band and Stone. Containing the hit songs "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" and "Spread Your Wings", it went 4x platinum in the United States, and achieved high certifications around the world, selling over 6 million copies. News of the World is Queen's highest selling studio album to date.

"We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" are the first two tracks on the Queen album 'News of the World' LP released in 1977. These songs were intentionally arranged to be heard back to back which is why these two songs are almost always played together.

It is widely quoted (even in Queen-sanctioned documentaries) that the single "We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You" was a double A side. This is one of the great inaccuracies in Queen's history. It was not. "We are the Champions" was the single (A) side and "We Will Rock You" was the B side. I can still remember "We Are the Champions" being played on its own and being on the chart on its own when it was first released (and it was not charting in a way that led you to believe that it was going to be a hit).

If you go back to the mid-70's, "singles" generally were played on AM radio in North America and album-oriented rock was played on FM and many FM stations would play 2-3 songs from a band's album at a time. The FM stations started playing Rock You/Champs together simply because they appeared in the that order on the News of the World album and things kind of took off from there. I have read an old interview with John Deacon where he said it was a stroke of good luck that they happened to place these songs next to each other on the album because if they hadn't, they probably would never have had the success they ended up having.
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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my prized vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans. When I purchased this album back in 1978, nearly every track on the album had been or was currently in the Australian charts. It was an amazing collection of well known bands and artists at the time and there is not a dud track on the whole double album.  Ironically, I have never seen the movie itself and putting this post together has sparked a desire for me to rectify this. And so the hunt starts !
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Track Listing
Record One Side A:
1. FM (Steely Dan)
2. Night Moves (Bob Seger)
3. Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller)
4. Cold As Ice (Foreigner)
5. Breakdown (Tom Petty)
6. Bad Man (Randy Meisner)

Record One Side B:
1. Tumbling Dice (Linda Rondstadt)
2. Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Linda Rondstadt)
3. Livingstone Saturday Night (Jimmy Buffett)
4. There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler (Dan Fogelburg)
5. Just The Way That You Are (Billy Joel)

Record Two Side A:
1. Life In The Fast Lane (The Eagles)

2. Do It Again (Steely Dan)
3. Lido Shuffle (Boz Scaggs)
4. More Than A Feeling (Boston)

Record Two Side B:
1. It Keeps You Runnin’ (Doobie Brothers)
2. Your Smiling Face (James Taylor)
3. Life’s Been Good (Joe Walsh)
4. We Will Rock You (Queen)
5. FM-Reprise (Steely Dan)

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FM Soundtrack Link (182Mb)
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Brian May And The Melbourne ABC Showband - Music Unlimited (1974)

(Australian 1957–1997)
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Brian May was born in Adelaide on July 28 1934. He died in Melbourne on April 25 1997 at the age of 62.

Brian May trained at the Adelaide Elder Conservatorium as a pianist, violinist and conductor. He joined the ABC Adelaide in 1957 and was asked to form and conduct the ABC Adelaide Big Band, a full-blown ensemble that was rated as the best of the ABC state-based bands.

He moved to Melbourne when he was 35 to arrange and conduct the ABC’s Melbourne Show band. The Show Band made its radio debut on the First Network on 13 March 1969.

Background music for Australian television had previously been taken from records. Brian May changed this by writing and arranging the themes for television programmes, including Bellbird, Return to Eden, The Last Frontier, A Dangerous Life and Darling of the Gods.

A breakthrough for Brian May was the drama series Rush, set on the 19th-century Victorian goldfields. The theme was composed by Australian George Dreyfus, but May’s arrangement of the theme was recorded by the Show Band and quickly reached the top of the Australian charts, selling more than 100,000 copies. This type of success was usually reserved for pop groups such as Sherbet and Skyhooks.

Brian May also composed the Countdown theme and the Melbourne Show Band launched the highly successful Countdown television series.

Brian May left the ABC in 1984 and his interests turned to film music. He composed more than 30 feature film scores, including Gallipoli, the Mad Max series (Mad Max won the Australian Film Award for Best Original Score), Tales from the Crypt, Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy’s Dead, The Final Nightmare and Dr Giggles. Brian May preferred to orchestrate his scores himself.

Brian May won many other awards, including the Golden Award from the Australian Performing Rights Association.

Brian May loved writing music and spent many years in America working on film scores. He was unquestionably as the finest of Australia’s screen composers.
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Album Linear Notes
After ten years with the Adelaide Concert Orchestra and Big Band, Brian May arrived in Melbourne in 1969 to create the Melbourne Show Band out of what was formerly the ABC Dance Band.
Recognised as one of Australia's outstanding arranger/conductors, Brian has record credits with his own orchestras and numerous  performers such  as  Kamahl, Ted Hamilton, Matt Flinders, Lorrae Desmond and The Pied Pipers.
Recently, Brian has composed music for ABC/TV drama series, "Love Story", "Frank and Francesca", and "Bellbird", and has commissions for works to be performed by ABC Symphony Orchestras.
The TV series, "Music Unlimited", has been enthusiastically received by both the press and viewing public, and further series are being planned.


 The Melbourne ABC Show Band
Since its inception in 1969, the Melbourne Show Band has attracted many of Australia's best musicians to its ranks, and through regular appearances on ABC radio and television the band has justly earned a reputation as the finest musical unit of its kind in the country.
The Melbourne Show Band has given concerts in Melbourne, Canberra, and in 1970 undertook a highly successful tour of Vietnam. In 1973 the band appeared with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, and recorded special programmes for FM/stereo transmission on Radio Bavaria.
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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans.  Also included as a bonus track, is the theme to the movie Mad Max 2.
OK, so this is not my usual genre of music but I grew up listening to Brian May and his Show Band playing on a multitude of Australian Variety TV shows and backing many high profile celebrities in the music industry, both local and overseas artists.  When I saw this album sitting in amongst a pile of uninteresting albums at the flee market, I felt compelled to save it from an inevitable death by neglect. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the tracks on the album were well known to me and features themes from "2001", "Shaft",  "Exodus" and the Spaghetti Western "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly".  How could I resist? Thanks for the memories Brian.
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Track Listing
01 - Theme from "Shaft"
02 - Song sung blue
03 - Walk on by
04 - Theme from "Love story"
05 - Everything a man could ever need
06 - Theme from "Exodus"
07 - I can see clearly now
08 - Theme from "2001"
09 - Sing
10 - El condor pasa
11 - Go away little girl
12 - The good the bad & the ugly
13 - The young new Mexican puppeteer
14 - Rhythm of life
15 - Theme from Mad Max 2 (Bonus)


PERSONNEL:
TRUMPETS/FRENCH HORN/ FLUGEL HORN - 

ROY HOSKING, ARTHUR SMITH, RON WEBB, BRUCE GARDINER & TED JOYNER
TROMBONES -
DON LOCK, KEITH MCDONALD, COL WILLIAMS & JOHN BUCKLEY
STRINGS -
PHIL COHEN, BERT PETTIFER, ANGELO CANDELA, PAULINE TONKIN, JULIE HOWE, JOSEPH CURCIO, ALEX SUTHERLAND, MARJORIE THOMS, BERTHA JORGENSEN, MELVIN CANN, ANDY FACTOR, JOYCE HOMER, MEDERICK FRAILLON & BETTY SUTHERLAND
SAXOPHONE/FLUTE/CLARINET -
PETER MARTIN, BOB STOREY, GRAEME LYALL, LAURIE PARR, ALVIN SEBIRE
RHYTHM -
GARRY HYDE (DRUMS)
DEREK CAPEWELL (BASS)
DALE KOHRY, CHARLIE GAULD (GUITAR)
BOBBY VENIER (PERCUSSION)
KEVIN HOCKING (KEYBOARDS)    

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Brian May & The ABC Showband Link (93Mb)
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Moody Blues - King Biscuit Hour Live (1981) Bootleg

(U.K 1964 - Present)
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This show features The Moody Blues showcasing most of their biggest hits, but only about half of the entire show is presented on this night at Chicago's Poplar Creek Music Theatre in August, 1981. There is some discrepancy however as to the actual date. Popular belief is that it was the 17th, however other bootleg sources indicate the concert was on the 18th or 19th.  This concert was broadcasted to air by the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1982 and 1994 and features the usual add breaks and commentary expected from this famous radio show. I've decided to keep the broadcast true to its original format, however you could easily edit out the adds using your favourite audio editor (ie. Audacity) if these annoy you.

While the U.K. band had been enormously popular in the late 1960s and in first half of the '70s, they had not toured extensively in the U.S. and didn't work at all between 1974 and 1978. The much ballyhooed "Octave" reunion tour in 1978 re-established the band as one of premier classic British rock bands and started a cycle of almost yearly U.S. summer tours, which continues to this day.

The classic line-up of Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Ray Thomas and keyboardist Mike Pinder all participated in the '78 reunion LP, but Pinder was so upset with the outcome of the record he left the band before the tour. He was replaced by former Refugee keyboardist Patrick Moraz (a Swiss musician very much in the style of Keith Emerson), who remained in the Moodies through the end of 1990.

The Moody Blues began as an R&B/pop act out of Birmingham, England in May, 1964. The original line-up only included Thomas and Edge from this 1981 version, and the sound was completely different from what they became in 1967. With charismatic singer/guitarist Denny Laine on lead vocals, the band had a massive Top 10 hit in 1965 with a soulful cover of "Go Now," a song originally recorded by American R&B singer, Bessie Banks. The success of "Go Now," got them a label deal with Deram Records, a division of London Records (original home of The Rolling Stones). A tour opening for The Beatles followed, and hopes were high for The Moody Blues to be The Next Big Thing.

Poplar Creek Music Theatre
Unfortunately, the band could never come up with a successful follow-up single. By the fall of 1966, Laine (and original bassist Clint Warwick) were gone, replaced by Lodge and Hayward. With the advent of the psychedelic era (and the use of mind altering drugs), The Moody Blues purchased one of the very first Mellotrons (the forerunner to the modern synthesizer) and changed their sound to a dreamy, progressive blend of rock, folk and classical.

They re-emerged in 1967, with Days Of Future Passed, the first album to feature a rock band and full orchestra. From that came the smash single, "Nights In White Satin," which was followed by a string of popular LPs and singles, that included "Question," "Ride My See Saw," "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock N Roll Band," "The Voice" and "The Story In Your Eyes," all of which are faithfully executed at this show, originally recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. [extract from concertvault.com]

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This post consists of a single MP3 file (128kps) and B&W album artwork, although I have added a colour label scan of the vinyl release from 1982 to use as the inner cover (see right).  The recording quality is brilliant (even though the bitrate is disappointing) and deserves a 10/10 for its soundboard origin, and in my opinion tops any of their official live material.
So sit back and enjoy this authentic radio station broadcast of the Moody's from the early 80's.
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Track Listing 
01 Gemini Dream 05:18
02 The Story In Your Eyes 03:44
03 Tuesday Afternoon 04:31
04 The Voice 04:59
05 Steppin' In A Slide Zone 04:38
06 Isn't Life Strange 06:28
07 I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band) 04:36
08 Nights In White Satin 06:05
09 Question 06:50
10 (Encore) Ride My See-Saw 04:20



The Band Were:
Graeme Edge - drums, vocals;
Justin Hayward - guitar, vocals;
John Lodge - bass, vocals;
Patrick Moraz - keyboards, vocals;
Ray Thomas - flute, percussion, vocals

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Moody Blues King Biscuit Link (56Mb)
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Sunday, April 30, 2017

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Ted Cassidy - The Lurch-Wesley 7'' (1965)


Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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There's probably not many people on this planet (or at least in the Western hemisphere) who haven't seen an episode of the Addams Family and haven't fallen in love with the bizarre characters portrayed in this 60's T.V sitcom, in particular the Addam's 'gargantuan butler' Lurch. Now, Lurch loved his job. No, really. Just look at that happy twinkle in his eye the next time you watch an episode of the show.

The Addams family simply couldn’t function without him. Amidst all the explosions, sword-fighting, and man-eating plants, Lurch is the steady, lumbering rock that keeps the household in-line.

Lurch keeps a predictable routine and will always show up when the bell is rung. He’s careful and deliberate in the execution of his duties, and tends to the family’s practical, physical needs—like making dinner and…cleaning, I guess? I’ve seen him with a feather-duster, but perhaps he’s applying the dust rather than removing it.

Although Gomez and Morticia consider him bright and animated, Lurch won’t even smile unless prodded, and even then it’s a ghastly-looking affair. He rarely speaks more than a sentence or two (the character was supposed to be mute until Ted Cassidy ad-libbed “You rang?” in the pilot and cracked up the producers), and normally expresses his reservations about the family’s hi jinks with groans and moans.

I must say, I’ve found an annoyed Lurch moan to be one of the most satisfying ways to express my exasperation with some people. Especially at work !

Lurch has fixed his loyalty on the Addams's, and won’t be moved. They consider him family, though he’s usually reluctant to cash in on their affection for him. He has a very sweet, nurturing relationship with little Wednesday — he teaches her the harpsichord, and she teaches him to dance—and when she asks him why he doesn’t express his happiness, he admits to her, “I like being miserable.”

Lurch becomes famous for a spell when his harpsichord playing and unique voice turn him into a teen music idol overnight. He enjoys the attention at first, but then suddenly his new agent wants to take him on a world tour. The Addams family convinces Lurch to go through with it, but a few steps out the door, he’s mobbed by fans. Lurch stumbles back inside and happily returns to his old life.

The only thing Lurch has to show for his short moment of stardom is a one and only single release, included here for your entertainment.

Gary Paxton (the songwriter/singer, later turned contemporary Christian recording artist in the 1970's, who was responsible for novelty hits as "Alley-Oop" and "The Monster Mash") was responsible for this Ted Cassidy record. He co-wrote both "The Lurch" and "Wesley", and it's too bad there was no follow-up record. Capitol Records just considered it a one-time and done deal, as many novelty records at the time were common for.

Capitol Records may have considered a follow-up recording of Ted Cassidy playing organ or harpsichord (just like they did with Detroit Tigers' pitcher Denny McLain in 1968 for two Capitol singles, and a whole album, which is a major find here in Michigan, a collector's item elsewhere.) but no such luck on Cassidy's part. Unfortunately, he was typecasted with the "Lurch" image, and it was hard for him to shake it off for the rest of his career, despite getting dozens of roles in movies and TV shows (he hated being typecasted as "Lurch", too. And he was dismayed about being confused by the late Richard Keil, who played on a couple of the James Bond movies.)

Some fun facts: Ted Cassidy stood 6' 9" (2.06m). Played multiple sports. Entered high school at the age of 11. An accomplished organist, he faked playing the harpsichord on "The Addams Family." Among other voice work, he narrated the opening of "The Incredible Hulk" TV series.

"On the October 30, 1965 Halloween episode of Shindig, Lurch debuted a new dance craze called "The Lurch." The dance steps were nothing more than a lot of shuffling and arm dangling a la the Frankenstein Monster."

So, this month's WOCK on Vinyl features a couple of Crazy tracks sung by the Lurch himself and like the shows theme song, it's just a bit Kooky and spooky for my liking.  The rip was sourced from Mr Weird and Wacky with thanks and features MP3's (320kps) with artwork and label scans.  The A-Side is called " The Lurch" while the B-Side is a filler entitled"Wesley".

Note: A 2011 eBay Sale fetched $250 for this rare single. See picture right.

HERE IS A REALLY RARE 45 AND PICTURE SLEEVE BY TED CASSIDY OF THE ADDAMS FAMILY ON CAPITOL #5503, BOTH SLEEVE AND 45 IS VG+ BUT THERE IS LITTLE WRITING ON THE 45 LABEL. ALSO INCLUDED IS A RARE ORIGINAL ADDAMS FAMILY CARD #45 OF LURCH.

The Lurch Link (12Mb) 
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