Saturday, March 25, 2017

Paul McCartney - Live Unlicensed (1993) Bootleg

(U.K 1957 - Current)
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This bootleg was recorded live in USA 1993 during McCartney's New World Tour, 1993
In 1993, Paul McCartney and his band embarked upon The New World Tour, spanning almost the entire year and almost the entire globe. This tour featured a controversial pre-concert film (starting in the U.S leg of the tour), which was shown before all of the concerts and had graphic animal test footage in the film. This film can be seen on the "Paul is Live In Concert on the New World Tour" video.
It was the third and last time Paul McCartney toured Australia. A proposed further tour to Australia in 2002 was cancelled after the Bali Bombings.
This was to be McCartney's last tour for nine years, after his wife and band member, Linda McCartney, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and died in 1998 at the age of 56.

The tour was intended to promote McCartney's album Off the Ground. Despite having released three albums of live material in the space of the previous three years (Tripping the Live Fantastic, Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights!, and Unplugged), the tour was followed by Paul Is Live, consisting of material from 'The New World Tour'. The release was not embraced by record-buyers, becoming McCartney's lowest-selling live album. [extract from wikipedia]



1993 World Tour / Off The Ground
There are some entertainers who regard touring as absolute hell, but Paul McCartney isn't one of them. Within weeks of winding down from his turn-of-the-decade circuit of the planet, he was thinking aloud about doing it all again. Though it wasn't to happen until 1993, he ordered the wheels to crank into motion.
As expected, the next expedition was to be on hold until it could be tied in with an album and plethora of singles, and, when it was actually in motion, Paul Is Live (as opposed to Paul Is Dead), an in-concert package in time for Christmas. These products were to be in as many formats as the traffic would allow - 7/12inch vinyl, cassette, picture sleeves, gatefold sleeves, CD, remixes and with or without posters, postcards, tour itinerary and bonus tracks. Such were the hidden costs for the truly dedicated, whether there from the beginning or 'Flowers In The Dirt' latecomers, for whom every new McCartney release remains a special event.

The 1993 album, 'Off The Ground', was, however, less special than usual. It was telegraphed by "Hope Of Deliverance", an instance of blinded-by-science production almost-but-not-quite smothering a mediocre song that died a death, even with Paul, Linda and the boys in the band miming it on Top Of The Pops. Though Liverpool poet Adrian Mitchell had been requested to give it and the rest of the Off The Ground libretto a once-over, "Hope Of Deliverance" was a fair indication of what was to come in a collection that was unfettered by the objectivity of an Eric Stewart or Elvis Costello, apart from the latter's "Mistress And Maid" - which sounded like a 'Flowers In The Dirt' leftover - and a "Lovers That Never Were" that was enjoyable enough, but not up to Costello's reading on his own "Mighty Like A Rose" in 1991.

Paul's animal rights protest number, "Looking For Changes", was all very worthy too in its speaking up for the voiceless, but, both musically and lyrically, it was one that could have been shelved without much hardship. Yet "Biker Like An Icon", the third single, did not bely Paul's description of it as "a good little rocky song", though meaning did not take precedent over phonetics.
With no blues getting bluer, 'Off The Ground' was the product of a satisfied mind. Polished and mostly unobjectionable, it was never expected to be astounding - by marginal McCartney enthusiasts anyway - but it sufficed because skillful arrangements and technological advances can help conceal ordinary-sounding songs in need of editing. It nudged the Top 20 in the USA where Beatlemania was always more virulent than anywhere else, and those afflicted bought Paul's records out of habit to complete the set like Buffalo Bill annuals. Over here, too many didn't want to like 'Off The Ground', especially during a period when Elvis Costello wasn't cool either, having strayed too far with The Juliet Letters from the punk rocker he'd never been.

Never mind. As it had been in 1989, the press could slag off Paul's records; latter-day punks could denigrate him as one more bourgeois liberal with inert conservative tendencies and hippies disregard him as a fully paid-up subscriber to what Neil in BBC TV's The Young Ones sit-com called "the Breadhead Conspiracy", but there he was again, running through his best-loved songs for the people who loved them - and him - best of all at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (Australia), Louisiana Superdome, Munich's Olympiahalle and further packed-out stadia designed originally for championship sport.
This time round, there were more Beatles numbers than ever from a portfolio that bulged with more crowd-pleasers than could be crammed into any evening with Paul McCartney, but ticket-holders understood, and were sad rather than angry if he didn't do their favourite. They'd seen it all before anyhow - him pop-eyed at the central microphone with a guitar or seated on a stage-left podium at a piano, the cynosure of perhaps a 100,000 eyes and maybe four sweaty spotlights. Having a high old time up there, he accommodated appropriate gestures and facial expressions as well as off-mike mouthings and momentary eye contacts that probably meant nothing, but made the heart of the recipient - or someone who imagined he or she was - feel like it would burst through its rib-cage.

As always, the mood was light, friendly, but what would have happened had the main set ended with politely brief clapping instead of the foot-stomping and howling approval that brought Paul back on for the encores of 'Band On The Run', 'I Saw Her Standing There' and, finally, everyone blasting up chorus after da-da chorus of 'Hey Jude'?
At last, he'd made a peace between his past and present situation. For form's sake, he stuck in tracks from whatever current album the onlookers may have heard or wouldn't ever hear between the timeless hits. Yet, however slickly predictable his stage show was becoming, he would prove to have much in common in his way with David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison and other advocates of the artistic virtues of sweating over something new while Elton John, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder and like Swinging Sixties contemporaries continued cranking out increasingly more run-of-the-mill albums [extract from "Paul McCartney", by Alan Clayson. Sanctuary Publishing. 2003  p228-230]
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Blair Cunningham, Robbie McIntosh, Linda & Paul McCartney, Wix Wickens, Hamish Stuart
 Reviews of the Australian leg of the 1993 tour have described a boom (more like a "cherry picker") that was used during the show. During Sgt.Pepper, Paul and Robbie stepped onto the approximately 4 ft. by 6 ft. platform and were lifted out over the audience. The old MMT piano "rose up" in front of the stage at Paul's command, stopping just to the right of his "position" on the stage. A grand piano, also used, was tilted forward so even the close rows could see Macca when he sat at it.
The grand finale was Hey Jude. As usual it was a sing-along, with Macca exhorting each side, then the middle of the audience to do the "Sha Na Na, Na Na Na Na" bit.
Then the whole band climbed onto the cherry picker platform, which swung all the way out to the 12th row. Linda picked up a red bag and began throwing rose petals into the audience as the platform
moved out to the left, then back to the right side of the stage. [extract from beatlefan.net]
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1993 Ticket
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my AMCOS Unlicensed CD which represents only 50% of the full setlist that McCartney played on his 1993 Tour. Full album artwork (the usual generic quality) is included along with alternative covers from equivalent bootleg releases (see below). The quality of the recording is damn good (Soundboard for sure) and the only regret is that the 3 encore tracks ("Band On The Run", "I Saw Here Standing There" and "Hey Jude") are not on this release.
With the exception of "Biker Like An Icon" (which is a piece of crap) the track list is great with the highlights being "My Love" and "Sgt Peppers".
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Track Listing
01 - Michelle
02 - Hope Of Deliverance
03 - Looking For Changes
04 - Fixing A Hole
05 - Twenty Flight Rock
06 - Biker Like An Icon
07 - My Love
08 - Penny Lane
09 - Off The Ground
10 - I Wanna Be Your Man
11 - Get Out Of My Way
12 - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
13 - Lady Madonna

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Touring Band:
Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitars (acoustic, electric and bass), piano, drums
Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards, percussion, autoharp
Hamish Stuart – backing vocals, guitars (acoustic, electric, acoustic bass and electric bass)
Robbie McIntosh – backing vocals, guitars (electric and acoustic)
Paul "Wix" Wickens – backing vocals, keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, percussion
Blair Cunningham – drums, percussion
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Paul McCartney Unlicensed Live Link (113Mb)
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Margaret RoadKnight - Living In The Land Of Oz (1984) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1963 - Present)
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Margret RoadKnight (born July 1943 in Melbourne) is a renowned Australian singer. A unique and passionate artist, renowned for her powerful vocals and wide-ranging roots-based repertoire with lyrics full of wit and wisdom, Margret RoadKnight survives and thrives outside the mainstream music scene with flair and soul.
 In a career spanning almost five decades, she has sung in a wide variety of styles including blues, jazz, gospel, comedy, cabaret, and folk. In the 1960s and 1970s RoadKnight appeared on numerous television programmes including 'Folkmoot', hosted by Leonard Teale, Dave's Place, hosted by the Kingston Trio's Dave Guard, and the ABC national weekly current affairs program Open-End. In 1976 she released the single Girls in Our Town, which reached the Top 40.

Biography
Margret started singing as a hobby in 1963 in Melbourne during the local jazz-folk boom of the time.
She continued her interest in singing and by 1973 she was working on a current affairs program in Canberra, performing songs she had written relating to news events. Later in the year Margret recorded a live album at Frank Traynor's club called People Get Ready.
In 1974 she was given a grant, to study contemporary music in the US, by the Australian Council for the Arts for a period of six months. On her return she appeared at university campuses and headlined a series of her own concerts.

Her experience in America had developed her singing style to an international standard and late in 1975 she recorded a song written by Bob Hudson called 'Girls In Our Town'. The single was released in February '76 and became a national hit the following month. The record's popularity was also aided by the fact that it was considered, in part, to be a sequel to the 'Newcastle Song' which Bob had made a hit twelve months before.
In August, 1977 she left on a nine month working holiday to America, Europe, England and the Philippines.
Margret's long-awaited 'Ice' album finally came out in mid-1978. The album had to be re-mixed twice before she was satisfied with it. The record — which included one side on the coming of the ice-age — was described by reviewers as good, progressive jazz-folk.

Following its release Margret left for the US, and later in the year performed in China with an Australian theatre group. [extract from Australian Encyclopedia of Rock by Noel McGrath, Outback Press, 1978 p262]

Five decades into her career, she continues to tour extensively, singing riveting if under-exposed songs, either a-cappella or with her guitar and African thumb piano, solo or with accompanying musicians, always interspersed with informative and amusing anecdotes (and yes, she still reprises her fondly remembered mid-’70s Australiana hit “Girls In Our Town”).

Margret has recorded ten solo albums and been featured on thirty one others.
She has sung blues, jazz, gospel, folk, comedy, and social commentary songs in concert halls and cathedrals, clubs and campuses, from Broome to Hobart, Beijing to Memphis, Paris to Auckland, Edinburgh to Tel Aviv, New York to Seoul, Amsterdam to Dublin, New Orleans to London, Vancouver to Nuku’alofa.
May 12th, 2013 marked the commencement of Margret RoadKnight’s Golden Jubilee (celebrating 50 years of professional performance) and concluded in April 2014 with her Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Folk Festival. [extract from eventfinda.com]

Margret RoadKnight - Yesteryear & Today
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my 'autographed' vinyl copy (see below)
Full album artwork and label scans are included along with many select photos - some sourced from Margret's website (with thanks). Also included are 2 bonus tracks sourced from Phyl Lobl's website.- "Make Mine Music" and "Ship Of Fools" from her Wanderer album (a collaboration album).
This compilation album is an excellent discography of Margret's career but if you are looking for something more extensive, then you might consider purchasing her Decade '75 - 84' CD, available from her website.
I particular like her covers of "Living In The Land Of Oz" (Ross Wilson), "I'll Be Gone" (Spectrum) and Doug Ashdown's "Winter In America" - on which she puts her personal spin. Not to be missed, so grab it now.
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Track Listing
01 - Living In The Land Of Oz
02 - Girls In Our Town
03 - Waltzing Matilda (Blues Version)
04 - I'll be Gone
05 - Love Tastes Like Strawberries
06 - Love At First Sight
07 - (Bloody Well) Australian Through And Through
08 - Ice
09 - Winter In America
10 - Raw Deal
11 - Tears Their Toll Can Take
12 - I Ain't Never Heard You Play The Blues
13 - Masculine Women, Feminine Men
14 - Edna's Hymn
Bonus Tracks 

15 - Make Mine Music
16 - Ship Of Fools


Margret RoadKnight (Vocals, Guitar)
Judy Bailey (Piano)
Bob Hudson (Vocals, Noisemakers)
Ellen McIlwaine (Slide guitar, Organ, vocal)
Party Girls (Vocals)
Jo Trunman (Didgeridoo)


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Margret RoadKnight FLAC Link (236Mb)
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Margret RoadKnight MP3 Link (109Mb)
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cilla Black - You're My World (1970)

(U.K 1963–2015)
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Cilla Black was one of Great Britain’s most successful and best-loved entertainers of all-time – she had 19 UK ‘Top 40’ singles (including two #1 hits), released 15 studio albums, sold out concert venues around the world and presented many iconic British TV shows whilst bringing up three sons with her husband, Bobby Willis.

Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White on the 27th May 1943, she grew up in a musically oriented household in one of the toughest parts of Liverpool. She quickly became a mini-celebrity in her neighbourhood, performing alongside so many legendary acts that were fundamental in establishing the “Mersey Sound”, such as The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Fourmost and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Due to a twist of fate, Priscilla White (known around the Liverpool music scene as “Swinging Cilla”) almost overnight received a new stage name, when the music paper the ‘Mersey Beat’ misprinted her surname as Cilla Black, a name that she favoured and happily kept.

It wasn’t long before Cilla came to the attention of Brian Epstein, a local talent scout and manager of The Beatles. Epstein was introduced to her by none other than John Lennon, who persuaded him to arrange an audition at The Majestic Ballroom in Birkenhead. Unfortunately, the audition was unsuccessful due to a combination of nerves and singing to The Beatles’ accompaniment, who played in their own key. All was not lost as, to her surprise, she was later spotted by Epstein while singing “Bye, Bye Blackbird” in the jazzy surroundings of the Blue Angel club. This performance finally convinced him to sign her, so on the 6th September 1963, she became his only female vocalist!

During the sixties, Cilla sustained her place at the forefront of the Brit-Pop music scene, with one of the most impressive starts for a British female recording artist, including 17 consecutive Top 40 triumphs on the singles charts. To put this unprecedented success into perspective, it happened during a decade when achieving a Top 20 single meant that you had to sell in excess of 100,000 copies a day in the UK alone!

Shortly afterwards, Cilla Black made her debut on the British singles charts with one of the first of many songs given to her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. “Love of the Loved”, a song Cilla had often heard The Beatles perform at The Cavern. The recording made a modest impression on the British charts when it was released on the 27th September 1963.

This was soon to be overshadowed by her next release, which Brian Epstein discovered on a trip to the USA. “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, a song by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, had already proved to be a massive hit for Dionne Warwick which Cilla, then a keen follower of the US Top 100, had already admired prior to it being suggested by Epstein. Her knockout rendition, recorded in January 1964, went on to become not only her first No. 1 but is still, to this day, the biggest selling single of all time by a British female recording artist.

George Martin acquired the perfect follow-up, an Italian ballad, “Il Mio Mondo”, with an English lyric, became “You’re My World”. This epic “torch” song went on to become Cilla’s second No. 1, paving the way for an influx of other Italian songs such as Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”. Furthermore, it broke Cilla into the tough US market as well as gaining her massive support across Europe and Australasia, culminating in hundreds of sell-out concert dates throughout her time at EMI (1963-1978). [extract from https://www.cillablack.com]

Tragically, Cilla Black died of a stroke on August 1, 2015 after falling and hitting her head at her Spanish villa. She was sunbathing when she lost her balance, fell, and hit her head, which knocked her unconscious and she subsequently died of a stroke.

A bronze statue of Cilla Black was recently unveiled in Liverpool in the original spot where the famous Cavern Club was located during the 60's. The statue was commissioned by her three sons Robert, Ben, and Jack who donated the statue to the city of Liverpool in memory of their mum. The finished sculpture is cast in bronze and measures 6.6ft tall and weighs 130kg and ‘Cilla’ stands on a disc of her No.1 single ‘You’re My World’ – based on a real 45 record.


Her dress is made up of squares depicting images drawn from Cilla’s life and career. The text in these squares are set in relief and include her catchphrases from programs she presented, facts such as her wedding anniversary dates, quotes from her husband Bobby and close friends and song lyrics and titles.

I personally have fond memories of seeing Cilla on  T.V either hosting her own show or performing as a guest artist on others.  I think I was mainly intrigued by her unique smile and Liverpoolin accent, along with her beautiful voice.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my newly acquired vinyl, which I stumbled upon at my local flee market, buried among some other treasures which I plan to post soon.  Whoever owned these records really looked after them and were in almost mint condition.  Full album artwork is also included along with the usual label scans. This 70's compilation consists of tracks recorded between 1964 - 1969 and provide a wonderful insight into Cilla's early discography. Cilla - 'you were our world' and you will be sadly missed.

Track Listing
01 - You're My World (Il Mio Mondo)  
02 - If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind  
03 - Conversations  
04 - Liverpool Lullaby  
05 - Surround Yourself With Sorrow  
06 - Make It Easy On Yourself  
07 - What The World Need Now Is Love  
08 - Don't Answer Me  
09 - When I Fall In Love  
10 - Every Little Bit Hurts  
11 - A Lovers Concerto  
12 - Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me


Cilla Black Link (79Mb)  Link Fixed 12/3/2017
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Electric Pandas - Point Blank (1985) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1983 - 1987)
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In 1983, a diminutive rock chick with a powerful set of lungs electrified the Australian pop-rock scene with her band Electric Pandas. The band formed during 1983 with Tim ‘Pretty Boy’ Walter (guitar), Warren Slater (bass) and Mark ‘Hips’ Stinson (drums), fronted by the high energy presence of Lin Buckfield (vocals/guitar). They built up a strong live following on the East Coast of Australia, playing a hard-hitting style of melodic pop rock. Buckfield came up with the name of the band in reference to the English punk rock outfit Exotic Pandas. Buckfield had known the band whilst living in the U.K. during the late 70s, and drew upon that band’s sound to a degree in her own band’s early work.

They were signed to the Regular label, becoming label mates to high profile artists such as Mental As Anything, Icehouse and Cockroaches. Their first single was the defiant pop rock anthem ‘Big Girls’. The track was soon featured on radio playlists and Molly raved about Electric Pandas on his ‘Humdrum’ segment. Soon ‘Big Girls’ was sitting pretty inside the top 10 in Sydney (#8) and peaked at #18 nationally mid year, and big things were predicted for the band. A relentless touring schedule led up to the release of Electric Pandas’ debut EP ‘Let’s Gamble’ (OZ#81) in December ‘84.

Lin Buckfield then put a broom through the band, with an all new support line-up now comprising Craig Karl Wacholz (guitar, ex-The Dischords), Marcel Chaloupka (bass, ex-Moving Parts), and Phillip Campbell (drums). That line-up then entered the studio to record Electric Pandas’ debut album. But before any more Electric Pandas material surfaced, singer Lin Buckfield stepped outside the confines of the band to record a duet with Australian Crawl front man James Reyne (see earlier post). The catchy ‘R.O.C.K. Rock’ was released on the Freestyle label during April 1985, and peaked at #44 a few weeks later.

The lead out single for the Electric Pandas’ forthcoming album was ‘Missing Me’, which was released mid ‘85 and reached a respectable #41 on the Australian charts, though it clearly lacked the punch of ‘Big Girls’. The band also performed the song on the Australian ‘Oz For Africa’ concert (our contribution to Live Aid), in addition to ‘Let’s Gamble’.

Tim & Lin
The album ‘Point Blank’ was released in September ‘85 and sold steadily enough, but already there were signs that Electric Pandas’ had lost a considerable amount of voltage. The disappointing track ‘Italian Boys’ (produced by ex-Moving Pictures Charles Fisher) crawled to #90 on the single’s chart toward the end of ‘85, around the same time as the album ‘Point Blank’ peaked at #32 (guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel contributed to a couple of tracks). The line-up changes continued around the band’s anchor Lin Buckfield, with Brad Holmes replacing Phillip Campbell on drums, Neil McDonald stepping in for bassist Marcel Chaloupka, with keyboardist Charlie Chan expanding Electric Pandas to a quintet. But the new look Electric Pandas didn’t release any more material, other than recording the jingle for the latest Coca-Cola television advertising campaign during 1986 (also appearing in the commercial), and by April 1987 Lin Buckfield called it a day for the band.

Buckfield went on to form another band F.O.O.D. with ex-Panda Craig Karl Wacholz (guitar), Ray Spole (bass) and Glen Patterson (drums). They continued in the same pop-rock vein but a funk element started to creep in with the 12” single ‘Happy House’ in 1990. The transformation to dance-funk act coincided with the addition of saxophone players Neil McKenzie and Dieter Pruggo, with Buckfield renaming the band Happy House. Signed to the dance label Shock, Happy House released a 12” single ‘What U Wanna Do That For’, followed by the 7 track CD EP ‘Shelter Down’, but neither charted. The band released their eponymous debut album during 1993 and followed it up with the 1995 EP ‘Passion’ in June 1995, soon after moving out to find other accommodation.

Lin Buckfield went on to become a current affairs researcher with Australia’s Nine Network, then a television reporter (working on the respected ABC’s ‘Four Corners’). She played in another band called MisChalin, and currently plays in a Sydney band called the Bully Girls. Electric Pandas’ keyboard player Charlie Chan is now signed as an artist with Sony Classical.

From big girls to bully girls, pint sized rocker Lin Buckfield is surely the closest Australia has to their own Suzi Quatro. [extract from retrouniverse.blogspot.com]

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy of this album. Because the album was acquired second hand, from what I suspect was a radio station's record library (based on the labels plastered over the cover), I had to source clean cover artwork from the Web. Inside cover artwork and label scans are my handy work however. As a bonus, I am also providing rips of 3 tracks (all non album tracks) from their 'Let's Gamble' 12" EP (kindly supplied by Deutros - thanks mate).  It's a shame this is their only album, as the album leaves you craving for more. Hope you enjoy another great Aussie Album listeners.

Track Listing 
01 - Italian Boys
02 - Another Day
03 - Missing Me
04 - Sundays
05 - Let's Gamble
06 - Same Mistakes
07 - Sobbing
08 - Advice
09 - Big Girls
10 - Pinned Down
11 - Not Bitter
12 - Crush (Bonus Track)
13 - Point Plank (Bonus Track)
14 - Let's Gamble Extended Mix (Bonus Track)

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Band Members:Lin Buckfield (vocals, guitar), 
Warren Slater (bass, 1983–84), 
Mark Stinson (drums, 1983–84), 
Tim Walter (guitar, 1983–84), 
Phillip Campbell (drums, 1985–86), 
Marcel Chaloupka (bass, 1985–86), 
Craig Karl Wacholz (guitar, 1985–87), 
Charlie Chan (keyboards, 1986–87), 
Brad Holmes (drums, 1986–87), 
Neil McDonald (bass, 1986–87)
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Electric Pandas MP3 Link (105Mb)  New Link
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Electric Pandas FLAC Link (282Mb)
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Friday, March 3, 2017

America - Alibi (1980)

(U.K 1970 - Present)
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America was in many ways, the ideal paradigm of a 70's band. They looked like hippies, and they paid lip service to the hippie lifestyle, but they were a pop band through and through. Early on, America embraced the same stoned mix of ennui and earnestness, cynicism and sincerity, that made laid-back musicians like the Flying Burrito Brothers, Eagles, Little Feat, and - not coincidentally - Neil Young, the rock royalty of the decade. Unlike those bands, however, America quickly began chasing Top 40 airplay (perhaps stimulated by the overwhelming success of their debut), and their work careened swiftly towards the middle of the road. Tellingly, America's vocal harmonies and relentlessly straight-laced rhythms resembled Crosby Stills & Nash more than any of the aforementioned bands. Ultimately, America became the same sort of bathetic self-parody as that storied super group - minus the career longevity....

Forty-six years is a long time to maintain a healthy working relationship with someone but Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell have done it happily. Forming America in London in the early 1970’s, the two young Air Force brats were heavily influenced by folk-tinged harmonies and alongside Dan Peek brought their soft-rock melodies to #1 on the Billboard charts with their debut 1971 self-titled album, which featured the #1 single “Horse With No Name,” plus “Sandman,” “I Need You” and “Three Roses.” The 1972 follow-up record, 'Homecoming', featured the Top 10 hit, “Ventura Highway,” and the band just kept rolling along from there: “Tin Man,” “Lonely People,” “Sister Golden Hair” and seven consecutive albums with the legendary Beatles producer George Martin.

In 1977, Peek left the band but America continued as a duo, enjoying another Top 10 hit with the catchy “You Can Do Magic” in the summer of 1982. Today, they continue to tour, continue to sell out venues. Not too bad for a gossip-avoiding, good-guy imaged couple of guys making music.


Alibi was released in August 1980, and was the first America album not to feature a picture of the band members on the cover. Instead, the cover sported a picture of a doll's head in the foreground of a desert landscape. Dewey Bunnell said he chose the picture while looking through the archives of acclaimed photographer Henry Diltz. The album was also unusual in the era of vinyl primacy in that it did not have numbered sides. Because the group and Capitol disagreed on which side would be side one, they agreed on a compromise: the sides would be labelled "Our Side" and "Their Side."

The album only peaked at number 142 on the Billboard album chart in the US. No singles charted in the US, but in Italy "Survival" was a top 5 hit and the whole album peaked at #2. This happened only on the first weeks of 1982, after the band took part, as special guest, at the Sanremo Music Festival.
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Review
George Martin stopped working America as the '70s became the '80s. Truth be told, it probably wasn't that painful of a departure. The time had come to part ways with Martin -- not only had they spent a decade with the celebrity producer, they were moving toward a slick, radio-ready adult contemporary direction that was entirely too calculated for Martin. So, they split, and Sir George effectively went into retirement while America worked with Matthew McCauley and Fred Mollin for 1980's Alibi. Essentially, the album picks up where Silent Letter left off, meaning that it's a set of pleasant soft pop, but it's slicker and slighter than its predecessor. That's not to say that it's without moments; like its predecessor, Alibi opens strongly with a pair of winners ("Survival," "Might Be Your Love"), and there are moments (such as "You Could've Been the One" or "Right Back to Me," which has a nice, bouncy chorus) that deliver later in the album. Still, it meanders fast and it meanders far, even into such ridiculous territory as the faux hard rock (in the sense that the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane" is hard rock) of "Hangover," whose lyrics are at least worth a chuckle or two. [extract from allmusic.com]

This would have to be America's best recording since their first five classic albums from the early 70's. An absolute standout which shows how their unique sound has progressed over the years. From the standout opener "Survivor" to the catchy "I Don't Believe In Miracles" and the beautiful ballad "One in a million", there really isn't a bad song on the album. It escapes me as to why this album wasn't recognised as the masterpiece that it was.  A must for all fans.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my crispy clean vinyl and includes full album artwork for both CD and LP.  No bonus tracks this time I'm afraid as all the Singles taken from the album featured B-Sides that were also on the album.

Tracks 
01.  Survival (G. Beckley)
02.  Might Be Your Love (D. Bunnell)
03.  Catch That Train (G. Beckley, D. Bunnell)
04.  You Could've Been the One (J. Batdorf, S. Sheridan)
05.  I Don't Believe in Miracles (R. Ballard)
06.  I Do Believe in You (S. George, J. Lang, J. Manfredi, R. Page)
07.  Hangover (D. Bunnell)
08.  Right Back to Me (G. Beckley)
09.  Coastline (G. Beckley)
10.  Valentine (D. Bunnell)
11.  One in a Million (G. Beckley)


Credits:
Gerry Beckley - Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals
Dewey Bunnell - Acoustic Guitar, Drums, Vocals, Background Vocals
Michael Baird - Drums
Norton Buffalo - Harmonica
James Newton Howard - Synthesizer, Keyboards
Tom Kelly - Background VocalsWillie Leacox - Percussion
Steve Lukather - Electric Guitar
Matthew McCauley - Synthesizer, Background Vocals
Fred Mollin - Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Background Vocals
Richard Page - Background Vocals
Dean Parks - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Timothy B. Schmit - Background Vocals
Leland Sklar - Bass
J.D. Souther - Background Vocals
Waddy Wachtel - Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Jai Winding - Synthesizer, Keyboards 

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America Link (93Mb)
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