Sunday, June 16, 2024

REPOST: Renee Geyer - Moving Along (1977) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1970-2023)
Long recognised as Australia's foremost jazz, blues and soul singer, Renee Geyer (born 1952) has issued more than 20 albums over the course of a 30-year career.
Best known for her rich, soulful, passionate and husky vocal delivery, Geyer has also been much in demand as a session singer. She has sung backing vocals on numerous album sessions ranging from La De Das, Dragon and Men At Work to Richard Clapton and Jimmy Barnes.
Geyer has worked and recorded in the USA as well as singing back-up vocals for international artists such as Joe Cocker, Sting and Chaka Khan.
In 1970, at the age of 16, Geyer's singing career began as a vocalist with jazz-blues band Dry Red, for her audition she sang The Bee Gees' hit "To Love Somebody". She soon left Dry Red for other bands including the more accomplished jazz-rock group Sun. Sun consisted of Geyer, George Almanza (piano), Henry Correy (bass guitar), Garry Nowell (drums), Keith Shadwick (sax, flute, clarinet, vocals) and Chris Sonnenberg (guitar). The group released one album 'Sun' in August 1972.

Renee with Michael Gudinski
She then sang with two short lived bands, Free Spirit and Nine Stage Horizon before joining a jazz-blues band called Mother Earth, who backed Renee on her selftitled debut album and the singles "Space Captain" and "Oh! Boy". She split from Mother Earth at the end of that year.
Her second album, 'It's A Man's Man's World', yielded the singles "What Do I Do On Sunday Morning?", "It's Been A Long Time" and a stunning cover of James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's World". Geyer's gorgeous rendering of this song became her first charting single when it reached Number 29 in Melbourne during December 1974. By that time she had teamed up with jazz/funk band Sanctuary. When they came to record her 'Ready To Deal' album, Sanctuary became known as The Renee Geyer Band.
Ready To Deal was a success and spawned three singles; "(I Give You) Sweet Love", "Heading In The Right Direction" and "If Loving You Is Wrong". During that period, The Renee Geyer Band supported overseas visitors like Eric Clapton.

The band recorded the live album 'Really . . . Really Love You' with Renee in 1976 before she travelled to the USA to record 'Moving Along' in Los Angeles with Motown producer Frank Wilson and a host of American session players, including members of Stevie Wonder's band. "Stares and Whispers" and "Tender Hooks" were issued as singles. Renee's final single for 1977 was the theme song to the television soapie The Restless Years.
Geyer spent the next decade dividing her time between Australia and the US. She recorded her next album 'Winner' in LA. "Money (That's What I Want)" and "Baby Be Mine" were issued as singles. The excellent 'Blues License' album (with Kevin Borich on guitar) and the BB King song "The Thrill Is Gone" were released in July 1979.

In 1980, Renee was signed to Michael Gudinski's Mushroom Records. She recorded with rock band The Ideals, which resulted in the hard-edged "Hot Minutes" single in July 1980. Her biggest hits came with the salsa/reggae styled "Say I Love You" single in July 1981 and the 'So Lucky' album (November 1981). The album produced two other singles, "Do You Know What I Mean?" and "I Can Feel The Fire".
Geyer went on to release three further singles on Mushroom; "Love So Sweet," "Goin' Back" and "Trouble In Paradise". Her last albums for Mushroom were 'Renee Live' and the 'Best Of' set called 'Faves'.

.In 1984, she recorded a duet with Jon English called "Every Beat Of My Heart" and in 1985 her first album for WEA, 'Sing To Me', contained the singles "Faithful Love", "Every Day Of The Week" and "All My Love". 'Live At The Basement' was her last solo album for eight years, during which time she lived in L.A. and joined Californian band Easy Pieces, appearing on the A&M album 'Easy Pieces' in 1988
[extract from]
Following the 'Easy Pieces' album which was released just as the record company A & M was changing US distributors and therefore died, Renee took a decade off from recording. During this time she did much session work for her great friend Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Buddy Guy, Toni Childs, Sting and Neil Diamond among others.

However, in 1995 she returned to Australia, permanently and resumed her recording career and has released a series of hugely acclaimed albums since then including her best seller ever, 'Tenderland' on which she pays tribute to the soul classics she grew up on. Not slavish cover versions of "Midnight Train To Georgia", "Love Don't Live Here Anymore", "Sexual Healing", even Prince's "Thieves In The Temple", but totally individual interpretations as only Renee can do. [comments by Micko at Midoztouch]
Trivia Note: Renee contributed backing vocals to Sting's second solo album, 'Nothing Like The Sun'. She was incorrectly listed in the credits as René Gayer.
Album Review
This was the album that was to break Renee Geyer onto the American market. This is another Australian record that is so good that it would be worth a lot of money if it was rare (but it’s not) which is really a good thing for music fans. Renee had already put out a few albums by the time this record came around, but it’s still regarded highly by collectors and fans alike because it contains some of her best work. "Be There In The Morning" – sometimes referred to as Northern Soul – is a great modern soul sounding cut with a driving soul groove and a compelling vocal hook (on 7” single it is actually pretty hard to find, but it’s readily accessible on this LP and have also included an alternate mix which has a more funkier groove to the original).

Another great song on this album is the title cut "Movin’ On'" a really upbeat funk dancer complete with breaks midway through. There’s also a great 'fresh' version of "Heading in the Right Direction" and an almost reggae sounding soul cut called "Tender Hooks".
But the track that gets me every time is her hit single "Stares and Whispers" - I just love the catchy riff and lyrics which make this such an enjoyable track. Overall, a fantastic record that probably doesn’t get the props it deserves.

This rip was taken from an 'out-of-print' CD in FLAC and contains full album artwork, along with two bonus tracks: a live version of her hit "It's a Man's World" (Recorded at A Reefer Derci in 1976 ) and the remixed version of "Be There In the Morning" taken from 'At Her Very Best' compilation LP.

Appendum:  Sadly, Renee Geyer passed away on 17 Jan, 2023 in Geelong.  Taken from us way too soon - R.I.P 


Track Listing
01. Heading In the Right Direction (2.58)
02. Be There In the Morning (4.24)

03. Quicker Than the Eye (4.03)
04. Tender Hooks (4.45)
05. Stares And Whispers (3.33)
06. Just To Make Love To You (4.43)
07. Touch (4.50)
08. Moving Along (6.39)

[Bonus Tracks]
09. It's A Man's Man's World (Live A Reefer Derci 1976)
10. Be There In The Morning (Alt.Version)

Band members:
Vocals, Backing Vocals : Renée Geyer
Guitars : Ray Parker, Jr., Greg Poree, Stephen Beckmeier
Bass : James Jamerson; Nathan Watts; Barry 'Big Goose' Sullivan
Keyboards : Harry Booker; Jerry Peters; Mal Logan
Piano : Reginald Burke
Drums : Raymond Pounds
Percussion : Jack Ashford; Frederick Lewis
Background Vocals : Venetta Fields; Sherlie Matthews; Pat Henerson; Tiemeyer McCain; Otis Stokes; Frank Wilson.
Renee Geyer (312Mb) New Link 16/06/2024

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Guns N' Roses - November Rain Unauthorised Vol.2 (1993) Bootleg

 (U.S 1985 - Present)

Guns N' Roses
are the bridge separating 1980s and 1990s hard rock, the band responsible for ushering in an era of grim, gritty rock & roll. Where such peers as reveled in the decadence of Sunset Strip sleaze, Guns N' Roses focused on the grimy underbelly of the urban jungle, with guitarists and cranking out mean riffs that matched the dark fantasies of , the vocalist who led GNR with a serpentine charm. countered his nasty tendencies with a romantic side, one that flourished on "Sweet Child O' Mine," the soaring ballad that went to number one in 1988, turning the band into superstars in the process.

Over the next few years, GNR's 1987 debut album, Appetite for Destruction, sold in monstrous numbers, with "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" both reaching Billboard's Top Ten and "Patience," from the 1989 EP GNR Lies, also reaching that exalted position. During this peak, Guns N' Roses were lightning rods for controversy, so they avoided trouble by whiling away in the studio crafting their sequel to Appetite for Destruction, the sprawling twin albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Released simultaneously in September 1991, the Illusions still were rooted in hard rock, but also pursued majestic, melodramatic balladry, a trait that reached its apotheosis in "November Rain," a ballad that became their last Top Ten hit in 1992.

This Bootleg is the 2nd homecoming show of the 'Use Your Illusion' tour for Izzy and Axl. During the show Axl dedicates "Civil War" to all the military in the audience and has Sebastian Bach bring out a dancer during "Rocket Queen."

This is the first ever live performance of "November Rain." and Axl plays the show with a cast on his leg.

This recording comes from the 2nd half of a show that took place at the Deer Creek Music Center, Noblesville, Indiana, on May 29 1991 during the GNR World Tour. All soundboard audio of this show, including this CD set, was ultimately taken from a 135 minute PRO-SHOT video that was stolen from GNR's video crew in the early 1990's.
Points of interest: Axl was 2 hours late for the gig, so they showed Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the big screens after Skid Row finished their opening set. Missing from the ending the show is Axl saying "Goodnight, and thank you, Homeland."

(From Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 1991)

Exercising his right to freedom of speech has cost band leader Axl Rose and his group, Guns'N'Roses, $5,000. Hamilton County, Ind., authorities charged Rose and his group with two counts of curfew violation for playing past the county's limit for outdoor concerts at Deer Creek Music Center twice last week. The rock band played 55 minutes past the 11 p.m. curfew for weeknight concerts on Tuesday and 25 minutes past the next night. "That in and of itself wasn't so significant," Hamilton County Prosecutor Steve Nation said Saturday in announcing the charges. "What makes this different is that Axl Rose said on stage Tuesday that he knew about the curfew and thought it was stupid.

And he said a few things about our county and about our state." Rose, who grew up in Indiana, delivered a profane five-minute tirade on stage Tuesday when he discussed the curfew. Nation said other bands have played past the curfew at Deer Creek since it opened in 1989 but that this is the first time he has filed charges. The prosecutor said attorneys for the band have said they will not fight the charge or the fine. Rose said the same thing in announcing he would play past the curfew. [Thanks to Appetite For Discussion for this article]

(by Dave Bangert - Reporter for the Journal And Courier)

Start saving your lawn mowing money.

Guns n’ Roses is back with a vengeance. Rested, tested and tough to be bested — at least this summer tour season. If Wednesday night’s show at the Deer Creek Music Center was any indication, the Gunners’ next double-length album, Use Your Illusion, will be more than deserving of the big sales it’s guaranteed.

Now, I’m not much for big-time concerts. Watching a bunch of burly wanna-bees pump their fists in the air while they botch the lyrics isn’t my idea of a great show.

But seeing the two-hour-plus Guns n’ Roses show Wednesday was like seeing the Rolling Stones in their prime — a time before everyone in the audience knew the words to all the songs.
GN’R is the real article for the ’90s.

Instead of taking the easy out of a short set of high ticket, crapped-out hit singles, the band ran through the tight set and three encores like the rest of the rock ’n’ roll world was standing still. This had to be one of the best shows I’ve seen on the big stage in a long time.
Beg, borrow or steal a way to see this show when it hits other venues within a four-hour drive.

Maybe it was the freshness factor. Deer Creek was the second stop on the Guns n’ Roses massive two-year tour. Time will tell if lead singer Axl Rose still will be running the full-length of the stage with a flexible cast on his left leg — the Lafayette native recently tore some ligaments in his ankle — and hitting every pile-driving vocal cue. Will lead guitarist Slash’s cuts — ranging from a take on Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” to ‘‘Theme from The Godfather” — still be as fresh 42 shows in?

They were Wednesday, and that’s what counts for the homecoming show for Rose and another Lafayette native, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin.
GN’R gave the crowd a pile of songs scheduled for the double CD Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, due out in mid-to late-July. The CDs will be released separately, so you don’t have to fork over the full price right away.
Judging from the material Guns n’ Roses played Wednesday, both versions will be albums to be reckoned with in 1991.

Backed by the solid rhythm section of Duff McKagan on bass and new drummer Matt Sorum (formerly of The Cult), GN’R ripped out soon-to-be rock anthems “Double Talkin’ Jive,” “Dust and Bones,” “Civil War” and a cranked version of Wings’ “Live and Let Die.”
The highlight was “Bad Obsession,” a Stonesy feeling honky-tonk rocker made full bodied by the keyboard work of Dizzy Reed, the newest member of the band.

Look for their CD in stores soon. In the meantime, you’ll probably see me out there mowing lawns to save for this one.

[Thanks to Appetite For Discussion for this article]

Of course, not all concerts are a 'Bed of Roses' and it would seem that this was the case for this particular GNR show, as reported in a local Indiana newspaper article above.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Banana 'Unauthorised' CD Bootleg and includes the usual limited artwork.  Quality of the recording is definitely of Soundboard status and the track listing is a highlight. This bootleg has been released under other names -  'Dramas & Traumas', "Dreams & Illusions' and 'For MotherF*ckers Only' (see below) to name a few.

Track Listing
01 - Double Talkin' Jive   6:07
02 - November Rain 9:05
03 - Only Women Bleed (Intro)  1:31
04 - Knockin' On Heaven's Door 7:27
05 - Perfect Crime 2:25
06 - Estranged 10:46
07 - Bad Time (Intro) / Sweet Child O' Mine 6:39
08 - Welcome To The Jungle 4:46
09 - Paradise City  6:09

GNR were:
Axl Rose: Lead vocals, piano
Slash: Lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Duff McKagan: Bass, backing vocals, lead vocals
Izzy Stradlin: Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Matt Sorum: Drums, backing vocals
Dizzy Reed: Keyboards, backing vocals

Friday, June 7, 2024

Rainbow - On Stage (1977) + Bonus Track

(U.S / U.K 1975-1984, 1993-1977, 2015-Present)

The story of Rainbow's 'On Stage' actually begins with recordings of the band's third studio album "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll".

The recording of this album was accompanied by many difficulties. It was recorded at a castle in the Paris area, and the band members did not have finished materials to work with.  The writing process for most of the album's songs was performed at the castle itself, however the recordings did not progress satisfactorily, mainly due to the band members not concentrating on writing and enjoying the beautiful place and weather. In addition, the recordings were surrounded by strange faults in the recording equipment and unexplained phenomena until the band members and the recording team decided to perform a séance to find out the reason for it. And if that's not enough, because of Ritchie Blackmore's caprices, the band members were replaced several times during the recordings.

All of the above problems and significant delays in the recordings caused the record company to put pressure on the band to release something and that brought this great gift called "On Stage".

Rainbow 'On-Stage'
This live album has a lot in common with the mother band ("Deep Purple") "Made In Japan" album. This is also a double album that was not recorded on one complete show, but rather songs recorded over several performances. In addition, here too, most of the songs were recorded in Japan and like its older brother here too the show includes a lot of improvisations. And if you still do not understand how much the similarities between the two albums exist, then also in this album songs with "thin" versions in the studio albums have won bombastic versions that are substantially different from the original.

However, 'On-Stage' does not really reflect what happened in the band's performances. It included massive editing and studio intervention that undermined the authenticity of the live performances. What's more, the songs were shortened, solo pieces were compressed and improvisations were cut, all to allow for the release of this album as a double vinyl. But this is not enough, masterpiece songs that were part of the setlist on those shows, were not included in the album at all and the order of the songs was changed to adapt the album to the logistical and technical requirements. For example, works such as "Do You Close Your Eyes" and "Stargazer", which were played in performances at the time, did not find their way to the final edit.

Dio, Powell and Blackmore
Luckily, years later several performances from the same time were released, both on video and audio, so this magic can be recreated in a way closer to the original. An excellent example is the performance "Live In Koln 1976" in which you can also find the songs that were cut as part of the final editing of this album.

The choice of songs for the album was also strange. Four of the six songs on the show are from the band's first album, with the excellent album "Rising", being represented by only one song, "Starstruck", also not one of the greats of that album, which is part of a medley along with the blues section and the song "Man on the Silver Mountain". Among the six songs is also the song "Mistreated" from the MKIII of "Deep Purple", and another new song that will only be included on the band's next album, so what we have left to do is just wonder what went through Blackmore's mind when compiling the song list for this album.

Rainbow L-R: Carey, Dio, Blackmore, Powell & Bain
Despite all that said and perhaps against all odds, this is still an excellent album by a band that is at its peak with its classic lineup that includes Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Tony Carey, and Jimmy Bain.

The album opens with the famous segment from the film "The Wizard of Oz", which has also become the regular opening intro of the band's performances, for generations. Dorothy talks to her dog, Toto, and says:

"Toto, I'm a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore, We Must Be Over the RAINBOW…"

"We Must be Over The Rainbow":
And then ... the legendary Cozy Powell lands a powerful blow on the snare drum, and we all embark on an adventure that not even the writer L. Frank Baum dreamed of when he first wrote his book on the controversial magician. "Kill The King" which is to be included on the band's next album is coming in full force, and we are getting a bombastic opening for this live album. Although the version of the show sounds a little less tight than the studio version, it is still a strong opening that requires a lot of courage of opening a live album with a new and unfamiliar song.

From there we move on to the string of the "Man On The Silver Mountain" which includes a bluesy improvisation with a keyboard guitar duet in the best tradition of "Deep Purple", as well as "Starstruck" from the album "Rising" which is shortened here.

The other side of the first album includes the song "Catch the Rainbow" which received an upgrade here and became an epic work. This is without a doubt the album's powerful performance, which although stretched over more than 15 minutes is not boring even for a moment. The improvisations of the band members are reinforced with vocal improvisations from Ronnie James Dio mostly in the last part of the piece that becomes a fifth instrument of the band.

The second album features the song "Mistreated" by "Deep Purple" which is spread out on the entire first side of the album. Dio manages to take a song that is so identified with David Coverdale's voice and perform it amazingly. Here, too, the improvisations stretch over a large part of the song (mostly by Blackmore) only this time it's a little less flowing than the previous song.

The fourth and final side of this double album concludes with two songs: "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" featuring a long improvised overture, and the cover version "Still I'm Sad" which became a song with the original lyrics from "the Yardbirds" as appose to the instrumental album version.

In conclusion, despite the rather puzzling selection of songs, despite the over-intervention during the mixes and production, this is still an excellent album that perpetuates the band's highlights in the classic lineup. The long improvisations and "facelift" of the songs do not detract in any way from the pleasure of listening to the album. On the contrary, all we have left is to miss those days, when bands were improvising, jamming, and giving the songs a different interpretation as part of their performances. There are no artists today who appear like this anymore, no one is as spontaneous, innovative, and brave as they were in those days, and all that is left is to just cut and save this wonder so that future generations will understand how they used to make music, with a big heart and soul. [Thanks to FaceOff Rockshow for this album account]

Album Review

Forty years ago, the classic hard rock powerhouse that is Rainbow released the spectacular "On Stage" live album, which included various cuts from their 1976 European and Japanese tours. With the inhumanly talented and much-missed Ronnie James Dio at the vocal helm and a supremely talented line-up consisting of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, legendary drummer Cozy Powell, ex-DIO-bassist Jimmy Bain, and keyboardist Tony Carey, "On Stage" benefits from not only brilliant live renditions of classic tracks, but also superb musicianship. It feels somewhat pointless to point out just how stellar the musicianship is. I mean, have a look at that line-up. It speaks for itself

I mentioned that the songs were culled from the band’s European and Japanese tours, but instead of European, I probably should have said German as they are pulled from different recordings of shows in Munich, Cologne, and Nuremberg that took place in September of 1976. As to Japan, certain cuts from the shows in Osaka and Tokyo in December that same year were used for the "On Stage" opus. The Tokyo gig marked the end of the "Rainbow Rising" tour. In his autobiography entitled "A Hart Life", former Rainbow tour manager Colin Hart seems to indicate that the taping of the Japanese shows were recorded as an insurance of sorts, but to me that sounds slightly cryptic; were they recorded in case the Rainbow line-up suddenly imploded or in case the recordings of the European shows were not up to par? Here is how he puts it:

The Japanese dates went off flawlessly with dear old Martin Birch yet again recording the live show for posterity at Bruce’s (Ed. Note: Bruce Payne, the Rainbow manager) behest, more I think as insurance in case it all went tits up for some reason. Bruce is nothing if not cautious, but maybe he knew something I didn’t? The ‘Rainbow Rising’ tour came to a final halt at the renowned Budokan in Tokyo on December 16th after an arduous six months non-stop touring. We all went our separate ways.

Is that Martin Birch's Tape Desk sitting behind Blackmore?
Boasting a crisp and powerful sound, the band plows through such monumental songs as "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves", "Still I’m Sad", and the bluesy "Mistreated" that was originally composed and recorded by Deep Purple whilst Blackmore was still a member of that outfit. It is a shame that the epic "Stargazer" does not appear on the disc, as that is undoubtedly one of the greatest hard rock tunes of all time, way up there with the very best of them. Still, it is impossible not to be swept away by the mournful and haunting "Catch the Rainbow" or the power and majesty of "Kill the King".

Given the era in which these live renditions were taped, it should come as no surprise that each song is extended and expanded upon. "Catch the Rainbow" and "Mistreated" clock in at an amazing 15 and 13 minutes respectively. Back then that was perfectly natural, but it also serves a very important purpose; it made the shows dangerous, unpredictable, and edgy. The spontaneous and intuitive feel of "On Stage" is a blessing and you can never tell what is waiting right around the corner. Blackmore’s playing covers just about every conceivable mood in that it ranges from the bombastic and wild to the mellow, gentle, and even subtle.

Interestingly, the vicious "Kill the King" that opens the album following the customary "Wizard of Oz" introduction did not appear on a studio album until 1978’s "Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll", thus "On Stage" was the first time ever that this particular track was captured on tape, at least officially. The only single that was released to promote the album, namely the "Live" single that was released in September 1977, contained "Kill the King" on the A-side along with "Man on the Silver Mountain". The B-side consisted of "Mistreated".
In an interview with Jeff Cramer, keyboardist David Stone (who replaced Tony Carey in Rainbow) once claimed that he also figured on the "On Stage" album:

[…] The album before that, Rainbow on Stage, was a live album by Rainbow. What they had done, I don’t know if I got credit for it or not. I think in some prints, I don’t. That was when Tony Carey had left the band and the album was two-thirds done […] What they had done was take more recordings with me in the band and used those as well […] In Japan, January of 1978, I got a gold album for being on Rainbow on Stage […] I’m there. Tony’s there. That’s a half-and-half album […] I can’t tell you what tracks I am on. I haven’t listened to the album in 25 years.

Whether this is true or not I cannot say. He is not listed anywhere in the album credits and I have never come across any other rumors or sources that indicate that Mr. Stone was involved in the live album offering. However, it would not surprise me if he did appear on the album despite not being credited anywhere. Things like that have happened before, sometimes to retain the illusion of a certain line-up sticking together or to keep things coherent and cohesive on the surface of things. Who knows what the truth of the matter is?

It is amazing to think that forty years after "On Stage" was recorded, Blackmore decided to resurrect Rainbow and once again wield his magic on stage together with a handful of highly talented musicians for three European dates, more specifically two in Germany (check out the "Memories in Rock – Live in Germany" album) and one in Birmingham (check out the "Live in Birmingham 2016" album). What is even more cool is that yesterday, June 17th, Rainbow played a brilliant show in front of an ecstatic crowd at the O2 Arena in London as part of the Stone Free Festival. After all these years, the legendary guitarist still has it and remains one of the most enigmatic and intriguing characters in rock ‘n’ roll.

What these 2016 and 2017 gigs also prove is that those forty-something year old songs still mean an awful lot to fans of classic rock and that they have lost none of their potency and meaning. Whether you put the "On Stage" album on and immerse yourself in that with your eyes closed or opt for the relatively recent "Memories in Rock – Live in Germany" record from last year, the indefinable spark, energy, and otherworldly magic of a Rainbow live performance cannot be denied. Having said that, I think it is fair to say that to many of us, nothing will ever top the classic Bain/Blackmore/Carey/Dio/Powell line-up and the monumental "Rising" album and tours of 1976.  [Review by By J. Nepper at]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Oyster vinyl which I have proudly owned since 1977 and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD media.  I remember being disappointed when I discovered that the live track listing didn't contain their epic power anthem "Stargazer" and instead contained yet another recording of Deep Purple's "Mistreated".  To remedy this, I have decided to include a live recording of "Stargazer" here, taken from another live release entitled "Rainbow Live In Germany, 1976", and also provide alternative artwork for CD.

So, as promised, I have now provided all three of Rainbow's earliest (and best) releases but if sufficient interest is shown via the Comments, I might be enticed to post their "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" studio album in the near future.

Track Listing
01 Intro / Kill The King   (5:31)
1.1 Over The Rainbow (Introducing)
1.2 Kill The King
02 Medley (11:15)
2.1 Man On The Silver Mountain
2.2 Blues
2.3 Starstruck
03 Catch The Rainbow  (15:36)
04 Mistreated   (13:07)
05 Sixteenth Century Greensleeves  (7:37)
06 Still I'm Sad  (10:23)
07 Stargazer [Bonus Track - Germany, 1976] (16:51)

Rainbow were:
Vocals – Ronnie James Dio
Guitar – Ritchie Blackmore
Bass – Jimmy Bain
Drums – Cozy Powell
Keyboards – Tony Carey

Producer – Martin Birch

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Bigstorm - Living In Exile (1989)

(Australian 1988-1989)

Bigstorm were an Australian band from Sydney, and comprised of Bjarne Ohlin (Guitar, Vocals), Don Miller-Robinson (Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Huey Benjamin (Drums, Vocals), and Stewart D’Arrietta (Lead Vocals, Keyboards). They released on album, Living in Exile, on WEA in 1989.

The members of Bigstorm came from varied backgrounds. Ohlin had appeared as an actor in episodes of Bluey and Case for the Defence in 1976 and ’78 and played guitar with Divinyls from 1980-1986. Miller-Robinson had also acted, appearing in the 1982 film, Monkey Grip, and releasing one single as a solo performer, “There Was A Girl,” b/w “Ghosts Of Love” the same year. Benjamin had moved from Canberra to Sydney to play drums with G Force and later the Tasmanian band, The Innocents. D’Arrietta had released a solo album, Side Effects, in 1985 and had also been a member of The New Republic.

In 1988, Bigstorm released the singles “Rubber Love” b/w “Not Guilty.” In January, 1989 they released “Happy New Year” b/w “Not Guilty (Live) followed by “Not Guilty” b/w “Rubber Love (Live) in February.”

The full-length Living in Exile followed and was recorded at The Rockfort in Sydney (with additional recording at Rhinoceros Studios). It was produced by Miller-Robinson.The music is melodic, arena-ready vein of The Alarm, The Call, Hothouse Flowers, Noiseworks, Silent Running, Simple Minds, and U2. D’Arrietta’s vocals aren’t for everyone, though; he’s a belter with a distinctly gravelly shout that probably wouldn’t displease a fan of Bob Seger or Joe Cocker.

One more single followed, “Once In Bed” b/w “Not Waiting After that” and, like those which preceded, failed to sell significant numbers. 

Soon after Bigstorm dissipated and the members went their separate ways. Miller-Robinson went on to score several films, including 2005’s Tennis, Anyone…? in which he also appeared as an actor. Benjamin continued to perform as a session musician, including on Grant McLennan’s solo debut and with later Ian Moss of Cold Chisel and Yothu Yindi. He also went on to score films and ballets. D’Arrietta has worked as a musical director in theatrical productions and has scored television series including Ocean Star, The Cut, and Trapped. [Thanks to Eric Brightwell for this bio]

Below is extremely rare footage of Bigstorm singing their single "Rubber Love", taken from an old video recorded from the television broadcast of an MTV charity telethon. The Audio has been restored but the picture is rough. This video was made by Sydney production company Meaningful Eye Contact and directed by Keir McFarlane.

This post consists of FLACS ripped from my recently acquired vinyl (while visiting Auckland, N.Z). Full album artwork for both vinyl and CD formats are included along with label scans.  

Although Bigstorm was not on my radar back in the late 80's, I'm glad I eventually came across them some years ago (via a music forum) and have been hunting for their album ever since.  I particularly like the vocals of Stewart D'Arrietta which are very similar to Joe Cocker while their style of music has been described as Goth Rock by Chris Spencer (in his Who's Who's of Australian Rock Discography).  
If you haven't heard this album, then I suggest you do - 'Living In Exile' is a solid and enjoyable album, and it is a pity that Bigstorm never recorded a follow up album before they disbanded.  

Track Listing:
01 Don't Look Down 3:21
02 Rubber Love 3:54
03 Monster Of A Love 4:27
04 Once In Bed 4:23
05 Not Guilty 4:03
06 Happy New Year 3:55
07 Take It Back 3:46
08 Difficult Times For The Princess 4:04
09 Beware Of The Cure 3:55
10 Love On The Telephone 3:33
11 Flying 5:45

Band Members:
Drums, Vocals – Huey Benjamin
Guitar, Vocals – Bjarne Ohlin
Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Producer – Don Miller-Robinson
Lead Vocals, Keyboards – Stewart D'Arrietta

Thursday, May 30, 2024

REPOST: W.O.C.K On Vinyl - 21 Years of Rock N Roll: A Tribute to 'Rock Around The Clock' (1977)

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.
"Rock Around the Clock" is a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers (the latter under the pseudonym "Jimmy De Knight") in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954. It was a number one single on both the US and UK charts and also re-entered the UK Singles Chart in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with "Crazy Man, Crazy" in 1953, and in 1954, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart). Haley's recording nevertheless became an anthem for rebellious Fifties youth and is widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. The song is ranked No. 158 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [extract from wikipedia]
21 years of Rock and Roll, "Rock around the Clock" was released in 1977 to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the release of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock," 2SM and its sister radio stations, 3XY in Melbourne and 4IP in Brisbane, put out a re-make of the song with a host of stars doing the vocals including: Glenn Shorrock, Shirley Strachan, John Paul Young, Daryl Braithwaite, Renee Geyer and Frankie J Holden.
The rear sleeve states:
'The record that launched the Rock 'n' Roll era became a hit in Australia in July, 1956. It proved to be one of the most fantastic hits of all time with collective sales estimated at over 22 million. 'Rock around the Clock' has been waxed in thirty-five different languages with over 140 versions globally'.

2SM/3XY/4IP with the ANZ Bank commissioned the cream of Australian rock talent to record this limited edition tribute to 21 years of Rock 'n' Roll. Hope you enjoy it."
The artists appear by courtesy of:
Glenn Shorrock - E.M.I. Records
Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan & Frankie J. Holden - Mushroom Records
John Paul Young - Albert Productions
Daryl Braithwaite - Razzle Records
Renee Geyer - R.C.A. Records
This is a rather Obscure 7" Single as it was only released in Australia, in relatively small numbers and therefore it earns a place in this month's WOCK On Vinyl. Perhaps it should be renamed to:
"WOCK around the Clock" ! Ripped from vinyl in FLAC format and includes full artwork.
New Improved Rip

Track Listing
01 - Rock Around The Clock (Tribute)
02 - Spoken Word: History Of The Song Rock Around The Clock
Rock Around The Clock Link (33Mb)

Friday, May 24, 2024

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Rainbow Rising (1976)

(U.S / U.K 1975-1984, 1993-1977, 2015-Present)

The LP 'Rainbow Rising' was hailed as an instant classic upon its release in 1976. Ritchie Blackmore and his band reflect on that album and their rise and fall in the following article from Classic Rock Issue #158...

Munich, Germany, February 1976

Three months after Jimmy Bain joined Rainbow, the band flew to Munich’s Musicland studios to begin work on their 2nd LP, that would become "Rainbow Rising". The new line-up had already been broken-in with US dates the previous November, on which they unveiled three new songs: 'Do You Close Your Eyes', 'Stargazer' and 'A Light In The Black'.

“We had written 'Stargazer' at rehearsals, and 'Tarot Woman', I believe,” Blackmore recalls today. “The other songs we made up in the studio, as far as I remember. We chose the studios because I worked there before. I like to be in Germany when I’m recording.”

Rainbow 1976 (L-R): Carey, Powell, Bain, Blackmore & Dio
Founded by disco producer Giorgio Moroder, Musicland had already hosted Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, as well as Deep Purple and a Blackmore solo session. Technically and aesthetically, though, it left a lot to be desired. “We couldn’t get the drums to sound live enough, because it was an archetypal 70's studio with rugs on the wall”, Carey remembers. “So we got a wrecking crew together, hacked up the stairwell and turned it into a concrete tomb. That’s how Cozy got his sound.”

Overseeing the sessions was Deep Purple producer Martin Birch. Having worked with Blackmore’s former band during their most turbulent periods, the Zen-like Birch was a calming influence. He was also a black belt in karate, which gave him an assurance that came in useful when dealing with strong personalities.

Ronnie James, Martin Birch with Ritchie Blackmore (Getty Images)
Also on hand was Musicland’s resident engineer, Reinhold Mack. Apparently the German-born Mack would alleviate tensions by arriving in the studio dressed in a storm trooper’s uniform and barking out orders to the band. “I did this only once,” says Mack. “Ritchie always asked me about WWII stuff – as if I would know. So me and my assistant rented the gear and stormed into the control room cussing and shouting, almost scaring Ritchie to death. Fairly good acting on my part.”

Despite the underlying tensions, Rising is the sound of a band on fire. Recorded in the days before digital edits, the album has the intensity of a band getting it right in just a couple of takes, driven by Blackmore’s intense desire to prove a point to his former Purple bandmates. And then there’s the voice. “Ronnie was not only a talented singer, he was an amazing songwriter,” says Carey. “Even on the throwaway songs, which would be 'Run With The Wolf' and 'Do You Close Your Eyes', he was ferocious. All five-foot-two of him.”

The album kicks off with the keyboard crescendo of 'Tarot Woman'. “I especially like the Minimoog solo Tony does on Tarot Woman,” says Blackmore. “It was the first solo he did for the song. He said he could do much better, and went back and played for about an hour, but it never compared to the first solo.”

The album’s centerpiece is 'Stargazer', a nine- minute epic that combines Blackmore’s love of classical music with Dio’s vivid, fantastical lyrics. The track is built around a cello-inspired main riff, but the highlight is Blackmore’s uninhibited lead playing and searing slide work (a recent addition to his repertoire). The sweeping, Eastern scales add to the grandiosity.

“It’s amazing how many guitarists use the same old lines,” says Blackmore. “They never dare touch Arabic or Turkish scales.” For added grandeur, Blackmore brought in the Munich Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Rainer Pietsch. But not everything went to plan.

Blackmore Left - Powell Top - Carey Bottom- Dio Right
“The orchestra was too flowery, and there was too much detracting from the simple melody,” Blackmore says in retrospect. ”We kept taking out parts, and I felt sorry for Rainer because he was so proud of this grandiose piece he had written. We got down to the bare bones, and mixed in some Mellotron to even out the orchestra not sounding cohesive or in tune.”

Rising was released on May 17, 1976. Although it has a running time of just 33 minutes and 28 seconds, Blackmore obviously felt it was complete, as he held back songs, notably 'Kill The King' and 'Long Live Rock’N’Roll', for Rainbow’s next album. Looking back at Rising, opinions differ. Bain (see right) remains positive. “You could tell how much fun we were having,” he says. “It’s got that attitude.”

Blackmore, though, is more circumspect: “Although I thought the overall sound of the record was very punchy, it lacked warmth and bass. It was very ‘toppy’.”

Europe, Australia and Japan, June-December 1976

That summer, Rainbow embarked on a world tour that took them to four continents in six months. Surprisingly, their set didn’t include "Tarot Woman" and 'A Light In The Black', while 'Stargazer' was rarely included. “For some reason the tempo for 'Tarot Woman' didn’t translate for the stage,” Blackmore explains. “Same with Stargazer. Which was a pity.”

The tour was far from perfect. On the technical side, the vast, 40-foot wide Rainbow backdrop, powered by 3,000 light-bulbs, played havoc with the guitars and amplification. It was eventually chucked into the Atlantic at the end of the tour, to the delight of the beleaguered lighting crew.

Rainbow's Infamous Stage Prop
These technical problems with their stage setup was further noted in Jeff Apter's biography on The Life of AC/DC's Angus Young, when writing about their 1976 European Tour:

AC/DC's 'gang' mentality was at work when they toured Europe with Ritchie Blackmore's new band, Rainbow, and the man's onstage rainbow proved about as reliable as Spinal Tap's Stonehenge prop. Night after night it repeatedly failed to do its many-coloured thing. Angus, Malcolm and the others would stand side-stage, waiting for the latest equipment malfunction. When it inevitably happened, they'd burst into laughter...... [High Voltage: The Life Of Angus Young - AC/DC's Last Man Standing, by Jeff Apter, 2017. p99]

Is that Angus, Malcolm & Co watching from side-stage?
By the time I joined the band to cover them for Sounds magazine, cracks were beginning to show. On the flight from Australia to Japan, Blackmore’s personal assistant, Ian Broad, got into a fight with Cozy Powell’s wife; Bain was ‘refreshed’ thanks to a prescription of Mandrax; Blackmore threw buns at disgruntled First Class passengers’ heads, and convinced confused staff that he was oblivious to events, while furtively fingering an innocent member of the group.

Rainbow's Australian Tour Advert
Bad news greeted the band when they landed: Tommy Bolin had died. Despite the fact that he had replaced Blackmore in Deep Purple, Blackmore was a fan of Bolin; Bain was a personal friend.

Against this chaotic backdrop, Rainbow had split into separate camps. Bain and Carey’s up-all- night lifestyle earned them the nickname the Glimmer Twins. Blackmore kept himself sane by indulging in his usual pranks, and swigs of his beloved Johnny Walker Black Label whisky prior to shows. The more sedate Dio, meanwhile, spent a lot of time in his room. Powell kept his head down and socialised with everyone. Despite the growing divisions, the band played some of their best shows of the tour, as captured on their 1977 live album 'On Stage'.

March 2011

Asked when he last listened to Rising, Ritchie Blackmore replies: “I haven’t heard it in 25 years.” He continued to fly the Rainbow flag until 1984, albeit in increasingly radio-friendly forms.

“He was perturbed that he wasn’t being played on the radio,” reckons Bain, “and he decided to go a different route. He didn’t think we were going to get successful, because Rising was too heavy.”

After Deep Purple’s reunion in the 80s and a brief resurrection of the Rainbow name in the mid-90s, Blackmore has largely turned his back on rock in favour of his Renaissance-era project Blackmore’s Night with his wife, vocalist Candice Night. They have released 14 albums in as many years.

RIP Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio left Rainbow after their 1978 LP "Long Live Rock’N’Roll", while Cozy Powell stayed until 1980. Sadly, neither are around to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Rising in May: Powell died in a car crash on April 5, 1998; Dio succumbed to stomach cancer on May 16, 2010.

“Rainbow was such a great influence on younger musicians,” Dio said. “I’d see these bands who would say, ‘Rainbow were the reason I started to play.’ It was a ground-breaking time.”

Tony Carey (see left) has had a successful career as a performer, arranger and producer since leaving Rainbow. Two years ago he teamed up with Blackmore’s son, Jurgen, to form Over The Rainbow, performing classic Rainbow covers. Soon after, he was diagnosed with cancer and given only a 10 per cent of survival. Remarkably, he beat the disease and is now fit and about to take Over The Rainbow out on the road again. “I’ve lost many of my organs but managed to save my Hammond,” he jokes.

After Rainbow, Jimmy Bain joined Dio in the singer’s solo band. Today he’s threatening to release a solo album, and has started writing an autobiography, called "I Fell Into Metal". Despite past tensions he has kept in touch with Blackmore, and says he has no bad feelings towards his former boss: “I was kind of pissed off that I didn’t get to stay longer, but I can never say anything bad about Rainbow. I was only in it for two years, but it’s done me a lot of favours.”

Rising has been widely praised as one of the defining albums of the 1970s and the group who recorded it have been hailed as one of the most under-appreciated rock bands ever. Even as far back as 1976, Ritchie Blackmore certainly agreed: “Everybody who’s heard it thinks it’s my best playing in a long time, which I suppose is a compliment,” he said. “Then again, what do they know?”    [By Peter Makowski (Classic Rock #158) published 14 April 2014]

LP Gatefold
As promised, here is Rainbow's 2nd LP (and their best) in glorious FLAC format, along with full artwork for CD and vinyl media.  All posted photos and label scans are also included.  "Stargazer" and "Tarot Woman" blew my mind when I first heard them back in '76 and would have loved to have seen them when they toured Australia, but alas I was doing my Year 12 at school and there was no way my parents would let me go at that crucial time in my life. Bugger !

Track Listing:
01 Tarot Woman  5:57
02 Run With The Wolf   3:39
03 (Lady) Starstruck   4:04
04 Do You Close Your Eyes   2:57
05 Stargazer   8:25
06 A Light In The Black   8:12

Rainbow were:
Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Ritchie Blackmoore - Guitar
Jimmy Bain - Bass
Tony Carey - Keyboards

Cozy Powell - Drums