Sunday, July 31, 2011

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Meaningless Song (Hee Bee Gee Bees - 1980)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

In the words of the late Jimi Hendrix "Have you ever experienced The Hee Bee Gee Bees"?
That is, of course, "Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices," one of the most dead-on and deadly pop parodie
s ever recorded. Inspirational verse: "The world is very, very large...and butter is better than marge." 
The Hee Bee Gee Bees were a pop group formed initially to parody the Bee Gees towards the close of their sequence of high-pitched, disco-style hits. The 'band' consisted of three brothers; Dobbin, Garry and Norris Cribb performed by Angus Deayton (Garry), Michael Fenton Stevens (Norris), and Philip Pope (Dobbin).
Their song "Meaningless Songs (in Very High Voices)" was released by Original Records in 1980 and reached number two in the Australian singles chart.
They subsequently released two albums, which
include parodies of Supertramp ("Scatological Song" as Supertrash), Michael Jackson ("Up the Wall" as Jack Michaelson), Status Quo ("Boring Song" as Status Quid), The Police ("Too Depressed to Commit Suicide" as The PeeCees), David Bowie ("Quite Ahead of My Time" as David Bowwow), Gary Numan ("Are Trains Electric?" as Gary Inhuman) and others. The albums were recorded in the Strawberry Studios in Stockport, and featured 10cc and Sad Café studio musicians as their band, although neither appear on this single.
The Hee Bee Gee Bees also made guest appearances on the radio show 'Radio Active', where all three of the comedians were cast members. Fenton-Stevens was also a cast member on Spitting Image and later sang lead on their UK number one hit, "The Chicken Song" [extract from wikipedia]
The single has been ripped at 320kps and includes both sides - including scans of the the picture cover and the record labels. 
Incidentally, the LP this single is taken from '439 Golden Greats' is now available through Possum Records. The B-Side track however, is still unavailable. 
Track Listing
01 - Meaningless Song (Side A)
02 - Posing In The Moonlight (Side B)

The Hee Bee Gee Bees Link (16Mb)
New Link 11/04/2020


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eloy - Metromania (1984)

(German 1969 - 1984, 1988-1998, 2009-Current)
Eloy is my favourite German progressive rock band whose musical style includes symphonic and space rock, the latter theme being more prevalent on earlier albums. Despite their nationality and time period, the band is not generally considered Krautrock because of their sound, which has much more in common with English progressive rock groups such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes.
"One of the most popular German bands of the '70s, Eloy went through several stages in their long career, with the only constant member being guitarist/vocalist Frank Bornemann. Transforming from a political-themed hard rock band to a spacey progressive rock band who sounded something like a mix of Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, the group in later formations would move toward a more accessible hard rock sound with strong progressive elements.
Eloy (see right) was formed in 1969 by Frank Bornemann (guitar, harmonica, percussion), Erich Schriever (lead vocals, keyboards), Manfred Wieczorke (guitar, bass, vocals), Helmuth Draht (drums), and Wolfgang Stöcker (bass). Taking their name from that of a human race in the book Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the band released their first single, "Daybreak," in 1970 and put out their eponymous debut album the following year. Filled with conventional hard rock and political statements, the album is an anomaly in the band's catalogue. Schriever, who was responsible for the band's political lyrics, left the group after Eloy's debut, as did Draht, who was replaced by Fritz Randow.
'Inside', released in 1973, consolidated the group as a full-on progressive rock-styled outfit. After the album, which fared decently, Stöcker left the band, to be replaced by Luitjen Janssen. 'Floating' (1974) and 'Power and the Passion' increased Eloy's reputation and success, and the latter record was recorded with second guitarist Detley Schwaar. It was also the group's first concept album. The band then broke up in 1975, with some members of the group wanting to continue to write spacey progressive rock concept albums, while others wanted a more restrained approach.
Eloy resurfaced in 1976 with Bornemann as the producer and mastermind behind the band, who featured new members Klaus-Peter Matziol (bass, vocals), Detlev Schmidtchhen (keyboards, vocals), and Jürgen Rosenthal (drums, vocals). With this lineup, Eloy became the best-selling German act of their time, with increasingly ornate concept albums such as 'Dawn' (1976) and the spacey 'Ocean'. 1978 saw the release of Eloy 'Live' and 1979's 'Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes' was the band's highest-selling record.
Schmidtchhen and Rosenthal then left the group to go solo and were replaced by Hannes Folberth and Jim McGillveray, respectively. Eloy also added guitarist Hannes Arkona. The new lineup released 'Colours' in 1980, which saw the band start to abandon their spacey elements and return back to a more hard rock sound. 1981's 'Planets' and 1982's 'Time to Turn' were two parts of a science-fiction concept album that found the group's sound increasingly dominated by keyboards.
In 1984, the band rethought old virtues, and returned to atmospheric sounds, coupled with pulsating rhythms, heavy riffing and gripping compositions. Their new album was called 'Metromania'. Yet this new common ground was not enough and the tensions within the band did not die down. While Frank Bornemann exhausted himself putting the finishing touches to the production of the album, the other musicians turned to the film project 'Codename: Wildgeese'. 'Metromania' was well received by the fans and earned the band an invitation to England from the BBC. Two concerts at the legendary Marquee Club in London were sold out and recorded by the BBC. They found an excellent response with both the media and the public and this opened up an opportunity to continue establishing Eloy in England.
Eloy had a chance to make it in England, but instead of gaining strength and motivation from their successful performances, they broke up. Exhausted and burdened with the constant debate surrounding artistic positions, they failed to find common ground. Everything that had once characterised Eloy - the spirit, the magic, the charisma and enthusiasm - had disappeared. So they agreed to separate.
Eloy returned in 1988, this time as a duo featuring Bornemann and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gerlach. The first Eloy record with this lineup was 'Ra', which saw a return to the sound of 'Colours'. It was followed by 'Destination' (1992). Both records did quite well on the German charts. Several members of Eloy re-formed in 1993 to re-record older tracks for 'Chronicles I', followed closely by 'Chronicles II' in the next year. In 1994, the band recorded 'The Tides Return Forever', which featured the return of Klaus-Peter Matziol. 1998 saw the trio release 'Ocean 2: The Answer' with new drummer Bodo Schopf, just before they broke up for a second time.
In August 2009, it was announced that Eloy would be reforming for a new album. "The strong feedback from all parts of the world, which has been around for many years, eventually reached the musicians themselves. And so Frank Bornemann, lead singer, guitarist and producer of Eloy, has brought the band together again for a 40th anniversary reunion. After a break of eleven years, they launched a new album with the title 'Visionary' aiming to recapture the spirit of the early years.
The 'Legacy Box' double DVD was released in December 2010 and contains numerous videos and TV recordings from all the band's periods, as well as a comprehensive documentary of the band's history with interviews, a photo gallery and many other features. "
The band will play at festivals in Germany and Switzerland in July 2011 with the personnel largely the same as on the 1994-1995 tour
Frank Bornemann
Frank was born in Hanover in April 1945. He began playing music in the early 60s and in the mid-60s founded his first band, which covered famous songs. In 1969 he founded Eloy, named after the Eloi people from H.G. Wells' novel 'The Time Machine'. For the first, eponymous album, Eloy Frank still limited himself to composing and playing the guitar. After the departure of vocalist Erich Schriever in 1972, Frank took over as lead singer as well and became the front man of the band. Frank Bornemann is the head and producer of ELOY, and the only musician to have been with the band since 1969. Since the 70s, he has also worked as a producer for other bands, such as the Scorpions (Fly To The Rainbow, 1974). Frank Bornemann is still working in the music business today. Horus-Sound-Studio, which he obtained in 1979, is one of the best and most successful recording studios in Germany. It is now under new management. Furthermore, he founded a music publishing group and the label Artist Station. Frank has made it his task in life to actively support young bands and artists. Among others, he has helped the Guano Apes to success. He is currently working on new songs for Eloy's next album.
Review of Metromania
I think I'm one of the few reviewers who actually like 'Metromania'. At the time it was released the band was getting some harsh criticism for their previous 'Performance' album of 1983. 'Metromania' came next and it was hailed by some as a kind of ´redeemer´ work. Well, not so much. Neither 'Performance' was that bad nor 'Metromania' that good. They both are much
similar, as far as I can tell. Ok, the songs on 'Performance' were a little too light and had a couple of more popish tracks on it. 'Metromania' on the other hand conceded to the market bringing in some 'modern' elements that were in fashion (electronic drums and synth timbres) plus a much heavier guitar sounds. But the songwriting and the performances on both records are pretty much the same: brilliant playing and great songs. So why all the fuss??
Well, one has to face the fact that those two records were coming on the heels of some of their best work ever ('Planets' and 'Time To Turn', released on 1981 and 82, respectively).
Compared to those two LP's it's easy to see why so many fans and critics were disappointed.
But I guess it was just asking too much for any artist or group to be forever on the top of their game. And even more so if you remember that the time those albums came out were not a good period for progressive music in general. So I guess the pressures of having to release something
more radio friendly or 'up to date' was immense. After all, they all had to make a living.
Still, they were able to at least release some decent material under those circumstances.
When I hear 'Metromania' nowadays it sounds a little dated because of the syndrums and general synthesizer sounds. But, like its previous effort, this is far from bad or weak. The band was in fine form and deliver a good set of songs plus a stunning interpretation of the material. I've always loved some of the tunes here like the powerful "Follow the Light", "Seeds of Creation", "Scape To The Heights" and the title track.
Like all their releases after 'Inside', there is not one crap song to be found. The production again is very good. It is a pity that this would be the last album with this line up and the the last one under Eloy's banner for a decade or more.

In all I think 'Metromania', is a great album. Not on par with their major works, but good nonetheless. And I'm lucky enough to have them all. Eloy is one of the great progressive bands
of all the time and are one of the best bands to come out of Germany. They produced fine records, even in their lowest moments and I highly recommend this album.
The post consists of a CD rip at 320kps and includes artwork from both my LP and CD, along with select photos of the band (sourced from Eloy's official website)
Track Listing
01.  Escape To The Heights (5:03)

02.  Seeds Of Creation (4:28)

03.  All Life Is One (6:28)

04.  The Stranger (3:59)

05.  Follow The Light (9:37)

06.  Nightriders (9:39)

07.  Metromania (6:10)


Band Members:
Hannes Arkona (guitars, keyboards, syncussion, vocoder)

Frank Bornemann (vocals, guitars)

Hannes Folberth (keyboards)

Klaus-Peter Matziol (bass)

Fritz Radow (drums)

Eloy Link (96Mb) New Link 11/04/2020

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Richard Clapton - Past Hits & Previews (1978)

(Australian 1972 - 2008)
Richard Clapton is an Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist from Sydney, New South Wales. His solo top 20 hits on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart are "Girls on the Avenue" (1975) and "I Am an Island" (1982). His top 20 albums on the related Albums Chart are 'Goodbye Tiger' (1977), 'Hearts on the Nightline' (1979), 'The Great Escape' (1982), and 'The Very Best of Richard Clapton' (1982). As a producer he worked on the second INXS album, Underneath the Colours (1981).
In 1983, he briefly joined The Party Boys for a tour of eastern Australia and their live album 'Greatest Hits (Of Other People 1983)' before resuming his solo career. Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane described Clapton as "one of the most important Australian songwriters of the 1970s" [extract from Wikipedia]
The following is an in depth interview conducted by Ed St.John with Clapton, for the Rolling Stone Magazine in Feb, 1978.
Richard Clapton's Dilemma - Caught between the tiger and the edge
It's always Interesting to see a sensiti
ve artist cope with commercialism Jackson Browne, for instance, is a fully competitive rock performer and still writes good songs. Richard Clapton, on the other hand, finds the necessary compromise a hard one. When I met him one recent Saturday night in Sydney he was in a genial and friendly mood, a perfect example of good public relations, It was only later, fatigued by a strenuous performance and other accumulated pressures, that his touchy alter ego came to the fore.I guess I should have asked you if you liked Spanish food", he laughed as we sat down to a meal of garlic prawns and Mateus Rose in a Spanish restaurant in King's Cross. In fact his tastes are somewhat cosmopolitan when working his constant companion is a bottle of tequilla, and his favourite city is Berlin. As we ate we were Joined by Cleis Pearce and Greg Sheehan, the viola player and drummer on Clapton's latest album 'Goodbye Tiger'. They are no longer in the band, so when they ran into us another bottle of Mateus was called for and a small reunion was held.
About a quarter past nine we realised that the gig at the Stage door Tavern was due to start in three quarters of an hour. We made a hasty departure back to the motel and I returned to my car to find a parking ticket in the wiper. Later on, at the Stage door "Ladies and Gentlemen," yells Clapton
In the darkness, doing a perfect imitation of a roadie Introduction, "would ya please Welcome next years King of Pop - Richard Clapton!" The lights come Up and the band swings into the first number. Clapton moves up to the mine, as if for the first time, and grins I may not look like the King of Pop, but...
In concert Clapton seems to tap an energy reserve which is unused during the rest of the day. He throws himself into the spirit of the song like few songwriters do, and with Diane McLennan pouting beside him on backing vocals they make quite an act. He later explained the reasoning behind this "I owe these people a lot, you know. They've gone and spent seven dollars on the album, and they've just paid four more tonight, so they deserve everything I can give." A pause. "But, ah, they certainty get their money's worth," he adds, quickly. The encore that night proved his point, as he swung from Water pipes in the ceiling and leaped about the stage whilst singing a Chuck Berry song,finally ending up in a tangled heap on the floor with Diane and microphone stand. All part, I suppose, of giving them their money's worth. Offstage Clapton is just about as slow moving as he is energetic on-stage. He is by admission a lazy person, and this combined with his dislike of interviews makes it hard to get him headed towards his motel so that we can get something down on tape. We finally agree to meet there and I am a little consoled to find that I can put my parking ticket back under the wiper and park in the same place.
By the time road manager, Neil McCabe, had gone down to the bar and bought drinks and Clapton had gone into the next room to fetch a tape recorder it was two in the morning, and as a result of the strain and the drink he had fallen into one of his notorious bad moods. I turned on the recorder, but before I had chance to ask a question he had launched into a marathon attack on competition, the record industry, the media, status, the money motive and people who don't think the way he does. In this mood he hates them all. In the course of it I gained the factual skeleton of his career, fleshed out with the outlook and prejudices of someone who was proving to be a fascinating, yet aggressively private, person.
Born in Sydney, Clapton was part of the post war boom which became the militant generation of the Sixties. Having finished school, he moved to London in 1967 to study graphic art where he formed his first working band. Three years later his visa expired and he was forced to move to Berlin, a ci
ty which was to influence him greatly in his most formative years.
The people he lived with in Berlin had lived through much of the Sixties in the large German communes hotbeds of radical th
ought which spawned such diverse children as Tangerine Dream. The people he lived with, he says,"were just coming out of it when I knew them. Basically I think they were growing up."However he had much contempt for their idealism, a lot of the theory is still evident in his work. During this period he formed another band; and when a large recording deal was offered to them, they poured all their money into improvements, to be then told that the company wanted to buy songs only.
For the next six months Clapton lived almost at starvation point, having spent all his money. By the time he returned to Australia. In 1972, he had become very bitter about the entire competitive capitalist ethos, and to this day places little emphasis on material wealth. He quotes from George Orwell's Down And Out in Paris And London: "If you don't have a shilling, y
ou don't have nothing to worry about. If you have a shilling you worry.'Signed by Festival two days after his return, his first album, Prussian Blue, introduced Clapton to the Industry, but despite acclaim it didn't sell particularly well.
Of the title track he says 'Prussian Blue' was an unusual composition for me, because n
ormally when I write it's all very spontaneous, a sort of stream of consciousness thing. I'm very influenced in this regard by people like Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath. But with "Prussian Blue" I spent months toying around with the words, perfecting it. Compared with the other stuff, the word games and everything are all a bit childish really. He chuckles to himself. "Most people said that was really advanced, but anybody can be complex and metaphysical if they want to." By 1975 there was more than critical acclaim when the title track of his new album. 'Girls On The Avenue', made it to the Top five. This was followed strongly a year later by
'Mainstreet Jive', finally assuring him of a firm position in the Australian music scene.

In typical fashion he had been delaying an overseas trip financed by an Arts Council grant, so he rushed off his soundtrack contribution to surf film 'Highway One' and left in October, 1976 for a trip that took him to America, England and most importantly, back to Berlin, where he wrote most of the material for Goodbye Tiger. The trip proved worth while, for the first time in his life Richard Clapton is doing well out of his music.
If you average it out I haven't made that much. I could have made much more money in the Public Service and have a house in Lane Cove - but I don't." He pauses, taking a sip of his Bloody Mary and pulled back his curtain of hair. I live in motels ... I've got nothing. Who'd be stupid enough to work for nothing? 'which is virtually what we're doing, We make money, sure,
but we spend it just as quickly trying to keep the vibe up. The emotion is evident in his voice. He pauses.
I don't think anybody should ever forget that wh
at we're doing is art? You can never get away from that so it's a funny business ... marketing art," he laughs. "It's a paradox in itself.'
However, often people try to delve into his work in search of profound hidden meanings, Clapton insists that the superficial ideas are all that are intended. With the exception of rarities like 'Prussian Blue' the songs are not at all contrived. On the contrary, according to their writer, they are Spontaneous expressions of feelings, not designed to stimulate thought, national identity, pity or anything else. But if they do, he says, that's good. Or does he want to deter people from looking. They often find things that he didn't know about. Speaking of a review by Paul Gardiner in ROLLING STONE two issues ago, he marvels, I wasn't aware I'd written an album about Australia until I read it in Paul's review. The material was written in Germany but he's right all the same.
I find a great satisfaction in having Goodbye Tiger accepted," he says, referring to the album's rather startling sales figures. "Australians are so embarrassed by themselves that they refuse to admit to any identity and I think they should strive to find one, for better or worse."It's three o'clock in the morning, and as I take my leave a particular phrase keeps coming back to me, one which I felt seemed to capture the essence of what he'd been saying -
"I think that over the last few years I've learn't a lot about a lot of things, just finding out that simplicity is one of the hardest things in the world to achieve."
Richard Clapton is a man of contradictions. He considers the entire system of competition and stardom a farce, yet he continues to be considered as one of Australia's top rock performers. He says he doesn't understand the exact meaning of most of his songs, yet his audiences hail him as a sensitive and perceptive artist. Perhaps the strangest thing is that both he and the people are right.
(Interview taken from Rolling Stone 9 Feb 1978 - sourced from The Avenue / Richard Clapton)
This post is a vinyl rip taken from my near mint copy, at 320kps and includes full album artwork. I have also sourced a live rendition of Clapton's biggest hit 'Girl's On The Avenue' taken from the 'Concert Of The Decade' compilation album, released in 1979.
This is the first 'greatest hits' album that Clapton released, although he also chose to release two new tracks alongside his classics at that time - "Stepping Across The Line" & "When The Heat's Off"
Also worth noting is that "When The Heat's Off" has never been issued on any other release (either Vinyl or CD) making this compilation rather special.
All other tracks were taken from his prior LP's, 'Prusian Blue', 'Girls On The Avenue', 'Mainstreet Jive', 'Goodbye Tiger' and the rare soundtrack 'Highway One'
Track Listing
01 - Stepping Across The Line

02 - Girls On The Avenue
03 - Goodbye Tiger

04 - Capricorn Dancer

05 - I Wanna Be A Survivor *

06 - When The Heat's Off

07 - Deep Water

08 - Blue Bay Blues

09 - Need A Visionary

10 - Suit Yourself

11 - Girls On The Avenue (Bonus - Live)

Band Members (1972-78):
Richard Clapton (Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Vocals)
Kirk Lorange (Slide guitar) Red McKelvie (Pedal Steel)
Gunter Gorman, Ritchie Zito, Red McKelvie, Mike McLellan (Guitar)
Michael Hegerty, Greg Lyon, Reggie McBride, Ronnie Peel, Phil Lawson (Bass)
Greg Shegan, Doug Bligh, Lain McLennan, Doug Lavery, Dave Ovendon, Jim Penson, Loppy Morris, Keith Barber (Drums)
Tony Ansell, Wayne Finlay, Lance Ong, Mike Perjanik (Keyboards)
Diane McLennon, Rita Jean Bodine, Lori Balmer, Michael Adler (Backing Vocals)
* Kevin Borich (Guitar)

Richard Clapton Link (100Mb) Link Fixed 12/07/2019

Friday, July 15, 2011

Various Artists - Killer Watts (1980)

(Various Artists 1980)
From the once stacked CBS stable, the 1980 Killer Watts collection packs on several high voltage cuts over the course of two slabs of black-as-night vinyl. This compilation was a sampler (or 'taste tester') for albums released by CBS at the time, on their EPIC label.
Opening with the tag-team of "The World Anthem" and "Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame" from Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, the double LP compilation features several sh*t hot guitarists that cut their teeth during the turbulent seventies, including the crazed Motor City Madman Ted "Kill It 'n' Grill It" Nugent ("Flesh and Blood"), lil' Rick Derringer ("Need a Little Girl"), and the ultra-cool Joe "Flash" Perry ("Let the Music Do the Talking"). The seventeen song set of live-wire hard rock 'n' heavy metal packs on the leather clad Judas Priest ("Rapid Fire"), Blue Öyster Cult (the plodding "Godzilla"), REO Speedwagon ("Back on the Road Again"), the under-rated Shakin' Street ("Solid as a Rock"), Aerosmith ("No Surprise") and the swamp rawkin' Molly Hatchet ("Boogie No More").
I'm pretty sure this compilation was a specially priced 'double -album' at the time, retailing for the same price as a single album. The best thing about this compilation was that it introduced me to the relatively unknown French band 'Trust' with their blistering hit "L'Elite" which absolutely flawed me when I heard it for the first time. The only disappointment on this compilation was Ted Nugent's "Flesh and Blood" - not his best effort in my opinion. I have therefore also included another track from his 'Scream Dream' LP called "Wango Tango" which I believe would have been a far better choice - you can therefore choose to swap it out if you like.
Note: There was an inferior release of this album made by K-Tel some time later (depicted right) which surprises me, as heavy metal music and the tinny sounding reputation of K-Tel records would make this re-release inferior to the original !
The following is a brief run down of the albums from which these tracks were taken, mostly taken from the linear notes provided with this compilation:
There's nothing anyone could say about Ted Nugent that the Motor City Madman couldn't say better - and louder himself. He is the archetypal hard rock guitarist as anyone with even the sketchiest knowledge of heavy metal will know already. Ted's pedigree goes back 15 years or more and instead of mellow in' with age he's got louder, faster and wilder. "Flesh And Blood" is just one of ten screaming dizzbusters on Nugent's new album 'Scream Dream' - his seventh for Epic. As Ted himself once said "I was always the best at everything I did. You take guitar playing for granted but I'll out-run, out-shoot and out-hunt anybody. I am great". One hates to argue
Blue Oyster Cult, once described as a "portable Altamont" have always had a macabre air about them, a sort of suppressed sinistrality that continually threatens to explode. "Godzilla" is taken from the superb live album 'Some Enchanted Evening' which revealed the Cult at their best. They've never been a band to stand still so their progress from their debut album 'Blue Oyster Cult' to their latest 'Mirrors' has been one of steady evolution. At the same time they probably don't know what a bandwagon is, let alone how to jump on one, so there is a cohesion about their work which allows one to pick any track from any album of theirs and just know instinctively it's one of the Cult's. Always powerful and always clean Blue Oyster Cult represent the best of American metal.
"Need A Little Girl (just Like You)" is an excellent taster from an excellent album 'Guitars And Women' which demonstrates clearly just how much Rick Derringer has developed over the years. Mind you he wasn't exactly a novice when he was playing with johnny Winter and Edgar Winter in the first half of the last decade. He started his solo career in May, 1976. with the 'Derringer' LP on which he gave the first full rein to his immense guitar and vocal abilities. Incidentally it's worth noting that on the cut on this album, Derringer performs guitar, bass and vocals himself. The album was produced by Rick and Todd Rundgren and overall is a classy example of guitar playing at its most effective and powerful.
Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush have been blitzing their followers for upwards of a decade now, in fact from the time Frank first formed the band in his native Montreal, Canada. Marino fans will recognise "World Anthem" from the 1977 album of the same name while "Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame" is culled from the brand new 'What's Next' LP. That's Mahogany Rush's eighth album in total and their fifth for CBS. Marino has always been a power freak, a reputation which he lives up to with ease on the new set which sees the band tackling some classics like "Mona" and "Rock Me Baby" and given them new freshness and vitality.
One of the great pleasures of 1979 was to see Judas Priest, an excelled and hard-working band, finally get the reaction and the rewards they deserved. After more than five years of slogging they finally broke through and they're now recognised as one of Britain's pre-eminent heavy metal bands. The band's latest album, 'British Steel' - which includes "Rapid Fire" - is their fifth album for CBS and seventh in total. Also, it's the vinyl debut of drummer - Dave Holland who replaced Les Binks in August 1979. Priest are primo purveyors of leather-clad macho rock and roll - unsurprisingly since they hail from beautiful Birmingham, capital of the heavy metal universe. Enough said - if you haven't heard of Judas Priest by now, then you've obviously been living under a rock for the last two years.
Journey represent the more mellow side of heavy metal, a side which has as honourable a pedigree as the brain-blasters. Composed of five consummate musicians Journey has been recording since 1975. "Line Of Fire" is taken from the band's sixth album 'Departure'. It's the second studio outing for newest member Steve Smith whose drums and percussion abilities did so much to help elevate the band's music to a new plane of technique and style. His ability is matched by singer Steve Perry, keyboards man Greg Rolie, guitarist Neal Schon and bassist Ross Valory.
Believe it or not but 1980 is REO Speedwagon's tenth year in the record business - a fact which has not escaped the attention of Epic or the band. Together they've compiled a superb anthology of tracks from the band's nine albums called 'A Decade Of Rock And Roll' Naturally "Back On The Road Again" representing their last album 'Nine Lives', is included. Nowhere near as well known in Britain as in the States, Speedwagon is a five piece band formed in Illinois 12 years ago. Quite why REO have never cracked it in Britain is beyond me because they're hot and tasty - hopefully the anthology set will do it for them. You'd be hard pushed to find a better collection of one band's work than on that.
Molly Hatchet's 'Flirtin' With Disaster' is a heavy metal LP with a strong flavour of southern rock and roll. And "Boogie No More" from that, their-second album, is a good example of the band. It's not exactly power chord city but it rocks like a demon and it's heavy enough for anyone's tastes. However you define it, Molly Hatchet make great music. A six piece band from Florida, they first showed Britain how good they were at the 79' Reading Festival. The germ of the band was founded in 1971 and the current line-up was arrived at in 1976. Hatchet are a steaming, smokin', sizzling band who defy anyone to sit still.
Aerosmith recently released their seventh album "Night In The Ruts", the last to feature Joe Perry and it was instantly hailed as a fine return to the raw power of their early days. The Aeros, now boasting Jimmy Crespo on lead guitar, have always been a glamour-laden, power-packed, machismo-laden band with the sort of gloss and drive that the best American outfits boast. "No Suprise" is a good example of the current state of play with the band as hot as ever as crisp as a hundred dollar bill. Again they're another band whose British success hasn't matched their native American acceptance but it's surely only a matter of time that the creators of 'Rocks' and 'Toys In The Attic' receive their due acclaim here
Joe Perry, for those who may not know, was a founder member of Aerosmith and was lead guitarist with the band for eight years and seven albums. Having split after Aerosmith's latest LP 'Night In The Ruts', Perry has wasted little time in getting together his own album 'Let The Music Do The Talking' which is essentially a solo project. The title track included here shows Perry's remarkable ability as a guitarist while Ralph Mormon supplies the vocals. Perry can be heard singing on four of the other tracks and a damn fine job he does of it too. Incidentally Perry's album sees a reunion between him and producer Jack Douglas who filled the same role on early Aerosmith albums.
Knock 'Em Dead, Kid is the third album by Canadian rock band Trooper, released in 1977. The album was produced by Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who fame. Bassist Harry Kalensky was replaced by Doni Underhill prior to the recording this album, which was the group's first Canadian platinum certified album. The album contained the hits "We're Here for a Good Time (not a long time)" and "Oh, Pretty Lady".
Band Lineup: Ra McGuire - vocals; Brian Smith - guitar & vocals; Doni Underhill - bass; Frank Ludwig - keyboards & vocals and Lance Chalmers on drums.
'No Prisoners' garnered little attention and almost no critical acclaim at the time and let's face it, the guy on the cover is enough to put anyone off and the whole cover looks pretty tacky, but the album is actually surprisingly good Queen - Led Zeppelin inspired Rock N Roll.
Featuring the not inconsiderable talents of one Alexis T. Angel (yeah, I don't believe it, either!) on vocals and the formidable guitar playing of one Gregg Parker, the album positively reeks of Zeppelin style grooves and thumping hard rock. Angel's vocals are a wild animal growl one second and a seductive purr the next and Parker's guitar leaps out at you in virtuoso fashion at every turn.
Great early 80's melodic hard rock from France. This one is the second album released in 1980 on CBS (not their debut as annotated on the Killer Watts cover). Recorded at the automatt studio, San Francisco, produced by Sandy Pearlman. Special guests: Alan Pasqua, Allen Lanier (Blue Oyster Cult) and Armando Peraza. The cult album of Fabienne Shine's Gang feat. Ross The Boss (Dictators) before he joined Manowar... not to be missed!
They had the manager of Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath. The group toured with ACDC and Blue Oyster Cult. It was on tour with Black Sabbath in 1980 when guitarist Ross the Boss joined them and participated in recording their second album, Shakin 'Street, "Solid As A Rock ", produced by Sandy Pearlman (of Blue Oyster Cult fame). This album is entirely produced in the U.S. Among the influences of the group are Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.
The Boyzz, a midwestern bluesy hard rock outfit, were virtually anonymous at the time of their debut release in 1978. Almost 35yrs later and the same could be said. However, in the midwest, the band flourished and sold out shows on a regular basis. After the failure of their one and only album, the band took a short sabbatical and reinvented themselves under the new name, The B'zz. That didn't seem to make much of a difference either. However, in the new millennium there's been a resurgence of the band's popularity in their home turf and a new augmented lineup currently tours the region with reasonable success.
Guitarist Ray Gomez debuted with Volume in 1980, a studio LP that opened with the Rick Derringer like "Make Your Move", and features "Love at First Sight", "West Side Boogie", "U.S.A.", and "Waiting for the Big Time". Unfortunately, the promising Volume LP was the lone recording from Gomez. The LP was a great combination of rock,fusion,blues,funk and Pop. Ray's first solo album, "Volume" received accolades from critics and media alike, climbing to number-one on the radio charts in America.
By far the most successful French heavy metal band of all, Nanterre based TRUST produced some excellent albums chock full of aggression and lyrics that were unafraid of using social and political commentary. TRUST released their first album on CBS Records in May 1979 'L'Elite' (see earlier post), recorded in London with producer Herv Muller, and includes a cover of ACDC's 'Ride On'.
I first heard Trust in the early 80's when I purchased "Killer Watts" which showcased their hit single 'L'Elite'. When 'L'Elite' came blasting out of my Stereo's speakers, I was totally blown away. The French vocals of singer Bernie Bonvoisin along with the blistering guitar riffs by Nono Krief hooked me big time. I managed to track down Trust's entire catalogue from a range of import shops, but it was hard going as very few import outlets carried French releases. And when I did find them, they cost me big bucks. Now I'm laughing because good condition vinyl copies fetch high prices on eBay, and I've got the lot (both English and French versions).
This post was taken from my 'mint condition' vinyl (except for the Trust track which has had a few more spins around the turntable) at 320kps and includes full album artwork.
Track Listing
01 - The World Anthem (Frank Marino & Mahogoney Rush)
02 - Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame (Frank Marino & Mahogoney Rush)
03 - USA (Ray Gomez)
04 - Flesh And Blood (Ted Nugent)
05 - Knock Em Dead Kid (Trooper)
06 - Rapid Fire (Judas Priest)
07 - Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult)
08 - Need A Little Girl Just Like You (Rick Derringer)
09 - Back On The Road Again (REO Speedwagon)
10 - Line Of Fire (Journey)
11 - Solid As A Rock (Shakin' Street)
12 - L'Elite -(Trust)
13 - Too Wild To Tame (The Boyzz)
14 - Let The Music Do The Talking (The Joe Perry Project)
15 - No Surprise (Aerosmith)
16 - Checkin It Out Baby Don't Cry (Ozz)
17 - Boogie No More (Molly Hatchet)

Killer Watts Link (176Mb) New Link 26/10/2015

Warning: Don't be confused with another 'Killer Watts' release as depicted on the right ......LOL !


Friday, July 8, 2011

Various Artists: Reading Rock - Volume One (1982) plus Bonus Tracks

(U.K Artists 1979-82)
The 1982 Reading Festival arena is depicted in the photo below. Bands played alternately on the two main stages. While one had a band playing, gear was being set up on the other stage. There was always a rush from one side to the other between bands. There were no small stages. Note also lack of burger vans and stalls selling hippy sh*t.
The twenty second festival possibly had a more attractive lineup than 1981, at least if one was a heavy rock devotee. The inclusion of hard rock guitar stalwarts Gary Moore, Randy California, southern rockers Blackfoot and erstwhile pub rockers Dave Edmunds and Wilko Johnson gave the lineup spine that was missing from the previous year.
The headliners were also a tad more prestigious. The Scorpions/UFO former lead guitarist Michael Schenker, whose repertoire veered into the sort of metal jazz/rock territory inhabited by Jeff Beck- as well as delivering more predictable hard rock fare - gave Sunday night a touch of class .
Budgie and Iron Maiden were guaranteed to deliver an exciting hard rock show, regardless of whether one thought of them as innovators within the genre or not. Maiden's credentials were reinforced by the presence of Bruce Dickinson , the erstwhile Samson lead vocalist, who had taken over the vocal spot from Paul Di'Anno .
All three of these artists were recorded by the venerable BBC and broadcast on the Radio One Friday night rock show in 1983 .
Once again, Reading delivered a mid range experience for the punters, no top end acts like Pink Floyd or the Stones which needed a mega crowd to return the organisers a profit, but a solid workmanlike bill that would leave the attendees satisfied in the main .
There were some changes made to the final band listing with Trust pulling out at the last minute and Diamond Head replacing Manowar on the Friday night. Just Good Friends was added on Saturday and Wilko Johnson & Lew Lewis added on Sunday.
This was what Reading was about at the time, but the formula was about to change, as the following year's Festival (1983) would be the last Reading for several years.
The following are recollections from various people who attended the festival (taken from
Nicola remembers - Abiding memories – vodka and ginger beer, meat paste sandwiches for 3 days, everyone was friendly, some great bands. Yes Schenker was technically brilliant but god was he boring to watch. Give him his due he did play a good Dr Dr. Some of the ‘little’ bands had more enthusiasm. Loved Grand Prix and Tygers - less polished but much more raw enthusiasm. Seem to recall Rock Goddess getting a lot of drooling males watching. Had completely forgotten Diamond Head were there. Was it me or was there more space than at Donnington, seem to remember being able to lie back and listen without getting trampled on. . Oh and the ‘official’ T-shirts were £5, a fortune back then. Picked one up for £2 on the last night, it finally disintegrated in 1992 Anyone remember the press reports of non-stop riots between bikers and police? I got back home to find the parents worried sick. I didn’t see any riots but I did see three Angels wading into the river to rescue a swan that was tangled in a fishing line and then looking after it until a very nervous RSPCA man arrived. .
Barry recalls - Band of the weekend were Blackfoot, the perfect festival band, good time (southern) rock'n'roll that lifted the spirits of everyone gathered. Tight band and what a master of ceremonies, singer and guitarist in Ricky Medlocke. When they came back to the UK, some years later, they were a different band, sold out to hair-rock, which, in a way, makes the Reading performance such a great memory. To this day I can still recall turning around to see numerous confederate flags being waved by the crowd.
As for the rest? Maiden, without doubt the most popular band of the weekend, solid entertainers
and riding high on the success of 'The number of the Beast', on the way up and up and now living legends. The Tygers of Pan Tang put in a good performance but had the unenviable task of being sandwiched between Blackfoot and Maiden, if I remember rightly. Gary Moore, I remember for looking utterly disgusted by the bottle/can throwing antics of some of the crowd. Quite rightly so as these idiots injured quite a few people in the process.

Pheonix says - All I can fill in is Chinatown's names: Steve, Steve, Danny, Pat and John (Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Guitar and Bass respectively) and odd bits from there. I think they played both songs from their single which had come out about a year earlier, the A side of which was 'Short and Sweet', and the B side... Nope, it's gone. They also may well have done their version of 'Doctor Doctor', which with all due respect to the other groups present then was truly kick arse, and honestly the best version of the song I've ever heard.
Pat recalls - Can`t remember Tygers of Pan Tang at all (must have done a tour of the stalls while they were on), but I do remember being won over by Blackfoot, who were fronted by the charismatic Ricky "Rattlesnake" Medlocke. They included a great version of Free`s "Wishing Well" in their set, yes the same cover that Gary Moore had done an hour or so before..
And finally Dave remembers - The afternoon bands were a bit
hazy then and worse 27 years years later but I remember Grand Prix being pretty good, Spider being a dreary Quo like boogie band and Dave Edmunds being an up market pub rock band. Cheetah - masses of whistles and chants of "get your t*ts out for the lads" Twisted Sister - sweary, pantomime dames - funniest looking of all was the lead guitarist - Mendoza? Maiden - OK and the crowd favourite but they seemed a bit plodding to me. Y&T - best of the weekend - we'd got Earthshaker on import a year or so earlier so were looking forward to their appearance. They had played a great gig at the Marquee the week before and had great reviews. They did not disappoint.
It is interesting to note that I purchased this double LP from my favourite Import Record shop in Carlton (Melbourne) back in the 80's called Reading Records (how coincidental is the name hey) but it was in fact an offshoot from 'Reading Books' which still exists in Carlton today. Anyhow, the main reason why I purchased this album was because of the two live Budgie tracks.
At that time, there were no live recordings of Budgie available in Australia, so it was certainly an attractive item for me. Because it was an imported album I'm sure I paid threw the nose for this double LP but now cherish this album for its collectability.
It is strange that Mean Records chose to include a couple of tracks that weren't actually from the 82 Festival - Whitesnake's recording was from the 79 Festival and UFO's from 1980. Yet, they neglected to include tracks from bands that did perform like - Iron Maiden, Gary Moore and Tygers of Pan Tang. Below is the (almost) correct running order of the 1982 Reading Festival, taken from the official festival program. Perhaps they had intended to release a Volume Two (based on the name for this release - Volume One) but as far as I can gather this did not happen.

This post includes a rip of my near-mint double LP (320kps) along with full LP album artwork. Because the total running length of both LP's exceeds the limit of a single CD, I have decided to include some bonus tracks from bands that were not included by Mean Records. I have sourced these bonus tracks from individual 'Reading 82' bootlegs released for Iron Maiden, Gary Moore, Y&T, Tygers of Pan Tang and Praying Mantis and selected what I consider to be the two best tracks for each band, based on their sound and performance.
I would like to acknowledge the use of concert photos taken by Frederick Moulaert and extracts of festival details from
Track Listing
Record one

01 - Whitesnake - Walkin In The Shadow Of The Blues (Reading 1979) *

02 - Terraplane - I want Your Body

03 - Marillion - He Knows You Know

04 - Jackie Lynton - Slow Rider

05 - Budgie - Superstar

06 - Bernie Marsden - SOS

07 - Chinatown - I Wanna See You Tonight
08 - Randy California - Come On Woman

09 - Stampede - There And Back

10 - Twisted Sister - Shoot 'Em Down

Record Two
01 - Michael Schenker - Attack Of The Mad Axeman

02 - Marillion - Three Boats Down From The Candy

03 - Terraplane - Turn Me Loose

04 - Just Good Frie
nds - You Really Got Me
05 - U.F.O - Hot & Ready (Reading 1980) *

06 - Budgie - Panzer Division Destroyed

07 - Grand Prix - Keep On Believin'

08 - Spider - All The Time

09 - Chinatown - Caught On The Wrong Side

10 - Jackie Lynton - The Hedgehog Song

Bonus Tracks
Gary Moore - Nuclear Attack, Parisean Walkways
Iron Maiden - Tush (with Blackfoot), Wrathchild
Y&T - Black Tiger, Forever
Tygers of Pan Tang - Slave to Freedom, Blackjack
Praying Mantis - Nightmares, Flirtin' With Suicide

* All tracks recorded at the 1982 Reading Festival except Whitesnake (Reading 1979) and U.F.O (Reading 1980)
Reading Rock Part 1 Link (131Mb)
New Link 15/03/2015
Reading Rock Part 2 Link (144Mb)
New Link 31/12/2019

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freeway - Riding High (1975)

(Australian 1975-76)
Not much is known about Freeway, a short lived quintet who sprang from Melbourne, Australia in the early 70's. Freeway's creative force was legendary Aussie guitarist Peter Laffy, who had also been a member of Fox. Another noteworthy member was Criston Barker, formerly of Ash and Hollywood. Freeway's lifespan was rather short, but their sole release, "Riding High" is an impressive one.

Produced by Jim Keays, "Riding High" is a breezy and smooth affair with plenty of piano, organ and female backup vocals fleshing out the sound. The band sounds unusually American and the performances here are flawless. Crunchy in all the right places with plenty of Allman Brothers style twin leads, this sounds almost southern in places. In other places, the band explore high spirited R&B as well as hard rock. Surprisingly, this hodgepodge of styles is seamless and the overall vibe never deviates from one song to the next. Though its nothing revolutionary, the songs are well written and the production is crisp and clear.
Barker later joined Air Supply and currently plays with the 'Hepcats' while Laffy became a well-known television and radio host in Australia, as well as staying active with his own blues act, King Bees.
The following is an article taken from the 70's rock newspaper RAM #21 Dec-1975 , which featured Freeway in its Periscope column (specifically aimed at any new and promising bands)

Freeway—Comparatively new band rides high, talks tough.
Melbourne rock group Freeway are currently riding high on a wave of success that is unusual for a comparatively new band. Freeway, a bloozy bawdy rollicking band of rockers have been playing together just on twelve months and now have an album ready for release at the end of November. The album, 'Riding High', is being handled by the Phonogram record company and will be released on the Philips label. A single from the album, also titled "Riding High", has just been released. This stint in the studio was the band's first venture into a professional recording studio. Your budding reporter was on hand to capture the historic moment when the band members left Armstrong's Studio 2 after having laid down the final track on the album. 

First out of the studio was brawny vocalist. Frank Chic, covered with a sheen of perspiration and looking like he'd just done 15 rounds with an elusive microphone. "I work better when it's live," muttered Frank. "It's just a completely different thing when you've got your cans on and you're standing there just singing in an empty room ... there's no fucking vibe.' That's Frank... he's the type of singer who really feels at home when he's up on stage iinteracting with an audience. But Criston Barker, the band's bassist and co-songwriter had a different impression of the studio. "I dig working in the studio, I love it. It's an exciting experience. I really enjoy the live flash too, that s really good and a lot easier to get. You take the band high in a short space of time because of the spontaneity and audience adrenalin. That's the feeling we tried to create in the studio." To help the band achieve that spontaneity and to tide them over the hassles of a first ever recording, Jim Keays was co-opted as producer. Says Criston: "We all know Jim and it was good to walk into a studio with a guy we know. He's been into rock 'n' roll a lot and understands it, he's someone you can talk to and who knows your music." 

Another friend who helped out was Mr. El Mysterioso himself, Greg Macainsh, who blessed the band with his presence while overseeing the production of a song, "Sad Rock 'n' Roll", he had written for the band's first album. Criston takes up the story. "He came to see the band a few times and said he would like to write us a song. We learnt it in the studio the day we recorded it. We have now included it in our performances. Greg knew exactly what he wanted in the studio, he is great to work with." Apart from the Macainsh track, the album was penned by Barker and lead guitarist Steve Welch. The songs reflect the title of the album. "Riding High" ... that's the philosophy of the band, to ride high; enjoy the good times, to rage and project that feeling to the audience. Criston explains: "It's out-of-the-bummcr music, it's up music. It's a statement against boredom." And that's the spirit of the band and the album — it's of scotch and bourbon and little bags of dope, and the road and the rock 'n' roll ladies — rock teasers, to plagiarise another of the song tides. 

Criston pontificates: "The majority of bands being flogged left, right and centre are basically into the same sort of music, the bomp, bomp, bomp, all borrowed progressions, the sort of thing that's been done quite regularly over the past few years in Australia; we just don't want to be a band like that. We want to explore — new riffs new rhyming, totally original songs, we have high ideals of what we want to do, and it's working well."
This post contains a rip taken from Vinyl at 320kps along with album scans (sourced from Sunshine at Midoztouch with thanks). Unfortunately it does not include scans of the inner gatefold which I distinctly remember the LP having and featuring some great shots of the band playing live (I owned a copy as a teenager but have since misplaced it). I have also included a scan of the featured article taken from RAM along with several advertisements for the band and its album.
I would also like to acknowledge the photos that were sourced from Criston Barker's Myspace Page .

Track Listing
01 - Ridin' High

02 - Stone Me
03 - Sad Rock N Roll

04 - Rock Teaser

05 - Wheels of Fortune

06 - Amazin Lady

07 - Turn the Page

08 - My House

09 - So Appealing

10 - Rock N Roll Nations

Band Members:
Steve Welch (Guitars)

Criston Barker (Bass, Vocals)
Frank Chic (Lead Vocals, Percussion)

Bill Lincolin (Drums)

John Grant (Keyboards, clarinet)
Bonnie Lever (Backing Vocals)
Freeway Link (100Mb)  New Link 30/09/2013