Monday, July 30, 2012

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Scorpions: Glam Rockers (1975)

Before things get too serious at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be considered to be either
Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
Now let me first point out, this post actually features the German hard rock band 'Scorpions' moonlighting as the 'glam rock' band called "The Hunters".
This is the rarest recording made by the infamous Scorpions and copies sell on eBay for small fortunes when they become available. The single was released only on vinyl 45rpm in 1975. It includes 2 songs "Fox on the run" and "Action" which were popular Sweet covers.
The 45 was released under the title "The Hunters-Fox on the Run" or more precisely 'The Hunters - Fuchs Gey Veron' and both tracks were sung in German. Klaus Meine sings both songs and Uli Roth orchestrates killer guitar solos as usual for this era.
I believe that the songs were recorded while the Scorpions were on tour with the band Sweet during the mid seventies. The Scorpions went into the studio under the name "The Hunters" and recorded the two tracks in German. Although these tracks sound strange in the German dialect, their distinctive riffs and parallel vocal style helps give them familiarity and credibility.
The line up on this recording was:
Klaus Meine (vocals)
Rudolph Schenker (guitar)
Ulrich Roth (guitar)
Francis Buchholz (bass)
J├╝rgen Rosenthal (drums)
Who would have thought that The Scorpions would bring themselves to be associated with Glam Rock - that's what makes this month's WOCK post so Obscure and Korny.
Post consists of mp3 rip (320kps) taken from 45 single and includes full artwork with a touch of glitter!

(Released as a 7" single called "The Hunters" Fuchs Gey Veron Cat # 1c 006-41 102 on the colorit label)
Scorpions Link (12Mb)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ralph McTell - Spiral Staircase (1969)

(U.K 1965–present)
Spiral Staircase is British folk musician Ralph McTell's second album. Produced by Gus Dudgeon and released in the UK in 1969, its opening track, "Streets of London", has become McTell's signature tune. I personally heard this track for the first time on an EMI Pop compilation called 'Explosive Hits '75' - when the single was re-released by EMI records (which earned him an Ivor Novello Award), and has been my favourite Folk Song since.
It was only until recently that I managed to acquire a copy of 'Spiral Staircase' from which the track was lifted (released in Australia in 1980 on 7 Records)
Ralph was born in Farnborough, Kent, but his home was in London. Since the age of 17, when he began playing guitar, he spent almost as much time in towns and cities of other countries as in those of England. He played street corners, bus stations and queues through and around Europe., from Paris and over the Bosphorus into Turkey, but Paris was were Ralph chose to pitch himself. He made some important friendships, he made music, he 'made it' (playing in the Paris Olympia - behind the backdrop working to embellish and give substance to the guitar techniques of others).

His style showed that he had not reacted to the contradictory pressures of street singing in the usual way - his musical expression did not operate through a flamboyant act, neither was it so introspective to be obscure. There was an aspect of Ralph's music which he described as 'ragtimes and smiles' where the influence of ragtime musicians such as Blind Blake and the 'blues' of Blind Boy Fuller played a part. Essentially Ralph's ragtime was used to create the atmosphere projected by the Jug band Sound, the emphasis being on entertainment and light-hearted amusement.
In his own song's Ralph seeks and values an emotional response (as typified in "Streets of London") and through his combination of words and guitar, enables us to feel what he has felt, by acting acting on the belief that 'Although life's incidents make our individual response to situation unique, our emotions are basically the same'.
To read more about the background on the making of 'Spiral Staircase', see Ralph's Website
Although his name is shackled to one song, Ralph McTell is certainly not a one-hit wonder. Several hundred high-calibre numbers written in the 40-odd years since "Streets of London" charged up the charts bear testimony to the singer and finger picking guitar stylist's enduring quality. Ralph's latest creations, to be heard on his first new studio album in a decade entitled 'Somewhere Down The Road', has been a long time coming, but fans will find it has been worth the wait.
Ralph only just recently toured Australia this year in April/May on his 'Farewell Tour'. Unfortunately, I have only just discovered this now while researching for this post, and would have loved to have seen him perform, if not only for that one amazing anthem!
This post consists of an mp3 (320kps) rip from my Vinyl album and contains full album artwork , along with select photos and label scans.
Track Listing
01 - Streets of London
02 - Mrs Adlam's Angels
03 - Wino and the Mouse
04 - England 1914
05 - Last Train and Ride
06 - The Fairground
07 - Spiral Staircase
08 - Kind Hearted Woman Blues
09 - Bright and Beautiful Things
10 - Daddy's Here
11 - Rizraklaru (Anag.)
12 - (My) Baby Keeps Staying Out all Night Long
13 - Terminus

Band Members:
Ralph McTell (Vocals, Guitar)
Jug Band: Henry VIII (Jug), "Whispering" Mike (Washboard),
Peter Berryman (2nd Guitar)
Brian "Brock" Brocklehurst (Double Bass)
Mike Vickers (Orchestral arrangements)
Ralph McTell Link (81Mb)  Link Fixed 01/01/2024

Friday, July 13, 2012

Russell Morris - Turn It On (1976)

(Australian 1966-Present)
Russell Morris is one of Australia’s most enduring singers. A major pop star in the latter sixties he went on to become one of the country’s first singer songwriters and, during the seventies led a popular rock band.
Morris‘s career started in September ’66 with the formation of the group Somebody’s Image, who rose to prominence with the hit ‘Hush’, a version of the Joe South song. In the process the band had come to the notice of The Groop, and in turn The Groop’s friend Ian Meldrum. Meldrum convinced Russell to leave Somebody’s Image for a solo career, with Meldrum acting as manager and record producer.

Recently back from England where he had spent time with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, former pop star Johnny Young now had songwriting ambitions of his own. He offered one of those songs to Russell, who wasn’t interested in that particular song, but asked if Johnny had another. Hesitantly Young played him an unfinished song he was considering recording himself. Meldrum arrived with a tape recorder at Johnny Young’s door at 3am that night demanding the song.

From there the song, "The Real Thing", became more something of Meldrum’s creation than either Russell’s or Johnny’s. Russell just sang it. Johnny just happened to have written the basis for it. In the studio, using The Groop as backing musicians, Meldrum spent unprecedented hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza, complete with The Groop’s Brian Cadd reading from the side of a recording tape box for an imitation Hitler speech. Once the song was released to shocked radio programmers who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, it was up to Russell’s personality, and singing and performing talents to make the record work. It reached Number One nationally in June 1969. Russell Morris was instantly challenging Johnny Farnham as Australia’s pop king.
Without any promotional support from Russell "The Real Thing" reached Number One in Chicago, Houston and New York.
The follow-up comprised two more Johnny Young songs; one side "Part Three Into Paper Walls", "The Real Thing" revisited; the other side "The Girl That I Love", the pop ballad Young had originally offered Russell. Just prior to its release Ian Meldrum relinquished Russell’s management.

The second single was also a national Number One. Russell in the meantime had travelled to the UK to help promote the release of "The Real Thing". While in England he recorded English songwriter Raymond Foggart’s "Rachel", but re-recorded it on arriving back in Australia. ‘Rachel’ became a big hit for Russell in New Zealand.
Russell Morris had now decided to concentrate on his own songwriting and with the cream of musicians spent almost a year painstakingly recording and re-recording what became the ‘Bloodstone’ album. It was one of the first Australian albums of its kind, the first from an Australian singer-songwriter, and a whole world away from the extravagant "The Real Thing". The hit single from ‘Bloodstone’ was the resonant, romantic "Sweet Sweet Love". The following year, 1972 Russell delivered the equally beautiful "Wings Of An Eagle".
In 1973, Russell Morris moved to London to record an album, to discover there was no record contract waiting for him. He relocated to New York and set to work on an album there, including new versions of both "Sweet Sweet Love" and "Wings Of An Eagle" and the single "Let’s Do It".

This second American album 'Turn It On' appeared in 1976, but did not receive the accolades that his earlier material had gained. It was two more years before Russell was granted his Green Card, enabling him to tour America. But by then his American career had bolted. Instead, Russell returned to a very different Australia to the one he had left behind five years earlier.
Throughout his solo career had done limited live performances, without a band of his own. He now formed The Russell Morris Band and threw himself into a busy round of live performances, writing songs designed to be played live rather than chasing radio airplay, but scoring a couple of minor hits on the way. Eventually the band played and recorded as 'Russell Morris and the Rubes', and produced the minor hit with a heavier rendition of "Hush" reaching #35 in the charts.

In 1991, Russell released another solo album ‘A Thousand Suns’, and he has spent more recent years as part of a trio with fellow Sixties heroes Ronnie Burns and Darryl Cotton of The Zoot, performing their individual hits from yesterday as well as new songs.
This post consists of a FLAC's taken from my pristine vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans. Please note that the single lifted from this album "Running, Jumping, Standing Still" is actually labelled as "R.J.S.S" on the album cover and LP label (see below). This track has a very catchy hook to it, but never really received the airplay that it deserved.
It is also interesting to note that this album was released in the States under the title of 'Russell Morris 2' but used the same cover design (see right).
As a bonus, I have also included a video clip of Russell Morris performing his single "R.J.S.S" on Countdown, on Dec 5, 1976.
Track Listing
01 - Broken Egg Shells
02 - R.J.S.S
03 - Superman
04 - Cloudy Day
05 - So Good To See It
06 - Wolves In White
07 - Get You Were You Want
08 - Ever Lovin' Woman
09 - Two Wheeled Flyer
10 - Winter Song

Band Members:
Russell Morris (Guitar, Vocals)
Gene Barken, Hugh McCracken (Guitar)
Anthony Jackson (Bass)
Steve Gadd, Rick Marotta (Drums)
Jean Yves Labat, Roy Bitten (Keyboards)
Ralph McDonald (Percussion)
(Recorded in New York City)
Russell Morris Link (222Mb)
New Improved RIP  01/01/2024

Monday, July 9, 2012

Doobie Brothers - Selftitled (1971)

(U.S 1970–1982, 1987–present)
As one of the most popular Californian pop/rock bands of the '70s, the Doobie Brothers evolved from a mellow, post-hippie boogie band to a slick, soul-inflected pop band by the end of the decade. Along the way, the group racked up a string of gold and platinum albums in the U.S., along with a number of radio hits like "Listen to the Music," "Black Water," and "China Grove."
Originally a trio called Pud formed in California in 1970 and comprising Johnston, Hartmann and bassist Greg Murph, the latter quickly replaced by Dave Shogrer.. Started out as a hard rock band, toyed for a spell with gospel-oriented material using horns before return to rock roots. Expanded to four-piece with addition of Pat Simmons, a native of Sar. Jose.

Signed to Warner Bros, this lineup appeared on 1971 debut album although Shogren left soon after. Tiran Porter and Mike Hossack (percussion) were enlisted to bring Doobies up to quintet. This use of two guitarists and two percussionists was later to draw comparisons with similarly boogie-oriented Allman Brothers, although Doobies have always professed a closer affinity to San Francisco band Moby Grape. Indeed, the Grape's Skip Spence had been instrumental in bringing original Doobies together.
The Doobie Brothers honed their chops by performing live all over northern California in 1970. They attracted a particularly strong following among local chapters of the Hells Angels and scored a recurring gig at one of the bikers' favorite venues, the rustic Chateau Liberte in the Santa Cruz Mountains. An energetic set of demos (some of which were briefly released on Pickwick Records in 1980 under the title Introducing the Doobie Brothers), showcased fuzz-toned, dual lead electric guitars, three-part harmonies and Hartman's frenetic drumming and earned the rock group a contract at Warner Bros. Records. (with Tiran Porter on Bass). At this point in their history, the band's image reflected that of their biggest fans - leather jackets and motorcycles.

However, the group's 1971 self-titled debut album departed significantly from that image and their live sound of the period. The album, which failed to chart, emphasized acoustic guitars and frequently reflected country influences.
Their second album, the gold-seller 'Toulouse Street' (1972) found the band experimenting with horns on certain tracks and moving further in direction of hard rock, results being a high placing on U.S. album lists and a hit single "Listen To The Music". The 1973 set, 'The Captain And Me', repeated the process with gold status and a hit single, "Long Train Running" - and by now the Doobies were a substantial concert attraction in the U.S. Attracting cult attention in U.K., they managed to sell-out two London Rainbow gigs on their British debut early in 1974 with very little pre-publicity.

Later that year the group's instrumental prowess was boosted by the talents of former Steely Dan's slide guitarist Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter (though many critics interpreted the move as a backward one on Baxter's part). The guitarist had, however, already appeared in session role on earlier Doobies albums.
More personnel changes occurred in the following year: Hossack departed to be replaced by Keith Knudsen, formerly with Lee Michaels, with line-up boosted to six by addition of keyboards player Michael McDonald - like Baxter before him, a recruit from Steely Dan [extract from 'The New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock', by Logan & Woffinden, Salamander 1977]

The new sound was showcased on 1976's 'Takin' It to the Streets', a collection of light funk and jazzy pop that resulted in a platinum album. Later that year, the group released the hits compilation 'The Best of the Doobies'. In 1977, the group released 'Livin' on the Fault Line', which was successful without producing any big hits. Johnston left the band after the album's release to pursue an unsuccessful solo career. Following his departure, the Doobies released their most successful album, 'Minute by Minute' (1978), which spent five weeks at number one on the strength of the number one single "What a Fool Believes." Hartman and Baxter left the group after the album's supporting tour, leaving the Doobie Brothers as McDonald's backing band.

Following a year of audition, the Doobies hired ex-Clover guitarist John McFee, session drummer Chet McCracken, and former Moby Grape saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus and released One Step Closer (1980), a platinum album that produced the Top Ten hit "Real Love." During the tour for One Step Closer, McCracken was replaced by Andy Newmark. Early in 1982, the Doobie Brothers announced they were breaking up after a farewell tour, which was documented on the 1983 live album Farewell Tour. After the band's split, McDonald pursued a successful solo career, while Simmons released one unsuccessful solo record. In 1987, the Doobies reunited for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which quickly became a brief reunion tour; McDonald declined to participate in the tour.

By 1989, the early-'70s lineup of Johnston, Simmons, Hartman, Porter, and Hossack, augmented by percussionist and former Doobies roadie Bobby LaKind, had signed a contract with Capitol Records. Their reunion album, Cycles, went gold upon its summer release in 1989, spawning the Top Ten hit "The Doctor." Brotherhood followed two years later, but it failed to generate much interest. For the remainder of the '90s, the group toured the U.S., playing the oldies circuit and '70s revival concerts. By 1995, McDonald had joined the group again, and the following year saw the release of 'Rockin' Down the Highway'. But the lineup had once again shifted by the turn of the new millennium. 2000 saw the band — Hossack, Johnston, Knudsen, McFee, and Simmons — issue Sibling Rivalry, which featured touring members Guy Allison on keyboards, Marc Russo on saxophone, and Skylark on bass [extract from Wikipedia]
Album Review
One of the most inauspicious debuts by a major rock group, this subdued slice of country boogie might be called the missing link between Moby Grape and the later, revved-up Doobies of "Listen to the Music." Only a handful of West Coast hippies bought this record originally, but it lays the blueprint for the Doobies' future radio-friendly sound: chugging rhythm guitar, stretched-out harmonies, Tom Johnston's joyful R&B vocals, and Patrick Simmons' acoustic picking. A muffled mixing job helped keep this album in the morgue, which is sad, because "Nobody" and "Greenwood Creek" rate with some of Johnston's best tunes, and they both deserve issuance on a definitive Doobie Brothers compilation. [reviewed by Peter Kurtz, All Music Guide]

I personally like this first release as it demonstrates the roots from where the Doobies latter music would spring from. For example, if you listen closely to the track "Beehive State", you can definitely hear some Doobie riffs that were indicative of greater things to come.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy which I bought 2nd hand for the pricely sum of $1.99 and includes full album artwork. My copy exhibits the newer Warner Bros record label and is a 1974 re-release - probably made in response to the popularity of the Doobie Brothers at that time. If you haven't listened to the Doobie's earlier material, then you really haven't 'Listened To The Music' (pun intended !)
Track listing
01 - Nobody (Johnston) – 3:42
02 - Slippery St. Paul (Simmons, Johnston) – 2:14
03 - Greenwood Creek (Johnston) – 3:04
04 - It Won't Be Right (Johnston) – 2:38
05 - Travelin' Man (Johnston) – 4:25
06 - Feelin' Down Farther (Johnston) – 4:20
07 - The Master (Johnston) – 3:30
08 - Growin' a Little Each Day (Johnston) – 3:20
09 - Beehive State (Randy Newman) – 2:42
10 - Closer Every Day (Simmons) – 4:19
11 - Chicago (Simmons) – 1:40

Band Members:
Tom Johnston - guitar, harmonica, piano, harp, vocals
Patrick Simmons - guitar, vocals
Dave Shogren - bass, organ, keyboards, vocals
John Hartman - drums
The Doobies Link (80Mb)  Link Fixed 03/01/2024