Monday, April 30, 2018

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Graeme Bell - Pop Goes Graeme Bell All Stars (1973)

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.
Graeme Bell was one of this nation's very few jazz legends and the founder of the jazz revival in Australia of the 1940s.
In a career that spanned seven decades he focused on returning jazz music to the dance floor, made more than 1500 recordings, toured the nation and the world, and was the first Western musician to take a jazz group into China. He became known as the father of Australian jazz, and the nation's leading jazz awards are named in his honour.

The musician began his career in the 30s, and was a leading exponent of Dixieland jazz as well as other forms. Born in Richmond, Melbourne, he studied classical piano from the age of 11 before being converted to jazz by his brother Roger, a drummer and later a singer and trumpeter. Bell joined his brother's band playing jazz at Melbourne dances and clubs in 1935 while he was still working at his day job as an insurance clerk. One of their earliest gigs was at the Portsea hotel (on the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne) where Bell met Margot Bliss, who later became his first wife.

During World War II Bell formed the seven-piece Graeme Bell Jazz Gang, which included Roger plus multi-instrumentalist Adrian "Lazy Ade" Monsborough on trumpet. After the war Bell became leader of the Eureka Youth League house band, helped establish the first Australian jazz convention and inaugurated a cabaret, the Uptown Club, in 1946. Aside from his playing, he was a leading promoter of jazz, bringing American performers to Australia.

Bell made his name in post-war Europe with a tour to Czechoslovakia in 1947 with his Australian Jazz Band. They enjoyed further success in Britain and the Continent in the 1950s when Bell produced numerous great recorded collaborations with London trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton, American blues musician Big Bill Broonzy and his own sidemen.

Having founded the Swaggie record label in 1949, Bell played and travelled internationally until 1957, when he settled in Sydney. Later that year he toured Australia with a skiffle group supporting American pop vocalist Johnny Ray. Forming the Graeme Bell All Stars in 1962, Bell staged the band at several venues in Sydney and hosted a television show, Trad Pad . In 1990 Bell became the first Western bandleader to take a jazz band into China, followed by appearances at Expo 90 in Japan.

 Another jazz veteran, Sydney-based pianist Dick Hughes, describes Bell as the man who put Australian jazz on the world map: "He thought that jazz, rather than being played in concert halls or in backrooms on a Sunday afternoon for people who took the whole thing terribly seriously, should get back to its original function as dance music." It was this "jazz for dancing" policy of Bell's that blew a refreshing breeze through the dustier corners of British traditional revivalism in 1950. In the foreword to Bell's 1988 autobiography Graeme Bell: Australian Jazzman, critic Eric Child described him as "an achiever and a survivor and Australia's foremost jazz musician".

He was made an MBE in 1978 and received the Order of Australia in 1990 for his services to Australian music and jazz in particular. In 1997 he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and in 2003 the Australian Jazz Bell Awards were established as a tribute to his legacy, providing an annual competition for Australian musicians with significant prize monies. Until 2010, he attended the presentation nights named in his honour. He was a gentle, unassuming man who loved to tell stories of his younger musical days and sometimes in his later years would play a trad piece on the piano.
Graeme Bell died in Sydney at the age of 97, on June 13, 2012
”The Swinging Sounds of Graeme Bell" — and his All-Stars — is the next Album up for review with the title:- "POP GOES GRAEME BELL — ALL STARS" — (HORIZON - HZ-154). This rollicking album is a pleasure to listen to as all tracks, all 13 of them, are bright and very tuneful, Some of those numbers are: - THE CANDY MAN / TlE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLD OAK TREE / PRETTY MAID / MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC! / TOP OF THE WORLD /and A DAISY A DAY. 
I think for readers who like good bright music this album by Graeme Bell is a real 'must' - either for background-music or for the next time you take up the carpet to have a Dance-Party; I really thought it was great!  [review taken from The Journal Of Vintage Phonographic Society Of New Zealand
Well folks, I think the review above says it all. But don't get me wrong - I'm posting this WOCK of Vinyl post as a tribute to a great musician and therefore place it into the Obscure category.
Ripped from pristine vinyl which I came across at my local flee market, I've decided to provide it in glorious FLAC format. Full album artwork and label scans are included.
Track Listing
01 - Tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree

02 - Oh, babe, what would you say
03 - Heaven is my woman's love
04 - Candy man
05 - Mrs. Johnson's Happiness Emporium
06 - Clair
07 - Pretty maid
08 - Say, has anybody seen my sweet gypsy rose
09 - Top of the world
10 - Music, music, music
11 - Morning after
12 - Daisy a day
13 - Who was it?

Arranged by: Graeme Bell & Paul Furniss.
Band Members
Graeme Bell, piano,
Jim Saunders, trumpet;
Paul Furniss, alto, clarinet, soprano, flute, tin whistle;

John Costelloe, trombone, double B flat tuba;
Laurie Thompson, drums;
Harry Harman, electric bass, B flat tuba;
Keith Harris, banjo, acoustic guitar. 

Pop Goes Graeme Bell FLAC Link (261Mb)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Country Radio - Country Radio Live (1972)

(Australian 1971 - 1973)
In the early 70's, Country Radio headed up a small but impressive Australian country-rock community which included (post-bubblegum) Flying Circus, Axiom, Smaug, Sundown, Bluestone and a variety of Red McKelvie led outfits (including Powderhorn and Third Union band). Easily the most accomplished act of the genre, they scored hit singles, sold albums in reasonable quantity and appeared at the major rock festivals of the day (including Sunbury '73).

The band grew out of what was essentially a folk trio together with Go-Set journalist Greg Quill to record a singer-songwriter album for EMI's Harvest label in 1970. With guitarist Oriando Agostino, harmonica player Chris Blenchflower and the group Pirana, Quill (who also ran folk haunt 'The Shack' in the Sydney beachside suburb of Narrabeen) recorded Fleetwood Plain, a stark and impressive collection of personal songs which drew strong reviews and gave Quill a base to move boldly into electric country rock.

Adding bassist John Walsh and drummer Dave Hahhagan, Quill took Country Radio onto the rock circuit and held his own. However, membership changes were frequent and by 1972, by which time the band signed with Festival's Infinity label, there was effectively a brand new Country Radio, comprising Blackfeather pianist John A.Bird, drummer Tony Bolto, bassist John Dubois and multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, pedal steel, guitar, vocals) Kerryn Tolhurst.

In late 1971, Infinity single "Listen To The Children" was not picked up by radio but, in August 1972, the band broke through with the polished "Gypsy Queen". On the heels of this came an album, Country Radio Live, recorded before an invited audience at TCS Studios in Melbourne on 4 October, 1972. Phil manning and Broderick Smith also made contributions to this live album while John French mixed and produced this live album. It was an all-original work, with the exception of two superb songs by American singer-songwriter John Stewart - "Some Lonesome Picker" and "Never Goin' Back" (which had previously been recorded by the Lovin' Spoonful). A single from the album, Wintersong, became a minor hit in April 1973.

Wintersong was essentially the peak of the major line-up of Country Radio which managed a short tour of Canada before disintegrating early in 1973. While Kerryn went off forming The Dingoes in Melbourne with Broderick Smith from Carson (which John Dubois would also join) Greg Quill put together a new quartet version of Country Radio and recorded the tracks "I Need Woman", "Singing The Blues" and "Bound For South Australia". When the latter (a thumping reworking of a traditional folk song) failed as a single, Greg abandoned the band concept and started work on another solo album. All the tracks not on on country Radio Live were later mopped up on the album Gypsy Queen.

During 1974, Quill recorded the exceptionally accomplished John Sayers-produced album The Outlaw's Reply, with the musical assistance of former Country Radio members and Barry Leaf, Terry Walker, Peter Jones and Chris Neal. It was not received with any great consumer enthusiasm and by 1975, Greg was working extensively in Canada, which proved far more responsive to his music. With various ex-members of the Dingoes, Flying Circus and Sherbet, he put together a backing unit called Southern Cross, which took him through to 1978, when the band toured Australia, released the Elektra single "Been So Long" and split. He then signed as a solo entity with Canada's Attic Records and effectively disappeared from our lives.

Still a resident of canada, Greg resides in Toronto, where he is the city's leading rock and television journalist. He has written a book on Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones and is apprently working on a novel. Indeed, in the Northern Hemishere, his name is rarely directly associated with musical performance.
Down Under, he will long recall him as a fine singer, guitarist and songwriter who helped give a new dimension to a relatively narrow rock musician.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my weary and tired vinyl. Because my copy has seen better days, I have had to undertake some serious cleanup processes to get this rip.  The end product is far from being perfect but it is what it is.  Full album artwork is also included (some of which has been sourced many years ago - possibly Midoztouch) along with select band photos and label scans.
Country Radio consisted of many stalwarts of Aussie Rock who formed the platform for the legendary country-rock band The Dingoes and therefore deserve Hall Of Fame status in my opinion. Hope you enjoy this classic recording.
Track Listing
01 - Some Lonesome Picker
02 - Never Goin' Back
03 - Terry's Tune
04 - Listen To The Children
05 - Silver Spurs
06 - Gypsy Queen
07 - Last Time Around
08 - Wintersongs
09 - Observations From A Second Storey Window

Band Members:
Greg Quill - 6 and 12 string guitars, Vocals
Kerryn Tolhurst - Lead guitar, mandolin,dobro, steel guitar, vocals
John Dubois - Bass, vocals
Tony Bolton - Drums, vocals
John A.Bird - Acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond Organ
Chris Blanchflower - Mouth Harp 

Country Radio Live FLACs (258Mb)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fatty Lumpkin - Singles (1972 - 1976)

(Australian 1972 - 1976)
Although little remembered today, Fatty Lumpkin were (according to Ian McFarlane) a local institution in Perth in the early 1970s and the various lineups included some very notable musicians. Like several bands of the era (e.g. Galadriel) the group took its name from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, in this case his renowned fantasy novel The Hobbit (Fatty was Tom Bombadil's pony).

The original line-up was John Worrall, Roy Daniels, the great Lindsay Wells (ex-Healing Force) and Tom Watts. Worrall had been the original lead singer of noted Perth band Bakery and had performed on their two Singles and their debut LP, Rock Mass For Love LP. Worrall quit Bakery shortly after the LP was released in August 1971, joining Ssarb for several months before forming Fatty Lumpkin in 1972.

Fatty Lumpkin
Typically, the group went through numerous lineup changes, but there is little extant information about tenures, although Joyson states that lead guitarist John Meyer joined sometime between their first and second Singles.

Later members included other Bakery alumni -- Rex Bullen (a member of pioneering Canberra band The Bitter Lemons with Paul Lyneham, Bakery, Natural Gas), Phil Pruiti (Ex Current Bun - guitar), John Meyer (guitar), Jon Ryder (bass, vocals), David Little (drums), Bob Fortesque (bass), Warren Ward (bass) and Al Kash (drums). Fortesque and Kash will be known to OzRock aficionados  as the rhythm section in the mid-1970 lineup of John Robinson's Blackfeather, the version of the group that recorded their acclaimed debut LP At The Mountains Of Madness.

Warren Ward had been an  early member of country-rock pioneers The Flying Circus and also played in a post-Robinson Blackfeather lineup. Almost all of the members of Fatty Lumpkin also played in Perth band Ssarb at various times.

Fatty Lumpkin On Stage (Perth)
Fatty Lumpkin issued four singles over their four-year career; the first two were issued on Martin Clarke's Clarion label, the latter two were on Festival. The band split at the end of 1976. Ian McFarlane describes the singles as balancing "jazzy hard rock with lofty, flute-led progressive ballads (somewhere between Jethro Tull and Focus) replete with quasi-Santanaesque lead guitar from Meyer". Joyson is more specific, describing their debut single as comprising "two rough and rather frantic boogie numbers". He notes that the A-side of the second single ("Millionaire") was in a similar style, but that the sharply contrasting B-side was "a beautiful seven minute flute-dominated ballad with some lovely mellow guitar from Meyer." Regrettably, as far as we know, none of Fatty Lumpkin's recordings have yet been reissued on CD.

Discography - Singles
Oct. 1973
"Don't Knock My Boogie" / "Got to Get Back T' Nellie" (Clarion K-5271)

Jul. 1974
"Millionaire" / "Man Who Owns the Sea" (Clarion K-5566)

Jun. 1976
"Movin' "/ "One Way Road"  (Festival)

Dec. 1976
"Lemme Rock" / "Freedom" (Festival)

After Fatty Lumpkin ...
John Meyer went on to join the bands Everest, Saracen (who issued an independent self-titled album in 1986), Rose Tattoo and one of the more recent lineups of Chain.

John Meyer
John Meyer is an ‘old rocker’ at heart and apart from being a “top guy”, he isn’t sure why exactly he was inducted, but he does believe he is better known as a guitar player rather than for the bands he’s played in. For a guitarist who never envisioned himself playing beyond his twenties it is staggering then, that he has been inducted into the WAMIA ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ of Renown’ in 1993 and hence the WAM Hall of Fame (2004) in recognition of his extensive music career.

17 Yr Old Meyer
Born in ‘Three Springs’, WA and growing up in Perth in the 60s, Meyer was raised on jazz with a father who also played in a band. He first followed in his father’s footsteps, playing drums at a young age but soon moved on to guitar, citing the beguiling shape of the instrument for his change of preference. Meyer’s record collection extended from Eric Clapton to Muddy Waters, while growing up to the sounds of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but found the rawness of primal blues to be his passion.

By the age of sixteen, Meyer was already playing in pubs, “from memory the drinking age, for about a year, was still twenty-one, but nobody seemed to mind.” While Meyer has played in a number of bands his first one, which was ‘gigging regularly’, was a short-lived cover band called Stugwar Express (‘raw guts’ backwards); Meyer laughs as he recalls the nature of the music scene, “band gets together, gets a name, does a few gigs and breaks up”.

In 1972, at age seventeen, Meyer formed “progressive rock band” Fatty Lumpkin with New York drummer, Al Kash, plus others, which was an institution in its heyday. The name was that of Tom Bombadil’s horse in The Lord of the Rings, “we didn’t know it was a fat old horse at the time.” A few years into its lifespan, they had released some singles and received several offers from major labels to record an album in 1975, but at its peak in 1977 the band dispersed; “while we were ‘humming’ and ‘hah-ing’ about the deal the band broke up.”

Jon Ryder
Three of the original Fatty Lumpkin members however – Dave Little (drummer), Jon Ryder (bass player) and Meyer on guitar – reformed under the new name Everest, which played mostly originals but some Led Zeppelin covers. The band was tagged as three-piece heavy metal which Meyer attributes to the fact that they were not ‘poppy’; “We were a little bit more left-wing, I guess.”

Eventually in 1979 Meyer left Everest to play in another band called Airforce before he returned to the former, which once again underwent a new formation and name change as Saracen, becoming a popular band in pubs and on the touring circuit, while recording a self-titled album.

Finally, in the early 80s, Meyer left Saracen (which then became Trilogy) and made the move to Sydney where he felt there were more opportunities. There he played with bands Swanee, Sharon O’Neil and recorded ‘Southern Stars’ with the already well-established and successful Rose Tattoo after meeting front man ‘Angry Anderson’.

John Meyer and Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo)
Although his Rose Tattoo episode was a hugely enjoyable time for Meyer, the band was already highly successful and had its own original direction when he joined. “It was good to finally be in a band with a record deal, management and heaps of prospects”, but while Rose Tattoo paid the bills Meyer still yearned for his own creative outlet. His first love was “just playing guitar” and with Rose Tattoo he was not afforded the same creative freedom that he wanted. Meyer laughs when he says he missed playing “heaps of guitar solos and having a self-indulgent good time.” As a result, he left Rose Tattoo in late 1986 with the intention of going solo, but after a short break and issuing a self-titled independent album with John Meyer Band in Perth, Matt Taylor of the recently reformed and hugely successful 70s blues band Chain approached him to temporarily replace his lead guitarist Phil Manning. Blues being Meyer’s “first love” he eagerly accepted the “absolute honour” of filling the shoes of one of the greatest Australian blues guitarists and returned to Sydney in 1987 to play with a band he used to watch in his mid-teens.

John Meyer
In 1991, Meyer left Chain and returned to Perth and the John Meyer Band, finally realising his dream of releasing a completely instrumental guitar album in 1992. Meyer acknowledges the LP as a personal yardstick; “I’m still proud of that album,” and although, according to Meyer, it “didn’t set the world on fire” it did win a few awards and has been used a lot on TV as background music for a number of motor sport programs which – being a fan himself – gave him “a bit of a buzz”.

Now settled in Perth, Meyer shows no signs of slowing down, working six days a week; recording in his studio, tutoring guitar privately, playing the occasional gig and, until recently, writing jingles for TV and radio. He still performs, although not as much as he used to, mainly at the Perth Blues Club and Blue to the Bone, with a spin-off of the John Meyer Band called John Meyer’s Blues Express. They released a self-titled album in 2004 and played at the Bridgetown Blues Festival. The album, having received good airplay on blues stations around the world, selling overseas and receiving fair reviews, rekindled Meyer’s enthusiasm for his music and he is subsequently working on a new album.

During his career as a guitarist Meyer has been employed as a session guitarist for over forty albums. He has also started a record label “JMP” and, apart from his paying clientele, Meyer is also recording and producing a very young rock band – their ages ranging between fourteen and seventeen – Fringe Benefit.

While Meyer doesn’t see a great deal of music now – only occasionally going to the Indi Bar in Scarborough where he lives – he does hear a lot; “In my twenties I used to be down there every night, but now I’ve got a pool to clean and lawns to mow.” He also makes it a point of supporting the industry where he can, avidly reading XPress and purchasing Groove magazine. From what he’s heard he’s very impressed with the high standard of contemporary Perth bands. Two bands he’s been “blown away” by are Toby and Code Red and Dave Mann Collective. Apart from any band that he’s played in, of course, Meyer cites Dave Hole as a favourite Perth musician. While of the 80s and early 90s it could only be The Never-Never with Peter Bush.

Meyer calls the Perth music scene an industry now, and “a melting pot of different styles and influences.” Because of it’s distance – more so in the past – artists who were denied the chance of seeing many of the ‘top-line’ acts tried to match the standard of an album, which was frequently far superior to a band’s live performance. “Quite often you’d go and see a band that sound great on an album, but when you actually see them live, they’re not nearly as good.”

John Meyer Today
Meyer recalls the 80s as being an incredible time after he names the old City Hotel as a favourite past venue, on the corner of Murray and King St; “the pub would only hold 300 people and we’d get 400, we just used cram them in there every Friday night.” Meyer does believe there has been a public shift away from live music, but in those days every pub had a band and the ‘Sunday Sessions’ were an institution; “They used to open from 4:30 to 7:30 on a Sunday afternoon; whether talking about The Raffles Hotel, or the Kewdale, or Cleo’s in Fremantle these places would be packed… there were probably more car accidents then too.” Nowadays it is much harder to draw a crowd; “we didn’t have the AFL, no Casino, Foxtel didn’t exist, we didn’t have CD’s or DVD burners… you name it.” Meyer even recalls an old Perth newspaper called The Daily News, which had six pages devoted to music entertainment; “Even when I went to Sydney in the early 80’s, I’d tell people about what the music scene in Perth was like and they just could not believe it. It was definitely different.” [extract from WAM Hall Of Fame]

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from Fatty Lumpkin's four 7" Singles and includes all label scans.  A big thank you to WoodyNet who allowed me to provide his 'custom' artwork for this post. Thanks to Dave at the original Midoztouch website for these rarities.
My favourite track is the brilliant B-Side "The Man Who Owns The Sea" which could have easily been an A-Side, but I suspect its 7 minute length prevented this from happening.
Grab these while you can, cos' copies of Fatty Lumpkin singles fetch many hundreds of dollars on eBay. 
01 - Don't Knock My Boogie (A-Side)
02 - Got To Get Back T' Nellie (B-Side)
03 - Millionaire (A-Side)
04 - The Man Who Owns The Sea (B-Side)
05 - Movin' (A-Side)
06 - One Way Road (B-Side)
07 - Lemme Rock (A-Side)
08 - Freedom (B-Side)
Fatty Lumpkin Link (74Mb) New Link 09/09/2018


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Grateful Dead - Live Unapproved (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1965 - 1995)
From the 1960s until the 1995 death of guitarist, singer-songwriter Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead played roughly 2,300 long, freeform concerts that touched down on their own country-, blues and folk –tinged songs, and on a similarly wide range of cover versions. Along the way, they popularized the concept of the jam band, influencing thousands of songwriters and basement improvisers and earning themselves maybe the most loyal fans a rock band have ever had.

Nearly as famous as the band itself were its legions of "Deadheads" — predominantly white men who have lovingly preserved the era that spawned the Dead by emulating their Summer of Love predecessors' philosophy and that period's accoutrements: tie-dye clothing, hallucinogenic drugs, and the Dead's music. These fans supported the band with an almost religious fever, following the group around the country, trading tapes of live concerts (something the band allowed as long as it wasn't for profit, providing prime spots for tapers at shows), and providing a synergy between band and audience that was unique in rock. In true psychedelic style, the Grateful Dead preferred the moment to the artefact — but to keep those moments coming, the Dead evolved into a far-flung and smoothly run corporate enterprise that, for all its hippie trimmings, drew admiring profiles in the financial and mainstream press.

As the band evolved over the years, Jerry Garcia becomes the leader of the band. Not that all this causes any great friction. The Dead has always been a band without a leader and without a plan. Jerry does everything humanly possible to live down this role, but sooner or later he is thrust into that position. And he is a natural leader. He grew up with it. His dad, who was a leader of a Dixieland band, knew what it took to hold anywhere from ten to 15 instruments together. And when the Grateful Dead turns into the Hippie Buffalo Bill Show, Jerry is the obvious focal point. He's the innovator. The symbol. There will be no ice cream flavors named after Phil Lesh.
The Grateful Dead's manner of writing songs is a haphazard, hit-or-miss business. Nothing is nailed down. First the guys try out their songs in front of an audience. For most groups a song is written and arranged, then is put out on record. The tracks get played on radio. Only then does the band go out On the Road and back up the record. It basically lip-synchs its own songs. But Dead sets are four-hour exercises in "let's see what happens." Never have a playlist, never write it down.

There is no such thing as a finished Dead song. It always changes. You never know what will pop up at a Dead concert, or in what form it will appear. The main thing is the freedom to fuck up. This is something we took to heart from all those acid tests. Bobby Weir will often forget a new song in front of 15,000 people. The crowd loves it.
What is that? It's a new song. And the Dead don't make announcements. They don't say, "This is from our new album, it's called 'New Potato Caboose.'" If they can't remember it, they just stumble through it, make a mistake and get back to the groove. If they sort out tentatively because someone in the band can't remember the changes, then it just becomes a hiccup of a song and they slide into something else.

Sometimes it takes two or three years of performing a song before it gets a personality. It's only through playing these tunes to a live audience that you would ever get such a radical transformation of "Good Lovin'", which began life as a funky boogaloo and then after years of being played and leaned on turned into a reggae island hip-hop number. But despite all the fiddling with songs and procrastination, the Dead eventually develop a big book of songs. In the seventies we played a five-night stand in San Francisco and repeated only four songs. At the closing of Winterland in San Francisco some fans hung a huge banner that said: 1535™ NIGHT SINCE YOU LAST PLAYED "DARK STAR." Now, that's devotion. [extract from Dead Reckonings: The Life And Times Of The Grateful Dead, by John Rocco. Schirmer Trade Books, 1999. p90-91]
Based on the track listings for this bootleg it is my opinion that these recordings were made in 1977 and probably originated from their Buffalo Memorial Auditorium NY. concert - 9th May, 1977.
The following are some first hand reviews of this concert.
Review1 [Dylan M, 2007]
May 5th-9th in 1977 found the dead in their top form, and this show is no exception, infact it is proof to any nay sayers of late 70s dead (how could you be?) This show is perfect. Keith isn't blackout wasted and is hitting his key solos with perfection. Bobby actually hits some interesting riffs, specifically in Bertha. Donna isn't overwhelming Bobby or Jerry vocally. Phil is experimenting like never before on the fretless. These are the most Intense Phil Bombs on the Deads entire career.

Without spelling out the whole setlist which is all amazing (except for Sunrise, but that goes without saying, and was expected in 77') I'll point out the highlights.

Franklin's Tower opener is quite a treat with the band in high vocal form and no slacker moments in the slipknot jam. Phil and Bobby seem to have a mutual understanding of what needs to happen in this.
The only time anyone messes up in this show is when Jerry forgets the words during Franklin's Tower..."One Watch.....if you get confused, listen to the music play!" Makes for a classic version of the song. A perfect show if there ever was one. Quintessential versions of Peggy-O, Comes A Time, Uuncle Johns Band, Music Never Stopped and Cassidy.

Another set 1 topper seems to be Big River which is spectacular. Each instrument is relevant and no one is "soloing", everyone is cooperating.

Many reviewers have mentioned Music Never Stopped as being great here. Again we get some outrageous Phil bombs with a faster, more intense solo than used to from Jerry in this song. I almost felt twinges of the guitar energy displayed in numbers like the Eleven from 1969 fillmore shows. Never would Garcia play guitar this sharply or intensly again.

Second set is magic time and dosn't nessesarilly follow the second set formula. Bertha->Good Lovin smokes and Ship of Fools, while a wonderful song, squashes the energy from the 1st two songs.

This bootleg tape is always, always with me wherever I go and is a prerequisite for long road trips.

What do the Dead do after playing 08/05/77? They drop the heat on us with this.
Everybody knows 08/05/77: the Legendary Cornell show. But with all the hoopla surrounding that one specific date, it seems that many folks have blocked out the amazing music that surrounded that incredible musical experience. Case in point: the following night in Buffalo. The energy from the previous night is channelled into perhaps the best version of Help>Slip>Franklin’s of the year. Gone is the meandering mellowness of 1976. This is the Dead at their finest. The boys are on fire. The transitions are spot on and Jerry’s vocals and guitar work on Franklin’s Tower are magnificent. My four favourite versions of this trifecta are One From The Vault, Beacon Theatre, 06/14/76, this version here and the beauty that is the opening sequence of Without A Net.

The Grateful Dead 1977, with singer Donna Jean Godchaux

The rest of the first set is perfect Dead: Brown-Eyed Women shines with Americana and Jerry pours his heart into the solos. Bobby’s clean slide work compliments Jerry’s fiery guitar as the boys flow into a traditional Bobby Mexicali. Tennessee Jed follows and Jerry is on as always. I have a huge affection towards a well-played Big River. This one here…well, just listen. Johnny Cash wrote it. Bobby sings it. But Jerry makes it his own. Take a listen after Keith’s piano solo. Pure magic. This is vintage Garcia. Billy fills in with a beautiful flourish and we wind down into Peggy-O. Has there ever been a more beautiful Garcia tune? Vocals, guitar work, timing…perfect. Jerry’s first solo takes us far, far away and then gently brings us back. Tales of rejection and triumphant return entwine beautifully, while we, the listener, are reminded of a time when worry was closer to home. Why do we find this experience so emotional? Ask any deadhead and you will get a different answer. History combines with beauty. Why am I listening to a band that I only saw live once? Why do I feel an instant affinity to any person that I hear playing the boys? Well, the music lives on and hopefully I can forward some of the experience to all of you. That the music lives on and continues to gain listeners is a testament to the integrity of the band. The spark that was lit back in my formative years has grown and I hope that I have helped turn on a few friends along the way. I will just leave it at this: do those first notes of Eyes of the World always make you smile? No matter where you are or what you are doing? 
“Right outside this lazy summer home….”

Sunrise is standard as always, but my goodness…The Music Never Stopped. This song was born in 1976, but the Band brought it to its height in 1977. If I were to pick my favorite Donna accompaniment, it would be the Music Never Stoppeds from 1976-1978 or the Wharf Rats from the same era. All else aside, this version is one of the best from 1977 and may be the best from the late 1970’s.
A beautiful Bertha begins the second set. Jerry, Bobby and Phil charge through and bring the first set magic right to the forefront. A predictable Good Lovin’ flows into Ship of Fools. Jerry brings everything down, down, down only to launch into Estimated. This tune was still relatively new to the band having only been introduced during the Terrapin Station recording sessions. Any hesitancy the band may have had at the February Swing Auditorium show has now dissipated. Estimated is here to stay. Jerry’s thwunky wah goads Phil right into The Other One.
For astute listeners, Jerry’s signature 1977 “growl” can be heard in evolution throughout 1976. Swing Auditorium 1977 is really where the 1977 “Jerry growl” takes over. Throughout 1976, Jerry’s tone can be heard to flow in and out of the “signature growl.” Sometimes we hear him almost all the way there and then at other times we hear the individual beauty of 1976. An overlooked year indeed: a transition year. But if you catch yourself with an ear for the Dead, you will recognize 1976 right out of the gate. Such is the beauty of the Dead. When you know, you know.

Buffalo Ticket Stubb
The Other One is one of the Dead’s primal tunes. Here we get a dark, yet fully satisfying version that flows into early Dead psychedelia while maintaining the feel of late 1970’s Dead. Mickey and Billy intersperse a brief drum interval and then the band falls into Not Fade Away. The boys have been playing this tune since 1970 and are quite aware of where they can take it. The drums thunder as Jerry finds inexplicable note combinations and the band builds towards an inexorable crescendo, only to find all the instruments fade away… except Jerry.
The haunting notes of Comes a Time slowly emerge: a solo Jerry tune that was worked seamlessly into the Dead repertoire. Pure emotion. The end solo section is pristine. And then we come to every deadhead’s favorite tune: Sugar Magnolia. I cannot say I ever liked this tune, but you become numb to it after a while.
The Dead were never known for playing the best encores. But honestly, I will take an Uncle John’s Band encore any day. From a historical perspective: a fitting send-off to a brilliant three-night run. The Grateful goddamn Dead!
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my MOJO CD and includes the usual 'red generic artwork' and accompanying concert photos.  This is a great recording, with the sound quality almost rating a 10/10 (definitely a soundboard recording).   Although not the complete concert this sample of 7 tracks provides some of the highlights from their 4th show in May, 1977- and is closely associated with their legendary Cornell concert held the night before.  Hope all you 'Deadheads' out their enjoy this one - if you haven't heard it before.
Track Listing
01 - The Music Never Stopped
02 - Cassidy
03 - Bertha
04 - Good Lovin'
05 - Tennessee Jed
06 - Ship Of Fools
07 - Franklin's Tower
Grateful Dead were:
Jerry Garcia - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Weir - Guitar, Vocals
Phil Lesh - Bass Guitar
Bill Kreutzmann - Drums/Percussion
Mickey Hart - Drums/Percussion
Keith Godchaux - Keyboards, Vocals
Donna Godchaux - Vocals

Grateful Dead Live Link1 (129Mb) New Link 22/12/2023

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crossfire - Hysterical Rochords (1982)

(Australian 1974 - 1983)
Crossfire were an Australian jazz-fusion band active from 1974 to 1983, which recorded five studio albums. The primary composers of the group were founding members Jim Kelly (guitars) and Michael Kenny (keyboards, piano). Other members of Crossfire included Ian Bloxsom (percussion, glockenspiel), Greg Lyon and Phil Scorgie (electric bass), Don Reid and Tony Buchanan (saxophones, flute), John Proud, Doug Gallacher, Steve Hopes, and Mark Riley (drums).

Crossfire were a jazz-fusion band formed in Sydney in 1974 with a line-up of Ian Bloxsom on percussion, Tony Buchanan on saxophone, Steve Hopes on drums, Jim Kelly on guitar, Michael Kenny on piano and Greg Lyon on bass guitar. Bloxsom, Kelly and Kenny had been band mates in Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly. The ensemble issued a self-titled debut album late in 1975, with a line-up of Bloxsom; Kelly; Kenny on keyboards and trumpet; Lyon on bass guitar and vocals; John Proud on drums and Don Reid on reeds. Rock Australia Magazine's Felicity Surtees found that the group had "gone past the stage of being just a creative outlet and has become a major part of their lives." Lyon described their style, "what we play is contemporary music. We're influenced by everyone really... It allows everyone to be creative."

Crossfire 1978
Crossfire were the first Australian artists to use direct-to-disc recording for their aptly titled second album, ''Direct to Disc, in late 1978. It was produced and engineered by Alan Thorne and issued by Trafalgar Records/RCA. For the album, the line-up was Bloxsom; Kenny on Wurlitzer piano and flugelhorn; Lyon; and Kelly; joined by Doug Gallacher on drums; and Don Reid on saxophones and flute. Michael Foster of the Canberra Times felt "their music displays many moods — playful and joyous, eerie and somber — always sensitive, reflecting the influences and experiences of each player." He emphasised "the effect gained by the horns, which seem to hang suspended a lot of the time against a backdrop of the instruments which normally carry rhythm, and the percussion group. The rhythm and percussion instruments often, as is the way since bop, step outside their roles as custodians of time and measure, and establish their own rights to individual actions."

Jim Kelly
The group's third album, East of Where (1980), was issued on WEA and was co-produced by Kelly, Kenny and Martin Benge. All the tracks were written by Kelly or Kenny. For this album Bloxsom, Buchanan, Hopes, Kelly and Kenny were joined by Phil Scorgie bass guitar. Foster found there was "more humour in this album than in the previous one. The music is of the same genre, but there is a certain wryness in the approach to its work, by one of Australia's most exciting bands." Although "there are times when it gets a little heavy, but generally the music lifts and soars, and is fun to listen to."

Crossfire were the backing band for the American jazz singer Michael Franks on an Australian tour, which provided a live album, Michael Franks with Crossfire Live (1980). In late 1982 they issued their fourth studio album, Hysterical Rochords, again with Kelly, Kenny and Benge co-producing. The line-up was Bloxsom, Buchanan, Hope, Kelly, Kenny and Scorgie. The Canberra Times' W. L. Hoffman noticed that "there are six tunes, all of them interesting and, again, all of them written by [Kelly or Kenny]." Hoffman praised the title track, "it is a neatly structured, very bluesy piece, with Ton Buchanan's saxophone threading through the tune, bringing it all together" while "the sounds continue on the second side, smooth, singing music as is characteristic of Crossfire."

Crossfire 1982

During 1982 Crossfire undertook an international tour through India, Holland, England and the United States. The group's performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival on 16 July 1982 was recorded. It was released as their second live album, Live at Montreux (July 1983). The ensemble were Bloxsom on percussion and mallets, Buchanan on saxophones and shakers, Kelly, Kenny, Lyon and Mark Riley on drums. Eric Myers declared, in the July-August edition of Jazz magazine, that the gig showed the group "playing original music that is an outgrowth of our own culture, can take their place on the international stage with the best of them ... a great moment for Crossfire and a high point for Australian music." The group disbanded later that year. Their performance at the Basement in Sydney was broadcast on ABC radio's The Burrows Collection for the episode, "Ten Years On – The Basement" in August 1984.[10] The gig had included guest vocals from Erana Clark and Barry Leaf.

Crossfire reunited briefly in 1991 and issued another album, Tension Release; with the line-up of Bloxsom, Buchanan, Hopes, Kelly, Kenny and Lyon. In July that year they promoted its release with a series of gigs in Sydney.[extract from wikipedia]

Album Review from Canberra Times (11/10/1982)
CROSSFIRE is also an all-Australian group, and I suppose it is appropriate to add my own prejudices to the nationalism which has been so evident these past many days, with Brisbane the epicentre.

There arc six tunes, all of them interesting and, again, all of them written by group members. Keyboard player Michael Kenny wrote the title track (two on side one), 'Youth In Asia' (3/1) and 'Trinity' (2/2); Guitarist Jim Kelly wrote 'No Hands Jive' (1/1), 'Miles Away' (1/2) and 'Let It Slide Down Easy' (3/2). Those two, with Martin Benge, produced the album.

Tony Buchanan
'No Hands Jive' has a Caribbean influence. 'Hysterical Rochords' is nothing like the music implied in the title. Indeed it is a neatly structured, very bluesy piece, with Ton Buchanan's saxophone threading through the tune, bringing it all together.

Again, the music is somewhat different to what is expected from the title of 'Youth In Asia'. There are some passages which hint at Asian subtleties, but Buchanan again seems to be in charge and rather seems to wail like a West Coaster on the rampage.

The sounds continue on the second side, smooth, singing music as is characteristic of Crossfire. Ian Bloxsom's percussion, Phil Scorgie's bass and Steve Hopes' drums are all of importance in the rounded sound.

It is a sound which is distinctive, easy on the ears and which swings. It, too, is Australian, and very good indeed.

Michael Kenny
Another Review 
by Mr MarcGorium's Wonder Emporium

Hysterical Rochords was the fourth album from Australian fusion group Crossfire. This album contains six pieces, all pretty generic jazz fusion, and far more poppy than other jazz fusion albums. If you’re into the 70s era of Zappa, but don’t want the comical side, then this is the album for you.

To be honest, I can’t really find a fault in the performances. The arrangements are quite nice, and there are plenty of nice uses of different instruments all over the place. The hooks on some of the songs are quite good too, and it’s all very clean. There in lies the problem however – it’s just sort of… too polished. There is very little emotion coming from these tracks, and instead it’s just very well executed jazz rock.

Stand out track is the 10 minute ‘Youth In Asia’, which, despite the title, didn’t actually make me want to end my own life. Pretty good music all round, but it will leave you feeling like you needed just a bit more.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my virgin vinyl and features full album artwork for both CD & Vinyl formats, plus label scans. This is another great album from one of the best jazz rock bands to have come out of Australian. This album is also very hard to find, so you might want to grab yourself a copy here, before it becomes a truly 'historical record'. LOL

Track Listing 
01 - No Hands Jive 5:08
02 - Hysterical Rochords 6:54
03 - Youth in Asia 10:05
04 - Miles Away 5:43
05 - Trinity 7:38
06 - Let It Slide Down Easy 5:36

Crossfire were:
Jim Kelly - Guitars
Michael Kenny - Keyboards
Ian Bloxson - Percussion, Mallets
Tony Buchanan - Sax, Flute, Clarinet
Phil Scorgie - Bass
Steve Hopes - Drums

Crossfire FLAC Link (260Mb) New Link 18/12/2023

Friday, April 6, 2018

Various Artists - Rock Made In Germany '79 (1979)

(Germany 1978-79)
German rock music (Deutschrock) came into its own only by the late 1960s, but spawned many bands and were often referred to as Krautrock artists. Mostly instrumental, the signature sound of Krautrock mixed rock music and "rock band" instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) with electronic instrumentation and textures, often with what would now be described as an ambient music sensibility. Bands such as Can, Kraftwerk, & Tangerine Dream come to mind, while heavier bands such as Scorpions, Eloy and Jane also fit the bill.
This compilation of German bands was released by Electrola (a subsidiary of EMI) in 1979 and features some of the bands listed above.  The thing I really like about Electrola releases is that they are German pressings and the quality of their recordings are excellent, similar to Japanese quality.
A couple of relatively unknown bands in amongst some regulars, makes this sampler a mixed bag for Krautrock collectors.
Track: I Don't Even Know Your Name
Album: A La Carte
Personnel: JURGEN FRITZ - Keyboards, vocals

This is probably the best internationally known German symphonic rock band. Triumvirat's music was very keyboard-oriented, earning their reputation as the German equivalent of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Ekseption or P.F.M. It is tempting to think that these bands always attempted to outdo each other with their pompous, vast instrumental exhibitions, often based firmly on classical themes. In addition, Triumvirat's conceptual albums were often based around moments from European history. Organist and leader Jurgen Fritz assembled the original trio in 1970. In 1971 Hans Pape become their bassist and participated in the recording of their first album Mediterranean Tales in the Electrola Studio, Cologne, January 1972. Hans Pape later quit and was replaced by Helmut Kollen. Illusions On A Double Dimple (1974) did so well in the USA that it entered the Billboard charts! It was the combination of accessible symphonic-progressive music coupled with good marketing by EMI that made this possible!
In Germany, however, the band wasn't able to sell its' records so well. In the press, their music was slaughtered by the overcool music journalists, then as now! Spartacus (1975) is considered by many to be Triumvirat's best album. Old Loves Die Hard (1976) saw the addition of the vocalist Barry Palmer and the re-instatement of former bassist Dick Frangenberg. This album sweetened their style, moving them dangerously close to supermarket-muzak.
The band underwent several personal changes (including the loss of vocalist Helmut Köllen, who died of carbon monoxide as he listened to some of his studio songs in the car while the engine was running in his garage). The band ended in 1980 with the release of their final album, Russian Roulette. The featured track "I Don't Even Know Your Name" comes from their sixth studio album 'A La Carte' released in 1978

Lilac Angels
Track: Hard To Be Free
Album: Hard To Be Free
Personnel: JOE STICK - Vocals, guitar, keyboards
BODO STAIGER - Guitar, vocals
PETER WOLLEC - Bass, vocals

Groups like Lilac Angels were quite rare in Germany in the early seventies - they were not too keen on musical experiments, but more interested in making good time rock'n'roll music, inspired by Rolling Stones and rhythm & blues in general. Surprisingly enough, the band was groomed by Klaus Dinger (of Neu and La Dusseldorf), who produced their first album and released it on his own short-lived Dingerland label. The recordings were done in March and April 1973 in Windrose studios, Hamburg, with Konrad Plank engineering. With titles like "Rock'n'Roll Hand" and "Hard Lovin' Man" you know what to expect!   Lilac Angels were rather the traditional rock band, with their conservative glam rock appeal, they were supposed to be more successful.
In Rudi Esch's google book 'Electri_City: The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music', Bodo Staiger states "The Lilac Angels were like a springboard for me. We were a glam rock band who often played live. I was studying guitar at the time and was in my training. I simply wanted to play. Although the Lilacs were not a great love, at that time they were just right for me. We played pieces written by Joe Stick, he was the singer, songwriter and band leader.
As the Lilacs we released two albums; the first to launch Klaus' label 'Dingerland' in 1974, and the second one recorded with me in 1977, then released through EMI Electrola in 1978, before we split in 1979."
The featured track "Hard To Be Free" is taken from their second studio LP of the same name, released in 1978.

Track: Sunday Jam
Album: Self-titled
Personnel: ROSCO GEE - Bass, Vocals
MICHAEL KAROLI - Guitar, Vocals
REEBOP KWAKU BAAH - Percussion, Vocals

German experimental rock band formed in Cologne circa 1968, initially as Inner Space and becoming "The Can" when fronted by black American singer Malcolm Mooney. Can are well-known as one of the key pioneers of Krautrock, particularly during the era when fronted by Japanese singer Kenji "Damo" Suzuki who "turned their sound towards a crazy mixture of improvisation, noise, mantra and funk rhythms". They were constantly at the forefront of the scene during their 10+ year history, composed music for a number of esteemed feature films, and their pop satire single "I Want More" became an international hit, while their 1971 hit album "Tago Mago" still sells strong today and is considered to be their finest hour.
Their featured track "Sunday Jam" was taken from their self-titled release from 1979 (not 1978 as stated on the album cover) and was Can's last release before splitting and taking a seven year hiatus.
This release is seriously underrated in my opinion. While the band's last few albums saw them drift into a pit of mediocrity, 'Can' is a return to form, in a way. No, this couldn't pass for a
Damoera album at all, but it's a lot tighter sounding than anything since 'Soon Over Babaluma'. "All Gates Open", "A Spectacle" and "Sunday Jam" are probably the best songs Can made post-Babaluma. While some have called it another disco sellout album, it's a hell of a lot better than the incredibly mediocre 'Out of Reach' and 'Saw Delight'. Even the often-slagged-on "Can Can" is pretty enjoyable in sort of a novel way. While this is not anywhere near their earlier albums, it really doesn't deserve to be overlooked.

Track: Blame It On These Endless Nights
Album: Selftitled
Personnel: BERND UNGER - Guitar, backing vocals, claves, maracas, autoharp, tambourine.
WALTER SEYFFER - Lead vocals, cabasa, backing vocals, tambourine, triangle.

As Nine Days Wonder disbanded in 1979, Seyffer and Unger kept together as Wintergarden. They had enough of being independent and forced themselves to get a major deal. Electrola signed a contract. The deal made it possible to record an album without any financial restrictions. Some very famous German musicians were featured on their first album Wintergarden: Chuck Trevor [Thomas Tscheschner] from Karthago and Kin Ping Meh on bass, Ian Cussick sang backing vocals and Dieter Arendt on drums [both Lake]. Christian Schimanski played the pedal steel guitar.
This debut album sold 50.000 copies. Not enough for Electrola but enough to let them record a second one (The Land of Milk & Honey). As success failed the record company wanted to decide over the next album. Seyffer and Unger quit the contract.
In the end their publisher wanted a third album. The duo pressed some demo recordings on vinyl and committed it to the publisher.

Track: Always Somewhere
Album: Lovedrive
Personnel: ULRICH ROTH - Guitar

This well known heavy rock band is listed here mainly due to the significance of their first album Lonesome Crow (1972), released on the green Brain label. From the album's catalogue number, you will see that this was the first album on the Brain 1,000 series! Their debut was way better than those albums that brought Scorpions international fame - much more experimental and 'progressive' in sound!  Their ace guitarist Michael Schenker left soon after this album for international adventures with the heavy metal group U.F.O. (their first albums were also great!). He'd met this group when Scorpions supported U.F.O.'s German-tour. This left Scorpions under the command of Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker, who re-launched the band with Fly To The Rainbow on RCA in 1974. Their new guitarist Ulrich Roth provided some interesting moments on their albums up to 1978. Scorpions gradually established themselves as the leading heavy metal band in Germany as their creative energy decreased and horrible heavy ballads (their trade mark) became their trademark.

Prior to Lovedrive's recording, from which the featured track "Always Somewhere" is taken, the Scorpions' lineup had a major change when their lead guitarist, Uli Jon Roth, quit the group (not to mention, the rock genre was rapidly changing). With this in mind, the band not only highlighted the album with the licks and riffs of three guitarists (Rudolf Schenker, Michael Schenker, Matthias Jabs), but they also dramatically changed their style to sound more like that of Van Halen. This change is quite welcome; not only are the performances more unpredictable, but the lyrics and melodies are better written. In fact, some of the Scorpions' best songs, such as "Loving You Sunday Morning," "Holiday," and of course "Always Somewhere" are found here, making it one of their finest releases.

Eberhard Schoener
Track: Octogon
Album: Video Magic
Personnel: EBERHARD SCHOENER - Keyboards
STING - Bass Guitar, Vocals
EVERT FRATERMAN - Drums, Percussion

Eberhard Schoener has been a very influential character on the German rock scene, not due to his recorded output, but as an inspirational source and general advisor for up and coming musicians. He was born the 13 May 1938 in Stuttgart. Between 1952 and 1958 he studied violin and conducting in Detmold. In 1962 he founded the Munich Youth Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted for eight years. From 1966 he become the artistic manager and premier conductor of the Munich Kammeroper. He was the man who brought the first moog synthesizer to Germany in 1968. He experimented a lot with this instrument at the Bavaria studio in Munich and encouraged Florian Fricke to buy one. Schoener's synthesizer experiments were documented on his first three solo albums, two of which were moog adaptations of classical music in the style of Walter Carlos. The third one comprised similar adaptations of American folk and country music!  His work with the Munich Kammeroper in collaboration with Procol Harum (Germany-tour 1972) and Jon Lord (presenting the "Gemini Suite" live) was more significant. Jon Lord was and is a long-term friend of Schooner. Meditation (1974) was his first electronic work in its own right, inspired by an extended trip to Asia. It was another one of Schoener's many attempts to merge different musical traditions. With Tony Ashton (vocals, piano, organ), David Coverdale (vocals), Ray Fenwick (guitar), Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals, guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Pete York (drums) and two opera singers he led the ambitious classical and rock fusion project Windows. With the exception of Bali-Agung, an uncommon merging of Balinese traditional music and rock with Pete York and Sigi Schwab (guitar), all the Harvest albums were further classical and rock concept albums with contributions from famed musicians like Andy Summers (guitar). Steward Copeland (drums). Sting (bass) and Olaf Kubler (sax).

The featured track "Octogon" is taken from Schoener's collaborative album with The Police, entitled 'Video Magic'. Although Schoener's atmospheric washes of keyboards are to be duly noted, the undeniable focus of interest here is the constant presence of guest backing band the Police. For Police fanatics, this album is a real find: not so good as a "lost" Police album, perhaps, but better than the Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack. Summers' guitar takes on a rockier sound than usual, and Copeland's drumming work is as tight and propulsive as ever. Sting's bass and vocals here are often low in the mix, with his voice echoing and mantra-like in repetition. This is used to wonderful effect in the pulsing "Why Don't You Answer" and the soaring opening track, "Trans-Am." Even a bit of rapid-fire urban narrative is indulged in "San Francisco Waitress." This all isn't as much of an aberration as new wave Police fans might think: the band had hidden prog-rock roots, as Summers was an early Soft Machine alum and Copeland a veteran of Curved Air. This album, and Schoener's influence, caught the Police at a turning point in their development from a guitar band in Zenyatta Mondatta to a moodier studio band with a broader sonic palette in Ghost in the Machine.

Track: Ausflug
Album: Flyday
Personnel: PETER WOLBRANDT - Guitars, vocals, strings, percussion
INGO BISCHOF - Keyboards
HELMUT HATTLER - Bass, percussion, backing vocals

The name Kraan was short, concise and meant absolutely nothing. Still the band was to become one of the most important and stylistically characteristic German jazz-rock bands of the seventies. Kraan was formed in Ulm (south of Stuttgart) in 1970. All members had their backgrounds in free jazz bands. Johannes "Alto" Pappert on his side had a passion for soul, but came to Kraan directly from a rock band. Their debut album was recorded in May 1972 and later released on Spiegelei in a colourful fold-out sleeve. It contained their basic live repertoire at the time (and also favourites for years to come) like: "Kraan Arabia" (a cunning jazz trip into Eastern music) "Sarah's Ritt Durch den Schwarzwald" and "Head" (an 18 minute long improvisation). A remarkable album, it was recorded in just three days at Studio 70, Munich. Instrumentally it was well-balanced between Pappert, Wolbrandt and the outstanding bass-work of Hattler, then just 20 years old but already a master of his instrument.

The two following albums, Wintrup (1973) and Andy Nogger (1974), were similar in style. They sold quite well, even gaining a release in the States. In those days, Kraan toured Germany a lot and were renowned for their great performances full of improvisations. The excitement of a Kraan concert was caught perfectly on Live (1975) - one of the best German live albums of all time! Improved versions of many of their old songs were included with extended solos. The live album was recorded at Quartier Latin in Berlin in September 1974.

In 1975 Kraan made two tours in the United Kingdom and also appeared at the Danish Roskilde festival in July, now adding a fifth member: Ingo Bischof. He had previously been a member of Karthago. Let It Out (1975) proved to be a disappointment (for the band as well) and Bischof left at the end of the year. After one German tour and a third UK tour Pappert also left in August 1976 to go solo.

The featured track "Ausflug" is taken from their 1978 album comeback album called 'Flyday', a noteworthy effort after two previously lackluster releases. The band goes for a more straightforward  progressive rock/jazz fusion blend than ever before, and guitarist Peter Wolbrandt in particular sounds like he is enjoying every minute of it. Bischof's keyboards are played with taste and  restraint, unlike some other releases on which he seems to be intent on cramming as many notes as possible into a measure regardless of whether they belong here. The experimental textures and  abrupt time signature changes that characterized their early work are gone, and with them some of the excitement, but there are compensations. While it doesn't rank with the very best of their previous work, 'Flyday' is a very respectable effort that shows that there was still plenty of life in a very talented group.

Track: Pilot To Paradise
Album: Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes
Personnel:  FRANK BORNEMANN - Acoustic, effect & electric guitars, lead vocals
DETLEV SCHMIDTCHEN - Grand pianos, Fender Rhodes, Hammond M3, Mini-Moog & ARP synths, Solina & Hohner String ensembles, RMI keyboard computer, backing vocals
KLAUS-PETER MATZIOL - Alembic bass, Moog Taurus pedals, backing vocals
JURGEN ROSENTHAL - Drums, percussion, flute

A bona-fide space rock classic. 'Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes' finds these German greats at their most expansive, with extended instrumental sections, fantastical lyrics, and their trademark sleek yet far-out, synth- and organ-fueled sound.

"Pilot To Paradise" is taken from Eloy's seventh studio album  'Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes' which was released in 1979 and it's sometimes called as the last classic Eloy album. When people talk about the best albums of this prog German band, this album usually gets mentioned. And it's not hard to understand why because what we have here is a really cool mix of symphonic prog and space rock.

By 1979 the interest in progressive rock had almost vanished due to the rise of the punk and disco movements of the late 70's. But there were still some pretty damn solid prog albums released in that time too and Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes is one of those. This album brings Pink Floyd to my mind and I would recommend that you listen to it with headphones, to get the full experience.
Sadly, shortly after the album was released, what was probably the best Eloy line-up collapsed with  drummer Jurgen Rosenthal and keyboardist Detlev Schimdtchen leaving to form Ego on the Rocks.
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my newly acquired vinyl, once again sourced from a Bazaar in Geelong, in amongst a multitude of 'dim a dozen' titles.  The message here folks is that it always pays to look for the diamond in the rough.  Full album artwork and label scans included, along with all of the covers displayed above.  Hope you enjoy your trip back through time to when Krautrock was at it's pinnacle (or at least it was in Australia)
Track Listing
01 Triumvirat - I Don't Even Know Your Name 4:25
02 Lilac Angels - Hard To Be Free 4:19
03 Can - Sunday Jam 4:10
04 Wintergarden - Blame It On These Endless Nights 3:50
05 Scorpions - Always Somewhere 4:54
06 Eberhard Schoener - Octogon 6:53
07 Kraan - Ausflug 7:13
08 Eloy - Pilot To Paradise 7:01
Rock Made In Germany FLAC Link (272Mb)
New Link 05/01/2024