Friday, December 27, 2019

Hush - Get Rocked (1974) plus Bonus Singles

(Australian 1971 - 1977)
History doesn't always show the full story, and this is certainly the case with Hush. The band had it's beginnings in 1970 and continued in various forms until the end of the 70s, with 1975 being their most successful time.  Their biggest hit was Bony Moronie, an energetic cover of the Larry Williams US hit from eighteen years earlier, and it was the one of the ten best selling singles in Australia during that year.
No mean feat when you consider that Hush were competing for chart space with the likes of ABBA and The Bay City Rollers, plus the local dynamic duo of Sherbet and Skyhooks, the only Australian acts to do better than the this Sydney based quartet.

Lead singer and founder Keith Lamb was a charismatic front man, demanding attention from his audiences, and Hush were nothing like any of the other home grown rock bands. They were rockers, no doubt, but they had their own persona. Hush is probably the closest Australia ever got to having its own glam rock band.

For several years the band decked themselves in tight fitting satin pants (flares of course!) and shirts, scarfs and sequins, and the tallest platform shoes, looking like they had just done a stint backing David Bowie or Gary Glitter, but the sound was pure rock and roll.

Across a chart career spanning five years they scored ten Top 100 singles, all of which are included here, and six Top 100 albums. By 1978 the band had split up. Whether it was the fact that the group could not endure another line up change, or that their biggest hits were cover versions (Bony Moronie was followed into the Top 10 in 1975 by their creditable version of Dave Clark Five's Glad All Over), the spark of Hush had disappeared. Keith Lamb continued to front bands for a few more years (the Keith Lamb Band and Airport were two of them) and lead guitarist Les Gock has set up a successful production company.

As one of their songs states, nothing stays the same forever, but what remains are fine examples of good time Australian rock and roll songs from the music scene of the 70s, which was always exciting and interesting.

It is interesting to note that their debut album was a live album entitled 'Aloud 'N' Alive', recorded in front of a few 100 hand picked fans in a Sydney studio.  They released their first 2 studio albums in succession in 1974, 'Get Rocked' and 'C'Mon We're Taking Over', both big sellers of the time. Their #1 single "Bony Moronie" appeared on their 1975 album 'Rough Tough 'N' Ready' and gained solid airplay and high chart positions in state after state and ended up selling over 50,000 copies.

In a recent interview with Les Gock for 'The Clothesline', Les reminisces the early days of Hush...

“One of the last times Hush played in Adelaide, talking about 1975,” Les recalls, “one of the support bands we had was The Keystone Angels, who were a Jug band. And we thought, ‘This is all wrong. What are these guys doing as our support act?” Go figure! And it was after that in the dressing room that Doc and the Brewster Bros came in and said, ‘Man, that show was great! We’ve gotta get big amps like that! We’ve gotta play rock and roll!” And lo and behold a couple of years later, there emerges The Angels.

“There are a lot of stories around Hush’s earlier days, for instance we supported (Status) Quo. It was Quo’s very first tour of Australia; no one had seen them. And as soon as we saw them we thought ‘oh my god that is exactly what we want!’ So, if you were a musicologist you would sort of go through and see the influences on Hush from Quo, AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo – a whole swag of Oz Rock from that era.

“One of the other tours we did was with the Jackson 5. We hadn’t even had a hit at the time and we’d just finished recording our first single "Get That Feeling", and the Jacksons were really like a club act kind of thing – Michael Jackson was incredible!” he adds. “I remember he was fourteen and came into the dressing room and we said ‘Hey, kid! How’re you going?’ You know it was like ‘whatever’, and he was very respectful, very nice. He asked us about one of the songs that we did, so that was cool! It was our first single and we had only just recorded it and played it for the first time at the Hordern Pavilion. It later went top ten in Sydney. []

.A Little Bit Of Hush Please
(Interview with Hush - Go Set Magazine April 13th, 1974)
The album! That is definitely uppermost on Les's mind and he proceeds with a run-down of each track:
"It starts with the title track, "Get Rocked", combined with the Stones' "Satisfaction" — which, incidentally, is the only song we didn't write on the album. "Get Rocked" is a love song. We had the title and we just wrote the song around it. From the reaction it gets on stage, we knew it was a good song and, on the album, it sounds very funky and sexual."

Peter Rix had mentioned earlier that the boys opened their new stage act with the Theme from 'Enter the Dragon', going into a song called "Nanchunka Man". Les said it was a personal favourite of the group:
"It starts with a fantastic bass run through a wah-wah pedal, some freaky guitar effects and a sudden, terrifying scream from Rick. For those who don't know what 'Nanchunka' means, it is a Kung -Fu weapon made of wood and wielded about on a chain. The song is about an old Chinese legend concerning a Chinese Robin Hood how steals from the rich and gives to the poor. One day he meets the Emperor and there's a sad ending.

"One song that will surprise people who dig Hush and want to see what they can do with a beautiful ballad is 'South Coast Standards'. It's about our band, but it could easily apply to most groups. You know, trying to get a record played and getting down. People used to say about us 'who are these idiots?' but we stuck to our guns and we're doing okay now.
"We wrote the song after doing our third gig in one day.  The audience were a bit a cool and we had to work really hard to win them over, despite our exhaustion. It was a minor achievement for us, but it's a constant battle all the time, so we wrote the song on the way home. We used strings on the track and there's a lovely piano passage.

"Of course, there are the Hush smash-grabbers,, like 'Mind-Rocker' which is in the best Hush tradition. It blasts from start to finish and is guaranteed to turn the oldies off."
Prior to doing an album. Hush spent two glorious weeks on the 'Fedor Shalyapin' — a Russian ship — and it was inevitable the cruise would inspire at least one track:
"We were so relaxed and happy on the ship", said Les, "and one song that captures the serenity is 'Rocking the Boat' which has a Jamaican feel."

"What about 'Francis Rainbow' prompted Keith who, as it turns out, represents the fair young lady in the new stage act. With the new album, Hush have devised a new stage act in which each member represents one of the songs. Rick has designed the outfits and Smiley is spending what precious little spare time they have, at the sewing-machine. Rick is 'Get Rocked', Smiley is 'Mind-Rocker', Les is 'Nanchunka Man' and Keith; 'Francis Rainbow'.
Continued Les: "There actually is a girl called 'Francis Rainbow. It's such a beautiful name and the song represents three different aspects of her personality, the fictional character, not the real life one", he added. "For instance, one part is very dream-like and another is sinful black when she becomes a prostitute.

"What else is there? A strange little song called 'Riff in my Head' which is about walking up one morning with a riff in my head and just going back to sleep. "A more complicated one is 'Raven the Dark' about an Alvin Purple-type character who can't help attracting women. Ernie Rose said the rhythm is so complex, he doesn't know anyone else who could play it. It really shows the sympathy the four members of Hush have for each other. We put it down in one take and Ernie couldn't believe it, so he asked us to do it again and it was just as exact the second time.
'On the other hand, it took about a zillion takes before we achieved the right feel on a sons called The Exit'. It's a syncopated type of song and Ernie really helped us with that one."
Keith commented that he has never sung like he did on that particular track: "Because I was saving my voice, I sang along quietly and sort of weirdly when the guys were putting down the rhythm track, but it so perfectly matched the feeling of the song that we kept it that way."
Back to Les: "You go to dances and find kids bashing each other up because they have no outlet. The song is about a guy who is trying to find the exit."

Phew! It didn't take long for Hush to come up with an interesting, original album and this is not going on their own enthusiastic raves. Literally everyone who has heard "Get Rocked" is amazed that this is the latest offering from "the heavy metal kids'as reviewer. A.8. Guest, so affectionately and aptly described Hush.
Their magic is spreading rapidly. In Melbourne, they won the hearts of thousands, including, it would seem, the entire female population of the Frankston High. "Lovely girls", said Keith. "Melbourne was a real eye-opener for us. We finally discovered the true meaning of a massage parlour!"
When Les says "why do I write such filthy lyrics?" one can only imagine Keith must be one source of inspiration.

Consider his comments on Melbourne disco, Teasers:
"It is the sleaziest, most bauchy whole in the world. A guy from Melbourne group, Fox, jumped out of the window and broke his leg. You know what people are like when they take drugs", he joked. "We wouldn't understand. As for the girls at Teasers, there are more horny, tight-crotched, denim-clad girls there than . .' His voice trailed off as his mind took over.

It was time to say goodbye once more. Hush are in the middle of an Australian tour and they headed for Brisbane at 9 am the next day. After the tour following the release of the album, the band hope to break into the Japanese market. Let's face it. With their sense humour, talent and determination they could break into the Bank Of England.
This post consists of FLACS ripped from my Wizard vinyl and includes full album artwork and all photos displayed above. As a bonus, I have included their promotional single "Get Flaired" for Colonial Jeans and their #1 hit single "Bony Moronie" (both of which were ripped from my prized 45's in FLAC for the first time).
So get ya flairs out of storage folks and be prepared for some crutch wrenching riffs. And if ya don't, then you can just go and Get Rocked!

01 Get Rocked / Satisfaction
02 Walking
03 Raven The Dark
04 Francis Rainbow
05 The Exit
06 Nunchunka Man
07 Riff In My Head
08 Mindrocker
09 Rockin' The Boat
10 South Coast Standards
(Bonus Tracks)
11 Get Flaired (Single Sided Promo 1974)
12  Bony Moronie (Single)

Hush were:
Keith Lamb - Vocals
Les Gock - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Lum - Bass, Vocals
Chris 'Smiley' Paithorpe

Hush  FLAC Link (284Mb)  New Link 04/04/2020

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Beatles - Christmas Singles (1963-69)

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.
The Beatles' Christmas records was a composition of melodies interpreting love and support during the holidays from the English rock group The Beatles that were posted out on flexi disc at Christmas time to members of their official fan-clubs in the United Kingdom and the United States. One such record was issued each year from 1963 to 1969 and an LP compilation of all seven in 1970.

Conceived as a means to appease fan-club members whose letters, due to their sheer volume, were not always being answered in a timely manner, the records included the Beatles' messages of thanks to "loyal Beatles people", along with skits, Christmas carols, and original compositions.

None of the original recordings has ever been subject to general release though a version of "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)", an original composition which appeared in edited form on the 1967 record, eventually gained an official release in 1995, as part of the The Beatles Anthology project.

1963: The Beatles' Christmas Record

    Recorded: 17 October 1963
    Location: Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
    Writer: Tony Barrow
    Producer: Tony Barrow

    Issued: 6 December 1963
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 492
    Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 33? RPM
    Total time: 5:00

The first Christmas recording from the Beatles featured several renditions of the traditional carol "Good King Wenceslas" and individual messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo". This offering, as well as 1964's, was scripted by Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow, who had instigated the Christmas message programme.

An edited version of this recording was sent to members of the Beatles' American fan-club in December 1964.

1964: Another Beatles Christmas Record

    Recorded: 26 October 1964
    Location: Studio Two Abbey Road
    Writer: Tony Barrow
    Producer: Tony Barrow

    Issued: 18 December 1964
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 757
    Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 45 RPM
    Total time: 3:58

The song "Jingle Bells" is sung, followed by individual messages to the fans. John mocks the prepared statement, doing an imitation of Paul Harvey and includes his own pseudo-words and ad-libbing. When Paul asks him if he wrote this himself, he says, "No it's somebody's bad hand-wroter. It's been a busy year Beople peadles, one way and another, but it's been a great year too. You fans have seen to that. Page two ... Thanks a lot folks and a happy-er Christmas and a Merry Grew Year. Crimble* maybe." (The statement is apparently handwritten as at various points in the recording, Paul reads "making them" as "melting them" before correcting himself and George reads "quite a time" as "quiet time" before correcting himself with "great time" as well.) Finishing up the record is a brief rendition of the traditional song "Oh Can You Wash Your Father's Shirt?"

Another Beatles' Christmas Record was not sent to American fans. Rather, at Christmas time 1964, US fans received an edited version of The Beatles' Christmas Record, which had been sent to British fan-club members in 1963. Also, as opposed to using flexi-discs, the US fan-club sent the message in a tri-fold cardboard mailer, with the "record" embedded in one of the flaps of cardboard.

* Crimble or Krimble is a slang term for Christmas coined by The Beatles as part of their 1963 Christmas record issued via the Beatles Fan Club

1965: The Beatles' Third Christmas Record

    Recorded: 8 November 1965
    Location: Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
    Writer: Tony Barrow, The Beatles
    Producer: Tony Barrow

    Issued: 17 December 1965
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 948
    Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 33 RPM
    Total time: 6:20

Several off-key, a cappella versions of "Yesterday" are dispersed throughout the record, alongside Lennon's "Happy Christmas to Ya List'nas", "Auld Lang Syne", a one-and-a-half-line version of the Four Tops' "It's the Same Old Song" (which they quickly stop before they violate the copyright) and an original poem titled "Christmas Comes But Once a Year".

Members of the Beatles' US fan-club did not receive this (or any) Christmas flexi-disc in 1965. Rather, they received a black and white postcard, with a photo of the Fab Four and the message "Season's Greetings – Paul, Ringo, George, John." The Beatles Bulletin, the publication of the US fan-club, explained in its April 1966 edition that the tape arrived too late to prepare the record in time for Christmas.

1966: The Beatles' Fourth Christmas Record – Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas

    Recorded: 25 November 1966
    Location: Dick James Music
    Writer: The Beatles
    Producer: George Martin

    Issued: 16 December 1966
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 1145
    Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 33 RPM
    Total time: 6:36

Recorded between sessions for "Strawberry Fields Forever", for the 1966 offering, the usual greetings and thanks gave way to a 'Pantomime'-themed collection of original songs and dramatic skits. The songs include "Everywhere It's Christmas", "Orowainya", and "Please Don't Bring Your Banjo Back". Paul McCartney plays the piano. The sketches performed include "Podgy the Bear and Jasper" and "Felpin Mansions."

Once again, the US fan-club members did not get a flexi-disc. Instead, they received a postcard with the message on one side and a short version of The Beatles Bulletin on the other, with enough room for a mailing label and postage.

1967: Christmas Time is Here Again! 

    Recorded: 28 November 1967
    Location: Studio Three EMI Studios, London
    Writer: The Beatles
    Producer: George Martin

    Issued: 15 December 1967
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 1360
    Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 33 RPM
    Total time: 6:06

An elaborate production, Christmas Time is Here Again! was developed around the concept of several groups auditioning for a BBC radio show. The title song serves as a refrain throughout the record. The Beatles portray a multitude of characters, including game show contestants, aspiring musicians ("Plenty of Jam Jars", by the Ravellers), and actors in a radio drama ("Theatre Hour"). At the end John reads a poem, "When Christmas Time Is Over." This offering was likely a deliberate homage to/continuation of the broadly similar "Craig Torso" specials produced for BBC Radio 1 that same year by the Beatles' friends and collaborators the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and also shares much in common with their then-unreleased track "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)", recorded six months previously.

While British fans received a flexi-disc in an elaborate sleeve, American fans received a postcard similar to that of 1966.

1968: The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record

    Recorded: November–December 1968
    Location: various
    Writer: The Beatles
    Producer: Kenny Everett

    Issued: 20 December 1968
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 1743/4
    Flexi disc: 7", 2 sides, 33 RPM
    Total time: 7:48

The first Beatles Christmas fan-club disc to be recorded separately, the 1968 offering is a collage of odd noises, musical snippets, and individual messages. McCartney's song "Happy Christmas, Happy New Year" is featured, along with John's poems "Jock and Yono" and "Once Upon a Pool Table." Also notable is a rendition of "Nowhere Man" by the ukulele-playing Tiny Tim. Also included is a sped-up snippet of the Beatles' own "Helter Skelter" and a brief snippet of Perrey & Kingsley's "Baroque Hoedown" which was used three years later in Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Yer Blues," and "Birthday" are also heard in the background for part of the message.The dialogue and songs for the flexi-disc were organised and edited together by DJ and friend of the Beatles, Kenny Everett.

Finally, the US fans got a flexi-disc for Christmas in 1968, but it came in a modified version of the 1967 UK sleeve.

1969: The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record: Happy Christmas 

    Recorded: November–December 1969
    Location: various
    Writer: The Beatles
    Producer: Maurice Cole

    Issued: 19 December 1969
    Label: Lyntone, LYN 1970/1971
    Flexi disc: 7", 2 sides, 33? RPM
    Total time: 7:39

The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play "what will Santa bring me?" games. Harrison appears only briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, "This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas." Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo's song, the guitar solos from "The End" are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.

For the only time, the American and British jackets were identical. The US version of the flexi-disc had an elaborate drawing of the Beatles' faces on it. Drawings were credited to Richard Starkey & Zak Starkey.

For extensive accounts of each Christmas release, I highly recommend you take a look at the following Rolling Stones Magazine review
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from the Yellowdog Bootleg and was sourced on the internet earlier this year (thanks to the original uploader). Full album artwork and label scans are included. The original Fan club flexi 45's are super rare, and individual flexi's in good condition sell for nearly $300 each on eBay.
And so these Beatles Christmas Records fit the WOCK on Vinyl charter - they are super Obscure and of course fill the Christmas spirit.
May I take this opportunity to wish all my blog followers a Joyful and Merry Christmas and a New Year full of wonderful music and cheer.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Rare Earth - Ma (1973) + Bonus Single

(U.S 1960 - 1983)
Rare Earth began as an R&B band called the Sunliners in Detroit in 1961. Of the musicians who would be part of the band dubbed Rare Earth, only sax player Gil Bridges and drummer Pete Rivera were present. John Parrish joined on bass in 1962. Rod Richards became a guitarist with the group in 1966. Keyboardist Kenny James came into the fold the same year. After years of doing the club circuit, the group changed their name to Rare Earth and released Dreams/Answers on Verve. The album received little reaction and the group was picked up by Motown Records as the first act on their yet-to-be-named new label. Rare Earth suggested to Motown that the label name their new subsidiary after the band and Rare Earth Records was born.

When they set out to record their first album, they essentially ran out of material and did a 21-minute rendition of the Temptations' "Get Ready" to fill out the space. The album was making no headway on the charts for a long period of time. So they took the first three minutes of "Get Ready," released it as a single and it made its way into the U.S. Top Ten list, peaking at number four. Pulled along by the success of the single, the album also began to sell, breaking the Top 20, and Rare Earth's career was officially on its way. The second album, 'Ecology', was released in June of 1970, a couple months short of a year after "Get Ready" had been put out. Interestingly enough, Ecology was not really the group's second album, but their third. An album entitled 'Generation' was recorded as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. When the film stalled at the box office, the album was shelved. Still, 'Ecology' would yield not one, but two hit singles. The first was "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (another Temptations cover), which also broke the Top Ten. The second single, "Born to Wander," did not fare quite so well, but did make the Top 20. The album was catapulted to #15.

Rare Earth (Image credit: Michael Ochs)
Not wanting to lose momentum, 'One World' followed almost exactly a year after 'Ecology', and yielded another hit single in a longtime classic, "I Just Want to Celebrate." The song peaked on the pop charts at number seven and the album broke the Top 50. They released a live album in December of the same year. For the next album, 'Willie Remembers', the group insisted on doing all originals, a move that was not common around the Motown camp. Unfortunately, for a band trying to prove a point, the album never reached the type of sales of previous records. Indeed, it stalled out at number 90, and the single "Good Time Sally" didn't even break the Top 50.

Motown tightened the creative grip on the group and original producer Norman Whitfield, who had worked with the group on earlier albums, was brought in to save the day. The resulting album, 'Ma', (featured here) was released in May of 1973 and fared just a little better than 'Willie Remembers', peaking at #65. The label was not pleased and sent the group into the studio to record with Stevie Wonder. That pairing did not really gel, though, and only two tracks were recorded, neither of which were released. Instead, the label sought to release another live album, trying to regain the spark that Rare Earth had had. That project also fell by the wayside, though.

What followed was a series of lineup changes and legal battles, and the group stopped touring altogether in 1974. The following year Rare Earth, in a new lineup, released 'Back to Earth'. The album did a bit better than the previous one, reaching #59 on the charts. The single, appropriately entitled "It Makes You Happy (But It Ain't Gonna Last Too Long)" stalled just outside the Top 100. A disco-oriented excursion entitled 'Midnight Lady' was released in 1976, but failed to really go anywhere. To make matters worse, Rare Earth Records was discontinued altogether. The band had broken up by this time.

Rare Earth On Stage (Image credit Michael Ochs)
As fate would have it, though, this was not the end of Rare Earth. Instead, Barney Ales, who had presided over Rare Earth Records, started his own label Prodigal Records. He talked the group into reuniting to record the label debut. The resulting album, 'Rare Earth', was released in 1977 and made no real waves in the music business. Rare Earth got things together again for a marathon recording session the following year. That session yielded not one, but two albums. The first was 'Band Together', released in April of 1978, with 'Grand Slam' following in September. Neither of those albums every really took off, either. The group essentially broke up in 1978, although a version of the original lineup was touring all the way into 1983. A different incarnation of the group, with just two original members, still makes the circuits. [ extract from]

.Album Review
One of the first white bands signed to Motown, Detroit’s Rare Earth had a damn good run in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Those were peak times for psychedelic soul and R&B in general, and Rare Earth seriously benefited from Motown’s largesse (they even got their own imprint, also called Rare Earth). Oddly, though, Motown boss Berry Gordy often ordered Rare Earth to perform the same Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong compositions that the Temptations and/or Undisputed Truth recorded. The reasoning being, if one of them didn’t hit, well, maybe the other act would, as if each had their own distinct fan bases. As a fan of all three groups, I can’t discern great differences from their respective versions of those stone classic Whitfield/Strong numbers, but I’m of the persuasion to hear ’em all. That’s how strong my love is for that writing team.

Anyway, Rare Earth’s sixth album, 'Ma', consists of all Whitfield material, with Strong earning co-writing credits on “Smiling Faces Sometimes” and “Hum Along And Dance” (the Jackson 5 also covered the latter). Both are incredible jams that you have to go out of your way to mess up, and Rare Earth execute them like the slick professionals they are. Singing drummer Peter Hoorelbeke (aka Rivera) might be the funkiest, most soulful Caucasian dude to hold down those two tasks simultaneously. (I’m willing to be proved wrong, if you have counter examples.)

Talk about balls, though: “Ma” starts the LP with a 17-minute tour de force of stoic, stolid funk and an inspirational tale about a strong, generous mother who raised 13 children, against the odds, and was “stronger than any two men.” Ray Monette lets off some strafing guitar solos and Mark Olson adds percussive, striding piano that ratchets up the drama. As with other Whitfield epics, “Ma” accrues momentum and momentousness as it goes. The man was a songwriting god, and this is yet another masterpiece in his canon.

“Big John Is My Name” is your basic marauding, boastful party-funk anthem, with drum breaks ripe for the sampling, although shockingly reveals that nobody’s done so. That’s just crazy. The Rare Earth rendition of “Smiling Faces Sometimes” differs from Undisputed Truth’s and the Temptations’ in that it’s more rock-oriented and laced with flamboyant keyboard embellishments. It’s probably my least favorite of the three, but it still bears some wicked wah-wah guitar punctuation, and it’s by no means a dud.

For “Hum Along And Dance,” Rare Earth again bring more rock energy—think the Rolling Stones circa “Can You Hear Me Knocking”—to this intense dance cut than do the J5 or the Tempts. Michael Urso kills it on bass, and there’s clenched-fist excitement from start to finish. “Come With Me” bears an acoustic guitar part that paraphrases the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” which Rare Earth covered on 1970’s Ecology. It also boast plenty of female groans, a Santana-esque shuffle, and an expressive guitar solo. It’s a mellow denouement to a record that mostly funks festively or furrows brows with earnest platitudes about guarding against deceptiveness and honouring single mothers.

Ma might be the last great Rare Earth album, and I recommend it to anyone who worships Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong—which means all right-thinking people, to be completely honest. -Buckley Mayfield [extract from]

This post is super 'funky' and consists of FLACs ripped from my newly acquired CD. It also includes artwork for both Vinyl and CD releases.  I gotta say I never tier from listening to the title track - it has such a catchy beat/melody and the lyrics are both simple and memorable.  The B-Side doesn't quite reach the same level of ecstasy but it's four shorter tracks still help to make this a strong album. It is a shame that their record company didn't feel the same way when the album was first released.
As a bonus, I have sourced the single edit release of "Ma" and included it as a bonus track.  Enjoy.

01. Ma (Norman Whitfield) - 17:14
02. Big John Is My Name (Norman Whitfield) - 4:14
03. Smiling Faces Sometimes (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) - 5:59
04. Hum Along And Dance (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) - 5:14
05. Come With Me (Norman Whitfield) - 4:44
06. Ma (Bonus Track - Single Edit) - 5:28

- Peter Hoorelbeke - drums, percussion, lead vocals
- Gil Bridges - flute, woodwinds, percussion, vocals
- Michael Urso - bass, vocals
- Ray Monette - lead guitar
- Mark Olson - keyboards, vocals
- Edward Guzman - congas, timbales
- Norman Whitfield - producer

Rare Earth FLACs Link  (252Mb)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

REPOST: Fox - What The Hell Is Going On (1974) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1974)
Aussie act, Fox, are quite a mystery. There is little information about the band either in print or online. This does appear to be their only album, and releasing only two singles during their career. This is one of many bands in the seventies that called itself Fox (and probably the least successful).
Produced by Ian Miller, who also produced Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls and Jim Keay’s The Boy From the Stars and with the songwriting and arranging contributions from John Brownrigg of Star Spangled Banger fame, this is a pretty decent album and a worthwhile piece of Aussie 70s rock. Although the band don’t look it, musically there is a lot that reminds me of the Coloured Balls.
The guitarist Peter Laffy also played in aussie bands Freeway, Mondo Rock and in Jim Keay’s Southern Cross (not to be confused with the other band of the same name that featured former Buffalo member’s Alan Milano and John Baxter).
So what about the album? Well, it's a hard one to categorise. Musically, the band rock throughout, laying down a curious blend of crunchy hard rock, pub rock and even a sprinkling of punk. Their conversational style of singing sounds reckless and somewhat sloppy, but it lends itself very well to the overall delivery of the material.
The first two two tracks were also released as singles and the band do one cover, Space Opera’s 'Country Max' which sounds a little out of place among the tougher sounding tracks.
With a lead footed clunky bottom end (complete with the obligatory use of cowbell), Fox recklessly plough through ten tracks, only taking a moment to breathe twice (including a cover of Space Opera's "Country Max") in the proceedings.
Apparently the band split shortly after this release, and it is known that members went on to other bands like Southern Cross and Mondo Rock [Extracts from Robots for Ronnie & Midoztouch]
Note: Col Loughnan (from Ayers Rock) plays some great sax on "Can You Feel It" and "I Said"
I highly recommend this fabulous album, as it's a glimpse of classic Australian rock that stands a bit left of center. There's plenty of character here and most lovers of classic hard rock will eat this one up. To listen to some recent material from Peter Laffy, see his Myspace page but please note that Laffy passed away earlier this year - so play these songs in tribute to his wonderful musical legacy. RIP - Peter Laffy
This post consists of a rip taken from my vinyl in FLAC and MP3 (320kps) format and includes full album artwork (artwork thanks to Midoztouch). I have also included two B-Side tracks from their singles which were not included on the album. The track "Ziggy Stardust" (B-Side to "I Said") is a great cover of Bowie's hit and is a good yardstick for the influence which Bowie's music had on the band at the time (see pictured left). The other track "Jean Sea" (B-Side to "Who Do") is a nice little rocker with some great guitar licks and a catchy riff. I have also sourced two unreleased tracks from Peter Laffy's Myspace page which were probably recorded as demo's but never made it to the mixing desk and included them as bonus tracks.

Note: The track "I'm Going Down" is labelled as "I'm Going Home" on Laffy's MySpace page, however the lyrics to the chorus definitely state "I'm Going Down", so I'm thinking that it was probably a mistype.

REPOST now consists of FLACs
Track Listing
01 - I Said
02 - Who Do
03 - Slashes
04 - Times Come To Change
05 - Don't Kid Yourself
06 - Do You Want Me
07 - What The Hell Is Going On?
08 - Country Max
09 - Can You Feel It
10 - When You're Not Around
Bonus Tracks
11 - Ziggy Stardust (B-Side Single - to 'I Said')
12 - Jean Sea (B-Side Single - to 'Who Do')
13 - I'm Going Down (Previously Unreleased)
14 - New Life (Previously Unreleased)

Band Members:
Peter Laffy (Guitar, Vocals)

Neil Hodgson (Bass, Keyboards)
Michael Upton (Vocals)
Les Oldman (Drums, Percussion, Vocals)
Guest Artist:
Col Loughnan (Saxaphone)
Fox MP3 Link (119Mb) New Link 30/09/2013

Fox FLAC Link (362Mb) New link added 18/12/2019

Monday, December 16, 2019

Sting - Unlicensed Live (1991) Bootleg

(U.K 1971 - Present)
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE (born 2 October 1951 in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne, England), known by his stage name Sting, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Police. Throughout his career, Sting has incorporated distinct elements of jazz, reggae, classical, New Age, and world beat into his music.

His first solo album, 1985's The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featured jazz musicians including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim and Branford Marsalis. It included the hit singles "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Love Is the Seventh Wave", and "Russians", the latter of which was based on a theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite, and became his first #1 solo hit.

Between 1987-10-16 and 1988-11-21, Sting took part in the 'Nothing Like The Sun Tour'. In 1988, after a year of non-stop touring around 18 countries (the last being Australia) playing 190 concerts, his company turned over £8,187,921, with more than 5 million in ticket sales. Royalties added another £2,189,100 to his company Steerpike's bottom line. Sting had been well off while playing with the Police, now he was fabulously rich.

This post features an excellent soundboard recording made during his 1987-88 "Nothing From The Sun Tour" while playing at the Verona Arena, Italy on May 6th, 1988. The following is a review of the concert:

Concert Review
In a two-hour concert that delivered as much as he promised when he said ''Tonight's show is going to be a little long,'' Sting and band enthralled a sold-out crowd at the Arena Amphitheatre in Verona last night. It's amazing what a live show can do for recorded material. Nothing sounded stale. Early in this 'Nothing Like the Sun' tour (the title is from Shakespeare, clod), the band is having a ball.

Sting, in white linen jacket and no shirt, led off with 'Lazarus Heart' and 'We'll Be Together'. The show relied little on show and a lot on musicianship, although Sting knows the impression he makes.
Yes, being a well-dressed rock star. He loves it, he does. He climbed to the top of backstage risers and sat down. He waved. He waggled his fingers in a come-on to encourage more applause. He conducted the band. He presented beautiful profiles. He talked to the audience.
Besides charm and a voice that flies, Sting has the musical sense to pick excellent musicians for these orchestrally fat forays to the public: Tracy Wormworth, bass; Branford Marsalis, saxophone; Kenny Kirkland, keyboards; Delmar Brown, keyboards; Jeff Campbell, guitar; Mino Cinelu, percussion; and newly appointed Jean-Paul Ceccarelli on drums.

NB. Jean-Paul Ceccarelli replaced Lewis on drums
Kirkland and Marsalis, the only two holdovers from the last tour, led the flawless band through Sting's most recent compositions and gave life to the mostly stiff and lifeless album. The concert was full of surprises and bursts of instrumentation, spots of musical influences from jazz to popular song, and it was propelled by Cinelu's seductive and musical percussion.

'Englishman in New York', a theatrical little ditty that shows Sting's best songwriting abilities, segued into 'Sister Moon', which was languid. Not even languidness can shut up a rock crowd.
For 'Straight to My Heart', the former schoolteacher explained 7/4 time to his audience, and the band delivered it precisely. Kirkland had a great time. Marsalis was busy making bullfight music on soprano sax.

'Consider Me Gone' had keyboardist Brown, whose voice is surprisingly like Sting's, double-time scat singing his own high synthesizer notes. Brown was a dreadlocked jack-in-the-box. When he wasn't marching at the keyboard, he was popping up and down with glee.

'Rock Steady' was a nice bluesy tune about Noah. The reggae 'One World is Enough' walked into rock and ended in an exuberant twist. One of the prettiest songs, 'Fragile' led - with acoustic guitar by Sting - into Gil Evans' arrangement of  "Little Wing'" Campbell's Hendrix-like guitar reached out but didn't quite make it, though.
Slow spots had songs leading into overextended instrumentals. 'They Dance Alone', an anthem to the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of Argentinian political desaparecidos, would have had more tingle if it hadn't led the second set. 'Still My Beating Heart' was boring except for the funky chorus.

Encores brought 'Fortress Around Your Heart' and 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', during which Sting took his jacket off and revealed the best arms in rock'n'roll. 'Every Breathe You Take' and 'Message in a Bottle' ended the show.

Sting has loosened up and gone shopping. He had a world of musical ideas on his shopping list.

Verona Arena
The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy built in the first century. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, the arena's capacity was nearly 30,000 people. The stage for concerts and opera performances decreases the available places to a maximum of 15,000. It will be used as the closing ceremony for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

In recent times, the arena has also hosted many concerts of international rock and pop bands, such as Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Alicia Keys, One Direction, Simple Minds, Duran Duran, Deep Purple, The Who, Dire Straits, Mike Oldfield, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam and of course Sting.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my AMCOS CD Bootleg and comes with full album artwork. This recording is top notch and definitively came straight from the board, however it is only the second half of the concert (see full setlist). Other bootleg releases (ie. 'Greetings From Verona' and 'Message from Verona') are double CD sets due to the 2 hour setlist, however the quality of the first half of the concert is poor in comparison.  The only regret is that the 'Police' encore songs are not included here and that Sting did not sing "Roxanne" on the night. 
Track Listing
01 They Dance Alone 10:53
02 Consider Me Gone 5:42
03 King Of Pain 5:51
04 Be Still My Beating Heart 5:59
05 Walking In Your Footstep 4:39
06 Fragile 3:34
07 Little Wing 10:19
08 Russians 4:06
09 Fortress Around Your Heart 5:01
Sting: vocals, acoustic guitar, bass 
Kenny Kirkland: piano, keyboards 
Delmar Brown: keyboards 
Branford Marsalis: Saxophone
Jeff Campell: guitars 
Tracy Wormworth: bass 
Mino Cinelu: percussion 
Jean-Paul Ceccarelli: drums 
Sting Unlicensed Live Link (294Mb) New Link 02/05/2020