Tuesday, March 31, 2020

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Various Aussie Artists - Aussie Coca-Cola Commercials 60's - 70's

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.
Advertising slogans are a part of everyday life for consumers around the world, and Coca-Cola has produced some great ones throughout their 130+ year history.

Coke's very first ad was published in the Atlanta Journal newspaper on May 29, 1886, a few short weeks after the drink was first served in Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The ad featured one of their longest-running slogans: “Delicious and Refreshing.” Those two words appeared on almost every ad or piece of merchandise (trays, clocks, etc.) until 1920.

 In the mid-1890s, The Coca-Cola Company hired Massengale Advertising of Atlanta. They produced very elegant advertising for the company featuring slogans like “Coca-Cola is a Delicious Beverage, Delightfully in Harmony With the Spirit of All Outings,” “The Great National Temperance Drink,” or “Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains.”

While these wordy slogans were in line with the advertising of the day, the company’s president, Asa Candler, and head of advertising, Samuel Candler Dobbs, spotted the trend toward national magazine advertising with the standardisation of four-colour printing, which rendered more visually dynamic ads than their black-and-white predecessors.

To produce this enhanced advertising, Candler and Dobbs hired the D’Arcy agency from St. Louis. D’Arcy was significant in helping to create a brand identity for Coca-Cola. W.C. D’Arcy was associated with Coca-Colafor the next four decades (he even served on the Board of Directors for a time) until his retirement in 1945.

Together with his creative director, Archie Lee, he crafted some of the greatest slogans in advertising history. While “Delicious and Refreshing” was part of the plan D’Arcy’s first big change was to add an arrow to all the advertising and packaging while adding the slogan, “Whenever You See an Arrow, Think of Coca-Cola.”

Their longest-running tagline, “The Pause That Refreshes” (1929),
was used in one form or another for almost three decades.
 In 1907 they added the slogans “Good to the Last Drop,” (yes, we beat Maxwell House with this one) to the advertising. The team hit their stride by the 1920s when they created the “Thirst Knows No Season” (1922) and our longest-running tagline, “The Pause That Refreshes” (1929). That campaign was used in one form or another for almost three decades.

Advertising began to change after World War II, when music and sung jingles played an increasingly important role in campaigns. Slogans became shorter to fit into a catchy melody.

By 1955, Coca-Cola began to look for another agency who specialised in the modern radio and television advertising. In 1956, McCann Erickson was named the lead worldwide advertising agency for Coca-Cola.  The changes in advertising were dramatic, and when the McGuire Sisters sang “Be Really Refreshed,” the company was aligned with the times. 

In 1963, Bill Backer, creative director for McCann, penned the jingle “Things Go Better with Coke,” and had the Limeliters record a demo in a run-down apartment on 57th Street in New York City.  Backer had to splice together several tapes, and you could still hear several flaws in the recording. The company loved it and used that demo for the next six years! Backer also developed the slogan, “It’s the Real Thing,” for which he and his team wrote “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” in 1971.

By 1993, with the constant evolution of advertising, The Coca-ColaCompany once again switched agencies. We hired CAA (Creative Artists Agency) to develop ads for Coca-Cola. CAA would hire the best and brightest producers and directors in the field to produce ads based on the slogan, “Always Coca-Cola” (1993). Luminaries like Ken Stewart (the mastermind behind the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bears) and Rob Reiner created the ads, and the jingle became an instant classic.

Ken Stewart was the mastermind behind the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bears.
Animated ads have always been a staple of Coca-Cola advertising, and the “Coke Side of Life” (2006) and “Open Happiness” (2009) campaigns featured some of the best the company has ever produced, including “Grand Theft Auto,” “It’s Mine” and “Happiness Factory.”

Slogans, by their very nature, are supposed to be “mindstickers” or “earworms.” The purpose of advertising is to make people associate a slogan with a brand. Coca-Cola is fortunate to have had some of the greatest creative talent in advertising work on our marketing. While the fictional Don Draper from Mad Men could always come up with a slogan, in the real world, industry giants like W. C. D’Arcy, Archie Lee and Bill Backer produced some of the greatest slogans, jingles and ads of all time.  [Article by Ted Ryan (director of Heritage Communications for Coca-Cola) and sourced from Coca-Cola's Website with thanks].
Because 'Things Go Better With Coke' - including music, I've decided to share with you some fairly Obscure Aussie Coke Jingles from the 60's & 70's for this month's W.O.C.K on Vinyl Post.  Oh, and by the way, as a bonus I've made it Sugar Free as well !   Thanks to WoodyNet for the RIP.  All files are in FLAC 
Track Listing
01-Bee Gees 1
02-Bee Gees 2
03-The Valentines
04-Billy Thorpe
06-Brian Cadd
07-Doug Parkinson
09-Ronnie Burns
10-Easybeats 1
11-Easybeats 2
12-Johnny Farnham
13-The Executives
14-The Groove
15-The Seekers 1
16-The Seekers 2
17-The Twilights
18-Normie Rowe
19-Alison Durbin
20-New Seekers 1
21-New Seekers 2
Aussie Coca Cola Commercials (97Mb) New Link 24/12/2022

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Thin Lizzy - Johnny The Fox (1977) + bonus tracks

(Ireland 1969 - 1983, 1996- 2019)
The first song I heard from Dublin's Thin Lizzy was "Jailbreak" from the album of the same name. If you've heard it, you know that it starts with a huge open note - a big string before the groove kicks in that forces you to take notice. The riff that follows is classic Thin Lizzy, but it was singer Phil Lynott's storytelling, and his fantastic vocals, that held my attention.

Lynott was the hard-rock poet. His way with words and images is something that few people in hard rock have been able to duplicate, and it cements Thin Lizzy's importance in the world of rock. Songs like "Cowboy Song" paint vivid pictures like a movie script, and "Emerald" tells a harrowing war story. "Johnny The Fox" is a story about a 1920's Italian Chicago gangster, while "the Boys Are Back in Town" is about getting the guys together for a night out.
Thin Lizzy released 11 studio albums between 1971 - 1983 and a double live album in 1979 "Live And Dangerous" which reached multi-platinum status.

The Band
It was pretty consuming for me as a kid to hear one of my favorite rock bands put such effort into their lyrics-not always a strength in hard rock and metal. Soon after, when I heard "The Boys Are Back in Town," I realised that Thin Lizzy had another great signature: the playing of not just one great guitarist but two, who, in most cases, traded off solos and rhythms and played in harmony unlike any other band l'd ever heard. I was inspired to explore their whole catalog and excited to find that they'd released a number of albums before Jailbreak. Though Jailbreak is known as their definitive record, there are plenty of other great ones to check out. I wouldn't say every one of them is a masterpiece, but Thin Lizzy has enough great moments to justify being included in this book, not to mention their obvious influence and impact on so many bands over the decades.

While Thin Lizzy's music has only grown in stature throughout the years, it remains absolutely tragic that most people in America aren't aware of them beyond "The Boys Are Back in Town." In many other countries, Thin Lizzy has had more than a dozen bonafide hits throughout their career. In fact, their 1978 album, Live and Dangerous, is considered to be one of the greatest live recordings ever made in England. For whatever reason, though, they've never been able to break through with anything else in America.

In an interview I did with him for the 2009 release, Still Dangerous.' Live at Tower Theatre Philadelphia, 1977, I spoke with guitarist Scott Gorham about why he feels America has been so stubborn when it comes to learning about Thin Lizzy's catalog. He attributed this lack of attention to bad timing, saying that whenever they started to gain momentum through U.S. touring, they had to stop and go back to England. They were also crippled by Phil Lynott's drug addiction and related illnesses while on tour. They had to cancel several shows over the years, and when they did play, Scott said, they weren't always as good as people expected them to be. Drug abuse and the excesses of the time really took their toll on the band, as did a nonstop work schedule. He also never felt the production of many of the band's albums was at the level it should be and expressed an interest to me in completely remixing the catalog someday to give the songs the kick he thought they lacked on the records.

Regardless, Thin Lizzy has written some incredible songs and albums throughout their history. Their dual-guitar playing style had such a significant influence on hard rock and heavy metal of the late '70s and early '80s that it can be heard in bands from Iron Maiden to Metallica. Many of the bands that were influenced by them have actually helped Lizzy gain some new stature in America. Metallica's cover of "Whiskey in the Jar" was much more popular than Lizzy's version. Anthrax covered "Cowboy Song," Def Leppard did "Don't Believe a Word," and Bon Jovi was one of many bands that covered "The Boys Are Back in Town."

If  "The Boys Are Back in Town" is all you've heard from this great band, you should know that there's much more to discover, right up to the band's final studio statement, the 1983 release, Thunder and Lightning. It's one of my favorites. Metal fans should take note that this is their hardest-rocking album, which is mostly due to the arrival of young hotshot guitarist John Sykes, who breathed new life into the band. He also inspired them to get out on the road to do one more tour. The more than fifteen years of hard living had started to weigh on Phil, who was looking to shelve the band for a while, but Sykes came with a new energy and helped keep the band alive for a bit longer. Some say Lizzy with Sykes was "too metal," but to me it was perfect!

The band's final tour with Phil was in '1983. By this point, many in the group were battling addiction, none more seriously than Phil, who by then was a full-blown heroin addict. He recorded a few albums in the years after Lizzy broke up, but he was considered too much of a risk and could not score a proper record deal. Tragically, on January 4,1986, Phil died from organ failure and pneumonia, all brought on by drugs. He was just thirty-six years old.

Phil Lynott
Phil Lynott was one of rock and roll's all-time greatest songwriters, as evidenced by how many people can sing along to "The Boys Are Back in Town" and recognise its melody instantly. A lot of hard rock and metal lyrics are disposable, but Lynott's memorable characters and stories would've made perfect videos for the MTV generation.
[extract from Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock And Heavy Metal, Abrams Image, 2011. p212-213]

The Album
The international success of Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak' album in the Summer of '1976 provoked a massive excess of both work and play. The band was still young and fresh and able to enjoy this new star status. But Phil Lynnot and his pals were also aware of the fickle ways of popularity. After all, an early line-up of Thin Lizzy had scored a chart hit in '71 with a novel version of the folk song "Whisky In The Jar". This gave a warped image of the group and also tagged them as one-hit-wonders for a frustrating period.

So Phil was determined not to squander a chance again. Lizzy were touring, constantly in America, hopping from the back of one band's tour onto another - lashing it out for three months. The bands asking price was spiraling upwards, much to the relief of management at home, which was struggling with cash flow problems. So Lizzy slugged it out manfully, winning the States in the old-fashioned way while partying plenty.
"As a band on those tours," guitarist Scott Gorham remembers, "we were smokin'. Every time we hit the stage, we were crushing all opposition."

Scott Gorman
But even the bravest of constitutions couldn't sustain this style indefinitely. The highlight of the American conquest was due to happen on Independence Day,  supporting Alice Cooper in Detroit. As a prelude to this, the band was setting out with the act Rainbow, and in their ever-competitive way, Lizzy planned to wipe out the headliners. Scott remembers one glorious night at the Rainbow Bar on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip. Phil was getting wasted at the bar and playing mind games with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, telling him how his Lizzy boys were going to annihilate his Rainbow band on the stage. To the side of this bickering pair, Led Zeppelin's John Bonham was creasing up, loving, the lrishman's swagger.

Yet these boastful schemes were banjaxed just before a gig, at Columbus, Ohio, when Phil became sick. His eyes had turned banana yellow. He had infectious hepatitis. The medics that diagnosed him were already preparing a bed when management rushed him out of the country - via Detroit and New York - to place Phil in a hospital bed near his mother's hotel in Manchester. "Even when he was in hospital," Scott remembers, "he just wanted to get out there. He really was like a man possessed."

Brian Robertson
However for three weeks, Phil's mother Philomena urged him to recuperate. She nagged him about his poor health and his bad teeth and his crazy lifestyle. Phil joked about it later, how he couldn't even defend himself against her lectures. So he became philosophical instead, recognising, that he was indeed a borderline case.

"It does hit you after a while," Lynott said afterwards, "that the night life is maybe a bit of a wild life. You're chasing the wrong things. That was the idea behind "Fool's Gold". I wouldn't have written that or "Massacre" without having, been ill".

There was certainly a more reflective side to the body of songs that Phil was now writing - the makings of the 'Johnny The Fox' album. The song "Massacre" had been prompted by a hospital visit from a Protestant clergyman. He was a nice guy, but Phil's Catholic upbringing made him defensive and uptight towards the Reverend. Later, Phil realised he had been stupid, and so wrote a lyric that condemned religious prejudice and holy wars. "If God is in his heaven," Phil decided, "how could this occur?"

Brian Downey
Not all the songs came out sounding morose, though. "Don't Believe A Word" was originally written as a slow blues, but didn't sound ideal. In the studio, Brian Downey suggested a more vibrant heat. The two guitarists then piled in and another blaming hit single was ready. The resourceful character of Johnny The Fox is reckoned to be Phil himself, but the rival figure on the album has a more interesting history. Jimmy The Weed is a thinly disguised reference to a Manchester hood called Jimmy The Weazel. He was associated with the Quality Street Gang, a posse who were fearfully regarded at the time. "They were nice guys," a friend of Phil's remembers, "But they didn't do nice things."  Jimmy The Weazel was last spotted 'enjoying' himself in the Costa Del Sol.

Robertson & Lynott
But if Phil was adopting a more easy manner, the other band members weren't necessarily chilling out. Guitarist Brian Robertson was just out of his teens and wanted to pursue his fierce impulses - socially, as well as in the studio. Robbo felt that the discipline of the 'Jailbreak' album (established by producer John Alcock, who also supervised the follow-up album) wasn't always in keeping with the Lizzy spirit. "It turned out a bit too tight and clinical for me," Robbo said of 'Jailbreak' in November '76. "It lacked a lot of the feel, l think that 'Johnny The Fox' has. l like hearing mistakes, sometimes. I just go in half outta' me nut and blast away."

Certainly, 'Johnny The Fox' (released in October '76) was a showcase for the band's guitar power - a vital balance to Phil's more dreamy aspects.
Robbo's attitude was justified by the fact that in the mid-'8Os, hip hop acts constantly stole guitar breaks off Thin Lizzy's sixth album, loving the tone and the energy of the record. 1976 was a mighty year for this band. They worked like Troians. They had fun. The singer was critically ill. And they released both 'Jailbreak' and 'Johnny The Fox'. Could you ever ask for a more phenomenal time of it?
[Liner Notes: by Stuart Bailie, New Musical Express]
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD copy (I owned the album as a teenager but alas stupidly traded it in for some other LP) and the usual supporting artwork and label scans.
Although not quite up to the standard of Jailbreak, this album still stands solid in my collection and I'm happy I've at least got it on CD, cause it's hard to find. To sweeten the deal, I've chosen to rip my prized 45 for you "The Boys Are Back In Town"  / "Emerald" and add them as bonus tracks.
Track List
01 Johnny 4:23
02 Rocky 3:41
03 Borderline      4:32
04 Don't Believe A Word 2:18
05 Fool's Gold 3:51
06 Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed 3:42
07 Old Flame 3:08
08 Massacre 2:58
09 Sweet Marie 3:55
10 Boogie Woogie Dance 3:08
[Bonus Tracks]
11 The Boys Are Back In Town     3:10
12 Emerald      4:02

Thin Lizzy were:
Phil Lynott - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
Brian Downey - Drums, Percussion
Brian Robertson - Guitar
Scott Gorham - Lead Guitar
Phil Collins - Additional Percussion
Kim Beacon - Backing Vocals

Thin Lizzy Link (293Mb) New Link 04/01/2024

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Melanie - Leftover Wine [Live] (1970)

(U.S 1967 - Present)
Melanie Safka was born on February 3rd 1947 in New York. Her mother was an Italian-born jazz singer. She grew up a shy girl with a great interest for music, so she taught herself how to play the guitar and started to write songs and poetry. She says: "I had a hard time getting on with people at school. I was very much alone. I was writing, and playing, and singing and falling in love with everybody, but mostly not telling them."
After studying acting at the American Academy of Arts, Melanie played major professional roles in productions of Alice In Wonderland and The Glass Menagerie.

While hoping for an audition for a part in Dark Side Of The Moon, she stumbled into the wrong office. An executive lurking behind a large cigar noticed she was toting a guitar, asked if she could sing...and Melanie went home with a recording contract in her handbag.

The producer of the young Buddah-label Peter Schekeryk got interested in this somewhat dreamy girl when she sang her ideas to him. Together, they recorded her debut-album "Born To Be" in 1968. But only after her performance at Woodstock in the pouring rain, Melanie suddenly had a cachet. Her first LP was re-released and she was awarded with a number 6 hit in the USA in June of 1970 with "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)", performed with the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

16 Year Old Melanie
Later in 1969, Melanie had a hit in the Netherlands with "Beautiful People" and at the end of 1970 Melanie had a UK No. 9 hit with her version of the 1966 hit by the Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday".

On June 13, 1970, Melanie took to the stage of New York’s Carnegie Hall. This was the first of her historic appearances there. The concert was recorded for a live album by running lines from Carnegie Hall on West 57th St. to Allegro Sound Studios on West 51st St. That live album, released later that year was called “Leftover Wine” [Wikipedia].

The following was a press review of the show from Billboard June 27, 1970

MELANIE: Carnegie Hall, New York
Demonstrating that high decibel levels aren't prerequisites for a capacity hall, Melanie and her special guests, Brewer & Shipley, performed a one show sellout concert last Saturday evening at Carnegie Hall. N.Y. With tickets at a $5.50 top there was an approximate gross of $10,000.

With a loyal following behind her, Melanie's performance personifies the lyric line of one of her songs, "if I had my dream, I'd build a hall and bring everyone together." That's exactly what she does, for over the course of an hour and a half Melanie's reliance and exuberance, musically and personally, served at a unifying force that culminated with her being surrounded on stage by her fans.
Her forte lies in her vocals, and to say that she is unique would be a gross understatement. Ranging from a little girl like whine to a powerfully full and pure voice, she is the possessor of numerous vocal tricks and a wide range.

On Stage At Carnegie Hall, 1970
The concert was strange and upsetting and very brilliant. Melanie sang about loneliness and alienation with an emphasis and involvement that were often hard to bear. There was a strong note of hysteria in her singing which made a jarring contrast with some of her more optimistic lyrics. But she did not have to be consistent; her talent is in expressing emotion and not rationality. Emotion: tension and pain and isolation. Melanie works in extremes, and she forced her listeners to feel in extremes. It was always effective. It was not always fun.

When Melanie came back on stage to do an encore, several hundred of the audience climbed to the stage, all crowded very close together, very quiet. The communication was immediate, with no barriers. Everyone was a part of it.

The concert was being taped for a future Buddah Records "live" album. Maybe the cover photo will show the stage of Carnegie Hall covered with people, and in the centre, Melanie, surrounded and alone [by Nancy Erlich, sourced from Melanie's Facebook]
Concert Review:
The fragile-to-hysterical voice of Melanie charms and alarms us with a set recorded at New York's Carnegie Hall last year. After her rather shaky opening number, "Close To It All", she admits to being nervous and feeling that everyone in the audience she has known at one time or another.

Her second number, "Uptown and Down", is about being in New York and she sings this with much greater drive and gets big applause.

Her following piece Mama Mama, starts quieter, with more of her acoustic guitar, as she sings about her life.

The "Saddest Thing" is a wistful ditty about the final goodbye from the one you love; and "Beautiful People" about humans of today and their shortcomings.

The first half ends with "Animal Crackers", an amusing song in which she induces audience participation.

Side B kicks off with an animal r
ight's song. Apparently, while in Columbus, Missouri, Melanie met a cow which bleated "Moo-lanie," probably because she doesn't eat meat, so she wrote "I Don't Eat Animals"

A short "Happy Birthday" salute to Margie English, a journalist, is followed by "Tuning My Guitar", a song about entertaining.

"Psychotherapy" is sung to the tune of America's "Battle Hymn Of The Republic", with "glory glory psychotherapy, glory glory sexuality" substituted for the original words. A tongue-in-cheek song, which gets quite risqué, it gets her biggest applause; indeed the acclaim takes a little too much playing time!

"Leftover Wine" is a tender song about being left alone after a party, with no one there to drink the leftover wine with her. Melanie sings this quite powerfully, with her always insistent acoustic guitar adding emphasis.

Her final song (they are all written by her) is her former single hit in America and has been added to the LP "Peace Will Come", an earnest hope for the end of hostilities.

Another excellent album from this thoughtful, tuneful artist [extract from melaniemusicsociety]

Liner notes:
As the concert drew to an end and the audience began to fear that each song would be the last, the flood began. Shadowy figures in beads and fringe flowed down the carpeted aisles of Carnegie Hall. They swirled onto the bright stage eddying silently around the singer hunched over her guitar. Few of them touched her. One gave her beads for her hair. Another wept and whispered, "Don't leave us". Long ago she had told them, "You gotta get close to it all", and they had left their isolated seats and came down the aisle for that purpose - simply to be close. She drew strength from them and sang on until she had no more songs. When she rose to leave some of them embraced her, and tears were exchanged.

Melanie was surrounded by audience members
Hands reached from cuff linked sleeves and pulled her backstage where people who handle her business arrangements congratulated her on a good night's work. Wine was served.

What happened on the stage that night was too delicate an event to register on magnetic tape. For those of us who were there, the sounds on this record can only remind us of what was felt. We all have to share the Leftover Wine.
This post consists of MP3's (320) ripped from my Buddah LP and includes full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD. Although not her greatest release (that award goes to her studio album released in the same year - 'Candles In The Rain') this live album is not known well but deserves a place in my record collection for nostalgic reasons.  I have taken the liberty of chopping out some of the extended applause recorded on Side B which I found quite annoying, particularly from "Psychotherapy".
I also had to apply some 'click removal' to mask the inevitable surface noise that is more noticeable during the quieter passages.  Melanie was one of my favourite female singes while growing up as a teenager and was one of the few artists that my mother liked at the time.  This one is for you mum and I always think of you when I hear Melanie's beautiful voice.
01. Close To It All (3:47)
02. Uptown And Down (3:11)
03. Mama Mama (4:45)
04. The Saddest Thing (3:57)
05. Beautiful People (4:38)
06. Animal Crackers (2:47)
07. I Don't Eat Animals (2:25)
08. Happy Birthday(Talk/Song) (0:52)
09. Tuning My Guitar (4:37)
10. Psychotherapy (5:25)
11. Leftover Wine (5:09)
12. Peace Will Come (According To Plan) * (4:47)

All tunes written by Melanie Safka except Psychotherapy which is Public Domain.
Produced and Directed by Peter Schekeryk
Recorded Live In New York at Carnegie Hall
*except "Peace Will Come" (Studio Track)

Melanie: Guitar, Vocals
Ronald Frangipane: Keyboards,
Al Gorgoni: Guitar,
George Devans: Percussion
Joseph Macho: F. Base,
Sol Detroia: Guitar,
Art Kaplan: Woodwinds,
Greg Diamond: Drums
*Strings: Lee Holderidge. Arranged by Lee Holderidge & John Abbot

Melanie Live (133Mb) New Link 25/12/2023

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Justin Hayward - Moving Mountains (1985) with Bonus Track

(U.K 1965 - Present)
While not the only lead vocalist  in The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward is the most recognisable. His silky smooth voice can be heard on nearly all  of their hits including “Nights In White Satin,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” “Tuesday  Afternoon,” “The Voice,” and many others. One of Rock’s finest front men, Justin  Hayward has also released a handful of fantastic solo albums over the years  that have come and gone without much notice by commercial audiences.  That is definitely a shame since Hayward  always has something interesting to say and he has a lovely way of saying it.  Proving that he could write massive hits outside of the Moody Blues, Justin hit the Top Ten globally in 1978 with "Forever Autumn" – created for Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ album.

'Moving Mountains' (1985) was his third ‘solo’ album (fourth if you count the 'Blue Jays' project with  fellow Moodies member John Lodge)  and features a fine batch of Hayward tunes that recall his past, present and  future.  The album, released a year  before The Moody Blues made their big commercial comeback with 'The Other Side Of Life', definitely sounds like the same work of the man who  penned so many fab tunes in the ‘60s and ‘70s yet the production is rooted  firmly in the ‘80s. Not as wonderfully bombastic as the Moodies’ albums of the  era, the album doesn’t sound far off from what Chris Rea and other like-minded artists were attempting to do at  the time – write great songs and present them in a way that would appeal to a larger audience.

Some have written that 'Moving Mountains' sounds dated. In  all actuality, the album is not as slick as some of the albums released in  1985. More importantly, the album’s production  never interferes with the excellent songs on display. The majestic “Silverbird”  was co-written by Jeff Wayne, who  some might remember as the man responsible for “Forever Autumn,” the Hayward-sung  hit from 'War Of The Worlds'.  “One Again”  stands as a fine album opener.  “Moving  Mountains” is a wonderful tune. “Lost And Found” possesses a lovely melody and  a great vocal from Hayward. (Have I already said that this guy is one of Rock’s  finest vocalists?) “Is It Just A Game” is cut from the same cloth as “Your Wildest  Dreams” and “The Voice”. Overall,  the album is relaxed and uncluttered. Anyone wanting to hear the Moodies should buy a Moodies album.

However, if you want to experience Justin’s singular musical vision, 'Moving Mountains'  is just one of many places to start.

Hayward's Guitars
For the most part, Hayward has used a red Gibson ES-335 ("main axe"), though he also uses other guitars in both performing and recording, including a 1955 Martin D-28 "Dreadnought", a James Olson six-string acoustic, a Black Guild acoustic, (mock) Squier Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, a blonde Guild open-tuned 12-string acoustic and a 12-string Gibson acoustic (for "Question"), and in 1967 a black Les Paul. Between 1965 and 1968 he was without his Gibson 335 and relied on other instruments, most notably a 1964 Fender Telecaster and a hand-built 12-string guitar he had renovated for Donegan (he eventually bought this guitar from Donegan's widow).

However, in an interview that is included on the "Lovely to See You Concert" DVD (2005), Hayward says the 1963 Gibson 335 has been with him since 1967. Recently he has played a Collings D3 on stage and on recordings . Among other instruments, Hayward also played the mandolin on A Question of Balance and the sitar on "In Search Of The Lost Chord".

Liner Notes
This album started for me in 1980 with "Goodbye". The song that is, when my friend Eric Stewart (10 CC) and I were sitting in his studio one night wondering what to do with some time after a session, so, we recorded the basic track to "Goodbye".  I finally finished the LP five years later with the single "Silverbird" and along the way worked with many friends and had lots of fun. I recorded each track whenever I felt I had a song that would contribute to the whole. Some, like the basic title track of "Moving Mountains", my own personal favourite, were recorded at home, in my own time.. Others like "Who Knows" and "The Best Is Yet To Come" were made in one huge orchestral session in a couple of hours. Those two songs brought a reunion with my dear friend Peter Knight, the greatest British writer and arranger for strings I have ever heard.

"One Again" with Tony Visconti was a wonderful learning process for me in the technology of recording, quite the opposite of "Is It Just A Game?" where we just set up in the studio and let it rip. Every once in a while you write a song that just falls into place and expresses perfectly what you wanted to say. "Lost And Found" was one of those songs for me, and every aspect of it, the writing, the recording, the mixing and mastering, were a pleasure, but then every song on this LP was a true labour of love. Through this album I became a keyboard player as well as a guitarist, and engineer as well as a recording artist, your part is easy. Just sit back and ... well ... happy listening. [written by Justin Hayward]

Justin Hayward Today
This post consists of FLACS ripped from my newly acquired Vinyl which I found in amongst a pile of beaten up Moodies LP's at the Flee Market (which I already had thankfully). To my surprise, this album was in pristine condition and looked almost brand new.  I have of course also included full album artwork for both CD and vinyl along with label scans.
To sweeten the deal, I am also including Justin's big 70's hit "Forever Autumn" (ripped from my single) which in my opinion was his swan song.  Don't get me wrong, his Moodies material was great but I think Jeff Wayne's production and writing skills took him to an even higher level.
Hope you enjoy this lost treasure
01 One Again
02 Take Your Chances
03 Moving Mountains
04 Silverbird
05 Is It Just A Game
06 Lost & Found
07 Goodbye
08 Who Knows
09 The Best Is Yet To Come
10    Forever Autumn (Bonus Track)

Vocals – Justin Hayward
Bass – Henry Thomas
Drums – Charlie Morgan, Dave Mattacks
Guitar – Jo Partridge, Justin Hayward
Keyboards – Colin Frechter, Justin Hayward, Pete Wingfield, Tony Visconti
Saxophone – Chris White
Vocals [Background] – P.P. Arnold, Tony Visconti, Vicki Brown
Arranged By – Jeff Wayne, Peter Knight
Justin Hayward Link (286Mb) New Link 01/05/2020

Monday, March 9, 2020

Muddy Waters - King Bee (1980)

(U.S 1941 - 1982)
Muddy Waters was the King of Chicago Blues, a huge influence in his own community and, in later years, to generations of white musicians who recognised his eminence. Born in Mississippi (real name McKinley Morganfield) in 1915, Waters learned harmonica and guitar, the latter from the work of Son House and Robert Johnson. Moving to Chicago in 1943, he kept company with Sonny Boy Williamson and Big Bill Broonzy.

His first commercial records, including, 'I Can't Be Satisfied' (1948), featured slide guitar, the raw emotion of Delta blues revitalising existing conventions. His sessions were augmented by harmonica player Little Walter, pianist Otis Spann and guitarist Jimmie Rodgers. 'I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man' (1954) established his as the quintessential Chicago blues band.

His appearance at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival presaged the Sixties blues boom and he spent the decade touring Europe and the USA. 'Fathers And Sons'  (1969), with Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield, and 'The London Sessions' (1971), with Steve Winwood, Rory Gallagher and Mitch Mitchell, emphasised the esteem in which he was held by his younger adherents. 'Hard Again' (1976), produced by Johnny Winter, revived a then flagging career. 'I'm Ready', (1977), 'Live' (1978) and the featured album 'King Bee' (1980) were an extended swansong for a much-loved and gracious character. Muddy Waters died in Chicago in 1983.  [Extract from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock, Carlton Books 1994, by Michael Heatley, p27]

After a long career that lasted from the 40's, Muddy Waters recorded his last album in 1981, with the title "King Bee", after a song written by Slim Harpo, which is also the first track. This would be the third studio album recorded under the Blue Sky/Sony label with guitarist Johnny Winter (the first being Hard Again and the second I'm Ready).

However, not everything was rosy as previous albums. By this time, Muddy's health was beginning to deteriorate and due to this, less live performances were made. This didn't fare well with his bandmates (including Bob Margolin, a great guitarist in his own right), because they needed the gigs to make money. The sessions were filled with tension, and to this, not many new songs were recorded. Instead, unused material from Hard Again were used alongside the couple of songs that were made.

This reflects the overall quality of the music, even though it sounds superb, but the rawness found in the first two seems absent. This one feels more somber... especially on songs like "Sad, Sad Day" which features an amazing guitar solo by Johnny Winter.

There's an acoustic "throwback" number as well, on "Feel Like Going Home" with Winter playing on a National Steel resonator guitar; the final result is not as tight as "Can't be Satisfied" from Hard Again. (This song was used from those sessions).

One of the new standout tracks is "Champagne and Reefer", which Muddy wrote to please the younger crowds (See the video below).

On the 2004 Deluxe Edition, two more tracks were added: "I Won't Go On" and "Clouds in my Heart" which add more value. I wouldn't recommend to start your collection from here, but it's still got some great blues.  [thanks to speaktheblues.blogspot.com]
Liner Notes
King Bee was Waters’ last studio recording, comprised of sessions conducted in May 1980, augmented with out-takes from the sessions for 1977’s Hard Again release. This expanded reissue edition of King Bee has been remastered and features two additional bonus tracks, both out-takes from 1977’s Hard Again sessions that were not included on the original 1981 album release.

In the late 1970s Johnny Winter produced four albums of new recordings by Muddy Waters – Hard Again, I’m Ready, Muddy “Mississippi Waters-Live and King Bee. There were some new songs written for the sessions, some new covers were recorded and some of Muddy’s older songs were revisited with updated arrangements & renewed vigor. This time period marked an upsurge in Muddy’s career in general, but also effectively closed out his recording career with the King Bee release.

King Bee was made at a time when Muddy’s long-time 1970s era band was breaking apart, mostly due to financial/managerial pressures. It was the last album he made with Luther Johnson, Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Jerry Portnoy, Calvin Jones and Willie Smith, who would leave Waters shortly after finishing the album to form The Legendary Blues Band (minus Pinetop Perkins.)

In general, the songs on King Bee are deeper, more mournful sounding, than on the previous Johnny Winter-produced albums. Where the other albums were bathed in a positive “let’s party” vibe, King Bee was recorded during a period of band-management turmoil and the declining health of Muddy. Don’t take that to mean that the songs on King Bee are bad; they are most certainly not. They just have a more melancholy feel to them – deeper blues, if you will.

1) I’m A King Bee
Very powerful; it’s obvious that blues MEN are performing here. It’s about as far from Slim Harpo’s version as you will get & still have a recognisable cover. Then again, it’s really done in Waters’ rugged style so it’s barely a cover tune anyway.

2) Too Young To Know
Mid-tempo hard, deep ensemble blues. The remastering on this album allows the listener to hear every musician – very nice.

3) Mean Old Frisco Blues
I normally enjoy “Mean Old Frisco” a lot, but Muddy’s version here just seems to be lacking something. His vocal delivery seems to be lacking a certain enthusiasm. Johnny Winter does play a very nice solo break in the middle of the song, though.

4) Forever Lonely
A slow blues. Knowing what was going on in Muddy’s life at the time, it’s easy to imagine that turmoil influencing his vocals on this track. Muddy sings this with passion and Johnny Winter plays some great guitar solos. The band nailed this one!

5) I Feel Like Going Home
An acoustic slow blues track that was actually an unused out-take from the Hard Again sessions. Muddy is on vocals, with Johnny Winter & Bob Margolin on acoustic guitars, Willie Smith on very spare percussion. It’s a nice side of Muddy’s repertoire that he didn’t show much after the early 1950s. The deep acoustic blues is really Muddy’s roots – check out his Library of Congress-Lomax recordings for proof.

6) Champagne & Reefer
This is a slow shuffle that is an ode to two of Muddy’s favorite “mood enhancers”. One story goes that after Waters’ doctor told him he had to quit drinking whiskey, he (Waters) decided champagne would be OK as a substitute. And when he wanted to get really mellow, well… 

7) Sad Sad Day
This is another slow blues – Muddy loved ‘em. Waters’ baby picked up and went away...and it made him so so sad. There is some stinging slide work on this one; it makes you feel Muddy’s pain.

8) (My Eyes) Keep Me In Trouble
This song moves along at a faster tempo than the last few songs. There is a squalling harp heard throughout, strong guitar attack and a slightly disjointed feel to the whole thing. That disjointed feel makes me like it even more. This song has a good country juke-joint feel.

9) Deep Down In Florida
We’re slowing down again; put on your waders, as there’s deep blues ahead. This has some of that disjointed, juke vibe – so you know I like this song. Again, the remastering has done wonders for this album. Just to let all of you know, even if I say the vibe is disjointed, the playing is not. True ensemble blues – does it get any better than that?

10) No Escape From The Blues
This song was the set closer on the original LP release of King Bee. It’s a mid-tempo shuffle, Chicago-style.

Johnny Winter & Muddy Waters
The Verdict:
While not the first place to start when getting into the music of Muddy Waters, King Bee is definitely worthwhile and is a solid album. If you enjoy deep blues, tough ensemble playing and passionate singing then you will certainly enjoy this album. Make sure to pick up the 2004 CD remastered edition of King Bee, as the sound is much improved over the original, and two bonus tracks are included (one of which, Clouds In My Heart, may be the best song on the CD)

In addition, Bob Margolin’s informative liner notes are almost worth the price of the CD on their own.
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD release of this album. Includes full album artwork for Vinyl / CD and label scans as per usual. I haven't posted a lot of blues albums on this blog, so this Muddy Waters release will help to fill the gap.
01 - I'm A King Bee
02 - Too Young To Know
03 - Mean Old Frisco Blues 
04 - Forever Lonely
05 - I Feel Like Going Home 
06 - Champagne & Reefer
07 - Sad, Sad Day
08 - (My Eyes) Keep Me In Trouble
09 - Deep Down in Florida #2 
10 - No Escape From The Blues
Muddy Waters King Bee Link (203Mb)
New  Link 26/12/2023