Wednesday, August 31, 2022

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: The Nutty Squirrels - A Hard Day's Night and other Smashes (1964)

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

The initial success of Alvin and the Chipmunks with "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" in late 1958 led to several imitators trying to replicate the success of the helium-voiced trio, the most notable of which being The Nutty Squirrels.

This squirrel duo was the brainchild of jazz musicians Don Elliott and Alexander "Sascha" Burland. Amused by the Chipmunks concept, they decided to record a jazz scat album under the guise of a hip group of squirrels, recording their voices at 16 RPM and playing them back at 33 RPM just like Ross Bagdasarian did for his Chipmunks. Backing their altered vocals were some of the best New York session musicians of the late 1950's, including Cannonball Adderley on sax, Bobby Jaspar on flute and Sam Most on clarinet.

They received a Top 40 hit in late-1959 as the song "Uh! Oh!". They also preceded The Alvin Show in which they appeared on television in 1960 as The Nutty Squirrels Present, but the show's success was rather decreased.

Uh! Oh!

The group's first two albums, The Nutty Squirrels and Bird Watching, were released in 1959. The Nutty Squirrels' final album, The Nutty Squirrels Sing A Hard Day's Night and Other Smashes, marked a stylistic change from their first two albums, featuring covers of the Beatles songs.

This was the first Squirrels album to cover current pop hits (including three by The Beatles). Previous albums had featured jazz standards.

The Nutty Squirrels' First two Albums

It would be the last Nutty Squirrels album until 1978, when they reunited (without Elliot and Alexander) under the legal pseudonym Shirley & Squirrely.

In the 2007 live-action/animated movie Alvin and the Chipmunks, during the credits, Ian Hawke (David Cross) tries to get three squirrels to sing.

This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from MGM vinyl which I found on the internet many years ago (thanks to the original uploader).  I am quite fascinated with novelty records like this one, especially those released in the 60's when musicians and sound engineers started experimenting with sounds and special effects on their analog recording equipment (eg. Beatles and George Martin / Pink Floyd). And so, this album with its high pitched 'chip monk' vocals ticks the Korny box for this month's WOCK on Vinyl post. 
Funnily enough, while working on this month's post, my wife asked me what was wrong with my record player while playing the album's "Can't Buy Me Love" and I casually replied  'Nuttin' 

01 - I Should Have Known Better  2:48
02 - GTO  2:38
03 - Everybody Knows 1:40
04 - Do Wah Diddy Diddy 2:19
05 - Needles & Pins 2:07
06 - Can't Buy Me Love  2:07
07 - Wishin' & Hopin' 2:36
08 - A Hard Day's Night  2:26
09 - A World Without Love  2:43
10 - Bread & Butter  1:53
11 - Oh, Pretty Woman 2:42
12 - Bingle Jells  2:33

Don Elliott: vocals, trumpet, vibraphone, possible other instruments
Granville Alexander "Sascha" Burland: vocals
Among the New York-based session musicians playing on these albums were Cannonball Adderley, (alto sax), Bobby Jaspar (flute), and Sam Most (clarinet)

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Double Post: Various Artists - Immortal Rock (1977) & Immortal Rock Vol.2 (1979)

 (Compilation - 60's / 70's)

Various Artists - Immortal Rock (1977)

The late 60's and early 70's was an era when rock came of age. This album features a collection of all time rock classics emphasising the strong influence of British and European musicians.

From Hendrix to Status Quo...the Who's Who of Rock's golden era are featured on this highly sort after compilation.
I have always considered this compilation (and it's follow up Vol.2 release) to be the best rock sampler albums to be released on Vinyl, representing the pinnacles of 60 and 70's rock. The only 'legendary' band not represented here are the Beatles, but then how many compilations have you seen with a Beatles track - none? Featured singles are:
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - Fire
Written by: Arthur Brown/Vincent Crane
Release Date: June, 1968
Highest Chart Position: #1 UK
Album Track: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
B-Side Single:  Rest Cure
During live performances and in the black and white promotional television clip, Brown performed the song wearing a burning helmet. The helmet was improvised with a leather skull cap onto which was bolted a metal dish that held lighter fluid or petrol. As the cap was not insulated, the heat from the burning fuel quickly conducted through the fixing bolt to the top of Brown's head, causing him considerable pain. The song is an example of the psychedelic rock of the period, though its lack of guitars or bass guitar distinguished it from many of its contemporaries. The lead instrument in this case was Vincent Crane's Hammond organ, augmented by an orchestral section featuring prominent brass. 

Pinball Wizard - The Who
Written by: Pete Townshend
Release Date: March, 1969
Highest Chart Position: #4 UK
Album Track: Tommy
B-Side Single:  Dogs part Two
In the first week of March 1969, Track released the first sampler from Tommy, a riveting new Townshend song entitled 'Pinball Wizard'. The song had actually been written for Nik Cohn, a journalist who was both a pinball fanatic and a close friend of Pete, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. It was by far The Who's best single release since 'I Can See For Miles' eighteen months earlier. "Pinball Wizard" opened with what is perhaps the best guitar part that Pete Townsend has ever written; following a slow, tension-filled build up through a series of unusual, rather melancholy chords, the rhythmic balance is secured with some furious strumming on acoustic guitar down an eight note sequence, each change enhanced by the deep cannon of John's bass guitar.
If there was any doubt that Pete Townsend is the finest rhythm guitarist in the whole of rock, 'Pinball Wizard' sets the record straight. The B-Side incidentally, was Keith Moon's jokey 'Dogs Part II', a throw away track with composition credited to 'Moon, Towser and Jason'. Towser was Pete's pet spaniel and Jason was John's favourite deerhound.

Thunderclap Newman - Something In The Air
Written by: Speedy Keen
Release Date: May, 1969
Highest Chart Position: #1 UK
Album Track: Hollywood Dream
B-Side Single: Wilhelmina
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out. Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (a friend from art college), and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney and Wings. Keen played the drums and sang the lead.

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
Written by: Billy Roberts
Release Date: Dec, 1966 in UK
Highest Chart Position: #6 UK
Album Track: Are You Experienced?
B-Side: Stone Free (U.K), 51st Anniversary (US)
The lyrics tell of a man who is on the run and planning to head to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife. 
Listed at No. 201 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.
"Hey Joe" was the last song Hendrix performed at the Woodstock festival in 1969 and as such, it was also the final song of the whole festival. The song was performed after the crowd, comprising the 80,000 who had not yet left the festival, cheered for an encore

Derek And The Dominos - Layla
Written by: Eric Clapton/Jim Gordon
Release Date: March, 1971
Highest Chart Position: #7 UK
Album Track: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
B-Side Single: Bell Bottom Blues
Clapton originally wrote "Layla" as a ballad, with lyrics describing his unrequited love for Boyd, but the song became a "rocker" when, according to Clapton, Allman composed the song's signature riff. The song's length (7:04) proved prohibitive for radio airplay. As a result, a shortened version of the song, consisting of the first 2:43 of Part I, was released as a single in March 1971 by Atco Records in the United States. This version peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Rod Stewart - Maggie May
Written by: Rod Stewart/Mark Quittenton
Release Date: July, 1971
Highest Chart Position: #1 UK/US
Album Track: Every Picture Tells A Story
B-Side Single: Reason To Believe
Maggie May expresses the ambivalence and contradictory emotions of a boy involved in a relationship with an older woman and was written from Stewart's own experience. The song was released as the B-side of the single "Reason to Believe", but soon radio stations began playing the B-side and "Maggie May" became the more popular side. The song was Stewart's first substantial hit as a solo performer and launched his solo career. 

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Sky Pilot
Written by: Burdon/Briggs/Welder/Jenkins/McCulloch
Release Date: Jan, 1968 
Highest Chart Position: #14 US
Album Track: The Twain Shall Meet
B-Side Single: Sky Pilot Pt. 2
The sprawling single “Sky Pilot,” released at the dawn of that war-torn year, proved to be a game changer, one of rock’s first cinematic songs. At more than seven minutes, the number annexed both sides of the 45 record, its many sonic effects captured in true stereo. Even at that length, Eric Burdon’s song was a hit single, reaching No. 14 in the U.S. and remaining an FM radio staple over the decades. While the song’s subtle anti-war message surely concerned the Vietnam War, its shadowing invoked the two world wars.
The song is a balladic slice of life story about a chaplain who blesses a body of troops just before they set out on an overnight raid or patrol, and then retires to await their return.

Cream - White Room
Written by: Jack Bruce/Pete Brown
Release Date: Sept, 1968
Highest Chart Position: #6 US
Album Track: Wheels Of Fire
B-Side Single: Those Were Thee Days
Cream recorded White Room for the studio half of their 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter US single edit (without the third verse) was released for AM radio stations, although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version. The subsequent UK single release in January 1969 used the full-length album version of the track.
Jack Bruce sang and played bass on the song, Eric Clapton overdubbed guitar parts, Ginger Baker played drums and timpani, and Felix Pappalardi – the group's producer – contributed violas. Clapton played his guitar through a wah-wah pedal to achieve a "talking-effect".

Focus - Hocus Pocus
Written by: Thijs Van Leer/Jan Akkerman
Release Date: July, 1971
Highest Chart Position: #9 US/Dutch
Album Track: Moving Waves
B-Side Single: Janis
An edited version was released as a single (with "Janis" as the B-side) on the Imperial, Polydor and Blue Horizon labels in Europe in 1971, but failed to chart outside of the Netherlands. A faster re-recording of the song (titled "Hocus Pocus 2" or "Hocus Pocus II" in some markets) was released in Europe in 1972. When performing live, Focus would play "Hocus Pocus" even faster. Supposedly the song was a bit of a joke by its authors, but if so, it was a very successful million-selling joke. 

Status Quo - Rain
Written by: Rick Parfitt
Release Date: Feb, 1976
Highest Chart Position: #7 UK
Album Track: Blue For You
B-Side Single: You Lost The Love
"Rain" was intended for Blue for You predecessor On the Level – but, at the time of the recording sessions, Parfitt had not completed the song and so it was held over. It in fact followed guitarist Francis Rossi's new introduction to speed; "That's why songs like 'Rain' were so edgy and fast," he explained.

John Mayall - Moving On
Written by: John Mayall
Release Date: 1973
Highest Chart Position: #116 US
Album Track: Moving On
B-Side Single: Keep Our Country Green
The single was lifted from "Moving On", a live album recorded at the Whiskey AGoGo, Los Angeles on the 10th of July 1972 with the aid of Wally Heider's Mobile Recording Truck. For this album, he reshuffled personnel, choosing Mitchell, Solomon, Larry Taylor, Victor Gaskin, Hartley, Robinson, Watts, flautist Charles Owen and baritone and tenor saxophonist Fred Jackson. The album and single, Moving On, was released in January, 1973.

Golden Earring - Radar Love
Written by: G.Kooyman/H.Hay
Release Date: Aug, 1973
Highest Chart Position: #10 US
Album Track: Moontan
B-Side Single: The Song Is Over
Radar Love is written from the point of view of a truck driver who says he has some sort of psychic connection with his girlfriend — "radar love". He senses that she urgently wants him to be with her, and it makes him reckless. His recklessness causes him to have a fatal accident, but even in the afterlife the song's narrator and his lover still have radar love.

Nazereth - Love Hurts
Written by: Boudleaux Bryant
Release Date: Nov, 1974
Highest Chart Position: #8 US
Album Track: Hair Of The Dog
B-Side Single: Down
Performed as a power ballad, the Nazareth version is the most popular version of the song and the only rendition of "Love Hurts" to become a hit single in the United States, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976. Jim Capaladi released a 'more up beat' version of Love Hurts in early 1975 and at one stage both versions were on the same charts at the same time - I personally preferred Nazareth's version.  The album version runs 3:52, with a guitar solo by Manny Charlton that is not on the 3:03 single. The lyrics of the song were changed for Nazareth's 1975 recording, where the original line "love is like a stove/it burns you when it's hot" was changed to "love is like a flame/it burns you when it's hot".
Oh, by the way, did you know that Nazareth got their name from the first line of the Band's "The Weight" - "I pulled into Nazareth..."

Eric Clapton - I Shot The Sheriff
Written by: Bob Marley
Release Date: 1974
Highest Chart Position: #1 US
Album Track: 46 Ocean Boulevard
B-Side Single: Give Me Strength
With respect to the song title, Marley has explained his intention as "I wanted to say 'I shot the police' but the government would have made a fuss, so I said 'I shot the sheriff' instead… but it's the same idea: justice. Clapton kept the underlying reggae beat from Marley's original, but made it more of a rock song, with prominent organ and guitar. In America, reggae was big around this time - in 1972, "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash became the first song of that genre to hit #1 in the States. For listeners craving just a touch of reggae with their rock, Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff" hit the sweet spot.


Various Artists - Immortal Rock Vol.2  (1979)

 In the tradition of the first Immortal Rock album (Polystar 2475 517) this collection features further examples of all time rock classics from the 60's and 70's. 

From Chuck Berry to Roger Daltrey....the Who's Who (no punn intended)  of Rock's Golden era are featured on this 2nd compilation.

Singles featured on this compilation are:

Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower 
Written by: Bob Dylan
Release Date: Sept, 1968 
Highest Chart Position: #20
Album Track: Electric Ladyland
B-Side Single: Long Hot Summer Night
Hendrix had been working on and off with the members of the band Traffic as he recorded Electric Ladyland. Traffic guitarist Dave Mason caught Hendrix at a party and the two discussed Bob Dylan's newest album, John Wesley Harding, containing "All Along The Watchtower." Hendrix, long fascinated with Dylan, decided to cover the song on the album. On the resulting track, Mason plays rhythm on a 12-string acoustic guitar.

Rare Bird - Sympathy
Written by: Rare Bird
Release Date: Feb 1970
Highest Chart Position: #27 UK
Album Track: Rare Bird
B-Side Single: Devil's High Concern
"Sympathy" is a song by the English progressive rock band Rare Bird. It became the band's only UK chart entry when it peaked at number 27 in the UK Singles Chart in 1970. The song reached No. 1 in Italy and in France, selling 500,000 copies in France and over one million globally.

Hollies - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
Written by: Bob Russell/Bobby Scott
Release Date: Sept, 1969
Highest Chart Position: #3 UK
Album Track: Non-album Single
B-Side Single: 'Cos You Like to Love Me
The Hollies' recorded the song in June 1969 at the Abbey Road Studios, with Allan Clarke on lead vocals. Elton John, who was still called 'Reg' at the time and was working as a session musician at the time, played piano on the song. He got paid 12 pounds for his trouble. 
In the Guardian newspaper of February 24, 2006, Hollies guitarist Tony Hicks said: "In the 1960s when we were short of songs I used to hang around publishers in Denmark Street. One afternoon, I'd been there ages and wanted to get going but this bloke said: 'Well there's one more song. It's probably not for you.' He played me the demo by the writers [Bobby Scott and Bob Russell]. It sounded like a 45rpm record played at 33rpm, the singer was slurring, like he was drunk. But it had something about it. There were frowns when I took it to the band but we speeded it up and added an orchestra. The only things left recognizable were the lyrics.

Rod Stewart - Mandolin Wind
Written by: Rod Stewart
Release Date: June, 1971
Highest Chart Position: #66 Aust 
Album Track: Every Picture Tell's A Story
B-Side Single: (I Know) I'm Losing You
"Mandolin Wind" was first released on Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story and later as the b-side of a single from that album, his version of "(I Know) I'm Losing You.
"Mandolin Wind" has been highly praised by music critics. In his review of Every Picture Tells a Story in Rolling Stone, John Mendelsohn refers to the song as being "nearly as good" as the #1 single off the album, "Maggie May."
The identity of the mandolin player on "Mandolin Wind" is unclear. The liner notes state that "the mandolin was played by the mandolin player in Lindisfarne" but that Rod Stewart had forgotten his name. In 2003, Ray Jackson claimed to be the mandolin player on the album, at least for the song "Maggie May." Jackson is the mandolin player from English folk-rock band Lindisfarne.

Allman Brothers - Ramblin' Man
Written by: Dickey Betts
Release Date: Aug, 1973 in US
Highest Chart Position: #2 US
Album Track: Brothers and Sisters
B-Side: Pony Boy
It was one of the first songs, alongside "Wasted Words", recorded for Brothers and Sisters (1973). They went to the studio to record a demo of the song to send to a friend, which is where the long guitar jam near the finale of the song was created. It is considerably more inspired by country music than other Allman Brothers Band compositions, which made the group reluctant to record it initially.

James Brown - It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World
Written by: James Brown/Betty Jean Newsome
Release Date: April, 1966
Highest Chart Position: #1 US
Album Track: It's A Man's Man's Man's World
B-Side Single: Is It Yes or Is It No?
The song's title is a word play on the 1963 comedy film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Brown's co-writer and onetime girlfriend, Betty Jean Newsome, wrote the lyrics based on her own observations of the relations between the sexes. Newsome claimed in later years that Brown did not write any part of the song, and she argued in court that he sometimes forgot to pay her royalties. Australian musician Renรฉe Geyer recorded a version in 1974. The song was released in November 1974 as the second single from her second studio album, It's a Man's Man's World. The song peaked at number 44 on the Australian Kent Music Report, becoming her first Australian top 50 single.

Roger Daltrey - Walking The Dog
Written by: Rufus Thomas
Release Date: June, 1975
Highest Chart Position: #52 UK
Album Track: Ride A Rock Horse
B-Side Single: Proud
Walking The Dog was recorded during Daltrey's filming commitments for Ken Russell's film Lisztomania. Daltrey’s version of the regularly rendered song basically sticks to the original blueprint, with the exception of a rather hauntingly repetitious tone slipped into the stew. It is quite baffling that the album from which this single was taken from, Ride a Rock Horse drew mixed responses when initially released. No doubt expectations simply ran too high for the Who celeberity, as this is certainly a potent piece of work. Daltrey’s amazing vocals, combined with sympathetic and inspired instrumentation anchor each number. Had Daltrey been an unknown entity and Ride a Rock Horse marked his maiden vinyl voyage, critics would have probably penned rapturous reviews. Those who wrote this album off the first time around should seriously give it another listen, while those just being introduced to Ride a Rock Horse will be suitably impressed.

Bachman Turner Overdrive - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
Written by: Randy Bachman
Release Date: Sept, 1974
Highest Chart Position: #1 US
Album Track: Not Fragile
B-Side Single: Free Wheelin'
The chorus of the song includes the song's famous stutter, and speaks of a devil woman looking at a man with big brown eyes and saying, "You ain't seen nothin' yet. B-b-b-baby, you just ain't seen na-na-nothin' yet. Here's somethin' that you're never gonna forget. B-b-b-baby, you just ain't seen na-na-nothin' yet.
Randy Bachman insists that the song was performed as a joke for his brother, Gary, who had a stutter, with no intention of sounding like the Who's "My Generation" which featured a stuttered lyric.  They only intended to record it once with the stutter and send the only recording to Gary.

Cream - Sunshine Of Your Love
Written by: Jack Bruce/Pete Brown/Eric Clapton
Release Date: Dec, 1967
Highest Chart Position: 
Album Track: Disraeli Gears
B-Side Single: SWLABR
With elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, this song is one of Cream's best known and most popular songs. Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song and drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm.

Jon English - Turn The Page
Written by: Bob Seger
Release Date: 1974
Highest Chart Position: #20 Aust
Album Track: It's All A Game
B-Side Single: Just the Way I Am
Turn The page is about life on the road, and the rigors musicians face when they're touring. It presents the other side of fame which the public doesn't see - the loneliness and aggravation.

Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City
Written by: John & Mark Sebastian
Release Date: July, 1966
Highest Chart Position: #1 US
Album Track: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
B-Side Single: Butchie's Tune
The Lovin' Spoonful recorded "Summer in the City" in two sessions at Columbia Studios in New York in March 1966. The recording is an early instance in pop music of added sound effects, made up of car horns and a pneumatic drill to mimic city noises. The effects were among the first on a pop song to employ an overlapping crossfade, an effect that had typically only been used on comedy albums. 

Eric Burdon & The Animals - Monterey
Written by: Burdon/Briggs/Welder/Jenkins/McCulloch
Release Date: Dec, 1967
Highest Chart Position: #15 US
Album Track: The Twain Shall Meet
B-Side Single: Ain't That So
The song provides an oral account of the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, at which the Animals performed. Burdon namedrops several of the acts who performed at the festival such as The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, the Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. Chart wise, the song reached number 9 in Australia and number 20 in New Zealand. It did not appear as a hit in the UK, where the image of the Monterey festival was not as strong.

Chuck Berry - No Particular Place To Go
Written by: Chuck Berry
Release Date: May, 1964
Highest Chart Position: #3 UK
Album Track: St. Louis To Liverpool
B-Side Single: You Two
The song is a comical four verse story. In the first verse, the narrator is riding in his car as his girlfriend drives, and they kiss. In the second, they start to cuddle, and drive slow. In the third, they decide to park and take a walk, but are unable to release the seat belt. In the last verse, they drive home, defeated by said recalcitrant seat belt.

Slade - Get Down & Get With It
Written by: Bobby Marchan
Release Date: May, 1971
Highest Chart Position:  #16 UK
Album Track: Sladest
B-Side Single: Gospel According To Rasputin
Prior to recording the song in the studio, the band had established "Get Down and Get with It" as a popular number in their live-set, based on Little Richard's version. 
Impressed by the general audience reception of the song, Chandler suggested recording the song as a single. The band entered Olympic Studios in Barnes to record it and Chandler told the band: "Just play it like you do on-stage. Blast it out like it's live, and pretend that there's an audience in there with you." Successfully recorded in a single take, the band included foot-stomping and hand-clapping in the recording to give the song a live feel.


This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Vinyl copies of these two compilation albums. Quality of these records is excellent although some base enhancements have been made to some tracks.
Full album artwork and label scans are included for vinyl - as far as I can tell, neither of these compilations have been released on CD.

Tracklist - Immortal Rock (1977)
A1   The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown  – Fire
A2   The Who  –  Pinball Wizard
A3   Thunderclap Newman  –  Something In The Air
A4   Jimi Hendrix  –  Hey Joe
A5   Derek And The Dominos  –  Layla
A6   Rod Stewart  –  Maggie May
A7   Eric Burdon And The Animals  –  Sky Pilot
B1   Cream –  White Room
B2   Focus –  Hocus Pocus
B3   Status Quo  –  Rain
B4   John Mayall  –  Moving On
B5   Golden Earring  –  Radar Love
B6   Nazareth – Love Hurts
B7   Eric Clapton  –  I Shot The Sheriff

Immortal Rock Link (327Mb) New Link 18/10/2023

Tracklist - Immortal Rock Vol.2 (1979)
A1 Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
A2 Rare Bird –   Sympathy
A3 The Hollies – He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother
A4 Rod Stewart – Mandolin Wind
A5 The Allman Brothers Band –   Ramblin' Man
A6 James Brown – It's A Man's Man's Man's World
A7 Roger Daltrey – Walking The Dog
B1 Bachman-Turner Overdrive –   You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
B2 Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
B3 Jon English – Turn The Page
B4 The Lovin' Spoonful – Summer In The City
B5 Eric Burdon & The Animals –  Monterey
B6 Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go
B7 Slade – Get Down & Get With It

Immortal Rock Vol.2 Link (307Mb) New Link 18/10/2023

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Steve Howe - The Steve Howe Album (1979)

 (U.K 1964 - Present)

Steve Howe
received his first guitar, an f-hole acoustic, as a Christmas present from his parents at age 12 and eventually began playing in local halls. He bought his first electric guitar, a solid body Guyatone, around 1961, and one of the guitars he is most identified with, a Gibson ES-175D, in 1964. About this guitar, Howe said: "No one was playing archtop, hollowbody guitars in a rock band. People laughed at me and thought I was really snooty. To me, it was an object of art, it wasn't just a guitar." He made his first recording, Chuck Berry's "Maybellene", in 1964 with The Syndicats, who were produced by Joe Meek. He and other members of Tomorrow took part in a pie fight in the 1967 comedy about Mods in London, Smashing Time, starring Rita Tushingham, Lynn Redgrave, and Michael York. In 1968, he recorded albums with both Tomorrow (initially called The in Crowd) and Bodast.

Howe declined offers from both The Nice and Jethro Tull while waiting for a record deal to materialise for Bodast, but the group's prospective label went bankrupt. He was then approached by the members of Yes as a possible replacement for Peter Banks, who had appeared on the group's first two albums.

Yes Years

In June 1970, Howe joined Yes and after a few gigs, including the Lyceum Theatre, London (where the version of "Clap" on The Yes Album was recorded), the band retreated to a farm in Devon to rehearse and write new material. Howe was pictured with the group on the non-Europe jacket of their second album, Time and a Word, which was released in August, although it was Banks who had actually played on the recording.

The first Yes album Howe played on was The Yes Album. Beginning with The Yes Album, Howe's electric and acoustic guitars, combined with Jon Anderson's vocals, Chris Squire's bass, and Tony Kaye's keyboards were seen as an essential part of the band's early sound. Released in 1971, the album was a commercial breakthrough for the group.

Howe continued with the band until Yes officially split up on 18 April 1981. Although the group was back together less than a year later, Howe was not included in the new line-up.

During his time with Yes, Howe released 2 solo albums, starting with Beginnings in 1975 (pictured left) , which wasn't really a huge success. I purchased this album (being a huge Yes fan) and remember being very disappointed in what I heard (but suspect I was looking for a new Yes album). The album was primarily an acoustic album which was not my style at the time, and must have sold it some time later.

The Album
The Steve Howe Album is Steve Howe's second solo album and was a much stronger solo effort. It was released in 1979. The album features Yes band members Alan White, Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz. Also featured is Jethro Tull's former drummer Clive Bunker on percussion on one song. The album cover was designed by non other than renowned artist Roger Dean, who also designed most of the Yes album covers.

Steve's Album Instruments

The Steve Howe Album contains many of Howe's strongest and most original compositions. Whereas some of his albums can be associated with the sound of the bands in which he's played, this release is unique. Howe places himself in a country/bluegrass setting on most of the compositions, and that is what makes this project so appealing -- he's a rock veteran venturing outside of his field. And with Graham Preskett playing violin on "The Continental," Howe turns in what sounds like a real hoedown. The first track, "Pennants," is a gem for the more rock-oriented fan. The cut opens with the sweet, resonant, rocking sounds of Howe's Fender Telecaster; he then adds mandolin and a pervasive twin-neck steel, while drummer Alan White keeps it all rhythmic.

Steve plays his Gibson ES 175 D

Half of the tracks are played by Howe alone, most notably "Surface Tension," his composition for solo Spanish guitar. Other cuts feature former Yes-mates White, Bill Bruford, and Patrick Moraz (all of whom participated on Howe's first solo album), and Claire Hamill, who sings beautifully on "Look Over Your Shoulder." Only one other cut includes vocals: "All's a Chord," on which Howe's singing is awkward but appealing. The song, comprised of several movements and musical styles (including classical), features Howe on eight different stringed instruments, including bass, pedal steel, sitar, banjo, mandolin, and his trademark deep-bodied electric-acoustic Gibson ES 175 D.

Steve plays with 59 Piece Orchestra

The final two pieces are set apart from the rest of the recordings. On both compositions, equipped only with his Gibson Les Paul, Howe is accompanied by a string ensemble on his interpretation of Vivaldi's Concerto in D, Second Movement, and by a 59-piece orchestra on "Double Rondo." Andrew Jackman (who served as orchestrator and conductor on Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water several years earlier) conducts. 

The Steve Howe Album is a culmination of everything Howe represents, every genre of music he loves so dearly, exquisitely played and arranged. The inside cover colorfully depicts all the stringed instruments Howe used on the recordings, and Roger Dean's cover painting makes the package complete [review comments thanks to David Ross Smith]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my recently acquired vinyl (thanks to my Trash & Treasure mate Daniel for the trade) and includes the usual cover art for both CD and Vinyl, along with label scans.  The album is in mint condition and resonates the wonderful sounds that Howe produced on his wide range of guitars and related instruments.  Although this album will be popular with all Yes fans, it will also appeal to anyone who appreciates fine guitar work by a musical prodigy.

Track Listing: 
01 Pennants
02 Cactus Boogie
03 All's a Chord
04 Diary of a Man Who Vanished
05 Look Over Your Shoulder
06 Meadow Rag
07 The Continental [Conrad, Magidson]
08 Surface Tension
09 Double Rondo
10 Concerto in D, 2nd Movement [Vivaldi]

Steve Howe - Guitars, Bass, Moogs, Vocal
Claire Hamill - Vocals
Patrick Moraz - Piano
Bill Bruford - Drums
Alan White - Drums
Ronnie Leahy - Hammond Organ, Korg & ARP synths 
Clive Bunker - Percussion
Graham Preskett - Violin

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Double Post: The Who - Tommy (1969) and The Original Soundtrack Recording (1975)

 (U.K 1962 - Present)

The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic lineup consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist and singer John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century and have sold over 100 million records worldwide.

The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, and established themselves as part of the pop art and mod movements, featuring auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Their first single as the Who, "I Can't Explain", reached the UK top ten, and was followed by a string of hit singles including "My Generation", "Substitute" and "Happy Jack". In 1967, they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and released "I Can See for Miles", their only US top ten single. The group's fourth album, the 1969 rock opera Tommy, included the single "Pinball Wizard" and was a critical and commercial success.

Live appearances at Woodstock in August 1969, and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, along with the concert album Live at Leeds in 1970, established their reputation as a respected rock act. The success put pressure on lead songwriter Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned. Songs from the project made up the 1971 Who's Next, which included the hit "Won't Get Fooled Again". The group released the concept album Quadrophenia in 1973 as a celebration of their mod roots, and oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy in 1975. They continued to tour to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in 1978 was overshadowed by Moon's death shortly after.

Tommy - The Who Album

The most spectacular year in The Who's career began in uncharacteristic placidity. It was 1969. Apart from an appearance in court by Roger Daltrey for minor motoring offences and a controversial decision to turn down the opportunity to appear on Tom Jone's British TV show, The Who remained ensconced in the recording studio throughout January and February putting the finishing touches on their next album Tommy.

It was an exhausting experience for the group. "When we did Tommy", said Roger Daltrey, "Pete used to come in some days with just half a demo. We used to talk for hours, literally. We probably did as much talking as we did recording. We spent weeks sorting out arrangements for the music."

Keith Moon echoed Roger's feelings. "Pete had been working on Tommy for at least two years, writing songs and fitting them together just like a jigsaw. But when we went into the studio it was still in bits and pieces. Pete would say 'Well, what do you think about this bit?' and John or someone would come up with an idea, and then gradually it became a group effort."

In the first week of march Track released the first sampler from Tommy, a riveting new Townshend song entitled 'Pinball Wizard'. The song had actually been written for Nik Cohn, a journalist who was both a pinball fanatic and a close friend of Pete, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. It was by far The Who's best single release since 'I Can See For Miles' eighteen months earlier.

"Pinball Wizard" opened with what is perhaps the best guitar part that Pete Townsend has ever written; following a slow, tension-filled build up through a series of unusual, rather melancholy chords, the rhythmic balance is secured with some furious strumming on acoustic guitar down an eight note sequence, each change enhanced by the deep cannon of John's bass guitar.

Roger's singing had improved beyond recognition, while Keith's usual manic drum work added significantly to the pace of the song. If there was any doubt that Pete Townsend is the finest rhythm guitarist in the whole of rock, 'Pinball Wizard' sets the record straight. The B-Side incidentally, was Keith Moon's jokey 'Dogs Part II', a throw away track with composition credited to 'Moon, Towser and Jason'. Towser was Pete's pet spaniel and Jason was John's favourite deerhound.

Brilliant though 'Pinball Wizard' was, it only managed fourth place on the British charts and in America - despite the group's high profile over the past year - it peaked at No. 19.

The next stage in the growth of Tommy was the development of a stage act that would run parallel with the album's release, and extensive rehearsals took place during March and April perfecting a Who show to end all Who shows. The Who had always been the most visual performers of the sixties: now the had an opportunity to develop this side of their collective personality to perfection. After a month The Who were capable of performing the entire Tommy opera non-stop, a full ninety minutes of uninterrupted electrically charged rock music, all delivered with astonishing confidence and vitality.

By the end of these rehearsals The Who were unquestionably the most exciting live rock band of all time. None of their likely rivals could approach the experience and mastery of The Who in this department and now, at last, they had a wealth of good, new material to perform at the same time.

Needless to say they seized on the opportunity, especially Roger whose new curly haired, ultra-sexy image would shortly become the accepted stereotype for every lead singer in rock. As the Who's on-stage spokesman, Roger became Tommy and thanks to Roger, Tommy, in his fringed suede jacket and tight jeans , became a far more attractive character than the deaf, dumb and blind boy of Pete's imagination.

Pete's sartorial leanings veered in the opposite direction: he opted to wear a plain white boiler -suit and Dr. Martins shoes on stage. The boiler-suit was eminently practical: Its loose fit enabled Pete's gymnastics to go on unimpeded and his baggy knees hid the rubber pads that protected the Townshend patellae from serious injury. John's tailor had made up a number of fancy leather outfits for the solid bassist, including the famous skeleton suit, and Keith henceforth adopted the athletic all-white look that belied the truth of his deteriorating physical condition.

This splendid new-look Who, drilled to perfection, was unveiled before the British press at Ronnie Scott's Club in Soho shortly after 1pm on 2 may, a few weeks before the Tommy album was released. An eager crowd settled down to curried chicken, rice and white wine in anticipation of a brief Who performance on the tiny stage which normally played host to the giants of modern jazz. With its low ceiling and close-up vantage points, the club was ideally intimate for The Who to present their spectacular new show.

"They seemed to play quietly at first but after the first number - the overture - the volume increased until it became almost intolerable in there", says Chris Welch, who covered the event for Melody Maker. "Nobody walked away though. The music was too good. They played non-stop for an hour and a half and at the end everyone stood and cheered which is unusual for a press reception. The press didn't normally show much enthusiasm at these gatherings.

"The Who were desperate to gain respectability and, of course, they did just that. I was sitting right in front of Keith Moon's huge drum kit and when I got home to bed much later that night I had a vivid dream of Keith playing his drum's. He was absolutely brilliant that day but it was so loud that there was a ringing in my ears for two whole days afterwards."

Like many others present Welch went back to his paper - then the country's most influential and widely read music weekly - and wrote an ecstatic review. "I can still remember Roger throwing the mike around on its lead and almost hitting the ceiling each time. I had to duck when it came towards my table but miraculously he never hit anybody or anything.

"That same week Kit Lambert brought the first copy of the Tommy album into the editor's office and offered Melody Maker an exclusive if he put it on the front page.

Jack Hutton, the editor, was very cool about it in his usual Scottish was so Kit walked out with the album still tucked under his arm, threatening to go to the New Musical Express. Jack got up and chased him down the corridor...and Kit got his exclusive. I wrote a 'Who triumph' story for the front page."

The press euphoria was not universal however. New Musical Express, for one, accused The Who of being 'sick' and 'pretentious' and a few other misguided publications jumped on the anti-Who bandwagon by criticising Pete Townshend's taste in cashing in on Tommy's disabilities. Most hailed the double album as the first-ever rock opera (which it wasn't) and saw its release as a quasi-cultural event much like the arrival of The Beatles' 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'. As an album, Tommy slipped between two stools: the serious press took the opera line too far, while much of the music press accused The Who of losing the spirit of their music through ostentatious marketing.

If there were faults on Tommy they boiled down to the album's excessive length and its vague story-line. Much of The Who's finest ever music - "Pinball Wizard", "See Me Feel Me", "Underture", "Amazing Journey" and "I'm Free" - is contained on those two sides, but this standard was not maintained throughout.

The inclusion of two songs by John Entwistle confused the flow of the music and at least half a dozen of Townshend's songs were simply not up to his usual high standard. Had it been a single album, Tommy would rank as The Who's best ever piece of work, yet those two albums still contain instrumental sections where Keith Moon's drumming is revealed as some of the finest rock percussion ever recorded. Roger's singing too, improved by leaps and bounds on Tommy and the album remains not just an important landmark in The Who's career, but in the whole of rock.

Tommy of course, was a gargantuan commercial success but the music was not what sold the album. The package - a blue triple fold out sleeve complete with twelve-page lyric book including seven pages of paintings all drawn and designed by Mike McInnerney - was chock-full of mystique, obscure spiritual references and over blown psychedelia designed to appeal to the young pseudo-intelligentsia of the day. Townshend even credited Makher Baba as his avatar. Such was the impact that it became a matter of honor for anyone who considered themselves even remotely modern to possess at least one copy of the album [extracts from The Who: Illustrated Biography by Chris Charlesworth, 1982]

Tommy - The Film

The decision to make a film of Tommy was made in principle in 1970, after the success of their album and live shows when Pete Townshend's rock opera was both fresh and topical. The practical details, however, were not so simple. Although the delays were accompanied by a natural lowering of enthusiasm by all concerned, the path was finally open to proceed on the next stage of the saga of the deaf, dumb and blind boy; in 1973.

Tommy had originally been offered to an enthusiastic Universal Pictures, the sister company of MCA Records who had lately acquired The Who's US recording contract by taking over American Decca.

Universal agreed to back the film but delayed in releasing the necessary funds after finding Kit Lambert's script and ideas unacceptable. This delay - almost two years - turned out to be the final straw in Lambert's waning relationship with The Who.

Independent producers and directors were contracted throughout 1973 and eventually, Robert Stigwood agreed to help The Who make the picture. The sandy-haired, Australian impresario had prospered mightily since the early days when he acted as The Who's agent and formed the Reaction label to assist in their dispute with Shel Talmy: by 1974 he was well on the way to becoming one of the wealthiest moguls in the music industry through his interests in management, records, stage-shows, and films. With Stigwoods's help, Ken Russell was persuaded to direct the film and Columbia Pictures agreed to back the project on a mutual basis with Stigwood himself.

After lengthy discussions with Townshend, Russell produced a new script, which satisfied the financial interests, and Stigwood adopted the traditional producer role for casting. A host of stars were rounded up, including all of The Who, Ann-Margret (see below hugging Daltrey), Oliver Reed, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson and Tina Turner and it was decided that there should be no dialogue; instead Pete would re-record the score, adding in it where necessary, and all the characters would sing their respective parts.

Above: Ken Russell

Before and after the Who's French Quadrophenia tour Pete Townshend toiled away in his home recording studio and at Ramport re-recording Tommy with The Who and selected outside musicians. Elton John brought his own band along to record his version of "Pinball Wizard", and Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Kenny Jones, Chris Stainton and Mick Ralphs were among those involved in the sessions. With the soundtrack completed, the cast descended on Portsmouth and Southsea, the location selected for Tommy's rebirth. The cost of the operation, much of it coming from Robert Stigwood, was $3,500,000 and shooting began on 22nd April.

Significantly retooled from the 1969 double-album by The Who, Tommy became a quasi-spiritual parable about a boy (Barry Winch) rendered hysterically deaf, dumb, and blind after witnessing the murder of his father (Robert Powell) at the hands of his mother's lover (Oliver Reed).

While shared guilt tears at the fibers of the marriage of Nora (Ann-Margret) and Frank (Reed) - Nora, in particular, grapples with remorse over what she has done - the now grown Tommy (Daltrey) retreats further and further into himself, inhabiting a vivid inner world which serves to shield him from the trauma of well-intentioned cure attempts and instances of parental neglect and familial abuse. As a result of his experiences, Tommy develops a near-supernatural talent for pinball and is hailed as a pop culture prodigy.

For Nora, instant wealth and fame serve to superficially cushion the pain of the responsibility she feels for Tommy's afflictions, but when her actions bring about his “accidental” fall through a plate-glass mirror, the miraculous restoration of his senses changes the course of her life. Tommy instantly becomes a worldwide spiritual messiah, but finds the world of redemption by way of material acquisition to be just another form of spiritual prison.

In March of 1975, at the end of John Entwistle's Ox tour, The Who reunited briefly for the ceremonies that surrounded the British and American premiere of the Tommy film and the simultaneous release of the soundtrack album. Surrealistic, imaginative, inept, unforgettable, cowardly, brilliant, elusive and pointless - these were all adjectives chosen to describe Ken Russell's reading of Pete Townshend's magnum opus.

The Who featuring their Dollar Bill Outfits

The Who themselves, especially Roger Daltrey, were obviously pleased with the result but nothing could shake the truth that Tommy's greatest moments always lay in The Who's own stage performances when it was first released. Press conferences with the stars, with Roger taking pride of place alongside Ann-Margret and Robert Stigwood, were held in majestic fashion in New York and Los Angeles, while the parties that followed each premiere were amongst the most glittering show/rock business occasions of the year. Roger Daltrey appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, now a star in his own right with or without The Who.

Elton John - Pinball Wizard

"Tommy is so much a part of my life that I don't know what the fuck it means," wrote Roger in a short essay included in The Who's authorised account of their first ten years together. "It's like being married. For the first six months you can answer questions on marriage very well, but after ten know what I mean? You're so surrounded by it all and it's so much a part of you that you don't know what it means any more at all". [extracts from The Who: Illustrated Biography by Chris Charlesworth, 1982]

As much as I enjoy concept albums, rock music rarely makes the leap to the silver screen gracefully: The Wall, The Song Remains The Same, 200 Motels, Give My Regards To Broad Street, True Stories. Quadrophenia made more sense as a movie, I thought, but it wasn’t a musical. Tommy at least deserves credit for being a remarkably ambitious adaptation of the original, one that sought to match art with art.

Given the fact that people still talk about this film, maybe Russell was an inspired choice after all. Plus, it couldn’t have been easy to corral so many personalities and egos (Pete Townshend, Ann-Margaret, Oliver Reed, Jack Nicholson, Elton John, Tina Turner and dear old Moonie among them) while working with a lead actor (Daltrey) who had no real acting experience. Come to think of it, only a maverick like Russell would have taken the job in the first place.

This post consists of both Tommy double albums, ripped to FLAC and include full album artwork and label scans. The only short coming of my copy of the Who's Tommy album is the missing 12-page lyric booklet. As a bonus, I have decided to include the B-Side of their Pinball Wizard singe called "Dogs Pt II" which was written and sung by Keith Moon (a real rarity indeed)

Original Who Album
A1 Overture 3:50
A2 It's A Boy 2:07
A3 1921 3:14
A4 Amazing Journey 3:25
A5 Sparks 3:45
A6 Eyesight For The Blind (The Hawker) 2:15
B1 Christmas 5:30
B2 Cousin Kevin 4:03
B3 The Acid Queen 3:31
B4 Underture 9:55
C1 Do You Think It's Alright? 0:24
C2 Fiddle About 1:26
C3 Pinball Wizard 3:00
C4 There's A Doctor 0:25
C5 Go To The Mirror! 3:50
C6 Tommy Can You Hear Me? 1:35
C7 Smash The Mirror 1:20
C8 Sensation 2:32
D1 Miracle Cure 0:10
D2 Sally Simpson 4:10
D3 I'm Free 2:40
D4 Welcome 4:30
D5 Tommy's Holiday Camp 0:57
D6 We're Not Gonna Take It 6:45
BONUS   Dogs Pt II (B-Side Single)   3:06

The Who are:
Roger Daltrey: Vocals, Percussion
Pete Townshend: Guitar
John Entwistle: Bass, Vocals
Keith Moon: Drums

Original Soundtrack Recording
01. Prologue/1945
02. Captain Walker/It’s A Boy
03. Bernie’s Holiday Camp
04. 1951/What About The Boy?
05. Amazing Journey
06. Christmas
07. Eyesight To The Blind
08. Acid Queen
09. Do You Think It’s Alright
10. Cousin Kevin
11. Do You Think It’s Alright
12. Fiddle About
13. Do You Think It’s Alright
14. Sparks
15. Extra, Extra, Extra
16. Pinball Wizard
17. Champagne
18. There’s A Doctor
19. Go To The Mirror
20. Tommy Can You Hear Me
21. Smash The Mirror
22. I’m Free
23. Mother And Son
24. Sensation
25. Miracle Cure
26. Sally Simpson
27. Welcome
28. T.V. Studio
29. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
30. We’re Not Gonna Take It
31. Listening To You/See Me, Feel Me

Tommy The Original Soundtrack (516Mb) New Link 17/10/2023

The Players
Roger Daltrey (Tommy), John Entwistle (himself), Ann-Margaret (The Mother), Keith Moon (Uncle Ernie), Robert Powell (Captain Walker), Oliver Reed (The Lover), Pete Townshend (himself, musical director) with Eric Clapton (The Preacher), Elton John (The Pinball Wizard), Paul Nicholas (Cousin Kevin), Jack Nicholson (The Doctor), Tina Turner (The Acid Queen).