Wednesday, November 30, 2022

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: 'War Of the Worlds' Radio Broadcast (1938)

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

Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

On the evening of October 30, 1938, radio listeners across the U.S. heard a startling report of mysterious creatures and terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. But the hair-raising broadcast was not a real news bulletin—it was Orson Welles' adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic "The War of the Worlds."

On Halloween morning, 1938, Orson Welles awoke to find himself the most talked about man in America. The night before, Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air had performed a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, converting the 40-year-old novel into fake news bulletins describing a Martian invasion of New Jersey. Some listeners mistook those bulletins for the real thing, and their anxious phone calls to police, newspaper offices, and radio stations convinced many journalists that the show had caused nationwide hysteria. By the next morning, the 23-year-old Welles’s face and name were on the front pages of newspapers coast-to-coast, along with headlines about the mass panic his CBS broadcast had allegedly inspired.

HG Wells
Welles barely had time to glance at the papers, leaving him with only a horribly vague sense of what he had done to the country. He’d heard reports of mass stampedes, of suicides, and of angered listeners threatening to shoot him on sight. “If I’d planned to wreck my career,” he told several people at the time, “I couldn’t have gone about it better.” With his livelihood (and possibly even his freedom) on the line, Welles went before dozens of reporters, photographers, and newsreel cameramen at a hastily arranged press conference in the CBS building. Each journalist asked him some variation of the same basic question: Had he intended, or did he at all anticipate, that War of the Worlds would throw its audience into panic?

That question would follow Welles for the rest of his life, and his answers changed as the years went on—from protestations of innocence to playful hints that he knew exactly what he was doing all along.

The truth can only be found among long-forgotten script drafts and the memories of Welles’s collaborators, which capture the chaotic behind-the-scenes saga of the broadcast: no one involved with War of the Worlds expected to deceive any listeners, because they all found the story too silly and improbable to ever be taken seriously. The Mercury’s desperate attempts to make the show seem halfway believable succeeded, almost by accident, far beyond even their wildest expectations.

Newspaper Headlines The Day After The Broadcast

The original The War of the Worlds story recounts a Martian invasion of Great Britain around the turn of the 20th century. The invaders easily defeat the British army thanks to their advanced weaponry, a “heat-ray” and poisonous “black smoke,” only to be felled by earthly diseases against which they have no immunity. The novel is a powerful satire of British imperialism—the most powerful colonizer in the world suddenly finds itself colonized—and its first generation of readers would not have found its premise implausible. In 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had observed a series of dark lines on the Martian surface that he called canali, Italian for “channels.” In English, canali got mistranslated to “canals,” a word implying that these were not natural formations—that someone had built them. Wealthy, self-taught astronomer Percival Lowell popularized this misconception in a series of books describing a highly intelligent, canal-building Martian civilization. H. G. Wells drew liberally from those ideas in crafting his alien invasion story—the first of its kind—and his work inspired an entire genre of science fiction. By 1938, The War of the Worlds had “become familiar to children through the medium of comic strips and many succeeding novels and adventure stories,” as Orson Welles told the press the day after his broadcast.

Newspaper Headlines The Day After The Broadcast

After Welles selected the book for adaptation, Houseman passed it on to Howard Koch, a writer recently hired to script the Mercury broadcasts, with instructions to convert it into late-breaking news bulletins. Koch may have been the first member of the Mercury to read The War of the Worlds, and he took an immediate dislike to it, finding it terribly dull and dated. Science fiction in the 1930s was largely the purview of children, with alien invaders confined to pulp magazines and the Sunday funnies. The idea that intelligent Martians might actually exist had largely been discredited. Even with the fake news conceit, Koch struggled to turn the novel into a credible radio drama in less than a week.

So how did it come about that so many believed this radio broadcast to be real rather than fiction?

Koch had already worked out much of the broadcast’s fake news style, but several key elements that made the final show so terrifyingly convincing were missing at this stage. Like the original novel, this draft is divided into two acts of roughly equal length, with the first devoted to fake news bulletins about the Martian invasion. The second act uses a series of lengthy monologues and conventional dramatic scenes to recount the wanderings of a lone survivor, played by Welles.

Orson Welles (arms raised) rehearses his radio depiction of H.G. Wells' classic, The War of the Worlds.

Most of the previous Mercury broadcasts resembled the second act of War of the Worlds; the series was initially titled First Person Singular because it relied so heavily on first-person narration. But unlike the charming narrators of earlier Mercury adaptations such as Treasure Island and Sherlock Holmes, the protagonist of The War of the Worlds was a passive character with a journalistic, impersonal prose style—both traits that make for very boring monologues. Welles believed, and Houseman and Stewart agreed, that the only way to save their show was to focus on enhancing the fake news bulletins in its first act. Beyond that general note, Welles offered few if any specific suggestions, and he soon left to return to Danton’s Death.

In Welles’s absence, Houseman and Stewart tore into the script, passing their notes on to Koch for frantic, last minute rewrites. The first act grew longer and the second act got shorter, leaving the script somewhat lopsided. Unlike in most radio dramas, the station break in War of the Worlds would come about two-thirds of the way through, and not at the halfway mark. Apparently, no one in the Mercury realized that listeners who tuned in late and missed the opening announcements would have to wait almost 40 minutes for a disclaimer explaining that the show was fiction. Radio audiences had come to expect that fictional programs would be interrupted on the half-hour for station identification. Breaking news, on the other hand, failed to follow those rules. People who believed the broadcast to be real would be even more convinced when the station break failed to come at 8:30 p.m.

William Dock, 76, stands ready with his trusty shotgun
to ward off the attack of any strange creatures from Mars

These revisions also removed several clues that might have helped late listeners figure out that the invasion was fake. Two moments that interrupted the fictional news-broadcast with regular dramatic scenes were deleted or revised. At Houseman’s suggestion, Koch also removed some specific mentions of the passage of time, such as one character’s reference to “last night’s massacre.” The first draft had clearly established that the invasion occurred over several days, but the revision made it seem as though the broadcast proceeded in real-time. As many observers later noted, having the Martians conquer an entire planet in less than 40 minutes made no logical sense. But Houseman explained in Run-Through, the first volume of his memoirs, that he wanted to make the transitions from actual time to fictional time as seamless as possible, in order to draw listeners into the story. Each change added immeasurably to the show’s believability. Without meaning to, Koch, Houseman, and Stewart had made it much more likely that some listeners would be fooled by War of the Worlds.

Other important changes came from the cast and crew. Actors suggested ways of reworking the dialogue to make it more naturalistic, comprehensible, or convincing. In his memoirs, Houseman recalled that Frank Readick, the actor cast as the reporter who witnesses the Martians’ arrival, scrounged up a recording of the Hindenburg disaster broadcast and listened to it over and over again, studying the way announcer Herbert Morrison’s voice swelled in alarm and abject horror. Readick replicated those emotions during the show with remarkable accuracy, crying out over the horrific shrieks of his fellow actors as his character and other unfortunate New Jerseyites got incinerated by the Martian heat-ray. Ora Nichols, head of the sound effects department at the CBS affiliate in New York, devised chillingly effective noises for the Martian war machines. According to Leonard Maltin’s book The Great American Broadcast, Welles later sent Nichols a handwritten note, thanking her “for the best job anybody could ever do for anybody.” [extract from]

I've chosen to present this historic radio broadcast for this month's WOCK on vinyl post, as it compliments my previous post 'Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War Of The Worlds'. Because this radio adaption by Orsom Wells and his Mercury Theatre On Air fooled thousands of American into believing that the world had been invaded by Martians, it truly rates as the greatest Con of the century.  The key to its deception was the extended length of its first segment which lasted nearly 40 minutes, before there was a station interlude and disclaimer.  And perhaps a little bit of Craziness on the part of those listeners who thought it was real as well.   So sit back, close your eyes, and let your imagination go wild while you listen to this classic piece of fictional narrative. Maybe you too will be fooled into thinking that Martians have taken over the world. 

War Of The Worlds MP3 Link (115Mb)  New Link 20/03/2023

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Jeff Wayne - Musical Version 0f War Of The Worlds (1978)

 (Various Artists 1978)

HG Wells was the Prophet of the novel, and chief pioneer of science fiction , in which genre he has never been surpassed. He foresaw what was in the air, tanks, and the atomic bomb. He was at one time probably the most widely read author in the world. Some of his most famous popular Sci Fi books were: The Time machine, The Invisible Man, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, The First men In The Moon, and The War Of The Worlds. 

He was a visionary, but always a practical visionary. He viewed every problem in its universal aspect, yet ultimately from the standpoint of the plain untethered man whose champion he was. Abroad as well as at home, he was recognised as one of the greatest minds of the century, or as Anatole France styled him , "the greatest intellectual force in the English speaking world".

Besides science fiction, Wells wrote many novels on varying themes, but all of them reflected the dream of the ideal State., in which the intellectually gifted should rule with compassion and sensitivity for the needs of the common man.  HG Wells died on 13th August, 1946.

‘Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds’ was a 1978 concept album by Jeff Wayne, retelling the story of ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H. G. Wells.  With its rock and string orchestra, small cast of singers and using narration to carry the story, the two-disc album remains a bestseller, having sold millions of copies around the world.  As of 2009, it was the 38th best-selling album of all time in the UK. The following is a summation of the featured double album:

Sides one and two: The Coming of the Martians

In a prologue, the Journalist notes that in the late 19th century few people had even considered the possible existence of extraterrestrial life, yet planet Earth had in fact long been enviously observed by advanced beings.

The Journalist's account begins later that year, with the sighting of several bursts of green gas which, for ten consecutive nights, erupt from the surface of Mars and appear to approach Earth. Ogilvy, an astronomer convinced that no life could exist on Mars, assures the Journalist there is no danger. Eventually, something crashes onto Horsell Common, and in the resulting crater Ogilvy discovers a glowing cylinder, the top of which begins to unscrew. When this lid falls off, a Martian creature emerges. By now a crowd has gathered on the common, and when a group of inquisitive men approaches the cylinder they are incinerated by the Heat-Ray—an advanced Martian weapon. The Journalist flees with the crowd. 

Later, hammering sounds are heard from the pit. A company of soldiers is deployed at the common, and that evening an injured and exhausted Artilleryman wanders into the Journalist's house and tells him his comrades have been killed by fighting machines—tripod vehicles built and controlled by Martians, each armed with its own Heat-Ray. They set off for London—the Journalist to ensure his lover Carrie is safe, the Artilleryman to report to headquarters—but are soon caught in a crossfire between soldiers and Martians and are separated. Three days later the Journalist arrives at Carrie's house but finds it empty. He resolves to escape London by boat and later catches sight of Carrie aboard a steamer, but the gangplank is raised before he can join her. Fighting machines then approach, threatening the steamer, but they are engaged by the Royal Navy battleship Thunder Child and two are destroyed. The steamer escapes, but Thunder Child and her crew are destroyed by the Martian heat-rays, leaving England defenseless against the invasion.

Sides three and four: The Earth Under the Martians

The wandering Journalist discovers that red weed—the vegetation that gives Mars its colour—has taken root on Earth and spread rapidly across the landscape. In a churchyard, he encounters the Parson Nathaniel and his wife Beth. The trio takes refuge in a nearby cottage that is soon surrounded by black smoke—a Martian chemical weapon. Nathaniel, driven mad by his horrific experiences of the Martian attacks, blames himself for the invasion and believes the invaders are demons arising from human evil. As Beth attempts to restore his faith in humanity, a Martian cylinder crashes into the cottage and she is buried under the rubble. 

The newly arrived Martians construct a handling machine: a squat, spider-like vehicle used to capture and collect humans. After nine days hiding in the ruins, the Journalist and Nathaniel see the Martians 'eating'—harvesting human blood and injecting it into their own veins. Nathaniel resolves to confront the 'demons', believing that he has been chosen to destroy them with his prayers and holy cross. The Journalist knocks him unconscious to silence his ravings, but the Martians are already alerted. A mechanical claw explores the cottage and drags Nathaniel away. 

Eventually, the Martians abandon their camp and the Journalist continues his journey to London. He again encounters the Artilleryman, who is planning a new life underground that would allow humans to evade the Martians and ultimately strike back with reverse-engineered fighting machines. The Journalist, however, realizing the Artilleryman's ambitions far exceed his abilities, soon leaves. Upon reaching London, he finds the city desolate and empty. Driven to suicide by intense despair and loneliness, he surrenders to a fighting machine but realizes it is inert, the Martian inside dead.

In the first epilogue, the Journalist reports that the Martians were defeated by Earth's bacteria—to which they had no resistance—and that, as humanity recovered from the invasion, he was reunited with Carrie. But, he says, the question remains: is Earth now safe, or are the Martians learning from their failures and preparing for a second invasion?

In the second epilogue, set 80 years later, a NASA mission to Mars flounders when the control centre from Pasadena loses contact with the unmanned spacecraft. The controller sees a green flare erupt from Mars' surface. The controller tries to contact NASA, but all communication seems to have been blocked. This leaves a question mark of what's going to happen and the fate of the earth, with the possibility of a second Martian invasion.

Sidenote: Album Artwork

Jeff Wayne originally commissioned Roger Dean, best known for his work for the progressive rock band Yes, to produce the artwork for the album. After Dean produced some designs, Wayne felt the work did not quite fit for what he had in mind, and proceeded to look elsewhere. He approached John Pasche, who went on to design the logo on the front cover, and direct the overall design of the record's sleeve which features paintings from three artists: Geoff Taylor, Mike Trim, and Peter Goodfellow. Dean adapted his unused designs for the album for the packaging of the 1987 shooting video game Terrorpods.

This post consists of FLACS ripped from CD and includes full artwork for both CD and Vinyl releases. I bought my vinyl copy when this double album was first released and at the time was under the impression that Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra) was involved with the production. But of course I was mistaken and it was in fact Jeff Wayne. Irrespective, I loved the album (both the music and Sci Fi connection) and played it to death. Of course, Moody Bluesman Justin Hayward's involvement and hit single "Forever Autumn" was also a drawcard. I have consequently decided to include the Single edit of this great track as a bonus track. If you haven't heard this album, then you need to do yourself a favour and download it now before it is too late.

Hang on......what is that weird scrapping noise I can hear coming from that strange disc object that appeared last night, in the vacant block next door. Oh my God!...................the Martians are bac....

Track Listing
1-1 The Eve Of The War 9:06
1-2 Horsell Common And The Heat Ray 11:36
1-3 The Artilleryman And The Fighting Machine 10:28
1-4 Forever Autumn 7:56
1-5 Thunder Child 6:02
2-1 The Red Weed (Part 1) 5:51
2-2 The Spirit Of Man 11:36
2-3 The Red Weed (Part 2) 7:00
2-4 Brave New World 12:08
2-5 Dead London 8:37
2-6 Epilogue (Part 1) 2:47
2-7 Epilogue (Part 2 NASA) 1:50
2-8 The Eve of the War (Bonus Ben Liebrand remix) 3:49
2-9 Forever Autumn (Bonus Single Edit)

The Cast:
Richard Burton - Journalist
Julie Covington - Beth
David Essex - The Artillery Man
Justin Hayward - Vocals (Forever Autumn / Eve Of The War)
Philip Lynott - Parson Nathaniel
Jo Partridge - Guitars (mainly The Heat Ray), mandolin
Chris Thompson - Vocals (Thunderchild)
Jeff Wayne - Producer / Composer / Orchestration
Herbie Flowers - Bass
Chris Spedding - Guitars
Ken Freeman - Synethesisers
Barry Morgan - Drums
Ray Cooper, Barry Da Souza, Roy Jones - Percussion

The War Of The Worlds Link (655Mb) New Link 13/10/2023

Monday, November 21, 2022

Ariel - A Strange Fantastic Dream (1973)

 (Australian 1973 - 1977)

From the cinders of two of Australia's more important rock bands - Sydney's Tamam Shud and the legendary Spectrum from Melbourne - rose Ariel, an eclectic art-pop group that was the child of guitarist/singer Mike Rudd [born in New Zealand] and bassist Bill Putt. Upon the dissolution of Spectrum, songwriting partners Rudd & Putt formed the new band consisting of Nigel Macara (drums), John Mills (keys), and Tim Gaze (voice, guitar) in 1973. They secured support on EMI's progressive label Harvest, producing debut 'A Strange Fantastic Dream' in November '73, probably their most consistent Prog rock album featuring complicated arrangements and spirited performances. Despite the controversial drug-tinged cover, the album reached #12 on the Aussie LP charts in 1974.

Peter Dawkins, Ariel's first Producer recalls:
I remember being locked away in EMI Sydney's new Studio B (new in '73)and feeling that we had something special. Ariel had been born of the remnants of Spectrum when Mike Rudd and his long-time buddy and bass player, Bill Putt, had added to their line-up Sydney guitarist Tim Gaze, whose compositions, singing and playing complemented Rudd's unusual vocal and guitar playing style. Also a crazy Canberra keyboard player John Mills, who experimented on the original Mini Moog, and Nigel Macara, an amazing drummer whose humour, like his drumming, nearly always hit the spot.
The album was recorded on a 16 track Studer 2" on an EMI console, one of the last ever produced by Abbey Road. Due to tight economy, the desk came minus some of its key components, such as high and low pass filters and noise gates. For this reason we chose to record all the tom fills as overdubs.

Ariel circa 1973 - Mike Rudd, Bill Putt, Nigel Macara, John Mills and Tim Gaze

Even now I feel the album as a great piece of recording. I was pleased when Jamaican Farewell won the FACB Award as single of the year. To make our day, EMI international President Allen Davies fell in love with the album and he told me, "I can't recall ever hearing a song about necrophilia!" (from Confessions of a Psychopatic Cowpoke). It was because of his enthusiasm for 'A Strange Fantastic Dream' that the band was invited to tour the UK and record their next album at Abbey Road.
Twenty-eight years down the track, A Strange Fantastic Dream remains high on my list of personal favourite productions. (Peter Dawkins, Sydney 2001)

Listening Back, Think Again - Ed Nimmervoll comments:
The two groups Mike Rudd and Bill Putt will always be associated with are Spectrum and Ariel. For a long time I thought of them as very separate entities. Spectrum died, and out of its ashes Mike and Bill emerged with a new band, with a new repertoire and new comrades in arms, Ariel.

Decades on, I had occasion to rethink that history. A night had been arranged where interested people were invited to watch a collection of television performances by both Spectrum and Ariel during those bygone years. It hit me then that the divide between Spectrum and Ariel was never as great as I'd imagined it to be, and what emerged was not a fragmented history, but a body of work that started with Spectrum, and continued on through Ariel and beyond. Listen to this first Ariel album in that light.
Spectrum had seen Mike Rudd and Bill Putt from their R&B roots (Chants R&B for Mike, the Lost Souls for Bill) through music's "rock as art" years. 

By 1973 a new wind was blowing. For all their make-up, glitter and stacked boots T.Rex, Slade, Gary Glitter and even Status Quo represented a rock and roll revival. At the same time in Melbourne, in a turbulent few weeks a number of musicians seemed to step out of their current situations through a revolving door, and in the shake-up three new bands emerged, Mighty Kong, The Dingoes and Ariel. Tamam Shud members Tim Gaze and Nigel Macara came from Sydney to join what became Mighty Kong and ended up with Mike, Bill and John Mills from Spectrum in Ariel.

It was a good place to start fresh, with a new name and a completely new set of songs. Quickly they recorded 'A Strange Fantastic Dream'. A strong fantastic start for a dream band. There would be two more Ariel studio albums, with very different line-ups around Mike and Bill. Always Mike and Bill. Looking back, there is also a significant continuity in the music they've made together. (Ed. Nimmervoll 2002)

This post consists of FLACs ripped from CD and includes full album artwork for both CD and vinyl. It should also be noted that this album was released with 2 distinctly different covers, the second cover is  shown on the right, which was released on the Harvest label. Label scans and featured photos are also provided. Interesting Note: According to Noel McGrath, this album was the first use of Moog synthesizer on an Australian rock record.

Track Listing:
01 Jamaican Farewell  2:50
02 No Encores 3:47
03 Confessions Of A Psycopathic Cowpoke  4:43
04 And I'm Blue 2:51
05 Garden Of The Frenzied Cortinas 7:46
06 Miracle Man 5:29
07 Chicken Shit 4:23
08 Worm-Turning Blues 2:56
09 Wheezer Grunter Module Threadaboy / Harry V. Dirchy (God The Man)  4:20
10 Hard Way To Go 3:48
11 And If It Wasn't For You  2:32
12 Red Hot Momma   2:38

The Band:
Mike Rudd - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
Phil Putt - Bass
Tim Gaze - Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Celeste, Vocals
Nigel Macara - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
John Mills - Keyboards

Ariel Link (320Mb)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Nancy Sinatra - Boots (1966) plus Bonus Tracks

 (U.S 1961 - Present)

The inspiration for this post came from a 1969 newspaper article that I found tucked away in a Nancy Sinatra LP that I recently bought at my local flee market called 'Nancy In London'. The article was published in the Weekend-Magazine  section of The Herald, on Saturday 15th Feb, 1969. 

The article was entitled "Nancy Owes It All To A Divorce" and was written by Leonard Mosley of the London Daily Express.  It finds Nancy reflecting on her recent divorce from Tommy Sands and how the hit single "These Boots Are Made For Walkin" became her song.   Below is an extract from that article:

Nancy Owes It All To A Divorce
It was 1966, Nancy Sinatra was recovering from a divorce, in a relationship with film director Jack Haley Jr. and she was looking for a song that would give her a real break. One night, she drove over to spend the evening with her mother. Her father, Frank Sinatra (recently divorced) turned up that night also. Despite the divorce, Frank was a regular visitor to his ex-wife's home and knew there was always a door open for him there.

Frank & Nancy Sinatra
Nancy and her mother had only to take one look at his face to know he was lonely and unhappy, and they knew the reason why. They read the gossip columns too. They knew his latest romance with a dancer had just fallen through. He had come home in search of food, drink and comfort.

It so happened that one of the other visitors to Mrs Sinatra's home that night was a young man called Lee Hazelwood , who played the guitar, composed his own songs, and did a night club act. He had also arranged a number tunes for Nancy and they were old friends.

Frank Sinatra was restless. "Play us something" he said to Hazelwood.

"I'd like to" he replied . "I open next month in Las Vegas and I'm working on a new song. I'll try it out on you".

He tuned up his guitar, ran through a few chords, and then he began to sing his new song. Nancy recalled "He had only written one verse so far, but neither Dad nor I needed to hear any more to know this was an absolute winner. There was only one thing amiss. The wrong person was singing it.

It's my song!

It was "Boots", the song destined to go to the top of the charts in practically every country in the world and take Nancy Sinatra with it.

She asked Hazelwood to play it again and again., then rushed over and flung her arms around him. "It's a magnificent tune " she said. But Lee, it isn't for you. You can't possibly sing that song".

Hazelwood looked at her in astonishment, "I don't know what you mean" he said.

Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra

"You can't possibly put it over", said Nancy. "All those words about boots - these boots are going to walk right over you - that sort of thing. It's going to make people uncomfortable and make people hate you when they hear them. "Can't you see, it isn't a man's song. A man will just make it sound nasty. But a girl singing it - that's different".

Hazelwood said: "You mean, you want the song?"

Frank Sinatra broke in "Look Lee, Imagine Nancy on the stage. She's wearing a mini skirt. She's got a pair of boots on - they're just about becoming all the rage for gals. And she starts singing that song.

"Boots!" It'll be the greatest thing since Kipling. She'll have every woman in the audience with her as she sings it, and she'll have every mac chuckling and sympathising. Nancy's right. It's her song, not yours. It's for a gal. Give her the song, baby".

"No" said Hazelwood. "It's my song. I'm going to sing it next month at Vegas". It took them until dawn to persuade him.

"And do you know?" said Nancy. "When we went down to the Reprise Studios a few days later with the song and more verses and Lee's arrangement, and when we played it over to the board, they didn't froth. The might have been listening to 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?' for all the enthusiasm they showed.

Lee had written another song for me which he called 'Good Time Girl' which was to on the flip side. But when they heard it they said: "You're crazy. This is the song we should be boosting. Let's put in on top and make 'Boots' the flip. That's all it's worth"    "Gawd, were they slow!"

But thanks to her father it was "Boots" which was picked as the main side. Nancy said "When I sat back after the recording stint and listened to the number, I knew. I knew. I knew. This was the breakthrough. This was the turning point in my life. This was the hit I needed".

A Life Of Luxury

It is from "Boots" and the numbers which followed that Nancy Sinatra has built up a fortune big enough to keep her in luxury for the rest of her life.

It has also put her in business as a rival to her father. A few months ago she formed her own company, called appropriately 'Boots Incorporated', which is going into the record, television, and film business.

From now on she will no longer rely upon Frank Sinatra's Reprise Company to make her records, though the company will still distribute them. She employs her own own arrangers, has formed her own orchestra, and has her own producer.

One of her future projects is a film to be made from a J.B Priestley novel whose rights she has bought. It will be a musical with both live and animated figures and she will sing in it.

"But the main idea of Boots Inc." she said , "is to put me out out of work rather than give new jobs. It will employ other singers and get them launched."

Nancy On TV Stage Performing Boots

"The general idea is to turn it into a money-making enterprise through other people as well as me, so that when I feel like it I can drop out for a time, have a baby, or go abroad somewhere with Jack where he's making a film."

She curled up in a chair and look content. I said: "Don't stop singing entirely." She shook her head. "Jack wouldn't let me. He likes me to work.

"We both want kids, but he isn't the kind who wants me to be running around the house all the time barefoot and pregnant. And hell, since when has motherhood stopped a girl from singing?"

She turned to her manager, who had just come into the room.

"That reminds me," she said. "Isn't it about time we called up Lee Hazelwood and sked him if he's got any more new songs?" She grinned, "Preferably one he's just written especially for himself."

[extract from newspaper article: 'Nancy owes it all to a divorce', The Herald, Feb 15, 1969. p25. Written by Leonard Mosley of the London Daily Express]

This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork and label scans for both vinyl and CD formats. Because the feature article on the left (what a rare find hey !) relates to Nancy's 'Boot's album', I choose to post that album rather than the 'Nancy in London' album in which the article was found. I might post that album in the near future if there is interest.

Note that the album Boots features no less than 3 Lennon & McCartney tracks and single compositions by Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Of course the hit single These Boots Are Made For Walkin' (written by Lee Hazelwood) is the highlight track but Nancy still does a great job on all other album tracks. So get ya boots out of the closet folks and start grooving to these wonderful sounds of the 60's.

Track Listing
01 As Tears Go By  2:50
02 Day Tripper  3:01
03 I Move Around  2:47
04 It Ain't Me Babe  2:00
05 These Boots Are Made For Walkin'  2:42
06 In My Room  2:37
07 Lies  2:45
08 So Long, Babe  3:04
09 Flowers On The Wall  2:37
10 If He'd Love Me  2:45
11 Run For Your Life  2:39
CD Bonus Tracks
12 The City Never Sleeps  2:50
13 Leave My Dog Alone  2:09
14 In Our Time  2:36
15 These Boots Are Made For Walkin' (Mono Single Version)  2:43

Boots Link (109Mb)  New Link 29/03/2023

Friday, November 11, 2022

REPOST: Crossfire - Direct To Disc (1978)

(Australian 1974 - 1982, Present) .

The Australian jazz fusion band Crossfire was formed by guitarist Jim Kelly, keyboard player keyboardist Michael Kenny, and percussionist Ian Bloxsom in 1974, in Sydney. Additional band members have included Tony Buchanan (flutes), Don Reid (sax/flutes), Phil Scorgie (bass), Greg Lyon (bass), Doug Gallagher (drums), and Steve Hopes (drums/percussion). Crossfire were of a high enough standard of musicianship to gather worldwide recognition, the band served a long apprenticeship in jazz venues, often as the backing band for other artists, with the various members still concentrating on session work. Early on the band showed a lot of blues influence in their playing probably due to members having played in R&B and soul bands previously. 

By the late 70s the band was touring widely overseas, spending time in Asia, Europe and America, having played such prestigious gigs as the Newport Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott's in London and The Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1982 (see pictured above). They recorded seven albums while together, including a live album with U.S. vocalist Michael Franks (see previous post) and produced Australia's first direct-to-disc LP in 1978 (as included in this post). 

Crossfire also performed on collaborative tours with Lee Ritenour, Don Grusin, and Randy Brecker. Lead guitarist Jim Kelly went on to release several CDs as a leader and record with D'Volv, in addition to working as Head of Guitar Studies at Southern Cross University in Lismore. Further information on Greg Lyons (Bass) can also be found at his website. Greg is pictured left in the studio, sometime in the late 70's. . 

Direct To Disc Recording 
In the late 1970s, "direct-to-disc" records were produced, aimed at an audiophile niche market. These completely bypassed the use of magnetic tape in favor of a "purist" transcription directly to the master lacquer disc. The first direct to disc recording in Australia was by Contemporary Jazz/Funk band Crossfire, closely followed by Dutch Tilders (with Kevin Borich) entitled 'The Blues Had A Baby' These days, the term "direct-to-disc" means recording to a computer hard drive. 

But in the 1970's, it referred to the audiophile technique of recording directly to a vinl-disc cutting lathe, without the intervention of a tape recorder. It was a notoriously difficult way to record; the musicians and all concerned had to record a complete LP side without any serious musical or technical mistakes. Otherwise, it was put another lacquer on the lathe and do it over. But the gain in sound quality was considered worth the trouble. (As typical commercial LP releases were cut from fourth-generation analog tape copies, the improvement in sound offered by eliminating all those layers of tape and electronics was not illusory.) The analog direct-to-disc recordings were therefore the most expensive and the most ideal when judging on quality of sound alone. The drawback of the vinyl long playing record is however that only a restricted number of copies shall be pressed. A number of 1500 per matrix is the maximum if a relatively high level of quality is to be guaranteed. Less attractive is also that the vinyl disc is easily damaged. On top of that, the gramophone record asks for a high quality playback system: the optimum turntable-arm-cartridge-amplifier combination. [extract from] . . The rip was taken from my mint condition 'direct-to-disc' vinyl in FLAC format and sounds as crisp as the day it was cut.  Arrrrh - give me a shot of vinyl any day ! It is somewhat regrettable that you will only experience a digital version of this album, but I'm sure you will enjoy the music just the same. I also include full album artwork along with select photos of the band at that time period as well as current photos. Thanks to Greg Lyons for some of these shots. 

Note: While doing some research into this album, I stumbled on a 'weird' copy of this LP for sale on eBay. The pressing in question has 'Armada Records Logo' printed on its label, rather than 'Trafalgar Records Logo', even though it clearly states the LP is released by Trafalgar. The correct label is shown on the right, and the 'pressing error' below right. . 

Track Listing 
01 - It Coitainly Was (5:03)
02 - On the Wings Of Albatrocity (4:37)
03 - Fahannokookin’ (6:03)
04 - Oddball (6:44)
05 - Satie-ated (8:15). 

Band Members: 
Mick Kenny (Wurlitzer piano, fluegelhorn) 
Doug Gallagher (drums) 
Ian Bloxsom (percussion) 
Don Reid (saxophones, flute) 
Greg Lyon (bass) 
Jim Kelly (guitars) 
Crossfire Link (182Mb) New Link 04/09/2023

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

REPOST: Taste - Tickle Your Fancy (1976)

(Australian 1975-1977, Present)
Taste were a magnificent heavy rock band from the mid '70s, which featured the dual guitar attack of Murdock and Amenta. They seemed to have had a pop image which now seems ridiculous - both LP's reached the top twenty in the Australian charts and are absolutely fantastic hard rock classics.
At the peak of their career they played to crowds as large as 13,000 people and owned 7 Marshall stacks ! They appeared on every major concert and TV show including Countdown, Hey Hey its Saturday, The Don Lane show etc. and toured with Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Skyhooks, Sherbet, TMG and Hush. They were much admired by English rockband Queen (who played Taste's "Boys will be Boys" every night on tour before they went on stage). Unfortunately, due to management problems and bad marketing Taste never achieved the success they deserved. They were asked to tour America with Queen and signed to Sire Records in USA but broke up before releasing anything.

.Released in 1976, The LP "Tickle Your Fancy" is a tight batch of quirky hard rock songs brimming with a unique melodic point of view. Considering the young age of the band, a lot of the material here is surprisingly accomplished, both in performance and songwriting. Though the hooks are very subtle, the entire album taken as a whole is a rewarding listening experience through and through.
Richard Guillianti reviewed the band in December's RAM #48 (1976) Taste - Tickling the Star's Fancy by writing: "Taste have been pulling some pretty neat reviews for their LP Tickle Your Fancy and for their new single 'Boys Will Be Boys'. But its not only yer hack club reporters who've been taking notice of 'em.

In Sydney, they performed at the Bondi Lifesaver with none other than Sherbet, the All-Stars, Rockell T James and Kevin Borich in attendance. Afterwards, (Sherbet's) Tony Mitchell congratulated the group on the 'tightest set he had seen from a band for years'. Adelaide was also good to them, there, they broke the attendance record for one of the dances they played".
.Taste have reformed recently and have completed a new album of 10 new originals. "Rock Is Dead" is now released and available on their website They have been playing the pub circuit in Melbourne, playing the more popular names such as the Prince of Whales, The Toorak Lion and The Corner Hotel in Richmond.
This unique hard rock effort deserves to be heard, so be sure to download this classic album and hear this offering from Down Under - it's bound to Tickle Your Fancy ! LOL
Taste Today
In mid 2007, a young drummer with attitude and talent to burn was looking to make an impact on the rock scene. He found a lot of bands out there trying to re-create the big rock sound of the 70s. When Joel Witenberg heard that legendary rock band Taste were reforming and in need of a drummer he leapt at the chance to be a part of an authentic classic rock band with a history of playing live with the likes of Queen, AC/DC, Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil.

Taste’s lead singer and songwriter Ken Murdoch says in a recent interview: "I started singing in shitholes when I was 15, By the time I was 17, I was a veteran of pub rock alongside Joey and Michael. We had been booed, spat upon, and ignored until we got it right and that’s something bands don’t have anymore. But once you get it right and that crowd love you something magical happens between the two of you. I don’t see that happen much anymore," Now back with a full band and a bigger sound than ever, Taste are promoting the release of their new album "Rock Is Dead".

Sickened by what seems to be a lack of real rock direction in music, Taste’s lyrics explore and destroy the media frenzied world that seems to accept its stars by the amount of exposure offered to them rather than by virtue of their talent. "People need heroes and singers and bands they can trust. That’s why U2 are still strong. Every so often a Sex Pistols or Nirvana come around. Its unstoppable," says Murdoch. Bridging the power chords and riffs of the late 70s with a contemporary sound and subjects, Rock Is Dead is a timeless classic that will empower anyone who listens to it to celebrate the true sound of rock. (Extract from Taste's Myspace)

Post was ripped from CD to FLACs (thanks to Stacky) and includes full album artwork.  IMPROVED RIP

Track Listing
01 Same Old Story
02 Degenerate Fool
03 Group "e"
04 Rock 'n' Roll Superstar
05 Tickle Your Fancy
06 Lady Of Love
07 Loose Lover
08 Lone Ranger
09 Love Ya Babe
10 Taste of Life

Band Members:
Ken Murdoch ( Lead Vocals / Guitar)
Joey Amenta (Guitar / Vocals)
Michael Tortoni (Bass Guitar)
Virgil Donati (Drums)

Taste Link (251Mb)  New Link 04/09/2023

Friday, November 4, 2022

Eric Carmen - The Best Of (1988) + Bonus Tracks

 (U.S 1967 - Present)

Eric Carmen is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist from the United States. Songs like “All by Myself,” “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again,” “She Did It,” “Hungry Eyes,” and “Make Me Lose Control” were big hits for him during the 1970s and 1980s, when he was a member of the Raspberries. Later, as a solo artist, those songs became even bigger hits.

Carmen was raised in Lyndhurst, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Since he was a child, he’s been involved with music. He began playing piano at the age of 11 and had aspirations of becoming a songwriter. Once the Beatles and Stones arrived, his fantasy began to shift significantly. Carmen was already playing piano and singing in rock ‘n’ roll bands as a sophomore in high school. Carmen, who was classically trained as a pianist, went on to self-study guitar. As soon as he turned 15, he enrolled in guitar classes, but his instructor’s style didn’t match his preferences, so he taught himself. A Beatles chord book was purchased, and he spent the next four months honing his guitar skills.

His first two solo singles were chart hits in 1976. The first of these singles, “All by Myself” hit number 2 in the United States, and number 12 in the United Kingdom where it was his only charting hit. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in April 1976. The follow-up single, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and hit number one on the US Adult Contemporary Chart, as well as number nine on the Cash Box chart.

“All By Myself,” like all of the songs on the album (and much of Carmen’s Raspberries’ output), was written on the Model O Steinway piano in the living room of his 19th floor apartment in The Watergate, a high-rise overlooking Lake Erie in the Cleveland suburb of Euclid. As part of his writing routine, Carmen would get inspired by listening to his favorite piece of music—Rachmaninoff’s “2nd Piano Concerto.”

He recalls: “About 10:30 or 11 every night, I’d turn everything off and go sit in my living room, where there was nothing but two chairs, a big stereo system and my piano.”

Properly inspired, he began composing the first bits of what would become a 4.5-minute classical interlude within “All By Myself,” written over several months, adding bits and pieces at each sitting. “Eventually, I thought to myself, ‘This is really cool. Now I need a song to put it into the middle of,’” he says.  A favorite theme in the 2nd adagio movement of the Rachmaninoff concerto got his attention. He remembers thinking, “‘If I can change the timing of this a little bit, I could adapt that theme, and it could be the verse of a pop song.’ That became the opening line of ‘All By Myself.’”

The lyrics came months later, beginning with the title, which he wrote in just 45 minutes. He played the 7.5-minute composition—verses and choruses, plus the classical interlude—for bandmate Scott McCarl at one of Raspberries’ last gigs in April 1975, singing it in a Barry Gibb-style vocal he had originally considered.

The completed track, selected by the label as the first single from the album Eric Carmen, was still 7.5 minutes long. However, Arista wasn't happy about putting out a seven-and-a-half minute single, and advised Carmen that he had to come up with an edited version.

Carmen spent a long day and night attempting a handful of edits, eventually throwing his hands up and doing what he called the 4:22 “joke edit,” which was eventually released. With just a bit of the full classical interlude heard on the LP version, Carmen acknowledged that “It gave you the story, but it didn’t give you the dialog.”

The single, released on December 1, 1975, reached No. 1 on the Cash Box charts (No. 2 on Billboard), selling more than a million copies and certified gold the following April.

Though Carmen, when writing the song, had thought the Rachmaninoff concerto was in the public domain, the song’s success brought its presence to the attention of the composer’s family, who pointed out that that was not the case. Carmen then arranged to pay the estate a 15 percent royalty, but still considers the song a gift. “I always felt that Rachmaninoff gave me those verses, for loving that piece so much.”

His second album 'Boats Against the Current' (see right), came out in the summer of 1977 and received strong reviews. It featured backup players such as Burton Cummings, Andrew Gold, Bruce Johnston, and Nigel Olsson. The album spent 13 weeks in the Billboard Album chart, peaking number 45. It also produced the Top 20 single “She Did It,” but the title track only managed to scrape the bottom of the chart.

The title track was later covered by Olivia Newton-John on her album Totally Hot. A third single is taken from the album, “Marathon Man,” which became his first solo single not to hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

However, Shaun Cassidy again made the Top 10 in 1978 with Eric’s “Hey Deanie.” For several weeks in the fall of 1977, He had three compositions charting concurrently on the Billboard Hot 100, Cassidy’s two big hits and Eric’s own “She Did It.”

He then followed up with two more albums. Despite declining chart fortunes, the single “Change of Heart” broke into the Pop Top 20 and reached number 6 at AC in late 1978, with this hit also being covered by Samantha Sang on her Emotion LP. But in 1980, after the release of the album “Tonight, You’re Mine” and single “It Hurts Too Much” he temporarily withdrew from the music industry.

He resurfaced on Geffen Records in 1985 with a second self-titled album and a sizeable comeback hit “I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips”. The single hit the Adult Contemporary Top 10 as well as the Pop Top 40.

The follow-up single, “I’m Through with Love,” also climbed the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top 20 of the Adult Contemporary chart. Another track from the album, “Maybe My Baby,” later became a Country hit for Louise Mandrell. “I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips” was also a Country hit for Louise Mandrell.

In 1987, His contribution to the hit movie Dirty Dancing, “Hungry Eyes”, hit number 2 on the Adult Contemporary Chart and also returned him to the Pop Top 10. “Reason To Try”, a further contribution to the One Moment in Time compilation album of songs recorded for the Seoul Summer Olympics, kept Eric’s profile high in 1988.

This became his highest-charting song since “All By Myself”. Both, along with “Hungry Eyes”, having in the past two decades become classic pop radio favorites. Although he did not follow his two hit singles with a new studio album in 1988, “Make Me Lose Control” was included in a revised ‘Best Of’ collection from Arista which is featured here. [extracts from and]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from CD and includes full album artwork, with an additional edited back tray that reflects the additional bonus tracks that I have included.  In particular, Carmen's 1984 hit single "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips" which was not included in the original greatest hit LP has been added (with it's B-Side "Spotlight"). To sweeten the deal, I have also included the full length LP version of his mega hit "All By Myself" which weighs in at nearly 7 1/2 minutes long!

01 All By Myself   4:48
02 Never Gonna Fall In Love Again  3:45
03 That's Rock 'N Roll 3:11
04 Hey Deanie 4:31
05 Hungry Eyes 4:06
06 Make Me Lose Control 4:46
07 Change Of Heart 3:30
08 She Did It 3:48
09 It Hurts Too Much    4:03
10 No Hard Feelings    5:40
11 Boats Against The Current    4:22
[Bonus Tracks]
12 I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips (A-Side Single)  3:12
13 Spotlight (B-Side Single)   4:13
14      All By Myself (Album Version)  7:20

Best Of Eric Carmen Link (382Mb) New Link 04/09/2023