venerdì, aprile 29, 2011

Prodigal Sons - Emerge From the Void (1971 usa hard rock)

Prodigal Sons - Emerge From the Void

Nice hard rockin' release. If you like Wildfire, Tin House and early BTO you will dig this! There's even some British influence (John's Tune, Saga Of Yeti) here. 
From RYM (rnrguy)

giovedì, aprile 28, 2011

Quincy Conserve - Epitaph 1967 - 1971 (n zealand psych)

Quincy Conserve - Epitaph 1967 - 1971

New Zealand band "The Quincy Conserve shared a multitude of musical influences, namely Soul,Funk,jazz,Prog,&psych.
On this, thier second album the liner notes read like a tombstone (right down to the R.I.P.) they must’ve felt it was their last at the time. As it happens, there is in fact an Ep (Tasteful) and another album to come.
Think about all the times you’ve been listening to a Blood, Sweat & Tears album and you thought to yourself “you know, I wish these guys were about a hundred times more awesome”, And if they were, you’d be listening to this.

Admittedly the vocalist on this album has a curious voice,
On the other hand, he sings in tune, unlike the other vocalist who has a more agreeable timbre but a tendency to sing flat. But why am I discussing such things when I could be telling you how totally awesome this album is. The early seventies were full of inspiring young men who never let lack of ability prevent them from succeeding as a rock singer - we should be proud.
Song highlights include "Alright in the city", "Aire of good feeling", "My michelle chan"
From RYM (koha)

mercoledì, aprile 27, 2011

Axe - Live & Studio (1969-70 uk prog psych prog)

Axe - Live & Studio

I often get asked what is my all-time favorite album, as if my opinion carries any weight. While it's very difficult to point to any one record as my all-time favorite, I can say with certainty that this is in my top three! It pushes all of the right buttons for me, literally defining heavy psych, featuring awesome female vocals and sulfuric acid guitar, all with a quasi-west coast vibe. One track just seems better than the next, right down the line, just non-stop killer music. Grades - 2 A+'s (I almost never give out A+'s), 2 A's, 2 A-'s, and a B+, consistently excellent!
From RYM (tymeshifter)

martedì, aprile 26, 2011

Tanned Leather - Child of Never Ending Love (ger 1972 rock)

Tanned Leather - Child of Never Ending Love

Little information is available about this German six-piece band and their debut presented here which has never been released on CD is much sought after. They consisted of one lead singer, two harmony vocalists plus the usual rock outfit. In addition there’s some guest appearance of Hans Jurgen Fritz from country fellows TRIUMVIRAT on piano. In some of the songs I can hear as well some violin and banjo which are not listed. As this line-up already suggests we get offered here some American folk-tinged material much in the vein of CSNY, at times with a strong rhythm & blues feeling like in “King of Misunderstood”. Apart from being quite a nice listen if one likes such stuff the songs here can’t offer much interesting even for the most average proghead. Overall I found this album musically quite boring I’ve to say though the lyrics are admittedly at times quite appealing and meaningful if they aren’t too much christian-inspired like in the redundant “Jesus May Help You”. Really nothing outstanding to be found on here and if at all only interesting for the general collector of obscure 70’s rarities. Their second album went even deeper into the country pop/southern rock realm questioning the relevance of this band in Prog at all.
From RYM (hdfish)

domenica, aprile 24, 2011

Slumberlandband - Slumberlandband (1975 holl folk prog)

Slumberlandband - Slumberlandband

This is an extremely pleasant little oddity by a few ex-C.C.C. Inc. members, which sounds better for my ears than the whole output of their previous band combined (and that's saying something because I actually have a soft spot for C.C.C. Inc. as well!). Partly Beatlesque pop (there is even a song called "The Beatles"!), partly good-timey countryish rock with fiddle a-la their parent band, and partly elaborate soft prog, it flows perfectly and provides a great soundtrack for a sunny day. Makes me wonder whether an unprecedented knack for bright, infectious melodies is something Dutch kids are taught at school, because I just can't think of another area where every bloody band is capable of writing an irresistible pop tune. Shocking Blue, Focus, Supersister, The Motions, Cosmic Dealer, Nits, Gruppo Sportivo, hell, even Mecano! Regardless of the genre, regardless of the complexity level, Lowlands abound with terrific melodies. And Slumberlandband is no exception.
From RYM (levgan)

venerdì, aprile 22, 2011

47 Its Own Weight - Cumulo Nimbus (1975 us jazz funk acid jazz)

Forty-Seven Times Its Own Weight - Cumulo Nimbus

Fairly hard acid jazz out of the mid-’70s Austin jazz scene. 47 Times (the name is a reference to an advertising slogan for Rolaids soda-mint tablets) came together from alumni of the University of Texas Music Department jazz band, as did label-mate Starcrost. Tunes on the disc range from keyboardist Robert Skiles’ downright goofy “March of the Goober Woobers” and threatening-yet-bouncy “Jig” through trumpeter Mel Winters’ “Halyards” to non-band-member Bill Ginn’s moody, meditative “47 Tears.” Well worth finding, but expect to pay through the nose for the LP, particularly in the UK, where copies go for a couple of hundred nicker each.
From RYM (marchbanks)

mercoledì, aprile 20, 2011

Nebulosa - Nebulosa (1977 masterpiece swe prog symph. prog )

Nebulosa - Nebulosa

Great Swedish Progressive with Sympohinic moments, a heavy edge and the singer hit's the spot for me. I dont think people will understand what they are listening to but the album is consistantly good from start to finish!
From RYM (rixsta)

lunedì, aprile 18, 2011

Freeport - Freeport (1970 us hard rock)

Freeport - Freeport

What an uplifting experience to finally find someone say something positive about this album, and to do so coherently and rationally. Thanks ochsfan. And while I may not be quite as ecstatic over it as he is, I do share the sentiments that it is a very good, very solid, and very consistent album. The sounds are semi-commercially oriented hard rock, featuring vocal harmony and great guitar work. The fact that it was released on a label that is highly collectible among psych circles may have hampered it somewhat, as the album is really not psychedelic. Big fans of that genre are typically the only ones to even know about the album, and often trash it as disappointing. Their loss! It will appeal to most fans of harder rock, especially those that love the added bonus of great early 70's period flavor. The album was released in Dec. 1970, and the band hailed from Cleveland, OH. Grades - 4 B+'s, 1 B, and 4 B-'s.
From RYM (tymeshifter)

giovedì, aprile 14, 2011

The Klowns - Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey (1969 usa psych pop)

The Klowns - Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey

Now if this group had their own Saturday morning live-action tv show they not only would have lasted longer but also been more well known. I found this lp at a record convention in the early 90's. It was in the back of one guy's milk crate o' doom. It wasn't till later that I dug up some info that this bubblegum band had future actor Barry Bostwick (SPIN CITY) as one of the singers. Well many years before KISS, Alice Cooper, and the ilk,
these six employees of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Archies offshoot put on white greasepaint/ black teardrops and kicked it out.
Their music is unlike Filmation's HARDY BOYS, Andy Kim, and Spanky & Our Gang. Mild soul, watered-down psych, and bubblegum goodness.

Kinda freaky gatefold where one guy looks just like Bruce Johnson of The BeachBoys. Of course there are 2 girl sings who look like Betty & Veronica of course. And there's good 'ol Barry looking like a giant Lurch standing at the back.

Great songs and at times great guitar work, no doubt performed by studio musicians.
Perfect addition to your wall of lps.
From RYM (kupa99)

mercoledì, aprile 13, 2011

The Forum - The River Is Wide ( usa psych pop 1967)

The Forum - The River Is Wide

Sunshine pop arranged by Easy Listening / Soundtracks master Les Baxter. The Forum was an alter ego of the Les Baxter Balladeers, who were supposed to be a Folk group ; so they changed their name for this album, which borrowed from everything groovy: the title song sounds like The Righteous Brothers, most of the time it reminds you of Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66, The 5th Dimension and such. Of course it is a pure exploitation album, surfing on the trends of the time. But commercial music like this is not bad at all ...

The British cd reissue includes bonus songs, some very good Les Baxter instrumentals, and 3 alternate versions of "the River Is Wide", really different from the main version.
From RYM (crissmass61)

martedì, aprile 12, 2011

Mystic Number National Bank (same 1969 blues/psych usa)

Mystic Number National Bank - Mystic Number National Bank

In spite of the psychedelic title, The Mystic Number National Band were one of Kansas City's contributions to late-1960s blues rock ... Formed in 1967, the band featured the talents of bassist Russ Booth, guitarists Dave Lorenz and Bob Sebbo, and singer/drummer Glenn Walters.

Lead by Sebbo (who played lead guitar with a clubbed right hand) and Walters they were apparently quite an impressive live act becoming staples around Kansas City Westport district club circuit, collecting a cult following with performances at The Art Institute, The Place, etc. The band made their recording debut with the 1968 single 'Good Time Music' b/w 'I Put A Spell On You' (Brass catalog number 421).

The following year saw them attract the attention of ABC's newly formed progressive Probe subsidiary. Co-produced by Dick Weissman and John Turner, 1969's "The Mystic Number National Bank" had it's moments. The emphasis was clearly on blues-rock, but there were stabs at other genres including pop ('Ginger Man'), and even one forlorn ballad ('Umbrellas'). While there wasn't anything wrong with a blues-rock band, by 1969 popular tastes had already begun to move on and unless you brought something really unique to the table, your chances of breaking out were pretty slim. Needless to say, these guys didn't have that unique ingredient. The overall feel was of an album that had been recorded in a rush without enough prep time for the band, or post-production work. Many of the songs sounded like they'd been recorded in one or two takes, complete with flubs and sub-par performances. Hard to imagine that anyone was very happy with something like the instrumental 'AC/DC'.

- The appropriately titled 'Blues Jam' was exactly that - a routine Chicago electric blues instrumental number. Imagine a Paul Butterfield Blues Band outtake ... Absolutely nothing special going on here and 30 second later you wouldn't remember a thing about it. rating: * star
- 'Good Love' introduced Glenn Walters' raspy voice on an okay blues-rocker. The horns didn't really add a great deal to this one, but there was some nice fuzz guitar that offset the other shortcomings. rating: *** stars
- One of two songs penned by guitarist Bob Sebbo, 'It Will Break Your Heart' was a weird country-rocker. I don't know if Sebbo handled the vocals, but whoever it was turned in one of the most mannered deliveries I've ever heard. The way he drags out the title track simply has to be heard ... rating: *** stars
- The group penned instrumental 'AC/DC' basically served as a platform for guitarists Dave Lorenz and Bob Sebbo to wonk off for two minutes. The result was some of the least impressive soloing you've ever heard on a major label rating: * star
- The traditional blues number 'St. James Infirmary' has to be one of the dullest songs ever written and these guys added to that tradition with their extended, eight minute cover of the track. rating: ** stars
- Side two started out with the album's most mainstream rocker 'Beautician Blues' which is probably why it was tapped as a single. rating: *** stars
- Unlike anything else on the album. 'Umbrellas' found the band taking a stab at a sensitive ballad ... Um, nice try, but not a good genre for them to have pursued. The song itself had a gentle and pretty melody, but Walters gruff voice just wasn't a good match for the track. Perhaps they should have left it as an instrumental. rating: ** stars
- For what it's worth, I'd pick their cover of Geoff Mulduar's 'Ginger Man' as the album highlight. They gave the tune a surprisingly commercial spin and it would have actually been a better choice for a single than 'Beautician Blues'. rating: *** stars
- Penned by Sebbo, 'Big Boy' found the band taking on cocktail jazz ... Seriously, this one sounded like something they might have played at a local Marriott hotel. rating: ** stars
- And for the closer, back to Chicago-styled electric blues via 'Blues So Bad'. Giving credit where due, this group composition actually sported a little bit on energy. Hearing it in a small club after a couple of beers probably would have made it quite entertaining. rating: ** stars
Probe also tapped the album for an instantly forgotten single:
- 1969's 'Beautician Blues' b/w 'St James Infirmary' (Probe catalog number 457)
Sure, these guys had some talent and from what I've read, they were actually a fairly impressive live act. That said, you've got to wonder what Probe was thinking when they decided to release this one.
And that was it for these guys.
Booth died of a brain aneurysm.
No idea what happened to Lorenz.
Sebbo apparently still plays guitar, though he's retired and living in Wisconsin. He has some entertaining YouTube clips (check out Bob Sebbo and the Naughty Combo).
Walters briefly reappeared as a member of Stoneface, before recording with The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. He then moved to San Francisco where he remains active in music having recorded a couple of solo albums and playing local events with The Glenn Walters Band (yes, they're available for weddings).
From RYM (ochsfan)

domenica, aprile 10, 2011

Madder Lake - Still Point (1973 A'lian prog)

Madder Lake - Still Point

I always considered Australia as a prog wasteland. It is not too much of a charge considering that the UK was the clear leader in this movement, Germany was a distant second and pretty much every other country was way way back. With Spectrum being the only well known Australian band that could be classified as prog, I had ignored the scene until recently. Spectrum have their moments (pretty much all of them on Milesago) but are barely worth mentioning in the same breath as the true prog kings of the early 70s. Fortunately I got my hands on the Madder Lake Aztec releases which, while certainly not prog worldbeaters either, opened my eyes to the burgeoning prog scene in Australia circa 1973 and in that sense Madder Lake could almost be considered as the contemporaries of the 2nd generation of British prog (approx 1972 - 1976) and should be judged accordingly.

With the introductory paragraph attempting to lay down my perspective and appreciation for this prog scene, it is almost a paradox to state that often the best moments of Still Point are when the band are at their poppiest. The band was certainly not averse to a catchy refrain: 'On My Way to Heaven', '12-lb Toothbrush' and 'Goodbye Lollipop' are all tracks that are likely to get stuck in your head even after few listens. 'On My Way to Heaven' is actually a pretty weird pop song - the phasing effect of the half-whispered vocals, sitting atop a floor of oohing harmonies is a pretty weird effect for what turns out to be a fairly catchy refrain. 'Goodbye Lollipop' is a completely unashamed pop song which was released as a single, and a pretty good one at that. The band's most famous track '12-lb Toothbrush' is a far proggier affair with an extensive instrumental midsection, but the silly "na na..." intro and coda nailed it in listener's minds and this is its enduring legacy. Trivia warning: the title of course has nothing to do with the content of the track, but was purely chosen as the band wondered what it would be like to have a ridiculous track title announced on radio. They of course got their wish. Personally I think the track is a little disjointed: the shifts between the poppy intro/outro, straight-ahead blues rock main theme and the psychedelic wandering prog instrumental break are all unnatural, but the track is still very good if you accept this minor flaw.

'Salmon Song' is probably the only track here that could be considered as genuine prog: a gently developing guitar riff, reinforced with some decent keyboards, carries it through its almost vocal free length of eight minutes. Elsewhere the remaining tracks are fairly forgettable, ranging from pseudo-prog tracks with naff refrains ('Helper', 'Listen to the Morning Sun') to pseudo-prog tracks with refrains that aren't quite so naff ('Song for Little Earnest). Okay not so much range with these three tracks, but you get the picture. Still I think the other four tracks I singled out take this album to a respectable 3.5 stars.
From RYM (Bitterman)

sabato, aprile 09, 2011

Garfield - Strange Streets+Out There Tonight (76-77 can hard rock rock)

Garfield - Strange Streets Garfield - Out There Tonight

Strange Streets
This is an EXCELLENT Canadian folk progressive rock, made in 1976. All the tracks are excellent: they all have some catchy & addictive parts & melodies that retain the listener's attention. The VERY EMOTIVE male lead singer Garfield French has an androgynous voice, and his tone is such that he all the time sounds like he is on the verge of crying. There are very subtly floating keyboards a bit like on Pink Floyd's "Animals". The omnipresent folkier acoustic guitars are often accompanied with tender flute parts and slow rhythmic piano. There are some excellent ambient echoed harmonica & discrete electric guitars in the background. This record may slightly give you the blues, because the songs are not really joyful, except "Old time movies". "Someday if you're lucky" has a mix of dynamic Jethro Tull-like and peaceful PFM-like flute parts. "Catch you next time 'round" has lead vocals and piano sounding like Supertramp. "Old time movies" begins with a barking dog which seems to only calm down after an harmonica melody starts; this track reminds me ELP'S "Lucky man", especially the moog solos. The tracks are quite short, lasting around 2-3 minutes, except the last one which lasts around 9 minutes.

The tracks:

Side 1: "Strange streets", "Give me love to Anne", "Someday if you're lucky", "Above market street", "Old time movies"

Side 2: "Nanny's song", "Ride the waves", "Catch you next time 'round". "Eyes" 

From RYM (greenback)

 Out There Tonight
If not for White Witch, I don't know if Capricorn would have ever started signing bands like this. They're not as heavy or camp glam as WW, but they do get a bit spaced out with their synth & the songs are odd. The singer (Garfield French) sounds like a British Sal Valentino mixed with a touch of Paul Williams.

From RYM (thelatepetercook)

giovedì, aprile 07, 2011

Flamengo - Kuře v hodinkách (1972 Czech hard/Jazz prog )

Flamengo - Kuře v hodinkách

This album often makes me want to utter the trite, nonsensical, and idiotic cliché “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” It smokes with unbridled passion and energy, it has the great late 1960’s - early 1970’s vibe in so many ways, and the music is actually surprisingly well-composed. And it’s all sung in Czech, too (one of my favorite languages for singing).

Flamengo were a sax and organ driven heavy prog band from Prague. There are elements of beat, psych, and regular old rock in their sound, but the compositions and arrangements are more than complex enough to satisfy prog fans, and there’s enough energy in the performances that I could see them appealing to punkers in the same way that Van der Graaf Generator sometimes did. There are a couple of acoustic tracks, but the emphasis is on raw power prog. Great singing, great playing, what more could you want?
From RYM (dnieper111)

lunedì, aprile 04, 2011

Dick Heckstall-Smith - A Story Ended (72 hard prog jazz)

Dick Heckstall-Smith - A Story Ended

Mostly somewhat hard, and fairly diverse prog rock, with lots of sax (natch) and some pretty trippy mat'l, as well as some jazz and blues influences. Grades - 2 B+'s, 1 B, and 3 B-'s, quite consistent.
From RYM (tymeshifter)

sabato, aprile 02, 2011

Flake - How's Your Mother (71 a'lian psych)

Flake - How's Your Mother

A decent, if unexceptional, mix of orchestrated pop and fairly hard semi-commercial rock, with male and female vocals. Grades - 4 B's, 2 B-'s, 3 C+'s, a C, and a C-.
From RYM (tymeshifter)

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