Τετάρτη, 22 Ιουλίου 2009

Helen Schneider - Schneider with the kick

They don't make them like this anymore. Only covers but played with Gusto. Perfect for listening in the car or bringing back all these childhood memories.Today she is a famous musical singer, but in the early eighties Helen Schneider had a short and quite successful rock career - at least in Germany and continental Europe. Schneider With The Kick was her breakthrough and contained her most acclaimed single "Rock'n Roll Gypsy", a song written by Australian hard rockers Rose Tattoo.

Δευτέρα, 20 Ιουλίου 2009

Various Artists - The spirit of the Black Rose

CD 1
Philomena Lynott (IRE) -- Dublin / spoken
Celtic Legacy -- Glen Corr (The Spirit of the Vagabond)
Lotus (SWE) -- Gonna Creep Up On You
Loaded Dice (FIN) -- It's Only Money
Randy Bachman (CAN) from BTO -- The Boys Are Back In Town
Locomotive Breath (SWE) -- Warriors
Carl Dixon (CAN) -- Romeo and the Lonely Girl
Southern Rock Allstars (USA) -- Southbound
Yellow Pearl (NOR) -- Rocky
Motherlode (SWE) -- Killer Without A Cause
Ten Jinn (USA) -- Angel of Death
Dogface (SWE) -- Suicide
Ian Osbourne and the Voodoo Hounds (USA) -- Fighting My Way Back
Robin George (UK) -- King's Call
Damon Johnson (USA) -- Borderline
Tribe Of Gypsies (USA) -- Parisienne Walkways
Primal Fear (GER) -- Out In The Fields (bonus track)
Thin Az Lizzy (IRE) -- Little Darling
CD 2
Roddy Cleere (IRE) -- A Song For While I'm Away / spoken
Robin George (UK) -- Crying Diamonds
Nitzinger (USA) -- Cowboy Song
Demon (UK) -- Emerald
The Boys Are Back (SWE) -- Johnny
Kurgan’s Bane (USA) -- Opium Trail
Ken Hensley (USA) -- Dear Lord
Fatt Elizabeth (USA) -- Freedom Song
Doc Holliday (USA) -- Jailbreak
Bigelf (USA) -- Bad Reputation
Hobbit (USA) -- Fool's Gold
Thin Lipztick (SWE) -- Do Anything You Want To
Celtic Legacy -- Vagabonds of the Western World
Vick LeCar’s Blue Moon (USA) -- Thunder & Lightning
Parris (HOLL) -- Baby Please Don't Go
Sinner (GER) -- The Sun Goes Down
Thin Az Lizzy (IRE) -- Ode To A Black Man

Automat - s/t

A nice (and rare) example of late 70s italian electronica; akin to Ashra, Schulze and Tangerine Dream. At its' peaks, it rivals Schulze's X-album in dark intensity. Some of the tracks are a bit too relaxed and light to be effective, but overall, this is a keeper. The highlight of the album is probably the 16+ minutes title track.

Τρίτη, 14 Ιουλίου 2009

Clearlight Symphony - s/t

This one had been Cyrille Verdaux’ first composition recorded between 1973 and 1974 and released under the title “Clearlight Symphony” in 1975 which would be continued by him in later releases (i.e. “Symphony II”) and finally finding perfection in his “Infinite Symphony”. Comparisons of the music here with Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” are certainly justified though one should emphasize as well that it’s more complex and versatile than that one. Basically that’s symphonic rock inspired by classical romanticism with a strong touch of space fusion and especially part one (which actually had been 2nd movement, a mistake being corrected on the CD reissue) featuring Gong members Hillage and Malherbe breathes some Canterburian atmosphere. Electronic sounds contributed by the two keyboarders Blake and Verdaux are dominating in this part which becomes even quite odd at times like around 5:00 when experimentation gets a bit pointless and almost disturbing I’ve to say. Part two is the more rocking one with Lard Free-drummer Gilbert Artman and bassist Martin Isaacs added. Christian Boulé presents here a brilliant guitar work not a bit inferior to Hillage’s in part one and Artman’s vibraphone play adds a nice jazzy touch. Verdaux used here more analogue keyboard sounds like piano, organ and Mellotron and though the composition becomes slightly repetitive at times it never sounds boring at any moment. Overall this one had been a very strong and impressing but not perfect debut by a highly talented composer and musician which should be certainly considered an essential release in Prog.

Luther Grosvenor - Under open skies

Guitarist Luther Grovenor (aka Ariel Bender) is a guy who defines the term "journey man musician". Over the last four decades he's recorded music spanning all types of genres, enjoying massive commercial popularity with some of the world's most commercially successful bands. In spite of that success, he's all but unknown to most people. Here's a little bit of biographical information on the man. Grovesnor was born in Evesham, England. Interested in music from a young age, by the time he was a teenager he'd been in a number of local bands including Wavelength and Deep Feeling. The latter included lifelong friend/drummer Jim Capaldi, Gordon Jackson, Dave Mason, Dave Meredith and John Palmer. In early 1967 Capaldi and Mason left to join Steve Winwood in Traffic. Grosvenor subsequently joined the VIPs. Grosvenor's VIP stint was brief. After two singles, 1968 saw the band fell apart with keyboardist Keith Emerson joining The Nice, while Grovsenor, Mike Harrison, Mike Kellie and Greg Ridley regrouped as Art. Art lasted long enough to complete one LP, before adding singer/guitarist Gary Wright to the line up and metamorphosing into Spooky Tooth. Between 1968 and 1970, Spooky Tooth churned out a series of four LPs. Following the release of 1970's "The Last Puff", the band collapsed. Against this backdrop Island Records owner Chris Blackwell offered Grosvenor a solo deal. Recognizing most solo efforts simply suck, 1972's "Under Open Skies" is one of those rare exceptions. Co-produced by Grosveor and Tony Platt, the LP was written and recorded over a three month period in Blackwell's Spanish villa. The LP certainly sported one of the year's more impressive supporting casts, including The Moves' Trevor Burton, longtime buddy Capaldi, former Spooky Tooth alumnus Mike Kellie, Fairport Convention drummer Trevor Lucas and Mott the Hopple guitarist Mick Ralphs. In terms of performances most folks won't be shocked to hear that Grosvenor was a competent, if under whelming singer. That said, on tracks like "When I Met You" and "Waiting" his fragile voice occasionally recalled Steve Winwood. Certainly a bigger surprise, anyone expecting to hear an album of power guitar was probably somewhat disappointed. "When I Met You" and "Rocket" found Grosvenor aptly displaying his cops, but the overall feel was quite pastoral and reflective. "Under Open Skies" track listing: 1.) Ride On (Luther Grovesnor) - 2.) Here Comes the Queen (Luther Grovesnor - Githa Grosvenor) - 3.) When I Met You (Luther Grovesnor) - 4.) Love the Way (Luther Grovesnor - Githa Grosvenor) - 5.) Waiting (Luther Grovesnor) - 6.) Rocket (Luther Grovesnor) - 7.) Under Open Skies (Luther Grovesnor - Githa Grosvenor) - With the album vanishing without a trace, plans for a supporting tour and a follow-up LP with buddy Capaldi never saw the light of day. Opting not to participate in a 1972 Spooky Tooth reunion, Grosvenor instead replaced Gerry Rafferty in a late-inning version of Stealers Wheel. The following year he replaced Mick Ralphs in Mott the Hoople (under the name Ariel Bender). 1976 saw Grosvenor forming the short-lived Widowmaker. The late 80s saw him rejoin Spooky Tooth.

Spitfire - First Attack

Spitfire are one of the most important groups of the underground scene from the 80's in Greece. Their debut and only studio album First attack is considered a classic cult album by the Greek heavy metal audience and its compositions only confirm such characterizations. The band dives into NWOBHM sounds with influences from Saxon, Iron Maiden and Dio and has a Deep Purple feeling while it also explores power metal territories on numerous occasions. The album throughout contains a highly commercial echo (80's style) which gives listeners a better opportunity to enjoy its music. Unique it is not and it could have used a better production but the compositions are almost perfect which leaves unanswered questions to why such a band remained buried by the media and unknown to the mass. Songs like "Lady of the night", "Lead me on", "Evil thoughts around" and "Whispers" are brilliant examples of skillful songwriting and have the sound and style necessary for their era to become classics. Still, although Spitfire remained famous only to those who searched music to its depth they were worthy of a brighter future which never met with its expectations as the band split up after the unfortunate injury of the singer Dinos Kostakis in a car accident who spent two years in a coma. Highly recommended to NWOBHM and power metal fans.

Παρασκευή, 10 Ιουλίου 2009

Gorky Park - s/t

Despite being quite similar to most of the hair metal releases of the late '80s, Gorky Park's debut album is a solid freshman outing. The lead track "Bang" with its mix of Russian and English lyrics gave the band its first hit. The album also contains a collaboration with Bon Jovi, "Peace I Our Time," a ballad about the end of the cold war. The strangest tune is a cover of the Who's "My Generation" that when sung in the hair metal style appears to be a bit of a hack cover, until the band breaks into a Russian chorus giving the song a decent yet somewhat weird update. Despite the presence of some run-of-the-mill hair metal filler, this album holds up rather well. But with changing musical tastes in the early '90s this was to be band's only popular U.S. release.

Pallas - Beat the drum

A very welcome return and a good, although not terrific album. Well, the drummer ain't exactly Phil Collins, and the production is a bit ... clumsy at times, but with tracks like the opener "Call to Arms", "Wilderness Years", "Fragments of the Sun" and the two beautiful prog ballads "Spirits" and "Blood & Roses" this recording is worth more than three or four spins in your player.

Plasmatics - Coup d'etat

Fronted by the outrageous Wendy O. Williams and molded by the ultra-radical conceptual artist Rod Swenson, Plasmatics literally blasted their way on to the New York underground music scene in 1978. Swenson, who has a degree from Yale, met Wendy O. Williams during a job interview in 1977 whilst he was producing Counter-Culture Theater at NYC's Times Square. At the time, he was heavily involved in the New York underground rock scene producing shows and videos of unknown up and coming US bands such as Patti Smith, Ramones and Blondie. Swenson next project aim was the production of the world's most controversial and outrageous rock band and decided Wendy O. Williams was the logical star. Thus the Plasmatics were assembled and it was not long before night after night of sell out shows around the New York music scene were common placed and by 1979 they became the first unsigned band to headline New York's Palladium Theatre. During the show they christened one of their trademark stunts - blowing up an actual Cadillac car whilst onstage! Following a series of self produced and funded singles and EPs released throughout 1978-1979, the first full studio album, “New Hope for the Wretched", was issued by Stiff Records in 1980. Six further studio albums and several EPs followed during a decade of recording. On stage, the Plasmatics' performances were famed for the outrageous stunts including guitars being sawn in half with a chainsaw, cars being blown up, TVs sledge hammered and exploding speaker cabinets. Things were often so excessive they were, in the view of Billboard's Roman Kozak, "The absolute limit of what can be accomplished in Rock’N’Roll theatrics". This summarizes what the Plasmatics’ were out to, and did, accomplish. Following the success of “New Hope for the Wretched” and a sell out national tour of the USA, the Plasmatics headed to the UK for their first European show. On their arrival in London the waiting UK press were greeted by Wendy O. Williams dressed as a nurse telling them she had come to give "A cultural Enema to the British People." The sold out debut show planned at London's Hammersmith Odeon was cancelled at the eleventh hour by Greater London Council after labeling her an “anarchist”. Within a month “Butcher Baby” was riding high in the UK singles chart! Shortly after the release of their second album “Beyond the Valley of 1984” Wendy O. Williams faced multiple arrests in the US, following disruption on the accompanying US tour, on alleged obscenity charges and a much publicized beating at the hands of the US vice squad followed. Similar head lines were to follow the Plasmatics’ around the US and Europe through to their disbandment.Coup d'etat was released in 1982 and was a bridge between punk and heavy metal.It took decent critics from the music scene and included tracks worth-hearing :Put your love in me, Stop ,Rock n roll and The damned... The final Plasmatics record was released in 1987. Wendy O. Williams had further solo work but faded into obscurity. On April 6, 1998, in a final uncompromising act, Wendy O. Williams took her own life.

Σάββατο, 4 Ιουλίου 2009

Phenomena III - Innervision

This album brings together the talents of Scott Gorham(ex Thin Lizzy) and Queen guitarist Brian May. Any one who bought the first two albums should love this one. I thought the vocalist Keith Murrel who I had never heard of, is one of the most underrated singers of the Time. A great album !!!!

Hughes Thrall - s/t

The fruit of a one-off collaboration between ex-Deep Purple bassist/singer Glenn Hughes and journeyman guitarist Pat Thrall, Hughes/Thrall is full of the energy of early-'80s rock. With lyrics like "You got the power/Turn on the light" sung in best Ian Gillan fashion and buoyed by relentless grooves and Thrall's virtuosic guitar, this album is an overlooked gem. Thrall's use of the guitar synthesizer is very interesting. Throughout the album, he combines the muscle of hard rock with the textures of post-punk and new wave, as if Andy Summers were sitting around jamming with Eddie Van Halen. Take, for example, "Beg, Borrow or Steal." The verse is pure new wave, with its straight-eighth synth chords, but it soon gives way to the sleazy rock of the chorus. Much of this sound may in fact trace its origin to Queen and Rush, but listening to Hughes/Thrall in its historical context places it firmly in the same territory in which Billy Idol was to have so much success. The performances by the two leaders are fantastic. Hughes' voice and bass playing are in fine form, and Thrall exhibits a healthy dose of Allan Holdsworth in his playing. The mix, handled by none other than Andy Johns, tends to bury Thrall's guitar a bit, but the drums and bass sound great for an album from this period. This is aggressive and vital hard rock, with a healthy dose of texture and subtlety that prevents it from descending to the depths of self-parody that so much rock from the late '70s and early '80s was unable to save itself from. Worth searching out.

Mitch Ryder - Naked but not dead

This late-'70s offering finds Ryder in good form, recorded in Detroit and sporting his regular working band at the time, featuring long timers Mark Gugeon on bass and Wilson Owens on drums. It's the usual strong mix of Ryder originals, with the finger pointedness of "Ain't Nobody White," "War," "Spittin' Lizards," "Hometown," and "True Love" as must-listen recommendations. Good to see this material coming around again, as it's some of Ryder's most involved work.

Πέμπτη, 2 Ιουλίου 2009

C.K.Strong - s/t

C K Strong was the very first group project put together by the extraordinary Lynn Carey, whose 3-octave range would later be featured on her now-legendary Mama Lion recordings.
Here,within the psych-rock & blues of C.K. Strong, Lynn was still a teenager, and yet her enormous vocal presence and west coast beauty were already evident to all.
The mystery bonus tracks,included in the present post,are taken from the soundtrack to the film "Beyond the valley of the dolls", which featured Lynn on lead & background vocals.
The film was released in 1970, and was directed by Russ Meyer and written by Roger Ebert.
Music & lyrics were composed by Stu Phillips ,Bob Stone and Lynn Carey.ENJOY !!!

Trevor Rabin - Wolf

With his third solo album, Wolf, Trevor Rabin broke barriers, realizing a pinnacle of creative expression in pop music that successfully bridged firmly established formalist rock structures with a unique brand of post-Bruckner romanticism.
Heh heh sorry, I just had to open with that. Okay, bullshit aside. Wolf would be Rabin's final solo album prior to hooking up with Chris Squire and forming Cinema, which would eventually morph into 80s Yes. It continues the generic hard rock/AOR formula of his previous albums. It is probably the strongest of the three, though like that means much of anything. The recruitment is also impressive, though one can't help but be somewhat perplexed that such vets as Jack Bruce and Manfred Mann were on board to lend their support to this kind of material, not to mention that the associate producer of this album is — make sure you're not drinking coffee near the computer screen as you read this — Ray Davies.
With an album like Wolf, you have to abandon approaching this album from any vantage point other than that of AOR, or else of course you'll be sorely disappointed. I look upon AOR, or 'melodic rock' for the more charitable among us, like that big glooping heap of Velveeta that gets thrown on the cheesesteaks down on South Street in Philadelphia: you know on sight that it ain't good for you, but you still can't resist indulging. As I see it, the key to a successful AOR tune lies pretty much in the catchiness of the chorus. Rabin seems to have an understanding of placing all the eggs in the chorus hook, as he did little to invest in the verses of these songs. In terms of chorus power, I would have to admit that "Open Ended," "Heard You Cry Wolf," "Do Ya Do Ya," and the big, dumb bluesy wobble of "Take Me to a Party" draw at least a little blood out of the turnip.
Really, though, I find that as I'm writing this, I want to talk about the silly song titles more than the actual music. "Looking for a Lady – (Wolfman)"... now that is a title that you just can't beat. Just looking at it, with the parentheses placed after the dash and all, really cracks me up. I wonder if Jim "I'm Gonna Love Her Both of Us" Steinman helped Trevor out coming up with that one, maybe in between stints with Meatloaf? It bugs me, however, that it's "Heard You Cry Wolf" instead of the much more befitting "Heard Ya Cry Wolf" (to be align more with "Do Ya Do Ya Want Me"... c'mon, Trevor, consistency is important!). Or maybe even "Heard Ya Cry – (Wolf)." Okay, I'll stop now, don't mind me.
In summary, if you are generous, I'd say you have about half an album's degrees of freedom to work with here as a guilty pleasure; disposable but fun hard rock songs that say 'It is now safe to turn off your brain.' Once you've spent those degrees of freedom, however, your reaction to the remaining tracks will be either one of total ambivalence or "Wow, this really sucks." Sure, I guess you could be impressed at the way "Looking for a Lady" predicts Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" while at the same time swiping from Foreigner. But try listening to such craptastic entries as "She's Easy" or "Stop Turn" and not kicking the neighbor's dog.
Many Yes fans credit Rabin with 'single-handedly resuscitating' the band by penning "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Well, maybe if they listen to his first three solo albums, they might also come away with the view that Squire, Anderson, and Trevor Horn also rescued him from Aldo Nova also-ran oblivion.

Τετάρτη, 1 Ιουλίου 2009

Stardrive - s/t

Featuring one of the prominent uses of the synthesizer as a lead instrument, this second album from Stardrive which highlighted the talents of keyboardist Robert Mason was experimental at the time of its release in 1974 and has been much sough after by collectors.

Wild Cherry - Play the Funk

Poor Wild Cherry. If they hadn't made such a big splash with "Play That Funky Music," their successive singles wouldn't have been the subjects of unfair comparison. And though they lasted long enough to make several albums, they bowed out with one titled Only the Wild Survive (apparently not). Out of the group's five charting singles, Play the Funk contains four, choosing to admit "Play That Funky Music" sound-alike "Baby Don't You Know." The rest is filled out with a handful of select album cuts. Even so, this will be more than enough for most fans of disco and funk. If you're looking for this disc and can't find it, Collectables released a similar-looking disc in 2005 called Play That Funk, featuring the same exact track listing.