Τετάρτη, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

Psycho - Montage Fatal

The group was formed by Dora Antoniadi and Stefanos Kotatis in the early 80's .They tried to mix rock music with jazz,ethnic and opera.This one and only lp ,although it suffered from poor production,introduced something completely different from the other Greek productions during the same time.The well known in local scene ,Stamatis Spanoudakis made the string arrangement and played all the instruments in the album.Also Gary Wright played the keybords on "The Prisoner".However, the highlight of the album is the alternative version of Talking Heads "Psycho Killer".

The Ides of March - Friendly Strangers

Everything the Ides of March released on Warner Bros. is on this double CD, including not only all the tracks from both of their Warners albums (1970's Vehicle and 1971's Common Bond), but also the non-LP B-sides "High on a Hillside" and "Lead Me Home, Gently," as well as the 1970 non-LP single "Melody" and the single version of "Vehicle." It's a comprehensive but odd document of a band that seemed torn between commercial and progressive impulses, resulting in a variety that seemed as indicative of uncertain direction as eclecticism. The lay-it-on-heavy Blood, Sweat & Tears-like horn rock is the most dominant sensibility. But there's also room for smooth MOR harmony rock, blatant Creedence Clearwater Revival imitation ("Factory Band"), blatant Crosby, Stills & Nash imitation ("L.A. Goodbye," "We Are Pillows"), a Chicago-like arrangement of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Wooden Ships," and a way-drawn-out symphonic arrangement of "Eleanor Rigby." Then there's the eleven-minute opus "Tie-Dye Princess," which boasts the immortally dated lyric "Hail hail to the tie-dye princess, hail hail to the tie-dye queen!" Yes, it is a second-division mishmash of the trendily commercial and the trendily progressive. But it's rather enjoyable in its competent, energetic mirroring of some of the period's fads, the heart of a Midwestern horn pop/rock band always beating under the ambition. It's an oddly structured reissue, though. The first disc is jammed with 21 tracks and 79 minutes of music, while the second plays out the string with four tracks and 20 minutes.

La Bambibanda E Melodie - st

Bambi Fossati (of Gleemen and Garybaldi) formed this band in 1974 together with old cohort Maurizio Cassinelli on drums, bassist Roberto Ricci and indian percussionist Ramasandiran Somusundaram. The music is more interesting than the Garybaldi recordings, mostly because Fossati's guitar playing isn't as dominant as on those albums. The percussion gives the music a sound quite similar to Embryo/Kollektiv at times. And even if it has some dull moments, I still must recommend this album.

Tomita - Kosmos

Tomita is a classical symphonic electronic keyboards musician. Well made, this album is full of symphonic keyboards well recorded. Entirely electronic, it is sometimes quite spacy. Tons of different keyboards involved. Choir imitations, string ensemble simulations, it as really special atmosphere. He interprets many works of the great classical composers.

Lee Michaels - The Collection

A good 18-track overview of his A&M work, drawing from all six of the albums he released between 1968 and 1972. Includes "Do You Know What I Mean," "Stormy Monday," "Heighty Hi," "Hello," "The War," and "Carnival of Life," as well as the 1969 non-LP B-side "Goodbye, Goodbye" and his only Top 40 single besides "Do You Know What I Mean," a cover of "Can I Get a Witness."

Moxy - Ridin' High

On their third album Buzz Shearman and co. are offering great hard rock for us. The sound is massive and I truly mean it. This album serves us with many awesome tracks like the opener "Nothin´ Comes Easy", "Ridin´ High", "Young Legs" and "Are You Ready" are entertaining stuff which give you great vibes. Fan of hard rock? Get this one.

Ray Manzarek - The Golden Scarab

Signed by Mercury, Manzarek's 1975 debut "The Golden Scarab" found him sounding considerably more relaxed than on the final two post-Morrison Doors albums ("Full Circle'' and '"Other Voices"). With longtime Doors producer Bruce Botnick handling the boards and with support from Doors sessions bassist Jerry Scheff, guitarist Larry Carlton and drummer Tony Williams (the latter two aptly displaying some of their classy jazz moves throughout the album), the collection highlighted Manzarek's passable voice on a musically diverse set which curiously downplayed his unique organ runs. Apparently intended as a concept piece, at least to my simplistic ears the plotline was vague, though it seemed to have something to do with Egyptology - witness material like the pseudo-funky title track, 'Solar Boat' and the instrumental 'The Moorish Idol'. Bouncing between tuneful, straightforward rock and more experimental endeavors like 'Oh, Thou Precious Nectar Filled Form (or) a Little Fart', it wasn't the year's most consistent release, nor was it likely to change your life one way or the other, but still had it's share of minor pleasures. Carlton turned in several noteworthy guitar solos including a killer performance on 'Solar Boat. Other highlights included the bossa nova styled 'He Can't Come Today' and the three songs that came the closest to recalling The Doors' rock catalog - 'Downbound Train', the bluesy 'Purpose of Existence Is?, and 'Choose Up and Choose Off''. For some reason Manzarek's voice sounded way better on these three rockers ... Mercury also tapped the album for a pair of singles: - 1974's 'Solar Boat' b/w '' (Mercury catalog number 73477) - 1974's 'Downbound Train' b/w 'Choose Up and Choose Off ' (Mercury catalog number 73601) This was a set that's grown on me over the years and may be the best post-Doors release by any of the band members. Nice Goldfinger-styled makeup there guy ... "The Golden Scarab" track listing: (side 1) 1.) He Can't Come Tomorrow - 4:35 2.) Solar Boat - 5:15 3.) Downbound Train - 5:27 4.) Golden Scarab - 6:42 (side 2) 1.) Purpose of Existence Is? - 6:42 2.) The Moorish Idol (instrumental) - 5:40 3.) Choose Up and Choose Off - 4:42 4.) Oh, Thou Precious Nectar Filled Form (or) a Little Fart - 4:58

Παρασκευή, 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

Pretty Maids - Sin Decade

The Pretty Maids, headed by vocalist Ronnie Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer, recorded Sin-Decade from July through September of 1991. The eleven song disc was subsequently released in 1992. The production was handled by Flemming Rasmussen, who had previously worked closely with Metallica.

_Sin-Decade_ features ten Atkins/Hammer numbers, and one additional cut, "Please Don't Leave Me", which was penned by the legendary Philip Paris Lynott, with assistance from guitarist John Sykes. "Please Don't Leave Me", which was released as a single, closes the hard-hitting Sin-Decade with style. The ballad was recorded as a tribute to the former Thin Lizzy leader. Throughout the years Lynott and the wealth of music Lizzy recorded, has been a vital influence on the Pretty Maids. The evidence rings true in the music laid down by the Danish rockers from day one.

_Sin-Decade_ features several hard songs that feature killer guitar work and kick ass vocals. "Running Out" opens the disc and sets the stage for the heavy numbers on offer, which include the title track, "Come On Tough, Come On Nasty", "Raise Your Flag", "Credit Card Lover", "Healing Touch" and the ripping "In The Flesh". Besides the ballad "Please Don't Leave Me", "Know It Ain't Easy" is a mid-tempo melodic cut, that features a slow burning groove.

Hard and heavy, laid down with style... it's a trademark of the Pretty Maids!


Σάββατο, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

Guardian - Miracle Mile

Miracle Mile is the third album of Christian rock band Guardian. It was recorded at the end of 1992 and released in 1993. The album was produced by the Elefante brothers, who were also producing albums for legendary Christian band Petra.
This is considered the band's most successful album to date.

Phoenix Down - Under a Wild Sky

Another long departed but not forgotten cult icon of hard rock returns!Kane Roberts, one time axe slinger for Alice Cooper and part time solo star with albums like the quite impressive and much loved Saints & Sinners, is back after spending the best part of 2 years recording this fresh new studio album.Those expecting him to immediately pick up where he left off will certainly be surprised.Pleasantly though, I think, because this album grows with every listen and will undoubtedly become a new cult favourite.The style is certainly varied, but the album carries a common thread, so the songs do not sound too much out of place.With the style jumping around a lot, there is the danger that some fans are going to hate or at least dislike some elements of the album.

Le Orme - Felona e Sorona

This album is a concept album, telling the tale of two planets. Felona is prosperous and happy, while Sorona is a horrid world filled with famine and plague. However, the fates of the two switch. Since I don’t speak Italian, I can’t say ant more about the plot than that. Felona e Sorona is relatively short for a Prog album, lasting under 35 minutes. 8:46 of that makes up “Sospesi nell 'incredibile”, the opening track. It features ethereal sounding keyboards and synths, and sounds generally spacey and isolated. The bass work here provides a solid backing for creeping synthesizer work. Overall, a good piece of prog. This is followed by “Felona”, a very short piece of bells and acoustic guitar, with an upbeat vocal. Here the band makes it quite obvious that Felona is a great place to be, but those ghostly keyboards tell something is beginning to go wrong. Another short piece “La solitudine di chi protegge il mondo”, follows with nice grand piano fills. “L'equilibrio” then begins and suddenly adds energy and aggression to the momentum of the album. More keyboards here, and this one sounds very similar to “Sospesi nell 'incredibile”, but with grand piano added. On to side two. To accomapny “Felona”, “Sorona” gets its turn in the spotlight. As would be expected, the music is slow, gloomy, and ghastly. Another song that fits the mood it wants to portray perfectly. Follow up songs “Attese inerte” is more of the same keyboard driven mid tempo work that the band played on side A, while “Ritratto di un mattino” echoes “Sorona” very closely for its first half before switchign to “Felona” like structure. “All'infuori del tempo” continues this upbeatness with the acoustic guitar coming back to a prominent role. The album ends with a song called “Ritorno al nulla” which finally injects some needed originality to this album. Here we have the gloominess of the other numbers, but at a faster pace. Thus song defiantly sounds very alien, and ends with bombastic amounts of synthesizer. Felona e Sorona has numerous strengths. The acoustic guitar pieces prove very nice on the ears. The real star of the show is the keyboards, as Pagliuca adds multi- layered keyboards to the mix in spectacular fashion. Le Orme’s great strength lies here. However, there are weaknesses to the album. For one, the repetitiveness is extremely high, even for a concept album. Additonaly, the album aside from the keyboards is pretty generic and uninventive. Pound for Pound, this one falls short of essential. On the whole however, we have a solid album showing off the greatness of the Italian keybaord in Progressive rock.

Neil Merryweather - Word of Mouth

The year was 1969, one year after Al Kooper brought Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills into the studio to record what became the legendary 'Super Session' disc. It's difficult to resist comparing that historic trio with the trio Neil Merryweather brought together for his 'Word of Mouth' double LP. As on 'Super Session', only harpist/vocalist Charlie Musselwhite actually gets together in the studio with the other name performers, Steve "Guitar" Miller and Dave Mason. While Stills and Bloomfield never shared studio time on 'Super Session', there is no evidence that Steve Miller and Dave Mason ever recorded together for 'Word of Mouth'. In most respects, in fact, the contributions of Miller, and especially Dave Mason, are nominal. But just as Harvey Brooks added some stunning bass lines on 'Super Session', Neil Merryweather receives some stunning support from lead guitarist Dave Burt, and quality contributions from a host of talented session musicians. Even the multiple photographs of the studio scene included in the liner notes are reminicent of the 'Super Session' package. As mentioned, the original vinyl 'Word of Mouth' product consisted of four album sides and just over sixty-one minutes of music. The contributions of Miller, Musselwhite, and Mason are scattered about rather democratically. Steve Miller is credited with a co-write, lead vocal, and lead guitar on 'Just a Little Bit', featured on side one. It has a two minute piano coda, so Miller occupies only about half of the track. Side two offers a Charlie Musselwhite co-write, harp, and vocal on the standard blues piece, 'Hello Little Girl'. Dave Mason gets his turn with a co-write and lead vocal on the six-minute side three opener, 'Sun Down Lady'. Each featured performer has a co-write and lead vocal on side four. So, all told, only six of the fourteen tracks feature the three M's. Neil Merryweather himself does a good deal of composing for the disc, revealing himself as a specialist in heavy rock ballads, such as he serves up on the two opening tracks, 'I Found Love' and 'Teach You How To Fly', and later on 'The Hard Times'. He also supplies the bass and the majority of the lead vocals on the disc. He's adequate at all three, but rarely exceptional, and this is the major shortcoming of the disc. Many of the songs come off as generic rock numbers without memorable hooks or melodies. Songs such as 'Where I Am' and 'News' suffer from weak lyrical passages and derivitive instrumental backing. The choicest segment of the disc kicks off with the nine-minute 'Mrs. Robert's Son', apparently an homage to guitarist Howard Roberts, who plays on the track. It features an outstanding two lead guitar jam that progressively becomes less and less structured. More excellent guitar work follows on 'Licked the Spoon' and 'Sun Down Lady'. 'The Hard Times' concludes this stellar quartet of songs, featuring a unique electric violin lead from Bobby Notkoff. Another highlight appears on side four, with Charlie Musselwhite delivering an impressive lead vocal on an electric blues number he penned with Dave Mason, 'Rough Dried Woman'. That track is also interesting as Mason takes on bass guitar duties. Two other tracks from side four, the closer 'Hooker Blues' and the opener, 'We Can Make It', deserve mention as well. 'Hooker Blues' is the most psychedelic piece in the set, winding things up with some cool sound effects produced through playing tapes backwards. And I could be wrong, but it sure sounds to me like the melody from Steve Miller's 'We Can Make It' was borrowed for the 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' theme song. Give it a listen and judge for yourself. Neil Merryweather's 'Word of Mouth' certainly has its moments, but much of the disc, unfortunately, is rather generic sounding. Few of the tunes stick in your head and/or demand a fresh replay. So the potters are working with substandard clay, but we are fortunate to be in the presence of such acclaimed potters. The musicianship is clearly the main attraction to this production, and their talent comes through loud and clear. At times Merryweather forces his talent over the brink, such as on the opening track, where his lead vocal resembles David Clayton Thomas on methamphetamine, or the overdone string accompaniment on 'Where Am I'. But all in all, 'Word of Mouth' is certainly deserving of a listen or two, especially for fans of Mason, Miller, and especially Charlie Musselwhite, whose contributions may be the most impeccable of the bunch. It's a rarity often overlooked from a sparkling period in rock and roll music.

Samurai - Green Tea

This Samurai is not to be confused with the British band with Dave Lawson that existed at the same time. This Samurai was a Japanese psych/prog band that resided in England in 1970 and released this album, Green Tea on Philips. Not exactly an easy to come by album, and I had to get a CD-R of this, which they didn't even have the track listings in correct order, so there's a few songs that I don't know are the correct titles. Nor did the CD-R mention who was in the band (although there were band photos). Upon digging up further information of this band, I found out the band consisted of: - Miki Curtis: vocals, flutes - Joe Dunnet: guitar - Hiro Izumi: guitar, koto - John Redfern: organ - Tetsu Yamauchi: bass - Mike Walker: vocals, piano - Graham Smith: harmonica - Yuji Harada (I think they mean Yujin Harada): drums I have no idea which ones were actual members and which ones were just guests, but it looked like the band recruited some British musicians while they were staying in London. Looking at the list, three names are familiar to me. There's Graham Smith, who was later a member of String Driven Thing, before joining the final version of Van der Graaf Generator (when they were simply known as Van der Graaf). Of course, with Samurai he played harmonica, but later, with String Driven Thing and Van der Graaf, it was violin. Then you have Tetsu Yamauchi, better known as a latter-day member of both Free and Rod Stewart's Faces. And finally, Yujin Harada (sources called him Yuji, probably because they didn't hear it pronounced right), though probably totally unknown to most, was in the final version of Far East Family Band (that is after Kitaro, Akira Ito, and Shizuo Takasaki left) and appeared on their final album, Tenkujin in 1977. For a band so obscure (even more obscure than Dave Lawson's band that existed the same time) I am actually surprised to see the amount of familiar musicians who played in this band. Anyway, the music is a combination of late '60s psych, early prog, and some Japanese influences. For being a 1970 recording, I am rather surprised of some of the lyrics and mood of the album have that "flower power" feel to it, but if you're having nightmares of The Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Lemon Pipers (in which bands like that got away with writing "flower power" anthems because it was 1967, not 1970), don't worry, it's still a lot better than those American pop-psychedelic bands that came in a dime-a-dozen (especially from California), and as mentioned, early prog elements do surface. "Intermediate Stages" reminds me most of Syd Barret's Pink Floyd or perhaps one of the cuts off the Swedish band International Harvester's Sov Gott Rose-Marie. "Boy With a Gun" is a rather Japanese-sounding piece with koto. "Daffy Drake" (I believe) is a rather idiotic sounding piece I can live without, especially the squeely vocals. The album really starts getting adventurous with songs like "Four Seasons", "18th Century", "Eagles Eye" and "Five Tone Blues". Not knowing which is which, I think "Five Tone Blues" (or perhaps "Eagles Eye" - I really need the original LP, which is probably very unlikely given its rarity) is the side-length experiment that starts off as a pleasant late '60s psych piece before moving on to a bizarre percussion experiment. After that, it's more back to actual music like "Green Tea" and "Mandalay", the latter with some rather obvious Eastern-influenced lyrics. Judging by the length of the album, it was likely released as a double album set. Totally obscure album to say the least (despite future members of Free, Van der Graaf, and Far East Family Band playing) and if you like late '60s psych, early proto-prog, and the occasional Japanese influence, you're certain to enjoy Green Tea

John Norum - Total Control

John Norum's first solo venture divorced from his Europe band mates proves to be a huge success and perhaps the best album he ever wrote. Europe were hot, coming off of their iconic Final Countdown world tour when John expressed an interest in writing the bands songs along side their lead singer. When management asked him not to get involved in the song writing, and when the band choose to move into a more keyboard oriented style, Norum made the biggest decision of his life and left the band. His decision, although upsetting, was justified by this fantastic melodic hair metal rock out. As was the norm in his albums, John had many guest singers and musicians and it’s Norum’s powerful anthem Back On The Streets sung by Goran Edman which is the best track of the record. The last track is noticeably the weakest of the set, but it’s just a bonus track so no harm done. A superb set of melodic rock tracks which Norum delivers with great heart and skill.