Golden Earring – To The Hilt (1975)

FrontCover1On To the Hilt, Golden Earring fully gives themselves over to the prog rock tendencies that they had toyed with throughout the 1970s. The resulting album has a strong prog feel but lacks the characteristic sound and the solid material that defined the group’s best efforts to that point. The band puts in a typically energetic and thunderous performance, but their strong instrumental chops can’t overcome the self-indulgent nature of much of the album’s material: “Why Me?” and “Latin Lightning” are a few of the potentially interesting songs on To the Hilt that are undercut by dull, overlong sections of jamming. Said songs also lack the tight arrangements and the sudden, surprising instrumental twists that made the group’s past epics so interesting. The album’s rigorous pursuit of a full-blooded art rock sound results in this album lacking the distinctive, easily identifiable sound that infused Golden Earring classics like “Radar Love” or “She Flies on Strange Wings.” Despite these problems, some good songs shine through. The album’s best songs tend to be the shortest ones: “Facedancer” is a strong rocker built on an interesting blend of synthesizer and acoustic guitar and the title track pursues a galloping country-rock groove that made it a favorite in concert. However, high points like these are separated by long stretches of complex but faceless jamming that makes To the Hilt a chore to get through. As a result, this album is virtually guaranteed to leave the casual listener cold and can only be recommended to the most hardcore of Golden Earring fans.(by Donald A. Guarisco)

Booklet1

And here´s another opinion:

I guess that it was difficult for Jan Stips (from ”Supersister”) to be considered as a full-time Golden Earring member. Coming from a truly prog environment, to integrate a band as ”Golden Earring” is one thing; but to be on the forefront as he used to be with ”Supersister” is another one.

I can’t really say that his role was prominent on this work, even if here and there some nice keyboarding can be heard. But this work is more on the rock side (”Why Me?”) than acoustic prog one (”Facedancer”).

This album really takes a long time to kick off: the title track is a real pain to be honest. Things are getting better though with the second long track: ”Nomad” is a fine piece of music which combines heavy rock with Easter influences of course. A nice and trippy instrumental middle part (almost Floydian) is one of the moments during which we can appreciate Stips’ influence. This elaborate track is one of the best of this album.

”Sleepwalking” sounds as an attempt to reproduce some forgotten grandeur and can also be considered as another good song from ”To The Hilt” but the level of the great ”Moontan” is clearly miles away. The whole is pleasant (as was ”Switch”) but there are too few great tracks.

This work also sounds a bit too much funky to my ears (”Latin Lightning” but not only). Still, this song is also a moment of keyboards delight and guitar maestria. The closing instrumental part is a bit loose but enjoyable.

The closing number ”Violins” is one (if not the) of the longest Golden Earring song. Funk and repetitiveness are on the rendezvous. The closing string section does have some prog feeling which was quite discreet so far?

In all, this is another good GE album. Nothing outstanding but no blunder either (except the short title track).(by Zowie Ziggy)

And “Violins” is a real fucking good number !

GoldenEarring(withStips)Personnel:
Rinus Gerritsen (bass)
Barry Hay (vocals)
George Kooymans (guitar, vocals)
Robert Jan Stips (keyboards, ARP and moog synthesizers)
Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums, percussion)
+
Chris Mercer (saxophone on 05. + 06.)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Why Me? (Kooymans/Hay/Fenton) – 7.13
02. Facedancer (Kooymans/Hay) – 4:09
03. To The Hilt (Kooymans/Hay) – 3:06
04. Nomad (Kooymans/Hay) – 7:05
05. Sleepwalkin’ (Kooymans/Hay) – 5:00
06. Latin Lightning (Kooymans/Hay) – 7:14
07. Violins (Kooymans/Hay) 10.20

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Les Humphries Singers -The Best Of (1992)

FrontCover1Not particularly popular in the USA, The Les Humphries Singers was a 1970s musical group formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969 by the English born Les Humphries who had been inspired to do his own version of the Edwin Hawkins Singers. The group consisted of a large number of singers of diverse ethnic origin, some of whom such as John Lawton also performed with other groups. Another member was Jürgen Drews, who later started a long-running solo career, starting with his 1976 hit in Germany, “Ein Bett im Kornfeld”, a cover version of “Let Your Love Flow” by the Bellamy Brothers. Linda Thompson (born 21 September 1948 as Linda Übelherr), who had previously been a member of the Cornely Singers and Love Generation, was a member from 1973 to 1974, and later joined Silver Convention, and had a solo career as Linda G The Les Humphries Singers performed a mix of popular music and gospel covers and had some success in Europe with this approach.

LesHumphriesSingers01Much like contemporary disco act Boney M., their music focused on Rhythm and blues, gospel, and disco, but often with psychedelic phasing or flanger effects on solos and bridges, and, much like James Last, much larger background choruses in the studio to emulate a live atmosphere. The Les Humphries Singers at the time brought something from the flair of the hippie movement into contemporary German-produced (but English-sung) pop music, especially due to their mixed ethnic background and peculiar fashion sense. (by wikipedia)

LesHumphriesSingers02Personnel:
Les Humphries Singers

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Mama Loo (Humphries) 4.09
02. We Are Goin’ Down Jordan (Humphries) 3.00
03. Old Man Moses (Humphries) 3.18
04. Take Care Of Me (Humphries/Reinecke/Allcott) 2.45
05. Mexico (Humphries) 3.45
06. Jennifer Adam (Humphries) 3.20
07. We’ll Fly You To The Promised Land (Humphries/Bilsbury) 2.55
08. Carnival (Humphries) 4.15
09. Kansas City (Humphries) 4.09
10. Old Time Religion (Humphries) 3.19
11. Rock My Soul (Humphries) 2.33
12. Sing Sang Song (Siegel/Hertha) 3.04
13. Do I Kill You (Humphries) 3.32
14. New Orleans (Humphries) 4.05
15. Do You Wanna Rock And Roll (Humphries) 3.55
16. Soolaimon (Diamond) 4.21

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Various Artists – Royal Clown Classic – The Sampler (1989)

FrontCover1The Pilz Media Group (founded by Reiner E. Pilz) was a small German record label for classic music (not to be confused with Pilz Records, the legendary label for German Krautrock music.

They were first marketed in the USA in a gigantic mail order package of 100 CDs at a cost of about $5 per disk, offering the “Vienna Master Series” of major symphonic, chamber, and piano repertoire. Lately they have been turning up on single disks and even in double disk sets at the cost of only $3.99 or even less for 2 CDs, or $1 to $2 per single disk, at dealers like Blockbuster Music.

They released at the end of the Eighties this sampler with music from their Catalog.

Booklet01AAnd so you can hear some of the finest pieces of classical musc. The booklet is their catalog for the years 1989/90 … (black + white pictures only !)

Unfortunately they didn´t give us any informations about the musicians and orchestras we can hear on this beautiful record.

But … even this mistake … it´s a sampler with very fine examples of classic music, including “Vltava (The Moldau) ” (one of my favorite classic composition)

Booklet03ATracklist:

Franz von Suppé:
01. Ouvertüre “Dichter Und Bauer” 9.34

Johann Strauss:
02. Wiener Blut Op. 354 9.26

Frederic Chopin:
03. Walzer Cis-moll Op. 64/2 3.31

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
04. Symphonie Nr. 40 G-moll Kv 550, Molto Allegro 6.35

Antonio Vivaldi:
05. Concerto Grosso A-moll Allegro 3.57

Johann Sebastian Bach:
06. Toccata und Fuge D-moll  8.28

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
07. Swan-Lake Suite 3.10

Bedřich Smetana:
08. Vltava (The Moldau)  12.52

Richard Wagner:
09. Ouvertüre zu Tannhäuser 14.39

CD1*
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BookletBackCoverA

 

Black Oak Arkansas – Street Party (1974)

FrontCover1Street Party, Black Oak Arkansas’ follow-up to their most successful opus, High on the Hog, had a respectable chart performance, but in no way does the 1974 Atco release live up to the standard of the group’s previous recordings. James “Jim Dandy” Mangrum’s rockin’ redneck shtick simply overpowers the music on Street Party, setting the tone for a string of inferior offerings. Eventually, the band’s movement away from their Southern rock roots and into diverse and sometimes comical side-roads would cost them their relevancy and most of their audience. Too much emphasis is placed on style and musical devices, while the amount of straight-ahead Southern rock is unduly restricted. The bluegrass- and gospel-tinged “Brink of Creation” is the only non-rocker that really works on this record. Mangrum’s lazy croaking squelches many other numbers like the spiritual “Sure Been Workin’ Hard” and “I’m a Man.” Despite this LP’s respectable sales, it should only be approached with extreme caution. ( by Vincent Jeffries)

BlackOakArkansasLive1974Personnel:
Tommy Aldridge (drums)
Pat Daugherty (bass)
Stan Knight (guitar)
James Mangrum (vocals)
Ricky Reynolds (guitar)
+
Ruby Starr (vocals on 05.)

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Dancing In The Streets (Hunter/Gaye/Stevenson) 2.40
02. Sting Me (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 2.52
03. Good Good Women (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 3.15
04. Jail Bait (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 2.24
05. Sure Been Workin’ Hard (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 3.20
06. Son Of A Gun (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 4.28
07. Brink Of Creation (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 0.30
08. I’m A Man (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 3.40
09. Goin’ Home (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 3.21
10. Dixie (Traditional) 3.38
11. Everybody Wants To See Heaven “Nobody Wants To Die” (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 3.10
12. Hey Ya’ll (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 4.05
13. Brink Of Creation (Alderige/Daughtery/Knight/Magnum/Reynolds) 0.30

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Leo Sayer – Silverbird (1973)

FrontCover1Leo Sayer’s debut album introduced a singer/songwriter (actually he wrote just the lyrics; David Courtney did the music) of some talent, though not remarkable talent. The production screams 1973, with its mainstream pop and hard rock beds and some overlays of symphonic strings, and Sayer sometimes strongly echoes Elton John’s early-’70s work, with some hints of David Bowie as well. He didn’t have the monster hooks of Elton John and certainly not the quirky originality and edgy experimentalism of Bowie, but actually this is a better album than many would remember. For one thing, Sayer was a good, versatile singer with an impressive range and an ability to summon the lung power and also go wispy and tender (as he does at Bookletvarious points within a single track, as on “Goodnight Old Friend”).
Certainly the album is most remembered for “The Show Must Go On,” which gave Sayer his first British hit, though Three Dog Night had the smash with it when they covered it for the American market; Sayer’s version is less ham-handed and more idiosyncratic, particularly in the extended instrumental circus intro. He usually played the part of the sympathetic, slightly confessional singer/songwriter, with a more straightforward keyboard-dominated rock base than many soft rock confessional singer/songwriters had, sometimes tilting toward one side more than the other. “The Dancer,” for instance, is a wistful piano ballad with impressive near-soprano singing, while the far less impressive “Oh Wot a Life” is an awkward attempt at throat-stretching party rock. [The 2002 CD reissue adds “Living in America,” the A-side of the sole single by his pre-solo career group, Patches, and “Quicksand,” an early solo Sayer non-LP B-side; both of these are harder-charging mainstream rock than his usual stuff.
LeoSayerPersonnel:
Russ Ballard (guitar, keyboard)
Max Chetwyn (guitar)
David Courtney (piano)
Michael Giles (drums)
Robert Henrit (drums)
Leo Sayer (guitar, harmonica, vocals)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Dave Wintour (bass)
BackCoverTracklist:
01. Innocent Bystander 3.02
02. Good Night Old Friend 2.51
03. Drop Back 3.29
04. Silverbird 1.12
05. The Show Must Go On 3.32
06. Dancer 4.30
07. Tomorrow 4.12
08. Don’t Say It’s Over 3.15
09. Slow Motion 1.46
10. Oh Wot A Life 2.53
11. Why Is Everybody Going Home? 4.14
+
12. Living In America 2.47
13. Quicksand 2.46
14. Let It Be (Lennon/McCartney) 3.40

All songs written by Leo Sayer + David Courtney , except where noted

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The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Brandenburg Gate Revisited (1963)

FrontCover1Four of the five selections on Brandenburg Gate: Revisited (1963) are new interpretations of Dave Brubeck (piano) classics scored by the pianist’s older sibling, Howard Brubeck, who is likewise the author of the “G Flat Theme,” which is offered here for the first time. By the time of this 1963 platter, the perpetually touring Dave Brubeck Quartet had played behind a few of the North America’s finest ensembles — commencing with a personal invitation extended by Robert Shaw and the San Diego Symphony in 1956. In fact, these expanded arrangements were actually done live before they were recorded in the studio. A similar fate befell material from Brubeck Plays Bernstein Plays Brubeck (1960), which was the Quartet’s earlier orchestral collaboration. “Brandenburg Gate” has been significantly expanded from the version heard on Jazz Impressions of Eurasia (1958). The selection has developed into a side-long suite that includes substantial emotive counterpoint connecting the moody and contemplative strings and the swinging melodic contributions of Paul Desmond (alto sax), Eugene Wright (bass), and Joe Morello (drums). The subtle tension and liberation that exists between the two arguably disparate aggregates prevent either from overpowering the other.

InTheStudioLikewise, spirited leads and improvisations from Brubeck and Desmond keep the elaborate piece agile and firmly rooted in jazz. “Summer Song” is given a stately update, reflecting the easygoing nature of the Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A. (1956) reading. Desmond once again reels off impressive lines that never detract from the tastefully understated string augmentation. The affective “In Your Own Sweet Way” has evolved from the piano solo that initially graced Brubeck Plays Brubeck (1956). The accompaniment is pronounced as it wafts beneath Brubeck’s spontaneous chord progressions and nimbly executed keyboarding. As previously mentioned, “G Flat Theme” is the only tune debuted on Brandenburg Gate: Revisited. What begins as dark and melancholy dissipates into a mid-tempo groove that drives both Brubeck and Desmond into some very interesting spaces as they quickly adapt their sound to the slightly noir, but highly memorable chorus. “Kathy’s Waltz” benefits from a more thorough examination, as compared to the Time Out (1959) rendering. There is a stately air present on this interpretation that remains conspicuously discreet on the more familiar outing. On the whole, of all the reworkings this one seems to be the most rewarding, especially as Desmond is backed with the lush full-bodied orchestra. (by Lindsay Planer)

DaveBrubeckPersonnel:
Dave Brubeck (piano)
Paul Desmond (saxophone)
Joe Morello (drums)
Eugene Wright (bass)
+
unknown orchestra

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Brandenburg Gate (D.Brubeck) 19.55
02. Summer Song (D.Brubeck) 6.26
03. In Your Own Sweet Way (D.Brubeck) 4.56
04. G. Flat Theme (H.Brubeck) 3.55
05. Kathy’s Waltz (D.Brubeck) 3.02

LabelB1

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Booklet02A

Spider – Rock `N` Roll Gypsies (1982)

FrontCover1Spider were a British NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) band from Liverpool that formed in 1976.

The band, who were often compared to Status Quo, offered an upbeat sound, which was described as Boogie Rock. Spider released three albums in the 10 years they were together, titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies (1982), Rough Justice (1984) and Raise the Banner (For Rock ‘n’ Roll) (1986).

The band split in 1986.

Spider formed in 1976, consisted of four young men from Wallasey, including 2 brothers, none of whom had played in bands before.

After releasing ‘Children Of The Street’ on the Alien Record Label, Spider were playing, on average 20 dates a month, which included a support slot on the Uriah Heep 1980 Winter Tour.

1982 proved to be the bands most lucrative year. It began in late 1981 when the band were contracted to record for the Radio 1’s Friday Rock Show. The producer, Tony Wilson, introduced them to Maggi Farren. Maggi set up a recording deal with Creole Records as well as getting the band a support slot on the 1981 Slade Winter Tour.

Spider released the single Talkin’ ‘bout Rock ‘n’ Roll with Creole, which featured as part of Radio 1’s play list. They then went into the studio to begin recording their first Album ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies’, to be released on the Creole label also. However RCA who had made a late bid for the band, and after negotiations, Spider signed a 6-year recording contract with the record label. 1982 continued with Spider packing out the Marquee Club once a month. They played at The Reading Festival on Sunday 29 August 1982, as well as securing a support slot on the mammoth Gillan Tour. As well as the release of their first album.

Dave Bryce, guitarist, currently plays with London rock band AWOL. (by wikipedia)

SpiderReadingFestival1982Spider live at the Reading Festival 1982 (tahanks to Phil Burton for this picture)

And this was their debut album:

For those who don’t know the band was often dubbed a poor man’s Status Quo and sure enough this early single showcases a down and dirty boogie style. While Status Quo is a matter of interpretation here, and I surely wouldn’t disagree with that assesment, I’d also suggest band’s like Eddie And The Hot Rods as a point of reference. Seeing the band play full-tilt boogie style rock, which is certainly on the fringe of the movement admittedly, and then transforming into something with a bit more…well, backbone is interesting. Not that album’s like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies” completely abandon the boogie. Rather they give it a good kick in the pants. The music on 1982’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies” offers more of a familiar NWOBHM sound with louder guitars and an unashamed “let’s just have fun with this guys” attitude. It certainly would never be confused with Saxon, Tank or Iron Maiden and yet, even as it is stripped down rock and roll at it’s purest, if we are to be honest it deserves every bit the attention these other bands got just because it is so much fun. In the end, despite countless gigs and single after single, the band simply called it quites. None of the members managed to stick around in the field of music really if truth is to be told. Even now some will no doubt cast snide remarks about whether or not Spider were really a NWOBHM band as they were more rock then metal. But, from their early days on the boys just wanted to have fun and play music that was no-frills, rock and roll with the same sort of D.I.Y. attitude that made the genre so sweet to begin with! (by metalmark.blogspot)

Okay .. listen to the sound  to this band: Status Quo went wild, became crazy and play heavy metal music !

SpiderPersonnel:
Dave Bryce (Sniffa) (guitar, vocals)
Brian Burrows (bass, vocals)
Rob E Burrows (drums)
Colin Harkness (vocals, guitar)
+
Gary South (harp on 10.)
Andrew “Spike” Ward (trumpet on 05.)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. A.W.O.L. (B.Burrows/Harkness) 4:02
02. Talkin’ ‘Bout Rock ‘N’ Roll (Robinson) 4.01
03. Part Of The Legend (B.Burrows/Harkness/Hodge/Neville) 2.58
04. Nine To Five (B.Burrows/Harkness) 4.30
05. Them That Start The Fightin’ (Don’t Fight) (B.Burrows/Harkness) 6.27
06. What You’re Doin’ To Me (B.Burrows/Harkness) 4.20
07. Lady (I’m Dyin’ For You) (B.Burrows/Harkness/R.Burrows/Dryce) 4.30
08. ‘Til I’m Certain (B.Burrows/Harkness)  4.10
09. Rock ‘N’ Roll Forever Will Last (B.Burrows/Harkness) 3.40
10. All The Time (B.Burrows/Harkness) 3.32

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