This Anglo-American supergroup could be seen as a canny way of raising the international profile of two of Britain’s most inventive jazz musicians.
These gentlemen first assembled in 2009, with pianist Gwilym Simcock and guitarist Mike Walker backed by flashy US drummer Adam Nussbaum and veteran bass legend Steve Swallow. The latter has now been replaced by another American, Steve Rodby, and the lineup has been expanded to feature Iain Dixon, who multitasks on reeds and synth. But the focus remains on the guitar/piano pairing of Simcock and Walker.
The two write most of the material, which often suffers from the curse of so much contemporary jazz in that it is overwritten, packed with tricksy chord changes and byzantine, unnavigable melodies. Where this is sometimes a problem on record, it becomes less of an issue tonight, as so many songs become vehicles for melodic and textural improvisation. (by www.theguardian.com)
And here´s a superb and excellent FM broadcast recording … The Impossible Gentlemen on tour through Germany to promote their third album called “Let’s Get Deluxe” from 2016.
A guitar and piano frontline is not the easiest line-up to manage. Those of us who saw the Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau band in Symphony Hall a few years ago will know that even for two musicians of such standing, it is by no means plain sailing. There are icebergs lurking dangerously out there. Pat and Brad could learn a lot from Gwil and Mike. They never got in each other’s way, neither did they inhibit each others’ natural style.
And, in a world where some jazz musicians can still be a little too cool, what a joy to be witness to the clear warmth and mutual respect of all the musicians on the stage. (by thejazzbreakfast.com)
That´s what I call a supergroup !
In other words: Let´s hear Jazz deluxe !
Iain Dixon (saxophone, keyboards)
Adam Nussbaum (drums)
Steve Rodby (bass)
Gwylim Simcock (keyboards)
Mike Walker (guitar)
01. Let´s Get Deluxe (Simcock/Walker) 5.52
02. You Won´t Be Around To See It (Simcock) 9.28
03. Announcement by Gwylim Simcock 0.26
04. It Could Have Been A Simple Goodbye (Simcock/Walker) 10.37
05. Clockmaker (Walker) 9.50
06. Dogtime (Simcock/Walker) 10.07
Flying Teapot is the third studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, originally released by Virgin Records in May 1973. It was the second entry in the Virgin catalogue (V2002) and was released on the same day as the first, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (V2001). It was re-issued later in the year, with different cover art, by BYG Actuel in France and Japan. Recorded at Virgin’s Manor Studios, in Oxfordshire, England, it was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and engineered by “Simon Sandwitch 2 aided by Tom Zen” (Simon Heyworth and Tom Newman).
Subtitled Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 1, it is the first of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums, followed by Angel’s Egg in December and You the following October. This trilogy forms a central part of the Gong mythology. The Flying Teapot idea itself was influenced by Russell’s teapot. It was the first Gong album to feature English guitarist Steve Hillage, although he contributed relatively little as he arrived late in the recording process. According to Daevid Allen, “Steve Hillage arrived eventually, but there wasn’t a lot of space left. He played some rhythmick wa wa [sic], some jazzy chords and a spacey solo on ‘Flying Teapot’.” (by wikipedia)
Produced by Giorgio Gomelsky, notable for his work with the Yardbirds, Brian Auger, and Magma, this relatively early Gong project is a great representation of the Daevid Allen-era Gong. Though not as intricate as its follow-up companion piece, Angel’s Egg, The Flying Teapot is more of a true prog/space rock outing, where hippie-trippy lyrics and space whispering abound, as evidenced in the opening track, “Radio Gnome Invisible.” The following cut, “Flying Teapot,” is the sprawling highlight of the album. At times reminiscent of some early Weather Report jams, though not as jazzy, the tune features prominent bass, standout percussion/drums, and space whispering courtesy of Smyth. Improvisational groaning and percussion bring this jam to a close. “Pothead Pixies” is a fun pop (pot?) tune which probably received very little, if any, airplay due to the lyrics, followed by Blake’s brief synth interlude, “The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine.” “Zero the Hero and the Witch’s Spell,” another lengthy composition, features Malherbe’s sax playing, which, at this early point in the Gong evolution, is credited for most of the jazz sounds heard in the music (remember, Pierre Moerlen has yet to join the band). This cut becomes quite heavy near its end before making a clever transition into the final cut, “Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy.” Here you hear Smyth’s strange, sexually explicit lyrics, which she embellishes with ethereal voicings and cackling. This, combined with a jazzy sax from Malherbe and some very groovy musical lines near the closing, make for another fun tune. by David Ross Smith)
Laurie Allan (drums)
Daevid Allen (vocals, guitar)
Tim Blake (synthesizer, vocals)
Steve Hillage (guitar)
Rachid Houari (percussion)
Didier Malherbe (saxophone, flute)
Francis Moze (bass, piano)
Christian Tritsch (guitar)
Gilli Smyth (space whisper)
01. Radio Gnome Invisible (Allen) – 5:32
02. Flying Teapot (Allen/Moze) – 12:30
03. The Pot Head Pixies (Allen) – 3:00
04. The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine” (Blake) – 2:00
05. Zero The Hero And The Witch’s Spell (Allen/Blake/Tritsch) – 9:45
06. Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy (Smyth/Allen) – 5:10
A surprising recording emerged late last week of the Keith Jarrett Trio playing Bob Dylan tunes. Apparently, back in 1968, Jarrett together with Paul Motian and Charlie Haden did a trio recording for Vortex [Vortex LP 2012] called Somewhere Before and recorded two Dylan numbers – My Back Pages and Lay Lady Lay. This long out-of-print record was issued on CD in 1990 and Amazon still lists it for sale but we haven’t tried yet.
Anyway, this live recording [the original LP was also a live recording but different time and place] is by a different trio that includes Gus Nemeth [bs] and Bob Ventrello [drms]. It took place a year later in Denmark and comes from a very good FM source. This is the fixed version with the correct speed.
What was Jarrett thinking playing Bob Dylan in Europe? Clearly the free jazz movement had failed to gather mass appeal, not that that was its intent. Even Miles Davis by ’69 was conceding that jazz was no longer “king” and concessions had to be made to rock music.
But the less than energised reading of the two Dylan tunes suggests that Jarrett was uncomfortable covering rock. It was to be a difficult time for jazz musicians. In hindsight, their golden age had passed and the ’70s offered a marriage of convenience called jazz fusion. Even worse, along came jazz lite and Kenny G.
Since that time even more concessions have been made. Classical music and jazz. A whole new constellation of jazz singers with an eye on pop singles. Jazz as conservative music. Whatever happened to the shock and awe of free jazz?
This was originally shared by ricola. In turn it was speed corrected by Perv/twat Production. Thanks to all who shared this rarity. Never officially released before. (Professor Red/Big O)
Keith Jarrett (piano, saxophone)
Gus Nemeth (bass)
Bob Ventrello (drums)
01. Pretty Ballad (Jarrett) 5.57
02. Lay Lady Lay (Dylan) 4.42
03. Unknown Title 12.05
04. My Back Pages (Dylan) 7.01
Cry Freedom is a 1987 British epic drama film directed by Richard Attenborough, set in late-1970s apartheid era South Africa. The screenplay was written by John Briley based on a pair of books by journalist Donald Woods. The film centres on the real-life events involving black activist Steve Biko and his friend Donald Woods, who initially finds him destructive, and attempts to understand his way of life. Denzel Washington stars as Biko, while actor Kevin Kline portrays Woods. Cry Freedom delves into the ideas of discrimination, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence.
The film was primarily shot on location in Zimbabwe and in Kenya due to political turmoil in South Africa at the time of production. As a film showing mostly in limited cinematic release, it was nominated for multiple awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. It also won a number of awards including those from the Berlin International Film Festival and the British Academy Film Awards.
A joint collective effort to commit to the film’s production was made by Universal Pictures and Marble Arch Productions. It was commercially distributed by Universal Pictures cinematically, and by MCA Home Video for home media. Cry Freedom premiered in cinemas nationwide in the United States on 6 November 1987 grossing $5,899,797 in domestic ticket receipts. The film was at its widest release showing in 479 cinemas nationwide. It was generally met with positive critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas. (by wikipedia)
And here´s the soundtrack:
The original motion picture soundtrack for Cry Freedom was released by MCA Records on 25 October 1990. It features songs composed by veteran musicians George Fenton, Jonas Gwangwa and Thuli Dumakude. At Biko’s funeral they sing the hymn Nkosi Sikelel’ i Afrika. Jonathan Bates edited the film’s music
This is a beautiful album. The blend of African and Orchestral music is gorgeous. Transcends the movie, in my opinion! A rare find too! (by Matt)
Oh yes … what a great soundtrack … you can hear the tragic of the black people … not only in South Africa …
Mervin Africa (piano)
Ken Freeman (synthesizer)
David De Fries (trumpet)
Churchill Jolobe (drums)
Fats Mogoboya (percussion)
Ernest Mothle (bass)
Bheki Mseleku (saxophone)
Thebe Lipere (percusssion)
Dudu Pukwana (saxophone)
Teddy Osei (saxophone)
Lucky Ranku (guitar)
Orchestra conducted by Peter Whitehouse
Nicola Emmanuel (vocals on 01.)
George Fenton (vocals on 18.)
Thuli Dumakude (vocals on 09.)
Jonas Gwangwa (vocals on 11. + 18.)
01. Crossroads-A Dawn Raid 2.16
02. Gumboots 1.49
03. Black Township 2.28
04 .Shebeen Queen 2.58
05. Asking For Trouble 2.23
06. Dangerous Country 1.38
07. Detention 2.00
08. The Mortuary 2.25
09. The Funeral 4.42
10. At The Beach 3.25
11. The Getaway 3.23
12. The Frontier 2.58
13. Last Thoughts 1.34
14. Deadline 2.17
15. The Phone Call 2.01
16. Telle Bridge 2.46
17. Soweto-& Vocal Reprise 1.09
18. Cry Freedom 4.42
All songs written by George Fenton – Jonas Gwangwa – Thuli Dumakude
“The themes of the album “World On Fire” came out of Louisiana Red’s own life. The title song is almost gospel-like although rocking along aggressively, and give warning against the nuclear fire, sung by Red with wild emotion. “When I Was A Boy” is a country honk song about the times on the cotton fields.
“Mississippi Girl” and “Voodoo Woman” are love songs, but with the typical Red excitement. “For My Friend” is dedicated to Bo Diddley, played in the hand jive style, while “Soul Food” shows Red’s old love for soul music. And besides all the “babies of the Blues” (Red) as Rhythm & Blues, Rock and Soul the authentic stuff itself – listen to “Suffering”. The last song of the album is an adaption of an old gospel, “On My Way To The Kingdom Land”. Most of the songs were recorded some kind of live, Red often refused to play a title twice or do overdubs. The spontaneous expression was more important to him. A difficult way to work, but the “City Blues Connection” was the right partner. After the sessions in Volkspark Studio, Hamburg, Red commented: “They are better than any band I had before, even in Chicago”.
“The themes of the album “World On Fire” came out of Louisiana Red’s own life. The title song is almost gospel-like although rocking along aggressively, and give warning against the nuclear fire, sung by Red with wild emotion. “When I Was A Boy” is a country honk song about the times on the cotton fields. (by itrockandroll.com)
In other words:This is a killer album … If you like blues, blues-rock … than you have to listen ! Unbelieveable !
Rev. Josh Blackwell (keyboards)
Norbert Egger (guitar)
Heiko Petcke (harmonica)
Louisiana Red (vocals, guitar)
Mick Schreiber (drums, percussion)
Uwe Seemann (bass)
Ben Ahrens (drums on 10.)
Ulrich Maske (guitar on 01. 09 – 10.)
Audrey Motaung (background vocals)
The Nite Riders (horns)
01. World On Fire 3.23
02. Mississippi Girl 2.56
03. Mini Skirt 1.58
04. When I Was A Boy 2.21
05. Voodoo Woman 3.54
06. Suffering 5.16
07. Pittsburgh 2.45
08. Special Medicine 3.57
09. For My Friend 4.43
10. Soul Food 4.27
11. On My Way To The Kingdom Land 4.24
All songs were written by Louisiana Red, except 11. (Traditional)
Sky were an English/Australian instrumental rock group that specialised in combining a variety of musical styles, most prominently rock, classical and jazz. The group’s original and best-known lineup featured classical guitarist John Williams, bass player Herbie Flowers, electric guitarist Kevin Peek, drummer Tristan Fry and keyboard player Francis Monkman.
In 1971, John Williams (already one of the most acclaimed classical guitarists in the world) released the fusion album Changes – his first recording of non-classical music, and the first on which he played electric guitar. Among the musicians working on the album were Tristan Fry (an established session drummer who was also the timpanist for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and had played Timpani on The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’) and Herbie Flowers (a former member of Blue Mink and T. Rex, as well as a busy session musician who, amongst other things had recorded the bassline for Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’).
The three musicians became friends, kept in touch and continued working together on various projects during the 1970s. One of these was Williams’ 1978 album Travelling, another substantially commercially successful cross-genre recording. As well as Fry and Flowers, the record featured former Curved Air member Francis Monkman (who in addition to his progressive and psychedelic rock background as guitar and synthesizer player, was a trained and accomplished classical harpsichordist).
In 1979, Monkman performed on Louis Clark’s album (per-spek-tiv) n., on which he collaborated with an Australian session guitarist called Kevin Peek. Peek was a musician equally adept at classical guitar and pop/rock styles, having built up a reputation both as a chamber musician and as a long-standing member of Cliff Richard’s band, as well as for working Manfred Mann, Lulu, Tom Jones, Jeff Wayne, Shirley Bassey and Gary Glitter.
The success of Travelling inspired Williams and Flowers to set up Sky, their own long-term cross-genre band. Fry and Monkman were swiftly recruited, with Kevin Peek being the final addition. The band began writing and recording instrumental music drawing on their collective experience of classical, light pop, progressive and psychedelic rock, light entertainment and jazz. After a protracted search for a record company, Sky signed with the small European label Ariola Records.
Although Sky was run democratically (with all members contributed music and/or arrangements), the presence of John Williams in the lineup was regarded as the band’s biggest selling point and was emphasised in publicity. Williams’ concurrent solo instrumental hit – “Cavatina – Theme from The Deer Hunter” – also helped to raise the band’s profile. However, this selling was counterbalanced by some negative reviews from critics accustomed to Williams’ classical performances, who remained unimpressed by his new direction with Sky.
Sky’s self-titled debut album (released in 1979) was highly successful in Britain and Australia, quickly reaching gold record status and eventually topping out as a platinum record. The album featured versions of Eric Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1” and an Antonio Ruiz-Pipò ‘Danza’ , as well as original compositions by Monkman and Flowers. Monkman’s ‘Cannonball’ was a minor hit single, and the keyboard player also contributed the twenty-minute second-side composition “Where Opposites Meet” (intended to combine and display the band’s diverse influences) (by wikipedia)
This is the debut album from the session musician supergroup Sky. The idea behind this band was to assemble virtuoso instrumentalists and adept composers who possess an appreciation for classical music, allowing it to infiltrate their own playing and writing. The concept was admirable, and was manifested more fully in future albums; however, on this recording the songs never seem to unfold completely.
With the exception of Kevin Peek’s fiery adaptation of Antonio Ruiz-Pipó’s Spanish guitar piece “La Danza,” this album plods along with no apparent destination. Melodies seem undeveloped but trudge forth nevertheless, presumably for the sake of completing the album. Given the presence of world-class guitarist John Williams, his contribution is hardly detectable, and Francis Monkman’s omnipresent harpsichord becomes tiresome midway through the album. And the monotonous rhythm of bassist Herbie Flowers and drummer Tristan Fry does nothing to alter the tediousness of these pieces. It would be a stretch to call this progressive or classical rock; it is merely instrumental pop/rock. (by Dave Sleger)
I can´t agree with this review … maybe this album is not a masterpiece, but´s it´s the beginning of one of the finest classic-rock formations from this time … with a lot of very interesting sounds … especially in “Where Opposites Meet” … or: listen to the guitars on “Danza” … what a sound … !
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Tristan Fry (drums, percussion)
Francis Monkman (piano, synthesizer, harpsichord)
Kevin Peek (guitar)
John Williams (guitar)
01. Westway (Flowers) 3.39
02. Carillon Flowers) 3.29
03. Danza (Ruiz-Pipò) 2.58
04. Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie) 3,41
05. Cannonball (Monkman) 3.42
06. Where Opposites Meet (Monkman) 19.22.
06.1. Part 1 (3.38)
06.2. Part 2 (2.24)
06.3. Part 3 (5.28)
06.4. Part 4 (5.39)
06.4. Part 5 (2.21)
Maria Ilva Biolcati (born 17 July 1939), known as Milva [ˈmilva], is an Italian singer, stage and film actress, and television personality. She is also known as La Rossa (Italian for “The Redhead”), due to the characteristic colour of her hair, and additionally as La Pantera di Goro (“The Panther of Goro”), which stems from the Italian press having nicknamed the three most popular Italian female singers of the 1960s, combining the names of animals and the singers’ birth places. Popular in Italy and abroad, she has performed on musical and theatrical stages the world over, and has received popular acclaim in her native Italy, and particularly in Germany where she has often participated in musical events and televised musical programmes. She has also released numerous albums in France, Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain and South America.
She has collaborated with European composers and musicians such as Ennio Morricone in 1965, Francis Lai in 1973, Mikis Theodorakis in 1978 (Was ich denke became a best selling album in Germany), Enzo Jannacci in 1980, Vangelis in 1981 and 1986, Franco Battiato in 1982 and 1986.
Her stage productions of Bertolt Brecht’s recitals and Luciano Berio’s operas have toured the world’s theatres. She has performed at La Scala in Milan, at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, at the Paris Opera, in the Royal Albert Hall in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, amongst others.
Having received success both in Italy and internationally, she remains to this day one of the most popular Italian personalities in the fields of music and theatre. Her artistic stature has been officially recognised by the Italian, German and French republics, each of which have bestowed her with the highest honours. She is the only Italian artist in contemporary times, in fact, who is simultaneously: Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic (Paris, 11 September 2009), Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Rome, 2 June 2007), Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Berlin, 2006) and Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Paris, 1995).
In 1968, Milva released her fifth studio album, Tango, an album that consisted of tango standards sung in Italian. The album was released in Italy, Germany, Spain and Brazil and featured an orchestra conducted by Iller Pattacini. (by wikipedia)
And here´s this beautiful album … if you like Tango music combined with a real strong and erotic voice … than you should listen ….
Milva was one of the greatest singers from Italy ! Believe me !
01. La Cumparsita (Questo Tango) (Rondinella/Rodriguez) 3.20
02. A Media Luz (Guardando Intorno A Te) (Lonzi/Donato) 2.36
03. Bandoneon Arrabalero (Il Cantastorie Col Bandoneon) (Bachica/Contursi/Bertini) 2.43
04. Inspiracion (La Mia Vita Cambiera) (Paulus/Rondinella) 3.30
05. Cielo Azzurro (Stanotte Sognero) (Rixner) 3.57
06 Adios Muchachos (Vodani/Sanders) 3.02
07. Duelo Criollo (La Donna Del Buono A Nulla) (Rezzano/Bayardo) 3.01
08. Rodriguez Pena (Rodriguez Morirai) (Rondinella/Juan/Vicente) 2.47
09. El Choclo (All’osteria) (Villoldo) 3.01
10. Blue Tango (Il Diario Sa) (Rondinella/Anderson/Parish) 2.50
11. Poema (So Cho Nol Cielo) (Bianco/Melfi) 3.16
12. Adios, Pampa Mia (Canaro/Pelay/Larici/Mores) 4.17
Piano Vibrations, though promoted in its re-release as the first studio album by English progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman, is not considered a Wakeman album, even by himself. His contributions were limited to performing as a session musician and he did not compose any of the tracks. The album was released in 1971 on Polydor, after Wakeman had signed on to A&M Records. The album developed from Wakeman’s time as a session musician. A&M Records had signed Wakeman on as the Strawbs’ keyboardist at the time of the release.
Piano Vibrations, when it has been reviewed, has been described as “slightly cheesy”, especially in light of Wakeman’s later involvement in progressive rock, but still listenable. (by wikipedia)
This is called Piano Vibrations because it’s part of a series – the ‘Vibrations’ series, put out by a British collective called John Schroeder Productions. Schroeder is only the man who fronts up the money though.
Rick Wakeman about this album:
“This was never meant to be a solo album and to be honest I certainly don’t count it as a solo album in any respect. True it is a piece of history, but not one I’m proud of.
I was actually booked to play piano on a session at Pye Studios in London’s Marble Arch and it was to play on some backtracks for an unknown singer who was due in later that week to put his vocals on.
Shortly afterwards I started having some success with Strawbs and the next thing we knew was that the album was being put out by PYE Records as Piano Vibrations with no vocalist and with a picture of me on the back.
I was unhappy and A&M Records, who had Strawbs and myself signed, were furious.
I received £9 for my trouble.”
Nothing more to be said.
OUCH… unbeliveable… a chance he played for YES, probably like that he learned to write songs lol… On several songs, he seems to search the notes… The last one, Classical Gas, is probably the best, and note that Steve Howe played that song in the beginning of the 90’s. It’s aviable on “Not necessarily accoustic”… and a classical guitar is well heardable on the Wakeman’s version. Was Steve Howe there? For collectors only … (by spide)
If you like to hear easy listening versions of songs from Elton John, Leon Russell or James Taylor …
Alternate front+ back cover:
Rick Wakeman (piano)
a bunch of unknown studio musicians
01. Take Me To The Pilot (John/Taupin) 2.56
02. Yellow Man (Newman) 2.27
03 Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Guaraldi/Werber) 2.34
04. Gloria, Gloria (Schroeder/King) 3.04
05. Your Song (John/Taupin) 3.47
06. Delta Lady (Russell) 3.24
07. A Picture Of You (Schroeder/King) 3.56
08. Home Sweet Oklahoma (Russell) 3.21
09. Fire And Rain (Taylor) 3.26
10. Classical Gas (Williams) 2.57
It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.
Noted for being a mercurial and temperamental live performer, during this short period of time in 1973, Morrison went on one of his most diligent tours in years. With his eleven-piece band, The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, which included a horn and string section, he has often been said to have been at his live performing peak.
Morrison said about touring during this period:
I am getting more into performing. It’s incredible. When I played Carnegie Hall in the fall something just happened. All of a sudden I felt like ‘you’re back into performing’ and it just happened like that…A lot of times in the past I’ve done gigs and it was rough to get through them. But now the combination seems to be right and it’s been clicking a lot.
It’s like watching a tiger. The tiger isn’t thinking about where he’s going to put his paws or how he’s going to kill… and [it’s the] same thing with Van. He’s just so there that you’re completely drawn to it.“”-Jim Rothernel
Evidence of his newly invigorated joy in performing was on display during the ending of the over-ten-minute-long dynamic performance of “Cyprus Avenue”. When an audience member shouts out, “Turn it on!”, Morrison good-naturedly replies, “It’s turned on already.” At the very end he finished the concert with a final heartfelt, “It’s too late to stop now!” giving the album its title (this line first appeared on the song “Into the Mystic”).
The concert performances were described by Erik Hage as “sequences of a young soul lion whipping the crowd into a frenzy and then stopping on a dime—teasing out anticipation, rushing, receding, and coaxing every drop out of his band.”
Guitarist John Platania says “He had a funeral for a lot of his old songs on stage. With Caledonia, he really got off on performing. There was definitely joy getting onstage at that point. That was a wonderful time for everybody. It was really like a family. Ordinarily, with rock ‘n’ rollers, jazzers and classical musicians in the band, you’d think it was a three-headed serpent but everybody got along famously.”
The performances on the live album were from tapes made at the beginning of the tour in Los Angeles and also in Santa Monica and London. Marco Bario, who attended the opening night concert at The Troubadour, said in Playgirl: “he was exceptional. The mood was right, the audience was receptive, and the music left no comparisons to be made. It was the finest opening night performance by a consummate musician that I have ever witnessed.”A large cream-coloured and tiled building stands at the intersection of two roads. Dark grey clouds dominate an overcast sky. Two flags are flying from the fascia of the building, which is covered mostly by a large advertising hoarding.The Rainbow Theatre in London
The London concerts were the first time he had appeared in that city since performing with Them, six years earlier. The two concerts at the Rainbow Theatre in London were referred to as “the rock event of the year” by critics according to Ritchie Yorke in his biography. The 24 July 1973 London Rainbow concert was the first BBC simulcast broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2 television and Radio 2 stereo so that viewers with strategically sited loudspeakers could enjoy “stereo TV”. The broadcast took place on 27 May 1974.
A mixture of songs that inspired his own musical development, together with some of his own compositions, allied to a backing band and orchestra (The Caledonia Soul Orchestra) and several performances (as noted in the album’s liner notes) that were recorded in concerts at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California (24–27 May 1973), the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (29 June 1973) and The Rainbow (23–24 July 1973) in London.
These performance result in what Myles Palmer of the Times reviewed as demolishing “all barriers between the soul, blues, jazz and rock genres”. The songs chosen went back to his days with Them with versions of “Gloria” and “Here Comes the Night”. His first solo hit “Brown Eyed Girl” was performed but not included on the album until the reissue in 2008. M. Mark called the album “an intelligent selection of songs that draws on six of Morrison’s records and five of the musicians he learned from.” These musicians were Bobby Bland, (“Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”), Ray Charles, (“I Believe to My Soul”), Sam Cooke (“Bring It On Home to Me”), two songs by Sonny Boy Williamson II (“Help Me” and “Take Your Hands Out of My Pocket”) and a cover of a Willie Dixon song, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” that was popularized by Muddy Waters.
Unlike most live rock albums, there was no studio overdubbing allowed by Morrison, which resulted in the exclusion of “Moondance” from the album due to one wrong guitar note. Morrison strictly adhered to his concept of authenticity in presenting the live performance but his musical perfectionism prevented him from including “Moondance”. “It’s common practice to go back and fix things, but not with Van,” bass player David Hayes said, “I think that’s what makes it one of the best ever.” It is thought to be one of the first live albums with no overdubs and the first live album to have string players.
Fellow biographer Johnny Rogan said that “Morrison was in the midst of what was arguably his greatest phase as a performer.”
It’s Too Late to Stop Now has been on lists of greatest live albums of all time. (by wikipedia)
Named for the mighty Belfast singer’s exhortation at the close of his song, Into The Mystic, It’s Too Late…is oft-referred to as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. Included in the first batch of remasters of the ‘Man”s back catalogue, now’s your chance to argue the toss again.
When Morrison hit the road in the Summer of 1973 -ITLTSN collects material from gigs in LA, Santa Monic and London – he’d not only notched up a run of six absolutely flawless collections of what would probably now be referred to as ‘soul jazz’, but he’d also assembled a team of players that were the equal of his own perfectionism. Such was this perfectionism that the original running order was shorn of his most widely-known tune, Moondance, due to one bum guitar note. In other words this is one of the few live albums you’ll ever hear with NO overdubs.
When you hear ITLTSN you realise why this had to be the case: Morrison’s blend of his own classics along with a fair smattering of tracks that influenced him is delivered with such passion, and belief that any studio tinkering would be like throwing a tin of paint over the Mona Lisa. In a live setting all the hyperbole about Morrison’s blend of genres into one Celtic, mystic vision makes perfect sense. This is soul music in a very real sense.
It was also a sign of how Van had matured that he can deliver classics like Ray Charles’ I Believe To My Soul or Sonny Boy Williamson’s Help Me and make them his own. Not only this he improves on his own compositions. Cypress Avenue, complete with the strings of the Caledonian Soul orchestra may even be better than the original on Astral Weeks. Quite a feat. And just listen to how playful Morrison is on the improvised breaks (”You say in France!”): grunting, wailing, going beyond mere words in his striving to convey the heart of this music. This is a master live performer at work. And enjoying it.
With just one bonus track (a version of Brown Eyed Girl) this polished edition gives you the chance to hear one of the best bands and their genius of a singer deliver the goods one more time, 35 years on. It’s never too late… (Chris Jones, BBC, 2008)
Teressa Adams (cello)
Bill Atwood (trumpet, background vocals)
Nancy Ellis (viola)
Tom Halpin (vocals)
David Hayes (bass, background vocals)
Tim Kovatch (violin)
Jef Labes (keyboards)
Van Morrison (vocals)
John Platania (guitar, background vocals)
Nathan Rubin (violin)
Dahaud Shaar (David Shaw) (drums, background vocals)
Jack Schroer (saxophone, tambourine, background vocals)
01. Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do (MaloneScott) 3.48
02. Warm Love (Morrison) 3.05
03. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 4.31
04. These Dreams Of You (Morrison) 3.37
05. I Believe To My Soul (Charles) 4.09
06. I’ve Been Working (Morrison) 3.55
07. Help Me (Williamson/Bass/Dixon) 3.25
08. Wild Children (Morrison) 5.04
09. Domino (Morrison) 4.48
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon) 5.16
11. Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke)4.43
12. Saint Dominic’s Preview (Morrison) 6.18
13. Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket (Williamson) 4.05
14. Listen To The Lion (Morrison) 8.44
15. Here Comes The Night (Berns) 3.14
16. Gloria (Morrison) 4.15
17. Caravan (Morrison) 9.21
18. Cyprus Avenue (Morrison) 10.28
19. Brown Eyed Girl (Morrison) 3.26
Still Crazy is a 1998 British comedy film about a fictional 1970s rock band named “Strange Fruit”, who, after being split up for two decades, are persuaded to get back together to perform at a reunion of the same concert venue where they played their last gig. The film focuses on the personal lives of the band members and those closest to them, and their individual experiences with approaching middle-age and the success that eluded them.
It was nominated for two Golden Globes in 1999.
The band Strange Fruit performs at the 1977 Wisbech Rock Festival. Hughie Case tells how, due to the pursuit of “fame, fortune and fornication” – and the drug overdose of their original singer, Keith Lovell – this is their last performance. After various issues, the band prematurely ends their performance, frustrated over competing egos and various members’ lack of self-control.
Twenty years later, a stranger who turns out to be the son of the founder of The Wisbech Rock Festival recognises keyboardist Tony Costello and convinces him to reunite the band for a special anniversary of the event. Tony quickly tracks down Karen Knowles, the band’s original runaround-girl. Initially reluctant, she is inspired to return to the band after finding memorabilia. She insists on being the band’s manager, and Tony agrees. Gradually, Karen and Tony track down the original members: bassist Les Wickes, who has a family and works as a roofer; drummer David “Beano” Baggot, who is working at a nursery and is on the run from the Inland Revenue; and lead singer Ray Simms, who, after years of drug and alcohol abuse, is now completely sober. Though he claims to be working on a solo album, Simms has not released anything in almost ten years.
The band meets up at the Red Lion pub to discuss the reunion. Everyone expects Brian Lovell, the band’s lead guitarist, to be there. Karen says she was unable to find him but learned he donated away all his royalties to charity; everyone assumes he is dead. Their roadie, Hughie, turns up during their first rehearsal to resume his original role. Ray insists on playing guitar but is convinced to concentrate on singing. They find a replacement for Brian in young Luke Shand, a talented guitarist who remains blissfully unaware of the band’s internal tensions.
Following a warm up tour of Europe, Karen negotiates for the rights to their back catalogue. Their initial performances are poorly received. Les, Beano, and Hughie hold little hope for the band, believing Keith and Brian the main talent. Tony makes advances on Karen, but she resists due to her attachment to Brian. At one of their gigs, Ray’s over-the-top ideas backfire, and Les and Ray walk off the stage. Following a confrontation with Les, Ray has a nervous breakdown, exacerbated by turning 50. Ray leaves the gig, buys drugs, and falls into a canal. Karen’s daughter rescues him, and Ray’s wife blames Karen for his troubles. Following an angry reaction from the townspeople over the volume levels, the band escape to their bus and flee the town.
Les and Ray make up, and Ray says he “received a positive message” from Brian’s ghost. The bus breaks down, and Karen confronts the band about their lack of confidence. When the band meet a girl wearing a Strange Fruit tour T-shirt that belonged to her father, they take it as another positive omen. The next few shows go without incident and are well-received; the band becomes slightly more optimistic. Following a record deal, the band records a new song written and sung by Les, which Ray had never previously allowed. However, after watching a previously-taped drunken TV interview in which Les and Beano imply that the band was much better with Keith and Brian, Ray breaks down again and quits.
As the band members return to their former lives, Karen and Claire visit Keith’s grave to pay their respects. They find a note that quotes “The Flame Still Burns”, a tribute to Keith written by Brian. Hughie is then confronted by Karen, and reluctantly admits he knows Brian is alive. Karen and Tony find Brian in a psychiatric hospital. He explains he gave up his material possessions to sever himself from his previous life. When he agrees to rejoin the band, the others follow. However, at a pre-show press conference, hostile questions cause Brian to walk out. Everyone but Luke follows, and Luke chastises the journalists. Visibly shaken, Brian decides to back out of the show but gives his blessing.
Beano nearly misses the set when a stalker-groupie demands sex. The band starts their set with the same song with which they opened up the last Wisbech Festival. Though Ray’s confidence is shaken, Tony saves him by playing “The Flame Still Burns”. Brian is pleased to hear the band playing the song, which helps him finally overcome his demons and joins the band onstage to play an inspiring guitar solo, much to the surprise and delight of everyone. (by wikipedia)
Twenty years after Strange Fruit’s highly publicized breakup in 1978 at the Wisbech open-air festival, the band-keyboardist Tony, who was working as a condom salesman in Ibiza; bassist Les, now a roofer in the frozen North of England; drummer Beano, leading a reclusive existence in his mother’s garden; ultra-vain lead singer Ray, living beyond his means with his second Swedish wife; and Brian, the fragile lead guitarist who is currently MIA-is persuaded to get back together for a reunion concert, Wisbech 1998. STILL CRAZY charts their increasingly desperate efforts to recapture the magic, the music, the lost opportunities and the missed performances of their prime. (by rottentomatoes.com)
And here´s the sound of this great movie … :
The film Still Crazy is the story of the fictional ’70s British rock band Strange Fruit. After showing their breakup in the late ’70s, the movie follows the groups attempt to reunite in the late ’90s. An obvious spoof of many bands from that era currently on the oldies circuit, it gave some good insight into how difficult it is for these bands to recapture their former glory. While the film was only a modest success, this 14-track album manages to recreate the style and at the same time pay tribute to stadium rock bands like Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, Grand Funk Railroad, and even Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The opening song “Flame Still Burns” was delivered at a pivotal moment in the film when the group stood stone faced in front of a festival crowd of 50 thousand. It is a sprawling eight-minute “Free Bird”-esque rock anthem with a dazzling final guitar solo. The track, which is the films strongest, captures the essence of this genre and the rest of the album struggles to keep up. There are a few decent tracks including the gritty “Dirty Town” and the operatic “Scream Freedom,” both of which hold up rather well when disassociated from the film. Even with a few weak songs this album serves as a decent tribute to the misunderstood beauty of ’70s stadium rock. (by Curtis Zimmermann)
Great soundtrack, brilliant movie. Bill Nighy was superb in his role as the ageing vocalist and carries off the Strange Fruit material with surprising ease, especially on the excellent ‘All Over The World’ & ‘Scream Freedom’. I would definately check out the movie first – you will enjoy this excellent soundtrack all the more. (by jez)
Chris Difford of Squeeze fame won an Ivor Novello award for his lyrics. Here´s one of the finest songs from this album:
I had friends against the war
By things they did so well yesterday
They lived their lives without fortune or thrill
With nothing very much to say
Always standing in the same old lines
Moving sideways to the march of time
What might have been
What might have been
A portrait of my life
No fool would say
You live today
Without a will to survive
Cornered now, what can I do
I’m trapped by what might have been
The great big ‘if’ that hangs around my neck
Has played its part in all my dreams
Always making the bad seem worse
Living my life reversed
Another great song is “All Over The World”:
“All over the world tonight
Feet are hittin’ the ground
The day is following night
The strong are leadin’
All over the world tonight
Clocks are spinning around
We’re putting teh world to right
The weak are dreamin’
Crossing borders of innocence
Breaking down the walls of time
All over the world
It’s a happening
It’s happening tonight
All over the world
All over the world
We’ll slay the dragon
It has to happen
Love is makin’
The future’s breakin’
All over the world
All over the world tonight
Love is always the verb
When the moments have gone
From our creation
All over the world tonight
The young fires have burnt
And now the heat is on
With this frustration
All over the world
All over the world
We’ll slay the dragon
It has to happen
Love is makin’
The future’s breakin’
All over the world
All over the world tonight
You’re gonna lose control
You leave by satellite
For deep devotion
Crossing borders of innocence
We’re breaking down the walls of time
All over the world
And then the acoustic version of “Brian’s Theme” and of course “The Flame Still Burns” (written my Mick Jones from Spooky Tooth” and “Foreigner”), a monster of song ! And I guess, this is the theme of my life !
Listen and enjoy !
Steve Donnelly (guitar)
Michael Lee (drums, percussion)
Jimmy Nail (vocals)
Morgan Nichols (organ)
Bill Nighy (vocals)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Paul Carrack (organ on 05.)
Alan Dunn (accordion on 11.)
Brian Gulland (tuba on 06.)
Simon Hale (piano on 13.)
Charlie Jones (bass on 01.)
Clive Langer (guitar on 02.)
Bob Loveday (mandolin, violin on 11.)
Bernie Marsden (guitar on 11.)
Hans Matheson (guitar, vocals on 08.)
Ralph McTell (guitar on 06.)
Steve Nieve (keyboards on 01., 07.)
01. The Flame Still Burns (Jones/Frederiksen/Difford) 7.57
02. All Over The World (Jones/Frederiksen/Difford) 3.40
03. What Might Have Been (Ballard/Difford) 4.19
04. Brian’s Theme (Acoustic) (Langer) 1.32
05. Dirty Town (Lynne/La Frenais) 4.30
06. Stealin’ (Traditional) 2.25
07. Black Moon (Pratt/Vyse/Difford) 2.31
08. Live For Today (C. Langer)
09. Bird On A Wire (Jones/Frederiksen/Difford) 3.48
10. Ibiza Theme (C. Langer)2.03
11. Scream Freedom (Jones/Frederiksen/Difford) 4.17
12. A Woman Like That (Lynne/Vela/La Frenais) 3.16
13. Dangerous Things (Langer/Difford) 4.07
14. Brian’s Theme (Reprise) – Steve Donnelly – (C. Langer)
I live a life that’s surreal
Where all that I feel I am learning
Oh life, has been turned on the lathe
Reshaped with a flame that’s still burning
And in time, it’s all a sweet mystery
When you shake the trees of temptation
Yeah and I, I know the fear and the cost
Of a paradise lost in frustration
And the flame still burns
It’s there in my soul for that unfinished goal
And the flame still burns
From a glimmer back then
It lights up again in my life
In my life, yeah
I, I want my thoughts to be heard
The unspoken words of my wisdom
Today, as the light starts to flow
Tomorrow who knows who will listen
But my life has no language in love
No word from above is appearing
Oh the time, in time there’s a fire that’s stoked
With a reason of hope and believing
And here´s a great version of “The Flame Still Burns” by Mick Jones & Foreigner