Jack DeJohnette – Sound Travels (2012)

FrontCover1Jack DeJohnette (born August 9, 1942) is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer.

An important figure of the fusion era of jazz, DeJohnette is one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, given his extensive work as leader and sideman for musicians including Charles Lloyd, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, John Abercrombie, Alice Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and John Scofield. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sound Travels is an album by drummer and composer Jack DeJohnette recorded in 2011 and released on the eOne Music/Golden Beams label. The song “Dirty Ground” would later be included on the 2017 album Hudson. (wikipedia)


In his sixth decade as a professional musician, Jack DeJohnette has established himself as a musical chameleon. He’s led bands and recorded and performed with an array of jazz legends as well as funk and pop artists. DeJohnette has even made new age music listenable with Peace Time and Music in the Key of Om (the former won him a Grammy). And he has always cultivated and acted on his deep, abiding interest in indigenous musics from Latin America and Africa. Sound Travels is his first recording of new material since 2009’s Music We Are. True to form, DeJohnette, who plays drums and piano here, ranges widely. The disc begins with the brief “Enter Here,” a grounded yet ambitious offering with the sound of a resonating bell that gives way to DeJohnette’s lilting solo piano. “Salsa for Luisto” features the percussionist Luisto Quintero playing grooved-out, modern Afro-Cuban son. Esperanza Spalding is the upright bassist in the band, and on this track, she sings alongside Ambrose Akinmusire’s trumpet and Lionel Loueke’s guitar. DeJohnette plays piano and drums. This salsa is of the earthier yet breezier Caribbean variety. It’s lovely. Just as quickly, things shift into down-home New Orleans-style funky blues with Tim Ries on soprano and tenor saxophones.


Bruce Hornsby appears on vocals singing about not surrendering in the face of disaster more soulfully than on any of his own records. Loueke’s unique guitar style makes this track sound more like the Band than Allen Toussaint, though Wardell Quezergue’s ghost inhabits the horn chart. “New Music” is modern, modal post-bop with Middle Eastern overtones. It features fine traded solos by Ries on soprano and Akinmusire. Township jazz crossed with Latin groove is the bedrock for “Sonny Light,” with Loueke’s lyric solo being the tune’s centerpiece as DeJohnette finds a perfect space to comp behind him and enhance the guitar’s presence. The two horns and Quintero’s hand drums weave a wonderful, rhythmic lyricism around the pair. The title track is an exercise in rhythm from DeJohnette, Loueke, Quintero, and Spalding (who really drives this track and shines brightly on the album as a whole). “Oneness” is a sparse and moving ballad played by DeJohnette and Quintero, backing vocalist Bobby McFerrin. The song feels deeply indebted to Milton Nascimento’s excellent mid-’70s work.


The set’s longest cut is “Indigo Dreamscapes,” a breezy, midtempo, fingerpopping Latin number. DeJohnette’s piano work alongside Ries’ tenor create an irresistible harmonic progression even when they move the tune toward straight-ahead jazz, then walk it back. The closer, “Home,” is another languid, crystalline solo piano piece that is the bookend to “Enter Here.” It’s quiet, reverent, warm, and inviting, and it pays an indirect homage to Abdullah Ibrahim’s South African style. Sound Travels is a current, understated, well-disciplined glimpse into DeJohnette’s current musical world view, which is worth celebrating for its own sake. (by Thom Jurek)

And “Indigo Dreamscapes” (featuring a great saxophone solo by Tim Ries)  is the absolute highlight of this album !


Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet on 02., 04. + 05.)
Jack DeJohnette (drums, piano, resonating bells)
Lionel Loueke (guitar on 02., 03. + 06.)
Luisito Quintero (percussion, vocals on 02., 03. 05. – 08.)
Tim Ries (saxophone on 03. – 05, + 08.)
Esperanza Spalding (bass, vocals on 02. – 06., + 08.)
Bruce Hornsby (vocals on 02.)
Bobby McFerrin (vocals, percussion on 07.)
Jason Moran (piano on 08.)

01. Enter Here 2,22
02.Salsa For Luisoto 6.53
03. Dirty Ground 4.48
04. New Muse 6.04
05. Sonny Light 5.40
06. Sound Travels 1.41
07. Oneness 5.58
08. Indigo Dreamscapes 8.04
09. Home 4.29

Music composed by Jack DeJohnette
except 02.: by Jack DeJohnette & Bruce Hornsby



More from Jack DeJohnette:

Spirit – Texas International Pop Festival 1969, Vol.7 (1991)

OriginalFC1The Texas International Pop Festival was a music festival held at Lewisville, Texas, on Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 1, 1969. It occurred two weeks after Woodstock. The site for the event was the newly-opened Dallas International Motor Speedway, located on the east side of Interstate Highway 35E, across from the Round Grove Road intersection. The festival was the brainchild of Angus G. Wynne III, son of Angus G. Wynne, the founder of the Six Flags Over Texas Amusement Park. Wynne was a concert promoter who had attended the Atlanta International Pop Festival on the July Fourth weekend. He decided to put a festival on near Dallas, and joined with the Atlanta festival’s main organizer, Alex Cooley, forming the company Interpop Superfest.


Artists performing at the festival were: Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Canned Heat, Chicago (then called Chicago Transit Authority), Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Freddie King, Grand Funk Railroad, Herbie Mann, Incredible String Band, James Cotton, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Nazz, Rotary Connection, Sam and Dave, Santana, Shiva’s Headband, Sly and the Family Stone, Space Opera, Spirit, Sweetwater, Ten Years After and Tony Joe White. Attendance at the festival remains unknown, but is estimated between 120,000 and 150,000. As with Woodstock, there were no violent crimes reported. There was one death, due to heatstroke, and one birth. (ucoz.com)


And here´s a group called Spirit, live at this festival:

Spirit was a highly regarded rock band that achieved modest commercial success, charting 11 albums in the U.S. between 1968 and 1977. Founded in Los Angeles in 1967 by musicians who had a mixture of rock, pop, folk, blues, classical, and jazz backgrounds, and who ranged in age from 16 to 44, the group had an eclectic musical style in keeping with the early days of progressive rock; they were as likely to play a folk ballad featuring fingerpicked acoustic guitar, a jazz instrumental full of imaginative improvisation, or a driving rhythm tune dominated by acid rock electric guitar playing.


The diverse tastes of the original quintet produced a hybrid style that delighted a core audience of fans but proved too wide-ranging to attract a mass following, and at the same time the musicians’ acknowledged talents brought them other opportunities that led to the breakup of the original lineup after four years and four albums, then kept them from committing fully to regroupings as their music began to be recognized in later years. While two bandmembers, singer/guitarist Randy California and drummer Ed Cassidy, maintained the Spirit name, the others came and went as their schedules allowed, such that the group never fulfilled its early promise, although, as a vehicle for California’s songwriting and guitar playing, it continued to produce worthwhile music until his death. (by William Ruhlmann)

Spirit, another California rock band, were relative newcomers in 1969. At the time of the festival they had one album out, “The Family That Plays Together,” and a hit single entitled “I Got a Line On You.”

So … enjoy the early Spirt … A year later, their lead singer, Jay Ferguson, would leave to form a new band, Jo Jo Gunne.


Randy California drowned in the Pacific Ocean in 1997 at the age of 45 while rescuing his 12-year-old son Quinn from a rip current near his mother’s home at Molokai, Hawaii. He managed to push Quinn (who survived) toward the shore. (wikipedia)

The Randy Craig Wolfe Trust was established after his death and, using royalties from California’s recording contracts, financially supports the Randy California Project, an after-school music education program for underprivileged elementary school children in Ventura County

Recorded live at the Dallas International Motor Speedway,
Lewisville, Texas, September 1, 1969


Mark Andes (bass)
Randy California (guitar)
Ed Cassidy (drums)
Jay Ferguson (vocals)
John Locke (organ)

Alternate front + backcover:

01. Rehearsal Theme (Ferguson) 3.07
02. I’m Truckin’ / Fresh Garbage / Poor Richard (Ferguson) 6.21
03. Caught / Jams () 10.51
04. Groundhog Day (Ferguson) 4.11
05. Policeman’s Ball (Ferguson) / Drums (Cassidy) / Mechanical World (Andes/Ferguson) 11.33
06. I Got A Line On You (California) 3.26
07. Aren’t You Glad (Ferguson) 3.37


Randy California01

Hevia – Tierra De Nadie (1998)

FrontCover1José Ángel Hevia Velasco, known professionally as Hevia (born October 11, 1967 in Villaviciosa, Asturias), is a Spanish bagpiper – specifically, an Asturian gaita player. He commonly performs with his sister, María José, on drums. In 1992 he was awarded first prize for solo bagpipes at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany.

Possibly his most recognisable composition is the 1998 piece Busindre Reel, from his first album Tierra de Nadie. Hevia is known for helping invent a special brand of MIDI electronic bagpipes, which he is often seen playing live. The instrument was developed with Alberto Arias (pupil and computer programmer) and the electronic technician Miguel Dopico.[3]

Two of Hevia’s tracks, La Línea Trazada and El Garrotin (single release), appeared on the cross-platform video game Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense. His music was also featured in Walt Disney World at Epcot, just before the nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show.

Hevia first came into contact with the bagpipes when he was four years old during a procession in Amandi when he was with his grandfather. It was there that the image of a man and his bagpipes influenced the very young Jose Angel. The unity between the pipe player, his music and the instrument seemed magical to him.


Hevia then began bagpipe classes. Three times a week, after school, he took the bus to Gijón. Armando Fernández taught him in the traditional style and then accompanied him back to the bus. He arrived home at 12 o’clock at night and the following day practiced what he had learned in class so he hardly had time for other leisure activities. (wikipedia)

And here´s his third album, the first which was released worldwide:

I first heard this in my friends car some years back here in Spain and enjoyed it so much I asked him for a copy, but by the time I managed to get a loan of it, it was a bit scratched and juddered, so I ordered my own copy.
The music is in a vein of the pipe music from the movie Titanic or from the Riverdance show, if you like that relaxed haunting type of Celtic pipe music then I don’t think this will dissapoint. (by SpainSpanner)

BagpipeFantastic. I bought this for my husband, who is Scottish. He loves the energy and excitment of this music. We first heard it on holiday in Spain. Great stuff. (by Rosie)

Indeed: an exciting new way to play the bagpipes !


Miguel Alonso (bagpipes on 05.)
Rodney D’ Assis (percussion on 11.1)
Candi Avello (bass on 09.)
Peter Bulla (violin on 02., 03., 05., 06. + 10.)
Mari Luz Cristobal Caunedo (vocals on 01.)
David Peña Dorantes (piano on 11.1.)
Cristóbal García (bagpipes on 05.)
Elias Garcia (bouzouki on 10.)
Wafir S. Gibril (flute on 03.)
Fernando González (guitar on 05. + 07.)
Tao Gutiérrez (percussion on 01. + 07.)
José Ángel Hevia (bagpipes. low whistle, tin whistle tambourine)
María José Hevia (percussion on 03., 06. + 08.)
Daniel Lombas (bodhrán, tambourine on 02. – 04., 06., 08. + 10.)
Juan Carlos Mendoza (bass on 01. – 03., 05. + 07.)
Javier Monforte (guitar on 01. – 06., 08. – 10.)
Toli Morilla (guitar on 02., 03. + 06.)
Ismael Tomás (vocals on 07.)
Colectivu Muyeres (vocals on 06. + 08.)
Villaviciosa Pipe Band (bagpipes, percussion on 01. + 05.)

01.Busindre Reel (Traditional) 4.38
02. Naves (Hevia) 4.38
03. Si La Nieve (Hevia) 4.56
04. Gaviotes (Traditional) 3.41
05. El Garrotin (Hevia) 4.36
06. El Ramu (Hevia) 3.02
07. La Linea Trazada (Hevia) 3:30
08. Llaciana (Hevia) 3.26
09. Sobrepena (Prada) 4.23
10. Barganaz (Hevia) 3.34
11. Añada (Hevia) 9.04
11.1. Añada (Hevia) 4.39
11.2. Corri Corri (Hevia) 4.27





Moustaki & Flairck – Same (1982)

FrontCover1And here´s a great colobaration between two styles of music:

Georges Moustaki (born Giuseppe Mustacchi; 3 May 1934 – 23 May 2013) was an Egyptian-French singer-songwriter of Jewish Italo-Greek origin, best known for the poetic rhythm and simplicity of the romantic songs he composed and often sang. Moustaki gave France some of its best-loved music by writing about 300 songs for some of the most popular singers in that country, such as Édith Piaf, Dalida, Françoise Hardy, Yves Montand, Barbara, Brigitte Fontaine, Herbert Pagani, France Gall, Cindy Daniel, Juliette Gréco, Pia Colombo, and Tino Rossi, as well as for himself.


Flairck is a Dutch musical ensemble formed in 1978 around guitar virtuoso Erik Visser. The group has varying members dependent on the project. Their musical style is a blend of folk music, jazz and classical chamber music, with touches of blues. The music written by the members of the ensemble is often centred on an album theme and is played with a wide variety of acoustic instruments.

The name of the band is an original composition, derived from the French word ‘flair’ and the Dutch word ‘vlerk’, which means ‘a nimble fingered hand’ or ‘wing’, but also ‘rowdy young man’. (wikipedia)


On this album eight French songs, sung by George Moustaki, are interwoven with instrumental parts. For this reason these songs have an unususal construction. With the cooperation of Martha Contreras (vocals and percussion), the Amsterdam street-organ “De Arabier” and accordionist Joey Rossi.

This album is a cooperation between Georges Moustaki and Flairck……..

Well, that’s in the album title. What’s not in the album title is the music itself unless you know who Georges Moustaki is. I did not, but now I know this is a singer who sings sweet laden ballads in French. Flairck acts as his back up band here and is occasionally let loose with some tasty melody lines.


Flairck on their own is excellent. Georges Moustaki is not. This most of all reminds me about the pretty ghastly Futuro Antico series released by Angelo Branduardi. Hence vocals on the top of some classical acoustic instruments.

Despite of that, this album is pretty good. The reason is Flairck and their performance here which is jaw dropping excellent. Their use of Middle East rhythm patterns and melody lines is great. In this setting, Georges Moustaki’s own contributions works fine. Some of this album does not work at all though. But this is still a good album nevertheless. (by toroddfuglesteg)

It´s more than a good album … listen and enjoy the unique magic !


Georges Moustaki (vocals, accordion)
Sylvia Houtzager (violin, viola, harp, panpipes, vocals)
Ted De Jong (tablas, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, snare, sitar, vocals)
Annet Visser (flute, panpipe, bagpipe, accordion, vocals)
Erik Visser (guitar, bouzouki, panpipe, vocals)
Hans Visser (bass, guitar, panpipe, vocals)
Marta Contreras (vocals, percussion)
Anita Riezouw / spinet on 03.)
Joey Rossi (accordion on 01., 05. + 06.)
“De Arabier” / Amsterdam street-organ (on 01.)


01. Chansons (Moustaki) 3.34
02. La route (Moustaki /E.Visser) 8.33
03. Ma nouvelle aventure (Moustaki /H.Visser) 6.03
04. Blessure (Moustaki /E.Visser) 7.01
05. Les musiciens (Moustaki) 5.32
06. L’amour en passant (Moustaki /H.Visser) 7.45
07. Pecheur (Moustaki/el Atrach /E.Visser) + Matin (Moustaki /E.Visser) 10.35




More from Flairck:

More from Georges Moustaki:
More Moustaki

Bernard Herrmann & The National Philharmonic Orchestra – Music From Great Shakespearean Films (1975)

FrontCover1Bernard Herrmann (born Max Herman; June 29, 1911 – December 24, 1975) was an American composer and conductor of Russian-Jewish descent best known for his work in composing for films. As a conductor, he championed the music of lesser-known composers.

An Academy Award-winner (for The Devil and Daniel Webster, 1941; later renamed All That Money Can Buy), Herrmann mainly is known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo. He also composed scores for many other films, including Citizen Kane, Anna and the King of Siam, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Cape Fear, Fahrenheit 451, and Taxi Driver. He worked extensively in radio drama (composing for Orson Welles), composed the scores for several fantasy films by Ray Harryhausen, and many TV programs, including Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and Have Gun – Will Travel.

Herrmann’s music is typified by frequent use of ostinati (short repeating patterns), novel orchestration, and in his film scores, an ability to portray character traits not altogether obvious from other elements of the film.


Early in his life, Herrmann committed himself to a creed of personal integrity at the price of unpopularity: the quintessential artist. His philosophy is summarized by a favorite Tolstoy quote: ‘Eagles fly alone and sparrows fly in flocks.’ Thus, Herrmann only composed music for films when he was allowed the artistic liberty to compose what he wished without the director getting in the way: the cause of the split with Hitchcock after over a decade of composing scores for the director’s films.

Herrmann conducts the CBS Radio orchestra at a rehearsal of The Mercury Theatre on the Air directed by Orson Welles (1938):

His philosophy of orchestrating film was based on the assumption that the musicians were selected and hired for the recording session – that this music was not constrained to the musical forces of the concert hall. For example, his use of nine harps in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef created an extraordinary underwater-like sonic landscape; his use of four alto flutes in Citizen Kane contributed to the unsettling quality of the opening, only matched by the use of 12 flutes in his unused Torn Curtain score; and his use of the serpent in White Witch Doctor is possibly the first use of that instrument in a film score.

Herrmann said: “To orchestrate is like a thumbprint. I can’t understand having someone else do it. It would be like someone putting color to your paintings.”

Herrmann subscribed to the belief that the best film music should be able to stand on its own legs when detached from the film for which it was originally written. To this end, he made several well-known recordings for Decca of arrangements of his own film music as well as music of other prominent composers. (wikipedia)


The National Philharmonic Orchestra was a British orchestra formed in 1964 to be used solely for recording purposes. The orchestra was formed by Charles Gerhardt, a producer at RCA Records and Sidney Sax partially to fill the need of Reader’s Digest. Before settling on the name in 1970 they went by a variety of other names including the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, and the London Promenade Orchestra.

The orchestra had a variety of musicians and conductors over its lifetime and was used quite often for the soundtracks of films.

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

The orchestra is no longer together. (discogs.com)

And together they peformes some soundtracks for dramas by William Shakespear … sometimes very loud and dynamix, sometimes very quite and intimate … a great mixture of dramatic music !


The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Herrmann

Alternate edition:


Suite From Incidental Music To “Hamlet” (Shostakovich) (21.23)
01. Introduction 3.21
02. Ball At The Palace 3:01
03. The Ghost 5.12
04. Scene Of The Poisoning 4.17
05. The Arrival And Scene Of The Players 2.51
06. The Duel And Death Of Hamlet 2.34

07. Prelude: Richard III (Walton) 9.52

Suite From Incidental Music To “Julius Caesar” (Rózsa) (12.20)
08. The Ides Of March 3.18
09. Caesar’s Ghost 2.45
10. Approach Of Octavian’s Army And Death Of Brutus 5.36



Colosseum – Colossal Live (1970)

FrontCover1Colosseum are an English progressive jazz-rock band, mixing blues, rock and jazz-based improvisation. Colin Larkin wrote that “the commercial acceptance of jazz rock in the UK” was mainly due to the band.

Colosseum, one of the first bands to fuse jazz, rock & blues, were formed in Spring 1968 by drummer Jon Hiseman with tenor sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, who had previously worked together in the New Jazz Orchestra and in The Graham Bond Organisation, where Hiseman had replaced Ginger Baker in 1966. They met up again early in 1968 when they both played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, during which time they played on the Bare Wires album. Childhood friend Dave Greenslade was quickly recruited on organ, as was bass player Tony Reeves who had also known both Hiseman and Greenslade since being teenage musicians in South East London. The band’s line-up was completed, after lengthy auditions, by Jim Roche on guitar and James Litherland (guitar & vocals), although Roche only recorded one track before departing.


Their first album, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You, which opened with the Bond composition “Walkin’ in the Park”, was released by the Philips’ Fontana label in early 1969. In March the same year they were invited to take part in Supershow, a two-day filmed jam session, along with Modern Jazz Quartet, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Roland Kirk Quartet, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Juicy Lucy.

Colosseum’s second album, later in 1969, was Valentyne Suite,[5] notable as the first release on Philip’s newly launched Vertigo label, established to sign and develop artists that did not fit the main Philips’ brand, and the first label to sign heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.

For the third album, The Grass Is Greener, released only in the United States in 1970, Dave “Clem” Clempson replaced James Litherland. Louis Cennamo then briefly replaced Tony Reeves on bass, but was replaced in turn by Mark Clarke within a month. Then Hiseman recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe to enable Clempson to concentrate on guitar. This lineup had already partly recorded the 1970 album Daughter of Time.


In March 1971, the band recorded concerts at the Big Apple Club in Brighton and at Manchester University. Hiseman was impressed with the atmosphere at the Manchester show, and the band returned five days later for a free concert that was also recorded. The recordings were released as a live double album Colosseum Live in 1971. In October 1971 the original band broke up.

After the band split, Jon Hiseman formed Tempest with bassist Mark Clarke; Dave Greenslade formed Greenslade together with Tony Reeves. Chris Farlowe joined Atomic Rooster; and Dick Heckstall-Smith embarked on a solo career. Clem Clempson joined the hit group Humble Pie. (wikipedia)

Live 1970: Clem Clempson – Louis Cennamo – Dick Heckstall-Smith:

And here´s a pretty good bootleg. I guess one of the first Colosseum bootlegs ever featuring Louis Cennamo on bass (he played only in the summer of 1970 with Colosseum)
Grab it folks, superb vintage boot, some great improvisations. (by Matjaz Kumelj)

I remember talking to Jon about this bootleg after a gig. He said that it was through this bootleg that he was able to convince Gerry Bron that they should record a live album. Without this bootleg Live 1971 may not have happened. (by Anthony Baylis)

Enjoy the power of Colosseum … one of the most import Jazz-Rock bands from UK ever !

Recorded June 21, 1970 at the so called “Big Gig” Open Air Festival in Hamburg-Klein Flottbek, Derby Platz, on June 20-21, 1970. Colosseum played on the afternoon of the 21st.
(very good audience recording)

There are at least two editions. One original edition on black vinyl and a later edition on transparent vinyl.


Louis Cennamo (bass)
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson (guitar)
Chris Farlowe (vocals)
Dave Greenslade (keyboards, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)


01. Lost Angeles (Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith/Farlowe) 15.44
02. The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Litherland/Heckstall-Smith/Brown/Hiseman) / Drum Solo (Hiseman)  7.26
03. Downhill And Shadows ( Clempson/Hiseman/Reeves) 24.04



More from Colosseum:

Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey (1971)

FrontCover1Sir George Ivan Morrison OBE (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer. His professional career began as a teenager in the late 1950s, playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Known as “Van the Man” to his fans, he rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B and rock band, Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”. His solo career began in 1967, under the pop-hit orientated guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl”. After Berns’s death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Though this album eventually garnered praise, it was initially a poor seller.

Morrison has a reputation for being at once stubborn, idiosyncratic, and ‘sublime.’ His live performances have been described as ‘transcendental’ and ‘inspired.’ Some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now, are highly acclaimed. His albums have performed well in Ireland and the UK, with more than 40 hitting the UK top 40. He has scored 18 top 40 albums in the US, 12 of them between 1997 and 2017.


Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist, and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances. He continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances, and sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains.

Much of Morrison’s music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as the album Astral Weeks. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as “Celtic soul”.


He has received two Grammy Awards, the 1994 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, the 2017 Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was knighted for services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland.


Tupelo Honey is the fifth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released in October 1971 by Warner Bros. Records. Morrison had written all of the songs on the album in Woodstock, New York, before his move to Marin County, California, except for “You’re My Woman”, which he wrote during the recording sessions. Recording began at the beginning of the second quarter of 1971 at the Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco. Morrison moved to the Columbia Studios in May 1971 to complete the album.

The namesake for the album and its title track is a varietal honey produced from the flowers of the tupelo tree found in the Southeastern United States. The album features various musical genres, most prominently country, but also R&B, soul, folk-rock and blue-eyed soul. The lyrics echo the domestic bliss portrayed on the album cover; they largely describe and celebrate the rural surroundings of Woodstock and Morrison’s family life with then-wife Janet “Planet” Rigsbee.


Tupelo Honey received most of its success in America; it charted at number 27 on the Billboard charts and in 1977 it was certified gold by the RIAA. It failed to reach any of the European or other world-wide charts. The album yielded two hit singles, the hymn-like title track, as well as the R&B-flavored “Wild Night”. The third released single, “(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball”, was less successful and did not enter the Billboard Hot 100. The album received mostly positive reviews from music critics at the time of its release, but Morrison’s biographers were less favorable towards it in later years.

Prior to the Tupelo Honey recording sessions, Morrison had recorded demo tracks in Woodstock for an upcoming country-and-western album. Some of the tracks planned for Tupelo Honey did appear on the album, but other more traditional country songs like “The Wild Side of Life”, “Crying Time” and “Banks of the Ohio” were abandoned. Morrison decided to move from Woodstock when the lease on his house expired and the landlord wanted to move back in. He explained to Richard Williams in Melody Maker that the release of the documentary film, Woodstock, in 1970 had altered the quaint character of the community: “Everybody and his uncle started showing up at the bus station, and that was the complete opposite of what it was supposed to be.”

Van Morrison01

In April 1971, before he began recording on the planned album, Morrison and his family moved to Marin County, California, where his wife Janet Planet had family living close by. Morrison’s guitarist at the time, John Platania, told biographer Steve Turner that Morrison “didn’t want to leave, but Janet wanted to move out West. He was manipulated into going.” The Morrisons’ new home was in a rural setting situated on a hillside close to San Francisco amid redwood trees.[5] With the move, Morrison abandoned the idea of a full country album and exchanged some of the intended material for songs he had written earlier.

At this point in time, Morrison was under pressure by Warner Bros. Records to produce chart singles and two albums within a year. His previous album, His Band and the Street Choir, had been released in November 1970. In an interview with journalist Sean O’Hagan in 1990, he described this period as being in contrast to the laid back atmosphere pictured on the album cover: “When I went to the West Coast these people [the musicians he had been working with in Woodstock] weren’t that available so I had to virtually put a completely new band together overnight to do [Tupelo Honey]. So it was a very tough period. I didn’t want to change my band but if I wanted to get into the studio I had to ring up and get somebody. That was the predicament I was in.”


Due to the location of the recording sessions of Tupelo Honey, having moved from New York to California, the only musicians from Morrison’s previous band that could work with him were saxophonist Jack Schroer and his wife Ellen (who contributed backing vocals). However two of the three percussionists on the album had recorded with him in the past; Connie Kay contributed drums to Astral Weeks and Gary Mallaber played drums and vibraphone on Moondance. On this album, Kay played drum kit on four songs and new recruit Rick Shlosser was used for the remaining tracks, while Mallaber played percussion and vibraphone.[9] Biographer Howard DeWitt was convinced that Morrison’s music benefited from his move to California, as he comments that “the musical explosion in Marin County also added a great deal to Van’s music. In particular, Ronnie Montrose’s guitar work made Tupelo Honey a rock classic.”[10] Mark Jordan and John McFee made up the rest of the rhythm section.[9] The remaining members of the horn section were Bruce Royston and “Boots” Houston on flutes and Luis Gasca on trumpet. The band was augmented by producer Ted Templeman who contributed organ to the title track.

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The first recording sessions took place in the spring of 1971 at the Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco and continued for three weeks.[12] Only four of the songs recorded were chosen for Tupelo Honey: “Wild Night”; “Moonshine Whiskey”; “I Wanna Roo You” and “Like a Cannonball”. Rick Shlosser and John McFee played on these tracks, but were dropped from the second sessions. Engineer Stephen Barncard remembered that “We’d get the band rehearsed, then Ted Templeman would go to the hotel, pick up Van … We did one or two takes, he’d go back to the hotel and the band would go on to the next tune.”

Morrison relocated in the late spring of 1971 to the Columbia Studios, San Francisco to record a second session of tracks for the album. This time Morrison rehearsed the songs before recording began, which helped to make the sessions run more smoothly. “You’re My Woman” was recorded a few days after the other songs, with Rick Shlosser back playing drums.


The vocals on the album were always live after rehearsing each song five or six times, according to saxophonist and flautist “Boots” Houston, who further commented that when Morrison and the band went into the studio: “we would then just play a whole set straight through without repeating anything. We would have played maybe twenty songs and Van would go back and cut out the songs he didn’t want. The only time we’d go back would be to overdub backing vocals or horns.”[15] Ted Templeman remarked that he had to go through three engineers during the recording of the album, due to Morrison’s “ability as a musician, arranger and producer”: “When he’s got something together, he wants to put it down right away with no overdubbing … I’ve had to change engineers who couldn’t keep up with him.”

The rural setting in Marin County furnished the backdrop for the domestic bliss associated with the album,[5] and the songs’ lyrics contained harmonious references to the “good life at home”. In an interview given to New Spotlight magazine at the time, Morrison’s wife, Janet Planet referred to Morrison’s dislike of socializing at this time: “Really he is a recluse. He is quiet. We never go anywhere. We don’t go to parties. We never go out. We have an incredibly quiet life and going on the road is the only excitement we have.”[17] Although Morrison said that the songs on the album “had been hanging around for awhile [sic?]”[18] and according to biographer Steve Turner they were written in Woodstock,[17] musician Ronnie Montrose recalled that Morrison wrote one of the tunes, “You’re My Woman”, while sitting at the piano during the recording sessions in California.


The album opens with “Wild Night”, a hybrid of R&B, soul and country music influences, which uses a moderate 4/4 time signature and features the lead guitar playing of Ronnie Montrose. The song’s intro was created, according to Montrose, when “One afternoon I was messing around with what is now the intro on the record, [Van] stopped me and … said ‘ … that thing you just played … that’s the intro, don’t forget it'”. This guitar driven intro in Clinton Heylin’s opinion made it one of Morrison’s most memorable singles. “Wild Night”, which has been described by biographer Ken Brooks as “a great start to the album”, was first recorded after the Astral Weeks sessions in Autumn 1968 and was re-recorded numerous times before its eventual release on Tupelo Honey. Morrison recalled during an interview that the song was originally “a much slower number, but when we got to fooling around with it in the studio, we ended up doing it in a faster tempo.”

“(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball” combines a moderately swung 3/4 time waltz with blue-eyed soul.[21][22] The song boasts a cheery guitar riff accompanied by acoustic guitars and flutes. Lyrically the song praises nature as an easy solution to the stresses of life, referring possibly to both Woodstock and Marin.

“Old Old Woodstock” is a tribute to Morrison’s previous life in upstate New York. The theme of domestic bliss is encapsulated in this song, as it shows a strong sensitivity towards children and family life. Howard Dewitt comments that “It is a moving and compelling look at a satisfying period in Van’s life.” Musically the song contains the music genres jazz and folk. Janet Planet served as the inspiration for the song and also performed backing vocals on the recording.

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Jon Landau describes “Starting a New Life” as “both the simplest and lyrically the most significant cut on the album as Van spells out with perfect clarity the statement of Tupelo Honey: it expresses his need to take stock of himself, to see how far he has come, to record the support of those who have helped him get there, and together with them to ‘start a new life.'”

The last song that was recorded for the album was “You’re My Woman”. This slow, blues influenced ballad was influenced by Janet Planet. As perhaps a last-minute decision Morrison added this song to the album in place of “Listen to the Lion”, just before it was released. The recording of “Listen to the Lion” was released a year later on Saint Dominic’s Preview.

The title song, “Tupelo Honey”, is a classic love ballad in a vein established with “Crazy Love” from the album Moondance. The two songs both have the same melody, chord progression and are in 4/4 time. Uncut reviewer David Cavanagh wrote that: “On an album where the vocals are exultant to say the least, this song sees Morrison use larynx, diaphragm, teeth and tongue to find new ways of enunciating the lines ‘she’s as sweet as Tupelo honey’ and ‘she’s all right with me’, seemingly in ever-increasing adoration.”[20] Bob Dylan (who performed the song with Morrison during a concert tour in the 1990s) once remarked that “‘Tupelo Honey’ has always existed and that Morrison was merely the vessel and the earthly vehicle for it”.[29] Greil Marcus called the song “a kind of odyssey” evoking Elvis Presley (whose hometown was Tupelo, Mississippi), and “the most gorgeous number on the album” that “was too good not to be true.”

“I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative)” is a country-flavored waltz, that prominently features John McFee’s steel guitar and Ronnie Montrose’s mandolin. The “Scottish Derivative” subtitle refers to the word “roo” featured in the song, which is a Scottish slang word for “woo”.

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“When That Evening Sun Goes Down” is described by Erik Hage as a “hootenanny flavored” tune driven by “barrel-house honkey-tonk piano”. Like “Wild Night”, it was first recorded in Autumn 1968 and on various other recording sessions by Morrison before its release on Tupelo Honey. An alternative take of the song was featured as the B-side of the “Wild Night” single.

The final song, “Moonshine Whiskey”, has been compared musically to the likes of The Band, (earlier in 1971 Morrison had worked with The Band in Woodstock). The song fluctuates between a slow 6/8 and fast a 4/4 time throughout. During the coda it accelerates to an abrupt ending. “Moonshine Whiskey” combines country rock and soul in a song that Morrison once spoke of as having been written for “Janis Joplin or something.” (Joplin lived in Woodstock around the same time as Morrison.) There is also a comic element to the song with Morrison imitating fish blowing bubbles.

The title of the album derives from the varietal honey produced from the flowers of the tupelo tree found predominantly in Florida.

The photos on the album were taken by Michael Maggid, a friend of Morrison’s then wife Janet Planet, in the town of Fairfax. The original LP was released in a gatefold sleeve. The cover photograph showed Planet, riding bareback on a horse, with Morrison walking alongside. The gatefold and back cover photographs showed Morrison perched upon the fence of the horse’s paddock, with his wife standing to his right and a black-and-white kitten on the fence to his left. This rural setting depicting a bygone era was in vogue on album covers at the time as rock artists moved from cities to rural communities. The Band, CSNY and Grateful Dead had similar themes on album covers in 1969 and 1970. Morrison later complained of the cover, explaining that, “The picture was taken at a stable and I didn’t live there. We just went there and took the picture and split. A lot of people seem to think that album covers are your life or something.”


Tupelo Honey was first released on LP in October 1971 on Warner Bros. Records. The album reached number 27 on the Billboard 200, which was the highest position reached in the US by any of Morrison’s albums at that point. However it failed to reach any of the charts across Europe.[44] By the middle of 1974 Tupelo Honey had sold well over 350,000 copies (50,000 more than Moondance), and in 1977 it was certified gold by the RIAA.

Three singles were released from the album. The first, “Wild Night”, with a rare alternative take on “When That Evening Sun Goes Down” as the B-side, proved popular enough to reach number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single fared slightly better in The Netherlands, peaking at number 24. “Tupelo Honey” reached number 47 on the US singles chart, with the B-side “Starting a New Life”. “(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball”, with “Old Old Woodstock” as the B-side,[49] was the third single from the album and only reached number 119, just outside the Billboard Hot 100.

The album was reissued on CD in 1990 by Polydor Records. Another CD reissue was released in 1997 by Polydor and Mercury Records. The 29 January 2008 reissued and remastered version of the album, released on CD, contains an alternative extended (5:32) take of “Wild Night” and a reworked cover version of the traditional song “Down by the Riverside”. It was also reissued on vinyl, but without the bonus tracks.

Tupelo Honey was well received by critics upon the album’s release. Jon Landau wrote in Rolling Stone: “Tupelo Honey is in one sense but another example of the artist making increased use of the album as the unit of communication as opposed to merely the song or the cut. Everything on it is perfectly integrated.” ZigZag magazine reviewer John Tobler, who also reviewed the album just after its release, gave the album high praise, saying “If all music were as good as this, there wouldn’t be any reason to make any more, because this is the real thing.”[40] Critic Dave Marsh called it “the perfect album for Van: he does everything…so incredibly well. There isn’t a bad cut on it, of that I’m really sure.” Robert Christgau from The Village Voice voiced reservations in his praise of the album, writing that it was “almost as rich in cute tunes as The Shirelles’ Greatest Hits, but I worry that domestic bliss with Janet Planet has been softening Van’s noodle more than the joy of cooking requires.” Tupelo Honey was later ranked the fourth best album of the year in the Village Voice’s first annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.

ADMorrison’s biographers were less impressed by the album. Johnny Rogan commented: “Tupelo Honey was no masterpiece but it was a considerable improvement upon His Band and the Street Choir. At a time when the rock élite were seduced by the lovelorn laments and steel guitars of country rock, Morrison emerged with a work that offered a soulful romantic veneer without lapsing into banal sentimentality.” Erik Hage held the opinion that by this time Morrison had become famous enough to be insulated from constructive criticism, resulting in some of the love songs to Janet Planet on the album containing: “obvious lyrical platitudes (truly some of his worst poetry since the revenge songs for Bang Records) and less-than-inspired arrangements.”

It was ranked number 944 from votes taken in the third edition of Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums in 2000.

Morrison said afterwards that he “wasn’t very happy” with it. “It consisted of songs that were left over from before and that they’d finally gotten around to using. It wasn’t really fresh. It was a whole bunch of songs that had been hanging around for a while. I was really trying to make a country and western album.” He commented further that he seldom listened to it and had a bad taste in his mouth for both His Band and the Street Choir and Tupelo Honey.

In 2009, music journalist Erik Hage wrote that Tupelo Honey “has become one of Morrison’s most likeable albums, but the very elements that make it appealing to many—the homey feeling, the personal odes to married life—also make it a complacent album for an artist who had been pushing forward and challenging boundaries for the past few years.”

Morrison was expected to tour to promote the album, but at this time he had developed a phobia about performing that was especially problematic when appearing before large audiences. John Platania was playing in concerts with Morrison and spoke of noticing his confidence ebbing away: “There were many times when he literally had to be coaxed on stage. His motto was ‘The show does not have to go on’. He would create the choice of whether he would go on stage or not.” Morrison announced before an impending performance at a larger venue that he was retiring from performing live. After regaining his confidence by making regular and informal performances at a small club near his home, he began to tour coast-to-coast again in 1972. (wikipedia)


Bill Church (bass)
Luis Gasca (trumpet)
“Boots” Houston (flute, background vocals)
Mark Jordan (piano)
Gary Mallaber (percussion, vibraphone)
John McFee (pedal steel-guitar)
Ronnie Montrose (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
Van Morrison (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Bruce Royston (flute)
Rick Shlosser (drums)
Jack Schroer (saxophone)
Connie Kay (drums on 04., 06. + 08.)
Ted Templeman (organ on 06.)
background vocals:
Ellen Schroer – Janet Planet
01. Wild Night 3.35
02. (Straight to Your Heart) Like A Cannonball 3.42
03. Old Old Woodstock 4.17
04. Starting A New Life 2.11
05. You’re My Woman 6.43
06. Tupelo Honey 6.54
07. I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative) 3.27
08. When That Evening Sun Goes Down 3.06
09. Moonshine Whiskey 6.49
10. Wild Night (alternative take) 5.32
11. Down By The Riverside 3.57

All songs written by Van Morrison
except 11.: Traditional



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Deep Purple & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Concerto For Group And Orchestra (1969)

LPFrontCover1Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford, Hertfordshire, in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies”. They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Deep Purple have had several line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976–1984). The 1968–1976 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV.

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Their second and most commercially successful line-up consisted of Ian Gillan (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass), who joined founding members Jon Lord (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums) and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). This line-up was active from 1969 to 1973 and was revived from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1992 to 1993. The band achieved more modest success in the intervening periods between 1968 and 1969 with the line-up including Rod Evans (lead vocals) and Nick Simper (bass, backing vocals), between 1974 and 1976 with the line-up including David Coverdale (lead vocals) and Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals) (and Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore in 1975), and between 1989 and 1992 with the line-up including Joe Lynn Turner (vocals). The band’s line-up (currently including Ian Gillan, and guitarist Steve Morse from 1994) has been much more stable in recent years, although keyboardist Jon Lord’s retirement from the band in 2002 (being succeeded by Don Airey) left Ian Paice as the only original Deep Purple member still in the band.

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Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1’s Greatest Artists of Hard Rock programme, and a poll on radio station Planet Rock ranked them 5th among the “most influential bands ever”. The band received the Legend Award at the 2008 World Music Awards. Deep Purple (specifically Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Gillan, Glover, Coverdale, Evans, and Hughes) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

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The Concerto for Group and Orchestra is a concerto composed by Jon Lord, with lyrics written by Ian Gillan. It was first performed by Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold on 24 September 1969 and released on vinyl in December 1969. After the original score was lost in 1970, it was performed again in 1999 with a recreated score.

The 1969 performance was among the first combinations of rock music with a full orchestra, and paved the way for other rock/orchestra performances such as Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (1972), Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974), Roger Waters’ The Wall – Live in Berlin performance (1990), and Metallica’s S&M concert (1999).

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The Concerto for Group and Orchestra is split into three movements.

First movement (Moderato – Allegro)
After an extended orchestral introduction, the group and orchestra work as separate blocks, trying to get dominance over the main theme and working as antagonists to each other. There are cadenzas for electric guitar and clarinet.
Second movement (Andante), with lyrics sung by Ian Gillan
This movement is based around two tunes that are played in various different arrangements by the orchestra and the group, individually and together. After a combined pop / blues version of the second tune, there is an organ cadenza followed by a quiet ending by the orchestra.
Third movement (Vivace – Presto)
Apart from Ian Paice’s drum solo, the music combines the orchestra and group together in a “free for all”. The movement alternates between 6/8 and 2/4 time signatures. (wikipedia)

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Once upon a time, it was considered vaguely preposterous that rock ‘n’ roll and classical musical could ever be brought together successfully, but in 1969, Jon Lord of Deep Purple decided to prove them wrong, composing a concerto – with lyrics by bandmate Ian Gillan – and, along with their bandmates (Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice), performing it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on September 24, 1969 at the Royal Albert Hall.


The end result of that performance, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, is now available once more, and on 180-gram vinyl, no less. The reissue mirrors the version which emerged on EMI in 2002, which is to say that it includes the entire program of music performed on September 24, 1969, rather than merely the concerto. The evening began with “Symphony No. 6, Op. 95,” composed by Malcolm Arnold, who also conducted the proceedings, after which the audience was favored with a trio of Deep Purple songs – “Hush,” “Wring That Neck,” and “Child in Time” – before moving on to the three movements of “Concerto for Group and Orchestra.” For an encore, the orchestra and company returned to perform parts of the third movement.


Widely considered to be the first full-fledged combination of a rock band with a complete orchestra, “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” was also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, but at some point in the wake of that performance, the score was lost. (rhino.com)

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Back in 1970, it seemed as though any British group that could was starting to utilize classical elements in their work — for some, like ELP, that meant quoting from the classics as often and loudly as possible, while for others, like Yes, it meant incorporating classical structures into their albums and songs. Deep Purple, at the behest of keyboardman Jon Lord, fell briefly into the camp of this offshoot of early progressive rock with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra. For most fans, the album represented the nadir of the classic (i.e., post-Rod Evans) group: minutes of orchestral meandering lead into some perfectly good hard rock jamming by the band, but the trip is almost not worth the effort. Ritchie Blackmore sounds great and plays his heart out, and you can tell this band is going to go somewhere, just by virtue of the energy that they put into these extended pieces. The classical influences mostly seem drawn from movie music composers Dimitri Tiomkin and Franz Waxman (and Elmer Bernstein), with some nods to Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, and Mahler, and they rather just lay there.

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Buried in the middle of the second movement is a perfectly good song, but you’ve got to get to it through eight minutes of orchestral noodling on either side. The third movement is almost bracing enough to make up for the flaws of the other two, though by itself, it wouldn’t make the album worthwhile — Pink Floyd proved far more adept at mixing group and orchestra, and making long, slow, lugubrious pieces interesting. As a bonus, however, the producers have added a pair of hard rock numbers by the group alone, “Wring That Neck” and “Child in Time,” that were played at the same concert. They and the third movement of the established piece make this worth a listen. (by Bruce Eder)

Recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, September 24th 1969


Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Ian Gillan (vocals)
Roger Glover (bass)
Jon Lord (keyboards)
Ian Paice (drums)
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Malcolm Arnold



CD 1:
01. Intro 3.28
02. Hush (South) 4.41
03. Wring That Neck (Blackmore/Simper/Lord/Paice) 13.24
04. Child In Time (Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice) 12.02

CD 2:
01. Moderato – Allegro (Lord) 19.21
02. Second Movement: Andante (Lord/Gillan) 19.11
03. Third Movement: Vivace – Presto (Lord) 13.09
04. Encore: Third Movement: Vivace – Presto (Part) (Lord) 5.52



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