Canarios – Free Yourself (Liberate!) (1971)

FrontCover1Los Canarios were a Spanish pop rock (prog rock later) band from Canary Islands founded by Eduardo “Teddy” Bautista in 1964.

The band started off in Las Palmas as Canaries performing soul music and rhythm & blues with lyrics in English.[2] Their first album Flying High with The Canaries (1967) was only released in the US, receiving a belated edition in Spain, in 1985.

The singles “Get on Your Knees” and “Free Yourself” became hits in Spain, as a second LP entitled Libérate! was released in 1970, but they had to disband momentarily when Bautista entered the military service. “Get on Your Knees”, specifically, reached triple gold status.

Through the first half of the 70s the style of the band became closer to prog rock, as Bautista increasingly experimented with synthesizers and electronic music. All this came to fruition by means of Ciclos (1974), a double album that came like a symphonic rock adaptation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.

The group disbanded in 1974. (wikipedia)


The classical repertoire has been given a modern, avant-garde twist by the Spanish quintet Los Canarios. Led by keyboardist Edward “Teddy” Bautista, the group has consistently revamped the classical tradition with their imaginative interpretations. Their 1974 album Ciclos remains a classic adaptation of Vivaldi’s cycle of concertos “Four Seasons,” composed more than 200 years earlier. Formed by Bautista in 1967, Los Canarios initially performed American-style R&B and soul music and sang in English. The group recorded several tunes, including “Get on Your Knees” and “Free Yourself,” that became hits in their homeland, and opened shows for such bands as the Beach Boys. Temporarily disbanded when Bautista entered the armed services, Los Canarios reorganized after his discharge. Their music became more progressive as Bautista increasingly experimented with synthesizers and other electronic keyboards. Bautista has continued to balance his involvement with Los Canarios with soundtrack work for Spanish television productions, including a Spanish version of Jesus Christ Superstar. (by Craig Harris)


And here´s theri second album:

And here two completly contrary reviews:

Let’s start by saying this is Los Canarios second LP and i think by far the best of them all. Although “Ciclos” has blown my mind several times when listening I do believe this album holds much more harmony in all its parts.

The album starts with Hello! a salsa, jazz, blues, swing mix introduction preparing the ear to a very well orchestrated second song Free Yourself, giving it’s name to the album: “Libérate”. The lyrics and vocals on this song are very well performed as well as the choirs. When listening to this song you get the feeling of hearing a bizarre version of the Beatles in the very best of senses. The presence of numerous wind instruments makes this song a marvelous piece.


The following song is Magna, beginning with a kind of a classical piece that reminds us a little to Ciclos, the album released 4 years later. Once again the wind instruments take a great part in the song. Also, you can hear a lot of strings that make the song even stronger. At the half of the song we hear a great sax solo with a great change in tempo and rhythm. Every piece gets connected once again with the main melody to close an incredible song.

Intro/Bossa/Oito is exactly what it’s title says: a quiet and calm Brazilian like song with a touch of Bossanova and some Cuban influences.

Next we can hear You’re My Sunshine: a fantastic piece following the same concept as the one before, with some stripes of Spanish and Latin American rhythms. Again, the exceptional voice of Teddy Bautista and the other members choirs leave us wanting more and more while the disc reaches a very high point.

Both Say Hi! To The Salvation Army and Say Bye! To The Salvation Army work as a perfect interlude.


Words of the Lord starts as a ballad and quickly evolves to a very nice and emotional song.

She Brought The Blues (Into My Life) is a fantastic soul song in where the sax and trumpet take the lead. Then again, Teddy Bautista amazes us with some great singing techniques making this whole song on of the very best of the album.

Hey, Mr. Teller!, Where Is The Hope?, a recited composition in spanish bring us the end of the disc with Let It Be Me.

This last song concludes and closes one of the most well performed albums of Los Canarios. It introduces some great free jazz sounds and more soul and jazz rock as we have seen in the previous songs.

In conclusion, I highly recommend you listening to this disc, you won’t regret it. If you loved “Ciclos” and want something closer to jazz, soul and blues, this is the perfect album for you. (wiznia)


Lots of short to very short songs (four are clocking under the one minute barrier or just above it) which are totally useless. By any means, there are hardly anything progressive here! The bottom is reached with some heavy and dripping soul music (“Free Yourself”); and you can add a combo of almost the same but just with some more prog orientation (“Magna”). Although the syrupy string arrangements is nothing of my liking.

Lyrics are in English and don’t convey a very authentic feel. What is really discouraging, are the weak trumpets which are to be listened all the way through. This album has NOTHING to do with symphonic prog ; but apparently their album “Cyclos” released in ’74 is of another texture. But this will be for another review…


As far as I’m concerned, this album is totally uninteresting from A to Z. The dreadful soul experience can again be heard during “You Are My Sunshine”. I bet you! Press next. In a hurry!

There is one very easy thing to do after such a listening: it is to rate such a “work”. One star. Easily.

And this is really a maximum for such a sequence of poor songs. Don’t spend your time on this one; but looking at the reviews, very few did.

Only one five stars rating before mine. Well, now it is balanced? (ZowieZiggy)

Listen and make your own decision … for me it´s a good album (but “Cycles” is a masterpiece), very much influenced by the brass sound of Blood, Swet & Tears.


Teddy Bautista (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Graham Bircumshaw (organ)
Tato Luzardo (drums)
Alfredo Máiquez (trombone)
Vicente Máiquez (saxophone)
Nano Muñoz (trumpet)
Germán Pérez (guitar)
Alvaro Yébenes (bass)

Alternate front + backcover:

01. Hello (Bautista) 1.06
02. Free Yourself (Bautista)
03. Magna (Bautista) 5.39
04. Intro-Bossa-Oito (Bautista) + You’re My Sunshine (Traditional) 5.32
05. Say Hi! To The Salvation Army + Words Of The Lord (Bautista) 3.29
06. Say Hi! To The Salvation Army + The Brought The Blues (Into My Life) (Bautista) 5.27
07. Eh Charlatan! ¿Dónde Está La Esperanza? (Eh Mr. Teller! Where’s The Hope) (Bautista) 0.59
08. Let It Be Me (Bécaud/Curtis/Delanoé) 5.25




More from Canarios (“Cyles” … a masterpiece)

Wolfgang Haffner – Kind Of Cool (2015)

FrontCover1Wolfgang Haffner is a well known drummer & composer in the world of music. His illustrious career started at the age of 18 when he was discovered by legendary trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. The list of musicians he played/recorded/toured with is nearly endless: Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, The Brecker Brothers, Ivan Lins, Jan Garbarek, Gregory Porter, Michael Franks, Roy Ayers, Bugge Wesseltoft, The Manhattan Transfer, Nils Petter Molvaer, The JB Horns, Esbjörn Svensson, Bob James, Mezzoforte, Lee Ritenour, Till Brönner, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, Johnny Griffin, Nils Landgren, Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, Hildegard Knef, Konstantin Wecker, Die Fantastischen Vier, Xavier Naidoo, NDR Big Band, WDR Big Band, just to name a few. Wolfgang also collaborates with heavy weights of the electronic music scene such as Ricardo Villalobos, Timo Maas & Nightmares on Wax.

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Wolfgang Haffner can be heard on about 400 albums up to date, he played on all major Jazz Festivals around the world, toured in 100 countries, from Japan to the US, from South Africa to Brasil. He recorded 16 Solo Albums and made himself a name as a producer of Bands like Mezzoforte and german singer Max Mutzke.

In 2010 he received an ECHO award, followed by the cultural award from his hometown Nuremberg in Germany. His album “Kind of Cool“ went to #1 in the Jazz charts, and even made it into the german Pop charts for 5 weeks. His own group the Wolfgang Haffner Quartett tours around the world intensively. (taken from his website)

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With “Kind of Cool” Wolfgang Haffner moves between tradition and contemporary jazz, injecting new life into some oft he „coolest“ jazz standards. In the style of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet and with the spirit of Cool Jazz these old jazz classics sound young at heart in timeless elegance – relaxed, sophisticated, trusting in themselves, finally one of a kind, thanks to the personality of the musicians involved. Three compositions by Haffner himself complement the album. It really needs an all-star band to play music such as this, and on “Kind of Cool” it’s no different. All the band members are international jazz stars, having proved themselves on the scene they are perfectly placed to relax and just let their passion, technique and sense of fun show the songs for what they are: Some of the most beautiful compositions ever produced in the 20th century. (Press release)

Wolfgang Haffner6Drummer Wolfgang Haffner is one of Germany’s most respected and experienced jazz musicians: his 30 year career features recordings with Al Cohn, Joe Pass and Till Bronner as well as numerous albums as leader. On Kind Of Cool he’s joined by an excellent line-up of European jazzers, including pianist Jan Lundgren and trombonist Nils Landgren: their mix of classics and Haffner originals is a delight from first note to last.

Haffner and bassist Dan Berglund open “Hippie” (one of the drummer’s own compositions) with a relaxed groove that immediately establishes the inaccuracy of the album title: this music isn’t kind of cool, this is cool. The tune’s title is also rather inaccurate: this melodic number, thanks especially to Jukka Perko’s breathy alto sax, is redolent of the ’50s—not so much “Hippie” as “Beatnikie.”

Dusko Goykovich

Haffner contributes two more numbers. “Tantricity” is another relaxed tune that fits neatly into the cool school—Perko’s long, fragile, notes give it added grace. The lovely “Remembrance” gives the spotlight to 83-year-old trumpeter Dusko Goykovich (who’s played with icons of cool, Miles Davis and Chet Baker). His languid, romantic playing on this tune is some of the finest on the record, although Lundgren’s piano solo almost matches Goykovich for emotional depth.

One of the striking things about Kind Of Cool is the presence of so many classic, world famous, tunes. Davis’ “So What,” Rogers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine,” George Gershwin’s “Summertime” are all iconic compositions. Most of them, in the right hands, have come to epitomise cool jazz—one reason for Haffner’s decision to include them here—and these interpretations carry on that fine tradition. John Lewis’ “Django,” a Modern Jazz Quartet classic, is given a fresh tonal quality by the sax and trumpet of Perko and Goykovich—”So What” gets its own shift in feel thanks to Christopher Dell’s vibes and Berglund’s subtle variation on Paul Chambers’ bass line, “Summertime” is a beautiful mix of a gently swinging rhythm section and Goykovich’s heartfelt muted trumpet.

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Two numbers deviate somewhat from the predominant cool sound. {Billy Eckstein}}’s “Piano Man” is a late-night story of lost love …”that can only be told by the blues.” Vocalist Max Mutzke tells the tale with just the right mix of self-pity and melancholy—it’s easy to imagine the empty bar-room, the tired bartender and the spurned lover as they listen to Frank Chastenier’s piano. Nat Adderley’s “One For Daddy O,” featuring guest trombonist Landgren, is another blues, but this time swing and good vibes replace Mutzke’s melancholy.

So what kind of cool is Kind Of Cool? The good kind, the cool kind—that’s the kind of cool to be found on Kind Of Cool. (by Bruce Lindsay)


Dan Berglund (drums)
Christopher Dell (vibraphone)
Dusko Goykovich (trumpet)
Wolfgang Haffner (drums)
Jan Lundgren (piano)
Jukka Perko (saxophone)
Frank Chastenier (piano bei 03.)
Christian von Kaphengst (bass bei 03.)
Nils Landgren (trombone bei 08.)
Max Mutzke (vocals bei 03.)

Wolfgang Haffner

01. Hippie (Haffner) 5.37
02. So What (Davis) 7.19
03. Piano Man (Eckstine/Kuller) 5.04
04. Autumn Leaves (Enoch/Kosma) 4.01
05. Tantricity (Haffner) 3.18
06. Summertime (Gershwin) 5.21
07. My Funny Valentine (Hart/Rodgers) 6.58
08. One For Daddy O (Adderley) 6.28
09. I Fall In Love Too Easily (Styne/Cahn) 5.54
10. Django (Lewis) 5.00
11. Remembrance (Haffner) 4.57



Jeff Beck – Jeff (2003)

FrontCover1Geoffrey Arnold Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with the Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed the Jeff Beck Group and with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, he formed Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Much of Beck’s recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound, and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues rock, hard rock, jazz fusion, and a blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Although he recorded two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not established or maintained the sustained commercial success of many of his contemporaries and bandmates. However, he has recorded with many artists.

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He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and the magazine, upon whose cover Beck has appeared three times, has described him as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock”. He is often called a “guitarist’s guitarist”. Beck has earned wide critical praise and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times and Best Pop Instrumental Performance once. In 2014 he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.[5] Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of the Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009).

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Jeff is the ninth studio album by guitarist Jeff Beck, released on 5 August 2003 through Epic Records. The album reached No. 92 on the French albums chart[4] and No. 122 on the U.S. Billboard 200. “Plan B” won the award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 2004 Grammys. (wikipedia)


“If the voice don’t say it, the guitar will play it,” raps Saffron on “Pork-U-Pine,” the third track on Jeff Beck’s minimally titled Jeff. And he does. Beck teams with producer Andy Wright, the man responsible for his more complete immersion into electronic backdrops on his last outing, You Had It Coming. This time the transition is complete. Beck used electronica first on Who Else!, moved a little more into the fire on You Had It Coming, and here merges his full-on Beck-Ola guitar heaviness with the sounds of contemporary spazz-out big beats and noise. Beck and Wright employ Apollo 440 on “Grease Monkey” and “Hot Rod Honeymoon,” and use a number of vocalists, including the wondrously gifted Nancy Sorrell, on a host of tracks, as well as the London Session Orchestra on others (such as “Seasons,” where hip-hop, breakbeats, and old-school Tangerine Dream sequencing meet the guitarist’s deep blues and funk-drenched guitar stylings).

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As for atmospherics, David Torn (aka producer Splattercell) offers a shape-shifting mix of glitch tracks on “Plan B” for Beck to wax on both acoustically and electrically, and make them weigh a ton. But it’s on cuts like “Trouble Man,” a purely instrumental big drum and guitar skronk workout, where Beck truly shines here. With a rhythm section of Dean Garcia and Steve Barney — and Tony Hymas appears as well — Beck goes completely overboard: the volume screams and the sheer crunch of his riffs and solos split the rhythm tracks in two, then four, and finally eight, as he turns single-string runs into commentaries on everything from heavy metal to East Indian classical music.


The industrial crank and burn of “Grease Monkey” is an outing fraught with danger for the guitarist, who has to whirl away inside a maelstrom of deeply funky noise — and Beck rides the top of the wave into dirty drum hell and comes out wailing. For those who feel they need a dose of Beck’s rootsier and bluesier playing, there is one, but the context is mentally unglued. “Hot Rod Honeymoon” is a drum and bass sprint with Beck playing both slide and Texas-style blues à la Albert Collins, letting the strings bite into the beats. The vocals are a bit cheesy, but the entire track is so huge it’s easy to overlook them. “Line Dancing With Monkeys” has a splintered Delta riff at its core, but it mutates, shifts, changes shape, and becomes the kind of spooky blues that cannot be made with conventional instruments. His turnarounds into the myopic rhythms provide a kind of menacing foil to their increasing insistence in the mix. Before gabber-style drum and bass threaten to break out of the box, Beck’s elongated bent-note solos tame them. “JB’s Blues” is the oddest thing here because it’s so ordinary; it feels like it belongs on an updated Blow By Blow. In all this is some of the most emotionally charged and ferocious playing of Beck’s career. Within the context of contemporary beatronica, Beck flourishes. He find a worthy opponent to tame in the machines, and his ever-present funkiness is allowed to express far more excess than restraint. This is as fine a modern guitar record as you are ever going to hear. (by Thom Jurek)


Steve Barney (drums)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Ronni Ancona (vocals on 04.)
Apollo 440 (vocals on 06.)
The Beeched Boys (vocals on 07.)
Baylen Leonard (vocals on 07.)
Me One (vocals on 10.)
Saffron (vocals on 03.)
Nancy Sorrell (vocals on 06., 07., 11. + 15.)
Andy Wright (vocals on 03.)
London Session Orchestra (on 12. + 13.)

01. So What (Garcia)Beck 4.19
02. Plan B (Aslan/White/Beck/Torn) 4.49
03. Pork-U-Pine (Beck/Wright/Holroyde) 4.06
04. Seasons (Butler/Irving/Viera/Syze-up/Beck/Wright/Vaughan 3.48
05. Trouble Man (Beck/Garcia/Wright) 3.34
06. Grease Monkey (H.Gray/T.Gray/Fisher-Jones/Beck) 3.34
07. Hot Rod Honeymoon (H.Gray/T.Gray/Fisher-Jones/Beck) 3.33
08. Line Dancing With Monkeys (Aslan/White/Torn) 5.18
09. JB’s Blues (Garcia/Beck) 4.20
10. Pay Me No Mind (Jeff Beck Remix) (Me One/Beck) 3.18
11. My Thing (Beck/Sorrell/Wright) 4.10
12. Bulgaria (Traditional) 2.00
13. Why Lord Oh Why? (Hymas) 4.41
14. Take A Ride (On My Bottleneck Slide) (Beck) 5.00
15. My Thing (David Torn Remix) (Beck/Sorrell/Wright) 4.30




More from Jeff Beck:

JCM – Heroes (2018)

FrontCover1JCM was in 2017 a brand new band, but the musicians Jon Hiseman, Clem Clempson and Mark Clarke are very well known. They all were part of the legendary Jazz/Rock pioneers COLOSSEUM and their abum “Colosseum Live” from 1971 is still one of the best live records in rock history. Now Jon Hiseman, drummer and founding member of Colosseum has asked his longtime colleagues and friends to join his exciting band project.

Jon Hiseman, the legendary drummer and bandleader who took Colosseum to fame in the 1970s, has formed an exciting new group called JCM (Jon Hiseman, Clem Clempson and Mark Clarke). The trio comprises of Clem Clempson on lead guitar and vocals, Mark Clarke on bass and lead vocals, with of course Jon on drums. Jon: “I always like to do albums with a theme. When I thought of all the guys I have played with over the years, who have now sadly passed away, it seemed right to do an album as a tribute to their memory. So, this record is dedicated to all our musical heroes.” Hiseman’s Heroes include wild man of the Hammond organ and saxophone Graham Bond and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, as well as a plethora of guitarists, notably Jack Bruce, Gary Moore, Ollie Halsall, Alan Holdsworth and Larry Coryell. JCM’s debut album has already been hailed as ‘amazing’.(Press release)

JCM05Only recently found out about Jon’s unfortunate passing and read about Heroes. Checked out a few songs on YouTube and was impressed enough to buy the CD. Wow!

The entire album is incredible. This is a great selection of meaningful songs to Jon and the heroes he and Clem and Mark were associated with through the years. Amazing musicianship by all three guys with a special call out to Clem for some absolutely spot on and scintillating guitar work throughout. Beautiful and effortless vocals from Mark top things off. Pristine production ensures that every note is clearly heard.


As for Jon – what can really be said? In total control of the kit at 73 putting to shame drummers a third of his age! RIP Mr. Hiseman. Thanks for the great music and a fantastic last album!!! (by Keko Torres)


If this album was released in 1971 it would have been a HUGE hit! Three awesome seasoned musicians come together to honor their influences and those players are surely looking down with pride. Awesome vocals from extremely underrated bassist/vocalist Mark Clarke, great licks as always from Clem Clempson and of course an awesome, and sadly it turns out, final, performance from the great Jon Hiseman. (by Pearl)


Mark Clarke (bass, vocals)
Clem Clempson (guitar, background vocals)
Jon Hiseman (drums)


01.The Kettle (Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith) 4.28
02. Strangeher (Hiseman/Clarke) 4.40
03. Weird Of Hermiston (Brown/Bruce) 4.09
04. Four Day Creepn (Cox) 6.12
05. Yeah Yeah Yeah (Hiseman/Halsall) 3.49
06. Rivers (Moore) 5.28
07. Grease The Wheels (Brown/Bruce) 5.11
08. The Inquisition (Moore/Hiseman) 6.47
09. Foyers Of Fun (Hiseman/Holdsworth/Clarke) 3.21
10. Only Sixteen (Bond) 6.07
11. The Real Great Escape (Coryell) 4.55




Such a big loss:

Rory Gallagher – Defender (1987)

FrontCover1William Rory Gallagher (2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues and rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher formed the band Taste in the late 1960s and recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47.

Defender is the thirteenth album and tenth studio album by Irish musician Rory Gallagher. Coming after a five-year hiatus from the recording studio, it was his first album released on the Capo label.

The song “Continental Op” was inspired by the nameless fictional detective created by Dashiell Hammett, and was dedicated to Hammett. (wikipedia)


Released five years after his last effort (an eternity for the prolific Irish blues guitar slinger who had been churning out at least an album a year throughout the ’70s), Defender is another quality blues-rock offering. Although Gallagher is in fine tough form here and it was his debut release for his own indie label, there is little difference between this and some of his less stellar ’70s albums like Top Priority and Photo-Finish. The pounding, guitar-heavy opener “Kickback City” sounds more like hairy rockers Bad Company than anything approaching the deep Chicago and country blues Gallagher dearly loved. The quality picks up substantially as the volume subsides on “Loanshark Blues,” but by-the-books crunch-rockers like “Failsafe Day” and the unfortunately titled “Road to Hell” don’t bode well for Gallagher moving out from an increasingly formulaic pigeonhole. There are a few corkers here like “Continental Op,” a blazing riff that stands with Gallagher’s best work and revisits his familiar cloak-and-dagger theme.

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The swampy, less abrasive “I Ain’t No Saint” also pushes the quality up a few notches, as does his gritty version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Don’t Start Me to Talking,” the bluesiest song on the disc and one of the few times he pulls out his greasy slide. “Seven Days” is the lone acoustic track and it’s a good one, with piano and harp accompaniment and Gallagher singing like he means it as he takes the part of a criminal fleeing from the electric chair. The 2000 reissue adds a pair of rugged bonus tracks (along with a cleaner sound mix), which are actually better, or certainly as good as the best cuts on the rest of this competent but hardly essential Rory Gallagher disc. (by Hal Horowitz)


Rory Gallagher (guitar, slide-guitar, vocals, harmonica
Gerry McAvoy (bass)
Brendan O’Neill (drums)
Bob Andrews (piano on 09.)
John Cooke (keyboards)
Mark Feltham (harmonica on 09.)
Lou Martin (piano on 10.)

01. Kickback City 4.52
02. Loanshark Blues 4.30
03. Continental Op 4.35
04. I Ain’t No Saint 5.00
05. Failsafe Day 4.25
06.Road To Hell 5.32
07. Doing Time 4.08
08. Smear Campaign 4.49
09. Don’t Start Me Talkin’ 3.37
10. Seven Days 5.16
11. Seems To Me 4.55
12. No Peace For The Wicked 4.24

Music & lyrics by Rory Gallagher.
except 09.: by Sonny Boy Williamson II




More from Rory Gallagher:


Jon Hassel – The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound (1987)

FrontCover1Jon Hassell (March 22, 1937 – June 26, 2021) was an American trumpet player and composer active since the 1960s. He was best known for developing the concept of “Fourth World” music, which describes a “unified primitive/futurist sound” combining elements of various world ethnic traditions with modern electronic techniques. The concept was first articulated on Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, his 1980 collaboration with Brian Eno. He had also worked with artists such as the Theatre of Eternal Music, Talking Heads, Farafina, Peter Gabriel, Tears for Fears, Ani DiFranco, Techno Animal, Ry Cooder, Moritz von Oswald, and Carl Craig.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, Hassell received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. During this time he became involved in European serial music, especially the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen, and so after finishing his studies at Eastman, he enrolled in the Cologne Course for New Music (founded and directed by Stockhausen) for two years. Hassell returned to the U.S. in 1967, where he met Terry Riley in Buffalo, New York and performed on the first recording of Riley’s seminal work In C in 1968. He pursued his Ph.D. in musicology in Buffalo and performed in La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music in New York City, contributing to the 1974 LP Dream House 78′ 17″.

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On his return to Buffalo in the early 1970s, Hassell was introduced to the music of Indian Pandit Pran Nath, a specialist in the Kiranic style of singing. Hassell, Young, Marian Zazeela, and Riley went together to India to study with Nath. His work with Nath awoke his appetite for traditional musics of the world, and on the album Vernal Equinox, he used his trumpet (treated with various electronic effects) to imitate the vocal techniques to which Nath had exposed him. He stated:

“From 1973 up until then I was totally immersed in playing raga on the trumpet. I wanted the physical dexterity to be able to come into a room and be able to do something that nobody else in the world could do. My aim was to make a music that was vertically integrated in such a way that at any cross-sectional moment you were not able to pick a single element out as being from a particular country or genre of music.”

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In 1980, he collaborated with Brian Eno on the album Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics and appeared on the Eno-produced Talking Heads album Remain in Light. The same year Hassell also performed solo at the Mudd Club. His 1981 release, Dream Theory in Malaya, led to a performance at the first World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival, organized by Peter Gabriel. He performed and co-wrote tracks on David Sylvian’s first solo album Brilliant Trees, and its instrumental follow-up Words with the Shaman. In the late 1980s, Hassell contributed to Gabriel’s Passion, the soundtrack album for Martin Scorsese’s film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Hassell and Pete Scaturro composed the electronic theme music for the television show The Practice. In 1989, Hassell contributed to the Tears for Fears album The Seeds of Love.

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Jon died from natural causes on June 26, 2021. He had had health issues over the previous year.
Hassell coined the term “Fourth World” to describe his work on “a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques.” He used extensive electronic processing of his trumpet playing. In addition to nonwestern traditional musics, critics have noted the influence of Miles Davis on Hassell’s style, particularly Davis’ use of electronics, modal harmony, and understated lyricism. Both on record and during live performances, Hassell made use of western instruments—keyboards, bass, electric guitar, and percussion—to create modal, hypnotic grooves, over which he played microtonally-inflected trumpet phrases in the style of Nath’s Kiranic vocals. (wikipedia)

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“Raga” trumpeter Jon Hassell’s The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound utilizes the core ensemble of players previously heard on Power Spot, but with quite different results. Surgeon of the Nightsky is considerably more ambient and less rhythmically animated than its predecessor. Each of the five tracks is named after a city, a theme Hassell would further explore in the subsequent City: Works of Fiction. The tracks of Surgeon of the Nightsky melt seamlessly into one another, forming an unbroken arc that spans the entire album. The opening “Ravinia/Vancouver” is a two-part form. “Ravinia” opens with a grooving bassline and hovering, synthesized strings. From his harmonized trumpet, Hassell conjures shapely melodies that gradually return transformed as loops, creating a polyrhythmic grid that elicits his further melodic commentary. “Ravinia” dissolves almost imperceptibly into “Vancouver,” which is based on a recurring, 22-beat rhythmic cycle in the electronic percussion and a two-chord bass drone.

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With the strings still floating in the background, Hassell’s harmonized trumpet reshapes melodic fragments from “Ravinia.” Serenity prevails as “Vancouver gently trails away. For Hassell, a unique European ambience flavors the relatively brief “Paris I.” Detached percussion patterns never fully coalesce, cloudy synthesizer tones drift past as the bassline from “Ravinia” emerges and then disappears. Throughout, a collage of synthesizers veils Hassell’s intermittent trumpeting. Hassell’s horn resounds in “Hamburg”; trumpet choirs and pulsing bass and percussion lure his echo-laden melodies out of hiding. “Brussels” revisits themes from “Charm (Over ‘Burundi Cloud’),” one of Hassell’s most compelling recordings. “Brussels” hints at the sparse, haunting beauty of “Charm,” but is burdened by the overabundant synthesizers.

The Swamp (Melissa Miller, 1983):
The Swamp (Melissa Miller, 1983)

“Paris II” opens with Hassell’s remarkably flute-like sound swirling in long delay lines. Quotes from his “Chor Moiré” ripple across the luminous pastel surfaces. Hassell’s patient, breathy vocalisms bring the album to a quiet closing. Steeped in an ethereal cool, Surgeon of the Nightsky reflects Hassell’s unique brand of minimalism. Rarely does the ensemble reach the intensity level of “Charm” or Power Spot; perhaps that is the point. The minimal textures and timbres are generally lucid and effective, but have a static sameness that can enthrall or unnerve. One wonders if a more compelling ensemble interaction — perhaps with an acoustic string section and indigenous percussion — could have lifted this material to even greater heights. (by Mark Kirschenmann)


Michael Brook (guitar)
J.A. Deane (percussion)
Jon Hassell (trumpet, keyboards)
Jean-Philippe Rykiel (synthesizer)
Richard Horowitz (synthesizer on 01.)

Jon Hassell07Tracklist:
01. Ravinia / Vancouver 20.49
02. Paris I 5.43
03. Hamburg 7.03
04. Brussels 10.50
05. Paris II 8.40

Music composed by Jon Hassell



More from Jon Hassell:

PRESS STATEMENT from Jon Hassell’s Family, July 26, 2021:

Our beloved Jon M. Hassell – iconic trumpet player, author, and composer – has passed away at the age of 84 years on June 26th 2021. After a little more than a year of fighting through health complications, Jon died peacefully in the early morning hours of natural causes. His final days were surrounded by family and loved ones who celebrated with him the lifetime of contributions he gave to this world– personally and professionally. He cherished life and leaving this world was a struggle as there was much more he wished to share in music, philosophy, and writing.
It was his great joy to be able to compose and produce music until the end. We thank all those who contributed to ensuring that he was able to continue expressing his ideas through his final days and maintain a quality end of life.
Jon Hassell was able to leave behind many gifts. We are excited and committed to sharing those ongoing with his fans across time and support his enduring legacy. All donations to Jon Hassell’s GoFundMe will allow the tremendous personal archive of his music, much unreleased, to be preserved and shared with the world for years to come. We also hope to provide philanthropic gifts of scholarship and contributions to issues close to Jon’s heart, like supporting the working rights of musicians.
As Jon is now free of a constricting body, he is liberated to be in his musical soul and will continue to play in the Fourth World. We hope you find solace in his words and dreams for this earthly place he now leaves behind. We hold him, and you, in this loss and grief.

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Júníus Meyvant – Floating Harmonies (2016)

FrontCover1Júníus Meyvant is the stage name and musical project of Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson, an Icelandic singer-songwriter.

NPR Music described his style as “soul-stirring melodies from way up north” in discussing his 2014 single, “Color Decay.” That year, KEXP-FM, a Seattle radio station, named the single a song of the day.

Meyvant performs internationally, playing his first New York City show in 2017. He also performed at Bumbershoot 2017, a Seattle music festival.

He released his Floating Harmonies album through Record Records, an Icelandic label. The art on the cover is his own work.

At the 2015 Icelandic Music Awards, Meyvant won Newcomer of the Year and Best Single of the Year for “Color Decay”. He won Best Pop Album of the Year in the 2017 Icelandic Music Awards for Floating Harmonies. (wikipedia)

Júníus Meyvant

Junius Meyvant was born on the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland. As a young boy he was an eccentric to a small degree and he only loved two things; skateboarding and painting. Every now and then he asked the Muses if he should learn to play an instrument but his wild and free behavior terminated his dreams as he was quickly suspended out of music school. All through his teens he rambled on without even considering becoming a musician or even playing an instrument. But in his early twenties he stumbled upon a beat up guitar at his parents’ house and started noodling around. By playing the guitar he managed to tame his inner beast and his sense for songs and melodies burst like rockets. 2014 saw the release and success of his debut single, “Color Decay”.

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The single caused quite a stir in his homeland, peaking at #1 on National Radio 2 for a few weeks and caught the ears of KEXP’s Programming Director Kevin Cole who picked it as the song of the year. In 2015 Junius’ finally released his first physical release, a self-titled and praised EP. Denmark’s premier music magazine Gaffa said: “generously melodic material and extraordinary soulful and pleasant listening”. His sound is a rich and afflicted take on freaky folk pop with a familiar and soulful feel. Junius was the star of the Iceland Music Awards (I.M.A.) in the year 2015 as he won the award for the Best Song and as the Best Newcomer. In 2016 he received two nominations at the I.M.A., for best male singer and best song. (Press release)

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And here´s his first album:

This is an incredible album that I have played over and over in recent months and is playing right now in the kitchen as I write this. Unfortunately, I feel it hasn’t gained popularity in North America because he is an Icelandic artist and has been dismissed as someone that would sound foreign to American ears. However, that is NOT the case here. In fact, it’s the opposite, as he sounds more AMERICAN than anyone from Iceland, and would probably sound more foreign to Icelanders.

To be specific, the music here is drenched in old school 60’s/70’s American soul/R&B and would fit perfectly among a collection with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, etc. The guitar playing, the horns, the organ sound…everything is spot on with the genre as it was played decades ago and it’s obvious that Junius has a deep appreciation for how it should sound.


Just listen to songs like Color Decay, Neon Experience, Hailslide & Mr. Minister Great (bonus track) & it’s almost like you’re at a Stax session from a generation ago. If you like old soul and R&B before it became the crap that it is today then you WILL enjoy this. Forget where it was recorded and just let your ears soak in the awesome melodies. Highly recommended!!

I also recommend checking out a concert he did for KEXP in 2015 that is posted on Youtube. Fantastic!! (by Hipcat)


Arni Magnusson (bass)
Gudmundur Oskar Sigurmundsson (keyboards)
Olafur Rúnar Sigurmundsson (keyboards)
Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson (vocals, guitar)
Kristofer Rodriugez Svönuson (drums, percussion)
Daði Birgisson (organ on 01. + 04.)
Sigurmundur Gísli Einarsson (guitar on 05.)
Ómar Guðjónsson (guitar, piano on 02.)
Andri Ólafsson  (organ on 12.)
Einar Sigurmundsson (guitar on 05.)
brass section:
Óskar Guðjónsson (saxophone on 01., 03., 04. + 07.)
Kjartan Hákonarson (trumpet on 01., 02., 04., 06. + 07.)
Ari Bragi Kárason (trumpet on 02., 03. + 06.)
Bergur Þórisson (trombone on 02., 06. + 08.)
Samúel Jón Samúelsson (trombone on 01. – 04., 06 – 08.) 
Steinar Sigurðarson (saxophone on 02. + 06.)
string section:
Hildur Ársælsdóttir (violin on 02., 03., 06., 08. + 09.)
Þórarinn Már Baldursson (viola on 01., 02., 04., 06. – 10.)
Helga Þóra Björgvinsdóttir (violin on 01., 03. 04., 07, + 10.)
Sigurður Bjarki Gunnarsson (cello on 01., 04., 07. + 10.)
Kristin Þóra Haraldsdóttir (violin on 03.)
Laufey Jensdóttir (violin on 01., 02., 04., 06. – 10.)
Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir (cello on 03.)
Júlía Mogensen (cello on 02., 06., 08. + 09.)
Þórdís Björt Sigþórsdóttir (violin on 03.)
background vocals on 12.:
Andri Egilsson – Andri Ólafsson – Steingrímur Karl Teague –  Örn Ýmir Arason


01. Be A Man 2.44
02. Beat Silent Need 3.42
03. Color Decay 4.25
04. Neon Experience 6.08
05. Domestic Grace Man 3.54
06. Hailslide 3.44
07. Mighty Backbone 2.57
08. Gold Laces 3.41
09. Signals 4.01
10. Manos 7.00
11. Pearl In Sandbox 6.43
12. Floating Harmonies 4.04

All songs written by Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson



The Júníus Meyvant website:

Laura Nyro – Live In San Francisco (1994)

FrontCover1Laura Nyro (born Laura Nigro; October 18, 1947 – April 8, 1997) was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist. She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968) and New York Tendaberry (1969), and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. Her style was a hybrid of Brill Building-style New York pop, jazz, rhythm and blues, show tunes, rock, and soul. She was praised for her strong emotive vocal style and 3-octave mezzo-soprano vocal range.

Between 1968 and 1970, a number of artists had hits with her songs: The 5th Dimension with “Blowing Away”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, and “Save the Country”; Blood, Sweat & Tears and Peter, Paul and Mary, with “And When I Die”; Three Dog Night and Maynard Ferguson, with “Eli’s Comin'”; and Barbra Streisand with “Stoney End”, “Time and Love”, and “Hands off the Man (Flim Flam Man)”. Nyro’s best-selling single was her recording of Carole King’s and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof”.

Nyro was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.


In late 1996, Nyro, like her mother, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After the diagnosis, Columbia Records, with Nyro’s involvement, prepared a two-CD retrospective of material from her years at the label. She lived to see the release of Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro in 1997.

She died of ovarian cancer in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 8, 1997, at 49, the same age at which her mother died. Her ashes were scattered beneath a maple tree on the grounds of her house in Danbury. (wikipedia)


And here´s a very intimate concert with a lot of her great songs …  taken from the Teddy Ballgame Archive.

Thanks immensely for this. Much love justifiably given Joni Mitchell for the 50th anniversary of Blue, but Laura’s albums Eli & The 13th Confession and New York Tenderberry were in just as many young women’s college dorm rooms in the late 1960s-early 70s and also deserve reconsideration. Both women’s careers intersected with David Geffen, the worst record company shark of them all, and were considerably worse for it. (by Tony Pizza

An incandescent performer who blazed out far too soon. Always worth a listen. Thanks for this. (by Frederick Miller)

Thanks to photoleon for sharing the show at Dime.

Recorded live at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, April 28, 1994
Very good soundboard


Laura Nyro (vocals, piano)
background vocals:
Dion Sarre – Diane Crystal – Angela Clemmons


01. Applause 0.22
02. Dedicated To The One I Love 3.21
03. A Woman Of The World 4.24
04. Gardenia Talk 3.14
05. Save the Country 3.23
06. Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies) 2.50
07. Lite a Flame (The Animal Rights Song) 3.10
08. Walk The Dog & Light The Light (Song Of The Road) 2.43
09. Japanese Restaurant 4.14
10. To A Child 3.37
11. The Descent Of Luna Rosi 2.03
12. Broken Rainbow 4.20
13. And When I Die 2.48
14. The Wild World 2.42
15. Louise’s Church 2.57
16. The Wind 2.06
17. Blowin’ Away 3.22
18. Trees Of The Ages 1.07
19. Emmie 3.24
20. Encore break 1.33
21. It’s Gonna Take a Miracle 3.43
22. Let It Be Me 3.28

All songs written by Laura Nyro