Dick Dale And His Del-Tones – Summer Surf (1964)

FrontCover1Richard Anthony Monsour (May 4, 1937 – March 16, 2019), known professionally as Dick Dale, was an American rock guitarist. He was the pioneer of surf music, drawing on Middle Eastern music scales and experimenting with reverberation. Dale was known as “The King of the Surf Guitar”, which was also the title of his second studio album.

Dale was one of the most influential guitarists of all time and especially of the early 1960s. Most of the leading bands in surf music, such as The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and The Trashmen, were influenced by Dale’s music, and often included recordings of Dale’s songs in their albums. His style and music influenced guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Eddie Van Halen and Brian May.

He has been mentioned as one of the fathers of heavy metal. Many credit him with tremolo picking, a technique that is now widely used in many musical genres (such as extreme metal, folk etc.). His speedy single-note staccato picking technique was unmatched until guitarists like Eddie Van Halen entered the music scene.

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Working together with Leo Fender, Dale also pushed the limits of electric amplification technology, helping to develop new equipment that was capable of producing thick and previously unheard volumes including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. Dale also pioneered the use of portable reverb effects.

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The use of his recording of “Miserlou” by Quentin Tarantino in the film Pulp Fiction led to his return in the 1990s, marked by four albums and world tours. He also won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental for the song “Pipeline” with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In “Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, Dale was ranked 31st in 2003 and 74th in the 2011 revision. (wikipedia)

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Summer Surf is the fifth studio album of surf music by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones.[1] Dale wrote three of the tracks on the album, with Beach Boys’ session musician Steve Douglas writing another three. The rest are culled from various writers that were not necessarily writing in the classic surf style. For example, the track titled “Glory Wave,” written in the style of a spiritual, was originally written for the 1964 beach party film, Surf Party, where it was performed by Jackie DeShannon.This was the last album Dick Dale recorded with the Del-Tones due to his battle with rectal cancer, and the last album he would record until 1986. (wikipedia)

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On his fourth album for Capitol Records, 1964’s Summer Surf, Dick Dale seemed to be aiming for a glossier and more elaborate sound, and the production shows the occasional influences of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, then the reigning titans of West Coast studiocraft. With banks of vocal choruses on several tunes, additional percussion fancying up the arrangements, and no fear of horns and keyboards, Summer Surf was the most polished Dick Dale set to date, and on tunes like the Spanish guitar exercise “Spanish Kiss” and the Hebrew-flavored “The Star (Of David),” Dale’s ambitions paid off — although not exactly rock & roll, they are compelling and absorbing instrumentals that find the guitarist expanding his boundaries. Similarly, “Banzai Washout” marries Dale’s trademark guitar attack to a big studio band, and this time the concept works like a charm.

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However, for every successful experiment on Summer Surf, there are some severe miscalculations, such as the groan-inducing novelty tune “Mama’s Gone Surfin’,” the curious gospel-influenced “Glory Wave,” and Dale’s wobbly trumpet-led cover of “Never on Sunday.” (Just as significantly, these three songs make little if any room for Dale’s guitar work.) And many of the other tracks are simply dull, hardly disastrous but not much to write home about, either. Summer Surf proved to be Dale’s last studio album for Capitol, and since then he’s preferred to work with independent labels where he’s allowed to follow his own muse on his own terms, a lesson that seems especially valuable after listening to this album. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Hal Blaine (drums)
James Burton (guitar)
Jerry Cole (guitar)
Dick Dale (guitar, trumpet, vocals)
Steve Douglas (saxophone)
Steve LaFever (bass)
Gene Garf (keyboards)
Edward Hall (drums)
Plas Johnson (saxophone)
Gail Martin (trombone)
Jay Migliori (saxophone)
Earl Palmer (drums)
Emil Richards (percussion)
Leon Russell (piano)
Neil LeVang (guitar)

… and who plays the harmonica on “Feel So Good” ???

Australian Edition:
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Tracklist:
01. Summer Surf (Douglas) 2.39
02. Feel So Good (Willis) 4.25
03. Surfin’ (Leiber/Stoller) 2.40
04. Spanish Kiss (Dale) 3.07
05. The Star (Of David) (Mason) 1.48
06. Banzai Washout (Douglas) 2.19
07. Glory Wave (Haskell/Dunham) 2.05
08. Surfin’ Rebel (Douglas) 2.04
09. Never On Sunday (Towne/Hadjidakis) 2.08
10. Mama’s Gone Surfin’ (Connors/Bruce/Barri) 2.14
11. Tidal Wave (Dale) 2.04
12. Thunder Wave (Dale) 2.22
13. Who Can He Be (Salmanca) 2.22
14. Oh Marie (di Capua/Russo) 2.05

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More from Dick Dale And His Del-Tones:
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West, Bruce & Laing – Live In K-Town (1990)

FrontCover1West, Bruce & Laing (WBL) were a blues rock power trio super-group formed in 1972 by Leslie West (guitar and vocals; formerly of Mountain), Jack Bruce (bass, harp, keyboards and vocals; ex-Cream) and Corky Laing (drums and vocals; ex-Mountain). The band released two studio albums, Why Dontcha (1972) and Whatever Turns You On (1973), during their active tenure. Their disbanding was officially announced in early 1974 prior to the release of their third and last album, Live ‘n’ Kickin’.

In 2009 West and Laing briefly relaunched the band, with Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm substituting for his father on bass. This incarnation of the band toured the UK and North America under the name ‘West, Bruce Jr. and Laing’.

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The trio agreed to work together in London in January 1972 near the end of Mountain’s 1971–72 European tour supporting their album Flowers of Evil (1971), after Mountain’s bassist/vocalist/producer Felix Pappalardi announced he would leave the band at the tour’s end. (Pappalardi had, by late 1971, become addicted to heroin.) Jack Bruce knew Pappalardi well; Pappalardi had produced all but one of Cream’s albums, and occasionally also performed with them in the studio. Subsequently, as Mountain’s producer, Pappalardi would fashion his new band’s sound after that of Cream, in particular scoring a 1970 hit with a cover version of Bruce’s song “Theme for an Imaginary Western” (from Bruce’s 1969 album Songs for a Tailor, which Pappalardi produced). Bruce was thus viewed as a natural “replacement” for Pappalardi in West and Laing’s post-Mountain venture, with several record companies and management organizations expressing interest in signing the new band.

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West and Laing’s manager Bud Prager, and Bruce’s manager Robert Stigwood, jockeyed for influence with WBL, with Prager ultimately establishing the more dominant position by brokering a $1 million USD, three-album contract (over $5 million in present-day dollars) for the band with CBS/Columbia Records – a large artist signing for the day.[3] As part of the deal, Prager arranged for WBL’s records to be distributed by CBS under his and Pappalardi’s Windfall Records imprint, and for Mountain’s back catalog of albums to be reissued by CBS/Windfall. CBS Records’ head at the time, Clive Davis, would be quoted as saying that the negotiations for WBL “showed record-company competition at its fiercest.”

Mostly leveraging material from Cream’s and Mountain’s back catalogs, West, Bruce & Laing began touring almost immediately after Mountain’s disbanding, completing a 30-date North American tour even before their record deal with CBS was finalized. The band remained a hot live commodity throughout 1972; notably, a November 1972 WBL show at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall sold out 6,000 seats within four hours.

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Upon signing with CBS, WBL began work on their first album, Why Dontcha (November 1972). The album took longer than expected to complete, in part from inefficiency due to drug use by the band and their production team; upon its delivery to the label, CBS was dissatisfied with the album’s quality, and did not heavily promote it. In spite of this, however, Why Dontcha performed respectably in the marketplace, peaking at #26 on the Billboard album chart and staying on the chart for twenty weeks.

WBL continued to tour North America and Europe extensively during late 1972 and early 1973 in support of Why Dontcha. However, the band’s heavy drug use hurt their performances, and apparently at times even influenced their tour schedule. Corky Laing would later note:

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[It was] a very, very dark time. New York meant coke, England meant heroin, because that’s where the best quality was. I had this Hayman drumkit made that was going to be shipped back to the States. This heroin connection of Jack’s said that her business connections would pay me $250,000 if they could ship heroin back in the drums. They were all metal so nobody would have noticed the extra weight.

The band took a break from touring in the spring of 1973 to record a second studio album, Whatever Turns You On, in London. The sessions became contentious – they became “really nasty because of the smack” according to the album’s co-producer Andy Johns[11] – with West and Laing electing to return home to New York before mixdown was complete. The album was released in July 1973, peaking at #87 on the Billboard chart.

The Whatever Turns You On sessions would be the last time West, Bruce & Laing would work together.[12] However, news of the band’s breakup would be publicly withheld until early 1974, with the band’s posthumous live album Live ‘n’ Kickin’ released shortly thereafter. (wikipdia)

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And here´s a pretty good bootleg from their German tour in Apil 1973.

West, Bruce & Laing was one of the finest Power-Rock trios ever:

Maybe THE most underappreciated 70’s supergroups, along w Beck Bogert & Appice. Just amazing talents.

Alternate CD:
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Listen and you´ll know why !

Recorded live at the Landwirtschaftshalle, Kaiserslauten, Germany, April 14th, 1973
excellent audience recording

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Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Corky Laing (drums)
Leslie West (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Don’t Look Around (Pappalardi/Collins/West/Palmer) 6.44
02. Pleasure (West/Bruce/Brown/Laing) 5.25
03. Why Dontcha (West/Bruce/Laing) 8.43
04. Third Degree (Boyd) 7.44
05. Mississippi Queen (cuts) (West/Laing/Pappalardi/Rea) 2.23
06. Guitar Solo / Roll Over Beethoven /Guitar Solo (West/Berry) 5.39
07. Love Is Worth The Blues (West/Bruce/Laing) 14.50
08. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 5.30
09. Sunshine of Your Love (fades) (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 3.58

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One day before their Kaiserslautern gig they played in Munich … I was there …:
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More from West, Bruce & Laing:
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Jack Bruce
(14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014)

Leslie West
(October 22, 1945 – December 23, 2020)

Ed Thigpen – Out Of The Storm (1966)

FrontCover1Edmund Leonard Thigpen (December 28, 1930 – January 13, 2010) was an American jazz drummer, best known for his work with the Oscar Peterson trio from 1959 to 1965. Thigpen also performed with the Billy Taylor trio from 1956 to 1959.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Thigpen was raised in Los Angeles and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon and Chico Hamilton also attended. After majoring in sociology at Los Angeles City College, Thigpen returned to East St. Louis for one year to pursue music while living with his father who had been playing with Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy. His father, Ben Thigpen, was a drummer who played with Andy Kirk for sixteen years during the 1930s and 1940s.

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Thigpen first worked professionally in New York City with the Cootie Williams orchestra from 1951 to 1952 at the Savoy Ballroom. During this time he played with musicians such as Dinah Washington, Gil Mellé, Oscar Pettiford, Eddie Vinson, Paul Quinichette, Ernie Wilkins, Charlie Rouse, Lennie Tristano, Jutta Hipp, Johnny Hodges, Dorothy Ashby, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor.

In 1959 he replaced guitarist Herb Ellis in the Oscar Peterson Trio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1961 he recorded in Los Angeles, featuring on the Teddy Edwards–Howard McGhee Quintet album entitled Together Again for the Contemporary label with Phineas Newborn Jr. and Ray Brown. After leaving Peterson, Thigpen recorded the album Out of the Storm as a leader for Verve in 1966. He then went on to tour with Ella Fitzgerald from 1967 to 1972.

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In 1974 Thigpen moved to Copenhagen, joining several other American jazz musicians who had settled in that city over the previous two decades. There he worked with fellow American expatriates, including Kenny Drew, Ernie Wilkins, Thad Jones, as well as leading Danish jazz musicians such as Svend Asmussen, Mads Vinding, Alex Riel and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. He also played with a variety of other leading musicians of the time, such as Clark Terry, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Milt Jackson and Monty Alexander.

Thigpen died peacefully after a brief period in Hvidovre Hospital in Copenhagen on January 13, 2010. He had been hospitalized for heart and lung problems and was also suffering from Parkinson’s. He is buried at Vestre Kirkegård.

Thigpen was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2002. (wikipedia)

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Out of the Storm is the debut album led by American drummer Ed Thigpen recorded in 1966 for the Verve label.

Drummer Ed Thigpen’s first album as a leader (recorded a year after he left the Oscar Peterson Trio) was reissued as a CD in 1998. Although not soloing much, Thigpen wrote three of the seven selections and occasionally played tuned drums, which sound a little bit like timbales. In addition to the leader, the main star is Clark Terry (on flugelhorn and trumpet), who plays quite freely on two numbers utilizing only a trumpet mouthpiece in spots. Guitarist Kenny Burrell gets in a few good solos and is showcased on “Struttin’ With Some Barbeque” while bassist Ron Carter and pianist Herbie Hancock also make strong contributions. Unfortunately, there are only 32 minutes of music on this CD (which is highlighted by “Cielito Lindo”), so ( its brevity keeps it from being too essential, but the performances are enjoyable. (by Scott Yanow)

What a line-up !

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Personnel:
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Ron Carter (bass)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals on 06.)
Ed Thigpen (drums, vocalson 06.)

Tracklist:
01. Cielito Lindo (Fernandez) 4.43
02. Cloud Break (Up Blues) (Thigpen) 1.16
03. Out Of The Storm (Thigpen) 7.30
04. Theme From “Harper” (Mandel) 2.42
05. Elbow And Mouth (Burrell) 6.17
06. Heritage (Thigpen) 5.18
07. Struttin’ With Some Barbecue (Armstrong/Raye) 4.22

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Washboard Sam – Washboard Sam 1936-1947 (2000)

FrontCover1Robert Clifford Brown (July 15, 1910 – November 6, 1966), known professionally as Washboard Sam, was an American blues musician and singer.

Brown’s date and place of birth are uncertain; many sources state that he was born in 1910 in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, but the researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc suggest that he was born in 1903 or 1904, in Jackson, Tennessee, on the basis of Social Security information. He was reputedly the half-brother of Big Bill Broonzy. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1920s, performing as a street musician with Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon. He moved to Chicago in 1932, performing regularly with Broonzy and other musicians, including Memphis Slim and Tampa Red, in many recording sessions for Lester Melrose of Bluebird Records.

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In 1935, he began recording in his own right for both Bluebird and Vocalion Records, becoming one of the most popular Chicago blues performers of the late 1930s and 1940s, selling numerous records and playing to packed audiences. He recorded over 160 tracks in those decades. His strong voice and songwriting talent overcame his stylistic limitations.

By the 1950s, his audience had begun to shrink, largely because he had difficulty adapting to the new electric blues. His final recording session, for RCA Victor, was in 1949. He retired from music for several years and became a Chicago police officer. He recorded a session in 1953 with Broonzy and Memphis Slim. Samuel Charters included Brown’s “I’ve Been Treated Wrong” on the compilation album The Country Blues for Folkways Records in 1959. Brown made a modest and short-lived comeback as a live performer in the early 1960s.

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He died of heart disease in Chicago, in November 1966, and was buried in an unmarked grave at the Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery, in Homewood, Illinois.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Washboard Sam among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

A concert organized by the executive producer Steve Salter, of the Killer Blues organization,[9] was held on September 18, 2009, at the Howmet Playhouse Theater,[10] in Whitehall, Michigan, to raise monies for a headstone for Washboard Sam’s grave. The show was a success, and a headstone was placed in October 2009. The concert was recorded by Vinyl Wall Productions and filmed for television broadcast in the central Michigan area by a television crew from Central Michigan University. It featured musical artists such as Washboard Jo and R.B. and Co. and was headlined by the Big House Blues Band. (wikipedia)

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And here´a a pretty good sampler (from Austria !) with the early songs from Washboard Sam … and you hear the roots of th urban blues … 

In the Sixties white boys discover this music again and the rest is history … 

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Personnel:
Joshua Altheimer (piano)
Leroy Bachelor (bass)
Buster Bennett (saxophone)
Black Bob (piano)
Big Bill Broonzy (guitar)
J.T. Brown (saxophone)
Robert ‘Washboard Sam’ Brown (vocals, washboard)
Blind John Davis (piano)
Willie Dixon (bass)
Ransom Knowling (bass)
Josephine Kyles (vocals)
John Lindsay (bass)
Horace Malcolm (piano)
Herb Morand (trumpet)
Arnett Nelson (clarinet)
Frank Owens (saxophone)
Bill Settles (bass)
Memphis Slim (piano)
Roosevelt Sykes (piano)

BookletBackCover1Tracklist:
01. I’m A Prowlin’ Groundhog (1936) 3.30
02. Mixed Up Blues (1936) 3.13
03. The Big Boat (1937) 3.01
04. Yellow, Black And Brown (1938) 2.49
05. Jumpin’ Rooster (1938) 2.51
06. Walkin’ In My Sleep (1938) 2.54
07. Washboard Swing (1938) 3.04
08. Good Old Easy Street (1939) 2.58
09. I Believe I’ll Make A Change (1939) 2.50
10. That Will Get It (1939) 3.09
11. Don’t Fool With Me (1939) 2.51
12. Jersey Cow Blues (1939) 2.43
13. So Early In The Morning (1939) 3.08
14. Digging My Potatoes – No. 2 (1940) 3.07
15. Morning Dove Blues (1940) 2.31
16. Dissatisfied Blues (1940) 3.03
17. Good Luck Blues (1940) 2.08
18. Ain’t You Comin’ Out Tonight (1941) 2.40
19. River Hip Mama (1942) 2.41
20. Don’t Have To Sing The Blues (1942) 2.56
21. You Can’t Have None Of That (1947)3.23

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ZZ Top – El Loco (1981)

FrontCover1ZZ Top call themselves “that little ol’ band from Texas,” a deceptively clever designation that explains everything about the trio while underselling their deep idiosyncrasies. At their core, the trio of Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill were a down-and-dirty blues band from Houston, cranking out greasy rockers and slyly sleazy boogies about “Tush,” a “Pearl Necklace,” and “Legs.” Despite their deep roots in American rock & roll and blues, ZZ Top were the furthest thing from purists. During their hot streak — which ran all the way from the mid-’70s through the mid-’80s –- there wasn’t a fad they didn’t exploit, twisting new wave, synthesized dance-rock, and music videos for their own purposes. Throughout it all, they wrapped all their hooks and riffs up in a smile disguised by bushy beards and flashy showmanship that not only earned the group a massive audience, but endured well into the 21st century, when they were surrounded by disciples and acolytes, proof that they were a beloved American musical institution.

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El Loco is the seventh studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top, released in 1981. The title means “The Crazy One” in Spanish. The band’s guitarist/singer Billy Gibbons has said that the recording of this album was the first time the three members of the band were isolated from one another in the studio, rather than recording simultaneously in the same room. It also foreshadowed ZZ Top’s synthesizer-driven direction later in the decade, with early experimentations in synthesizer backing on certain tracks.

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El Loco was produced by Bill Ham and recorded and originally mixed by Terry Manning. The biographer David Blayney explains in his book Sharp Dressed Men that the recording engineer Linden Hudson was involved as a pre-producer on this album.[5] Hudson did not receive credit for engineering the tracks on “Groovy Little Hippie Pad” which were used on the final album mix. In 1987, most of the band’s back catalog received a controversial “digitally enhanced” remix treatment for CD release; however, El Loco did not receive this remix treatment and the original mix of the album has been available on CD since 1987.

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On June 3, 2013, Gibbons told Joe Bosso of MusicRadar.com that the album was “a really interesting turning point”, explaining that the band had “befriended somebody who would become an influential associate, a guy named Linden Hudson. He was a gifted songwriter and had production skills that were leading the pack at times. He brought some elements to the forefront that helped reshape what ZZ Top were doing, starting in the studio and eventually to the live stage. [He] had no fear and was eager to experiment in ways that would frighten most bands. But we followed suit, and the synthesizers started to show up on record. Manufacturers were looking for ways to stimulate sales, and these instruments started appearing on the market. One of our favorite tracks was “Groovy Little Hippie Pad”. Right at the very opening, there it is – the heavy sound of a synthesizer. For us, there was no turning back.”[6] Gibbons would later cite seeing a Devo soundcheck in Houston as inspiring the synthesizer line on “Groovy Little Hippie Pad.” (wikipedia)

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El Loco follows through on the streamlined, jet-engine boogie rock of Degüello, but kicking all the ingredients up a notch. That means that the grooves are getting a little slicker, while the jokes are getting a little sillier, a little raunchier. The double entendres on “Tube Snake Boogie” and “Pearl Necklace” are barely disguised, while much of the record plays as flat-out goofy party rock. Not necessarily a bad thing, but much of it is a little too obvious to be totally winning. Still, the most telling thing about El Loco may be the rhythm of “Pearl Necklace,” its biggest single and best song, which clearly points the way to the new wave blues-rock of Eliminator. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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If you thought Deguello was slick, you haven’t heard El Loco. The music is fast, sleazy, and full of what would be the sound of ZZ Top in the 80s. It has a pace you have to listen closely to just to keep up. It’s a record of energy, full of the cleverest lyrics the band had come up with to date. Most importantly, it furthers the direction ZZ Top had taken with Deguello and would carry through to the early 90s. Key tracks are Tube Snake Boogie, Leila, and Pearl Necklace. (Heath Bartlett)

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Personnel:
Frank Beard (drums, percussion)
Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals)
Dusty Hill (bass, vocals on 05. + 10.)

InletsTracklist:
01. Tube Snake Boogie 3.03
02. I Wanna Drive You Home 4.44
03. Ten Foot Pole 4.18
04. Leila 3.11
05. Don’t Tease Me 4.18
06. It’s So Hard 5.11
07. Pearl Necklace 4.05
08. Groovy Little Hippie Pad 2.41
09. Heaven, Hell Or Houston 2.31
10. Party On The Patio 2.48

All songs written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

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More from ZZ Top:
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Goodbye

Yes – The Yes Album (1971)

FrontCover1Yes are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history; nineteen musicians have been full-time members. Since June 2015, it has consisted of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison and bassist Billy Sherwood. Yes have explored several musical styles over the years, and are most notably regarded as progressive rock pioneers.

Yes began performing original songs and rearranged covers of rock, pop, blues and jazz songs, as evident on their first two albums. A change of direction in 1970 led to a series of successful progressive rock albums until their disbanding in 1980, their most successful being The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972). Yes toured as a major rock act that earned the band a reputation for their elaborate stage sets, light displays, and album covers designed by Roger Dean. The success of “Roundabout”, the single from Fragile, cemented their popularity across the decade and beyond.

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In 1983 Yes reformed with a new line-up that included Trevor Rabin and a more commercial and pop-oriented musical direction. The result was 90125 (1983), their highest-selling album, which contained the U.S. number-one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. From 1991 to 1992, Yes were an eight-member formation after they merged with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe for Union (1991) and its tour. Since 1994, Yes have released albums with varied levels of success and completed tours from 1994 to 2004. After a four-year hiatus, they resumed touring in 2008 and continue to release albums; their most recent is the upcoming album The Quest (2021). From 2016 to 2018, a new group of former Yes members began touring and named themselves Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman.

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Yes are one of the most successful, influential, and longest-lasting progressive rock bands. They have sold 13.5 million RIAA-certified albums in the US.[3] In 1985, they won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance with “Cinema”, and received five Grammy nominations between 1985 and 1992. They were ranked No. 94 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.[4] Yes have headlined annual progressive rock-themed cruises since 2013 named Cruise to the Edge. Their discography spans 21 studio albums. In April 2017, Yes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which chose to induct current and former members Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Kaye, Howe, Wakeman, White and Rabin.

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The Yes Album is the third studio album by English progressive rock band Yes, released on 19 February 1971 by Atlantic Records.[3] It was the band’s first album to feature guitarist Steve Howe, who replaced Peter Banks in 1970, as well as their last to feature keyboardist Tony Kaye until 1983’s 90125.

The album was the first by the band not to feature any cover versions of songs. The band spent mid-1970 writing and rehearsing new material at a farmhouse at Romansleigh, Devon, and the new songs were recorded at Advision Studios in London in the autumn. While the album retained close harmony singing, Kaye’s Hammond organ, and Chris Squire’s melodic bass, as heard on earlier releases, the new material also covered further styles including jazz piano, funk, and acoustic music. All of the band members contributed ideas, and tracks were extended in length to allow music to develop. Howe contributed a variety of guitar styles, including a Portuguese guitar, and recorded the solo acoustic guitar piece “Clap”, live at the Lyceum Theatre, London.

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The album was a critical success and a major commercial breakthrough for Yes, who had been at risk of being dropped by Atlantic due to the commercial failures of their first two albums. It reached number 4 in the United Kingdom and number 40 in the United States, and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for surpassing one million copies. The album has been reissued on CD several times, and was given a Blu-ray release in 2014 remixed by Steven Wilson.

Yes had already recorded two albums for Atlantic Records by mid-1970, but neither had been commercially successful and the label was considering dropping them. They had replaced founding member Banks with Howe, who enjoyed playing a wider variety of styles, including folk and country music, and played a mix of electric and acoustic guitars. Singer Jon Anderson later said that Howe could “jump from one thing to the other, very fast, very talented.” After some warm-up gigs with Howe, the band moved to Devon to write and rehearse new material. They arrived at a cottage in Churchill, north of Barnstaple, but the group felt restricted there and were not allowed to make any noise after dark. They advertised in the local paper for a new location, and moved to Langley Farm in Romansleigh, near South Molton, some 20 miles away. Howe in particular enjoyed working on the farm, and eventually bought it.[ Following rehearsals, the band booked Advision Studios in London with producer Eddie Offord and spent the autumn recording. The band enjoyed the sessions, and soon had enough material ready for an album.

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On 23 November 1970, the group were involved in a head-on vehicle collision at Basingstoke, while returning from the previous evening’s gig at the Plymouth Guildhall.[13] The band all suffered shock, and Kaye’s foot was fractured. He had to do the next few gigs, and the album cover’s photo shoot, with it in plaster.

Howe mostly used a Gibson ES-175 semi-acoustic guitar and a Martin 00-18 acoustic for recording, though he did attempt to play a variety of styles with the two instruments. Kaye’s main instruments were the Hammond organ and piano, including a solo on “A Venture”. Kaye had previously played the Hammond M-100, but for this album used the B-3, a move which he saw as “a turning point”.He was not interested in playing synthesizers, which had started to appear on the market. This proved to be a problem with the other members of the band, and Kaye thought his style conflicted too much with Howe’s. He left the group during rehearsals for the follow-up album in mid-1971, to be replaced by Rick Wakeman. (wikipedia)

Tony Kaye

On Yes’ first two albums, Yes (1969) and Time and a Word (1970), the quintet was mostly searching for a sound on which they could build, losing one of their original members — guitarist Peter Banks — in the process. Their third time out proved the charm — The Yes Album constituted a de facto second debut, introducing the sound that would carry them forward across the next decade or more. Gone are any covers of outside material, the group now working off of its own music from the ground up. A lot of the new material was actually simpler — in linear structure, at least — than some of what had appeared on their previous albums, but the internal dynamics of their playing had also altered radically, and much of the empty space that had been present in their earlier recordings was also filled up here — suddenly, between new member Steve Howe’s odd mix of country- and folk-based progressive guitar and the suddenly liberated bass work and drumming of Chris Squire and Bill Bruford, respectively, the group’s music became extremely busy.

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And lead singer Jon Anderson, supported by Squire and Howe, filled whatever was left almost to overflowing. Anderson’s soaring falsetto and the accompanying harmonies, attached to haunting melodies drawn from folk tunes as often as rock, applied to words seemingly derived from science fiction, and all delivered with the bravura of an operatic performance — by the band as well as the singer — proved a compelling mix. What’s more, despite the busy-ness of their new sound, the group wasn’t afraid to prove that less could sometimes be more: three of the high points were the acoustic-driven “Your Move” and “The Clap” (a superb showcase for Howe on solo acoustic guitar), and the relatively low-key “A Venture” (oddly enough, the latter was the one cut here that didn’t last in the group’s repertory; most of the rest, despite the competition from their subsequent work, remained in their concert set for years to come).

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The Yes Album did what it had to do, outselling the group’s first two long-players and making the group an established presence in America where, for the first time, they began getting regular exposure on FM radio. Sad to say, the only aspect of The Yes Album that didn’t last much longer was Tony Kaye on keyboards: his Hammond organ holds its own in the group’s newly energized sound, and is augmented by piano and other instruments when needed, but he resisted the idea of adding the Moog synthesizer, that hot instrument of the moment, to his repertory. The band was looking for a bolder sound than the Hammond could generate, and after some initial rehearsals of material that ended up on their next album, he was dropped from the lineup, to be replaced by Rick Wakeman. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
John Anderson (vocals, percussion)
Bill Bruford (drums, percussion)
Steve Howe (guitar, vachalia, vocals)
Tony Kaye (keyboards, synthesizer)
Chris Squire (bass, vocals)

BookletTracklist:
01: Yours Is No Disgrace (Anderson/Squire/Howe/Kaye/Bruford) 9.41
02. Clap (Howe) 3.17
03. Starship Trooper (Anderson/Squire/Howe) 9.26
03.1. Life Seeker 
03.2. Disillusion
03.3. Würm
04. I’ve Seen All Good People (Anderson/Squire) 6.57
04.1. Your Move
04.2. All Good People
05. A Venture (Anderson) 3.19
06. Perpetual Change (Anderson/Squire) 8.50

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Stanley Clarke – Live 1976 – 1977 (1991)

FrontCover1Stanley Clarke (born June 30, 1951) is an American bassist, film composer and founding member of Return to Forever, one of the first jazz fusion bands. Clarke gave the bass guitar a prominence it lacked in jazz-related music. He is the first jazz-fusion bassist to headline tours, sell out shows worldwide and have recordings reach gold status.

Clarke is a 5-time Grammy winner, with 15 nominations, 3 as a solo artist, 1 with the Stanley Clarke Band, and 1 with Return to Forever.

A Stanley Clarke electric bass is permanently on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Live 1976–1977 is the sixth album of the bassist Stanley Clarke. This is also his first live album. (wikipedia)

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After giving Clarke’s fans a taste of some live tapes of the School Days band on I Wanna Play for You, Epic waited until 1991 to put another batch of them out, well after it would have been commercially feasible to do so. But no matter, for this CD captures one of Clarke’s best electric bands — maybe his best band, period — in a number of gigs in the U.S. and U.K., mixing up the jazz, funk, and rock into a high-energy, musically literate brew. A lot of this album recycles then-existing material, but the live conditions add flashes of spontaneity and sometimes considerable interest to jazz fans.

Live

Along with the core of Raymond Gomez (guitar), Peter Robinson or David Sancious (keyboards), and Gerry Brown (drums), Clarke used a four-piece horn section to which he gives sophisticated voicings, several solos, and on “The Magician,” quasi-Baroque turns. There is a thinly stretched (at times) acoustic cat-and-mouse dialogue between Clarke and Sancious on “Bass Folk Song No. 3,” plus, in a departure from the format, an Indian-flavored studio outtake of “Desert Song” (with John McLaughlin) from the School Days sessions. (by Richard S. Ginell)

And “Bass Folk Song No. 3” (feat. David Sancious on piano) is of course his sensational masterpiece !

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Personnel:
Gerry Brown (drums)
Stanley Clarke (bass)
Raymond Gomez (guitar)
Al Harrison (trumpet, flugelhorn, whistle)
James Tinsley (trumpet, flugelhorn)
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Al Harrison (flugelhorn on 03., trumpet, whistle on 07.)
Darryl Munyungo Jackson (percussion on 08.)
Bob Malach (saxophone on 01. – 05., flute on 03.)
John McLaughlin (guitar on 08.)
Peter Robinson (bass on 01., 03. + 04., keyboards, synthesizer on 02. + 05.)
David Sancious (keyboards, synthesizer on 07. + 09., piano on 06.)
Alfie Williams (saxophone on 01., 04. – 05., flute on 03.)

Booklet01+02

Tracklist:
01. School Days 7.01
02. Lopsy Lu 7.26
03. Quiet Afternoon 6.51
04. Silly Putty 5.38
05. Dayride 7.04
06. Bass Folk Song No. 3 13.41
07. The Magician 5.56
08. Desert Song 7.29
09. Vulcan Princess 3.23

Music composed by Stanley Clarke

Tracks 1-4 recorded at the Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, California, September 1977
Track 5 recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London, June 1977
Tracks 6, 7, 9 recorded at Arlington Theater, Santa Barbara, California, December 1976
Track 8 recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York City, June 1976

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Maurice André – Joyride II (1977)

USFrontCover1Maurice André (21 May 1933 – 25 February 2012) was a French trumpeter, active in the classical music field.

He was professor of trumpet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he introduced the teaching of the piccolo trumpet including the Baroque repertoire on trumpet. André has inspired many innovations on his instrument and he contributed to the popularization of the trumpet.

André was born in Alès in the Cévennes, into a mining family. His father was an amateur musician; André studied trumpet with a friend of his father, who suggested that André be sent to the conservatory. In order to gain free admission to the conservatory, he joined a military band. After only six months at the conservatory, he won his first prize.

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At the conservatory, André’s professor, Raymond Sabarich, reprimanded him for not having worked hard enough and told him to return when he could excel in his playing. A few weeks later, he returned to play all fourteen etudes found in the back of Arban’s book to a very high standard. Sabarich later said that “it was then that Maurice Andre became Maurice Andre.”[1] Maurice André won the Geneva International Music Competition in 1955, together with Theo Mertens, and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1963. He was made an honorary member of the Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Ithaca College in New York in 1970.

André rose to international prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with a series of recordings of baroque works on piccolo trumpet for Erato and other labels. He also performed many transcriptions of works for oboe, flute, and even voice and string instruments. André had over 300 audio recordings to his name, from the mid-1950s to his death.

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André had three children: Lionel (1959-1988), trumpeter and music teacher; Nicolas, who plays the trumpet; and Béatrice, who plays the oboe. All three performed with their father in concert. He also made several recordings with his brother Raymond (b. 1941).

One of André’s students, Guy Touvron, wrote a biography entitled Maurice André: Une trompette pour la renommée (Maurice André: A Trumpet for Fame), which was published in 2003.

André spent the last few years of his life in retirement in southern France. He died at the age of 78 in a hospital in Bayonne on 25 February 2012. He is buried in the cemetery of the village of Saint-André-Capcèze (in the Lozère). (wikipedia)

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And here is a very special Maurice André LP (recorded in 1971) from my point of view:

On the one hand, these recordings were made in the small quartet formation (and not with a large orchestra: see his recordings with Herbert von Karajan) and, on the other hand, he had an accomplished jazz bassist on board: Guy Pederson. And his contributions are of particular quality … best to be heard in “Fugatissimo” a wonderful duet (trumpet and bass).

Guy Pedersen

Incidentally, Guy Pedersen also played with the following musicians and formations:

Baden Powell & Trio, Lionel Hampton And His French New Sound, Michel Legrand, Quincy Jones and Stéphane Grappelli.

And it is well known that Maurice André was a master at the trumpet.

The musical director for these recordings was Jean-Michel Defaye (* 1932 in Saint-Mandé, France), a French film composer. He is known in France for the musical arrangements of the Léo Ferré album between 1960 and 1970.

Jean-Michel Defaye

And here he impressively showed that he could do a lot more! Several compositions and arrangements come from him.

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Personnel:
Maurice André (trumpet)
Guy Pederson (bass)
Jean-Marc Pulfer (organ)
Gus Wallez (drums)

The German edition from 1971, called “Trompettissimo”:
German Edition

Tracklist:
01. Allegro (Brandenburg Concerto No. 3) (Bach) 2.09
02. Adieu à Venise (Marcello) 4.10
03. Allamandè (Corelli) 2.26
04. Mélancolia (Defaye) 2.26
05. Sur Un Air De Bach (Defaye) 2.04
06. Allegro (Händel) 2.36
07. Aria (From Cantata No. 33) (Bach) 2.16
08. Fugatissimo (Defaye) 2.20
09. Aria (From “Water Music” Suite) (Händel) 2.40
10. Finale (Marcello) 2.51
11. Concerto Grosso (Händel) 2.41
12. Bourrée (Händel) 2.35
13. Mélodie (Cimarosa) 2.54
14. Sur Un Air De Corelli (Defaye) 2.28

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Caravan – Better By Far (1977)

FrontCover1Caravan are an English rock band from the Canterbury area, founded by former Wilde Flowers members David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings, and Richard Coughlan in 1968. The band have never achieved the great commercial success that was widely predicted for them at the beginning of their career, but are nevertheless considered a key part of the Canterbury scene of progressive rock acts, blending psychedelic rock, jazz, and classical influences to create a distinctive sound.

The band were originally based in Whitstable, Kent, near Canterbury, but moved to London when briefly signed to Verve Records. After being dropped by Verve, the band signed to Decca Records, where they released their most critically acclaimed album, In the Land of Grey and Pink, in 1971. Dave Sinclair left after the album’s release and the group split up the following year. Hastings and Coughlan added new members, notably viola player Geoffrey Richardson, continuing on before splitting in 1978.

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The band reformed several times in the following decades, and Caravan still remain active as a live band in the 21st century, despite Coughlan’s death in December, 2013.

Better by Far is the eighth studio album by Canterbury scene rock band Caravan. (wikipedia)

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I perfectly understand why diehard Caravan fans find this album painful to listen to. ‘Classic Caravan’ this is not; just as DRAMA isn’t ‘Classic Yes’, and yet I find both of these albums excellent in their own right.

Having just listened to BETTER BY FAR for the first time in more than twenty years (a CD version was released only recently), I just can’t believe how refreshing Pye Hastings’ vocals and Jan Schelhaas’ minimoog (among other things) still sound on such bright, simple but by no means negliglible pop songs as FEELIN’ ALRIGHT and LET IT SHINE.

I have always found the title tune a very seductive love song, probably because I was deeply in love when I first heard it! SILVER STRINGS is amusing (sort of Caravan- meet-10CC-meet-Johann Strauss) and MAN IN A CAR contains some ravishing harp interludes. But best of all: THE LAST UNICORN is one of the most succesful instrumentals in Caravan’s career (wonderful viola playing from Geoff Richardson, followed by an inspired uptempo jam) and NIGHTMARE is one of their most ravishing songs altogether. (Thank you, Pye Hastings, for your lovely singing and for that climactic, yet restrained, guitar solo.)

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An additional fascination is the fact that this album was produced by Tony Visconti, who introduced some of the same experiments with phasers (whatever they are!) that he had perpetrated on David Bowie’s LOW and ‘HEROES’. I was a big Bowie fan when BETTER BY FAR came out, but only now, so many years later, did I notice how much this Caravan album has in common with LOW: virtually the same prominent drum sound, with a clearer bass guitar sound than on any other Caravan record. If you know LOW but haven’t heard BETTER BY FAR, imagine, if you like, a warm, cosy, non-alienated twin brother to Bowie’s famous album. Now who would have thought a band like Caravan could pull this off? (by fuxi)

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Personnel:
Richard Coughlan (drums, percussion)
Pye Hastings (vocals, guitar)
Dek Messecar (bass, background vocals)
Geoff Richardson )viola, guitar, flute, sitar, mandolin, vocals)
Jan Schelhaas (keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals)
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Vicki Brown (vocals on 06.)
Fiona Hibbert (harp on 07.)
Tony Visconti (recorder on 05., bass on 07.)

Single

Tracklist:
01. Feelin’ Alright (Hastings) 3.26
02. Behind You (Hastings) 4.55
03. Better by Far (Hastings) 3,21
04. Silver Strings (Richardson) 3.54
05. The Last Unicorn (Richardson) 5.45
06. Give Me More (Hastings) 4.35
07. Man In A Car (Schelhaas) 5.36
08. Let It Shine (Hastings) 4.22
09. Nightmare (Hastings) 6.16

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Ralf Nowy Group – Escalation (1974)

FrontCover1RALF NOWY, in the school report a “four” in music, became a technical draftsman. In 1958 he founded his own rock’n’roll band. In 1960 he passed the entrance examinations for the engineering school and the conservatory, but decided to study (bassoon and composition) at the conservatory. In 1961 he played flute in a modern jazz trio. In 1964, after completing her studies, NOWY moved through Germany as a dance musician. In 1968 he was saddled as a program designer and production manager at Saarländischer Rundfunk. In 1971 he became independent as a arranger and worked in the following years for all sorts of pop singers: Udo Jürgens, Ireen Sheer, Isabell Domin, Peter Horton, Joy Fleming and Su Kramer.
Those musicians with whom RALF NOWY moved to the Trixi studio in Munich in mid-1973 to record his first LP “Lucifer’s Dream” formed the starting point for the future RALF NOWY GROUP: the guitarist PAUL VINCENT, a graduate of the humanistic grammar school in the groups Missus Beastly, Hallelujah Baby and Doldinger’s Motherhood. Also the bassist PAUL UNWIN attended high school in England, besides he played bass since his 14th year. Before he came to Germany in 1962, he belonged to an estimated ten English groups.
The Icelander THOR BALDURSON attended after high school the Music Academy (subjects: theory and composition). After performing for a long time with a folksong group, he played for three years in Sweden, until he finally came in 1973 in the Federal Republic.
VICTOR BEHRENS sailed to the lake from the age of 16 to 19, then enrolled at the Stern Conservatory. After a six-year detour to dance music, he became a studio musician.
KEITH FORSEY belonged to the English group Spectrum, came to Germany in 1970 and played here with Amon Düül II, Goldfinger and 18K Gold.

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In mid-1974, the RALF NOWY GROUP recorded the second album, again mainly with Nowy compositions. A production that was offered as a “ravishingly rocking classic” (press release) and reviewed the sound of SOUNDS: “The Ralf Nowy Group recalls Middle and Far Eastern sounds, sacred singing, rock, jazz, classical music, serious contemporary music and electronics However, when trying to merge individual styles with each other, at times quite a musical offside. ”
The Ralf Nowy Group gave several concerts alone or as an accompaniment to the singer Joy Fleming concerts, including in the NDR workshop. (Günter Ehnert + Detlef Kinsler)

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Flautist/saxophonist Ralf Nowy (born 1940) had a long and honourable career as frontman, session player, arranger and producer, working with Giorgio Moroder in the latter’s pre-disco era. To my knowledge, 1974’s Escalation (credited to merely Nowy) was his second solo album, eschewing his debut, the previous year’s Lucifer’s Dream’s krautrock grooves for his natural home, fusion, although the album contains a good helping of progressive stylings. The five short tracks on side one switch between jazz (opener Blue Silver, News From the Chicken Farm), a Latin/hard rock hybrid (Manomolela), massed flute jazz (Sixteen Flutes) and off-kilter blues rock (I’d Rather Sell My Life, Than My Guitar), but the album’s centrepiece is its side-long title track, a jazz/classical/rock tour de force, not devoid of humour: note the guitarist’s Glenn Miller quote towards the end. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve probably never heard anything quite like this before; its component parts are nothing new, but their combination produces a unique piece, although I’ll admit it might be slightly overlong.

Thor Baldursson plays Mellotron, with choirs (including a nice solo sequence), alongside real voices on the title track, although I suspect that all the flutes on, er, Sixteen Flutes are real. I don’t believe this is on CD, but now it’s turned up on download sites, make the effort to track it down; you’ll thank me when you hear Escalation itself. Maybe….. (johnkatsmc5.blogspot.com)

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Personnel:
Thor Baldurson (piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, mellotron, vocals )
Viktor Behrens (trumpet)
Keith Forsey (drums, percussion, vocals)
Martin Harrison (drums, vocals)
Sylvester Levay (piano, harpsichord)
Ralf Nowy (saxophone, flute. kalimba, zither, percussion, vocals)
Gary Unwin (bass)
Paul Vincent (guitar, vocals)
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Franz Deuber Group (strings)
RalfNowy3Tracklist::
01. Blue Silver (Levay(Nowy)) 2.57
02. Manomolela (Vincent-Gunia/Nowy) 3.19
03. News From The Chicken Farm (Vincent-Gunia/Nowy) 3.30
04. Sixteen Flutes (Nowy) 3.31
05. I’d Rather Sell My Life Than My Guitar (Vincent-Gunia) 5.02
06. Escalation (Nowy) 17.44

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