Acker Bilk – The Veritable Mr Bilk (1968)

FrontCover1Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk, MBE (28 January 1929 – 2 November 2014) was a British clarinetist and vocalist known for his breathy, vibrato-rich, lower-register style, and distinctive appearance – of goatee, bowler hat and striped waistcoat.

Bilk’s 1962 instrumental tune “Stranger on the Shore” became the UK’s biggest selling single of 1962. It spent more than 50 weeks on the UK charts, peaking at number two, and was the second No. 1 single in the United States by a British artist.

Bilk was born in Pensford, Somerset, in 1929. He earned the nickname “Acker” from the Somerset slang for “friend” or “mate”. His parents tried to teach him the piano but, as a boy, Bilk found it restricted his love of outdoor activities, including football. He lost two front teeth in a school fight and half a finger in a sledging accident, both of which he said affected his eventual clarinet style.

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On leaving school Bilk joined the workforce of W.D. & H.O. Wills’s cigarette factory in Bristol; he stayed there for three years, putting tobacco in the cooling room and then pushing tobacco through a blower. He then undertook three years of National Service with the Royal Engineers in the Suez Canal Zone. He learned the clarinet there after his sapper friend, John A. Britten, gave him one bought at a bazaar and for which Britten had no use. The clarinet had no reed, so Britten fashioned a makeshift one for the instrument from scrap wood. Bilk later borrowed a better instrument from the army and kept it after demobilisation. After National Service, Bilk joined his uncle’s blacksmith business and qualified in the trade.

Bilk played with friends on the Bristol jazz circuit and in 1951 moved to London to play with Ken Colyer’s band.[3] Bilk disliked London, so returned west and formed his own band in Pensford called the Chew Valley Jazzmen, which was renamed the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band when they moved to London in 1951. Their agent then booked them for a six-week gig in Düsseldorf, Germany, playing in a beer bar seven hours a night, seven nights a week. During this time, Bilk and the band developed their distinctive style and appearance, complete with striped waistcoats and bowler hats.

Acker Bilk03After returning from Germany, Bilk became based in Plaistow, London, and his band played in London jazz clubs.[3] It was from here that Bilk became part of the boom in trad jazz in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. In 1960, their single “Summer Set” (a pun on their home county), co-written by Bilk and pianist Dave Collett, reached number five on the UK Singles Chart,[6] and began a run of 11 chart hit singles. (“Summer Set” was also used prominently in Daniel Farson’s controversial 1960 television documentary Living for Kicks, a portrait of British teenage life at the time).[7] In 1961 “Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band” appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.

Bilk was not an internationally known musician until 1962, when the experimental use of a string ensemble on one of his albums and the inclusion of a composition of his own as its keynote piece won him an audience outside the UK. He had composed a melody, entitled “Jenny” after his daughter, but was asked to change the title to “Stranger on the Shore” for use in a British television series of the same name. He went on to record it as the title track of a new album in which his deep and quavering clarinet was backed by the Leon Young Acker Bilk02String Choral.

The single was not only a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it stayed on the charts for 55 weeks, helped by Bilk being the subject of the TV show This Is Your Life, but also topped the American charts.[2] As a result, Bilk was the second British artist to have a single in the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. (Vera Lynn was the first, with “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” in 1952.) “Stranger on the Shore” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. At the height of his career, Bilk’s public relations workers were known as the “Bilk Marketing Board”, a pun on the Milk Marketing Board.

At the height of his international fame in 1962, he appeared in two theatrical motion pictures. It’s Trad, Dad! (released in the United States by Columbia Pictures as Ring-a-Ding Rhythm) was a Richard Lester musical combining dixieland and rock-and-roll specialties; “Mr. Acker Bilk” and his band were the best represented, with three songs and a speaking role for Bilk. The second picture, Band of Thieves, was a comedy starring “Mr. Acker Bilk” and his group as musicians in prison. His music was also heard on the soundtracks to films such as Bitter Harvest (1963), West 11 (1963), and the musical comedy It’s All Over Town (1964). He also played a cameo role in the latter film.

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Bilk’s success tapered off when British rock and roll made its big international impact beginning in 1964 and he shifted direction to the cabaret circuit. However, he did record a series of well-regarded albums in the mid-1960s. Three of them, including the 1965 collaboration Together, with the Danish jazz pianist and composer Bent Fabric (“The Alley Cat”), were also released successfully in the United States on the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco. In 1968 the album Blue Acker, produced by Denis Preston and with arrangements by Stan Tracey, illustrated that Bilk remained highly regarded as a musician, even by those (like Tracey) on the “modern jazz” side of things. Duncan Heining rates it as “one of the highlights of British jazz of the period”.

Bilk finally had another chart success in 1976 with “Aria”, which went to number five in the United Kingdom. In May 1977 Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band provided the interval act for the Eurovision Song Contest. His last chart appearance was in 1978, when the TV-promoted album released on Pye/Warwick, Evergreen, reached 17 in a 14-week album chart run. In the early 1980s, Bilk and his signature hit were newly familiar, due to “Stranger on the Shore” being used in the soundtrack to Sweet Dreams, the film biography of country music singer Patsy Cline. “Aria” featured as a central musical motif in the 2012 Polish film Mój rower [pl].

Bilk continued to tour with his Paramount Jazz Band, as well as performing concerts with his two contemporaries, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball, both of whom were born in 1930, as “The 3Bs”. Bilk also provided vocals on many of his tracks, including on “I’m an Old Cowhand”, “The Folks Who Live on the Hill”, “White Cliffs of Dover”, “Travellin On” and “That’s My Home”.

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He was appointed MBE in 2001.

In 2005 he was awarded the BBC Jazz Awards’ “Gold Award”.

One of his recordings was with the Chris Barber band, sharing the clarinet spot with the band’s regular reedsmen, John Crocker and Ian Wheeler. Bilk made a CD with Wally Fawkes for the Lake label in 2002. He appeared on three albums by Van Morrison: Down the Road; What’s Wrong With This Picture?; and Born to Sing: No Plan B.

In 2012 Bilk said that, after 50 years, he was “fed up” with playing his most famous tune, “Stranger on the Shore”.

Bilk died in Bath, Somerset, on 2 November 2014, at the age of 85.[14] He was survived by his wife and two children.

Bilk’s last recorded interview was for Cornish community station Penwith Radio (now Coast FM) and was broadcast on Sunday 16 November 2014 at 9:00 pm.

Bilk married his childhood sweetheart, Jean Hawkins, whom he met in the same class at school in 1954. The couple had two children: Jenny and Pete. After living near London in Potters Bar for many years the couple retired to Pensford.

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In 1997, Bilk was diagnosed with throat cancer, which was treated through surgery and then followed by daily radiation therapy at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre. Subsequently, he had eight keyhole operations for bladder cancer and suffered a minor stroke.

Bilk was part of a consortium which took over the Oxford Cheetahs speedway team in 1972. They were rebranded as Oxford Rebels as part of the takeover.
Bilk has been described as the “Great Master of the Clarinet”. “Stranger on the Shore” – which he was once quoted as calling “my old-age pension” – remains a standard of jazz and popular music alike. (wikipedia)

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And here´s another pretty goodalbum from the Sixities, a live album (the second after “Live From New Zealand”, 166).

And we hear the great, superb and typical sound of Mr. Acker Bilk (a master of his own) and … an excellent version o the Duke Ellington classic “Caravan” !


Acker Bilk (clarniet)
Al Fairweather (trumpet)
Tucker Finlayson (bass)
Ron McKay (drums)
Johnny Mortimer (trombone)
Ronnie Ross (saxophone)
Bruce Turner (saxophone)
unknown piano player


01. Tiger Rag (Original Dixie Jazz Band) 3.51
02. Undecided (Robbins/Shavers) 3.14
03. Bugle Call Rag (Pettis/Mills/Schoebel) 6.17
04. Front Seat Driver (Bilk) 4.11
05. Acker’s Personal Jungle (Bilk) 3.16
06. Caravan (Ellington/Tizol) 5.09
07. The Hucklebuck (Gibson) 9.44
08. Tarzan’s March (from an EP, 1967) 2.39




More from Acker Bilk:

The official website:

Various Artists – 25 Hits Of The Sixties – Volume Two – Disc 4 (late 80´s)

FrontCover1Compilations of UK hits from the “roaring sixties” have been very popular for a long time … and that’s a good thing … because the “roaring sixties” were a very important phase in the history of popular music.

They can be used to get an overview of this decade.

But these are not the original recordings of the time, but cheap re-recordings with unknown studio musicians ! (mostly)

Unfortunately, this happens again and again … just to rake in a little money again.
So: Attention please !

This article only serves to show how the music industry wants to cheat us.

I have three more CDs from this series … I will present them here in the course of the next weeks … before I throw them all away.

But: So I have at least discovered some artists I didn’t know before, such as Vanity Fare and Polly Brown.

And some songs was orignal released in the Seventies (“Save Me”) !

Listen to the original … they are so much better !


01. Gerry & The Pacemakers: I’m The One (Marsden) 2.22
02. The Fortunes: Caroline (Hiller/Ford) 2.29
03. Dave Berry: Little Things (Goldsboro) 2.24
04. Brian Poole: Silence Is Golden (Crewe/Gaudio) 3.11
05. The Equals: Gimme Some Lovin’ (Davis/Winwood) 2.50
06. Christie: Iron Horse (Christie) 2.51
07. Clodagh Rodgers: Save Me (Fletcher/Flett)
08. The Swinging Blue Jeans: You’re No Good (Ballard Jr.) 2.18
09. Heinz: Just Like Eddie (Goddart) 2.46
10. Billie Davis: Tell Him (Russell) 2.18
11. Freddie & The Dreamers: I’m Telling You Now (Garrity/Murray) 2.08
12. Lonnie Donegan: My Old Man’s A Dustman (Donegan/Buchanan/Thorn) 3.17
13. Billy J. Kramer: From A Window (Lennon/McCartney) 1.56
14. Herman’s Hermits: Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter (Peacock) 2.26
15. The Bachelors: Diane (Pollack/Rapée) 2.29
16. The Fortunes: Seasons In The Sun (Brel/Cook/McKuen) 3.43
17. Petula Clark: This Is My Song (Chaplin) 3.31
18. Gerry & The Pacemakers: You’ll Never Walk Alone (Hammerstein II/Rodgers) 2.26
19. Helen Shapiro: Walking By To Happiness (Schroeder/Hawker.) 2.31
20. Brian Poole: I Can Dance (Jeeves) 1.57
21. The Equals: Laurel & Hardy (Grant/Gordon) 2.20
22. Gerry & The Pacemakers: I’ll Be There (Darin) 3.11
23. Petula Clark: The Other Man’s Grass Is Alway Greener (Hatch/Trent) 3.00
24. Lonnie Donegan: Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (Bloom/Breuer/Rose) 3.34
25. The Tremeloes: Party (Hawkes) 3.13



More from this fucking edition:

Exmagma – Goldball (1974)

FrontCover1The EXMAGMA LPs usually get filed under Krautrock, but there’s nothing typically German in the way they develop their freeform experiments, that turn out to be well structured on the third hearing. No AMON DÜÜL freakouts, no metric rhythms à la CAN, and two albums that – though mostly instrumental – sound totally different. They’ve been often described as Jazz Rock, Fusion, or even Electronic Avant-Garde, but none of these pigeonholes could ever do them justice. Bored with YES, GENESIS, SUPERTRAMP and all the crap they nowadays try to sell you under “Symphonic-Prog”, they dropped some acid and set sail for new shores, weaponed only with sticks, strings and keys.

The two German members of the group were Thomas BALLUFF from MULI & THE MISFITS (a ’60s Mod-Soul band that depended on his Hammond B-3 grooves rather than on brass) and guitar and bass player Andy GOLDNER, who came from FIVE FOLD SHADE, Stuttgart’s premier R&B band in the PRETTY THINGS / YARDBIRDS category. Fred BRACEFUL, the late drummer, was born in Detroit and came to Germany with the US Army in the late ’50s. He was a well-paid free-lancer in the early ’60s, but never quite your standard jazz drummer who’d be content to build the backbone of a rhythm section. With like-minded keyboarder Wolgang DAUNER, he formed ET CETERA in 1970, a group that released one of the few real necessary and satisfying albums of a genre that we now know as Krautrock. (Back then we didn’t call it Kraut, and Rock without Roll is a four letter word anyway.) When DAUNER started flirting with the eight letter word (jazzrock, dummy!), BRACEFUL joined MAGMA, the band that changed to EXMAGMA after finding out about the French outfit of the same name. (The fact that EXMAGMA’s second LP was only released in France caused a lot of “who’s who” guessing among collectors, especially as the French MAGMA sound a lot more Teutonic than EXMAGMA.)


Right on, what about the music? The eponymous first LP, recorded in 72, reminds me a lot of the late ’60s SOFT MACHINE, taking a direction that probably wouldn’t have caused Robert WYATT to quit. There’s no sign of bombastic or pathetic ingredients, which makes comparisons with PINK FLOYD misleading (unless you saw them after “Ummagumma” but before “Atom Heart Mother”). One side live, one side studio, EXMAGMA are pouring it all out and leave it up to you. Recommended to open minded explorers or acid eaters. Budweisers won’t do the trick.
In early ’73 EXMAGMA toured France, where their sound experiments were well received (though they always devided an audience to pro and contra factions) and stayed there for about two years. “Goldball” was recorded in Conny PLANK’s sudio near Cologne, but only released on the tiny French label Urus.

While the debut was floating like a raft on sometimes stormy sea, this one grooves like HENDRIX jamming with Miles DAVIS, teaching each other “Dolly Dagger” and “Bitches Brew”. (If you’ve ever heard Miles DAVIS play the organ instead of the trumpet, you’ll know what I mean.) The second LP definitely is the more accessible record, but still a well deserved shock to those who associate groove with jazzrock. The spirit is Rock’n’Roll, the approach is improvisation. If you expect fusion, prepare for confusion. It’s the kind of record that makes me curse myself for not arranging my collection alphabetically, I don’t know where to put it thematically.


It’s yet another bundle of joy with lots of good vocals and weird as they are, songs that sometimes rock like hell. This, their most aggressive and mature epic, stayed in the can because their record company insisted on stripping the double album concept to a single LP. The band refused back then, but the two remaining members found a keen little company (sic!) 26 years later and “Exmagma3” will be out on Daily Records in the near future. Till then, have a whiff of their drug rock fusion, if you dare. If you need a taster, go to the CD compilation of German underground bands, “Obscured By Krauts”. (Werner Voran, Ugly Things Magazine; liner notes taken from the 2003 CD release of “Exmagma & Goldball”)

Why this artist must be listed in :
With a sound somewhere between the SOFT MACHINE and, say, AMON DÜÜL II, EXMAGMA provide us with a slightly psychedelic form of Jazzrock, including hints of Krautrock. Their experimental compositions, ranging from lengthy improvised pieces to short, quirky tracks, leave me with no doubt to conclude that this is indeed a progressive rock band, worthy of inclusion.


And here´s their second album:
If you love krautrock dementia and jazz rock fusion eccentries this album is for you. Exmagma is a captivating german rock collective that published only two albums in their entire career but believe me all their compositions are highly inspired, catchy, playful and cearly accomplished in term of technical skills. This second album is as brilliant as their first, delivering an impressive free form jazzy rock with lot of energy and an immense feeling for improvisation. Marylin f Kennedy starts with a trippy, stoned jazz rockin’ epic ballad. An atmospheric acid piece that combines a perfectly achieved sense of improvisation with a solid rhythmical background. Adventures With Long S.tea & 25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise are moving jazzy rockin’ improvisation plenty of Hammond organs, moving hallucinatory harmonies and efficient rythms. Some tracks as Groove Tango Wolperaiso and Greetings To The Maroccan Farmers feature rock in opposition sense of derision and a particular taste for avant garde. Compositions as Jam Factory For People Insane or Last But One Train To Amsterdam represent the band at their most progressive moments, with incredibly technical improvisations and constant changing moods. This band almost beat Embryo, Kraan and others kraut-jazz fusion at their own game. Supreme stuff! My favourite kraut-jazz-psych band with Xhol and Annexus Quam. (by Philippe Blache)


Thomas Balluff (keyboards, effects, trumpet, flute, voice)
Fred Braceful (drums, percussion, trumpet)
Andy Goldner (bass, guitar, saxophone, tape recorder, voice)


01. Marilyn F. Kennedy (Braceful/Goldner/Balluff) 2.29
02. Dada (Goldner) 3.36
03. Adventures With Long S.Tea (Goldner) 2.51
04. 25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise (Goldner) – 4:50
05. Groove (Braceful/Goldner/Balluff) 4.51
06. Tango Wolperaiso (Braceful/Goldner/Balluff) 2.35
06. Jam Factory (For People Insane) (Andy Goldner) 4.03
07. Habits (Goldner) 5.57
08. Dance Of The Crabs (Goldner) 0.52
09. Greetings To The Maroccan Farmers (Braceful/Goldner/Balluff) 6.38
10. Last But One Train To Amsterdam (Andy Goldner) 0.57



Fred Braceful (2 May 1938 in Detroit, USA, – 6 March 1995 in Munich, Germany):
Fred Braceful

The official website:

Shawn Mendes – Illuminate (2016)

FrontCover1Shawn Peter Raul Mendes (/ˈmɛndɛz/; born August 8, 1998) is a Canadian pop singer. He gained a following in 2013, when he posted song covers on the video sharing platform Vine. The following year, he caught the attention of artist manager Andrew Gertler and Island Records A&R Ziggy Chareton, which led to him signing a deal with the record label. Mendes’ self-titled debut EP was released in 2014, followed by his debut studio album Handwritten in 2015. Handwritten debuted atop the US Billboard 200, making Mendes one of five artists ever to debut at number one before the age of 18. The single “Stitches” reached number one in the UK and the top 10 in the US and Canada.

Mendes’ second album Illuminate (2016) also debuted at number one in the US, with its singles “Treat You Better” and “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” reaching the top 10 in several countries.

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His self-titled third studio album (2018) was supported by the lead single “In My Blood”. The album’s number one debut in the US made Mendes the third-youngest artist to achieve three number one albums. In 2019, he released the hit singles “If I Can’t Have You” and “Señorita”, with the latter peaking atop the US Billboard Hot 100. His fourth studio album, Wonder (2020), made him the youngest male artist ever to top the Billboard 200 with four studio albums.

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Among his accolades, Mendes has won 13 SOCAN awards, 10 MTV Europe Music Awards, eight Juno Awards, eight iHeartRadio MMVAs, two American Music Awards, and received three nominations for a Grammy Award and one nomination for a Brit Award. In 2018, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world on their annual list.

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Illuminate is the second studio album by Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes. It was released on September 23, 2016, through Island Records and Universal Music Group. Musically, the album contains music genres pop, rock and blues. The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 and the Canadian Albums Chart. It was preceded by the lead single “Treat You Better”, which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This album was supported by the Illuminate World Tour, which began in March 2017.

“Treat You Better” was released as the lead single from the album on June 3, 2016. The music video was released on July 12, 2016. It features a storyline where Mendes would like to help the girl in an abusive relationship, and he can treat her better. The song currently has almost two billion views on YouTube. Since its release, “Treat You Better” has peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Mercy” was serviced to US top 40 radio stations as the second single from the album on October 18, 2016.


“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” was released as the album’s third single on April 20, 2017. The song debuted at number 7 in the United Kingdom, becoming his highest debut in the country. It also debuted in the top ten in Australia and Denmark. The iTunes version of both the standard and deluxe versions of Illuminate were reissued with “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” as track one upon the single’s release.

Along with the pre-order of Illuminate, “Ruin” was released as the album’s first promotional single on July 8, 2016. Its music video was released on July 18, 2016.

On July 28, 2016, “Three Empty Words” was released as the second promotional single from the album.


“Mercy” was released as the album’s third and final promotional single on August 18, 2016. Its music video was released on September 21, 2016, receiving over 200 million views. It features Mendes in a car which is filling up with water and it also features Mendes trashing a room with guitars, a drum-set and a piano.

The album received generally positive reviews from music critics.

Writing for Rolling Stone, Joe Levy noted “Illuminate mixes professions of romantic agony like “Mercy” (where a quietly hummed hook explodes into crashing drums), with nice-boy valentines like “Treat You Better” and bedroom come-ons like “Lights On”” while naming the album “disarmingly intimate.” Jon Reyes of Idolator, wrote that “[Shawn’s] most noticeable change, aside from the tight music hall sonics, is the subtle infusion of sex into the lyrics” as well as feeling that the record as a whole “displays his lyrical development” and “polishes a proven formula.”

Sonia de Freitas, writing for Renowned for Sound, noticed that it “is apparent that Mendes has shifted to a more mature and soulful sound, and far more introspective lyrical content” while praising his vocals, writing that “he sings earnestly, with an emotive delivery in every song.”


Billboard listed the track “Don’t Be a Fool” at number 90 for the best deep cuts from 21st century pop stars. Associated Press listed it at number 5 on their best albums of 2016.

Illuminate debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 145,000 equivalent album units, of which 121,000 copies were pure album sales. It became Mendes’ second number-one album in the US and his best sales week. Mendes achieved his second number one at 18 years, two months and seven days old, becoming the fifth youngest artist to score their first two number one, following Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and LeAnn Rimes. In addition, Mendes is the first artist to have their first two full-length studio albums hit number one since 5 Seconds of Summer bowed at number one with Sounds Good Feels Good (2015) and their self-titled debut album (2014), and the first male artist to claim the distinction since 2015, when ASAP Rocky bowed atop the list with At. Long. Last. ASAP, following 2013’s Long. Live. ASAP.

In his native Canada, the album debuted at number one with 21,000 total consumption units, of which 17,000 were album units sold, surpassing the highest one week sales total reached with his last album, Handwritten. Illuminate also picked up 3.8 million audio on-demand streams, the second highest total of the week, trailing only Drake’s Views. (wikipedia)


Shawn Mendes translated his Vine superstardom into genuine pop stardom in 2015 thanks to “Stitches,” a lively piece of pop with a slightly soulful undercurrent. Wisely, Mendes and his team decide to play off these soulful inclinations on Illuminate, the album released almost 18 months after his 2015 debut Handwritten. This isn’t to say that Mendes is a crooner, nor is he riding anything resembling a funky groove. Instead, Illuminate uses light R&B rhythms as a way to give a bit of grace and warmth, the airiness of “Ruin” and “Three Empty Words” spinning heartbreak into seduction. As it turns out, this wide-eyed puppy dog routine is the key to Mendes’ appeal. He’s not forceful, and whenever he slides into a loverman routine, there’s never a sense that he’s a player: his voice is so small and sweet, it feels as if he’s whispering sweet nothings to his high school sweetheart.


On Handwritten, such quivering sensitivity seemed tentative, but on Illuminate, it has gelled into his pop persona; he’s charming because he embraces his ordinariness. Sometimes on Illuminate the songs are a bit too diffuse to benefit from these qualities — whenever they lack a hook or pronounced melody, the tracks tend to drift — but a lot of the record provides a good showcase for his tenderness. And these aren’t necessarily ballads, either. Certainly, he feels at home on a nice slow-burning torch number like “Don’t Be a Fool” — an old-fashioned slice of swaying ’60s soul — but on the insistent pop of “Treat You Better” and sunny seaside vibes of “Honest,” this boyishness is equally appealing, and those sly shifts in tone are why Mendes comes into his own on Illuminate. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)


Jackson Dimiglio-Wood (synthesizer, background vocals)
Teddy Geiger (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards,synthesizer, percussion)
Jake Gosling (keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, background vocals)
Peter Gosling (piano)
Scott Harris (guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals)
Ling Kwan (cello)
DJ Kyriakides (guitar, background vocals)
Chris Leonard (guitar, bass, background vocals)
Dana Lyn (viola, violin)
Olivier Manchon (viola, violin)
Shawn Mendes (vocals, guitar, bass, percussion)
Rob Murphy (violin)
Laleh Pourkarim (guitar, background vocals)
Dan Romer (bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals)
Gustaf Thorn (bass, guitar, piano, background vocals)
Geoffrey Warburton (guitar, percussion, background vocals)
background vocals:
Anouck Boungnang – Rachel Brown – Ziggy Chareton – Adam Coltman – Mike Dwyer – André Gertler – Matthew Gooderham


01. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back (Mendes/Geiger/Harris/Warburton) 3.19
02. Ruin (Mendes/Zmishlany/Harris/Warburton/Thakkar) 4.01
03. Mercy (Mendes/Geiger/Parker/Juber) 3.28
04. Treat You Better (Mendes/Geiger/Harris) 3.07
05. Three Empty Words Mendes/Harris/Zmishlany/Warburton) 3.18
06. Don’t Be A Fool (Mendes/Harris/Warburton) 3.35
07. Like This (Mendes/Pourkarim/Thörn) 3.06
08. No Promises (Mendes/Harris/Geiger) 2.46
09. Lights On (Mendes/Harris/Warburton) 3.21
10. Honest (Mendes/Harris/Warburton) 3.19
11. Patience (Mendes/Harris/Geiger) 2.55
12.Bad Reputation (Mendes/Harris/Warburton) 3.18
13. Understand (Mendes/Harris/Geiger/Warburton) 5.00
14. Hold On (Mendes/Harris/Warburton) 3.19
15. Roses (Mendes/Jesso Jr./Hull) 3.52
16. Mercy (acoustic) (Mendes/Geiger/Parker/Juber) 3.39




Shawn Mendes05

The official website:

Luciano Pavarotti – Pavarotti’s Opera Made Easy – My Favorite Love Duets (1994)

FrontCover1Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who during the late part of his career crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most acclaimed and loved tenors of all time.

He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for his tone, and achieving the honorific title “King of the High Cs”.

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In 1994, his record company, London Records released 20 CDs (!) with the slogan “Pavarotti’s Opera Made Easy”.

Here is the edition “My Favorite Love Duets”.


A nice compilation, although this kind of music really doesn’t excite me.


see booklet



Puccini – La Boheme:
01. Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni & Rolando Panerai: O Soave Fanciulla 4.15

Verdi – La Traviata:
02. Luciano Pavarotti & Joan Sutherland: Un Di Felice 3.31
03. Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland: Parigi O Cara 4.59

Donizetti – Lucia Di Lammermoor:
04. Joan Sutherland & Luciano Pavarotti: Ah! Verranno A Te Sull’Aure 4.27

Verdi – Rigoletto:
05. Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, John Gibbs, Ricardo Cassinelli & Gillian Knight: E Il Sol Dell’anima… Che M’Ami, Deh, Ripetimi 5.09

Mozart – Don Giovanni:
06. Bernd Weikl & Lucia Popp: La Ci Darem La Mano 3.21

Verdi – A Masked Ball:
07. Luciano Pavarotti & Margaret Price: M’Ami, M’Ami… Oh, Qual Soave Brivido 4.07

Puccini – Madame Butterfly:
08. Mirella Freni & Luciano Pavarotti: Vogliatemi Bene 7.52

Verdi – Aida:
09. Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Chiara & Leo Nucci: Pur Ti Riveggo, Mia Dolce Aida… Fuggiamo Gli Ardori Inospiti 9.57

Puccini – Manon Lescaut:
10. Kiri Te Kanawa & José Carreras: Oh, Saro La Piu Bella! 8.36

Puccini – Tosca:
11. Luciano Pavarotti, Richard Van Allan & Mirella Freni: Gente La Dentro… Mario! Mario! Mario! 14.28




More from Luciano Pavarotti:

The official website:

The Pink Mice – In Synthesizer Sound (1972)

FrontCover1The Pink Mice is a German band of the early 70’s clearly Symphonic and often accused of being clones of ELP, something that is not accurate, they were close to being clones of TRIUMVIRAT (Triumvirat is also known as The Rat, so the connection between Mice and Rat is easy to understand) in other words they were almost clones of a so called clone of ELP.

Some people may ask how they could follow TRIUMVIRAT if THE PINK MICE released their debut album in 1971 and The Rat in 1972, the reason is simple, TRIUMVIRAT was formed in 1969 and already had a following in Germany by the time of the release of THE PINK MICE 1971 debut album “In Action”.

But THE PINK MICE history gets more peculiar, their original lineup consisted of The keyboardist Peter Hetch, Peter Hesslein (Guitar & Vocals), Dieter Horns (Bass & Vocals) and the drummer Joachim Rietenbach is the exact same lineup of an already popular Hard Prog band called LUCIFER’S FRIEND but without the British vocalist John Lawton, seems that the members of LUCIFER’S FRIEND wanted to go for the Symphonic sounds with exclusively German members instead of the aggressive rock music created with Lawton as a member.

Pink Mice01

Their albums are clearly influenced by Classical Music and they don’t hide this fact, the titles of the songs include among others “Capriccio Italien op.45”, “Brandenburgisches Konzert Nr.3,1.Satz”, “For Elise”, Sonata for Klavier, etc.

During their short career they released two excellent albums “In Action” (1971) and “In Synthesizer Sound” (1973) both are highly recommended and a must have for any Symphonic proghead that loves Synth based albums, if you need more historical info about the band, check the page of LUCIFER’S FRIEND in Prog Archives.(Iván Melgar Morey)

Lucifer’s Friend live at the Beat-Club, Germany

And here´s their second album:

And indeed: the guys really put their backs into it and worked their asses off … and the result was a terrific classic rock album in the sound of the time … and it still sounds damn good today.

And by the way, they demonstrated that hard rockers can also interpret classical music, whereby Peter Hecht deserves special praise. And of course he was inspired by Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Ekseption (a criminally underrated band from the Netherlands).

But these were not bad addresses either!


Peter Hecht (keyboards)
Peter Hesslein (guitar)
Dieter Horns (bass)
„Addi“ Rietenbach (drums)

Family Tree1

01. Brandenburgisches Konzert Nr. 3, 1. Satz (Bach) 4.16
02. Capriccio Italien Op. 45 (Tschaikowsky) 2.24
03. Träumerei aus „Kinderszenen“ op. 15 (Schumann) 3.04
04. Marsch aus „Der Nußknacker“ (Tschaikowsky) 3.05
05. Badinerie aus Suite Nr. 2, H-moll (Bach) 4.33
06. Sonate Facile, KV 545, 1. Satz (Mozart) 2.06
07. Overtüre „Dichter Und Bauer“ (v.Suppé) 4.00
08. Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen, Arie des Papageno aus „Die Zauberflöte“ (Mozart) 2.40
09. Die Wut über den verlorenen Groschen, Rondo a capriccio, op. 129 (Beethoven) 4.47
10. Türkischer Marsch aus der Sonate A-Dur, KV 331 (Mozart) 4.03



Liner Notes

Procol Harum – BBC Sessions 1967-68 – Volume 1 (2022)

FrontCover1Procol Harum  is an English rock band formed in 1967. Their best-known recording is the 1967 hit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, one of the few singles to have sold over 10 million copies. Although noted for their baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum’s music is described as psychedelic rock and proto-prog.

In 2018, the band was honoured by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was inducted into the brand-new Singles category.

The Paramounts, based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, led by Gary Brooker and Robin Trower and including Chris Copping and B. J. Wilson, scored a moderate British success in 1964 with their version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “Poison Ivy”, which reached number 35 in the UK Singles Chart. Unable to generate any follow-up success, the group disbanded in 1966.

The Paramounts were signed to EMI UK for their releases; until one day before Procol Harum linked with EMI UK again, they were called The Pinewoods. A last-minute offer from Chris Blackwell’s fledgling Island Records label was rejected by Brooker and band.


In April 1967, Brooker began working as a singer-songwriter and formed Procol Harum with non-Paramounts Keith Reid (poet), Hammond organist Matthew Fisher, guitarist Ray Royer and bassist David Knights. Guy Stevens, their original manager, named the band after a Burmese cat, which had been bred by Eleonore Vogt-Chapman and belonged to Liz Coombes. The cat’s “cat fancy” name was Procul Harun, Procul being the breeder’s prefix.

In the absence of a definitive origin, the band’s name has attracted various interpretations, being said to be (incorrect) Latin for “beyond these things”; the correct Latin would be procul hīs. The name of the band is frequently misspelled; often with “Procul”, “Harem”, both, or other variations.


At Olympic Studios, southwest London, with session drummer (and non-Paramount) Bill Eyden, producer Denny Cordell and sound engineer Keith Grant, the group recorded “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, and it was released on 12 May 1967. With a structure reminiscent of Baroque music, a countermelody based on J. S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite N° 3 in D Major played by Fisher’s Hammond organ, Brooker’s vocals and Reid’s lyrics, the single reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and the Canadian RPM Magazine chart. It did almost as well in the United States, reaching No. 5 on 29 July 1967. In Australia, it was No. 1 for many weeks, setting a record of 8 weeks in Melbourne.

After “A Whiter Shade of Pale” became a hit, the band set out to consolidate its studio success by touring, with new official drummer Bobby Harrison added to the line-up; its live debut was opening for Jimi Hendrix in 1967. The group’s follow-up single, “Homburg”, with a line-up change of former Paramounts B. J. Wilson on drums and Robin Trower on guitar (replacing Harrison and Royer, respectively, who exited to form the band Freedom), reached No. 6 in the UK, No. 15 in Canada, and No. 34 in the US.


The group’s eponymous debut studio album was recorded between the two hit singles, and was released in early September in the US, but was held back until December 1967 in the UK. A series of singles charted poorly in the US and UK, though rarely both at the same time.

The band’s follow-up album, Shine On Brightly was released the following year and saw a greater excursion into progressive rock stylings. Their third album, A Salty Dog (1969), was very popular among fans and their first album to sell well in the UK. The title track in particular gained a good deal of US FM radio airplay, and the album is now considered a rock classic, appealing to fans of The Beatles, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. However, one noted US writer previewed the LP and the story ran in print as “A Salty Duck”.

The group would have many subsequent personnel changes, the first being Fisher, who produced A Salty Dog, departing the band soon after its release. The line-up for the first three albums was Brooker (piano and lead vocals), Trower (guitar and lead vocals), Fisher (organ and lead vocals), Knights (bass), Wilson (drums), and Reid (lyricist). (wikipedia)


And here´s an excellent bootleg from this period:

These days, Procol Harum are primarily known for their international number one hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” But they were a classic rock band with a number of hits, especially in Britain, and a long career of albums with intelligent songs.

There has never been any kind of official BBC album. However, some songs have been released as bonus tracks. For this album, all but one of the songs (plus the bonus track) come from bonus tracks.

The exception is the song “Conquistador.” This recording isn’t from the BBC at all. It’s a key song (and a minor hit) that the band played at the BBC around this time period, but the recordings apparently didn’t survive. However, I found a version performed on a French TV show without a cheering audience, so I used that. Unfortunately, for a portion of the song, the lead vocals microphone was turned off. But I was able to find another soundboard quality recording of the song (I forget from where exactly, it’s been a while), and I used that to fill in the missing portion, which if I recall lasted for a verse or two. That’s why that song has “[Edit]” in the title.


Speaking of “[Edit],” there are a few more songs with that in the title. These recordings are from the time period when BBC DJs were commonly talking over the music. Procol Harum got off fairly lightly, with only four songs with that problem on this album. I suspect that’s because the band played for more serious BBC shows where the talking was less compared to the pop based shows where there could be talking over nearly every song.

Regarding that bonus track, the instrumental “Repent Walpurgis,” it comes from the same BBC session as some others here (tracks 5 through 8), but it’s officially unreleased. In this case I can understand, because the sound quality is poor. Thus it’s just a bonus track. (

Procol Harum01

various Procol Harum line-ups


01. Morning Dew (Dobon/Rose) 3:12
02. Mabel (Brooker/Reid) 1:38
03. A Whiter Shade of Pale (Brooker/Reid/Bach) 5:13
04. Homburg (Brooker/Reid) 3:50
05. Good Captain Clack (Brooker/Reid) 1:19
06. She Wandered Through The Garden Fence (Brooker/Reid)  3:12
07. Kaleidoscope (Brooker/Reid) 2:28
08. Conquistador (Brooker/Reid) 2:38
09. Quite Rightly So (Brooker/Reid/Fisher) 3:41
10. Ramblin’ On (Brooker/Reid) 4:15
11. Shine On Brightly (Brooker/Reid) 3:43
12. Skip Softly (My Moonbeams) (Brooker/Reid)  3:31
13. Repent Walpurgis (Instrumental) (Fisher) 4:56



More from Procol Harum:

Cincinnato – Same (1974)

FrontCover1The odd story of Cincinnato was not unusual in the confusion of the early 70’s Italian musical scene: signed to a major label, PDU, this group of unknown and little experienced musicians had the chance of releasing an album and then disappeared.

The group was from near Varese, and had previously played since 1970 as Eros Natura, but the record company suggested a change of name, and Cincinnato came out in 1972.
Their label PDU is remembered by Italian collectors because of their distribution of German cosmic classics like the ones on Ohr and Kosmische Kuriere labels, and this was (along with Logan Dwight’s sole album) one of their very limited ventures into prog territory.

The album was recorded in just three days, in a single take; side A includes three Booklet1instrumental tracks that can easily described as jazz-rock or in some cases simply jazz (as in Esperanto), built on piano and with good guitar playing by Gianni Fantuzzi. Side B contains a long track, L’ebete, more than 20 minutes long, with a good vocal beginning (vocals are uncredited on the cover, the voice was by keyboardist Urbanelli), that evolves in a jazz-influenced instrumental part but doesn’t lose its prog influences.

A disjointed album that contains good playing and that nice long track, but unfortunately unknown to many fans, being very difficult to find before the recent CD reissue.

The group split in 1973 when Urbanelli and Vanetti quit; the only member having had some success is drummer Donato Scolese, who played with Franco Battiato in the 80’s and then returned to the jazz club circuit.

Since 2010 two of the original members, Giacomo Urbanelli and Gianni Fantuzzi, along with Franco Erenti (keyboards) and Paolo Burattin (bass), which had already collaborated with the band in the 70’s, started the Thauma Cincinnato project and issued in 2016 a self-produced CD, L’essere e l’auriga, mixing modern sounds with some old-styled progressive atmospheres. (

As Thauma Cincinnato in 2016:
Giacomo Urbanelli (keyboards, vocals), Gianni Fantuzzi (guitar),
Franco Erenti (bass) and Donato Scolese (drums)

A rare album by the Varesini Cincinnato, who before this album were called Eros Natura. An album recorded in three days, almost live, despite this it is a truly enjoyable album, Italian progressive with a jazz vein, three very good songs on side A and a long Suite (L’ebete) that occupies the entire side B of the original album.

There is also a CD version of this album from 2006 (if I’m not mistaken) containing 3 bonus tracks ! (

The 2006 CD reissue includes an unreleased live recording from an Eros Natura concert (“Eros Natura”) along with two new tracks recorded by the original band members (“Tramonto D’Ottobre 2006″ and ”


“Cincinnato” (released in 1974) is the name of the only album produced by the Italian band, Cincinnato. Musically the style of the group is located within the coordinates of jazz rock structured in guitar and piano with sound ingredients very close to Soft Machine.


Incredible italian avant/free progressive album from the historic early Seventies finally rediscovered and dusted off the vaults !!! One of the rarest italian progressive albums of all time: Cincinnato, a masterwork recorded in 1974. Featuring some great progressive and jazz-rock tracks and an incredible 20-minutes long suite. This is a superb release and the ultimate collector’s item of the italian prog scene of the Seventies. (


Gianni Fantuzzi (guitar, vocals)
Donato Scolese (drums)
Giacomo Urbanelli (keyboards)
Annibale Vanetti (bass)
Franco Erenti (bass on 07.)
Piero Orsini (bass on 05. + 06.)


01. Il Ribelle Ubriaco (Urbanelli) 9.59
02. Tramonto D’Ottobre (Urbanelli) 2.40
03. Esperanto (Urbanelli) 6.51
04. L’Ebete (Urbanelli/Fantuzzi) 20.40
05. Tramonto D’Ottobre 2006 (Urbanelli/Scolese) 5.07
06. Tangasco (Urbanelli/Scolese) 5.34
07. Eros Natura (live 1972) (Urbanelli/Scolese/Fantuzzi ) 11.55

05. + 06. recorded in 2006
07. recorded as Eros Natura in 1972