Moby Grape – Live – Historic Live Moby Grape Performances 1966-1969 (2010)

FrontCover1Moby Grape is an American rock band founded in 1966, known for having all five members contribute to singing and songwriting, which collectively merged elements of folk music, blues, country, and jazz with rock and psychedelic music. They were one of the few groups of which all members were lead vocalists. The group’s first incarnation ended in 1969, but they have reformed many times afterwards and continue to perform occasionally.

Moby Grape’s success was significantly impeded by decades-long legal disputes with their former manager, Matthew Katz. Legal difficulties originated shortly after the group’s formation, when Katz insisted that an additional provision be added to his management contract, giving him ownership of the group name. At the time, various group members were indebted to Katz, who had been paying for apartments and various living costs prior to the release of the group’s first album.

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Despite objecting, group members signed, based in part on the impression that there would be no further financial support from Katz unless they did so. Neil Young, then of Buffalo Springfield, was in the room at the time, and kept his head down, playing his guitar, and saying nothing. According to Peter Lewis, “I think Neil knew, even then, that this was the end. We had bought into this process that we should have known better than to buy into.”

The dispute with Katz became more acute after the group members’ rights to their songs, as well as their own name, were signed away in 1973, in a settlement made without their knowledge between Katz and the band’s manager at the time (and former producer), David Rubinson. It was also a settlement made at a time when Bob Mosley and Skip Spence were generally recognized as being legally incapacitated due to the effects of schizophrenia.

As described by Jeff Tamarkin, “The Grape’s saga is one of squandered potential, absurdly misguided decisions, bad luck, blunders and excruciating heartbreak, all set to the tune of some of the greatest rock and roll ever to emerge from San Francisco. Moby Grape could have had it all, but they ended up with nothing, and less.”

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Moby Grape Live is a 2010 album, released by Sundazed Records, of previously unissued live recordings of the band Moby Grape. Included are recordings of the band in its prime in 1966 and 1967, as well as 1969 recordings, subsequent to the 1968 collapse and departure of founding member Skip Spence. A particularly notable inclusion is the band’s performance at the historic Monterey International Pop Festival. (wikipedia)

“After the essential debut record, this is the Moby Grape record I would recommend next.” (

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Moby Grape made several good albums in their day, but only one inarguably great one (their classic 1967 debut), and getting their special magic on tape in the studio seemed to be a tricky affair. But the group apparently had better luck with their muse on-stage, judging from the evidence contained in this album. Featuring material from five concerts spanning a period that predates the first album and ends shortly before the recording of Truly Fine Citizen (the album that preceded their first breakup), Moby Grape Live: Historic Live Moby Grape Performances captures the energy and spirit of the band as well as anything they released during their heyday. This collection starts out with seven songs from a show at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom in 1967, and if the performances aren’t quite as precise as what they achieved in the studio, the interplay between guitarists Peter Lewis, Jerry Miller, and Skip Spence is exciting and brimming with imagination, while the five-part harmonies are terrific and all the more impressive for the fire of the band’s attack. Next up is the first authorized release of Moby Grape’s short set at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, and though the band might have been better advised to start with something more rousing than “Indifference” and “Mr. Blues,” the group is in fine fettle and the closing version of “Omaha” rocks out.


After a gritty 1967 blues workout on “Sweet Little Angel” that leaves plenty of room for guitar soloing, the album jumps forward to 1969 and a five-song session recorded for RAI Radio during a tour stop in the Netherlands. By this time, Spence was out of Moby Grape, but if there’s a little less electricity in the band the passion is still there, the harmonies are spot-on, “Trucking Man” rocks furiously, and the extended version of “Omaha” shows this group was still finding new wrinkles in their classic repertoire. And finally, a 1966 Avalon Ballroom tape unearths the otherwise unrecorded “Dark Magic,” an epic-scale guitar workout that runs over 17 minutes in this version. Given that concision was one of Moby Grape’s great virtues, a quarter-hour guitar freakout wouldn’t seem to play to their strengths, but if “Dark Magic” meanders just a bit, the interplay between the musicians is little short of amazing and they wind enough twists and turns into the song to keep it exciting throughout. While Moby Grape’s studio work might offer a clearer picture of the strength of their songs, Historic Live Moby Grape does a brilliant job of revealing what made them great as a band, and the best tracks here should prompt any serious fan of late-’60s rock to reaffirm Moby Grape’s status as one of the finest acts of their time. (by Mark Deming)


Peter Lewis (guitar, vocals)
Jerry Miller (lead guitar, vocals)
Bob Mosley (bass, vocals)
Skip Spence (guitar, vocals)
Don Stevenson (drums, vocals)



Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, 1967:
01. Ain’t No Use (Miller/Stevenson) 1.34
02. Rounder (Spence) 2.00
03. Looper (Lewis) 2.25
04. Bitter Wind (Mosley) 1.48
05. Changes (Miller/Stevenson) 4.36
06. Indifference (Spence) 2.47
07. Someday (Miller/Stevenson/Spence) 3.22

Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967:
08. Introduction by Tommy Smothers 1.19
09. Indifference (Spence) 3.16
10. Mr. Blues (Mosley) 1.52
11. Sitting By The Window (Lewis) 2.56
12. Omaha (Spence) 2.54

San Francisco, 1967:
13. Sweet Little Angel (Bogan) 4.50

RNW Radio, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1969:
14. Murder In My Heart For The Judge (Miller/Stevenson) 4.51
15. I Am Not Willing (Lewis) 5.31
16. Trucking Man (Mosley) 2.05
17. Fall On You (Lewis) 2.14
18. Omaha (Spence) 6.05

Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, 1966:
19. Dark Magic (Spence) 17.27



More from Moby Grape:

Nestor Amaral And His Continentals – Holiday In Italy (1957)

FrontCover1Back from my holidays in Italy:

Nestor Amaral (São Paulo, 16 September 1913 – Los Angeles, 26 February 1962) was a Brazilian musician, composer and singer.

An accomplished Brazilian musician, Nestor Amaral had a career in Argentina and was part of the Bando da Lua – replacing Aníbal Augusto Sardinha – accompanying Carmen Miranda to the United States in the early 1940s. Alongside Carmen and the Moon Gang, Amaral appeared in films such as It Happened in Havana (1941), My Brazilian Secretary (1942), Between the Blonde and the Brunette (The Gang’s All Here) (1943), and Copacabana (1947). Besides having participated in the soundtrack of the film Você Já Foi a Bahia? where he sings the English lyrics of the song Na Baixa do Sapateiro by Ary Barroso. Other participations include: The Promised Song alongside Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo, and in Romance on the High Seas (1948) where she sings with Doris Day the song It’s Magic, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In 1957, he released the album Holiday in Brazil already as Nestor Amaral And His Continentals.

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He died of a heart attack on 26 February 1962, and was buried in Los Angeles, California.[3]
Personal life

Nestor Amaral was the brother of São Paulo singer Roberto Amaral, and settled permanently in the United States, where his son, designer producer Roy Alan Amaral was born on 25 September 1950. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a nice “holiday” album with beautiful melodies from the old Italy … sweet memories …


Nestor Amaral (violin, guitar, mandolin)
his Continentals

Nestor Amaral03Tracklist:
01. O Sole Mio! (My Sun) 2.24
02. Funiculi Funicula 2.17
03. Oh, Marie 2.48
04. Anema E Core (With All My Heart And Soul) 2.37
05. Vieni, Vieni 2.10
06. Torna A Surriento (Come Back To Sorrento) 2.52
07. Ciribiribin 2.23
08. Chitarra Romana (Roman Guitar) 2.54
09. Vieni Sul Mar (Come To The Sea) 2.13
10. Tango Delle Rose (Tango Of Roses) 3.00
11. Reginella Campagnola (Woodpecker Song) 2.15
12. Te Voglio Bene (I Love You So) 2.42
13. Mattinata (I’m Always The One) 2.52
14. La Spagnola 1.54



Cherie & Jim Schwall – A Wedding Present From Cherie & Jim Schwall (1973)

FrontCover1Jim Schwall (November 12, 1942 – June 19, 2022) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, and photographer. He was best known as a co-founder and member of the Siegel-Schwall Band.

Jim Schwall was born in Evanston, Illinois. A singer-songwriter, he played guitar, as well as mandolin, bass guitar, accordion, and other instruments. He studied music at Roosevelt University. There he met Corky Siegel, and became interested in electric blues music. Schwall and Siegel formed a blues duo in 1964, playing at Chicago bars and clubs. They performed regularly at Pepper’s Lounge and at Big John’s, where well known, established blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon would often sit in. The duo expanded to a quartet and became the Siegel-Schwall Band. Schwall’s amplified Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar was a distinctive component of the band’s sound.

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The Siegel-Schwall Band became quite popular, and by 1967 were touring nationally, performing at large venues like the Fillmore West and sharing the bill with well-known rock bands.[9][10] Between 1966 and 1974, they released at least ten albums. They were also noted for their collaborations with Seiji Ozawa, combining blues with classical music. After 1974, they disbanded, but the band re-formed in 1987. They played occasional live dates and released two albums of new material over the following decade.

Siegel-Schwall Band (L-R: Rollo Radford, Corky, Sam Lay, Jim Schwall):
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Schwall was also the leader of his own blues-rock band, the Jim Schwall Band. This band formed in the mid-1970s, and versions continued playing live on an intermittent basis into the 2000’s.

Schwall was also involved in numerous other musical projects. He played guitar and accordion in the band So Dang Yang, and was the bassist for the Cajun Strangers. He held a PhD in musical composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993, and taught music at the college level. As a composer, he specialized in ballet, opera, and other music for the stage.

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Schwall was also a professional photographer, and did different types of photography. In his later years he worked at creating art prints that combined human figures and natural landscapes. He sometimes used 19th-century photographic techniques such as kallitype, cyanotype, and gum printing, non-silver techniques that predate the gelatin silver process.
Political activism

Schwall was active in progressive political causes. In 2002 he ran for mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.

After retiring and settling in Tucson, Schwall took to writing. At the urging of friends, he wrote a memoir titled “My So-called Career(s)” still unpublished, and was working on a novel tentatively titled “Organ Pipe Incident.” (wikipedia)

Famed Chicago blues guitarist and vocalist Jim Schwall — co-founder of the influential and popular Siegel-Schwall Band — died of natural causes at his home in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, June 19, 2022. He was 79. (wikipedia)

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In 1970, Jim Schwall (of the famed Chicago blues-based Siegel-Schwall Band) got married, and along with new bride Cherie recorded and privately pressed A Wedding Present From Cherie & Jim Schwall, (released in 1973). As described on the back cover, the album was home recorded on a Sony reel to reel at a number of parties and contains mostly first takes. It is acoustic, sparse, and bluesy, featuring hard left and right panning in the mix (which lends to the separated and isolated feeling of the music). “Thinking Of You” is exceptional in that it strays away from the blues territory of the album, and veers into a more psych-folk direction. Serving as the only known composition credited to Cherie Schwall, one can’t help but wonder what could have been. (Bosavi)


Cherie Schwall (vocals)
Jim Schwall (guitar, vocals)
Peter Szillies (harmonica)

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01. Everything Is Going To Be All Right (Moss) 3.21
02. Thinking Of You (C.Schwall) 3.59
03. Can I Play With Your Poodle? (unknown) 1.54
04. It Won’t Be Long (McFarland) 2.48
05. Blues For A Lady (J.Schwall) 4.07
06. I’m Getting Old (J.Schwall) 3.56
07. Season Of The Witch (Leitch) 6.13
08. Cadillac Ford (J.Schwall) 2.33
09. Wanderin’ (Kaye) 4.38



People should know, Jim was a beautiful humanitarian and a one-of-a-kind musician.
(Corky Siegel)

More from Siegel-Schwall

The official website (now deleted):

On the road again: Lake Garda

This time I am travelling to Lake Garda


Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It is a popular holiday location in northern Italy, about halfway between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan on the edge of the Dolomites. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last ice age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trentino (north). The name Garda, which the lake has been referred to in documents dating to the 8th century, comes from the town of the same name. It is evolved from the Germanic word warda, meaning “place of guard”, “place of observation” or “place of safety”.


I´ll be back on June 29 … and I wish – as always – all readers a wonderful time !

Eric Burdon And The Animals – The Girl Can´t Help It + Around And Around (1968)

FrontCover1I want to reduce my singles collection:

The Animals (also billed as Eric Burdon and the Animals) are an English rhythm-and-blues and rock band, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in the early 1960s. The band moved to London upon finding fame in 1964. The Animals were known for their gritty, bluesy sound and deep-voiced frontman Eric Burdon, as exemplified by their signature song and transatlantic number-one hit single “The House of the Rising Sun” as well as by hits such as “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”, “It’s My Life”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “I’m Crying”, “See See Rider” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” The band balanced tough, rock-edged pop singles against rhythm-and-blues-oriented album material and were part of the British Invasion of the US.

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The Animals underwent numerous personnel changes in the mid-1960s, and suffered from poor business management, leading the original incarnation to split up in 1966. Burdon assembled a mostly new lineup of musicians under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals; the much-changed act moved to California and achieved commercial success as a psychedelic and hard rock band with hits such as “San Franciscan Nights”, “When I Was Young” and “Sky Pilot” before disbanding at the end of the decade. Altogether, the group had 10 top-20 hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100.. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a rare single from 1968 …

In fact, the two songs are recordings from 1964 … it was their Mickie Most period.
Enjoy the early power of Eric Burdon & The Animals !

As we know, Eric Burdon, however, was already making a very different kind of music in 1968

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Eric Burdon (vocals)
Bryan “Chas” Chandler (bass)
Alan Price (keyboards)
John Steel (drums)
Hilton Valentine (guitar)


01. A The Girl Can’t Help It (Troup) 2.25
02. Around And Around (Berry) 2.45



More from Eric Burdon & The Animals:

Golden Earring – Switch (1975)

FrontCover1Golden Earring was a Dutch rock band, founded in 1961 in The Hague as The Golden Earrings. They achieved worldwide fame with their international hit songs “Radar Love” in 1973, which went to number one on the Dutch charts, reached the top ten in the United Kingdom, and went to number thirteen on the United States charts, “Twilight Zone” in 1982, and “When the Lady Smiles” in 1984.

During their career they had nearly 30 top-ten singles on the Dutch charts and released 25 studio albums.


The band went through a number of early line-up changes, though the band reached a stable line-up in 1970, consisting of Rinus Gerritsen (bass and keyboards), George Kooymans (vocals and guitar), Barry Hay (vocals, guitar, flute and saxophone), and Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums and percussion), which remained unchanged until the band broke up in 2021 following the diagnosis of Kooymans with ALS. A number of other musicians also appeared in short stints with the band over its history as well. (wikipedia)


Switch is the tenth album by Dutch rock band Golden Earring, released in 1975.

After the success of Moontan, Golden Earring could have easily parlayed its success into international stardom by continuing to play up that album’s commercial elements. Instead, the group did an about-face, pursuing uncommercial song themes and pushing the prog rock side of its sound to the fore (this move included the addition of Dutch prog rock keyboardist Robert Jan Stips, formerly of Supersister, to the lineup). The band even lampooned the sexy cover art of its recent hit album with a similar cover that replaced the gorgeous showgirl on Moontan with a marionette. The result is an album that lacks the consistent sound and coherence of Moontan, but makes up for it with an adventurous spirit and plenty of instrumental firepower.


Highlights include “Love Is a Rodeo,” a tune that starts as a thrilling guitar rocker before taking a sudden left turn into a finger-snapping instrumental coda dominated by synthesizer, and “Kill Me (Ce Soir),” a mystical epic that starts with a pulsating bassline and builds to a thunderous, orchestrated climax as its lyrics present a surprisingly incisive portrait of how society inevitably destroys its idols. A downside is that, by encompassing so many different styles, the songs lack the logical flow that would allow Switch to feel like a full, cohesive album. Another problem is that the lyrics have a bitter and defensive tinge (especially on “The Switch,” a hard-edged explanation of the group’s artistic rationale) that sometimes sits at odds with the exciting quality of the music. Despite these problems, Switch remains a solid album that Golden Earring’s fan base will enjoy; the disc might also appeal to adventurous fans of prog and hard rock. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

And: on “Daddy’s Gonna Save My Soul” we hear a brilliant saxophone solo by the great Bertus Borgers !


Rinus Gerritsen (bass, keyboards)
Barry Hay (flute, vocals)
George Kooymans (guitar, vocals)
Robert Jan Stips (keyboards)
Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums)
Bertus Borgers (saxophone)
Eelco Gelling (guitar)


01. Intro: Plus Minus Absurdio 3.08
02. Love Is A Rodeo 3.37
03. The Switch 5.27
04. Kill Me (Ce Soir) 6.23
05. Tons Of Time 4.21
06. Daddy’s Gonna Save My Soul 4.16
07. Troubles And Hassles 4.21
08. Lonesome D.J. 4.38

All songs written by Barry Hay and George Kooymans
except 04. written by Barry Hay, George Kooymans & John Fenton




More from Golden Earring:

The official website:

Katie Melua – Piece By Piece (2005)

FrontCover1Ketevan “Katie” Melua (born 16 September 1984) is a British-Georgian singer and songwriter. She moved to the United Kingdom at the age of eight – first to Belfast and then to London in 1999. Melua is signed to the small Dramatico record label, under the management of composer Mike Batt, and made her musical debut in 2003. In 2006, she was the United Kingdom’s best-selling female artist and Europe’s highest selling European female artist.

In November 2003, at the age of nineteen, Melua released her first album, Call Off the Search, which reached the top of the United Kingdom album charts and sold 1.8 million copies in its first five months of release.

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Her second album, Piece by Piece, was released in September 2005 and to date has gone platinum (one million units sold) four times. Melua released her third studio album Pictures in October 2007.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2008, Melua had a fortune of £18 million, making her the seventh richest British musician under thirty.

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Piece by Piece is the second studio album by British-Georgian jazz and blues singer Katie Melua. It was released on 26 September 2005 by Dramatico Records. In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at #1 with 120,459 copies sold in its first week.

Its first single, Mike Batt’s song “Nine Million Bicycles”, became Melua’s first top five hit in the UK and caused controversy when science writer Simon Singh said the lyrics “demonstrates a deep ignorance of cosmology and no understanding of the scientific method”. After an amusing and good-natured debate in the Press Melua eventually recorded Singh’s version, which both agreed was scientifically accurate and musically pathetic.


The second single was a double A-side comprising “I Cried for You” and a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”. The former song was written after Melua met the writer of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and is about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, while the latter was recorded for the soundtrack to the film Just Like Heaven. The single peaked outside the UK top twenty, and the album’s third single, “Spider’s Web” (which Melua wrote when she was eighteen, during the Iraq War) did not reach the top forty.


Melua wrote the title song “Piece By Piece” after she broke up with her boyfriend Luke Pritchard, and “Half Way up the Hindu Kush” was written by Katie and Mike Batt playing on the unusualness of the title phrase, which cropped up in a conversation about scarves on a train journey. Alongside covers of “Blues in the Night” and Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again”, the album includes “Thank you, Stars”, which was previously released as a B-side on Melua’s debut single “The Closest Thing To Crazy” in 2003.

The album was re-released in 2006, as Piece by Piece: Special Bonus Edition, with three additional tracks and a bonus DVD with concert Moment by Moment and promo videos. (wikipedia)

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Georgia-born (as in the country, not the state) singer/songwriter Katie Melua found herself atop the British charts in 2003 with her breezy debut, Call Off the Search, which sold over three million copies in Europe alone. Her laid-back blend of blues, jazz, and pop with a kiss of worldbeat drew comparisons to Norah Jones, and rightfully so. She sticks to the formula on her lush, ultimately safe follow-up, Piece by Piece. This is Coldplay for the Diana Krall crowd, a perfectly rendered slice of adult contemporary pie for a lazy summer day delivered by an artist whose beautiful voice is almost striking in how unremarkable it is. Her longtime collaborator, producer/songwriter Mike Batt, provides the catchiest number, an odd and endearing little confection called “Nine Million Bicycles.”


It’s both silly and sweet, two things that work in Melua’s favor. Sure, she can vamp it up with the best of them on bluesy asides like “Shy Boy” and the dreadful “Blues in the Night,” but there’s a whole lot of innocence in that voice that just shrivels in the midst of all that bravado. Only in her early twenties, Melua’s got plenty of time to decide on a persona, and Piece by Piece has enough quality material on it to placate fans until she does, but there’s some tension here, and it doesn’t sound intentional. Besides, anyone who covers Canned Heat and the Cure on the same record is still trying to figure it all out. (by James Christopher Monger)


Jim Cregan (guitar)
Mike Darcy (violin)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Dominic Glover (trumpet)
Tim Harries (bass)
Chris Karan (percussion)
Katie Melua (vocals, guitar)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Mike Batt (piano on 12.)
Adrian Brett (flute on 02.)
Paul Jones (harmonica on 05.)
Peter Knight (mandolin on 09.)
Craig Pruess (sitar on 04.)
The Irish Film Orchestra conducted by Mike Batt


01. Shy Boy (Batt) 3.28
02. Nine Million Bicycles (Batt) 3.15
03. Piece By Piece (Melua) 3.24
04. Halfway Up The Hindu Kush (Melua/Batt) 3.06
05. Blues In The Night (Arlen/Mercer) 4.12
06.Spider’s Web (Melua) 3.57
07. Blue Shoes (Batt) 4.39
08. On The Road Again (Jones/Wilson) 4.38
09. Thankyou, Stars (Batt) 3.39
10. Just Like Heaven (Gallup/Smith) 3.35
11. I Cried For You (Mary’s Song) (Melua) 3.38
12. I Do Believe In Love (Melua) 3.00CD1



More from Katie Melua:

The official website:

Amy MacDonald – Under Stars (Deluxe Edition) (2017)

FrontCover1Amy Elizabeth Macdonald (born 25 August 1987) is a Scottish singer-songwriter. In 2007, she released her debut studio album, This Is the Life, which respectively produced the singles “Mr. Rock & Roll” and “This Is the Life”; the latter charting at number one in six countries, while reaching the top 10 in another 11 countries. The album reached number one in four European countries – the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland – and sold three million copies worldwide. Moderate success in the American music market followed in 2008. Macdonald has sold over 12 million records worldwide.

Amy Macdonald01 (2007)

Macdonald’s second studio album, A Curious Thing, was released in 2010. Its lead single “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” peaked at number 45 on the UK Singles Chart, and also went on to perform well in other European countries. In 2010, she collaborated with Ray Davies on his album, See My Friends; she sang with him on a cover of The Kinks’ 60s hit “Dead End Street”. Her third studio album, Life in a Beautiful Light, was released in 2012 and supplied three singles: “Slow It Down”, “Pride” and “4th of July”.

In 2017, Macdonald released her fourth studio album, Under Stars, which entered at number two on the Scottish and UK Album Charts. It also peaked within the top 10 of the album charts in Germany and New Zealand. In 2020, she released her fifth studio album, The Human Demands.

Amy Macdonald02 (2017)

Under Stars is the fourth album by Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, and was released on 17 February 2017. The album’s lead single, “Dream On” was released on 6 January 2017. Macdonald’s official website and official Facebook fanpage confirmed the album for release on 25 November 2016. Album title and tracklist were confirmed the same day by both sites.

Macdonald began writing songs for the album in early 2014, 2 years after the release of Life in a Beautiful Light. In May 2014, she performed 4 new songs live. She also sang “Leap of Faith” during the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.[3] In March 2015, Macdonald announced via Twitter she was finishing the songwriting of the album, but had not yet started recording. On 28 October 2015, she announced via Twitter she started the recording sessions for the album. Later, she stated on 9 December 2015 via her Instagram account that she had finished the songwriting for the album and that she hoped the album would be finished sometime in 2016. On 9 August 2016, Macdonald announced via Instagram her fourth album was finished and would be released early 2017.

Macdonald said although it was two and a half years in the making, which is the longest she has ever taken with an album, she was glad to have taken the time and she feels the album has “the TLC that it deserves”.


The album up to now has gathered mixed to positive reviews, receiving a score of 3 out of 5 stars at the London Evening Standard, describing the album as “a tuneful collection that doesn’t mess with the formula”.

“Dream On” was released as the lead single from the album on 6 January 2017. The song has peaked to number 37 on the Scottish Singles Chart. The song also charted in Belgium.

“Automatic” was released as the second single off the album on 24 March 2017. The accompanying music video was released on her Vevo channel on 17 March 2017.

“Down by the Water” was released as the third single from the album on 11 July 2017, on the same day as the accompanying music video. An acoustic version of the song was previously released in late 2016 as a promotional single from the album before its release. (wikipedia)


After an extended hiatus that had her fans salivating and chomping at the bit for new material, Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald is back in action with her newly released fourth album Under Stars. For those who have been anxiously awaiting more of Macdonald’s signature blend of guitar-driven, optimistic rock and folk pop, the 29-year-old Glaswegian with the exhilarating contralto voice and girl-next-door vibe does not disappoint.

First inspired by the music of Scottish rock band Travis, Amy Macdonald began teaching herself how to play music using her father’s old guitar before she was even a teenager. After spending years making the rounds in the pub and cafe circuit in Glasgow, she first made a name for herself in 2007 at the tender age of 19 with the release of her first album This Is The Life. A resounding success for any young break-out artist (especially one in the oversaturated guitar-pop arena), the album went on to sell over 3 million copies, and her next two album releases met with similar success.

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Leaving her fans to wonder, “Where’s Amy?”, Macdonald took a five-year break between her last album release and Under Stars, the latter half of which were spent writing and then recording the new album in London’s infamous Abbey Road Studios. Unlike the completely solo creative endeavors of her first three albums, most of the songs on Under Stars were written in collaboration with her bass player Jimmy Sims, keyboard player Shannon Harris, and friend Ben Parker. It is perhaps the synthesis created by this group effort that is responsible for a certain extra brightness in the album, giving it an injection of fresh pop energy that sets it just slightly apart from Macdonald’s previous musical undertakings, while at the same time maintaining her core sound.

Finding inspiration in the lives of those closest to her, many of Amy Macdonald’s songs are about her friends. The album’s first track and lead single, “Dream On”, a howl-at-the-moon, feel-good anthem about personal journey and triumph in the face of adversity, is one such song. Same goes for title track “Under Stars”, a motivating tune about friendship, loneliness, and the kind of love that knows no distance or separation, with the chorus succinctly paraphrasing the album’s overarching theme: “This is your song, so write it. Be who you are, don’t hide it.”


The free-spirited “Automatic” tips an Americana hat to Bruce Springsteen, and will likely make this galloping ode to the wide open road well-received among listeners …after all, who doesn’t relate to the feeling of wanting to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge when the going gets tough? “Down By The Water” is an absolute gem. Macdonald’s voice shines in this slow and sweet, gospel-reinforced ballad, with hand claps, tambourine, and guest vocals by British singer Juliet Roberts serving to complement Macdonald’s vocal range without the sometimes overpowering musical distractions found elsewhere on the album.

While optimistic overall, the album is not all hearts and high-fives. Known for her strong opinions on political issues like the Brexit and Scottish independence, “The Rise & Fall” is a cautionary tale warning of the human drive for “power, glory, money, fame” in which Macdonald describes all too well our current political climate. And “Never Too Late”, another impressive display of vocal prowess (this time accompanied by piano and strings), is a veritable call to action: “Ain’t no use in sitting around, waiting for the world to change. Never too late to stand your ground, do what it takes to make them proud.”


Although at times lyrically cliche, Macdonald’s brand of emotive empowerment pop has a definite market, as her album sales can attest to. One can imagine advertising agencies worldwide flagging the album and its many positive messages for use as possible soundtracks to commercials. Released just in time for those of us in the northern hemisphere suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), listening to Under Stars is a bit like mainlining sunshine directly into your veins. For those sensitive to unbridled optimism, it is advised to limit exposure, or be sure to purchase the deluxe version of the album which includes an extra eight tracks, acoustic versions of most of the songs. A soothing and balancing break from the often musically over-assertive electric tracks, their addition almost makes for a double album: one perfect for sunny days cruising down the highway in no particular direction with no one to hear you singing along off-key at the top of your voice, and one just right for rainy, introverted days spent at home drinking tea in pajamas and ruminating on life, love, and the meaning of it all.

Fans of the vintage-like cover art of albums past may be wary of the slick, Katy Perry-esque choice of album design for Under Stars, but needn’t worry. Inside the album Amy Macdonald’s sound remains quite true to her proven, down-to-earth formula, and will be sure to please her legions of loyal fans as well as gain her many new followers. (Katherine Rae)


Amy Macdonald (vocals, guitar)
many, many studio musicians
(Today I am too lazy to list them all, sorry; see download file)


01. Dream On (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.19
02. Under Stars (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.43
03. Automatic (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.17
04. Down By The Water (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.27
05. Leap Of Faith (Macdonald) 3.04
06. Never Too Late (Macdonald/Falkner/Harris) 4.07
07. The Rise & Fall (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.14
08. Feed My Fire (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.16
09. The Contender (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.36
10. Prepare To Fall (Macdonald) 4.30
11. From The Ashes (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.37
the acoustic tracks (live from the RAK Studios, London):
12. Under Stars (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.42
13. Dream On (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.19
14. Prepare To Fall (Macdonald) 4.06
15. Leap Of Faith (Macdonald) 3.13
16. Automatic (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.10
17. Down By The Water (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.32
18. The Rise & Fall (Macdonald/Parker/Sims) 3.36
19. I’m on Fire (Springsteen) 2.22




The official website:

Strider – Exposed (1973)

LPFrontCover1Strider was a British hard rock band, signed to the tiny GM label (Warner, in the U.S.) owned by one Billy Gaffs, better known as the sometime manager of Rod Stewart and John Cougar, among others.

Their first LP, Exposed, was unveiled in 1973, bearing a striking – and intentional – resemblance to Humble Pie, thanks to keyboardist Ian Kewley’s howling, soulful vocals (not quite Steve Marriott, but pretty ballsy just the same), Gary Grainger’s blustery, rip-roaring guitar, and a rock-solid rhythm section, à la Free, in bassist Lee Hunter and drummer Jimmy Hawkins.

Unfortunately, despite being uniformly well-constructed and expertly played, with gusto and attitude, the rousing, in-concert favorite “Flying,” the bruising (if occasionally glam-sparkled) “Esther’s Place,” and a tough little bastard called “Straddle,” simply lacked that magical immediacy required of would-be-hits.

Ditto attempts to further incorporate the Pie’s R&B flavors (along with Kewley’s more prominent keys) like “Ain’t Got No Love” and “Higher and Higher” (watch out for the falsetto right out of The Darkness), featuring Jennie Haan, of Babe Ruth, on backing vocals.


And while “Woman Blue” revealed a mellower side of the band and the eight-minute “Get Ready” some unexpected versatility, Strider were seemingly doomed to obscurity – even though they toured extensively with Status Quo, Deep Purple and, yes, Humble Pie.

Following a lineup reshuffle, Strider released a second LP in ‘74 (the aptly named Misunderstood) and then went their separate ways, with Grainger later backing up Rod Stewart for several albums and tours. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)Strider02

Well … We just about made it, even though the beers of various countries came swirling in frothy torrents, 2 feet deep, through the control room. Sometimes these floods carried the lads into oblivion, but they forged onwards with the production, for which they can thank Jimmy Horowitz and Themselves, not forgetting the sober Phil Dunne, on advice. Strider threw up and disarranged the arrangements, while Phil Dunne (again?) engineered the whole shebang with admirable fortitude. John Eaton set the tapes up in between bouts of stealing our booze. All this happened at the Marquee Studios, London, and was recorded on a 16 track something or other, that coped memorably with the event. (Especially as it was February 1973.) (taken from  the original liner notes, 1973)


With Babe Ruth’s free-swingin’ Jenny (Janita) Haan guesting on backing vocals, I was immediately drawn to Strider’s Exposed LP. Little in stature, Haan packed a big set of vocal cords, as the Middlesex born singer displayed throughout First Base, the 1972 debut LP from the hard hittin’ Babe Ruth, which features the round-trippin’ “Wells Fargo” and “The Mexican”.

Strider’s first shot from the studio peaks early, with the intro tag-team of “Flying” and “Ain’t Got No Love”, plus the spirited “Woman Blue”, leading the way from the ’73 LP release. Lead single, “Higher and Higher”, as expected, carries an accessible edge, with the track closing out the stronger A-side.


A lengthy cover of “Get Ready”, at nearly nine-minutes brings the blues rock LP to a needle-in-the-groove run-out. The remake of “Get Ready” is no match for Rare Earth’s intense version of the Motown classic penned by Smokey Robinson for the Temptations back in 1966. Produced by Jimmy Horowitz, singer Ian Kewley added keyboard work during the studio sessions for Exposed. Hammond organ fills, a staple of the early ’70s hard rock scene, would have sounded so much cooler on the recording. (Jon Fox)

Yes, that is exactly the sound that I appreciate and love so much !


Gary Grainger (guitar)
Jim Hawkins (drums)
Lee Hunter (bass)
Ian Kewley -(keyboards, vocals)

01. Flying (Grainger/Kewley) 6.02
02. Ain’t Got No Love (Grainger/Noton) 4.18
03. Woman Blue (Kewley/Hunter/Hawkins/Noton) 5.41
04. Higher And Higher (Jackson/Smith) 3.55
05. Esther’s Place (Grainger/Kewley/Noton) 6.30
06. Straddle (Grainger/O’Brien/Kewley/Noton) 3.49
07. Get Ready (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 8.51