I Musici – Le Quattro Stagioni (Antonio Vivaldi) (1970)

FrontCover1Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741) was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher, impresario, and Roman Catholic priest. Born in Venice, the capital of the Venetian Republic, he is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He composed many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other musical instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as the Four Seasons.

Many of his compositions were written for the all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children. Vivaldi had worked there as a Catholic priest for 1 1/2 years and was employed there from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with expensive stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for royal support. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival, and Vivaldi himself died in poverty less than a year later.

The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a group of four violin concerti by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, each of which gives musical expression to a season of the year. They were written around 1716–1717 and published in 1725 in Amsterdam, together with eight additional concerti, as Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention).

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The Four Seasons is the best known of Vivaldi’s works. Though three of the concerti are wholly original, the first, “Spring”, borrows motifs from a sinfonia in the first act of Vivaldi’s contemporaneous opera Il Giustino. The inspiration for the concertos is not the countryside around Mantua, as initially supposed, where Vivaldi was living at the time, since according to Karl Heller[1] they could have been written as early as 1716–1717, while Vivaldi was engaged with the court of Mantua only in 1718. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires.

Title page of Vivaldi’s Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Invenzione,
which included The Four Seasons:
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Unusually for the period, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by the composer himself) that elucidated what it was in the spirit of each season that his music was intended to evoke. The concerti therefore stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to be called program music—i.e., music with a narrative element. Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music on the page. For example, in the middle section of “Spring”, when the goatherd sleeps, his barking dog can be heard in the viola section. The music is elsewhere similarly evocative of other natural sounds. Vivaldi divided each concerto into three movements (fast–slow–fast), and, likewise, each linked sonnet into three sections. (wikipedia)

And here we can hear this great composition interpreted by I Musici:

In 1951, twelve young and promising italian musicians, mainly roman and mostly graduates of the at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, got together “inter pares” to create a unique chamber orchestra comprising six violins, two violas, two cellos, one double bass and one harpsichord.
They chose the simple, yet nice, name I MUSICI and they deliberately decided to shape the ensemble without conductor. They did so in order to create an egalitarian relationship among the twelve colleagues and friends, which would bring to their music-making a unanimity on technical and interpretative questions. It was a very unconventional but unexpectedly suitable procedure. Notably, maestro Arturo Toscanini, on hearing them rehearsing in April 1952 at the Italian Radio studios, enthused over the young orchestra in front of journalists and musical personalities, and dedicated his photograph to the group with the words “bravi, bravissimi …no! la musica non muore”, (bravo, the music will not die).
A few weeks earlier, on the 30th of March 1952, their public debut was an enormous success at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Roma; it was the starting point of an astonishing career, which in a short time catapulted them among the ranks of the great international performers.

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In 2020 I Musici celebrated their 69th anniversary since the beginning of their activity, an adventure that began in 1951, when the first members gathered. However, the official debut was on March 30, 1952 with the concert at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome.
The goal that these young musicians had prefigured was to make known and spread the immense heritage of eighteenth-century Italian music, at the time still not known at all, as well as performing music of Italian authors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Probably none of them would have imagined that the group they founded would still be around the world to play that repertoire, but that was the case. Discovering, studying, spreading, this is the tireless engine of the long wandering of I Musici di Roma in these 65 years. The beauty of music did the rest. How can we not remember that if today’s Four Seasons of Vivaldi are one of the most famous pieces in the world, we owe it to I Musici.

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And then Corelli, Albinoni, Locatelli, Rossini, Rota, to name some of the most accomplished authors. But not only Italian music, of course, their Mozart was awarded with the Grand Prix du Disque, and then the string symphonies of Mendelssohn, and Brandenburg Concertos of Bach, Haendel’s Concerti grossi. Certainly, this would not have been possible unless a special relationship established with the public, which still lasts today. I Musici concerts are every time a trip to a different place, you just sit in the hall and let yourself be guided and carried in the magic world of sounds. Even today, the members of the group move among the score with the same enthusiasm of their predecessors, and perhaps this is the secret of this incredible longevity: the desire to share and the enthusiasm of those who know they have a beautiful gift to give to others: Music. (taken from their website)

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People about this album:
Wonderful, my favourite version, and apparently the first classical record to get a gold record for selling more than a million copies (in 1972) (Bruce Ainsley)

This is the best version of the Four Seasons. Only the one with Agostini comes close to that. (Micha Weinst)

Indeed: A masterpierce !

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Personnel:
I Musici
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Roberto Michelucci (violin)
Booklet01ATracklist:

Concerto For Violin And Strings In E Major, No.1, RV 269 “La Primavera”: 
01. Allegro 3.35
02. Largo 3.03
03. Allegro (Danza Pastorale) 4.20

Concerto For Violin And Strings In G Minor, No.2, RV 315 “L’Estate”:
04. Allegro Non Molto – Allegro 5.30
05. Adagio – Presto – Adagio 2.06
06. Presto (Tempo Impetuoso D’Estate) 2.56

Concerto For Violin And Strings In F Major, No.3, RV 293 “L’Autunno”:
07. Allegro (Ballo, E Cabto De’ Villanelli) 5.28
08. Adagio Molto (Ubriachi Dormienti) 3.22
09. Allegro (La Caccia) 3.22

Concerto For Violin And Strings In F Minor, No.4, RV 297 “L’Inverno”: 
10. Allegro Non Molto 3.25
11. Largo 2.43
12. Allegro 2.58

Composed by Antonio Vivaldi

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Caricature by P. L. Ghezzi, Rome (1723):
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Barry Goldberg – It’s All My Vault (2011)

FrontCover1Barry Joseph Goldberg (born December 25, 1942) is a blues and rock keyboardist, songwriter, and record producer.

As a teenager in Chicago, Goldberg sat in with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, and Howlin’ Wolf. He played keyboards with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing Bob Dylan during his 1965 newly ‘electrified’ appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. He formed The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield in 1967, and later formed the ‘Barry Goldberg Reunion’ in 1968.

In 1965, after moving to Chicago to play the blues, Steve Miller and keyboardist Barry Goldberg founded the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band along with bassist Roy Ruby, rhythm guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Maurice McKinley. The band contracted to Epic Records and recorded a single, “The Mother Song”, which they performed on Hullabaloo, before Miller left the group to go to San Francisco.[5][6]

Goldberg’s songs (some of which co-written with Gerry Goffin) have been recorded by many musicians including Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, Joe Cocker, Steve Miller, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Gram Parsons and B. J. Thomas.

Goldberg’s first professional recording session was “Devil with the Blue Dress On”/”Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Among the albums he contributed to are Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man, The Ramones’ End of the Century, The Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin, and Super Session which featured Michael Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, and Al Kooper.

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Goldberg also has co-produced albums by Percy Sledge including Blue Night (Grammy nominated and WC Handy soul album of the year) as well as Shining Through the Rain, Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, The Textones, plus Bob Dylan’s version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”.

In 1992 he played keyboards with the Carla Olson & Mick Taylor band, which resulted in the live CD Too Hot for Snakes, featuring the talents of artists like Ian McLagan, Jesse Sublett and John “Juke” Logan.

In 1994, Goldberg and Saul Davis produced Blue Night by Percy Sledge, which featured Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, Mick Taylor, Greg Leisz, Bob Glaub, Ed Greene, Mikael Rickfors, The Waters… with songs written by Rickfors, Gregg Sutton, Pat Robinson, Carla Olson, the Bee Gees, Quinton Claunch, Fats Domino, and Otis Redding.

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By 1999, Goldberg both wrote and performed the theme to the Disney Channel original movie Smart House, entitled “The House is Jumpin’,” with Phil Shenale and Sterling Smith, with vocals by Chan André. He wrote the song with Jill Wisoff and Joel Diamond.[2]

In 2002, he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley – A Tribute!, playing piano on the songs “Pills”, “I’m A Man” and “Before You Accuse Me” (produced by Carla Olson). Carla also produced Barry’s Stoned Again album which featured Denny Freeman, Mick Taylor and Ernie Watts.

In 2004, Shining Through The Rain by Percy also co-produced by Davis and Goldberg, featuring Larry Byrom, Denny Freeman, Clayton Ivey, Ed Greene, Phil Upchurch, Bob Glaub, the Waters, Jakob Dylan… and songs by the Bee Gees, Mikael Rickfors, Carla Olson, Jackie Lomax, Earl Carson, Bobby Moore.

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In 2005-2006, he toured with the ‘Chicago Blues Reunion’ featuring Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel, Tracy Nelson and Corky Siegel. Their debut CD reached #2 on the Billboard Blues Chart and received a four star review from Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke.

On July 7, 2009 Goldberg’s self-titled 1974 Atco album was reissued with the originally recorded, but never-released tracks and a restored sound. The album was produced by Dylan and Jerry Wexler.

In 2012, Stephen Stills recruited Goldberg in founding a new band dubbed The Rides, culling some of Stills’s best work from the past, adding guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and session drummer Chris Layton. Goldberg co-wrote four songs on their first album titled, Can’t Get Enough, released that year. The feature track is “Word Game”. Much of the album reflects the work Stills did on the Super Session album with Mike Bloomfield in 1968.

Goldberg appears on the Carla Olson album Have Harmony, Will Travel (released April 15, 2013, on Busted Flat Records) playing Hammond B3 organ on Del Shannon’s “Keep Searchin’ ” sung by Carla and Peter Case, and piano and organ on the Little Steven song, “All I Needed Was You”, sung by Scott Kempner (The Del-Lords).

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The long-awaited film Born in Chicago documenting Chicago blues was released in 2013, premiering at the SXSW Film Festival in March. Goldberg had been working on this project for a few years. It includes unique contributions by Bob Dylan, BB King, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Eric Burdon, and many others.

Goldberg produced three tracks on the 2013 EP (Drown in the Crimson Tide) by The Voice Season One semi-finalist, Nakia, with longtime friend, Johnny Lee Schell.[4]

Can’t Get Enough, the album by The Rides (Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Goldberg) was nominated for a 2014 Blues Music Award for “Best Rock Blues Album.”

In 2016, Neil Young jammed with The Rides at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles at the “Light Up The Blues” event.

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Goldberg produced and composed additional musical score to the documentary feature film BANG! The Bert Berns Story which premiered at SXSW in 2016 and will be released theatrically in 2017.

His latest CD, In The Groove, was released on June 15 on Sunset Blvd Records. The album consists of new and classic instrumentals and features Goldberg on Hammond B3 organ, piano and Wurlitzer piano. Among the featured musicians and guests are Denny Freeman, Tony Marsico, Don Heffington, Rob Stone, Joe Sublett, Darrell Leonard, James Inveldt, Johnny Lee Schell, Reggie McBride, Craig Fundyga, Victor Bisetti and jazz legend Les McCann. The album was produced by Carla Olson.

Goldberg’s uncle was Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg.[5] Barry’s wife is named Gail and their son is Aram. (wikipedia)

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This album of rarities, titled ‘It’s All My Vault’, featuring performances by Mick Taylor, Carla Olsen and Terry Reid.

As for this album, the story is that Barry took a look around and found that he had all of these tunes just laying around in his “vault” so he turned them over to ItsAboutMusic.com so that all of his fans could now enjoy them. The label hopes it’s only volume one of this series and that he has many more tracks collecting dust that they can release in the future. (Press release)

This is blues from one of its greatest homes and keyboard legends. The slow, working class blues that came north, up the Mississippi River to find its home is presented in its raw intensity. This is a great collection of some of the best music of that era and showcases Barry’s talents well. If you like Chicago blues the way it used to be played you’ll have to have this album in your collection.

“After You’ve Gone (Empty Blues)”, opens with that Doors’, “Cars Hiss By My Window” beat and organ to it. The guitar work is amazing and puts you in that same hazy summer relaxing mood. Nice way to open the album.

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“Holy High” is a slow spiritual song full of great piano and slow guitar. The horn adds the high notes and bright rays to this slow dirge. On this one it’s Barry on piano that is showcased well. The drums keep perfect rhythm with the guitar, as this wonderful procession moves on.

“Special Sauce” opens to a rockin’ beat with Barry gliding smoothly over those organ keys. This is a nice traveling song. That grand organ sounds wonderful, bringing back that familiar sound. The drums are dynamic and full of sparkle. The guitar solos are fantastic on this instrumental.Boogie woogie, rockabilly piano opens “Never Too Late”. Barry does a fantastic job building a great Chuck Berry melody with the keys. The bass and keys support well, with the lead guitar peeling back the years right through the middle.

“Slip and Slide” will bring back memories of the Blues Brothers soundtrack. But of course that was fictional. Barry lived the real thing and you can hear the power coming through in these songs. This one will have you up and dancing.

“Blue Dreams” is a slow groove blues track with Barry and Jack Sherman, on guitar, bringing this song to life. Perfect for relaxing on the front porch or real slow dances.

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“Rollin’ On” is full of great drums and Barry playing the keys to Sherman’s guitar. “Goodbye So Long” is a wonderful boogie woogie full of great guitar from Howie Epstein. “Rock It” is a harmonica filled, fast paced blues number.

Melanie Herrold’s vocals rock “Going to Chicago (Live)”, along with Barry’s keys, Sherman’s guitar and Stan Berhen’s blues harp. Get up and dance!

Melanie is back for “Crazy About You Baby (Live)”. The blues harp, Barry’s piano and Sherman’s guitar work blends well with those exploding drums from David Raven.

Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move (Live)” is the closer on this set of music. The slow grinding keys and Berhen’s harmonica build the story with sound here. Terry Reid brings the vocal power along with Gary Malliber’s drums. (Mark Johnson)

And I include a very interesting interview with Barry Goldberg.

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Personnel:
Stan Behrens (harmonica)
Brian Brown (guitar)
Howie Epstein (guitar, bass)
Barry Goldberg (keyboards)
Mark Goldberg (bass)
Rick Hemmert (drums)
Melanie Herrold (vocals on 10.)
Gary Mallaber (drums)
Carla Olson (guitars)
David Raven (drums)
Terry Reid (vocals on 12.)
Jack Sherman (guitar)
Gregg Sutton (bass)
Mick Taylor (guitar on 01., slide-guitar on 06.)

BookletTracklist:
01. After You’ve Gone (Empty Blues) (Goldberg/Taylor/Olson) 4.56
02. Holy High (Goldberg) 4.44
03. Special Sauce (Goldberg) 4.01
04. Never Too Late (Goldberg) 3.38
05. Slip And Slide (Goldberg) 3.32
06. Blue Dreams (Goldberg) 4.25
07. Rollin’ On (Goldberg) 3.13
08. Goodbye, So Long (Goldberg) 3.18
09. Rock It (Goldberg) 3.53
10. Goin’ To Chicago (Goldberg/Herrold) 4.52
11. Crazy ’bout You Baby (Turner(Williamson) 4.51
12. You Gotta Move (McDowell)

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Molly Hatchet – Same (1978)

FrontCover1Named after a legendary Southern prostitute who allegedly beheaded and mutilated her clients, Jacksonville’s Molly Hatchet melded loud hard-rock boogie with guitar jam-oriented Southern rock. Formed in 1975, the group’s original lineup featured three guitarists — Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland — plus vocalist Danny Joe Brown, bassist Banner Thomas, and drummer Bruce Crump. They recorded a self-titled debut album in 1978, which quickly went platinum; the follow-up, Flirtin’ with Disaster, was even more successful, selling over two million copies. Brown left the group in 1980 after the constant touring became too tiresome; he was replaced by Jimmy Farrar for Beatin’ the Odds, but Farrar’s voice was less immediately identifiable, and Molly Hatchet’s commercial appeal began a slow decline. The band experimented with horns on Take No Prisoners, but Farrar left for a solo career soon afterward.

Brown rejoined the band in 1982, but the ensuing album, No Guts…No Glory, flopped, and guitarist Hlubek insisted on revamping Molly Hatchet’s sound. After The Deed Is Done, a straightforward pop/rock album, the group took some time off in 1985 while its Double Trouble Live album, a collection of some of its best-known songs, was released. Molly Hatchet returned in 1989 without Hlubek for an album of straight, polished AOR, Lightning Strikes Twice. Not even the group’s fans bought the record, and Molly Hatchet disbanded shortly afterward. They reunited in the mid-’90s as an active touring outfit, releasing Devil’s Canyon, their first record since Lightning Strikes Twice, in 1996.

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Continuing to recapture the style of their glory days, Silent Reign of Heroes followed in 1998, and Kingdom of XII appeared in early 2001, the year after guitarist Bobby Ingram — who had joined the group in 1987 — assumed legal ownership of the “Molly Hatchet” trade name. A slew of live recordings from a group now undergoing significant changes from its original lineup appeared during the next few years, and the studio recording Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge was released in 2005, the same year that guitarist Hlubek rejoined the outfit after nearly two decades. Their 13th album, Justice, appeared in 2010. However, these post-millennial years also saw many of Molly Hatchet’s early members pass away: Danny Joe Brown in 2005, Duane Roland in 2006, Bruce Crump in 2015, and Banner Thomas in 2017, the same year that also saw the passing of band co-founder Dave Hlubek. Steve Holland, the final surviving member of the original lineup, passed on August 2, 2020 at the age of 66. (by Steve Huey)

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Molly Hatchet is the self-titled debut album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1978 (see 1978 in music). The cover is a painting by Frank Frazetta entitled “The Death Dealer”. Starting off both the album itself and the recording career of the band, the first song famously begins with lead singer Danny Joe Brown growling “Hell yeah!”

“Dreams I’ll Never See” is a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s song “Dreams” from their debut album, via Buddy Miles’s reworking of the song from Them Changes (1970). (wikipedia)

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Molly Hatchet comes out of the chute kicking and screaming on this, the band’s debut effort. With obvious influences including fellow Floridians Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as the Allman Brothers, Mountain, and any number of other hard rock bands, Hatchet didn’t take long to catch on with what would become legions of fans. Songs like “Bounty Hunter” and the cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Dreams I’ll Never See” helped to build a solid base of fans who still hold tight to their Molly Hatchet rock & roll dreams. All in all, a splendid debut album from a band that, in true Southern fashion, has had its share of ups and downs. And Danny Joe Brown proves that he is a singer to be reckoned with. (by Michael B. Smith)

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Personnel:
Danny Joe Brown (vocals)
Bruce Crump (drums)
Dave Hlubek (guitar)
Steve Holland (guitar)
Duane Roland (guitar)
Banner Thomas (bass)
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Tim Lindsey (bass)
Jai Winding (keyboards)
Tom Werman (percussion)

Inlet
Tracklist:
01. Bounty Hunter (Brown/Hlubek/Holland) 2.59
02. Gator Country (Hlubek/Holland/Thomas) 6.17
03. Big Apple (Brown/Hlubek) 3.03
04. The Creeper (Brown/Crump/Holland) 3.20
05. The Price You Pay (Berrier/Brown/Holland/Huckaba) 3.05
06. Dreams I’ll Never See (Allman) 7.08
07. I’ll Be Running (Brown/Hlubek/Thomas) 3.02
08. Cheatin’ Woman (Holland) 3.38
09. Trust Your Old Friend (Crump/Roland) 3.55

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Death Dealer by Frank Frazetta (February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010):
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Juliette Gréco – Si Tu T’imagines + 2 (1950)

FrontCover1Juliette Gréco (7 February 1927 – 23 September 2020) was a French actress and cabaret singer. She became the iconic figure of the Saint Germain Des Prés music scene in Paris.

Her most famous songs were “Jolie Môme”, “Déshabillez-moi”, and “La Javanaise”. She sang tracks with lyrics written by French poets such as Jacques Prévert and Boris Vian and singers like Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. Her sixty-year career finished in 2015 when she began her last worlwide tour titled “Merci”.

Juliette Gréco was born in Montpellier to an absent Corsican father, Gérard Gréco, and a mother from Bordeaux, Juliette Lafeychine (1899-1978). Her lineage hails in part from Greece. She did not receive any love from her mother in her childhood and suffered from her harsh comments due to being an unwanted child, such as “You ain’t my daughter. You’re Juliette Gréco06the child of rape”. She was raised by her maternal grandparents in Bordeaux with her older sister Charlotte. After the death of her grandparents, her mother took her two daughters back to come live with her in Paris. In 1938, she became a ballerina at the Opéra Garnier.

When World War II began, the family returned to the southwest of France. Gréco was a student at the Institut Royal d’éducation Sainte Jeanne d’Arc in Montauban. The Gréco family became active in the Résistance and her mother was arrested at their home in 1943. The two sisters decided then to move back to Paris but they were captured and tortured by the Gestapo before being imprisoned at the Fresnes Prison in September 1943. Her mother and sister were deported to a concentration camp in Ravensbrück while Juliette, being only 16 at the time, remained in prison for several months before being released. All alone after her release from prison, she walked the eight miles back to Paris to get her belongings back at the Gestapo headquarters. Her former French teacher and her mother’s friend, Hélène Duc, decided to take care of her.

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In 1945, Gréco’s mother and sister returned from deportation after the liberation of Ravensbrück by the Red Army. Gréco moved to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1945 after her mother moved to Indochina, leaving Gréco and her sister behind.

Gréco became a devotee of the bohemian fashion of some intellectuals of post-war France. Duc sent her to attend acting classes given by Solange Sicard. She made her debut in the play Victor ou les Enfants au pouvoir in November 1946 and began to host a radio show dedicated to poetry.

Her friend Jean-Paul Sartre installed her at the Hotel La Louisiane and famously said that she had “millions of poems in her voice”. She was known to many of the writers and artists working in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, such as Albert Camus, Jacques Prévert and Boris Vian, thus gaining the nickname la Muse de l’existentialisme.

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Gréco spent the post-Liberation years frequenting the Saint-Germain-des-Prés cafes, immersing herself in political and philosophical bohemian culture. As a regular figure at music and poetry venues like Le Tabou on Rue Dauphine, she was acquainted with Jean Cocteau, and was given a role in Cocteau’s film Orphée (1950).

In 1949, she began an affair with U.S. jazzman Miles Davis. In 1957, they decided to always be just lovers because of their careers happening in different countries and his fear of tarnishing her reputation by being in an interracial relationship. They remained lovers and friends until his death in 1991.

In 1949, she also made her debut as a cabaret singer in the Parisian cabaret Le Boeuf sur le toit, performing the lyrics of a number of well-known French writers; Raymond Queneau’s “Si tu t’imagines” was one of her earliest songs to become popular.

Gréco was married three times:

to actor Philippe Lemaire (1953–1956)
actor Michel Piccoli (1966–1977)
pianist Gérard Jouannest (1988 till his death in 2018)

With Lemaire, she had a daughter, Laurence-Marie, born in 1954. Laurence-Marie Lemaire died from cancer in 2016 aged 62.

In the year leading up to his death in the late 1940s, Gréco was the lover of married racing driver Jean-Pierre Wimille and she suffered a miscarriage after his death.

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According to Spanish writer Manuel Vicent, Juliette Gréco was Albert Camus’s lover. She also was in relationships with French singer Sacha Distel and Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck.

During her affair with Miles Davis, she was at one point also dating U.S. record producer Quincy Jones. According to Jones’ autobiography, Davis was irritated with him for years when he later found that out.

Gréco had three rhinoplasties; in Paris in 1953 and 1956, and in London in 1960.

In September 1965, Gréco attempted suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills. She was found unconscious in her bathroom and taken to the hospital by Françoise Sagan.

Gréco lived between Paris and Saint-Tropez, in the south of France.

Juliette Gréco03A leftist, she supported François Mitterrand in the 1974 presidential election, and was an initial investor in Minute, when it was mainly non-political and focused on the entertainment world.

Gréco died on 23 September 2020 at the age of 93.[23][24]

The “Juliette Gréco” rose at the Roseraie de Bagatelle

Gréco was portrayed by actress Anna Mouglalis in the film Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010).

Jean-Paul Sartre based the singer in his trilogy The Roads to Freedom (Les chemins de la liberté) on Gréco.

An allusion to Gréco is made by English singer Ray Davies in the song “Art School Babe” from his album Storyteller.

“Michelle” by the Beatles was inspired by Gréco and the Parisian Left Bank culture. Paul McCartney said of the song, “We’d tag along to these parties, and it was at the time of people like Juliette Greco, the French bohemian thing. They’d all wear black turtleneck sweaters, it’s kind of where we got all that from, and we fancied Juliette like mad. Have you ever seen her? Dark hair, real chanteuse, really happening. So I used to pretend to be French, and I had this song that turned out later to be ‘Michelle’.”

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John Lennon wrote in Skywriting by Word of Mouth, “I’d always had a fantasy about a woman who would be a beautiful, intelligent, dark-haired, high-cheek-boned, free-spirited artist à la Juliette Gréco.”

Marianne Faithfull said of Gréco, “When I was a young girl, Juliette Gréco was my absolute idol… She’s my role model for life. If I want to be anybody, I want to be Juliette Gréco”.[28]

In 1999, a rose was named after her by Georges Delbard under the name of “Juliette Gréco”. (wikipedia)

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And here´s her first single from 1950 … what a wonderful start in a brilliant career … full of ups and downs..

She was the muse to the Parisian literary scene of the ’50s, godmother of songwriter-led ’60s French pop, and a self-reinventing torch singer from the ’70s until now, Juliette Gréco is one of the great French recording artists of the 20th century.

I include an obituary from the BBC.

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Personnel:
Juliette Gréco (vocals)
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Pierre Arimi Orchestra

Rare CD-EP: Available commercially exclusively as a bonus disc inside box Juliette Gréco – L’Éternel Féminin, used separately only as promo
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Tracklist:
01. Si Tu T’imagines (Kosma/Queneau) 3.10
02. La Fourmi (Kosma/Desnos) 1.23
03. Rue Des Blancs Manteaux (Sartre/Kosma) 1.53

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The “Juliette Gréco” rose at the Roseraie de Bagatelle:
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Unicorn – Uphill All The Way (1971)

FrontCover1And this is the story of Unicorn:

Fans of rock music from the 1970s may remember Unicorn, a local band, that made some great albums, but unfortunately never had the fame they justly deserved.

Unicorn’s bass player was Pat Martin, who grew up in Send. In 1963 he began making music with Ken Baker, a friend from St Bede’s School, in Send. During the summer holidays Pat would ride his bike from his home to Ken’s house in Ockham with his guitar. They then both plugged into a home-made amplifier that Ken’s uncle had made.

Pat says: “My dad thought that if continued to pursue my love of beat music, it might keep me away from what he termed ‘the yobs’ he said I was mixing with.

“He bought us some better equipment, became our manager and we soon recruited a drummer, Pete Perryer.”

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The band was originally called the Senders. They then became the Pink Bears, later changing their name to the Late. They played many gigs in and around the local area and not long after they had left school aged 17, they were performing as a living. In the early days various members came and went, including, Trevor Mee. He was a gifted guitarist, so Pat switched to playing bass guitar.

Other gigs Pat recalls playing with his band include the Stereo club that was above the Co-op store in Woking. He says: “We got a gig there as a replacement to another band. I don’t think it was a licensed premises, but there was a lot of good beat and rhythm ’n’ blues bands who played there.”

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Not only did Pat and his bandmates play at Woking’s famous Atalanta club, he saw many other bands there – some of whom are now legendary. He says: “I saw the Who, the Turtles, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Graham Bond Organisation, and Cream, who were playing their second-ever gig when I saw them there.”

Atalanta owner Bob Potter managed Pat’s band the Late for three years. Pat recalls: “We did an audition for him and he liked us as we sounded like the Hollies. We were signed to him from 1967 to 1969. He had a studio in Mytchett and when we had some free time we recorded some demo tapes there.

The Late

“Under his management we got gigs from Hampshire down to Cornwall and up to North Wales. We never made much money, but it was great fun.”

The band rehearsed in Pat’s dad’s garage, which he had converted into a studio for them. They called it The Shed. Some recordings they made in it, have now been released on CD.

After a while their bookings for gigs slowed up, but they were lucky in that they became singer Billy J Kramer’s backing band. It was regular money, but they quit after about nine months as the routine of playing a medley of all of Kramer’s hits every day became somewhat tiresome.

By this time band member Ken Baker was writing his own songs and they got a break when Transatlantic Records offered them a deal. Now named Unicorn, the album was titled Uphill All The Way and was released in 1971.

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Their style was soft rock with a country tinge plus lots of vocal harmonies. Gigs took them to countries in Europe such as Sweden and Italy where they were well received.

In 1973, David Gilmour, the guitarist in the world famous rock band Pink Floyd took Unicorn under his wing and the results were the albums Blue Pine Trees (released in 1974), Too Many Crooks and Unicorn2 (both released in 1976) and One More Tomorrow (1977).

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Pat recalls this as an exciting time as they toured the USA, playing support to such bands as Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Man’s Earthband, Billy Joel and Linda Ronstadt. Unfortunately, Unicorn never made it big in their own right and by 1977 the emergence of punk music meant only the biggest country-soft rock bands could survive.

Unicorn played its last gig that year in Canning Town, London, to an audience that was so small the band cut the performance short.

After driving lorries for a living and also driving a mobile library bus for a while, Pat has now retired, but music is in his blood and he still plays. (by David Rose)

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And here´s their debut album:

It’s easy to dismiss Unicorn’s debut LP as little more than a Crosby, Stills & Nash ripoff, but listen closely — what Uphill All the Way lacks in originality it makes up for in craftsmanship, with a beauty and grace that render arguments about innovation moot. Harmonies this natural simply can’t be taught, let alone copied, and Ken Baker’s original compositions — though products of rainswept London — effortlessly evoke the beaches and canyons of a southern California that only exists in dreams anyway. And while the counterculture ethos that inspired CSN resulted in songs that now seem quaint and even a bit silly, Uphill All the Way — for years essentially lost to all but the most avid British folk-rock aficionados — remains fresh and timeless by comparison. Highly recommended.(by Jason Ankeny)

The Unicorn’s first album, Uphill All the Way, sounds like a band simply ecstatic at the possibilities of this new brand of folk-rock; they cover all the greats of the genre: Neil Young, Jimmy Webb, John Stewart, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, and Gerry Rafferty. But the originals by Ken Baker show that he was just as good at evoking the sun drenched canyons of the beaches of Southern California as his influences; which is all the more impressive considering he was writing and singing from the famously overcast and rainy London.

Still Baker’s songwriting wasn’t yet up to snuff, the best song here is their beautiful interpretation of Webb’s P.F. Sloan, a tribute to the American songwriter. The amazing harmonies on this track reveal Unicorn was more than just a CSN rip-off like so many bands of this breed; these guys are the real deal. (by Stephen Belden)

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Personnel:
Ken Baker (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Pat Martin (bass, vocals)
Trevor Mee (guitar, flute, vocals)
Peter Perrier (drums, percussion, vocals
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Hugh Murphy (tambourine)
Kevin Smith (guitar, mandolin)

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Tracklist:
01. P.F. Sloan (Webb) 4.30
02. 115 Bar Joy (Baker) 3.52
03. I’ve Loved Her So Long (Young) 2.43
04. Don’t Ever Give Up Trying (Ken Baker) – 5:08
05. Country Road (James Taylor) – 4:16
06. Something To Say (Joe Cocker) – 4:43
07. Ain’t Got A Lot Of Future (Ken Baker) – 6:49
08. Never Going Back (John Stewart) – 3:21
09. You, You, Hate Me (Ken Baker) – 5:38
10.Please Sing A Song For Us (Gerry Rafferty) – 3:13
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11.Going Back Home (Ken Baker) – 3:36
12.Cosmic Kid (Ken Baker) – 2:57
13.All We Really Want To Do (Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett) – 3:17
14.P.F. Sloan (2006 Remix) (Jimmy Webb) – 4:40

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Jo Jo Gunne – Jumpin’ The Gunne (1973)

FrontCover1Jo Jo Gunne is an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1971 by Jay Ferguson (keyboards, vocals and guitar) and Mark Andes (bass guitar and vocals) after they had left Spirit. The group’s name is derived from “Jo Jo Gunne”, a Chuck Berry song that peaked at #83 as a single in November 1958.

Ferguson and Andes, along with Mark’s brother Matt Andes (born February 6, 1949; guitar, vocals) and William “Curly” Smith (born January 31, 1952, Wolf Point, Montana; drums, vocals, and harp), were signed to Asylum Records. Jo Jo Gunne had a Number 6 hit in the UK Singles Chart with the song, “Run Run Run”, taken from their first album, Jo Jo Gunne (1972), which peaked at 27 in U.S. charts, and received airplay on U.S. album-oriented rock FM radio stations. The song reached number 30 in Canada.

The group did not maintain the commercial momentum of their first release. They broke up in 1975.

Following the first album, Mark Andes left the band after a falling out with his brother Matt and Ferguson and was replaced by Jimmie Randall. Randall introduced a brighter bass sound and helped increase the band’s overall volume.

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Matt Andes left after Jumpin’ the Gunne, and he was briefly replaced by Starr Donaldson (born September 23, 1950). A more permanent replacement was found in John Staehely (born 25 January 1952, Austin, Texas), who had played on Feedback, the Spirit album that followed Ferguson and Andes’s departure. Staehely’s overdriven guitar was a complete change from Matt Andes’s Ry Cooder style slide guitar.

After the band broke up, Ferguson recorded several solo albums, including the hit singles “Thunder Island” and “Shakedown Cruise”, and scored TV shows and mostly non-notable movies. Mark Andes next joined Firefall and, later, Heart. Smith went on to have a career as a session drummer, and also played with Spirit in the 1980s and Boston from 1994 to 2000.
Recordings

The band’s first album Jo Jo Gunne was released in 1972 and the first single “Run, Run, Run” became a top 40 hit with the album riding the charts to #57 on Billboard’s Top 100 Albums. Their second album Bite Down Hard was a minor success peaking on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #75.

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The fact that there was no breakout single failed to generate interest and sales for the band. The album was produced by Bill Szymczyk who was best known at the time for his production work on Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm and B.B. King’s Completely Well which featured the hit single “The Thrill Is Gone”.

The band’s third album Jumpin’ the Gunne failed to rise any higher than #169 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, due in large part to the album cover’s depiction of an obesely fat naked woman flying over the group in bed. The band’s fourth album, So…Where’s the Show?, featured new guitarist John Staehely. Staehely’s harder edged sound complemented Ferguson’s songs giving the band a much harder rock sound than on their previous efforts.

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The original line-up temporarily got back together around 1992. In a July 1995 interview in Vintage Guitar Magazine, Mark Andes recalls: “Curly Smith called me up and noted that it was the twentieth anniversary of when that band had formed; Steve Lukather took us into the studio and we recorded a lot of new material, but it didn’t go anywhere”.

They began recording again in 2005 in Santa Barbara at Jay Ferguson’s studio. The 2005 recordings were eventually put out as an album, Big Chain, on Blue Hand Records. The music was co-produced by the band and engineered by Ferguson. (wikipedia)

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And here´s theird 3rd album:

Jay Ferguson wrote all ten of the songs on Jumpin’ the Gunne, an album produced by Bill Szymczyk and the third disc by this offshoot of the group Spirit’s. By this time, Mark Andes was gone — he would join Firefall and later Heart — leaving his brother Matt Andes on guitar and Jay Ferguson on keyboards, lead vocals, and second guitar, and leaving them to their own devices. There is just something that doesn’t catch on here. “At the Spa” and “Monkey Music” both have their moments, but in these grooves there is none of the intensity of their first hit “Run Run Run” or Ferguson’s later signature tune, “Thunder Island,” which came during the middle of Firefall’s string of hits. “To the Island” isn’t “Thunder Island” by any stretch, while “Getaway” sounds a bit like a Doobie Brothers outtake. Jo Jo Gunne was a decent concert pairing opening for the Doobies after their Run Run Run debut LP.

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The sounds on “Couldn’t Love You Better” pretty much sum up this disc — nondescript album rock with an LP cover which is the most politically incorrect sight you can imagine. All four bandmembers are in a big brass bed staring at the ceiling where a large and flabby woman is floating through the room while a small pig looks up at her. On the inside cover the pig and the large woman are nose to nose, and the album credits are written on the woman the way you see cuts of beef written out on a drawing of a cow at a butcher shop. If this is supposed to be funny or hip, it isn’t, and the concept falls flatter than the music. The enigma of the offshoots of Spirit is in all its glory on Jumpin’ the Gunne, musicians who should have stayed with the original program. Three-fourths of this band would reunite with Randy California, Ed Cassidy, and Mark Andes for the live album, Spirit of ’84, and though everything is in tune enough here, and is perfectly recorded by Bill Szymczyk, there is just no material to speak of. This would have been a perfect time for the group to do an album of other people’s tunes. There’s energy, but without a hook and melody it dissipates into thin air. Which begs the question, what’s worse — an album like Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays the Classics, which is just awful, or an album of strong musicianship which is unlistenable? (by Joe Viglione)

Indeed, the artwork for this album is awful … but the music isn´t bad … good rock from this period  … listen to “Turn The Boy Loose”, “I Wanna Love You”, “Red Mead” or “High School Drool”.

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Personnel:
Matthew Andes (guitar, vocals)
Jay Ferguson (vocals, guitar, keyboards, steel drums)
Jimmie Randall (bass, vocals)
Curly Smith (drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. I Wanna Love You 3.51
02.To The Island 3.48
03. Red Meat 3.27
04. Getaway 3.31
05. Before You Get Your Breakfast 4.10
06. At The Spa 2.55
07. Monkey Music 3.23
08. Couldn’t Love You Better 3.00
09. High School Drool 3.36
10. Neon City 2.39
11. Turn The Boy Loose 4.28

All songs written by Jay Ferguson

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Al Di Meola – The Infinite Desire (1998)

FrontCover1The Infinite Desire is an album by jazz guitarist Al Di Meola that was released in 1998.

With the help of new generations of guitar synthesizers and samplers, The Infinite Desire finds a mature, lyrical, more expressive Al di Meola casting his lot with Telarc, which until the late ’90s had concentrated its attentions upon aging acoustic jazzers. Indeed, he makes marvelously musical use of the new devices, creating sensuous, exotic layers of sound that lie easily upon the ear, without much of the usual harshness of digital instruments generated by those who haven’t bothered to master them. “Shaking the Spirits” in particular is a fascinating piece, loaded with dazzling Middle Eastern and African colorations, and the sampled trumpet sound he gets on “Valentina” is astoundingly lifelike. Also, di Meola’s playing became more unabashedly fluid in the ’90s; on the closest thing to a straight-ahead track, “Invention of the Monsters,” di Meola’s electric guitar curls intricately and swingingly around the bass of Tom Kennedy, Ernie Adams’ drums, and some synthesized brass. Di Meola’s co-conspirators change from track to track, although two who figure a lot in the sound and package are keyboardist Rachel Z (a former di Meola sidewoman) and bassist John Patitucci. Also check out Herbie Hancock on acoustic grand and Peter Erskine’s drums on “Istanbul,” and di Meola’s fairly good-natured duel with rock guitarist Steve Vai on “Race with Devil on Turkish Highway.” (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Guitar god Al Di Meola’s Telarc debut,The Infinite Desire, may well be the crowning achievement of his career to date. Di Meola has covered a lot of musical ground throught his career, including the fusion of Return To Forever and his first several albums, his acoustic projects, his interpretation of flamenco and Argentinian tango, and his love of the music of Italy and surrounding Mediterranean lands. All of these influences can be found at various points throughout the disc. The styles may shift, but all of the skillful compositions are saturated with passionate, melodic lyricism for a truly moving listening experience. Prime examples include “Vizzini” (an Italian painter whose works inspired many of these compositions), “In My Mother’s Eyes,” and the title cut.

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The simple beauty of Di Meola’s acoustic guitar is counterbalanced with lot of guitar technology. Di Meola employs a wide array of sampled sounds (tamboora, fretless bass, trumpet, accordian, organ, vocals, percussion, cymbals) to create interesting background textures throughout the program. On the title track, a looped sample of splashing water forms part of the rhythmic backdrop. Of course, there’s chops galore, too, on tunes such as “Invention of the Monsters” and “Race with Devil on Turkish Highway” – a duo with fellow technical wiz Steve Vai. But the chops displays and electronics truly serve the music, not vice versa. The only mis-step, in my opinion, is the disc’s opener, “Beyond the Mirage,” which employs mechanical, clunky drum loops (drum loops? from Al Di Meola?!?!?). Nevertheless, this is an excellent disc compositionally, technically, and emotionally. It’s one of those CDs that reveals more and more with each subsequent hearing.(by Dave Hughes)

Oh ! Such a superb album !

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Personnel:
Ernie Adams (drums)
Pino Daniele (vocals)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Layla Francesca (vocals)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Tom Kennedy (bass)
Al Di Meola (guitar, guitar synthesizer, cymbals, marimba, harp, percussion)
Oriana Di Meola (vocals)
Kabuli Nitasa (violin, vocals)
Gumbi Ortiz (percussion)
Mario Parmisano (keyboards)
John Patitucci (bass)
Steve Vai (guitar)
Rachel Z (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Beyond The Mirage (Meola) 7.20
02. Shaking The Spirits (Meola) 6.31
03. Vizzini (Meola) – 4:54
04. In My Mother’s Eyes (Memory of Theresa) (Meola) 4.42
05. The Infinite Desire (Meola/Daniele) 5.29
06. Invention Of The Monsters (Meola) 3.06
07. Istanbul (Meola) 8.01
08. Azzura (Meola) 2.55
09. Big Sky Azzura (Meola) 6.07
10. Race With Devil On Turkish Highway (Meola) 4.05
11. Valentina (Meola) 4.47
12. The Infinite Desire (Vocal) (Meola/Daniele) 5.27

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Al Di Meola

Styx – The Grand Illusion (1977)

FrontCover1Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that formed in 1972 and became famous for its albums released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding hard rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, synthesizers mixed with acoustic piano, upbeat tracks with power ballads, and incorporating elements of international musical theatre. The band established itself with a progressive rock sound in the 1970s, and began to incorporate pop rock and soft rock elements in the 1980s.

Styx had eight songs that hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100: “Lady”, “Come Sail Away”, “Babe”, “The Best of Times”, “Too Much Time on My Hands”, “Mr. Roboto”, “Don’t Let It End”, and “Show Me the Way”. Other notable songs include “Renegade”, “The Grand Illusion”, “Blue Collar Man”, “Crystal Ball”, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”, “Rockin’ the Paradise”, “Boat on the River”, and “Suite Madame Blue”. Styx has had four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA, as well as 16 top-40 singles in the US, eight of which hit the top 10. Seven of their eight Top 10 singles were written and sung by founding member and former lead singer Dennis DeYoung, including their No. 1 chart topper, “Babe”. DeYoung has not been part of the band since 1999, after being ousted by guitarists James “J.Y.” Young and Tommy Shaw in an acrimonious split. Styx have sold over 54 million records worldwide.

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The Grand Illusion is the seventh studio album by Styx. Recorded at Paragon Recording Studios in Chicago, the album was released on July 7, 1977. The release was a smash worldwide, selling three million copies in the US (Triple Platinum) alone. Some estimates have the album at over 6 million copies sold. The album launched the band to stardom and spawned the hit singles “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself.”

As with much of Styx’s catalog, many of the songs have quasi-medieval/fantasy lyrics and themes. Some are allegories and commentaries on contemporary American life and the members’ experiences in an American rock band in the mid-to-late 1970s, such as Castle Walls, Superstars, Miss America and the title track, The Grand Illusion.[citation needed]

The emotionally deep song “Man in the Wilderness” was written by Tommy Shaw after watching a Kansas performance in Detroit, which they had played as the opening act. He has stated it was “Epic! Unlike any presentation of rock music I’d ever experienced. To go that big opened up all kinds of ideas in my mind, and the next time I was alone with my acoustic, the song more or less unfolded itself.” The lyrics stem from his experiences of rising to fame with Styx as well as his brother being sent off to fight in the Vietnam War, as a pawn for the politicians in Washington DC.

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“Come Sail Away” uses sailing as a metaphor to achieve one’s dreams and the yearning to sail away. The lyrics touch on nostalgia of “childhood friends,” escapism, and a religious thematic symbolized by “a gathering of angels” singing “a song of hope.” The ending lyrics explain a transformation from a sailing ship into a starship, by narrating that “they climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies” which also imply biblical verses from Ezekiel (1:1-28).[7] However, DeYoung revealed on In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an entire episode to the making of The Grand Illusion), that he was depressed when he wrote the track after Styx’s first two A&M offerings, Equinox and Crystal Ball, sold fewer units than expected after the success of the single “Lady”. Musically, it combines a plaintive, ballad-like opening section (including piano and synthesizer interludes) with a bombastic, guitar-heavy second half. In the middle of the second half it features the proggish minute-long synthesizer instrumental break, after the solo finished, the guitar-heavy returns with a catchy chorus.

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“Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” was written by Shaw. It was originally based on Shaw’s initial perception of DeYoung who was an “angry young man” who viewed the group’s successes with a wary eye and grew angry or depressed with every setback. It was only in later years that Shaw began to see himself in the lyrics, and the song took on a more personal meaning to him.[citation needed]. The composition features a number of time signature changes. The intro and outro are performed in 6/8 time, led by Shaw’s acoustic guitar tracks and DeYoung’s synthesizer melodies. The vocal sections of the song are in 4/4. The instrumental features a synthesizer solo in 7/4 time, before returning to 4/4 for the final chorus. After a brief intro recap, there is a brief break with two measures of 5/8 time, and then a return to the 6/8 meter, with another synthesizer solo, before fading out.

The closing track “The Grand Finale” combines the themes of the songs on the album.(wikipedia)

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Other than being their first platinum-selling album, The Grand Illusion led Styx steadfastly into the domain of AOR rock. Built on the strengths of “Come Sail Away”‘s ballad-to-rock metamorphosis, which gained them their second Top Ten hit, and on the high harmonies of newcomer Tommy Shaw throughout “Fooling Yourself,” The Grand Illusion introduced Styx to the gates of commercial stardom. The pulverized growl of “Miss America” reveals the group’s guitar-savvy approach to six-string rock, while De Young pretentiously struts his singing prowess throughout the title track. Shaw’s induction into the band has clearly settled, and his guitar work, along with James Young’s, is full and extremely sharp where it matters most. Even the songwriting is more effluent than Crystal Ball, which was released one year earlier, shedding their mystical song motifs for a more audience-pleasing lyric and chord counterpoise. Reaching number six on the album charts, The Grand Illusion was the first to display the gelled accomplishments of both Tommy Shaw and Dennis De Young as a tandem. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards)
Chuck Panozzo (bass)
John Panozzo (drums, percussion)
Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
James Young (vocals, guitar, synthesizer on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. The Grand Illusion (DeYoung) DeYoung 4:36
02. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (Shaw) 5.20
03. Superstars (Young, DeYoung) 3.46
04. Come Sail Away (DeYoung) 5.52
05. Miss America (Young) 4.53
06. Man In The Wilderness (Shaw) 5.39
07. Castle Walls (DeYoung) 5.57
08. The Grand Finale (DeYoung/Young/Shaw) 1.54LabelB1*
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The Blank Signature, 1965 by Rene Magritte:

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Surrealism aimed to transcend the realist depiction of scenes available to ordinary perception. Under the influence of the new discipline of psychoanalysis, surrealists made use of such techniques as dream analysis to uncover the unconscious workings of the mind and the symbols that the unconscious works with. Not much of Magritte’s oeuvre consists of literally inconsistent images, but at least one famous image does, The Blank Signature.

This painting utilizes a technique like that of the Schuster fork, and illustrates how the mind constructs the impossibility. The mind puts together the separate elements into a “coherent” whole of these parts. The horse is thus bisected by a patch of background grass. Also, one of the tree trunks is in front of the horse but its base is behind the horse. It certainly seems that these elements are inconsistent with our conception of a rider in a forest. For example, it qualifies as an occlusion illusion, since reversal of occlusions is sufficient to produce a consistent image. (renemagritte.org)