Europe – The Final Countdown (1986)

FrontCover1Europe is a Swedish rock band formed in Upplands Väsby, Sweden in 1979,[4] by frontman Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bassist Peter Olsson, and drummer Tony Reno. They obtained a major breakthrough in Sweden in 1982 by winning the televised competition “Rock-SM” (Swedish Rock Championships): it was the first time this competition was held, and Europe became a larger success than the competition itself.

Since their formation, Europe has released eleven studio albums, three live albums, three compilations and twenty-four music videos. Europe’s current lineup comprises Tempest, Norum, bassist John Levén, keyboardist Mic Michaeli, and drummer Ian Haugland.

Europe rose to international fame in the 1980s with their third album, 1986’s The Final Countdown. Europe has sold 10 million albums worldwide. The band has had two top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart (The Final Countdown and Out of This World) and three top 30 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“The Final Countdown”, “Rock the Night” and “Carrie”, which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100).

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Europe went on hiatus in 1992, reunited temporarily for a one-off performance in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve 1999 and announced an official reunion in 2003. Since then the band has released six albums, Start from the Dark (2004), Secret Society (2006), Last Look at Eden (2009), Bag of Bones (2012), War of Kings (2015) and Walk the Earth (2017).

Europe gained new attention in the US after being featured in a GEICO cable television commercial campaign during 2015–2016.

The band is mainly influenced by Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Michael Schenker Group.

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The Final Countdown is the third studio album by the Swedish rock band Europe. Released on 26 May 1986 through Epic Records, the album was a huge commercial success peaking at number 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and reaching high positions in charts worldwide. It was recorded at Powerplay Studios in Zürich, Soundtrade Studios in Stockholm, Mastersound Studios in Atlanta and Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The Final Countdown is the first album to feature keyboardist Mic Michaeli and drummer Ian Haugland and the last to feature guitarist John Norum until 2004’s Start from the Dark.

Five singles were released from the album: “The Final Countdown”, “Love Chaser”, “Rock the Night”, “Carrie”, and “Cherokee.” The first single was responsible for launching Europe into mainstream popularity.

“Rock the Night” and “Ninja” were the first songs written for the album, and were premiered on the band’s Wings of Tomorrow tour in 1984.”Rock the Night” was released as a single in Sweden in 1985, peaking at number 4 on the chart, and was also featured on the soundtrack EP for the Swedish film On the Loose the same year, together with the songs “On the Loose” and “Broken Dreams.” “Rock the Night” and “On the Loose” would be re-recorded for inclusion on The Final Countdown along with “Ninja”, all with slightly different lyrics.

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Due to the national success of On the Loose and “Rock the Night”, Europe went on a new tour around Sweden in 1985, with new songs “Danger on the Track”, “Love Chaser” and the power ballad “Carrie” included in the setlist and ready to be recorded for the album.[5] “Carrie” was co-written by Tempest and keyboardist Mic Michaeli during a jam session.[7] The early version of the song consisted of only keyboards and vocals, and was performed that way on the 1985 tour, but the album version would feature the whole band.[5][7]

The song “The Final Countdown” was based on an old keyboard riff that Tempest had composed as early as 1981–82, on a Korg Polysix keyboard he had borrowed from Michaeli. In 1985 bassist John Levén suggested that Tempest should write a song based on that riff. The lyrics were inspired by David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity”. The sound of the keyboard riff used in the recording was achieved by using a Yamaha TX-816 rack unit and a Roland JX-8P synthesizer. “I made a brassy sound from the JX-8P and used a factory sound from the Yamaha, and just layered them together”, Michaeli said.

“Cherokee” was the last song written for the album, being written only a week before the band went to Switzerland to start recording the album. Tempest said he had been inspired by the history of the Native Americans to write the song.

The recording of the album began in September 1985 at the Powerplay Studios in Zürich, Switzerland. At the suggestion of their record company, Epic Records, the band decided to work with the American producer Kevin Elson, who had worked with bands like Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Originally the band had approached Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks and Bon Jovi producer Bruce Fairbairn to produce the album, but in the end they decided to go with Elson. Elson would also produce the band’s sixth studio album, Start from the Dark in 2004.

During the recording sessions, vocalist Joey Tempest came down with a bad allergic reaction to bread products, which delayed the recording for a while, and forced Joey to make changes to his diet, so he could complete his work on the album. The vocals for the title track were recorded at the Soundtrade Studios, Stockholm, Sweden, while the rest of the vocals were recorded at the Mastersound Studios, Atlanta and Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California.

The album was mixed in March 1986 at Fantasy Studios.[5] Guitarist John Norum was not pleased with the result, claiming that the keyboards had “buried” the rhythm guitars in the final mix. (wikipedia)

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One of the most glorious launches in history, the title track for the thrice-platinum The Final Countdown is so bombastically brilliant, such glorious garbage, that this nuclear hair assault could only spew from the vacuous ’80s. But the full-tilt follow-up “Rock the Night” rules also: “You know it ain’t easy/Running out of thrills.” “Carrie” comes off a consummate butane ballad. Meanwhile, the rest of the disc packs so much power that Swedish superheroes Europe get away with all the processed pretension. In fact, the lofty ambition of “Danger on the Track,” “Ninja,” and “Cherokee” (each as tasty as its title) combines with heated drive and hot delivery to meld The Final Countdown into a unique portrait of propulsive prog and a worthy addition to any hard rock collection.

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This is the story; this is the legend told by Teutonic guitars and predictable keyboards ringing pure and hurtling through each and every convention perfectly. The quintet’s big-boy Epic inaugural, The Final Countdown deftly combines the Valhalla victory of Europe’s heroic debut with the American poodle pomposity that devoured the band. You could live without The Final Countdown, but why? (by Doug Stone)

In other words: The perfect Power Pop Rock album from the Eighties !

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Personnel:
Ian Haugland (drums, background vocals)
John Levén (bass)
Mic Michaeli (keyboards, background vocals)
John Norum (guitar, background vocals)
Joey Tempest (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. The Final Countdown 5.05
02. Rock The Night 4.06
03. Carrie 4.31
04. Danger On The Track 3.46
05. Ninja 3.46
06. Cherokee 4.13
07. Time Has Come 3.59
08. Heart Of Stone 3.47
09. On The Loose 3.07
10. Love Chaser 3.28

All songs written by Joey Tempest
except 03.: written by Joey Tempest and Mic Michaeli.

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The official website:
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Willie Dixon – Catalyst (1973)

FrontCover1William James Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer.[1] He was proficient in playing both the upright bass and the guitar, and sang with a distinctive voice, but he is perhaps best known as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. Next to Muddy Waters, Dixon is recognized as the most influential person in shaping the post–World War II sound of the Chicago blues.

Dixon’s songs have been recorded by countless musicians in many genres as well as by various ensembles in which he participated. A short list of his most famous compositions includes “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, “Little Red Rooster”, “My Babe”, “Spoonful”, and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover”. These songs were written during the peak years of Chess Records, from 1950 to 1965, and were performed by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Bo Diddley; they influenced a generation of musicians worldwide.

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Dixon was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. In the 1960s, his songs were adapted by numerous rock artists. He received a Grammy Award and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)

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Willie Dixon is the biggest name when considering Blues composer by its deepest and most essential meaning. Legacy of Mr. Dixon is so rich it could have been enough for generations and in fact it was used by his contemporaries and is still used by the generations that followed him for one simple reason, these blues are classics and without having at least some of them in repertoire artist bears great risk of failure.

This 1973 release is kind of reminder and tutorial to all those who forget or did not know who the real power was behind the uprise of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Ten all-original compositions most of which became Blues classics and paved the way to the likes of Koko Taylor and Little Walter to name a few, are performed by the author who was not as eager of performing and recording as those who built career partly using his composing abilities. Mr. Dixon recorded rarely but these records are high-class.

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As always, band is selected subtly. One of the most underrated Blues pianists, Lafayette Leake on piano; Carrie Bell twittering on harp; and Mighty Joe Young and Buster Benton on guitars. This composition of the band never was repeated and nobody knows what it would come out of such collaboration if any. One more time Willie Dixon’s arranging and managing capabilities should be emphasized. And his singing, of course, deep-voiced, powerful, and influential, sustaining years and distances.

Willie Dixon’s songs are masterpieces which laid foundation for future Blues. (Dimitri)

Willie Dixon is without andy doubts one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. He is a Grammy Award winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Blues Hall of Fame Inductee and Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee.

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Personnel:
Buster Benton (guitar)
Willie Dixon (vocals, bass)
Carrie Bell Harrington (harmonica)
Morris Jennings (drums)
Lafayette Leake (piano)
Louis Satterfield (bass)
Phil Upchurch (guitar)
“Mighty” Joe Young (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Bring It On Home 2.38
02. I Don’t Trust Nobody 4.05
03. God’s Gift To Man 4.07
04. Hoo Doo Doctor 2.27
05. My Babe 2.52
06. Wang Dang Doodle 4.29
07. When I Make Love 3.00
08. I Think I Got The Blues 3.56
09. But It Sure Is Fun 2.59
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You 4.19

A songs written by Willie Dixon
except 02., written by Eddie Shaw

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The official  website:
Website

Various Artists – Land Of The Midnight Sun – Music And Images From Finland (2006)

FrontCover1Finland  is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), with a population of 5.5 million. Helsinki is the country’s capital and largest city, but together with the neighboring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa, it forms a larger metropolitan area. Finnish, the native language of the Finns, is among the few Finnic languages in the world. The climate varies relative to latitude, from the southern humid continental climate to the northern boreal climate. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

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Finland was inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region.[13] From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland was annexed by Russia as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. After the wars, Finland lost parts of its territory, including the culturally and historically significant town of Vyborg, but maintained its independence.

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Finland largely remained an agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the country rapidly industrialised and developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and a high per capita income. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and adopted an official policy of neutrality. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, and second in the Global Gender Gap Report. It also ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. (wikipedia)

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And …

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Enjoy all these beautiful melodies … very warm. smooth and gentle

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Personnel:
Virtuosi di Kuhmo conducted by Péter Csaba (01. + 02.)
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam (03. + 04.)
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam (12.)
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonid Grin (22.)

on 05.:
Soile Isokoski (vocals)
Marita Viitasalo (piano)

on. 06.:
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo
Kari Kriikku (clarinet)

on 07.:
Olli Mustonen (piano)

on 13. + 14.:
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ulf Söderblom
Jorma Hynninen (vocals)

on 15. – 19:
Tapiola Choir & Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Jorma Panula
Elina Laakkonen (vocals)

on 20.:
Gustav Djupsjobacka (piano)
Helena Juntunen (vocals)

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Tracklist:

Jean Sibelius:
01. Rakastava, Op. 14 / 4.00
02. Suite Champetre, Op. 98b- II. Melodie Elegiaque 3.22

Errki Melartin:
03. Prinsessa Ruusunen (Sleeping Beauty) Suite No. 1, Op. 22- II. Menuetto 3.08
04. Prinsessa Ruusunen (Sleeping Beauty) Suite No. 1, Op. 22- III. Valse 2.05

Ilmari Hannikainen:
05. Rauha (Peace) 2.20

Bernhard Henrik Crusell:
06. Concerto For Clarinet & Orchestra In E Flat, Op. 1 – Adagio 3.27

Jean Sibelius Bagatelles, Op. 34 (Five Movements):
07. Valse 1.45
08. Souvenir 1.41
09. Danse pastorale 0.46
10. Reconnaissance 0.42
11. Joueur de harpe 1.42

Einojuhani Rautavaara:
12. Cantus Arcticus, Op. 61, ‘Concerto for Birds and Orchestra’- II. Melancholy 4.21

Toivo Kuula:
13. Aamulaulu, Morning Song 1.46

Martti Turunen: 
14. Sunnuntai (Sunday), Op. 25, No. 1 (Arr. for Baritone and Orchestra) 3.25

Traditional:
15. Jo Karjalan kunnailla (The Hills of Karelia) 2.21
16. Soittajapaimen (The Shepherd Piper) 1.38
17. Orvon huokaus (An Orphan’s Sigh) 2.49

Vainö Raitio:
18. Kesakuvia Hameesta (Summer Scenes from Hame)- II. Kesayo (Summer Night) 2.26
19. Kesakuvia Hameesta (Summer Scenes from Hame)- III. Paimenlaulu (Herdsman’s Song) 2.09

Leevi Madetoja:
20. Syksy (Autumn), Op. 68- No. 5. Lintu Sininen (Bluebird) 2.01
21. Lieder, Op. 9- No. 3. Take My Hand 2.09

Erkki Melartin:
22. Symphony No. 1 In C Minor, Op. 30, No. 1- III. Scherzo- Allegro Vivace 5.13

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The Who – Live At The Fillmore East 1968 (2018)

FrontCover1The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic lineup consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist and singer John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, and have sold over 100 million records worldwide. Their contributions to rock music include the development of the Marshall Stack, large PA systems, the use of the synthesizer, Entwistle and Moon’s influential playing styles, Townshend’s feedback and power chord guitar technique, and the development of the rock opera. They are cited as an influence by many hard rock, punk rock and mod bands, and their songs still receive regular exposure.

The Who

The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, and established themselves as part of the pop art and mod movements, featuring auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Their first single as the Who, “I Can’t Explain” (1965), reached the UK top ten, and was followed by a string of hit singles including “My Generation” (1965), “Substitute” (1966) and “Happy Jack” (1966). In 1967, they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and released “I Can See for Miles”, their only US top ten single. The group’s 1969 concept album Tommy included the single “Pinball Wizard” and was a critical and commercial success.

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Further festival appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, along with the concert album Live at Leeds (1970), established their reputation as a respected rock act. The success put pressure on lead songwriter Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned. Songs from the project made up Who’s Next (1971), considered by many critics to be the band’s best work, which included such hits as “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, “Baba O’Riley”, and “Behind Blue Eyes”. The group released another concept album, Quadrophenia (1973), as a celebration of their mod roots, and oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy (1975). They continued to tour to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You (1978) was overshadowed by Moon’s death shortly after.

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Kenney Jones replaced Moon and the group resumed touring, and released a film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright. After Townshend became weary of the group, they split in 1983. The Who occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996–1997. A full reunion began in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey. After Entwistle’s death in 2002, plans for a new album were delayed until 2006, with Endless Wire. Since Entwistle’s death, the Who have continued to perform and tour, most commonly with Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, and Pete’s brother Simon Townshend on second guitar and backing vocals. In 2019, the group released the album Who and toured with a symphony orchestra.

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Live at the Fillmore East 1968 is a live album by the English rock band The Who. It was recorded at the Fillmore East, New York City on Saturday 6 April 1968 and released on 20 April 2018 as a double album on CD, and a triple album on LP. (wikipedia)

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Heavily bootlegged, the tapes featured on Universal’s 2018 release Live at the Fillmore East 1968 were originally recorded by the Who’s manager Kit Lambert with the intention of releasing a live album between The Who Sell Out and Tommy. Both nights of the band’s tour-closing stint at the Fillmore on April 5 and 6, 1968 were recorded but the equipment malfunctioned on the first night, so Lambert abandoned the plan, leaving the tapes to bootleggers to mine over the years. The long-delayed 2018 release from Universal restores the tapes from the second night so the music leaps from the speakers — which is needed, as the Who were on absolute fire this evening, as they tore through first airings of Sell Out songs, a dynamite “A Quick One (While He’s Away),” a half-hour “My Generation,” the anti-smoking obscurity “Little Billy,” and no less than three Eddie Cochran covers.

Bootleg editions:
Bootlegs

Caught somewhere between mod and prog, the Who sound as if they’re at the peak of their powers. Unlike many classic official Who live records, there’s no lengthy Tommy digression and, in a way, that’s preferable, as the group hunkers down into its pop-art, making sure that it explodes in every imaginable color. That sustained ferocity is why Live at the Fillmore East 1968 could conceivably be called the definitive Who live album: it may not have the classic status of Live at Leeds, but the group never sounded as explosive as it does here. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Roger Daltrey (vocals)
John Entwistle (bass, background vocals)
Keith Moon (drums)
Pete Townshend (guitar, background vocals)

Booklet03ATracklist:
01. Summertime Blues (Cochran/Capehart) 4.15
02. Fortune Teller (Neville) 2.38
03. Tattoo (Townshend) 2.58
04. Little Billy (Townshend) 3.38
05. I Can’t Explain (Townshend) 2.29
06. Happy Jack (Townshend) 2.19
07. Relax (Townshend) 11.56
08. I’m A Boy (Townshend) 3.23
09. A Quick One, While He’s Away (Townshend) 11.15
10. My Way (Cochran/Capehart) 3.17
11. C’mon Everybody (Cochran/Capehart) 1.55
12. Shakin’ All Over (Kidd/Robinson) 6.55
13. Boris The Spider (Entwistle) 2.35
14. My Generation (Townshend) 33.03

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More from The Who:
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John Entwistle

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Live At The Fillmore West (1971)

CDFrontCover1At a time when rock music was evolving away from the forces that had made it possible in the first place, Creedence Clearwater Revival brought rock back to its roots with a concise synthesis of rockabilly, swamp pop, R&B, and country. Although the band’s tight, punchy arrangements were a group effort, their vision belonged to singer, songwriter, guitarist, and leader John Fogerty. Fogerty’s classic compositions for Creedence evoked enduring images of Americana, and they simultaneously reflected burning social issues of the day. The band’s genius was their ability to accomplish this with the economic, primal power of a classic rockabilly ensemble.

The key elements of Creedence had been woodshedding in bar bands for about a decade before their breakthrough to national success in the late ’60s. John’s older brother Tom formed the Blue Velvets in the late ’50s in El Cerrito, California, a tiny suburb across the bay from San Francisco.

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By the mid-’60s, with a few hopelessly obscure recordings under their belt, the band — including Tom and John with two high-school friends, drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook — signed to Fantasy, releasing several singles as the Golliwogs that went nowhere. In fact, there’s little promise to be found on those early efforts; they were extremely derivative of the British Invasion and other R&B and rock trends of the day, with few hints of the swampy roots rock that would characterize CCR. The group only found themselves when John took firm reins over the band’s direction, singing and writing virtually all of their material. (by Richie Unterberger)

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And here´s their concert at the closing nights of the Fillmore West …

This is a real smokin’ performance by the three-piece Creedence

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Personnel:
Doug Clifford (drums)
Stu Cook (bass, background vocals)
John Fogerty (guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Stage & tuning 1.47
02. Born On the Bayou 5.23
03. Green River 3.55
04. It Came From Out Of The Sky 3.32
05. Don’t Look Now-Door to Door 3.27
06. Travelin’ Band 3.30
07. Fortunate Son / Commotion 6.34
08. Lodi 4.02
09. Bad Moon Risin’ 2.11
10. KSAN-FM aircheck 0.06
11. Proud Mary 4.09
12. Up Around the Bend 3.33
13. Hey Tonight 3.05
14. Sweet Hitchhiker 3.20
15. John Fogerty announcement-3 year anniversary of CCR closing the old Fillmore 0.35
16. Keep On Chooglin’ 9.53
17. Bill Graham outro 0.48

All songs written by John Fogerty

Alternate frontcover:
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Lazarus – A Fool’s Paradise (1973)

FrontCover1Lazarus were a 1970s American soft rock band, consisting of principal members Billie Hughes, Gary Dye, and Carl Keesee. Hughes was the leader of the band, serving as lead singer and songwriter, and playing guitar and violin. The band are considered early artists in the Contemporary Christian movement.

The band members of Lazarus met in 1968 in Abilene, Texas, while Hughes and Keesee were attending Abilene Christian College. Hughes, Keesee and Gary Dye formed a band, initially named Shiloh. At a Peter, Paul & Mary concert March 20, 1968, at the ACC Moody Coliseum Auditorium, they were able to meet Peter Yarrow backstage and play him their demo tape.

In association with Yarrow and producer Phil Ramone, Lazarus moved to Peter Yarrow’s cabin in Woodstock, N.Y., signing with the newly formed Bearsville Records (Warner Bros.) label, under the direction of Albert Grossman.

Lazarus released two albums, the self-titled Lazarus, and A Fool’s Paradise on Bearsville Records, both produced by Peter Yarrow and Phil Ramone. The band won a Clio Award for Best Commercial of the Year for the Life Savers campaign.

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The self-titled debut album Lazarus was the second album released on the Bearsville label. On the album’s release, RPM wrote about the band: “A find of PP&M’s Peter Yarrow, Lazarus is a highly talented folkish trio very much in the strain of Crosby, Stills et al. Group has a quality of presence, unsurpassed.

April 1972, a launch celebration in London with Albert Grossman in attendance, was hosted by Kinney (WEA), set to distribute the Bearsville label in the UK, with initial album releases by Todd Rundgren, Lazarus and Foghat.

Released in 1971, this first album featured the single “Warmth of Your Eyes,” which became a moderate hit the following year. Their second and final album, A Fool’s Paradise, followed in 1973, from which “Ladyfriends I (Sing a Song to Your Lady)” was tagged as a single. Both albums were produced by Yarrow and Phil Ramone.

Single

Lazarus played The Troubadour, Los Angeles, toured with Peter Yarrow, and over the next four years, performed extensively throughout the United States and Canada. In a review of The Troubadour, show, Eliot Tiegel wrote: “This is a totally enjoyable twin bill which is touring the country…Lazarus showed off a fine harmonic ability with its three members holding their voices in line and also performing adequately on piano/organ, guitar/violin and bass.”

Lazarus was represented by the booking agency East-West Talent, Inc. who also represented The Band, Paul Butterfield, Foghat, Hello People, and Todd Rundgren.[12] They opened for Rundgren at his USD concert in Vermillion, South Dakota , a city that Rundgren name-drops on his Back to the Bars live album.

Bill Hughes

In 1976, the band won the Clio Award for Life Savers Best Commercial of the Year. The “Life Savers” TV commercial with the song written and performed by the band Lazarus ran nine years nationwide. The commercial starred Peter Billingsley and Suzanne Somers in different versions of the commercial, respectively.

Following Lazarus’ disbandment, Hughes went on to pursue a solo career and later formed a successful songwriting partnership with Roxanne Seeman.

Carl Keesee went to Canada to play a gig and remained there.

“Ladyfriends” from A Fool’s Paradise was included in the Bearsville Anthology released in 2006.

Lee Shively / David Bradstreet (friend of Lazarus) / Carl Keesee / Bill Hughes (L to R):Lazarus02

A Fool’s Paradise is the second studio album by the American band Lazarus. It was released in January 1973 by Bearsville Records, distributed by Warner Bros. Records. All of the songs were written by Bill Hughes with the exception of “Oklahoma Boy” written by Carl Keesee. The album was produced by Peter Yarrow and Phil Ramone. It received significant national airplay on leading progressive FM stations.

“Ladyfriends I (Sing a Song to Your Lady)” was issued as the first single. It is included, with “Baby, Baby”, in the Bearsville Bear Pack No 1 compilation of tracks considered collectors’ items released as a Vinyl LP by WEA, originating in the UK in 1977. The album featured Bobby Charles, Hungry Chuck, Paul Butterfield, Jesse Winchester and Lazarus.

The album was released by Pony Canyon in Japan on September 6, 1995. It was reissued by Rhino Records on CD and digitally. (wikipedia)

They were, in fact, Christian rockers, which was something relatively new in those days — the back-to-Jesus movement, as an offshoot of the counterculture, had just gotten rolling a couple of years earlier. The members were Bill (Billie) Hughes on guitar, violin, and backing vocals; Carl Keesee on bass and vocals; and Gary Dye on keyboards and vocals. Their sound was basically acoustic rock with minimal amplification and lots of harmony vocals — think of Crosby, Stills & Nash or a low-wattage answer to the Doobie Brothers from the time of their second or third album.  (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Gary Dye (keyboards, vocals)
Bill Hughes (guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals)
Carl Keesee (bass, vocals)
+
Nick Jameson (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Ladyfriends II 2.35
02. Ladyfriends I (Sing a Song to Your Lady) 3.24
03. “When Will the Home of Me Begin?” 3:20
04. “A Fool’s Paradise” 3:19
05. “Baby, Baby” 2:26
06. “Thoughts of You” 2:40
07. “Take Me High” 2:48
08. “Oklahoma Boy”  3:48
09. “This Is a Song” 3:25
10. “Poets and Lovers” 4:29

All songs written by Bill Hughes
except 08., written by Carl Keesee

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The Chieftains – An Irish Evening (1992)

FrontCover1The Chieftains are a traditional Irish band formed in Dublin in 1962, by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy. Their sound, which is almost entirely instrumental and largely built around uilleann pipes, has become synonymous with traditional Irish music and they are regarded as having helped popularise Irish music across the world. They have won six Grammys during their career and they were given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2002. Some music experts have credited The Chieftains with bringing traditional Irish music to a worldwide audience, so much so that the Irish government awarded them the honorary title of ‘Ireland’s Musical Ambassadors’ in 1989.

An Irish Evening: Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast is an album by the Chieftains. The album consists of a live recording of a concert (over two nights) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The band invited on stage Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the British band the Who, and American folk singer Nanci Griffith to join them for several songs.(wikipedia)

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While there’s nothing quite like seeing the Chieftains live in concert, An Irish Evening marks the next best thing. Recorded live over two evenings at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, the disc captures the group’s eclectic, fun, and loving approach to traditional Irish music. American country-folk singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith (a huge star in Ireland in her own right) provides sweet vocals on “Little Love Affairs,” “Red Is the Rose,” and “Ford Econoline.” The Who’s Roger Daltrey sounds a tad awkward on the traditional “Raglan Road” and the music hall-ish “Any Old Iron,” but delivers a fascinating trad-style acoustic rendition of his group’s “Behind Blue Eyes.” An Irish Evening will appeal to die-hard fans and, with the co-billing of Daltrey and Griffith, will likely attract a whole new audience as well. (by Roch Parisien)

Recorded live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast on July 31 & August 1, 1991

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Personnel:
Derek Bell (harp, dulcimer, keyboards)
Kevin Conneff (bodhrán, vocals)
Seán Keane (fiddle)
Matt Molloy (flute)
Paddy Moloney (bagpipes, tin whistle)
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Jean Butler (dancer on 12.)
Clive Culbertson (bass)
Roger Daltrey (vocals on 09., 10. + 13.)
Dave Early (drums)
Martin Fay fiddle on 11.)
Nanci Griffith (vocals on 04., 05. + 13.)
Billy Nichols (vocals on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Opening Medley: Dóchas/King of Laois/Paddy’s Jig/O’Keefe’s/Chattering Magpie (Traditional) 9.19
02. North Americay (Traditional) 4.08
03. Lilly Bolero/The White Cockade (Traditional) 3.12
04. Little Love Affairs (Griffith/Hooker) 2.59
05. Red Is The Rose (Traditional) 3.27
06. The Mason’s Apron (Traditional) 5.21
07. The Stone (Traditional) 6.32
08. Miscellany: Theme from Tristan and Isolde/Súisín Ban/Good Morning Nightcap/The Galway Races/The Jolly Tinker (Traditional) 8.56
09. On Raglan Road (with Roger Daltrey) (Traditional/Kavanagh) 5.23
10. Behind Blue Eyes (Townshend) 4.24
11. Medley: Ó Murchú’s Hornpipe/Sliabh Geal gCua Na Feile (Traditional) 4.17
12. Damhsa (Traditional) 3.00
13. Rachamíd A Bhean Bheag/Ford Econoline/Any Old Iron (Traditional) 10.20

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More from The Chieftains:More

Paddy Moloney (1 August 1938 – 11 October 2021)[1] was an Irish musician, composer, and producer who co-founded and led the Irish musical group The Chieftains[2] and played on every one of their albums.

Paddy Moloney was born in Donnycarney, Dublin, Ireland.[1] His mother bought him a tin whistle when he was six and he started to learn the Uilleann pipes at the age of eight.

In addition to the tin whistle and the Uilleann pipes, Paddy Moloney also played button accordion and bodhrán.

In the late 1950s he met Seán Ó Riada and joined his group Ceoltóirí Chualann in the early 1960s.

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Along with Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy, Moloney formed the traditional Irish band The Chieftains in Dublin in November 1962. As the band leader, he was the primary composer and arranger of much of the Chieftains’ music, and composed for films including Treasure Island, The Grey Fox, Braveheart, Gangs of New York, and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.

Moloney did session work for Mike Oldfield, The Muppets, Mick Jagger, Gary Moore, Paul McCartney, Sting, Don Henley, and Stevie Wonder.

Together with Garech de Brún (anglicised to Garech Browne) of Luggala, he founded Claddagh Records in 1959. In 1968 he became a producer for the label and supervised the recording of 45 albums.

He was married to artist Rita O’Reilly and the couple had three children, Aonghus Moloney, Padraig Moloney, and actress producer Aedin Moloney. He was a fluent speaker of the Irish language.

He died, suddenly, on 11 October 2021, aged 83 (wikipedia)

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Pink Martini – Hang On Little Tomato (2004)

FrontCover1Pink Martini is a band that was formed in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale in Portland, Oregon. Group members call it a little orchestra that crosses several styles, such as classical, traditional pop, latin and jazz. The co-lead vocalists of Pink Martini are China Forbes and Storm Large.

Thomas Lauderdale worked in politics in 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. He considered the music at most fundraisers loud and boring. He founded Pink Martini as a remedy, crossing the genres of jazz, classical music, and traditional pop to appeal to a broad audience. During the following year, he called China Forbes, a classmate from Harvard, and invited her to join the band. Their first single, “Sympathique”, was nominated for Song of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Awards in France.

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Forbes is monolingual but sings in 15 languages. “All of us in Pink Martini have studied different languages as well as different styles of music from different parts of the world,” says Lauderdale. “So inevitably, our repertoire is wildly diverse. At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like an urban musical travelogue. We’re very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America… the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world… composed of people of every country, every language, every religion.” Featuring 10–12 musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout the world.

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Hang On Little Tomato is the second studio album by American band Pink Martini, released on October 19, 2004, by their own record label, Heinz Records. It has been certified gold in France, Canada, Greece, and Turkey. It was then certified double platinum in France by the UPFI in 2013. In 2014, it was awarded a platinum certification from the Independent Music Companies Association, denoting sales in excess of 400,000 copies across Europe. As of October 2013, it had sold 750,000 copies worldwide.

As a change from their first album, Pink Martini’s second album Hang On Little Tomato features mostly original songs written by band members, and sung in six different languages (French, Italian, Japanese, Croatian, Spanish and English).

The song title is a reference to the Hunt’s Ketchup ad campaign “Hang On, Little Tomato!” in a 1964 issue of Life magazine. (wikipedia)

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It would be easy to liken Pink Martini’s music to the lounge and swing revivals of the ’90s. However, the 12-piece mini-orchestra’s mix of jazz, classical, Latin, and vocal pop sounds more organic than the work of, say, Combustible Edison. Like the Squirrel Nut Zippers — who were always more than just a straightforward swing revival band — Pink Martini do more than just rehash their influences; by dabbling in different sounds that they love, they’ve come up with their own. And even on the most theatrical moments of their second album, Hang On Little Tomato, such as the Yma Sumac-meets-chamber jazz of “U Plavu Zoru” or the smoky Italian ambience of “Una Notte a Napoli,” a lot of genuine sentiment shines through. Though most of Hang On Little Tomato — named after a vintage Hunt’s Ketchup ad — consists of originals, a few well-chosen covers stake out Pink Martini’s sonic territory: the festive “Anna (El Negro Zumbon)”; Villa-Lobos’ “Song of the Black Swan”; a downright swellegant version of “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love”; and “Kikuchiyo to Moshimasu,” which features Hiroshi Wada, the slide guitarist who played on the original recording of the song.

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Amid all the multiculturalism, Hang On Little Tomato emphasizes the French and Cuban elements of Pink Martini’s sound, with “Dansez-Vous” and the lovely “Autrefois” nodding to the former, and the ever-so-slightly mischievous ballad “Lilly” tipping its hat to the latter. The album’s moods are almost as wide-ranging as its sounds, spanning the innocence of the title track’s ’30s pop and the Bacharach-esque sweetness of “Clementine” to the world-weary “Veronique” to the smoky romance of “Aspettami.” A more full-fledged album than the band’s debut Sympathique, Hang On Little Tomato offers a charmingly populist approach to music. (by Heather Phares)

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Personnel:
Kazunori Asano (guitar, ukulele)
Phil Baker (bass)
Gavin Bondy (trumpet)
Brian Davis (percussion)
Dan Faehnle (guitar, mandolin)
China Forbes (vocals)
Timothy Jensen (saxophone)
Thomas Lauderdale (piano)
Norman Leyden (clarinet)
Maureen Love (harp)
Osao Murata (organ)
Timothy Nishimoto (vocals)
Doug Peebles (trombone)
Derek Rieth (percussion, caxixi, surdo, shekere)
Douglas Edwards Smith (vibraphone, percussion,pandeiro, guiro)
Michael Spiro (percussion)
Jason Stronquist (trombone)
Robert Taylor (trombone, trumpet)
Masumi Timson (koto)
Hiroshi Wada (slide-guitar)
John Wager (bass)
Martín Zarzar (drums, percussion)
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violin:
Julie Coleman – Paloma Griffin – Denise Huizenga
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viola:
Joel Belgique – Mara Lise Gearman – Tyler Neist – Charles Noble
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cello:
Oreet Ranon – Heather Blackburn – Pansy Chang – Phil Hansen – Timothy Scott – Dieter Ratzlaf

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Tracklist:
01. Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love (Forbes/Lauderdale) 3:02
02. Anna (El Negro Zumbón) (Vatro/Giordano) 2:34
03. Hang On Little Tomato  (Abbey/Forbes/Lauderdale) 3.17
04. The Gardens Of Sampson & Beasley (Forbes/Lauderdale) 4.01
05. Veronique (Tozian/Lauderdale) 3.19
06. Dansez-vous (Taylor/Forbes) 2.53
07. Lilly (Forbes/Lauderdale)  2.44
08. Autrefois (Forbes/Lauderdale) 3.38
09. U Plavu Zoru (Lalich/Lauderdale/Eby/Forbes/Taylor/Bondy/WagerDouglas/Smith) 6.01
10. Clementine (Forbes/Lauderdale) 3.50
11. Una notte a Napoli (Clemente/DynellForbes/Lauderdale) 4.45
12. Kikuchiyo to Mohshimasu (originally performed by Hiroshi Wada & His Mahina Stars, 1964) (Yamagami/Suzuki 4.32
13. Aspettami (Forbes/Lauderdale) 3.39
14. Song Of The Black Swan (Villa-Lobos) 2.11

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