Focus – At The Rainbow (1973)

USFrontCover1At the Rainbow is the first live album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released in October 1973 on Imperial Records. The album was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 5 May 1973. A studio album was initially slated for release, but it was shelved due to disagreements within the band. (An album compiled from the tapes of these sessions was later released with the title Ship of Memories.) At the Rainbow was released instead. (by wikipedia)

The instrumental rockers of the early ’70s never were any good at dulling down their musical expertise; and, indeed, it’s only a matter of seconds into their first and only live release — Live at the Rainbow — until one realizes just how talented Focus were. Jan Akkerman, named “World’s Best Guitarist” by Melody Maker in 1973 ahead of Eric Clapton and others, was amazingly on form in this performance. Thijs Van Leer, chief songwriter and performer in the band, showcased his talents on flute, vocals, and organ with unparalleled finesse. Bert Ruiter knocked out his basslines tight to Pierre Van Der Linden’s drums, undoubtedly two of the finest players on their respective instruments. It would be so easy to go off on a tangent explaining the mastery that Focus had musically; suffice to say, however, the bands technical proficiency is rarely matched in the world of rock. Live at the Rainbow featured some of the band’s best and most well known tracks: “Sylvia,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Focus II,” and so on.

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Original Dutch front + back cover

Although much of the content sticks closely to its original studio form (12-minute tracks were regular on studio albums), with maybe an extra solo or two thrown in for good measure, a few songs host drastic changes. “Hocus Pocus,” for example, is almost unrecognizable. This live version is multiple times faster than its studio counterpart — those familiar with only the studio version are certainly in for a shock! Throughout the album the performance is simply astonishing. Live at the Rainbow is a fine purchase for any Focus fan, or, indeed, anyone looking for a band with a good degree of originality and musical ability. (by Ben Davies)

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Original Dutch labels

This is a live album by Focus. It is an excellent live performance of the early Focus. The selected tracks are interesting: there are “Hocus Pocus”, “Focus 2” “Sylvia” and a shortened version of the epic “Eruption”, among others. The sound is pretty good, and the musicians almost sound like on the studio albums. The polite crowd favorably responds at the end and the beginning of the tracks. On “Focus 2”, Jan Akkerman seems not at his best: he often hesitates: I think the track is a bit played too fast. The mellow version of “Eruption” is particularly brilliant. “Hocus Pocus” is almost better than the studio version: they play it much faster. The yodeling is very well succeeded, and there are even a couples of further extravagant vocals parts and whistling: IMPRESSIVE! The other shorter version of “Hocus Pocus” is also fantastic, with again another special & different yodeling. (by greenback)

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Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar)
Thijs van Leer (keyboards, flute, vocals)
Pierre van der Linden (drums)
Bert Ruiter (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Focus III (v.Leer) 3.53
02. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! (Akkerman/Ruiter) 11.29
03. Focus II (v.Leer) 4.36
04. Eruption (Excerpt) 8.29
04.01. Orfeus (v.Leer) 1.33
04.02. Answer (v.Leer) 1.25
04.03. Orfeus (v.Leer) 1.22
04.04. Answer (v.Leer) 0.20
04.05. Pupilla (v.Leer) 1.10
04.06. Tommy (Barlage) 1.54
04.07. Pupilla (v.Leer) 0.45
05. Hocus Pocus (Akkerman(v.Leer) 8.30
06. Sylvia (v.Leer) 2.48
07. Hocus Pocus (Reprise) (Akkerman/v.Leer) 2.48

Performed at the show, but still unreleased

“Anonymus 2”
“House Of The King” (Instrumental) (filmed)
Lute solo (“Britannia” by John Dowland)

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Oblivion Sun ‎– The High Places (2012)

FrontCover1Oblivion Sun hail from Maryland, USA and rose from the ashes of Happy The Man (HTM). Founding members Frank Wyatt (keyboards, sax) and Stanley Whitaker (guitars, vocals) started this band in 2006 together with Bill Plummer (keyboards), Dave DeMarco (bass guitar) and Chris Mack (drums). Their eponymous debut album has been released in 2007. Now five years later they finally recorded a successor.

On The High Places their second keyboardist Bill Plummer has left the band. As a result you might expect that the music on this album sounds differently, or in any case more guitar-orientated than their first CD. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t; it depends on how you listen to the guitar and keyboard parts throughout the album, but I guess that’s a minor aspect as long as the songs are worth listening. And they surely are! The style of HTM can still be heard in the band’s compositions, but that seems logical to me. In the opening piece Deckard these influences are evident. This instrumental composition could have been taken from any of their albums. The drum patterns, the piano parts and the guitar riffs clearly tend towards the music of HTM.

On March Of The Mushroom Men, the second instrumental, the band shows to be capable of playing another type of music as well. This time the music refers to albums recorded by bands like Focus and Camel, mainly due to Whitaker’s melodic guitar parts. Sometimes his playing reminds me of Jan Akkerman’s or Andy Latimer’s playing. Whitaker proves to be a fine singer as well in Everything. This short ballad already appeared on the eponymous album recorded by another Whitaker-Wyatt project namely Pedal Giant Animals (2006). This rather short composition sounds like a track of Primary Elements from his other band Six Elements that contains musical elements from early Genesis and Cat Stevens. Next track Dead Sea Squirrels is the third instrumental piece on which the guitars sound rather heavy and a bit in the vein of the riff in Crazy Horses (The Osmonds). Fortunately the keyboards assure that this song holds enough prog rock sounds to keep you focussed till the end.

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The album ends with the title track. Having a playing time of 22 minutes it’s not only the longest track, but also the best one. It’s an adaptation of the old HTM piece Merlin Of The High Places from the Death’s Crown (1999) album. On this epic piece, which is divided into six chapters, they sound like a mixture of HTM and Genesis at the time of A Trick Of The Tail (1975). It’s mainly Whitaker’s voice and Wyatt’s playing on the acoustic piano, sounding like Phil Collins and Tony Banks respectively, which are responsible for this comparison. This piece also contains the best keyboard playing of the album; the synthesizer solo on the second chapter Awakening is just awesome! It makes you forget ex-HTM keyboardist Kit Watkins. After listening to this epic track I felt in a good mood and I realized that these musicians are still able to write superb compositions.

Of course Oblivion Sun aren’t HTM and The High Places isn’t an album like Crafty Hands (1978), but that doesn’t mean that the music of Oblivion Sun is less enjoyable. On the contrary! I’m inclined to say that people who cherished the music of HTM are obliged to listen to the music of Oblivion Sun! I’m certain that you won’t regret it; neither did I. The High Places contains music of a very high standard similar to the music of HTM! (by Henri Strik)

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Personnel:
Bill B. Brasso (drums)
David Hughes (bass)
Stanley Whitaker (vocals, guitar)
Frank Wyatt (keyboards, saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Deckard (Wyatt) 6.34
02. March Of The Mushroom Men (Whitaker) 3.38
03. Everything (Whitaker) 2.39
04. Dead Sea Squirrels (Whitaker) 6.35

The High Places (22,22)
05. My Eyes (Wyatt) 6.10
06. Awakening (Wyatt) 2.00
07. Flowers (Wyatt) 2.31
08. The Rules (Wyatt) 5.41
09. The Cage (Wyatt) 3.53
10. Our Eyes (Wyatt) 2.07

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Mott the Hoople – Mad Shadows (1970)

LPFrontCover1Mad Shadows was the second album by Mott the Hoople. It was recorded in 1970 and released in the UK on Island Records in September 1970 (catalogue number ILPS 9119) and in the US by Atlantic Records (cat. no. SD 8272). As with their debut album, it was produced by Guy Stevens.

The original pressing reached No. 48 in the UK Albums Chart in October 1970. (by wikipedia)

When Mott the Hoople went into the recording studio to record this, their second album, it was known as Sticky Fingers. The front sleeve was already complete and featured an outsize Frankenstein’s monster driving a dragster through the night. But Mott had reckoned without their producer Guy Stevens getting friendly with the Rolling Stones, who were next door mixing their new album for impending release. Hearing the title of Mott’s new album, Mick’n’Keef promptly nicked it off them. And so it was that Mott’s second LP had to be retitled Mad Shadows, a title originally chosen for the projected Steve Winwood solo album which was soon to become Traffic’s come-back LP John Barleycorn Must Die. Confused? Well, you always would be when Guy Stevens was involved. And Mott could hardly complain, especially as Guy had got Mott together in the first place.

This second LP, Mad Shadows, was to be Mott’s greatest statement of all and a true cry from the heart for Ian Hunter. His wife had taken his children and returned to Shrewsbury, telling him that she would not accept his new longhair and new lifestyle, and the whole album resounds with Hunter’s wailing and fist-pounding as the ghosts of his still recent former life spill over into every song. The sledgehammer attitude of the first album is, if anything, overtaken by the brutality of musical execution of Mad Shadows. Indeed, what makes Mad Shadows so powerful is the brazen way in which the other much younger musicians interpret Hunter’s work. Simple to the point of repetition because of his ultra-limited piano playing, Hunter’s songs actually gain from this flash, virtually punk energy which the rest of the band bring, and his desperate cry from the heart of a dissolving 30-something marriage is gloriously mis-translated by rampant musical interpreters barely out of their teens.

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Throughout the LP, Overend Watts’ bass is far more reminiscent of Bill Wyman’s storming work on “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby”, than Rick Danko of the Band or any equivalently subtle American musician. Buffin’s drums are proto-flash to the point of bluster, and were thoroughly ripped off by Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos to later drive a far more brash kind of music. Verden Allen’s overdriven Hammond organ cranks out the same old riff song after song, even resorting to that dreadful Bar Mitzvah lick from “Like a Rolling Stone”, but never does Guy Stevens scream ‘Enough!’ He just lets them get on and on with it, and often on songs of six and seven minutes in length. It is this suffocatingly, axe-wieldingly sentimental glue which fixes the entire album together, and the freedom was given to the band by Guy Stevens. Crediting himself with ‘spiritual percussion and psychic piano’, Guy Stevens is an awesome presence on Mad Shadows – not for what he contributes but for the space he allows them all to fill. Mott the Hoople may have made their name with a David Bowie song, but it was Stevens who created them, and he who created this LP. For Mad Shadows is their masterpiece.

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This huge emotional reverberator drop kicks into life with the frantic five minutes of “Thunderbuck Ram”, in which Mick Ralphs’ raucous guitar riffs ring out across a Cheddar Gorge of chasmic reverb. The proto-Paranoid riff propells them all into the chorus with such venom that Guy Stevens’ record-this-live-at-all-costs mode is immediately confronted and challenged head-on by huge glaring errors, as minors and majors clash and buzz. Yet the song thunders on relentlessly, until the tail-out becomes a huge one chord burn-out and the first of Ian Hunter’s Velvets-meets-Jerry Lee Lewis high velocity piano attacks kicks in like cooking amphetamines into a hot curry.

Verden Allen’s monolithic Hammond organ introduces the massive six minutes of “No Wheels to Ride”, as Ian Hunter grinds his teeth and pounds the piano in grief, the OverendWatts1memories of his children so recently taken from his life manifesting in a gargantuan emotional haemorrhage, as the band behind him try desperately to upstage him. “Can’t get enough, can’t get enough, can’t get enough of your love,” he howls over and over and over until even Mick Ralphs jots down the hookline (for later use). Then it’s off into another huge and simple three chord emotional Hammond organ and pounding piano blow-out, like some kind of Spectorized proto-punk gross out. It’s fair to remind ourselves at this moment that Guy Stevens once claimed: “There are only two Phil Spectors … and I’m one of them!” Indeed, In-fucking-deedio!

Following close behind on the coattails of “No Wheels to Ride”, “You are one of us” is virtually the same song with the same frantic emotion and the same ‘Hang on Sloopy” chord sequence, while Hunter screams about how he ‘wants to thank everyone’ and the band return to their single-minded intention of upstaging each other. Apparently, Hunter wants to THANK the band for letting him stay IN the band, while they accompany him as though they think he’s already left.
And when they finish side one with “Walking with a Mountain”, Mott is a Foden truck with the intentions of a Cadillac. Brutal, brash and totally without finesse, the bass and piano threaten to drive the whole tune into a lake at any moment, while Buffin’s totally overachieving ideas of drumming are matched only by his inability to achieve any of it. Startling upstart rock’n’roll this is indeed and their producer Guy Stevens would have made the worst politician ever. He can’t even be bothered to do a cover-up of thee most glaring errors. No wonder Mott’s labelmates Traffic would later disparagingly allude to Mott’s flash and bluster in their album title The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

But subtlety was the last thing Stevens was searching for here, which is good because he would have been more than disappointed. Instead, he opted for huge Viking emotions and Neanderthal gestures. Side two begins with the sentimental and monumentally real seven-minute last-waltz of “I Can Feel”. I say ‘real’ because it is both dopey and refreshing at the same time. The most mawkish female singers this side of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From my Friends” coo and placate Hunter as he stands knee deep in pain and self-pity. Huge descending piano and organ chords swoop gratuitously as lumpen melody bass and ernie-ernie guitars squeeze out huge obvious solos from their wrung-necks. Only opera dares to be more brutal than Mott the Hoople when describing sad emotions.

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Then it’s off to the rodeo for “Threads of Iron” with its C&W rhythm and good time melody and cliched lyrics, until Mick Ralphs reminds us all that ‘You are what you are’ and the whole group bludgeon some poor old blues riff until it becomes subsumed into their standard two-chord thrash out, and we’re off again into pounding and huge Albert Hall-sized Jerry Lee Lewis piano and that fucking merciless punk rock bass that wants to be a lead guitar played on telegraph wires. Of course, the whole thing disintegrates into utter painful chaos. Crash, bash, wallop. Oh, and then some more wallop.

Then we’re down and down and downer still … to the very last song on the album. Legend has it that Guy Stevens switched the tape on for “When My Mind’s Gone” without letting Ian Hunter write lyrics, telling him that whatever he sung would be the last track on the LP, so he’d better make it good. Stevens told the press that he’d hypnotised Hunter and sat at the other end of the piano staring the song into Hunter’s eyes. If it’s the truth, then Ian Hunter was a human sponge for emotion and instant song-writing. If, as Hunter later claimed, he was touching cloth and made it all up at the drop of a hat, then he’s still a genius. Whatever, for “When My Mind’s Gone”, the standard three chords got wheeled out by Hunter, who proceeded to hammer his muse for all it was worth.

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“What once was true is now untrue … what once was clean is now unclean … what once was safe is now … unsafe.” Does it cut it, damn right it does. It is magnificent and tragic and funny and the best thing on the LP. Only Verden Allen dares play along with any confidence, while the rest of the band hesitate and splutter in the background for the whole six and a half minutes. And Mott prove themselves with their one great album; an album so flawed that it makes the Faces look tight and cover versions of Vanilla Fudge seem subtle.

Mad Shadows takes its name from a poem by Baudelaire, which Guy Stevens reproduced on the back of the gatefold sleeve. It includes such lines as: “Descend the way that leads to hell infernal, Plunge in a deep gulf where crime’s inevitable.” So we must presume from this evidence that, if Ian Hunter was really Pinocchio to Guy Stevens’ Gepetto at this time, Mad Shadows is a brilliantly unhinged example of an albeit briefly, but nevertheless perfectly balanced rock’n’roll symbiosis. (by Julian Cope)

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals on 01. + 06.,  background vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass, background vocals)
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Guy Stevens (piano, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Thunderbuck Ram (Ralphs) 4.50
02. No Wheels To Ride (Hunter) 5.50
03. You Are One Of Us (Hunter) 2.26
04. Walkin’ With A Mountain (Hunter) 3.49
05. I Can Feel (Hunter) 7.13
06. Threads Of Iron (Ralphs) 5.12
07. When My Mind’s Gone (Hunter) 6.31

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PETE OVEREND WATTS R.I.P. 1947-2017

Mott the Hoople founding member Pete Overend Watts has died aged 69. The bassist played on songs including Roll Away The Stone and the group’s best known hit All The Young Dudes, written and produced by David Bowie. He died on Sunday (January 22, 2017) of cancer, said Peter Purnell from record label Angel Air Records. He said Watts was a “highly intelligent and witty man who throughout his adult life was both an immensely likeable character and an enigma”. His death comes almost exactly a year after that of drummer Dale Griffin. (BBC)

More from Mott The Hoople:

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Big Country – No Place Like Home (1991)

FrontCover1No Place Like Home is the fifth studio album by Scottish band Big Country, released in 1991. (see 1991 in music). Its title derives from a quote in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is referenced by the first track, “We’re Not in Kansas”. Dorothy’s statement was in turn taken from the famous poem and song Home! Sweet Home! by John Howard Payne and Henry Bishop. (by wikipedia)

By 1991, Big Country had decided to ditch the Scottish lilt theme from their sound, seemingly in a quest, not only to evolve from the 1980s music scene, but to make themselves more relevant to the US market. But, as was their mistake with 1988’s `Peace in Our Time’, they chose to work with another unsuitable American producer. Pat Moran had been engineer and producer for big-sounding, overblown prog rock metal outfits like Hawkwind, Budgie, Rush, Lou Gramm (from Foreigner), Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and for Dr Feelgood (though, he had also produced a few albums for Iggy Pop as well). But, for The Bigs, his approach did not seem to work very well.

Big Country’s sound, whether Scottish in flavour or not, is a big sound that needs big production. Curiously, given his evident background, Pat Moran does not deliver a big enough, or at least, the right kind of big sound for their music here.

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It is a shame, because practically all the songs on `No Place like Home’ are actually quite good. Setting the tone with the twang of opening track, `We’re Not in Kansas’, the set (practically to the point of cliché) achieves an almost classically American sound – which is curious, given how critical its lyrics are of the US. Maybe that was meant to be irony! The sound, along with the awkward cover art, is also infused with a certain 60s psychedelia. This quality gives it another interesting dimension, even if it is somewhat under-realized.

Most of the tracks are rocky. But the use of cool effects, such as wah wah pedals, in some of the songs, are not strong enough in the mix to truly make them groove. Others wind up sounding a little ho hum. `We’re not in Kansas’, `Republican Party Reptile’, `The Hostage Speaks’, `Beautiful People’ (featuring banjos) and the reflective closing track, `Into the Fire’ are all great. There is even an echo of the soaring exuberance of their former selves on the excellent `Keep on Dreaming’. But the pièce de résistance is definitely `You, Me and the Truth’, an acid-rock imbued ballad which easily sits among the best songs the band ever wrote and recorded.

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Stuart Adamson continued to try and Americanize his accent on this recording, an error that plagued Big Country’s later recordings to varying degrees. He gets away with it here, but unfortunately, it is just another factor that works against real sonic success for this fifth album. Another seems to be drummer Mark Brzezicki’s change from band member to session muso. All in all, though, it is reasonable. (by B. S. Marlay)

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Personnel:
Stuart Adamson (guitar, vocals)
Tony Butler (bass, vocals)
Bruce Watson (guitar, mandolin)
+
Pat Ahern (drums on 15.)
Mark Brzezicki (drums, percussion)
Richie Close (piano)
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background vocals:
Katie Kissoon – Carol Kenyon

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Tracklist:
01. We’re Not In Kansas (Adamson) 6.13
02. Republican Party Reptile (Adamson/Watson) 4.02
03. Dynamite Lady (Adamson) 5.36
04. Keep On Dreaming (Adamson)  4:00
05. Beautiful People (Adamson) 5.34
06. The Hostage Speaks (Adamson/Butler/Watson) 5.52
07. Beat The Devil (Adamson) 4.04
08. Leap Of Faith (Adamson) 5.44
09. You, Me And The Truth (Adamson) 5.19
10. Comes A Time (Adamson) 3.54
11. Ships (Adamson/Watson) 4.01
12. Into The Fire (Adamson/Butler/Watson) 5.54
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13. Heart Of The World (Adamson) 3,46
14. Kiss The Girl Goodbye (Adamson) 5.12
15. Freedom Song (Adamson) 4.33

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More Big Country

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Guns N´Roses – Paris (1992)

FrontCover1.jpgGuns N’ Roses, often abbreviated as GNR, is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. When they signed to Geffen Records in 1986, the band comprised vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. The current lineup consists of Rose, Slash, McKagan, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Melissa Reese.

Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), reached number one on the Billboard 200 a year after its release, on the strength of “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, the band’s only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide, including 18 million units in the United States, making it the country’s bestselling debut album and eleventh-bestselling album. Their next studio album, G N’ R Lies (1988), reached number two on the Billboard 200. Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, recorded simultaneously and released in 1991, debuted at number two and number one on the Billboard 200 respectively and have sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide, including 14 million units in the United States. “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993), an album of covers, was the band’s last studio album to feature Slash and McKagan.

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This concert (recorded in June, 6th 1992 at the Hippodrome in Paris, France) was broadcast on worldwide TV as Pay-Per-View and also on FM radio stations.
This is one of the best Guns N’ Roses bootleg recording you have ever heard!

Have been hearing about this show since I started file sharing and it lives up to the hype. It is one of the best sounding GNR shows that’s NOT around. Well, we shall fix that last part. It’s now around. (analogkid6103)

Enjoy this show … with a great  Slash on leaduitar … but sorry, folks, I don´t like the voice of Axel Rose …

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Personnel:
Gilby Clarke (guitar, background vocals)
Duff McKagan (bass, background vocals)
Axl Rose (vocals, piano)
Slash (guitar, background vocals)
Matt Sorum (drums, percussion, background vocals)
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Lenny Kravitz (guiar, vocals on CD 1/06.)
Joe Perry (guitar on CD 2/07.)
Steven Tyler (vocals on CD 2/07.)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. It’s So Easy (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin/Arkeen) 3.32
02. Mr Brownstone (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin) 5.35
03. Live And Let Die (L.McCartney/P.McCartney) 3.42
04. Attitude (Danzig) 2.05
05. Bad Obsession (Stradlin/Arkeen) 8.34
06. Always On The Run Kravitz/Slash)) 6.20
07. Double Talkin’ Jive (including “Voodoo Chile” intro) (Stradlin) 7.19
08. Civil War (Slash/McKagan/Rose) 8.18
09. Wild Horses (Jagger/Richards) 3.07
10. Patience (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin) 7.16
11. You Could Be Mine (Stradlin/Rose) 7.41
12. November Rain (with Black Sabbath’s It’s Alright Intro) (Rose) 14.45

CD 2:
01. Drum Solo (Sorum) 6.45
02. Jamming (Clarke/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Sorum) 5.28
03. Theme From The Godfather (Rota) 2.47
04. Sweet Child O’ Mine (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin) 9.50
05. Welcome To The Jungle (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin) 5.19
06. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Dylan) 15.01
07. Mama Kin (Tyler) 4.07
08. Train Kept A Rollin’ (Bradshaw) 4.31
09. Don’t Cry (Stradlin/Rose) 5.56
10. Paradise City (Adler/McKagan/Rose/Slash/Stradlin) 8.03

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Dave Mason – It’s Like You Never Left (1973)

FrontCover1It’s Like You Never Left is an album by Dave Mason, released on 29 October 1973, on the CBS Records label (S65258) in the UK and by Columbia Records (PC 31721) in the US. It was reissued on CD in the US by One Way Records (A 26077) in July 1995 and Repertoire Records (RES 2320) in Europe in 2005. (by wikipedia)

This was Mason’s first album for CBS Records and one of his most successful and beloved solo releases. Graham Nash, Stevie Wonder and Jim Gordon are amongst those participating on the recordings. The album spent more than six months in the U.S. album charts.

After a protracted legal battle with Blue Thumb Records, Dave Mason finally signed to Columbia and released the hopefully titled It’s Like You Never Left, his first new studio solo album in more than three years. Mason received prominent vocal assistance from Graham Nash, who helped turn tracks like “Every Woman” into singers’ showcases. (Other guests included Stevie Wonder and George Harrison.) The songs had all the catchiness, but not as much of the individual flavor of Mason’s best work. And the modest commercial acceptance the album enjoyed made it apparent that he would have to rebuild some career momentum. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Dave Mason created a great 70’s sounding album with this record. Great song writing,production and musicionship. Dave’s singing is great of coarse as always.Dave comes across as a singer songwriter on this album but ther are few songs that rock and also a couple that have a funky vibe to them. George harrison contributes some nice slide guitar.If your a Dave Mason fan you should have this album in your collection. It’s a feel good album and there really isn’t any fiiler material on this album.You should probably quit reading this review and just get this album! (Kelley Voland)

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Personnel:
Rick Jaeger (drums)
Mark Jordan (keyboards)
Dave Mason (guitar, vocals, synthesizer)
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John Batdorf (vocals on 06.)
Charles Fletcher (bass on 04.)
George “Son of Harry” Harrison (guitar on 03.)
Jim Keltner (drums on 03., 05. 09. + 10.)
Graham Nash (vocals on 01., 02. + 05.)
Nastyee (percussion on 10.)
Carl Radle (bass on 03. + 09.)
Chuck Rainey (bass on 01.)
Greg Reeves (bass on 05. + 10.)
Rocky (percussion on 01. + 07.)
Lonnie Turner (bass on 06.)
Stevie Wonder (harmonica on 09.)
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horns on 06.:
Denny Morouse, – Norma Jean Bell – Steve Madaio
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background vocals (on 03. + 10.)
Clydie King – Julia Tillman Waters – Kathleen Saroyan – Maxine Willard Waters

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Tracklist:
01. Baby… Please (Mason) 3.18
02. Every Woman (Mason) 1.42
03. If You’ve Got Love (Mason) 3.20
04. Maybe (Mason) 4.04
05. Headkeeper (Mason) 3.40
06. Misty Morning Stranger (Mason) 4.30
07. Silent Partner (Mason) 3.07
08. Side Tracked (Mason/Jaeger/Turner/Jordan) 3.36
09. The Lonely One (Mason) 4.50
10. It’s Like You Never Left (Mason) 3.01
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Maybe I can love you
Maybe be your friend
Maybe I can help you, your troubles to mend
Maybe sing a song for you
That’s what I know best to do
Anything you want me to I’ll be
Anything you want me to I’ll he

Maybe we’ll be strangers
Till our dying day
Maybe then we’ll understand what we had to say
Maybe when we’ve closed the door
On all that’s negative in thought
Anyway you want it, it can be
Anyway you want it, it can be

Lift your head now
Tears you’ve shed
Are all ignored

Take a hand and make a stand
Against all wars

Are you dreaming
Or just scheming, for reward

Life’s illusions are misleading
It’s so good to be here breathing

Anyway you want it, it can be
Anyway you want it, it can be

Lift your head now
Tears you’ve shed
Are all ignored

Take a hand and make a stand
Against all wars

Are you dreaming
Or just scheming, for reward

Life’s illusions are misleading
It’s so good to be here breathing

Maybe I can love you
Maybe be your friend
Maybe I can help you, your troubles to mend
Maybe sing a song for you
That’s what I know best to do

Anything you want me to I’ll be

More Dave Mason:

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Kristoffer And The Harbour Heads – Hands (2013)

FrontCover1.jpgAnd here´s a very interesting Indie-Pop band from Sweden:

Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads are back after the 2012 debut Little Goes a Long Way with a chemistry that can only come from spending the better part of a decade touring Europe, Japan and USA.

To keep the vibe of a million mutual miles, the group chose to bring their hearts, beats and sounds straight to tape. They chose to eschew the standard modern techniques of overdubs, clicktrack and the average studio paranoia. The decision resulted in minor mistakes, flaky timing and a couple of blue notes designed to reintroduce the humanity so commonly absent from so many of today’s recordings.

Kristoffer02.jpgThe whole recording took just about a week. But the result has never been more honest, dark or direct.

Hands is a concept album.

That we’re all in this together.
Hands is a note to self about lending a hand to others – and accepting the favours we are given.
Where would any of us be without help?

In a world where even a minor handicap can mean closed doors, Hands is also about building a community where everybody is included. Therefore, the band made certain that ALL venues on tours for this record offer full disability access.

As usual, it’s impossible to pin down the genre, which might be the missing link between The Walkmen, The Hollies, Woods and The Electric Prunes. One can expect all sorts of surprises, from catchy hooks to kraut monotony, three part vocal harmonies and a twisted urban back-beat.

The psychedelic voodoo of German Maracas meets the sticky first single One Two Minutes, the dreamy soundscapes of Salute The Mute and the gloomy childhood depiction of My Mothers House (featuring Ed Harcourt) provide a well-rounded and entirely unique listening experience.

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Other guests include: Paul Doucette and the young hometown vocalettes Garellik-Sisters.

All the trio’s members have been part of the music writing, while the lyrics came to Kris during solitary walks through desolate shipyards on Hisingen Island, Göteborg. (Promotion text)

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Personnel:
Emil Karlsson-Rinstad (keyboards drums, vocals)
Joel Lundberg (bass, guitar, vocals)
Kristoffer Ragnstam (vocals, drums, guitar)
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Paul Doucette – Klas Hendrik Hörngren – Ed Harcourt
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Garellik-Sisters (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Hand And Fingers 4.12
02. Face To The Voice 4.22
03. One, Two Minutes 3.00
04. Good Night 3.20
05. My Mothers House 3.56
06. Forever And A Day 3.54
07. Salute The Mute 2.06
08. You Owe Me Twenty Something 3.56
09. German Maracas 3.28
10. Miss You 4.40

Music: Emil Karlsson-Rinstad – Joel Lundberg – Kristoffer Ragnstam
Lyrics: Kristoffer Ragnstam

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