Free – Fire And Water (1970)

frontcover1Fire and Water is the third studio album released by English rock group Free. The album became the band’s breakthrough hit, reaching #2 in the UK charts and #17 in the US, making it the most successful Free album.[citation needed] The album contained the hit single “All Right Now” which they later played to a crowd of over 600,000 people at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, generating great popularity (by wikipedia).

If Fleetwood Mac, Humble Pie, and Foghat were never formed, Free would be considered one of the greatest post-Beatles blues-rock bands to date, and Fire and Water shows why. Conceptually fresh, with a great, roots-oriented, Band-like feel, Free distinguished itself with the public like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple did (in terms of impact, only) in 1970. Free presented itself to the world as a complete band, in every sense of the word. From Paul Kossoff’s exquisite and tasteful guitar work, to Paul Rodgers’ soulful vocals, this was a group that was easily worthy of the mantle worn by Cream, Blind Faith, or Derek & the Dominos . ( by Matthew Greenwald)

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Free was nothing if not the proof that less is more; what distinguished them from their bloozerocking peers was the point that they didn’t need to shove themselves into overdrive to make their point. Minimalists in the best sense of the word, they set a legitimately funky rhythm section behind the strikingly simple but gripping guitar playing of the late Paul Kossoff and the thrusting vocals of Paul Rodgers and delivered as singular a hard bloozerock attack as could be found during their brief but bristling existence.
“Fire and Water” was their best selling album and still the album on which their reputation rests (though the predecessor, “Free,” was no less effective). The title track impressed Wilson Pickett enough to make a striking soul hit out of it. And “All Right Now” remains a masterpiece of pure rocking R and B fire; never mind Rodgers’s only too classic lyric of predatory obsession-compulsion (so he doesn’t get the girl in the sack, she’s too smart to fall for his jive, but you know damn well it isn’t going to stop him from hunting fresh prey and probably landing one less gullible), the chunky verse playing is relentless, and that classic midsection, piano and bass nudging Kossoff to his most memorably melodious solo (that’s saying something considering his consistency), is impossible to resist. The album cut has long since buried the hit single version (which contained a different rhythm guitar sound, shortened up that midsection a little bit, and eliminated the second verse coda entirely; it’s available on the new anthology of the band, and it’s worthy in its own right), and you probably know a few dozen “classic rock” bar bands who give it a whirl at least once a night and get a guaranteed round of applause with it after they’ve cranked out a little Bad Company to whet the appetite a bit. (by BluesDuke)

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Personnel:
Andy Fraser (bass, piano)
Simon Kirke (drums, percussion)
Paul Kossoff (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Fire and Water (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.03
02. Oh I Wept (Rodgers/Kossoff) 4.29
03. Remember (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.29
04. Heavy Load (Fraser/Rodgers) 5:23
05. Mr. Big (Fraser/Rodgers/Kirke/Kossoff) 5.58
06. Don’t Say You Love Me (Fraser/Rodgers) 6.07
07. All Right Now (Fraser/Rodgers) 5:42
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08. Oh I Wept (alternate vocal take) (Rodgers/Kossoff) 4.25
09. Fire And Water (new stereo mix (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.27
08. Fire And Water (live BBC session) (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.12
09. All Right Now (live BBC Session) (Fraser/Rodgers) 5.33
10. All Right Now (Single version) (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.18
11. All Right Now (first version) (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.31

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I would like dedicate the song “Fire And Water” to a very special lady !

 

Humble Pie – Same (1970)

frontcover1Humble Pie is the third studio album released by English rock group Humble Pie in 1970, and their first with A&M Records.

Humble Pie was a transitional album and a harbinger of the band’s new, heavier direction. The material was darker than their previous two efforts, with striking contrasts in volume and style — Peter Frampton’s gentle “Earth and Water Song” is buttressed between two of the heaviest tracks on the record, the band composed  “One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba,” and a cover of Willie Dixon’s “I’m Ready”. Drummer Jerry Shirley contributed a rare lead vocal on his song “Only a Roach,” a country-twinged ode to cannabis that also appeared as the B-side of the summer 1970 single “Big Black Dog”. This was their first release under the auspices of new American manager Dee Anthony — who’d pushed for a louder, tighter sound both live and in the studio — and for their new label, A&M Records. At the end of 1969, the Pie’s old label, Immediate, owned by Andrew Loog Oldham, went bankrupt — a saga chronicled by Marriott on the satirical ballad “Theme from Skint (See You Later Liquidator)”.

backcovera“Humble Pie” is often referred to by fans as “The Beardsley Album,” because of the distinct cover artwork by artist Aubrey Beardsley, an influential English illustrator and author best known for his erotic illustrations. (by wikipedia)

Alternating hard-driving blues-rockers with country-folk numbers, Humble Pie neatly showcases the two sides of this band’s personality on their first release for a major American label and third album overall. All of the elements are in place for the sound that would reach its studio peak with the next release, Rock On, and culminate with the classic Live at the Fillmore album. “Earth and Water Song” provides a blueprint for the acoustic guitar-based sound Peter Frampton would ride to multi-platinum success as a solo artist later in the decade. “One Eyed Trouser-Snake Rumba” and “Red Light Mama, Red Hot!” show the hard-rocking direction in which Steve Marriott would move the band after Frampton’s departure the following year. (by Jim Newsom)

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Personnel:
Peter Frampton (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Steve Marriott (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Greg Ridley (bass, guitar, background vocals)
Jerry Shirley (drums, guitar, vocals on 2.)
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B.J. Cole (steel guitar)
John Wilson (drums on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Live With Me (Frampton/Marriott/Ridley/Shirley) 7.55
02. Only a Roach  (Shirley) 2.49
03. One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba (Frampton/Marriott/Ridley/Shirley) 2.51
04. Earth And Water Song (Frampton) 6.18
05. I’m Ready (Dixon) 4.59
06. Theme From Skint (See You Later Liquidator)  (Marriott) 5.43
07. Red Light Mama, Red Hot! (Frampton/Marriott/Ridley/Shirley) 6.16
08. Sucking On The Sweet Vine (Ridley) 5.46

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Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman (1970)

FrontCover1Tea for the Tillerman is the fourth studio album by the singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. This album, Stevens’ second during 1970, includes many of Stevens’ best-known songs including “Where Do the Children Play?”, “Hard Headed Woman”, “Wild World”, “Sad Lisa”, “Into White”, and “Father and Son”. Four of the tracks (“Where Do the Children Play?”, “On the Road to Find Out”, “Tea for the Tillerman”, and “Miles from Nowhere”) were featured in the Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins’ black comedy film Harold and Maude, in 1971. The track “But I Might Die Tonight” was featured in the film Deep End directed by Jerzy Skolimowski in 1970. Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record’s cover. “Tea for the Tillerman” was also used over the end credits for the BBC TV show Extras. “Miles From Nowhere” also appeared in the A-Team episode, “Alive at Five” while Templeton Peck is running away.

With “Wild World” as an advance single, this was the album that brought Stevens worldwide fame.[citation needed] The album itself charted into the top 10 in the United States, where he had previously had few listeners.

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a “B–” and found the music monotonous and lacking the “dry delicacy” Stevens exhibited on Mona Bone Jakon (1970). Rolling Stone magazine’s Ben Gerson said that Stevens’ songs effortlessly resonate beyond their artfully simple lyrics and hooks, despite his occasional overuse of dynamics “for dramatic effect.”

On 18 November 2003, Rolling Stone included this album in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list at number 206.[5] In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6] In 2007, the album was included in the list of “The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time”, released by The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.(by wikipedia)

Cat Stevens 1972

Cat Stevens, (centre, in long sleeve shirt), and his nine-man band at the Singapore airport, where he stopped over on the way to perform in Tokyo in 1972.

Mona Bone Jakon only began Cat Stevens’ comeback. Seven months later, he returned with Tea for the Tillerman, an album in the same chamber-group style, employing the same musicians and producer, but with a far more confident tone. Mona Bone Jakon had been full of references to death, but Tea for the Tillerman was not about dying; it was about living in the modern world while rejecting it in favor of spiritual fulfillment. It began with a statement of purpose, “Where Do the Children Play?,” in which Stevens questioned the value of technology and progress. “Wild World” found the singer being dumped by a girl, but making the novel suggestion that she should stay with him because she was incapable of handling things without him. “Sad Lisa” might have been about the same girl after she tried and failed to make her way; now, she seemed depressed to the point of psychosis. The rest of the album veered between two themes: the conflict between the young and the old, and religion as an answer to life’s questions. Tea for the Tillerman was the story of a young man’s search for spiritual meaning in a soulless class society he found abhorrent. He hadn’t yet reached his destination, but he was confident he was going in the right direction, traveling at his own, unhurried pace. The album’s rejection of contemporary life and its yearning for something more struck a chord with listeners in an era in which traditional verities had been shaken. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Stevens had lost none of his ability to craft a catchy pop melody; the album may have been full of angst, but it wasn’t hard to sing along to. As a result, Tea for the Tillerman became a big seller and, for the second time in four years, its creator became a pop star.(by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Harvey Burns (drums)
Alun Davies (guitar, background vocals)
John Rostein (violin)
John Ryan (bass)
Cat Stevens (guitar, keyboards, vocals

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Tracklist:
01. Where Do The Children Play? 3.51
02. Hard Headed Woman 3.47
03. Wild World 3.18
04. Sad Lisa 3.40
05. Miles From Nowhere 3.32
06. But I Might Die Tonight 1.52
07. Longer Boats 3.11
08. Into White 3.24
09. On The Road To Find Out 5.07
10. Father And Son 3.38
11. Tea For The Tillerman 1.00

All songs written by Cat Stevens

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John Renbourn – The Lady And The Unicorn (1970)

FrontCover1The Lady and the Unicorn is the 1970 solo album by British folk musician John Renbourn. On this release, Renbourn ventures into folk rock and medieval music territory. The first four tracks are arranged from the Add MS 29987 manuscript. The cover was taken from The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. (by wikipedia)

Renbourn’s last solo album for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with the expected folk material — keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such as “Scarborough Fair,” which turns up as part of an 11-minute track that also incorporates “My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,” with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses the vocals. (by Bruce Eder)

John Renbourn

Taken from the original liner-notes:

This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably the English dance tune ‘Trotto’ and the Italian ‘Saltarello’, to which I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. ‘Lamento di Tristan’ and ‘La Rotta’ are fourteenth century Italian pieces played originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus ‘Veri Floris’, composed during the Notre Dame period, is a setting for the words ‘Under the figure of the true flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond ordinary useage from the nature of a flower”.
This is followed by the triple ballade ‘Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous’ of Guillaume de Machaut.
‘Bransle Gay’ and ‘Bransle de Bourgogne’ are from the danceries of Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line added. The anonymous ‘Alman’ is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and is followed by ‘Melancholy Galliard’ by the English lutanist John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the ‘Sarabande’ in B Minor by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, ‘The Lady And The Unicorn’ and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song ‘Westron Wynde’, and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: ‘My Johnny Was A Shoemaker’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments. (John Rebourn)

Such a beautiful album … a timeless classic recording !

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Personnel:
Don Harper (violin)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
John Renbourn (guitar)
Tony Roberts (flute)
Dave Swarbrick (violin)
Ray Warleigh (flute)

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Tracklist:
01.1. Trotto (Anonymous) 0.40
01.2. Saltarrello (Anonymous) 1.53
02.1.Lamento di Tristan (Anonymous) 1.58
02.2.La Rotta (Anonymous) 0.55
03.1.Veri Floris (Anonymous) 0.44
03.2. Triple Ballade (Sanscuer-Amordolens-Dameparvous) (de Machaut) 2.00
04.1.Bransle Gay (Gervaise) 1.13
04.2.Bransle de Bourgogne (Johnson) 1.34
05.1.Alman (Anonymous)1.25
05.2.Melancholy Galliard (Dowland) 2.47
06.Sarabande (Bach) 2.41
07.The Lady And The Unicorn (Renbourn) 3.21
08.1.My Johnny Was A Shoemaker (Traditional) 4.16
08.2.Westron Wynde (Traditional) 1.25
08.3.Scarborough Fair (Traditional) 7.22

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Jack Bruce & Friends – Fillmore West (1970)

FrontCover1Apart from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, drummer Mitch Mitchell, who passed away on November 12, 2008 at the age of 61, had a varied professional career. According to the wikipedia, “another noteworthy musical collaboration in the late ’60s was with the Jack Bruce And Friends band featuring Mitchell along with ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce, keyboardist Mike Mandel and jazz-fusion guitar legend and future The Eleventh House frontman Larry Coryell.”

A third-generation (?) cassette recording of this spirited show had been circulating among fans and now there is a very nice-sounding (but not pristine) upgrade, thanks to Olvator, who shared the tracks on the internet.

Olvator notes: “This is the best and most complete version of this show. I uploaded another version of this concert a few years ago. Same source, but from my 3rd (?) gen cassette. I have received these files some time ago and they are straight from the master. Sound is much better! This is a raw transfer.”

While Jack Bruce’s vocals are fairly dominant, it is Larry Coryell’s guitar work and, to a slightly lesser extent, Mike Mandell’s organ that take centrestage, so to speak. Coryell might have been going through a rock-guitar phase so this is not wholly the jazz-fusion playing that fans tend to associate with the guitarist.

Framed

But it is on the Smiles & Grins jam that indicate the direction both Coryell and Mitch Mitchell would take in the subsequent years. After all, as the wikipedia notes, “Mitchell pioneered a style of drumming which would later become known as fusion.”

Still, in memory of Mitchell, he gets the spotlight in the opening of The Clearout where he does a thundering solo. And to remind fans of their earlier days, the band drags out Sunshine Of Your Love which, not surprisingly, gets the loudest applause.

Recorded live at the Fillmore East, New York, January 31, 1970 (late show)
Very good audience recording.

 

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Personnel:
Jack Bruce (vocals, bass)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
Mike Mandell (organ)
Mitch Mitchell (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 7.32
02. Weird of Hermiston/Tickets To Waterfalls/Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 9.30
03. HCKHH (Hayseed Country Kicking Ho Ho) Blues (Bruce) 9.02
04. We’re Going Wrong (Bruce) 8.17
05. The Clearout (Bruce/Brown) 7.02
06. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 15.57
07. Smiles & Grins jam (Bruce/Brown) 4.32

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Procol Harum – Home (1970)

FrontCover1Home is Procol Harum’s fourth album, released in 1970. With the departure of organist Matthew Fisher and bassist David Knights and the addition of the remaining musicians’ (Gary Brooker, B.J. Wilson and Robin Trower) former bandmate bassist/organist Chris Copping from The Paramounts, Procol Harum was, for all intents and purposes, The Paramounts again in all but name. The purpose of bringing in Copping was to return some of the R&B sound to the band that they had with their previous incarnation.

The initial sessions were performed in London at Trident Studios under the supervision of former organist Matthew Fisher who had also produced the band’s previous album. Unhappy with the sound and performances, the band scrapped the Trident sessions and began again with producer Chris Thomas and engineer Jeff Jarratt at Abbey Road Studios. Once the album was completed it was decided that the cover would be a parody of the British board game Snakes and Ladders featuring members of the band.

When the album was released in June 1970 it charted at No. 34 in the United States and No. 49 in the United Kingdom, making the Danish Top 10 peaking at #6.[4] The album was preceded by the single “Whiskey Train” written by guitarist Robin Trower with lyricist Keith Reid. (by wikipedia)

Gary Brooker

The group’s hardest-rocking classic album is, beyond some superb vocalizing by Gary Brooker, principally a showcase for Robin Trower’s high-powered guitar and a rock-hard rhythm section, with B.J. Wilson only a little less animated than Ginger Baker on some of the music. Procol Harum had a split personality by this time, the band juxtaposing straight-ahead rock & roll numbers like “Still There’ll Be More” and the Elvis Presley-influenced “Whisky Train” with darker, more dramatic pieces like “Nothing That I Didn’t Know” and “Barnyard Story.” Chris Copping doubles on organ, replacing Matthew Fisher, but the overall sound is that of a leaner Procol Harum, all except for the ambitious “Whaling Stories” — even it was a compromise that nearly worked, showcasing Trower’s larger-than-life guitar sound (coming off here like King Crimson’s Robert Fripp in one of his heavier moments) within a somewhat pretentious art rock concept. It shows the strains within their lineup that the producers chose the lighter, more obviously accessible “Your Own Choice” — on which Gary Brooker’s piano is the lead instrument — to end the album after “Whaling Stories”‘ pyrotechnic finish. (y Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Gary Brooker (piano, vocals)
Chris Copping (organ, bass guitar)
Robin Trower (guitar)
B.J. Wilson (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Whisky Train (Trower/Reid) 4.31
02. The Dead Man’s Dream (Brooker/Reid) 4.46
03. Still There’ll Be More (Brooker/Reid) 4.53
04. Nothing That I Didn’t Know (Brooker/Reid) 3.38
05. About To Die (Trower/Reid) 3.35
06. Barnyard Story (Brooker/Reid) 2.46
07. Piggy Pig Pig (Brooker/Reid) 4.47
08. Whaling Stories (Brooker/Reid) 7.06
09. Your Own Choice (Brooker/Reid) 3.13

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Bloodrock – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Bloodrock was an American hard rock band, based in Fort Worth, Texas, that had considerable success in the 1970s, and was one of the earliest of a number of significant bands to emerge from the Fort Worth club and music scene during the early to mid-1970s.

Bloodrock initially formed in Fort Worth in 1963, under the name The Naturals. This first lineup featured Jim Rutledge (b. January 24, 1947) – drums/vocals, Nick Taylor (b. October 29, 1946 – d. March 10, 2010) – guitar/vocals, Ed Grundy (b. March 10, 1948) – bass/vocals, and Dean Parks – guitar. They released their first single in 1965 “Hey Girl” b/w “I Want You” (Rebel MME 1003). Shortly thereafter they changed their name to Crowd + 1 and released three more singles: “Mary Ann Regrets” b/w “Whatcha Tryin’ to Do to Me” (BOX 6604), “Don’t Hold Back” b/w “Try,” and “Circles” b/w “Most Peculiar Things.”

In 1967, Parks left Crowd +1 to become the musical director for The Sonny & Cher Show (the beginning of a long career as a session musician). He was replaced by Lee Pickens (b. December 8, 194?) – guitar. It was also at this time that Stevie Hill (b. Tulsa, Oklahoma) – keyboards/vocals joined the group. They continued as Crowd + 1 until 1969 (though some fans of the band recall the band briefly calling themselves Texas) when they changed their name to Bloodrock, conceived by Grand Funk Railroad manager/producer Terry Knight. They also recorded their first album, the Terry Knight produced, Bloodrock (Capitol ST-435). The album, released in March 1970, peaked at 160 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Bloodrock is the self-titled debut from the Fort Worth, Texas hard rock band Bloodrock, released under Capitol Records in 1970. The cover art was designed by producer Terry Knight.

The song “Gotta Find a Way” contains one of the earliest instances of backmasking.[citation needed] Near the beginning of the song, the following message is played backwards, “Anyone who is stupid enough to play this record backwards deserves what he is about to hear,” followed by an excerpt from the poem Jabberwocky. (by wikipedia)

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1969 saw the first rumblings of heavy metal with debut releases from bands likes of Mott the Hoople and Grand Funk Railroad. Bloodrock, a Texas-based quintet, also released their debut during this time (and like Grand Funk Railroad, they were managed and produced by Terry Knight). Bloodrock may not be as well remembered today as the aforementioned groups, but their first release remains a cult favorite among fans of hard rock. Their sound is reminiscent of Deep Purple, with electric guitar and organ dueling over a throbbing beat. However, Jim Rutledge’s gruff, whiskey-throated vocals lend a rural tinge to the group’s music that sets them apart. As expected for a heavy metal band, the songwriting themes tend to be pretty ominous: “Double Cross” is a gleeful hymn to revenge, and “Timepiece” recounts the final thoughts of a death row prisoner about to be sent to the gallows. The band doesn’t always know when to edit their jams (“Timepiece”), and some of the songs feel more like a collection of riffs than fully thought-out compositions (“Wicked Truth”), but the group’s powerful attack helps smooth over the rough spots to make an engaging slab of proto-metal. The album’s highlights are the final two songs: “Fantastic Piece of Architecture” uses a combination of Doors-like funereal organ and piano to create a creepy atmosphere, and “Melvin Laid an Egg” blends pile-driving riffs with gentle bridges of piano, and harmony vocals to bring its surreal lyric about a freak-show-dwelling capitalist to life. Overall, Bloodrock lacks the crossover appeal to win fans outside of its cult reputation, but it remains an interesting listen for those interested in the development of heavy metal. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

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Personnel:
Ed Grundy (bass, vocals)
Stephen Hill (keyboards, vocals)
Lee Pickens (guitar, vocals)
Jim Rutledge (drums, vocals)
Nick Taylor (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Gotta Find A Way 6.34
02. Castle Of Thoughts  3.31
03. Fatback 3.24
04. Double Cross 5.19
05. Timepiece 6.00
06. Wicked Truth 4.48
07. Gimmie Your Head 2.44
08. Fantastic Piece Of Architecture 8.49
09. Melvin Laid An Egg 7.27

All songs written by Rick Cobb, Ed Grundy, Lee Pickens, Steve Rutledge and Nick Taylor.

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