Bronco – Ace Of Sunlight (1971)

FrontCover1Bronco were an English rock/country band signed to Island & Polydor Records 1969-1973.

Formed August 1969 by Jess Roden following his split from The Alan Bown Set, Bronco were signed to Island Records by Guy Stevens and, after initially recording tracks at Olympic Studios with him, recorded their first album – Country Home – at Island’s own Basing Street Studios during 1970 with the final mix being overseen by Paul Samwell-Smith. The group similarly recorded their second album Ace of Sunlight at Basing Street (1971) which was produced by the band and Richard Digby Smith.

Following a serious motorway accident between Cheltenham and Bristol (in which the group’s crew – Dick Hayes and Alan Stone – and drummer Pete Robinson and bass-player John Pasternak were badly injured) and a later, ill-fated West Coast of America tour, Roden left the band after a final British tour with label-mates Mott The Hoople and John Martyn in the spring of 1972 to start a solo career. Guitarist Robbie Blunt soon followed and the remaining members drafted in Paul Lockey on vocals (who Kevyn Gammond knew from Band of Joy) and Dan Fone on guitar. This incarnation of Bronco signed to Polydor and released one album, Smoking Mixture.

Bronco’s bass player John Pasternak died of a heart attack in September 1986. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant fronted a tribute event for Pasternak in December of that year that featured Plant and The Big Town Playboys, and concluded with an ensemble band featuring Plant, Jimmy Page on guitar and Jason Bonham on drums.

Bronco01

Two Bronco tracks are featured on Island records compilation albums: “Love” appears on Bumpers released in 1970 and “Sudden Street” appears on El Pea (1971).

“Time Slips Away” was included on the Island Records compilation Meet On The Ledge, released as part of Island’s 50th anniversary in 2009.

Singer-songwriter Clifford T. Ward guests on their début album Country Home. Trevor Lucas sings back-up vocals on Ace of Sunlight. Both Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople also guest on Ace of Sunlight. (by wikipedia)
I loved most of the Island acts that I heard in the early 70’s (Free, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Spooky Tooth, etc.). Many of them were on A&M here in the States. Since Bronco apparently wasn’t on any State-side label, I didn’t hear them then, although based on my “buying trends” in those days … Can’t stop playing this disc since I’ve gotten it. Marvelous stuff that’s very evocative of what I remember about being great with most of those Island/A&M artists I loved then (and still do). Very nice vibe throughout. Wonderfully sung and played. Excellent songs like Sudden Street, and New Day Avenue. How could I have lived so long without these tunes spinning in my head? What a great, soulful voice Jess had! (by John S.)

In other words: A classic Island recording from this period … a forgotten jewels of British folk-rock … Listen and enjoy !

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Personnel:
Robbie Blunt (guitar)
Kevyn Gammond (guitar)
John Pasternak (bass)
Pete Robinson (drums, percussion)
Jess Roden (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano)
+
Terry Allen (organ on 06.)
Paul Bennett (vocals on 02. + 07.)
Paul Davenport (piano on 03.)
Ian Hunter (piano on 01.)
Trevor Lucas (vocals on 02.)
Mik Ralphs (organ on 01.)

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Amber Moon (Roden/Worth) 3.57
02. Time Slips Away (Blunt) 6.06
03. Some Uncertainty (Ward/Gammond) 3.39
04. 4 Woman (Ward/Gammond) 4.10
05. New Day Avenue (Roden/Worth) 6.34
06. Discernible (Gammond/Worth) 3.44
07. Sudden Street (Roden) 6.21
08. Joys & Fears (Roden/Worth) 3.37

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StevensDigby

Guy Stevens & Richard Digby Smith (two very important persons for Island Records)

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Linda Hoyle – Pieces Of Me (1971)

FrontCover1A more than important jazz/blues singer from UK:

Linda Nicholas (born Linda Hoile, 13 April 1946), known by her stage name Linda Hoyle, is a singer, songwriter and art therapist. She is best known for her work with the band Affinity (1968–1971), as well as for her collaboration with Karl Jenkins on her album Pieces of Me, produced in 1971. Hoyle’s latest album, The Fetch, produced by Mo Foster, was released by Angel Air on 7 August 2015.

Linda was born and grew up in Hammersmith, London. Her mother, Marjorie (“Madge”, née Penfold), was a shorthand typist, working with the Kensington and Chelsea Police Force and CID. Her father, Gordon (“Dick”) was an accountant with Sun Life Insurance.

For the first decade of Linda’s life, the family lived in a small ground-floor flat with few amenities. Nevertheless, on a Saturday, Dick would buy a new 78 rpm jazz record which was played for the family to dance to. This music consisted mostly of Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow and others, with an historic backlog of Bessie Smith, Bix Beiderbeck, Mugsy Spanier and Fletcher Henderson. Oddities from 1920s and 30s jazz were the backbone of Linda’s musical experience, stirred into Madge’s attempts to introduce classical music – Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky, Elgar.

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Wendy + Linda Hoyle ca. 1961

Her early education was at St Peter’s, a Church school, then Chiswick County School for Girls. She was told in no uncertain terms by her music teacher, Miss Cooper, that she showed no ability. However, she happily sang Everly Brothers songs, in harmony with friends, in the echoing school toilets.

Wendy Hoile, Linda’s younger sister, was able to sing in harmony from a very young age. She played guitar and sang in a band, Blanch Carter and the Lounge Lizards, in the late 1960s and early 70s.[2] Both Linda and her sister learnt first to play the ukulele and then the guitar. They performed together often at family gatherings and parties, sometimes using the family convector heater, a Valor, as a primitive piece of echo and reverb equipment, singing into it even when it was lit.

Linda’s main vocal influence, Billie Holiday, was introduced to her at 16 by a family friend who played her “Strange Fruit”. She went immediately and spent her savings on Volume One of the CBS compilation The Billie Holiday Story, learning all the vocals note for note. After hearing Ella Fitzgerald’s recording of “I Can’t Face the Music” she began to include more modern improvisation influences: Sara Vaughan, Anita O’Day, Frank Sinatra and later Betty Carter, Cleo Laine, Karen Dalton, Laura Nyro and others.

After finishing at Chiswick County, Linda worked for a year at Hammersmith Hospital as a trainee Laboratory Technician, followed by a three-year teacher training course at Wall Hall College of Education, Hertfordshire.

LindyLynton

Linda Hoyle + Lynton Naiff

Through a boyfriend who was a student at Sussex University, Hoyle met the University of Sussex’s US Jazz Trio – Lynton Naiff (keyboards), Foster (drums) and Nick Nicholas (double bass) – who asked her to sing with them at a nightclub on the Sussex coast. It was during this time that a flurry of interchangeable jazz-rock bands were playing at Sussex, culminating in a decision by Naiff, Foster and Grant Serpell to pursue playing professionally. Naiff, at the time enrolled to do a MSc in Mathematics, dropped out of his course after a few months, renting a bungalow on the South Downs to organise the band. Mike Jopp was recruited as lead guitarist, and after considering male singers it was decided to take the risk of having a female front the band. Although in a previous incarnation the band had been known as “Ice”, the name Affinity was chosen. Naiff, particularly, was a huge fan of Oscar Peterson, after whose 1961 album the name was chosen.

The shift of Linda’s name from Hoile to Hoyle occurred early in her singing career. Journalists and interviewers invariably spelt it incorrectly as Hoyle, a much more common spelling.

The band quickly found work and their first live performance was in London at the Revolution on Bruton Street in 1968, which was managed by an insomniac businessman, Jim Carter-Fea, who also owned the Speakeasy and the Pheasantry in Chelsea. The Revolution was, in the late 1960s, a hot spot for celebrities. Affinity, over its many engagements there, had in their audience at various times Judy Garland, John Lennon and Stevie Wonder, the latter taking to the stage to play harmonica with the band.

LindaHoyle03Foster, in many ways the most enterprising member, introduced the band to Ronnie Scott’s management, who at the time were looking for new bands to play Upstairs at their renovated club. Almost immediately signed, they spent three years under contract, starting early in 1969. By the middle of that year, Scott’s decided that Affinity should also play Downstairs, opposite such jazz musicians as Les McCann and Stan Getz. This encouraged them to become more demanding of their own musical creativity. At the time of Affinity’s appearance opposite McCann in July 1969, Hoyle was interviewed by Melody Maker and spoke about her musical influences and her time with the band.

During this time Affinity were managed by Chips Chipperfield, who later produced The Beatles Anthology, a documentary series for television.

Naiff’s father, himself a musician, owned a music shop and business in Soho. The band initially used his own brand of amplifiers and speakers, called ‘Impact’. However, the quality was poor and Hoyle, pressing hard for vocal volume during live performances, damaged her vocal cords. Surgery became necessary to remove nodes, and she was unable to sing for some months. She decided to seek vocal training from a professional singing teacher.

The album Affinity was released in 1970. Affinity’s contract with Vertigo, a branch of Philips Records, included an advance payment, which allowed them to buy new equipment and a more comfortable six-wheel vehicle, and to employ a roadie. The band were busy with TV appearances, and touring in the UK and Europe; even so they were finding it hard to live on their earnings. In her interview with Jackie magazine in December 1970, Hoyle talked about the upsides and downsides of life on the road.

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Linda Hoyle in Germany with Affinity, ca. 1970

The same year Hoyle recorded the jingle for a Shredded Wheat television commercial “There are two men in my life” with Foster and Mike Jopp, both playing acoustic guitars. The commercial achieved much attention in the UK and Hoyle performed the song on the Michael Parkinson Show.

Annie Nightingale, a pioneering BBC presenter, travelled with the band in January 1971, making a film about their life on the road for TV. However, at this time Hoyle’s three-year relationship with Naiff was coming to an end and she was ready to quit the band.

LindaHoyle05

Affinity reunion at a private party in 2006 (L to R: Linda Hoyle, Mike Jopp, Mo Foster, Grant Serpell and Geoff Castle, replacing Lynton Naiff)

In 1971 Ronnie Scott suggested that Hoyle work with Karl Jenkins on a solo album. They wrote many of the songs together and Jenkins invited Chris Spedding, John Marshall, and Jeff Clyne, all from Nucleus, among others to play on the album. Only 300 copies of the album, Pieces of Me, were pressed. It is one of Vertigo’s rarest albums.

Hoyle emigrated to Canada in 1972, where she continued to sing, mostly jazz, with various musicians. During a sabbatical year in England in 1980, Hoyle performed and sang with the People Show. People Show No 84 (The Bridge), was staged at the Royal Court Theatre, London and the Crucible, Sheffield. Since 1984, Hoyle has sung and worked with Oliver Whitehead. Hoyle’s return to writing and recording was sparked by an Affinity reunion at a private party in 2006. After performing again with Foster at Sussex University’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2011 (this performance released as The Baskervilles Reunion 2011), work on The Fetch began. The songs on this album are all original, composed by Foster or Whitehead, with lyrics by Hoyle. The musicians include Ray Russell, Gary Husband, B. J. Cole, Peter Van Hooke and Julian Littman.

Hoyle received an Honours BA in Psychology in 1975, and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Ethics in 1982, both from the University of Western Ontario. She worked as a therapist in various agencies, and trained in Art Therapy with Irene Dewdney (1914–1999). They remained colleagues and co-workers for the rest of Dewdney’s life. With Dewdney and others, she started The Ontario Art Therapy Association in 1979. In 1988 Hoyle was invited to establish the Post Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy at the University of Western Ontario, running the programme and teaching. She co-authored, with Dewdney an art therapy textbook, Drawing Out The Self: The Objective Approach in Art Therapy, which was published in 2011, together with an accompanying Web site.

In 1972 Hoyle married John “Nick” Nicholas, the original bass player with the University of Sussex Jazz Trio. Nicholas is a historian of philosophy and science. Their daughter, Emily, was born in 1982. (by wikipedia)

And this is her extremly rare first solo album:

Front+BackCover1

It probably isn’t surprising to learn that Hoyle’s solo debut, cut following the final dissolution of Affinity in 1971, does not deviate too far from that band’s jazz-rock modus operandi. However, in seeking to trim the instrumental fat from Affinity’s sometimes gruelling work-outs, and concentrate the attention on the songs (and lyrics) themselves, it rises far above its role model, to showcase Hoyle as a far more exciting figure than her footnotes in history would have you believe. Reminiscent in places of the best of Julie Driscoll’s late 1960s work — a role model that Hoyle was singularly well-placed to succeed — Pieces of Me likewise borrows from several of Driscoll’s own influences.

Karl Jenkins

Karl Jenkins

The Nina Simone and Laura Nyro songbooks both contribute to the proceedings, with the latter’s “Lonely Woman” standing among the best tracks on the entire album. But Hoyle’s own work, largely written in tandem with keyboard player Karl Jenkins, is equally powerful, with the eerie “Hymn to Valerie Solanis” (titled for, but never mentioning the woman who shot Andy Warhol), and the regretful “Journey’s End” ranking among the other highlights. The intriguing “Ballad of Marty Mole,” meanwhile, reads like a cross between Bob Dylan and Beatrix Potter, and could well give children nightmares for days. (by Dave Thompson)

This is one of the most fascinating albums I ever heard  … it starts with one of the best Blues songs ever recorded …

And then you´ll hear very intensive and intimate songs … this album is a must !

And it ends with another great blues song from 1936, written by Willard Robison  … :

Down in Alabama, in the Revenue Mountains,
Laughing water comes out of strange fountains!
And when the evenin’ sun goes down,
Come ye’s on down to Barrelhouse Town.

There’s a dim lighted tavern,
Known as Mammy’s Rest;
Folks down in ‘Bam will tell you
That it’s Mammy’s place that they love the best.

Theres a sweet tone piano,
Worn by many thumbs,
And there’s a fellow that plays it
That uses his pedal for drums.

If you come down to Birmingham
With nary a place to go,
Fond a man called Cactus Sam,
Tell him you wanna go barrelhouse,
That’s all he needs to know!

Be there for supper
Or a plate of barbecue,
And this, along with the music,
Will make a barrelhouse man of you;
What I mean is,
You will have that lowdown feelin’ too!

If you find yourself in Birmingham
without a place to go,
Come on down to my house,
Make a palette on the floor.

I’ll have you meet some southern gal,
A-gentle sweet and kind;
There, words for your music
And music for your mind!

Let’s go barrelhouse,
All night long!

I would like to dedicate this entry to a very special woman !

LindaHoyle06

Personnel:
Jeff Clyne (bass)
Linda Hoyle (vocals)
Karl Jenkins (piano, oboe)
John Marshall (drums, percussion)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
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Colin Purbrook (piano (on 11.)

LPBooklet1

Tracklist:
01. Backlash Blues (Simone) 5.54
02. Paper Tulips (Hoyle/Jenkins) 3.32
03. Black Crow (Hoyle/Jenkins) 3.16
04. For My Darling (Hoyle/Jenkins) 3.57
05. Pieces Of Me (Hoyle/Jenkins) 4.07
06. Lonely Women (Nyro) 4.05
07. Hymn To Valerie Solanas (Hoyle/Jenkins) 4.02
08. The Ballad Of Morty Mole (Hoyle/Jenkins) 4.32
09. Journey’s End (Hoyle/Jenkins) 3.14
10. Morning For One (Hoyle/Jenkins) 4.22
11. Barrel House Music (Bailey) 2.44

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Linda Hoyle in 2015

Magna Carta – In Concert (1971)

OriginalFrontCover1One of the six Magna Carta albums that went gold in Europe, In Concert was recorded live in Amsterdam in 1971, and remains one of the most atmospheric concert recordings of its age.

A wonderful venue (the Concertgebouw), an appreciative audience, and a genuinely intimate selection of songs result in performances that cannot even be compared to their studio counterparts.

They’re not better, they’re not worse, they’re just delightfully different, spun with a spontaneity and warmth that truly place the listener stage center. “Airport Song” opens the proceedings, of course, but the band was preaching to the converted that night — every song is received as a conquering hero, and the band responds with equal generosity.

A playful “Banjo Man,” a haunting “Seven O’Clock Hymn,” an eerie “Ring of Stones” — every track is a highlight, while the newly arrived Davey Johnstone, making his recorded debut with the band, shines so brightly that it’s hard to believe he was still unknown at the time. (by Dave Thompson)

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Personnel:
Davey Johnstone (guitar, mandolin, sitar, banjo, vocals)
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Chris Simpson (vocals, guitar)
Glen Stuart (vocals, glockenspiel, harmonium)

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Introduction by Liesbeth List 0.51
02. Airport Song (Simpson) 3.39
03. Speech 0.39
04. Time For The Leaving (Simpson) 4.25
05. Speech 0.26
06. The Boatman (Johnstone) 3.10
07. Speech 1.07
08. Sea And Sand (Simpson) 4.10
09. Speech 0.394.36
11. Speech 10.02
10. Banjo (Traditional)
11. Speech 1.02
11. Old John Parker (Simpson) 2.49
12. Speech 0. 47
13. Seven O’Clock Hymn / Midwinter (Simpson) 12.51
14. Speech 0.41
15. Country Jam (Simpson/Johnstone/Stuart) 1.48
16. Speech 0.21
17. Ring Of Stones (Simpson) 5.42

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Lindisfarne – Fog On The Tyne (1971)

FrontCover1Fog on the Tyne is a 1971 album by English rock band Lindisfarne. Bob Johnston produced the album, which was recorded at Trident Studios in the summer of 1971. It was released on Charisma Records in Great Britain and Elektra Records in America.

It gave the group their breakthrough in the UK, topping the album charts early in 1972 for four weeks and remaining on the chart for 56 weeks in total. “Meet Me on the Corner”, one of two songs written by bassist Rod Clements, reached No. 5 as a single. The title track became the band’s signature tune. Simon Cowe made his debut as a writer, contributing the song “Uncle Sam”.

Both tracks on the B-side of “Meet Me on the Corner”, “Scotch Mist” (an instrumental), and “No Time To Lose”, appeared as bonus tracks when the album was reissued on CD.

A heavily reworked version of the title track with vocals by footballer Paul Gascoigne was released in October 1990 under the title “Fog on the Tyne (Revisited)”, credited to Gazza and Lindisfarne. It reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.

Reggae group The Pioneers recorded a version of “Alright on the Night” on their 1972 album “I Believe in Love”. (by wikipedia)

Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne’s second album, Fog on the Tyne fulfilled and expanded on the promise of their debut, offering a brace of memorable folk-rock (or, perhaps more properly, acoustic rock) songs that were compared favorably with Bob Dylan’s work and that of the Band, and even the Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds, among others, without ever sounding like any of them. “Meet Me on the Corner” and “Fog on the Tyne” are the two best-known songs here, but there’s plenty else that’s their equal, including “Uncle Sam” and “Together Forever.” The only cautionary element to the album was its short running time, an indicator that perhaps the group was being pressed to hard to get records out too, quickly. (by Bruce Eder)

Single front + back cover:

SingleFC+BC

Personnel:
Rod Clements (bass, guitar, violin)
Simon Cowe (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Alan Hull (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Ray Jackson (vocals, mandolin, harmonica)
Ray Laidlaw (drums)

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Meet Me On The Corner (Clements) 2.40
02. Alright On The Night (Hull) 3.34
03. Uncle Sam (Cowe) 2.58
04. Together Forever (Noakes) 2.36
05. January Song (Hull) 4.16
06. Peter Brophy Don’t Care (Hull/Morgan) 2.50
07. City Song (Hull) 3.08
08. Passing Ghosts (Hull) 2.30
09. Train in G Major (Clements) 3.10
10. Fog on the Tyne (Hull) 3.26
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11. Scotch Mist (Clements/Cowe/Hull/Jackson/Laidlaw) 2.08
12. No Time To Lose (Hull) 3.17

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Press release:

Press Release

Rick Wakeman – Piano Vibrations (1971)

FrontCover1A real strange album !

Piano Vibrations, though promoted in its re-release as the first studio album by English progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman, is not considered a Wakeman album, even by himself. His contributions were limited to performing as a session musician and he did not compose any of the tracks. The album was released in 1971 on Polydor, after Wakeman had signed on to A&M Records. The album developed from Wakeman’s time as a session musician. A&M Records had signed Wakeman on as the Strawbs’ keyboardist at the time of the release.

Piano Vibrations, when it has been reviewed, has been described as “slightly cheesy”,[2] especially in light of Wakeman’s later involvement in progressive rock, but still listenable. (by wikipedia)

This is called Piano Vibrations because it’s part of a series – the ‘Vibrations’ series, put out by a British collective called John Schroeder Productions. Schroeder is only the man who fronts up the money though.

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Rick Wakeman about this album:

“This was never meant to be a solo album and to be honest I certainly don’t count it as a solo album in any respect. True it is a piece of history, but not one I’m proud of.

I was actually booked to play piano on a session at Pye Studios in London’s Marble Arch and it was to play on some backtracks for an unknown singer who was due in later that week to put his vocals on.

John SchroederShortly afterwards I started having some success with Strawbs and the next thing we knew was that the album was being put out by PYE Records as Piano Vibrations with no vocalist and with a picture of me on the back.

I was unhappy and A&M Records, who had Strawbs and myself signed, were furious.

I received £9 for my trouble.”

Nothing more to be said.

OUCH… unbeliveable… a chance he played for YES, probably like that he learned to write songs lol… On several songs, he seems to search the notes… The last one, Classical Gas, is probably the best, and note that Steve Howe played that song in the beginning of the 90’s. It’s aviable on “Not necessarily accoustic”… and a classical guitar is well heardable on the Wakeman’s version. Was Steve Howe there? For collectors only … (by spide)

If you like to hear easy listening versions of songs from Elton John, Leon Russell or James Taylor …

Alternate front+ back cover:
AlternateFront+BackCover

Personnel:
Rick Wakeman (piano)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Take Me To The Pilot (John/Taupin) 2.56
02. Yellow Man (Newman) 2.27
03 Cast Your Fate To The Wind (Guaraldi/Werber) 2.34
04. Gloria, Gloria (Schroeder/King) 3.04
05. Your Song (John/Taupin) 3.47
06. Delta Lady (Russell) 3.24
07. A Picture Of You (Schroeder/King) 3.56
08. Home Sweet Oklahoma (Russell) 3.21
09. Fire And Rain (Taylor) 3.26
10. Classical Gas (Williams) 2.57

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CD front + back cover … no comment necessary … one of the ugliest covers I´ve ever seen

CDFront+BackCover

Colosseum – Daughter Of Time (1971)

FrontCover1.Daughter of Time is the fourth album by Colosseum, released in 1970. The album remained for five weeks in the UK Albums Chart peaking number 23. Recorded in the midst of an upheaval in the band’s lineup, only one of its eight tracks, “Three Score and Ten, Amen”, features all six of the official band members. (by wikipedia)

A concept album loosely based on man’s fascination and allure for war throughout the ages, Daughter of Time contains all the elements required to create a pure progressive rock album. Joining David Greenslade and Chris Farlowe is Louis Cennamo from Renaissance, who plucks away at the bass guitar with a heavy hand. A multitude of instruments combine to create a brilliant melange of music on every one of the eight songs. Vibrant spurts of trombone, trumpet, and flute are driven to the height of each song, which gives way to some implements of jazz fusion. Rich organ and vibraphone can be heard in behind “Three Score and Ten Amen” and “Take Me Back to Doomsday” adding to the melancholy theme.

Colosseum01

Colossum (with Dave Clempson + Tony Reeves)

Countering this are beautiful string arrangements made up of violin, viola, and cello used effectively to conjure up mood, and doing an excellent job. Even a flügelhorn is blared from time to time on top of the accentuated drums. A spoken word passage from Dick Heckstall-Smith creates an eerie aura, as his voice echoes on about the coming of the apocalypse. Colosseum’s music works extremely well in that it builds suspense and reels the listener into the songs. As far as the lyrics go, they’re stark and foreboding and have a mediaeval taste to them, coinciding with the music perfectly. Each song, all around six minutes in length, should have been longer to let the instruments play out with their illustriousness. Except for the fact that it is a short album, Daughter of Time is a sturdy example of progressive rock. (by Mike DeGagne)

Colosseum02

In other words: this is a classic and timeless album, a must for every serious record collection …

Listen to the great cover version of Jack Bruce´s “Theme For An Imaginary Western” … totally different from the version of Mountain … but what a version … hear Chris Farlowe, hear the drums of Jon Hiseman … and listen to the lyrics of Pete Brown:

When the wagons leave the city
For the forest, and further on
Painted wagons of the morning
Dusty roads where they have gone
Sometimes traveling through the darkness
Met the summer coming home
Fallen faces by the wayside
Looked as if they might have known
Oh the sun was in their eyes
And the desert that dries
In the country towns
Where the laughter sounds

Oh the dancing and the singing
Oh the music when they played
Oh the fires that they started
Oh the girls with no regret
Sometimes they found it
Sometimes they kept it
Often lost it on the way
Fought each other to possess it
Sometimes died in sight of day

Colosseum03

And I got tears in my eyes, when I´m listing to he titel track of this album:

And I saw the…

Daughter to time through the lens of a dream
Reflecting the world as it seems to have been

Riding the night with a net full of stars
Her spirit is truth and her truth is ours

An unbelievable album … a monster album … each track is a classic … including the great drum solo on “The Time Machine”.

BackCover1

Personnel:
Mark Clarke (bass guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar, vocal on 03.)
Chris Farlowe (vocals)
Dave Greenslade (keyboards, vibes, background vocals)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone, spoken word on 01.)
Jon Hiseman (drums, percussion)
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Louis Cennamo (bass on 02.,03., 04. + 06.)
Tony Reeves (bass on 08.)
Barbara Thompson (flute. saxophone; background vocals on 01. – 04.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Three Score And Ten, Amen (Clempson/Greenslade/Hiseman) 5:38
02. Time Lament (Greenslade) 6:13
03. Take Me Back To Doomsday (Clempson/Greenslade/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith 4:25
04. The Daughter Of Time (Dennen/Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith) 3:33
05. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 4:07
06. Bring Out Your Dead (Clempson/Greenslade) 4:20
07. Downhill And Shadows (Clempson/Hiseman/Reeves) 6:13
08. The Time Machine (live) (Hiseman) 8.11

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Colosseum04

Procol Harum – New York WPLJ-FM (1971)

FrontCover1The raunchy riff of Memorial Drive opens this recording and the band quickly builds an impressive groove. This is a hard-driving and exemplary rock number. Robin Trower plays gutsy and muscular rhythm guitar and rips off multiple bluesy runs. These aggressive, snarling flourishes sound threatening and add an extra dynamic to Keith Reid’s dark lyric full of references to slavery, greed, and abuse.

Gary Brooker spits out the lyrics with nuance, bluesy strength, and considerable bluster. When you hear him sing, ‘Worked like a Mexican donkey / Used like a hole in the ground’, he delivers that line with such grit and authentic feeling that it immediately conjures the expected revulsion at the perversion that it depicts. In addition, during this spectacular performance, his powerful left hand is slamming out some inspired rock and roll piano that offers spectacular counterpoint to Trower’s guitar and BJ Wilson’s impeccable drumming.

Wilson’s drumming is a definite highlight of this performance. He plays a number of inventive fills and exhibits an innate sense of timing that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. Another quality on full display here is his unerring finesse as he spars with both Trower and Brooker throughout the course of the song. Wilson is a criminally unheralded drummer of unusual distinction and this stellar opener offers ample evidence of his skill.

Wilson’s drums open the next song Still There’ll Be More with a series of energetic rolls before the band comes sweeping in with an amazing, fully formed ensemble sound. There are no holes in Harum’s aural tapestry; the musical dialogue between the players is seamless and complete. Trower’s thrashing rhythm guitar work is quite outstanding here.

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Furthermore, his soaring leads lend an empathic edge to one of the most threatening lyrics in pop music. In a series of images that grow progressively darker as the song goes on, Keith Reid conjures a vision of a cruel, amoral force tearing through life and leaving chaos in its wake. In response to an absolutely stunning sonic assault punctuated by Trower’s brilliant lead guitar, Brooker summons all of his power as he belts out the dire threat of the chorus, ‘I’ll blacken your Christmas / And piss on your door / You’ll cry out for mercy / But still there’ll be more’. When he sings lines like, ‘I’ll waylay your daughter / And kidnap your wife / Savage her sexless / And burn out her eyes’, Brooker’s voice glows with the white heat of unhinged brilliance.

As mentioned earlier, Trower’s lead guitar on this song is muscular, inventive, and brings a distinctive edge to the song. He shows total mastery over a wide assortment of stock blues guitar phrases, but the individual touches that he brings to these phrases are quite thrilling. His playing is often audaciously generous and always sympathetic to the excellent musicians surrounding him. The rhythm section of Wilson and bassist / organist Chris Copping is simply exemplary. This band sounds so complete here in a way that few bands ever do. This is a jaw-dropping performance of one of the nastiest songs ever.

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A couple of boisterous wags in the audience yell out requests for Repent Walpurgis and Homburg, but Brooker expertly cuts them off with some dismissive remarks. He introduces the next song as ‘a slow Scottish lament in D minor’ and the band launches into the plaintive dirge of Nothing That I Didn’t Know. This gorgeous, heart-rending song pays tribute to a young girl who died before her time in spare and vivid language. There is no poetic conceit in a line like ‘Twenty six, and now she’s dead / I wish that I could have died instead’ – it is a simple, unadorned expression of loss and Brooker’s sensitive, emotive vocals give additional weight to these words. In the hands of another band, this song could have easily descended to the level of commercial pap, but this is a song of great beauty and class. The interplay between Brooker, Trower, and Chris Copping is the dominant element here and weaves an evocative picture of regret. At the 3:27 mark, the band shifts gears and finishes the song with a coda of unusual beauty.

The distinctive opening riff of Simple Sister rips out at you, covered with vitriol, and Brooker’s enormous, bellowing voice matches Trower’s outstanding guitar. During the instrumental breaks between verses, listen carefully to the piano underneath Trower’s guitar. These two instruments play an amazing counterpoint with each other that gives this song its propulsive power. Trower’s solo here is outstanding and very emotional.

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Lyrically, it’s another dark tale of neglect and abuse. Superficially, it has the overtones of child abuse: ‘Simple sister / Got Whooping Cough / Have to burn her toys / Take her treats / Eat her sweets / Scare off all the boys’. By the third verse, the barely concealed malice rises to the surface: ‘Simple sister / Got Whooping Cough / Lock her in a cell / Throw the key / Into the sea / Hope she never gets well’. Whew. Reid’s words have the precision of a fine surgical instrument.

Brooker introduces the next song, Luskus Delph, as a bit of ‘underhanded smut’. His dreamy, languid piano opens this delicate piece. This is a song about sexual desire, but quite unlike any you have ever heard in popular music. I certainly cannot think of another rock song about copulation this breathless and fevered. This is a raunchy song filled with multiple, explicitly sexual images that are unique in the lexicon of pop music. Despite the overwrought quality of the words, Brooker makes them work with a simple vocal melody that sounds delirious and loving.

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Chris Copping’s distinctive organ work makes its presence felt once again in this song. His elegant lines possess a ghostly beauty. BJ Wilson’s thoughtful, precise drumming is another highlight here and his stylistic innovations manufacture a compelling tension in the music. Seemingly able to adopt his playing to any style, Wilson exhibits the intricacy and taste that was a hallmark of his playing. He punctuates Brooker’s vocals brilliantly and lays down a beautiful groove during the instrumental breaks. His drum fills here are things of beauty. Brooker’s piano playing is melodic and full of subtle touches that lend the song a classical, ornate quality. I think it is safe to say that only Procol Harum would have attempted a song such as this and, like it or not, I think you would be hard pressed to deny how truly unique it is.

Brooker counts the band in and they launch into Shine on Brightly. Trower’s screaming notes contribute a great deal to the song’s hallucinatory qualities and the band, once again, sounds like a fully formed ensemble. There is a complexity and depth to the band’s collective sound capable of conveying the entire range of human experience. On this recording, we have heard songs of regret, anger, desire, hatred, and destruction. The songs depict these fundamental parts of the human experience in a musical setting so vast and panoramic that it approaches the profound. Furthermore, there is a genuine and highly innovative pop sensibility at work in many of these songs. Listen closely to Copping’s stunningly beautiful organ passage that begins at the 2:26 mark and the fantastic dynamics that Trower and Wilson build as the band reaches a crescendo before launching into the third and concluding verse. This is a stately performance of a true classic from the era.

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The band launches into the offbeat, jazzy groove introduction to Whaling Stories. Brooker’s piano and Wilson’s artful drumming are the stars in this opening section. The band slows it down and opens the first verse with Brooker’s voice, piano, and some spare, emotional guitar from Trower. This is a song of brooding, tormented brilliance with impenetrable lyrics suffused with apocalyptic imagery. The ominous, unnamable sense of dread that the song conjures gain momentum throughout the first two verses before dissipating on the final line of the second verse.

The extended instrumental section that follows brings us full circle with Brooker’s piano, Wilson’s drumming, and Trower’s guitar building another dramatic movement. Their work carries the band into a highly theatrical third verse that ends magnificently with a piercing scream from Brooker following its final line. Trower steps out for a blistering, torrid solo that Wilson matches with some truly powerhouse drumming. The song ends with a final verse that revisits many of the same dynamics utilized so well throughout the performance and is distinguished further by the flawless execution of the musicians involved.

A pensive, looping piano figure from Brooker opens the next song, Broken Barricades. This poetic exploration of a vibrant world that has tumbled into the abyss undoubtedly had a great deal of resonance in 1971 and remains equally relevant today. It works on many levels lyrically. Lyrics such as ‘It was all once bright jewels / And glittering sand / The oceans have ravaged / And strangled the land’ clearly hint at some sort of environmental disaster, but they also work as eloquent symbolism describing the turbulent conflicts of the late 60s and early 70s. It is a song examining a precipitous fall from grace, but it holds out no hope for redemption. It merely tallies the casualties and wonders how many more will fall.

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The elegiac musical sweep that it achieves is sympathetic to these words. Notice how the instrumentation compliments the key words of the first two lines, ‘glittering’ and ‘bright’ with lovely and radiant synthesizer lines. Listen to Wilson’s drums follow the narrative of the song with remarkable finesse and artistry. The hypnotically seductive melody and Brooker’s sensitive performance amplify the power of the words. The song concludes with a remarkable duet between Wilson and Trower.

The Chicago-style blues of Juicy John Pink begins with Trower’s rabid, swaggering riff. Wilson establishes an authoritative groove that Trower and Brooker lock onto with unerring skill. Brooker’s blood-and-guts, throat-thrashing bellow rips through this brilliant blues pastiche filled with typical Keith Reid twists such as the lines, ‘I opened my eyes this morning / Thought I must be dead’. The apocalyptic strain present in so much of the band’s work is here in equal measure as well. When you hear Brooker snarl, ‘Well, the sky began to tremble / And the rain began to fall / Four angels standing around me / And it weren’t no social call’, you can believe that The End has come for Brooker and he’s none too happy about it.

Trower unleashes a blistering solo in this song that exploits every cliché in the blues player’s handbook but does so with such sure-footed intelligence and creativity that you can forgive the well-trodden paths he takes. Trower’s reputation has suffered at the hands of misguided criticism that sees him as little more than another Hendrix imitator, but the blues guitar that he offers here gives evidence of much more. It is proof that Trower is actually an attentive student of his instrument who has taken elements from a variety of artists and assimilated them into a coherent whole that has its own unique identity. His blues playing here is equal to that of any of his contemporaries.

The next song is the venerable classic A Salty Dog, probably my personal nominee for the most enduring musical achievement in the band’s history. In Walt Whitman’s poem Song of Myself, he writes, ‘I am large, I contain multitudes’. This large song contains multitudes and despite its curious, dated language, it nevertheless reaches through time and vividly evokes the bygone age of exploration when a new world sprang forth from the work of desperate, fearless men who lived with the specter of death every waking moment of their lives. Lines such as ‘We sailed for parts unknown to man, where ships come home to die / No lofty peak, nor fortress bold, could match our captain’s eye’ are shot through with imagination and Brooker delivers an impassioned reading of these words.

His vocal is dream-like and mysterious, like some garrulous, ancient ghost condemned to recite this tale of mariner woe. His voice soars and plummets through the lyric with rapt KeithReidattention to every word and proper appreciation of the drama inherent in its narrative. His piano provides much of the song’s haunted, forlorn melody, but the embellishments of Copping on organ are essential to the song. Wilson’s drumming here is extraordinarily sensitive to the cadence of the music. He weaves in and out of the band’s texture and adds blasts of percussion where appropriate. This entire performance is one of incomparable skill and is an impassioned take on a true classic.

The band plays a brief snippet of boogie blues before launching into the full on assault of Whisky Train, one of rockiest numbers in Procol Harum’s catalogue. BJ Wilson’s frantic cowbell gives this song much of its identity, but the fabulous guitar riff from Trower is the whole point. It’s catchy and immediate; it’s played with such fluid skill that it grabs you by the throat. Brooker’s chugging piano and Wilson’s frantic percussion touches give Trower an unimpeachable foundation for some blazing lead work sandwiched between the furious riffing. Brooker’s vocals are lusty and believable; he really puts a lot into this twist on the classic quit-drinking song.

The final song of the recording is a particularly Procol take on the touring life of a rock and roll band. Wilson’s busy, vaguely tribal drumming opens the song. I’m not particularly fond of this song [Power Failure], but it has the unique perspective that Procol brought to even the most clichéd of subjects for a rock band, such as the ‘life on the road’ number.

The tune revolves around a repetitive piano figure from Brooker that is played with driving, rhythmic skill. The musical arrangement features chords structured in such a way that they are well suited to action verbs littered throughout the lyrics. The words describe a landscape where disorder and chaos reigns supreme. Many of the images presented by the lyric bear only tangential relation to the problems of a touring rock and roll band, but the word play is compelling nevertheless and matched well by the song’s heavy rock groove.

Wilson takes an extended drum solo beginning at 2:41 in the curious time signature of 5 / 4, but he puts any doubts you have to rest immediately with his inspired, dramatic runs, his mastery of syncopation, and his innate skills as a timekeeper. Wilson’s performance makes this song a worthwhile experience for me. The band as a whole delivers yet another outstanding performance, but I find myself distant from the song’s repetitive structure and its remorseless catalogue of turmoil.

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This is one of the final performances featuring Robin Trower as the guitarist for this band, and when the Brooker-Trower-Copping-Wilson lineup split up, an important era in this band’s history came to a premature end. There were great albums that could have laid ahead. But Procol Harum forged ahead as a much different animal and Trower went on to become an important solo artist. What we have as consolation are wonderful recordings such as this that have been preserved for posterity.

But what a consolation! This epic show displays every side of this prodigiously creative and idiosyncratic band. The level of musicianship on display here is breathtaking at times. Gary Brooker is a truly gifted singer with masterful gifts of interpretation. Robin Trower is an enormously talented guitarist distinguishable for his versatility at playing both rhythm and lead guitar. Chris Copping handles the bass and organ duties with seeming ease and BJ Wilson demonstrates why he is one of the greatest drummers in rock history on nearly every track. I find it wonderful that the band didn’t perform A Whiter Shade of Pale on this recording and instead touched on some of the more obscure selections from their discography. This is an overwhelming performance at times and sounds as fresh to me now as it did the first time I listened to it. (by procolharum.com)

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

Tracklist:
01. Memorial Drive 3.48
02. Still There’ll Be More 5.21
03. Nothing That I Didn’t Know 3.42
04. Simple Sister 3:44
05. Luskus Delph 3:43
06. Shine On Brightly 5:45
07. Whaling Stories 8:54
08. Broken Barricades 2:59
09. Juicy John Pink 4:09
10. A Salty Dog 4:50
11. Whisky Train 5:30
12. Power Failure 4.23

Music: Gary Brooker
Lyrics: Keith Reid

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