Return To Forever feat. Chick Corea – Where Have I Known You Before (1974)

lpfrontcover1Where Have I Known You Before is the fourth album by jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever, the second since leader Chick Corea had “revamped” the line-up and moved towards electric instrumentation, playing jazz fusion with clear influences from progressive rock.

While the style of music did not change much since the previous album, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973), important changes took place in the band’s sound and line-up. Chick Corea, for instance, had started to use synthesizers (most notably the Moog Minimoog and ARP Odyssey synthesizers), developing the distinctive sound he became known for. An equally important change in the band was the replacement of guitarist Bill Connors with the then 20-year-old virtuoso Al Di Meola. Connors left the band before the recording of this album to concentrate on his acoustic solo career. Overall, the band developed a clearer, more focused sound and style. This was due in part to the personnel changes, the implementation of new technology, and new playing techniques, but it was also a product of more careful recording and production in the studio.

Between the album’s longer tracks are three of Corea’s short piano improvisations that all bear a title that begins “Where Have I…”. The first track is Stanley Clarke’s “Vulcan Worlds”, which features some melodic motifs that would also appear on Clarke’s self-titled second solo album Stanley Clarke the same year. The song proved Clarke “one of the fastest and most facile electric bassists around”. Each player except for drummer Lenny White takes long solos. The next long track is Lenny White’s composition “The Shadow of Lo”, a complex piece with many changes in mood. The last track on Side A is Corea’s “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy”, a sequel to his “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy”, the title track from the group’s previous album.

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Side B begins with the collective jam “Earth Juice”. Most of Side B is taken up by Corea’s 14-minute epic “Song to the Pharaoh Kings”, a song notable for its use of the harmonic minor scale. The track has a long keyboard intro, after which Chick Corea is joined by the full band, and an “eastern” theme appears. Each member of the band plays a long solo.

This Return to Forever set finds guitarist Al DiMeola debuting with the pacesetting fusion quartet, an influential unit that also featured keyboardist Chick Corea, electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White. On this high energy set, short interludes separate the main pieces: “Vulcan Worlds,” “The Shadow of Lo,” “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy,” “Earth Juice” and the lengthy “Song to the Pharoah Kings.” Acoustic purists are advised to avoid this music, but listeners who grew up on rock and wish to explore jazz will find this stimulating music quite accessible. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ, bell tree, chimes)
Chick Corea (keyboards, synthesizers, percussion)
Al Di Meola (guitar)
Lenny White (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Vulcan Worlds (Clarke) 7.51
02. Where Have I Loved You Before (Corea) 1.02
03. The Shadow of Lo (White) 7.32
04. Where Have I Danced With You Before (Corea) 1.14
05. Beyond The Seventh Galaxy (Corea) 3.13
06. Earth Juice (Corea/Clarke/White/Di Meola) 3.46
07. Where Have I Known You Before (Corea) 2.20
08. Song To The Pharoah Kings (Corea) 14.21

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Harry Chapin – Verities & Balderdash (1974)

frontcover1Verities & Balderdash is the fourth studio album by the American singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, released in 1974. (see 1974 in music). “Cat’s in the Cradle” was Chapin’s highest charting single, finishing at #44 for the year on the 1974 Billboard year-end Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, “I Wanna Learn a Love Song,” barely entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. A third single, “What Made America Famous?”, failed to chart. The album was certified gold on December 17, 1974.

The album was advertised with the slogan: “As only Harry can tell it.”

The album was the first and only work by Chapin to exclusively use professional studio musicians, rather than his touring band, as had been the case in previous projects. (by wikipedia)

Verities & Balderdash is a very strange and wonderful album. “Cat’s in the Cradle” was the driving force behind the album’s sales, but there’s a lot more to appeal to listeners, along with enough personal, topical material to make it seem a bit didactic at the time, but Chapin was cultivating a politically committed audience. Verities & Balderdash walked several fine lines, between topical songwriting and an almost (but not quite) pretentious sense of its own importance, humor and seriousness, and balladry and punditry, all intermingled with catchy, highly commercial ballads such as “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” (which is about as pretty a song as he ever wrote). Chapin is in good voice and thrives in the more commercial sound of this album, which includes lots of electric guitars and overdubbed orchestra and choruses. He still loves to tell stories — most are like little screenplays, with “Shooting Star” offering details and textures and a sense of drama akin to a finished film (in the manner of “Taxi”). The “haunt count” on this album is extremely high, boosted by gorgeous ballads like “She Sings Songs Without Words.” “What Made America Famous” may be the one song that comes off as dated, a parable — perhaps reflecting the near-meltdown of politics surrounding the Nixon resignation of 1974 — about long-haired teens and crew-cutted firemen who discover a mutual dependence and respect for each other and reconciliation; it seems like ancient history and probably will be incomprehensible to anyone born after 1968.

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Chapin also lapses into excessive dramatics in the finale, which shamelessly borrows a couple of lines from one song out of the musical 1776. The album also offers a pair of humorous numbers on “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” and “Six String Orchestra,” not the most significant songs in Chapin’s repertory, but both adding balance to the mood. Producer Paul Leka (the commercial genius behind Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”) retained some elements of the relatively lean sound that characterized Chapin’s debut album, embellishing it only enough to give the album some potentially wider commercial appeal. Even the cover art seems to reflect the two delightfully contradictory thrusts of this album: an image of Chapin posed like Uncle Sam on the military recruiting poster with a wry smile on his face.(by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Ron Bacchiocchi (synthesizer)
Harry Chapin (guitar, vocals)
Don Grolnick (piano, harpsichord)
Don Payne (bass)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
John Tropea (guitar, sitar)
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Jim Chapin (drums on 04.)
Steve Chapin (piano on 04., 05. + 07.)
Tom Chapin (banjo on 04.)
Zizi Roberts (vocals)
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background vocals:
George Simms – Frank Simms – Dave Kondziela
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Tracklist:
01. Cat’s In The Cradle (S.Chapin/H.Chapin) 3.44
02. I Wanna Learn A Love Song (H.Chapin) 4.19
03. Shooting Star (H.Chapin) 4.02
04. 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas (H.Chapin) 5.45
05. She Sings Songs Without Words (H.Chapin) 3.31
06. What Made America Famous? (H.Chapin) 6.53
07. Vacancy (H.Chapin) 4.00
08. Halfway To Heaven (H.Chapin) 6.10
09. Six String Orchestra (H.Chapin) 5.25

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What a wonderful parody of rock musicians:

The very day I purchased it
I christened my guitar
As my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra
In my room I’d practice late
They’d leave me alone
My mother said, “You’re nothing yet
To make the folks write home”

I’d play at all the talent nights
I’d finish, they’d applaud
Some called it muffled laughter
I just figured they were odd
So I went up for an encore
But they screamed they’d had enough
Or maybe I just need a group
To help me do my stuff

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh, I write love songs for my favorite girl
And sing them soft and slow
But before I get to finish
She says she has to go
She’s nice and says “Excuse me
I’ve got to find a bar
I think I need refreshment
For I hear you play guitar”

Oh I sent a demo tape I made
To the record companies
Two came back address unknown
One came back C.O.D
Of course I got form letters
All saying pleasant things
Like suggesting I should find a trade
Where I would not have to sing

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

I’ve been taking guitar lessons
But my teacher just took leave
It was something about a break down
Or needing a reprieve
I know I found my future
So I will persevere
And hold onto my dream of
Making music to their ears

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh finger tip
Oh some day, I’m gonna be a star

Cat Stevens – Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) (1974)

frontcover1This is probably one of the rarest albums Cat Stevens ever recorded:

When it comes to charity albums from the ’70s, one thinks of The Concert For Bangladesh (1971) and then The Music For UNICEF Concert: A Gift Of Song (1979). But in 1974, Cat Stevens released Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) on vinyl and only in Japan.

In 2009 sherrill50 posted the following note at the Steve Hoffman Forum: “In 1974, Cat Stevens and his band recorded a live show in Tokyo which A&M Records issued the same year on LP as ‘Saturnight’ – but ONLY in Japan. Sort of the holy grail for Cat’s fans, this has (as far as I know) never been issued on CD, anywhere. Renny pointed out (as I’d also heard) that Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, had a serious dislike for the performance and, as a result, it would probably never be issued.”

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My love for Cat Stevens isn’t what it used to be but I still enjoy his classic albums Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat once in a while. Most of my favourite songs made it onto this live release in a dignified quality, in contrast to the later Majikat live album which was overstuffed with ladies’ choirs and other grotesqueries. In addition to being a not ungifted acoustic guitarist and pianist, Cat has got a warm, gentle voice that somehow reminds me of oak wood. His songs are elegant and uncomplicated, and most of you will probably have heard one of them somewhere. The best ones among them are usually a tad autumnal (Wild World, My Lady d’Arbanville) if not plain sad, like Father and Son and Oh Very Young, though sometimes also hopeful like Peace Train. Ah, the nostalgia. (by for-the-greater-good.blogspot.de)

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Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Gerry Conway (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Jim Cregan (guitar)
Alun Davies (guitar, background vocals)
Bruce Lynch (bass)
Suzanne Lynch (background vocals)
Anna Peacock (background vocals)
Jean Roussel (keyboards)
Larry Steele (guitar, percussion, background vocals)
Cat Stevens (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Wild World (Stevens) 3.03
02. Oh Very Young ((Stevens) 2.28
03. Sitting (Stevens) 3:14
04. Where Do the Children Play (Stevens) 3:52
05. Lady d’Arbanville (Stevens) 3:47
06. Another Saturday Night (Cooke) 2.35
07. Hard Headed Woman (Stevens) 3:54
08. Peace Train (Stevens) 3:58
09. Father And Son (Stevens) 3:41
10. King Of Trees (Stevens) 3:28
11. Bad Penny (Stevens) 3:21
12. Bitterblue (Stevens) 3:12.

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The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

frontcover1It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll is the 12th British and 14th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1974. It was the last Rolling Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor and the songwriting and recording of the album’s title track had a connection to Taylor’s eventual replacement, Ronnie Wood. It also marked the 10th anniversary since the band’s debut album. The album has a firmer rock sound than the band’s previous album, the more funk- and soul-inspired Goats Head Soup. The album reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK.

Work began on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll following the Rolling Stones’ fall 1973 European tour. Production began in November at Munich, Germany’s Musicland Studios. According to guitarist Keith Richards, “We were really hot (off the road) and ready just to play some new material.”[1] The recording sessions were attended by Belgian painter Guy Peellaert, who Mick Jagger invited to do the album cover after seeing his work in the book Rock Dreams, which featured illustrations of various rock musicians such as the Stones. Peellaert eventually painted the band as “rock deities”, descending a temple staircase, surrounded by young girls and women worshipping them in Grecian clothing. The artist refused to sign a deal of exclusivity, and in 1974 provided another album art, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.

The album was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from the Stones’ European tour while the other side was to be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band’s favourite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Shirley & Company’s “Shame, Shame, Shame”, and The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”. Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favour of an album with all-new material. The cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was the only recording to make the cut, while the “Drift Away” cover is a popular bootleg.

rollingstones1974_01It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll marked the Stones’ first effort in the producer’s chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins”. On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time:

“I think we’d come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it’d got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He’d got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn’t turned out as we wanted to – not blaming Jimmy or anything like that… But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records.”

Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by them or in collaboration with an outside producer.

Most of the album’s backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland; solo vocals were recorded later by Jagger, about whom Richards would say, “he often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.”

The song “Luxury” showed the band’s growing interest in reggae music, while “Till the Next Goodbye” and “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” continued their immersion in ballads. Seven of the album’s ten songs crack the four-minute mark, a feature that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s.

rollingstones1974_02

Ronnie Wood, a longtime acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to the Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood’s house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood’s wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist’s home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood’s guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album’s lead single and title track, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”, was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album. The released version of this song features Wood on twelve-string acoustic guitar.

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the ten tracks (he did not play on tracks 2, 3, and 6). Due to Taylor’s absence, Richards is responsible for the brief lead guitar break on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, the distorted electric guitar on the title track which includes the solo, and played both rhythm and lead guitar tracks on the “Luxury” studio recording. However, on the occasional live performances of “Luxury” during the Tour of the Americas ’75, lead guitar was provided by Ron Wood. Even though Mick Taylor is present on “Short and Curlies”, his slide guitar playing panned onto the right channel/speaker is mostly buried underneath Richards’ own lead guitar throughout most of the track which is panned to the left channel/speaker.

Similar to receiving no writing credits on the Stones’ previous album, Goats Head Soup, Taylor reportedly had made songwriting contributions to “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One”, but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997:

“I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren’t really working together as a team so I’d spend a lot of time in the studio.”

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Taylor’s statement contradicts Jagger’s earlier comment concerning the album. Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about “Time Waits for No One” that Taylor “maybe threw in a couple of chords”.

Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Elton John sideman Ray Cooper acted as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and mixing were performed at Jagger’s home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974.

In July, the lead single, “It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But I Like It)”, was released, and despite the familiar sound, it surprised many by failing to reach the top 10 in the US (although it did reach the top 10 in the UK). With its sing-along chorus, it has become a staple at Rolling Stones concerts. The B-side “Through the Lonely Nights” dates back to the previous year’s Goats Head Soup sessions. A cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, originally a 1966 hit by The Temptations, was released as the second single in the US only, where it also became a top 20 hit. Its parent album appeared in October with brisk initial sales, reaching number two in the UK (breaking a string of number-one albums that stretched back to 1969’s Let It Bleed) and number one in the US, where it eventually went platinum.

Reviews were largely positive, with Jon Landau calling It’s Only Rock ’n Roll “one of the most intriguing and mysterious, as well as the darkest, of all Rolling Stones records.”[12] However rock critic Lester Bangs disparaged the album in The Village Voice, much like Goats Head Soup, saying, “The Stones have become oblique in their old age, which is just another word for perverse except that perverse is the corniest concept extant as they realized at inception… Soup was friendly and safe. I want the edge and this album doesn’t reassure me that I’ll get it, what a curious situation to be stuck in, but maybe that’s the beauty of the Stones, hah, hah, kid? This album is false. Numb. But it cuts like a dull blade. Are they doing the cutting, or are we?”

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Author James Hector added that It’s Only Rock ’n Roll was a definitive turning point for the band. “The album marked the band’s decisive entry into a comfortable living as rock’s elder statesmen. From this point on, their youth culture importance vanished, and there would be few musical surprises in the future.” Hector concluded with “On It’s Only Rock ’n Roll, the band had become what they imagined their mass audience desired them to be. They were wrong.”

Instead of immediately touring to promote the album, the band decided to head back into the Munich studios to record the next album, to Mick Taylor’s disappointment and subsequent resignation from the band. A tour didn’t happen until the following summer in the US, the ‘Tour of the Americas ’75’, with future member Ronnie Wood taking Taylor’s place on guitar.

The title track became a permanent staple of the band’s live setlist, but apart from some performances of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “If You Can’t Rock Me” on the Licks Tour, none of the other tracks have been performed since 1977. “Till The Next Goodbye”, “Time Waits For No-One”, “If You Really Want To Be My Friend” and “Short and Curlies” have never been played live.

In order to promote the album, music videos were filmed for several of the songs. The most commonly seen video from the album was the video for “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It)”, featuring the band (in sailor suits) playing in a tent, which gradually fills with soap bubbles (Taylor is featured in the video but did not actually play on the recorded cut). Videos were also filmed for “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Till The Next Goodbye”.

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Personnel:
Mick Jagger (vocals; guitar on 04. + 10.)
Keith Richards (guitar, background vocals; bass on 01.)
Mick Taylor (guitar, slide-guitar, synthesizer on 05., congas on 07.,  bass on 10.)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Bill Wyman (bass, synthesizer on 10.)
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Ray Cooper (percussion)
Nicky Hopkins (piano on 04. – 06., 08. + 10.)
Charlie Jolly (tabla on 10.)
Ed Leach (cowbell on 02.)
Blue Magic (background vocals on 08.)
Billy Preston (piano on 01., 02., 10., clavinet on 02., organ on 08.)
Ian Stewart (piano on 03., 07. + 09.)

Basic track on “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”:
David Bowie (background vocals)
Kenney Jones (drums)
Willie Weeks (bass)
Ronnie Wood (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. If You Can’t Rock Me (Jagger/Richards) 3.48
02. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg (Whitfield/Holland) 3.30
03. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) (Inspiration by Ronnie Wood) (Jagger/Richards)     5.07
04. Till The Next Goodbye (Jagger/Richards) 4.39
05. Time Waits For No One (Jagger/Richards) 6.48
06. Luxury (Jagger/Richards) 5,03
07. Dance Little Sister (Jagger/Richards) 4.12
08. If You Really Want To Be My Friend (Jagger/Richards)  6.19
09. Short And Curlies (Jagger/Richards) 2.45
10. Fingerprint File (Jagger/Richards) 7.01

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Julie Felix – Lightning (1974)

frontcover1Julie Felix isn’t too well-known in her native United States, but since 1964 she’s been a major British folk music star and has been compared over there with Joan Baez. Felix was born in California, of mixed Mexican and Native American ancestry. A natural singer by inclination, she was drawn to folk music at an early age but was unable to get a career started in America, even amid the folk revival of the early ’60s. In 1964, she decided to go hitchhiking across Europe, and instead of heading home at the end of her travels she made England her destination. She arrived there just in time to catch a fresh wave of enthusiasm for American folk music, fostered by Bob Dylan’s emergence internationally as a singer and songwriter. American folk musicians had always found a welcome among England’s folk enthusiasts, but just then, thanks to Dylan, the sheer number of folk listeners had ballooned to massive proportions. Felix also found a natural audience for her work — she had an engaging voice and manner, a distinctive Mexican guitar (a gift from her father), and her combined Mexican and Native American backgrounds, which made her stand out from other of her compatriots, who were white and male. And suddenly, Felix had a major career — the same year that she arrived in England, she became the first solo folk performer signed to a major British label when she got a contract from English Decca.

Felix debuted with a self-titled album and a single of Ian Tyson’s, “Someday Soon,” and she also scored a hit on television, on The Eammon Andrews Show. By 1965, she was a headlining performer, referred to in The London Times as Britain’s First Lady of Folk. She cut two more LPs for Decca over the next two years, including an album of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie songs, and was also one of the biggest exponents of the work of Leonard Cohen before he’d established himself beyond a small cult of listeners in England. She also began getting recognized for her commitment to charitable causes, and not only raised money for hunger relief but visited several of the more troubled countries in the Third World. By the end of 1965, she’d filled Royal Albert Hall for one of her concerts, reportedly the first folksinger based in England to accomplish that feat.

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Julie Felix, 1967

In 1966, she moved to the Fontana label, for which she cut three albums — her 1966 album, Changes, is regarded as one of her best, mixing traditional and contemporary material and utilizing the support of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick; meanwhile, on-stage, she came under the wing of Brian Epstein, who booked her and Georgie Fame together at the Saville Theatre, with a then-unknown Cat Stevens appearing as the opening act.

By 1967, she was well enough established to be a featured weekly guest on David Frost’s television series, and by 1968 had earned her own television variety series, with guests that included Dusty Springfield, Leonard Cohen, Donovan, and Richard Harris. Her late-’60s recordings included Going to the Zoo, a delightful collection of children’s songs on Fontana, and in 1969 she was one of the artists featured at the Isle of Wight Festival. Finally, in 1970, Felix had her first pop hit when she reached the British Top 20 with her version of “El Condor Pasa,” recorded under the auspices of producer Mickie Most — indeed, Felix was the first artist on Most’s newly formed RAK label to have a hit record, and she later recorded the album Clotho’s Web (1972) for RAK. She also made her long-delayed debut on American television, courtesy of her longtime friend David Frost, who booked her on his Metromedia-produced talk show. Felix scored a second hit for Most with her cover of “Heaven Is Here” before moving to EMI in 1974.

The mid-’70s marked a period of extreme change for Felix, who was an unapologetic 1960s liberal with a strong commitment to social issues. She became disillusioned with the direction of the world as the ’70s wore on, with their more hedonistic orientation. Finding northern Europe a more agreeable place to live and work, she moved to Norway and subsequently enjoyed hit records both there and in Sweden. Felix returned to California late in the decade and used the time to recharge her social conscience — by the early ’80s, she was heavily involved in the human rights campaign in Latin America. She returned to England and resumed her career, writing songs for the first time and directing her activities toward new age philosophy and interests, in addition to political issues. In the mid-’90s, Felix released her first new album in a decade, Bright Shadows, on her own label, Remarkable Records.

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At the outset of the 21st century, she continues to enjoy a full schedule of performances in England and attention from old listeners who remember her from the 1960s and newer audiences who know Felix for her 1990s music. Her new music has received mixed critical and popular reception, but her 1960s repertory still elicits serious enthusiasm from her audience. (by Bruce Eder)

And this is a forgotten masterpiece by Julie Felix … many different music styles … but with a brilliant Julie Felix on vocals … many perfect compositions by her (like “Song For Spring”) and 2 Bob Dylan songs (including “Father Of Night”) and a real stromg version of “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison !

Look to the musicians of this album, you´ll find some of the finest british studio musicians of that time … John “Rabbitt” Bundrick, B.J.Cole, Frank Ricotti, Henry Spinetti, Big Jim Sullivan, Danny Thompson and Dave Wintour and much more …

What a beautiful album !

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The inlets

Personnel:
John “Rabbitt” Bundrick (keyboards)
B.J. Cole (pedal steel-guitar)
Julie Felix (vocals, guitar)
Liam Genockey (drums)
Steve Hayton (guitar)
Paul Keogh (guitar)
Del Newman (synthesizer)
Frank Ricotti (percussion)
Keshav Sathe (tabla, tanpura)
Charlie Smith (drums)
David Snell (harp)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Big Jim Sullivan (guitar)
Danny Thompson (bass)
Dave Wintour (bass)
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background vocals:
Madeline Bell – Kay Garner – Liza Strike – Joanne Williams
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brass section:
Martin Glover – Harry Klein – Danny Moss – Ronnie Ross
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Tracklist:
01. Song For Spring (Felix) 3.45
02. Roadie Man (Felix) 4.30
03. Father Of Night (Dylan) 3.10
04. Oh To Hold You In My Arms (Felix) 6.40
05. Lady With The Braid (Previn) 5.20
06. My Electric Angel (Felix) 3.45
07. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Dylan) 5-00
08. Let Me Loose (Felix) 6.05
09. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 5.45

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AC/DC – High Voltage (Australia editon) (1975)

frontcover1High Voltage is the debut studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released only in Australia, on 17 February 1975.

In November 1973, guitarists Malcolm Young and Angus Young formed AC/DC and recruited bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans, and Colin Burgess, ex-Masters Apprentices drummer. Soon the Young brothers decided that Evans was not a suitable frontman for the group; they felt he was more of a glam rocker like Gary Glitter. The band had recorded only one single with Evans, “Can I Sit Next To You, Girl”, with “Rockin’ in the Parlour” as the B-side. In September 1974, Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott, an experienced vocalist and friend of producer George Young, replaced Dave Evans[2] after friend Vince Lovegrove recommended him. The addition of Scott redefined the band; like the Young brothers, Scott had been born in Scotland before emigrating to Australia in his childhood, and loved rock and roll, especially Little Richard. Scott had played in the Valentines and Fraternity. In a 2010 interview with Mojo’s Sylvie Simmons, Angus Young recalled that Scott “moulded the character of AC/DC…Everything became more down to earth and straight ahead. That’s when we became a band.”

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The album was produced by Vanda & Young at Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia. George Young is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm, and also plays bass guitar on a number of the album’s songs. Harry Vanda was a bandmate of George’s in The Easybeats, and the pair were the main songwriters of the band’s later hits, including their international smash “Friday on My Mind”. When George Young heard what his younger siblings were up to, he was quite impressed, telling VH1’s Behind the Music in 2000, “All of a sudden the kid brothers were still the kid brothers…but my God, they knew how to play. There was no sort of, ‘Do they have it or don’t they have it?’ It was obvious that they had something.” AC/DC was still developing its sound when High Voltage was recorded in November 1974, and singer Bon Scott and the Young brothers were backed by a different rhythm section than the Mark Evans/Phil Rudd combination featured on their next three full-length studio recordings. Rob Bailey and Peter Clack were the band’s bassist and drummer, respectively, at the time. According to Murray Engleheart’s book AC/DC: Maximum Rock N Roll, bass duties were shared by Malcolm and older brother George, who also played live with the band infrequently, as well as Bailey.

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Bon Scott & Angus Young during AC/DC’s free concert at Victoria Park, Sydney 1975

Clack played drums on “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, and the rest of the tracks were recorded by Tony Currenti. AC/DC biographer Jesse Fink laments Currenti’s lack of recognition, noting that his name “doesn’t bob up anywhere on the Australian or international releases of High Voltage, TNT, ’74 Jailbreak, Backtracks or any other releases on which his playing may or may not have appeared.” Malcolm and Angus traded-off lead guitar parts on “Soul Stripper” and “Show Business,” and Malcolm played the solo on “Little Lover.” In the book Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott, author Clinton Walker quotes Angus Young: “It was actually recorded in ten days in between gigs, working through the night after we came off stage and then through the day. I suppose it was fun at the time, but there was no thought put into it.”

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While the songs on High Voltage showcase a glam rock influence that the band would soon discard in favor of a more ear-splitting hard rock sound, the foundation for the band’s songwriting structures are clearly evident. As Angus told Benjamin Smith of VH1 in 2014, “I think the ‘60s was a great time for music, especially for rock and roll. It was the era of The Beatles, of the Stones, and then later on The Who and Led Zeppelin. But at one point in the ‘70s it just kind of became…mellow. When Malcolm put the band together, it was obvious what was missing at the time: another great rock band. So it was basically a reaction to that, because the music at that point had just turned into that soft, melodic kind of period, and that seemed to be all over the world. For us, it was a pretty easy choice, especially because Malcolm and myself – we’re two guitarists – so from the get-go, it was going to be a guitar band.” Six of its eight songs were written by the Young brothers and Scott, with “Soul Stripper” being credited to the Young brothers alone. “Soul Stripper” evolved from an older song called “Sunset Strip”, written by Malcolm and the band’s original singer Dave Evans, revamped for the album with new lyrics by Scott, and is similar in theme and structure to “Squealer,” a song that would be included on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in 1976. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” is a cover version of a Big Joe Williams song and was chosen as the LP’s first single, leading to the first of many AC/DC appearances on Australia’s Countdown music program. The band’s earliest appearances included a now-legendary live performance of “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (featuring Scott dressed as a blonde schoolgirl) and a filmed performance of “Show Business.” “Love Song” evolved from an unrecorded song called “Fell in Love”, also written by Malcolm and Evans. This earlier version of the song had different lyrics, and the finished lyrics as heard on the album were added by Scott. In 1994, Bon Scott biographer Clinton Walker speculated that the uncharacteristically maudlin lyric to “Love Song” was likely a leftover from Scott’s previous band Fraternity. “Love Song” was released as the album’s first single (under the title “Love Song (Oh Jene)”) and was backed with “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, but radio preferred the flip. “She’s Got Balls” (about Scott’s ex-wife Irene) was the first song that Scott and the Young brothers put together, while “Little Lover” had been a song Malcolm Young had been tinkering with since he was about 14 and had been originally titled “Front Row Fantasies” (Scott, who wrote the song about Angus, mentions glam rock star Gary Glitter by name in the song)

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High Voltage was originally released on Albert Productions only in Australia, and has never been reissued by another label in this format. The international version of High Voltage, which was issued on Atlantic Records in 1976, has a different cover art and track listing, with only “She’s Got Balls” and “Little Lover” appearing overseas. “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “Soul Stripper”, “You Ain’t Got a Hold On Me” and “Show Business” were later released on ’74 Jailbreak in 1984. “Stick Around” (about Scott’s inability to hold onto a lover for more than one night) and “Love Song” have been released on Backtracks in 2009. The title and artwork were the suggestion of Chris Gilbey of Albert Productions. In the 1994 Scott biography Highway to Hell, Gilbey explains that he came up with the concept of “an electricity substation with a dog pissing against it. It’s so tame now, but back then we thought it was pretty revolutionary.”

AllMusic deems this version of AC/DC “a very young band who were still coming into their own at the time, and that process of self-discovery is what makes the original version of High Voltage both the most inconsistent and unique of all the Bon Scott albums.” (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Rob Bailey (bass)
Tony Currenti (drums)
Bon Scott (vocals)
Angus Young (guitar)
George Young (bass, guitar, background vocals)
Malcolm Young (guitar, background vocals)
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Peter Clack (drums on 01.)
Harry Vanda (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Baby, Please Don’t Go (Williams) 4.50
02. She’s Got Balls (A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 4.51
03. Little Lover(A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 5.37
04. Stick Around (A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 4.40
05. Soul Stripper (A.Young/M.Young) 6.25
06. You Ain’t Got A Hold On Me (A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 3.31
07. Love Song (A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 5.15
08. Show Business (A.Young/M.Young/Scott) 4.46

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Alan Stivell – E Langonned (1974)

FrontCover1Although it is frequently described as his most accessible album, E Langonned is more accurately thought of as Alan Stivell’s most widely available, at least at the time. With 1972’s Renaissance of the Celtic Harp having introduced him to an international audience by virtue of being his major-label debut, by the time of E Langonned, Stivell’s name and music were well-established within Anglo-American folk circles, as one of the most eclectic, but simultaneously absorbing folk musicians of the day.

E Langonned is not a great departure from its predecessors, beyond his growing interest in ever wilder instrumentation. Eighteen short tracks are traditional compositions, drawn from the Celtic lands — Brittany, Scotland, Wales, Ireland; and the accompaniment remains sparse and, to ears better acquainted with the folk-rock movement, eccentric. Harp, bagpipes, and bombard all play their part, together with Stivell’s so-distinctive voice — itself, at times, employed as an instrument — and harmonies. “Ne Bado Ket Atao” is a wild chant for multiple voices, which bleeds beautifully into the fragile, flute-led melody of “Bwthyn Fy Nain,” which in turn slips into “Ffarwell I Aberystwyth,” a Welsh lament sounded through mournful bagpipe. The result is a constantly shifting patchwork that nevertheless weaves itself perfectly together, long before the record is over. (by Dave Thompson)

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Alan Stivell performing at Hunter College on April 22, 1974 in New York City

Personnel:
Dan Ar Bras (guitar)
Yann-Lug Fauchon (drums)
Yann-Jakez Hasold (vocals)
Alan Kloatr (flute, pipe, bodhran)
Yann-Fanch Ar Merdy (drums)
Loeiz Roujon (drums)
Youenn Sicard (bombarde)
Alan Stivell (vocals, bombarde, flute, bagpipes, harp)
Liam Weldon (bodhran)
René Werner (fiddle)

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Tracklist:
01. E Parrez Langonned (Traditional from Breton) 3.42
02. Gavotenn Pourled (Traditional from Breton) 1.52
03. Planedenn (Traditional from Breton/)Piriou) 3.02
04. Ne Bado Ket Atao (Traditional from Breton/)Piriou) 1.54
05. Bwthyn Fy Nain (Traditional from Welsh) 1.28
06. Ffarwel I Aberystwyth (Traditional from Wales) 2.24
07.1. Briste Leathair Pheadair (Traditional from Scotland) 1.57
07.2. Mairseal A’ Chearc (Traditional from Scotland) 2.28
08.1. Dans Fisel (Traditional from Breton)
08.2. Gavotenn Ar Menez (Traditional from Breton)
08.3. An Sagart Cheolnhar (Traditional from Irland)
09. Bal Fisel (Traditional from Breton) 1.18
10. Deus Ganin Me D’Am Bro (Traditional from Breton) 2.47
11. Jenovefa (Traditional from Breton) 3.54
12. Sagart O Donaill (Traditional from Irland)
13. Diougan Gwenc’hlan (Traditional from Breton) 1.33
14. Ar Voraerion (Traditional from Breton/) Kalloc’h) 2.29
15. Faili Faili Oro (Kennedy) 2.20
16. Oye Vie (Traditional from Isle Of Man) 1.40

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