Trace – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Trace was a Dutch progressive rock trio founded by Rick van der Linden in 1974 after leaving Ekseption. They released three albums before merging back into Ekseption.

In 1973, after releasing their album entitled Trinity, the members of the band Ekseption asked Rick van der Linden to leave the band. At this time Ekseption were quite famous which led Philips, their record-company, to give van der Linden the opportunity to find a new band.

In January 1974 van der Linden started rehearsals with Peter de Leeuwe, who had been playing drums with Ekseption before. The pair split up again soon after, since van der Linden considered de Leeuwe to lack in skill. De Leeuwe was replaced in February by Pierre van der Linden (a second-cousin of Rick), who had left Focus in October, 1973. To complete the trio, Rick finally asked Jaap van Eik, a self-taught musician considered to be one of the best Dutch bass players, to join the band. Originally named Ace (in the tradition of Cream and Flash to highlight their supergroup status), they had to change the name to Trace when they discovered a British band had already trademarked the name.

On 9 September 1974 the trio released their first, self-titled album. Their second album, Birds was released on 1 January 1975, and featured future Marillion drummer Ian Mosley. A third album, The White Ladies, was released in 1976 with Rick van der Linden being supported by all of the former members of Ekseption save trumpeter Rein van den Broek. In 1978 van den Broek rejoined the group which effectively became Ekseption once again. (by wikipedia)

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Trace (1974). Left to right: Jaap van Eik, Pierre van der Linden & Rick van der Linden

Listening to Trace’s first album, it’s like a war. Notes sprawling and tearing up your inner ear like bullets fired straight out of a smoking machine gun.

Lightning Bach style, super tight bass/drum interplay. It’s Emerson Lake & Palmer…but without the gigantic ego, the lyrical bullcorn and the awful by-product filler that every album’s filled with.

Some bands are just TOO COMPETENT to write a page of history (and therefore, being understood) and Trace is one of the leader in this sad but mind-boggling category maybe with Echolyn or Par Lindh Project.

In fact, the product is purely an exercise, so it’s not accessible and therefore, dispensable. In no way these guys thought they would carry on or reform on day on the sake of making a few dollars. Because this band probably made some money by doing marathon concerts. Hard working, not physically attractive (Rick van der Linden looks like an anorexic Leif Ericksson) and ridiculously perfectionnist…dude, this record is tough to swallow and needs time to digest to full appreciation.

This is a major kick in Rachmaninov’s…er, piano I guess. (by Menswear)

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The inlets from the original LP from 1974

Personnel:
Jaap van Eik (guitar)
Pierre van der Linden (drums)
Rick van der Linden (keyboards)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Galliarde (Italian Concerto BWV 971 in F Major)/Polish Dance (Bach/Traditional) 6.07
02. Gare le Corbeau (v.Eik) 2.02
03. Galliarde Italian Concerto BWV 971 in F Major)/Polish Dance (Bach/Traditional) 4.55
04. The Death Of Ace (from: Peer Gynt Suite (Grieg) 5.13
05. The Escape Of The Piper (R.v.d.Linden) 3.08
06. Once (R.v.d.Linden) 4.11
07.Progression (R.v.d.Linden) 12.02
08. A Memory (Traditional) 3.54
09. The Lost Past (P.v.d.Linden) 3.27
10. A Memory (Traditional) 1.40
11. Final Trace (R.v.d.Linden) 3.55
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12: Progress (single A-side) (R.v.d.Linden) 4.08
13. Tabu (single B-side) (R.v.d.Linden) 4.16

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Single

The single

 

Jess Roden – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Kidderminster born Jess Roden began his recording career with The Alan Bown Set and sang on their single ‘Emergency 999’, a track which made them stars on the Northern Soul scene for a short while. When Roden left after recording the album “The Alan Bown !” to form his own band Bronco, a band which included guitarist Robbie Blunt who went on to work with Robert Plant in the 1980s, his vocals were re-recorded by his replacement Robert Palmer. Roden’s original vocals however were left on the US release of the album with Palmer only appearing on the UK issue. After recording two albums with Bronco, “Country Home” and “Ace of Sunlight” in the early seventies he began to formulate ideas for a solo album whilst working as a session singer and musician. During this time he appeared on many albums including Keef Harley’s “Lancashire Hustler”, “Wildlife” by Mott The Hoople, “Rendezvous” by Sandy Denny and Paul Kossoff’s ‘Back Street Crawler”. However, the solo album plans were put on hold when he was approached by former Doors men John Densmore and Robby Kreiger and invited to join their new project The Butts Band in America. Roden recorded just the one album with them, their self titled debut in 1973 before returning to England and finally embarking on his solo project in earnest.

“Jess Roden” the album, was recorded partly in London at Island’s Basing Street Studios and Olympia Studios and partly in New Orleans where the talents of The New Orleans Horns, Allen Toussaint and Art Neville were used to give the album that trademark New Orleans jazz and blues feel.

Jess Roden Band 1974The Jess Roden Band, live 1974

The album kicks off with ‘Reason To Change’ a strutting soul and jazz track which features plenty of tempo changes and immediately displays the benefit of having Toussaint and Neville on board as they contribute some great organ and piano work. The use of the horns is also paramount to the success of the song and Roden delivers a trademark passion filled vocal.

‘I’m On Your Side’ starts off like something from a musical or love story movie with a Roden arranged string introduction before he comes in and delivers of vocal which is a mixture of dreamy laid back jazz crooner and anguished bluesman. A nice saxophone solo midway from George Lee breaks the song up nicely.

‘Feelin’ Easy’ is probably my favourite track on the album. A slow almost acoustic song it features great perfomances again from Toussaint and Neville. The opening having Roden singing over only a Toussaint piano before the rest of the band come in gradually in classic jazz style. By the time the horns come in Roden’s pleading passionate vocal will have wrenched your heartstrings down to your knees and back again. A beautiful song and the perfect vehicle for Roden’s voice it is surely one of the most criminally neglected songs in the history of music.

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‘Sad Story’ is a faster track with another jazzy, but this time more funky, beat. It features a great jazz guitar solo from Steve Webb and once again Toussaint, Neville and The New Orleans Horns are on the top of their game.

‘On Broadway’, which is the only non Roden composed track on the album, boasts a lavish string arrangement introduction and starts the second half of the album off in sweeping swirling fashion for a full minute and three quarters before Roden finally starts to sing. Not many singers would start a track with such a long intro but Roden has the mind of a composer as much as a singer and the decision is justified in the way it allows the track to build into something quite powerful. Mickey Feat on the bass and Alan Sharp on the congas give it a nice beat throughout but it is the flute from Steve Gregory that challenges the intro and Roden’s vocal for the honour of being the songs highlight. A perfectly structured track it has claims to be the best version of the track ever recorded.

‘Ferry Cross’ is a funky and folky acoustic guitar driven song on which Roden plays drums, guitars and bass as well as providing the vocals, including some good falsetto. The only other musician to appear on the track being Richard Smith on the piano and organ. If there can be such a thing as funk-folk then this is surely it.

‘Trouble In The Mind’ is a mid tempo jazz soul track and once again The New Orleans Horns, Toussaint and Neville are the perfect foil for Roden’s typically soulful vocal. There is also a nice wah wah guitar solo and Reebop Kwaku Baah beats out a good rhythm on the congas.

JessRoden02‘What The Hell’ features yet another passion filled vocal from Roden and is a nice bluesy laid back end to the album. The drumming of Simon Kirke and the organ and piano of John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick give it a very Free like feel and it is not difficult to see why Roden had been linked to the vacant microphone position in Deep Purple a year earlier given Ritchie Blackmore’s desire to go for a more bluesy sound.

“Jess Roden” has claims to be one of the finest debut solo albums ever recorded and it remains a mystery to me and a lot of my musician and writing friends that he isn’t more widely known and mentioned when the subject of world class vocalists come up. Maybe it is the mixture in styles and this worlds need to pigeon hole. The crossing of the boundaries between soul, jazz, rock, blues and funk may well have been what prevented him from achieving the worldwide success he should have had. It certainly wasn’t down to a lack of talent. Sadly if you mention the name Jess Roden to most of the general public you will get a blank stare in return. Mention his name to a musician of his time or one of us that have been enjoying his music for years and you will be told with no lack of passion that he is the greatest neglected talent that Britain has ever produced …… and for Jess Roden that may well be fame enough. (by Martin Leedham)

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Personnel:
Richard Bailey (drums)
John Bundrick (keyboards)
John Cartwright (bass)
Ray Davies (keyboards)
Pat Donaldson (bass)
Mickey Feat (bass)
Steve Gregory (flute)
Peter Hunt (drums)
Simon Kirke (drums)
George Lee (saxophone)
Joseph Modeleste (drums)
Art Neville (keyboards)
Leo Nocentelli (guitar)
Chris Ower (trombone)
George Porter (bass)
Bruce Robertson (guitar)
Jess Roden (vocals, guitar, drums, bass)
Alan Sharp (percussion)
Ronnie Taylor (saxophone)
Allen Toussaint (keyboards)
Mike Weaver (keyboards)
Steve Webb (guitar)

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Tracklist:
o1. Reason To Change (Roden) 3.19
02. I’m On Your Side (Roden) 5.18
03. Feelin’ Easy (Roden) 4.07
04. Sad Story (Roden) 4.02
05. On Broadway (Leiber/Stoller/Mann/Weil) 7.07
06. Ferry Cross (Roden) 3.15
07. Trouble In The Mind (Roden) 3.53
08. What The Hell (Roden) 4.58
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09. Under Suspicion (Roden) 4.26

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Single

Stephen Michael Schwartz – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Although he is best known as a songwriter for Broadway and Hollywood, Stephen Schwartz, born in 1948, belongs to a generation of tunesmiths who have tended to double as performing artists, and since he has a perfectly acceptable tenor, it’s no surprise that he harbors the desire to step into the spotlight himself.

In 1974 RCA Records released his self-titled debut album.

Stephen Michael Schwartz ‎– featuring Stephen, backed by some of the best studio musicians in the country.
The list is impressive….

The album drew industry attention to Stephen’s talent both as a songwriter and a solid vocal performer. The single, “ROCK ME AWAY”, generated favorable airplay on local FM stations around the country and classified Stephen’s musical genre as “Funk/Soul”.

Given the musical climate at the time and disco’s stronghold on radio play, one song off the album that received the most “buzz” was “GET IT UP FOR LOVE”.

It was just the beginning of a long and fruitful recording career.

It´s a good and dynamic pop album with a great soul touch.

SchwartzLater he become a star for popular music for children:

Stephen’s reputation as a superlative singer-songwriter came into focus as one of the three original members of the award-winning children’s musical group, Parachute Express. Stephen has produced popular music for children and their families for over 30 years. The first group ever to be signed to Walt Disney Records, Parachute Express has enjoyed a long-lasting partnership with San Francisco-based Gymboree Corporation, providing music for their Play & Music Centers throughout the world.

Stephen and Parachute Express, to date, have sold well over a half million CD’s, securing a rarified position in the world of children’s entertainment. With Parachute Express, Stephen co-wrote and produced twelve award-winning albums, receiving numerous prestigious awards including first place in the International Songwriting Festival, the NAPPA Award, the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Indie Award and the Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year Award.

But this is the start !

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Personnel:
Larry Carlton (guitar)
Wilton Felder (bass)
Ed Greene (drums)
Bobbye Hall (percussion)
Jim Horn (horns)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Michael Omartian (keyboards)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Reinie Press (bass)
Stephen Michael Schwartz (vocals, guitar)
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Kim Carnes (vocals on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Easily (Metter) 2.43
02. Rock Me Away (Moore) 3.23
03. Love Me Busybody (Schwartz) 2.28
04. Finest Thoughts (Schwartz) 2.47
05. Long Tail Cat (Holiday) 2.53
06. Doctor’s Daughter (Schwartz)     2:38
07. You Say It’s Me (I Think Maybe It’s You) (Schwartz)    3:01
08. Get It Up For Love (Doheney) 4.06
09. Musical Storm (Schwartz)     2:25
10. I Believe I’m Gonna See You Again (Schwartz) 2.53

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Single

(Los) Canarios – Cycles (Cyclos) (1974)

FrontCover1LOS CANARIOS from Spain started off as a typical, run of the mill pop/rock band (probably not unlike Los Bravos, but I’m not sure) and released three albums from 1968 to 1972. I’m sure fans of the pop CANARIOS were in for a total rude awakening when they released this double album, “Ciclos”. The band totally went off the prog deep-end and went and adapted Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” in a prog rock setting. The main guy of this band, Teddy Bautista included lots of great analog keyboards like the Moog II-P modular, Mini Moog, VCS-3, ARP 2600, Mellotron M400. Other members included Alain Richard on drums (and tons of percussion), guitarist Antonio Garcia de Diego, Mathias Sanvellian on additional keyboards (piano, organ, RMI electric piano, harpsichord, etc.), and bassist Christian Mellies. Add that with a choir (both male a female), a couple of male vocalists (I bet the not-so-great singer was one of the band members), and a female soprano, provided by an Indonesian named Rudmini Sukmawati (in which photos of her make her look Gothic, one scary picture of her makes her look like Marylin MANSON!).

This is a totally complex and densely layered album which you’re not likely to get on the first listen. Lots of really amazing analog synths. In between classical themes are rather bizarre and twisted use of synthesizers. One part finds the band being really silly by having a barbershop quartet sing “Plastic Christmas” with lyrics that go: “It’s another plastic Christmas / Santa Claus has died / One more thing to celebrate”, suggesting they felt Christmas had became a big load of crap (they should try Christmas here in America some 30 years later, which got so bad I tend to leave the radio and television off that time of year because of the hype and overcommercialization, not to mention worn-out Christmas carols).

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My only real complaint goes to “Himno a la Armonia Implacable del Fin” (on the fourth and final movement entitled “Cuarto Acto: El Eslabon Recobrado”), I think that piece downright sucks with the overly dramatic and cheesy male operatic vocals and choir. I can live without that, but the rest of the album demonstates why not only is this regarded as one of the best prog albums to come out of Spain, but one of the best prog adaptations of classical aside from Il ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA’s “Contaminazione”. My other complaint is CANARIOS never followed up “Ciclos” with perhaps another full-blown prog album, perhaps this time, original band compositions. This was unfortunately their only prog album. Aside from “Himno a la Armonia Implacable del Fin”, I truly think this is one of the all-time great prog take on classical music. Totally essential album. (by Proghead)

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This could be one of the Top 10 best ProgRock albums I ever heard. Besides the (probably) 30 different instruments [including a Theremin — :-)], the lyrics, the vocals, actually add to the complexity of the album. Incredible dynamic and mood range, from lyrical to abrasive, from stunning Spanish guitar (acoustic, 6 and 12 strings) solos to raucous, outright in-your-face synths and percussions, this album is absolutely breath-taking. The fact that I really love Vivaldi, is incidental, in this case. I still have goose-pimples. The accompanying booklet (in Spanish) is also a creation of love and a pleasure to read. This, friends, ought to be what ProgRock is all about. This is a masterpiece. (by rozsa)

The story of this little known progressive rock gem is almost as interesting as the music itself: a true, sprawling four sides of pure symphonic grandeur of the scope and ambition of “Tales from Topographic Oceans” or “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The Spanish band started out as the pop/rock group Los Canarios and had several releases which did well, but were of little interest to prog fans. Then around 1973, leader Teddy Bautista split with his bandmates and retained the name, shortening it to just Canarios. He surrounded himself with all new people and decided to create an epic work for the ages. Today, “Ciclos” is little known and rarely discussed, but I think this is likely the most significant Spanish progressive rock title of its time. As Hugues points out, even the fact that such a project could come to fruition given the political/social oppression of Spain in this period makes it very existence incredible. The high-minded plot themes deal with the circle of life and the history of humanity.

Teddy Bautista
Teddy Bautista

“Ciclos” contains only four songs, each covering an entire side of this double album. The music is a free reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and a serious attempt to meld together classical music with symphonic progressive rock. I say reinterpretation because this is not purely a rock band covering a piece of classical music. Everything is subject is change here and the four pieces show a wealth of creative writing and arrangements. The band brings in all various styles to play with: symphonic prog, jazz rock, avant-garde, operatics, and melodic pop/rock. The end result ends up being something not far from the Italian prog of the same period: ambitious, bold, a bit naïve, and sometimes a bit over the top. The “everything but the kitchen sink” approach is on display here. It’s a complex album and in my view a great success, but it takes time to reveal itself to the listener. Like some other reviews I’ve read, the album did not appeal to me at first. Had I written a quick review it would not have been complimentary. But the more you play this one, the better it gets, which is why I rarely write quick reviews. Sections of the album are beautiful beyond belief, other sections rock hard, and other sections leave you scratching you head at what you just heard. Not bad at all!

“this album is much more than just a cheesy rock adaptation. The band put a lot of effort to mix elements from jazz, blues, opera, and even the modern avant-garde classical into Vivaldi’s original. Listeners are treated to harpsichords competing with blues and jazz-infected electric guitars, moog synths that let loose a flurry of notes from Vivaldi’s original composition before jumping into funky seventies fusion, classical guitars that gently play melodic interludes as the drummer bangs away inspired by John Cage’s compositions for percussion. These guys simply loved to mix different genres of music together.” -Steve Hegede

As some have pointed out, it can be a bit garish and cringeworthy at times-this is a fair criticism. The keyboard sound choices in particular can be a little cheesy and may make the album too dated for some. In a pure sound sense it does not hold up quite as well as the Yes and Genesis titles mentioned above. But, for those who don’t insist on refined restraint in their prog adventure, “Ciclos” is a pure roller-coaster ride that may leave you breathless with listening pleasure. It is certainly not the least bit ashamed to wear its heart on its sleeve. Tightly performed and with reasonably deep, punchy sound, the album lays out a convincing and jamming rock base over which it displays incredible window dressings: I most love the oodles of unique instruments, the little baroque elements, the occasional operatic vocals and choirs, and the adventurous avant-garde excursions. The album can seem inspired by Topographic Oceans although Yes were more seasoned, and Oceans final product more “musically mature” than this one. My personal guess is that most people who like classic era Yes, Genesis, or Banco will be very happy to have acquired Canarios. I consider this title nearly essential to a deep prog-rock collection. (by Finforrest)

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One of the best albums of the prog rock genre. Ciclos is an adaptation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” They don’t make a note-by-note interpretation, but they add some typical prog rock elements, such as the use of Mellotrons and Moog synthesizers, played with virtuosity. This recording is a more accurate interpretation of a classical piece than “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Emerson Lake & Palmer. There’s a lot of color in this recording, with vocals in English, Spanish, and Latin, plus the presence of opera singers, electric guitars, and electronic keyboards. This one has been long out of print, but it’s worth it for fans of progressive rock. It’s an underground classic of the genre. (by Juan Sjöbohm) by Juan Sjöbohm

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Personnel:
Teddy Bautista (keyboards)
Antonio García De Diego (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
Christian Mellies (bass, synthesizer, theremin)
Alain Richard (drums, percussion)
Mathias Sanveillan (keyboards, violin)
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Leandro Blanco (vocals)
Claude Guillot (vibraphone)
Rudmini Sukmawati (vocals)
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Trio Portenyo (flamenco trio) (on 02./”Serenata Extravagante”)

Arranged and conducted by Alfredo Carrión and Teddy Bautista

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Tracklist:

01. First Transmigration (The Remote Paradise) Primavera 17.02
– a) Genesis (Bautista/Mellies/Richard/Sanveillan/Diego)
– b) Prana (Grito Primario) (Bautissta)
– c) Primera Visión de un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– d) Himno a la Armonía Magistral del Unverso (Vivaldi)
– e) Primeros Pasos en un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– f) Metamorfosis Extravagante (Vivaldi)

02. Second Transmigration (The Next Abyss) Verano 16.32
– a) Narración Extravagante (Bautista/Carrion)
– b) Primeras Preguntas en un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– c) Canto al Niño Neurótico (Vivaldi)
– d) Himno Crítico a la Primera Adversidad (Vivaldi)
– e) Desfile Extravagante (Bautista/Mellies/Richard/Sanveillan/Diego)
– f) Proceso Alienatorio (Bautista)
– g) Serenata Extravagante (Bautista)

03. Third Transmigration (The Future Border) Otoño  17.50
– a) Pequeño Concierto Extravagante (Bautista)
– b) Paginas de Plata de un Diario Intimo (Vivaldi)
– c) Anti-Himno a la Programacion Cibernetica (Vivaldi)
– d) Monasterios (Vivaldi/E.Bautiasta/T.Bautista/Diego)
– e) Proceso Ciberetico (Vivaldi)
– f) Villancico Extravagante (Vivaldi)

04. Fourth Transmigration (The Recuperated Link) Invierno  21.55
– a) Hibernus (Bautista/Sanvveillon) (Vivaldi)
– b) Crisis (Vivaldi)
– c) Ballet de las Sombras (Vivaldi/Bautista/Mellier)
– d) Himno a la Armonía Implacable del Fin (Vivaldi)
– e) Vanessa (El Aliento de la Osamenta) (Richard/Bautista)
– f) Nirvana Extravagante (Vivaldi)
– g) Diálogos a Alto Nivel (Vivaldi)
– h) Hiperdestrucción (Vivaldi)
– i) Apocalipsis (Bautita)

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Teddy Bautista in 2015

Melanie – Madrugada (1974)

FrontCover1Madrugada is a 1974 album released by Melanie featuring the singles “Lover’s Cross” and “Love To Lose Again”. In November 1973, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” became a Top 40 hit in the United Kingdom and was subsequently added to the British release of the album.

As with Gather Me the album featured arrangements and conduction by Roger Kellaway.

The word madrugada is Portuguese for “daybreak”. (by wikipedia)

This is an interesting album in the evolution of Melanie in that it lays (with the album previous, “Stoneground Words” from 1972) the direction of Melanie’s musical future.

The album(s) is more “mature”, less twee, less “hippie”. I like the urban and pastoral wide eyed innocence of  Melanie’s earlier work but as she grew older her music became even more personal.

It also became slicker.

There were less of the rustic tones , the shaggy edges which made Melanie’s early music so appealing.

This matters not as long as the song’s are up to scratch.

Melanie

On first glance the amount of covers would indicate Melanie was running out of ideas but the truth was this was her 13th album in six years. OK, there were a couple of soundtrack albums and live albums in there but still that’s a lot of work. Melanie, also, wasn’t adverse to a cover if it fit it into the album. And this all here hangs together quite well.

This album is slicker than her earlier work but the emotional content and Melanie’s point of view as narrator hasn’t changed that much.

And that is a joy.

This was the last Melanie album to chart in the US (and it barely charted). I’m not sure why here commercial popularity came to an end. There were many other vocalists who weren’t as good as this who were having successful careers.

The only explanation, and one the pundits raise often, may be, ultimately, right and that is her audience identified her as the  flower child vocalist (whether she was one or not) and when she outgrew that they refused to go along for the ride.

A pity there is much too  like here.(by whatfrankislisteningto.negstar.com)

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Personnel:
George Devens (percussion)
Sal DiTroia (guitar)
Ron Frangipane (keyboards)
Hugh McCracken (guitar, steel-guitar)
Don Payne (bass)
Melanie Safka (vocals, guitar)
Alan Schwartzberg (drums)
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Chuck Di Monaco (bass on 09.)
Roger Kellaway (keyboards on 03., 04., 06. + 09.)
Joe Macho (on 02., 03. + 07.)
Rick Marotta (percussion on 01.)
Denny Seiwell (drums on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Love To Lose Again (Safka) 4.35
02. Lover’s Cross (Croce) 4.54
03. Pretty Boy Floyd (Guthrie) 3.41
04. Wild Horses (Jagge/Richards) 6.41
05. I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (Newman) 2.54
06. Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Goffin/King) 2.46
07. Maybe Not For A Lifetime (Safka) 4.42
08. Holding Out (Safka) 3.15
09. The Actress (Safka) 6.03
10. Pine And Feather (Safka) 2.15

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Herbie Hancock – Dedication (1974)

OriginalFrontCover1Dedication is the sixteenth album by Herbie Hancock. It was recorded in Japan in 1974 while Hancock was touring and first released on the Japanese CBS Sony label in September 21, 1974. Hancock performs “Maiden Voyage” and “Dolphin Dance” acoustically, while “Nobu” and “Cantaloupe Island” were performed on electric keyboards. It wasn’t released in CD outside Japan until 2013, as part of the “Herbie Hancock the complete Columbia album collection 1972-1988” box set. The track “Nobu” is regarded by many (including As One) as the first ever techno track, due to its other-worldly repetitive electronic groove.

This is a unique experiment in the Hancock discography, recorded in Tokyo in just one day during a tour of Japan. The first side contains two introspective, complex solo acoustic Posterpiano tracks, “Maiden Voyage” and “Dolphin Dance,” which are notable since they date from a period when Hancock was supposedly totally immersed in electronics. Side two has two even more unusual pieces — “Nobu,” a one-man show recorded in real time with the sample-and-hold feature of an ARP 2600 synthesizer providing a rhythm section for Hancock’s electric keyboards, followed by “Cantaloupe Island” with a pre-recorded synth bassline. Side two is a fascinating look back at the charms and stringent limitations of mid-’70s analog keyboards, as well as a challenge to Hancock’s on-the-wing inventiveness — and despite some inevitable stiffness in the rhythm, he comes through with some colorful work. This would be the first of several Japan-only Hancock albums from the ’70s, an indication that Japanese jazz fans were (and perhaps still are) far more open-minded and free-spending than their American counterparts. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Herbie Hancock (keybooards)

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Tracklist:
01. Maiden Voyage 7.44
02. Dolphin Dance  11.18
03. Nobu 7.39
04. Cantaloupe Island 13.57

All compositions by Herbie Hancock

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Dana Gillespie – Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle (1974)

FrontCover1Dana Gillespie is a prolific artist who deserves more from the recording industry, and Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle is a superb effort from the songstress. Included in the gatefold of the album with the lyrics to her originals are the places and dates for where and when the songs were written. The elegant and passionate “Really Love the Man” was written March 31, 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal. The song is blues in a rock setting, but it is really hard to put a handle on it, Gillespie’s vocals smooth as silk, the musicianship equally mellow, and the performance stretching the genres with playful precision. Where David Bowie stepped in on the previous album, Weren’t Born a Man, Roxy Music’s John Porter takes control here, co-producing with Dana Gillespie and playing guitar on every track. “Hold Me Gently” reminds one of Genya Ravan’s They Love Me, They Love Me Not album from around the same time period; the blues edge starts turning into a Delaney & Bonnie-style Southern rock/gospel number. There may be comparisons to Kathi MacDonald and Maggie Bell, but Gillespie puts her own stamp on things, being more of a singer/songwriter than the aforementioned interpreters. “Don’t Mind Me” with Big Country’s Simon Phillips on drums brings things back to the Bowie world that is the forte Adof her former management company, Mainman. Dana Gillespie wrote this in Klosters, Switzerland, April 28th, 1970; her performance on 12-string and synthesizer make it a Roxy Music-gone-jazz piece, and it is really exquisite. “No Tail to Wag” is another clever blues composition which the singer wrote in London, July 1, 1973. It has some of the fun from the previous album, and comes from that time period, creeping along with a sultry sax. “Ain’t It a Drag, I Got No Tail to Wag” might be the highlight of this disc. “Pack Your Bags” is a product of the West Indies, written December 7th, 1973; it combines funk and a full chorus. Throughout it all, Gillespie is in great voice and is a dominating presence. Jon Hall, author of Janis Joplin’s classic “Half Moon,” along with his other half, Johanna Hall, provide “Wanderlust.” This title sounds like Sheryl Crow with Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance band backing her up. Gillespie’s choice of music is excellent, as are her originals, and from Spain to London, Portugal, the West Indies, and Switzerland, she flavors this album with impressions from her travels. The title track would be great for Etta James, and a duet with Etta and Gillespie on the sexy “Get My Rocks Off” would be a real treat. (by Joe Viglione)

BackCover

Personnel:
Roger Ball (horns)
Rabbit Bundrick (keyboards)
Phillip Chen (bass)
Frank Collins (background vocals)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Molly Duncan (horns)
Micky Gallagher (piano, background vocals)
Dana Gillespie (vocals, guitar, synthesizer)
Bryn Hayworth (guitar, slide-guitar)
Eddie Jobson (violin, synthesizer)
Jody Linscott (percussion)
Paddie McHugh (background vocals)
Simon Phillips (drums)
John Porter (guitar)
Dave Skinner (piano)
Robin Sylvester (bass)
John Turnbull (guitar, background vocals)
Bob Weston (guitar)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle (Bradford) 4.39
02. Really Love The Man (Gillespie) 4.32
03. Hold Me Gently (Gillespie) 3.16
04. Don’t Mind Me (Gillespie) 6.05
05. Pack Your Bags (Gillespie) 3.45
06. No Tail To Wag (Gillespie) 4.48
07. Get My Rocks Off (Silverstein) 4.26
08. Wanderlust (Hall) 4.09
09. Getting Through To Me (Gillespie) 4.00
10. Never Knew (Gillespie) 5.18

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