Emmylou Harris – Pieces Of The Sky (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgPieces of the Sky is the second studio album by American country music artist Emmylou Harris, released in February 1975 through Reprise.

Although she had released the obscure folk-styled Gliding Bird five years earlier, Pieces of the Sky became the album that launched Harris’s career and is widely considered to be her début. In those intervening years she forged a musical relationship with Gram Parsons that altered the musical direction of her career. The album includes Harris’s first high-charting Billboard country hit, the #4 “If I Could Only Win Your Love,” and the relatively low-charting #73 “Too Far Gone” (originally a 1967 hit for Tammy Wynette). The overall song selection was varied and showed early on how eclectic Harris’s musical tastes were. In addition to her own “Boulder to Birmingham” (written for Gram Parsons, who had died the previous year), she included the Merle Haggard classic “The Bottle Let Me Down,” The Beatles’ “For No One,” and Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.” (Parton, in turn, covered “Boulder to Birmingham” on her 1976 album All I Can Do (album).) On Shel Silverstein’s “Queen Of The Silver Dollar,” Harris’s longtime friend and vocal collaborator, Linda Ronstadt, sings harmony.

Pieces of the Sky rose as far as the #7 spot on the Billboard country albums chart.

Pieces of the Sky was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. (by wikipedia)

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Emmylou was an army brat from the South who thought country music was “boring.” As Harris later recounted, “You have to grow up, start paying the rent and have your heart broken before you understand country.” No. Folk was where it was at for young Emmylou. It was the mid-60s after all. Dylan was king. And Joan Baez was queen. And like countless other girls her age and of her time she dropped out of college & headed to The Village to be the next Joan Baez. “I mean, what girl back then didn’t want to be her?” Emmylou gushed. And for a little window of time it looked like she just might! She had the looks. The voice. And fell in with a talented songwriting boyfriend turned husband named Tom Slocum who had contacts in the record industry. And before you know it, she had a record contract and a debut album – Gliding Bird! But, her timing sucked. Her label bit the dust. Gliding Bird flopped. (Emmylou now disowns it pretty much and consider THIS her real debut. Personally, time is short and no one seems to high on it so I’ll just trust the pretty lady until Mercury tells me different. lol.) And before you know it, she was a divorced single mom trying to raise her baby on food stamps. So like any smart, well adjusted kid will do, she moved back home. (To an actual farm believe or not just on the outskirts of Washington DC.)

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Dreams of being the next Joan Baez dashed just like a thousand other pretty girls. In other words, she was now ready for her Country awakening. For Gram. And so much of life is just persevering and continuing to be ready. You never know when your luck may change. When the providence of the Gods may smile on you. So she didn’t give up. She started a little folk band and started playing gigs around DC. And divine Providence in the guise of the Gram Parsons showed up. On a hot tip from fellow Flying Burrito brother in arms, and former Byrdman,Chris Hillman. She’s talking about Gram of course. Yet again. The album is filled with references to him. How he saved her. Mentored her. Showed her his take on music. His vision of what country music could & should be. Cosmic American Music he called it. And Gram’s vision was so pure & inspired that it infected everybody around him. They would become instantaneously inflicted with his country bug.Whether it be striking up a conversation in a bank line at the Beverly Hills bank with Chris Hillman of the Byrds, singlehandedly taking over the creative reigns of one the most popular American bands of the entire 1960s as a freakin’ nobody, or convincing Emmylou to drop everything and join him on his quest for cosmic country goodness. Gram just had one of those magnetic personalities that could convince you of pretty much anything. Like Steve Jobs. There’s even a name for it – a Reality Distortion Field (look it up if you don’t believe me!). And Gram had one of the biggest Fields in all of music history. While the did they or didn’t they (they didn’t) gossip tends to overshadow… (by Repo Man)

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Personnel:
Brian Ahern (guitar, bass)
Bruce Archer (guitar)
Duke Bardwell (bass)
Byron Berline (fiddle, mandolin)
James Burton (guitar, dobro)
Mark Cuff (drums)
Rick Cunha (guitar)
Amos Garrett (guitar)
Richard Greene (fiddle)
Tom Guidera (bass)
Glen D. Hardin (piano)
Emmylou Harris (vocals, guitar)
Ben Keith (pedal steel-guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar, bass, banjo, dobro, background vocals)
Bill Payne (piano)
Herb Pedersen (guitar, banjo, background vocals)
Danny Pendleton (pedal steel-guitar)
Ray Pohlman (bass)
Ricky Skaggs (fiddle, viola)
Ron Tutt (drums)
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background vocals:
Linda Ronstadt – Fayssoux Starling

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Tracklist:
01. Bluebird Wine (Crowell) 3.21
02. Too Far Gone (Sherrill) 4.07
03. If I Could Only Win Your Love (C.Louvin/I.Louvin) 2.37
04. Boulder To Birmingham (Harris/Danoff) 3.38
05. Before Believing (Flowers) 4.45
06. The Bottle Let Me Down (Haggard) 3.20
07. Sleepless Nights (F.Bryant/B.Bryant) 3.29
08. Coat Of Many Colors (Parton) 3.45
09. For No One (Lennon/McCartney) 3.44
10. Queen Of The Silver Dollar (Silverstein) 5.18

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More from Emmylou Harris

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Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack – Live In Germany ’75 (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgAlthough he is best known for his lengthy career in Heavy Metal (including playing bass on – and penning the lyrics and co-writing the music for – some of Ozzy Osbourne’s most recognizable songs), bassist Bob Daisley is a bona fide Blues lover. Forty years ago, Daisley indulged his love for this music as a member of Chicken Shack, one of the most beloved Blues acts in the world. Earlier this year, he released Live In Germany ’75, a CD recording of a Chicken Shack lineup completed by founding member Stan Webb on vocals/guitar, guitarist Robbie Blunt and drummer Bob Clouter. And man is it killer.

With only nine songs in 78 minutes, it’s clear that jamming is at the heart of this recording. From a driving nine-minute take on Willie Dixon’s “Homework” to the rock-solid shuffle of their nearly eight-minute cover of Sonny Thompson’s “I’m Tore Down,” Chicken Shack bring these Blues staples into new and exciting worlds. With Live In Germany ’75, you get a sonic snapshot of four musicians truly enjoying themselves on stage.

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Naturally, Stan Webb’s fiery playing gets better and better with each listen. A true master of the guitar, Webb is in his perfect habitat on Live In Germany ’75, using the stage to explore his instrument in ways simply not possible in a studio setting. And when this combines with Blunt’s formidable skills, the results (such as in the band’s interpretation of Don Nix’s “Going Down” and Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom”) are otherworldly.

Not surprisingly, the band’s ability to handle real Blues rubs off on their own material, especially on the Webb/Blunt number “Rain On My Window Pane” and the Webb/Daisley/Blunt-written “Crying Again.” The epitome of authenticity, Chicken Shack’s originals effortlessly hold their own against the Blues standards explored throughout the set. The band on this CD is absolutely the real thing.

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While every moment of Live In Germany ’75 offers high-caliber sounds, the 20-minute “Poor Boy” is the release’s undisputed masterpiece. Originally a five minute tune on Chicken Shack’s 1972 album Imagination Lady, the Webb composition reaches transcendental heights on the German stage, encompassing Blues, Heavy Rock, Funk and some truly awe-inspiring dynamics. (Check out the quiet jam that breaks out around the 5:40 mark.)

With a lineup comprised of players who would later end up working with the likes of Rainbow (Daisley) and Robert Plant (Blunt), it comes as little surprise that there is a heaviness to Live In Germany ’75 that easily puts the band in the same Hard Rock league as their mid ’70s touring mates in Deep Purple. If you’re a Metal fan interested in exploring the genre’s Bluesy roots, this is an album not to miss.

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Limited to only 1,000 copies, Live In Germany ’75 is a perfect introduction to the onstage magic of Chicken Shack and an intriguing glimpse into one of the many fascinating eras to define Bob Daisley’s long-running career. Get it while you still can. (joelgausten.com)
By the mid 70s Stan Webb,one of a celebrated trio of 60s English blues guitar players,was the only one still dusting his broom onstage.With Clapton expensively suited and evermore soporific, Peter Green out of the business entirely,pursued by tabloid lowlifes and other demons,only Stan The Man still trod the boards in true blue shoes. Shifting public taste meant he’d often now appear on undercards of egocentric ‘prog’ bands,yet he still retained a grassroots following across Europe, especially in West Germany where his song ‘Poor Boy’ raised many a stein of pilsner.

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After Christine (McVie) had moved on,Chicken Shack featured Stan’s underrated vocals.During a half-century career (yes, that does merit a round of applause) he would cut many records with many different bandmates…all creditable and listenable, but something special has been captured here, delivering one of the most red blooded English blues albums for many a year.
The featured mid 70s lineup gels with a chemistry that cannot be scripted. The ‘Three Bobs’ as tagged here, craft irresistible launchpads for spirited takes on such chestnuts as ‘Tore Down’ and ‘Have You Ever Loved a Woman’. Fifty seconds into the opener, ‘Homework’ that trademark vibrato leaps from the right hand channel with blistering immediacy, whisking you off on a seventy eight minute two guitar sleighride…maybe ‘Poor Boy’ noodles on a bit, but that’s a minor carp, for this is a magnificently energetic and noisy blues gig from an age before the 12-bar format became synonymous with 53 year old accountants decaffing down to East Grinstead to ‘get their Quornbone boiled’. Without passion and feeling white blues often defaults to the turgid play-by-numbers dullardry of trad-jazz…no such issues with this puppy. (Peter Nicholas Zear)

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Personnel:
Robbie Blunt (guitar, slide-guitar)
Bob Clouter (drums)
Bob Daisley
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Homework (Dixon) 9.26
02. Have You Ever Loved A Woman? (Myles) 10.20
03. I’m Tore Down (Thompson) 7.37
04. Rain On My Window Pane (Webb/Blunt) 4.17
05. Delilah (Webb/Daisley/Blunt) 5.18
06. Poor Boy (Webb) 20.26
07. Crying Again (Webb/Daisley/Blunt) 6.02
08. Dust My Broom (Johnson) 8.22
09. Going Down (Nix) 6.33

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I recorded this gig 40 years, so this has been sitting in my archive since 1975. I’m pleased to be able to share it and air it. This show epitomises Chicken Shack at the time – raw Blues, Rhythm and Blues and a bit of Funk thrown in. It was my second stint with Stan Webb, I’d been with the Shack from early 1972 until mid ’73, when I left to join Mungo Jerry, which didn’t quite satisfy my lust for real Blues, hence my return to Stan. On this show Stan and I are joined by the aptly named Bob Clouter on drums and Robbie Blunt on slide guitar. Bob Daisley.jpgRobbie went on to be Robert Plant’s guitarist in the early ’80s after Led Zeppelin became defunct. Stan was a legend, and is still highly regarded by many of his Blues peers. This lineup, to me, was one of the best, we’d been gigging a lot, our musical communication was almost telepathic. Stan and the ‘three Bobs’ were on tour with Deep Purple and an American band called Elf. Their lead singer, Ronnie James Dio, and I ended up in a band called Rainbow two years later with Deep Purple’s discontented lead guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore. During our time touring with Deep Purple in March 1975, we did some shows on our own in small theatres and clubs; this is a recording of one of them. In those days bands used to jam on songs when they played live, so this is typical of how we played the basic structure of a song then improvised and had fun with it; I’m very proud of how we sound on this. At the end of our show the tape ran out, but only the tail-end of the last song was lost. So until that point comes, sit back, relax and enjoy; these are ‘those days’… (Bob Daisley)

 

More from Chicken Shack:

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Joe Cocker – Jamaica Say You Will (1975)

OriginalFrontCover1Jamaica Say You Will is the fifth studio album by Joe Cocker, released in April 1975. The songs from the album come from the same sessions that produced the highly acclaimed LP I Can Stand A Little Rain (1974). Jamaica Say You Will wasn’t, however, as successful as its predecessor. It reached number 42 on the US album charts.

It includes participation by Randy Newman; rhythm section on most of the songs is played by the Kingpins, formerly known for being saxophonist King Curtis’ backing band, including Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums. “(That’s What I Like) In My Woman” is a fast-driven song with horns, “Where Am I Now” and “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” are segued and complimentary – the sentiment of each song reflected in the other. “Oh Mama” is pure vocal blues, accompanied by a saxophone. The over-all influence is soul and blues. The album winds up acoustically, with a simply arranged, folk-flavoured tune, “Jack-A-Diamonds”. (by wikipedia)

Inlet01AAlthough this collection didn’t sell as well as some of his other CD’s, this has become my favorite. His blues and gospel style are very prominent in these recordings. Jack-A-Diamonds and Lucinda are great tunes, along with a very soulful Where Am I Now. Great purchase. (by Basil Rathbook)

We’ve all had the experience of buying an album/CD for one or two songs we really want hear, but the rest of the album, not so much. That isn’t the case with “Jamaica Say You Will”. This is one of the most cohesive works I think I’ve ever heard; Everything fits, as if it were written specifically for this set of songs. There isn’t a clunker in the bunch, and “Jamaica Say You Will”, written by Jackson Browne is the star of the show.

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Jackson Browne’s version is worth listening to, but Joe takes it a to another level; A depth of feeling few artists can achieve and most can only aspire to. All of the songs are just spot on, exactly as one would want them to be, and the perfect finale is “Jack of Diamonds”, bluesy, but defiant, in which Joe near the end, chuckles to himself, then says “… goin’ down the road…”, a man and his blues, like a world-weary traveler and his trusty pup.
No other way to say it; This is one of his best. (by Glenn Watson)

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Personnel:
Joe Cocker (vocals)
Cornell Dupree (guitar)
Bernard Purdie (drums)
Chuck Rainey (bass)
Richard Tee (keyboards)
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Cynthia Barclay (background vocals on 06.)
Joanne Bell (background vocals on 06.)
Ben Benay (guitar on 02. + 03, harmonica on 06.)
Buzz Clifford (background vocals on 01., 02 + 09.)
Joe Correro (drums on 03.)
Venetta Fields (background vocals on 02.)
Nicky Hopkins (piano on 02.)
Jim Horn (saxophone on 01., 05. + 08.)
Jimmy Karstein (drums on 02. + 06.)
Bobby Keys (saxophone on 09.)
Clydie King (background vocals on 02.)
Trevor Lawrence (saxophone on 09.)
Steve Madaio (trumpet on 09.)
Sherlie Matthews (background vocals on 02.)
Henry McCullough (guitar on 06.)
Daniel Moore (guitar on 10., background vocals on 01. – 09.)
Dave McDaniel (bass on 03. + 06.)
Jim Moore (background vocals on 04.)
Matthew Moore (background vocals on 01., 03. – 06., 08. + 09.)
Don Poncher (percussion on 09.)
Jim Price (trombone  on 01., background vocals on 01., 03., 05., 06., 08+ + 09., brass on 03., organ on 06.)
Jean Roussel (organ on 02.)
Peggy Sandvig (piano on 03. +  06.)
Dan Sawyer (guitar on 03.)
Carol Stallings (background vocals on 01., 02. + 09.)
Chrissy Stewart (bass on 02.)
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The Sid Sharp Strings (strings on 03. + 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. (That’s What I Like) In My Woman (Moore) 3.28
02. Where Am I Now (Davis) 4.15
03. I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (Newman) 4.00
04. Forgive Me Now (Moore) 3.27
05. Oh Mama (Price) 4.13
06. Lucinda (Newman) 3.55
07. If I Love You (Moore) 4.00
08. Jamaica, Say You Will (Browne) 4.19
09. It’s All Over But The Shoutin’ (Hinton/Bristol) 3.57
10. Jack-A-Diamonds (Moore) 3.40

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Eric Clapton – E.C. Was Here (1975)

FrontCover1.JPGE. C. Was Here is a 1975 album by Eric Clapton. It was recorded live in 1974 and 1975 at the Long Beach Arena, the Hammersmith Odeon, and the Providence Civic Center by Record Plant Remote during Clapton’s first tour since Derek and the Dominos in 1970. (by wikipedia)

Following Eric Clapton’s recovery from heroin addition in 1974 and subsequent comeback (announced by 461 Ocean Boulevard), the guitar legend retained his fine band and toured extensively, and this live album is a souvenir of that period. Despite having such pop-oriented hits as “I Shot the Sheriff,” E.C. Was Here makes it clear that Clapton was and always would be a blues man. The opening cut, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” clearly illustrates this, and underlines the fact that Clapton had a firm grasp on his blues guitar ability, with some sterling, emotionally charged and sustained lines and riffs. A short version of “Drifting Blues” also drives the point home, with a lazy, Delta blues feel that is intoxicating. Aside from these standout blues workouts, Clapton provides a surprise with two songs from his Blind Faith period.

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“Presence of the Lord” and Steve Winwood’s classic “Can’t Find My Way Home” are given great readings here and highlight Clapton’s fine touring band, particularly co-vocalist Yvonne Elliman, whose singing adds a mellifluousness to Clapton’s blues vocal inflections. The market was a bit oversaturated with Clapton and Cream reissue products at the time, and this fine record got lost in the shuffle, but it remains an excellent document of the period. (by Matthew Greenwald)

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Personnel:
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
Yvonne Elliman (vocals)
Marcy Levy (tambourine)
Jamie Oldaker (drums)
Carl Radle (bass)
Dick Sims (organ)
George Terry (guitar)
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Tracklist:
01. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Myles) 7.52
02. Presence Of The Lord (Clapton) 6.44
03. Driftin’ Blues (Moore/Brown/Williams) 11.31
04. Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood) 5.19
05. Ramblin’ On My Mind (Johnson) 7.29
06. Further On Up The Road (Medwick/Robey) 7.40

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Smetana Quartet – BBC Legends (Dovorak & Janacek) (2006)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Smetana Quartet (Czech: Smetanovo kvarteto) was a Czech string quartet that was in existence from 1945 to 1989.

The Smetana Quartet arose from the Quartet of the Czech Conservatory, which was founded in 1943 (during the Nazi occupation) in Prague by Antonín Kohout, the cellist. With Jaroslav Rybenský and Lubomír Kostecký as first and second violins, and Václav Neumann as violist, the group gave its first performance as the Smetana Quartet on 6 November 1945, at the Municipal Library in Prague. Neumann left to pursue conducting in 1947, at which point Rybenský went to the viola desk and Jiří Novák (who shared first violin desk with Josef Vlach, founder of the Vlach Quartet, under Vaclav Talich in the Czech Chamber Orchestra) came in as first violin.

By 1949 the group had official connections with the Czech Philharmonic. The first foreign tour was in 1949, to Poland, and the first recording was of a quartet by Bedřich Smetana in 1950. Rybenský was obliged to retire after ill health in 1952, and was replaced by Milan Škampa. The performers were appointed professors at the Academy of Musical Arts in 1967. Of their many recordings, those made at that time for German Electrola are considered particularly fine.

For many years this group, which has been called the finest Czech quartet of its time, played the Czech repertoire from memory, giving these works a special intensity and intimacy.

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The Smetana Quartet made the third commercial digital recording ever made, Mozart’s K.421 and K.458, in Tokyo April 24-26, 1972. They rerecorded the same repertoire ten years later in Prague.

Antonín Kohout trained the Kocian Quartet (founded 1972) and the Martinů Quartet (1976), though the latter’s members had been pupils of Professor Viktor Moučka, cellist of the Vlach Quartet. (by wikipedia)

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Some reviews are a pleasure to write and this is certainly one of them. The Smetana Quartet was formed in 1945 – the original personnel including conductor-to-be Václav Neumann as violist (until 1947) – with the last change in the Smetana’s line-up, until it disbanded in 1989, was in 1956, when Milan Škampa replaced Jaroslav Rybenský as the viola player. During the 1960s and 1970s I – like many others – picked up often ridiculously cheap LPs of the quartet in mainly Eastern European music. I came to admire the players’ unforced musicality, natural phrasing and rhythmic subtlety. This BBC Legends’ release features stereo recordings recorded from 1969 and 1975 – and the sound is very fine. There is a sense of both venues’ acoustic, a natural balance and very fine imaging and resolution. On the down side there are mild patches of what used to be called ‘wow and flutter’. But, unlike some of the Legends’ series, the sound does not get in the way of the music-making and the Queen Elizabeth Hall audience is virtually silent. In terms of technique the Smetana Quartet has occasional problems. Ensemble – by clinical modern standards – can slip, as can exactness of bowing and intonation, but these ‘lapses’ are few and far between.

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But when the musicians glide into Dvořák’s Terzetto, the sweet tone is beautiful, the expression urbane and there is a sense of conversation between the players. In this sadly neglected four-movement work the tempo changes and phrasing are natural and a quiet sense of melancholy imbues every bar – irrespective of tempo marking. Janáček’s ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ – a great piece – opens with beautifully gradated dynamics that heighten the sense of French impressionism. The accelerandos in the Con moto second movement are seamlessly integrated, as they are in the finale, where the opening tempo is a genuine adagio that still moves inexorably forward. Indeed the whole performance captures every change of mood with integration. Dvořák’s masterly A flat Quartet is similarly outstanding, every tempo change is unforced and the rhythmic variation is brilliant. None of the tempos could be described as too leisurely. In the Molto vivace second movement there is a genuine sense of the dance and in the second section there is a disquieting sense of undulating emotion, and the Lento e molto cantabile third movement really does sing at a tempo that makes many other quartets sound self-indulgent. The finale has real high spirits and, as with the rest of the performance, it just sounds right – like any great performance you feel that this is the way the music should be played. So a wonderful CD, which captures a style of music-making that is – tragically – dying out, and an essential buy for all chamber music lovers. (by Rob Pennock)

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Personnel:
Antonín Kohout (cello)
Lubomír Kostecký (2nd violin)
Jiří Novák (1st violin)
Milan Škampa (viola)

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Tracklist:

Antonin Dvorák: Terzetto for 2 violins & viola in C major, B. 148 (Op. 74):
01. Introduzione. Allegro ma non troppo – attacca 4.39
02. Larghetto 5.36
03. Scherzo. Vivace – Trio. Poco meno mosso 4.33
04. Tema con variazioni. Poco adagio – Molto allegro – Moderato – Moderato e risoluto – Molto allegro 5.55

Leos Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”), JW 7/8:
05.  Adagio – Con moto – Vivo 3.54
06. Con moto – Energico e appassionato – Tempo 1 4.04
07. Con moto – Vivace – Andante – Tempo 1 3.39
08. Con moto – Tempo 2 – Adagio – Maestoso (Tempo 1) – Più mosso, feroce 5.18

Antonin Dvorák: String Quartet No. 14 in A flat major, B. 193 (Op. 105):
09. Adagio, ma non troppo – Allegro appassionato 8.23
10. Molto vivace 6.31
11. Lento e molto cantabile 7.40
12. Allegro, non tanto 10.03

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Baker Gurvitz Army – Live At University Of Reading, UK (1975)

FrontCover1This is the first of a few shows recorded by the Baker Gurvitz Army for live broadcast on the BBC, and, later, the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Spearheaded by Cream skin-basher Ginger Baker, the BG Army had enormous promise when they formed, but, in the end, never lived up to the hype. But they should have; they had a great musical line up and a shit-hot Brit vocalist who was simply known as Snips.

This show, recorded at the University of Reading, features some strong performances, especially a version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Freedom.” “Remember,” a bluesy ballad, which segues into “Memory Lane,” and features an always entertaining Ginger Baker drum solo. They close with a stunning rocker, “People,” the opening track from their second LP, Elysian Encounter.

After Cream disbanded in 1968 and Blind Faith embarked on one brilliant LP and tour in 1969, Ginger Baker suddenly found himself as a superstar without a band. He formed the rag-tag outfit known as Ginger Baker’s Airforce (which made two sloppy live albums and included such celebs as Traffic and Blind Faith’s Steve Winwood and Ric Grech; and ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine), before going off to Africa to focus on rhythmic music.

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By the mid 1970s, however, Baker was back in England and needed to work. He had spent his fortune from Cream, and the various solo projects were so large in size that there was no way they could make money on the road. Baker realized he had to get back to basics and join a touring rock ‘n’ roll band.

Guitarist Paul Gurvitz and his brother, Paul, had long been mainstays on the UK club scene, first with Gun (in the late 60s), and later with a power trio named Three Man Army with ex-Rod Stewart drummer Tony Newman. Three Man Army (1971-1973) recorded three albums between Buddah and Warner Brothers Records, but disbanded when Newman left to accept a gig with David Bowie.

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When Three Man Army went looking for a new drummer, they connected with Baker, and hence, the Baker Gurvitz Army was born. They soon expanded their trio format into a five piece with the additions of keyboardist Peter Lemer and vocalist Snips (who had been in Sharks with guitarist Chris Spedding). The band recorded three studio albums and cut a live album that was released after they disbanded. Baker Gurvitz Army was signed to Atlantic Records in the US (the home of Cream and Baker’s solo work), and enjoyed marginal success between 1976 and 1977.

Like many hard rock acts from that period, as disco and pop music took over the music scene in the late 1970s, it made it hard for bands like the Baker Gurvitz Army to continue. By 1978, they had disbanded and Baker returned to making more eclectic music. (wolfgangs.com)

Recorded live at University Of Reading,Reading, UK 15th February 1975.

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums)
Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, vocals)
Paul Gurvitz (bass, vocals)
Peter Lemer (keyboards)
Snips (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction / Wotever It Is (A.Gurvitz) 6.49
02. The Gambler (A.Gurvitz) 4.17
03. Freedom (Hendrix) 6.10
04. For Phil (A.Gurvitz) 09:18
05. Remember (A.Gurvitz) / Memory Lane (A.Gurvitz/Baker) 14.47
06. Drum Solo (Baker) 6.01
07. Instrumental (A.Gurvitz) 2.16
08. People (A.Gurvitz) 7.57

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Stone Angel – Same (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Stone Angel story probably begins in December 1972. Guitarists Ken Saul and Paul Corrick were rehearsing for a spot at the Great Yarmouth Folk Club Christmas party, but all they could come up with was a guitar duet version of ‘God rest ye Merry Gentlemen’. They invited singer Jill Child to join them, and worked on a couple of recently composed songs based on local legends, ‘Sanctuary Stone’ and ‘The Skater’. That first performance was so well received that the trio decided to continue, the following two years seeing them perform at clubs, concerts and festivals throughout East Anglia and occasionally further afield, while still doing the resident slot at their local club.
During the summer of 1973 a demo recording of some of their songs was made, on which Midwinter were joined by Dik Cadbury (of ‘Decameron’ and ‘Steve Hackett Band’ fame) on bass, and Mick Burroughes on percussion. This was never released at the time, and in fact the master tapes remained in a box in Ken Saul’s attic until they finally were issued by Kissing Spell in 1993 as the CD ‘The Waters of Sweet Sorrow’.

Midwinter came to an end with Jill’s departure to college, their farewell concert taking place back at the Yarmouth Folk Club on September 11th 1974. Some of their songs lived on, however, as a few months later Paul and Ken formed a new band, again including fellow musicians from the Yarmouth club. This new band had something of a rockier, more gothic, edge and a decidedly experimental approach to folk music: Stone Angel was born!

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Stone Angel’s first public performance was at the Wymondham Folk Club in October 1974, then again at the Yarmouth Folk Club on December 20th 1974. The line-up consisted of Joan Bartle on vocals, flute, recorders and crumhorn; Mick Burroughes on bass and percussion; Paul Corrick on electric guitars and harpsichord; Dave Lambert on fiddle and mandolin; Ken Saul on vocals, guitars and dulcimer. Building on the reputation of Midwinter, they began to appear at numerous clubs and festivals around the area.
For a variety of reasons a decision was made to produce a self-financed recording, and this took place in February 1975. The band was assisted in this project by Eddy Green, who from time to time had deputised for various personnel in the live performances. Only three hundred and fifty of the projected five hundred albums were ever produced, and unfortunately these suffered from rather poor sound quality. A busy schedule followed, with the album being hawked around the live gigs, until the end of the summer when both Paul and Mick departed for university and art college respectively.

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The resulting trio continued, but became entirely acoustic and more traditional in their choice of material, although still including ‘The Skater’ and ‘Black-sailed Traders’ in their set. The only recording from this period was a basic tape recording of a live concert in the village church at Filby, Norfolk, where Ken and Joan now lived. This too was to later be released on CD by Kissing Spell under the title ‘The Holy Rood of Bromholm’. After spells working in Botswana and Southampton, Dave Lambert emigrated to Australia, where he continued to play as a member of Adelaide-based band ‘The Legends’.

Ken and Joan carried on as a duo for a while, before becoming engaged in a slightly more serious project with early music. Then in 1985/86 they formed a new band with bassist Michael Wakelin and keyboard player Dave Felmingham, occasionally being joined on vocals by Carole Irwin. Reflecting their ‘middle earth’ tendencies, the name ‘Arkenstone’ was chosen, but after their second gig – a local version of Live Aid – so many former fans still referred to them as Stone Angel, that they decided to revert to the old title. Sadly, work commitments away from the area meant the band was short-lived. The next stage was to see a musical involvement with Broadlands Theatre Group, which entailed the composition and performance of original material for various productions. Around the same time, an article had appeared in the magazine ‘Record Collector’ with details of various privately released albums from the seventies, including the original Stone Angel LP. This was subsequently re-released on CD by Kissing Spell in 1994, alongside the previously unissued ‘ live’ recording and the earlier Midwinter album. All of this led to a renewed interest in the band, not only in the UK but also in Europe and the Far East.

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With a handful of local traditional songs, some original compositions – some dating from the mid-eighties ensemble – and a few fresh ideas, the ‘new’ Stone Angel re-formed in 2000, chiefly to record a new CD, ‘East of the Sun’. This latest incarnation comprised of Ken and Joan Saul, Dave Felmingham, Andrew Smith, and a re-called Michael Wakelin. By the time the recording was finished, one of the additional musicians, oboe and cor anglais player Richard Danby, had become a permanent member of the band, while Michael’s work commitments necessitated a substitution on bass by Robert Futter. They were then joined by Jane Denny, contributing additional vocals and assorted percussion, and original seventies bass man Mick Burroughes. It is this line-up that produced the album, ‘Lonely Waters’.

Sadly, Richard Danby died in tragic circumstances just as the recording of “Lonely Waters” was nearing its completion. His contribution to the band was greatly missed, but it was decided not to try and replace him, and the album was dedicated to his memory. Due to other commitments, Mick left shortly after the album was released. The vacancy on bass was filled by long-time friend and associate, Geoff Hurrell.

Work then began on another rather different and exacting project with Broadlands Theatre Group – an epic community production of “Green Man”. After much deliberation and a few drinks in that other-worldly time between Christmas and New Year, ideas were made material. Pip Sessions wrote the script and the band wrote songs and arranged and adapted traditional material. In October 2005 “Green Man – a pageant of ancient mysteries” was performed for two nights in Filby Church with Stone Angel playing live in the context of the play. Soon after this, the CD “Circle of Leaves” was produced – all the music from “Green Man” linked together with words from the drama. It was a moment never to be forgotten, when the whole cast was recorded for the final track “The Promise”. A concert version was later put together and premiered again in Filby Church.

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November 2009 saw Stone Angel celebrate their 35th anniversary with a concert at the Assembly House in Norwich. It was good to see fans and friends, old and new, from around the country – and indeed, the world – gather for this landmark occasion. Since then, Jane has departed for work and family reasons, leaving the remaining five-piece ensemble to record and release another new album “Between the Water and the Sky”. More recently (2014), the band celebrated their 40th anniversary with a short tour and another concert at the Assembly House in Norwich. In 2015 they marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Stone Angel album, recorded in February 1975. The story continues….. (taken from their website)

And here´s their debut album from 1975.

This, along with Midwinter’s “The Waters Of Sweet Sorrow,” is one of the all-time great underground UK psych/folk classics. Ethereal female vocals and acoustic guitars weave a melancholic cloak around the listener while lyrics evoke the mystery and magic of the British isles across the ages. Superb. (thousandfolded)

Or, in other words:

“One of the most remarkable acid folk albums…” (Record Collector)

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Personnel:
Joan Bartle (vocals, flute, recorder, crumhorn)
Mick Burroughes (percussion, bass, jew´s harp)
Paul Corrick (guitar, bass)
Dave Lambert (violin, mandolin)
Vocals, Flute, Recorder, Crumhorn –
Ken Saul (vocals, guitar, dulcimer, recorder)

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Tracklist:
01. The Bells Of Dunwich (Saul) 6.04.
02. The Skater (Saul) 3.13
03. Pastime With A Good Company (Henry VIII) 1.12
04. Traveller’s Tale (Saul) 5.41
05. Black Sailed Traders (Saul) 5.04
06. Stone Angel (Saul) 3.39
07. Galliard / Merrie England’s Musicke Box (Traditional) 2.02
08. The Gay Goshawk (Traditional) 7.08
09. The Black Dog (Saul) 5.42
10. The Holy Rood Of Bromholm (Saul) 4.03

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Stone Angel today:

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