Deep Purple – Live In Graz 1975 (2014)

frontcover1Recorded live at the Liebenaur ice rink in Graz, Austria, ‘Graz 1975′ captures the Mark III Deep Purple lineup in one of its very last performances. However, this is hardly the sound of a band in its final hours.

Instead, it is that of a band charged and ready to take on the world. This show is often regarded as the “holy grail” of this lineup, and has been frequently traded in bootleg form by fans for years prior to this, its first official release.

Several shows on what turned out to be this lineup’s final tour were recorded using the fabled Rolling Stones mobile studio. Shortly after these concerts, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would split to form Rainbow, and Purple would bring in Tommy Bolin to try and keep things rolling. ‘Graz 1975′ is a wall to wall feast, and may be the definitive portrait of this version of the band.

Deep Purple waste no time getting to the point here, kicking things off with the almighty ‘Burn.’ Without question it’s one of the greatest of all the band’s songs, and this version is absolutely captivating. The energy level goes right off the rails once that mighty riff kicks in.

labelSinger David Coverdale had clearly settled into his place in the band by this point. While he may never have captured the role with the brilliance that Ian Gillian had, he more than holds his own here. Newer recruit and bassist Glenn Hughes has also found a home here, adding his own personality to the mix both in playing and presentation.

Three tracks from the band’s then-current album ‘Stormbringer’ turn up here — ‘The Gypsy,’ ‘Lady Double Dealer’ and the title cut. All three are high octane stuff, surpassing the studio versions — with ‘Lady Double Dealer’ particularly killing. ‘Mistreated’ from the ‘Burn’ album gets a lengthy workout here, allowing Blackmore to show off with a bluesy but high energy solo. ‘You Fool No One,’ also from ‘Burn,’ maintains that same energy and surge for over 12 minutes.

There’s also a rock solid rendition of the all-time classic ‘Smoke On The Water.‘ One interesting thing about this version is the vocal harmonies provided by bassist Glenn Hughes during the second verse. His addition here adds a nice change up, taking the song somewhere else entirely.

blackmoreNow, time to nitpick. Do we really need another 20-minute-plus version of ‘Space Truckin’? Probably not. It’s noodle central for both Lord and Blackmore on this one. Thankfully, Mr. Paice holds down the fort, keeping the whole mess from blowing off into the wind.

That is the one main problem with any live Deep Purple outing, their tendency to go on and on. When they tighten it up, which is actually the case for most of the songs here, they are a force of nature. But when they meander, they get lost. As for the overall performance, it’s pretty damn amazing, and as for the sound quality, it’s all aces. This set was produced by the legendary Martin Birch, the man responsible for countless great hard rock records from Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden and beyond. His sharp approach on the initial recording, coupled with some tasty remixing and mastering from Martin Pullan shine this monster up just right.

In short, if you love Deep Purple, you will love this album. Even if you’re one of those who swear only by the Mark II lineup, there is no denying the band’s power here. Turn it up loud and let it rock! (by Dave Swanson)

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Personnel:
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
David Coverdale (vocals)
Glenn Hughes (bass, background vocals)
Jon Lord (keyboards)
Ian Paice (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Burn (Blackmore/Coverdale/Hughes/Lord/Paice) 7.51
02. Stormbringer (Blackmore/Coverdale) 5.08
03. The Gypsy (Blackmore/Coverdale/Hughes/Lord/Paice) 5.23
04. Lady Double Dealer (Blackmore/Coverdale) 4.31
05. Mistreated (Blackmore/Coverdale)  14.40
06. Smoke On The Water (Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice) 9.43
07. You Fool No One (Blackmore/Coverdale/Hughes/Lord/Paice) 12.15
08. Space Truckin’ (Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice) 20.22

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Man – The Welsh Connection (1976)

frontcover1The Welsh Connection (stylized on the cover as Welsh-Connection) is the eleventh album by the Welsh psychedelic/progressive rock band Man and was released on the MCA Records label 1976. It was their first MCA release, and the first after a change of line-up that saw John McKenzie take over on bass from Martin Ace, and Phil Ryan rejoin. Ryan had worked with Pete Brown in the interim, and arranged for Brown to play on two tracks.

The track “Something is Happening” was sampled on “Break the Bank” a 2014 single by rapper Schoolboy Q.(by wikipedia)

“A new record company and another new line up. The March 1976 release of Welsh Connection saw the return of Phil Ryan on keyboards, with John McKenzie replacing the departing Martin Ace on bass. Writing and rehearsals (including auditioning the new bass player) took place at The Grange in Headley Down, Hampshire during November and December 1975 and the album was recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes during December, January and February. As usual the band only sprang into life once the deadline was upon them.

Deke Leonard explains; “Three days before the deadline expired, we got down to work. Two days before, we were quietly confident. On the last day, we realised we were in the shit. We phoned Barry and said we, er, wouldn’t make the deadline.

“How many songs do you need?” he asked.
“Seven or eight” we said.
“And how many have you got?”
“Er, two-and-a-half. Ish.”
“Well, it’s alright,” he said, with a whiff of superiority. “I’ve already booked you in for another ten days, I did it about three weeks ago.”

Well that we said must have been the problem. We knew in our water it wasn’t a bona fide deadline – it never really felt like one……The next day, faced with a real deadline, we panicked.”

The new line up resulted in yet another radical change to the group’s sound. The combination of McKenzie, a more than usually lyrical bassist, and Ryan, whose performances are always cultured, worked very well. Together they turned out a pretty funky blend, especially when Phil got warmed up on the title track. As Deke commented later; “Phil is a bit of a funky player, while Micky and I don’t have a funky bone in our bodies. John tended to play with Phil.” McKenzie himself remembers most of the songs as being ready before he auditioned; “Pretty much people had their material written. Obviously arrangements were changed but it was pretty much nailed already.”

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Promotion posters

Although critical reaction was generally good, an occasionally less positive note was struck. It was felt in some quarters that perhaps too many of Man’s rough edges had been smoothed off. Charles Shaar Murray, writing in the New Musical Express weighed in with the headline; “Man cracks four songs in under twenty minutes barrier”. Johnny Walker made “Out Of Your Head” his record of the week, and things were looking decidedly commercial. The band split up before another studio album could be recorded.

‘I’m a Lovetaker’ which was released as a B side to the ‘Out Of Your Head’ single, and is included as a bonus track on the Eagle Records and Esoteric CD release of ‘Welsh Connection’ is a Deke Leonard song, written and recorded during the sessions for his second solo album, ‘Kamikaze’. It’s not really a Man song at all and also features Brian Breeze on guitar, and Dave Charles on drums.” (by manband-archive.com)

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Micky Jones

Personnel:
Micky Jones (vocals, guitar)
Deke Leonard (guitar, vocals)
John McKenzie (bass, vocals)
Phil Ryan (keyboards, vocals)
Terry Williams (drums, vocals)
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Brian Breeze (guitar on 08.)
Nigel Brooke-Heart (vocals on 06.)
Pete Brown (african talking drums on 04. + 05.)
Dave Charles (drums on 08.)
Caromay Dixon (vocals on 05.)
Jeffrey Hooper (vocals on 02.)
Anton Matthews (vocals on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. The Ride And The View (Leonard) 5.01
02. Out Of Your Head (Leonard) 4.04
03. Love Can Find A Way (McKenzie) 5.13
04. The Welsh Connection (Ryan/Jones) 7.18
05. Something Is Happening (Ryan) 6.21
06. Car Toon (Leonard/Ryan) 6.01
07. Born With A Future (Jones/Leonard/Ryan) 7.07
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08. (I’m A) Love-Taker” (B-side “Out of Your Head” single) (Leonard) 2.47

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Jim Baker – A Steel Guitar Christmas (1975)

frontcover1Baker was born July 26, 1933 in Eldridge, Ala. and grew up in Flint, Mich. He moved to Nashville in 1963 after serving in the U.S. Army. Baker was a steel guitar player as a youth and later played Dobro and pedal steel guitar in Nashville. He played the Grand Ole Opry throughout the early part of his career and was a member of the Mel Tillis Statesiders Band in the early 1970s. He played on numerous country albums and was in steady demand as a steel session player. Ernie Ashworth, Mel Tillis, Jim and Jessie, Bill Carlisle, Roy Drusky, Justin Tubb and Leroy Van Dyke were among the artists Baker played with.

Pedal steel player Jim Baker, 75, who played on the Grand Ole Opry and with Mel Tillis’ band died Oct. 5.2008 (by countrystandardtime.com)

This is his christmas album and this will be the last entry of christmas music this year !

Enjoy the beautiful sound of the steel-guitar !

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Personnel:
Kim Baker (steel-guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. White Christmas 2.15
02. Winter Wonderland 2.15
03. Blue Christmas 2.21
04. Christmas Song 2.03
05. Little Drummer Boy 2.00
06. O’ Little Town Of Bethlehem 2.49
07. Silver Bells 2.48
08. Silent Night 2.01
09. Christmas In My Hometown 2.00
10. Jingle Bell Rock 1.54
11. Here Comes Santa Clause 2.15
12. Rock Around The Christmas Tree 2.42

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Kenny Wheeler – Gnu High (1975)

frontcover1When Kenny Wheeler expatriated from his native Canada to England, it was not headline news. But upon the release of Gnu High, he became a contemporary jazz figure to be recognized, revered and admired. Playing the flugelhorn exclusively for this, his ECM label debut, Wheeler’s mellifluous tones and wealth of ideas came to full fruition. Whether chosen in collaboration with label boss Manfred Eicher or by Wheeler alone, picking pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette was a stroke of genius. They support the elongated and extended notions of Wheeler’s in many real and important ways. What is also extant is a sense of self-indulgence, real for listeners with short attention spans.

“Heyoke” is such a piece rife for this discussion at nearly 22 minutes. This lilting waltz is at once atmospheric and soulful, a fairly fresh and inventive style turned more dramatic near the finish of this magnum opus. It’s all fueled by the reinvented swing of DeJohnette. Jarrett’s vocal whining is kept in check, as his pretty pianistics buoy Wheeler’s notions in Zen inspired time and eventually no time improvisations.

kennywheeler01“Gnu Suite” is similarly rendered in an unforced 4/4 rhythm, but Wheeler is more animated. There’s a plus-plus solo from Holland before the group merges into a floating and flowing discourse again in free time.

The special track is “Smatter” and at just under six minutes works better, not only for radio airplay, but also in its concise melodic construct by means of the regal and happy persona Wheeler portrays. Pure melody and a repeated anchoring seven-note phrase insert sets this tune apart from the rest.

It also clearly identifies the warm and cool stance only Wheeler wields, making seemingly simple music deep and profound. Certainly this was an auspicious starting point, albeit long winded, for a magical performer whose sound and smarts captured the imagination of so many fellow musicians and listeners from this point onward. (Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Dave Holland (bass)
Keith Jarrett (piano)
Kenny Wheeler (flugelhorn)

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Tracklist:
01. Heyoke  21.47
02. ‘Smatter 5.56
03. Gnu Suite  12.47
All tracks composed by Kenny Wheeler

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Miles Davis – Agharta (1975)

FrontCover1Along with its sister recording, Pangaea, Agharta was recorded live in February of 1975 at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan. Amazingly enough, given that these are arguably Davis’ two greatest electric live records, they were recorded the same day. Agharta was performed in the afternoon and Pangaea in the evening. Of the two, Agharta is superior. The band with Davis — saxophonist Sonny Fortune, guitarists Pete Cosey (lead) and Reggie Lucas (rhythm), bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Al Foster, and percussionist James Mtume — was a group who had their roots in the radically streetwise music recorded on 1972’s On the Corner, and they are brought to fruition here. The music on Agharta, a total of three tunes spread over two CDs and four LP sides, contains the “Prelude,” which clocks in at over a half-hour. There is “Maiysha” from Get up With It and the Agharta “Interlude,” which segues into the “Theme From Jack Johnson.” The music here is almost totally devoid of melody and harmony, and is steeped into a steamy amalgam of riffs shot through and through with crossing polyrhythms, creating a deep voodoo funk groove for the soloists to inhabit for long periods of time as they solo and interact with one another.

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Davis’ band leading at this time was never more exacting or free. The sense of dynamics created by the stop-start accents and the moods, textures, and colors brought out by this particular interaction of musicians is unparalleled in Davis’ live work — yeah, that includes the Coltrane and Bill Evans bands, but they’re like apples and oranges anyway. Driven by the combination of Davis’ direction and the soloing of Sonny Fortune and guitarist Pete Cosey, who is as undervalued and underappreciated for his incalculable guitar-slinging gifts as Jimi Hendrix is celebrated for his, and the percussion mania of Mtume, the performance on Agharta is literally almost too much of a good thing to bear. When Cosey starts his solo in the “Prelude” at the 12-minute mark, listeners cannot be prepared for the Hendrixian energy and pure electric whammy-bar weirdness that’s about to come splintering out of the speakers. As the band reacts in intensity, the entire proceeding threatens to short out the stereo. These are some of the most screaming notes ever recorded. Luckily, since this is just the first track on the whole package, Davis can bring the tempos down a bit here and there and snake them into spots that I don’t think even he anticipated before that afternoon (check the middle of “Maiysha” and the second third of “Jack Johnson” for some truly creepy and beautiful wonders). While Pangaea is awesome as well, there is simply nothing like Agharta in the canon of recorded music. This is the greatest electric funk-rock jazz record ever made — period. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Pete Cosey (guitar, percussion, synthesizer)
Miles Davis (organ, trumpet)
Sonny Fortune (saxophone, flute)
Al Foster (drums)
Michael Henderson (bass)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
James Mtume (percussion, rhythm box, water drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Prelude (Part 1) 22.34
02. Prelude (Part 2) / Maiysha 23.01
03.Interlude 26.17
04. Theme from Jack Johnson 25.59

All compositions written by Miles Davis

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Elkie Brooks – Rich Man’s Woman (1975)

FrontCover1Rich Man’s Woman is the first album by Elkie Brooks.

Brooks’ first solo album was released in 1975 in a blaze of publicity and a promotional week at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. Recorded as a rock album in the vein of her work with Vinegar Joe, A&M Records were unhappy with the direction and decided to tone the album down, producing unsatisfactory results and an album in which Brooks lost faith. The picture sleeve featuring a semi-naked Brooks caused outrage at the time and remains controversial.[citation needed]

Despite an initial marketing campaign, both A&M and Elkie decided to stop promoting the work and to focus on her follow-up album, Two Days Away. (by wikipedia)

For more years than it would be polite to recall, Elkie Brooks has been too much of an underground heroine among students of lady rock singers. Now, at long last, she has delivered the album which can shoot her to international acclaim, and establish her, finally, as perhaps the finest rock singer Britain has produced.
Long before Vinegar Joe, itself a fine band, Elkie paid her dues as a jazz singer in various bands, and now the years of experience, together with her unique  power, reaches fruition with a simply stunning album.

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But power, so often the only asset of lady rockers, is not played up by Elkie to the detriment of her intrinsic bluesy feeling. She has always displayed taste, even as a bawdy rocker, and taste is the hallmark of this immaculately-produced album.
To make it, Elkie went to Los Angeles and received  accompaniment from some inspired musicians, and some immensely careful production by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who have been closely connected    with Gladys Knight’s records. The result: nine tracks without one duff moment.
The opener, “Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman)”, is one of five written by Elkie – another aspect of her progression – and gets the album off to a startling momentum. It’s a rock track with fine control, and never goes over the top, which could easily have happened; it also has a fine hook-line.
“Roll Me Over” is an example of Elkie’s  jazz leanings, and “One Step On The Ladder” is a bright commentary on what is happening to her at this moment. “Try A Little Loving” shows her tender songwriting capabilities, as well as her imaginative sense of delivery.
But “Jigsaw Baby” is the absolute high spot on this album. The aforementioned Brooks-written songs come nowhere near this gem – a richly-experienced  piece, again autobiographical, with a delightful melody line. Her singing is superb here, and contains the sort of inflections that could only come from an artist grounded in jazz, because the pace of the song is so hard to control.

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Leo Sayer’s “Tomorrow” gets a vital new treatment, and she has a stab at “He’s A Rebel” – an unfortunate choice, but we’ll let that one pass. The vocal backings are excellent, and include Clydie King and Venetta Fields plus Jim Gilstrap.
The track record of female rock singers through the years has been fairly bleak, but this goes a long way to redress the balance. It will stand as one of the finest albums of the year. Patriotism, I know, is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but this time, go and buy British.
At least it was made in the States. Seriously – an exceptional album, (Melody Maker, November 1975 )

And “Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman) ” is one of the best songs Elkie Brooks ever recorded !

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Personnel:
Elkie Brooks (vocals)
Steve Burgh (guitar)
Bruce Foster (keyboards)
David Kemper (drums)
Dennis Kovarik (bass)
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Ben Benay (guitar)
Max Bennett (bass)
Mike Boddicker (synthesizer)
Alan Estes (percussion)
Gene Estes (percussion)
John Guerin (drums)
David Paich (keyboards)
Nino Tempo (saxophone)
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background vocals:
Stan Farber – Venetta Fields – Gerry Garrett – Jim Gilstrap – Ron Hicklin – Clydie King – Gene Marford – Verlene Rogers – Jenny Whitman

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Tracklist:
01. Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman) (Brooks) 3.45
02. Take Cover (Brown/Lloyd) 3.03
03. Jigsaw Baby (Brooks/Foster) 5.18
04. Roll Me Over (Brooks)  3.02
05. He’s A Rebel (Pitney) 2.55
06. One Step On The Ladder (Brooks) 5.24
07. Rock And Roll Circus (Segarini) 4.21
08. Try A Little Love (Brooks) 3.54
09. Tomorrow (Courtney/Sayer) 3.59

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Alvin Lee – One More Chance (1975)

FrontCover1This recording came from a show in London, culled from one of Alvin Lee’s tours after initially leaving Ten Years After. In the same year, he crossed the pond to embark on a number of gigs for his first U.S. solo tour. Lee had done an astounding 28 U.S. tours in only seven years with TYA, and he had exploded on movie screens everywhere as part of the Woodstock documentary, so audiences everywhere were very familiar with Lee and his music.

Although TYA had seen enormous success as a live act and, to a lesser degree, as a studio band, Lee had stayed with the group longer than he felt he should have. Having been pigeon-holed into the bass-guitar-drums-organ instrumentation, and playing mostly 12-bar blues progressions, he became musically bored.

Lee departed the group in early 1974, and after releasing a country-rock album, On the Road to Freedom, with gospel singer Mylon LeFevre and a bevy of top-notch guest musicians, he put together Alvin Lee and Company. They did their first show at London’s Rainbow Theater in 1974 on a dare, but the gig turned out so well that Lee released it as the double-LP In Flight. The band, which included former Humble Pie keyboardist Tim Hinkley and ex-members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, would remain Lee’s touring and recording band for several years after these tracks were cut.

Review

Source: alvinlee.de

So, this is another rare Albin Lee bootleg (thanks to Oh Boy records !) and this is the other side of Alvin Lee … an real beautiful side !

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Personnel:
Tim Hinkley (keyboards)
Neil Hubbard (guitar)
Alvin Lee (guitar, vocals)
Alan Spenner (nass)
Ian Wallace (drums)
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Background vocals:
Dyan Birch – Frank Collins – Paddie McHugh

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The wrong picture(booklet: Ten Years Later from 1978

Tracklist:
01. Let The Sun Burn Down (Lee)  6.25
02. You Told Me (Lee) 3.58
03. How Many Times (Lee) 2.59
04. Going Through The Door (Lee) 5.40
05. I’ve Got Eyes For You, Baby     2:35
06. Ride My Train (Lee) 7.56
07. Julian Rice (Lee) 5.29
08. One More Chance (Lee) 4.15
09. Rock ‘N Roll (Lee) 5.56
10, Johnny B. Goode (Berry) 3.50

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