Charlie Musselwhite – Goin’ Back Down South (1975)

FrontCover1Charles Douglas Musselwhite (born January 31, 1944) is an American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader, one of the white bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s, along with Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield. He has often been identified as a “white bluesman”. Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Elwood Blues; the character played by Dan Aykroyd in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

Musselwhite was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to white parents. Originally claiming to be of partly Choctaw descent, in a 2005 interview he said his mother had told him he was of distant Cherokee descent. His family considered it natural to play music. His father played guitar and harmonica, his mother played piano, and a relative was a one-man band.

At the age of three, Musselwhite moved to Memphis, Tennessee. When he was a teenager, Memphis experienced the period when rockabilly, western swing, and electric blues were combining to give birth to rock and roll. That period featured Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and lesser-known musicians such as Gus Cannon, Furry Lewis, Will Shade, and Johnny Burnette. Musselwhite supported himself by digging ditches, laying concrete and running moonshine in a 1950 Lincoln automobile. This environment was a school for music as well as life for Musselwhite, who eventually acquired the nickname Memphis Charlie.

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In true bluesman fashion, Musselwhite then took off in search of the rumored “big-paying factory jobs” up the “Hillbilly Highway”, Highway 51 to Chicago, where he continued his education on the South Side, making the acquaintance of even more legends, including Lew Soloff, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Big Walter Horton. Musselwhite immersed himself completely in the musical life, living in the basement of and occasionally working at Jazz Record Mart (the record store operated by Delmark Records founder Bob Koester) with Big Joe Williams and working as a driver for an exterminator, which allowed him to observe what was happening around the city’s clubs and bars. He spent his time hanging out at the Jazz Record Mart, at the corner of State and Grand, and a nearby bar, Mr. Joe’s, with the city’s blues musicians, and sitting in with Williams and others in the clubs, playing for tips. There he forged a lifelong friendship with John Lee Hooker; though Hooker lived in Detroit, Michigan, the two often visited each other, and Hooker served as best man at Musselwhite’s third marriage to Henrietta Musselwhite. Gradually Musselwhite became well known around town.

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In time, Musselwhite led his own blues band, and after Elektra Records’ success with Paul Butterfield, he released the legendary album Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band in 1966 on Vanguard Records to immediate and great success. He took advantage of the clout this album gave him to move to San Francisco, where, instead of being one of many competing blues acts, he held court as the king of the blues in the exploding countercultural music scene, an exotic and gritty figure to the flower children. Musselwhite even convinced Hooker to move to California.

Since then, Musselwhite has released over 20 albums and has been a guest performer on albums by many other musicians, such as Bonnie Raitt’s Longing in Their Hearts and the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Spirit of the Century, both winners of Grammy Awards. He also performed on Tom Waits’s Mule Variations and INXS’s Suicide Blonde. He has won 14 Blues Music Awards, has been nominated for six Grammy Awards. received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Monterey Blues Festival and the San Javier Jazz Festival, in San Javier, Spain, and received the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

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In 1979, Musselwhite recorded The Harmonica According to Charlie Musselwhite in London for Kicking Mule Records, intended to accompany an instructional book; the album became so popular that it was released on CD. In June 2008, Blind Pig Records reissued the album on 180-gram vinyl with new cover art.

In 1990 Musselwhite signed with Alligator Records, a step that led to a resurgence of his career.

In 1998, Musselwhite appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000. He played the harmonica in the Louisiana Gator Boys, which featured many other blues and R&B legends, such as B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, Koko Taylor, Jimmie Vaughan, Dr. John, and Jack DeJohnette.

Over the years, Musselwhite has branched out in style. His 1999 recording, Continental Drifter, is accompanied by Cuarteto Patria, from Cuba’s Santiago region, the Cuban music counterpart of the Mississippi Delta. Because of political differences between Cuba and the United States, the album was recorded in Bergen, Norway, with Musselwhite’s wife handling the details.

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Musselwhite believes the key to his musical success was finding a style in which he could express himself. He said, “I only know one tune, and I play it faster or slower, or I change the key, but it’s just the one tune I’ve ever played in my life. It’s all I know.”

His past two albums, Sanctuary and Delta Hardware, were released by Real World Records.

Musselwhite played on Tom Waits’s 1999 album Mule Variations. He can be heard at the beginning of the song “Chocolate Jesus”, saying “I love it”. Waits has mentioned that this is his favorite part of the song.

In 2002, he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley: A Tribute!, performing the song “Hey Bo Diddley”.

Musselwhite lost both of his elderly parents in December 2005, in separate incidents. His mother, Ruth Maxine Musselwhite, was murdered.

Musselwhite joined the judging panel of the 10th annual Independent Music Awards, to assist independent musicians’ careers. He was also a judge for the 7th and 9th Independent Music Awards.

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Musselwhite was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. The same year, he appeared on the JW-Jones recording “Midnight Memphis Sun”, along with Hubert Sumlin. Also in 2010, he released the album The Well. In the title song he credits Jessica McClure’s ordeal as a child trapped in a well for over 58 hours in 1987 for inspiring him to quit drinking, stating,

She was trapped in there with a broken arm in the dark, in a life-and-death situation she was singing nursery rhymes to herself and being brave…It made my problems seem tiny. CharlieMusselwhite01So as a prayer to her and myself, I decided I wasn’t going to drink till she got out of that well. It was like I was tricking myself, telling myself that I wasn’t going to quit for good, just until she got out. It took three days to get her out, and I haven’t had a drink since.

For the first half of 2011, Musselwhite toured with the acoustic-electric blues band Hot Tuna. In the latter half of 2011, he went on tour with Cyndi Lauper, having played harmonica on her hit album Memphis Blues. While on this tour, he appeared with Lauper on Jools Holland’s television program Hootenanny on New Year’s Eve 2011, performing a modified arrangement of Lauper’s signature song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.

In 2012, Musselewhite released the live album Juke Joint Chapel (recorded at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, MS) which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. Musselwhite also teamed with Ben Harper to record the album Get Up!, which was released in January 2013. In January 2014, it won a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album.

In 2014 and 2015, he won a Blues Music Award in the category Best Instrumentalist – Harmonicist.

At the 40th Blues Music Awards ceremony in 2019, Musselwhite’s joint composition with Ben Harper, “No Mercy In This Land”, was named as ‘Song of the Year’. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his 7th solo-album:

Combining two leftovers from Takin’ My Time with a much later session featuring Chicago pianist Lafayette Leake didn’t do much for this LP’s continuity, but it was nice to see the tracks see the light of day (especially Robben Ford’s jazz instro “Blue Stu,” a rare recorded example of him on alto sax). Musselwhite and Leake together proves a natural, especially on “On the Spot Boogie,” with Musselwhite quoting Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.” Musselwhite’s guitar playing makes its first appearance on vinyl here: the primitive country blues of “Taylor, Arkansas” and a nod to Earl Hooker’s slide playing, “Blue Steel.” (by Dan Forte)

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Personnel:
Pat Ford  (drums on 01., 03.)
Robben Ford (guitar, on 01., saxophone on 03.)
Tim Kaihatsu (guitar on 02., 03., 05. – 09.)
Lafayette Leake (piano on 02., 03., 05. – 09.)
Larry Martin (drums on 02., 03., 05. – 09.)
Charlie Musselwhite (vocals, harmonica, guitar on 02. + 06.)
Gerald Pederson (bass on 01., 03.)
Skip Rose (piano on 01., 03.)
Karl Sevareid (bass on 02., 03., 05. – 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Crazy For My Baby (Dixon) 2.53
02. Blue Steel (Musselwhite) 4.44
03. Take Me Back (Jacobs) 5.16
04. Blue Stu (R.Ford) 7.25
05. This Old Night Life (D.A.R.) 5.18
06. Taylor’s, Arkansas (Musselwhite) 2.46
07. Cut You Loose (D.A.R.) 4.14
08. If Trouble Was Money (D.A.R.) 5.17
09. On The Spot Boogie (Leake) 2-39

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Al Stewart – Modern Times (1975)

FrontCover1Alastair Ian Stewart (born 5 September 1945) is a British singer-songwriter and folk-rock musician who rose to prominence as part of the British folk revival in the 1960s and 1970s. He developed a unique style of combining folk-rock songs with delicately woven tales of characters and events from history.

Stewart is best known for his 1976 hit single “Year of the Cat”, the title song from the platinum album of the same name. Though Year of the Cat and its 1978 platinum follow-up Time Passages brought Stewart his biggest worldwide commercial successes, earlier albums such as Past, Present and Future from 1973 are often seen as better examples of his intimate brand of historical folk-rock, a style to which he returned in later albums.

Stewart is a key figure in British music and he appears throughout the musical folklore of the revivalist era. He played at the first-ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970, knew Yoko Ono before she met John Lennon, shared a London flat with a young Paul Simon, and hosted at the Les Cousins folk club in London in the 1960s.

AlStewart01Stewart has released 16 studio and three live albums since his debut album Bed-Sitter Images in 1967, and continues to tour extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK. His most recent release, Uncorked, was released on Stewart’s independent label, Wallaby Trails Recordings, in 2009.

Stewart has worked with Peter White, Alan Parsons, Jimmy Page, Richard Thompson, Rick Wakeman, Francis Monkman, Tori Amos, and Tim Renwick, and more recently has played with Dave Nachmanoff and former Wings lead-guitarist Laurence Juber.

Modern Times is Al Stewart’s sixth studio album, released in 1975. (wikipedia)

Surely the title is a bit of an allusion to the Past, Present and Future of its predecessor, but Modern Times also brought Al Stewart into the present, establishing his classic sound of folky narratives and Lennonesque melodies, all wrapped up in a lush, layered production from Alan Parsons. Hearing this production makes it clear that this is what was missing from Past, since it gives epics like the title track a real sense of grandeur that makes their sentiments resonate strongly. But it’s not just the improvement in production that makes Modern Times the beginning of Stewart’s classic period — his songwriting has leapt up and met his ambitions, as it retains the historical sweep of his earlier material but melds it to a melodic sensibility that’s alternately comforting and haunting. This skill is apparent throughout Modern Times, and is married to a sound that is its equivalent, making this an exquisite pop-prog gem. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Check out the line-up of this album …  !!!

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Personnel:
Tony Carr (percussion)
Gerry Conway (drums)
Stuart Cowell (dobro, guitar)
David Ellis (guitar)
George Ford (bass)
Isaac Guillory (guitar)
Peter Moss (bass)
Simon Nicol (guitar)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Barry DeSouza (drums)
Graham Smith (harmonica)
Al Stewart (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Pete Wingfield (keyboards)
Peter Wood (keyboards, accordion)
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background vocals:
Brian Bennett – Neil Lancaster – Charles Mills
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Alan Parsons (string arrangements)

Alternate front + backcover:
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Tracklist:
01. Carol 4.25
02. Sirens Of Titan 2.51
03. What’s Going On? 4.05
04. Not The One 4.36
05. Next Time 4.21
06. Apple Cider Re-Constitution 5.20
07. The Dark And The Rolling Sea 5.30
08. Modern Times 8.15

All tracks composed by Al Stewart
except 08: composed by Dave Mudge & Al Stewart

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Abba – Arrival (1976)

FrontCover1ABBA is a Swedish pop supergroup formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The group’s name is an acronym of the first letters of their first names. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982. ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest 1974, giving Sweden its first triumph in the contest. They are the most successful group to have taken part in the competition.

During the band’s main active years, it was composed of two married couples: Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson. With the increase of their popularity, their personal lives suffered, which eventually resulted in the collapse of both marriages. The relationship changes were reflected in the group’s music, with latter compositions featuring darker and more introspective lyrics. After ABBA disbanded, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage, while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers.[5][6] Ten years after their disbanding, a compilation, ABBA Gold was released, which became a worldwide bestseller.

In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name, released in 2008, became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. A sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, was released in 2018. That same year it was announced that the band had recorded two new songs after 35 years of being inactive.

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Estimates of ABBA’s total record sales are over 380 million, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. ABBA were the first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. They had eight consecutive number-one albums in the UK. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin America, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish. ABBA were honoured at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, when their hit “Waterloo” was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2015, their song “Dancing Queen” was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.

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Arrival is the fourth studio album by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was originally released in Sweden on 11 October 1976 by Polar Records. Recording sessions began in August 1975 and continued until September 1976 at Metronome and Glen studios in Stockholm, Sweden. It became one of ABBA’s most successful albums to date, producing three of their biggest hits: “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” Released as a single earlier the same year (in March 1976), the track “Fernando” was included on the Australian and New Zealand versions of the album. Arrival was the best-selling album of 1977 in the United Kingdom and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The album was first released on compact disc (CD) in 1984 and then re-issued in digitally remastered form a total of four times; first in 1997, then in 2001, 2005 as part of The Complete Studio Recordings box set, and again in 2006 (as a special Deluxe Edition).

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By the time ABBA began working on their fourth album in August 1975, they had achieved a modest level of success around the world. It was with Arrival however, that they would achieve global superstardom. The first song to enter the studio was a track called “Boogaloo” on 4 August. Taking inspiration from the current disco sound (and in particular George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby”), the backing track was laid down.[2] The group knew that they had something big on their hands, as member Agnetha Fältskog remarked: “We knew immediately it was going to be massive.” With re-written lyrics, the song became known as “Dancing Queen,” and would go on to be ABBA’s biggest ever hit. Work on the song continued intermittently until December 1975 as the group’s activities were increasing in the latter half of the year as they saw a sudden surge in popularity in the United Kingdom and Australia. During this time they also recorded a song (in Swedish) for member Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s solo album, “Fernando.”

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In March 1976, with “Fernando” re-written with English lyrics, it was released as an ABBA single, becoming the group’s biggest hit to date – hitting No.1 in many countries, including a 14-week stay at No.1 in Australia. It was featured as the brand new track on their Greatest Hits album which was selling in huge numbers around that time, becoming the biggest-selling album of the year in the UK (in Australia, it was featured on the “Arrival” album placed between “Why Did It Have To Be Me” and “Tiger”). In the midst of this success, the group finally found time to return to the studio in late March. The next song they began working on was “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” which was to become yet another major hit worldwide. Member Benny Andersson has said that it is “one of our five best recordings.”

By the end of April two other songs had been laid down: “That’s Me” and “Why Did It Have to Be Me.” The latter was reworked into “Happy Hawaii” before ultimately arriving back at its original title with completely different lyrics and member Björn Ulvaeus on lead vocals as opposed to Faltskog and Lyngstad (“Happy Hawaii” would later be released as a B-side). A similar situation occurred with the next recording when a song entitled “Money, Money, Money” became “Gypsy Girl” and then back to its original title. “Money, Money, Money” would also be released as a single and become a major hit some months after the album’s eventual release.

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In June 1976, a TV special dedicated to the group (entitled ABBA-dabba-dooo!!) was filmed. Around the same time they recorded a song called “When I Kissed the Teacher,” which would become the opening track on their new album. Late July saw the next two tracks, “Tiger” and “Dum Dum Diddle” recorded. Considered by biographer Carl Magnus Palm as the “complete antithesis” of each other, the former being a hard rocker against the pure pop of the latter, both Lyngstad and Ulvaeus have expressed dissatisfaction with “Dum Dum Diddle,” with Ulvaeus admitting that it was a nonsense lyric he’d come up with in desperation. The next song to be recorded was “My Love My Life.” Originally titled “Monsieur Monsieur” and more upbeat, the song soon became a lush ballad with backing harmonies inspired by 10cc’s hit “I’m Not In Love.”

The final track to be recorded was an instrumental piece entitled “Ode to Dalecarlia.” Featuring Andersson prominently on keyboards, the track was renamed “Arrival” – a word that had already been decided as the title of their new album. By September 1976 work on the album was finished just as “Dancing Queen” was topping the charts all over the world. The album cover shots were taken of the group posing in and out of a Bell 47 helicopter at the Barkarby Airport, northwest of Stockholm. The now-renowned “mirrored-B” copyrighted ABBA logo, an ambigram designed by Rune Söderqvist in 1976 was also premiered on the album cover. Arrival was released on 11 October 1976.

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Ken Tucker panned Arrival as “Muzak mesmerizing in its modality” and wrote, “By reducing their already vapid lyrics to utter irrelevance, lead singers Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog are liberated to natter on in their shrill voices without regard to emotion or expression.”In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide” (2004), music journalist Arion Berger gave Arrival four out of five stars and recommended its Universal reissue to consumers.

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The album became a major seller all over the world, becoming the top-selling album of 1977 in both the UK and West Germany for example. It housed three of ABBA’s biggest hits; “Dancing Queen,” “Money Money Money” and “Knowing Me Knowing You,” and in some territories a fourth with the inclusion of “Fernando” (which in most markets had featured on their earlier Greatest Hits album). “That’s Me” was released as a single in Japan only.

The album was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Arrival re-entered the UK album charts at #94 for the week of August 3, 2018, for the first time since 1979. (wikipedia)

Singles

Widely considered the Swedish foursome’s first classic album — and historically important as the first to use the now-famous mirror-B logo — 1976’s Arrival contains three huge hit singles, the dramatic “Money Money Money,” the downcast “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” and quite possibly the band’s finest four minutes, the absolutely perfect pop classic “Dancing Queen,” a combination of Spector-ian grandeur, McCartney-esque melody, and the indescribable vocals of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The rest of ABBA’s fourth album is strikingly consistent and accomplished, from the sly, bouncy “When I Kissed the Teacher” to the atmospheric title track, making room in between for the three excellent singles and five other substantial pop tunes. Although three LPs and a greatest-hits compilation preceded it, Arrival is aptly titled, as this album announces the band’s move beyond bubblegum. (by Rovi Staff)

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Personnel:
Benny Andersson (synthesizer, piano, accordion, chimes, marimba, background vocals)
Agnetha Fältskog (vocals)
Anni-Frid Lyngstad (vocals)
Björn Ulvaeus (guitar, vocals on 08., background vocals)
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Ola Brunkert (drums, strings)
Lars Carlsson (saxophone)
Anders Dahl (strings)
Malando Gassama (percussion)
Anders Glenmark (guitar)
Rutger Gunnarsson (bass)
Roger Palm (strings, drums)
Janne Schaffer (guitar)
Lasse Wellander (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. When I Kissed The Teacher (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus) 3.02
02. Dancing Queen (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus)  3.52
03. My Love, My Life (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 3.53
04. Dum Dum Diddle Ulvaeus (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus) 2.55
05. Knowing Me, Knowing You (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 4.02
06. Money, Money, Money (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus 3.07
07. That’s Me (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 3.16
08. Why Did It Have to Be Me? (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus) 3.21
09. Tiger (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus) 2.56
10. Arrival (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus) 3.02
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11. Fernando (B.Anderson/Ulvaeus/S.Anderson) 4.15

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The perfect Pop song of the Seventies:

You can dance, you can jive
Having the time of your life, ooh
See that girl, watch that scene
Dig in the Dancing Queen

Friday night and the lights are low
Looking out for a place to go
Where they play the right music, getting in the swing
You come to look for a king

Anybody could be that guy
Night is young and the music’s high
With a bit of rock music, everything is fine
You’re in the mood for a dance

And when you get the chance

You are the Dancing Queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing Queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah
You can dance, you can jive
Having the time of your life, ooh
See that girl, watch that scene
Dig in the Dancing Queen

You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on
Leave them burning and then you’re gone
Looking out for another, anyone will do
You’re in the mood for a dance

And when you get the chance

You are the Dancing Queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing Queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah

You can dance, you can jive
Having the time of your life, oh
See that girl, watch that scene
Dig in the Dancing Queen

John Mayall – Live At The BBC (2007)

FrontCover1On its own terms, most of this 14-track compilation of 1965-1967 recordings for BBC sessions (all but one of them dating from 1965-1967) is a worthwhile collection of supplementary work by John Mayall’s best Bluesbreakers lineups. If you’re a serious Mayall fan, however, be aware that you might have already bought this material in some form or another in the year or so previous to the release of this CD in early 2007. For the dozen 1965-1967 cuts all appear as bonus material on the 2006 U.K. expanded CD editions of the John Mayall Plays John Mayall, Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, and A Hard Road albums, all of which also include bonus tracks from non-LP singles, studio outtakes, and the like. If for some reason you do want to zero in on the BBC material exclusively, this has some decent live performances with both the Eric Clapton and Peter Green lineups of the Bluesbreakers. (The liner notes also admit it’s likely that the three tracks from October 25, 1965 feature not only Jack Bruce on bass during his brief Bluesbreakers stint, but also guitarist Jeff Kribit (sometimes spelled Geoff Krivit in other sources), who was in the group during a brief spell when Clapton left the band to go to Greece.)

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The BBC takes here of songs that also appear on Mayall’s official ’60s releases aren’t as good as the studio versions (and are sometimes very similar), but are still well done, though on the five tracks on which Clapton appears, he doesn’t seem to be playing with as much fire as he was capable of mustering. Of special interest are a few songs that Mayall didn’t put on his official ’60s recordings in any form, including a cover of Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Bye Bye Bird” and (from the October 1965 session) two decent original Mayall compositions, “Cheating Woman” and “Nowhere to Turn.” Also note that while Mayall was leading the Peter Green version of the Bluesbreakers on the four songs from a January 23, 1967 session, it’s Mayall playing alone on one of these tracks, “No More Tears,” which would appear on his The Blues Alone LP. The two songs that end the CD are from an October 21, 1975 session, and are of far less interest than the other material, dating from a time where Mayall was a few years past his creative peak and leading a much less interesting band. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Ronnie Barron (keyboards on 13. + 14.)
Jack Bruce (bass on 04., 05., 06.
Eric Clapton (guitar on 01., 02., 03., 07., 08.
Aynsley Dunbar (drums on 10., 11. + 12.)
Hughie Flint (drums on 01. – 12.)
Peter Green (guitar on 10., 11. + 12.)
Don “Sugarcane” Harris (violin on 13. + 14.)
Jeff Kirbit (guitar on 04., 05., 06
John Mayall (vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica)
Dee McKinnie (vocals on 13. + 14.)
John McVie (bass on 01., 02., 03., 07., 08., 10., 11.
Soko Richardson (drums on 13. + 14.)
Larry Taylor (bass on 13. + 14.)
Rick Vito (guitar on 13. + 14.)

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Tracklist:
01. Crawling Up A Hill (Mayall) 2.07
02. Crocodile Walk (Mayall)
03. Bye Bye Bird (Williamson/Dixon) 2.49
04. I´m Your Witchdoctor (Mayall) 2.11
05. Cheating Woman (Mayall) 2.03
06. Nowhere To Run (Mayall) 1.42
07. On Top Of The World (Mayall) 2.33
08. Key To Love (Mayall) 2.02
09. No More Tears (Mayall) 2.18
10. Riding On The L And N (Burley/Hampton) 2.19
11. Sitting In The Rain (Mayall) 2.53
12. Leaping Christine (Mayall) 1.55
13. So Much To Do (Mayall) 5.31
14. Taxman Blues (Mayall) 3.50

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More from John Mayall:
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Gabor Szabo – Macho (1975)

FrontCover1Macho is an album by Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó featuring performances recorded in 1975 and released on the Salvation label.

Macho is right. This 1975 album is one of the headiest in the Hungarian-born guitarist Gabor Szabo’s entire catalog. Produced by Bob James, the album is deep in fretless Fender basslines courtesy of Louis Johnson, funky Rhodes pianos and synthesizers from James and former Mother of Invention Ian Underwood, guitar savvy from Szabo with Eric Gale on rhythm, and a horn section that features no less than George Bohanon, Jon Faddis, and Tom Scott, with the venerable Harvey Mason Sr. on drums. This is a tough, in-your-face, funky soul-jazz band. Szabo’s sense of camp was eternal as he covers, disco-style, Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody #2,” but slips into the souled-out groove-jazz of his own “Time,” without a seam. Szabo’s playing, with its mysterious, liquid runs and razor sharp melodic sensibilities, is centered here by James, who attempts to make Szabo’s six strings be at the absolute dead-center of the mix. Tracks like James’ own “Transylvania Boogie,” (the long title track), and Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man,” offer a glimpse of Szabo as the consummate melodist: with teeth. Harmonically, this band was as disciplined as the charts would allow, giving nothing away in the ensemble sections. This is a tough, streetwise, commercial jazz album that has plenty to offer to anyone with an open mind. In the pocket, groove-soaked, and flawlessly executed. (by Thom Jurek)

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Although this didn’t knock me out quite as much as his classic “The Sorcerer” album, this CD is still a great listen. There is also less emphasis on Szabo’s stellar guitar playing and more of a cooperative band approach to the compositions on this album. And that’s not a bad thing, especially considering the talent on offer here: Eric Gale on rhythm guitar, Bob James (who also produced this album for CTI) on piano, Louis Johnson (yes, one of the Brothers Johnson) on bass, Harvey Mason on drums, Tom Scott on sax, Jon Faddis on trumpet, and a percussion duo of Ralph MacDonald and Idris Muhammad. Can you say: Jamming! Yes, this album works the rhythms and grooves, but Gabor and crew also handle the downtempo stuff with grace and precision. I love, for example, their take on Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man.” Marvelous stuff. (Donald E. Gilliland)

Recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, California on April 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8, 1975

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Personnel:
George Bohanon (trombone)
Scott Edwards (bass)
John Faddis (trumpet)
Eric Gale (guitar)
Bobbye Hall (percussion)
Bob James (keyboards)
Louis Johnson (bass)
Ralph MacDonald (percussion)
Harvey Mason (drums)
Idris Muhammad (percussion)
Tom Scott (saxophone, lyricon)
Gábor Szabó (guitar)
Ian Underwood (synthesizer)

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Tracklist:
01. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Liszt) 6.46
02. Time (Szabó) 5.31
03. Transylvania Boogie (James) 5.27
04. Ziggidy Zog (Mason) 5.57
05. Macho (Szabó) 9-09
06. Poetry Man (Snow) 4.25

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Gábor István Szabó (March 8, 1936 – February 26, 1982)

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UFO – Force It (1975)

FrontCover1UFO are an English rock band that was formed in London in 1968. They became a transitional group between early hard rock and heavy metal and the new wave of British heavy metal. The band’s current lineup includes vocalist Phil Mogg, lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Neil Carter, bass guitarist Rob De Luca, and drummer Andy Parker. They have gone through several line-up changes, leaving Mogg as the only constant member, and had two hiatuses (1983–1984 and again from 1989 to 1991). The band are also notable for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of UFO from 1973 to 1978 and again, occasionally, between 1993 and 2003, when Moore replaced him. In May 2018, Mogg announced that he will retire from UFO after one last tour as a member of the band in 2019.

Over a career spanning 52 years, UFO have released 22 studio albums, 14 live recordings, 16 compilation albums and one album of cover songs. They achieved moderate success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with several albums and singles (including their 1979 live album Strangers in the Night) in the UK and US Top 40 charts, and have sold over 20 million records worldwide. Some of their best-known songs include “Doctor Doctor”, “Rock Bottom”, “Natural Thing”, “Lights Out”, “Too Hot to Handle” and “Only You Can Rock Me”. UFO are considered one of the greatest classic hard rock acts,[9] and often cited as one of the key influences on the 1980s and 1990s hard rock and heavy metal scenes. The band were ranked number 84 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”.

Force It is the fourth studio album by the British rock band UFO, released in 1975. It became their first album to chart in the United States.

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The album was produced by Ten Years After bass player Leo Lyons. Another Ten Years After member, Chick Churchill, played keyboards, the first use of that instrument on a UFO record.

The somewhat controversial original cover was designed by Hipgnosis, as were almost all other UFO albums of the 1970s. The nudity on the cover verged on breaching decency standards and the genders of the couple in the bathtub were not known for several years. The models were later revealed to be Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti, both later of the influential industrial band Throbbing Gristle. The artwork was softened for the initial US release, making the couple in the bathtub transparent. The cover is a pun — there are multiple taps (British English) or “faucets” (US English) in the picture, which is a play on the album’s title. (by wikipedia)

The US frontcover:
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Michael Schenker and Phil Mogg really started to find their groove as a songwriting team with their second album together (and fourth UFO release overall), Force It. In fact, the last remaining folk and space rock tendencies that had stolen much of Phenomenon’s thunder are summarily abandoned here, as the group launches itself wholeheartedly toward the hard rock direction that would make them stars. The first step is taken by Schenker, of course, who confidently establishes the aggressive, biting guitar tone that would define all the releases of the band’s glory years. “Let It Roll” and “Shoot Shoot” kick off the album in rousing fashion, and while holding them under a microscope might reveal them as rather disposable slabs of hard rock, they would remain concert favorites for the band nonetheless.

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The punchy single “Love Lost Love” sounds tailor-made for the American market and acoustic ballad “High Flyer” is quite good, despite taking a dip in energy. But things only really start to gell on the album’s second half. Schenker and Mogg wheel out their most mature composition yet with the piano-led “Out in the Street,” whose softer sections truly highlight Mogg’s highly disciplined, understated vocal style and make the guitar player’s more restrained soloing all the more memorable. Schenker is soon back in charge, however, on the stuttering riffs and blistering fretboard work of “Mother Mary” and the downright vicious stop-start strut of “This Kids” — both UFO anthems. One of the band’s best albums, Force It will not disappoint lovers of ’70s English hard rock. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

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Personnel:
Phil Mogg (vocals)
Andy Parker (drums)
Michael Schenker (guitar)
Pete Way (bass)
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Chick Churchill (keyboards(

Single

Tracklist:
01. Let It Roll (Schenker/Mogg) 3.57
02. Shoot Shoot (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) 3.40
03. High Flyer (Schenker/Mogg) 4.09
04. Love Lost Love (Schenker/Mogg) 3.22
05. Out In The Street (Way/Mogg) 5.18
06. Mother Mary (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) 3.50
07. Too Much Of Nothing (Way) 4.03
08. Dance Your Life Away (Schenker/Mogg) 3.35
09. This Kid’s (including “Between the Walls”) (Schenker/Mogg) 6.14
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10. A Million Miles” (previously unreleased studio track) (SchenkerMogg) 4.49
11. Mother Mary (live) (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) 4.05
12. Out In The Street (live) (Way/Mogg) 5.12
13. Shoot Shoot (live) (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) 3.48
14. Let It Roll (live) (Schenker/Mogg) 5.00
15. This Kid’s (live) (Schenker/Mogg) 4.19

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Another censored frontcover:
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John Cale – Slow Dazzle (1975)

FrontCover1John Davies Cale, OBE (born 9 March 1942) is a Welsh musician, composer, singer, songwriter and record producer who was a founding member of the American rock band the Velvet Underground. Over his five-decade career, Cale has worked in various styles across rock, drone, classical, avant-garde and electronic music.

He studied music at Goldsmiths College, University of London, before relocating in 1963 to New York City’s downtown music scene, where he performed as part of the Theatre of Eternal Music and formed the Velvet Underground. Since leaving the band in 1968, Cale has released 16 solo studio albums, including the widely acclaimed Music for a New Society. Cale has also acquired a reputation as an adventurous producer, working on the debut albums of several innovative artists, including the Stooges and Patti Smith.

Slow Dazzle is the fifth solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale, released on 25 March 1975, his second album for record label Island.

“Mr. Wilson” is about seminal American musician Brian Wilson; the Beach Boys founding member has been a strong influence on Cale’s work over the years. The song reflects the strong, divisive personal struggles in Wilson’s life. The music’s tone fluctuates from paranoid and unhappy to warm and pleasant moment by moment.

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“Heartbreak Hotel” is a cover of the Elvis Presley song (written by Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden) with fundamental elements of the track changed such the singing taking in “chilling” screams and dark synthesizer elements added to the background.

The track “Guts” opens with the line “The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife”. This refers to rock musician Kevin Ayers sleeping with Cale’s wife before the concert that’s captured on the June 1, 1974 album; John Cale related the details in his autobiography, with Victor Bockris, What’s Welsh for Zen, that was published in 1998.

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“The Jeweler” is a spoken word piece under an instrumental backdrop that recalls, at least in its poetic and freeform structure, the track “The Gift” from the Velvet Underground’s album White Light/White Heat. While Cale speaks in a calm, monotone voice, “The Jeweler” features a drone-like set of unsettling sounds that appear to build and build without reaching a conclusion. The non-vocal side of the track is somewhat reminiscent of contemporary 1970s-era horror film scoring.

The cover photography was by Keith Morris. It is also the second consecutive album to feature both Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music.
Release

Slow Dazzle was released on 25 March 1975. No singles were released off the album, although there was a promotional-only single of “Dirtyass Rock ‘n’ Roll” b/w “Heartbreak Hotel”. (by wikipedia)

Single

Recording again with Phil Manzanera, along with noted journeyman guitarist Chris Spedding, Cale kept up the focus and amazing music on Slow Dazzle, easily the equal of Fear in terms of overall quality. With Brian Eno again helping out on synth work, Slow Dazzle comes across as a little more fried and unsettling than earlier work. Even the warm, epic lift of the chorus of “Mr. Wilson,” very much a tribute to the Beach Boys’ main man and one of the best he’s ever received, is surrounded by strings and piano both lovely and paranoid. The more accurate tone of the record can be found in such numbers as “Dirty Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll,” an intelligent, sly demolition of the lifestyle done to a glam-touched chug topped off with brass and backing singers, and even more dramatically with “Heartbreak Hotel.”

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One of the most amazing cover versions ever, and arguably the best Elvis Presley revamp in existence, the slower pace, freaked-out Eno synth arrangement, and above all else Cale’s chilling delivery make it a masterpiece. Then there’s “Guts,” which deserves notice for its low-key but still sharp feedback snarl and steady, cool rhythm, but perhaps has its best moment with Cale’s gasped, killer starting lyric: “The bugger in the short sleeves f*cked my wife.” For all of the stronger rock power, Cale’s obviously not out to be pigeonholed, thus the calmer swing of many other numbers, like the great ’50s rock tribute “Darling I Need You,” featuring great guest sax from Andy Mackay, and the quick, almost sprightly “Ski Patrol.” In terms of his own performance, Cale’s voice again sounds marvelous, balanced perfectly between roughness and trained control, while his piano skills similarly find the connection between straightforward melodies and technical skill. (by Ned Raggett)

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Personnel:
John Cale (guitar, keyboards, clavinet, vocals)
Gerry Conway (drums)
Timi Donald (drums)
Pat Donaldson (bass)
Brian Eno (synthesizer)
Phil Manzanera (guitar)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
Chris Thomas (violin, piano)
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Geoff Muldaur (background vocals on harmony vocals on “Guts” and “Darling I Need You”

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Mr. Wilson 3.17
02. Taking It All Away 3.00
03. Dirty-Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll 4.45
04. Darling I Need You 3.39
05. Rollaroll 3.59
06. Heartbreak Hotel 3.14
07. Ski Patrol 2.13
08. I’m Not The Loving Kind 3.12
09. Guts 3.27
10. The Jeweller 5-07

All tracks composed by John Cale,
except 06. which was written by Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden & Elvis Presley

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Rare Promo-Single:
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Nils Lofgren – Same (1975)

FrontCover1Nils Hilmer Lofgren (born June 21, 1951) is an American rock musician, recording artist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Along with his work as a solo artist, he has been a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band since 1984, a member of Crazy Horse (1970–1971; 1973; 2018–present), and founder/frontman of the band Grin. Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014.

Nils Lofgren is a 1975 album by Nils Lofgren, also known as the “Fat Man Album”. It was his first solo album, following the breakup of his group, Grin.

The album was critically praised at the time of its release, most notably in a 1975 Rolling Stone review by Jon Landau. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said it was a “tour de force of unquenchable vitality and disarming subtlety.” In 2007, nearly 32 years after the release of Nils Lofgren, the album was again praised by Rolling Stone in the “Fricke’s Picks” column, where David Fricke said it was one of 1975’s best albums.[3] The album was on the Billboard 200 chart for nine weeks and peaked at number 141 on May 10, 1975.

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In 2007 the album was finally re-mastered and rereleased by Hip-O Select after being out of print for nearly a decade on compact disc.

The circus billboard that appears on the cover of this album also appears in an episode of The Monkees television series, “The Monkees at the Circus,” season 1, episode 22. (by wikipedia)

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When Nils Lofgren released his first solo album in 1975, most fans were expecting a set confirming his guitar hero status, and more than a few listeners were vocally disappointed with the more laid-back and song-oriented disc Lofgren delivered. However, with the passage of time Nils Lofgren has come to be regarded as an overlooked classic, and with good reason — Lofgren has rarely been in better form on record as a songwriter, vocalist, musician, and bandleader. While Lofgren doesn’t lay down a firestorm of guitar on each selection (with his piano unexpectedly high in the mix), when he does solo he makes it count, and the rough but tasty chordings and bluesy accents that fill out the frameworks of the songs give the performances plenty of sinew. Just as importantly, this is as good a set of songs as Lofgren has assembled on one disc, consistently passionate and forceful, from the cocky “If I Say It, It’s So” and “The Sun Hasn’t Set on This Boy Yet” to the lovelorn “I Don’t Want to Know” and “Back It Up,” while “Keith Don’t Go (Ode to the Glimmer Twins)” comes from the heart of a true fan and “Rock and Roll Crook” suggests Lofgren had already learned plenty about the music business by this time.

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The production on Nils Lofgren is simple but simpatico, giving all the players plenty of room to shine, and Lofgren’s rhythm section (Wornell Jones on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums) fits the album’s funky but heartfelt vibe perfectly. Lofgren has made harder rocking and flashier albums since his debut, but he rarely hit the pocket with the same élan as he did on Nils Lofgren, and it remains the most satisfying studio album of his career. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
Wornell Jones (bass)
Nils Lofgren (guitar, piano, vocals)
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Stu Gardner (background vocals on 02. -04. + 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Be Good Tonight 0.48
02. Back It Up 2.23
03. One More Saturday Night 3.09
04. If I Say It, It’s So 2.59
05. I Don’t Want To Know 2.54
06. Keith Don’t Go (Ode To The Glimmer Twin) 4.23
07. Can’t Buy A Break 3.16
08. Duty 2.56
09. The Sun Hasn’t Set On This Boy Yet 2.48
10. Rock And Roll Crook 2.55
11. Two By Two 3.06
12. Goin’ Back 3.51

All songs written by Nils Lofgren
except 12, which was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King

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Cat Stevens – Numbers (1975)

FrontCover1Numbers is the ninth studio album, and the first concept album by singer/songwriter Cat Stevens released in November 1975.

The album Numbers, subtitled “A Pythagorean Theory Tale,” was based on a fictional planet in a far-off galaxy named Polygor. The album included a booklet with excerpts from a planned book of the same name written by Chris Bryant and Allan Scott. The booklet features pen-and-ink illustrations drawn by Stevens.

The concept of the album is a fantastic spiritual musical which is set on the planet Polygor. In the story there is a castle with a number machine. This machine exists to fulfill the sole purpose of the planet – to disperse numbers to the rest of the universe: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (but notably not 0). The nine inhabitants of Polygor, the Polygons, are Monad, Dupey, Trezlar, Cubis, Qizlo, Hexidor, Septo, Octav, and Novim. As the last lines of the book say, they “followed a life of routine that had existed for as long as any could remember. … It was, therefore, all the more shocking when on an ordinary day things first started to go wrong.” The change takes the form of Jzero, who comes from nowhere as a slave and eventually confuses everybody with his simple truth.

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Upon its initial release in late 1975 both fans and critics were confused by the concept and the lack of the sort of “catchy” music that they had been used to from Stevens, and although the album eventually achieved gold status, it sold far less than his previous four albums and was considered a critical failure. At one point A&M Records (his American record label) contemplated terminating his contract, but he still had two albums left to make for them. Stevens continued to be bitter about the process of fame and the pressures to make money for his label, and distanced himself from participating in promotion for the album.

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Confronted with an ultimatum from the label along the lines of “make a pop record or else,” he set out to make one of the more expensive records of his career, 1977’s Izitso, which yielded several hits. The success of Izitso showed the label that he was still hit-worthy, but Stevens was now in process of embracing the faith of Islam, and after supplying the album Back to Earth, he opted out of the music business altogether, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, and devoted himself to the Islamic faith, education, and humanitarian work. But he would officially return to pop music with the release of An Other Cup in 2006. (by wikipedia)

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Subtitled “A Pythagorean Theory Tale,” Numbers was a concept album relating to a faraway galaxy, a planet called Polygor, a palace, and its people, the Polygons. So one learned from the album’s accompanying booklet. The songs presumably told the tale, but as with so many concept albums, listening to Numbers was like hearing a Broadway cast album without having seen the show — something seemed to be going on, but it was hard to tell what. The setting did allow Cat Stevens to indulge his affection for Middle Ages madrigal music, and individual songs, notably the singles-chart entry “Banapple Gas,” were appealing. The lyrics were full of references to home, God, and “the truth,” which gave the whole a vaguely spiritual tone, though the key word here is “vague.” Stevens fans may have been somewhat put off by the fear that Numbers was a kind of musical math class — though it went gold, the album was the first in his last seven to peak below the Top Ten. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Gerry Conway (drums, vocals)
Alun Davies (guitar, vocals)
Bruce Lynch (bass)
Jean Roussel (keyboards, synthesizer, vocals, vibraphone)
Cat Stevens (guitar, vocals, piano. synthesizer)
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Chico Batera (percussion, waterphone)
Gordie Fleming (accordion)
Simon Nicol (guitar, percussion, waterphone)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
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background vocals:
Barbara Massey – Carl Hall – Tasha Thomas – Art Garfunkel – Lewis Furey – Melba Joyce – Carmen Twillie – Brenda Russell – Vennette Gloud – Suzanne Lynch – Anna Peacock – Vincent Beck – vocals
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Magic Children of Ottawa (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Whistlestar 3.47
02. Novim’s Nightmare 3.53
03. Majik Of Majiks 4.32
04. Drywood 4.57
05. Banapple Gas 3.10
06. Land o’ Freelove & Goodbye 2.49
07. Jzero 3.48
08. Home 4.13
09. Monad’s Anthem 2.17

All songs written by Cat Stevens

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And this is a waterphone:
Waterphone

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Todd Rundgren – Initiation (A Treatise On Cosmic Fire) (1975)

FrontCover1Todd Harry Rundgren (born June 22, 1948) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer who has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, his occasionally lavish stage shows, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced music videos and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies, such as using the Internet as a means of music distribution in the late 1990s.

A native of Philadelphia, Rundgren began his professional career in the mid 1960s, forming the psychedelic band Nazz in 1967. Two years later, he left Nazz to pursue a solo career and immediately scored his first US top 40 hit with “We Gotta Get You a Woman” (1970). His best-known songs include “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light” from Something/Anything? (1972), which get frequent air time on classic rock radio stations, and the 1983 single “Bang the Drum All Day”, which is featured in many sports arenas, commercials, and movie trailers. Although lesser known, “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (1972) was influential to many artists in the power pop genre. His 1973 album A Wizard, a True Star remains an influence on later generations of bedroom musicians.

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Rundgren is considered a pioneer in the fields of electronic music, progressive rock, music videos, computer software, and Internet music delivery. He organized the first interactive television concert in 1978, designed the first color graphics tablet in 1980, and created the first interactive album, No World Order, in 1994. Additionally, he was one of the first acts to be prominent as both an artist and producer. His notable production credits include Badfinger’s Straight Up (1971), Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re an American Band (1973), the New York Dolls’ New York Dolls (1973), Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell (1977) and XTC’s Skylarking (1986).

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Initiation is the sixth album by American musician Todd Rundgren, released May 23, 1975 on Bearsville Records. With this album, Rundgren fully embraced the synthesized prog sound he had begun exploring in more depth in his work with his band Utopia. However, unlike Utopia, in which Rundgren had limited himself to playing guitar, most of the synthesizers on Initiation were played and programmed by Rundgren himself.[not verified in body]

The album’s original inner sleeve included a technical note that stated: “Due to the amount of music on this disc (over one hour), two points must be emphasized. Firstly, if your needle is worn or damaged, it will ruin the disc immediately. Secondly, if the sound does seem not loud enough on your system, try re-recording the music onto tape. By the way, thanks for buying the album.”(by wikipedia)

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Returning to solo recording almost immediately after forming Utopia, Todd Rundgren continued with the synth-heavy prog rock he pioneered with Todd Rundgren’s Utopia on Initiation. The differences immediately resonate with “Real Man,” a terrific song that encapsulates not only his newfound fondness for electronics, but also his burgeoning spirituality and his knack for pop craft. “Real Man” is so good, it’s tempting to believe that the remainder of Initiation will follow in the same direction, resulting in an inspired, truly progressive fusion of classic Rundgren and synthesizers. As soon as the second track, an a cappella vocoder opus called “Born to Synthesize,” it’s clear that Rundgren has no intention of following that path, choosing to push the limits of synth technology and recorded music instead of constructing an album. Initiation suffers accordingly. At times, particularly on the first, song-oriented side, it is pretty intriguing, but too often, the results are simply frustrating because it doesn’t go anywhere. That’s particularly true with “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire,” a half-hour “suite” that comprises all of side two and doesn’t really go anywhere, despite hitting many stops along the way. It’s enough to erase the memory of “Real Man,” “Eastern Intrigue” and “Initiation,” the moments where it all comes together on the first half of the record, but another spin of the first side reveals that Rundgren could have made Initiation something special if he had the discipline. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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For fuck sake, this is music I can really dive into.

Side one is just what you expect from an art rock act:
an acapella track, a hard rock number, blue eyed soul,
pop, progressive rock…all covered in layers of synths and sound-effects.

But on side two things gets radical.

From this point on the musician loses control over the synthesizer, reversing their roles (poor Todd) and what’s left are 35 minutes of pure electronic dementia!

First, it’s pretty melodic, sometimes even mellow,
as if the machine was just testing its new toy.
As the track progresses, things only gets weirder and weirder until you think your sound system is damaged.

Towards the end, the opening tune repeats, symbolizing the artist’s triumph.
An overturn has occurred and now peace is restored.

Todd will never give his synth such freedom again. (by Eric_Iozzi)

In other words: A real weird album !

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Personnel:
Barbara Burton (percussion)
Rick Derringer (guitar, bass)
Kevin Ellman (drums)
Dan Hartman (bass)
Barry Lazarowitz (drums)
Moogy Klingman (RMI keyboard computer, organ)
Roy Markowitz (drums)
Rick Marotta (drums)
John Miller (bass)
Chris Parker (drums)
Lee Pastora (percussion)
Roger Powell (synthesizer treatments, nose flute)
Bernard Purdie (drums)
Bob Rose (guitar)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
Ralph Schuckett (clavinet)
John Siegler (bass)
Todd Rundgren (vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion)
John Wilcox (drums)
Edgar Winter (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Real Man 4.28
02. Born To Synthesize 3.46
03. The Death Of Rock And Roll 3.51
04. Eastern Intrigue 5.07
05. Initiation 7.07
06. Fair Warning 8.03

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (Instrumental) 35.22
07. Intro – Prana 4.24
08. The Fire Of Mind – Or: Solar Fire 3.53
09. The Fire Of Spirit – Or: Electric Fire 7.35
10. The Internal Fire – or: Fire by Friction 19.37
10.1. Mûlâdhâra: The Dance of Kundalini
10.2. Svâdhishthâna: Bam, Bham, Mam, Yam, Ram, Lam, Thank You, Mahm
10.3. Manipûra: Seat of Fire
10.4. Anâhata: The Halls of Air
10.5. Vishudda: Sounds Beyond Ears
10.6. Ajnâ: Sights Beyond Eyes
10.7. Brahmarandhra: Nirvana Shakri
10.8. Outro – Prana

All songs are written by Todd Rundgren

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