Grupo Folklorico Y Experimental Nuevayorquino – Concepts In Unity (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino made only two records–Concepts in Unity (1975) and Lo Dice Todo (1976) –but both are classics of the 1970’s New York salsa scene. The recordings came out of jam sessions held in Andy and Jerry Gonzalez’s basement in the Bronx (I’m imagining the Latin version of Minton’s Playhouse), and they have that spirit to them: open, loose, with a lot of space for supremely talented musicians to do their thing. (lapelanga.com)

This release contains the superlative debut album Concepts In Unity, by the legendary Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino. The 16 piece band was composed of the finest New York Puerto Rican & Cuban musicians, who combined their own traditional music with the Latin sounds heard on the streets of New York City.

Originally released in 1975, this timeless album is a Salsa masterpiece in every way–I’d personally go as far as saying that it’s THE most important Salsa recording ever. Why? These legendary musicians took Salsa’s Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican roots to the forefront in a way no other artist had ever done previously. Guaguancos, rumbas, descargas and other Afro-Cuban-derived rhythms are all included here. “Cuba Linda”, “Choco’s Guajira”, “Anabacoa” and “Iya Modupue” are glorious masterpieces yet to be equalled. Manny Oquendo, Jerry Gonzalez and Andy Gonzalez (and some other musicians featured here)would go on to form the equally-superb Conjunto Libre several years after recording this masterpiece. INDISPENSABLE!!! (Justo Roteta)

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This album stands alone in the Salsa field because of the excellent mixture of Jazz, Puerto Rican, and Cuban rhythms, with Africa being the “abuelo” (grandfather), of them all. The opening cut, (Cuba Linda), will force you to fasten your salsa seatbelt and go along for one of the best musical rides of your life. It opens with the rumberos jammin’ into the main melody, with the lead singer setting you up for what comes next. Chocolate’s trumpet takes over, while, at the same time, Manny Oquendo’s timbale cowbells go into overdrive, launching the musicians into high gear. The jam goes on until it reaches it’s glorious conclusion. Let me tell you, this whole album is a masterpiece and belongs in the catalogue of every Salsa lover. But don’t take my word for it, listen to it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended. (Charlie Farrar)

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Personnel:
Chocolate Armenteros (trumpet)
Milton Cardona (percussion)
Julito Collazo (percussion)
Noel de Costa (violín)
Alfredo de la Fe (violín)
Marcelino Guerra (guitar, vocals)
Gonzalo Fernández (saxophone, flute)
Guillermi Franco (percussion)
Gene Golden (drums, percusion)
Andy González (bass, marimba)
Jerry González (percussion)
Nelson González (guitar)
Oscar Hernández (piano)
Reinaldo Jorge (trombone)
Ron Libscomb (cello)
Francisco Tan Martínez (harmonica)
Víctor Montañez (percussion, vocals)
Portinho (percusión)
Marcial Reyes (guitar, background vocals)
Ashley Richardson (viola)
Jaime Rivera (percussion. background vocals)
Frankie Rodríguez (percussion, vocals)
José Rodrigues (trombone)
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vocals:
Henny Álvarez – Virgilio Martí – Willie García – Ubatan do Nascimento – Félix Rodríguez – Rubén Blades

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Tracklist:
01. Cuba Linda (Marti) 9.04
02. Choco’s Guajira (Armenteros/Lopez) 6.14
03. Anabacoa (Ramirez) 6.43
05. Adelaida (D.R.) 4.51
06. Luz Delia (Martinez) 3.07
07. Carmen La Ronca (Alvarez) 6.56
08. Canto Asoyin (D.R.) 4.26
09- Canto Ebioso (D.R.) 3.02
10. A Papa Y Mama (Alvarez) 7.52
11. Iya Modupue (D.R.) 8.31

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Brownsville Station – Motor City Connection (1975)

FrontCover1.JPGBrownsville Station is an American rock band from Michigan that was popular in the 1970s. Original members included Cub Koda (guitarist/vocalist), Mike Lutz (guitarist/vocalist), T.J. Cronley (drummer), and Tony Driggins (bassist/vocals). Later members included Henry “H-Bomb” Weck (drummer) and Bruce Nazarian (guitarist/vocalist).

They are remembered for the top-10 hit single “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” (1973).
Brownsville Station was formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969. Brownsville Station’s early albums included song covers from bands which had inspired them.[2] In 1970, they released their debut studio album, No BS, on a Warners Bros. label. Their biggest hit, “Smokin’ In the Boys Room”, written by Michael Lutz & Cub Koda, from their 1973 album Yeah!, reached No. 3 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 27 in the UK Singles Chart. The track sold over two million copies and was awarded a gold disc status by the RIAA on 15 January 197
After drummer Cronley left the band, Van Wert, Ohio native Henry “H-Bomb” Weck was called on to fill the position left by Cronley.

The band’s second-highest Billboard charting single was “Kings of the Party” which topped out at No. 31 in 1974.

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In 1977, Brownsville Station recorded “Martian Boogie”, one of their seven singles to chart on the Hot 100. The song was also a feature on Dr. Demento’s radio show. “(Lady) Put The Light On”, their penultimate single, also charted in the Hot 100, at 46.

Original members of Brownsville Station disbanded in 1979 and their final studio album together, Air Special, was released by Epic in 1978.

Cub Koda was the most visible Brownsville Station member after their break up. He recorded a number of solo albums and toured with his own group The Points as well as blues man Hound Dog Taylor’s backing band The Houserockers. His solo repertoire included the albums Cub Koda and the Points, It’s the Blues, Box Lunch and the career spanning compilation Welcome to My Job. In addition, Koda, a rabid collector of rockabilly, doo wop and blues, wrote liner notes for numerous retro releases (including Jimmy Reed, Freddy Cannon and The Kingsmen) and countless music reviews for the All Music Guide series of books and website. He also wrote a popular column (“The Vinyl Junkie”) for Goldmine magazine and co-authored the book Blues For Dummies. In addition, he hosted The Cub Koda Crazy Show for Massachusetts radio station WCGY during a period in the early 80s. Koda died of kidney disease in July 2000 at the age of 51.

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Mike Lutz went on to produce many bands, including Ted Nugent’s Spirit of the Wild album, and toured in the 1990s with Nugent. Lutz still resides in Ann Arbor, teaches guitar and bass at a local music store called Oz’s Music, writes and produces many acts.

While still in Brownsville Station, Henry Weck engineered and co-produced the Strikes album for Blackfoot, which produced two hit singles, Highway Song and Train Train (on which Koda played harmonica). Weck continues to record and produce in Memphis, in Ann Arbor at Lutz’s Tazmania Studios and is the co-driving force of the re-united Brownsville Station.

After T. J. Cronley left Brownsville Station, he spent a career in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Marine aviator, and retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1992. He is currently a pilot for FedEx and resides in Yuma, Arizona. He is also an artist.

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Bruce Nazarian went on to produce, engineer and perform with his band “The Automatix”, who released their debut LP on MCA in 1983. He was the CEO of Digital Media Consulting Group and ran a popular digital media website “TheDigitalGuy.com”. Nazarian also produced and hosted The Digital Guy radio show in addition to being a music producer, concert impresario and artist manager. His last band, “The Brotherhood” is slated to release their debut CD “(It’s) All About The Groove” in early 2016. Nazarian died in October 2015.

Through the band’s early days, Weck captured over 500 hours of Brownsville demos, rehearsals, live shows and even some special events. In 2012, Lutz and Weck began sorting through the recordings in Lutz’s Tazmania Studio. The result is Still Smokin’, featuring new songs and updated versions of the band’s “My Friend Jack” and “Smokin’ In The Boys Room”.

Augmented by new players Billy Craig, Arlen Viecelli and Brad Johnson, Brownsville Station returned to the road in 2013. (by wikipedia)

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If Yeah! and School Punks were nonstop parties, Brownsville Station’s fifth album, Motor City Connection, is the hangover, the one where the group reckons with the aftermath of having a good time all of the time. Most of the original numbers are racked in guilt, heartbreak, and self-recrimination, tales of broken hearts and loneliness, highlighted by the moody and driving opener, “Automatic Heartbreak,” the bitter yet swaggering “Self Abuse,” and the proto-power ballad “You Know Better.” In between these moments of introspection are a couple of good covers — J.B. Hutto’s “Combination Boogie” and the Little Walter instrumental “Crazy Legs” — and the album ends with the suite “They Call Me Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a nine-minute epic that is the closest old-time rock & roll ever came to art rock. Cub Koda is now firmly the band’s frontman — Michael Lutz only sings a segment of “They Call Me Rock ‘n’ Roll” — and the group is more musically ambitious here, trying a little bit of everything. Not only is there the aforementioned suite, but there’s a variety of guitar sounds; it’s not all pedal-to-the-metal distortion. There are some synthesizers in the mix and the entire sound has been streamlined, so it’s sleek and hard-hitting, bringing them away from their patented boogie rock and closer to the mid-’70s mainstream. While the bandmembers were most at home tearing it up — as evidenced by the hardest-rocking numbers here — they still sounded good with a little more polish, and that variety makes Motor City Connection one of Brownsville Station’s more intriguing albums, even if it’s not among their most consistent. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Cub Koda (guitar, vocals, harmonica, steel-guitar)
Michael “Sam” Lutz (vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar)
David “H-Bomb” Weck (drums, percussion)
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Albhy Galuten (synthesizer on 03.)
Bruce Nazarian (guitar on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Automatic Heartbreak (Koda/Lutz) 2.54
02. One That Got Away (Koda/Weck) 5,32
03. Self Abuse (Koda) 2.54
04. Crazy Legs (Jacobs) 3.22
05. Give It To Get It (Koda/Lutz) 3.18
06. Combination Boogie (Hutto) 2.27
07. Load Of Love (Koda/Lutz) 4.29
08. You Know Better (Koda/Lutz) 3.28
09. They Call Me Rock ‘N’ Roll (Koda/Lutz) 9.33
09.1. They Call Me Rock ‘N’ Roll, Part 1
09.2. God Bless Rock ‘N’ Roll
09.3. Can’t Wait For Friday Night
09.4. Welcome
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Foghat – Fool For The City (1975)

FrontCover1Fool for the City is the fifth album released by English rock band Foghat, released in 1975. This was their first platinum album and features, along with the title track, their signature song “Slow Ride”.Fool for the City is the fifth album released by English rock band Foghat, released in 1975. This was their first platinum album and features, along with the title track, their signature song “Slow Ride”.

The album cover shows drummer Roger Earl sitting alone on a soap box fishing down a manhole in the middle of East 11th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) in New York City, near the address of Foghat’s American office. The back cover features skeptical bystanders observing Earl’s unusual activity and the other members of the band either asking him what he is doing or trying to dissuade him from it. In a 2014 interview, Earl explained how the picture was taken:“ It was a Sunday morning and I hadn’t slept. […] It was Nick Jameson’s idea […] since I have this penchant for fishing. Anyway, we lift up the manhole cover and I’m sitting on a box. Almost immediately a couple of New York’s Finest come by in their patrol car. They’re looking at us and they wind the window down. We’re like, “Oh shit.” They yell out, “Hey! You got a fishing license?” and then start laughing. So they come over and say, “What the fuck are you doing?” They took some pictures with them handcuffing me. I love New York’s finest.

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After building a solid core audience through relentless touring and a string of hard-rocking albums, Foghat finally hit the big time in 1975 with Fool for the City. It still stands out as the best album in the group’s catalog because it matched their road-tested abilities as hard rockers to a consistent set of tunes that were both well-crafted and ambitious. The tone for the album is set by its title track: This hard-rocking gem not only pairs riff-driven verses with an effective shout-along chorus, but also throws in a few surprising moments where the guitars are taken out of the mix completely and Nick Jameson’s bass is allowed to take the lead in a funky breakdown. Fool for the City also produced an enduring rock radio favorite in “Slow Ride,” a stomping rock tune that transcends the inherent clichés of its “love is like a car ride” lyrics with a furious performance from the band and a clever arrangement that works in well-timed automotive sound effects during the verses and plays up the band’s ability to work an R&B-styled groove into their hard-rocking sound (again, note the thumping bassline from Jameson).

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Further radio play was earned with “Take It or Leave It,” an acoustic-based ballad that worked synthesizers into its subtle yet carefully layered arrangement to become one of the group’s finest slow numbers. The album’s other songs don’t stand like the aforementioned selections, but they all flow together nicely thanks to a consistently inspired performance from the band and clever little arrangement frills that keep the group’s boogie-oriented rock fresh (example: the witty spoken word bit at the end of “Drive Me Home”). All in all, Fool for the City is both Foghat’s finest achievement in the studio and one of the high points of 1970s hard rock. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

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Personnel:
Roger Earl (drums, percussion)
Nick Jameson (bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Lonesome Dave Peverett (vocals, guitar)
Rod “The Bottle” Price (guitar, slide guitar, steel guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01- Fool For The City (Peverett) 4.32
02. My Babe (Hatfield/Dixon/Medley) 4.37
03. Slow Ride (Peverett) 8.13
04. Terraplane Blues (Johnson) 5.44
05. Save Your Loving (For Me) (Price/Peverett) 3.32
06. Drive Me Home (Peverett) 3.55
07. Take It Or Leave It (Jameson/Peverett) 4.56

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Black Sabbath – Sabotage (1975)

FrontCover1Sabotage is the sixth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in July 1975. It was recorded in the midst of litigation with their former manager Patrick Meehan and the stress that resulted from the band’s ongoing legal woes infiltrated the recording process, inspiring the album’s title. It was co-produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and Mike Butcher.

Black Sabbath began work on their sixth album in February 1975, again in England at Morgan Studios in Willesden, London. The title Sabotage was chosen because the band were at the time being sued by their former management and felt they were being “sabotaged all the way along the line and getting punched from all sides”, according to Iommi Iommi credits those legal troubles for the album’s angry, heavier sound. In 2001, bassist Geezer Butler explained to Dan Epstein, “Around the time of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, we found out that we were being ripped off by our management and our record company. So, much of the time, when we weren’t onstage or in the studio, we were in lawyer’s offices trying to get out of all our contracts. We were literally in the studio, trying to record, and we’d be signing all these affidavits and everything. That’s why it’s called Sabotage – because we felt that the whole process was just being totally sabotaged by all these people ripping us off.” In his autobiography I Am Ozzy, singer Ozzy Osbourne confirms that “writs were being delivered to us at the mixing desk” and that drummer Bill Ward “was manning the phones”. In the liner notes to the 1998 live album Reunion, Butler claimed the band suffered through 10 months of legal cases and admitted, “music became irrelevant to me. It was a relief just to write a song.”

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Tony Iommi later reflected, “We could’ve continued and gone on and on, getting more technical, using orchestras and everything else which we didn’t particularly want to. We took a look at ourselves, and we wanted to do a rock album – Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath wasn’t a rock album, really.” According to the book How Black Was Our Sabbath, “The recording sessions would usually carry on into the middle of the night. Tony Iommi was working really hard on the production side of things with the band’s co-producer Mike Butcher, and he was spending a lot of time working out his guitar sounds. Bill, too, was experimenting with the drums, especially favouring the ‘backwards cymbal’ effect.” Osbourne, however, was growing more frustrated with how long Sabbath albums were now taking to record, writing in his autobiography that “Sabotage took about four thousand years.”

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Sabotage is a mix of heavy, powerful songs and softer experimental tunes, such as “Supertzar” and “Am I Going Insane (Radio)”. In 2013 Mojo observed, “Opener ‘Hole in the Sky’ and the crunching ‘Symptom of the Universe’ illustrate that, for all their problems, Sabbath’s power remained undimmed on what was what many consider one of their finest offerings.” In the article “Thrash Metal – An Introduction” in University Times Magazine, Vladimir Rakhmanin cites “Symptom of the Universe” as one of the earliest examples of thrash metal, a heavy metal subgenre which emerged in the early 1980s. Tony Iommi describes the song’s dynamics in his autobiography Iron Man: “It starts with an acoustic bit. Then it goes into the up-tempo stuff to give it that dynamic, and it does have a lot of changes to it, including the jam at the end.” The final part of “Symptom of the Universe” evolved from an in-studio improvisation, created very spontaneously in a single day and the decision was made to use it in that song. The London Philharmonic Choir was brought in to perform on the song “Supertzar”. When vocalist Ozzy Osbourne arrived at the studio and saw them, he thought he was in the wrong studio and left.[1] The title of the pop-leaning “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” caused some confusion due to the “(Radio)” part, which led people to believe the song was a radio cut or radio version. However, this is the only version of the song: the term “radio-rental” is rhyming slang for “mental”.

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“The Writ” is one of only a handful of Black Sabbath songs to feature lyrics composed by vocalist Osbourne, who typically relied on bassist and lyricist Butler for lyrics. The song was inspired by the frustrations Osbourne felt at the time, as Black Sabbath’s former manager Patrick Meehan was suing the band after having been fired. The song viciously attacks the music business in general and is a savage diatribe directed towards Meehan specifically (“Are you Satan? Are you a man?”), with Osbourne revealing in his memoir, “I wrote most of the lyrics myself, which felt a bit like seeing a shrink. All the anger I felt towards Meehan came pouring out.” During this period, the band began to question if there was any point to recording albums and touring endlessly “just to pay the lawyers”.

The brief instrumental “Don’t Start (Too Late)” is an acoustic guitar showpiece for Iommi, titled for tape operator David Harris who often despaired at Sabbath being prone to start playing before he was ready.

BlackSabbath06Sabotage’s front cover art has garnered mixed reactions over the years and is regarded by some as one of the worst album covers in rock history. The inverted mirror concept was conceived by Graham Wright, Bill Ward’s drum tech who was also a graphic artist. The band attended what they believed was a test photo shoot for the album cover, thus explaining their choice of clothing. Said Ward, “The only thing we didn’t discuss was what we’d all wear on the day of the shot. Since that shoot day, the band has survived through a tirade of clothing comments and jokes that continue to this day”. Ward, in fact, was wearing his wife’s red tights in the photo. Wright recalls in the book How Black Was Our Sabbath that the plan was for each band member to appear on the cover dressed in black and had been instructed to bring some stage clothes for preliminary photos, but when they arrived no black costumes had been laid out by the designers and “the original concept had been overruled.” The designers “carried on with the shoot, explaining they would superimpose the images at a later stage and that it would look great, honest. The session was unbelievably rushed, and the outcome was far from what had been originally envisaged … Ironically, the sleeve design that was intended to illustrate the idea of sabotage had instead become a victim of sabotage itself. By the time they saw it, it was too late to change.” In 2013 Mojo commented the cover “provides a rare moment of light relief.” On the back of the original album release, Geezer’s arm is extended as the reflection is different.

Sabotage was released on 27 June 1975 and peaked at number 7 in the United Kingdom and at number 28 in the United States. It was certified Silver (60,000 units sold) in the UK by the BPI on 1 December 1975 and Gold in the US on 16 June 1997, but was the band’s first release not to achieve platinum status in the US. For the second time, a Black Sabbath album initially saw favourable reviews, with Rolling Stone stating “Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath’s best record since Paranoid, it might be their best ever”, although later reviewers such as Allmusic noted that “the magical chemistry that made such albums as Paranoid and Vol. 4 so special was beginning to disintegrate”. Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen told Nick Bowcott of Guitar Player in 2008 that the riff to “Symptom of the Universe” was the first Tony Iommi riff he ever heard and that “Tony’s use of the flat fifth would have got him burned at the stake a couple hundred years ago.” In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked it 32nd on their “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time” list. (by Wikipedia)

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Sabotage is the final release of Black Sabbath’s legendary First Six, and it’s also the least celebrated of the bunch, though most die-hard fans would consider it criminally underrated. The band continues further down the proto-prog metal road of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and this time around, the synthesizers feel more organically integrated into the arrangements. What’s more, the song structures generally feel less conventional and more challenging. There’s one significant exception in the blatant pop tune “Am I Going Insane (Radio),” which rivals “Changes” as the most fan-loathed song of the glory years, thanks to its synth-driven arrangement (there isn’t even a guitar riff!) and oft-repeated one-line chorus. But other than that song and the terrific album opener, “Hole in the Sky,” the band largely eschews the standard verse-chorus format, sticking to one or two melody lines per riffed section and changing up the feel before things get too repetitive. The prevalence of this writing approach means that Sabotage rivals Vol. 4 as the least accessible record of Sabbath’s glory years. However, given time, the compositional logic reveals itself, and most of the record will burn itself into the listener’s brain just fine. The faster than usual “Symptom of the Universe” is a stone-cold classic, its sinister main riff sounding like the first seed from which the New Wave of British Heavy Metal would sprout (not to mention an obvious blueprint for Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?”). Like several songs on the record, “Symptom” features unexpected acoustic breaks and softer dynamics, yet never loses its drive or focus, and always feels like Sabbath. Less immediate but still rewarding are “Thrill of It All,” with its triumphant final section, and the murky, sullen “Megalomania,” which never feels as long as its nearly nine and a half minutes. But more than the compositions, the real revelation on Sabotage is Ozzy Osbourne, who turns in his finest vocal performance as a member of Black Sabbath. Really for the first time, this is the Ozzy we all know, displaying enough range, power, and confidence to foreshadow his hugely successful solo career. He saves the best for last with album closer “The Writ,” one of the few Sabbath songs where his vocal lines are more memorable than Tony Iommi’s guitar parts; running through several moods over the course of the song’s eight minutes, it’s one of the best performances of his career, bar none. Unfortunately, after Sabotage, the wheels of confusion came off entirely. Yes, there were technically two more albums, but for the non-obsessive, the story of Osbourne-era Sabbath effectively ends here. (by Steve Huey)

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Personnel:
Terry “Geezer” Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar,  keyboards, synthesizer, harmonica)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums, percussion (piano, Background vocals on  and backing vocals on “Blow on a Jug”)
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English Chamber Choir conducted by Will Malone

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Tracklist:
01. Hole In The Sky 4.00
02. Don’t Start (Too Late) 0.49
03. Symptom Of The Universe 6.29
04. Megalomania 946
05. The Thrill Of It All 5.56
06. “Supertzar” (Instrumental with vocalising choir) 3:44
07. Am I Going Insane (Radio) 4.17
08. The Writ / Blow On A Jug 8.46

All songs written by:
Terry “Geezer” Butler – Tony Iommi – Ozzy Osbourne – Bill Ward

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I’m looking through a hole in the sky
I’m seeing nowhere through the eyes of a lie
I’m getting closer to the end of the line
I’m living easy where the sun doesn’t shine

I’m living in a room without any view
I’m living free because the rent’s never due
The synonym of all the things that I’ve said
Are just the riddles that are built in my head

Hole in the sky
Gateway to heaven
Window in time
Through it I fly

I’ve seen the stars that disappear in the sun
But shooting’s easy if you’ve got the right gun
And even though I’m sitting waiting for Mars
I don’t believe there’s any future in cars

I’ve watched the dogs of war enjoying their feast
I’ve seen the western world go down in the east
The food of love became the greed of our time
But now I’m living on the profits of crime

 

Grand Funk Railroad – Caught In The Act (1975)

FrontCover1Caught in the Act is Grand Funk Railroad’s second live album and was released in August 1975 by Capitol Records as a double album. It was recorded live on tour in 1975 and features “The Funkettes” — Lorraine Feather and Jana King.

Early pressings of the album (including record-club pressings) simply state the band’s name as “Grand Funk” on the front cover and spine, but have the full name on the record labels.

The 2003 re-mastered version of this release has a total time of 79:08, and was squeezed down to one disc. The 2:47 “Introduction” is gone, but “T.N.U.C” and “Gimme Shelter” are lengthened. Audience interaction and applause is shortened throughout to compensate. The missing “Introduction” is included as a hidden track at the end of “Some Kind of Wonderful” on the 2003 re-mastered version of “All the Girls in the World Beware!!!”

By 1975, Grand Funk Railroad had reached a new level of fame and fortune thanks to pop-friendly albums like We’re an American Band and Shinin’ On. However, they had not dropped the turbo-charged rock & roll that built their early success and that fact is TourPoster1975proven by this exciting double-live album. Caught in the Act covers all the highlights of their catalog up to that point, including both the major hits and a generous sampling of album-track favorites. All the songs benefit from the amped-up live atmosphere and several improve over the studio versions thanks to the consistent high level of energy that the band pours into each tune. The best example is the latter phenomenon one-two punch of the albums’ opening tracks: “Footstompin’ Music” leaps out of the speakers with a galloping beat and pulsing organ that effortlessly outstrips its album version, then the band smoothly segues into a barnstorming, revamped version of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Soul” that tacks an infectious “Nothin’ but a party” chant onto the song’s beginning. Even the hits add new frills that keep them feeling like rote run-throughs: “The Loco Motion” is soulfully fleshed out by the addition of female backing vocals and hard rock muscle applied to “Black Licorice” transforms it into a speedy, fist-pumping rocker. Another big highlight is the atmospheric version of “Closer to Home,” which sports a tighter, more complex arrangement than its studio counterpart and makes an excellent showcase for Craig Frost’s skills on a variety of keyboard (he nimbly recreates the song’s orchestral coda with an elegant performance on the Mellotron). The end result is a live album that is the equal of the studio’s best studio-recorded outings. Simply put, Caught in the Act is a necessity for Grand Funk Railroad fans and may even attract non-fans with its effective combination of energy and instrumental firepower. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

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Grand Funk Railroad’s legions of fans helped make them one of America’s biggest-selling rock bands of the first half of the 1970s, and midway through the decade, they had another chance to experience the band’s on-stage energy on disc. Caught In The Act, GFR’s second live album, made its US chart debut on 13 September 1975.

The band had released their first in-concert disc as early as 1970, when the Capitol set simply called Live Album appeared after the success of the studio titles On Time and Grand Funk. The new album, a double, was recorded on tour in the early part of 1975 and featured some 80 minutes’ worth of Grand Funk’s live extravaganza, which included their backing singers the Funkettes

The set list included both of GFR’s No. 1 hit singles of 1973, ‘We’re An American Band’ and their remake of ‘The Loco-motion,’ along with the ’72 hit ‘Footstompin’ Music’ and earlier favourites such as ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Closer To Home.’

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The disc concluded with Grand Funk’s live versions of the Animals’ ‘Inside Looking Out’ and the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter.’ The latter song was a longtime feature of their concerts, which they had previously recorded in the studio, for 1971’s Survival album.

GFR 1975As ever, the release was greeted with a distinct lack of enthusiasm by many US rock critics, but Billboard’s review of the live album was a more rounded overview. “Production is good throughout, with the instruments, particularly Mark Farner’s guitar and Craig Frost’s keyboards, standing out. Voices come over well, and the addition of the Funkettes backup adds some fun to the project. Excellent duplication here of a Grand Funk concert which displays a professionalism not found on earlier live efforts.”

The album reached No. 21 on the US chart in a ten-week run, and as Billboard’s review concluded: “The critics may rant, but, for what they set out to do, Grand Funk are close to the best.” Their fans wholeheartedly agreed. (by Paul Sexton)

This is one of the best Albums by Grand Funk Railraod … listen to songs like “Footstompin’ Music“, “Some Kind Of Wonderful“, “Inside Looking Out” and of course “Gimme Shelter

And “Rock & Roll Soul” is a killer song … unbelieveable … WOW !

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Personnel:
Don Brewer (drums, percussion, vocals)
Mark Farner (guitar, organ,  harmonica, vocals)
Craig Frost (keyboards, Percussion,  background vocals)
Mel Schacher (bass, background vocals)
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Funkettes Group (Background vocals).
Lorraine Feather – Jana King)

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Tracklist:
01. Footstompin’ Music (Farner) 4-07
02. Rock & Roll Soul (Farner) 4.04
03. Closer To Home (Farner) 7.09
04. Heartbreaker (Farner) 7.32
05. Some Kind Of Wonderful (Ellison) 4.15
06. Shinin’ On (Farner/Brewer) 5.32
07. The Loco-Motion (Goffin/King) 3.22
08. Black Licorice (Farner/Brewer) 4.28
09. The Railroad (Farner) 6.14
10. We’re An American Band (Brewer) 3.39
11. T.N.U.C. (Farner) 9.32
12. Inside Looking Out (J.Lomax/A.Lomax/Burdon/Chandler) 12.25
13. Gimme Shelter (Jagger/Richards) 6.58

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J. Geils Band – Live – Blow Your Face Out (1976)

FrontCover1Blow Your Face Out is the eighth album (and second live album) by American rock band The J. Geils Band, released in 1976.

The album was recorded at two concerts held in November 1975. The first show was at the Boston Garden in the band’s hometown (Boston, Massachusetts) on November 15th, and recorded by Record Plant East Remote with David Hewitt. The second was recorded by Metro Audio Detroit four nights later at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, where the band’s other two live albums “Live” Full House (1972) and Showtime! (1982) were also recorded. (by wikipedia)

Double-album live sets came into vogue in 1976 after Peter Frampton’s sales went through the roof for A&M, Bob Seger found fame with Live Bullet on Capitol, and the J. Geils Band released its second in-concert document in four years, Blow Your Face Out. There is great power in these grooves recorded over two nights, November 15 and November 19, at the now deconstructed Boston Garden and in Detroit at Cobo Hall. ConcertFlyer1976Here’s the beautiful dilemma with the Geils band: Live: Full House, recorded in Detroit in April of 1972, contains five songs that became J. Geils standards, and none of them overlap on the 1982 EMI single live disc, Showtime, chock-full of their latter-day classics. Can you believe there is absolutely no overlap from the first or third live album on this double disc, which came in between (except for “Looking for a Love,” uncredited, which they slip into the intro of “Houseparty” on side two)? The Rhino CD contains Jeff Tamarkin’s liner notes, while the original Atlantic album has an exquisite gatefold chock-full of photos, and inner sleeves with priceless band memo stuff à la Grand Funk’s Live Album. Sides one and two are great, and three and four are even better. “Detroit Breakdown” rocks and grooves, with tons of audience applause…Wolfy and the polished authority of his monologues are in command as the band oozes into “Chimes” from 1973’s Ladies Invited. About three and a half minutes longer than the five-minute original, it is one of many highlights on this revealing pair of discs. A precursor to 1977’s title track, “Monkey Island,” “Chimes” gives this enigmatic PromotionAdband a chance to jam out slowly and lovingly over its groove. There is so much to this album: the Janis Joplin standard “Raise Your Hand” written by Eddie Floyd, Albert Collins’ “Sno-Cone” from their first album, and “Truck Drivin’ Man” beating Bachman-Turner Overdrive to the punch. B.B. King producer Bill Szymczyk does a masterful job bringing it all together, and the band photos on back look…roguish. “Must of Got Lost,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” and “Give It to Me” are here in all their glory, a different glory than the studio versions, on an album that should have done for Geils what Live Bullet and Frampton Comes Alive did for their respective artists. If only a legitimate release of their 1999 tour would be issued to stand next to this monster — during that tour they combined the best elements of all three of their previous live discs. The J. Geils Band is more important and influential than the boys have been given credit for. It will be the live documents that ensure they eventually get their due, and Blow Your Face Out is a very worthy component that can still frazzle speakers. (by Joe Viglione)

A hell of a record … one of the finest live-albums ever !

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Personnel:
Stephen Bladd (drums)
Magic Dick (harmonica)
J. Geils (guitar)
Seth Justman (keyboards)
Danny Klein (bass)
Peter Wolf (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Southside Shuffle (Justman/Wolf) 4.18
02. Back To Get Ya (Justman/Wolf) 4.36
03. Shoot Your Shot (Walker/Graves/Horn) 3.48
04. Must Of Got Lost (Justman/Wolf) 6.34
05. Where Did Our Love Go (B.Holland/Dozier/E.Holland) 3.51
06. Truck Drivin’ Man (Fell) 1.51
07. Love-Itis (Scales/Vance) 4.07
08. Lookin’ For A Love (Alexander/Samuels) +  Ain’t Nothin’ But A Houseparty (Sharh/Thomas) 7.04
09. So Sharp (Christian) + Detroit Breakdown (Justman/Wolf) 8.11
10. Detroit Breakdown (Reprise) (Justman/Wolf) 0.33
11. Chimes (Justman/Wolf) 8.54
12. Sno-Cone (Collins) 3.07
13. Wait (Justman/Wolf) 3.29
14. Raise Your Hand (Cropper/Floyd/Isbell) 4.13
15. Start All Over + Give It To Me (Justman/Wolf) 8.38
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16. Blow Your Face Out (uncut version) 1.14.49

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Atlanta Rhythm Section – Dog Days (1975)

FrontCover1Dog Days is the forth album by the southern rock band Atlanta Rhythm Section, released in 1975.

What has become known as Southern rock is now one of my favorite genres of current rock & roll, but one of the most distinctive oddities I’ve discovered about it is that it seems to take most bands several albums before they arrive at a level of competence that I can stand to listen to. Two or three pedestrian LPs and then boom!, the rhythm section’s tight and funky, the lead guitar player has stopped imitating Dickey Betts, and they’re writing and singing memorable tunes.

With Dog Days, the Atlanta Rhythm Section joins my record collection after four records. They sing of their audience:

We like raggae [sic] and we dig country
Classical music’s a gas
We play the blues in three-quarter time
But they don’t wanna hear that jazz
They just want boogie…

But there is no denying that they do boogie well, as “Boogie Smoogie,” the tune those lyrics come from, amply demonstrates. Paul Goddard’s flatulent bass and some slashing guitar work from Barry Bailey and J.R. Cobb (as well as some excellent lyrics) make for an exciting eight minutes.

Not all of the album fares as well, since the band does have a tendency to meander, but the humorous “Cuban Crisis” and the ballad “All Night Rain” provide a good change of pace. All in all, enjoyable if not earthshaking, and that’s good enough for me. (by Ed Ward, Rolling Stone, 10/23/75.)

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Personnel:
Barry Bailey (guitar)
Buddy Buie (vocals)
J.R. Cobb (guitar, background vocals)
Dean Daughtry (keyboards)
Paul Goddard (bass)
Ronnie Hammond -(vocals, background vocals)
Robert Nix (drums, percussion, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Crazy (Buie/Nix/Daughtry) 3.09
02. Boogie Smoogie (Buie/Nix/Bailey) 8.04
03. Cuban Crisis (Buie/Nix/Cobb) 3.39
04. It Just Ain’t Your Moon (Buie/Nix/Daughtry) 4.51
05. Dog Days (Buie/Nix/Daughtry) 3.37
06. Bless My Soul (Cobb) 3.50
07. Silent Treatment (Buie/Nix/Bailey) 5.16
08. All Night Rain (Buie/Nix/Daughtry/McRee) 3.13

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