The Count Bishops – Same (1977)

FrontCover1The Count Bishops were a British rock band, formed in 1975 in London and which broke up in 1980. The Count Bishops had limited commercial success, but forged an important stylistic and chronological link between the root rhythm and blues band Dr. Feelgood and the proto punk sound of Eddie and the Hot Rods; together forming the foundation of the pub-rock scene, which influenced the emergence of punk rock. The group made history in England by releasing the first record from independent label Chiswick Records. They splintered following the death of guitarist Zenon DeFleur on 18 March 1979.

The Count Bishops formed in spring 1975 when members of the group Chrome joined the American vocalist Mike Spenser. In July of that year, Spenser (née Scolnick) called fellow countryman Johnny Guitar from Paris for five days straight and finally convinced him (guitar) to pack up two Les Pauls and fly to the UK and join up with Spenser and Zenon DeFleur (so named by Johnny after seeing him passed out on the floor at their first recording session). They found Steve Lewins (bass) and Paul Balbi (drums) within a few weeks. The new line-up recorded the next month at Pathway Studios with Barry Farmer at the desk and of these 13 tracks, four became the Speedball EP, the first release of Chiswick Records.

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Shortly before the release (on Dutch label Dynamite) of the single “Taking it Easy” (released in the UK as “Train, Train”), Spenser left the band after an incident involving a glass door and his boot. Johnny and Zen handled lead vocals for the next year, including on the Dutch release “Good Gear” on the Dynamite label. After recording the backing tracks for their first LP on Chiswick, they decided to bring over Dave Tice (formerly of Australian band Buffalo). With this lineup, the group finished recording its debut UK album, and toured heavily making a name for themselves and bringing to a new level their traditional influences of the 1960s: beat music (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones) and garage rock (the Standells, the Strangeloves).

For the rest of 1977, the Count Bishops toured continuously (including the support slot on the first Motörhead tour and John Cale’s tour that year, as well as their own shows) and built a formidable army of fans – despite the fact that they did not fit the mold considered against the backdrop of old-fashioned punk movement. In the spring of 1978, they signed up for a live album with the participation of six groups of the Chiswick Records roster. The project was not fully realised, but the label released it as a mini-album called Live Bishops, reducing the band name to the Bishops. With this material (and a new bass player Pat McMullan, who replaced Steve Lewins) the Count Bishops toured extensively.

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In 1978, two singles (“I Take What I Want” and “I Want Candy”) led the Count Bishops to an appearance on the TV show Top of the Pops. A few days after the release of their album Cross Cuts, which had been a year and a half in production, Zenon Hierowski crashed his Aston Martin and died on March 17, 1979, and instead of the anticipated “breakthrough”, the Bishops were forced to retrench. They toured with Blitz Krieg (of Blast Furnace fame) deputising for Zen, and then Paul Balbi (drums) was deported back to Australia after returning from a Spanish festival. The band carried on with Charlie Morgan (Tom Robinson Band, Elton John) on drums and just Johnny on guitar for some months, including a tour of Australia with Balbi, but Zen’s death had taken much of the impetus away and they split up. (by wikipedia)

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Kicking off with a great cover of the Kinks’ “I Need You,” this solid, unpretentious debut album belongs in the home of every fan of English R&B from the Yardbirds to the Pretty Things to Dr. Feelgood. Guitarists Johnny Guitar and Zenon de Fleur keep it tight and simple, never wasting a note, and vocalist Dave Tice is so macho, it’s enough to make you laugh. The originals are OK if somewhat predictable blues-based rave-ups, but the energy and good cheer more than make up for the album’s derivative nature. Not a deep album by any stretch of the imagination, just good dirty fun. (by John Dougan)

Ladies and gentlemen: Loud & proud, hot & dirty: The Count Bishops now !

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Personnel:
Paul Balbi (drums)
Zenon De Fleur (guitar, slide-guitar)
Johnny Guitar (guitar, vocals)
Steve Lewins (bass)
Dave Tice (vocals)
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Julian Holland (piano on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. I Need You (Davies) 2.22
02. Stay Free (De Fleur) 3.08
03. Down In The Bottom (Dixon) 2.52
04. Talk To You (Lewins) 3.45
05. Shake Your Moneymaker (James) 2.31
06. Down The Road Apiece (Raye) 2.51
07. Baby You’re Wrong (De Fleur) 2.44
08. Don’t Start Crying Now (Moore/West) 2.05
09. Someone’s Got My Number (Lewins) 2.33
10. Good Guys Don’t Wear White (Cobb) 2.47
11. You’re In My Way (Lewins) 3.11
12. Taste & Try (Youlden) 2.33

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The Japanese edtion

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Keith Richards – Unknown Dreams (Toronto Sessions) (1977)

OriginalLPFrontCover1As the story goes: Keith recorded a full album titled: “Unknown Dreams” in 1978. This was right after his heroin bust in Canada.

This was a bootleg album and only 1000 copies were ever made.

And we can hear Keith Richards  .. playing the piano and singing old Rock N Roll and Country & Western tunes … in a very sentimental mood …

In other words: This is the most intimate Keith Richards album … this is the other side of Keith Richards … a  real treasure in the history of rock !

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Personnel:
Keith Richards (piano, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Say It’s Not You (Frazier) 3.29
02. Don’t (Leiber/Stoller) 3.29
03. Blue Monday (Domino/Bartholomew) 1.58
04. Oh What A Feelin’ (Everly) 3.50
05. Sing Me Back Home (Haggard) 4.18
06. Nearness Of You (Carmichael/Washinton) 3.52
07. Apartment No. 9 (Paycheck/Foley/Owen) 3.44
08. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Bryant) 4.00
09. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On (Williams/David) 1.14
10. Oh What A Feelin’ (Everly) 2.32
11. Apartment No. 9 (version 2) (Paycheck/Foley/Owen)  4.41

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Paice Ashton Lord – Malice In Wonderland (1976) (2001 Special Edition)

LPFrontCover1Malice in Wonderland is the only studio album by Paice Ashton Lord. It was released in 1977.

Once they had decided to leave and disband Deep Purple, Paice and Lord began to plan a very different type of band, built around a trio of themselves and long time friend Tony Ashton, who was to handle the vocals and share keyboard duties. Ashton, Gardner & Dyke had supported Deep Purple in the early seventies, and shared management. Jon Lord found he got on well with Ashton, and helped AGD out in the studio culminating in the superb western soundtrack ‘The Last Rebel’ which the pair co-wrote and performed on.

In 1974 Ashton and Lord finally finished the “The First Of The Big Bands” album (started three years before), influenced by the Phil Spector wall of sound idea. The album did not sell well, despite a BBC In Concert appearance and an all-star show in London, but did establish the heavy r’n’b foundations on which PAL were to build. To complete PAL, mysterious “guitarist and bassist wanted” press ads appeared in July 1976, and from the auditions guitarist Bernie Marsden (ex of Cozy Powell’s Hammer and Babe Ruth) and bassist Paul Martinex (from Stretch) were signed. Work then got underway on a debut album, the group accompanied off and on by a film crew for the eventual PAL documentary ‘Lifespan’. Jon Lord also broke off to help promote his latest (and some would say best) solo album Sarabande before finishing off the PAL album.

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PAL’s debut Malice In Wonderland in March 1977 got a mixed reception and a European tour was cancelled in favour of just five UK dates during which PAL expanded to an 11-piece group with a brass section and girl backing singers. A nervous world debut on BBC TV’s ‘Sight And Sound In Concert’ was with hindsight a PR blunder, and showed how uneasy Tony Ashton was fronting a band launched on such a grand scale but even so most of the subsequent gigs were packed and Tony enjoyed himself more when able to communicate a little with the first few rows. Paice and Lord tried unsuccessfully to bring in David Coverdale to take the pressure from Ashton’s shoulders (he was also being headhunted by Uriah Heep around the same time), before eventually deciding in early 1978 to cut their losses and call it a day with work on a second album abandoned (some tracks later being unearthed for a CD reissue).

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David Coverdale in turn brought Bernie Marsden into his new band Whitesnake, and a few months later managed to tempt Jon Lord into the fold. Ian Paice followed in mid 1979. Tony Ashton returned to sessions (appearing on one or two of Lord’s solo albums), production, occasional live work and painting. An all-star concert in his honour was held at Abbey Road in 2000 which included the only PAL reunion, with all the original group except for Martinez taking part. Tony Ashton was quite ill by this time and sadly passed away in 2001. (by deep-purple.net)

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Paice Ashton Lord’s sole album is a rather anonymous-sounding late-1970s hard rock/AOR effort. There’s more funk, soul, boogie, and jazz influence than you would expect from Deep Purple alumni, but at heart these are typical period mainstream rock songs that don’t lend a distinctive personality to the short-lived band. There’s an outrageously blatant quote from Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “Spinning Wheel” in “Silas & Jerome.”

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The 2001 CD reissue on Purple Records adds eight bonus tracks from the sessions for their unreleased second album, which are of a similar but less polished quality. Some of the songs are instrumentals rather than fully worked-up compositions, and the fidelity on a few of them is substandard, though not truly bad. The liner notes for the reissue give a thorough history of the band. (by Richie Unterberger)

And the bonus tracks from the unreleased second album are fucking good … listen to “Steamroller Blues”, “Moonburn” and to all the other tracks … and you´ll know wha I mean !

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Personnel:
Tony Ashton (vocals, keyboards)
Jon Lord (keyboards, synthesizer)
Bernie Marsden (guitar, background vocals)
Paul Martinez (bass)
Ian Paice (drums, percussion)
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Reg Brooks (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone)
Howie Casey (saxophone)
Gilbert Dall’enese (saxophone, clarinet)
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background vocals:
Jeanette McKinley – Sheila McKinley

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Tracklist:
01. Ghost Story (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 5.47
02. Remember The Good Times (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden/Martinez) 5.46
03. Arabella (Oh Tell Me) (Ashton) 4.07
04. Silas & Jerome (Paice/Ashton/Lord)  3.24
05. Dance With Me Baby (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden/Martinez) 3.21
06. On The Road Again, Again (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden) 3.59
07. Sneaky Private Lee (Paice/Ashton/Lord7Marsden) 6.07
08. I’m Gonna Stop Drinking (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 5.09
09. Malice In Wonderland (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 6.06
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10. Steamroller Blues (Taylor) 4.52
11. Nasty Clavinet (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden) 4.30
12. Black And White (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 4.13
13. Moonburn (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden/Martinez) 3.22
14. Dance Coming (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 4.57
15. Goodbye Hello LA (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 3.54
16. Untitled (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden/Martinez) 3.16
17. Ballad Of Mr. Giver (Ashton/Lord) 5.53

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Charlie Mariano – October (1976)

FrontCover1Carmine Ugo “Charlie” Mariano (November 12, 1923 – June 16, 2009) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and soprano saxophonist.

Mariano was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Italian immigrants, Giovanni Mariano and Maria Di Gironimo of Fallo, Italy. He grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, enlisting in the Army Air Corps after high school, during World War II. After his service in the Army, Mariano attended what was then known as Schillinger House of Music, now Berklee College of Music. He was among the faculty at Berklee from 1965–1971. Mariano moved to Europe in 1971, settling eventually in Köln (Cologne), Germany, with his third wife, Dorothee Zippel.

He played with one of the Stan Kenton big bands, Toshiko Akiyoshi (his then wife), Charles Mingus, Eberhard Weber, the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Embryo and numerous other notable bands and musicians.

He was known for his use of the nadaswaram, a classical wind instrument from Tamil Nadu.

Mariano had six daughters, including four with his first wife, and musician Monday Michiru with his second wife. He had six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. He died of cancer on June 16, 2009. (by wikipedia)

A ’77 session with onetime Charlie Parker imitator Charlie Mariano now as immersed in Asian and Indian music as he ever was in bop. He’s working with a European rhythm section that includes keyboardist Rainer Bruninghaus and bassist Barre Phillips. There are some compositions that reflect Mariano’s jazz background, while others have everything from classical strains to Asian scales and instruments. (by Ron Wynn)

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Personnel:
Rainer Brüninghaus (piano, synthesizer)
Udo Dahmen (drums, percussion)
Trilok Gurtu (tabla, percussion, drums)
Charlie Mariano (saxophone, flute, nagaswaram)
Hansgeorg Meuser (electric bass)
Barre Phillips (acoustic bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Aszù (Brüninghaus) 8.10
02. Nagaswarup (Mariano) 7.47
03. Earth (Brüninghaus) 2.47
04. Out Of The Jungle (Dahmen) 4.18
05. To An Elfin Princess (Mariano) 7.26
07. 7 Up (Meuser) 5.26
08. Back Of J. (Phillips) 2.53
09. Down The Kaveri (Mariano) 4.41

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Bob Marley And The Wailers – Exodus (1977)

FrontCover1Exodus is the ninth studio album by Jamaican reggae recording band Bob Marley and the Wailers, first released 3 June 1977 through Island Records. With the other original members leaving the group, Marley recruited a new backing band. Their first major success was Rastaman Vibration (1976). On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck, but he survived. Following the assassination attempt Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London where Exodus was recorded.[2]Exodus is the ninth studio album by Jamaican reggae recording band Bob Marley and the Wailers, first released 3 June 1977 through Island Records. With the other original members leaving the group, Marley recruited a new backing band. Their first major success was Rastaman Vibration (1976). On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck, but he survived. Following the assassination attempt Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London where Exodus was recorded.

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Exodus is a reggae album, incorporating elements of blues, soul, British rock and funk. The album’s production has been characterized as laid-back with pulsating bass beats and an emphasis on piano, trumpet and guitar. Unlike previous albums from the Wailers, Exodus thematically moves away from cryptic story-telling; instead it revolves around themes of change, religious politics, and sex. The album is split into two halves: the first half revolves around religious politics while the second half is focused on themes of sex and keeping faith.

The album was a success both critically and commercially; it received gold certifications in the US, UK and Canada, and was the album that propelled Marley to international stardom. In 2017 Exodus was remastered and re-released for its 40th anniversary. Exodus has more tracks on Marley’s greatest hits album, Legend—the highest selling reggae album of all time—than any of his other records.

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In 1974, the Wailers disbanded with each of the three main members pursuing solo careers. Despite the break-up, Marley continued recording as “Bob Marley & The Wailers”. His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. The “I Threes”, consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley’s wife, Rita, provided backing vocals. In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, “No Woman, No Cry”, from the Natty Dread album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which became the 48th best-selling album on the Billboard Soul Charts in 1978.

In December 1976, Jamaica was going through elections, generating substantial political discourse. In his campaign, Prime Minister Michael Manley used the campaign slogan “We know where we’re going.” In response Marley wrote “Exodus”, which is the title track of the album. The song became a No. 1 hit in Jamaica as well as the United Kingdom and Germany.

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Cam described the album’s musical style as being “different,” noting that Marley’s style of reggae was not what was prominent in Jamaica during the time, and that the album’s music sounds unlike any reggae that came before its release.[6] Emeritus continued to describe the album’s sound as being rooted in the blues and soul, with elements of British Rock with a reggae “façade thrown on top” however Emeritus praised this saying “if Exodus was straight reggae, it probably wouldn’t be as good as it is.”
Exodus contains elements of pulsating bass beats, pianos and funk along with a “liquid-y bass,” drumming and guitars with the inclusion of trumpets in the title track. Unlike previous albums Exodus lyrical content moves away from cryptic story-telling and instead is clearer and more straight forward, the lyrics touch upon themes of change, religious politics and sex. Vocally, Marley provides a minimalist approach, trying not to reach his falsettos.

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The album’s track listing is split over two halves, the first half features songs of religious politics and opens with Natural Mystic which is a slow tempo “fade up” song, followed by “So Much Things To Say” which was described by the BBC as being “exuberant” and features a reggae-scat. The following two songs Guiltiness and The Heathen explore darker territory, before ending on the album’s title track. The second half of the album features songs revolving around sex and keeping faith.
“Jamming”, “Waiting in Vain”, “One Love/People Get Ready”, and “Three Little Birds” were all major international hits. Exodus peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and at number 15 on the Black Albums chart, as well as remaining in the UK charts for 56 consecutive weeks, where it peaked at number 8.

In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. (by wikipedia)

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After the success of 1974’s Natty Dread and 1976’s Rastaman Vibration, Bob Marley was not only the most successful reggae musician in the world, he was one of the most powerful men in Jamaica. Powerful enough, in fact, that he was shot by gunmen who broke into his home in December 1976, days before he was to play a massive free concert intended to ease tensions days before a contentious election for Jamaican Prime Minister. In the wake of the assassination attempt, Marley and his band left Jamaica and settled in London for two years, where he recorded 1977’s Exodus. Thematically, Exodus represented a subtle but significant shift for Marley; while he continued to speak out against political corruption and for freedom and equality for Third World people, his lyrics dealt less with specifics and more with generalities and the need for peace and love (though “So Much Things to Say,” “Guiltiness,” and “The Heathen” demonstrate the bullets had taken only so much sting out of Marley’s lyrics).

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And while songs like “Exodus” and “One Love/People Get Ready” were anthemic, they also had less to say than the more pointed material from Marley’s earlier albums. However, if Marley had become more wary in his point of view (and not without good cause), his skill as a songwriter was as strong as ever, and Exodus boasted more than a few classics, including the title song, “Three Little Birds,” “Waiting in Vain,” and “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” tunes that defined Marley’s gift for sounding laid-back and incisive at once. His gifts as a vocalist were near their peak on these sessions, bringing a broad range of emotional color to his performances, and this lineup of the Wailers — anchored by bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, drummer Carlton Barrett, and guitarist Julian “Junior” Murvin — is superb, effortlessly in the pocket throughout. Exodus was recorded at a time when Bob Marley was learning about the unexpected costs of international stardom, but it hadn’t yet sapped his creative strengths, and this is one of the finest albums in his stellar catalog. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass, guitar, percussion)
Carlton Barrett (drums, percussion)
Tyrone Downie (keyboards, percussion, background vocals)
Bob Marley (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Julian (Junior) Marvin (guitar)
Alvin “Seeco” Patterson (percussion)
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I Threes:
Marcia Griffiths (background vocals)
Rita Marley (background vocals)
Judy Mowatt (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Natural Mystic 3.27
02. So Much Things To Say 3.08
03. Guiltiness 3:19
04. The Heathen 2.32
05. Exodus 7.35
06. Jamming 3.31
07. Waiting in Vain 4.16
08. Turn Your Lights Down Low   3:39
09. Three Little Birds 3.00
10. One Love/People Get Ready  2.51

All songs written by Bob Marley, escept “People Get Ready” written by

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Spriguns – Time Will Pass (1977)

FrontCover1Spriguns was a folk rock group that participated in the tail end of the limited popularity of English electric folk. Fairport and Steeleye Span had cornered the market, and the genre wasn’t doing all that well as a whole (more’s the pity). Nonetheless, Spriguns managed to make a couple of very nice records for Decca in the mid to late seventies. The band was lead by vocalist Mandy Morton, who possessed some pretty, Sandy Denny-esque dulcet tones.

This is their second record after dropping the “of Tolgus” from their name. Earlier the band had concentrated on traditional material mainly, but this album finds Morton stretching out as a songwriter. All of the tunes have traditional-style melodies, but the lyrics are usually more sparse. Morton had a penchant for dark tales of witchcraft and war, with the occasional love song thrown in. The band’s sound was quite close to that of “All Around My Hat” Steeleye Span at the time, with some big guitar riffs creeping in, as well as some ripping electric violin, but with an overall dark, morose feel. Orchestral arrangements on a couple of tunes were provided by Robert Kirby (N. Drake’s arranger). Kirby had joined the Strawbs at this time, and there is a great deal of crossover appeal to Strawbs fans here, since there are also a lot of good atmospheric keyboard (mostly string synth) parts as well.

Despite a bit of saminess in the vocal melodies, I was pleasantly surprised by this record, which I would heartily recommend to fans of Steeleye Span, Strawbs, Renaissance, Illusion and maybe even Gryphon as well. (by Heptade)

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This is Spriguns’ follow-up to Revel Weird and Wild, and it is much more pop-oriented than that 1976 offering. All but one song was composed by lead singer Mandy Morton, and fiddler Tom Ling, who was a full-time member on Revel Weird and Wild, was relegated to guest musician here; so the traditional or folk elements were noticeably reduced. Robert Kirby’s lush orchestration adorns three selections in a manner similar to Sandy Denny’s Like an Old Fashioned Waltz.

Sandy Roberton, who produced Steeleye Span’s early folk albums, opted for a more pop and rock sound, as the implementation of electric keyboards and rock guitar demonstrates. This would be the last album for this band under the name Spriguns, but Morton would resurface in 1979 in another folk-leaning recording, Magic Lady, with her revamped band Mandy Morton and Spriguns. (by Dave Sleger)

This album is a must !!! A forgotten jewel of Britisch folk-rock !!!

Inlet02APersonnel:
Dennis Dunstan (drums, percussion)
Wayne Morrison (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Mandy Morton (vocals, guitar)
Mike Morton (bass, vocals)
Dick Powell (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
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Lea Nicholson (concertina)
Tom Ling (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Dead Man’s Eyes 3.49
02. All Before 2.47
03. For You 3.39
04. Time Will Pass 2.31
05. White Witch 3.07
06. Blackwaterside 5.16
07. You’re Not There 2.54
08. Devil’s Night 2.55
09. Letter To A Lady 5.12

All Songs written by Mandy Morton

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Al Jarreau – Look To The Rainbow (1977)

aljarreaufrontcover1Look to the Rainbow is a live album by Al Jarreau, released on May 27, 1977 by Warner Bros. Records. It marked a breakthrough for his career in Europe and later also in the US. It won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
In 1976 Jarreau made his first live appearances in Europe, starting with concerts at the jazz festivals in Montreux and Berlin. The following year he began his first tour through 16 cities in Europe starting with a gig at Onkel Pö’s in Hamburg. Look to the Rainbow is a set of recordings from that tour.
The title song “Look to the Rainbow” is from the musical Finian’s Rainbow, a Broadway production from the late 1940s. The most recognized song on this album is Jarreau’s interpretation of Paul Desmond’s classic jazz number “Take Five”, which was also released as a single in an edited version in 1977.
Both tour and album brought him enthusiastic reviews in Germany, where he immediately became a darling of the public, while his recognition in the US remained low until he received his first Grammy in 1978.
Look to the Rainbow is a jazz-oriented album which is characterized by a unique light and open sound. With no guitar or brass instruments, accompanied by Tom Canning’s Fender Rhodes (in some places supported by an ARP String Ensemble) and Lynn Blessing’s vibraphone, Al Jarreau’s voice is the main lead instrument and he uses it intensely as such.
Allmusic states that of the albums from Jarreau’s Warner Brothers period, this is “easily the most jazz-oriented”. It further cites his abilities “as a brilliant scat singer (able to emulate practically any instrument)” and also a “superior ballad interpreter” as evident on this recording.
Reviews in the UK’s music press were mixed. Melody Maker was full of praise for the album, claiming that Jarreau “has taken the seemingly well-worn genre of the freely improvising jazz singer and conjured it, miraculously, back to life”. The review observed that “like all the best artists, Jarreau does not work in a vacuum, but as the successor to a great tradition. When he performs, you can hear the expected echoes of King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, upon whose foundation he is building so sensationally, and you can also hear a number of contemporary singers, mostly black, with whom he is so obviously in touch.” It concluded, “There is not one second of the four sides that is not the purest magic… at last, [Jarreau] has an album worthy of his monster talent”.
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Sounds also gave the record a positive review, stating that “Al’s always crisply precise: intense but not passionate up until the climax of, say, ‘Take Five’, when his scat shoots blind/wild, like a flock of demented starlings whizzing round a cage”, and describing the album as “a great sophisticates’ record, sensual petals of music unfold and furl again with Cartier elegance”. However, NME was less enthusiastic, saying that “Look to the Rainbow is a good representation of Jarreau live. It’s relaxed and intimate, the mood hardly varies throughout and the pace never gets more frantic than a light, funky backbeat that creeps in for some of the songs… The result is homogenous and patently easy to listen to. Therein lies the problem. If you weren’t looking for a memento of Jarreau’s concert […] there wouldn’t be much here to attract attention. Jarreau’s unusual voice is at first beguiling, but soon becomes gimmicky, like a hipper male version of Cleo Laine. When he gets funky (as on ‘So Long Girl’) there’s little to complain about but on the slower songs the combination of his voice and the milky sentimentality becomes irritating… Look to the Rainbow is too close to MOR for comfort.”
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In Germany Der Spiegel stated, “In a deliberately confusing game of phrases and syllables tone-figures become meaning, words transform into pure sound”).
Die Zeit was also enthusiastic: “It wouldn’t surprise us if we’ve seen the new Sammy Davis Jr. arrive on the scene”). (by Wikipedia)
The Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau died on Sunday in a Los Angeles hospital, days after announcing his retirement from touring due to exhaustion.
Jarreau was taken to hospital earlier in the week and was said to have been improving slowly. His official Twitter account and website said he died around 6am local time. He was 76.
A statement posted to Facebook said Jarreau “passed away this morning. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few of his family and friends. A small, private service is planned, for immediate family only. No public service is planned yet this time”.(by theguardian.com)
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Personnel:
Lynn Blessing (vibraphone)
Tom Canning (keyboards)
Joe Correro (drums, Percussion)
Al Jarreau (vocals)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
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Tracklist:
01 Letter Perfect (Jarreau) 5.16
02. Rainbow In Your Eyes (Russell) 6.17
03. One Good Turn (Jarreau) 6.30
04. Could You Believe (Jarreau) 6.49
05. Burst In With The Dawn (Jarreau) 7.24
06. Better Than Anything (Loughborough/Wheat) 5.08
07. So Long Girl (Jarreau) 3.44
08. Look To The Rainbow (Harburg/Lane) 7.54
09. You Don’t See Me (Jarreau) 6.44
10. Take Five (Desmond) 7.20
11. Loving You (Jarreau) 5.00
12. We Got By (Jarreau) 6.57
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