Jack Bruce – Live At Rockpalast (1980)

FrontCover1And now I´ll start with a real great edition:

Jack Bruce (Cream) was guest at Rockpalast in 1980 at the first time – on the occasion of the 7th Rockpalast Night, broadcasted to millions of people all across Europe Live via Eurovision. The Lineup was Jack Bruce & Friends: nobody less than Billy Cobham (Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke) on drums, Clem Clempson (Humble Pie, Colosseum) on guitar and David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Eric Clapton, Sting) on keyboard and guitar. It’s fascinating to watch and listen to four equitable and brilliant musicians in their blind comprehension on stage. As Jack Bruce And Band he presented a further concert in 1983 at Zeche/Bochum. Again with David Sancious and this time Bruce Gray on drums. To complete this boxset there is another extraordinary Jack Bruce solo concert from 1990 at Live Music Hall in Cologne. The Rockpalast Legacy of an unique and legendary artist! (Press release)

It is no exaggeration to state that Jack Bruce was probably the most inventive bassist of the twentieth century. He straddled the worlds of jazz, blues and rock seamlessly, and his bass guitar playing was unprecedented in its sheer imaginative breadth and power. Crucially, he was also a vocalist of incredible range and dynamism. His contribution to Cream surely needs no elaboration. As a rock star he was a veritable human dynamo, but as a jazz musician he was extraordinary too. He played a pivotal role on Carla Bley’s seminal work Escalator Over The Hill (JCOA, 1971), where he also played bass guitar alongside his old friend John McLaughlin who had previously appeared on Bruce’s pukka jazz album, Things We Like (Polydor, 1970; Atco, 1971). Bruce died, at the age of 71, on 25 October 2014, yet his memory and music are still very much alive, as this magnificent box set demonstrates.

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Following the CD and DVD package Rockpalast: The 50th Birthday Concerts (MIG, 2014) and the earlier DVD set Jack Bruce At Rockpalast (Studio Hamburg Fernseh Allianz, 2005) this is the first CD release of these earlier German concerts, but they’re also accompanied by the DVD discs.

As CD1 opens to the familiar strains of “White Room,” what immediately hits the listener is the thumping resonance of Bruce’s long scale bass guitar which showed no signs of diminishing since his departure from Cream over a decade before. Punctuating the more rock-based numbers such as “Hit And Run” there are the subtle gems which demonstrated Bruce’s unique and exceptional talent not just as a musician but as a composer. “Theme For An Imaginary Western” from Songs For A Tailor (Polydor, 1969) is one such example as is “Post War” from Harmony Row (Polydor, 1971). Then, fairly obviously, is the quintessential rock anthem for the ages, “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

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The first two CDs capture Bruce’s 1980 concert with the same line-up that appeared on I’ve Always Wanted to Do This (Epic, 1980). The set is populated by seven of the numbers from that album, including “Hit And Run” and “Facelift 318,” but undoubtedly the most impressive number, as found on CD2, is an extended version of the electrifying “Bird Alone” (dedicated to Charlie Parker) which runs to twice the length of the original. Here, Bruce introduced more of his trademark twists and turns which so infused his earliest, and arguably, most memorable albums. But in addition to those tracks and five Cream numbers, there’s also Billy Cobham’s high-voltage instrumental “X Marks The Spot.” (by Roger Farbey)

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Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Clem Clempson (guitar)
Billy Cobham (drums)
David Sancious (keyboards, guitar)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. White Room (Bruce/Brown) 5.47
02. Post War (Bruce/Brown) 7.44
03. Hit And Run (Bruce/Brown) 4.39
04. Running Back (Bruce/Brown) 4.26
05. Facelift 318 (Bruce/Brown) 3.47
06. Theme From An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 5.15
07. X Marks The Spot (Cobham) 7.43
08. Dancing On Air (Bruce/Brown) 8.40

CD 2:
01. Out To Lunch (Bruce/Brown) 5.52
02. Living Without Ja (Bruce/Brown) 3.21
03. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 7.18
04. Bird Alone (Bruce/Brown) 12.29
05. Sunshine Of Your Love (Clapton/Bruce/Brown) 7.48
06. N.S.U. (Bruce) 3.53
07. Spoonful (Dixon) 8.04

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Front + backcover of the box:
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Levon Helm – American Son (1980)

FrontCover1American Son is a studio album by American country rock musician Levon Helm, who is most famous for his work as drummer for the rock group the Band. It was released in October 1980 on MCA Records and was Helm’s third studio album. It has been generally considered Levon Helm’s best solo work until the release of Dirt Farmer in 2007.

Helm played the part of Loretta Lynn’s father in 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter and was asked to record a version of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” for the film’s soundtrack. The session went well, and producer Fred Carter, Jr., decided to cut more tracks. Using a band of veteran Nashville session players, Carter and Helm recorded 20 tracks over two weeks, half of which ended up on American Son. (by wikipedia)

While recording a few songs for the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which he played Loretta Lynn’s father, Levon Helm and friends just kept the tape rolling. American Son offers ten songs (the single “Blue Moon of Kentucky” b/w “Working in a Coal Mine” offers two more) from those productive sessions. A band of Nashville veterans replaces the superstar lineup of Helm’s first two albums. The resulting record has a relaxed groove that kicks in with “Watermelon Time in Georgia” and doesn’t let up. The terrific “Hurricane” evokes the Band’s second album, while “Violet Eyes” and “China Girl” are highlighted by engaging harmonies. American Son is considered by many to be Levon’s best solo album. (by J.P. Ollio)

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After much digging through used bins I came across a copy of Levon’s American Son – his third solo album (not released on CD) a few months ago and I have been listening to it regularly since. It really is very good, especially side 2 (side 1 starts strong, but I am less enthusiastic about the last few). So you can have better sense of where this opinion is coming from, you should know that I found both of the first two solo albums from Levon to be pretty ho-hum. Pleasant but no thrills. But this one really is worth hunting down. It never slips below adequate and at times (i.e. “Watermelon time in Georgia” – the opener to side one, and the fantastic three song sequence closing side two “Nashville Wimmen”/a sublime “Blue House of Broken Hearts” and a charming “Sweet Georgia Wine”) it really does have the “base of the backbone thrills” that I once complained Levon’s solo work lacks. (Well, I take it back now.)

The album is much more of a country effort than the first two albums. The production/arrangements by Fred Carter Jr. are much simpler and more effective than the horn-laden Duck Dunn production of Levon Helm. (Carter was the Ronnie Hawkins guitarist whose slot Robbie moved into when Carter went off to Nashville session work.) Carter plays lead guitar, some Nashville session people fill in behind him. (Also Levon in his book says that the Cates came down to pitch in. I think it is one of the Cate brothers singing harmony on “Blue House of Broken Hearts”. Whoever it is, he is fantastic!)

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Among the many things that stand out about this album is the drumming. Levon is really doing very interesting things. (I am not usually prone to notice drumming, so it says something that I noticed here.) I remember reading in a drumming magazine interview (with some Really Famous Drummer – can’t remember who) some time ago which described Levon as a remarkable drummer in part because of a unique syncopation of the bass drum – an “independent right foot thing”. I had no idea what he was talking about, but after listening to American Son, I do. The bass drum is off carrying a beat that has just a heartbeat’s syncopation relative to everything else. Really effective. Normally, I guess, this is less obvious because of three possible things:

Playing with a distinctive bass guitarist like Rick or Duck Dunn masks the distinctive bass drum.
Sometimes – like on the Muddy Waters Woodstock Album – Levon is trying to just power a song forward in a simple way, and so he just leaves aside the fancy tricks.
Maybe these sessions just took place on one of Levon’s best weeks.

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I might add that for all I know, the bullet Levon put in his butt, severing all sorts of nerves and stuff, may have ended his his ability to manage the bass drum with this kind of finesse – so this may be the only place to hear Levon at his drumming peak.

The circumstances of the recording of this album were apparently this: Levon went to the Bradley Barn recording studio in Nashville (where Ronnie Hawkins, with Levon and assorted sessionmen had recorded Ronnie Hawkins Sings the Songs of Hank Williams over twenty years earlier) to record “Blue Moon of Kentucky” for the Coal Miner’s Daughter soundtrack. Things really clicked in the studio, so as Levon put it, they decided to “put some hay in the barn” by recording a bunch of less-known standards. (None of the songs is original, unless you count “Stay With Me” written by producer Carter.) The musical chemistry is infectious: even the weaker songs are redeemed by the lively and subtle musicianship of Levon, Fred Carter, and whoever else is playing. (by James Tappenden – from the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.the-band, December 1995.)

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Personnel:
Beegie Adair (piano)
Kenneth Buttrey (drums)
Jerry Carrigan (drums)
Buddy Emmons (pedal steel-guitar)
Steve Gibson (guitar)
Levon Helm (drums, vocals, harmonica)
Mitch Humphries (organ, background vocals)
Bobby Ogdin (keyboards)
Buster Phillips (drums)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano)
Clifford Robertson (organ)
Billy Sanford (guitar)
Steve Schaffer (bass)
Jerry Shook (guitar, mandolin)
Henry Strzelecki (bass, background vocals)
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background vocals:
Todd Cerney – Buzz Cason

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Tracklist:
01. Watermelon Time In Georgia (Howard) 3.45
02. Dance Me Down Easy (Henley/Burnette) 2.51
03. Violet Eyes (Kimmel) 3.11
04. Stay With Me (Carter) 3.02
05. America’s Farm (Rogers) 3.07
06. Hurricane (Stegall/Harris/Schuyler) 4.01
07. China Girl (New/Silbar) 3.15
08. Nashville Wimmin (Howard) 4.08
09. Blue House Of Broken Hearts (Martin/Cerney) 3.29
10. Sweet Peach Georgia Wine (Reynolds) 3.48

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Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)

Blood, Sweat & Tears – Nuclear Blues (1980)

FrontCover1Nuclear Blues is an album by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, released in 1980. This was the band’s eleventh studio album and their first release for MCA/LAX Records. Nuclear Blues was produced by Jerry Goldstein, who had previously been known for his work with the band War. Even though it had only been three years since they released their last album Brand New Day, the band contained a new line-up with David Clayton-Thomas being the only remaining member from that period.

This album failed to make it on the Billboard Album Charts. This incarnation of Blood, Sweat & Tears disbanded the following year; although various incarnations of the group have existed and toured in the years since, to date this remains their final studio album.

Nuclear Blues was reissued in Germany in 1985 on the Platinum label under the title Latin Fire. (by wikipedia)

This 1980 edition of rock’s longest-running horn band is definitely not your father’s Blood, Sweat & Tears. Frontman David Clayton-Thomas is still on board, but everybody else is new.

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The musical emphasis has mostly shifted, from pop/soul with a jazz flavor to out-and-out fusion jazz, such as “Agitato,” and the lengthy and often quite lovely “Spanish Wine” suite, with only an occasional lead vocal (a radically re-arranged cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression”). Big exceptions include the title tune, in which Clayton-Thomas vents his paranoia about Three Mile Island, and an impassioned, if relatively straightforward, cover of the old blues standard “I’ll Drown In My Own Tears.” (allmusic.com)

A highly artistic suite on Side B, relatively accessible songs on Side A – this looks like Mirror Image (1974), which may well be my all time favourite Blood, Sweat & Tears album. But it doesn’t sound like that. Nope – Nuclear Blues was released in 1980, so it was technically the Eighties, but there is nothing ’80s-like on this album. I guess in the B, S & T universe the combined 1960s/1970s were meant to last forever.

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Whereas the aforementioned Mirror Image really flirted with contemporary pop features (like “Love Looks Good on You”), Nuclear Blues does something more timeless… or more 1960s. The title track is funky, but here that adjective has nothing to do with funk as in disco funk; actually it has more to do with classic R&B. “Manic Depression”, then, is a Jimi Hendrix cover of course. I really like the idea of a parallel universe in which covering Hendrix was a relevant (or even hip?) thing back in 1980. Loyally to the good ol’ B, S & T, the version doesn’t sound like Hendrix at all. “I’ll Drown in My Own Tears” is a cover of a blues standard. It is basically nice, though overlengthy. David Clayton-Thomas sings the lead on the vocal tracks, but as you see, those aren’t very numerous.

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The rest is jazz fusion, often with a Spanish twist. I appreciate it, but I am not so heavily into it. In fact, my rating is primarily for “Nuclear Blues”; otherwise the album is just decent, though it contains no bad tracks. I kind of like the feel that doesn’t feel forced at all. It is like the guys had just got together and made another album, which has actually ended up being quite highly artistic and so on. (by fairyeee)

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Personnel:
David Clayton-Thomas (vocals)
Bruce Cassidy (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Vern Dorge (saxophone, flute)
Bobby Economou (drums)
David Piltch(bass)
Robert Piltch (guitar)
Earl Seymour (saxophone, flute)

LatinFireEdition
Tracklist:
01. Agitato (Cassidy) 5.54
02. Nuclear Blues (Clayton-Thomas) 4.24
03. Manic Depression (Hendrix) 4.17
04. I’ll Drown In My Own Tears (Glover) 7.22
05. Fantasy Stage (Clayton.Thomas/Piltch) 5.41
06. Suite: Spanish Wine 15.09
06.1. Introduction: La Cantina (Piltch) 2.15
06.2. Theme: Spanish Wine (Cassidy) 1.02
06.3. Latin Fire (Cassidy/Economou/Piltch/Martinez/Dorge/Seymour) 2.22
06.4. The Challenge (Cassidy/Economou/Piltch/Martinez/Dorge/Seymour) 2.15
06.5. The Duel (Cassidy/Economou/Piltch/Martinez/Dorge/Seymour) 2.20
06.6. Amor (Cassidy/Economou/Piltch/Martinez/Dorge/Seymour) 3.16
06.7. Reprise: Spanish Wine (Cassidy) 1.42

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Yes – Drama (1980)

LPFrontCover1Drama is the tenth studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 18 August 1980 by Atlantic Records. It was their first album to feature Trevor Horn as lead vocalist, as well as keyboardist Geoff Downes. This followed the departures of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman after numerous attempts to record a new album in Paris and London had failed. Drama was recorded hurriedly, because a tour had already been booked before the change in personnel. The album marked a departure in the band’s musical direction with more accessible and aggressive songs, and featuring the use of modern keyboards, overdriven guitar, and a vocoder.

Drama was released to a mostly positive critical reception, with most welcoming the band’s new sound. It peaked at No. 2 in the UK and No. 18 in the US, though it became their first album since 1971 not to reach gold certification by the RIAA. “Into the Lens” was released as the album’s sole single. Yes toured the album with a 1980 tour of North America and the UK, and were met with some negative reactions during the UK leg over the new line-up change. At its conclusion, Yes disbanded. The album was remastered in 2004 with previously unreleased bonus tracks, and it was performed live in its entirety for the first time in 2016. (by wikipedia)

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For this one album, ex-Buggles Geoffrey Downes and Trevor Horn were drafted in to replace Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. It rocks harder than other Yes albums, and for classically inclined fans, it was a jarring departure; but it was a harbinger of Yes and Asia albums to come. A newly emboldened Chris Squire lays down aggressive rhythms with Alan White, and Steve Howe eschews his usual acoustic rags and flamenco licks for a more metallic approach, opting for sheets of electric sound. Prime cuts include the doom-laden “Machine Messiah” and the manic ska inflections of “Tempus Fugit.” Despite the promise of this new material, the band soon fell apart; Horn went into production, Howe and Downes joined Asia, and Squire and White toyed and then gave up on a pair-up with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, which was to be titled XYZ (i.e., Ex-Yes and Zeppelin). (by Paul Collins)

Chris Squire

Personnel:
Geoff Downes (keyboards, vocoder)
Trevor Horn (vocals, fretless bass on 05.)
Steve Howe (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
Chris Squire (bass, background vocals, piano on05.)
Alan White (drums, percussion, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Machine Messiah” 10:22
02. White Car 1:21
03. Does It Really Happen? 6:27
04. Into The Lens 8:30
05. Run Through the Light 4:41
06. Tempus Fugit” 5:11

All songs by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White

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David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)

FrontCover1.jpgScary Monsters (and Super Creeps), also known simply as Scary Monsters, is the 14th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 12 September 1980 by RCA Records. It was Bowie’s final studio album on the label and his first following the Berlin Trilogy, which consisted of Low, “Heroes” and Lodger (1977–1979). Though considered very significant in artistic terms, the trilogy had proven less successful commercially.[2] With Scary Monsters, Bowie achieved what biographer David Buckley called “the perfect balance” of creativity and mainstream success; as well as earning critical acclaim, the album peaked at No. 1 and went Platinum in the UK while successfully restoring Bowie’s commercial standing in the US. Scary Monsters would later be referred to by some biographers as Bowie’s “last great album” and a benchmark for later releases, although some give this distinction to Let’s Dance (1983).

Although the album is commonly referred to as Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), in keeping with the song title, and the album title as written on the front and back covers of the LP is Scary Monsters . . . . . and Super Creeps, the album is identified simply as Scary Monsters on the LP spine and disc label.

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According to co-producer Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s method on Scary Monsters was somewhat less experimental and more concerned with achieving a commercially viable sound than had been the case with his recent releases; to that end the composer spent more time on his own developing lyrics and melodies before recording, rather than improvising music in the studio and making up words at the last minute. Aside from one cover, Tom Verlaine’s “Kingdom Come”, all tracks would be credited to Bowie alone, unlike the ‘Berlin Trilogy’ where there was an increasing amount of input from his collaborators. (by wikipedia)

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David Bowie returned to relatively conventional rock & roll with Scary Monsters, an album that effectively acts as an encapsulation of all his ’70s experiments. Reworking glam rock themes with avant-garde synth flourishes, and reversing the process as well, Bowie creates dense but accessible music throughout Scary Monsters. Though it doesn’t have the vision of his other classic records, it wasn’t designed to break new ground — it was created as the culmination of Bowie’s experimental genre-shifting of the ’70s. As a result, Scary Monsters is Bowie’s last great album. While the music isn’t far removed from the post-punk of the early ’80s, it does sound fresh, hip, and contemporary, which is something Bowie lost over the course of the ’80s. [Rykodisc’s 1992 reissue includes re-recorded versions of “Space Oddity” and “Panic in Detroit,” the Japanese single “Crystal Japan,” and the British single “Alabama Song.” (by Stephen Thomas Erlewin)

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Personnel:
Carlos Alomar (guitar)
Dennis Davis (drums)
David Bowie (vocals, synthesizers, mellotron, piano, synth-bass, sound effects, saxophone)
George Murray (bass)
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Roy Bittan (piano on 02., 04. + 06.)
Andy Clark (synthesizer on 04., 05., 07. + 09.)
Robert Fripp (guitar on 01. – 03.,  05., 08.)
Chuck Hammer (guitar synthesizer on 04. + 06.)
Michi Hirota (voice on 01.)
Pete Townshend (guitar on 09.)
Tony Visconti (guitar, background vocals on 02 . + 03.)
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background vocals:
Lynn Maitland – Chris Porter

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Tracklist:
01. It’s No Game (No. 1) (Bowie/Miura 4.17
02. Up The Hill Backwards (Bowie) 3.12
03. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (Bowie) 5.09
04. Ashes To Ashes (Bowie) 4.22
05. Fashion (Bowie) 4.46
06. Teenage Wildlife (Bowie) 6.49
07. Scream Like A Baby (Bowie) 3.35
08. Kingdom Come (Verlaine) 3.41
09. Because You’re Young (Bowie) 4.51
10. It’s No Game (No. 2) (Bowie) 3.43
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11. Space Oddity (Single B-side, rerecorded acoustic version, 1979) (Bowie) 4.53
12. Panic In Detroit (Rerecorded version, 1979, previously unreleased) (Bowie) 2.55
13. Crystal Japan (Japanese single A-side, 1979; instrumental) (Bowie) 3.06
14. Alabama Song (UK single A-side, recorded 1978) (Brecht/Hauptmann/Weill) 3.51

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David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)

Dire Straits – Live Rockpop ZDF (Germany) (1980)

FrontCover1.jpgBrothers Mark and David Knopfler, from Newcastle in northeast England, and friends John Illsley and Pick Withers, from Leicester in the east midlands, formed Dire Straits in London in 1977.[8] Withers was already a 10-year music business veteran, having been a session drummer for Dave Edmunds, Gerry Rafferty, Magna Carta and others through the 1970s; he was part of the group Spring, which recorded an album for RCA in 1971. At the time of the band’s formation, Mark was working as a teacher at art college, Illsley was studying at Goldsmiths’ College, and David was a social worker. Mark and Withers had both been part of the pub rock group Brewers Droop at different points in around 1973.

Initially known as the Café Racers, the name Dire Straits was coined by a musician flatmate of Withers, allegedly thought up while they were rehearsing in the kitchen of a friend, Simon Cowe, of Lindisfarne. In 1977, the group recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love” and “Down to the Waterline”. After a performance at the Rock Garden in 1977, they took a demo tape to MCA in Soho but were turned down. Then they went to DJ Charlie Gillett, host of called Honky Tonk on BBC Radio London. The band simply wanted advice, but Gillett liked the music so much that he played “Sultans of Swing” on his show. Two months later, Dire Straits signed a recording contract with the Vertigo division of Phonogram Inc. In October 1977, the band recorded demo tapes of “Southbound Again”, “In the Gallery” and “Six Blade Knife” for BBC Radio London; in November demo tapes were made of “Setting Me Up”, “Eastbound Train” and “Real Girl”.

John IllsleyThe group’s first album, Dire Straits, was recorded at Basing Street studios in Notting Hill, London in February 1978, at a cost of £12,500. Produced by Muff Winwood, it was first released in the United Kingdom on Vertigo Records, then a division of Phonogram Inc. It came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, but only one person in her department agreed at first. Many of the songs on the album reflected Mark Knopfler’s experiences in Newcastle, Leeds and London. “Down to the Waterline” recalled images of life in Newcastle; “In the Gallery” is a tribute to Leeds sculptor/artist Harry Phillips (father of Steve Phillips); “Wild West End” and “Lions” were drawn from Knopfler’s early days in the capital (b wikipedia)

… And the rest is history…

And heres a pretty good show from 1980, recorded for a German Television network called “ZDF” in a superb broadcating quality.

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Personnel:
Alan Clark (keyboards)
John Illsley (bass, vocals)
Mark Knopfler (vocals, lead guitar)
Hal Lindes (guitar)
Pick Withers (drums)

Soundcheck 02-A (1980.12.20)

Tracklist:
01. Once Upon A Time In The West 10.34
02. Down To The Waterline 5.05
03. Lions 7.30
04. News (includes Instrumental outro – “Private Investigations licks”) 6.27
05. Sultans Of Swing 10.00
06. Tunnel Of Love 13.43
07. Solid Rock 5.26

All songs written by Mark Knopfler

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And here´s the video of this show:

 

Paul Brett – Guitar Trek (1980)

FrontCover1.JPGPaul Brett is one of my favorties acoustic guitar player from UK.

The final album of guitar virtuoso Paul Brett´s disk contract with RCA, “Guitar Trek” is by far the most obscure. It was met with a dearth of promotional effort, but it’s hard to know whether this was because Brett had already signed on to produce a K-Tel record, its predecessors were fracturing the cutout bins or their day, or it’s the least inspired of the three.

Nothing is missing from Brett’s technique, which is more focused on acoustic guitar in a rock setting, but most tracks do seem almost like placeholders for exhibits of the man’s awesome fretting power. His ability is such that he can overpower pieces that other guitarists might complement better. Here and there we find snippets of what was generally better developed on prior albums; for instance, “In Search of Aztecs” hearkens back to the suite “Interlife” while failing to capture the ensemble effect that really propelled the flow of those choice 16 minutes. “Alternative 12-string” at times approximates works like “Calypso” and “Silent Runner” off “Eclipse” but tries out too many concepts for its own good in under 6 minutes. Gershwin’s “Summertime” does not revive the magic of Brett’s prior adaptation of Brubeck’s “Take Five”, but perhaps it is just not as fresh or appealing a number to begin with.

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The three tracks that work the best do so for different reasons – “Forever Autumn” succeeds as much because the Jeff Wayne composition is so brilliant as anything, but one must give substantial credit to Brett for treating it sensitively and imbuing it with his own identity, while leaving its spirit intact. “Even when the sun shines” expands upon the courtly folk of “Overture for Decadence” off “Eclipse”, but incorporates more rock aspects, consistent with the album as a whole. Finally, the closer “Blood on the Frets” actually parlays the guitarist’s prowess into the realm of country, bluegrass and rock and roll all at once, succeeding brilliantly. (by Keneth Levine)

For me, it´s another brilliant Paul Brett album …

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Personnel:
Paul Brett (guitar)
Richard Harvey (keyboards, recorder)
John Joyce (guitar)
Tom Nichol (drums)
Paul Townshend (bass)
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Alan Todd (guitar on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Alternative 12 String (Brett) 5.48
02. Forever Autumn (Wayne/Osborne/Vigrass) 3.17
03. Before Tequila (Brett/Joyce) 3.11
04. Summertime (Gershwin) 3.55
05. The Bishop Went Down To Fulham (Brett/Joyce) 3.25
06. In Search Of Aztecs (Brett) 3.51
07. Even When The Sun Shines (Brett) 2.57
08. Jazz For The Late Night Wife Swappers (Brett) 3.25
09. Handbuilt By Robots (Brett/Joyce) 4.04
10. Blood On The Fretts (Brett) 2.40

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More from Paul Brett, a real master of the acoustic guitar:

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