Billy Joel – Kohuept (1987)

LPFrontCover1Kontsert (/kɒntˈsɛərt/) (Russian: Концерт, [kɐnˈt͡sɛrt], commonly read as Kohuept or Kohliept, English: Concert) is the second live album by Billy Joel, released in 1987. The album was recorded during the Soviet leg of Joel’s 1987 The Bridge tour. This album was co-produced by Jim Boyer and Brian Ruggles, and mixed by Jim Boyer.

During the Cold War, rock music was not allowed in the U.S.S.R. because it was not seen as part of Soviet culture. In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev implemented glasnost—the Soviet policy of managed openness—and the Kremlin invited Billy Joel to perform in the Soviet Union in 1986. Joel, being a history enthusiast, took advantage of this opportunity, knowing that this would impact the history of the Cold War. He was seen as a “nice, safe, first attempt at bringing in an American ‘pop star.'”

The tour of the Soviet Union consisted of six shows, three in Moscow and three in Leningrad. Joel brought his family with him to show the Russians that he felt safe and trusted the Russian people. During the show Joel gave new meanings to songs such as “Honesty.” Each time the song was performed, he dedicated the song to Vladimir Vysotsky because he was an inspirational Russian man who “spoke the truth.”[2]

Because rock concerts were unknown in the Soviet Union, Joel had to invite the crowd to stand and dance. During the second of the three concerts performed in Moscow at the Olympic Sports Complex, Joel flipped his electric keyboard, and broke his microphone stand on his grand piano. While performing “Sometimes a Fantasy,” the audience kept getting attention from spotlights, which angered Joel. He yelled, “Stop lighting the audience!” He then trashed his instruments, overturning his piano and breaking his mic stand. He later claimed that, “People like their privacy. They go to a concert to get that, to be in the dark and do their own thing.”

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Joel wanted the audience to feel comfortable, and most of all enjoy the show. To do so, he brought his daughter Alexa Ray Joel and his wife Christie Brinkley on tour with the band. He also crowd-surfed during his performances. While in Leningrad, Billy dove into the crowd during the performance of “The Longest Time.” This was another way for him to show that he trusted the Russian people.

Joel had played a tour in Europe prior to the tour in the Soviet Union, and was being interviewed during the day. As a result, his voice became hoarse. Joel himself stated that he was disappointed by the album, and believes his vocals were not up to par during its production.[5] Despite his opinion, Columbia Records released the album, claiming it was a “historic event.” Joel and his band jokingly refer to the album as “Kaput.”

Prior to this show, rock music was barely gaining ground in the Soviet Union. The implementation of Gorbachev’s glasnost allowed people of the Soviet Union to witness Western Rock. In result, the government had to learn how to put on concerts, while the people of Russia had to learn how to participate in them. Joel’s Russian tour was the first live rock radio broadcast in Soviet History. Joel and his band were one of the first western rock groups to perform in Russia, along with Elton John, James Taylor, and Santana.

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While in Russia, Billy Joel and his daughter Alexa met and became friends with a clown named Viktor. The song “Leningrad” would eventually be written about him. This song was released on the 1989 Storm Front album.

Joel went on to say:

The trip to Russia was probably the biggest highlight for me as a performer. I met these people and they weren’t the enemy. I also hoped that the people in America could see what we did. What happens when your kid says to you ‘what did you do in the Cold War, Daddy?’ And now we have something to say. (by wikipedia)

Once he had a decade of uninterrupted multi-platinum albums and had tasted the sweet fruit of the high life, Billy Joel decided that it was time for something different — it was time to get serious. The first hint of this was his celebrated Russian tour in 1987. Not many rock artists had been allowed to tour the U.S.S.R., so this was a big deal. Joel took his task very seriously, embracing his role as musical and cultural ambassador from the West and acting solemnly throughout the tour. Besides the temper tantrum where he pushed his piano off stage, of course, but even that could be seen as a rock & roller taking his message to the people. If you’re charitable, that is. That defining moment of the tour is captured at the end of Kohuept (sadly, it was trimmed for a subsequent CD reissue), a live double-album (single-disc) document of the Russian tour. At the time, it may have been a big event, and personally, it was a turning point for Joel, but musically, it wasn’t much of anything. Supported by an augmented version of his touring band, Joel runs through a predictable selection of hits, drawing heavily from The Bridge, but making sure to hit such favorites as “Angry Young Man,” “Honesty,” “Stiletto,” “An Innocent Man,” “Allentown,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “Big Shot” and “Sometimes a Fantasy.” For topicality’s sake, he adds “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” to his repertoire. All of it is professionally performed, but most of it sounds like slicker versions of the original studio takes. Still, die-hard fans would want this as a souvenir of a show they were never able to see and perhaps casual fans would want to use this as a de facto greatest-hits collection. (by by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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No, no, no, I Can´t agree with this review. The following review is much beter:
Billy Joel’s tour of the former Soviet Union was truly historic since he was one of the very first American artists to be allowed to perform in the former USSR. This disc very nicely brings us the highlights of Billy’s tour and we get some great tracks to prove that it was very successful!

The track set begins with a Russian piece called “Odoya;” and after that we hear the musical prelude to Billy’s concerts. Billy sounds great on “Honesty;” this classic tune about a man who wants his one true love features great piano by Billy. Billy also sings it quite passionately and the crowd loves every minute of it! “Stiletto” makes the crowd go wild; and the horn solo at the very beginning gets it just right! The drums, percussion, guitar and piano carry the melody and Billy sings this with great sensitivity–great! I think you’ll enjoy this live track of “Stiletto” very much.

“Big Man On Mulberry Street” really rocks as Billy cries out to make this even more passionate. Billy never misses a note and the drums and chorus enhance “Big Man On Mulberry Street” even more! Listen for some great jamming on “Big Man On Mulberry Street,” too. In addition, “Baby Grand” gets the royal treatment from Billy Joel as he delivers this number with panache and sensitivity. The crowd hangs on his every word; Billy’s rapport with his audience is excellent. Good percussion and drums, too.

The mood and tempo pick up considerably for a rocking “Only The Good Die Young;” Billy does this to perfection with some really great guitar! “Uptown Girl” features a nice chorus to backup Billy’s vocals; and they harmonize very well. The energy is perhaps at his zenith when Billy plays the predictable but wonderful “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Back In The U.S.S.R.” features good vocal backup, great drums and percussion, awesome electric guitar as Billy wails this out while playing piano. Excellent!

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The last track on this CD sends the message that Billy recognizes the former Soviet Union was beginning to undergo major social changes; we get the Bob Dylan standard “The Times They Are A Changin’.” Billy does this flawlessly after telling his audience that he believes the U.S.S.R. under Gorbachev was similar to the social changing times in America during the 1960s.

The liner notes include some great color photos taken of Billy and his band during his U.S.S.R. tour–great!

Billy Joel does indeed display his ability to perform as a socially conscious musician on this album. I wish it were a more complete version of perhaps a single concert; maybe in the future we will get that. All in all, this is still a phenomenal live Billy Joel CD; and I highly recommend it for rock and pop fans everywhere. (Matthew G. Sherwin)

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Personnel:
Liberty DeVitto (drums, percusion)
Kevin Dukes (guitars)
Russell Javors (guitar, harmonica, background vocals)
Billy Joel – vocals, keyboards piano, harmonica, guitar)
Dave Lebolt (keyboards)
Mark Rivera (saxophone, keyboards, lyricon, background vocals)
Doug Stegmeyer (bass)
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background vocals, percussion:
Peter Hewlett – George Simms
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The Georgian Rustavi Ensemble of USSR (vocals on01.)
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Oleg Smirnoff – on-stage translation

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Tracklist:
01. Odoya” (Traditional) 1.18
02. Prelude/Angry Young Man (Joel) 5.23
03. Honesty (Joel) 3.58
04. Goodnight Saigon (Joel) 720
05. Stiletto (Joel) 5.09
06. Big Man On Mulberry Street (Joel) 7.17
07. Baby Grand (Joel) 6.09
08. An Innocent Man (Joel) 6.08
09. Allentown (Joel) 4.23
10. A Matter Of Trust (Joel) 5.08
11. Only The Good Die Young (Joel) 3.34
12. Sometimes A Fantasy (Joel) 3.36
13. Uptown Girl (Joel) 3.08
14. Big Shot (Joel) 4.45
15. Back In The U.S.S.R. (Lennon/McCartney) 2.44
16. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Dylan) 2.57

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Roky Erickson – The Holiday Inn Tapes + Mine Mine Mind (EP) (1987)

FrontCover1.jpgRoky Erickson — lead vocalist and principal songwriter for the psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators and one of the leading lights of Texas rock — died Friday in Austin. He was 71.

Erickson’s death was confirmed by his brother Mikel to Bill Bentley, who produced the all-star 1990 Erickson tribute album “Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye,” which included performances by R.E.M., ZZ Top, Doug Sahm and other stars.

“Roky lived in so many worlds, you couldn’t keep up with him,” Bentley told Variety. “He lived so much, and not always on this planet.”

Erickson specialized in a stormy, nightmarish brand of rock. His otherworldly original songs were often inspired by his favorite horror movies (a collection of his lyrics was published in 1995 by Henry Rollins’ book company 2.13.61). His intense, piercing yowl was the focal point of the Elevators’ seething 1966 single “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” A magnum opus of garage rock, it was featured on Lenny Kaye’s influential 1972 compilation “Nuggets.”

The band released four albums of churning psychedelia for Lelan Rogers’ independent label International Artists between 1966 and 1969; its first two collections, “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators” and “Easter Everywhere,” are acknowledged classics of psych-rock.

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After the band folded — due in no small measure due to Erickson’s drug habits and escalating mental illness — the singer embarked on a lengthy solo career that was interrupted by periods of institutionalization.

He released a scathing series of singles flashing horror and sci-fi imagery — “Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog),” “The Interpreter,” “Starry Eyes,” “Bermuda,” “Don’t Slander Me” — during the ‘70s and ‘80s, and issued several solo albums, one of which, “Roky Erickson and the Aliens,” was issued by CBS.

While best known for his snarling garage-rockers, some of Erickson’s most memorable songs were haunting ballads like “You Don’t Love Me Yet” and “I Have Always Been Here Before,” whose heart-wrenching melodies belied the torment hinted in the lyrics.

Erickson’s battle with mental illness was chronicled in the affecting 2007 documentary “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

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In later years, he toured regularly, backed by such acts as the Black Angels, and could often be found performing on his favorite holiday, Halloween.

Born Roger Kynard Erickson in Austin, Texas, on July 15, 1947, Erickson was a high school dropout who formed his first group, the Spades, at 18. The group scored a local hit with the single “We Sell Soul,” and cut the original version of “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

The 13th Floor Elevators teamed Erickson with the aggressive guitarist Stacy Sutherland and Tommy Hall, who played an ululating, amplified jug. Their debut “Psychedelic Sounds” LP included their signature hit and “Fire Engine,” which became a signature tune in the early repertoire of the New York punk band Television.

The Elevators were a popular Austin act but fell apart thanks to Erickson’s instability, brought on by literally dozens of LSD trips. He was committed to psychiatric hospitals in Austin and Houston, undergoing involuntary electroshock therapy.

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He groped his way back to performing in the ‘70s, and some of his best recordings of the period were produced by his Austin contemporary Sahm and Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook. He toured backed by the Austin bands the Explosives and the Aliens (which featured another jug player, Bill Miller).

The ‘80s proved fallow for Erickson, who was sidetracked for a time by charges, later dropped, that he had stolen mail from his neighbors. He lived for several years with his mother in near destitution.

But projects like the Sire/Warner Bros. tribute album and the ardent fandom of younger rock musicians kept him in the public eye; a strong 1995 album, “All That May Do My Rhyme,” was released by Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey. He appeared at the ACL festival in Austin that year for his first live date in 20 years.

After slowly weaning himself off medication employed to control his schizophrenia, Erickson worked U.S. stages regularly. He became a semi-regular at the South By Southwest Music Festival, and in 2015 he reunited with surviving members of the 13th Floor Elevators at Austin’s Levitation Festival, which was named after an Elevators song.

His survivors include another brother, Sumner, and son Jegar. (variety.com)

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And here´s is a strange solo album from the Eighties:

More or less, Roky Erickson playing folk rock. Definitely a far cry from anything he ever did with the 13th Floor Elevators. Liked his covering the two Buddy Holly songs here – “True Love Ways” and “Peggy Sue Got Married”, the so-so “I Look At The Moon”, “Don’t Slander Me”, the emotional “Mine Mine Mind”, the rocking “Two Headed Dog” and one TFE tune “May The Circle Remain Unbroken” (off the band’s less appreciated third lp ‘Bull Of The Woods’). Looks to be the title’s initial ten tracks + four added bonus cuts. Overall, not bad, but an okay pick. (Mike Reed)

Judged on its own as a music recording this is pretty rough. This is a Roky Erickson collectors album most interesting from the historical perspective. Recorded on a cheap portable recorder in a motel room, this album is upfront and claims no pretention. This is not a typical Roky Erickson collection of songs. There are some cover versions of old rock standards and some Roky tunes not often found.

Very informal, ragged playing that sounds like something just slapped together on the spur of the moment. And I guess that’s exactly what it is.

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Four stars for being kind of an interesting exploration of this legendary artist. Three stars and maybe less from anybody who doesn’t know who he is and just wants to hear some music. In other words, not everyone will get a kick out of this album and I doubt that anyone would put it on their list of favorites. (Arlee Bird)

I love this record. However, no one else seems to. Its bare, its minimalistic. Just Roky and acoustic guitar. Some of his songs, some Buddy Holly covers, some others. Hardly exciting, but very intimate. Very interesting to hear Holly’s songs covered by Roky acoustically and finger-picked at that, love it. But, it took a while for me to crack into it. If you want a different side of Roky (acoustic) I’d highly recommend this. But if you’re looking for 13th Floor or Two-Headed Dog or Night of the Vampire with all their energy and electricity, perhaps pass on this one. (Colin)

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Front + back cover of the “Mine, Mine Mind” EP

I add another rare EP from this period and on “Mine Mine Mind” you can hear the heavy side of Roky Erickson … what a great trip !

This EP was later re-released under the titel “2 Head Dogs”.

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Front + back cover of the “2 Headed Dog” EP

Personnel:
Roky Erickson (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. The Singing Grandfather (Erickson) 3.59
02. The Times I’ve Had (Erickson) 2.31
03. That’s My Song (Erickson) 1.03
04. True Love Ways (Holly/Petty) 3.40
05. Peggy Sue Got Married (Holly) 2.02
06 Mighty Is Our Love (Erickson) 4.16
07. I Look At The Moon (Erickson) 2.45
08. Don’t Slander Me (Erickson) 2.39
09. May The Circle Remain Unbroken (Erickson) 2.33
10. The Singing Grandfather (Reprise) (Erickson) 3.34
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The Mine Mine Mind EP (1987):
11. Mine Mine Mind (Erickson) 2.39
12. Click Your Fingers Applauding The Play (Erickson) 3.20
13. Two-Headed Dog (Erickson) 3.22
14. I Have Always Been Here Before (Erickson) 2.44

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Roky Erickson (July 15, 1947 – May 31, 2019)

 

Klaus Schønning – Locrian Arabesque (1987)

FrontCover1A prolific multi-instrumentalist, Klaus Schønning became one of Europe’s most well-known new age artists during the 1980s. Born in Copenhagen in 1954, he began composing music as a child and also played piano. He made the move to blues and rock while a teenager, but also studied musicology at college. Schønning debuted in 1979 with Lydglimt, and soon began broadening the palate of electronic synthesizer music with deft orchestrations and a large array of instruments including harp, zither, dulcimer, bouzouki, glockenspiel, and many guitars. Nasavu, released in 1982, was an early touchstone in the continuing growth of new age music. Schønning recorded often throughout the 1980s, and debuted a four-part series of Symphodysse works in 1989. His music has also appeared on the Hearts of Space collection Cruisers 1.0. (by John Bush)

This is a valuable collection for space music fans, as it contains four pieces from the classic Nasavu, an out-of-print Schonning title that really shined in the area of pop instrumental music.

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The first four pieces are from a different production, and the fifth piece, the epic title track, acts as a bridge between his Kitaro-esque sweeping style and the more rhythmic, guitar-laden end of Schonning’s musical spectrum. The 20-minute middle piece covers it all, with a recurring theme that will likely catch your memory banks in a most lingering manner. Lasting impressions are the key here, collectively created by Schonning on synthesizers, autoharp, kantele, piano and keyboards, and accordion, etc, plus drums and guitars on most tracks, with Schonning’s ear for the overall sound guiding the way. (allmusic)

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Personnel:
Klaus Schønning (accordion, synthesizer, autoharp, guitar, kantele, percussion, piano, tin Whistle, zither)
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Peter Brander (guitar)
Suzanne Menzel (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Cosmix Syrinx 4.56
02. Calliope 5.40
03. Nadir 4.27
04. Celestial Mirage 5.23
05. Locrian Arabesque 20.01
06. Cygnus 6.26
07. Pyxis 5.38
08. Trix 6.26
09. Leda 3.42

Music composed by Klaus Schønning

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Malaysian Pale – Nature’s Fantasies (1987)

FrontCover1This electronic-based trio creates music designed to express visual scenes, both real and imaginary. Drawing on the knowledge of non-Western rhythms and scales, members Manfred Saul, Terry Kennedy, and Steve Mecca produce music that is evocative and accessible.

The electronic tone poems on Nature’s Fantasies project a quick series of images from around the world — from lush green jungles and Brazilian sunsets to the plains of the Serengeti and tranquil Japanese gardens. Nicely done, although it’s not particularly innovative. (by Linda Kohanov)

Nature’s Fantasies paints imaginative musical portraits of exotic creatures and climes, brought to life by the group Malaysian Pale. Their debut release is a vital mix of synthesizers, voice, guitar, and percussion. A boldly conceived collection of tone poems, Nature’s Fantasies projects a quick series of images from around the world: emerald green jungles, the Serengeti Plain, wind over the tundra, Brazilian sunsets, tranquil Japanese gardens, mysterious tunnels in Tunisia, and the streets of Rome. The music is an exotic blend of sultry samba rhythms and lush tropical scenes, combining seductive Latin ballads with atmospheric electronic soundpaintings full of light, color, and flickering shadows.

Malaysian Pale was a real energetic electronic group.

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Personnel:
Steve Mecca (synthesizer, bass, drum programming)
Terry Kennedy (vocals, synthesizers, sampling device)
Manfred Saul (synthesizer, sampling device, bass, drum programming)

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Tracklist:
01. Chase of the Bengal 5.05
02. Namorar Se Vida 4.23
03. Pond Life 6.01
04. Vanishing Wilderness 4.20
05. Oriental Watergarden 4.48
06. African Plains 4.03
07. Bellezzina 4.41
08. Tunnels of Tunisia 4.01
09. Silver Beach 2.15
10. Memories Of You 4.14

Music composed by Steve Mecca – Terry Kennedy – Manfred Saul
Lyrics written by Terry Kennedy

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Various Artists – NPR New Year’s Jazz Concert (1986/1987)

FrontCover1.jpgNational Public Radio (usually shortened to NPR, stylized as npr) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization based in Washington, D.C. NPR differs from other non-profit membership media organizations, such as AP, in that it was established by an act of Congress  and most of its member stations are owned by government entities (often public universities). It serves as a national syndicator to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States.

NPR produces and distributes news and cultural programming. Individual public radio stations are not required to broadcast all NPR programs; most broadcast a mix of NPR programs, content from American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and WNYC Studios, and locally produced programs. The organisation’s flagship shows are two drive-time news broadcasts, Morning Edition and the afternoon All Things Considered; both are carried by most NPR member stations, and are among the most popular radio programs in the country. As of March 2018, the drive time programs attract an audience of 14.9 million and 14.7 million respectively.

NPR manages the Public Radio Satellite System, which distributes NPR programs and other programming from independent producers and networks such as American Public Media and Public Radio International. Its content is also available on-demand online, on mobile networks, and, in many cases, as podcasts. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s their New Years live concerts 1986/87 with a lot of great Jazz musicians… look to personnel section in this entry.

I can´t imagine a better way to start this year (except the classical New Years concerts in Vienna) !

Recorded ive at The Caravan of Dreams, Fort Worh, Texas and Donte’s Jazz Club, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA. December 31, 1986 – January 1, 1987.
Very good WBUR-FM Boston/NPR broadcast.

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Personnel:

Nat Adderley’s BeBop All-Stars (CD 1):
Nat Adderley (trumpet)
Gail Allen (vocals)
Walter Booker (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)
Junior Cook (saxophone)
Sonny Fortune (saxophone)
Bertha Hope (piano)

Jazz Allstar Ensemble (CD 2):
Chuck Berghofer (bass)
Dick Berk (drums)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Plas Johnson (saxophone)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Joanie Sommers (vocals)
Ross Tompkins (piano)
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Dave MacKay (piano on 09.)

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Tracklist:

CD 1: Nat Adderley’s BeBop All-Stars: Live at the Caravan of Dreams, Forth Worth:
01. I Must Try to Make the Girl Love Me 7.36
02. Book’s Bossa 15.18
03. intro 1.07
04. Corporate Ladder 4.39
05. DJ talk 1.33
06. What’s a Nice Guy Like You 3.32
07. intro 0.24
08. Nieta  6.34
09. My Funny Valentine 7.26

CD 2: Jazz Allstar Ensemble: Live at Donte’s Jazz Club, Los Angeles:
01. Intro 0.31
02. Slow Walkin’ Blues 6.55
03. intro/Secret Love 4.32
04. intro 1.57
05. Beginning to See the Light [Duke Ellington et al] 4.12
06. Things Ain’t What They Used To Be 8.37
07. I’ll Walk Alone 9.33
08. intro 1.04
09. Medley (including Lush Life) 8.53

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John Abercrombie – Getting There (1987)

FrontCover1.jpgGetting There is a 1988 album by jazz guitarist John Abercrombie with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Peter Erskine. Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker plays on three tracks.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave the album 3 stars. (by wikipedia)

The music on this 1988 release from guitarist John Abercrombie is groomed to such aseptic perfection that little remains of the musical personalities behind these sounds. Abercrombie, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Peter Erskine, and saxophonist Michael Brecker (on three tracks) turn in immaculate performances, rich in technique and austere, cerebral exchanges, but despite the musical prowess, the listener is left to gaze on blankly, uninvolved. The malaise is typified by Abercrombie’s guitar synthesizer, which too frequently renders the leader’s brush strokes in a muted monochrome. Similarly, while the signature “Fortress of Solitude” chill of an ECM date is not the issue, the release’s enervating engineering does sap the vitality from these performances. There are, nestled among this generally reflective, introverted music, some rewarding bits, notably Abercrombie’s short jazz waltz, “Labour Day,” where he sets aside the guitar synthesizer and electronic enhancements to serve up some delicious straight-ahead sounds.

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Two of the tracks with Brecker, Abercrombie’s “Sidekicks” and Johnson’s “Furs on Ice,” have initially engaging melodies and rhythmic interest, but their promise is not realized. These two tracks would make excellent instrumental beds for a pair of latter day Steely Dan songs, but they do not sustain interest on their own. Musicians of the caliber of Abercrombie, Johnson, Erskine, and Brecker cannot fail to generate interest when they get together. This time out, though, their efforts would have been better presented as a master class workshop. The broader fan base, however, can take a pass. (by Jim Todd)

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Personnel:
John Abercrombie (guitar, guitar synthesizer)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Marc Johnson (bass)
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Michael Brecker (saxophone on 01., 04. + 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Sidekicks (Abercrombie) 5.22
02. Upon A Time (Abercrombie) 4.29
03. Getting There (Abercrombie) 7.40
04. Remember Hymn (Abercrombie) 5.18
05. Thalia (Mendoza) 4.21
06. Furs On Ice (Johnson) 8.13
07. Chance (Abercrombie) 5.01
08. Labour Day (Abercrombie) 3.47

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John Laird Abercrombie (December 16, 1944 – August 22, 2017)

Tracy Chapman – Demos (1987)

FrontCover1.jpgTracy Chapman was discovered in 1987 by fellow Tufts University student Brian Koppelman. “I was helping organize a boycott protest against apartheid at school, and someone told me there was this great protest singer I should get to play at the rally,” says Koppelman, who now works in A&R at Elektra. He went to see Chapman perform at a coffeehouse called Cappuccino. “Tracy walked onstage, and it was like an epiphany,” he says. “Her presence, her voice, her songs, her sincerity — it all came across.”

Koppelman approached Chapman after the performance and said, “I don’t normally do this, but I think my father could help you a lot.” (Charles Koppelman, his father, was then co-owner of SBK Publishing, one of the largest independent song publishers in the world.) Chapman listened politely but didn’t say much and went on her way.

Undaunted, Koppelman continued attending her shows, sitting in the front row. Although Chapman finally agreed to talk, she declined to cut any demos for him. Then Koppelman found out that Chapman had already recorded some demos at the Tufts radio station, WMFO, for copyright purposes. (In exchange, the station got to broadcast her songs.) Koppelman went to the station, and while a friend distracted the DJ, he lifted one of the tapes. It had one song, “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution,” on it. He made a copy and took it to his father. “He immediately got the picture and flew up to see her,” Koppelman says.

Chapman’s demo tape with SBK led to a signing with Elektra. “I have to say that I never thought I would get a contract with a major record label,” she told an interviewer shortly after the album’s release. “All the time since I was a kid listening to records and the radio, I didn’t think there was any indication that record people would find the kind of music that I did marketable. Especially when I was singing songs like ‘Talkin’ Bout a Revolution’ during the Seventies. . . . I didn’t see a place for me there.” (takenn from the Tracy Chapman website)

And here are these demo recordings … Tracy Chapman pure … another chance to discover one of the finest ladiey in music !

It is labeled 1987 but a source who knows a bit about Tracy Chapman history believes
these might have been recorded in 1986 in Medford MA at WMFO studios
at Tufts University where Tracy was going to school.

The tape was probably circulated locally in conjunction with a few shows
she was doing in Boston at that time. It was before her debut was recorded.

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Tracy Chapman as a street musician in 1985

Personnel:
Tracy Chapman (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Baby Can I Hold You 3.00
02. Talkin’ ’bout A Revolution 2.59
03. This Time 3.50
04. Mountain O’ Things 4.47
05. For You 3.28

All songs written by Tracy Chapman

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