Status Quo – Hello (1973)

FrontCover1Hello! is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Status Quo. Released in September 1973, it was the first of four Quo albums to top the UK Albums Chart. It was also the first Quo album on which drummer John Coghlan was credited with songwriting.

Keyboard player Andy Bown and saxophonist Stewart Blandamer both played on “Forty Five Hundred Times”. This was Bown’s first appearance on a Status Quo album; he guested on several subsequent releases, and became a permanent member of the line-up a few years later.

1973 started for Status Quo with the belated chart success, in January, of the 1972 releases on their new label Vertigo, leading to their first top ten entry on the album charts and a long-awaited return to the top ten of the singles chart. As a result, Status Quo’s previous record company Pye decided to release a single from their 1971 album Dog of Two Head. The single, Francis Rossi and Bob Young’s “Mean Girl”, reached No. 20 upon its release. It was backed by the Rossi/Parfitt composition “Everything”, taken from the band’s 1970 album Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon.

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In August 1973 the only single from the new album, Rossi and Young’s “Caroline”, was released, reaching No. 5. It was the group’s first single to reach the UK top five. Its B-side was a non-album track titled “Joanne”, written by Alan Lancaster and Rick Parfitt.

Hello! was released in September that year, and became the most successful album the band had ever released. Initial copies of the record on vinyl came with a large black and white poster of the group. Of the eight tracks on the album, only six of them were new. “Caroline” had already been heard by the public as a single release, while “Softer Ride” had served as the B-side to the band’s “Paper Plane” single from their previous album Piledriver.

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No other singles were issued from the album, although a live version of “Roll Over Lay Down” appeared on a three-track EP released in May 1975, which reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 2 on the Australian Singles Chart, making it the band’s only top-ten hit Down Under.

This was the band’s first album to feature the band’s name written in the now-familiar font used on most subsequent album covers. (by wikipedia)

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Following the success of Piledriver, Status Quo opted not to change a thing, unfurling the mind-numbing boogie attack of Hello! The strategy worked, resulting in the group’s first number one album and in “Caroline,” its first top-five single. Mostly, the album succeeds in spite of itself. “Roll Over Lay Down,” not immediately impressive, builds into a tizzy over the course of five minutes. It is one-upped by “Caroline,” the definitive Status Quo rock song, a not particularly hard or fast four-on-the-floor stomp saved by a massive, deceptively simple guitar hook. “Forty-Five Hundred Times,” less catchy but harder rocking, is brutally long, but is rescued by its placement as the album’s closer. In between, the group, writing in some instances with coordinator Robert Young, offer up slight variations of their standard formula. Several of those, like the rickety, Beatlesque “Claudie” and the bluesy “Softer Ride” transcend their three-chords-and-a-riff construction enough to render them decent, memorable pop songs. Down to the proto-Spinal Tap black-on-black cover, this was the vanguard of British denim rock in 1975, and given the narrow conceptual and technical limits within which the Status Quo had to work, it has held up well, though it is certainly not for the faint of heart or attention span. Clearly the product of a band at their commercial and creative peak, Hello! wears its strengths and weaknesses well: not particularly flashy or intelligent, but without exception confident, comfortable and fun. (by Steve May)

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Personnel:
John Coghlan (drums, percussion)
Alan Lancaster (bass, vocals)
Rick Parfitt (guitar, piano, vocals)
Francis Rossi (guitar, vocals)
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Andy Bown (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Roll Over Lay Down (Rossi/Parfitt/Lancaster/Coghlan/Young) 5.41
02. Claudie (Rossi/Young) 4.02
03. A Reason For Living (Rossi/Parfitt) 3.42
04. Blue Eyed Lady (Parfitt/Lancaster)
05. Caroline (Rossi/Young) 4.17
06. Softer Ride (Parfitt/Lancaster) 4.00
07. And It’s Better Now (Rossi/Young) 3.18
08. Forty Five Hundred Times (Rossi/Parfitt) 9.54

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Passport – Looking Thru (1973)

USFrontCover1Well, Passport is not really prog, but it’s still a excellent fusion/jazz-rock band with some progressive elements on some songs (like the title track on this album). I like the playing from the band, especially Curt Cress’s (later Triumvirat) fantastic drumming and Klaus Doldinger’s great saxophone playing. The songs, with “Eternal Spiral” beign a personal favorite are all very good and accessible, and this one should do the trick for fans of this genre. The overall result is a tight, fast and impressive Jazz-Rock album by this great german band. I’ll with pleasure recommend this one! (by Bj-1)

Ah Passport. Underrated and sadly overshadowed by bands like Mahavishnu, RtF and Weather Report. This has always been one of my favorite jazz fusion albums. Not having heard any of their other albums means I have a fresh take on this album and I won’t be comparing it to other albums they have done. Anyways, “Looking Thru” is a very good fusion album slightly similar to Mahavishnu or Return to Forever but a bit more melodic and accessible than them while still remaining complex. “Rockport”, “Tarantula”, “Ready for Take Off” and the title track are prime examples. They are very well structured and played though. My favorite songs however, are when they branch out to a bit more of a progressive feel in the rhythm and keyboard playing.

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“Eternal Spiral, “Eloquence”, “Things to Come” and the title track all have fantastic keyboard, drum/percussion and sax playing with a slight prog feel. As with many fusion groups, the piano (electric here) is the main keyboard instrument and it sounds wonderful though there is also organ and moog abundant here as well. Great sax playing as well from Doldinger. His styie is very unique with a fantastic sense of style. I have many fusion albums and still have never found a band very similar to Passport so if you want a fairly unique progressive jazz-fusion album with great playing and VERY memorable melodies, give “Looking Thru” a chance. You probably won’t regret it. (dalt 99)

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Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums, percussion)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, synthesizer, piano, mellotron)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass, guitar)
Kristian Schultze (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Eternal Spiral 4.04
02. Looking Thru 8.01
03. Zwischenspiel 1.37
04. Rockport 3.36
05. Tarantula 4.53
06. Ready For Takeoff 4.50
07. Eloquence 5.17
08. Things To Come 2.46

Music composed by Klaus Doldinger

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Eberhard Schoener – Meditation (1973)

FrontCover1.JPGEberhard Schoener (born May 13, 1938, Stuttgart) is a German musician, composer, conductor, and arranger. His activities combine many styles and formats. Originally a classical violinist and conductor of chamber music and opera, he was one of the early adopters and popularizers of the Moog synthesizer in Europe.

In the 1970s he traveled to Indonesia and incorporated musical elements from Asia into his own work. He has collaborated with rock musicians such as Jon Lord, Pete York and The Police.

He has composed film scores, videos, music for television, and an opera to be broadcast via the Internet. He has won numerous awards, including the 1975 Schwabing Art Prize for music, the 1992 Bambi Award for creativity and a lifetime achievement award at the Soundtrack Cologne Festival of Music and Sound in Film and the Media in November, 2014. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s his 3rd solo-album:

Eberhard Schoener had, by 1973, made a couple of albums for Ariola, including the avowedly strange Destruction of Harmony in 1971, a proto-postmodern, irony-laced deconstruction of the classics that took as much of a cue from Stockhausen’s Hymnen, as it did Switched on Bach.

But after “a lengthy trip to Asia” (oh yes! one of those!) the idea for Meditation had come to Schoener, in what must have been a blazing Damascian white-light of revelatory gnostic visionary insight – if the results are anything to go by!

Of course, Schoener was good friends with the mystic, Florian Fricke, and would have, of course, heard the first two Popol Vuh lp’s – Affenstunde and In den Garten Pharoas, perhaps the nearest stylistic signposts we have for this lengthy piece of mantric musical nirvana.

In particular, the heady, ghostly, spectral musings of the title track of “Pharoas…” is close to the darkened electronic musings on offer here. Released in 1973, the LP is made up of two huge, gradually unfolding, electro-drone mantras – Music for Meditation I and Music for Meditation II. The first side begins amidst synthesised white-noise waves crashing on the shore, the underwater vibe remaining, as a bell-tone submarine pulse echoes as it passes by. Gothic cello-like synthesiser warbles intone at ominous intervals. It reminds one a lot of “On the Way” and “Through Pains to Heaven” (from side 2 of Popol Vuh’s Nosferatu soundtrack) as the notes curl and strain around the ever-present electronic EberhardSchoener02pulse. Zeit might be another obvious signpost here. From time to time huge swells of synthesised white noise swirl like fizzing breaking foam around the droning notes. The trance goes on – as the track barely changes for 17 minutes – allowing the listener time to let their mind drift and buffet against the shores of this glistening rare jewel of a track.

Side Two – although ostensibly another 17-minute electronic drone piece – has slightly more to it in terms of sonic components and is definitely the artistic peak of the LP. Here the Eastern flavour is a little more apparent, as resonating synthesiser notes unfurl like sun-drenched spheres of birthing light. Filters are skilfully manned to create a dry, arid solarscape of sound. It sounds like the musical equivalent of sun-blindness or heat exhaustion – but for the listener it’s a blissful, nurturing sound. Here and there gongs are gently struck and cooler, more spectral voices are heard – a distant woman-voiced lunar ululation calling from afar.

It’s an incredibly peaceful and hypnotic 17 minutes – with similarities to other abstracted sides of cosmic awe – including the aforementioned Popol Vuh’s early Liberty/Pilz sides and Nosferatu OST, Stomu Yamashita’s Red Buddha LP and “Mandala” (from Man from the East) and Zeit-era Tangerine Dream. A monolithic, pulsating, droning, glistening,primal slab of Kosmiche! (by aether)

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Personnel:
Eberhard Schoner (synthesizer)

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Tracklist:
01. Meditation – Part 1 / 17.16
02. Meditation – Part 2 / 18.27

Music composed by Eberhard Schoener

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SchoenerYork2019Eberhard Schoener & Pete York in 2019