11/30/14

Free - Live at Croydon (1970)

Nobody asked me to re-up this one but I seeing this post has been recently often visited, I suppose it was for dling this extraordinary live set. And since it was removed with the big amount of other stuff in my rs account wreck, it is a good opportunity to re-up it. Time is flying away and these Free era seems archeology now when some years ago it seemed so present. It's what we call feeling old. But the genius of this band is still intact. Catch it here.

The band that plays these 2 shows in September 1970 here has nothing in common with the one who played in Sunderland in January the same year (see here). "All Right Now" has been a massive hit worldwide and the 4 young musicians (they hardly reach 20 years) have now a new audience full of female teenagers and live a quite strange situation, with their muddy and bleak hard blues for people waiting to dance to hard rock standards with a pop quality, that neither Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath had. Here, they suspended some days their studio sessions for the Highway LP, and play in Croydon in front of an hysteric audience. Songs from these 2 shows gave most of the Free Live LP the following year, and some more songs from this concert were added on the 2002 reissued/remastered version but only on the Songs of Yesterday boxset was the information if songs were recorded on the 1st or the 2nd show (how were they able to play 2 so intense sets in a row, it's a mystery for me). To compile this fake LP, I chose to include the versions from the boxset (most of the 2nd show) when there was another version on the Free Live LP. It's better to have rarest versions I think. I respected the order of the setlist (and the wrong announces at the end of some songs are surely due to a fake addition on the boxset to imitate a true concert since they are not listed this way on the setlists I got from various sources, note for example that they didn't play "Moonshine" at Croydon and it's announced at the end of "The Stealer"). Only missing "Songs of Yesterday" and "The Hunter", the latter closing the concert (sad they didn't put them both in the boxset). But all in all, it's an absolute gem to listen and listen to again. A precious band for eternity.


11/21/14

Tony McPhee - Live in Zielona Gora (2000)



A not re-quested re-up (but I don't care) of an accoustic set Tony McPhee played in a little Polish place. A wonderful selection of blues played by the spiritual son of John Lee Hooker. Perfect to hear on a misty and cold autumn. Sad that he's no more able to sing after his stroke. But he still plays guitar with friends under the Groundhogs name. Our youth is only an old souvenir. And thinking of it, we got the blues. Catch this set here. PS. I'm still very happy of the cover sleeve I created for this live LP.

Recorded in a blues club of a Polish town called Zielona Gora (the pictures I chose for the sleeve I did myself), this is a fine collection of blues played by Tony McPhee in his usual Hookering style. I prefer when he plays with Groundhogs and when he plays his songs but here, the collection is quite sapid and there is a nice accoustic version of "Garden". It's a rather rare recording issued by a Polish label under a really ugly cover sleeve, the reason why I did one myself. The picture is from a Polish photograph called Alcove and I'll very soon post some of his works on Scoptophilia since he is more than talented.



Garden
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11/16/14

Groundhogs - Hogwash Live (1972)

Another Groundhogs re-up. Not that I listen much to the band these days but as you know, I re-up according to requests, and "prince charly" asked me for this live set to be available again thus, although I'm not a royalist, I obeyed. He told me that I did a sort of audacious comparison between Groundhogs and Gang of Four in one post. Maybe it may seem a little bit outrageous, but I mean there was something common in their rough approach of rock. See by yourself here.

This tour was planned at the onset of winter 1972 to support the release of Hogwash, the 6th album of the band. But it was a changed band that the audience watched. First Ken Pustelnik, the original drummer, had been fired since he was really no more manageable due to a strong drug addiction, and then Tony McPhee had integrated more synth than ever in the band sound. A success, in musical terms, since he was able to conserve the rough edge of his style, but creating a great mix between blues and prog. Honestly, nobody reached such a level in quality when adding progressive in their initial style (except Strawbs maybe). So, this concert, recorded by the BBC, was quite different from the others you can find from the band in the 2 previous years. Less hard blues, more.... actually more Groundhogs. I chose to create a new cover sleeve since the official is totally inane (I used it to write the titles, that's all). My image choice is about the obession of McPhee at the time against hunters. And with a hog, it perfectly fits the thing. The title is justified by the fact that they play here 5 from the 8 Hogwash tracks. Enjoy it here. More Groundhogs to come soon, I'm in the mood for it (sad, angry and hunted).



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11/15/14

Groundhogs - Solid Live (1974)

Saw that this post was amongst the most viewed last week so I suppose some were looking for the upload album. I hope this re-up will please them. All I had to say about this concert capture and its compilation from various sources is detailed below. Catch it here.

Some weeks ago, a 3-CD compilation was released with the 3 LPs the band recorded for UA between 1972 and 1976 (Hogwash, Crosscut Saw and Black Diamond) and in which I had the surprise to find songs played at the Playhouse Theatre on the 23rd May 1974 that allowed me to complete the previously released songs from this concert. Thus, I added them to this live LP I had called Solid Live since most of the tracks I had gathered were from Solid, the album the band had released some weeks before the concert. Strangely, Solid was not issued on UA and it's the reason it is not on this 3-CD compilation. This additional songs are what we'd called band classics, with the famous parts 1 and 2 of "Split", "Ship On The Ocean" and "I Love Miss Ogyny" from Hogwash. It's now more than one hour of live music from one of the most abrasive and unclassifiable band of the seventies. And one that still talks to us today (at least to me). Enjoy it here. Below what I wrote in the first post.

Here we find the Groundhogs 2 years after the previous concert posted here. They became bleaker than ever and their Solid album explores the darkest sides of human brain associated with a really oppressive music. The blues is back again but makes a strange bridge between Hendrix and Gang of Four. On stage, in the tour to promote the LP, the band is much more compact and focussed on songs than they were and McPhee's solos are much noiser and less virtuoso than before. Here they play 4 songs from Solid and it's maybe my fave live recording of the band (but some done in 1976 are also great). These tracks were released on a 2-set album issued in 1994 and compiling a 1972 concert (with the old formation) and this one, reunited because recorded for BBC Radio One. But the 15 min version of "Soldier" was not included and could only be found on the remastered CD version of Thanks Christ For The Bomb. Here, I gathered all the available tracks from this concert. If you know other ones I would have missed, thanks to tell in comments, I'd tried to add them. This is really great testimony of the band, playing in 1974 a style that would have surely been more popular in 1977 or in the onset of grunge.


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11/14/14

Melanie - Stoneground Words (1972)







Another re-up, on M this time. Not sure it's a good idea to post this LP since it is sold on various sites and I wouldn' like that it robs Melanie.  Not the album that fulfilled the wait after the gorgeous Gather Me but anyway an album with several great moments. Catch it here.

A reup of this LP after a visitor left a comment to inform me that the link was dead. Note, dear visitor that it's not a badly ripped vinyl version but a real CD one, although I doubt the quality is the best that could be drained from the original master but it's unfortunately often the case with much of the less successful Melanie's material. Hope one day she'll be considered such an important artist that none of her recording will be considered not interesting enough to benefit of a respectful sound treatment. Below what I wrote in the initial post.

This album was planned to be the first of the Melanie new free career since she was now the master of her destiny, via Neighboorhood, the label she created with Peter Shekeryk her husband,, having stopped to be in the Buddha hands, but it would be finally her swansong, only reaching  70 in the US charts and not even charting in the land that made her successful, I mean UK. Why? Surely because there's not the luxury of easy-to-remember tunes that made Gather Me such a classic. But when listening to this album, there were enough goodies to make it a hit LP if only the whole mood hadn't been so sad, nostalgic, introspective, fatalist and in one word, melancholic. And the times were not waiting for such songs. Maybe one year later, it would have been better. Cos' yes, this a much more folk, ballad-oriented and mellow album than Gather Me and even than the previous ones. Some orchestral arrangements are rather gorgeous, but not enough to make the whole album sounding as a sort of must for lovers of such music. Although they are very good songs, "Together Alone" and "Do You Believe" will be released, without success, in singles. Among the highlights, there's "Here I Am" where Melanie shows that she's one of the most moving singers any periods, a Billie Holiday for the seventies (and the next decades). A total gem for Cabaret songs amateurs. But there's enough in this album to make it one of your sonor companion for the rest of your life. Melanie, wherever you are, we love you.


















11/11/14

Kim Fowley- International Heroes (1973)



Kim Fowley had rough times this year, his bladder cancer tried to kill him and maybe it finally will win, but he recently married with Kara Wright and after all it's a way to keep death quiet some time. Since I saw that visitors came on this post, I decided to re-up this wonderful album on M. It's an overlooked masterpiece. Since I discovered him in 1972, I've never abandoned Kim Fowley, I'm rather proud of that. Catch it here.

This is what everyone calls the "glam" or "glitter" LP of Kim Fowley. It's true that once in London, he certainly was influenced by the climax of the year (actually 1972) which was all for Bolan & Bowie. Since these 2 glam stars were an adaptation of Dylan, it's no surprise this album is what Kim Fowley tried to do with Dylan to produce his own glam identity. Actually, it's still very Dylanian and rarely goes in the real glam (except the T. Rex-influenced "Born Dancer" and "Dancing All Night"). But the fact is this album is surely his best (with Outrageous) cos' songs are really prime cuts and have supported the test of time more than many of those released at this period. It's true that Kim Fowley was backed and helped (for composition) by a strong team of musicians among whom Kerry Scott (where is this man, what has he done afterwards?) and Glen Turner, both on guitars. They provide a first class support and Kim Fowley seems exceptionnally concerned and focused. Only on the Ralph Shuckett co-penned "So Good Wish You Would", the madness Kim was used to, emerges again. But the most incredible song is "I Hate You", totally under the influence of Procol Harum, and most notably their Shine On Brightly period, with the doomest and darkest songs. The text is terrible (if you want to send a hate letter to an ex-lover, take it) and the song remains one of the highlights of the seventies. A perfect great forgotten song although it cannot be denied it's a Procol rip-off. Other gems are "World Wide Love" (a sure hit, why nobody released this on a single?), "International Heroes" or "Ugly Stories About Rock Stars", not forgetting "Something New", but actually there is no really weak track here. So, that nobody released this masterpiece on CD properly shows how the record industry only deserves to be despised until they die. 



Vic Godard & Subway Sect - Peel Sessions 77-78


A re-up, not re-quested, but I saw this post was visited last week so I suppose visitors were disappointed that the links were dead (rs and mf). So here it is again on M. Vic Godard, a man to remember, one of these numerous geniuses drowned in the shit machine of the rock business.

Subway Sect is surely one of the bands who was the most victim of the stupidity and the incompetence of one man: Bernie Rhodes, more interested in promoting the rock'n'roll-as-usual stuff of the Clash (never been a punk band although what everybody says, shit, I lived that period) than the genius of Vic Godard. Everybody knows now the incredible story of this first Subway Sect LP never released by the above named individual, and that Godard had to re-recorded some years ago in order to allow his fans to hear the songs that were on it. Some (but not all) of these songs can be found on various compilations. But here, I gathered the 2 Peel Sessions recorded by the band during this sad times. When I say "the band", it seems there were 2 bands: the almost original line-up for the 1977 session, but a completely new one for the 1978 session. Unfortunately, I didn't find the names of thi session's musicians so I didn't write anything on the rear cover sleeve I created. When you know that What's The Matter Boy? released some times later was recorded with a 3rd line up, you see that it was quite hard to follow. What's easy to follow, is Godard's music since these songs are as fresh and palatable than at the time of their creation. No many in that case. Versions of the What's The Matter Boy? LP are much better here to my eyes. The sound is very good and the versions stunning. I respected the order of the tracklist played, actually I respected what's written on the BBC site. Below some clips from the band in this period. Interesting even if the sound is shitty. One is a nice video montage with pictures of Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie from Jean Luc... Godard, on the Peel session version of "Chain Smoking".










11/5/14

Let's Active - Singles 84-88

I'm in an obsessive Let's Active period these days. I listened again to Mitch Easter discography when I learned he had played with the original formation, minus Faye Hunter who committed suicide one year ago (in July 2013). All this is sad and  funny at the same time. And nostalgia grabs me by the feet when I listened to the songs I so much loved between 1984 and 1988. God heaven and devil together I was young in these days. And Mitch Easter too. And contrary to so many bands and records, Let's Active first EP and 2 LPs (minus the 3rd one, Every dog has his day, ruined by John Leckie production), all this has travelled through time and years without losing anything of its charm, freshness and thrilling qualities. Here I gathered the promo and official singles the band released during its short life. So few singles when so many of Easter songs were perfect pop standards. Too sad the times were not kind for such music (people usually like loads of shitty music in these days and geniuses such as Mark Perry, Dan Treacy or Nikki Sudden were totally overlooked). I added the original version of "Horizon" with Faye Hunter singing and much better than the Every Dog Has His Day version, and "Invisible Hills", a song Mitch Easter considered too bleak for including it in the fabulous Big Plans For Everybody LP. I did the cover sleeve, using a quite overused picture, but I like it so much I couldn't resist. If this could help to restore the admiration Mitch Easter deserves, I would not have lost my time.  Enjoy it here. PS. "Water Parts" is one of my fave pop songs all periods.


11/1/14

Jack Bruce Band - Live at Manchester Free Trade Hall '75 (1975)


Requested, a new re-up of a Jack Bruce album. His recent death was not unexpected but was a shock. We were used to live on a planet where such a man existed. We'll have to live without. And then we'll follow him. Catch it here.

These days I'm listening much to Marc Bolan and I'm near to post some acoustic demos that gave songs to albums from Slider to Futuristic Dragon. But Rough posted today "One" by Jack Bruce Band on his facebook page and suddenly I realized there was much Bruce stuff I expected to post here that is still lingering in my computer vaults. So here one, not rare but an essential testimony of how sounded this strange team united under the JBB banner. Carla Bley and Mick Taylor backing Jack Bruce could seem a winner ticket but things did not turn this way. The band in this line-up can be heard on the BBC 3-CD compilation in a concert given for the Old Grey Whistlin' Test (and the thing can be seen on youtube even if I'll post here too). It was on the 6th of June 1975. Six days earlier, they had given this concert in Manchester. Much longer (111'), but with more or less the same playlist it's interesting to realize how the band was not so much in a self-indulgent approach that it may have seemed. Even the long "suites" of the second CD are played with a sense of tension that has nothing to do with a lot of experimental stuff of that times. Of course it's sometimes a bit dated but Bruce material is so strong that it overpasses the jazzy and prog useless complexity that spoils the music here and there. Just listen to "One" or "Pieces of Mind" if you don't believe me. They are jewels for eternity. I would have dreamed to hear Billie Holiday sing it. The Mellotron is more pregnant than the moog, it's important to note for those who, like me, have a strong problem with the later (and a big love for the former). But stop bullshitting with words, here the great Jack Bruce at the beginning of a very rude time for him.