Chistophe - Pas Vu Pas Pris (+ Bonus Track) (1980)

The second Christophe re-up, to celebrate his new album (Vestiges du Chaos, released some days ago). In this one (see below) Alain Kan wrote several lyrics. My two fave French singers on the same album, it should have been a dream. But the album is only good, not the masterpiece it could be have been. But catch it here.

If you (must I say love or like, let's say) appreciate Christophe (his name is Bevilacqua) and Alain (with or without the "Z") Kan, you must dl and listen (and who knows buy) their one and only collaborative LP, called Pas Vu Pas Pris (for Not Seen, Not Caught) and released in 1980. Actually, Alain Kan was the brother of the then-wife of Christophe and it's quite strange that two of the best French songwriters were tied by family relations. Unfortunately, this LP was musically weaker than the previous one, Le Beau Bizarre (that you can dl here), and even the lyrics did not fit as well Christophe's world than the Bob Decout ones. However, the album is still enjoyable, darker, rockier (although the ugly cover sleeve may indicate a beach album, in fact it's very urban and unsane) than everything Christophe had done to this day. Probably the Alain Kan influence. I was near to call this post The Complete Pas Vu Pas Pris Album, since the song "Question Ambiance", written by Alain Kan and Christophe, was excluded from the LP and was only the B-side of the awful "L'Italie", the unavoiding (s)hit that Christophe had to release to make a decent live with his music. This song had nothing to do on the LP and would have been advantageously replaced by "Question Ambiance". Because I included the back cover sleeve and the lyrics sheet in the file (with some pictures I sticked at the time I bought it, 30 yrs ago), I maintained "L'Italie" and added as bonus trax "Question Ambiance". Not a masterpiece but an interesting adjonction to any good Christophe discography.

The first song of the album and the second (unsuccessfull) single of the LP


From the album, "Minuit Boul'vard" is the only song played by Christophe at each of his live set. Here, a not-too-bad quality catch in 11/2009


Christophe - Le Beau Bizarre LP (1978)

Sorry for the silence but I was travelling. I'm back and promise re-ups and new stuff regularly. Since Christophe has released a new album last week (as usual a must-have) it's a good opportunity to re-up some of his less-known LPs, particularly this one from 1978 and that deserves to be known worldwide. Another one (released the following year) tomorrow. Catch this one here.

I suppose most of you don't know Christophe (his family name is Bevilacqua) if you're not French. It's, with Alain Kan, Jean-Claude Vannier and some few other ones, my fave French singer songwriter since 1974, the year of its great Les Mots Bleus (Blue Words) album. In the seventies, his wife was the Alain Kan's sister, the reason why we found the two of them collaborating on one album, Pas Vu Pas Pris (Not Seen Not Taken) the one that followed the today's one. If I post Le Beau Bizarre (The Beautiful Weird One I would translate) it's first because it's for me one of his best (the best being probably Comme Si La Terr' Penchait (As If The Earth Was Inclined) in 2002 and the last one, Aimer Ce Que Nous Sommes (Love The One We Are) in 2008). But back in 1978. Punk was here, and Christophe released one of his rockest album, but a rock one in the same vein that Procol Harum was rock, that's mean with a quite decadent sophistication, full of neon lights, night creatures and men full of frustrated desire for them. Lyrics were by Bob Decout, a strange guy who worked here and there on weird projects (in particular with the actress Annie Girardot, his lover at the time) and who probably wrote the texts who have been the most adapted to the Christophe personality during his career. This great album alternates deliquescent songs on piano with a cabaret flavour, and some rockier ones with aggressive electric guitars (but don't expect the Stones or ACDC). The album was not a success and no hit was driven from it, a mistake that Christophe will not reproduce, being for most of French, a variety singer, a kind of effeminate Tom Jones, with one hit for dancing slows on the beach bars, but producing innovative music in his albums, bought by his true fans. The worst is that the vinyl discography of Christophe has been released on CD first in 1989 and 1992 with the original sleeves, but in remastered versions in 2004 with awful coloured sleeves versions. I wonder who was responsible for this stupidity. Here it is with the original sleeve for you. And in streaming, one rocker, "Saute Du Scooter" ("Jump From The Scooter").



Alex Harvey Band - Shakin' all over / Wake Up Davis (Sings The Oil Man Boogie) 7" (1979)

Another double-rare one since the A-side is a different version from the album (see below) and the B-side a non-album track. Now I can provide the second in a good digitalized version ref. to the CD box set. Unfortunately, the Shakin All Over version on the boxset is only the album one. Catch this splendid offer here.

Yesterday, an anonymous visitor wrote that this was not the A-side version of this single that I posted, but the album version. First I was upset since I didn't like the way he wrote it, without any kindness for the gracious work I do here. Then I was dubious since I thought the versions were the sames except edited on the single. But tonight, I realized he was right and that the single version is rather different, and much better than the LP one. Much rougher and hard-edged. So, I ripped my vinyl and, although the sound is poorer than the CD one of the album version, it's at least appropriate to the post since it's the actual version that we could find on this single.

Below what I wrote in the then post
"This is the first single (with a not so good picture on the sleeve I must say) Alex Harvey released after having disbanded his Sensational Band. He named the new one The New Band, maybe not the best idea he got but it was his own choice. This anticipated by some weeks The Mafia Stole My Guitar but did not provide a good insight in the future LP since here Alex seemed to go back to his roots, music from the 50's and the first years of the 60's. The new band would have more space to show his musical skill in the long player but here one can see that it was a hell of a band, compact, powerfull, a good vehicle for Alex's voice. The choice of the Johnny Kidd standard might seem not too relevant to the punk years but actually the Pirates (without Johnny Kidd of course, dead 20 years earlier) had reformed and I've seen them at the Hope & Anchor in the summer of 1977 with full punks (I was one I must say) pogoing at them. The version here is quite extreme and unusual. Difficult for me to describe it in English but let's say it sounds more new wave-ish than nostalgic. And Alex's voice is rather hard to recognize. The single was well received by the musical press in England, but unfortunately, it seemed that Alex would not benefit, contrary to his pal Ian Dury, to the jump wagon opportunity (I try this expression but I'm not sure it means what I mean, no matter). The B-side ("Wake up Davis") was much more interesting and remains one of my fave Alex song. Beginning like an old Mississipi rural blues, it turns in a Louis Prima-esque song that would make dance any cul-de-jatte (this for the not so funny joke of the sleeve drawing). I never saw this song on any compilation, neither on any blog, so I think it is a nice gift to rip it from my vinyl single and post it here for who wants it. More to come in the further day from Alex.

Here a picture of Alex during his post SAHB years.


Alex Harvey Band - (Big Tree) Small Axe 7" (1980)

If one would ask me (but of course nobody will), which Alex Harvey songs (with or without SAHB) are my faves, I'd answer (naturally) "No Complaints Department" but also "Give My Compliments To The Chef" and "The Whalers (Thar She Blows)" featuring on The Mafia Stole My Guitar, a dramatically underrated album. This song was added as a B-side of a single with a non-album A-side, the rather Spectoresque "(Big Tree) Small Axe", that can be heard now in a correctly digitalized version and not an artisanal vinyl-ripped one like in the previous post (thanx to the recent box set). No more comments, just listen to the 7 min of this gem and tell me if it's not a masterpiece. Note that the music is co-credited to the Alex Harvey Band then guitarist, the young Matthew Cang, and this raises regrets that they didn't go on longer together. But Alex was not in very good mental dispositions in this difficult post SAHB period. Anyway, catch this one here

Alex Harvey is with Alain Kan the main reason I created this blog. Some of their songs seemed irreparably lost and nobody seemed to care. If most know Alex had a career before the 4 years that lasted the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, few were and still are interested by his musical life during the 5 years between the SAHB end and the tragic and irreparable Alex's death on 4 february 1982, one day before his 47th birthday. Sad since he released a great album with his new band (The Mafia Stole My Guitar, on which the wonderfull "The Whalers" was chosen as B-side for this single) and 2 singles, the one here being the last one he saw released when still alive. Released in May 1980, it means that Alex had no record out for almost 2 years before he died. It's quite incredible when one knows how he never gave up and wanted to play and record again and again. But so where these times, sometimes cruel for artists such as Kevin Coyne and Alex Harvey who had contributed more than anybody to the punk movement and who were cited by punks (at least John Lydon) as true influences. The A-side was an attempt to recreate a Bob Marley song, surely because it seemed a good idea for the charts. It was not and we must admit that the cover is not convincing. Of course, it's not bad, but honestly it's far from the greatest achievements of the past. The B-side is so fantastic that it makes this single a great one. Once again, it is a self-made cover since there was originally none. The picture of Alex is of course a reference to the text of "The Whalers". I'm quite happy with my choice on both sides and, maybe I'm wrong, but I think that he would have liked it. In a few days, I'll post another post-SAHB single, never included on various compilations, and published the year before this one.

I think it is pleasant to listen with the text on the screen, so I put the "Small Axe" one (from Bob Marley) but also the deeply moving one of "The Whalers"
(Big Tree) Small Axe. Why boasteth thyself. Oh, evil men playing smart and not being clever? I said, you're working iniquity to achieve vanity (if a-so a-so). But the goodness of jah, jah. I-dureth for-i-ver. So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down (well sharp), to cut you down. These are the words of my master, keep on tellin me no weak heartshall prosper, and whosoever diggeth a pit shall fall in it, fall in it. And whosoever diggeth a pit, shall fall in it (... fall in it). If you are the big tree, let me tell you that we are the small axe, sharp and ready, ready to cut you down (well sharp), to cut you down(to cut you down)(to cut you down). These are the words of my master, tellin me that no weak heart shall prosper. And whosoever diggeth a pit, shall fall in it, uh, bury in it. And whosoever diggeth a pit shall bury in it, uh (... bury in it). If you are the big, big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down (well sharp), to cut you down. If you are the big, big tree, let me tell you that we are the small axe, ready to cut you down (well sharp), to cut you down, sharpened ....

The Whalers (Thar She Blows). Gimme the spear. Gimme it quick. And I'll kill the son, of Moby Dick. I'll throw the carcass on the boil. Sell my soul for bloody oil. Murder in the silver foam. Grab the gold and sail back home. Slaughter cubs and mummy too. Here's a perfume just for you. Thar she blows, thar she blows. There she blows. See the spout. Money is what it's all about. In leopard skins and tiger shoes. We all sing the dog food blues. Sling it on the rusty deck. Rip the sinew from its neck. You can't complain, it's fair enough. We kill it and you buy the stuff. Thar she blows. Thar she blows. I'm a whaler man, a buccaneer, the butcher boy. Born a hero dyin' slow. You're only blubber what did I say here today. Will you be here tomorrow? Will you be here tomorrow?


The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Delilah / Soul in Chains 7" (1975)

Not the one I wanted to re-up tonight but after all I'll re-up all the rare material so why not this one. The B-side was a single-only track, a version of "Soul in Chains" recorded at the Hammersmith the same night than the Live album. Here is the version released on the set box so in a far better quality than the my-own-vinyl rip I posted previously. Here the complete version (more than 7 min) and not the shortened one that one could find on the single. So a nice adding to the series I think. Catch it here. Below the text is, as always from the first post (in 2009 !!!). Above the UK cover sleeve, below the German one. The "Soul in Chains" in straming below is the sortened one from the vinyl rip and not the newly long digital one re-up.

Here's a rather problematic single for any Alex fan. Actually, covering "Delilah" was more a joke than anything else for Alex and the band, but the live success of this version led Moutain to release it on a single, and it was an unexpected hit (n°7 in UK, the highest position of any single in SAHB's career). Honestly, the joke dimension of the song is what is left now when hearing it and it has not the deepest meaning Alex was able to raise from any song he covered. Posting this single is primary motivated by the B-side, a live version of "Soul in Chains", not a great song actually, featuring in Tomorrow Belongs To Me and whose live playing is scandalously interrupted after 4 min. Since I never found it on any SAHB compilation or on any blog, I think it is my duty to rip it from my own single and to provide it here. I did my best to improve the sound quality and it's rather good. Published in July 1975, a Live album was released, as it could be guessed, only 2 months later.

Below is "Soul in Chains" in streaming with the lyrics transcripted.
Soul in Chains. Did you read my letter published yesterday Looking for a brand new piece of meat to pass the time away So if you've got the money I certainly got the time Just bring your baby with you and I promise you I'll bring mine You freed my body but you left my soul in chains You freed my body but you left my soul in chains You say you love me but you don't even know my name. You used to call me sweetheart and paid my rent You blew me kisses when you shared my tent I used to buy you tickets for the biggest gas in town And tasted your tomato everytime you brought it 'round. You freed my body but you left my soul in chains You freed my body but you left my soul in chains You say you love me but you don't even know my name. I called you baby I mixed your stew I used to seal my lips and tie my hands for you Up until the last time I sat you on my knee You drove my brains into the wall, you tortured me



Spriguns of Tolgus - Rowdy, Dowdy Day (1974)

Before going on with Alex Harvey, I'd like to finish to post all the Mandy Morton material. Here the last. Actually it's the first album of the Spriguns. It was even only a private demo cassette made in 1974, the year prior to Jack With A Feather, their first album (some tracks are on both), and later released as an official LP in 1992. What could have been a musical testimony of their beginnings with only a historical value, is an excellent album, better than their 2 first official ones (Jack With A Feather and Revel Weird and Wild) if you want my opinion. First because it's pure folk, without any failed attempt to sound rock or mainstream, and second because Mandy Morton is strangely omnipresent. Strangely since it's weird that she was then relatively put on the back when they seem to have built the band on her singing. Maybe one day we'll know what happened between 1975 and 1977 when she finally took the leadership of the band. The 12 songs here are really trad. folk and don't expect anything that tries to rock but of course it aged better than anything since it's ageless. I added the details on the back cover sleeve but they are not on the original one (see below). This will close the Mandy Morton posts. I hope she'll see that there are still people who listen to her and regret she has stopped singing and recording. Catch this forgotten gem here.


The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Mrs Blackhouse / Engine Room Boogie 7" (1977)

Not a good one, but the B-side is on the new box set so here it is in a decent quality sound version. All the Alex Harvey singles (with or without SAHB) here in the further days/weeks/months. Someone had the great idea to create a video with the famous Mrs Whitehouse about whom is the song (see below), so I add it at the end of the post.

This single was released in the middle of summer 1977, not linked with any album (SAHB Stories had been released 1 year before and Rock Drill would be issued more than 6 months later). The A-side was Alex's reaction to an old conservative cunt (I'm not sure of the signification but I think it's injurious) called Mary Whitehouse that Alex called here "Mrs Blackhouse". She was 67 at the time (and died in 2001) and was a specialist in anathemas against anything that her bigotery would find shocking, that means anything that a human can do with his body in fact except genuflexion in a church to pray (except if this raised an erection). She had brought some months before a private prosecution for blasphemous libel against the mag Gay News because they published a poem called "The Live That Dares Speak its Name" by James Falconer Kirkup (who died last may). The mag was convicted and given a nine-month suspended prison sentence. The poem is reproduced here for helping to understand the apparently obscure Alex lyrics. The song was not so good and produced no effect in the charts. Actually, summer of 77 was not a good time for such an acoustic protest song. It was the peak of the punk movement and everybody, included me, had our ears elsewhere. The worst of it, and I'll come back on this later on this blog, is that this rather weak song would be substituted to the moving and splendid "No Complaints Department" on the second pressing of the Rock Drill vinyl LP. Unfortunately, the B-side does not improve the situation since it is a rather insipid boogie just like you do before going to bed at the end of a recording session. But it has never been issued (to my knowledge) on any LP, either in vinyl or in CD, so I thought interesting to post it here, so that you'll have one more unreleased B-side in your SAHB single compilation. 

Below is a picture of Alex at the Reading festival in July 1977, a very hard time for him since he suffered a severe physical and psychic breakdown 9 months earlier and was only gathering himself. His apparition in Jesus (on "Framed") was not so well received and did not help to maintain the band in the spotlight. Too bad cause it was a great iconoclast idea that he surely did well.



The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - The real Rock Drill (1977)

Here it is at least, the real real Rock Drill with a clean digital version of "No Complaints Department" (issued, as the rest of the album, from the 14 CD box set that has been released some days ago). It's incredible that it has taken almost 40 years to have the opportunity to spread this song worldwide. I'll re-up the fake single with this song on soon but of course, it's still better to have the complete Rock Drill as it was issued initially. As I had bought it since I had the chance to buy the NL version with "No Complaints Department" on. I'll create soon and post on Youtube a video with pictures of Alex on "No Complaints Department" but I have to take my time so that the result will respect this wonderful song. Rock Drill is not far to be my fave SAHB album, in particular in this version. It's a very dark and tribal album. A scandalously underrated masterpiece. Catch it here. PS. The version of "No Complaint Department" at the end the post is not the digital one but the ancient ripp off I had done.

If there was one reason I created this blog 3 months ago, it's for this post i.e., releasing, even in only a MP3 version, the real Rock Drill (I've hesitated to write the Rill Rock Drill), the one featuring one of the best and most moving song in music: "No Complaints Department". This was one of his old songs it seems, that Alex changed to fit with what happened to him during the 20 previous years, all the awful dramas he had to face, from the death of Leslie, his brother electrocuted on stage while playing with Stone the Crow, to the brain tumor of a friend and the death of his beloved manager, but more than an autobiographical song bathed in self-pity, the main subjects were poverty, misery and despair among humanity, melted in a delicate, moving and crucial song, that leaves most of the other ones composed on this thema in a bag of mediocrity. And as the chorus says, this is not a complaint, Alex assuming the coldness of his heart, the killer inside him actually, this world of misery making of us this cynical (in apparence more than inside) to survive. This song is an absolute "must listen" for any SAHB and/or Alex fan, and even for anyone interested in how songs can have the power of metaphysics and the grandness of a great classical piece of music. That no CD version of this album has "No Complaint Department" on it shows how the record industry sometimes does not respect artists, and the CD edition of the SAHB catalogue is actually a shame. The album is not this weak one that some describe. Personally it's my fave SAHB album with Next. A dark and even doom one, closer to Heartbreaker of Free, Rock Bottom of Robert Wyatt or Tonight's The Night of Neil Young (at least in atmosphere if not musically) than anything else. Not a weak moment to my ears in this collection, always surprises, Tommy Eyre being a fantastic replacement for the great Hugh McKenna. No discussion that this album is much stronger than SAHB Stories. It would be the last for the band, and the feeling is pregnant of this testament dimension when listening to the album. It's a great emotion for me to post this masterpiece in its original and faithfull version. I think Alex would have been happy to watch that someone at least loved him to the point of not accepting that such a song is forgotten forever. Hoping that a new CD edition of the SAHB discography will be respectfull enough to include it in the Rock Drill edition, since my ripped version does not do justice to the song. I've tried my best to provide a fine sound quality (320 kbt) but it doesn't of course match a professional remastered one. Take your fingers out of your ass and do it now dear Phonogram, Vertigo or whoever possess the legal rights of the SAHB catalog. And for you, dear visitor of this blog, have the rill Rock Drill.

No Complaints Department. I've seen stars disappear in a hurry overdoses of satin and silk, some others who can't feed their children 'cause they don't have the money for milk. Saw my best friend die in a plane crash, my brother was killed on the stage, so don't be upset if I'm angry, and seem in some kind of a rage. There is no complaints department, it's only up to you, no complaints department, no complaints department blues. I've got friends who are armed with magnums, they don't get their money from me, 'cause it never is no kind of pleasure, to see somebody suffer you see.There is no complaints department, it's only up to you, no complaints department, no complaints department blues. They took my old pal to the madhouse, in horror, in fear and in pain, with surgery done in a hurry, to do a transplant in his brain. There are some folks got nothing to live for, some folks got nothing to lose, so don't ask me for pity, no complaints department blues. There is no complaints department, it's only up to you, no complaints department, no complaints department blues.



Spriguns of Tolgus - Jack With A Feather (1975)

The first official album of the band in which Mandy Morton has a much smaller role and place than she'll have fortunately 2 years later on Time Will Pass or Magic Lady. Here one can only hear her sing on some songs and the whole atmosphere is more a trad. folk band than the doom folk female-vocal led band they'll quickly became. But I decided to be complete in the discography posted on this blog (I'll also post their demo album officially released only in 1992 but recorded before Jack With A Feather) and finally this album is not unpleasant. and the songs that Mandy Morton sing (just listen to "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" to verify by yourself) are worth most of the other folk albums. Sure it was issued a little bit too late. In 1975, the trad. folk fashion was over for long (say 1970) and all the bands that belonged to this genre were playing progressive folk or even mainstream rock (from Strawbs to Steeleye Span) with only a reminiscent folk flavour. It was courageous (or maybe unconscious, or both) to hope to gain popularity in 1975 with such a musical style. I don't know if the source here is from a CD support or not since I don't remember where I found it and that I don't have the CD. Anyway the sound quality is very good. So catch it here.


Spriguns - Time Will Pass (1977)

Another Mandy Morton re-up (there'll be only one more, with the first alum by the Spriguns). I said it all in the first post below. So, the best is to let you read and catch it here. Actually, I appreciate more this album than 6 years ago. There are 3 or 4 great songs on this album, such as "Letter To A Lady" of course but some more too.

I hesitated to put this LP under the name of Mandy Morton and Spriguns cos' she composed all the songs (except the cover of "Blackwaterside"), but since on the sleeve it's written Spriguns only, I'll respect it. This is the LP they (hum, she) released the year before Magic Lady. It was issued on Decca and this could have helped them to reach popularity but it was not the case. In 1977, such a folk album, as doom it could be, had no real chance to sell. Don't expect a masterpiece as will be Magic Lady. Songs are weaker and the orchestration often suffers from wrong choice of instrumental sounds. It's also less punchy. It's rockier than the previous Spriguns albums (and than Magic Lady) and often sounds as Strawbs, except you got the wonderful way of singing of Mandy Morton (even if I'm a great fan of Dave Cousin's voice). Side 2 is much better than side 1 for reasons I ignore. It's like all the saddest songs had been gathered on the latter. Lyrics are as always about ancient stories of desperate ladies falling in love with robbers ending hanged at some tree or warriors dying on the battlefield. Don't forget the witches. Some orchestration is ambitious (particularly "Letter to a Lady"'s grande finale that I put in streaming below) and assured by Robert Kirby who had worked with Strawbs the previous years. All in all, a usefull addition to Magic Lady and Sea of Storms. Lyrics are in the rar file.



Mandy Morton Band - Valley of Light (1983)

I received messages to ask me if I could re-up the rest of Mandy Morton material and I'm rather happy to see she's not being totally forgotten. So here unfortunately (to my knowledge) the last album she released before entering the radio world and have her own show. Below I give details about this rather deceiving album but a necessary addition for everyone who loves this great artist. I'll re-up the Spriguns stuff on the further days. Meanwhile catch this swansong LP here.

I won't hide that after the fabulous Magic Lady (there) and the great Sea Of Storms (here), Valley of Light is quite a deception. Don't really know what Mandy Morton wanted to do there, but it seems she tried to be a mainstream ROR adult rock icon and it was a failure. The band is totally new but plays rather dully and arrangements are often terrible (these ugly moogs and synthetisers that ruin several songs), although Mike Kemp is the official engineer. More dramatic, Mandy doesn't sing with this particular and unchallenging charm she had on her previous offerings. Listen to her vocals on the pseudo-rocker "No Reason" and you'll doubt it's the same artist than on Magic Lady. Even the cover of Grace Slick's "Somebody to Love" is bad. But, however, it's Mandy Morton and impossible not to find some pleasure in this album. Some songs have some inner quality such as "Time Machine" (except the awful moog solo on the final) or "Chosen Few", the only track reaching the level of her previous work, and it's a shame all the LP was not all this good. A mention to the final song, "Born Natural", with something of Steve Harley era Timeless Flight in its arrangements (and something of "Celluloid Heroes" of the Kinks in the melody of it's closing). No picture of her from this period so I don't put any. This was her last recording (at least released). Not really surprising if you remember the environmental musical landscape in the 80's. Sad but that's it.