1/31/17

Shocking Blue - Eve And The Apple / When I Was A Girl 7" (1972)



Let's go back to our Shocking Blue singles re-up series. Third single of 1972 and third great A-side. If musically the singles' year was a complete success, commercially the band failed to regain their previous year level. The single made quite well in Netherland, France and Belgium but the other countries were no more promised land for our dutch heroes. Anyway, now the importance is what remains of that, and that's 2 good and unfortunately forgotten songs. The reason they are here tonight.

In december 1972, Shocking Blue released this 12th single A-sided by an excellent song called "Eve & the Apple". This will allow them to stay in the Nederland charts but not to get back in the charts anywhere else. Sad once again because the production is strong and this track could have been a Xmas hit. But it seemed the Shocking Blue times were over and that they would stay a national glory. This is all the more a pity that the B-side is a song full of pathos showing Robbie van Leeuwen could succeed even in a more melodramatic domain. So, in brief, another forgotten treasure from this great band.








1/29/17

Cactus - Live at Mar y Sol (1972)



















For months and months I wanted to post this fake EP of the live tracks captured at the Mar y Sol festival and played by Cactus, here in their late line-up featuring Peter French (an incredibly good singer that had been in Leaf Hound and Atomic Rooster), Dave Hichings and Werner Fritzschings. An incredible set that was, for the first 3 songs, the A-side of the 'Ot 'n' Sweaty LP. One track was missing, "Bedroom Mazurka". Easy to understand since it was a new composition and therefore featured on the B-side of the album. It was difficult to put one live version and one studio version of the same song on the same album during the vinyl era. This live version was added on the Fully Unleashed double CD released by Rhino records in 2004. Thus I added it to the 3 other ones to provide an homogenous record, although much shorter than 'Ot 'n' Sweaty of course. This is one of the hottest and most exciting live moment captured on record I ever heard. Notably "Bad Mother Boogie" (the video below), a complete rip-off of John Lee Hooker but played in such an intense way that never the king of the boogie would have been able to offer. This line-up was short-lived and Appice and Bogert teamed with Jeff Beck for an uneven experience of a supergroup called BBA (from the initials of their names). For their part, the 3 new members tried to go on under The New Cactus name but here also, the project was not fruitful (I may post their album here one day). So, let's shake our head and butt on this hottest than hot 21 minutes. Be careful if you listen to it while walking, you may show signs of the famous "silly walks". Catch it here.


1/26/17

Shocking Blue - Rock in the Sea / Broken Heart 7" (1972)


This 11th single was a sort of beginning of the end for the band, reaching only n°12 in Netherland where they would never reach their anterior levels anymore. But this is of no importance since, as I wrote in the first post almost 7 years ago, this my fave Shocking Blue song either for the lyrics than for the beat and melody. Posterity should have made it an eternal standard, this is what this blog is aimed to for some songs posted on it. This is one of them. Catch it here. The B-side is unfortunately rather weak. PS. As for all this re-up series, I added the cover sleeve of the Netherland single at the top of the post. Below the German one.

I must say I know each Shocking Blue song and "Rock in the Sea" (their 11th single A-side) has always been my favorite. When I was in a band (long ago, between 1977 and 1982), just before we disbanded, I was working on an adaptation of this song and it's a great regret not to have sung it. There's something very metaphysical in this song. These moments you'd like to leave your heavy human condition to become just a part of the nature. Not an ecological point of view but more a desperate one. Anything but something else would have said Baudelaire. You can find a good analysis of the songs that influenced the lyrics of of this song here. One could add the wonderful "Til I Die" from Brian Wilson in which he sang he is a cork on the ocean and a rock in a landslide. Musically, it's a thrilling tune and a perfect orchestration. Simple, direct, unmarked by the period it was composed. It could be a hit today. Maybe they should have stopped with this one. It was a moderate hit in NL but nowhere else. A shame. No video from this song, neither a TV show. So I decided to post a clip made by an amateur, based on a BBC documentary on eagles. It's quite impressive to see and music fits perfectly. The B-side, (streaming below) more US-rock flavored is also a good one and made of this single a perfect 7" to have (except for the poor sleeve cover of course). It seems that during the winter of 1972 (the single was released in August), Mariska Veres curled her hair again. I always thought this haircut was not appropriate but anyway.







I wish I was a bird in the sky I wish I was a bird in the sky Like a bird in the sky I stay high and dry I wish I was a bird in the sky I wish I was a bird in the sky I wish I was a mole in the ground I wish I was a mole in the ground Like a mole in the ground I'd root this mountain down I wish I was a mole in the ground I wish I was a mole in the ground I'm so glad I can sing I don't want furs and rings Only the beauty of nature Matters to me, yeah I wish I was a rock in the sea I wish I was a rock in the sea Like a rock in the sea Nothing could torture me I wish I was a rock in the sea I wish I was a rock in the sea I wish I was a rock in the sea I wish I was a rock in the sea



1/21/17

John Lee Hooker - Live at the Wise Fool's Club (1976)



Let interrupt our Shocking Blue singles series with this fantastic live recording by John Lee Hooker, captured in a rather empty discographic period (1975-1989) where he was mainly budy touring with various bands under the name of Coast to Coast band. Sad I did not find the precise line-up of the band that backed him this night cos' they are really great. All I could find, it's that the long-time old pal Eddie Taylor and her vocal friend Beverley Underwood were with him on stage. Musically, it's the logical continuation of the Endless Boogie style but with a catching feeling that takes your feet off the ground. Note that this live set is not difficult to find on the net since it features in a rather common bootleg called Bedroom Boogie with a long track from the 1983 Montreux show and 2 songs from 1962 (!!!). I do not like this heterogenous albums and prefer to have only one source on an album (54 min of music is not bad). The reason why I changed everything from the title to the cover sleeve (mine is better I think, based on a picture took by a photographer called Ilia Lavreshkin, see a post about him on my other blog here). So let's have some boogie tonight. And if you want to read some words by the king of boogie, you can read his interview in the book The Voice of the Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine, which was recorded the night Hooker played this concert or, if you are French, in the new book from Christophe Goffette Blues, Country… folks ! (here to buy it). Last, I included 2 versions of this recording. One where each songs are separated and one with all songs on the same track since a concert is better to listen without this artificial cuts between songs. It's up to you. Catch it here.


1/19/17

Shocking Blue - Inkpot / Give My Love To The Sunrise 7" (1972)



Weird to say that for a band that was going downside on a commercial plan, but 1972 was a great year musically, and it began with this fantastic song that (see below) reached new heights in some countries. It is said it was n°1 in France but I've no souvenir of that and didn't find any confirmation of this, seen on wikipedia. Anyway, catch this great one here.

This 10th single by Shocking Blue was a hit in Nederland (as all the previous ones) but reached again the highest ranges in German charts, what had not been the case of the previous ones. Nothing in UK or US unfortunately. It's true that it's a great standard, going back to the style Shocking Blue was known for in 1969. Rockier, more JeffersonAirplane-like, but as always, quite bubble gum (too much I think, it precluded them to be taken seriously in the rock history). You can listen to it on the youtube video below. The B-side (the streaming below) is a fine indian-like ballad and is worth the listening. The band began quite well the 1972 year.


I don't recognise the language on this one. But the sleeve is funny



1/18/17

Shocking Blue - Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind / I Like You 7" (1971)



With this one (released in December 1971), the band maintained a certain level of success in Netherland and in Belgium and reached one in Norway, but elsewhere it was over. The line-up changed but it was clear the hit machine was no more efficient although songs would never been bad with Robbie Van Leeuwen on board. Catch this ninth one here. Note that Mariska Veres had chosen to wear again her fake long and straight (fake) hair, the curly real ones having, maybe, not been approved by the fans.

Here the 9th Shocking Blue single, released in November 1971, with a change of line-up (no more 2 guitarists and a new bassist) and a kind of glaming of their music (horns sound a bit like the ones in the English glam). But the song (not a great success, the first not to chart in Germany, but a Hit in NL) is not stunning and this single is better for its unusual B-side, a simple and gentle song in which Mariska is only backed by a piano (who plays?). That's this B-side that made me chose the picture below, unusual too in this quite ugly pop iconography of the seventies.



1/13/17

Shocking Blue - Blossom Lady / Is This A Dream 7" (1971)



Nothing much to add to the text of the first post (6 years ago) except that it was the time Mariska stopped using her fake hair and used her real ones, curly (!!!). What a shock it was then. This is not visible on the cover sleeves and on the pictures below, but it was when they appeared on TV to play the song, notably in the awful Japanese clip. Catch it here.

During the summer 1971 is released this 8th Shocking Blue single. It is not as strong as the previous one and seems to search to find the way to Venus (the identical bridge) but failed. The brass section is a good idea but the lyrics are really bad and the whole seems to be a bit wayloss. Surprisingly, this song will hit higher than "Shocking You" in the Nederland charts (n°2). The B-side ("Is It A Dream", that I posted below in streaming) is better, and seems to belong to the 1969 sound of the band with its Californian psychedelic flavor. At this time, the band is still a 5 piece entity for some months. .







On the TV show below, you can see that Mariska had decided, some months later, to curl her hairs. Not a good idea I must say





1/12/17

Shocking Blue - Shocking You / Waterloo 7" (1971)


As I wrote in the first post (more than 6 years ago, below), this is one of my favorites Shocking Blue songs (with "Rock In The Sea"). It would have deserved to be an international hit but it was not. But I explain everything below so the better is to read it and more importantly to listen to it here. On the TV appearance, Mariska is quite gorgeous although her attitude dissimulated a rather fake vamp style when you know who she was in reality. But let's live in the dream.

Sad that this 7th Shocking Blue single (released in March 1971), one I consider the strongest of their career, did not reinstall them at the top of the worldwide charts. It even failed to reach the hit level of the previous one, the weak "Hello Darkness" in Germany and in Nederlands. Strangely I feel that it was a hit in France but I have not the chart positions of the Shocking Blue singles in my country. More strikingly, it was a hit in Japan, and the cover of the single had a unusual picture of the band on it that I posted below. Why I like it so much? Because it's a return to a rougher and more raucous sound. The band is tight and plays compact. The midsong solo is powerfull. It must be noted that the band was now a 5-piece unit and this gave them a better sound. And, last but not least, there's something exciting in Mariska singing "we're shocking you". It is clear that Robbie Van Leeuwen was able to maintain his high level of composition and this was a good news, confirmed by the release, 3 months later, of their 3rd LP entitled Third.



The Nederland version


The Japan version



1/8/17

Shocking Blue - Hello Darkness / Pickin' Tomatoes 7" (1970)



So this is with this one things went wrong as I wrote in the previous post. Sad cos' both songs are really really good (I even consider "Pickin' Tomatoes"one of their best musically) but that's the way things were in these times for pop bands that failed to enter the circuit of seriously considered bands (as Golden Earring succeeded).  I added another cover sleeve below with some nice pix of Mariska. And the official clip associated with the single. Catch this one here.

This 6th Shocking Blue single (Mariska Veres era) can be considered as the moment everything went wrong. Not that the song is bad but it is far from their usual standards. And what should have been their chance to go back in the international charts became their swansong. The single was quite popular in Nederland and Germany but much less than the previous single. The B-side ("Pickin' Tomatoes", terrible title but nice song you can hear in streaming below) was actually better but nothing of a hit. The music was more and more pre-americana style when it would have been more relevant to be a little more british rock. I post the clip but strangely it must have been filmed quite later since Klaasje van der Wal (the bassist) was replaced by Henk Smitskamp. Honestly, you can't really call that a clip but it was this in the seventies. Meanwhile, enjoy this 6th episode here. There'll be more.











1/5/17

Shocking Blue - Never Marry A Railroad Man / Roll Engine Roll 7" (1970)


Strange but although rather forgotten, this single (and more specifically the A-side song) was a real hit in Netherland and in France (n°1 in each) but it's true it failed in the USA (and in the UK). Strange cos' it was rather rooted in US country music but surely dutch musicians were not supposed to play it correctly (finally I wonder whether it was not more spanish than US country, nevermind). Anyway, it's once again a fine one by this band that was everything but a one-hit wonder. Note that the Spanish version has the band shot just before or just after the picture of the official cover sleeve. Strange again cos' they don't smile on it and finally the image is much better and gives them a less commercial pop appearance than the other one. They were, it must be said, not very good in their attitude, seeming rather indifferent to all the buzz they were creating. Note the weird cover sleeve I found on the net, maybe a real one. I put it on for the fun. Catch it here.

Issued in June 1970, this single shows that it's the US country-rock vein that the band will follow although this song will be the first not to chart in US or in UK. However it will be a hit in all Europe, greater still that "Mighty Joe". The B-side is rockier but in a country-rock acception of this term. Both are good songs. "Never Marry" is probably the Shocking Blue song I most heard during my youth, most notably in the family car for never ending travels towards some country place with some water for my parents and their friends to go fishing, eating (not forgetting drinking) and sleeping, a sunday occupation I really despised for reasons I ignore (and don't want to know either). In streaming I put the B-side, "Roll Engine Roll", the A-side can be heard on the clip below. I also post the version the band played when they briefly reformed in 1980.




An amusing picture of Mariska interviewed by a south-american journalist





1/1/17

Forgotten Songs dk Top 10 LPs of 2016

Here we are again for the 10 LPs I liked (actually I even loved some of them) the most during this weird year, rather hard on the social and political plan, but quite wonderful on a personal plan (but I agree this is none of your business and that you don't care). Two among this selection are high above the rest, and naturally, this the tandem that shares the first place. I didn't believe it was possible to record and release an album as strong as Joy by Peep Tempel, and I didn't believe Madness could reiterate their incredible tour-de-force of 2009 (remember The Liberty Of Norton Folgate). But both did it. I could have added several other ones than the 10 below but my choice took in account the importance that each album had in my own life, either the help it represented during moments of solitude, or that it was appreciated by my beloved one and that I could share with her, or for some of them, the fact I could listen to it while running, which I do not do enough but I'll try to do more in this new year. This could be important if I want that this blog goes on some more years before I die. Thanks to everyone of you, either you leave pleasant comments or not, to make of this blog something I can consider a reasonable success. I got no many. Anyway, I encourage everyone to give an ear to this selection, the only new stuff you can grab here.

1. Peep Tempel - Joy


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "Imagine the best of the UK working class rock all gathered in one band and you got The Peep Tempel. Traces of Third World War, The Fall, Dead Kennedys, Captain Beefheart and so much more for, without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary and energising record of the year. Became one of my favorite band". Here is my review on the French webzine Brazil3.0. Without any hesitation for me, the LP of the year. Below a stunning clip for "Rayguns". To listen to the whole album it's here.



2. Madness - Can't Touch Us 


The only LP of the list not being on Bandcamp. I'm quite sure I miss some important albums in limiting my curiosity to this music provider but after all, I got no time to listen to everything now. But this Madness album took me by surprise and it's a good thing I was able to catch it. It's one of their best (maybe just below Norton Folgate) and it's a proof that bands can still be vividly relevant even after 30 years of existence (with a large gap it's true).



3. Haast's Eagled - II: For Mankind


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "I believed sludge doom had nothing new to invent anymore and I was wrong. This band shows that there's a lot still to create in this genre. Take a trip with them. It's a fantastic and rich travel you'll make, although quite dark and thrilling. Did a review here (in French). To listen to the whole album it's here.



4. The Spires - DREAMCONFUSION


This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "This is no less than a masterpiece full of gems, pop standards and instant loveable songs. Those who think that the Go-Between and the Church were rock milestones will find a third companion here. Sure this will be on my Top 10 of 2016". Actually it is. I also wrote a review, in French, on Brazil 3.0 here. To listen to the whole album, it's there.


5. Andy Shauf - The Party


Not as gorgeous as his first one (album of 2015 for me) but there is enough on it to consider it is one of th egreatest achievement of this year. This young guy has sure understood things that few before him had captured. If you are in Nick Drake, you can't miss this gem. I wrote a review in Brazil 3.0 (in French) here. To listen to the whole album, it's there. He even realized a clip for one song from the LP. Maybe the onset of a large success. At least it seemed but I'm not sure the clip really did it.



6. Regular Boys - Have A Go


















This is what I wrote on Bandcamp: "Because I love the Saints, the Church and the Only Ones and that this band provides in 2016 the same thrilling than they offered us so many years ago". It's not a real album (only 5 songs and less than 20 min) but so good it deserves to be in this list. I also wrote a review here in Brazil 3.0 (in French once again). To listen to the whole record it's here. Nothing from them on Youtube.

7. Cough - Still They Pray


You'll find this one on the top of most doom albums of 2016 lists and I think it deserves it. There are not so many albums in this style that can bring something new or even sapid enough to raise interest. If you are in Electric Wizard, you can't miss it. Moreover it is  produced by Jus Oborn so you have no choice. My review in Brazil 3.0 here. To listen to it, there. A live version of one of the LP's tracks below.



8. Christian Fitness - This taco is not correct


Andrew Falkous (or Falco) is incredible. After McLusky, he formed the famous Future of the Left and now is able to release two gems the same year, one by the band previously cited and one under the funny name of Christian Fitness, which is a solo project. It's powerful, simple, direct, funny and serious, punk and postpunk, noisy and pop, actually everything we want to hear when we want to hear something good. Once again, my in-French review on Brazil 3.0 here and there the album you can listen to in its entirety.

9. L'1consolable - Rap Games


Yes it's French and yes again it's rap. I could have listed Billie Brelok (another French rap artist, but female this one) but her album was issued in 2014. So, the only rap LP will be L'1consolable who is an incredibly good lyricist, playing with words without any semantic sacrifice. This album is also a musical success with a judicious use of samples. Honestly, since I usually listen to non-French speaking rap without understanding what the fuck they are talking about, I think you should do the same with l'1consolable. My review of this album here on Brazil 3.0. To listen to the LP it's there. Below a video with a track not featuring on the LP but released in June and about the (over)use of a non-democratic article of the constitution allowing the government to impose a law to the assembly. It was both funny and relevant.



10. Harry Cloud - Harry Cloud’s After School Special















It was heartbreaking to decide who would be the 10th, since it's eliminating maybe 10 other albums that may have found their place in this list, but Harry Cloud had to be the choice, this album being once again a stunning example of what this weird guy is capable, mixing styles that usually don't stand next to next. Here my review of the album on Brazil 3.0 and there the album to listen to.

Shocking Blue - Mighty Joe / Wild Wind 7" (1969)



This was the single that had the difficult task to follow the massive International hit that had been "Venus" since its release in July 1969. Weirdly, this follow-up has always been considered as a failed one although it did better in the Netherland charts than "Venus" (n°1 versus n°3). But it's true than everywhere else, notably in the USA or the UK, "Mighty Joe" did not compete, staying below the 45th range when "Venus" topped the charts some months before. All in all, it's, retrospectively, a fine song and a good single since the B-side is good as well. Catch it here.

With this 4th single (below the French sleeve), the 1st that followed their massive worldwide hit "Venus" (released in july 1969, this one issued 4 months later), it was clear that the band had decided to leave its raw, rough and rocky sound for a more US mainstream one, but in 1969, mainstream meant Creedence Clearwater Revival or the Byrds (but there's a clear Beatles influence here, notably of "Old Brown Shoe"), and nothing wrong with that. The influence of Jefferson Airplane is still clear but more the pre-americana one than the psychedelic or blues one. Contrary to what many may think, "Mighty Joe" was still a more massive hit in Nederland, their native land, than "Venus" (n°1 during 2 weeks versus n°3). So it was in Germany but in the US, UK or in France, it went unnoticed and most may have thought that they were one-hit wonders. I suppose that Robbie van Leeuwen was quite uncertain whether he must be happy to see he could do better than "Venus" or anxious to lose the interest of the anglo-american audience. The most striking in the single is that the B-side features a beautiful but rather desperate song called "Wild Wind", in which the metaphysical questions of Robbie van Leeuwen about what's life's for breaks the usual loving affair lyrics. A must-hear I offer here in streaming when you can see the A-side on a (cheapy and freezy) clip from youtube downside. It is to note that neither of the songs were on the At Home album or the next one Scorpio's Dance.









Tell me why the wind blows, Tell me why the grass grows, Tell me why the light burns And our world turns. Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Can I fall in love anyway, anyhow? Why does a heartache come and go? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Ah-ah-ah! Do you hear that mountain call? What's that you hear, Is it a love looks [...] Whispering in your ear? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Wild wind, tell me why we were born?