Thursday, July 30, 2009

McGough and McGear - McGough and McGear (1968)

McGough & McGear was a spin-off of the Scaffold, the British comedy/pop trio famous for including Mike McGear, Paul McCartney's brother. The Scaffold also included poet Roger McGough and John Gorman. Minus Gorman, the duo of McGough & McGear released a self-titled album in 1968.

Far from being just a Beatles-related curiosity, McGough & McGear is a fine (and rare) album deftly combining poetry, comedy, and a good amount of solid pop-psychedelic rock. McGear tended to be more prominent on the straighter rock songs, while McGough had a greater role on the pieces dominated by goofy, yet intellectually sharp, poetry. It's heartily recommended to fans of the more famous Bonzo Dog Band, who had a similarly appealing blend of comedy and rock, though McGough & McGear has a more poetic, spoken word bent. On tracks like "So Much in Love" and "Ex-Art Student," however, the act presented accomplished, sunny British pop-psych that could be enjoyed as relatively pure, tuneful rock songs.

The record also boasted a roster of all-star guests, including, unsurprisingly, Paul McCartney; McCartney's then-girlfriend, actress Jane Asher; Jimi Hendrix, who adds cool psychedelic guitar to "Ex-Art Student"; the other members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience; John Mayall; Zoot Money; Graham Nash; Spencer Davis; ex-Pretty Things drummer Viv Prince; ex-Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith; Dave Mason; Gary Leeds of the Walker Brothers; and yet more names that will be known to aficionados of swinging London, like Margaret Asher (Jane Asher's mother) and socialite Prince Stanislaus Klossowiski de Rola. The Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies, wrote the liner notes.

The album was largely recorded in the summer of 1967, but not completed and released until the following year. It's been reported that it was intended for issue on the Beatles' new Apple label, but in the end it appeared on Parlophone (the Beatles' standard record company). The album went little noticed, and was only briefly reissued on CD before it went out of print again. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The George School - Journey of Persephone (1973)

"Persephone"was written and produced by the Theatre Arts and Music Departments of The George School, a Friends boarding school for ninth twelfth grade students in Newtown, bucks Country, Pennsylvania. Presented at the annual children's play given for local public and private elementary school children, the play received its premier on February 3, 1973. A splendid time was had by all. Taken from here

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Pantha - Doway Do Doway Do !!?! (1975)

A mixture of that unique Austalasian take on symphonic rock (Sebastian Hardie, Dragon) combined with some early Santana grooves. Somewhat poppy in places, but highly infectious. It's an album I reach for more often than usual. Would be a good candidate for Aztec Music.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Prospectus - Prospectus With Friends (1971)

Nemo - Nemo (1973)

A mix of funk, rock, jazz fusion. Mainly instrumental. Good stuff and features Francois Breant, who later had some success as a solo artist. No CD exists.

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Gunesh Ensemble - Looking at the Earth (1984)

At first the ensemble was a part of State TV and Radio Company of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic as a vocal group with supporting instruments. Later the composition of the group began to change as young people joined it. The group began to play jazz-rock tightly intertwined with the Oriental tradition. Gunesh' has always been in the process of reforming and was one of the first and best to organically combine the similar principles of the melodious improvisation on traditional mugams and jazz improvisation. The unexpectedly beautiful arrangements appeared,and polirhythmic compositions with odd measure were
further developed thematically.

For their second LP, Looking at the Earth, Gunesh stepped it up a notch on the creative scale. We still have 2 barn burner horn rockers but Gunesh also added some trippy Caucasus mountain music, Muslim prayer calls, psychedelia, hot fusion, Vietnamese traditional music, etc.. to make for one of the finest albums I've ever heard. Rishad Shafi is possibly the finest drummer to be found in the prog rock archives (Peter Gabriel considered him once but working it out with the Soviet authorities proved to be too much). Taken from here

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Synopsis - Synopsis (1986)

A Prog band formed by Igor Garsnek and Nevil Blumberg. Most of the time just your normal keyboard-drenched Symphonic Rock with lots of solos and a Jazzy edge. However, it does contain enough electronic elements to actually enter the sphere of interest of EM fans. Some tracks are completely or almost completely electronic. Taken from here

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Jean-Claude Gaupin - Anatheme (1984)

Fairly typical early 1980s era light, sunny and breezy funk fusion. The great exception being the edgy guitar work from Xavier Piton, his one and only venture into recorded music (that I could find anyway). Other than that, it’s the usual sax, Caribbean drums and warm / funky bass that push these harmless cruise ship style instrumental tunes along. Never issued on CD.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Subway Suck - Little Red Album (1979)

Firyuza - Firyuza (1979)

I once joked that if it was from Turkmenistan, it had to be good. Of course I was talking about the Gunesh Ensemble, and didn’t realize there was a second group from the same place and time. Three long tracks adorn this one of a kind album. Seven piece group with guitar, sax, flute, keys, violin, bass, drums and percussion. While not as hot or as entirely unique as the almighty Gunesh, this is still a fascinating fusion, one that relects the unique culture of the Turkmens. I’m constantly amazed at some of the subversive sounds coming from the old Soviet Union. I’m surprised Boheme Music of Russian didn’t reissue this with all the other great ex-Soviet albums formerly on Melodia. Cool cover featuring the band, with instruments in hand, proudly wearing their traditional telpeks (tall fur hats).


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Trocarn - Trocarn (1977)

George Gruntz Piano Conclave - Palais Anthology (1975)

Hard hitting fusion album on MPS from an all-star cast of Europe’s finest ivory ticklers. A mix of funky fusion, Canterbury rock and piano jazz. A nice surprise and not an album one would likely buy if they saw it - except for the marquee names, which is more than impressive: Gordon Beck, Wolfgang Dauner, George Gruntz, Jasper Van’t Hof, Joachim Kuhn, Martial Solal, John Lee, Alphonse Mouzon. Yea, pretty ridiculous lineup right there.

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Probe 10 - There Is A Universe (1975)

One of the most inventive of the US progressive rock albums. There's also plenty of horn rock and psych. 1975 seems too late for such an endeavor.

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Soular System - Birth of Paradise (1971)

Not much is known about this mysterious electronic album. The only name associated with it is James Bolden, and the album was released in France, thus the deduction of it being a Canadian affair. The music sounds more late 1970s than 1971, as the electronics have a late 1970s sound especially the electronic percussion (though the computer drums are primitive sounding, similar to Klaus Schulze’s “Picture Music”). Some psychedelic guitar on Side 2 adds much needed variety to an otherwise mundane album. Similar to Didier Paquette or Alain Renaud’s first album. No CD exists.

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SOD - SOD (1971)

Tamarugo - Tan Lejos del Mar (1980)

Lively, tuneful prog album by the Chilean band that garnered its only official release in France. The mood is generally light-hearted, with a lot of playful instrumental interplay; in fact this one oddly reminds me of some Diethelm / Famulari works, albeit on a latin folk base rather than classical. You'd wish it was an entirely instrumental affair as the skills on display here are nothing short of fabulous, but the weaker vocals creep in every now and then - fortunately, they are too few and far between to spoil the impression. Overall, a fascinating listen! Levgan

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Spektar - Spektar (1974)

A keyboard trio, Spektar’s sound vacillates between funk (lots of clavinet), progressive (with organ featured) and straight ahead rock with some marginal vocals. There’s definitely some weeds to clear here, but underneath is some prime turf. All the 8 tracks are short. Probably the most obscure album coming from the former Yugoslavia, even more so than Izvir. Adding to the obscurity factor, Suzy was generally known for releasing straight pop music, and Spektar was sort of the odd album out. Not on CD.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coyote - Cast Off Your Tired Old Ethics (1975)

Biker hardrock from bearded quintet, "Peter Gunn Theme" is an unexpected cover among the band originals.

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Feather Da Gamba - Like It or Get Bent (1972)

Lo-fi basement swamprock obscurity covering an eclectic field of Ant Trip Ceremony late-night jazzrock, quirky jugband moves, murky Stone Harbour rock with funny lyrics - doesn't appear to be entirely serious, but hard to tell the jokes from the seriousness. Organ and what sounds like a clarinet (?) upfront, lack of strong guitarleads may disappoint some. Plenty of atmosphere, closing track in particular is good. Not a great LP, but a cool trip for an open mind. [PL]


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Moose Loose - Elgen er løs (1974)

Debut "Elgen Er Løs" is a powerful fusion album, that mixes in funky clavinet lines with some ferocious electric guitar leads, playing in an almost psychedelic style. Latter half of the album drifts towards more standard jazz / jazz-rock before closing with an acoustic guitar, piano piece.

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Jean-Luc Roudière - Overchoses (1978)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eden - Eden (1978)

A quartet from Quebec that released one sole record on the ultra small label Zik Zak. This conventional prog quartet obviously listened to a lot of YES, but sang in French and the lyrics are delivered in a very French school delivery ala ANGE or ATOLL.

While the album has been bootlegged, it has never had an official CD reissue.

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Dennis the Fox - Mother Trucker (1975)

Roundhouse - Handle With Care (1976)

Rodolfo Mederos - Todo Hoy (1978)

Guntram Pauli & Christian Kabitz & Klaus Haimerl - Rock Requiem (1981)

One of the many Christian progressive rock albums coming out of Germany at this time (Eden, Credemus, Yavanna, Gloria’s Children, etc…). Typically varied album with uplifting tones and lyrics. Nice flute (some nice echoing towards the end of the album) and acoustic guitar. Some latin mass overtures. And some regular rock tracks with early 80s digital synths. Naturally there are some full orchestra classical bits to sit through. A hit and miss affair, but better than you might think. No CD exists. Taken from here

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Berits Halsband - Berits Halsband (1975)

At the crossroads of Miles Davis circa "Dark Magus" and Kebnekaise with a good dose of Flasket Brinner. Breathtaking. Taken from here

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Scorpion - I Am the Scorpion (1970)

Francesco Cabiati - Mirage (1979)

Rock / synth-based electronic hybrid that recalls artists such as Francesco Buccheri and Baffo Banfi’s 70’s works. The synthesizers of choice were modern for the day, but pretty thin sounding to modern ears, with the exception of the odd Moog solo. A very rare album that is much sought after by electronic collectors especially. Never reissued on CD. Taken from here


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The French Folk Magic Time Guide

A great new comprehesive PRICE GUIDE for every FOLK vinyl collector om this planet has seen the light of day! The "FRENCH FOLK MAGIC TIME GUIDE", a fantastic cover book of all the rarest collectable French FOLK LP's released between 1965 and 1989. Over 1000 collectables french vinyls with album covers in full color, value, label and rarity indication !!! Including a wide range of FOLK MUSIC LPs, singles & ep's, divided in the follwing chapters: FOLK ROCK/ PROGRESSIVE & TRADITIONAL FOLK/ ANCIENT MUSIC/ POP FOLK/ ACID FOLK/ XIAN FOLK/ ENCHANTING FOLK/ SONGSTERS/ MECHANICAL MUSIC/ AVANT-GARDE FOLK/ FRENCH SPEAKING FOLK. An indispensable guide with the most expensive folk albums from every part of France. A PRIVATE LIMITED EDITION printed in glossy paper, containing 14 sections/chapters, a book-mark and a cover illustrated by French underground drawer Mattt Konture. THOSE OF YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE BOOKS OF HANS POKORA CAN EXPECT THE SAME TYPE OF LAY-OUT AND VALUE INDICATION. EXTREMELY WELL-DONE!!! Buy

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg

The definitive encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik and all things weird and wonderful from Germany. Probably everything you ever needed to know about German prog & experimental music!

Explore or buy

The Knights Of Fuzz

The best book on garage/psych revival ever! Written by Timothy Gassen Explore here

Autumn Breeze - Höstbris (1979)

Swedish prog, private press. Comparable to the female vocal lead symphonic bands coming out of Germany during this time like Werwolf, Rebekka, Eden and Credemus. Taken from here

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Jean-Yves Tourbin - Gayan (1980)