Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bezalel & The Sabras - Jerusalem of Gold (1967)

Jewish garage band featuring melodic guitar folk instros and reverb rockers, some fuzz.
Taken from here

3 Israeli, 1 American, rock'n'roll band. All the tunes have a Israeli, middle eastern feel to them, kind of like if the Ventures were from Tel-Aviv. The Sabras were formed in N.Y, some time in the late 60's, and performed in the Catskills, and various Israeli night clubs in and around New York city. Taken from here

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Mirror - Daybreak (1978)

Mirror was formed in 1972 by four high school kids, Johan Saanen (bass guitar), Paula Mennen (vocals and keyboards), Kees Walravens (guitar) and Peter Fransen (drums) in the south of the Netherlands. In 1973 they were joined by Philip de Goey (sax, woodwinds and oboe). In 1976 Mirror records it's first and only album, Daybreak. The music is influenced by Pink Floyd, Yes, Trace and Focus. After the release of the album they toured increasingly in Holland. But rather soon the were having disagreements about the business side of the band. This led to the departure of Johan. Then there was an argument about who had written the music and this finally meant the end of Mirror in late 1976.

After the Mirror Philip de Goey, Kees Walravens and Johan Saanen start a new progressive rockband, Lethe in 1978. With Lethe they record one album, Lethe, in 1981.

In the nineties Saanen, Walravens and Fransen play together in a cover band called Looking For Clues. Taken from here

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lethe - Lethe (1981)

Lethe's album starts off rather inconspicuously with a classically oriented oboe, acoustic guitar and piano piece. But, just as Mirror before them, the band launches into a sophisticated, but highly melodic progressive rock form. And while Side 1 is good, side 2 is an absolute clinic on how to combine complexity and yet still maintain a strong melodic backbone. This is the album that Camel never made after "Moonmadness". Astounding album really. Taken from here


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Ping Pong - About Time (1971)

Little is known about this band from Emilia, which released no less than two albums and a couple of singles with this name, and others in later years as Bulldog. Both albums don't contain any information on the band and is likely that the record companies wanted to promote them as a foreign band as it was common practice then, to give the groups a wider audience. The only foreign member was in fact English bassist Taylor, who had come to Italy with the beat band The Casuals during the 60's, the others were from Bologna and Modena.

First album contains 10 tracks, all sung in English and with good use of flute and guitar. The sound is not particularly original and owes much to English bands. There are some jazzy influences here and there, like in the last track, Funny wife, that's totally instrumental and contains a long drum solo. Sax player Alan King, who collaborated with many Italian artists including Banco del Mutuo Soccorso (in their ...di terra LP) makes a guest appearance in the album.

The second, Ping Pong, came two years later on Spark label, and contained a mix of commercial songs and more original tracks, this time entirely sung in Italian and with the strong presence of new vocalist Giorgio Bertolani.
Tracks like Il miracolo, Caro Giuda (Italian version of Blue Mink's single Time for winning), both also released on singles, or Cresciuta in un paese with orchestral arrangement, fall in the typical mainstream pop Italian style of the era, while Il castello or the long jazzier Suite in 4 tempi are among the best moments, very well composed. Musically well played, the album contains nice keyboard and sax parts, demonstrating the very good quality of the musicians involved.

Like many other bands examined here (Exploit, Flashmen, Fili d'Erba) Ping Pong mixed together totally different styles, alternating between commercial songs and more original tunes, in this case jazz-oriented. The result is, unfortunately, rather disjointed and not particularly satisfying.

The band reappeared a few years later as Bulldog, with two albums and lots of singles all sung in English and mostly rock-oriented with the usual commercial songs put in.
Bass player Alan Taylor, released a solo pop single on Blue Jean (BJ 614), Song for Magdalena, in 1977. Taken from here

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Ping Pong - About Time (1971)

Ping Pong - Ping Pong (1973)

Flame Dream - Elements (1979)

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maphia - Hans im Glück (1974)

Motowns - Motowns (1971)

An English group, arrived from Liverpool to Italy in the mid 60's, the Motowns featured Lally Stott (vocals, replaced by Mick Brill), Doug Meakin (guitar), Mike Logan (keyboards), Robbie Scott (bass) and Tony Crowley (drums, later Dave Summer).
Their first album came out in 1967, Sì, proprio i Motowns on RCA, followed by a long series of singles, until they were signed to Cinevox in 1971.
Their second and last album, Motowns, issued by this label, contains 10 tracks, most of which show strong differences from the typical beat sound of the past years, being halfway between psychedelia and progressive. The album is very nice and rare, and has never been reissued.
Some tracks from the LP were also included in the soundtrack of the film Mia moglie...un corpo per l'amore directed by Mario Imperoli, released in 1972. Taken from here

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Air - Teilweise Kacke... ... aber Stereo (1973)

One of the most obscure albums from the vast Krautrock scene, Air’s sole album from 1973 has just recently surfaced to the collector’s market. It’s easy to see why. Translating more or less to “Partially Shit… …but in Stereo”, and featuring a plain white cover with “Air” in gothic lettering, one gets the impression this was made for fun and distributed to friends and club patrons. Musically it could be categorized as instrumental rock, not that distant from what one would find on a sound library album. That is, generic incidental music used for television and films. Maybe not 100% accurate, as these cuts do seem to be self-contained composed pieces, but similarities do exist, especially considering how simple the songs are. Organ is the featured instrument, and the tones are ancient, more akin to 1965 than 1973. It’s even older sounding than the organ used by Erlkoenig, if that’s possible. The organist doubles on flute, but the playing is more 18th century classical than Osanna. The electric guitar is primarily used only for rhythm and is lacking any kind of rock tone effects. And, of course, there is a drum solo to suffer through. The easy comparison would be the Roland Kovac New Set (another German sound library group), but misses their strong jazz background and creativity, and thus is far less interesting. In conclusion, Air is not a bad album at all, and does make for a nice curiosity. Tom Hayes Taken from here

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Gabriel Bondage - Another Trip to Earth (1977)

Tarantula - Tarantula (1968)

Recommended US psych.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gas Mask - Their First Album (1970)

Signed to the small New York Tonsil label, the band's 1970 debut "Their First Album" teamed them with producer Teo Macero. Musically the comparison with BS&T simply couldn't be missed. Backed by a BS&T-styled horn section (Richard Grando, David Gross and Enrico Raja), singer Bobby Osborne's growl came off as little more than a David Clayton-Thomas wannabe. With Olivia responsible for the majority of the material (Gross contributing two selections), tracks such as 'If You Just Think of Me', 'Light the Road' and 'Just Like That' weren't bad (particularly if you liked early BS&T).

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Aardvarks - Aardvarks (1982)

Great Bear - Great Bear (1971)

X-Ray Pop - Musky Muscle (1989)

Found at great CAPA NOSTRA SYNDICATE check it for more synth, cold wave &  post punk rarities!

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Hotzenplotz - Songs aus der Show (1972)

Hotzenplotz from Stuttgart (partly from the suburb leinfelden) was a radical leftwing agit-prop band in the tradition of floh de cologne.

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Duty Cycle - Nero (1974)

Claude Engel - Fantasmagory (1976)

Former guitarist with OMEGA PLUS, MAGMA and DAYDE, Claude ENGEL

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Bear - Greetings Children of Paradise (1968)

Produced by Appletree Theatre's John Boylan, Bear featured the talents of keyboardist Eric Kaz, singer Steve Soles and guitarist Artie Traum (backed on their album by Autosalvage bassist Skip Boone and drummer Darius Davenport). In spite of the cheesy cover and title (thank Mr. John's Palace of Fashion for the cover photo), 1968's "Greetings Children of Paradise" was actually pretty good. With all three prime members writing (Soles penning most of his material with brother Michael), the ten tracks were varied, including competent stabs at country-rock ("The Hungry Dogs of New Mexico"), fairly conventional pop ("Don't You Ever Want To Think About Them?"), rock, psych and even jazz ("What Difference?"). Soles had a nice voice (occasionally recalling Squeeze's Chris Difford - we're not kidding, check out "It's Getting Very Cold Outside"). (Actually, on reflection, the set's quirky charms actually compare nicely with Squeeze.) Sure, it won't change your life, but it's an album we keep in the occasional play pile. A commercial non-entity, the band quickly called it quits, with Kaz reappearing in a series of bands, including The Blues Magoos, American Flyer, Mud Acres (with Traum) and with a solo career (see separate entries). All three members also became in-demand sessions players. Taken from here

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Tribu - Barriu Chinu (1978)

Progressive jazz rock from Barcelona with hints of ethnic moves and a great deal of percussion. Great guitar works too.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quebreizh - Quebreizh (1977)

Izvir - Izvir (1977)

The self-titled debut of IZVIR, their only LP to date, is quite a phenomenon of the Yugoslavian Slovenian 1970s jazz-rock. It is one of the rarest albums to find on the market. If you happen to trace it at some Web music online sellers, it is likely that the price will be extremely high. www.gemm.com for instance, offers this vinyl record for a mere 440 USD, while www.kalemegdan-disk.de used to have it in their 2001 catalogue priced - 400 EUR! Is "Izvir" worth it? - a logical question arises.
According to very few information I gathered, the band that would soon be called IZVIR (En. "Source", "Spring" of water) was formed around 1971 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at that time part of Yugoslavia. They appeared at several minor rock festivals in Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Subotica... in the period from 1972-76. They managed to record two singles prior to this LP album in 1977, which seemed to have been circulated in a limited number of copies. Therefore, a rarity nature and the enormous prices mentioned above.
The music is excellent and wonderfully performed jazz-rock with strong funk and progressive rock influences. Dual electric guitars, effective Andrej Konjajev's use of various keyboards like clavinet, organ, el. piano and strong tenor of vocalist Marko Bitenc are main ingredients of this music. Lyrics are mixed in Slovene and Serbo- Croatian languages (a typical combination of many Slovene artists of the time). The sound is fairly similar to some other Yugoslavian bands of the same era like SEPTEMBER or SMAK, who on the other hand were informed by American jazz-funk and improvisational jam bands, from Herbie Hancock to ALLMAN BROTHERS to hard rock. But in "Izvir" in addition one can also hear several interesting spacey moments which reminds of Krautrock treatments of the fusion, like the post-1974 phase of GURU GURU, or KRAAN. This is especially evident in 12-minutes opening "Sel je popotnik skozi atomski vek" which contains several parts of different tempo and arrangement, and in the closing "Vibrolux". This is extremely listenable but also very rewarding music for genre-oriented fans. Bitenc is excellent singer although at certain moments he cannot keep from crossing to high-pitched falsetto range, which can be annoying. The same objection I have for SMAK's singer Boris Arandjelovic. On the other hand, since all songs are with vocals (except instrumental "Vibrolux"), this album is not meant only for die-hard jazz elite who enjoy instrumental improvisations. It could have probably match other Yugoslavian commercially successful albums of the era, like SMAK's "Crna dama" or SEPTEMBER's "Domovina moja", had it only been released for wider public. Since until now this album has not been re-issued on CD (at least to my knowledge), it seems doomed for devoted collectors who can afford to pay its value. The mp3 version ripped from vinyl can be occasionally found at some blogs, but its sound is fairly poor (here 256 kbs ;). Better anything than nothing.
Upon releasing this album IZVIR broke-up in 1977, never to be assembled again. However, four members that played on "Izvir" joined another jazz-rock band of the Ljubljana scene, PREDMESTJE, for their third album "Hazard" released in 1980. By Seyo Taken from here



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The Extreem - Far From Out of the Sky - The Complete Recordings 1967, 1970 & 1998

The Extreem From The Sky features two tracks from '67, eight from '70 and two from a '98 reform. Members went onto Budgie and Judas Priest, though early on, as displayed by their sole release, the '67 Strike single 'On The Beach'/'Don't Ignore Me' the guys were typically mod-y club soul. Not bad, but nothing to shout about. By '70 both blues-rock (theirs doesn't grab me), folk-rock (they do a decent version of Fairport Convention's 'Meet On The Ledge') and garage-y Cream/Hendrix styled psych (a take of 'Daytripper' kinda works). Oddly enough the rather ragged later-period commercially-tinged demos 'Can't Stop Loving You' and 'Dreaming' are their finest moments, recalling the earlier club soul days via the Love Affair. Jon 'Mojo' Mills
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Harald Hedning - Harald Hedning (1974)

Robin Lent - Scarecrow's Journey (1970)

This is a classic 70's album with plenty of atmosphere and a uniqueness that of course has its influences, coming from James Taylor and Paul Simon among others. A seductive voice over simple and straight forward backings. Some brillant guitar work from Jan Ackermann and excellent flute and piano played by Tijs van Leer, two top Dutch musicians. Robin plays acoustic guitar and wrote all of the songs. Check out www.myspace.com/robinlent for more details on this obscure and talented artist. By Lennyroberts

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Azurite - Azurite (1979)

Great 1979 hard rock/psych LP. This Los Angeles four piece group plays a heavy heavy hard rock with pulverizing driving bass and drums and ripping kick ass leads all over! They also do an incredibly good cover of an obscure tune by the Canadian 60´s group The Collectors, "Howard Christmans older", and Azurite makes this song all their own. Great haunting lyrics, acoustic guitars with some heavy searing lead guitar ... quite psychedelic! By Lyrkoss

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Underground Failure - Underground Failure (1970)

The Pretty People - The Pretty People (1969)

VERY RARE and sought-after one-off harmony sunshine pop LP by the Pretty People, from 1969 or 1970 on the Crestview label. For fans of lush harmony sunshine pop a la the Free Design, Association or any of the Curt Boettcher produced bands, this is an absolute MUST.


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5001 Record Collector Dreams - By Hans Pokora

New volume and the last in the series that has shown the way to hundreds of collectors around the world. This new one has 144 pages, with 59 pages all about UK collectable items. The book has around 1200 pictures of sleeves of highly collectable albums of psychedelia, progressive, folk, beat and garage from the 60's to early 80's.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pelican - Uppteknir (1974)

An Icelandic gem. They play psychedelic progressive rock basically; but you can find some acidly and even pop (pop rock) elements.
Ómar Óskarsson has a great role in music compositions and Björgvin Gíslason's guitar style is unique. Highly recommended. By Tiliar


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Tool Shed - Tool Shed (1970)

Brân - Ail Ddechra (1975)

BRÂN were a Welsh band who began life as a marginally progressive folk-leaning act and moved steadily toward a more conventional sound as they shifted lineups numerous times during their five-year existence. Mk4 of the group recorded a third studio album in 1978 shortly before they fractured with the departure of founding member John Gwyn. The band was noteworthy for recording solely in Welsh, a characteristic that surely endeared them to their countrymen but undoubtedly limited their commercial potential.

The band's early lineup included vocalist/keyboardist Nest Howells, whose angelic voice cemented the band's sound well inside folk territory in their early years. She would depart after the second release, when the band would abandon any pretense of progressive music with a heavy guitar attack that has been referred to as "crotch-rock" in their waning years.

Gwyn would go on to a career in television and soundtrack music, while a handful of the remaining members would reform as the mainstream rock band MAGGS, and two eventually formed the boogie-rock act LOUIS AR ROCYRS. Remnants of the earlier BRÂN including Howells would resurface as the prog folk act PERERIN. Nest Howells would also give birth to Welsh pop singer ELIN FFLUR. Taken from here

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Trol - Trol (1977)

Agharta - Agharta (1980)

Light and breezy instrumental fusion with piano and various woodwinds (sax, clarinet, flute) mixed up front. Lead by keyboardist Jacques Mignault, and released on his own label, with the help of other local Quebec jazz musicians including Michael Seguin. Very much a product of its day, with strong overtones of same era Weather Report and Spyro Gyra. Well done for the style.

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Electric Mud - Electric Mud (1971)

A mysterious early Krautrock band, of whom we know nothing historically. And, despite a most odd name, Electric Mud were quite extraordinary, radical, dark and intensely psychedelic. Strongly Teutonic, with German lyrics, stylistically akin to Eulenspygel, Drosselbart, or early Tomorrow's Gift, with a gloomy atmosphere, lots of organ, heavy guitars and riffing. An obscure classic for fans of psychedelic Krautrock sounds.
"The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"

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Tony Rose - Under the Greenwood Tree (1971)

Deviled Ham - I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night (1969)

Marakesh - Marakesh (1976)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Dialogue - Dialogue (1972)

This obscure psychedelic album, from Pennsylvania, is a significant collectors' item. It will mainly interest fans of rock a la Badfinger, Beatles or early McCartney.
(Clark Faville/Stephane Rebeschini) / Acid ,Fuzz & Flowers

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Alun Davies - Daydo (1972)

Alun Davies is one of the most highly respected session guitarists in the United Kingdom. A founding member, along with childhood friend Jon Marks and Nicky Hopkins, of pop-jazz group, Sweet Tuesday, in the late-1960s, Davies made his greatest mark as accompanist for British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens from 1970 until Stevens's conversion to Islam and retirement from music in 1977. Davies subsequently collaborated with ex-Small Faces vocalist, Ronnie Lane, co-writing the opening track, "One Step", and a second tune, "She's Leaving", on Lane's 1979 album, See Me.
Davies launched his musical career with a duo that he shared with Marks (then known as: Michael Burchell) in 1963. The duo's sole album, Relax Your Mind, was produced by American producer Shel Talmy, best known for his work with the Who, the Kinks, Manfred Mann, Chad and Jeremy and Ralph McTell. After busking in Paris and the south of France, in 1964, the two musicians returned to England and signed with an agent, who secured them a gig on a Cunard Line ship.
After sixteen voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, Davies and Mark went their separate ways. Davies, who had gone on to work as a session musician for Fontana Records and tour with Marianne Faithful, Spencer Davis and Jeremy Taylor, reunited with Mark to form Sweet Tuesday in 1968. Although they recorded one memorable album, the group disbanded after Fontana declared bankruptcy and went out of business.
Returning to session work, Davies was recruited to perform on Cat Stevens's album, Mona Bone Jakon, in 1970. The session proved so successful that Stevens invited Davies to join him on tour following the recording of his groundbreaking album, Tea For The Tillerman.
Davies's involvement with Stevens was reciprocated when he recorded his debut solo album, Waste Of Time in 1972. The album, which showcased seven tunes written or co-written by Davies, featured Stevens on piano and was co-produced by Stevens and Paul Samwell Smith. Davies's second solo effort, Daydo followed two years later.
- Craig Harris, All Music Guide
Alun Davies' only solo album as of 2008 was Daydo, released in 1972. Much of the material was written as early as 1970, but this was just prior to Davies' introduction, backup work, and devoted friendship with Cat Stevens. With the intention of releasing the material as soon as possible, Davies bemoaned the fact that he had so little time to debut his own work, but stated that he had no regrets. The LP at last was released in the summer of 1972. An editorial appears on the sleeve of the LP from Jon Mark, of Sweet Thursday, and the Mark-Almond Band. Taken from here

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