fredag 16 april 2021

JERICHO AMLS 68079 (-72) UK


 Israeli hard rock/prog/psych band founded 1965 in Tel Aviv as The Churchills. After years of local success they were spotted by guitarist Robb Huxley from The Tornadoes, which was touring Israel late sixties. He joined the band and brought them to England where they got a contract with A&M and recorded an unsuccessful album as Jericho Jones - "Junkies Monkeys and Donkeys" (AMLH 68050). This was their second and last for the label. It didn't sell a lot either and was long hidden in the lost gem department before being rereleased on vinyl and CD and rediscovered by lovers of the more adveturous hard rock. For me, who always appreciate well written and skillfully played mind-bending music, it's a true killer. Starting with the furious "Ethiopia", which can be described as an unholy marriage between Love Sculpture's "Sabre Dance" and Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive", duly officiated by a kraut minister then carried by a mean guitar riff to excessevly pumping drums and bass. And on it goes for four more tracks, some parts soft some stone hard -  relatively spaced out, but at the same time so well put together the journey stays secure (exemples below).  Only downside is it's impossible to have as background since it catches the attention 100%, making it impossible to to good with other things while listening.  1972 issues also in Italy (Regal Zonophone 3C 062-93933) and South Africa (Same as UK). German 1990 vinyl and CD reissues on Repertoire Records. 2018 Israeli vinyl on Black Gold Records (BG 040). Swedish (unofficial?) 2010 CD on Flawed Gems (GEM 38) came with two bonus tracks. To my knowledge never released in the US. Premiere UK had label as shown here in a thin floppy cardboard sleeve.





torsdag 15 april 2021



 Never had a US stereo or mono or a UK stereo so maybe my selection is too meager to make a fair comparison, but find this interesting enough to post anyway.  As I learn from Steve Hoffmans and some other places the originally issued UK mono was a fold from a fake stereo. And though ok balanced it does come out somewhat duller than you would expect from a true mono. Therefore it was good finding this Danish stereo.  As the matrix numbers coincide I guess it's from the US stereo tapes. Not even close to a two-channel mix and the only differences I can hear when pushing the mono button are miniscule differences in width and balance.  But either way it plays louder and clearer than my UK mono and using the button I get a slightly better mono result providing more enjoyable listening.  Not sure what's behind the preferable audio, but if anyone reading this knows, please comment and tell.  In any case this will be my first Smiley Smile choice from now on.  Premiere issue with older label design as shown here in a UK Garrod & Lofthouse laminated flip/back cover.   (BÅB*)  (CCÖ*)



söndag 11 april 2021



 UK export press of the US stereo. Never aimed for the UK market, but exported to and sold on the European continent only.  For me this is both good and bad news.  To start with the bad - this version was fake stereo only, coming through unbalanced with some of the tracks having the music strong in one speaker and fainter in the other and some just sounding enhanced mono. Also side two consists of live tracks already present on the "Five Live Yardbirds" mono, which was issued in a number of countries 1964 . So for us who already have and enjoy one of those the rechanneled versions here are downgrades.  On the positive side - the six studio recordings on side one are all true killers still hitting hard over fifty years later, as early hard rock and/or psych. And if I don't sit in front of the speakers but just use it as background it's still enjoyable listening and using the mono button to connect the channels makes it totally ok mono. I do prefer the US mono .  But since it is the only chance to get some of the songs on early British LP and also that it was the only Yardbirds UK export, it is valuable to me in other ways and a sure keeper. First (only?) press came with label as shown here in a lamintaed flip/back cover.  (YÄB*)  (ÖXÄP*)





fredag 9 april 2021



 Maybe not a supergroup per se, but with members carrying so much history they at least brush the concept. Tom McGuinness just out of Manfred Mann.  Hughie Flint had been in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.  Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle already then prominent songwriters.  Only new to the limelight was keyboardist Dennis Coulson.  This debute LP became kind of a breakthrough, reaching #10 in the UK while the spawned 45 - "When I'm Dead And Gone" - got all the way to #2.  But due to pressure from the label, illness and cancelled concerts the band started to resolve already following year. New members went in and out and non of their four consecutive albums did even remotely that well.  I've seen them described as a "rock" band or "blues rock band", but listening to this today I'd rather call it country rock. A mix of ballads and light up-tempo, all more or less in debt to the American west.  A cool background to household chores or friendly meetings, but nothing for deep encounters. Favorite tracks -  "When I'm Dead And Gone" has a happy Mungo Jerry feel to it that may cause bodily movements, "Who Do You Love" annoyingly catchy and "Mister Mister" a neat twenties pastiche.  Issued and reissued on vinyl and CD all over the world through the years, also US 8-track.  First US on Capitol (SMAS-8-0625). Japan 2016 CD (Capitol UICY-77741) came with two bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here in a structured fold/out cover.  (MÄNÄ*)




lördag 3 april 2021



 Man with a rather sprawling and sometimes inconsistent background story. For my perception check post on his debute "God Bless Tiny Tim"  .  He had a couple of years as an American idol and then sometimes as a novelty or even ridiculed for his strange look and vibrating falsetto. But those times are long gone and today I find myself being one of very few who truly appreciate his first two albums.  I do because the song choice partly relies on very melodic pieces from the American twenties and thirties and it's so well done. Produced by Richard Perry, who also arranged together with top names as Gene Page, Perry Botkin Jr and Darneill Pershing.  So the label really went all in to give him the best backing possible and it worked - the orchestrations are smashing and the mix superduper.  I get that sometimes his falsetto can be irritating to modern listeners, but when he holds back and just sing you can hear he was a good vocalist too.  Pieces like "Community", "Come To The Ball", "Neighborhood Children" and "Down Virginia Way" are just lovely here and in "Great Balls Of Fire" he do sound like his are. I must admit that when I heard "Community" yesterday, for the first time in years, I got goosebumps to the high-pitch refrain. An entertaining piece of work indeed and very good listening for all non-prejudice ears.  Late sixties vinyl issues in US, Canada and Downunder (Reprise RS 6323), UK (RSLP 6323) and South africa (RRC 6323). also US 8-track, cassette and reel. To my knowledge never issued like this on CD, but the Warner Bros/Rhino 3xCD "God Bless Tiny Tim: The Complete Reprise Studio Masters...and more" (RHM2 7866) has it all.  First German had label as shown here on medium thick vinyl in a fully laminated cover.  (GÖXÄ*)





 Have to do a better repost of this brilliant album. This time with renewed pics and added songs. When Roy Wood left Mike Sheridan & The Night Riders for Move 1965 he was eventually replaced by Jeff Lynne. With Lynne in charge the group re-named, added guitarist Johnny Mann from Carl Wayne & The Vikings and changed repertoire from early sixties style pop/r&b to more contemporary pop/psych. Through recommendations from former band mate Roy Wood the reformed combo got a contract with Liberty 1967. After issuing two unsuccessful singles they got to record this debute LP with help from producers Eddy Offord (later renowned for his work with ELP and Yes) and Gerald Chevin (who also worked with Move at the time) plus orchestral arranger Cy Payne. I think it's a great album. Apart from being too short - clocking in at under thirty minutes - I can't find anything bad with it. Clearly inspired by contemporary Beatles and Move, still one of a kind. A perfect blend of experimental and melodic, catchy and exciting, with a lovely atmosphere. There's quite a lot on it reminding of the further Lynne/Wood collaborations for late Move and early ELO, in a way making the three bands inseparable both historically and musically and this one of the first trials in that succession, No sure how this mono differs from the strereo, but it sure sounds great to me - big and strong with top separation. Have yet to find a corresponing stereo (LBS 83132) for comparison and when I do you'll be the first to know. US stereo on Liberty (LST-7603) came with other sleeve design. UK vinyl reissues 1976 on Sunset (SLS 50381)1976 and Parlophone 2014(0825646335374). UK 2020 2xCD on Grapefruit Records (QCRSEG 065D) came with both mono and stereo versions plus ten bonus tracks. Premiere UK had label as shown here in a laminated fold/out cover. (YMÖ*)(RÖWS*) (XLÄ*) 





tisdag 30 mars 2021



 I ususally shy away from band comebacks made years after their heydays, but thought I'd give this a try. It was the second of two original albums made by Small Faces 1977-78, the fifth in total and also the last.  They were all there except Ronnie Lane,  who struggled with multiple sclerosis and was replaced by Rick Willis.  Both albums have been unanimously dissed by critics and non of them sold sufficiently so I didn't expect a lot when giving this my first listen.  But to my taste it's not that bad.  All old school bass/drum/guitars/organ and no traces of painful synth trials or redundant meddling.  Right on and much probably recorded live in the studio. Far from the band's sixties efforts, but still a pretty good rock soul effort. If You listen very close you can hear parts here and there reminding of what they did in Small Faces or Faces, just alittle less obvious.  For exemple "Filthy Rich" has a style making me think of Ogdens and "Real Sour" might have done it on Long Player.  Of course one can hear this is eight years later and in a way tainted by all that's been around during that time, but as a long time devoted fan of the band I take what I can get and this could have been a lot worse.  1978 vinyl issues on Atlantic all over Europe, Downunder, Japan and a couple of South American countries, US cassette and CD in Germany, Japan US and Taiwan. First US had label as shown here in a fully laminated cover.  (YZÄ*)  (SXÅH*)



fredag 26 mars 2021



Always a big fan of the band's Peter Green years, but not so much of their later efforts. This forth original LP was the first without Green and the last including Jeremy Spencer. Also Christine McVie took part in the recordings, though not as a fully credited member.  So a kind of transition album, but stylewise more "Then Play On" than "Future Games".  And even if I miss some of the Peter Green magic there's still enough blues and rock here to please.  The two blues rockers "Station Man" and "Tell Me All The Things You Do" both sufficiently heavy and tight to grip and cause bodily motion.  "Jewel Eyed Judy" a touching rock ballad and "Buddy's Song" a very ok homage to Holly. I also like the audio very much -  natural with top separation, giving it a slight garage feeling at parts. So even if lacking blossoming Green parts it has enough of the band's old ways to make me listen and enjoy. Issued and reissued on about every format all over the world through the years.  Premiere UK on Reprise (RSLP 9004), US  on Reprise (RS 6408). Japan 2013 CD on Reprise came as limited edition in paper sleeve. First German had label as shown here in a laminated fold/out sleeve with picture insert.  (GÖXÄ*)  (FXÄC*)




onsdag 24 mars 2021



 I really like his second solo album "Lead Me To The Water"  Filled with well written and sincerely performed songs, much reminding of the stuff he did with Procol Harum.  As I see it a forgotten gem that could attract more than just old PH fans.  This solo debute also seems sadly forgotten. Maybe not a gem of the same magnitude, but well worth to be noticed and heard.  The familiar voice is certainly there and he's backed by some respected names. Among them drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention), guitarist Tim Renwick (Bowie, Elton John), bassist Bruce Lynch (Cat Stevens) and top steel gutarist B.J. Cole.  Record produced and arranged by George Martin at Air Studios.  With Brooker in that surrounding it could have been a classic, but to my ears it's just...good.  Title track, co-written by him and Keith Reed, is a killer - warm and catchy, carried by a haunting  keyboard riff (especially listen to the slight change of emphasis when the vocals start). I also enjoy listening to the emotional "Say It Aint So Joe" and "Old Manhattan Melodies", but the rest don't grip me that hard.  I'm probably too stuck in the old PH ways to enjoy it as it was meant, but three likes out of ten on an album isn't bad at all and title track alone makes it worth while, so a keeper for sure.  Issued and reissued all over the world on LP through the years, also German 1997 CD (Repertoire REP 4659-WY) and UK cassette (ZCHR 1224). Premiere UK and US on Chrysalis (CHR 1224). First German had label as shown here in a glossy sleeve with glossy pic/lyric/credit inner.  (GÖXÄ*)  (PRÖX*)



måndag 22 mars 2021



After finally finding an update copy and falling in love again feel I must repost this gem to remind of one of the most important Stones albums.  The combination of tracking, versions and release year makes it unique and the audio so direct it's such sweet listening. This first press can be hard to locate, but luckily the more common mono reissue sounds great too and can be easier to find in one of the cheaper bins.  So, here I go again...First Stones album issued in Germany. Has no connection to any variation of their UK or US debutes. Instead it's a compilation of 45 cuts recorded 1963-64 - three from the UK EP "The Rolling Stones" (DFE 8560), the entire "Five By Five" EP (DFE 8590), plus three singel A-sides and one B-side. To my ears by far the best collection of Stones' early recordings. First issued very close to the 45:s themselves and only containing pristine versions and mixes. This is them as they were, without any later meddling as remixes or other assorted embellishments. Rock'n'roll history at its finest, brought to us pristinely. Audio shifts a bit depending on original recording quality, but most of it beautiful - big and strong with fine separation and lots of presence. For this old fan of the band's earliest period it's heaven. 1964 release also in France (Decca 158.012). German seventies reissues in mono (BLK 16315-P) and fake stereo (SLK 16315-P) came with bright red label and laminated cover. To my knowledge never issued legally on CD. Premiere German had dark red/gold label as shown here and thin glossy cover. (RÅ*) (PÖP*) GÖXÄ*)



fredag 19 mars 2021



 Always loved the band's eponymous debute. A both intelligent and emotional pop gem, in a way reminding of The Zombies later efforts and with Colin Blunstone still in it could have been a worthy follow-up to  "Oddesey And Oracle".  I've now updated my post on that with four very sweet songs . This second LP has some of that, but also partly oriented towards the kind of light prog that would be their badge following years.  All handeled well  here and as a whole the album provides an interesting journey through thick and thin, but personally I prefer the somewhat lighter, poppier parts. "Rejoice" a beautiful ballad with long organ intro and soothing vocals, the bluesy "Sweet Mary" and the catchy "Celebration". Early seventies issues in Europe, US, Canada, Downunder and South Africa.  US 1999 CD on Sony Collectables (COL-CD-6087) came with one bonus track.  Premiere UK had label as shown here in a glossy fold/out cover.  (ZÖZ*)