tisdag 21 mars 2017

DEEP PURPLE/DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK SHVL 777 (-70) UK

(Started writing about the record following the usual path, but digressed and got lost as I often do when tired. Was about to scrap it and re-write, then I thought - it is me and the way my mind works so why not do an unsanitized version for once.) After long wait I finally found a UK copy of this all time classic with 1st press label. Wanted UK because it was a British band and first because it is a classic. Very happy initially, but after a while the pondering began. Had the second label - still having "grammophone" top left, but an added EMI logo - for ages and been quite content with that. Though there are a couple of more differences - the earlier cover has a deeper blue background and the vinyl is a tiny bit thicker - both copies have the same -2/-1 matrixes and sound exactly the same. It is one of those albums where everything fits - songwriting, vocals, backing, production and audio - molded into something both stunningly hard and very catchy, but I've heard it so much already it has become self-evident and will probably just find its way to the shelf collecting dust (shelf-evident?). So why do I think I need it? Can that simply be explained by some kind of collector's frenzy, or is there in a larger perspective something seriously wrong with me when I keep buying stuff that I know just will satisfy a few senses a short period of time and then forgotten. That kind of madness sure makes me a well functioning part of any capitalist society, but then what? Anyway I am good with this for now, but as there always will be more special issues, mixes and prints I just must have I'm probably trapped in the race forever. That said I know there are worse traps. At least this one I can live with and most of the time enjoy. (DHÄ*) (HÄVL*)

söndag 19 mars 2017

ON THE SCENE 33SX 1662 (-64) UK MONO

Samplers seldom show up on best album lists, but counting musical quality, audio, track rarity and historical importance this could place on any such list and high there too. Getting debut 45:s from Animals, Yardbirds and Downliner Sect on an album so close to time of release, plus obscure non-LP singles from Georgie Fame and Cliff Bennett, would be enough to satisfy any concerned collector, but that's just the beginning here. The Cheynes "Respectable" has a 16 y.o. Mick Fleetwood on drums. Zephyrs "I Can Tell" with Jerry Donahue (Fotheringay, Fairport Convention) and Peter Gage (Vinegar Joe). The two A-sides from Mickie Most & The Gear have some very competent guitars from young session man James Patrick Page. The Syndicats included both Yes guitarists Peter Banks and Steve Howe at different times - "Maybelline" here has the 17 y.o. Steve Howe on guitar. You also get The Moquettes one-off single A-side "The Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-Yo", Rey Antony &The Peppermint Men's debute "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover" and long forgotten semi-hit "Seven Daffodils" by The Cherokees. Compiling is prefect - sixteen cuts raging over 1963-64 British r&b, garage rock and freak beat. You'd think with so many non-charting efforts there'd be at least some low points, but there's not one bad track on it. Audio big and warm bringing you close in time and space. I can't find anything even remotely negative to say. 100% beautiful. Six of the cuts were released on a Columbia 1965 EP (SEG 8413). To my knowledge this was the only album issue. First had label as shown here with "Recording first published...", thick unflexible vinyl and laminated flip/back cover with rice-paper "Emitex" inner. (SÄM*) (ÄNÄ") (YÄB*) (JÄZ*) (ÖGÄ*) (FXÄC*)

fredag 17 mars 2017

GENESIS/DUKE CBR 101 (-80) UK

At time for release Genesis had almost disappeared from my radar, but as a creature of habit I still bought it, kept it and today occationally even enjoy it. Up to "Wind And Wuthering" and to some extent "...And Then They Were Three..." Genesis had mainly been a true prog band, coss-cutting on the edge, most of the time exciting or at least surprising. This showed a clear change of direction. While still having a few so called progressive parts the whole atmosphere is closer to pop. Softer and more secure, embedded in a synth blanket. Don't know if they consciously aimed for a commercial result and therefore sacrificed cheekier turns, but it sure sounds like it. In any case the new agenda went well with the public. The album got all the way to #1 in UK and #11 in US and the spawned singles did a-ok on both sides of the Atlantic. Though disappointed then I don't dislike it that much today, but now as from another band than the Genesis I used to know and love. That said - it is comfortable listening with a fair share of catchy moments. I like Phil Collins vocals all through and if I manage to ignore the most bombastic synth backing there's also a couple of good melodies to enjoy. Released and reissued on all possible medias over the world through the years. First US on Atlantic (SD 16014). Premiere UK had label as shown here and matt fold/out cover with specially designed "Duke" price tag. (CÄX*) (GYÄ*)

torsdag 16 mars 2017

BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS 013 0995 (-71) MONO CZECHOSLOVAKIA - RECORD CLUB ISSUE

For background check post on their debute - "Child Is Father To The Man". In comparison this second album sounds like from a totally different band. That was an experiment with the blues form and in its way a forerunner to much of the US rock as it developed in the seventies, partly depending on improvisations and coming through with a live feeling rather than elaboratedly produced. This is a lot more eclectic - a mix of jazz, classic music and pop with a fair share of catchy moments. The production is flawless and though including elements then less appreciated by the large public they succeeded to make it highly commerial and a big seller. Either you call it symphonic rock, prog or art rock it was one of the first and also most widely loved in any of those genres. I liked it at first listen and as is my wont early started to look for an enjoyable mono version. Couldn't find any US promo and the UK fold came out too unbalanced for my ears. Then I got this Czech record club issue as part of a trade and it's been my favorite version since. Don't know what those Supraphon guys did, but to me it sounds exactly like a classic UK mono mix. Warm and well separated with prominent bass and perfect balance, good to the ears and suitable for snug moments. To my taste the unique sleeve design also fits the arty impact of the tunes better than the regular. No clue if this particular version was reissued or released elsewhere. In any case the one shown here has to be early. It came on thick unflexible vinyl in a thin matt flip/back cover. (BÅC*)

tisdag 14 mars 2017

RINGO STARR/BLAST FROM YOUR PAST SW 3422 (-75) US

Ringo became Americas Beatle darling in the early seventies. While the other former members struggled with personal, politic or religious issues he stayed the uncomplicated happy-go-lucky guy everyone loved. That also reflected in the record sales there with two #1 and further six top ten singles on Billboard. At the time this collection was released two of those A-sides and four further B-sides were still non-LP, so it would have helped many Ringo-lovers and completists if they'd included all of those here. But for some reason apart from the A:s - "Back Off Boogaloo" and "It Don't Come Easy" - they only choosed one B-side - "Early 1970". And as the total playing time finally released was just about thirty minutes there would have been lots of space for the three missing B:s if anyone responsible had been awake. But in spite of that it's still a lovely album. Simple, happy and catchy, well produced and arranged. The songs themselves may be tagged as trifles, but the all over friendly atmosphere nails it anyway. Maybe some of that also has to do with the audio on this US press. So big and warm you just wanna stay there. Even a track like "No No Song" I never really cared about before grabs me when treated like this. After listening through the album now I'm just one big smile and no worries. Issued all over the world on vinyl, 8-track, cassette and CD through the years. First UK on Apple (PCS 7170), South African on Parlophone (PCSJ(D) 7170). Tried to find a CD or vinyl reissue containing the three missing B:s as bonus tracks, but no luck so far. Premiere UK had label as shown here and glossy cover with picture/lyric inner. (ÄPLÄ*) (BÄ*) (YZÄ*) (RYNX*)

söndag 12 mars 2017

JOE COCKER/WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS UK STEREO SLRZ 1006 VS. MONO LRZ 1006

This is a tricky one. I'm treading thin ice here, but as I can't find anything posted on this relation before feel I have to give it a try and get the ball rolling. Had the mono version for decades and always loved it for its balance, power and presence. Lately been trying to find a corresponding stereo in my price range, decent enough to enjoy as well as compare and check if the mono by chance was a separate mix. Now I have (-2/-2 matrixes) and the outcome is somewhat surprising. "Marjorine" has the "cut circle" sign on rear sleeve for re-channeling which is appropriate and there is also a large sign under record number, as Regal, Starline and a couple of other EMI budget labels sometimes used to show if part of an issue was fake stereo. Don't know if to call any of the other tracks fakes, but for some of them I don't get well separated stereo either. Much of it close to mono where connecting channels just changes the width while the balance between the components remains about the same. Could maybe pass as some kind of rough compatible, but though connecting the channels gives a similar result it doesn't answer fully to the mono version either, that appearing a lot clearer and more natural than a straight fold would. I don't believe producers Denny Cordell and Tony Visconti (here working as mixing engineer) would have left behind a first hand stereo like this 1969. My guess is mono was the initial working mix and stereo made as an afterthought, at least that's how it sounds. I wished for one that could add something to the mono thus making it enjoyable also by comparison, but that's not the case here. Disappointing, but either I'm right about the context or not the mono still comes through a lot better all over and remains my first choice for a UK press. (RÄZ*) (JÖC*) (CPYC*) (MÅW*)

fredag 10 mars 2017

THE SHANES/SHANES AGAIN SSX 1022 (-66) MONO SWEDEN

For more background also check post on their second LP "Shanegang". I'm not sure about everything going on in and around the band at the time for this third album, but cleary something was off. The two former had been good r&b/freak beat with rattling guitars, live-in-the-studio feeling and lots of presence. Not always in tune or pace, but the flaws totally forgiven because of the youthful energy and good will making it top garage all together. Here they're suddenly trying to do pop songs - slower and more melodic reaching for love and the result just sounds wry. Band core - guitarist Tommy Wåhlberg, bassist Svante Elfgren and drummer Tor-Erik Rautio - are still the same rude r&b guys from the mining districts above the arctic circle and them going soft is like dressing a porcupine in velour - it doesn't fit. Maybe this time they could have been saved by professional production or mixing, but I don't hear much of that. Some of it is unevenly balanced and the audio quite bad - going from dense to very loud with the treble partly so sharp it'll damage your ears. On the positive side - the cover of Righteous Brothers "Justine" is good rock'n'roll and Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy" done very dirty - both reminding of earlier days. To my knowledge this was the only issue. It came with label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover. (CCÖ*) (SCÄ) (XHÄ*)

torsdag 9 mars 2017

JELLY ROLL MORTON AND HIS RED HOT PEPPERS/NUMBER THREE DLP 1071 (-55) UK

Not writing this as a jazz expert of any kind, just a concerned music lover. In comparison to the King Oliver 1923 recordings (see earlier post) it's amazing how much happened with the genre in just three years. And that from identical roots - Jelly Roll played with Oliver in the early twenties and the two sets were performed by partly the same crew. Hard to say which came first - the change in recording facilities from acoustic to electric with microphones or a more elaborate songwriting. There's no doubt the songwriting mostly developed because of influences from adjacent art forms, larger public attention or other signs of the times. But being able to record in an electric studio and there produce a more natural sound, thus enabling some of the music to move from the common dance parlours to more private pleasures through radios and grammophones, must also have coloured the creativity to some extent. However while the 1923 King Oliver recordings are of historical importance, they don't offer much audiophile pleasure - coming through dense with limited range. In comparison these from 1926/27 sounds amazing - wide and warm with fine separation, offering lots of connection to the roaring twenties. And the fact that five of the songs have talking intros brings me even closer to the guys. So wherever I'm coming from or going to - they're still here as they were, spreading joy. Series of old Jelly Roll recordings were issued in US from mid-forties and on by different labels, both on 78 and 33 rpm. UK HMV had its own serie and this was the third from that. First press had label as shown here, thick unflexible winyl and fully laminated cover with crescent flips. (CLÄZ*) (NYFÖ*)

tisdag 7 mars 2017

READY, STEADY, GO! LK 4577 (-63) UK MONO

"Ready, Steady Go!" was a British TV show, broadcasted between August 1963 - December 1966, and during that time featuring some of the contemporarily most successful pop/rock artists. (For background on the show check the exhaustive English Wikipedia article - lots of interesting rock facts there.) This collection of Decca 45 cuts from acts that also performed there early was compiled and pressed within months after first airing. I guess we're still a few remembering names like The Chucks, The Mojos, Heinz and The Tornados, and for us the whole album is filled with chances to rejoice and reminisce, getting it all as it was. But more important it also hints the beginning of the "modern" rock scene, as played and developed by The Rolling Stones. First time for the band on an album, here before the big breakthrough valued like any other upcoming act, way below the album's stars Brian Poole And The Tremeloes who get the honor of opening and closing the LP and is the only act mentioned in the rear sleeve notes (see below). At this time no one had a clue Stones would become iconic and still performing fiftyfour years later, here they're just faces in a crowd. So even if I've heard "Come On" and "I Wanna Be Your Man" a zillion times before with about the same audio, listening to them here feels special just because of that context. Pressed late 1963 and issued early 1964, which is why label and cover differ in dating. First release in UK only and reissued there 1982 on vinyl (TAB 60) and cassette (KTBC 60). Premiere LP had ridged label as shown here with "Made in England" only on top and "Recording first Published 1963". It came on heavy vinyl in a thin laminated cover. (RÅ*) (SÄM*)