måndag 18 november 2019

THEM/THEM AGAIN LK 4751 (-66) UK MONO

Their second album and last with Van Morrison, who quit for a solo carreer soon after. As the story goes the band was disintegrating already during the recordings and the only member present through all songs was Morrison, with at least part of the backing supported by studio musicians. I don't know about that, but in any case the LP was initially a semi-flop with some success on a couple of lists, though not charting in UK and only reaching #138 on Billboard. Checking the vinyl market today pristine UK originals can sell for $500 or more. The high prices can probably be derived from a combination of rarity and that it was an early part of the still highly collectible Van Morrison's carreer, but musically not that outstanding. It is a very good soulish r&b LP, yet only one of many such issued in the sixties. What makes it a little more special is Van the Man's soulful vocals, which to my taste fits a lot better to this simple rock setting than to many of his later bombastic ballad backgrounds, here coming through more naked and direct. So to my ears great without being the absolutely fantastic record some of the prices paid may hint. Favorite tracks - the self-penned ones "Could You, Would You", "My Lonely Sad Eyes", "Bad Or Good" and "Bring 'Em All In" plus the Chris Kenner cover "Something You Got". This press cut borderline too loud to my ears, making some of it burst at the seams, still as a whole good listening. Issued and reissued pretty much all over the world on vinyl and CD through the years. First US on Parrot (PA 61008/PAS 71008) as a twelve track, omitting "I Put A Spell On You", "I Got A Woman", "Hello Josephine" and "Hey Girl". Premiere UK press came with ridged label which this copy hasn't, so it's probably from 1968-69. But as it has the 1B/1B matrixes and 1/1 mothers with H/BI stampers in the laminated flip/back cover, early enough for me. (VMÖ*)

lördag 16 november 2019

ELVIS COSTELLO/MIGHTY LIKE A ROSE 7599-26575-1 (-91) GERMANY

If I'm to pick three absolute favorite LP:s of all this very productive guy has released up till now it'd be "Get Happy", "Blood And Chocolate" and this. For the other two see earlier posts. And if to rate these mutually this is for me for now the best. Concerned lyrics coupled with gripping melodies, sincerely sung and very well played with top production and intricate arrangements. I love it all and then especially... "Broken" written by his then wife Cait O'Riordan and sung almost acapella so emotionally it's impossible not to be touched and "Just Like Candy" a product of his collaboration with Paul McCartney and an almost perfect sad love song, enhanced by a teardrenched melody and a gut-hitting mellotron towards the end. Then if you want the downright catchy, why not also enjoy the Beach Boys pastich "The Other Side Of Summer", the love drama "Georgie And Her Rival" or the smashing refrain in "How To Be Dumb". First released over twentyfive years ago now, but still feels fresh. It just goes to show - customized hits may die really fast, but the honest and heartfelt will always last. Released mostly on CD and cassette through the years, vinyl issues most common in Europe and South America. 2002 EU 2xCD (Rhino 8122 78189-2) came with one bonus disc containing demos, live takes and unplugged versions. German vinyl had label as shown here and fully laminated cover with pic/lyric/credit inner. (GÖXÄ*)

torsdag 14 november 2019

LENA ANDERSSON/LENA POLS 232 (-71) SWEDEN

A follow-up to the domestically successful debute "Lena 15" (see earlier post), issued a couple of months or so later. Made after the same model - one Björn Ulveaus/Benny Andersson original coupled with part translated covers of hits - like "You've Got A Friend", "Tom Tom Turn Around", "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and "L'eau Vive" - and part Swedish songs. Co-produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Stickan Andersson with Michael B. Tretow in the control room. The debute had something of a let-go atmosphere, making me feel invited and close to the event even fortyeight years later. This sounds more professionally made. Everything is in its place, the orchestral arrangements by Sven Olof Waldoff are on the spot and though her vocals still have that youthful vibrato I get the impression she's holding back a little. A lot smoother production creating a distance and sounding more of a designed product than a meeting with the artist, let be made by a skilled crew, but I'm not touched the same way. Best tracks - the Björn/Benny composition "Jag Kommer" (I'm Coming) with a nice melody to a bouncy rythm and the jazzy "Lover Man" here blending English and Swedish lyrics. To my knowledge this was the only release, but some of the songs can be found on the 2003 CD "Lena Anderson - Musik Vi Minns" (Polar 038 539-2). Premiere vinyl had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover. (FÄV*) (CCÖ*) (SCÄ*) (ÄBBÖ*) (PKÖL*)

tisdag 12 november 2019

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/LONG JOHN SILVER FTR 1007 (-72) US

Their seventh original studio album and last such before they transformed into Jefferson Starship. So a kind of swansong for the old band, but a very good one showing them as strong as ever. It was a reunion after the members indulging in separate solo projects and as the story goes there were internal tensions during sessions, resulting in them recording own stuff separately and also leading to drummer Joey Covington leaving after just contributing to two cuts, then replaced by John Barbata (Turtles, CSN&Y) and Sammy Piazza (Hot Tuna). With all that in mind you would expect to hear something half-ass or in best case dutiful, but this is a lot better than that - e.g. title track is a killer with catchy melody and top guitars all through and "Milk Train" a hard rocker enhanced by great guitars and violin. Much of the rest might be called typical period JA - like the unison Kantner/Slick vocals in "Alexander The Medium" - but I guess any fan finds that totally agreeable. I mean...if it's good it's good and this is. Issued and reissued on vinyl and CD all over the world through the years, also 8-track, reel and cassette. UK with same label, number and sleeve design as US. Japan 2005 CD on BMG (BVCM 37631) came in paper sleeve. Premiere US had label as shown here and fold/out cover that can be built into a humidor where you can stash the lyric/credit "cigar" inner, but removing the inner there's a pic of weed at the bottom giving the impression the box is filled with marijuana. (YZÄ*) (JÄF*) (FÄV*)

söndag 10 november 2019

INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER/SOV GOTT ROSE-MARIE LRLP 1005 (-68) SWEDEN

Swedish experimental psych/prog band existing 1967-72 under four different names - "Pärson Sound", "International Harvester", "Harvester" and "Träd, Gräs & Stenar" - with changing settings. Initially formed by former members of the first Mecki Mark Men outfit, then went on to work with inspiration from Terry Riley and Velvet Underground, using tape loops and repetition. Non of their recordings were released back then, but showed up on the 2001 Swedish 2xCD "Pärson Sound"(Subliminal Sounds TILCD 02) and 2010 as a 3xLP box (Subliminal Sounds SUB-073-LP-BOX) with info and pics, limited to 1000 copies. At the end of 1968 they changed name to International Harvester and issued this album (eng. Sleep Tight Rose-Marie), which stands as the band's actual debute. No domestic label wanted them due to their at the time odd agenda, but the newly founded Finnish label Love Records took the bait. As the story goes that was initially financed by Soviet money and ready to issue anything from anyone as long as it didn't critizise Moscow. It's an LP almost impossible to describe. I've seen it tagged as psych, prog, rock, folky or kraut-like. All of those may fit, but then in a blend that makes it unique for its time and place. Side A carries a mix of intrusive and soft. Starting with the Latin title "Dies Irae" (eng. "Day Of Wrath"), part of the Roman Missal up to the late sixties when it was removed. Also included in Mozart and Verdi works, but I'm not sure if the one here coincides with any of those...two plus minutes of murky brass ending with low volume chanting. The slowly grinding "The Runcorn Report On Western Progress" deals with pollution over a Liverpool suburb in the fifties. "There Is No Other Place" untidy rock'n'roll. "Ho Chi Minh" has the group chanting to rythm instruments. "Klockan Är Mycket Nu" (eng. It's Getting Late") very simple garage folk. The two tracks on B-side are both long messy live jams, where "I Mourn You" founded around a rock structure while "Now To Survive" starts with chanting and a dog barking to a slow repetitive mellotronish sound and then with added rhythm instruments ending in an up-tempo raga. The audio on this 1st press goes from almost ok to bad. Muddy and unbalanced at times, making it hard to distinguish the lyrics. As I understand some are critical against aspects of the Western culture and as a whole the LP was meant to be some kind of eye-opener. With all that said you might get the impression I don't like the album. On the contrary - I love it! Weird hard-core garage with a message, recorded live in the studio or in the open seemingly without a thought about sales or earnings. I couldn't ask for more. 1968 releases in Finland and Sweden, separated by the record no.s - Finland "LRLP 5" and Sweden "LRLP 1005" . This is the Swedish, but as it has the original Finnish label with "TEOSTO" showing on a Finnish press, the sticker on back having the "LRLP 5" number and the matrix no.s (LRLP 4 ST A/LRLP 4 ST B) coincide, I guess the only difference is...the record number on label. 1984 vinyl reissue on Silence (SRS 4690). 2001 CD (Silence SRSCD 3614) came with one earlier unissued bonus track. First Swedish had label as shown here on heavy vinyl in a thin glossy cover. (NÅY*) (ÖGÄ*)

fredag 8 november 2019

THE GARY BURTON QUARTET/LOFT FAKE ANAGRAM RD 7923 (-68) UK MONO

I've seen this mentioned as one of the first, or sometimes the very first, jazz-rock fusion album due to the interplay between Gary Burton and Larry Coryell. Well maybe I don't get the concept right or my ears aren't sensitive enough, but I don't get much "fusion" here. Instead I hear a very cool jazz album featuring tonal as well as rythmic ventures with Larry Coryell's guitar following Burton's jazzy vibraphone licks staunchly almost all of the time. Only thing on it I'd call rock or rockish is towards the end of "General Mojo Cuts Up" where the guitar howls sounds very much contemporary Jimi Hendrix. However that may be it is very good listening even for the non-jazz partisan - expertly performed pieces managing to combine smooth with adventurous in a way that keeps me both relaxed and alert at the same time...strange I know, but it's true. Audio on this UK mono is a-ok - warm and embracing. Premiere US and Canadian 1967 on RCA Victor (LSP/LPM 3901), also originally issued on RCA in France (740.539), Germany (LSP 3901) and Japan (SHP 5719). Japan 2014 CD on RCA (SICP 4259). First UK had label as shown here and laminated cover. (CLÄZ*)

onsdag 6 november 2019

JETHRO TULL/ROCK ISLAND CHR 1708 (-89) UK

After falling in love with and cuddling the 1987 "Crest Of A Knave" (see earlier post) I soon started to long for a follow-up made in the same vein. And when this showed up two years later I wasn't disappointed. Maybe not as evenly strong as its predecessor, but with enough good moments to dig in to and certainly enough to satisfy this old Tull fan. Hard rock without actually being in the "hard rock" genre, garnished with gripping melodies and an abundance of good guitars from Martin Barre. Ian Andersson's vocals sounds a little older and less flexible than before, but that's expected after twenty successful years of performing and actually adds genuineness to the picture. As with most Tull albums I got many favorite tracks. "Undressed To Kill" so elegant with a simple yet odd melodic pattern nailing me to the listening chair. "Kissing Willie" uptempo with saucy lyrics carried by a unison guitar/flute riff. "Another Christmas Song" a moving piece well fitting the season. "Heavy Water" just plain catchy. I've heard old Jethro Tull fans claiming this was way beyond the band's expiration date and all they did here was reusing old tricks. That may be part true, but so what? I still hear very good Tull and if something in it remind me of earlier days it'll just make me feel more at home. Issued and reissued on vinyl, CD and cassette all over the world through the years. First US on Chrysalis (F1 21708). UK 2006 CD (EMI 0946 3 70976 2 5) came with three live bonus tracks. Premiere UK vinyl had label as shown here in a fully laminated cover with glossy lyric/credit/picture inner. (YÖHT*)

måndag 4 november 2019

THE ASSOCIATION/BIRTHDAY WS 1733 (-68) UK

Follow-up to their most successful album "Insight Out" (see earlier post), which managed #8 on Billboard and also spawned a #1 45 with "Windy" and a #2 with "Never My Love". That was a sunshine pop album with psych interludes. In comparison this comes through even further psychedelic. Not so much in the songwriting as in more adventurous production and arrangements. The whole LP is drowned in a kind of soft dreamy atmosphere, enhanced by complex vocal marshalling - e.g. the intricate background quires in"Barefoot Gentleman", "Rose Petals, Incense And A Kitten" and "Everything That Touches You". There are also more popish numbers like "Come On In", "Like Always" and "Hear In Here", yet still in a sunshine psych kind of way and never decaying to easy listening. Getting in close one might be reminded of Turtles, Mamas & Papas or post-66 Beach Boys, but then only stylewise and never as plain copying. To my ears very pleasing soft melodic psych that still keeps on giving. Listening now as I write and it puts me in a very good mood. Issued and reissued on vinyl and CD all over the world through the years, also 4-track and cassette. Premiere US on Warner Bros. (WS 1733), also as mono promo. UK 1968 mono vinyl (W 1733). UK 2010 mono CD on Now Sounds (CRNOW 15). First UK stereo had label as shown here on thick vinyl in a laminated flip/back cover. (ÄKÖ*)

lördag 2 november 2019

DAVD BOWIE/CHANGESTWOBOWIE BOWLP 3 (-81) UK

It's fun when you find a collection containing cuts or edits that for the first, or maybe only, time showed up on that particular issue. And since I don't collect singles anymore I also like to have previously non-album 45:s for the first time on LP...and that is almost always a compilation of some kind. In that way both Bowie releases - "Changesonebowie" and "Rare" - were rewarding. This not so much. I get one new to me - the single edit of "Ashes To Ashes" - while "John I'm Only Dancing (again)" can be found on "Rare" and the rest is pretty common stuff. That said...I gotta have it for other reasons. It is a Bowie original and as such an obvious part of the collection. It's the only one with that track order and both outer and inner sleeve are special to this. Also the audio is superduper - very clear and well separated making some parts even more revealing than on the originals. So to my needs so far only the third best Bowie RCA compilation out of three, but nevertheless a must and a keeper. Issued and reissued on vinyl, cassette and CD all over the world through the years. Premiere UK had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover with inner having RCA:s Bowie album discography. (PKÅ*)