tisdag 17 september 2019

PAUL McCARTNEY/TUG OF WAR 1C 064-64 750 T (-82) GERMANY

His eleventh album after Beatles and third solo. From the beginning a Wings re-union with George Martin as producer, wich was postponed due to the killing of John Lennon. Two moths later he sessions were resumed, this time with participation of Ringo Starr, Carl Perkins, Eric Stewart, Stevie Winwood and Stanly Clarke among others, still with Martin as producer. It was met with mixed reviews on release, but soon became a global success topping list all over the world and certified platinum in US. I think this is good McCartney. To my taste some of his earlier LP:s though having some good moments each also came out partly unfinished carrying way too many fillers. But with Martin in the control room that changed considerably. Arrangements and production impeccable, giving each song best possible treament. So even if parts of the songwriting itself isn't 100%, Martin's care picks it all up to a high level. E.g. "Ebony And Ivory" may not be on my McCartney top list, but so well done I just gotta listen. Favorite track - the 45 pick "Take It Away" is a pop marvel of the kind that sticks immediately and then stays in a good way. Issued and reissued on every possible format all over the world through the years. UK vinyl on Parlophone (PCTC 259). US on Columbia (TC 37462). "Advanced Release" on Concorde Music (HRM3756302ADV) had one CD with with a remixed and remastered version of the album and one with demo versions and music videos. But as this German and probably most other originals has superb audio and balance already, why that need for remix and remastering? Making it different maybe, but I doubt the audio can be any better. First German came with gimmick labels as shown here with foundation picked from parts of the sleeve and fully laminated cover plus lyric/pic inner. (GÖXÄ*) (BÄ*) (MÄCC*)

söndag 15 september 2019

ADAM FAITH WITH THE ROULETTES AND THE JOHNNY KEATING ORCHESTRA/ON THE MOVE PMC 1228 (-64) UK MONO

Adam Faith (born Terence Nelhams-Wright 1940-2003) was one of the most successful English teen idols in the early sixties with 24 45:s on the UK list 1959-66, where of eleven top ten and two #1. Also his first three LP:s chartered at #6, #11 and #20. However as the British public taste changed from classic rock and soothing ballads to Merseybeat and harder r&b also with big success over the Atlantic, he found himself slowly pushed aside by a new generation of bands. I guess this album was an attempt to adjust to that zeitgeist and at the same time become a part of the British Invasion to US. Already established songwriter Chris Andrews penned all fourteen songs and he was backed by r&b band The Roulettes (which btw then included lead guitarist Russ Ballard and drummer Bob Henrit, both later in Argent and Henrit also in Kinks 1984-96). A couple of the numbers remind of Faith's earlier work, like the orchestrated ballads "Here's Another Day", "You've Got A Way With Me", She's Smiling At Me" and "Only One Such As You", but the rest is good and sometimes surprisingly raw Merseybeat. "Don't You Dig This Kind Of Beat" is pure garage and the uptempo screamy "It's Alright" reminds of Swinging Blue Jeans' best moments. The remaining cuts in the same vein as Gary & The Pacemakers, Searchers or Dave Clark Five, but to my ears not standing back to any of those. Sadly the transition didn't seem to have worked. The US only "It's Alright" 45 managed top 40 on Billboard and also became his only American entry, while the UK "Only One Such As You" didn't chart at all and neither did this LP, which also became his last UK studio album before the 1974 "I Survive". However that may be, today it remains as a very good period British pop/beat with a garage feeling and if you're into such it is a true gem. Also originally released in South Africa (Parlophone PMCJ 1228), but to my knowledge never reissued in any shape. The Canadian "It's Alright"(Capitol T 6101) and US eponymous (AMY 8005-M) both only had "It's Alright" in common with this. Premiere UK had label as shown here with "Recording first published 1964" in a laminated flip/back cover with Emitex inner. (PÖX*) (ÖGÄ*)

fredag 13 september 2019

THE GARY MOORE BAND/GRINDING STONE S 65527 (-73) UK

Album issued between him leaving Skid Row and participating in Colosseum II and Thin Lizzy. Though tagged as "The Gary More Band" it's often billed as a solo LP and in any case the only one with that setting. To me it sounds a lot like what he did with Skid Row and Colosseum II - blues/rock prog carried by advanced rhythms and equilibrist guitars. "Sail Across The Mountain" a rather ordinary ballad, the short "Energy Dance" dreamy and "Boogie My Way Back Home" boogie rock, but the rest more or less adventurous with many twists and turns. Hard to depict exactly...for exemple the 17+ minute "Spirit" includes parts that can be described as prog, jazz, rock'n'roll or even latino rock. Adacious indeed but as it takes effort to follow, nothing for relaxing. If you're in the mood for tophole guitars supported by rhythmic gaming and theme changes it could be something. Though I can appreciate all the skill and effort put in my ears have been way too tired for music like this lately, so I'm putting this copy aside for now hoping it will fit me better eventually. 1973 issues also in Ireland and Japan. 1974 US on P.I. Records (PILPS-9004). UK 2005 CD and 6xFile MP3 on Repertoire Records (RES 2302). Premiere UK had label as shown here and thin matt cover.

onsdag 11 september 2019

THE ROLLING STONES/STEEL WHEELS CBS 465752-1 (-89) GERMANY

After the 1986 "Dirty Work" catastrophy and the following animosity between Mick and Keith I thought all was lost and what you could expect from the band in the future were solo efforts and half ass compilations. Then three years later suddenly this showed up in the shops. Apparently they'd got together in a friendly spirit and produced a whole new album. I didn't expect much, but bought it for old times sake and got me a pleasant surprise. No trembling through genres out of their natural habitat and no more blown-up eighties audio - this is tight and raw rock'n'roll. Not going all the way back to the band's roots, but well matching their best mid-seventies efforts. "Sad Sad Sad" shows they could still do danceable pieces without decaying to disco. "Mixed Emotions" and "Can't Be Seen" catchy up-tempo and "Slipping Away" a simpel but beautiful ballad. "Hold On To Your Hat" furious with layers of rude guitars and "Almost Hear You Sigh" a slow mover spiced by attractive background vocals. To my ears then a very good come-back and I anticipated more of the same eventually, but as things turned out...still waiting. Issued and reissued on vinyl, cassette and CD all over the world through the years. Most vinyl originals having same label and sleeve design with the same picture/lyric inner as the German shown here. (RÅ*) (GÖXÄ*)

måndag 9 september 2019

THE STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK/INCENSE AND PEPPERMINTS SSSX 340.611 (-67) FRANCE

Los Angeles psych/acid rock band active 1967-71, 1974-75 and 1982-now. For the larger public maybe mostly recognized as a one-hit-wonder, due to the 45 "Incense And Peppermints" reaching Billboard #1 November 1967. They have a long and turbulent history, way too much to get into here. If you want carreer details the Wikipedia article is highly recommended - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry_Alarm_Clock .For the lover of garage psych flooded with fuzz guitars and organ who also appreciate good melodies, harmony singing and don't care about etiquette, this debute album must be near tophole. An odd yet fitting blend of hard core psych, summer of love and bubble-gum. The long "The World's On Fire" with its semi-prog (improvised?) mid-part including fuzz guitar, organ and flute. "Birds In My Tree", "Hummin' Happy" and "Incense And Peppermints" good songs, catchy in soft psych kind of way. "Strawberries Mean Love" supported by mildly howling guitars, "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" groovy resting on dreamy flute and organ and "Lose To Live" funky psych. So diverse styles but the whole thing well kept together by the spaced-out atmosphere. A fine exempel of music from a time when drugs flowed over the rock scene and musical patterns were dissolved and renewed. That kind of uninhibited substance enforced experimenting seems to have died along with some of its most prominent practitioners, but that's another story. It did bring lots of good music we still can enjoy today and with this I truly do. Premiere US on UNI (7/3014). UK mono on Pye International (NPL.28106). Originally also issued in Canada, South Africa, Downunder and a couple of European countries. Japan 1997 CD on Universal (MVCE-22007) came with flip side "Bridman Of Alcatrash" as bonus. First French had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (MFÄX*) (ÖGÄ*)

lördag 7 september 2019

BLACK SABBATH/13 00602537349609 (-13) EU

I never expect much from reunions where formerly glorious bands show up with more or less original settings decades after their heydays, either for monetary reasons or just to show they still got it. Often such commitments end badly musically and economically, not delighting artists or public very much. Therefore I was very surprised when I first heard this. Though the project took over a decade to finish due to members being occupied with other pursuits and original drummer Bill Ward couldn't attend - replaced by Brad Wilk (formerly in Race Against the Machine and Audioslave) - it is about what I want to hear from a Black Sabbath reunion. As dark and heavy as ever before, filled with simple catchy riffs and familiar type tempo changes crowned by an almost pristine sounding Ozzy. I'm getting flashbacks to "Master Of Reality" and "Vol. 4", then slightly adapted to a 21st century sound making the music come out even harder and rawer. Not the least innovative, just giving the old fans value for money - good old Sabbath in an even meaner drag. And it was a success - topping both US and UK and a number of other lists, soon selling over a million copies. I've seen it's been criticized for having bad audio, coming through too loud and partly distorted, but I don't get that at all from this copy. I hear loud and strong, yet well balanced without any inappropriate distortion. Maybe the different issues and/or formats differ in that respect, or the fact that I play with a round stylus (Shure M44-7) smooth things a bit. Released all over the world on various formats as CD, 2xCD, Flac, MP3, AAC, DVD and blue-ray, some with three or four bonus tracks. To my knowledge only issued on vinyl in US and EU. First EU 2-LP vinyl had swirl labels as shown here and fully laminated fold/out cover with glossy lyric/credit/pic inners. (WLÖ*) (BLÄC*)

torsdag 5 september 2019

BEACH BOYS/THE BEACH BOYS IN CONCERT 2RS 6484 (-73) US

Counting the then non-US "Live In London" the band's third live album. Released after their, to my taste, last all good original studio LP "Holland" and in a way also the last with the classic Beach Boys sound. "15 Big Ones" has its moments, but "The Beach Boys Love You" and "M.I.U" doesn't sound much like them at all with synths allowed to take a more prominent place. Here's still the band I knew and loved. A compilation of live cuts recorded all over US during various concerts 1972-73, without Brian Wilson but reinforced by a bunch of other musicians. Very well played and sung with tons of zest, creating an image of a still young and very hungry band loving what they're doing...and listening today there's no doubt they did. Song choice covering most of their carreer that far - from early sixties surfing to seventies Holland - with many reworked versions. That said...what really captures me is the presence, conveyed by sheer energy in combination with very good audio. Hard to choose favorites, but I am impressed how they could make both "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes And Villians" come out so good from a stage. A fine live album. Probably in most band fan's collections already and also perfect for us who don't like to get out much anymore, but prefer to enjoy concerts at home in our listening chairs. Issued and reissued on every possible format all over the world through the years. Premiere US 2-LP had label as shown here and glossy fold/out cover. (LYBÖ*) (BÅB*) (YZÄ*)

tisdag 3 september 2019

GENESIS/...AND THEN THEY WERE THREE... CDS 4010 (-78) UK

Their first studio full-lengther since the 1976 "Wind And Wuthering" (see earlier post), now as a trio after guitarist Steve Hackett left for a solo carreer. Always liked W&W for the enticing blend of melodic and progressive, making it both adventurous and heart warming - a combination that works for me anytime at all. This sounds like further down the same road. The prog elements are still there, but the tracks are shorter with more classic song structures and less long solos. You get the impression of a trio bursting with advanced skills trying to cool down and play regular songs in a regular way, but not really up to it so instead the well written melodies are spiced with backbeat, odd rhythm sequences and sometimes peculiar tonal patterns. Excellently played and Phil Collins vocals works like a charm. An interesting 50+ minute journey either you're in for an adventure or just want it catchy. On the negative side - I don't get any truly emotional moments as from W&W:s "One For The Wine", "Blood On The Rooftops" or "Your Own Special Way", but maybe that's just me. I also think the audio on this press comes out way too dense, but it's a matter of taste so maybe that's just me again. Favorite tracks "Down And Out" and "Follow You Follow Me". Issued and reissued on about every possible format all over the world through the years. First US on Atlantic (SD 19173). Japan 2013 Virgin CD (VJCP 98023) came remastered in paper sleeve. Premiere UK had label as shown here and fully laminated fold/out cover, some with "tour" insert. (CÄX*) (GYÄ*)

söndag 1 september 2019

DOORS/STRANGE DAYS EKS 74014 (-67) US STEREO

Had the UK mono forever and always been pleased with that, believing it was a separate mix as the US one. Then after posting it here many moons ago I got a comment from Prof. Stoned where he said the UK was a fold. I coundn't believe it at first, but was convinced. Ever since I've been trying to find a US mono, which seems impossible as I don't buy from the net anymore (too many downers) and they just never show up in the local bins. However a while ago I found this 1st press US stereo at a price fitting my wallet and was amazed by the audio. It has good balance for a four channel mix and even if sparsely arranged it's kept wide, giving tophole separation thus making every part explicite. Add to that a loud yet crystal clear cutting and I'm in 100%. It may seem strange to some I go on so much about audio in this blog, but I still spin my records a lot and do think that a great album, like this, deserves best possible listening. I will continue my search for a US mono and when I find one you'll be the first to know. Issued and reissued on every possible format all over the world through the years. Originally pressed at at least four different plants in US. The one here has (AL-1) etched into both matrixes, showing it was pressed at Allentown Record Co. Inc. in Pennsylvania. It came with label as shown here and glossy cover with glossy lyric/picture inner. (YZÄ*) (DÖÖW*)