måndag 14 september 2015

FREE ILPS 9104 (-69) UK

Today hailed as one of the pioneer bands of hard rock and by early seventies the biggest selling British blues rock outfit, success taking off with their 1970 world hit "All Right Now". Group founded 1968 after Simon Kirke and Paul Kossoff left Black Cat Bones and teamed up with Paul Rogers from The Roadrunners and Andy Fraser, earlier with John Mayall. All of them still teens when recording their first Island album "Tons Of Sobs", a low budget Guy Stevens production and as such direct and forgiving with minimal use of overdubs. Though that today is considered a classic and much sought after it was a flop back then, not charting in UK and only reaching #197 on Billboard. This second LP did a little better in UK with #22 while failing in US. At that point Island main man Chris Blackwell had taken over production, resulting in the more cool and collected sound that would become part of their signature from then on. As a whole I rate it a lot higher than their following albums. It has that perfect blend of soft and raw (yes it is possible), challenging and secure at the same time. All tracks self-written, including a couple that later would be considered band classics - e.g. "Woman" and "I'll Be Creepin". Rogers and Kossoff fronting with perfect levelling and drum/bass backing cool, almost lethargic. Audio on this first UK press is superb - big and sturdy with very good separation. Couldn't pick a favorite - it's all evenly good and working as well for close listening as background mood setter. First US on A&M (SP 4204). Premiere UK had structured label as shown here and matt fold/out E.J. Day cover. As I get it these first UK matrixes were US made. This copy has hand etched ILPS 9104 A #4307/ILPS 9104 B #4308 and both sides with "Bell Sound" stamps showing they must have been made at Bell Sound studios New York, probably by engineer Sam Feldman active there at that time. Anyone knows the story behind this - please tell. (ÖSÄP*)

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