tisdag 21 november 2017

ROXY MUSIC/MANIFESTO POLH 001 (-79) UK

Recorded four years after their last original studio album "Siren", an hiatus during which a live LP and a Greatest Hits were issued, members released solo albums and separately or together participated in other constellations. With this the core was down to a four-piece with Ferry, Mackay, Manzanera and Thompson, though using a seven man reinforcement on different instruments. As I get not as brave as any of its predecessors, stylistically anxious made by too much glancing at contemporary mainstream. Not in the forefront anymore, yet with enough good moments to make it worth while. For me the title track, where Bogus Man goes disco, is the best cut. "Stronger Through The Tears" very elegant psych with meaty guitars. "Dance Away" a catchy disco ballad, which also became a hit single in Britain where it got to #2 while only managing #44 on Billboard. This version of that track was omitted already from the LP:s second press and replaced by the 45 mix on all later reissues till showing up again in the 1995 "Thrill Of It All" CD box set. As a whole not my favorite Roxy Music effort, but good enough to the ears and great if you can dance. Issued and reissued all over the world on vinyl and CD through the years, also cassette and 8-track. First US vinyl on ATCO (SD 38-114). Premiere UK had label as shown here, fully laminated cover and glossy lyric inner. (ÄNÖ*)

måndag 20 november 2017

PETULA CLARK/YOU ARE MY LUCKY STAR NPL 18007 (-57) UK MONO

The last standing grand old lady of British female vocal. Today probably most known for her 1964 world wide hit "Downtown" which topped Billboard and reached #2 in UK. A singing carreer stretching from 1939 (age seven) up to this day. Her first recording released 1949 the latest 2013, including a production of over 60 albums and more than 130 singles - many sung in other languages as French, Italian and German. In the sixties she beacme a prominent part of "British Invasion" managing fifteen top forty hits on Billboard - where of two #1 - awarded two Grammys and nominated for a Golden Globe. Add participation in around thirty movies and a couple of TV series plus numerous sold out live performances and you have the longest lasting successful female carreer ever. This 1957 release was already her third album, though first full-length on 12 inch. A compilation of twelve film songs first made famous by US artists from late twenties up to the forties. Partly produced by Alan Freeman (1920-85), who was one of the men behind the merging of Polygon Records and Nixa Records, relsuting in Pye Nixa, wich dropped the "nixa" in 1959 and just a few years later adapted to be one of the most prominent British pop/rock labels. The songs performed here sounds typical for its time - heavily orchestrated earrings, skillfully produced and arranged with much presence and feeling. Her vocal style reminds me of contemporary Doris Day, heartfelt and beautiful in both tear drenched and jazzy up-tempo. Audio is fifties at its best - big and clear, yet warm and touching. To me one of those records where I wanna get in and stay for a while, basking in the warmth of that pleasant company. To my knowledge this original release was UK only. French and UK 1990 vinyl and CD reissues on C5 records ( C5(CD) 551). 2000 CD on Sequel (NEMCD 460) came with sixteen bonus tracks. First UK had label as shown here, very thick unflexible vinyl and fully laminated flip/back cover. (FÄV*) (PÖY*)

lördag 18 november 2017

SAVOY BROWN/A STEP FURTHER SKL/LK 5013 UK STEREO VS. MONO

Don't debar a mono issue just because it's a fold. Sometimes one of those can actually be an improvement from a shaky or too panned stereo or, like in this case, spring up gratifyingly as product of a very good stereo with perfect compatibility. Folds are usually treated as second hand and they were in practice, but here I rather hear two ways of presenting the same result. Stereo clearer with better separation and somewhat more edge. Mono a little darker fitting the heavy blues/boogie atmosphere better and more enjoyable on loud. Maybe you have to be an accustomed monolover to enjoy that as much as the original mix, but I am and I do. Though if I had to choose, at gunpoint, it'd be the stereo because that was the initially intended, but for now I'm equally happy listening to either. Premiere UK had unboxed labels as shown here and laminated cover with die/cut mono-stereo hole on back and red or blue rim inners. (MÅW*) (CPYC*) (YMÖ*) (SÄVX*)

fredag 17 november 2017

DEEP PURPLE/WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE? TPSA 7508 (-73) UK

After the massive success with Machine Head followed by excessive touring the band had little energy left and according to a later interview with Ian Gillian all members suffered from illness and fatigue. Nevertheless they were pushed by the label to get in to the studio without well needed rest or much preparations. As the story goes the state they were in caused turmoil within the band, members refused to communicate and many of the parts were recorded individually. With that in mind it's a quite good result though lacking some of the magic that grew from the cooperative making "In Rock", "Fireball" and "Machine Head". More uneven, but all over excellently performed with at least a couple of classic cuts. In my world "Woman From Tokyo" and "Rat Rat Blue" are killers, way up with their earlier stuff. The rest a mix of r&b, gospel and pop sound a little uninspired and even if some of the long solos shows on considerable skill you get the impression of fillers rather than heartfelt compositions. Not my favorite from the MK II setting, but not all bad and to my taste better than any later Deep Purple studio album. Issued and reissued on all possible medias all over the world through the years. Premiere UK had label as shown here with "THE GRAMOPHONE CO LTD" top left, laminated fold/out cover and lyric insert. (DHÄ*) (HÄVL*)

torsdag 16 november 2017

PRETTY THINGS/SILK TORPEDO SSK 59400 (-74) UK

To me their 1965 debute has always been a beacon, an epitome of dirty garage and one that paved the path for so many bands to follow. A very rude kind of blues rock which no doubt at least partly inspired the change from white blues to hard rock at the end of the decade. By 1968 they'd soften up a bit, but still in the forefront by releasing one of the first rock opera/concept albums - the captivating "S.F. Sorrow". Here it's 1974, six years further on and what you get is glam rock produced with uniform thickness. Dense and glossy, pretty much the same drag as any other glam rock outfit at the time. I'm having a hard time to get in and feel it, but when I do it's the guitars that makes it for me, sounding a lot more adventurous than the melodic context. It's all very well performed, but nothing that nails me to the listening chair longing for more. I would have liked less studio hokus pokus for a more allowing production to get a harder hitting statement. Less silk and more torpedo so to speak. Not their prettiest thing, but if you manage to look behind the veil it's clear they still had it. Issued all over the world on vinyl and CD through the years, initially also on cassette and 8-track. First US on Swan Song (SS 8411). Most CD reissues came with two live tracks as bonus. Premiere UK had label as shown here and matt fold out cover with lyric/picture insert.

tisdag 14 november 2017

JANIS IAN VLP 6001 (-67) UK MONO

Through the years Janis Ian (born Janis Fink in New York 1951) has developed as a jackie-of-all-trades and mastering many as multi instrumentalist composer, author and columnist. From the beginning a very young singer-songwriter, in some circuits regarded as a musical prodigy. Not the kind that fronted grown-ups ambitions for fame by doing them cuter and more commercial, but truly creative and controversial by own means. Her debute single "Society's Child" recorded when she was 14, about an interracial romance, caused a lot of turmoil in US. The subject was still taboo back then, many radio stations cut if off their playlists after recieving threats and one in Atlanta was burnt down just for broadcasting it. Took two reissues before it finally started selling and reaching #14 on Billboard, then much due to support by Leonard Bernstein when the song appeared in his 1967 TV-special "Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution". For some reason she also freaked out Bill Cosby, who publically branded the young girl as a lesbian and tried to black-list her from media as unfitting for family entertainment. Listening to this debute album I'm amazed she was just 15 when recording it and many of the songs written even earlier - like "Society's Child" or "Hair Of Spun Gold" wich she composed at age 12. First signed by Atlantic, but after hearing the material they chickened out and declined. Fortunately Verve Forecast had braver views and with the help of producer Shadow Morton and arranger Artie Kaplan made an album so personal, honest and intriguing it feels as important today as it should have been fifty years ago. Arrangenments shifts between peeled-off, baroque pop and calm rock. Her vocals have a blend of mature security and girlish emotion and though the subjects may have been considered too much for the common man back then they are today not (so) controversial. Favorite tracks - "Society's Child", "Younger Generation Blues", "Go 'Way Little Girl" and "Pro-Girl". Never had a stereo for comparison, but due to the balance and impact of this mono I'm guessing a separate mix. Premiere issued in US on Verve Forecast (FT/FTS 3017), also originally in Canada, Australia and Germany. Japan 2011 limited edition CD on Verve Forecast (UICY 94567). First UK had label as shown here and laminated flip-back cover. (FÄV*)

måndag 13 november 2017

JIMI HENDRIX 2343-080 (-75) UK

One from the Polydor "Flashback" serie. In this case reissue of a 1973 release, using same number, label, matrixes and almost same cover - only difference is while the original is branded "standard" this has "special". No big deal, the real question is - do I really need one more posthumous Hendrix album? In this case - probably yes! It comes on a major label and though the cover design could be somewhat more exciting, the audio is very good and track choice intriguing enough. Apart from the rather expected I get live versions of "Johnny B. Goode" (from the 1973 movie soundtrack) and "Power Of Love" (Band Of Gypsys), "The Drifters Escape" (also on the "Loose Ends" compilation) and "Izabella" (first figuring on "War Heroes" and also released on 45 in a couple of countries). It may not seem especially enthralling picking cuts from the already so looted estate for a compilation, but the ones here fits in just fine and sounds surprisingly leveled. In all very good listening and to me a lot more than the horse flogging many others fussed with at the time. This 1975 press also issued in Australia (Summit SG 043). UK had label as shown here and thin matt cover. (JHÄ*)

lördag 11 november 2017

GERORGE MARTIN & HIS ORCHESTRA/OFF THE BEATLE TRACK PCS 3057 (-64) UK STEREO

First in a serie of 10+ albums Martin made with his band, most of them with orchestrated versions of popular hits and larger part of those containing Beatles songs. Haven't heard any of the others yet, so this is taken in through virgin ears. My first impression is almost anachronistic. While Beatles still was the new sensation 1964 with their own particular sound, this takes their songs back to the fifties when orchestrated covers of known hits were common and sold well. The songwriting may be sixties, but the production and atmosphere is ten years earlier. Not that it's bad in any way. The arrangements are extremely well written, like every single instrument is taken care of, with lots of variation so it never gets montonous or dull. Most cuts have bass/drum base, some embellished with harmonica, harp, or as in "I Saw Her Standing There" a jazzy sax solo. The stereo mix is tophole for its time - clear and balanced with lots of overlapping - and the audio pristine. A valuable memory from one of the best arrangers and producers ever. Favorite tracks - the uptempo "Little Child" and "From Me To You" because of the high-pitched strings. As a plus you also get first publication of some Beatles images and very Lennonish rear notes. Bought this on a whim, but now decided my Beatles collection needs it...so it'll stay. Premiere US and Canadian issues on United Artists (UAL 3377/UAS 6377). French on Odeon (OSX 227) came with other sleeve design as a 13-track, adding "And I Love Her". 1994 CD reissue on One Way Records (S21-17793). First UK had label as shown here with "Recording First Published 1964" and laminated flip-back cover. (BÄ*) (PÖX*)

fredag 10 november 2017

SUPER POPS INTERNATIONAL 65 356 8 (-76) GERMANY

German record club compilation, issued through Bretelsmann's entertainment system - where members could buy records, books and movies at a low price. One of many I assume, but to my taste excelling by track choice and audio making it one of the better Island samplers. Side two alone has enough to tickle any true period music lover. Taking off with Free "All Right Now" and Jim Capaldi "Eve", followed by Spooky Tooth "Better By You, Better Than Me" (from "Spooky Two"), Traffic "Paper Sun", Fairport Concention "Si Tu Dois Partir" (from Unhalfbricking"), Sparks "This Town Aint Big Enough..." and ending with Mott The Hoople "Rock'n'Roll Queen". A sequence that at least floors me. Side one don't tick all my boxes, but the Georgie Fame and Jess Roden 45 cuts, together with Cat Stevens and Spencer Davies makes it worth while. Audio is amazing all through - big, bouncy and wide, filling my entire living room. Good stuff. To my knowledge this was the only issue. It came with label as shown here and thin matt cover. (SÄM*) (GÖXÄ*)

torsdag 9 november 2017

BEACON STREET UNION/THE EYES OF THE BEACON STREET UNION C-8069 (-68) UK MONO

(One of the first LP:s I posted on this page. Been listening a lot to it lately and feel it's time for a rewrite and repost.) Band founded by students from Boston University and made part of MGM's promoted "Bosstown Sound" together with groups like Ultimate Spinach and Orpheus. Recorded two albums for the label and one more under the name "Eagle" for Janus Records, but never hit the big time. This debute LP reaching #75 on Billboard became their most prosperous moment before dissolvimg 1970. It's been on my shelf unnoticed for a long time now, but after being reminded by a thread at Steve Hoffman's I picked it out and fell in love again. This is stunning psych/acid garage. Right on and energetic including howling guitars, lots of organ and emotional vocals. Up-tempo mixed with a couple of calmer tunes and all if not entirely dirty so at least soiled. The cuts go so well together, especially on side two. If I dare to start with the hard hitting "Sadie Saíd No" there's no way out and I just have to sit it out till the last note of "The Prophet", totally enthralled by "Speed Kills", "Blue Avenue" and the scary "South End Incident". To my ears this sounds like a dedicated mono mix - clear, balanced and strong with perfect separation. As I've heard also released as stock mono in US and in that case it's probably from those tapes. First UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. (YMÖ*) (ÖGÄ*)