Thursday, December 28, 2017

Robert Plant - Starting Over (1983) Bootleg

(U.K 1982 - Present)
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Robert Plant is a British rock singer and songwriter best known as the vocalist and lyricist for the band Led Zeppelin. Inspired at a young age by Elvis Presley, Plant left school to begin his musical career. He performed with a number of groups before he was discovered by Jimmy Page, who was in search of a lead singer for a new band he was forming, called the New Yardbirds. The group eventually became Led Zeppelin.

In 1982, Plant launched his solo career with 'Pictures at Eleven', which fared well on the album charts. He then released 'The Principle of Moments' (1983), known for its mellow single "Big Log." Recording with Page, guitarist Jeff Beck, and guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers, Plant sang the lead vocals for a collaborative R&B-influenced project called 'The Honeydrippers, Vol. 1' (1984). The group had two successful singles, the ballad "Sea of Love" and the more uptempo "Rockin' at Midnight."

Reuniting with Page and Jones, Plant revisited his Led Zeppelin days at the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985. He released another solo effort, 'Shaken 'n' Stirred' that year, on which he experimented with hip-hop styles. In 1988, Plant pitched in for Page's solo debut, 'Outrider', as well as releasing 'Now & Zen' in response to fans' ardent requests for Led Zeppelin material. He then released 'Manic Nirvana' (1990), which received strong reviews and reached as high as the 13th spot on the album charts. He re-teamed with Page and Jones in 1988 for the special concert held in honor of Atlantic Records 25th anniversary. This time, however, Jason Bonham, son of the late John Bonham, filled in on drums.

'For Fate of Nations' (1993), Plant explored a more folksy sound. He then reunited with Page for 'No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded' (1994). Together they revisited Led Zeppelin classics, reworking them with a heavy Moroccan and Arabic influence. They also recorded a few new songs for this project, which resulted in a television special and 1995 tour. That same year, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.


Three years later, Plant and Page put out a new studio album 'Walking Into Clarksdale' (1998). The recording earned rave reviews and netted the pair a Grammy Award win for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Most High." After a long hiatus, Plant returned in late 2001 with his solo album 'Dreamland'. Two years later, he debuted 'Sixty Six to Timbuktu', a two-disc compilation dedicated exclusively to works from Plant's solo career, including "Tall Cool One" and "Upside Down."

Plant earned some of the best reviews of his solo career for 'Mighty Rearranger' (2005). Incorporating African rhythms, blues, psychedelic rock, and Celtic ballads, he created "a collection of songs that sound gloriously raw, relevant and, most importantly, rocking," as one music journalist wrote. Plant saw his career reach new heights with another musical experiment, collaborating with Alison Krauss on the 2007 country-folk album Raising Sand. The recording quickly became a top seller in the United States and won five Grammy Awards, including the honors for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for "Please Read the Letter."

Reuniting with other surviving members of Led Zeppelin, Plant performed at a special benefit show for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, named for the late co-founder of Atlantic Records. Tickets sold out quickly for the December 10 show, which was the first appearance by Led Zeppelin in 19 years (with Jason Bonham again filling in for his late father on drums).

After the hugely successful concert, rumors swirled about a possible Led Zeppelin reunion tour and album. Plant, however, released a statement in 2008 that he was not interested in touring for the next few years. His former bandmates publicly discussed carrying on without him, but they have yet to tour or record new material.

In July 2009, Plant received a special honor. He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the field of music. Prince Charles bestowed the honor on him at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace. [extract from biography.com)

The Bootleg
This is an extremely rare, long out of print, limited edition pressing bootleg of Robert Plant "Starting Over" live from Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas on his first solo venture in 1983 for the Principle of Moments tour, with Phil Collins on drums.  This is a complete, soundboard  show on 2 vinyl LPs.

Of course no Zep tracks, but the show is amazing. First of all despite all Plant's blather about leaving Zep behind, plenty of songs had Plant ad-libbing Zep style, and doing some of those legendary sustained howls.  Robbie Blunt is excellent, with his unique sound and is able to be subtle and forceful as the songs require. Some of the studio songs which are a bit "weak" on vinyl work fine live. I think Plant must have lost his mind to lose Blunt.


This post consists of FLACS and MP3 (320kps) ripped from my pristine vinyl which I picked up at the Victoria Market (Melbourne) back in the mid 80's for the pricely sum of $25.  I have included full album artwork and label scans but take note that the track listing on the back cover is not accurate.
In addition the photos of Plant depicted on the back cover are from when he was front man for Led Zeppelin while the front cover photo is more true to what he looked like in 1983.

This double vinyl bootleg is one of my prized possessions and the sound quality of the recording is full soundboard 10/10 quality.  This bootleg has been released under other titles, namely - 'Texas Toast 1983' (King Biscuit Flower Hour) and 'Robert Plant - Austin Texas'.
I hope you enjoy this last post for 2017 but stay tuned, as I have plenty of other rarities to post in the new year.

Track Listing
01 -  In The Mood
02 -  Pledge Pin
03 -  Messin' With The Mekon
04 - Worse Than Detroit
05 - Moonlight In Samosa
06 - Fat Lip
07 - Slow Dancer
08 - Big Log
09 - Burning Down One Side
10 - Other Arms
11 - Horizontal Departure
12 - Like I've Never Been Gone
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Artists:
Robert Plant - Vocals
Robbie Blunt - Guitar
Bob Mayo - Rhythm Guitar
Jeff Woodroppe - Keyboards
Paul Martinez - Bass
Phil Collins - Drums
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Robert Plant Live FLAC Link (498Mb)
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Robert Plant Live MP3 Link (186Mb)
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Bobby (Boris) Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers - Monster's Holidays (1962)

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Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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Bobby (Boris) Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called the Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while performing the Diamonds' "Little Darlin'". The audience loved it, and fellow band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation.

Pickett and Capizzi composed "Monster Mash" and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny MacRae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, credited as "The Crypt-Kickers". (Mel Taylor, drummer for the Ventures, is sometimes credited with playing on the record as well, while Russell, who arrived late for the session, appears on the single's B-side, "Monster Mash Party".) The song was partially inspired by Paxton's earlier novelty hit "Alley Oop", as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era. A variation on the Mashed Potato was danced to "Monster Mash", in which the footwork was the same but Frankenstein-style monster gestures were made with the arms and hands.

"Monsters' Holiday", a Christmas-themed follow up, was recorded by Pickett and released in December 1962, peaking at #30 on the Billboard chart. The tune was penned by the renowned novelty song composer Paul Harrison. 

In the spirit of the Christmas season, this month's WOCK On Vinyl Post pays tribute to one of the more serious releases produced by Boris Pickett and his monster crew for the festive season.
The A-Side track "Monster's Holiday" is a nice little catchy tune with the usual ghoulish 'creatures of the night' references backed by Decks of Holly & Sleigh Bells, while the B-Side "Monster Motion" cashes in on yet another Monster Mash sound alike tune. 

So once again in December, the C in WOCK is for Christmas with a little bit of Creepy and Weird thrown in for good measure, making this another well deserved candidate for this month's WOCK on Vinyl post.  Ripped to MP3 (320kps) including artwork and label scans, this post should fit nicely into your Christmas stocking this year.  Merry Christmas everyone and have a safe & Happy New Year.

Monster's Holidays Link (5Mb)



Friday, December 15, 2017

Electric Light Orchestra - Balance Of Power (1986)

(U.K 1970–1986, 2000–2001, 2012–present)
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Formed by Lynne, Wood and Bevan, members of Sixties pop group the Move, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was intended to continue the progressive sound the Beatles invented with 'I Am The Walrus'. The self-titled debut album was released in late 1971 and contained a UK Top 10 hit in '10538 Overture', but Wood quit the following year.

'ELO2' included a second Top 10 hit, Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven'. Bassist Richard Tandy moved to keyboards, and a string of albums followed, notably 1974's US Top 20 breakthrough album 'Eldorado'. After 'Face The Music' (1975), 'A New World Record' (1976) was their biggest yet with hit singles 'Livin' Thing' and Telephone Line'.

At the height of punk, 1977's double album 'Out Of The Blue' reached UK and US Number 4, while 'Discovery' (1979) and Time' (1981) gave ELO their two UK Number 1 albums. After 1983's 'Secret Messages', however, Lynne rested the band to concentrate on his production work but they returned briefly for 1986's 'Balance Of Power': 'Calling America' was their 26th UK Top 40 single.
Two years later Lynne joined the Traveling Wilburys, and cut the solo 'Armchair Theatre'. 1991 saw Bev Bevan re-form the band as ELO Part 2 - without Lynne and without success.

Electric Light Orchestra 1986
Review 1
'Balance of Power' is the eleventh studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released in 1986. It is the final album by the band to feature co-founder Bev Bevan on drums, as well as the last album to feature keyboardist Richard Tandy in an official capacity.

Like many pop artists, Jeff Lynne has had a habit of recycling his ideas by twisting and turning them around as he moves from one album to the next. Generally speaking, the connection between any two given songs wasn’t meant to provide lyrical insight; instead it was limited to his unwavering desire to improve upon his prior melodic and symphonic concepts. With Electric Light Orchestra’s 11th outing 'Balance of Power', however, Lynne took a different approach. In the wake of its gargantuan endeavor Out of the Blue, the band had floundered in its abilities to move its music forward, a product, no doubt, of its close ties to the ’70s. While the group had remained popular, particularly in the U.K., it also was beginning to run out of steam.

Lynne, Tandy & Bevan

The songs on 'Balance of Power' reflected Lynne’s sadness over Electric Light Orchestra’s impending demise, though he simultaneously couched his ruminations within the framework of a love affair that was on the decline. Consequently, while the music was genuinely joyous, there were darker textures that bubbled beneath its surface. Frustration and anger lurked within Secret Lives, for example, and a sad yearning clung to "Is It Alright". Though Lynne remained focused on placing his own stylistic spin upon the canons of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the lone truly reconfigured moment from his past occurred during "Sorrow about to Fall". Echoes of both Evil Woman and Showdown were tucked inside the tune’s swirling, aqueous arrangement, thus lending a greater meaning to the twin interpretations of the album as a whole.

Calling America
Nevertheless, 'Balance of Power' was plagued with a fatal flaw. In trying to overcome his struggles with penning new material, Lynne had jettisoned the orchestrations that previously had defined Electric Light Orchestra’s music. At first glance, this wasn’t necessarily a bad strategy for him to have employed, especially since he had begun to feel stifled by his need to concoct his customarily complex arrangements. What he utilized instead, though, was a heavy dose of electronic effects. The drum machines and synthesizers suffocated the music, leaving it cloaked in a cold, calculated sterility to which a live string section ironically would have added some much needed warmth. Although the hit single "Calling America" held merit, largely because of its ingratiating melody, the bulk of the outing fell flat.

Prior to the creation of 'Balance of Power', Lynne had worked with Dave Edmunds on Information and Riff Raff, and soon enough, he would be hired to produce Mystery Girl, Roy Orbison’s late-’80s, comeback album. In that sense, the final two tracks on the original version of the outing (Endless Lies and Send It) provided plenty of hints as to where Lynne’s heart and mind increasingly had begun to rest. 'Balance of Power', then, was the transitional effort that allowed Lynne to close the book on Electric Light Orchestra and better position himself for the next phase of his career as a well-respected, if heavy-handed, producer. [Review by John Metzger at musicbox-online]
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Review 2
The first half of Balance of Power is by-and-by okay but, unusually for an ELO album, lacking any real light bulb moments. Opener “Heaven Only Knows” works better as a one-off synthy Christmas song with the dings and dongs of the synthesisers. “So Serious” follows and I bet if you played the theme song from The Never Ending Story straight after, I wouldn’t be able to tell. Those two songs sound so similar that I’m surprised the record companies didn’t troll buyers by occasionally swapping the two songs around. There’s some hopeful piano playing hidden in the background of “Getting to the Point” but again, the ‘80s synthpop drowns it out. We get a little variety with “Secret Lives” when some new wave ska-like beats and a bit of saxophone lead us through the verses, kind of like an offering from the Police’s Synchronicity. Then it’s back to the generic tone as “Is It Alright” rolls around. 

These tracks define the album’s first half and so far, it’s not looking too good for ELO. Any new wave or synthpop band could have done it. Where’s that “Evil Woman” sound that I hoped for? What happened to the tenderness I heard in “Telephone Line”? Where’s the grandiose sound of “Mr. Blue Sky”? It’s not rubbish at least, but it’s not impressive. 

You can put this LP on the player at the nightclub and at least you’d find it alright to party to – although I am assuming a lot of things making that statement considering I don’t particularly like those sorts of events. Now is the rest of Balance of Power the same as before? Actually, not quite. “Sorrow About to Fall” does have a synth disco vibe but there are moments where the synthesisers imitate those ELO classical strains that have been missing for the last 17 minutes. More hope arises in “Without Someone” with a very ELO-like synth beginning and a guitar solo shining a lighthouse beacon just over midway through the song. “Calling America” follows on and is one of the better cuts off the album. It’s more reminiscent of their arty rock songs, like a synthy version of “Rockaria!” Of course, it’s not as good as the song I alluded to, but this is pretty good compared to what Balance of Power has delivered so far. 

Tandy, Lynne & Bevan
Right after “Calling America” is what I deem the best song on the album, “Endless Lies”. This is by far the most ELO-sounding song here. What was I saying earlier about wanting a bunch of other classic songs? Here they are. An “Evil Woman” vibe with the tone of “Telephone Line” and the soaring feel of “Mr. Blue Sky”. It’s down tempo compared to the rest of Balance of Power, and less reliant on the synthesisers, opting more for some melancholic guitars and drums. This is the lighthouse of the album, the track that should have been the sonic director. I realise that Lynne wanted a new ELO sound but having not made that attempt come off eloquently, I’m glad “Endless Lies” retains that classic ELO feel in a sea of generic new wave noise. Now that should have ended the album but for the last act, synth clashes with rock and roll for “Send It”. While it’s slightly above average compared to the generic stuff we’ve encountered so far, it feels tacked on and unnecessary.

Had ELO just started out with this kind of music, they’d have had reasonable appeal like every other ‘80s band because Balance of Power sounds just like everything else at that time. In this universe though, ELO were incredible masters at blending creative rock with classical tunes giving us memorable tracks like “One Summer Dream” and “Tightrope”. Predictably, any attempt at moving away from this sound is going to be looked on with some disdain. I don’t mind people exploring other types of music but if their forays don’t deliver, then that disdain will kick in. For ELO, Lynne’s move wasn’t the best one and thank goodness they didn’t continue down that road. I don’t believe they had the ability to pull off that synthy music well enough to justify the shift considering how the band’s been essentially typecast as the rock plus violins bunch. 

Of that album marking the band’s collapse, “Calling America” and “Endless Lies” are the highest peaks musically while the rest are good but not really above par. If you try to look at Balance of Power lyrically, you’re getting nowhere. The lyrics here aren’t particularly astounding except for “Endless Lies”. It all comes down to the music in the end, and that misses the mark more than enough times. This ELO album isn’t a standout but it’s at least listenable. It plays too safe and too similar to established music.  [Extract from Biased Reviews]
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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my pristine vinyl, and includes the usual album artwork and label scans. Although an expanded version of this album was released on CD in 2007, I have chosen to only present the original album to stay true to what the band was producing at the end of their career, before folding in 1986. I only came across this album by accident last month while attending a record and book fair organised by the Melbourne radio station 3MBS, and this was one of the many gems that I manged to pick up at $2 a pop.  Yep - I'm another happy camper.
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Track Listing
1. Heaven Only Knows (2:52)
2. So Serious (2:38)
3. Getting to the Point (4:28)
4. Secret Lives (3:26)
5. It Is Alright (3:25)
6. Sorrow About to Fall (3:59)
7. Without Someone (2:48)
8. Calling America (3:26)
9. Endless Lies (2:55)
10. Send It (3:04)

Line-up:
Jeff Lynne - lead & backing vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, producer 
Richard Tandy -  keyboards, piano, sequence programming
Bev Bevan  - drums, percussion 
Christian Schneider - sax

Electric Light Orchestra Link (81Mb) New RIP & Link
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Who - The Live Tommy Unauthorised (1993) Bootleg

(U.K 1964–1982, 1989, 1996 – present)
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The Who - The Complete Amsterdam 1969 Remastered
Venue: The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Date: 29 September 1969.

The greatest rock'n'roll band in the world of all times in their absolute prime !! The audio has been carefully remastered with great dedication. It has never sounded this good before.

About the recording: This recording was made by a Dutch radio/TV broadcast. It's not 100% certain who did it, but it was probably done by the VPRO, who also did the Pink Floyd recording the same year at the same venue. And just like that Pink Floyd recording, this one was also bootlegged a million times from various very good to very poor sources. All of these sources were originated from radio broadcast/s. Back then, and today still, the Concertgebouw was not a place for rockbands but for opera's and other classic music. Mixed directly to 2-tracks, this may been one of the reasons why the mixing engineer had a hard time finding the right balance. The mix changes often, and sometimes the drums or the guitar just disappear or get buried for a while. It also must have been hard for the band to hear each other, because of the extremely reverberating acoustics. Remember, this was 1969 and sound monitoring on stage was still a thing for the future. When comparing this one to other Who shows from this period, this one probably isn't the best. Roger Daltrey has once said that he didn't think he sang very well this night.

The Who 1969
 And playing the Tommy album on stage was obviously not a routine for the band yet. But, there is more than enough to enjoy here. It is the only complete soundboard recording from this year. It is also the only one with complete lineage, and it has the best sound. Beside that, all other Who '69 board tapes are far from complete and don't have most of Tommy. Somewhere around 2000, a Pre-FM source of this show was unearthed. Funny enough, the same thing happened with the aforementioned Pink Floyd recording, but that's another story. They may have come from the same person though. Read the quote below: "My source in Amsterdam worked on a Who anniversary special, for the same radio station that broadcast the show in 1969. He suggested that the DJ use some of this show, so a technician produced the original masters. He took the chance to make a copy on their professional reel-to-reel equipment. Our CD was transferred off his 1st generation reels.

The Who On Stage 1969
Although this show has been booted repeatedly, this is the REAL source. It sounds amazing, like it was taped off the radio yesterday, perfect except for a little tape hiss in the very quiet bits. My source was upset that this show was recently booted from a copy of his tapes. Even though it contains the complete song list, he removed key bits of dialogue from every copy he made and was able to find the source of boot. His "revenge" was to offer the COMPLETE show to anyone who wanted it and encouraged someone to do a tape tree to discourage money from being spent on the bootleg. According to him, the recent boot "Amsterdam Journey" on the Hiwatt label is the one taken off his copy." (For the record: the source used here is the one with the dialogue).
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Tommy: The Rock Opera
The first day of recording sessions for the Who's rock opera Tommy took place at the IBC Studios, Portland Place, London. on the 22nd September, 1968.
Pete Townshend: It was supposed to be a series of singles and any departure from that was introduced by Kit Lamberts coaching - "Keep that, write another tune, then repeat that." So I just wrote bits and stuck them into songs. It may appear to flow, but when I presented it to the band, it was simply a series of songs.
Roger Daltrey: It was really Kit Lambert's dream to do an Important Work in rock music — if there were ever any such thing. Kit had come from a classical background - his father, Constant Lambert, was founder of the English National Opera - and having his kind of education, it frustrated him that there were all these grand tales being told in classical music, so why couldn't rock address itself to something more serious than the three-minute soundbite?
It was a long way from what we'd been doing, but we'd have a go at anything. Only someone like Kit could have pulled Tommy off, though - all the hype that went with it. I mean the narrative is not particularly good, is it? Then again it does have a narrative, which is more than Quadrophenia had!
John Entwistle: We started out doing what was basically a single album, but it didn't make sense. We realized the only way to make it coherent was to make it a double album, because a lot more things happened to Tommy than could be put on one album.
Keith Moon: We wrote most of Tommy in a pub opposite the recording studio.
John Entwistle: It took us eight months altogether, six months recording, two months mixing. We had to do so many of the tracks again, because it took so long we had to keep going back and rejuvenating the numbers, that it just started to drive us mad, we were getting brainwashed by the whole thing, and I started to hate it.
Pete Townshend: [ Tommy] was completely autobiographical. All I knew was that I spent time with a grandmother whom I didn't like very much. "See me, feel me, touch me." Where did that come from? It came from that little four-and-a-half-year-old boy in a fucking unlocked bedroom in a house with a madwoman. That's where it came from.
I was so earnestly trying to avoid writing something autobiographical. All of The Who's first work was about their early audience; we felt rock should be reflective of its audience. That was what was unique about rock'n'roll as an art form. I tended to write, if not my own biography, certainly an encapsulated biography assembled from bits of the audience. Yet Tommy felt to me - when I was writing it - to be the exception to that.
Roger Daltrey: Pete used to literally write his best stuff when he was writing about a character that he could see very, very clearly from outside himself. When he gets introspective it turns into melodramatic dross. And some of it's really good and I admire his courage for doing that. So, I'm not putting him down for that but he writes his best stuff when he's writing for a figure beyond himself. And I was that figure. And of course I personified Tommy. I was the guy who used to play the part. I played the damn part for five years. I slogged my balls off around the world sweating it out. People thought I was Tommy. I used to get called Tommy in the street.

The Who Onstage 1969
John Entwistle: When we did Tommy, we had moved up to eight track, but we only recorded five. The last three were for the orchestration, but we couldn't afford it.
Roger Daltrey: Pete used to come in some days with just half a demo. We used to talk for hours, literally. We probably did as much talking as we did recording. Sorting out arrangements and things on Tommy.
Pete Townshend: I didn't write Tommy in any kind of chronological order. I already had some of the material - "Amazing Journey", "Sensation", "Welcome", "Sparks" and "Underture". "We're Not Gonna Take It" was a kind of anti-Fascist statement. The first rundown of the idea I put on a graph. It was intended to show Tommy from the outside and his impressions going on inside him.
John Entwistle: Pete suggested that I write two songs he felt he couldn't write.
Roger Daltrey: The most important songs in Tommy, which give it the kind of edge, are "Cousin Kevin" and "Uncle Ernie", which were written by John Entwistle, not by Pete.
John Entwistle: Basically, the brief I got was to write a song about a homosexual experience with a nasty uncle, and a bullying experience by ... I don't know whether "cousin" was actually mentioned, but I figured it might well be the son of Uncle Ernie. I found it very easy. I'd written "Fiddle About", for the character of Uncle Ernie, by the time I'd got back to the room. If I've got the idea for a song, then it comes almost immediately.
Pete Townshend: I don't consider the album to be sick at all. In fact, what I was out to show is that someone who suffers terribly at the hands of society has die ability to turn all these experiences into a tremendous musical awareness. Sickness is in the mind of the listener and I don't give a damn what people think.

Roger Daltrey: Tommy came along at a time in our lives when everyone was searching for answers in their life. The ambiguity of Tommy allowed it to answer many things for many different people. But in fact it didn't really answer anything. That's the beauty of it.
Pete Townshend: There is no ending. What I was doing at die time was attending to the fact that in rock'n'roll what you don't do is make peoples decisions for diem. You share their ideas, difficulties and frustrations.
John Entwistle: I only ever played the record twice — ever. I don't think Tommy was all about [what] was on the record - I think it's on the stage. The message is much stronger on stage than on record.
Pete Townshend: I suppose the mistake I made in Tommy was instead of having the guts to take what Meher Baba said - which was "Don't worry, be happy, leave the results to God" - and repeating that to people, I decided the people weren't capable of hearing that directly. They've got to have it served in this entertainment package. And I gave them Tommy instead, in which some of Meher Baba's wonderfully explicit truths were presented to them half-baked in lyric form and diluted as a result. In fact, if there was any warning in Tommy, it was "Don't make any more records like that." [ extract from The Who - The Day-By-Day Story, by Johnny Black. 2001 p142-145)
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Release Of Tommy
May 23, 1969. The Who release their rock opera album, Tommy, in the UK. That night they play at the Electric Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Leonard Bernstein (composer/conductor): Pete Townshend of rock's toughest and most innovative group, has made the dream a reality with Tommy, a full-length rock opera that for sheer power, invention and brilliance of performance, outstrips anything that has ever come out of a recording studio.
Pete Townshend: We joked as a group about Tommy being true opera (which it isn't) but The Who's audience and many of the rock press took it very seriously. It was this seriousness that ultimately turned Tommy into light entertainment.
Roger Daltrey: In fact, the Tommy album was not a particularly big success. It got into the charts but then it quite rapidly disappeared again. It was only after us flogging it on the road for three years, doing Woodstock and things like that, that it got back in the charts. Then it stayed there for a year, and took on a life of its own. We were flat broke and busted before Tommy, and for the three years afterwards until it caught on. But when it did, it totally made our fortunes.
Pete Townshend: We went from the ridiculous to the sublime - being told we were musical geniuses when really we were just a bunch of scumbags. [ extract from The Who - The Day-By-Day Story, by Johnny Black. 2001 p155-156]
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This bootleg recording comes from my Grapefruit CD and was ripped to MP3 (320kps) and includes full artwork. The quality of the recording improves from start to finish and is indicative of the live sound that The Who could produce back in 1969. Please note that the 2nd last track Boris The Spider is thought to not belong to these Amsterdam recordings and in fact comes from their earlier Fillmore East concert.  Although not the full Tommy track listing, the essence of the rock opera is certainly represented here.  So, Tommy - can you hear me ?

Track Listing
01 Substitute
02 Happy Jack
03 I'm A Boy
04 I Can't Explain
05 Overture
06 It's A Boy
07 1921
08 Amazing Journey
09 Sparks
10 Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
11 Christmas
12 The Acid Queen
13 Pinball Wizard
14 Do You Think It's Alright
15 Fiddle About
16 Tommy Can You Hear Me
17 There's A Doctor.
18 Go To The Mirror

19 Smash The Mirror
20 Miracle Cure
21 Sally Simpson
22 I'm Free
23 Tommy's Holiday Camp
24 We're Not Gonna Take It
25 See Me, Feel Me
26 Sumertime Blues
27 Shakin' All Over
28 Boris The Spider
29 My Generation

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The Who Line Up:
Pete Townshend (guitars, vocal)
Roger Daltrey (vocal)
John Entwistle (bass, vocal)
Keith Moon (drums, vocal)
 
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The Live Tommy Unauthorised (171Mb)
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Barry Humphries - A Track Winding Back (1972) EP


Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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He’s been called the funniest man in the world. He describes himself as a “music-hall artist”. But to the thousands who have flocked to his one-man shows since the 1960s he has that rare quality that separates the great entertainer from the mere performer. He’s one of the few carrying on the tradition of Max Miller, Roy Rene, and the glorious Broadway era of Jolson, Cantor and the Marx Brothers. All were masters at bridging the gap to the crowd across the footlights.

Barry Humphries was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1934 and was a very intelligent boy who attended Melbourne University. There, he began in revues and doing some impersonations. He moved to London around 1960 and began his TV career. Humphries went on to present a succession of hugely successful one-man shows in Britain, the United States and Australia. In these the ubiquitous 'Dame Edna Everage' appeared with a motley range of other Humphries characters, most notably and consistently the nostalgic, rambling ‘senior’, Sandy Stone, and the appallingly crude Sir Les Patterson, ‘Australian Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James’. The longevity of Humphries’ career – and the characters he created – is unique. For more than fifty years, neither he nor they showed signs of flagging: Edna’s adoring ‘possums’ still crowded theatres, still waved their ‘gladdies’ in joyous unison, and still eagerly submitted to her barbed but good humoured humiliation.

By the early 1970s, censorship restrictions had been lifted on script for "The Wonderful World Of Barry McKenzie" and moreover the newly set-up Film Development Corporation (funded by a government grant) decided to turn it into a movie. With actor Barry Crocker in the title role and Barry Humphries playing Edna and two other characters, cameras started rolling in 1972. The all-star cast also featured Dennis Price, Dick Bentley and old mates Peter Cook and Spike Milligan.

It was at this time that Barry Humphries in collaboration with co-star Dick Bentley, had the idea of recording a traditional Aussie bush song entitled "Along The Road To Gundagai" along with some satirical ditties. Although not his first recording, the EP entitled 'A Track Winding Back' was certainly the first of many successful attempts at musical satire.


From what I can gather, this EP is somewhat obscure and fetches some decent $$ on ebay.  Well Possums, what more can I say! This post ticks both the Obscure and Wacky categories for this month's WOCK on Vinyl post.  Ripped to FLAC from my A+ vinyl, fans of Barry Humphries are just gonna love this month's offering.  

To close, in the infamous words of Humphries himself  "Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."

Barry Humphries FLACs & Artwork (62Mb) 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

David Cassidy - Cherish (1972) + Bonus Track

(U.S 1969 - 2017)
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For a glorious moment in the early 1970s, teen heartthrob David Cassidy – who died last Wednesday (22nd Nov) from multiple organ failure at the age of 67 – was the biggest star in the world.

His face and half-naked torso graced a million girls’ bedrooms. He was the king of the lunchbox back in the 70's.

His 1974 tour of Australia was typical of his life then. According to his pal and photographer Henry Diltz, “[it was a] collection of mad rushes from cars to hotels, hotels to venues, venues back to hotels”.

“All serenaded by screaming pubescents who kept vigil outside his hotels 24 hours a day.”

Appearing at the Logies he met fellow actor Gina Lollobrigida, then regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world. She spirited him away so she could take photos of the star naked. Just another day at the office.

At a concert at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse, the fans pulled the stage down halfway into the set. The stage itself buckled under the weight of koalas and underwear from the 33,000 fans.

Cassidy had fond memories of Australia: “There’s a spirit about the people here that I have never forgotten. They love to have a good time. Um, they love the sun. They love to drink. They love to gamble. They love to smoke, they love horse racing.”

All of this hysteria flowed from Cassidy’s role as Keith Partridge in the TV sitcom The Partridge Family. The plot was a single mum, played by Cassidy’s real-life stepmother Shirley Jones, Keith and three younger children form a band and go on the road.

The Partridge Family, which launched in 1970, was the nice alternative to the scruffy Woodstock generation. Like the Monkees before them, they had a number of hits including "I Think I Love You", "Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted", "I Woke Up in Love This Morning" and "Come On Get Happy". They had six gold albums in two years. David had a No.1 solo hit with Cherish.
[Extract from thenewdaily.com.au]


Album Review
This was David's first solo album. It hit no. 15 on the US charts on Feb. 19, 1972, and stayed on the charts for eight weeks. In Britain, where it peaked at no. 2.

The most interesting thing about this album is that it is really a Partridge Family album done solo. The same pop hooks and sounds as well as the same personnel and many of the same writers (Tony Romeo, Wes Farrell, Bobby Hart etc) appear. None of this is surprising given this was Cassidy’s first solo LP and a hit formula was never, not going to be followed.

Cassidy would, over the next couple of albums, start to develop his own sound which is not to dissimilar from this musically but at least it is individual, distinct and more thoughtful. Thematically his music would move dramatically away from the love / lost love breakup songs here and deal with issues of fame, celebrity and love in a slightly more cynical way.

Cassidy, here, writes one song by himself and all the rest are written for him or are covers. The album is produced (again) by Wes Farrell and session musicians include: Hal Blaine on piano and Tommy Tedesco and Larry Carlton amongst others on guitars. Though not credited on the album apparently others Wrecking Crew sessionmen play also.

Track Breakdown:
Being Together – a big beat ballad about falling in love…..filler at the start of an album?
I Just Wanna Make You Happy – another big beat ballad about falling in love – this one better.
Could It Be Forever – filler
Blind Hope – romantic and disposable.
I Lost My Chance – romantic but not quite disposable
My First Night Alone Without You  –  the lonesome ballad.
We Could Never Be Friends (‘Cause We’ve Been Lovers Too Long) – mainstream pop …but catchy. Not that different to The Archies.
Where Is the Morning – superior kiddie pop.
I Am a Clown – very maudlin but catchy and with the spoken intro it’s dramatic and silly, much like “Are you Lonesome Tonight” and it’s spoken section. That doesn’t mean it’s bad ….actually it’s quite good, as is “Are You Lonesome” ….
Cherish – another pure pop song and another good one. Well, it is the title tune after all ….
Ricky’s Tune – a song by David about his dog and one of the best songs on the album – less pop and more west coast rock with country overtones ….think Crosby Stills and Nash.
All I Wanna Do Is Touch You - Bonus non-album B-Side to "Cherish". Should have been track 3
[extract from whatfrankislisteningto]
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I'm posting this 'out of character' album as a tribute to someone who I grew up listening to and unashamedly admired while he was a member of the Partridge Family, one of the many musical T.V shows that moulded my teenage years in the 70's.
The post includes MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy which turned up in a box of records I acquired at a garage sale many years ago. The single "Cherish" was later found inside the cover, thus the opportunity to provide the non-album B-Side single "All I Wanna Do Is Touch You" as a bonus track.
I hope this album 'makes you happy' as it did me when I listened to it - RIP David 'Partridge' Cassidy
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Track Listing:
01 Being Together 2:53
02 I Just Wanna Make You Happy 2:18
03 Could It Be Forever 2:16
04 Blind Hope 3:14
05 I Lost My Chance 2:38
06 My First Night Alone Without You 3:34
07 We Could Never Be Friends ('Cause We've Been Lovers Too Long) 2:50
08 Where Is The Morning 2:53
09 I Am A Clown 4:35
10 Cherish 3:46
11 Ricky's Tune 3:24
12    BONUS All I Wanna Do Is Touch You   2:54
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)

(U.K 1968 –2004, 2008–present)
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As Yes were always looking over the horizon (as Alan is fond of saying), vocalist Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe, feeling their oats over previous successes, decided pursue a large-scale project. Jon had taken of a footnote in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography Of A Yogi that described Schastic scriptures covering various aspects of religion and life. These would form the basis for Yes' next grand work, the ambitious four-song "Tales From Topographic Oceans" with each track consuming an individual vinyl side.

While on tour, Jon and Steve conducted candlelight sessions, working out the basic structure for of the four compositions inspired by this concept. As excited as the two were about the project, their (as well as co-producer Eddie Offord) were initially apprehensive. Yes had taken big steps before, but this was a major undertaking, especially given the proposed music's scale and complexity. But eventually everyone agreed to explore the concept and commenced recording at Morgan Studio. Situated in what members felt was a colorless English town, Morgan was chosen for its 24-track recording capabilities, one of the first studios in the U.K. to offer that option. Members had been divided between recording in the city or the country, and a humorous compromise of sorts was reached with wooden farmyard animal decorations and scenery.

Though there was a basic agenda for the work in progress, not everything was set in stone, Jon and Steve would often convene in a nearby room to plot direction. Steve Howe: "There were bits of one tune on another side—not so much that we were short of ideas but more that we wanted to reinterpret them, incorporate them, bring them into play as if the whole thing was a thematic playoff as well as a conceptualisation."

Album opener "The Revealing Science Of God" is basically trademark Yes, with rock sections alternating with quieter passages. Here the band demonstrates its knack for repeating themes that fluctuate in weight and significance: "Revealing" generally rocks and propels its listener through the various that will contribute to the ensuing tracks. (A bit of Yes folk lore; Eddie Offord, wrongly assuming the tape was blank, ended up slicing through an entire reel of a "Revealing" mix to retrieve the empty reel. Though Eddie did piece the tape back together, another mix was ultimately used.) 
After the thrust of "Revealing," "The Remembering" starts almost as if to let the listener—and Yes—-catch their breath. A light and airy introduction belies what's to come: waves of sound, followed by what Jon in his album notes describes as the "Topographic Ocean", a recurring section that evokes the water's mystery. Rick contributes some of his most moving playing here, combining Moog and Mellotron, and the section is effectively restated at various points. Chris adds some fretless bass, and Steve plays a lute on some of the folkier sections. The song unfolds slowly yet very deliberately, and though challenging, the result is one of Yes" more affecting pieces.


"The Ancient" is both primal and spacey, its percussiveness setting the stage for the first part. Tribal rhythms evoke the ancient peoples alluded to in Jon's notes. In retrospect. Steve says, "[ was surprised at the strange diversity of Side 3, but in the context I suppose we did want to go that far away, and 1 think it was beautiful to come back." The "coming back" is the second part, with Steve leading the way, executing a classically tinged intro on Spanish guitar. The song that follows is tentative and inspirational, Jon's pensive vocals giving way to a chorus that evokes hopefulness.

In its style, "Ritual" harkens back to Side . After the unusual color of the previous pieces, this final track is the full force return of the rock 'n' rollier Yes, pulling themes together and presenting them with an emotional wallop. The rhythm section dominates the side: Chris extrapolates on an earlier jaunty section with a tour de force solo, followed by a primeval drum section led by Alan White and featuring the others on tymnani. The torrent subsides, and Steve's evocative guitar gives way to Nous Sommess Du Soleil, a final, calming statement before the storm that drives Topographic to its dramatic conclusion.

Alan White, making his first appearance on a Yes studio album, unleashes his creative juices here. Me uses a hollowed out log on "The Ancient," contributes a last conga on "Ritual," and uses brushes on an aluminum sheet on both tracks, lie also arranges intricate backing rhythms in a time signature different from the others. 'Tin listening to Steve play while I'm playing something else," Alan explains, "You have to detach your mind and listen to what he's playing, but you have to keep on playing what you "re playing. A lot of that happens in a lot of the music: Chris and myself have to listen to him while we're playing, something different. There's no reason why the guitarist can't hold everything down and we go around him," Band members contributed to the cover developed by Roger Dean to evoke Topographic primordial concepts. Various cultural landmarks dot its landscape, and its gatefold sleeve includes Jon's liner notes, along with photographs of different textures and scenes. However, Roger's ideas were much more grand. The album cover would provide the visual design for the concert stage, with its translucent fiberglass scenery, which contributed to the music's mysterious atmosphere. The theatrical aspect was not lost on Yes, At the Rainbow in London, the band made it clear that no audience members would be seated after the start of the show, the same discipline enforced at orchestral conceits. The performance consisted of the Close To The Edge album, followed by the entire Tales, with an encore. The group would eventually drop the demanding "Remembering" late in the U.S. tour.

Yes - Live At The Rainbow, 1973 - Oceans Tour
When released, Topographic was the first Yes album to ship gold. But critics - and many fans - were perplexed when first confronted with its majestic scope. Some magazines embraced the LP: Time magazine ranked it among the year's best. But most of the major rock press was unmoved: what did four sprawling sides have to do with an art form based on rebellious three-minute anthems?
The too-easy joke was that this time Yes went "over the edge/ a sentiment echoed by Rick Wakeman. Although Rick made some essential contributions to the project, he later claimed that if the CD format had existed at the time, there wouldn't have been as much of what he viewed as padding. Steve, one of the Topographic prime architects, has a different view: "There's a reason why it was long, because we were exploratory. If Yes weren't exploratory we wouldn't have bothered to write so long, and we wouldn't have bothered to explore so many ways of doing our music."
In a sense, this was the album that separated the casual fan from the true believer. Those who felt rewarded by the journey were won over. Those who didn't abandoned Yes, temporarily or altogether- including Rick. His star as a solo performer was rising due to the popular The Six Wives Of Henry VIII and eventually his personal success, coupled with his lack of enthusiasm for Topographic would lead him to leave Yes after the album's tour.


Though "Ritual" would be retained for the next two Yes road trips, an entire side of Tales would not be heard again until the '90s, when fans new and old were as eager to hear these masterworks as the band was in performing them. Yes knew the album had merit and were delighted to rind it was still embraced by their audience. Even Rick was       happy to revisit it decades later. "It's never been a secret that Topographic Oceans was never my favorite Yes album." he said. "But I get a lot out of playing "Revealing" because I've found new ways of playing it — I've found ways of putting in new things and putting in other sounds in different things I didn't have before.
Ultimately, Tales From Topograhic Oceans is a very dense and stimulating experience. Yes had crafted compositions where the layers become apparent with each listening. Any attempt to describe the intricacies and interplay in words can do it no justice. Each piece reverberates within itself and resonates within the greater whole. Yes were fortunate to have had the creative freedom to produce this bold and innovative work — and we are fortunate that the  did.  [Mike Tiano]

The Parts
1st movement: Shrutis. The Revealing Science of God can be seen as an ever-opening flower in which simple truths emerge examining the complexities and magic of the past and how we should not forget the song that has been left to us to hear. The knowledge of God is a search, constant and clear.

2nd movement: Suritis. The Remembering. All our thoughts, impressions, knowledge, fears, have been developing for millions of years. What we can relate to is our own past, our own life, our own history. Here. It is especially Rick's keyboards which bring alive the ebb and flow and depth of our mind's eye: the topographic ocean. Hopefully we should appreciate that given points in time are not so significant as the nature of what is impressed on the mind, and how it is retained and used.

3rd movement: Puranas. The Ancient probes still further into the past hevond the point of remembering. Here Steve's guitar is pivotal in sharpening reflection on the beauties and treasures of lost civilisations, Indian, Chinese, Central American, Atlantean. These and other peoples left an immense treasure of knowledge.

4th movement: Tantras. The Ritual. Seven notes of freedom to learn and to know the ritual of life, Life is a fight between sources of evil and pure live. Alan and Chris present and relay the struggle out of which comes a positive source. Nous sommes du soldi. We are of the sun. We can see.


The Album Cover
Roger Dean recalls the inspiration behind the cover art for Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans

Although Roger Dean had created sleeves for a number of other bands during the late sixties, it was his collaborations with Yes which brought his other-worldly designs to the fore and became a crucial element in the packaging of that band’s early seventies releases. Having already designed the covers that adorned Fragile and Close To The Edge, as well as creating their iconic “bubble” logo, in 1973 he was approached to craft the sleeve for their double album Tales From Topographic Oceans. The album’s reception was mixed due to the complexity of the tracks, but the sleeve still remains one of the band’s more recognisable.

How did you meet the band?

“Well I remember meeting Phil Carson, who was running Atlantic records in Europe at the time, and showing him some of my work. Phil told me that he’d love me to do a cover for them but he only had two bands on the roster, which were Yes and Led Zeppelin. As soon as one of them needed a new cover he said he’d give me a call, and the Yes sleeve came up first. So that was how I was initially introduced to the band. It was all fairly prosaic really, so there weren’t any mystical meetings on a mountain.”  


What about the design brief?

“It was different with regard to any other Yes album cover I’ve done as it involved a long and detailed conversation with Jon Anderson. On other occasions the expectation was that it was my job to come up with the idea, develop it, present it and package it. So for Fragile for example, around that time I was concerned with the problems of pollution, plus I wanted to create something to match the title. So the idea was to have a small, fragile world as a centrepiece and the spaceship was an ark taking the inhabitants and whatever creatures there were on this planet to a new home. The planet then begins to disintegrate in view of the craft and this is shown on the back cover. But for Tales From Topographic Oceans I remember Jon and I spent a long time talking about ideas for the sleeve when we were flying from London to Tokyo via Alaska, and we were just inspired when looking at the patterns in the landscapes below.”


The cover was more landscape oriented compared to previous works. What was the reason behind that?

“Well, landscapes have always been my inspiration and I still primarily think of myself as a landscape painter. Tales... was really me trying to convey my enthusiasm for landscapes and Jon seemed to have a matching interest.”

What were the inspirations behind each of the stones or monuments?

“Well, nothing in that sleeve is actually made up or imagined, so everything that’s in there is a portrait of something. The Mayan Temple is the most obvious one but all the other rocks exist. The rock on the left hand side is at Avebury and continually pops up in magazines. The fascinating thing about it is that every photo that I’ve seen of it has been taken from exactly the same view that I drew it. The waterfall and pile of rocks are at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire, and there are others rocks that are at Stonehenge and Land’s End. So every stone in that picture I could take you to.” [This article originally appeared in Prog issue 27]

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my treasured vinyl, purchased back in 1974 for the pricely sum of $9.95 (this was the standard price for a double album at the time). In pristine condition, you won't find a better vinyl rip of this masterpiece anywhere else. Of course full album artwork is included for both CD and Vinyl plus label scans. The was the first album set I'd purchased where the record company had the album cover design printed on the record labels as well (see below) - a bold move by their record company Atlantic and one that other record companies would do in the future.  This post compliments my earlier post for Yesshows (both doubles) and is not to be missed.  The opening track "The Revealing Science Of God" is my favourite track and features some of Rick Wakeman's best keyboard work on the set.

Track Listing
01 - The Revealing Science Of God
02 - The Remembering
03 - The Ancient
04 - Ritual


Yes were:
Jon Anderson - Vocals
Steve Howe - Guitars, Vocals
Chris Squire - Bass Guitars, Vocals
Rick Wakeman - Keyboards
Alan White - Drums 
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