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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Horizonte, Argentina

Horizonte - s/t. 1977 Music Hall
Horizonte - Señales sin Edad. 1979 Music Hall

Here are a couple of albums I owned on LP over a decade ago. They were in the usual ramshackled shape, common for the country of origin. So when the CD arrived (both albums on one CD), these albums were an easy decision to let go to auction.

Except... (any guesses what comes next?)

Yea, the CD is a pirate edition. I hate when that happens! A few years ago, I got rid of it too, once I found out this dubious fact. And I didn't think the music warranted keeping a bootleg CD. On a recent revisit, perhaps I was a bit hasty there.

Horizonte are cut from the same cloth as Los Jaivas. So time to break out the pan pipes with your progressive rock! There are plenty of segments that are much more indigenous folk influenced, while others are clearly rooted in 1970s progressive rock. In this way, they also recall fellow countrymen Anacrusa. Of the two albums, Señales sin Edad maintains more highlights, but is more inconsistent than the debut, so they both grade out roughly the same. Horizonte are definitely worth another look... and deserve a proper reissue.

Priority: 3

Friday, August 28, 2015

Houston Fearless, USA

Houston Fearless - s/t. 1969 Imperial

Another title from the CD-R revisit project.

Houston Fearless were a standard issue late 1960s styled heavy blues psych band, with gospel, folk, and pop trimmings. There is some exceptional fuzz soloing, coupled alongside wicked Hammond licks, that makes it an overall worthwhile listen. Guideposts are the usual suspects like Cream and Iron Butterfly. The first 6 tracks are quite good, excepting the lame 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'. Then it completely implodes from there, as the band tries different musical styles, hoping something will stick. Of course, none of it does. A decent genre piece, though nothing more.

Worth noting that, despite the moniker, the band were from Los Angeles. It would appear the odd name is based on this film manufacturing company who were based in LA at the time of the album's release.

Priority: none

Sunday, August 23, 2015

News: Berits Halsband to come out on CD soon from Musicbazz!!!

Wow! Not sure we can receive better news than this. With Avalanche finally getting reissued, we are down to the very last of my Gnosis 14's not to be on CD. And Berits Halsband is one of them. One of my favorite discoveries from the early 2000's period, and still a great unknown. My full review can be found on the UMR site

Musicbazz is the Greek label responsible for the fine Pete and Royce LP and CD released a couple of years back. They are also the parent label to our good friend Spacefreak and his label Cosmic Eye. Thanks to him and reader Gal for the notification of this great news. The album will be reissued in both LP and CD formats.

One more great one reissued! YEA!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fragile, Germany

Fragile - Lonely Preacher / Our Song. 1974 Rittberk

Great - another band named Fragile. Like Touch, Time, and Drama, it's a moniker that has been heavily used, and hard to research.

In any case, we have another serious rarity here provided by The AC. Technically this is a 7" single, but it's 33 RPM, and the length of an EP. The AC tells us: "Extremely obscure EP (just over 15 minutes) of what I would feel comfortable labeling as "heavy prog", a genre description that I usually find to be overly vague. However, in this case it really fits. Swirling wall-of-sound organ collides with heavy, crashing guitars over a fat, thumping rhythm section. It's from that netherworld where progressive rock, psychedelia and hard-rock/proto-metal had a meeting of the minds before heading off in their own directions. The vocals are fitting and more than decent, but most of the space is given over to heavy riffing and instrumental jamming. The vast majority of new discoveries that come out of Germany are from the seemingly bottomless (some would say tiresomely so, at this point) well of the late 70s/early 80s private press boom, so it's refreshing to occasionally be reminded that the deeper waters of the original prog/krautrock scene have not yet completely run dry. This is excellent stuff that I believe would have a wide appeal, so hopefully one of the German reissue/archival labels will track these guys down and find some additional tapes of similar quality sitting quietly in one of their attics, just waiting to be dusted off."

I also found the music highly appealing. Very much the sound of Germany during 1974, but with an added complexity moving it more towards progressive rock and less the traditional hard Krautrock sound. Probably tracks closest to the obscure band Metropolis or even a bit like the archival Spektakel I suppose. This is just the type of band that Garden of Delights has been so successful in mining, and perhaps they will find a canister of great music for a full archival CD. Or at the very least, this will find its way onto one of their famous compilations. Great stuff.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

News: Finchley Boys "Everlasting Tributes" to come out on CD this year!

Recently we featured the Finchley Boys via the CD-R revisit project. A comment appeared on that post this morning from band member Garrett Oostdyck, who brought us this good news: "We really do plan on having a CD release this year (2015) There will be a few never heard tracks. I know the bootleggers don't have them yet as the tapes have been lost for 46 years." 

Great news for hard rock and heavy blues fans! I certainly will be picking one up when available.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hobo, Croatia

Hobo - s/t. 1975 Jugoton

Another title that came up via the CD-R revisit project.

Hobo's sole work is a commercially oriented rock album that includes some fine violin, Moog, and piano giving it a progressive feel. The almost seven minute 'Srebro' is the highlight, and predates what their neighboring Igra Staklenih Perli were about to embark on, with their own take on the early Pink Floyd psychedelic/cosmic sound. Though sadly, this is the only track of this nature found on the album. The strong presence of violin, and the way the compositions are structured, recalls Kansas at the same juncture. Clearly these bands were operating on a parallel mindset as Hobo could not possibly have known of Kansas at this point in time. Good album all around, with some quality songwriting and progressions found within.

We have to suspect (or hope anyway) that Hobo has some unreleased material that is far more progressive than what is found on this LP. They are far too talented to have been satisfied with the overall commercial approach. One can only hope a CD surfaces with copious bonus material reflecting such.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mandrill, USA

Mandrill - Mandrilland. 1974 Polydor. 2LP set
Mandrill - Solid. 1975 United Artists
Mandrill - Beast from the East. 1976 United Artists

Since we're already operating outside the margins of the CDRWL, I thought this would be a good time to sneak in one of my favorite bands: Mandrill. Their first 4 albums (all highly recommended) were reissued on CD in the late 90s by Collectables. These are their next 3 albums, which I dutifully picked up on vinyl over the years (they're relatively easy to find and inexpensive). Each one is slightly lesser than the one before. By the time of We Are One, Mandrill will have transformed into a full blown disco act. Not bad by any means, but that's too far out of bounds for our list.

It has been said that Brooklyn's Mandrill were too progressive rock to be funk and too funk to be progressive rock. And that's just about exactly right. In fact the 2LP sprawling set of Mandrillland may be their peak at the progressive rock style. And on the flip side, Beast From the East is giving off major clues the band is clearly heading for more commercial territory, though there's still some great funk/prog to be heard.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

One St. Stephen, USA

One St. Stephen - s/t. 1975 Owl

In the late 90s, I bought a large collection of CDs and LPs. One of those CDs was One St. Stephen's sole album. But it's an obvious pirate, and unfortunately that's all there is in regards to a CD. There is, however, a legitimate LP reissue, similar to The Finchley Boys that we recently featured, on the Greek label Anazitisi. And the artist is very happy with the final product.

The gentleman behind One St. Stephen is Don Patterson, who seems like quite the Renaissance Man. There is a tremendous amount of data about him in the webosphere. I highly recommend the It's Psychedelic Baby interview as the first place to start your research.

Musically the album is influenced by Jim Morrison and The Doors, and is a very anachronistic sound for 1975. Perhaps similar to Phantom's Divine Comedy in that way. I should note that the idea that One St. Stephen sounds like The Doors is hotly contested in some quarters. OK, then...

Priority: 3

Monday, July 20, 2015

Colonna, Italy

Colonna - s/t. 1980 Harmony. Also 1980 Box (Germany)

Another album that probably sits outside the margins of our list. But what a cover, eh? I received this CD-R from Midwest Mike years ago. Worth featuring I think.

Colonna is one Maurizio Colonna, who is today recognized as one of Italy's finest Spanish guitar players. This is his debut album, which naturally enough prominently features Colonna on the acoustic Spanish guitar. His exemplary playing is augmented by vocals, Moog synths, and rock/disco beats. He has many more albums which I've not heard to date. This one sports a pretty cool cover (a flying bull and a spaceship), and I could see this falling prey to the Italian progressive rock collector, though it has no stylistic similarities whatsoever. Well done for what it is. I'll include it here for those Italian prog treasure hunters, so they know what they're getting into. Also worth noting the exceptional supporting cast: Roberto Colombo, Tullio De Piscopo, Mark Harris (Napoli Centrale), Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM, Acqua Fragile) and bassist Ares Tavolazzi (Area).

Priority: none

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Charlee, Canada

Charlee - s/t. 1972 RCA

The second cover is from a 1976(!) US reissue. Not quite sure the story behind that, but in any case, both issues are pretty rare these days.

This is another CD-R revisit project post. I think I left this one off mainly since it's on the margins of our scope. But it's a very fine hard rock album and well worth a CD reissue. There are a couple of pirate versions out there naturally.

It's been often said that Frank Marino, at the dawn of his career, heavily copied Jimi Hendrix. More than likely, though, he was also influenced by fellow Montreal resident Walter Rossi and his band Charlee. Listen to the first 3 Mahogany Rush albums and compare to Charlee, which was recorded only a year earlier. Many parallels can be found. Frank eventually forged his own style and became one of the all-time great hard rock guitarists. No telling what Rossi could have achieved had he not chosen a career as a session musician. Good hard rock / psych album.

Priority: 3

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Skywhale, England

Skywhale - The World at Mind's End. 1977 private

So here's the final of the "we thought it was on CD, turned out it was on CD-R" type of entry.  And this one hurts the most, because it's my favorite of the lot. I'd been crowing about this one on CD ever since it came out in 2006, and delighted many other fans with this news. And then our good friend Spacefreak pointed out what should have been obvious to my eyes: It's a CD-R. "Please don't tell me that!". Of course he was right. Sigh. This was another one of those CD Baby "CD's". They really did a disservice by not telling the truth about them being CD-R's. I can only blame myself though, as I should have been more careful when researching / inspecting. It is a legit CD-R from the band, so it's not a total loss. We just prefer factory pressed CDs. I'll of course keep the CD-R until which time (if) a regular CD comes out. They need to remaster it anyway, as it wasn't the best of jobs to begin with.

As for the music, Skywhale is one of the rare non-Canterbury UK fusion albums that sound more in line with what was happening over the Channel in places like France, Denmark and Germany. For those that likes chops and melody, with plenty of good time signatures to keep it all interesting. It knows to stop at the point where the solos begin to drag. A must pickup for anyone who likes bands such as Carpe Diem, Secret Oyster, or Munju.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Steinzeit, Germany

Steinzeit - Geburtstag. 1982 Absurde Geburten

As General Burkhalter might say "Ve-dy IN-TER-REST-ING Klink!". The AC has a wild one for us today.

"Imagine if you took the caterwauling female vocals and general angst of Gutura, but then replaced the atonal no wave guitar scree with some fragmented, twitchy kraut jazz instead. That's about the only description I can come up with for this underground German oddity. Production wise, this sounds like it may have been recorded in the same basement/crawlspace/broom closet that Buchenfeld used. I was kind of fascinated at first, but as time wore on found it increasingly irritating. Interesting, but will most likely have a strictly niche appeal."

I didn't read The AC's notes until the day after, but I can tell you the very first band to enter my mind, and it never left, was France's Gutura, who we've featured in the past here on the CDRWL. I must have been in a good mood, because the production didn't bother me in this case (broom closet lol). Twisty kraut jazz indeed, with spastic yet enunciated yelping from our crazy gal. And some fine mid 70s Crimsonish guitar. Odd album for sure, but one I found quite arresting. I suspect I'm the niche in this case. A good one for my tastes!

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

F.G. Experimental Laboratory, Switzerland

F.G. Experimental Laboratory - Hope. 1980 Studio Scafe

When Garden of Delights reissued F.G. Experimental Laboratory's debut album Journey into a Dream back in 2006, I just presumed this title would follow shortly thereafter. So I never featured it. But it doesn't appear GoD has any interest in this title. I can understand why, as it's not exemplary, but it's just as good as the debut IMO. So with that...

F.G. Experimental Laboratory is a one man electronic show from a gentleman named Frédy Guye. Good haunting electronics with some wordless voice is what you can expect to find here. Somewhat akin to Jean-Baptiste Barriere, though not quite as dire as those his two albums can be. Guye should have added more variety to his keyboard selection, to add color and tone to what ultimately sums up to be a fairly monolithic release.

Priority: none

Monday, July 6, 2015

Melofin, USA

Melofin - Ivan Tale. 1984 private

And yet another Midwest Mike submission from the past that came up during the CD-R revisit project. Definitely on the margins of what we cover here, but a good listen nonetheless. 

Melofin's sole album from 1984 is a slow moving, slice-of-life, psychedelic folk album that sounds about 15 years past its expiration date. Mostly vocal driven acoustic music, with occasional electric guitar leads, winds, and synthesizer. Melofin hail from Morgantown, West Virginia and makes one wonder if perhaps the 60s psych movement had just found its way into the Allegheny mountains. Somewhere between old-timey mountain music, Celtic jigs, and CSN&Y singalongs. Recalls some of the low budget English 99-album-count folk albums from 1969/70. About as anachronistic as they come. All the same, worth a few listens for certain. And it features an awesome album cover, which unfortunately does not represent the contents within.

Priority: none

Sunday, July 5, 2015

George Gruntz / Piano Conclave, Germany

George Gruntz / Piano Conclave - Palais Anthology. 1975 MPS/BASF.

Here's one Midwest Mike sent me years ago, and it recently popped up on the CD-R revisit project. Definitely worthy of its own post!

Hard hitting fusion from an all-star cast of Europe's finest ivory ticklers of the mid 70s. A mix of funky fusion, Canterbury rock, and straight-up piano jazz. A nice surprise, and not an album one would likely buy if they saw the cover - except noting the marquee names, which is more than impressive: Gordon Beck, Wolfgang Dauner, George Gruntz, Jasper Van't Hof, Joachim Kuhn, Martial Solal, John Lee, Alphonse Mouzon. Yep, pretty ridiculous lineup right there.

Priority: 3

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Panama Red, Germany

Panama Red - Limited. 1981 private

I had this one buried in the main list without even a small description, and I remembered little about it. But it just came up during the CD-R revisit project, and the results were favorable, so here is its debut on the CDRWL.

Panama Red were one of those compelling German bands that came around in the late 70s and early 80s. Most were privately released, and mixed straight up 70s FM rock with progressive oriented ideas/meters, and a Latin jazz fusion undertone. What strikes me most about Panama Red is 1) the exemplary guitar work and 2) the high quality of the production. This is no backyard job, that's for sure. File next to Desiree and Blister Chap, a couple of other hard-to-describe German bands of high quality, but yet do not fit easy categorization.

Priority: 3

Friday, July 3, 2015

Orpheus, Canada

Orpheus - s/t. 1979 private
Orpheus - Orpheus 2. 1981 Acapella

Hmmm... I recall this band. They weren't any good right? What say the AC?

"Deep within the bowels of the "Original CD Reissue Wish List"

Uh-oh. Be very careful when going there AC...

"this Montreal band's eponymous 1979 debut is described simply as "boring fusion" and has a pound sign next to it (better known as a "hashtag" to you young whippersnappers), which I think is CDRWL-speak for "don't bother"". 

I sense a trip to the woodshed. (Covers eyes...)..... peeks.....

"And as much as I love the whole late 70s/early 80s obscure fusion wave, I can't help but agree. Their first LP (despite having a cool cover) IS one of the more forgettable examples of the style."

Whew! He had me worried there for a minute....

"So why am I reviewing this even more obscure followup here? I mean, the generic title, glittering disco ball cover and track titles like "Funk Me Tender" certainly don't imply a significant improvement, right?. But lo and behold, for a miracle has been brought forth before us!"

Oh my, really?

"Disregard the cheesy aesthetics and forget all about their snoozer debut, because this one is nothing short of an outstanding display of instrumental progressive fusion. Tight, energetic and full of twists and turns, this pretty much nails it from start to finish. Great production, as well. Despite being distributed in Canada by Polygram, this seems to have almost totally dropped off the radar over the years. Go forth and seek it out if you're even remotely interested in the style."

LOL. How does he do it? I ask again: How does he do it? Time after time.... after time! It must be a SECRET then....

OK, a bit of fun. But what of these two albums? Well, my description of the first album was hardly fair. It was a placeholder only as a reminder to myself. But since we're here, I did pull that one down for a recent listen, and it was a bit better than I recall. I was hearing a lot of new-to-me fusion at once in the 2009 to 2011 time frame, so only the best albums were catching my ears. This one isn't really anything special, and definitely pales to the followup. But I bumped it up a Gnosis point. It's good, but not essential.

As for this second album, it is definitely a fusion lover's delight. Has that warm slap bass, and patented cheesy synthesizer sound that we know and love. All in complex time signatures, and with some fiery guitar solos thrown on top. Definitely worth a:

Priority: 3

Monday, June 22, 2015

News: Garden of Delights reissues Embryo - Live!

While we had been anticipating the Sunbirds reissue, Garden of Delights did manage to sneak this one in on us. It's been on their Coming Soon list for many years, but we had no indication of an imminent reissue. This CD is most welcome, and I believe this represents the last Embryo "proper" LP to be reissued on CD. Of course, they have tons of archived live material that remains in the vaults, and GoD has promised us at least one of those from their late 70s' jazz funk fusion heyday. Note that there's a lengthy bonus track as well!

Label says: "Neatly recorded in February 1976, it was released on LP in 1977 (April 0003), but has not yet appeared as CD. The gig had taken place in a town near Munich. The album features the jazz-rock typical of Embryo, influenced by ethnic music, with scarce vocals and some unusual instruments like marimba, dilruba, oud, and nagasuram. Christian Burchard and Roman Bunka wrote most of the songs together. Only 'The orange man' was written by Charlie Mariano. The long CD bonus track 'Just arrived' was recorded in Northern Italy on March 6th, 1976, by the very same Embryo line-up and was as yet unreleased. The cover was then designed by Roman Bunka and was used for the CD without any changes."

News: Garden of Delights reissues Sunbirds - Zagara!

We've talked about this a couple of times in the last few years, and now the CD from GoD has been officially released! Includes one bonus track as well. Great news for fans of "Kraut jazz fusion". This is a very worthy album, and I'll buy one as soon as possible. Thanks to reader Gal for the heads up!

Label says: "Fusion from Munich, some smoothly relaxed kind of music with Latin influences. After the first Sunbirds LP from 1971, with Philip Catherine on guitar, the album at hand is the band's second and last one, recorded in 1972 and released in 1973 (Finger 2396101). It is the first CD version, drawn from the master tapes, including the bonus track 'Mbira' which was then recorded during the same session. All of the musicians were masters of their trade. Drummer Klaus Weiss, keyboardist Fritz Pauer and bassists Jimmy Woode and Ron Carter were world-famous even back then, and the others were in no way inferior. The nine artists were so skilled that nearly all recordings were perfect at the first attempt. Unfortunately, the two studio albums should remain the band's only releases. There weren't any Sunbirds gigs for lack of time."

InnerVisions, USA

InnerVisions - Beginnings End. 1977 Visions Ltd.

Here's a title I pulled out from the depths of the main CDRWL list. It came up recently during the CD-R revisit project, and I think it's worthy of its own post.

Innervisions were an 8 piece horn rock band from New Jersey and perhaps the most surprising aspect of this release is the recording date. This kind of record was waaaaaaaaaaaay past its shelf life in 1977. It sounds more like 1972 era Chicago than anything coming around this late. Ultimately, this is AM radio Billboard styled pop. But it's still mixed with that wonderful and aggressive Terry Kath like raw guitar and a few complex horn charts. The pop is really a bit too saccharine to highly recommend to progressive and underground rock fans, though it is a pleasant listen if in the right frame of mind. Overall a strange anachronistic album with a very cool private looking cover. 

Priority: none

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kiyoshi Tanaka and Super Session, Japan

Kiyoshi Tanaka & Super Session - British Rock Live In Japan. 1972 Teichiku

We have a big one here, kids. I've seen this record referenced many times in the past by Japanese dealers, but had no idea what it was. Even in some of our entries here on the CDRWL, you will see odd references to it. And now we have finally heard it. Holy moly! It is so comforting to know there are still treasures like this to be found out there in the wilderness. And it's in Japan where we find the gifts that keep on giving. The AC has really outdone himself this time. What a discovery! Maybe we'll get lucky like with Akira Ishikawa, and we'll see a reissue quickly.

First, the AC's notes: "While drummer Tanaka is ostensibly the leader of this particular studio group, it's really just another incarnation of the Hoguchi/Mizutani gang heard on so many of these sessions. However, by this time they had lost their minds entirely and exited the studio having belched out one of the most insanely over the top instrumental psych/prog freakouts ever to defile the ears of man. This thing was touted to be a live concert of popular British/American psych/rock tunes by artists such as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. Except that it's absolutely none of the above. A little fake audience noise can't hide the fact that this is a (very well recorded) "live in the studio" jam session, and there's nary a hint of any cover material at all. Instead, we're assaulted with an amazingly long (almost a full hour!) instrumental blowout, divided into two continuously running side-long tracks. It all seems to be semi-improvised, driven by pummeling rhythms that sort of ebb and flow while the bass, guitar and organ converge and coalesce into one freaky jam after another. Even the most stoned-out-of-their-minds krautrockers would have been shocked by this level of depravity. This is so excessive in fact, that one might imagine modern Japanese psychonauts like Acid Mothers Temple having descended directly from this family tree. Except that they didn't, and this is about ten thousand times cooler. Needs a reissue ASAP, but I'm not sure these guys even remember recording it at this point..."

LOL on that last sentence, and probably the flat out truth. OK, I heard some Pink Floyd on Side 2 for certain (and it's the already-psychotic 'Echoes' no less). But their version travels deep into the Krautrock cave to never return back to sanity, coloring it almost unrecognizable over time. And... do I really need to say anything else regarding the album? This is Krautrock freakout city. You know the drill - debut albums by Guru Guru, Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, etc... If you enjoy that sort of thing, then you will absolutely swoon for this one. If not - run... run... RUN FAR AWAY from it. I think you know where the CDRWL stands on these kind of albums already. And, as such, we deem it a...

Priority: 1

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Earthrise, USA

Earthrise - s/t. 1977 Arceden

As indicated on the Agharta post, I have a couple of CD-R's to report on, similar to the New Age album. Earthrise is one of those, and I'm re-entering it back into the CDRWL after a 15 year absence. In fact, this may be the first time I've heard this album since I obtained the CD-R back then.

Earthrise are an interesting band from New Jersey, who mix progressive rock and fusion seamlessly. In that way, they remind me of This Oneness (from Minnesota). So the vocal sections do have this kind of "Midwest styled AOR progressive" sound that I've documented here, and I find highly appealing. Earthrise doesn't qualify for that list only due to geography. Instrumentally, they can be quite interesting, and many of their ideas are kinetic and creative (organ and Moog progressions on top of complex rhythms specifically). The big BUT here is...

... the sound quality. I used to own the LP (twice actually in the 1990s), but I used it as trade bait for LPs I was more interested in at the time. So I can't tell you the quality of the original LP. A local friend owns one, so I'll be sure to check his copy out in the future for comparison. In the meantime, I bought their self-released "CD" when it first came out in 2000. Well doggone it, but it's a crappy CD-R. A poorly done LP transfer at that (not even a nice copy they could find?). And with a computer print-out for a cover. C'monnnnn, they can do better than that!

And so...

Priority: 2

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

News: Lion to release Laurence Vanay's mythical 4th and 5th albums in the Fall! + Many other announcements (Wapassou+)

We just heard from Vincent at Lion and he shared the great news. These two* La Petite Fenêtre and Les Soleils de la Vie have been on their Coming Soon list for some time, but now it has become reality. As you all know, we're big fans of Vanay, and I just hope these latter albums are at (or near) the same level as the breathtaking Galaxies or Evening Colours. Obviously we haven't heard them to date, but this will be for certain one of our most anticipated albums of the year. They will be reissued on both CD and LP and each album will feature many bonus tracks. I don't have covers to share at this point, but will post them as soon as I can.

*It can be argued that these are the 3rd and 4th albums, as many discount Magic Slows as a true Vanay album.


In addition to these two albums, Lion will also issue a double LP version of Galaxies. The second LP will include one side of the Glaciers Interdits soundtrack (which we have also not heard) plus alternate takes (CD bonus tracks) on the other side. Sounds like a worthy purchase!


One other major announcement is that Lion will be reissuing the first Wapassou album on LP and CD. And Vincent says this is the best sounding version for certain! If you've read my UMR blog, I've waxed on about how great this album is. I already own two CDs (Musea & Belle Antique) and one LP (Omega Studios). I think I'll add one more LP to that stack!


There is also plenty more coming out from the Lion camp, much of it falling on, our outside, the margins of the CDRWL, but noteworthy all the same - especially for psychedelic fans. Some of these are out already, some are on the way:

July - Second of July. Digipak CD + 12 page booklet. These are the demos of the legendary July album (pre Jade Warrior).

Nihilist Spasm Band. CD + 32 page booklet. Free improv from Canada circa 1968.

Tin House - s/t. LP + EP.

Wilson McKinley - Spirit of Elijah. LP
Wilson McKinley - Heaven's Going to be a Blast. LP

Ray Pierle (McKay) - Time and Money + Rhythm of the Highway. Both albums on one CD.

Michael Angelo - s/t + Sorcerer's Dream + Nuts (as Michael Nitro). 2 CD set of all 3 albums. +28 page booklet. All for the price of one CD!


Wow! We're fortunate there are still reissue labels like Lion fighting the good fight. Please support them when and where you can!

Monday, June 15, 2015

News: Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos "African Rock " to be reissued in July!

Well, that was fast! Perhaps a new record for the CDRWL. We just featured this title back in April, thanks to the AC.

Special thanks goes to reader Bacoso (who runs the popular Orgy in Rhythm blog), who tipped us off that African Rock will be reissued July 29th! The Instagram feed he sent the blog was in Kanji, but it translates to: "[Deep Jazz Reality New] Finally on CD! Ishikawa Akira and count Buffalo's took a shot in the 1971 "African Rock". Suzuki Hiromasa, Kimio Mizutani, it is a masterpiece of Tribal Jazz rock participated Muraoka Ken-ra. July 29 release." A little bit of translation issues there at the end, but the main point is presented.

Friday, June 12, 2015

News: Michal Urbaniak's Atma has been reissued. Plus more!

Some of you may recall our posting at the beginning of the year regarding Urbaniak's reissue of Inactin. Well yesterday we learned, directly from inside the Urbaniak camp, that his most highly rated fusion album Atma has just been reissued! And on WEA (Warner Bros.) Poland, so it should be easy to source as well! I found copies on Amazon (US) this morning.

In addition to this great news, we were also told: "There is also new (2014) pressing of "Fusion III" and "Body English" - first one also contains a booklet (first pressing on UBX label didn't have it), second just short new notes inside digipack." and "There will be a CD version of "Parathypus B"! Maybe this Q3-Q4 this year? We've got also extended material from his concert album "Constellation In Concert". But I think it will wait until next year, as in 2015 the priority are LP reissues. The LPs will be by "Atma" (1974), UrbSymphony (1994) and probably another 90s album. But I guess when the "Parathypus" will be released, it will receive a CD and LP version."

So exciting news all around for fusion fans!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Jukka Linkola, Finland

Jukka Linkola - Banana. 1976 Hi-Hat

Here's another title from the ongoing CD-R revisit program. I'm promoting this title from the main list.

Linkola, today a renowned classical pianist, was once a prominent fixture on the Finnish jazz fusion scene - most notably on Jukka Hauru's "Episode" album. Here he presents a typical-of-the-time light, tropical, and sunny fusion work with electric piano, sax, warm bass, guitar, and island percussion. Some moody interludes foreshadow his later work. A well done period piece.

It would appear his 1979 album Protofunk (on Kompass) would also be of interest to the CDRWL, but I haven't heard the album to date.

Priority: 3

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Continuum, USA

Continuum - End of Line. 1984 Schmizz.

And speaking of fusion albums, here's one Midwest Mike burned for me years ago. I enjoyed it immediately, but never added it to the CDRWL. I recently ran into the title during the CD-R revisit project, and questioned why I hadn't done anything with it. Off to some research I went, and discovered that band member Robert Baglione is still active, and on his website, he offers an opportunity to buy the CD. Ah-ha! So that's the answer I was looking for. But why I didn't pursue the CD at the time, I cannot recall. In any case, I immediately sent Robert a note asking about the CD in question. As I suspected/feared, it's actually a homemade CD-R taken from vinyl and burned from a computer. Nope - that doesn't count. We want factory pressed CDs. Still, if those things don't matter to you, then for certain buy the CD-R, as it is legit and from the source. In my case, Robert offered me a sealed LP, and so I bought one of those instead! I didn't realize he still had those for sale, or I would have bought that too no matter the CD situation. So with that out of the way, here are my notes, enhanced since hearing the LP:

Continuum is a heavy fusion band from Chicago featuring John Redfield on keyboards, Robert Baglione on guitar, and Robert Allen on bass with various drummers/percussionists, most prominently Randy Harrah. The albums starts off a bit disconcerting on the title track with slap bass, disco beats, and cheesy synthesizers. But Baglione gets the psychedelic tinged guitar going thus adding a much needed edge to the proceedings. The jazz sequences featuring piano also light it up. Has some of the most insane guitar runs I've ever heard - imagine somewhere between late 70s Al Di Meola (technique) and early 70s John McLaughlin (tone/style). You're going to want to get your air guitar out for this one! There's way more meat on its bones than most 1980s era fusion albums. Not quite as angular as the Inserts' Out of the Box for example, but we're talking that kind of aggressiveness. A very welcome development and a window to what the 1980s could have been.

Album was released on the private Schmizz Records of Forest Park, Illinois.

Priority: 2

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ted Moses Quintet, Canada

Ted Moses Quintet - The Farther You Go, The Farther You See. 1979 Mother Necessity

After 3 albums of crazy early 70s Japanese psychedelic cover tunes, I was looking for a bit of normalcy, and as luck would have it, Ted Moses Quintet was appended to Sound Creation's Rock Fantasia. Ah.... instrumental fusion. Wholesome fusion at that.

The AC says: "Sandwiched in between his electric modal/jazz-rock classic "Sidereal Time" and appearance on Ken Ramm's well-regarded "Dragon", Canadian pianist/keyboardist Moses and his group released this relatively unknown fusion platter. Although his piano/keyboards are definitely in the classic Chick Corea mold, the prominent use of trumpet and mixture of energetic funky fusion with more somber, haunting themes is somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Henderson's mid 70s work. Comes in a nice gatefold with some weird psychedelic artwork inside."

Those Chick Corea styled keyboards really dominate here.This is Fusion 101, so if you're a fan of the genre, then this is right in the middle of the railroad track. I'd prefer a bit more dirt and edge, though coming off Rock Fantasia, I have to admit this did sound pleasing to the ears.

As noted above, Ted Moses recorded a highly regarded jazz album from 1974 that is also without a CD reissue, though it would appear that title falls outside the boundaries of our blog. As well, we featured Ken Ramm years ago.

Priority: none

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Freedom Unity, Sammy, Singers Three ~ Japan

The Freedom Unity, Sammy, Singers Three - Dynamic Rock. 1971 Toshiba

As fortune would have it, I had appended this album to Sound Creation's "Progressive Rock" (see yesterday's feature), thus unwittingly subjugating myself to nearly an hour and a half of early 1970s Japanese psychedelic cover tunes. Woo! That was some experience I tell ya.

The AC defines this one as: "This one's been a hit for years in the Japanese DJ scene, but just now seems to be gaining some notice in the outside world. It's your typical pop hits cover album of the time, but the frenzied execution and stylistic focus elevates it above the norm. Most of the covers are of the then popular horn rock variety (Chicago, BS&T, Traffic) with a few schmaltzy numbers thrown in that drag things down a bit. But when they let it rip, watch out! The husky-voiced Sammy belts it out over a turbo-charged horn rock attack, complete with crazed fuzz bass and Kimio Mizutani's patented ripping psych solos. Not an immortal masterwork by any means, but still a lot of fun."

I found the Chicago covers '25 or 6 to 4' and 'Free' to be the highlights here, with tight horn charts and Mizutani doing his best rendition of Terry Kath. On the other hand, the opening track is Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Proud Mary'. Oh you haven't lived until you've heard 'Lorrin.... Lorrin.... Lorrin on a Liver'.

As the AC accurately states, the album is fun - perhaps fun-ny at times - and worth at least one listen.

Priority: none

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sound Creation, Japan

Sound Creation - Progressive Rock. 1971 Teichiku
Sound Creation - Rock Fantasia. 1972 Teichiku

Lots to talk about here. I'm moving this post forward from December 14, 2014 as we've now heard  both of the albums in full. Both of these were in the batch from the AC's latest exploration. In a nutshell, the misnamed "Progressive Rock" album is not very worthwhile, but Rock Fantasia ended up being a full album worth hearing. Another bizarre occurrence here is that CDRWL friend Julian Ryan featured this album on his blog just two days ago, unbeknownst to us, and I encourage you to visit, as he has the killer cut (mentioned below) readily available on his site. I'm going to start with our original notes on Dec. 14 and then please scroll down to see the new notes.

------ DECEMBER 14, 2014 -----

I've been sitting on "Rock Fantasia" for awhile. This came via a tip from Laser Ken a couple of months ago. I've only heard one side of the album, but it's really quite an amazing side! We've been talking about the early 70s Japanese underground for a few years now on the CDRWL. It's amazing to me just how many treasures there are to be found over there - and they are all ridiculously obscure. In the last few years, we've seen CD reissues of these gems - always limited and expensive. But they've been worth the time, money, and effort for me at least. Perhaps this will be another title we will see? I hope so...

Here is the description that came from the dealer that was selling this (and where I got the sound clip, which is no longer available.... however for the clever amongst you, do a Google search and use the cache feature...).

"The monster Japanese progressive psych LP...!!!! Same series of "S.Tanaka - British Rock Live" LP by Teichiku label. Pink Floyd type progressive rock music. The arranger is Yusuke Hoguchi! He is the leader of People - Ceremony"Buddha meet rock"!! Sound Creation is a secret band. All band member's names are hidden. The inside of the sleeve has liner notes. Even the reviewer of the liner notes does not know it. However, I think the band is same of "Buddha meet rock."...! Because the arranger is Yusuke Hoguchi... If it is right, the guitarist is Kimio Mizutani!!!! This LP is really rare, so Pokora's book does not list this LP yet." 

Well there you have it. When he says "Pink Floyd type progressive rock music", he means Ummagumma era. This is the good stuff. Space rock with a psychedelic freakout backdrop provided by no less than the legendary resident freakmeister himself: Kimio Mizutani.

Priority: 1 or 2 (if it's like the track I heard, we'll go Priority 1... but for all I know Side 2 is a choral piece, or children's music, or God knows what. The Japanese albums from this period are crazy like that. Even if that's the case, it's worth a CD for the one side which is over 20 minutes long).

The AC has also chimed in regarding this band with his usual expertise on the Japanese scene: "As you suspected, it was your typical exploitation studio project that was so common at the time in Japan. It was indeed another Yusuke Hoguchi-led session (People, Mannheim Rock Ensemble, etc.), and was actually the second Sound Creation LP. The first one was also released on Teichiku (in '71) and was called (wait for it...) "Progressive Rock"! (scan attached). Anyway, both of these were basically covers/arrangement albums, but given the psychedelic "New Rock" makeover. As you might expect, the side that the dealer featured is the more interesting of the two. And both LPs, while they have their moments, are rather patchy. Other LPs of this ilk that are still not too well-known include the aforementioned "British Rock Live in Japan", a couple of the "Warner Beatniks" LPs featuring Kimio Mizutani and even one or two of the later, lesser-known Love Live Life records. Again, most of this stuff is fun but inconsistent, and not always as shockingly rare/expensive in Japan as certain dealers catering to western collectors make them out to be."

----- JUNE 4, 2015 -----

Let's move straight to the AC's dig notes: "Sound Creation was yet another name for Yusuke Hoguchi's group of studio gunslingers who recorded so many of these sessions back in the early 70s New Rock heyday, in this case for Teichiku. They also appeared on a number of other exploitation/covers LPs during that timeframe, and if I recall correctly a later version of the group also existed that cut a few cheesy direct-to-disc jazz-funk EPs. But the albums they're best remembered for (if they're remembered at all) are these two rarities. The first, "Progressive Rock", sports an eye-catching (but completely non sequitur) "African woman" cover and was released in the same "Lover Creation" series that the infamous People "Buddha Meet Rock" album was, complete with an identical yellow textured fabric sleeve (there were other releases in this series, but like most of these things back then, there was really no consistency or logical connection between any of them). It comes with an insert, which oddly rambles on about the New Rock explosion that was taking Japan by storm, focusing particularly on the influence of (you guessed it) progressive rock on this "happening scene". Yeah, man! But if you flip it over, you'll notice that the album consists of nothing but instrumental covers of then-recent pop/rock hits, like most of these albums tended to. Uh oh... But wait, all is not lost! Because the group at least tried to psych-up some of these standards, so a few are transformed into slowly creeping late-nighters echoing off into space, and a couple get the more energetic treatment, with groovy organ and ripping Mizutani fuzz leads. However, that can't save around half of it from being pretty mundane. It's quite fun for a spin or two, but not really worth what it might cost you to track down, and really has very little to do with its musical namesake. Amusingly, Teichiku also released another Sound Creation LP right around the same time called "Trip To Beautiful Rock World - Mamy Blue" (don't get me started on the bizarre "Mamy Blue" fixation that these Japanese exploitation records had...) that has the exact same track list (just in a different order) but dropped the prog/psych pretense entirely and let the cheese flow free. Unsurprisingly, that one is much cheaper and easier to find today (cover pic included, just for fun).

Fast forward just a couple of months (they knocked these suckers out fast back then!), and Sound Creation were back in the studio, probably with more vague instructions to do another quick and easy cover songs cash-in, but it seems like the guys were on a bit too much acid at this point, so instead they decided to take the list of songs they were given and work them into some kind of semi-conceptual psychedelic/space-rock opus. Released as one of those 4 channel discs, opening up the gatefold will reveal a truly bizarre set of Japanese liner notes, giving you some clue that things had taken a turn for the weird. They ramble on about hallucinatory visions, surrealist French poetry, Walt Disney (I guess the "stoners love Fantasia!" thing was going on in Japan too) and most importantly, the influence of Pink Floyd. But what this all translates into musically is quite interesting indeed. You'll hear fleeting bits and pieces of the tunes they're supposed to be covering (most amusingly when the iconic "Theme From Shaft" is transformed into a thunderous psych-funk/space-rock jam), but for the most part they decided to drift off on their own and lay down the prime-era Floydian space psych nice and thick. It can be a bit slow going at times (as Floyd themselves often were, in all honesty), but it's good stuff. However, the jackpot is really hit around halfway through side 2, as the deep end is reached and left behind in chilling fashion. The moment where a crystal clear rendition of the main theme from "Sweet Caroline" (backed by disturbing dissonant noises) emerges briefly from a pool of abstract synths and noise guitar, only to be swallowed by a sinister space-rock march into a pounding krautrockian "end of the universe" freakout is truly hair-raising, and elevates this album into a must-listen experience."

And so we now have the full story. The first album "Progressive Rock" is a pretty mundane set of covers, though anything with Kimio Mizutani (the busiest man in Japan?) is bound to bring a wry smile to any self-proclaimed psychedelic fan. Meanwhile I think we were all scared to hear the "other side" of Rock Fantasia, but it turned out fine as both the AC and JR noted. Personally, I find the highlight to be the end of Side 1, that climaxes into a wonderful Ash Ra Tempel / Pink Floyd thundering jam. But the whole album is excellent.

Priority: 2 (for Rock Fantasia only. "Progressive Rock" would make a nice set of bonus tracks)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Elohim, France

Elohim - A l'Aube du Verseau. 1975 Philips

Another one from Thursday night's CD-R revisit program. Had this in the main list, and it's one that has grown on me over time. It's much more progressive than it appears on initial impact.

Screwball rock / folk / progressive album that is part theatrical, part glee club, part hippy dippy mysticism. Dual male/female vocals dominate the proceedings, but this isn't a traditional folk album by any stretch of the imagination. The instrumental sections definitely come off the bench in relief, but are creative enough to warrant a few listens. If you're looking for something entirely unique, this may fit the bill. Different Elohim than the 1983 neo prog group, which was reissued by Musea years ago.

Priority: 3

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nya Ljudbolaget, Sweden

Nya Ljudbolaget - s/t. 1981 MNW

This title came up via the CD-R revisit project. Not a favorite style of mine, but I know many of you would like to see this one reissued.

Very much a product of the Swedish Progg (note spelling) MNW label, Nya Ljudbolaget carries a blend of late era Archimedes Badkar, along with Arbete och Fritid and Samla Mammas Manna - the latter two each featuring representatives on the album. One track is even called 'Ramlösa mammas fritid', a giveaway if there ever was one. In effect, it's a world music / jazz hybrid, where India and the Middle East meets the West via the avant garde. Features some fine flute, hand percussion, and cello amongst the usual melodic and free blow saxophone/trumpet. Vocals are sung in the always lovely Swedish tongue. Albums like this tend to rate well, but personally I find them somewhat academic and highbrow. I prefer some dirt with my music. All the same, a pleasant listen, especially if inclined towards the genres and bands mentioned above.

Priority: none

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Agharta, Canada

Agharta - s/t. 1980 Jam

While on the topic of obscure fusion, let's cover off on this one that Midwest Mike sent me years ago. It's been in the main list since then, but I do think it's worthy of its own feature. On reflection, it's a fine album, falling just a smidge onto the other side of the Priority fence.

Agharta's sole album can be summarized as a light and breezy instrumental fusion work with piano and various woodwinds (sax, clarinet, flute). Lead by keyboardist Jacques Mignault (and released on his own label) with the help of other local Quebec jazz musicians, most notably Michael Seguin. Very much a product of its day, with strong overtones of same era Weather Report and Spyro Gyra. The flute, piano, and odd electronic piece give it a warmth perhaps missing in similar type efforts. Well done for the style. Neat cover art.

Quick update: The AC commented that he remembered this one being reissued on CD. And he found a couple of (expensive) copies on Amazon. It appears to have been solely distributed through CD Baby from 2006. And many of those were just CD-R's, so we're not sure if this was factory pressed or not, since it's long gone (and not mentioned on any of the discography sites). So we'll leave the post as is for now.

Priority: none

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bellvista, USA

Bellvista - The Painter. 1982 En Route Records

Next up from the AC's latest expose. This one impressed me enough, that I went ahead and secured the LP right away. The AC says: "Boston area fusion band's only LP, and it's a good one. Intelligent compositions with plenty of nice keyboard and guitar work. The electric guitar soloing in particular gives a nicely contrasting aggressive edge to the mostly melodic proceedings, going into full-on psychedelic mode on the lengthy final track. Recommended to genre fans. Guitarist Peter Calo released a solo album on the same label the following year, but much of it is more pop/vocal oriented."

No doubt The Painter is "of the era", with its sunny disposition, and proto smooth jazz sounds. The opener 'Once Upon a Fantasy' displays there might be more to this than a tropical vacation, as guitarist Peter Calo turns up the fuzz a bit. From there it's a bit of cruise ship lounging, and perhaps even a little acoustic light world music via the Steve Tibbetts channel. All of that is well and good, but do we get that payoff track? Oh yes, we DO! And as the AC notes, it's the finale title track that delivers it - a blistering 9 minute psychedelic guitar fronted fusion number that is guaranteed to have you digging through collection looking for your Love Devotion Surrender album. Well, no Larry Young on organ of course, and cheesy period synthesizers are in full force instead. But for 1982, that ain't bad right?

Priority: 3

Friday, May 22, 2015

Natdamperen, Denmark

Natdamperen - s/t. 1975 Abel

This one came up on the CD-R revisit project last night. I only had a rating for it, but no notes nor was it in the main CDRWL. So I remedied that...

Ugh. What a mess of an album. Some of it is horrific, and some of it is sublime. Perfect for an archival release, as long as I get to choose the tracks of course....

Let's start out positive: 'Cabana In' and 'Cabana Out' could have easily been on an Embryo album from this era, with its deep jazz funk groove and wah wah guitar providing the base.

Then there's the band's lengthy namesake track - straight from Furtive Pearl era Secret Oyster, with blistering bumble bee guitar, fuzzed out Rhodes piano, and especially the blotted sax layered on top of it all.

And now it's time for the.... BAD. The album opens with the incredibly insipid 'Lille', which sounds like a cross between television advertising music and The Benny Hill Show. This obnoxious sound is carried further on the tracks 'På gaden' and 'Malstrømmen'. 'Kniven' is a smooth jazz throwaway, whereas the closer sounds like a drunken requiem composed for a wake.

Mixed bag here, so proceed with caution. But 17 minutes of high quality jazz rock music that just can't be ignored.

Priority: none
It should be noted that Natdamperen went on to release two other albums, but with one of them named Boogieman Eats Frikadeller, and considering the above review, I think I can pass unless someone convinces me different.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


PBX - Milktoast Repose/Gangplank. 1978 Collage Records

What we have today more or less equates to a 45 RPM single. But the music here, as The AC so perfectly articulates below, is brilliant. And it looks like there might be movement towards a full archival release! Let's hope so - because if all the music sounds as to what I heard, we are looking at the next Yezda Urfa, which was the band that leaped to my mind anyway!

"Bay Area (Los Gatos) prog band who's only release was sadly this obscure EP. Usually, I wouldn't submit an EP quite this short (around 11 minutes total) for inclusion here, as it would be tough to reissue without additional archival material, but in this case we already know that such material does indeed exist. And what wonderful news that is, as I can say without risking hyperbole that this release is amongst the strongest ever recorded by a progressive rock band in the United States. The usual ultra-complex Yes/Gentle Giant-isms of the US underground prog scene are here in full force, but the real difference is that this is more guitar-driven (no keyboards here at all, surprisingly) and ferocious than the usual suspects, with heavy elements of mid 70s Crimson and even some classic Mahavishnu stylings on display. The guitar absolutely rips through the solos (especially on side 2) and the drumming is flat-out world class, in the Billy Cobham/Furio Chirico mold. Vocals are surprisingly smooth and melodic for an underground US act, giving it an almost British touch at times. Just jaw-dropping stuff, really. It's nothing short of a tragedy that they never recorded a full studio album, but as I mentioned above, there is some good news to report. Guitarist/band leader Peter McKibben (who is still musically active) has been contacted and had this to say:

"PBX was a crazy band, trying to make a mark in the Bay Area (SF) music scene when punk and New Wave were starting to become popular. Probably wasn't the right time for a progressive jazz/rock outfit to try to get noticed, but we were having fun, so we didn't care. We actually played on some punk/wave shows, opening up for Pearl Harbor and the Explosions and the Dead Kennedy's (they hated us).

I just found an old cassette from 1978 of PBX playing outdoors in Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley. On the other side of this cassette, is a live recording of PBX playing at a weird dive called the "I Café"...I believe Pearl Harbor played after us on that occasion. Anyway, a longtime friend of the band knows an engineer who's been converting cassette recordings to cd. I don't know what kind of condition the tape is in, but he's going to try and make the transfer"

Let's hope it all works out and that a proper reissue/archival release can be arranged, because I can't imagine any prog fan would be disappointed with what I've heard so far."

Priority: 2  (Being conservative here given that we only have a small sample, and what remains is a live concert (no idea how professional it was recorded). Obviously if all the music is as above, this is an easy Priority 1!)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Manzanita, USA

Manzanita - Pirate Lady. 1979 private

Back to the rare AC stash that was recently sent in. Wow - what a cover! If I had run across this LP at a store, I would have bought it immediately, and asked questions later. So AC, what is it? "San Diego based group's sole release of pleasant instrumental fusion. Melodic sax and electric piano are the main ingredients here. Tends towards the smooth side, but has just enough compositional interest to keep you listening. Another one of those obscure private fusion LPs that boasts surprisingly excellent production values."

I'll admit this one was too jazz-light-fusion for me. Certainly easy to listen to, even though it's not pushing any of my buttons. As we know, though, there's a large audience for this sound, and the AC is zeroed in tight with it, so this is one of those times you probably need to ignore my comments (perhaps good advice in any event). For fans of high quality, yet smooth, fusion.

Priority: none

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


TCB - Open for Business. 1970 Traffic.

And while on the topic of obscure horn rock bands, let's talk about one TCB from New York (supposedly, though details are scant just like with Myrth). I bought a sealed copy a few months ago, having not heard it prior, but knowing it was in the brass rock genre. This TCB is not to be confused with Elvis Presley's backup band who operated from 1969 to 1977. And just like that TCB, this ensemble is indeed an acronym that stands for Taking Care of Business.

Musically it's a mix of soul based horn rock with gruff vocals and bluesy motifs, coupled with a gentle folk side recalling perhaps Michaelangelo of "One Voice Many" fame. Roller rink organ, fuzz guitar, harpsichord, male/female vocals, alto/tenor sax, and trumpet are the primary instruments. The music is very much a sound of its time and recalls other such acts like The Albert, Sod, 4th Cekcion, etc... The band's ace up the sleeve, though, is the 23+ minute closer, which shows TCB stretching out in a jazz rock way. A choppy organ, bass, drums vamp is laid down, and each instrument is allowed some time for a solo including a bit of scat singing. While not exactly groundbreaking, it is unusual to find this much time allocated for such music - especially on what is essentially a pop rock record. A fine album worth investigating, and would make for a nice CD.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Myrth, USA

Myrth - s/t. 1969 RCA

Here's a title that would have been certain to be part of the CD-R revisit project, but I bought the LP in the meantime, and thus it gets its debut ahead of that. It's a relatively common album, but finding one without a cut corner, saw cut, or any other such damaging mark proves to be quite a challenge. I finally found one, and in fact the cover above is that copy.

Near the bottom of the main CDRWL post, I have a number of horn rock bands clumped together. These are albums that I haven't featured yet, and perhaps some will never be, as they aren't very good IMO. But Myrth is certainly worth further consideration.

I'd say within the horn rock spectrum, Myrth tracks closest to Ides of March. The vocals are gruff, and the music is hard charging. The horns are tight and well charted. And, yes, there's a commercial slant to some of the material, that is wonderfully offset by more progressive leanings. This is exactly the style of music you'd find on Ides of March's "Vehicle", a much under appreciated album in my eyes. It remains debatable if the horn rock era will ever find a new fan base after its initial run. But if it does, Myrth should be an early consideration. I would be a first day buyer.

I haven't been able to discern where Myrth originated. The album was recorded in Hollywood, and it would seem given the logistics of a large ensemble, that southern California would be the logical source. But I've also found references to Utah and Arizona, that are possible but not conclusive. More great info about the band can be found here, where I queried about the location of the group. As you can see, it remains inconclusive.

Priority: 3