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Here's a list of what I consider the greatest albums still not on CD.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grim Reaper, Germany


Grim Reaper - We Were All Fools. 1979 Brutkasten.

Brutkasten is sort of Germany's DIY label, similar to France's FLVM, England's multitude of 99 only releases, and America's 1970s tax dodge loophole labels (Guiness, Dellwood). There was no consistency to what was on Brutkasten, and one can find anything from acid folk rock (Carol of Harvest), Genesis inspired symphonic (Sirius), basement hard rock (Black Spirit, P205) and onto German pop and schlager music. Grim Reaper fits the mold perfectly. The music is sort of an American inspired hard rock, but with some old sounding organs recalling other German bands like Air or Erlkoenig. The production is pure amateur basement. Not a whole lot to latch onto here, except there are some nice melodic guitar leads that seem to imply that Grim Reaper did at least possess some talent, if not a lot of imagination. There's some nice Moog work here and there as well.

Priority: none

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lougarou / Garolou, Canada



Lougarou - s/t. 1976 London.
Garolou - s/t. 1978 London.

Quebec based progressive folk (sung in French) similar to L’Engouvelent or Connivence. A bit more rocking than either of those groups, especially on Garolou. Both are fine albums, and aren't that far from related Gallic efforts by Malicorne, Ys, Avaric and many others. Garolou is a clever name change and is in reality the group's second album. While this is generally straight ahead folk rock, there are snippets of complex progressive rock sections that make it more than just a casual curiosity. They went on to record two other albums under the Garolou moniker that are of lesser interest. I would expect ProgQuebec to eventually get to these, as I imagine there's some local, if maybe not international, demand.

Be sure to read the comments, as a user gives details how on how most of these albums have already been reissued.

Priority: 3

Friday, October 29, 2010

News: For Example - SWF Sessions from Long Hair


Long Hair continues to raid the vaults for interesting recordings that never were released. This one looks to be in the realm of Round House, Creative Rock and Emergency. As you all know, the CDRWL really likes horn rock, so this could be a winner!

For Example - SWF session 1973 / Cancelled 1972 (Germany)

Label says: "For Example is an another band from the SWF-broadcast vaults, with their recording they did in 1973. The band, founded in the late sixties, consisted of students of various study fields. In the beginning they played under the name "Frida III" cover versions of sixties hits, but after they had been taken on for 2 productions by the State Theatre Tübingen, they changed their music style, added three wind players with jazz experience and formed "For Example". At first they played pieces of their favourite bands "Chicago" and Blood, Sweat and Tears", but their repertoire also comprised soul numbers with horn sections. Step by step they added self composed titles and found their own music style, still influenced by their favourites. Still unsigned they were invited to the legendary 2nd German Rock Festival on Burg Herzberg in summer 1971, where all leading German groups, from "Frumpy" to "Guru Guru" got together and the big audience were impressed by For Example. In 1972 For Example fought in vain for the release of an album on CBS records. A demo tape had been produced at the Jankowski Studio in Stuttgart, but after a change of the management, CBS was not further interested to release the recordings. That's why the band called these titles "Cancelled". The SWF broadcast invited them in 1973 to do a recording session of 4 titles. This is the chance to listen to a long forgotten band. CD comes with comprehensive booklet, band history and photos. Don't miss it."

Missus Beastly, Germany



xxx Missus Beastly - Dr. Aftershave and the Mixed Pickles. 1976 April.
Missus Beastly - Spaceguerilla. 1978 Schneeball.

*** Dr. Aftershave and the Mixed Pickles reissued by Garden of Delights in June 2011.

I've moved the reviews of other Missus Beastly albums to the UMR blog.

"Spaceguerilla" is more a return to the style of the self-titled 1974 album, with long instrumental passages of flute, sax and especially piano. The album is high spirited and melodic - and they've toned down some of the funky chicken parts that were all the rage in Europe at that time. According to the liner notes of the 1974 Misses Beastly album, Garden of Delights states that the German label Funfundvierzig were to reissue both of these albums imminently. However, it appears that label has since gone inactive, and so these two remain sadly unissued. Hopefully GoD picks up these titles, and many more from the great Schneeball label.

Priority: 2

note: There's also the two "illegal" Missus Beastly albums, that followed the 1969 release. They are much lesser efforts, pretty much typical blues rock, with mediocre sound quality. It would be interesting to see if that group had more interesting material in the vaults. They probably should rename the band. For those that are curious, the unauthorized titles are:

Volksmusik (1972)

Super Rock Made in Germany: Im Garten des Schweigens (1973) Half the album is performed by a group known as Weramean.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nuance, France


Nuance - Il est une Legende. 1982 FLVM.

One of the many interesting albums on the private do-it-yourself FLVM label. Despite the 1982 year, the keyboards sound more like 1960s vintage, and there's even some mellotron on the last track. Solid French vocal progressive rock album that fits squarely with others of its ilk like Terpendre, Orion and Pentacle. The guitarist adds a raw psychedelic edge, which I find highly appealing. Definitely an anachronistic sound for 1982. They have 3 later albums, starting in 1986, that are supposedly of lesser interest, though I haven't heard them to be certain of this claim.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News: Esoteric's Jan and Feb 2011 schedule



The two that caught my eye here are Murphy Blend and Armaggedon, which continues Esoteric's replacements / upgrades of the Kuckuck / Ohrwaschl reissues of the early 90s. I never did upgrade my old Audio Archive reissue of the first Skin Alley, so I may also go for their new issue (they had previously done them under their old imprint of Eclectic). That's presuming the Anthology below covers that.

January

Utopia--Oblivion plus Live DVD
Utopia--Live Japan Redux 92 plus DVD
Graham Bond--Love is the Law
Graham Bond-The Mighty Graham Bond
Brainbox--Brainbox (Jan Akkermans Pre-Focus band)
Gilgamesh--Gilgamesh
Skin Alley--2 CD anthology
Skin Alley--Two Quid Deal
Various artists---Delerium Records 3Cd anthology clamshell box (I will announce what is on this in a couple of weeks )
Murphy Blend-First Loss

February
Jon Anderson-City of Angels
Baker Gurvitz Army--s/t
Baker Gurvitz Army-Elysian Encounter
Pierre Moerlens Gong--Leave it Open
Pierre Moerlens Gong--Live
Dog Soldier --Dog Soldier (keef hartley band)
Box of Frogs--s/t
Box of Frogs--Starnge Land
(basically members of the Yardbirds with varying guests Jimmy page, John Fiddler, Jeff beck, steve Hackett, Rory Gallager and Ian Dury)
Utopia---POV
Armageddon_Armageddon
(not the one we have already released but the German band on Kukuck)

Orange Power, Austria


Orange Power - s/t. 1977 Philips. Sometimes listed as "Orange Power & Gino Pertot".

Intriguing progressive rock album from Austria. Patterned after the early 1970s UK scene, primarily the Neon, Dawn, and Vertigo label styles, rather than the Big 3. Varied, as those British bands were, but pleasant throughout. Even the vocals in English aren't as heavily accented as usual. Not an easy one to typecast. Would make for an interesting reissue. Orange Power has two more albums from the 1980s which I haven't heard.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Psopho, Belgium



Psopho - Sheer Profundity. 1982 New Sound.

Early neo progressive work, that recalls fellow countrymen Isopoda and Now. Also the German band Tibet comes to mind here. Not the best representation of the style, but I think fans of the early NWOBPR movement will find something of interest upon hearing Psopho.

Priority: none

Monday, October 25, 2010

News: Made in Germany reissues Epitaph's "Outside the Law"


I saw this announcement awhile back, but since it had already been reissued legit (from Repertoire), I wasn't sure it was worth posting on. Now that I'm seeing how much more expanded this issue is, I think many of you will be interested.

Label's notes: "Recorded in November 1973 at the Omega studios in Chicago, Outside the Law is undoubtedly still the definitive Epitaph album. The sound engineer was Dave "Grape" Purple, who won the 1971 Grammy for Best Engineered Recording on Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft. The recording of Outside the Law was completed in just 5 days, with very few overdubs, and the final mix was done by Ed Cody at the United Technique studio on Chicago's South Side.
So how does a German rock band get to be recorded by studios and engineers who built their reputations on black music - and produce such a brilliant album?

In early summer 1972, Epitaph did a mind-blowing rock festival gig at Berlin's Waldbühne stadium. Also present that day was Gary Pollack, head of Billingsgate Records, who stopped Cliff Jackson on the way to the dressing room with the announcement that "in six weeks you guys will be doing a US tour". Knowing that no German rock bands had ever toured or recorded in the USA before, Cliff and the guys were somewhat sceptical about the project. But sure enough, Epitaph landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in August 1972 for a successful twenty-day tour.
Returning on a cloud of euphoria to the band residence near Visselhovede in northern Germany (plenty of poets, painters, animals, and ladies, but no heating, no bath, and only an outside toilet) work commenced on a new album. The demo was recorded two months later at the Windrose Studio in Hamburg and then sent over to Gary Pollack, who invited the band to come back to Chicago to do the full recording of Outside the Law.
While Billingsgate was preparing the release of the album, Epitaph spent their time gigging around the Chicago area.
It was around this time that Irving Azoff, then managing Joe Walsh, wanted to take Epitaph under his wing. The band met up with him for two days to try and work out a deal, but the German manager they already had developed some seriously cold feet. Bearing in mind that their manager, Werner Kuhls, did not speak a word of English, it was hard to comprehend just which of Azoff's propositions he was objecting to. The net result was that Epitaph couldn't get out of the contract with Kuhls, and Kuhls was dreaming of hitting the big time. Ordered back to Germany for a Europe-wide tour, it was soon clear that Kuhls was no Azoff. The tour turned out to be fronting for Status Quo, and one festival gig. Azoff went on to represent such artists as The Eagles, Jewel, Van Halen, Neil Diamond, Steely Dan, Guns N' Roses, and Christina Aguilera, to name but a few.
Werner Kuhls went on to be a concert promoter and publisher of the German version of Rolling Stone. Now without a manager, Epitaph hoped for success with Billingsgate.

When they returned to the US for their third tour in late 1974, it soon became clear that despite excellent sales of the album, Billingsgate was in dire straits and unable to finance a proper promotional tour. Two months of sporadic gigs later, the guys returned to Germany.
When Billingsgate was finally declared officially bankrupt, the band was afraid it might get stuck with some of the debt, so officially split up in January 1975. Klaus, Bernie and new drummer Panzer Lehmann played with various German bands, while Cliff headed off in the direction of Kathmandu.

Having shaken off the disappointment of the Billingsgate episode, the band members got together once again later that year to lay down some tracks in Dortmund. The tapes were lost.
The band continued in various line-ups throughout the eighties, producing a number of albums.

Following a suggestion from Rudolf Schenke of the Scorpions, Jim McGillivray and Cliff Jackson got the band together again for the now legendary Live at the Brewery concert in 2000. Sometime later, Cliff was sorting out his cellar, and found the Lost Tapes. Epitaph fans now have the chance a selection of these Lost Tapes which have been added here as bonus tracks. And the twenty-five year wait has been well worthwhile.

Story by Alistair A. Tarwid

TRACKLISTING:

REFLEXION (Cliff Jackson) 5:17
WOMAN (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe) 4:18
BIG CITY (Cliff Jackson) 5:53
IN YOUR EYES (Cliff Jackson) 2:50
OUTSIDE THE LAW (Cliff Jackson/Klaus Walz) 6:05
TEQUILA SHUFFLE (Bernd Kolbe/Cliff Jackson/Klaus Walz) 4:59
FRESH AIR (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe/Klaus Walz) 9:01

BONUS-TRACKS
TAKEN FROM THE NEVER BEFORE
RELEASED RECORDINGS ‚THE LOST TAPES' (1974)
TRAIN TO THE CITY (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe) 4:03
WASTED SO MUCH TIME (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe) 3:00
KIND OF A MAN (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe) 4:54

EXTRA BONUS
LIVE - TRACKS
RECORDED LIVE AT THE BREWERY, UNNA
(2000, THE REUNION CONCERT)
WOMAN (Cliff Jackson/Bernd Kolbe) 5:53
OUTSIDE THE LAW (Cliff Jackson/Klaus Walz) 7:53
JIMS THING (Jim McGillivray) 2:49
BIG CITY (Cliff Jackson) 6:32
ALL TRACKS PUBLISHED BY RUDOLF SLEZAK MUSIKVERLAG GMBH
EXCEPT TRAIN TO THE CITY, WASTED SO MUCH TIME AND KIND OF
A MAN PUBLISHED BY M2 MUSIC MUSIKVERLAG DIRK OSTERHAUS "

Ragnarok, New Zealand



Ragnarok - s/t. 1975 Revolution.
Ragnarok - Nooks. 1976 Polydor.

The debut is a combination of early 70s UK proto-progressive with female vocals mixed with space rock. The second is more sophisticated and melodic, and recalls groups like Sebastian Hardie and Fruupp. "Nooks" has been reissued legally, but it was only in Japan on Polygram (circa 1990), and is forever long OOP. It's a poor reissue, taken from crackly vinyl and the only info is in Japanese. With Aztec announcing the Dragon reissues, is it possible they'll tackle these two NZ gems as well? Boots exist.

Priority: 3

Sunday, October 24, 2010

News: Grannie album to come out on Wooden Hill


About once a year we learn of one new CD reissue from Wooden Hill, Tenth Planet's sub-label for more progressive albums. Last year it was the wonderful Dear Mr. Time. This year it's Grannie, a pretty raw hard rock album from 1971 that was reissued by Shadoks on LP a few years ago. Wooden Hill do quality reissues and I'm sure we'll learn about the full history of the band. Thanks to Eric at Glorydaze Music for the heads up!

Label says: "One of the least heard, but most beguiling albums to emerge from the British progressive rock era, the sole, self-titled LP by East London band Grannie was recorded at a demo studio in late 1971 and then issued on vinyl in a total pressing of just 99 copies. Feverishly sought-after by genre aficionados since its belated discovery in the early 1990s (Record Collector magazine recently included it in their list of the 100 Most Valuable Records of All Time), Grannie now gains its first-ever official reissue. With quotes from drummer John Clark and keyboardist John Stevenson that tell the story of both band and album for the first time, this is the definitive release of one of the most valuable jewels of the early 1970s British progressive rock scene."

(12/22/10 update: I just listened to this album for the first time in a long while, and it's more progressive than I remembered, especially the last track. I have not heard the Wooden Hill CD version however. And if you view the comments, there's a dispute concerning the legality of it. I'm not choosing sides here. Wooden Hill has proven to be a reliable label in the past, and I do know it can be tough to unravel all the contracts/contacts/tapes, etc.., especially 40 years later. But I will continue to publish the comments. I just hope it gets resolved to the satisfaction of all.)

Super Freego, France


Super Freego - Pourquoi es-tu si Mechant? 1982 RCA.

If you ever wondered what it would sound like if The Human League or Missing Persons were a Zeuhl influenced group, then Super Freego gives you a window into that world. Stylistically it fits in the early 80s New Wave synth pop camp. Except all these irregular rhythms combined with the familiar male/female chanting clearly point to that most unique French school of music. And it gets weirder as you go through the album, that by Side 2 it's almost purely Zeuhl. I've seen a couple of YouTube videos that demonstrate that Super Freego were a far wilder group on stage than in the studio, which gives me some hope there might be some crazy Zeuhl music sitting in a canister somewhere. The only other album that even comes close to sounding like this is Eskaton's "Fiction", though that album is far closer to pure Zeuhl than Super Freego. Maybe Foehn's "Faeria", though Super Freego are much more intense. Excellent.

Priority: 2

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thomas Flinter, Netherlands



Thomas Flinter - s/t. 1978 Munich.
Thomas Flinter - For a Fugitive. 1984 Boni.

Thomas Flinter, named after a medieval troubadour, is another fine Dutch instrumental progressive rock band. There are a couple of vocals tracks that bookend this release. The opener seems to be a slight try for a radio hit, though at over 7 minutes - complete with complex instrumental sections - seems like an odd choice. The vocalist sings in a heavily affected baritone style and it frankly sounds goofy. The final track is a traditional, heavily rearranged and features chorus vocals. Musically it reminds me of early 70's Focus, though vocally it's closer to Gentle Giant. And, after the opener, I have to say I'm surprised by how good the vocals are here. Otherwise the album is a very fine instrumental rock album similar to Lady Lake or even some Finch, especially from "Galleons of Passion". An excellent album. "For a Fugitive" has way too much 80s gloss and lacks teeth. But compositionally it's pretty well done for what it is.

Priority: 2 (for the debut)

(The scans for these albums on the Net are pretty weak. I found these courtesy of popsike. I have the first LP, and it's one I would supplement with a CD. Great cover and a very good album. I sold the second one a few years ago.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

News: Tamarisk albums coming soon?



According to a post from one of the band members on the NWOBPR Yahoo Group, it appears we may be getting the Tamarisk cassettes and other archive material on CD. No release date or anything, but great news for classic early 80s UK "neo prog" fans (like me).

We featured them way back when.

News: Sireena to reissue 2nd and 3rd Octopus albums



Since we just received a comment regarding "An Ocean of Rocks" (as in it's too bad it hasn't been reissued), I thought it would be worth mentioning that it and the 3rd (not an album I've heard anyone clamoring for) are indeed coming out soon (scheduled for next February) on Sireena, the same label that released "A Boat of Thoughts" in 2009.

And while I'm here, might as well let everyone know that Sireena's issue of the Curt Cress Clan was delayed multiple times, but that it did finally get released this month.

Vega, Spain



Vega - Jara. 1979 Movieplay.
Vega - Sol de Oscuridad. 1981 Movieplay.

In the early 90's Fonomusic released most of the classic Movieplay progressive rock albums on CD (terrible bare bones packaging, but legit all the same). But curiously the Vega's were ignored. Then in the early 2000's, Fonomusic was back - this time with much more elaborate tri-fold digi-pak's and better sound. And they picked up Vega's debut "Andaluza" while they were at it. But curiously, again, these two Vega albums were left behind. "Jara" is a fine flamenco fusion album - not aggressive rock as with other Andalusian bands such as Medina Azahara, Mezquita and Triana - more of a refined cocktail sound. Twelve string acoustic flamenco guitars and rhythms combined with Rhodes, flute and a lightly amplified electric guitar define the sound of Vega. Both "Andaluza" and "Jara" feature remarkable paintings, two of the finest that ever have graced LPs. Oh, this is Tomas Vega, not to be confused with Daniel Vega, who also put out a nice progressive fusion album (and reissued last decade as well).

Priority: 3

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vacation, Belgium


Vacation - Resurrection of. 1971 Majestic.

Standard issue guitar fronted blues rock in the Cream / Blue Cheer tradition, all very typical of the day. Sound is quite raw, supposedly a live recording, though I suspect the crowd noise was added later (I'm a bit suspicious of the delirious crowd, as if Vacation were The Beatles). Guitarist is a cut above the rest. Opening track is a fast paced instrumental, and not in step with the rest of the album. Reminds me of another Belgian group called Kleptomania. Fans of American garage music may take a shine to this, like Saint Anthony's Fyre for example. Other guideposts include France's Amphyrite and Quebec's Ellison.

Priority: none

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ungava, Canada


Ungava - s/t. 1977 36 Records.

On the surface it would appear Ungava would be yet another power trio, given their guitar-bass-drums lineup. But the 2 guest musicians, one on keys and the other on sax/flute appear to have far more than cameo appearances as seemingly they are part of the band, perhaps leaving just prior to release and being relegated to "guest". This is one of Quebec's finest, recalling Opus 5 or Maneige in places, but with the added strong guitar work. Maybe not Frank Marino or Walter Rossi strong, but still some high quality six stringing going on amongst the complex progressive rock compositions. Excellent album. Bootlegs exist.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Terraced Garden, Canada




Terraced Garden - Melody and Menace. 1982 Doggerel.
Terraced Garden - Braille. 1984 Doggerel.
Terraced Garden - Within. 1988 Doggerel.

Not an easy band to describe, this Terraced Garden. Arriving very late in the game, it's not readily apparent where the band is coming from. Especially on "Melody & Menace". King Crimson is one obvious influence, especially when considering the Fripp sustained leads and the David Cross like violin. Flute and mellotron also call out an early 70s UK progressive rock heritage. But then there's the maudlin monotone vocals and compact song lengths, very clearly a product of the early 80s. The album improves as it goes, and is definitely one of the progressive rock highlights of the early 80s. I never cared much for "Braille", an album that was too quick to embrace the digitized 80s New Wave movement. Since they were always a concise band, it was probably a natural transition for a band looking for some chart respect. "Within" did a better job of melding the two styles together, but still a bit too commercially oriented for my tastes.

Priority: 2 (for "Melody & Menace")

Monday, October 18, 2010

News: Great news for Aera fans: TWO archival live CDs to be released by Long Hair!

Wow - today is a big day if you're an Aera fan. And, if we're to interpret the Long Hair announcement, a huge day for Krautrock fans in general. We've already been spoiled with the SWF sessions. Now we have a whole new radio company to play with: The Bavarian Broadcast Corporation.

Look for release dates from the middle to end of November.


The Bavarian Broadcast (BR) Recordings Vol.1 1975

"Besides the SWF (German south-west broadcast) series with German bands of the Krautrock era,Long Hair start a new series with recordings form the vaults of Bavarian Broadcast Corporation (located in Munich). Volume 1 of the series is dedicated to Aera, one of Germany´s finest bands of this time and well known because of their albums "Humanum Est" and "Hand und Fuss" (vinyl version re-released on Long Hair, LHC43 and LHC44). On January 9,1975 Aera with the line-up (same as on "Humanum Est") Muck Groh, guitar, Klaus Kreuzeder, sax and flute, Dieter Bauer, bass and drummer Wolfgang Teske, performed in an extraordinary setting-St. George´s Church in Freising, district of Munich. The idea of the concert was to open the church for contemporary music and to give the musicians the chance to interpret the Roman Catholic liturgy, the "Holy Mass", with their music. Aera went a long with the five components of the holy mass and played two titles of their up coming album "Humanum Est" and another three titles that were not included on any album. The titles presented during the second part of the concert were earlier versions of titles that were later released on the album "Hand und Fuss". Aera played more than 75 minutes. All titles were digitally remastered from original master tape. Booklets contains story and a review of the concert and rare photos. Highly recommended!"

Well that certain sounds like an instant buy!


The Bavarian Broadcast (BR) Recordings Vol.2 1977-1979

"Volume 2 of the Bavarian broadcast series present further recordings of Area, for once from the period 1977-1979. Five live tracks from 2 concerts and four tracks recorded in Bavarian Broadcast Corporation owned studio "Franken" "at Nuremberg". Aera played a lively jazz-rock dominated by soloist and sax and flute player Klaus Kreuzeder, based on powerful and clever keyboard playing all held together by amazing bass player Matz Steinke and drummer Lutz Oldemeier (of Missus Beastly-fame) and lots of percussions. Aera were in a very good shape and gave their best. Highlights are the 17 minutes long version of "Dracula´s Frühstück" and nearly 10 minutes version of "You need some speed". All titles were digitally remastered from the original tapes. Booklets contains the history of the recordings and rare photos. Highly recommended!"

Awesome. This is in addition to the already great Mechelwind archive release earlier in the year.

News: Long Hair releases another intriguing looking SWF Session: Minus Two


*** First Published July 26, 2010 ***

Long Hair does it again! The SWF vaults seem endless, and Long Hair once again presents us with a very interesting looking archival release.

Looks like I got way out in front of this one, so thought I'd repost it with today's date.

We now have a release time frame - look for it next week some time (~October 25). And we also now have an album cover to show.

Here's the label blurb (updated as well):

"Minus Two - SWF Session 1972. This is another truly gem from the SWF broadcast vaults recorded in 1972. Minus Two founded in early 1971 in Mannheim (hometown of Nine Days Wonder) by organ player Günter Kühlwein (guest musician on Dzyan's 1. Album) and drummer Walter Helbig (also played with Nine Days Wonder and AERA) played a powerful progressive music sound sometimes with a certain sense of drama, melted classical influences with blues-rock and slightly jazzy hints. Early "Hardin & York playing" comes to mind, but Minus Two always showed their own imagination of progressive rock. All titles are self-penned and prove the musicians high level abilities playing their instruments and there are only organ and drums. Believe us, you don't miss any other instruments! This is a very complete sound by perfect trained musicians. CD contains 3 long tracks and short opener "Sticks & Keys" from the SWF vaults plus one bonus track. All titles were remastered from original master tapes. Booklet contains band history with a lot of photos. Don't miss this limited edition! Highly recommended."

Sounds to me like Sixty-Nine or Twogether. Should prove to be interesting!

Sapo, USA


Sapo - s/t. 1974 Bell.

Smokin' Latin rock with guitar, organ and horns. Not top tier like Santana, Chango or Dakila, but certainly at the next level like early Malo and Macondo. If you're a fan of the style (like me), then this is one you'll want to pursue.

Priority: 3

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pao Com Manteiga, Brazil


Pão com Manteiga - s/t. 1976 Continental.

Band name translates to "Bread and Butter" in Portuguese, so good luck in finding info on this obscure album. The most surprising aspect is the date, as it sounds more like a flower power psych album from 1968, which were pretty typical in South America back then. It's an interesting listen though. The Brazilian group Spectrum comes to mind here.

Priority: none

Saturday, October 16, 2010

News: Rise Above Relics to reissue Steel Mill


Nice to see Lee Dorrian's Rise Above label back in the reissue game. They got off to a great start in 2006, but have since been silent until now.

I don't have Steel Mill in the CDRWL, along with many other British albums that received the CD treatment in the 1990s. The debate is long on what is legit or not, and I'm not getting into any legal arguments, because I don't have all the data. I'll only note the known and accepted boots (for example, Diabolus, Aquila, Hannibal, etc...). But there was a circle of labels starting with Repertoire, and leading to TRC, Green Tree - and later Akarma - that reissued scores of albums in the most basic format as possible. So legality aside, higher quality reissues are needed for many of these albums. It should be noted that later, for their part, Repertoire started to put out much better quality reissues with liner notes and bonus tracks (their initial Brain releases were particularly good).

But as with Long Hair's Nosferatu reissue, if I see an album that is now getting the royal treatment, I'm going to call it out. Esoteric has generally been at the forefront of this quality movement, though they typically are dealing with the bigger names (and we've been noting their more obscure albums here).

So, back to Steel Mill. Rise Above's reissue has been renamed (perhaps wisely so), and features new artwork. Not sure that was needed, but it does help distinguish the product from a marketing perspective. This looks like an excellent reissue, and it will feature no less than 9 bonus tracks. On a music level, I think Steel Mill is a fine example of the UK early 70s progressive hard rock sound, known in many circles as proto-prog - a fave genre of yours truly.

Incidentally, I own the Japanese mini on the Airmail label. Airmail's MO is to just put fancy packing on already existing CDs. So while I do like the pretty (as they say), and will most likely keep it, I absolutely plan on buying the Rise Above version to supplement.

Here's the label info:

Jewels of the Forest (Green eyed God plus)

"Steel Mill are one of the most enigmatic bands from the original British progressive rock boom of the early 70s.Despite scoring a continental hit with their highly acclaimed 1971 debut single Green Eyed God, it took four years before their record company gave the cult classic full-length album of the same title a UK release in 1975. Having been released in Germany in 1972, it still remains a mystery why it took so long to come out in their home country. Of course, by 1975 the band had long since vanished and the music scene had changed dramatically. Nowadays Green Eyed God is a major rarity, having been bootlegged endlessly and has fetched in excess of £1,200 for a mint UK copy. For years, collectors and experts of the period alike, have been perplexed by the lack of knowledge and information regarding this fantastic band. Finally the story is told with this detailed release, containing in-depth sleeves notes, many unseen photographs and a plethora of never heard before tracks."

Release date set for November.

Octopus 4, France


Octopus 4 - Confluents. 1969 RCA.

Psych exploitation album coming from France (and also released in Canada). Not that far in sound from albums by Popera Cosmic and Jean Le Fennec. Probably closer to the former, though not as groundbreaking or experimental. Some wicked fuzz moments will make you sit up on occasion, but otherwise a pretty harmless 30 minute ride.

Priority: none

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nexus Erratic, Switzerland


Nexus Erratic - Inverse. 1983 Turicaphon.

OK, I admit it. I'm a bit of a closet neo progressive rock fan. I remember when it was known as the New Wave of British Progressive Rock (NWOBPR) to counter the NWOBHM movement (of which I'm also a fan). And I love all those early albums in the style by iQ, Marillion, Twelfth Night, Pendragon, Haze, Tamarisk, LaHost and a few others that you might find on this site as well. Unfortunately the term "neo prog" became muddied later in the 1980s when it became a euphemism for thinly disguised arena rock/AOR but with longer songs and fantasy lyrics. I was turned off, as were many other progressive rock fans.

But there weren't too many progenitors from continental Europe, especially Switzerland, until many years later. But Nexus Erratic fits squarely in the 1982/83 UK neo sound. The only other band from Switzerland I can think of like this is Galaad (a pretty good early 90s band), another group from near the French Alps (as Nexus Erratic is). However Nexus Erratic are minus the Ange, Mona Lisa influences of Galaad - this is definitively UK sounding. I was really surprised by how much I liked this one. Cautiously recommended to most, highly recommended to those who love a good early 80's UK "neo" album (that would be me).

Priority: 2

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Francesco Cabiati, Italy


Francesco Cabiati - Mirage. 1979 Mu.

Rock / synth based electronic hybrid that recalls artists such as Francesco Buccheri and Baffo Banfi's 70's works. The synthesizers of choice were modern for the day, but pretty thin sounding to modern ears, with the exception of the odd Moog solo. A very rare album that is much sought after by electronic collectors especially.

Priority: none

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Banchee, USA



Banchee – s/t. 1969 Atlantic
Banchee - Thinkin'. 1971 Polydor

New York / Boston based psych hard rock group. On the debut album, Banchee play a typical jangly “West Coast” psych that’s as much Quicksilver as it is The Byrds. Not to say the album doesn’t have its moments, or forward thinking ideas (jazz, heavy rock, trippy). Definitely worth seeking out for a listen.

Banchee re-emerged on Thinkin' as an aggressive hard rock group with plenty of great wah wah guitar. There’s even a little of that feel-good Rare Earth or Grand Funk Railroad jam quality. A good mix of ripping Latin styled hard rock and more typical blues rock. Considered a must own by hard rock heads. Boots exist for both.

Priority: 3 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Aera / Muck Groh, Germany




Aera - Too Much. 1981 Spiegelei
Aera - Akataki. 1982 Spiegelei.
xxx Muck Groh - Muckefuck. 1979 Erlkonig. *** Reissued by Long Hair ***

Aera's last album is also one of their best and compares favorably with other excellent early 80s German fusion albums like Embryo's "Zack Gluck" and Kontrast's sole work. Band has contacted me to explain that they've reissued all the Aera albums from their house label (Erlkonig - first 4), but that the last two albums (including "Too Much") are owned by a corporation. Speaking of "Too Much" - this would have to be considered Aera's weakest and most commercial effort. The funky chicken component is pretty high here. Still, the album has its merits, including some nice atmospheric bits that belie its popstar ambition.

Muck Groh is the leader of Aera and his first solo album treads a similar path to some of the later Aera albums such as "Live". "Muckefuck" has been rumored to be up for a reissue for the last couple of years now (since it's on Erlkonig, I'm not sure what the hold up is). His second album "Grotesk" has been reissued along with what appears to be an archival recording called "Grotesk 2".

Priority: 3

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lost Peace, Switzerland


Lost Peace - s/t. 1977 Zytglogge.

On the same label as the great Swiss progressive rock band Circus, Lost Peace delivers a stunning set of funky jazz rock instrumentals. Many times the name Placebo is thrown around, no doubt an attempt by record dealers to hype a rather mundane fusion album to higher $$$, but here it is pretty much appropriate. In the same league as the Dutch band Crypto, at the very least. Placebo was more about composition, atmosphere and attitude, rather than chops. Or worse: The dance floor. Lost Peace is similar to Placebo with tight horn rock instrumentals, a laid back attitude - and a lot of style. They almost derail the entire thing on the final track which features about 3 minutes of atmospheric percussion followed by an incredibly dull 3 minute drum solo - completely at odds with what they accomplished prior. But given the incredible 6 tracks prior, it's hard not to score at this high level.

Priority: 2

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shuichi "Ponta" Murakami, Japan


Shuichi "Ponta" Murakami - Introducing. 1976 Toshiba EMI.

Starts off pretty much in the funky fusion bag, similar to many European fusion albums of the era. Plenty of funky Rhodes, clavinet and bass. But then by the third track, Murakami goes all George Hirota, and delivers spacey electronics with indigenous Japanese percussion. Suddenly the album becomes more interesting, though unfortunately the drums become a bit too dominant. Last track brings it altogether. A good album, though not as consistent as it could have been, especially with the percussion focus being a bit strong. Thanks to reader Rob for the heads up and recommendation (keep them coming)!

Priority: none

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eternité, Canada


Eternité - Les Chants de L'Eternite. 1977 Polydor.

Brooding symphonic progressive like Pulsar and maybe Claude Leveillee. Michel Le Francoise is a featured instrumentalist. Some folky commercial oriented music as well. I suspect ProgQuebec will eventually do this one as it's right in their wheelhouse.

Priority: none

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Spacious Mind, Sweden



The Spacious Mind - Garden of a Well Fed Head (Sweden) 1997 Lone Starfighter.
The Spacious Mind - Reality D Blipcrotch (Sweden) 2002 Goddamn I'm a Countryman.

LP only releases from this great space rock group. The LP of "Garden..." is a die cut and very similar to Yatha Sidhra's "A Meditation Mass". I know in the FAQ I said I won't add "LP only" items from 2000 and beyond, but the 10 inch, 29 minute "Reality..." is too good to pass up. I have the LP of the first one and only a CD-R of the other. Both on one CD would be ideal. Hopefully the band is listening here!

Priority: 2

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spaces, USA



Spaces - Border Station. 1981 Red Giant.

If you saw this cover in a store, you'd swear it was a typical early 80s disco album. Or sometimes album with covers like these were slick fusion albums. But Spaces are neither. It's fusion, to be sure. And there is a funk component. But primarily this is hard hitting jazz rock in the mid 1970s style, with plenty of great guitar and keys. Well worth a few listens. If you do see the LP, you're not likely to pay more than $10 for it.

Priority: none

More information about Spaces was requested. My good friend Mike from the Midwest has come through again (as he always does):

Spaces/Border Station (Red Giant 81081)

Band members:

Roger Nichols
Anthony Perry
Wendell C. Jones
Randy Hall
David Carrillo
Rand Keith
Craig Apgood
Guest: Steve Lewis

Recorded and mixed at:
Audiovisions Studio, Linden Utah
Cliff Maag Studio, Provo, Utah

1981 Red Giant Records 517 South 1200 East Salt Lake City, Utah

Additional back cover provided by Mike as well.