Saturday, June 30, 2012

Time - Before There Was (1968 us, progressive folk rock with baroque psych shades, Shadoks release)



This is possibly the best band of the psychedelic 60's you've never heard of. They did record, but never actually released an album. I happen to know about them because one of the founders was my brother, Lynn Newton.

I won't go into the story of the band that was once known as Time and later became Think Dog! (sic). Their history and music are thoroughly chronicled in a fascinating account by Lynn on his website. This is not a garage band. These guys were educated and serious composers and musicians.

Their music is remarkably akin to the West Coast band of similar vintage called the United States of America, with similar influences (Stockhausen, Zappa, Cage, early music, et al.), but evolved independently on the East Coast. You'll hear harpsichord, lute, recorder, with the usual rock and roll ensemble in a diverse mix of tunes by the various members. Obvious and not so obvious influences include Velvet Underground, Mothers, Thomas Morley, and e. e. cummings. Some of the tunes are down and dirty rock & roll while others are finely crafted pieces of delicacy and grace.

The problem I always saw in marketing their music was their very eclecticism. Everything they did was deeply artistic, deeply creative, and ultimately very different from nearly everything else they did, making it difficult to pigeonhole them in a genre or to get a firm handle on their "sound." This resistance to categorization is also what makes them so interesting.

Miraculously, the original studio tapes somehow survived poor storage conditions for over three decades and were transferred to CD. They were made available on limited edition audiophile vinyl by Shadoks, a German company that specializes in music of this era. The earlier recording, Before there was Time, is now on CD. The second recording, "Dog Days," by Think Dog!, will presumably be released sometime later.
by A. Newton.

Oh Yeah!...Impressive late 60s art-rock with a strong British slant, holding a middle ground between the psychedelic '67 Pepper field and the cerebral excursions of the early prog era. Completely realized arrangements and recordings stand head and shoulders above most unreleased 1968 stuff you run across these days; if released at the time it would have been a classic. Atmospheric, understated vocals, wide-ranging use of keyboard, and excellent jazzy percussion all create a delightful trip for pursuers of sophisticated late 60s sounds. 

These 35 minutes of music were recorded in January 1968, when Tom McFaul, Lynn David Newton, Richard Stanley, and David Rosenboom drove twice from Buffalo to a recording studio in Toronto. Their original brand of psychedelic music had already gelled, as songs like "Introductory Lines" and "Sad Benjamin" illustrate. The 11 tracks included here go back and forth between post-Sgt. Pepper's psychedelic pop and acid folk with medieval leanings. 

The inclusion of Stanley's solo rendition of "Kemp's Jig" is somewhat surprising -- the same traditional tune would become one of medieval progressive icon Gryphon's early live staples. "A Song for You," "Introductory Lines," and "Elin Experience" are the most interesting tracks. Quite experimental for 1967, they feature odd meters and shifting sections of straight pop songwriting and abstract developments. "Dover Beach" is a straightforward pop song in the Kinks/Turtles vein, while "Waking" and "Lily Has a Rose" fall back to delicate folk, with Stanley playing the lute. 

Despite the obscurity of the band and the imperfect sound quality (the tapes were discovered over 30 years after they were recorded), Before There Was... Time makes a very decent listen. This band had stumbled upon something good early on. It is a shame that they could not develop fully in Buffalo's conservative climate.
by Adamus67


Tracks
01. A Song for You 5:37
02. Kemp's Jig 0:44
03. Introductory Lines 3:26
04. Sad Benjamin 4:29
05. Lily Has a Rose 2:45
06. At Shadow's Eye 3:17
07. Green Fields 1:51
08. Waking 2:50
09. Ma's Pan 1:42
10. Dover Beach 3:25
11. Elin Experience 4:24

Lynn David Newton: bass, vocals, percussion, trombone
Tom McFaul: vocals, keyboards
Richard Stanley: guitar, lute, percussion, dulcimer
David Rosenboom: drums, percussion

Tracklist and credits by Remy.


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The Kinks - Lola VS The Powerman And The Money-Go-Round (1970 uk, classic brit rock)

The Kinks - Percy (1971 uk, soundtrack from the same film)

Steve Hackett - Please Don't Touch (1977 uk, prog rock, 2005 japan edition)


 "Please Don't Touch" - is the second solo album by English guitarist Steve Hackett, and his first after leaving Genesis in June 1977 (following the tour that would be documented on Seconds Out), and started his solo career

Unlike the debut album "Voyage of the Acolyte", which was a largely instrumental concept album steeped in the progressive rock idiom, this record is primarily a collection of songs featuring guest vocalists Richie Havens, Randy Crawford, and Kansas' Steve Walsh (their Phil Ehart also chips in here on drums). Although the sum effect is something of a patchwork, the individual pieces are often lovely.

Over his career, Hackett has shown a propensity for extremes, in this case letting the jazzy and sentimental "Hoping Love Will Last" segue into the musical maelstrom of "Land of a Thousand Autumns" and "Please Don't Touch" (which will delight fans of Hackett's first record, although the Caroline CD inexplicably pauses too long between the two). In a nod to King Crimson (specifically Lizard), the title track is quickly cut off with the quirky carousel sounds of "The Voice of Necam," which itself dissolves into a mix of airy voices and acoustic guitar.

The best tracks belong to Richie Havens: "How Can I?" ("Hackett"'s take on Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill") and the conclusive "Icarus Ascending." Hackett is no singer, so he wisely masks his voice in a "laughing gnome" effect on the delightful "Carry on Up the Vicarage" and hides behind Walsh's lead on "Narnia" and "Racing in A." Perhaps taking his cue from Gabriel (whose debut had appeared in 1977), Hackett seems eager to show his range as a songwriter. While he clearly has a closet full of good ideas and a genuine knack for interesting arrangements, Hackett is too much the eccentric Englishman to appeal to broad commercial tastes. Please Don't Touch remains a uniquely effective amalgam of progressive rock and pop; like his first album, he never made another one quite like it, perhaps because he again taps the concept's full potential here...

"Please Don't Touch" contains a myriad of musical styles that many were either rejected or never put in front of the "democratic process" which Genesis was known for, which also was amongst one of the reasons that Steve would leave the band. This album, of the many he had released, had finally shown the compositional side of Steve's talent and would prove how valuable his contributions to Genesis were. Rumour has it that the title track was rehearsed and but later rejected by Genesis, when drummer Phil Collins said that he "could not get into it".
 

The album featured a plethora of musical stars, including R&B singer Randy Crawford, American folk icon Richie Havens, the drummer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Kansas (Phil Ehart and Steve Walsh respectively) and Frank Zappa alumni Tom Fowler and Genesis concert drummer Chester Thompson.
In 2005, Please Don't Touch was remastered and re-released by Hackett's Camino Records label. The new edition features updated liner notes and three bonus tracks.
 

Another excellent Hackett masterpiece. The music on this CD is diverse and yet may be the most accessible of his early recordings. There are guest vocalists on many tracks, which is a plus. The songs are shorter than usual but pack everything from folk ballads to classical guitar."Narnia" features Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh, and is based on C.S. Lewis' books. This is a great tune, very upbeat, with an excellent performance by Walsh; it's catchy enough to have been a radio tune. "Carry On Up the Vicarage" opens with a toy piano and sound effects with Christmas songs being sung; the music is very eclectic, with the vocal having a childlike effect in one ear and a deep vocal in the other."Racing in A" again features Walsh with another excellent performance that is heavy rock with some nice mellotron work, again upbeat, a lot of stop and start at the end."Kim" is a classical guitar piece with flute."How Can I" features the unlikely pairing of Hackett and Ritchie Havens; it's an acoustic guitar piece with Havens on vocals. 

I really like Havens' singing here."Hoping Love Will Last" is a piano vocal piece, a ballad, and has kind of a R&B feel. Very different from anything he has done before or since for that matter, but a very pretty song, that ends up very well-orchestrated."Land of a Thousand Autumns" and "Please Don't Touch" share the same theme for the most part, the first being atmospheric, and the latter is an in your face instrumental with very powerful guitar, bass pedals, keyboards and sound effects."The Voice of Necam" again uses the theme of the prior, played on a creepy sounding organ again with sound effects, music expands with voice effects and acoustic guitar. "Icarus Ascending" features Havens on vocals, very dramatic and dark at times, lush instrumentally, end is very eclectic with short sections of reggae, jazz, and lots of guitar effects.
by Adamus 67
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings (1979 uk, prog rock, 2005 japan issue)


Steve Hackett. For some fans, especially younger vintages, it's a bit strange sounding name, but for those who are in rock music, "sit" for decades, Hackett is a guitar player from Pantheon. Despite the passage of time it remains a very active member of the rock musicians, for some it is even unquestionable authority. Sailed on a broad rock water, "a beautiful sailing ship" GENESIS. For many years, his playing shaped the image of this excellent band.

The third solo album by guitarist ... "Spectral Mornings"...has positive energy and likes to share it. Yep!...This album is something. That something, which makes it difficult to determine what this music really draws us to himself. None of the songs not included here would consider brilliant, outstanding, or moving to the core. Nothing knocks as, for example, "Shadows of the Hierophant". Power spectral mornings lies in something else - just let go of this CD and are wonderful feelings. It seems that nothing in life is needed, that this is the essence of music that wants to listen.

No twenty minute epic tracks, which you will not understand without a thorough analysis of the text. No sounds grim visitors darkest corners of the soul. Nothing to prove that I'm the best. Just music that you listen to just for fun ...this album, but Steve shows his face here a lot (including those darker). Once a classic, typically once genesis, sometimes humorous, sometimes dark. But even the darkness as "Tigermouth" is somehow ethereal. It is said that through all these long years of drawing on progressive classics no one was able to record the album like "Selling England By The Pound" ... I know! Name Hackett This copyist Genesis sounds like attacking the country by their own forces.

However, it seems to me that in terms of space and electrics, Steve has managed to achieve a similar effect. Music like a gently floating in the wind. On one hand, so dense, so rich stylistically, sonically, with countless flavors, on the other hand, it seems that could be an explicit and vary it even indefinitely. And it is beautiful! It stimulates the imagination :)

Stand-out songs? I do not know ...? The "Spectral Mornings" I see neither weak nor very strong points. Each piece brings something here, and despite their differences all styling hold the water. As if I had something to stand on unless it padłoby beautiful "The Virgin And The Gypsy", the classic "Lost Time In Cordoba" ... and the title track - complete boredom, which I could listen to over and over and even more often...hehehe Perfect for every morning, not just spectacular. An absolute classic.
We do not judge, do not gadajmy, just listen!
by Adamus67