Sunday, January 14, 2024

Karthago - Rock 'n' Roll Testament (1974 germany / uk, fascinating classic rock with southern feel, feat. Glenn Cornick from Jethro Tull fame)

Karthago were founded in Berlin by Joey Albrecht and Gerald Luciano Hartwig who had been performing together sicne 1968 as a duo called Blues Machine. The band became a quartet prior to their first recording in 1972 and in 1974 they added a well known bass player, Glenn Cornick formerly of Jethro Tull and Wild Turkey.

Probably no other Karthago album was as extensively and intensively prepared as this one with songs finally composed by Joey Albrecht. This 3rd album of Karthago was a big step foreword, produced in London and with the participation of Glenn Cornick, famous bass player of Jethro Tull. Karthago developed a more mainstream style than most Berlin acts with strong songs, jazz and funk elements, backed up by excellence musician ship. Especially Joey Albrecht, influenced by Jimi Hendrix, had a real rock star appeal. 

Shortly before recording "Rock 'n' Roll Testament" in 1974, two founding members had left Carthage : bassist Gerald Hartwig (who returned two years later) and drummer Norbert 'Panzer' Lehmann. A drummer was quickly found in Mannheim's Konni Bommarius , but all of the German bass players were 'in solid hands'. So they started looking around the 'island', but which Brit back then wanted to voluntarily go to a tiny island in the middle of the 'Red Sea'? It was a huge sensation back then that they were able to sign former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick . He had just left the band he founded, Wild Turkey , and from then on was the attraction on the Kudamm with his American road cruiser. As a great bass player and a super nice guy, he was a perfect fit for Carthage . 

The 'opener' "Hard-Loving Woman": fantastically sparkling double leads open and then it sounds as if Carlos Santana and Skynyrds Honkettes had been brought into the studio. A song with hit potential at the highest international level. "We Gonna Keep It Together" breathes a casual, driving West Coast feeling and is crowned by Ingo Bischoff's unearthly good grand piano solo. "Now The Irony Keeps Me Company" is arranged in an almost dramatic and opulent way - just as deeply rooted in US popular music as its two predecessors. The title song "Rock'N Roll Testament" is reminiscent of Skynyrd's early phase in its unpolished, rough style . Joey Albrecht wails with the then emerging talk box in the blues "The Creeper" just like Peter Frampton does. "Back Again" is warm and 'funky' straight into your stomach and legs - the chorus that sings along is sensational in its simplicity. In the dreamy "Sound In The Air" you listen to Ingo Bischoff's extremely characteristic Mini-Moog with emotion - this is what you later heard from Kraan after he joined there.

"Highway Five" sets off a real funk rock fireworks display - everything is just right here: vocals, choirs, Joey's excellent guitar work, the driving percussions as well as Glenn Cornick's jumping bass figures . With "For Kathy" Santana is once again skillfully quoted, including Gregg Rolie 's asthmatic wheezing Hammond . "See You Tomorrow In The Sky" is dedicated to none other than Jimi Hendrix and can probably be described as the 'pearl' of this timelessly good record. I wonder why? Because I think I'm hearing my favorite southerners, Lynyrd Skynyrd, here again. Carthage's "Rock'N Roll Testament" is essential for any record collection.
by Steve Braun
1. Hard Loving Woman - 3:38
2. We Gonna Keep It Together - 5:14
3. Now The Irony Keeps Me Company - 3:21
4. Rock N Roll Testament - 4:24
5. The Creeper (Joey Albrecht, Patricia Jordan) - 4:04
6. Back Again - 4:04
7. Sound In The Air - 5:09
8. Highway Five - 3:43
9. For Kathy (Joey Albrecht, Patricia Jordan) - 3:02
10.See You Tomorrow In The Sky (Joey Albrecht, Patricia Jordan) - 3:47
All songs written by Joey Albrecht, Tom Cunningham except where indicated

*Joey Albrecht - Guitar, Lead Vocals 
*Ingo Bischof - Organ, Grand Piano, Clavinet, Electric Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals
*"Pedro" Tommy Goldschmidt - Congas, Bongos, Timbales, Drums, Vocals, Percussion
*Glenn Cornick - Bass
*Konni Bommarius - Drums
*Tom Cunningham - Harmony Vocals
*Barry St. John - Backing Vocals 
*Joanne Williams - Backing Vocals 
*Vicky Brown - Backing Vocals

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