Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Australians Tully, compleat (Live, Tully, Loving is Hard, Extradition Hush, Sea of Joy, and Hair)

 

















They obviously cared a lot about the art of their covers which is uniformly amazing.

In 5 incredible albums this Aussie progressive folk outfit put out an amazing series of ingenious and brilliant LPs full of wonderful ideas, progressive themes, interesting melodies, everything creative you can imagine except no fusion.  I've always been stunned by the heights of composition they put into the Live Sydney CD released in 2009, because of the great beauty of the work and the fact that the music was never heard back in the day when it could've been better appreciated.  Both Love 200 and Sights of 1969 are 'sidelong' compositions that range over a huge variety of styles, the former is absolute perfection for me with the operatic singing voice of Shayna Karlin, who sings again in the offshoot band Extradition's only album called Hush.  Surprising she disappeared after this early 70s period. A bit like Mary Hopkin who shot to fame with Paul McCartney's mentorship from 1968 and Those Were the Days then disappeared from the scene after Earth Song in 1971.   As for the male singer, called Teddy Wilson, I've always been enamored of his wonderful vibrato singing style which he uses so judiciously in the songs.

I guess you could say their music is folk, but aside from that they delve into classical-style as in the Live album, piano pieces that always amaze me by their originality and thought.  I noticed they did a cover version of the ridiculous I love Baba composition by Pete Townshend, dedicated to that fraudulent Indian guru guy. You'd think people learned the lesson with the Beatles in 1967 with that other yoga con artist. Those were the days indeed.

From Loving is Hard, the beyond inventive song called Rest Beloved wherein the piano patterns are simple, but utterly original:



From Extradition's Hush, the amazing song about women always gives me the chills:



Equally amazing for me is that cover photo of the beautiful face of Shayna.

I guess the other thing for me is that their best music was first of all unreleased, and second, came so early on.





Sunday, 13 June 2021

George Kochbek's Hamlet Tagträume from 1984






An interesting mix of electronic with slow-moving passages for the most part, and quite experimental music from the year 1984.  I'm looking for help finding the requested In Time album from him, which came out earlier, anyone have it?

Brief Bio:

German composer, songwriter and keyboardist, working in jazz fusion, pop and disco fields. He was credited under his real name Jürgen Kochbeck on early releases before he launched a solo career. He is married to Sabine Bulthaup.

Note that he played in the Alto albums, both of which I really love, and in Skyline's Louise for a Night one-off prog rock LP, and the Es Wham Bang fusion album which is also well-known.

The last track called Todestango:







Friday, 11 June 2021

Gamma - Darts 1974








Here's an adorable old progressive fusion, guitar-based, from the Netherlands from the golden age of Dutch prog which you might have forgotten of.  They made two albums, the first clearly forgettable, the second a masterpiece of the genre.

From the first album, Linda:




From the second, Goodbye Holiday




Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Jeff St. John from Joint Effort (1970) to So Far, So Good (1978)












It must have been something to see this guy live, because as it says on the discogs brief bio:

Australian musician and singer born with spina bifida and spent much of his life in a wheelchair. Born 22 April 1946, Newtown, New South Wales; died 6 March 2018 at his home in Perth, Western Australia. Also known as Jeffrey St. John.

I wonder, and am amazed, at how much confidence and strength you'd have to have to overcome a disability like that and 'make it' in the rock 'n' roll world.

From the 1971, Cloud Nine:






On the 1978 album the track called Starbrite is one of those songs I've mentioned before that seems like it should have been a number one hit on radio back in the day, it has everything you'd need for it, like the powerful hook, the strong singing, the diatonic classic-70s pop chord progression:




Just like that song called Headin' in the Right Direction which, of course, really was a hit in Australia at least back then, for the wonderful Renee Geyer




Monday, 7 June 2021

Back to Kyriakos Sfetsas (Greek Fusion Orchestra) in 2 from 1981, 1982









So I guess the lesson is we (I) have to look carefully at all the comments, because in my post of Greek Fusion Orchestra (which you may recall was led by composer Kyriakos Stefsas) apps mentioned two other works from him that came later which I at the time dismissed, but here they are.

The first of these appeared in 1981 and he provided backing music for Katarina Gogou's poetry, much like US poet Nikki Giovanni's album with backup music by legendary composer/arranger/record producer Arif Mardin.  You'll instantly get an idea of the overall feel for this unique album when you hear the first track:



Note how angular and modern classical this music is, especially when side by side with the Greek Fusion O. more jazzy material, displaying eminently his presumed university musical education.  This is one album I'll relish, exploring over a great deal of hours each of these ideas and their nuances.

Secondly we have the 1982 OST To Stigma which is made of many short instrumental tracks, again very much in the modern classical vein but set to soundtrack. First track:



Overall, it reminds me a bit of Austrian Michael Mantler's wonderful seventies modern classical, quasi-atonal music which he made esp. the ones with Wyatt doing the singing.  Btw, notice the very disturbing plot synopsis over on imdb for this movie. (Briefly, married couple kills their baby with Down's syndrome.) Oh, for those days of intelligent movie-making, before cartoons and Marvel comics took over...

I'm going to let apps take this one out with his great review on rym which I do recommend you read through:

''Sto dromo'' is one of the most unique albums in the history of Greek Music, released in 1981 on EMI.The soundtrack of the dramatic movie ''Paragelia'', directed by Pavlos Tassios, it features his wife Katerina Gogou on lyrics and narration, while the music was written and arranged by composer Kyriakos Sfetsas.  Gogou (born 1940) began her career as an actress, playing in plenty of 60's movies, before becoming a passionate poet with anti-political and anarchic activity.  Sfetsas (born 1945) was among the very talented composers of the time with a varied background on symphonic, Jazz, Chamber and Ethnic Music.  He conducted an orchestra of 10 musicians on this album.

You should have good knowledge of the Greek language to fully appreciate this album, because one of its most intense and deep extensions are Gogou's allegoric, social lyrics with certain attacks against the political system and very depressive texts, even the optimistic farewell message is narrated in such way that creates only melancholic, social-friendly feelings.  The music is an impressive blend of jazzy Progressive Rock and Greek Folk, featuring beautiful jazzy orchestrations and ethereal melodies, which often come with complex moves and flawless interplays.  The traditional violin, clarinet and santoor notes add to the album a great Mediterrenean touch with an atmospheric depth and the electric textures sound very tasteful with nice guitar/piano interactions.  ''Sto dromo'' has a strong Avant-Garde feel throughout because of Gogou's sinister vocal work and the R.I.O.-friendly sounds with the dominant piano and string sections.  Although Gogou appears in every corner of the album, the music is so dynamic and varied you can't simply pass by.  It gets very complicated in certain moments with big horns and string sounds, but on the next track the listener will meet with soft, jazzy arrangements and some amazing folky-tinged soundscapes.

Sfetsas remained in the forefront for some years after the album, his music has been heard worldwide for its impresive and cinematic edges.  Gogou's anxious spirit faded away in October 1993, when she commited suicide, struggling to keep up with her temperamental state of mind.

Fascinating mixture of Greek poetry and jazzy Prog Rock with nice folky touches.It is strongly recommended to find a translation of the lyrics, before purchasing the album.Highly recommended, no doubt Greek listeners should have this one in the top place of their collection.