Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Fried Chicken Band's song Haunted

Here's a song I heard just recently and it quickly became my favourite tune partly due to its folksy American feeling and the way it aligns with the current zeitgeist in the United States.  In fact it could've been a theme song for the Trump campaign. For this reason I wrote up all the lyrics as well as I could below so you can read them.

You can hear it on youtube or alternatively just play it down here:


Wandered by the old mines early one night
as the last pile of salt was being dragged out
went by the boat to the opposite shore
cuz they don't like strangers lookin' about
and security might (?) show on the dust and the gravel--
as the last truck was pullin' away
I heard a man sob and sittin' out on the porch
where the men always come to be paid--

with a pint by his side and his head in his hands, 
he looked up and he called me:
"why'd you come round here; you're wanted out here
you came to stare at my misery?
so you see how it is for thirty years in this place 
a man just gives you the news:
he says here's your final check and a pretty gold watch
cuz we're through payin' all of your dues--

"and I will be haunted-- by the thundering blast--
that rocked the earth-- each day at noon--
If someone has the courage to tear the whole place down--
it won't be too soon"


"Know if I could I would leave this town but
I got a wife and kids to look after
and I don't go back to have a drink with the boys
couldn't stand the sympathy and the laughter
they would say when I was gone he gotta talk right (?) that's all 
but he's too old to push the people around
in life there's work for the young and the strong
but I'll soon be layin' deep in the ground

"Don't know how the hell I got talkin' to you
but there's got to be someone who understands
worked all my life like a son of a bitch
usin' nuthin' but a pair of good hands
all society gives me the shame I can't handle
strugglin' anyway that I can:
changing as they want me from a strong old guy
to a snivellin' second class man

"and I will be haunted-- by the thundering blast--
that rocked the earth-- each day at noon--
If someone has the courage to tear the whole place down--
it won't be too soon..."

Pure American poetry.  Worthy of a Nobel too, according to senile Swede seniors?  Yeah, who isn't?  At the same time, the hint of violence-- that classic American crime of going postal at a workplace-- is so chilling too.

Having become haunted by this song, what I'd like to know is, who wrote it?  Is it a cover version of a previous folk song, or, unbelievably, did this utterly unknown German group from the late seventies actually pen it?  Someone out there knows something, as they say on America's Most Wanted...

Monday 28 November 2016

Iskander remainder: Ouverture (1980), Mental Touch (1987) and Another Life (1990)

All their covers really were beautiful, I particularly love the Bacon / de Chirico-like last one.  The first album, credited to keyboardist Peter Tassius and the band, is the most rare, while all the remainder I believe were released back to CD.

They all have their moments, even surprisingly the last one, but only Mental Touch approaches the aforeposted Boheme 2000 in its inventiveness and compositional skills.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Iskander's Best album, Boheme, from 1982 [brief posting only]

German complex symphonic rock band, mainly instrumental with rich keyboards, fluid guitar, elements of Camel, Streetmark, Anyone's Daughter, Novalis, even spacious Ashra.

They also remind me a great deal of Odyssee's White Swan, which is the masterpiece symphonic German album from that time, for me.  

It appears they made four albums in total, quite widely spread out from early eighties to 1990, but this one called Boheme 2000 is by far the best progressive composition.  The first, Peter Tassius's Ouverture, is mostly piano.

Easily the track Eltneg Tnaig (turn it backwards to understand) tells their prog credentials in full:

I can up all the others if there is any interest at all.

Friday 25 November 2016

Manfred Schoof's Timebreaker from 1990 [brief posting only!]

I talked about this album in connection with the last Schoof post here and based on the strength of Power Station eventually I couldn't resist hearing it, although we are getting uncomfortably close to what we humans call the present for lack of a better physical or metaphysical description of that point in the unusual dimension of time.

Sadly this did not turn out to be another Power Station, being the equivalent in that regard to a small Punjabi wood-burning oven. It's replete with those annoying drum machines and the dramatic echoey chords, usually A minor, that remind me so much of my first cheap casio keyboard I bought in the late eighties, when it was a hallmark of all pop music.

Track 7:

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Back with Jazz Cellula and "Cellula International's" 1982 Jazzissimo

Compared to the previous, and predictably, this record will be a bit too jazzy for tastes including but not limited to mine.  I thought that in the year 1982 fusion wasn't quite defunct and vulture-eaten yet but I was wrong.  Likely I won't be back with more from them.

The best track is old Sam's story: Starý Sam - Old Sam (by Laco Deczi)

Monday 21 November 2016

Jazz Celula / Cellula in 1976 and 1978

How odd that the one "l" goes missing from the first to the next?
In a long line of Eastern European fusion bands such as the recent Polish VAImpuls, Crash, etc., etc. it will be assumed we never get tired of that sound here, which so deftly mixes classical education with the fusionaut teachings of Return to Forever and Mahavishnu.  

From the database:

Czechoslovak jazz combo. Formed 1968 in Prague, led by Laco Deczi. In the 1970s essentially identical to the Czechoslovak Radio Jazz Orchestra rhythm section and soloists. After a line-up change in the mid-1980s, featuring Deczi’s son Vaico Deczi on drums, and after Deczi’s immigration to New York, the group evolved to Cellula New York which is still actively performing as of 2012.

Note that Laco, described as trumpet player, bandleader, and composer, was prolific on his own as well.  (I pray he won't be deported too now.)

From the first, Probuzeni:

From the second, the Thread of Life:

There is a missing album or perhaps two which should show up shortly, surely...

Friday 18 November 2016

Lennart Åberg's Green Prints (1986, Sweden) [by request] with limited lossless

Ambient-ECM style jazz with a large band which thankfully prevents the whole from descending into the boredom of too many notes with too few textures, this recalls many previously posted albums with Amazonian themes in the past like this one.  Not as experimental and more listenable than Laneri's.

Note the highly professional (and huge) lineup here-- including one Jan Schaffer...  Lennart of course is composer / arranger / conductor, plus flute and sax player.  In all honesty I wasn't too crazy about his previous album with the promising title of Partial Solar Eclipse.  But this one's better.

The track called Night Spirits, if you listen to it through with patience, demonstrates his university composition education:

Like the 1977 album though, it tends to drag on.  However the long track on the second side called Round B, has three parts and is much like a symphonic poem so I split it into thirds.  Note that it's Jan playing guitar / guitar synth on this one, as he does also on the song Green Prints.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Harald Hedning's remarkable masterpiece, unreleased in 1974

Nothing gets me more excited than the sight of that Gibson Les Paul shape (in gold).  A work of art in itself.

Masterpiece, right?  There's nothing more to be said.  Information.

Track 4, Defileringen:

A purely instrumental hard guitar-driven slice of umptuous cantankerous progressiveness that recalls automatic fine tuning and the Mr. Euphoria (my rip stolen and made available here) I once posted long ago, this is a must-have and tragically was not released back in the day when it would have made progheads drool...  thank god it's today resuscitated!

We waited 40 years during which this majestic music was squirrelled away, but thankfully it's back in the saddle again.  I just wonder why in music dept.'s of universities today that track is not taught as an example of ingenious, unique and powerful music composition to all the students...

Monday 14 November 2016

Daniel Garcia - Del Otro Lado (UK/ARG - 1982)

Once again, thanks to my friends for introducing me to these wonderful albums, seemingly utterly lost to oblivion, but again undeservedly.  Immediately your ears will prick up like a rabbit's when you hear the first stunning track called Apertura Inicial:

Note the comfort with progressive composition right away.  Most songs have vocals and feature that same sunny sound you expect from latin music as heard on the great Argentinian band Spinetta Jade.  Too bad everyone has to get deported to their home countries now!

Not a lot of information on this artist. One small (Spanish) note on youtube:

Luis Ceravolo, Ruben Rada,Yuya Sosa
Esteban Prieto
Creador de música para TV y Cine. 
Actualmente lidera el grupo "Tangoloco". 
Es el Director musical del espectáculo "Arráncame la Vida" , de Chico Novarro y Betty Gambartes , con Juan Darthés y Cecilia Milone.
Ganador del Martin Fierro por su tema para TV "Con las alas del alma". 
Creador de la cortina de la serie "099 Central"
Más datos : 
Tangoloco : www.tangoloco.com.ar
Tangoloco en Facebook :http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i... 
Arrancame la vida en Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i... ( Estará todo el verano en el Auditorium de Mar del PlaTA.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Eduardo Moreno, the amazing unknown progressive music composer...

His information is in the database already.  Note that this Spaniard made his music in the unheard-of years (for classic prog) of 1990 to 1995.  As I've said so many times before, it's just such a shock to hear such delightful standard issue prog (like on the Ocean albums) from a totally unexpected quarter.
Nor are they even known at all, they weren't to me and probably won't be to you-- so these two surely should get the trophy for most obscure good prog that no one knows about.

This is keyboard-driven with some electronics but enough variety to spare us from the soporific tendencies of "berlin-school" electronics.

Track 7 from the "Imaginary Film" is called Nada:

Clearly worthy of being included in a soundtrack perhaps of a depressing French film involving family deaths, such a common feature there. Notice how effectively the banged-out echoing chords work on the strange chord changes.

From Ultimo Hombre, track 4 is clearly a lesson in classic prog:

It's part of a suite and it's called Opera Omnia, Parte II: La Creación.  Wow.

And of course many of us are still filled with sadness since November 8th, as we reflect on the Last Man, thinking about the future of our people and the democracy which I suppose everyone in the West lately has really taken for granted, with so many not bothering to take part in it.  Even the ancient Greeks realized it's the most unstable political system and can easily be waylaid by a demagogue / tyrant especially when the people have become too pampered and complacent and the oligarchy too powerful.  I'll go right out and say it, by electing a joke president the country is now a joke too.  The America that was so proud and amazing in the past, an example to the entire rest of the world, the financial, scientific, and artistic nucleus-- it's now gone?

Friday 11 November 2016

Scope's III by request, unreleased from 1976 [review only]

Somebody requested this some time back and indeed it was a shock to me years ago when I found out the great fusion album released another album.  I posted their masterpieces in lossless a long time ago now and everyone knows them I'm sure.

The database information is all here, with the exception of this unheard-of and poorly publicized cd.
On the other hand, because it's a released from the artist, I can't justify sharing it longer than a day.
So in the cdbaby information you can see that: these are never published recordings - from the zenith of the Fusion period (1976) - of the legendary SCOPE feat. the unforgettable Rob Franken (kb).

Encouraging, right? not so, since rather than a complete cohesive group effort as in the I and II, the guitar is actually the star here, virtuoso to be sure, but it's a lot like when Soft Machine transitioned from being Ratledge-driven to Karl Jenkins-driven with more guitar in the mix.  You can tell it's the same band, but the sounds are altogether different-- a bit more disappointing.

More from the aforementioned page:

Album Notes
These are never before published recordings - from the zenith of the Fusion period (1976) - of the legendary SCOPE feat. the unforgettable Rob Franken (kb)

After two Albums for Warner Brothers (Scope I & Scope II) the record company jumped off from the project and the group didn't succeed to bring out this material. The original tapes got lost, these are remastered copies, far from perfect, but very striking in it's REAL FUSION sound.

Scope I was: Rik Elings (kb, fl, comp), Rens Newland (g, comp), Henk Zomer (d), Eric Raayman (b)

Scope II was: Rik Elings (b, kb, comp), Rens Newland (g, comp), Henk Zomer (d), feat. Rob Franken (Rhodes, Synth)

THIS ONE Scope III was: Rens Newland (g, voc, comp), Bokkie Vink (d), Arthur Clarke (b) also feat. Rob Franken (Rhodes, Synth)

Note that song samples are available there!

Wednesday 9 November 2016

James Dean, Yuji Ohno, and the Inugamike (1976-1977)

So once again I'm in the position of having to thank someone for requesting an album, though I knew this famous Japanese pianist / OST composer before from his brilliant work called Inugami, I never would have expected anything from an album devoted to celebrating James Dean!

First, his discography, not complete, can be seen here.  Obviously quite prolific as composer, there are so far as I know only two albums worth hearing, the requested one being one of those.

The other one is this unprepossessing album, with terrible ratings (as usual) on rym, which in the past used to mystify me; here seen with its Japanese title.

First, the 1977 James Dean album.  The music is squarely in the seventies tradition with a mix of Italian soundtrack sounds and more orchestral easy listening.  What is of note here is the sheer quality of the composition, which is really, quite unforgettable even after one listening.  What a surprise, but perhaps explicable by the fact that Ohno was inspired by the subject matter.

The First American Teenager is pure bliss:

That's the first part.  Note how it starts unassumingly with a little lullaby evoking the child, then moves into a minor key before the oboe (clarinet?) takes it up as a tender, melancholy melody (American Dream / American nightmares); then towards the end the beat gets faster and a blues sax hammers out an improv in E minor: the Hollywood lights.  The next part which follows right after (not in the sample above) goes back to the classical music to close out the suite, followed by more ost music, more funk.  Believe me when I say there's no compostion quite like this one in his entire oeuvre - except possibly the long track on side b, which will also shock you...

Moving on to the other record, from the year before, you get more of a mix, with fusion, seventies funk or blaxploitation sounds, plus the usual indebtedness to Italian or perhaps French soundtrack orchestrations.  This for me is his masterpiece.   The composition Meditation recalls any number of the library or progressive compositions from the great Euro-fusion masters of the seventies with the bonus of being perhaps more professionally smoothly played:

The following track shows off his Stravinskyite skills:

Before taking off for the schmaltzosphere, of course...  nothing wrong with that in my books.

Despite the brilliance of these two albums I have heard the later ones from him including Space Kid (1979) the promising-sounding Cosmos (1981), the not-promising-sounding Lifetide (1982), the Proof of the Man from 1977 and Proof of the Wild from 1978, plus a couple of Lupin the 3rd albums (which are wholly confusing), that is, a total of 7 others and was sorely disappointed.  It's a lot to slog through, though if interested you can request those.  I would go so far as to say in their mix of syrupy strings, easy listening of the paediatric kind, dumb disco songs, and simple, commercialized compositions, we are dealing with music of the worst sort, the kind we older ones will remember from the hygienic easy-piano muzak of shopping malls.  In fact, I can't remember any other situation where a great artist in the seventies suddenly became unlistenable so quickly, dropping so suddenly off a cliff.  Usually subsequent albums have a couple of worthy tracks.  Well, perhaps that's too harsh, the 1977 Proof of the Man has one or two good songs.  One in particular is almost Hawkshaw-like with its scintillating synths and strings:

Then, if you don't believe me about the other records, consider the track Dancing Raccoon, from Space Kid (1979):

Yeah. A dancing raccoon...

But hidden in his discography from the period 1976-1977 were those two treasures I present today, James Dean, and Inugamike.  And thanks for requesting the former!

PS your other request will show up too, stay tuned.

Monday 7 November 2016

Ocean came back in 1984 with Double Vision

More from this astonishing and sadly unknown duo, whose additive effect in their two records in my opinion is far superior in result to similar additions Diethelm + Famulari or Fuhrs + Fruhling, etc.  In particular, as I always repeat, the clear classical education on the part of the keyboardist, whose name incidentally is Peter Kunz, creates some really unheard-of textures and harmonies/dissonances, as in the Ballade Zwo:

Like on Diethelm / Famulari, there also are some pretty gross syrupy songs, as you'd expect from the year 1984-- I want my MTV!

Unfortunately, unless I am mistaken, Peter doesn't seem to have released more compositions to the world.  But thank god he gave us these two X 3/4 hour platters to hear.

And a beautiful new high-quality rip from a clear vinyl for which we have my friend to thank again...

Saturday 5 November 2016

Ocean's Keyboards and Percussion: Melody from 1981

From our Friend Tom at CDRWL

This came as a big surprise, as most of these small German presses from the early 80s are best left alone. And with a moniker like Ocean, a band name that must have been used 269 times by then, the word "generic" couldn't slip my mind. Until I put the disc on that is. If you're looking for references, "Symphonic Pictures" era SFF isn't a bad place to start. It's not quite in that league, but it's not like the world is filled with similar albums to SFF's debut. Plenty of mellotron (including the much loved choir). Maybe Odyssee's "White Swan" is another good check point. On the same label as Nanu Urwerk. This one for certain should be reissued by Garden of Delights or Musea. Both labels would enjoy success with this title.

Totally agree with that, as well in places it reminds me of the classic Italian mellifluous keyboard bands like Le Orme, or any other of the ELP imitations that were so much less harsh.

Their Wild Pig:

Many thanks for this superb sounding rip and the chance to post it for everyone to enjoy!

Thursday 3 November 2016

Anli Sugano's 1st, called いち from 1978

This was not requested nor should it be.  On the other hand, I urge you to go ahead and request anything in the comments section since these usually fall into two categories, either I have the digital copy and will gladly post it or I will try to seek it out if I don't already possess it to determine if it's any good.  (Of course there's a third category, music I have and I promised to never share, which I will quickly mention only to never speak of again...)

The information, if need be.  I found the artist quite entrancing with her slightly more feminine Bette Midler voice and varied repertoire on her sophomore effort (as they love to say in Rolling Stone).  This is along the same lines, with a mix of seventies pop and funk.  It's hard to tell if they're cover songs or these are original Japanese 'copies' of pop hits.

Tracklist (translated)

1. My Trumpeter
2. Midnight 
3. Big Time Suzie
4. Akujyo Street ....Bad Women' Street
5. Tramp ...Card Game
6. Hisame ...Cold Rain Like Ice

1. Kodokuna Kankei ....Lonely Relatioship
2. Subway Suzie
3. Yume Zukushi ....Full of Dreams
4. Samui Tegami...Cold Letter
5. Imouto Tachi E ...To my little sisters 

First track as sample:

Enjoy it.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Azabu Ongaku Shudan (JPN,1971) [no download, just samples!]

Here's the best true progressive rock album I've heard so far this year.  And what a surreal cover!  Clearly in this case you do-- definitely-- judge the book by its cover!

Here's a very rare album from the Azabu section of Tokyo that appears to have been just discovered. The first track is heavily influenced by 1968 era Chicago Transit Authority, which is a really good thing in my book. Then there's some random messing about in the studio, with some chamber/classical bits, and in comes a guitar freakout - and once again Terry Kath leaped straight to mind. What is this anyway? Off to the AC's notes I went... 

"Things get underway with a blast of driving brass rock-esque jazzy psych, before some spacey classical flute leads into a weird piano and percussion motif that repeats over and over, starting again just as you think it's finally done. You can tell that they're just trying to mess with your mind at this point. Soft acoustic folk-psych follows, but is disrupted by a noisy outburst and radio speech that is swallowed up in ominous avant-garde piano dissonance. A brief flute interlude precedes a headlong dive into wild garage psych, morphing into a full-on psychedelic jam with organ and absolutely insane fuzz guitar soloing. Quietly, a rising chorus of birdsongs emerges, backing a return to the gentle acoustic folk guitar and flute heard previously. But then, a strange surge of fluttering electronics heralds a chaotic collage of Japanese phone conversation, backed by a sinister electronic dirge. Clattering percussion rises from this seething mass, heralding an onslaught of pounding rhythms, droning horns and destructive psych guitar, with wisps of strange noise and moaning in the raging storm. Abruptly, the haunting acoustic folk psych and flute cut in, ending the chaos in a moment of zen. This is a truly harrowing piece of music, encapsulating the bad acid freakout visions you're glad you never had. Unfortunately, side two can't keep up this kind of all-out delirium, and the group's roots as a large-scale amateur music collective come to the fore, with some strange and inept jazz and folk songs, rambling detuned jazz bass and piano, and even a lengthy late night jazz club jam session. However, a few moments of interest are still lurking within. A couple of somewhat experimental classical piano and flute pieces, and a very Third Ear Band-esque number with percussion, flute and droning strings are the highlights, and the album closes with one final brass rock/orchestral blast with bleeping electronics to come full circle. Privately pressed in micro quantities and still only known to a few hardcore Japanese collectors, this album, while by no means a consistent masterpiece, is still an essential snapshot of authentic psychedelic freakout on the outer fringes of the era's underground scene."

This is one of those albums that really strikes a chord because of the time and place. Truly a group stretching the boundaries of what was known - very much a product of 1971, an era when this mentality was the norm rather than the exception. The highs go really high here, and so the corresponding down time is more tolerable. Because there's some serious payoff action to witness. Always a hallmark of an album worth repeated listens.

I disagree 100% with the notion that side b is inferior, on the contrary, let's listen to some samples from that 2-D surface.  Igor's Ascencion (a reference to Stravinsky, no doubt, who died in the same year, April 1971)

Clearly a university musical education composition exercise, but boy does it succeed as such.  Then, as a cover version, they take one of the tritest and most played Beatlesian songs and check out how they transform it, utterly, simply by playing the melody in the correct key of G, but then hanging below it the most off-kilter chords.  A Day in The Life:

Track 13, called Stillness demonstrates the group's feeling both for emotion and for the purest art of music:

I apologize that I can't share more, but these three will give you a taste for the contents, nor are they the only three tracks worth hearing, believe me.

Seek this one out like a ballistic cruise missile, preferably not North Korean.