Wednesday 30 June 2021

Pop Singer Lani Hall from 1972 to 1980

This is very much in my wheelhouse, though admittedly for others not so much.  I'm not going to get into the usual comments on how songwriting reached an apogee that was never equaled back then starting in the sixties (with the Beatles!) and then into the seventies until first punk and reggae and then new wave tore it apart for some reason.

American singer and songwriter, born November 6, 1948, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Wife of Herb Alpert.

These then are her first 5 albums. The debut called Sundown lady is mostly if not all cover versions of some very well known songs.  In the Hello, It's Me (that's a Todd Rundgren composition, right?) sophomore LP she got a bit better with some really gorgeous pieces and that trend continued on in the next 2 until we screech to a halt at the 1980 album Blush.

From the first, the only salvageable track, called You:

Interestingly, a composition by Hall herself, note the little review of this album:

After achieving fame and success as the lead singer of Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, Lani Hall finally left the bossa nova act to work on a solo career produced by Herb Alpert, who by 1972 was also the love of her life. Her first solo effort was Sun Down Lady, which features a collection of songs written by such musical icons as Elton John (“Tiny Dancer,” “Come Down in Time”), Paul Simon (“Wherever I May Find Him”), Cat Stevens (“How Can I Tell You”), Michel Colombier (“We Could Be Flying”), and even Hall herself (“You”).

When she gets too much into the jazz-singer-cliched musical singing style she really loses me.  Luckily there isn't too much of this, truly what was attempted here was a crossover between jazz and pop leaning heavily into the latter though without the customary AM radio pop cliches.  From the third album (1977) Sweet Bird, That's When Miracles Occur:   

Hopefully others will find stuff to enjoy here.

Monday 28 June 2021

Silenzi Osceni - Live In Roccella Jonica 1986 with Palle Mikkelborg by request, plus the 1984 Live Roccella Jonica

A one-off from this particular grouping of luminaries of humanity, see the credits:

Alto Saxophone – Charlie Mariano
Bass, Cello – Paolo Damiani
Drums – Tony Oxley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Palle Mikkelborg
Vocals – Tiziana Ghiglioni

Mostly written by P. Damiani, with a contribution from Oxley and a raga from someone else. So there's no voice for our old fave, Mikkelborg, except in his improvs.

Although there are great composed beginnings to these tracks, they inevitably get bogged down in the long improvisations I've mentioned before I find tedious and unnecessary.

The start of side b has a song with lyrics which are printed in both Italian and English on the inner record sleeve, a poem that I conclude Paolo was quite proud of:

Saturday 26 June 2021

Thonk's Earth Vision Impact, by request


This is imitation seventies prog rock, with all that this implies.  The group only made one album, way back in 2001. For example some tracks are very similar to Atlas (the Swedish band I mean famed for the brilliant Bla Vardag), or I guess people could say Anekdoten.  Those later 'symphonic' prog bands to me all sound the same, and they lack the invention that I love so much from the classic stuff, even though all the trappings are there, with the odd time signatures, the hammond organs, synthesizers, etc., etc.  It's as if the older prog was always simplified down to its basics. Then again here and there, some original brilliant artists come up with outta the ballpark stuff more recently, like the Zopp I recently posted, or the Brazilian Ramo that I always use as a point of comparison and that I've reuploaded a million times.

For ex., Square Root:

Having said that, it's not that bad and I did enjoy listening to it.

Friday 25 June 2021

Jim Marks' Touching Your Feelings 1974 [review only]

You just might casually notice the album is selling for 3000 dollars currently...

I recommend you first have a listen, which you can do today.

Anyone know what's up with this item?
Basically, the guy is talking over relatively generic music but his spoken words are quite the distraction.

What a shock coming off the wonderful sound of Jo Grinage too.

 On some tracks they didn't even bother writing music, there's just a bit of percussion here and there.  Title track:

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Jo Grinage's Ode To Kim from 1976 [limited time lossless]

Something by her was requested in the past, I think a couple of times.
Definitely she sounds very much like Nina Simone in her later (seventies) days, an artist whom I absolutely adored back in the days when I was 'into' American jazz.  Long before she became cool on Starbucks playlists.

She made two albums only, the first of which is pricey while this one, which I think might be superior, is not at all expensive.  That's such a typical circumstance in old LPs isn't it: 20 buck masterpiece, versus overpriced garbage.  You can observe that it's mostly made up cover versions, including the abhorrent Autumn Leaves, and the somewhat less so though still nauseatingly overplayed Eleanor Rigby.

On the other hand, there are some hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark tracks, like the Ode to Kim:

Another original track, called Rain:

One more, Mother How I Miss You, very emotional in the spiritual sense:

Reminds me too of the brilliant Roberta Flack, whose misfortune like so many others was to become 'too famous' for the one song First Time ever I saw Your Face, when in her older (first 2) albums there were such incredibly tender compositions.

It's worth noting the last two sampled tracks were written and arranged by one Nadi Qamar, noted here
And you might detect an Alice Coltrane vibe to the string arrangements too, which is never a bad thing, never...

Thanks for suggesting this artist, whoever requested. So odd to me that Nina is so overplayed and artists like this, just as good, are unknown, totally. It's as if the music-listening public is made up of tired old men who can't tolerate novelty and can only hear familiar trite songs they already know and have heard many times.

Monday 21 June 2021

Supply Demand & Curve, Ireland 1976

Such a beyond brilliant expression of the fabulous fusion spirit of the seventies, with wacky songs (Ooh Gilbert) experimental passages, fusion, everything creative and wonderful, this was mostly written by Irish composer and keyboardist Jolyon Jackson who passed away shockingly early before the age of 40.

The track called Ooh Gilbert is such a masterful composition it just blows me away every time, with its satirical and snide ridiculing of the fame of Gilbert O'Sullivan tempered by jealousy of his success which the writer could never hope to achieve with this crazy progressive style of music:

And then Cat on the Keys demonstrates their remarkable aptitude with fusion performed by a virtuoso band:

Then, oddly enough, the collaborative album Jolyon did in 1980 reverted completely to Irish folk and jigs, giving up completely the progressive spirit.

Saturday 19 June 2021

Back to Carsten Bohn's Bandstand with the Brandnew Oldies Volume 1 (limited time only)


I didn't think this would be worth hearing, but I was dead wrong.  It sounds like typical late 70s fusion music, all instrumental, clearly originally written as soundtrack music.  As a result the music is very smooth, occasionally a little too repetitive and generic.  You might recall I posted Carsten Bohn's seventies albums here earlier, which I really love.  First track from the first volume:

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