Friday, August 04, 2006

Titus Groan - Titus Groan (1970)

Not quite a "masterpiece," but almost. Titus Groan were an early (they formed sometime in 1969 and released their only album and single in 1970) art rock/ progressive band who sounded uncannilly like a cross between Czar without the mellotron and The Move circa Message From The Country with a bit of Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure. This means high energy melodic songs with lots of guitars. sax, vocal harmonies, and great percussion work/drumming. There's occasional organ and electric piano, but mainly a much earlier guitar battling with flute, sax, and oboe sound. The first song "It Wasn't For You" is very bluesy and grooves along with a restrained hard edge. The vocal sounds eerily like Ian Anderson and this is true for the lead vocals for the whole album. I have no idea which of the four band members took care of lead voice, but he has a great one and if you love Tull (I do) you'll love this. The guitar, which is strong and confident, also brings to mind that group, while the bass and percussion have a jazzier approach like Cream or King Crimson. The hard hitting attack balanced with good melodies always reminded me of Czar, and that can only be good. Every song is excellent. The only problem is a "rushed" quality that leaves me salivating for more. It sounds like Titus Groan were a confident band who hurried into a studio and gave it their very best and succeeded in making a fantastic album. (


The Rolling Stones - The Chess Sessions (1964-1965)

"2120 South Michigan Avenue" - the song's title is an homage to hallowed ground - it is the street address of Chess Studios, where many of the band's R & B idols had recorded. After a disappointing first half of their inaugural American tour, the Stones were brought to Chicago for these sessions. The first day, June 10, the Stones were thrilled by the appearance of several visitord in the studio - Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon. When the band arrived the next day, none other than Muddy Waters helped them lug guitars and amps into the studio, and stayed around to chat with the boys, who were astonished by the whole experience." (Back Cover) This is a great boot of the Stones doing some fantastic versions of their early Rhythm and Blues material. 26 tracks.

Part 1 Part 2

Gun - Gun (1968)

Gun was a part of the first wave of British hard rock, the wave that brought us bands like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. While lacking the star quality of Clapton Hendrix, guitarist Adrian Gurvitz was a dang fine player in his own right. The hard rock on this album has some psychedelic/progressive crossover, and will appeal to fans of late 60's and early 70's hard rock.


Amon Düül II - Tanz Der Lemminge (1971)

Amon Düül II's third album, following "Phallus Dei" and "Yeti" is probably the crowning jewel in their discography. This is some kind of milestone in psychedelic/ progressive rock. No krautrock fan should be without this and I highly recommend buying the CD . My rip @ 320.

Part 1 Part 2

Jimmy Page - Lucifer Rising Soundtrack (1972)

Jimmy Page was hired by underground film-maker Kenneth Anger to do the score for his short film "Lucifer Rising", but Anger fired Page after three years for not being dedicated enough or something. Anger then hired Manson family associate Bobby Beausoleil, who recorded a brilliant soundtrack for the film - while he was in prison for murder. Anyway, this is some eerie sounding stuff, very ethereal and spooky. Never officially released, I have heard though that bits were used in Page's soundtrack for the film "Death Wish III"!!. I think the sound quality might be a bit lacking, but what the hell! This is pretty cool stuff. (vinyl ripped and cover art created by Lord Cornelius Plum)


Ashra - Dream And Desire (1977)

Dream & Desire belongs more with the Virgin Years era. It's not easy to relate it to New Age of Earth or Blackouts, since is has its own unique atmosphere. The compositions on Dream And Desire are Manuel Gottsching in his most sublime and contemplative style, words that could describe it: flowing, moody, gentle, peaceful, comforting. It lacks the agressiveness of Blackouts or Belle Alliance, it's way too gentle, but that's what makes Dream And Desire so special: take the best peaceful moments in New Age of Earth, and then multiply it by a 100, that's how Dream And Desire feels.

One track that could resemble Dream And Desire in its effectiveness is perhaps Ultramarine on the The Best of The Private Tapes sampler. The use of electronics and sequencers in Dream And Desire is more prominent than Ultramarine, and with sound textures that should satsify fans of the 70's analog music (VC3 synthesizer is used heavily). But at the end, the beef is in the music, and it is lovely.

IMHO, I think Dream & Desire is a signature album by Manuel Gottsching, one of his best and perhaps his most personal. Highly recommended.
(Sufian Irhimeh, Belgium)


Asterix - Asterix (1971)

Asterix was a German band that put out this one album, then added singer John Lawton and changed their name to Lucifer's Friend. This is some real good early 70's hard rock, though without the experimentation and progressive leanings that marked Lucifer's Friend's early albums.


Benny Goodman - The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

How about something a little different? This is the entire concert, featuring various small groups, ensembles, and of course the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Possibly the best live recording from the swing era. This version of the BG Orchestra has got some of the greatest musicians of all time - Harry James. Count Basie. Teddy Wilson. Lionel Hampton. Gene Krupa. Cootie Williams. Bobby Hackett. Lester Young. And others! Vocals by Liltin' Martha Tilton. Highlight is the 12-minute version of "Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing) on disc 2 in which pianist Jess Stacy delivers what surely must be one of the great solos of all time. He tinkles out some seemingly off-the-wall figures with Gene Krupa pulsing and pounding underneath, then the band explodes into the chorus. I mean it's kinda awesome. Note: there is some slight surface noise, and some light crackling and popping - this is in the source material. My rip @ 320.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Pink Floyd - Pompeii 7-10-71

Great Pink Floyd bootleg @ 320

1. Pompeii Intro
2. Echoes (Part 1)
3. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
4. A Saucerful Of Secrets
5. One Of These Days
6. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
7. Mademoiselle Nobs
8. Echoes (Part 2)

Part 1 Part 2

Nektar - Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (1971)

"Although my mind is gently weeping" cries Nektar from their absolutely stunning Kraut-Rock'ish materpiece of 1971. Journey is just that and lands with perfection in my opinion carrying some of Nektar most treasured musical moments. Journey is in a slightly different vein from later Nektar albums, delivering more of a psychedelic/underground flavour. Journey is a wonderful conceptual work of art which really feels like you are on a journey to the centre of an eye. As usual musicanship and song writing is superb with a nice compliment of instruments including the beloved Mellotron! Journey has amazing guitar playing on it throughout and I love the spacey grooves that they get into....some very memorable treasures here. Countenance is the 3rd tracks and in my opinion is one of the greatest prog rock pieces they ever wrote! In my opinion Journey is essential progressive rock.....(wonderful world of progressive rock)