Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guru Guru - Essen 1970
This is an awesome live recording by the best Guru Guru lineup - Ax Genrich on guitar, Mani Neumier on drums, and Uli Trepte on bass. On the short side, only about 38 minutes, that's the only thing wrong with this. The three tunes are from their first two albums, "UFO" and "Hinten". Garden of Delights release with huge booklet. Man these guys were great, highly recommended if you like Guru Guru. Maybe even if you don't!

1. Stone In 12:00
2. Der LSD-Marsch 14:22
3. Bo Diddley 11:27


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Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Shiver - Walpurgis (1969)
"Cult underground psychedelic 60's legends from Switzerland related to Toad, Brainticket, Deaf, and Les Sauterilles . This is their one and only album from 1969, containing a wide range of psychedelic and progressive styles. With dark passions and melancholic moods "Hey Mr Holy Man" is outstanding.Contains 3 bonus tracks. Sinister artwork illustration is the first record cover work of H.R. Giger." (Freak Emporium)
"The Shiver were very much a mystery band, until recently, when all was revealed. They were Swiss, formed in May 1967 by blues singer (and guitarist) Dany Rühle, and were originally called Der Seiger. They were the roots of Island, via another band called Deaf. In January 1969 they recorded their sole self-produced album, which sported a sinister H.R. Giger cover, contained a wide range of psychedelic and progressive styles. Crudely recorded, and often shoddily played, it seemed to be an anthology recorded over a much longer period. The Shiver were nonetheless constantly surprising. A curious point is that the track "Hey Mr. Holy Man", a version of "Dies Irae", is very close to the version by Golgatha! Apparently the single was a big seller in the "Schweizer Hitparade". (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg)
"Official reissue of the one and only album (1969) by Swiss underground cult legends; a heavy album, covering a variety of crude and sloppy psychedelic styles, and one of the rarest in the world, thanks very much in part to its sinister and sexually explicit H. R Giger cover; this issue has three bonus tracks, two from a rare compilation LP, and one from an even rarer split single from 1968." (Bomp!)
"The Shiver are for sure the most renowned psychedelic band of Switzerland. Their one and only LP "Walpurgis" is legendary and hardly affordable. So, evidently, a lot of bootleg versions appeared on the market over the years, but all of them very poorly done. The CD on Garden of Delights is produced, as usual, with a detailed band story, a lot of illustrations, a detailed discography inclusive label and cover repros, and, last but not least, three bonus tracks. Two of those are taken from the very rare compilation "1. Schweizer Rhythm and Blues Festival". The early version of "Repent Walpurgis" comes from a so-called split single from 1968, where you can find The Etc on its flip side. Thus, the complete released works of The Shiver can be found on this CD. The fold-out cover artwork designed by HR Giger was taken over unchanged." (

1. Repent Walpurgis
2. Ode To The Salvation Army
3. Leave This Man Alone
4. What's Wrong About The Blues
5. Hey Mr. Holy Man
6. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
7. No Time
8. The Peddle
9. You Don't Love Me
10. Hear My Plea
11. Repent Walpurgis

Dany Rühle - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Jelly Pastorini - Organ, Piano
Mario Conza - Bass, Flute, Vocals
Roger Maurer - Drums, Vocals
Peter Robinson - Lead Vocals


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See you in a couple weeks!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Zabu - My Coffin's Ready (1972)
Lucien Zabuski "ZABU" was the original singer for French band Magma, however he quit the band before Magma made their first album. On this record, his first solo album, he is helped out by some of his Magma buddies, and other players who apparently were the cream of the crop of French rock musicians. Despite the fact that a lot of the players are obviously part of the Zeuhl universe, it is clear that Zabu's musical preference is blues based rock, because this is a French blues album! The music is not what you would call prog, but is progressive in the way that Captain Beefheart's Magic Band was progressive. Bluesy Beefheart lite. Zabu's rough, spirited vocals hold sway all over some great playing on the seven tracks of this album. Is this a masterpiece, or a historical curiosity? Check it out!

1 - Yellow Girl
2 - Doctor Moonshine
3 - Coffin's Ready
4 - Subversion Blues
5 - Informer Blues
6 - Silent Angel
7 - Ice-Pick Blues

Zabu - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Dominique Frideloux - Guitars
Marc Perru - Guitars
Lahouari Benne Djadi - Electric Piano, Backing Vocals
Francis Moze - Piano
Edouard Magnani - Bass
Richard Siltich - Bass
Michel Santangelli - Drums
Christian Vander - Drums
B.B. Brutus - Drums
Teddy Lasry - Saxophone, Organ
Jeff Seffer - Saxophone
Eric Langeberteaux - Flute
Serge Grünberg - Backing Vocals


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See ya, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

John Kay - Forgotten Songs And Unsung Heroes + My Sportin' Life (1972-1973)
"John Kay's distinctive voice cut through radio with hits like Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born to Be Wild." But on this LP there is none of the menacing growl found on his version of "The Pusher." What you will find here is Hank Williams' classic "You Win Again" with Kent Henry on simulated steel guitar, Hugh O'Sullivan on electric piano, George Biondo on bass, and the drummer from Lou Reed's Rock & Roll Animal band, Pentti "Whitey" Glan. The album was produced by the great Richard Podolor, who brought listeners Hoyt Axton and Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World." There is no Hoyt Axton here, but there are tunes by Richard Farina, Robert Johnson, Hank Snow, Patrick Sky, and the aforementioned Hank Williams, along with four Kay originals. To hear Kay droning "Christ will be our darling, and fear will be our name" on Farina's "Bold Marauder" is pretty chilling. Henry's acoustic guitar takes a back seat to Kay's dulcimer, and producer Podolor is on jaw bone and tambourine. This is a serious attempt by Kay to break away from the hard rock persona he established with Steppenwolf. That he pulls it off is impressive. Two years prior to this, John Phillips had a Top 40 hit with "Mississippi" on this same label, Dunhill, so it's not like the elements weren't in place for the lead vocalist from a superstar act to branch out. It's just that a six-minute composition like Kay's "Two of a Kind" was not going to get substantial AM radio airplay. Having Podolor perform on mandolin and organ with Kay providing vocals and guitar suggests that they were having fun more than looking for a hit single. If country radio had a tough time accepting Olivia Newton John, well, Steppenwolf's lead vocalist was not about to cross over as quickly as Brenda Lee. With just Biondo on bass and himself on harp and bottleneck guitar, Kay delivers a great version of Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues." This album is not what you'd expect, and that's part of what's so special about it. When Grace Slick does her own version of the Starship's No Protection on her Software album (and should be commended for such a bold move) and when Neil Young gives the world Trans, they shake things up. John Kay was not a star on the same level as Slick and Young, which makes his leap all the more admirable. The best track on this excellent album just may be Kay's own composition "Somebody," featuring the full band and gospel-style vocals from Marsha Jo Temmer, Joan Sliwin, and Alexandra Sliwin. Hank "Singing Ranger" Snow's "I'm Movin' On" comes as close to Steppenwolf as this album gets. Kay says that his version is closer to Ray Charles than Snow, but this track gives the artist and his fans that trademark snarl and a nice dark production. At three minutes and ten seconds, and with the nick of Three Dog Night's song "Liar" at the beginning, it's too bad radio didn't pick up on this fine work." (Joe Viglione, All Music Guide)

1. Many a Mile
2. Walk Beside Me
3. You Win Again
4. To Be Alive
5. Bold Marauder
6. Two of a Kind
7. Walkin' Blues
8. Somebody
9. I'm Movin' On
10. Moonshine (Friend of Mine)
11. Nobody Lives Here Anymore
12. Drift Away
13. Heroes and Devils
14. My Sportin' Life
15. Easy Evil
16. Giles of the River
17. Dance to My Song
18. Sing with the Children


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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mon Dyh - Murderer (1980)
"Murderer" is the first of three great albums that German group Mon Dyh released in the early eighties. Despite searching I have been unable to find out much about them on line. The liner notes look informative, but unfortunately (for me) they are in German. All I could get was this brief write-up in "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg":

"An obscure Berlin rock band, formed in 1979, and regulars on the local club scene for some years. Mon Dyh were very indebted to British styled blues and heavy rock, strongly song-saturated, in the early Groundhogs territory. Still unusual on occasion, and with some progressive touches, their gruff German accented Bruce Springsteen cum Tony McPhee styled vocalist takes some getting used to!"

Despite being called obscure, the photo below shows them playing in front of a huge-ass crowd! Yet they seem to have been all but forgotten! And in spite of the tepid comment from Cosmic Egg, I think that these Mon Dyh albums are nearly flawless. Everything about them is great - the songs, the musicianship, the production. The biggest improvement they could have made would have been to sing in German, which they finally did on their best and final album, "Am Galgen".

And guitarist and main songwriter Andreas Pröhl is probably the best unknown German rock guitarist of the 1980's. This is a real good album and I wish I had the skills to write a glowing review, but I don't so I just hope some of you will try it out.Tracklist:
1. Don't You Break My Heart
2. Murderer
3. Trying
4. Magic Piano
5. Just A Minute
6. A Needle Must Not Lay Down
7. One Second Man
8. Encountered The Edge
9. All Along The Watchtower
10. Have You Ever Loved A Woman

Andreas Pröhl - Vocals, Guitar
Harald Künemund - Acoustic Guitar
Harald Frohloff - Bass
Markus Worbs - Drums


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Monday, December 01, 2008

Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band - No Roses (1971)
"When this album was first released in 1971, it was regarded as adventurous, combining a traditional English singer with 25 musicians, some from a folk background, other from the fields of contemporary rock and early music. It was an experiment which grew into a triumph, and sprang from the talents of Shirley Collins and Ashley Hutchings, both pioneers of their own right, in the first year of their marriage. Shirley, widely regarded as the doyenne of English traditional folk singers, had recorded her first album in 1959 for the highly respected American Folkways label, and subsequent albums were regarded as milestones, notably Folk Roots, New Routes made in 1964 with guitarist Davy Graham and Anthems in Eden, made with her sister Dolly in 1969 - the first album to unite traditional songs with early instruments, under the musical direction of David Monrow. Ashley Hutchings, a founder member of Fairport Convention, had left that pioneering band at the end of 1969, after recording Fairport's seminal Liege and Lief, and, still hooked on traditional music, had then launched Steeleye Span.

No Roses was the album they made together, and Shirley still remembers it with pleasure: “It was my first venture into folk/rock and I suppose initially I didn't think my voice was right for it. Whatever accompaniments I've used, I've always sung in my own style, my natural singing voice, which is an extension of my speech. So it was the arrangements that overlaid the songs that gave the record it folk/rock feel. I've always been willing to experiment providing I believe I can keep the integrity of the music intact. That's paramount. I have a great love of English traditional music, and along with it a great respect for those people of the labouring classes who kept the songs going through the centuries as their only means of expressing themselves. It is an extraordinary feat, especially as many of them were illiterate. They've never been given enough credit or respect for their art. Instead, they've been scorned, despised and largely ignored. It's one reason why I've always named my sources. I trust that No Roses had that integrity, as well as strength and beauty in some of the arrangements and a great sense of fun and charm in others.”

Looking at No Roses with the benefit of hindsight, one presumes that Ashley and Sandy (Roberton, co-producer with Hutchings) were determined to make an epic album. “No, we didn't set out with that intention, but as the album progressed, the possibilities of what we could do became more and more apparent. At the start we didn't anticipate having 26 musicians on it, but that's how it finally turned out. There was never any conflict between the Fairport people and the other musicians. They were open-minded and interested in what others were doing anyway, and there was certainly a good feeling in the studio (Sound Techniques). The place was full of people who kept dropping in and staying on and asking to play on songs - just happy to be there. Nobody seemed baffled by what anyone else was doing, just a bit bemused perhaps by the variety of esoteric instruments that were coming in and out of the studio.”

“The critical reaction was pretty good - on the whole! One or two snipers, of course.” No Roses marked the debut of The Albion Country Band. The Albion Band continues to be the name used by bands led by Ashley Hutchings, although it was a name coined for use on this album. “We realised that with all those musicians it would probably be a good idea to give them a collective name and that was the one we came up with.”

So why was there never a second album? “I had two children from my first marriage, and we'd all moved to Etchingham in the Sussex countryside. I'd been touring all my singing life, away from home too much, and I wanted to be with Polly and Robert more, so I let my own career slip a bit, for the best of reasons. Ashley had formed a touring bend with the first of many line-ups and used the Albion name, and all our efforts went into trying to keep that going. When Ashley and I eventually parted, he took the Albion Band with him. No Roses stayed with me.” (Tony Rees, liner notes)
"Shirley Collins' collaboration with the Albion Country Band for No Roses is considered a major event in the history of British folk and British folk-rock. For it was the first time that Collins, roundly acknowledged as one of the best British traditional folk singers, sang with electric accompaniment, and indeed one of the first times that a British traditional folk musician had "gone electric" in the wake of Dave Swarbrick joining Fairport Convention and Martin Carthy joining Steeleye Span. The album itself doesn't sound too radical, however. At times it sounds something like Fairport Convention with Shirley Collins on lead vocals, which is unsurprising given the presence of Ashley Hutchings on all cuts but one, and Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol on most of the selections (Dave Mattacks plays drums on a few tracks for good measure). The nine songs are almost wholly traditional tunes with Collins' arrangements, with perhaps a jauntier and folkier mood than that heard in early-'70s Fairport, though not much. It's more impressive for Collins' always tasteful smoky vocals than for the imagination of the material, which consolidates the sound of the more traditional wing of early-'70s British folk-rock." (

Shirley Collins, vocals;
Ashley Hutchings, electric bass [1-7,9], percussion [7];
Richard Thompson, electric guitar [1,5,6,7,9], lead electric guitar [4], slide electric guitar [8], acoustic 12 string guitar [3];
Simon Nicol, electric guitar [1,2,4,9], acoustic guitar [3,5,6], vocal chorus [8];
Dave Mattacks, drums [4,9], sticks [2];
Ian Whiteman, piano [1,5];
Roger Powell, drums [1,2,5-8];
Tim Renwick, electric guitar [4], acoustic 12 string guitar [7];
Lol Coxhill, alto saxophone [1];
Maddy Prior, vocal harmony [6];
Dave Bland, concertina [1,5,6,9], hammered dulcimer [2,8];
Tony Hall, melodeon [2,8];
John Kirkpatrick, accordion [3];
Dolly Collins, piano [3,9];
Nic Jones, vocals and last fiddle solo [4];
Barry Dransfield, fiddle [4], vocal chorus [8];
Francis Baines, hurdy gurdy [4];
Alan Cave, bassoon [1];
Alan Lumsden, ophicleide [5];
Steve Migden, French horn [7];
Colin Ross, Northumbrian small pipes [5];
Royston Wood, vocal [7], vocal chorus [8];
Lal and Mike Waterson, vocals [7];
Gregg Butler, serpent [8];
Trevor Cozier, Jew's harp [8]

1. Claudy Banks
2. Little Gypsy Girl
3. Banks Of The Bann
4. Murder Of Maria Marten
5. Van Dieman's Land
6. Just As The Tide Was A 'Flowing
7. White Hare
8. Hal An Tow
9. Poor Murdered Woman


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Cheerio! See ya!!