Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Solid Ground - My Solid Ground (1971)
"A little known hard rock and psychedelic band, who just made the one album, My Solid Ground were amongst the most obscure of acts on Bacillus Records, but these days they are much better known amongst Krautrock aficionados.

The band originated in 1968 from the town Rüsselheim, with the line-up: Willy Waid (drums), Uli Weyrauch (bass) and Bernhard Rendel (guitars, vocals). Establishing themselves as a psychedelic hard-rock band, unbefitting their name they were never a solid or stable band, with one Werner Geilenkirchen playing bass for a year before being replaced by Karl-Heinrich Dörfler. Gelling the sound proper was Ingo Werner on keyboards, however it seems that he kept leaving the band and returning. Various early demos and sessions (a whole albums worth) can be heard now on the Second Battle CD reissue of their sole LP release MY SOLID GROUND, showing their roots and diversity of invention.

The LP itself is most notable for the tracks that feature keyboardist Ingo Werner, like the opening cosmic kind of Thirsty Moon-like opus "Dirty Yellow Mist" (a Krautrock classic) and the disturbingly sinister "Executioner" amongst them. Most of the rest of the album was more typical Teutonic hard-rock of the era, but with an inventive flair, a few surprises notably, and a nod in the direction of Guru Guru. A schizophrenic album maybe, but such variety also makes it unique.

Scarcely two months after recording the LP, the quartet went to Baden-Baden's SWF radio to record a unique and remarkable session that showed the band advancing in leaps and bounds. The session, all instrumental by the way, consisted of four pieces that totally mix-up every My Solid Ground style into what often sounds like classic early Gila, with swirly keyboards and sizzling guitar, with nods to both classical rock and Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive".

Werner, Dörfler and Würsching, it seems, had all left the band before the album was released, and thus Rendel brought in Bodo Gross (drums) and Günther Mildenberger (keyboards) and My Solid Ground continued at least until 1974, though never made a further album. Early members: Waid and Geilenkirchen later formed the hard-rock band Indianapolis. Werner formed the experimental band Baba Yaga, who made two albums, and later worked in the computer music trio A.I.R.. Bernhard Rendel is still active as a musician today, and a collection of his current "one man band" demos are used to fill-up the SWF Radio session disc." (Crack in the Cosmic Egg)

Dirty Yellow Mist
Flash Part IV
That's You
The Executioner
Handful Of Grass
Devonshire Street W1
Flash (original full length version)
The Executioner (different mix)
Handful Of Grass (different mix)
That's You (different mix)
Dirty Yellow Mist (different vocals)

Bernhard Rendel - Guitars, Vocals
Karl-Heinrich Dörfler - Bass, Vocals
Andreas Würsching - Drums, Percussion
Ingo Werner - Organ, Piano

Not my rip - EAC-SEPARATE FLACS-LOG.CUE.ARTWORK - thanks to original uploader

Part 1__Part 2__Part 3__Part 4__Part 5__Part 6

Monday, January 19, 2009

Arktis - On The Rocks (1976)
"It is the year 1976, and Arktis is dead!...or not? No, Arktis is still alive! First of all we had to digest the departure of Klaus Blachut and Klaus Göllner, do you remember? And then there was the question how to go on. Karin and Harry sat together making plans to continue the success story of Arktis without their guitarist and bassist. Harry recalled the time before Arktis existed and he remembered Manni with whom he had sessioned for some time and who might look for an engagement. He asked Manni, Manni was looking for an engagement and joined on guitar. Two other musicians could be found, and off we went...Apart from these necessary personnel changes we decided to use new techniques planning to record a new album which should be a direct musical follow-up to out debut album. Supported again by Conny Plank who had produced several of Arktis' songs in the past we are proud to present the song material of our third album of which all participants think it's our best. A Hammond organ for example was added to all songs on the LP. We also took much more time in the studio than before as can be valued by the songs' compact structures. Their psychedelic and underground feeling is influenced by our new guitarist Manni whose idols are Cream and Hendrix. While doing her vocal parts Karin did not think of the studio but emotions, blue spirit. All other band members submitted, fine...Last but not least we'd like to point out that once more we succeeded in performing a twenty minute song which was tough work ... We hope with this album to meet our fans' demand and hereby pronounce that we have already started working on album number four..." (Liner Notes)
"Enchanting 70s' heavy metal from Germany. On the Rocks was recorded in 1976. Although featuring simple melodies and not straight progressive metal with complex arrangements, such as, say, Rush, Arktis' sound is interesting for two reasons.

The first reason is that their powerful guitar playing sounds Iron Maiden-esque for a mid 70s band and catches the attention at once. The second reason is that the voice of Karin is both very powerful and enchanting and sounds androgynous, which give the tracks a feel of fairy-tales. The highlight here is Loneliness, a beautiful powerful epic lasting 20 minutes. The tune is both heavy blues and melancholic passages in the vein of Pink Floyd. The doomy bonus track Y.T.T is reminiscent of Black Sabbath and really rocks !

Arktis's On the Rocks is an album which with you can easily imagine knights fighting on the landscape drawn on the cover while listening to the music. It's a pity they only made a few albums. Very enjoyable and accessible album. To all heavy and progressive metal lovers!" (Modrigue,

1. Dangerous Love (4:31)
2. Since You've Been Gone (5:35)
3. Never Come Back (5:00)
4. Please, Call Me (5:26)
5. Loneliness (20:01)
Bonus track:
6. Y.T.T. (5:57)

Karin Toppig / vocals
Harry Kottek / drums
Manni Dick / guitar
Axel Maurer / keyboards
Bernd Kolf / bass


Part 1__Part 2__Part 3__Part 4

Monday, January 12, 2009

Richard Thompson - Henry The Human Fly (1972)
"Fans and critics alike seemed to have a difficult time getting a handle on Thompson's new direction, which, for the most part, eschews the electric guitar that had been an integral part of the British folk-rock he had helped forge with his former band Fairport Convention. With the exception of a couple of short instrumental breaks and various electric shadings, Thompson's Stratocaster defers to accordions, fiddles, whistles, dulcimers, harps, and his own acoustic guitar. The songs, which are more idiosyncratic than his Fairport output, are the primary focus. Cuts such as "The Poor Ditching Boy," "The New St. George," and "The Old Changing Way" have the timelessness of the best traditional material Fairport had been mining in the past, while "Roll Over Vaughn Williams," with its swirling electric guitar, and the accordion and electric guitar interplay of the folk-rocker "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away" are prime examples of Thompson's vision of fusing the old and the new. At the time of its release, Henry the Human Fly, with its fresh, yet eccentric take on folk and rock, along with tales of "poor ditching boys," racehorses, tinkers, "painted ladies," and weddings where "nobody's wed" was not a fashionable record, but like the bulk of Richard Thompson's work, it transcends times and trends. Linda Peters (Thompson), Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings, and John Kirkpatrick guest." (Brett Hartenbach, All Music Guide)
"It's not often the UK produces an artist of such calibre. Obviously, these days, we can look back at the career of Richard Thompson and trace it through classic albums, both solo and with Linda/Fairport. ‘Henry The Human Fly’ isn’t quite where it all started, that would be Fairport, yet this is indeed the solo debut by Richard Thompson, guitar player extraordinaire. The vocals of Richard Thompson are fairly tentative across the LP, it seems like he knows what he needs to do vocally but doesn’t have the confidence or assurance to pull it off. Still, although the sound of the LP is fairly low-key and Thompson’s own performances hardly place him in the ranks of ‘entertainer’, actor, dancer or comedian…. even at this early stage in his career, he was already an artiste. The songs are great, the songs are key. ‘Henry The Human Fly’, doesn’t quite maintain it’s quality throughout, but there are certainly choice cuts dotted around the LP. Three or four tunes which appear towards the start of the LP are actually among the finest things the man has ever written/recorded. The ‘loss’ of this album over the years, now finally re-mastered and reissued, contributed towards it’s often overlooked status in the Richard Thompson discography. The deeply strange title and artwork would have hardly helped either, Richard stood up wearing a giant fly head. Still, let’s assume for a moment you know absolutely nothing about Richard Thompson. I’ll explain very simply what he’s like, sounds like. I’ll do all of this assuming this is his only album. I’m not about to produce a biography for him, you see.

I’ve already mentioned his slightly nervous/tentative vocals here. That’s certainly true, yet paying attention you can hear things almost falling into place and Richard almost coming across as a very emotive singer. His voice sounds like a folk singers voice, I guess. Not especially like Bob Dylan’s, yet slightly rough around the edges and sounding slightly lived in, despite his young years at the time. Musically, Richard’s guitar parts are always going beyond the minimum the songs generally require, but he never self-indulgently goes off on a needless solo. He never show-boats here, the parts simply fit the songs and they’ve been played extremely well. In addition to guitar, we’ve a solid if unspectacular rhythm section and other instrumentation such as piano, flute and accordion. Overall, the album fits more into the singer/songwriter mode than it does folk/rock and we’ve actually got a pretty varied set of tunes.

Folk and folk/rock? One of the folkiest moments here is certainly the marvellous ‘Nobody's Wedding’, the little accordion break in the middle gives the tune a happy blast, it’s also a lyrically clever song. Elsewhere, we’ve a couple of traditional interpretations, yet the main thrust of the record is Thompson’s own compositions. ‘Roll Over Vaughn Williams’, ‘Shaky Nancy’, ‘Nobody’s Wedding and ‘Angels Took My Racehorse Away’ are all particularly excellent tunes. ‘Roll Over Vaughn Williams’ showcases the Thompson guitar very well, ‘Shaky Nancy’ is an unassuming, seemingly repetitive song, yet has an addictive allure. ‘Angels Took My Racehorse Away’ is just hugely entertaining and accomplished pop/rock. Pop music in an alternate universe, where talent such as Thompson’s is rewarded with both sales and acclaim. Yeah, ‘Henry The Human Fly’ tails off a little towards the end, although 'Painted Ladies' and 'Wheely Down' are both excellent. No, it’s not quite a masterpiece, but as a debut LP, works extremely well and deserves more attention than it gets." (

1. "Roll Over Vaughan Williams" – 4:09
2. "Nobody’s Wedding" – 3:13
3. "The Poor Ditching Boy" – 3:01
4. "Shaky Nancy" – 3:26
5. "The Angels Took My Racehorse Away" – 4:01
6. "Wheely Down" – 3:00
7. "The New St. George" – 2:08
8. "Painted Ladies" – 3:31
9. "Cold Feet" – 2:26
10. "Mary and Joseph" – 1:38
11. "The Old Changing Way" – 3:55
12. "Twisted" – 1:58

Richard Thompson – guitar, vocals, accordion, mandolin
Timi Donald – drums, vocals
Pat Donaldson – bass guitar, vocals
David Snell – harp
Jeff Cole – trombone
John Defereri – tenor saxophone
Clay Toyani – trumpet
Sue Draheim – fiddle
Barry Dransfield – fiddle
John Kirkpatrick – accordion
Andy Roberts – dulcimer
Sandy Denny – piano, vocals
Linda Peters – vocals
Ashley Hutchings – vocals


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