A.O.O.F.C
recommends
Mizar6

babydancing




Get this crazy baby off my head!

APOLOGIES

Sorry about not re-posting. I've an illness in my family, but I will reply to all ASAP. For the time being, my beautiful friend, Eva is helping me out. Thank you for your understanding...Paul

31.5.11

Bobby Radcliff



Bobby Radcliff - Dresses Too Short - 1989 - Black Top Records

"...the return of of guitarist Bobby Radcliff as a recording artist is a cause for celebration. Radcliff, one of the most underrecognized players on the scene, is a phenomenally gifted musician whose soulful delivery, funky picking, and sparse, stinging West Side sound (as personified by his hero Magic Sam) is distinctive and eleltrifying." - Hal Horowitz in Blues Revue

Bobby Radcliff turns in a tight, tough update of Magic Sam-style Chicago blues with Dresses Too Short. The songs are either too familiar or a weak approximation of the genre, but the playing throughout is terrific -- his guitar playing is alternately subtle and ferocious. Best of all is the handful of tracks cut with Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters who spur Radcliff on to his best performances. © Thom Owens © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/dresses-too-short-r89397

"FIVE STARS!...Not since Stevie Ray Vaughan's first set has there been such a smashing bow by a blues-rock guitarist." - "downbeat" magazine

A great Texas/Chicago style blues album by the unheralded Maryland born blues guitarist, Bobby Radcliff. Andy Glass, in The Music Paper said that "Conventional musicritese - scorching, blistering, pyrotechnical and all that jive - fails to convey the heat in these grooves. More than heat, this platter's got muscle. A tightly coiled, spiky, New York kinda muscle. It's a new kind of blues, daring, dangerous and devastating." Musicians on this album include Ron Levy on keys, Ronnie Earl on rhythm guitar, Steve Gomes on bass, and Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff on sax, who was also responsible for the horn arrangements. Buy Bobby's tremendous "There's a Cold Grave in Your Way" album and promote great blues

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Ugh! - Christian 3:39
2 Bonehead - B. Radcliff, R. Earl 3:10
3 Stick Around - G. Guy 3:34
4 You Haven't Hurt Me - Ron Levy 4:10
5 Going Home Tomorrow - Bartholomew, Domino 3:17
6 Next Woman I Marry - Trad. 2:46
7 Dresses Too Short - Syl Johnson 4:51
8 Keep Loving Me Baby - Otis Rush 4:15
9 Alimony Blues - F. Simon 2:34
10 Hard Road To Travel - Harris 5:00
11 Kool And The Gang - Kool & The Gang 3:56

MUSICIANS

Guitar, Vocals - Bobby Radcliff
Guitar [Rhythm] - Ronnie Earl (tracks: A2, A3)
Bass - David Hofstra (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5), Steve Gomes (tracks: A2, A3)
Organ, Piano - Ron Levy (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5)
Drums - Per Hanson (tracks: A2, A3), Richard "Dickie" Dworkin (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5)
Saxophone [Tenor] - Mr. Excello (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5), Saxy Boy (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5) [The Kamikaze Horns]
Saxophone [Tenor & Baritone]: Horn Arrangements - (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B1 - B5) - Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff [The Kamikaze Horns]

SHORT BIO

Although Bobby Radcliff has spent the last 25 years honing his craft in bars around his native Washington, D.C., and in New York City and Chicago, the 45-year-old guitarist, singer and songwriter is just now coming into his prime. Born September 22, 1951, Radcliff grew up in Bethesda, MD and had easy access to Washington, D.C. blues clubs, where he learned from people like Bobby Parker. Before graduating from high school, he'd already made several trips to Chicago to meet his idol, Magic Sam Maghett, owing to a small but growing blues club scene in Washington. Radcliff began playing when he was 12, and he started off taking classical guitar lessons. After his guitar teacher showed him some blues, he began buying every blues guitar album he could get his hands on. In 1977, Radcliff moved to New York City and worked in a bookstore by day until 1987, when he realized he was making enough money playing in clubs to give up his day job. Since he hooked up his recording deal with BlackTop Records, Radcliff has toured the U.S., Canada and Europe more than a dozen times, and his fiery guitar playing is always a festival crowd-pleaser. Parker has three excellent albums out on the BlackTop label that showcase his songwriting, guitar playing and soulful singing. They include his debut, Dresses Too Short (1989), Universal Blues (1991) and There's a Cold Grave in Your Way (1994). Collectors will seek out his 1985 vinyl release, Early in the Morning, on the A-Okay label. © Richard Skelly © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bobby-radcliff-p498/biography

MORE

When BOBBY RADCLIFF’s first album on the revered Black Top label hit record stores all over the world, critics declared him the next in a long line of guitar heroes. Jazz-lovers awarded him a coveted five-star review in downbeat, New York rockers took him to heart for his edgy energy, and blues fans everywhere knew their favorite music was alive and well. Long before all that, it was the time he spent in the sixties with “Magic Sam” Maghett that bound him forever to the raucous mixture of deep blues and flashy funk that defined the sound of Chicago’s West Side. After running away from a suburban childhood in Chevy Chase, Maryland, at the tender age of seventeen Bobby sought out the guitar master who had changed his life on record. With the help of Bob Koester, Bruce Iglauer, and Jim O’Neal (the blues trinity at Chicago’s legendary Record Mart), he found his idol in Cook County Hospital recovering from a minor stroke. Although he was a little shocked that anyone would come so far simply to meet him, Sam took Bobby under his wing and introduced him to the Chicago blues scene at the peak of the blues renaissance.“Seeing Sam perform was like watching Elvis. He had that total kind of style and magnetism… beyond musical genre and beyond race,” Radcliff remembers. “He showed me the way to sing in a clear concise way, with a crisp and clean sound on the guitar. And then there’s the freedom of working in a trio, but also the risks. Don’t forget, these were the days of Cream and Hendrix, with tons of distortion alternating with lavish studio production. I wanted something different!” By the release of “Dresses Too Short” in 1989, Bobby was already a twenty-year veteran of the club circuits in Washington, DC and New York City. He had shared the stage with the likes of Otis Rush, Roy Buchanan, James Cotton, Danny Gatton, Lowell Fulsom, and Dr.John. In the nineties, three more brilliant albums followed on Black Top Records: “Universal Blues” (1991), “There’s A Cold Grave In Your Way” (1994), and “Live At The Rynborn” (1997). With the label based in New Orleans, Bobby also had the further pleasure of touring with more of his idols, label-mates like Snooks Eaglin, Earl King, and George Porter, Jr. Unhappily, Black Top founder Nauman Scott passed on in 2002, and the label never really recovered. As the rest of the record industry was racked with corporate consolidations, format-wars, and the hi-tech upheaval of the Internet, many artists have found themselves out in the cold. Bobby Radcliff made a choice: make your own records your own way on your own label, with no one to please but the fans. It’s out of this philosophy that Rollo Records was born, to provide a home for musicians too uncompromising, too challenging, and too kick-ass to either pigeon-hole or ignore. Combining vintage techniques and current technologies, we put the artists in the driver’s seat and hit “the highway to your soul.” “Natural Ball” is our first offering and one to make any label proud. © http://www.bobbyradcliff.com/bio.html

29.5.11

Procol Harum



Procol Harum - One Eye To The Future (Recorded Live In Italy 2007) - 2008 - Strongman Productions

"One Eye to the Future" was recorded in Turin and Schio, Italy on the 29th & 30th of November 2007 during PH's 40th anniversary tour, and contains two previously unreleased songs, "One Eye on the Future" and a cover of Blues Maceo Merriweather's "Worried Life Blues". The album is a 160 Kbps version, but sound is ok. This is high grade music from a legendary band and VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Info on the band's "One More Time (Live In Utrecht 1992)" can be found @ PROCH/1MT/LUTR The "Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" album is @ PROCH/LICwESO PH's "Home" album is @ PROCH/HME Search this blog for Gary Brooker releases

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1."Bringing Home the Bacon" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:50
2."Shine on Brightly" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:04
3."The VIP Room" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:57
4."Pandora's Box" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:45
5."Learn to Fly" (Brooker/Fisher/Reid) - 5:49
6."(You Can’t) Turn Back the Page" (Brooker/Noble/Reid) - 4:32
7."Homburg" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:21
8."Simple Sister" (Brooker/Reid) - 5:15
9."A Rum Tale" (Brooker/Reid) - 3:40
10."Grand Hotel" (Brooker/Reid) - 6:59
11."One Eye on the Future" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:34
12."Worried Life Blues" (Merriweather) - 4:38
13."Conquistador" (Brooker/Reid) - 4:38
14."An Old English Dream" (Brooker/Reid) - 5:00
15."A Whiter Shade of Pale" (Brooker/Fisher/Reid) - 5:36
16."Whisky Train" (Trower/Reid) - 9:03
17."A Salty Dog" (Brooker/Reid) - 5:32

Tracks 1 - 4, 6 - 10, 13 - 15, 17 recorded in Turin on 29th November 2007 : Tracks 5, 11, 12, 16 recorded in Schio on 30th November 2007

BAND

Geoff Whitehorn - guitar, backing vocals
Matt Pegg - bass guitar, backing vocals
Gary Brooker - keyboards, piano, vocals
Josh Phillips - Hammond organ, synthesiser
Geoff Dunn - drums

LINER NOTES

Procol Harum is a band that means many things, and even different things, to different people. It’s a band that writes innovative and emotional compositions, recorded beautifully on their studio albums. And it’s a band that performs this music with much power and brilliance in their concerts: a strong and rare combination. One Eye to the Future gives us this: fantastic songs with the added variation and energy only a first–class live band can give. This album was recorded in Italy at the end of Procol’s fortieth anniversary tour. The selected seventeen songs span their whole career, from their début single and its follow–up, Homburg, through nine of their eleven studio albums and on into One Eye on the Future, an unrecorded song only heard live in concerts. One Eye to the Future is not only an excellent live compilation of some of the band’s best music. It is also the first recording of the current line–up of musicians and, as with every version of the band, each player brings new life to the music, although it still has the perfect Procol Harum signature all over it. As such this album makes a good choice for both the occasional listener looking for a ‘best of’ compilation from the band, and also for the hard–core fan who will pore over the fine details and musical variants added by each musician. Listen to the unrehearsed jam of Worried Life Blues to hear the quality of musicianship and rapport the band members possess, and to Geoff Dunn’s excellent drum solo in Whisky Train – a solo that was extended because Gary Brooker, who often takes a break during drum solos, was late returning to the stage. You can just hear Geoff Whitehorn shouting “He’s not back yet!” Procol Harum have always been a superb live act, and One Eye to the Future sees the band in top form. Add this to a great selection of songs, and you may well be holding their best live recording on offer. This also marks Procol Harum’s first release of a ‘download only’ album, an indication that the band may well keep one eye on the past, but they are also looking excitingly to the future. Jens Anders Ravnaas, Kristiansand, Norway: September 2008 - [from http://www.procolharum.com/phalbum_one-eye-future_index.htm]

BIO

Procol Harum is arguably the most successful "accidental" group creation -- that is, a band originally assembled to take advantage of the success of a record created in the studio -- in the history of progressive rock. With "A Whiter Shade of Pale" a monster hit right out of the box, the band evolved from a studio ensemble into a successful live act, their music built around an eclectic mix of blues-based rock riffs and grand classical themes. With singer/pianist Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid providing the band's entire repertory, their music evolved in decidedly linear fashion, the only major surprises coming from the periodic lineup changes that added a new instrumental voice to the proceedings. At their most accessible, as on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Conquistador," they were one of the most popular of progressive rock bands, their singles outselling all rivals, and their most ambitious album tracks still have a strong following. Procol Harum's roots and origins are as convoluted as its success -- especially between 1967 and 1973 -- was pronounced. Pianist Gary Brooker (b. May 29, 1945, Southend, Essex, England) had formed a group at school called the Paramounts at age 14, with guitarist Robin Trower (b. Mar. 9, 1945, Southend, Essex) and bassist Chris Copping (b. Aug. 29, 1945 Southend, Essex), with singer Bob Scott and drummer Mick Brownlee. After achieving a certain degree of success at local youth clubs and dances, covering established rock & roll hits, Brooker took over the vocalist spot from the departed Scott, and the group continued working after its members graduated -- by 1962, they were doing formidable (by British standards) covers of American R&B, and got a residency at the Shades Club in Southend. Brownlee exited the band in early 1963 and was replaced by Barry J. (B.J.) Wilson (b. Mar. 18, 1947, Southend, Essex), who auditioned after answering an ad in Melody Maker. Nine months later, in September of 1963, bassist Chris Copping opted out of the professional musicians' corps to attend Leicester University, and he was replaced by Diz Derrick. The following month, the Paramounts demo record, consisting of covers of the Coasters' "Poison Ivy" and Bobby Bland's "Farther on up the Road," got them an audition at EMI. This resulted in their being signed to the Parlophone label, with their producer, Ron Richards, the recording manager best-known for his many years of work with the Hollies. The Paramounts' first single, "Poison Ivy," released in January of 1964, reached number 35 on the British charts. The group also got an important endorsement from the Rolling Stones, with whom they'd worked on the television show Thank Your Lucky Stars, who called the Paramounts their favorite British R&B band. Unfortunately, none of the group's subsequent Parlophone singles over the next 18 months found any chart success, and by mid-'66, the Paramounts had been reduced to serving as a backing band for popsters Sandy Shaw and Chris Andrews. In September of 1966, the Paramounts went their separate ways; Derrick out of the business, Trower and Wilson to gigs with other bands, and, most fortuitously, Gary Brooker decided to develop his career as a songwriter. This led Brooker into a partnership with lyricist Keith Reid (b. Oct. 19, 1945), whom he met through a mutual acquaintance, R&B impresario Guy Stevens. By the spring of 1967, they had a considerable body of songs prepared and began looking for a band to play them. An advertisement in Melody Maker led to the formation of a band initially called the Pinewoods, with Brooker as pianist/singer, Matthew Fisher (b. Mar. 7, 1946, Croydon, Surrey) on organ, Ray Royer (b. Oct. 8, 1945) on guitar, Dave Knights (b. June 28, 1945, London) on bass, and Bobby Harrison (b. June 28, 1943, London) on drums. Their first recording, produced by Denny Cordell, was of a piece of surreal Reid poetry called "A Whiter Shade Of Pale," which Brooker set to music loosely derived from Johann Sebastian Bach's Air on a G String from the Suite No. 3 in D Major. By the time this recording was ready for release, the Pinewoods had been rechristened Procol Harum, a name derived, as alternate stories tell it, either from Stevens' cat's birth certificate, Procol Harun, or the Latin "procul" for "far from these things" (hey, it was the mid-'60s, and either is possible). In early May of 1967, the group performed "A Whiter Shade of Pale" at the Speakeasy Club in London, while Cordell arranged for a release of the single on English Decca (London Records in America), on the companies' Deram label. Ironically, Cordell's one-time clients the Moody Blues were about to break out of a long commercial tail-spin on the very same label with a similar, classically-tinged pair of recordings, "Nights in White Satin" and "Days of Future Passed," and between the two groups and their breakthrough hits, Deram Records would be permanently characterized as a progressive rock imprint. Cordell had also sent a copy of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" to Radio London, one of England's legendary off-shore pirate radio stations (they competed with the staid BBC, which had the official broadcast monopoly, and were infinitely more beloved by the teenagers and most bands), which played the record. Not only was Radio London deluged with listener requests for more plays, but Deram suddenly found itself with orders for a record not scheduled for release for another month -- before May was half over, it was pushed up on the schedule and rushed into shops. Meanwhile, the prototypal Procol Harum made its concert debut in London opening for Jimi Hendrix at the Saville Theater on June 4, 1967. Four days later, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" reached the top of the British charts for the first of a six-week run in the top spot, making Procol Harum only the sixth recording act in the history of British popular music to reach the number one spot on its first release (not even the Beatles did that). The following month, the record reached number five on the American charts, with sales in the United States rising to over a million copies (and six million copies worldwide). All of this seemed to bode well for the band, except for the fact that it had only a single song in its repertory and no real stage act -- literal one-hit wonders. The same month that the record peaked in the United States, Royer and Harrison were sacked and replaced by Brooker's former Paramounts bandmates Robin Trower and B.J. Wilson on guitar and drums, respectively. The "real" Procol Harum band was now in place and a second single, "Homburg," was duly recorded. Reminiscent of "Whiter Shade of Pale" in its tone of dark grandeur, this single, released in October of 1967 on EMI's Regal Zonophone label, got to number six on the British charts. The group's debut album, entitled Procol Harum, managed to reach number 47 in America during October of 1967, based on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" being among its tracks (which included the first version of "Conquistador") -- but a British version of the LP, issued over there without the hit, failed to attract any significant sales. The single "Homburg," however, got no higher than number 34 in America a month later. On March 26, 1968, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" won the International Song of the Year award at the 13th Annual Ivor Novello Awards (sort of the British equivalent of the Grammys). The group's newest single, "Quite Rightly So," however, only reached the number 50 spot in England in April of that year. A new contract for the group was secured with A&M Records in America (they remained on Regal Zonophone in England), and by November, a second album, Shine on Brightly, highlighted by an 18-minute epic entitled "In Held 'Twas I," was finished and in the stores, and rose to number 24 in America but failed to chart in England. The next month, they were playing the Miami Pop Festival in front of 100,000 people, on a bill that included Chuck Berry, Canned Heat, the blues version of Fleetwood Mac, and the Turtles, among others. In March of 1969, David Knights and Matthew Fisher exited the lineup shortly after finishing work on the group's new album, A Salty Dog, preferring management and production to the performing side of the music business. Knights' departure opened the way for bassist Chris Copping to join Procol Harum (thus re-creating the lineup of the Paramounts), playing bass and organ. Another American tour followed the next month, and in June of 1969 A Salty Dog was issued. This record, considered by many to be the original group's best work, combined high-energy blues and classical influences on a grand scale, and returned the band to the U.S. charts at number 32, while the title song ascended the British charts to number 44. The album subsequently reached number 27 in England, the group's first long-player to chart in their own country. Despite the group's moderate sales in England and America, they remained among the more popular progressive rock bands, capable of reaching more middle-brow listeners who didn't have the patience for Emerson, Lake & Palmer or King Crimson. Robin Trower's flashy guitar quickly made him the star of the group, as much as singer/pianist Brooker, and he was considered in the same league with Alvin Lee and any number of late-'60s/early-'70s British blues axemen. Matthew Fisher's stately, cathedral-like organ had been a seminal part of the band's sound, juxtaposed with Trower's blues-based riffing and Reid's unusual, darkly witty lyrics as voiced by Brooker. Following Fisher's departure, the group took on a more straightforward rock sound, but Trower's playing remained a major attraction to the majority of fans. "Whaling Stories" was an example of quintessential Procol Harum, a mix of 19th century oratorio that sounds like it came out of a Victorian-era cathedral, with fiery blues riffs blazing at its center. And being soaked in Reid's dark, eerie, regret-filled lyrics didn't stop "A Salty Dog" from becoming one of the group's most popular songs. It was a year before their next album, Home, was released, in June of 1970, ascending to the American number 34 and the British 49 spot. This marked the end of the group's contract with Regal Zonophone/EMI, and on the release of their next LP in July of 1971, they were now on Chrysalis in England. Broken Barricades reached number 32 in America and 41 in England, but it also marked the departure of Robin Trower. The founding guitarist left that month and subsequently organized his own group, with a sound modeled along lines similar to Jimi Hendrix, which had great success in America throughout the 1970s. Trower's replacement, Dave Ball (b. Mar. 30, 1950), joined the same month, and the lineup expanded by one with the addition of Alan Cartwright on bass, which freed Chris Copping to concentrate full-time on the organ. The group returned to something of the sound it had before Fisher's departure, although Trower was a tough act to follow. It was this version of the band that performed on August 6, 1971 in a concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the DaCamera Singers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- the concert was a bold and expansive, richly orchestrated re-consideration of earlier material (though not "A Whiter Shade of Pale") from the group's repertory, and, released as an official live album in 1972, proved to be the group's most successful LP release, peaking at number five and drawing in thousands of new fans. In England, Procol Harum Live: In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra only rose to number 48 in May of 1972, but it was competing with a reissue of the group's debut album (retitled A Whiter Shade of Pale, with the single added) paired with A Salty Dog, which outperformed it considerably, reaching number 26. A single lifted from the live record, "Conquistador," redone in a rich and dramatic version, shot to number 16 in America and 22 in England that summer. Soon after, the U.S. distributor of the debut album, London Records, got further play from that record by re-releasing it with a sticker announcing the presence of "the original version of "Conquistador." Amid all of this success, the group's lineup again was thrown into turmoil in September when Dave Ball left Procol Harum to join Long John Baldry's band. He was replaced by Mick Grabham, formerly of the bands Plastic Penny and Cochise. The band's next album, Grand Hotel, was a delightfully melodic and decadent collection (anticipating Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music in some respects) that featured guest backing vocals by Christianne Legrand of the a cappella singing group the Swingle Singers. That record, their first released on Chrysalis in America as well as England, peaked at number 21. Six months later, A&M released the first compilation of the band's material, Best of Procol Harum, which only made it to number 131 on the charts. The group's next two albums, Exotic Birds and Fruit (May 1974) and Procol's Ninth (September 1975), the latter produced by rock & roll songsmiths Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, performed moderately well, and "Pandora's Box" from Procol's Ninth became one of their bigger hits in England, rising to number 16. July of 1976 saw a departure and a lateral shift in the group's lineup, as Alan Cartwright left the band and Chris Copping took over on bass, while Pete Solley joined as keyboard player. By this time, the band's string had run out, as everyone seemed to know. A new album, Something Magic, barely scraped the U.S. charts in April of 1977, and the band split up following a final tour and a farewell concert at New York's Academy of Music on May 15, 1977. Only five months later, the band was back together for a one-off performance of "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which had taken on a life of its own separate from the group -- the song was named joint winner (along with "Bohemian Rhapsody") of the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977, at the Britannia Awards to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, and the band performed it live at the awards ceremony. Apart from Trower, Gary Brooker was the most successful and visible of all ex-Procol Harum members, releasing three solo albums between 1979 and 1985. Fear of Flying (1979) on Chrysalis, produced by George Martin, attracted the most attention, but Lead Me to the Water (1982) on Mercury had some notable guest artists, including Eric Clapton and Phil Collins, while Echoes in the Night (1985) was co-produced by Brooker's former bandmate Matthew Fisher. During the late '80s, however, Brooker had turned to writing orchestral music, principally ballet material, but this didn't stop him from turning up as a guest at one of the annual Fairport Convention reunions (Procol Harum and Fairport had played some important early gigs together) at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, in August of 1990 to sing "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Still, Procol Harum had faded from the consciousness of the music world by the end of the 1980s. The death of B.J. Wilson in 1990 went largely unreported, to the chagrin of many fans, and it seemed as though the group was a closed book. Then, in August of 1991, Brooker re-formed Procol Harum with Trower, Fisher, Reid, and drummer Mark Brzezicki. An album, Prodigal Stranger, was recorded and released, and an 11-city tour of North America took place in September of 1991. Although this lineup didn't last -- Trower and company, after all, were pushing 50 at the time -- Brooker has kept a new version of Procol Harum together, in the guise of himself, guitarist Geoffrey Whitehorn, keyboardman Don Snow, and Brzezicki on drums, which toured the United States in 1992. © Bruce Eder © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/procol-harum-p5187/biography

ABOUT PROCOL HARUM [Taken from Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2004]

Best known for the timeless "Whiter Shade of Pale," Procol Harum is generally regarded as a progenitor of the '70s prog-rock boom. In the late '60s, the group (led by singer/keyboardist Gary Brooker) combined British pop with classical-influenced motifs and intellectual lyrics (courtesy of non-performing lyricist/band member Keith Reid). By the '70s, the Procol Harum sound became more complex and sophisticated, closer to that of the prog-rockers they'd initially inspired. This soulful progressive rock band was originally formed in Essex, England following the demise of the R&B pop unit, the Paramounts. Gary Brooker (b. 29 May 1945, Hackney, London, England; piano/vocals), Matthew Fisher (b. 7 March 1946, Addiscombe, Croydon, Surrey, England; organ), Bobby Harrison (b. 22 June 1939, East Ham, London, England; drums), Ray Royer (b. 8 October 1945, the Pinewoods, Essex, England; guitar) and Dave Knights (b. David John Knights, 28 June 1945, Islington, London, England; bass) made their debut with the ethereal "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", one of the biggest successes of 1967. The single has now achieved classic status with continuing sales which now run to many millions. The long haunting Bach-influenced introduction takes the listener through a sequence of completely surreal lyrics, which epitomized the "Summer Of Love". "We skipped the light fandango, turned cart-wheels across the floor, I was feeling kind of seasick, the crowd called out for more". It was followed by the impressive Top 10 hit "Homburg". By the time of the hastily thrown together album (only recorded in mono), the band were falling apart. Harrison and Royer departed to be replaced with Brooker's former colleagues B.J. Wilson (b. Barrie James Wilson, 18 March 1947, Edmonton, London, England, d. 8 October 1990, Oregon, USA) and Robin Trower (b. 9 March 1945, Catford, London, England), respectively. The other unofficial member of the band was lyricist Keith Reid (b. 10 October 1946, England), whose penchant for imaginary tales of seafaring appeared on numerous albums. The particularly strong A Salty Dog, with its classic John Player cigarette pack cover, was released to critical acclaim. The title track and "The Devil Came From Kansas" were two of their finest songs. Fisher and Knights departed and the circle was completed when Chris Copping (b. 29 August 1945, Middleton, Lancashire, England; organ/bass) became the last remaining former member of the Paramounts to join. On Broken Barricades, in particular, Trower's Jimi Hendrix-influenced guitar patterns began to give the band a heavier image which was not compatible with Reid's introspective fantasy sagas. This was resolved by Trower's departure, to join Frankie Miller in Jude, and following the recruitment of Dave Ball (b. 30 March 1950, Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, England) and the addition of Alan Cartwright (b. 10 October 1945, England; bass), the band pursued a more symphonic direction. The success of Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was unexpected. It marked a surge in popularity, not seen since the early days. The album contained strong versions of "Conquistador" and "A Salty Dog", and was a Top 5, million-selling album in the USA. Further line-up changes ensued with Ball departing and Mick Grabham (b. 22 January 1948, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England; ex-Cochise) joining in 1972. This line-up became their most stable and they enjoyed a successful and busy four years during which time they released three albums. Grand Hotel was the most rewarding, although both the following had strong moments. "Nothing But The Truth" and "The Idol" were high points of Exotic Birds And Fruit, while "Pandora's Box" was the jewel in Procol's Ninth, giving them another surprise hit single. By the time Something Magic was released in 1977 the musical climate had dramatically changed and Procol Harum were one of the first casualties of the punk and new wave movement. Having had a successful innings Gary Brooker initiated a farewell tour and Procol Harum quietly disappeared. In August 1991, Brooker, Trower, Fisher and Reid got back together, with Mark Brzezicki (b. 21 June 1957, Slough, Buckinghamshire, England; ex-Big Country) replacing the recently deceased Wilson. Unlike many re-formed "dinosaurs" the result was a well-received album The Prodigal Stranger, which achieved minimal sales. The revamped Procol Harum continued to perform throughout the decade, and in 2002 Brooker, Reid and Fisher returned to the studio to record a new album. Together with Brzezicki, Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) and Matt Pegg (bass), they released the excellent The Well's On Fire.

Phoebe Snow



Phoebe Snow - Live - 2008 - Verve Forecast

Phoebe Snow is a complex legend in the history of late 20th century popular music. Her first single, "Poetry Man," was her biggest hit back in 1974, but she issued a run of critically successful albums during the rest of the decade, and has recorded quite sparsely since then. This live set on Verve, recorded over two nights in July of 2008 at the historical Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY, is her first major-label album in almost 20 years; it is also her very first in-concert offering. Snow refers to herself as a bit of a "kook" in accounting for her absence, but the truth is far more complex and beautiful. She spent the last 31 years caring for her daughter who was severely brain injured at birth. She passed away in March of 2008, and Snow has returned to performing to insure that her own grief doesn't claim her, too. Snow arrived on the scene a fully developed artist after playing in Greenwich Village clubs before her first album. She shows up on this 11-song set the same as ever: vocally dynamic, with a deeply disciplined voice that can be as acrobatic as she likes, while performing an array of originals and covers that meld soul, pop, jazz, blues, and folk backed by an empathic band of longtime collaborators including guitarist Roger Butterley and bassist Bob Glaub. Her voice is as rich and varied in 2008 as it was in 1974. Her emotional commitment to the material hasn't waned a bit either. The fire is there, whether she is singing a poignant, joyful love song like "Poetry Man," a hymn of longing disguised as a poppish original like "Something Real," a stolid rhythm & blues fueled rocker like Huey "Piano" Smith's "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," or the jazz tinged standard "It's All in the Game." There are some real surprises as well, in a pair of tunes in the center of her set that come from her most recent, little-known, independently released album Natural Wonder: the tile track and the stellar, soulish "The Other Girlfriend." Snow has always been enigmatic and unafraid to take chances. That's evident in her very unique reading of the Jerry Ragavoy-penned "Piece of My Heart," so closely associated with the late Janis Joplin. If all this weren't enough, she closes with a gorgeous version of the Rodgers & Hart nugget "With a Song in My Heart." She connects with each of these songs and in her stage banter, she communicates fiercely and directly with a voice that is simply a force of nature. For those of us who admire and celebrate Snow's considerable gifts as a singer and songwriter, we can only hope this return is not an isolated incident, but an active resumption of a career steeped in artistic excellence. Thom Jurek © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/live-r1423907/review

Since her self-titled debut album in 1974, the late Phoebe Snow has remained one of the most distinctive voices in popular music. That 1974 album has become one of the most acclaimed debut albums of all time. It produced the great hit single, "Poetry Man," winning her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and established her as a great singer/songwriter. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said "One of the most gifted voices of her generation, Phoebe Snow can do just about anything stylistically as well as technically ... The question that's still unanswered is how best to channel such talent." This live album of blues, folk, jazz, and soul was recorded live at The Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, NY on July 30th & 31st 2008, and deserves to be heard by ever lover of great music. Buy her terrific "Second Childhood" album, and also the outstanding "New York Rock And Soul Revue Live At The Beacon Theater In New York City" album, which was a live concert organized by Donald Fagen in 1992, and features Phoebe, and many other musical legends. Check out her "Rock Away" album @ PHBSNO/RCKAY

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Shakey Ground - Bond, Bowen, Hazel 4:11
2 Something Real - Snow 3:33
3 It's All in the Game - Dawes, Dawes, Sigman 4:53
4 If I Can Just Get Through Tonight - Anders 4:53
5 Poetry Man Snow - 5:22
6 You're My Girl - Snow 6:03
7 Natural Wonder - Snow, Yowell 4:07
8 The Other Girlfriend - McMahon, Snow 5:01
9 Piece of My Heart - Berns, Ragavoy 5:14
10 Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu - Smith 4:34
11 With a Song in My Heart - Hart, Rodgers 4:55

MUSICIANS

Phoebe Snow RIP - Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
Roger Butterley - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Mandolin, Vocals
John Korba - Guitar (Electric), Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Bob Glaub - Bass
John Gilutin - Keyboards, Organ (Hammond), Percussion
Clint DeGanon - Drums, Percussion
Fonzi Thornton - Vocals

BIO

Renowned for her elastic contralto and jazz scat vocal gymnastics, singer Phoebe Snow was born Phoebe Laub on July 17, 1952, in New York City. During her childhood in Teaneck, NJ, she initially studied piano, but switched to the guitar in her teens, writing poetry that gradually mutated into her first songs. Overcoming her stage fright, Snow began playing Greenwich Village clubs in the early '70s, honing an eclectic set that spotlighted both folk and pop sounds as well as jazz, blues, and even torch songs. After signing to Leon Russell's Shelter label, Snow issued her self-titled debut LP in 1974; on the strength of her Top Five smash "Poetry Man," the album itself rose to the number four position. A tour with Paul Simon followed, along with an appearance on his hit "Gone at Last"; after returning to the studio, Snow emerged in 1976 with Second Childhood, another highly successful effort that, like its predecessor, achieved gold-selling status. Despite a flurry of records throughout the latter half of the decade, including 1977's It Looks Like Snow, 1977's Never Letting Go, and 1978's Against the Grain, Snow receded from view as the 1980s dawned, and following the release of 1981's Rock Away, she did not record again for eight years. Upon signing to Elektra, Snow resurfaced in 1989 with Something Real, followed by a series of New York club appearances as a member of ex-Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen's all-star New York Rock and Soul Revue. Apart from lending her voice to a number of radio and television advertisements, Snow again fell silent in subsequent years, although in 1994 she appeared at Woodstock with a gospel group additionally comprised of Mavis Staples, CeCe Peniston, and Thelma Houston. Three albums were recorded and released during the late '90s and the 2000s: 1998's I Can't Complain, 2003's Natural Wonder, and 2008's Live in Woodstock. After suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2010, Snow passed away in April of the following year. © Jason Ankeny © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/phoebe-snow-p5469/biography

27.5.11

Gongzilla



Gongzilla - Five Even - 2008 - Lolo Records

"Journalist Bill Milkowski called GZ “simply mind-boggling”. The group is a mass of contradictions in perfect balance. Two road-warriors from the ghetto-wasteland of fusion join two powerful young bucks on a quest to capture the essence of pop. Not the “pandering on purpose” pop we are all familiar with but the rigorous, risk taking music of bands like Steely Dan and Meshell Ndegeocello. The new studio record Five Even includes guitarists Chuck Garvey (moe.) and Jake Cinninger (Umphrey's McGee) plus fretless guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos) and bassist Kai Eckhardt (John McLaughlin)! Contradictions and balance; GZ’s quest is to bring us cool songs that singe the soul while balancing hyper precision and rockin’ mayhem." © 2011 Wayside Music http://www.waysidemusic.com/Music-Products/Gongzilla---Five-Even__LOLO021.aspx

For a very long time now, guitarist Bon Lozaga and bassist Hansford Rowe, both best-known for their tenure with Pierre Moerlin's Gong, have been releasing a number of very very good to excellent fusion albums under the name Gongzilla. They always have a few 'big name' guests, and this is no exception. But ultimately, it's Bon's and Hanni's show and they make it all work. This time there are vocals on this one, and I don't see much point in them, except for the fact that maybe this has gotten them on the jam-band circuit, in which case, good for them. In any event, they pass quickly enough and we get back to the playing, which is what this all about. © 2011 Wayside Music http://www.waysidemusic.com/Music-Products/Gongzilla---Five-Even__LOLO021.aspx

Gongzilla (a spin-off of the British Canterbury Scene and sometimes fusion group Gong) create another great work of skilful grooves, deep rhythms, and wonderful masterful interplay between all instruments. Unlike other Gongzilla albums, "Five Even" includes some vocals which never detract from the sound. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Read a good review of this album at AAJ Check out Gongzilla's masterful "Live" album @ GONGZ/LIVE and search this blog for related releases

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Say Hey - Rowe
2 French Grass - Lozaga
3 Willy - Rowe, Lozaga
4 American Dream - Rowe
5 Five Even - Rowe
6 When The Water's Gone - Rowe
7 Jersey Pines - Rowe
8 So High - Rowe, Ledonio
9 Jersey Pines (Bis) - Rowe

MUSICIANS

Bon Lozaga - Guitar, Loops, Vocals
Jameison Ledonio - Guitar, Vocals
David Fiuczynski - Fretless Guitar on Tracks 5, 6
Jake Cinninger - Guitar, Nylon Acoustic Guitar on Tracks 4, 7
Chuck Garvey - Slide Guitar on Tracks 2, 3
Hansford Rowe - Bass, Vocals
Kai Eckhardt - Fretless Bass on Tracks 5, 6, 9
Todd Barneson - Mandolin on Tracks 2, 3, & Vocals on Tracks 1, 3, 4, 7
Phil Kester - Drums, Marimba, Percussion
Mitch Hull - Drums on Track 2
Lian Amber - Vocals on Tracks 1, 6, 7

BIO

Another branch in the Gong family tree, Gongzilla was a reassembly of several of the members of early Pierre Moerlin's Gong and played a similar style jazz-rock fusion. Formed in 1994 by guitarist Ben Lozaga and bassist Hansford Rowe, the group was rounded out by guitarist Allan Holdsworth, percussionist Bobby Thomas Jr., and vibraphonist Beniot Moerlen. They released Suffer in 1995, which found the band exploring some more hard rock stylings than Piere Moerlin's Gong. The album was ranked the number three fusion album of the year by Pulse!. Thrive followed in 1996 which added drummer Gary Husband and guitarist David Torn to the mix while featuring Rowe on vocals. © Geoff Orens © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll

26.5.11

The Code



The Code - The Code - 1995 - Innercode Music

This is the stunning 1996 debut release from Canadian jazz/fusion group, The Code.Hailed for it's powerful guitar and synth driven songs. It is complimented with an outstanding rhythm section. Right from the opening groove this release does not let up. Definitely a classic fusion record. © http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/codethe3/from/eermusic#

Nothing innovative here, but good potent fusion played with great skill. The Code are a band who definitely deserve a wider audience. Since this release The Code have begun to introduce more originality into their music, and are now more inventive and musically explorative. Try and listen to the band's "Figli di Baia" album

TRACKS

1.Black JuJube
2.Control Drama
3.Song For Bumbi
4.In 2 Blu
5.Clones
6.Wall Ball
7.White Out
8.Mono Brow
9.Changes

All tracks composed by John Pelosi and Rick Fellini

BAND

John Pelosi - Guitar, Guitar Synth.
Pat Kilbride - Bass
Rick Fellini - Keyboards
Paul DeLong - Drums

SHORT BIO

The Code is a contemporary jazz/fusion group from Toronto Canada. Guitarist/ composer John Pelosi and keyboardist/composer Rick Fellini formed The Code in 1996 with Paul DeLong on drums and Pat Kilbride on bass. This lineup released a debut cd simply entitled The Code. In 2001 came a second cd called "Figli di Baia". This cd featured an expanded sound with the addition of vocalist Paul Christopher and percussionist Armando Borg. Keyboardist Richard Evans replaced Rick Fellini on most tracks with the exception of Corner Pocket (written/keyboards by R.Fellini ) and also Explaining Naples(keyboards-Marco Lucianni). Now in 2009 after an extended hiatus The Code returns with a new cd titled "Mianca". Rick Fellini returns on most tracks with the exception of "No Problem"which features Tony Padalino on keyboards. Vocalist Mike Ferfolia is featured on 3 tracks. Look for The Code to play regular gigs in the Toronto area. © http://johnpelosi.com/

Jackie Allen



Jackie Allen - Tangled - 2006 - Blue Note

On her Blue Note debut (and eighth recording overall), vocalist Jackie Allen stretches her already crossover approach to where the seams show. Thank God. She is a fine jazz singer and has a way with ballads and standards that is her own to be sure -- and she records a couple of them here -- but her gift with more pop-oriented material is utterly distinctive and even innovative, since there isn't another singer out there who phrases like her. Tangled was produced with great taste by Eric Hochberg -- who also chaired her last session, Love Is Blue, and has played bass with everyone from the jazz stalwart Kurt Elling to one of the greatest crossover folk and jazz singers in history, the great Terry Callier. The set has a few standards, like Rodgers & Hart's "You're Nearer" and "Everything I've Got Belongs to You." But the standards on this program are -- heresy of heresies -- the very things that hold it back from being a pop masterpiece. She has proven over and over again that she can sing standards and ballads with the best of them. But her treatment of Van Morrison's "When Will I Ever Learn," which opens the album, is a wake-up call even to her many fans. It's revelatory and sounds effortless. It's a revealing and poignant treatment of one of Morrison's most overtly spiritual songs and most difficult to grasp hold of. Likewise, her read of her guitarist John Moulder and bassist Hans Sturm's "Cold Gray Eyes" brings Celtic, rock, and blues influences to bear in a dramatic, tough, and deeply emotive performance. Her own Brazilian-flavored "If I Had" is lightweight samba jazz in the verse, but the refrains are gorgeous. The title cut is full of beautiful electric guitars creating a nocturnal tension that is deceptively noir-ish. This is the kind of torn love ballad that expresses through the grain in her voice what the words -- though burningly direct -- can't begin to get to. The funky "Slip" is also an original that struts and slides with a tough groove. Her reading of Donald Fagen's "Do Wrong Shoes" jazzes up a tune in high-camp style that had a tougher edge as a pop-jazz number. The bookend track, Randy Newman's "Living Without You," is another argument for Allen's pop phrasing. She gets the underlying country-soul in Newman's song, and the sheer emotion that needs to be expressed in its lyric doesn't lend itself to the studied dramatic sentimentality in many torch songs and standards -- especially as they are sung in this day and age (usually by up-and-comers trying to prove their mettle before they have the chops, or by veterans whose careers are devoid of imagination or discipline and fall back on the most difficult material to try to gain a few more miles from the empty tank). It may take another record or so -- or a bona fide adult alternative "hit" selected by a radio programmer with some vision -- to convince Allen to go the direction she could go effortlessly and win herself a slew of new fans. © Thom Jurek © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/tangled-r837122/review

Heard Jackie Allen performing the Donald Fagen-penned "Do Wrong Shoes" the other day and decided I'd better check out "Tangled" - the fast-rising, Milwaukee-born singer's latest release. If you haven't heard the song - Allen sashays her way through a hilariously sassy and brassy take on the "you done me wrong" song like a modern day Bessie Smith. Punctuated by Orbert Davis' mocking muted trumpet, the song stands out like an updated and welcome return to a bygone era amongst the staid reditions of standards that clutter the atmosphere. Being a Jackie Allen neophyte, I wasn't sure just what to expect from "Tangled," and as such was somewhat taken aback when the rest of the recording sounded nothing like the Fagen song. Ranging from covers of Van Morrison and Randy Newman to songs from the Rodgers and Hart songbook to originals and embracing everything from gospel, blues and soul to folk and samba, "Tangled" is deep and multilayered, and reveals a singer casting a wide net into diverse waters. The title itself fascinates me, as I used to get into arguments with an ex about what she perceived to be "tangles" in my life and thinking. She found my inability to achive clarity of purpose troubling - I, in turn, believed that my bouts with self doubt and confusion were simply an aspect of the human condition. We'd all like to be devout and faithful and placid, but the shifts and turns of modern life lead us in many directions and make us the people we are: flawed yet striving for the divine. Appropriately, Allen's choice of tunes on "Tangled" display "tangles" in the relationships between lovers, family, God, nature, the rest of the world, and even ourselves. Beautifully produced by the seemingly ubiquitous Eric Hochberg, "Tangled" features Allen's inimitable band consisting of husband/songwriter Hans Sturm on bass, expressive guitar colorist John Moulder, and two of the finest keyboardists around in Laurence Hobgood and Ben Lewis - and their sensitive shadings shape the bedrock over which Allen's sweet and airy flights may hover. I'd also like to give a shout-out to drummer Dane Richeson whose superb work was accidentially left uncredited by the label. The gospel lament of Van Morrison's "When Will I ever Learn" starts things off with an emotional surge (Lewis' churchy organ work is a treat) and has become my theme song, while Moulder and Sturm's plaintive folk song "Coal Grey Eyes" chills like a plunge into the Northern Atlantic sea off a craggy Nova Scotia coastline. "You're Nearer" is a tasteful exercise in bringing Rodgers and Hart melodicism to a modern audience, while the Allen original "If I Had" (one of three co-written with poet Oryna Schiffman) shows the singer can form a conga-line when the party calls for it. The songs swirl and swim in and out of the center of my consciousness, and right now it is the title track that is encircling those aforementioned entangled synapse. Moulder especially combusts here with his bluesy, edgy fretwork. The soulful "Slip" (yesterday's favorite) is another Allen original that is almost Motown in its approach - with horns supplied by Davis and tenor saxman Steve Eisen; while the day-before-yesterday's fav - "You'll Never Learn" creeps uneasily under your skin and stays with you thanks to Lewis' cocktail piano trills and Allen's slow smoldering delivery. In yet another shocking change of pace, Allen desconstructs another Rogers and Hart number - "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" and the results register another success. "Hot Stone Soup" by Sturm, is a lilting lullaby to an ageing parent (in this case, his mother), while the bittersweetly romatic Mandel-Bergman/Bergman waltz "Solitary Moon" may be the best of the ballads and my new favorite (oh, I'm so tangled, aren't I?). Allen's wistful version of Randy Newman's "Living Without You" brings this profoundly trenchant collection to a close and, if trends hold, will probably be my favorite song tomorrow. Both orderly and fluid in manner and presentation, yet surprising in its quick shifts that encompass many directions, in "Tangled" Allen and her band have given the listener an empathetic and entrancing soundtrack to the travails and chaotic disorder we face every day in this transient, often beautiful and sometimes bewildering world. Review by & © Brad Walseth © http://www.jazzchicago.net/jackiea.html

Known predominantly as a jazz vocalist, Jackie Allen's "Tangled" is a great eclectic mix of jazz, pop, soul, Latin rhythms, folk, and blues. Donald Fagen's "Do Wrong Shoes", Rodgers & Hart's "Everything I've Got Belongs To You" and "You're Nearer" are definitely in the jazz mould. There are also great covers of Van Morrison's "When Will I Ever Learn", Randy Newman's "Living Without You", and several other unusual choices. Jazz Times in 2006 noted that "As hybrids go Allen is a rare breed. For like fine wine, Allen gets not only better with age, but also more complex... It's all prime stuff." Listen to Jackie's "Which?" album

STEELY DAN TRIVIA - According to Jackie, Donald Fagen’s "Do Wrong Shoes" had never been previously recorded. “Donald sent me a cassette of him singing and accompanying himself on piano. I loved it and decided to put a swing feel to it. It’s the most popular tune of the album when we tour.” Donald, speaking about Jackie said that “Jackie Allen ranks very high among all other present day singers. She gets the harmonies of the songs as completely as she trusts her way with time. Her phrasing is assured, suggesting a unique kind of tenderness. The emotional impact she conveys is extraordinary."

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 When Will I Ever Learn - Van Morrison 5:51
2 Coal Grey Eyes - J. Moulder, H. Sturm 3:43
3 You're Nearer - Rodgers, Hart 4:14
4 If I Had - J. Allen, O. Schiffman 3:26
5 Tangled - J. Allen, O. Schiffman 4:25
6 Slip - J. Allen, O. Schiffman 4:03
7 You'll Never Learn - Michael Dees 5:13
8 Everything I've Got Belongs To You - Rodgers, Hart 3:36
9 Hot Stone Soup - Hans Sturm 3:44
10 Do Wrong Shoes - Donald Fagen 3:16
11 Solitary Moon - A. Bergman, M. Bergman, Mandel 5:01
12 Living Without You - Randy Newman 2:56

MUSICIANS

Jackie Allen - Vocals
John Moulder - Guitar
Hans Sturm - Bass
Ben Lewis - Fender Rhodes, Organ, Piano
Laurence Hobgood - Fender Rhodes, Piano
Dane Richeson - Drums
Steve Eisen - Tenor Sax, Flute
Orbert Davis - Trumpet
Sue Conway, Suzanne Palmer, Yvonne Gage, Eric Hochberg - Background Vocals

SHORT BIO

A talented jazz singer based in the Chicago area, Jackie Allen grew up in Milwaukee and Madison. Part of a very musical family, she played French horn early on in addition to showing talent as a singer. She attended the University of Wisconsin, where she learned a great deal about jazz; among her teachers was bassist Richard Davis. By 1987, she had moved back to Milwaukee, where for three years she sang regularly at the Wyndham Hotel while joined by organist Melvin Rhyne. In 1990, Allen moved to Chicago, where she has performed regularly as a singer who falls between jazz and cabaret. In the early '90s, Jackie Allen recorded Never Let Me Go, her debut album for the Lake Shore Jazz label; a long hiatus preceded the release of Which six years later. © Scott Yanow © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jackie-allen-p165137

ALBUM NOTES / BIO [© http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jackieallen4]

Crossing over for a singer whose foundation resounds jazz was a relatively rare phenomenon back in 1994 when Jackie Allen recorded her debut album, Never Let Me Go. However, that didn’t dissuade her from finding common ground between the jazz and pop music worlds. Twelve years later, with Tangled, her remarkable Blue Note Records debut—and eighth CD overall—Allen continues to explore soundscapes that pay homage to both standby and contemporary standards while crafting originals that richly complement the covers. With Blue Note, Allen joins a stable of pioneering female vocalists—Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Patricia Barber, Dianne Reeves—who appeal to both adult-oriented music camps. “My tastes in music now are not that much different than when I began to record",” says Allen, who lives in Indiana and has a strong base in Chicago, “although I wasn’t quite as adventurous then as I am now.” Writing in JazzTimes of her two earlier albums (2003’s The Men in My Life and 2004’s Love Is Blue, both on the now-defunct A440 label and that have been purchased by Blue Note), Christopher Loudon remarked, “As hybrids go, Allen is a rare breed. Her firm roots are clearly folk-rock…but they are wedded to a keen jazz sensibility.” His assessment of Love Is Blue, which ranges from a tune associated with Frank Sinatra to a number by Annie Lennox? “Dazzling.” Allen brings that same expressive power, heartfelt sparkle and stirring allure to Tangled, a 12-tune collection that ups the ante in her pursuit of singing soul into song. “I’m not too far afield from my earlier albums, but I am evolving and moving forward,” she says. “My music goes into many different directions, from the jazzy to the more refined that looks at the darker side of love.” As for the theme of the new disc, the title is apropos, she says: “I like singing about the complexities of relationships, the entanglements. That’s the glue that holds the collection together, the umbrella that spreads over all the songs.” Produced by Chicago-based bandleader/bassist/composer Eric Hochberg (who also produced The Men in My Life), Tangled features Allen’s core band of keyboardists Laurence Hobgood and Ben Lewis, guitarist John Moulder (whose multi-voiced six-string lines highlight the arrangements) bassist Hans Sturm (Allen’s husband) and drummer, Dane Richeson. The group brings two originals to the mix (the impassioned, rock-edged “Coal Grey Eyes” by Moulder/Sturm and the heartrending “Hot Stone Soup” by Sturm), while Allen offers three songs (collaborations with poet/writer Oryna Schiffman): the title track, “If I Had” and “Slip.” Old-school standards include two Rodgers and Hart numbers (“You’re Nearer” and “Everything I Got Belongs to You”), Johnny Mandel’s “Solitary Moon” and Michael Dees’ “You’ll Never Learn.” They are balanced by such pop-originated fare as Van Morrison’s “When Will I Ever Learn,” Donald Fagen’s “Do Wrong Shoes” and Randy Newman’s “Living Without You.” Song choice, Allen explains, was a collaborative undertaking among her, her band mates and Blue Note, with arrangements largely developed by her and the group. Tangled opens with the moving Morrison number given a gospel touch with a choir-like vocal arrangement. “This song has more depth harmonically than some of Van’s other songs we looked at,” says Allen. “Originally we recorded it with just the band, but when the production budget was bumped up, we went back in to the studio and came up the vocal arrangement on the spot.” The album closes with a contemplative take on Newman’s tune, given a beautiful balladic read by Allen. She says, “It turned out different than we thought. The way it’s arranged has a country feel.” As for the Fagen tune, given a jaunty treatment with sassy horns, Allen explains that it’s never been recorded. “We heard a cassette of Donald playing this just on the piano, and we decided to put a swing to it. He’s heard our version, and he likes it.” Fagen adds, “Jackie Allen ranks very high among all other present day singers. She gets the harmonies of the songs as completely as she trusts her way with time. Her phrasing is assured, suggesting a unique kind of tenderness. The emotional impact she conveys is extraordinary." The Rodgers and Hart tunes come from two distinctly different inclinations. The gorgeously rendered “You’re Nearer,” arranged by Hobgood, was learned by Allen from an early Tony Bennett album, while the upbeat, black-humored “Everything I Got Belongs to You” is a spunky, funky outing that former Blue Note singer Holly Cole once covered. Mandel’s “Solitary Moon,” with the tender calm gently buoyed by Hobgood’s solo and Allen’s dreamy wordless vocals, was once recorded by Shirley Horn (“I’m such a big fan of hers,” says Allen). As for “You’ll Never Learn,” arguably the most sumptuous tune of the 12-pack, Allen recalls hearing it as a swaggering swing version like Sinatra late in his career. “When I brought this to the session, everyone joked with me, ‘Are you out of your mind?’” she says. “But I knew there was something to this song. So I changed the phrasing, creating a darker Latin mood and we did this at the end of the sessions. Blue Note loved it.” The three noteworthy tunes Allen contributes were written with Schiffman while their respective sons, two days apart in age, played. “Oryna gave me a stack of her ideas for lyrics and told me to turn them upside down if I wanted,” says Allen. “From my jazz background, I can improvise melodies, so then we worked on putting her words and my music together.” They came up with “If I Had” that grooves with a Brazilian music vibe, the gripping blues “Tangled” (“It’s about laughing in the face of adversity,” says Allen) and the uptempo sexy/feisty “Slip.” Diverse in its musical scope, Tangled is jazz-infused, pop-charged and, to Allen’s way of thinking, in harmony with her musical life. She came up listening to the rock music of her siblings (everything from the Beatles to Emerson, Lake and Palmer), became attuned to the pop of Elton John and Billy Joel and grew up hearing jazz from her Dixieland music playing father. "Allen performed with keyboard great Mel Rhyne and studied in college with renowned jazz bassist Richard Davis, from whom she learned the standards as well as found wings via improvisation. (She’s committed to passing on what she’s learned as a teacher in her own right, currently educating up-and-comers at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, with previous classroom gigs at the Wisconsin Conservatory in Milwaukee; Elmhurst College, outside of Chicago; and the Old Town School in Chicago.) “The elements of jazz and pop have always been mixed in my life,” says Allen. “They all swing around in my head.” In 1994, when Allen began her recording journey, that jazz-cum-pop outlook may have seemed cloudy. Today the climate is different. Tangled shines. PERFORMANCES: Jackie's extraordinary talent has taken her across the globe. She has toured Morocco as part of a cultural goodwill tour, Brazil with her voice/bass duo, and China where she was the only jazz artist to headline at the Beijing Music Festival. She performs frequently in Europe having appeared twice at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Mittenwald and Reutlingen Festivals in Germany, and the Edinburgh Fringe and Scottish Double Bass Festivals. Nationally she has toured throughout the midwest and the west coast, appearing numerous times in Los Angeles. She has performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New Orleans, with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in an Evening of Cole Porter and at the Ravinia, Detroit, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. TEACHING & MORE: Jackie Allen, one of Chicago's most influential and respected jazz educators, joined the faculty of Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (Roosevelt University) to teach jazz voice in Fall 2005. She has taught many successful Chicago vocalists at Elmhurst College and at The Old Town School of Folk Music and is frequently featured with university jazz ensembles as a guest performer and clinician including Roosevelt University, DePaul University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Iowa, and Ball State University. She co-produced and starred in the sold-out "America 1941" with actor John Mahoney (Martin Crane on TV's "Frasier") to benefit The National Academy For Local Schools and served as a Governor of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) for two terms. Jackie is a Wisconsin native who grew up surrounded by music. A Wisconsin native, Allen was introduced to music by her father, Louis (Gene) Allen, a Dixieland tuba player who taught each of his five children to play a brass instrument (young Jackie's first instrument was the French horn). She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison as music major, studying under the venerated Professor of Bass and Jazz History Richard Davis, himself a prominent artist on 1960's Blue Note recordings.

25.5.11

Leni Stern



Leni Stern - Black Guitar - 1997 - Leni Stern

Leni Stern introduces us to her singing on Black Guitar. Vocally she's unimpressive, but this has more to do with the trite lyrics than her delivery, which is sufficiently expressive. For most of the CD an enjoyable looped Strat instrumental follows each cut with vocals. In these instrumental melodies her real voice comes through. Her light jazz leads are separately nicely from the deep and busy bass from Tim Lefebvre. The result is a song full of breadth and structure while still putting forth a face of her stylized delicacy. I recommend any fan of relaxed guitar jazz to get into the heart of this disc as the weakest material is concentrated in the first few tracks. Production, lap steel and vocal support are from Larry John McNally (Bonnie Raitt). © Tom Schulte © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/black-guitar-r311333

Leni Stern collaborates with Larry John McNally for a critically praised work offering a new spin on songwriting. This album showcases both accomplished writers for their passionate music and clever lyrics. This is Leni Stern's first record that really show's off her lyric writing."Leni Stern has over the years distinguished herself as one of the preeminent composers on the modern scene, with an ear for memorable, complex melodic hooks and keen insight to the human condition matched only by her sublime guitar skills" - Jazz Times

For 12 years and eight albums, guitarist-composer Leni Stern pursued a jazzy muse. From elegant impressionism (1985's excellent Clairvoyant with Paul Motian, Harvie Swartz and Bill Frisell) to slamming fusion (1993's Like One with Dennis Chambers, Alain Caron and Bob Malach), she demonstrated a penchant for melodic sensitivity and evocative harmonies while making some strong six-string statements of her own. A couple of years ago Leni found her voice...literally. She started incorporating a couple of vocal tunes on her regular Sunday night gig at the 55 Bar in New York and eventually began pursuing a very different muse. Following a period of vocal training and some intensive shedding with songwriting partner Larry John McNally, she has emerged as a breathy chanteuse on Black Guitar, her first fully realized showcase as a singer-songwriter. Though tunes like "Chinatown Revisited," "Mercy In The Night," "Mary Magdalene," "One Day" and the title track clearly fall in the pop camp, Leni imbues them with dusky timbres and a haunting beauty. Her guitar playing is strictly in service of the song on this vocal project, though she does resurrect one of her finest instrumental compositions, "Sandbox," a tune also once recorded by her chops-monster husband Mike Stern. She offers a pungent solo on the moody "So Good For You" and stretches on the instrumental closer, "Silverline," a dynamic showcase for Dennis Chambers' awesome drum prowess. Leni hinted at this direction on 1996's Separate Cages, her intimate duet project with fellow guitarist Wayne Krantz. She goes for it with more authority on Black Guitar. By & © Bill Milkowski, May 1998 © 1999–2011 JazzTimes, Inc. All rights reserved http://jazztimes.com/articles/8611-black-guitar-leni-stern

Good album mixing jazz, pop, and rock from Leni Stern, the great Munich born jazz and jazz fusion guitarist. Leni has recorded many albums and collaborated with many great musicians including Wayne Krantz, Paul Motian, Alain Caron and Bob Malach. Despite being an excellent composer, lyricist, and guitarist, her name remains unfamiliar to many people. Leni seldom sings, but she uses her vocals to good effect on this album. "Black Guitar" was specifically released to demonstrate Leni's improved vocal training as well as her lyrics. In fact, it is more a vocal than a guitar dominated album, so don't expect many complex jazz fusion guitar passages. Listen to her "Signal" album which features the incredible guitarist, Wayne Krantz. Spare a thought for the late, great Emily Remler who was another exceptional jazz guitarist, and listen to Emily's great "Firefly" album sometime

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Can Joe Cocker - McNally 4:41
2 Chinatown Revisited - McNally 6:45
3 Mary Magdalene - McNally, Stern 5:57
4 City Sing for Me - McNally, Stern 4:12
5 Sandbox - Stern 8:05
6 Mercy in the Night - McNally, Stern 6:12
7 Jesse - McNally 1:43
8 So Good to You - Lefebvre, McNally, Stern 7:27
9 Black Guitar - McNally 5:34
10 Lynda - Lefebvre 1:04
11 One Day - McNally, Stern 5:52
12 Ghost Money - Stern 1:51
13 Why's Your Skin So White - McNally 4:31
14 Silver Line - Lefebvre, Stern 8:18

MUSICIANS

Leni Stern - Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Loop, Tiple, Vocals
Larry John McNally - Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Tremolo, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Tim Lefebvre - Bass, Vocals (Background)
B-3 - George Whitty
Dennis Chambers - Drums
Lionel Cordew - Drums, Vocals (Background)
Malcolm Pollack, Don Alias, Dennis McDermott - Percussion
David Mann - Saxophone
Lisa Michel - Vocals (Background)

BIO (WIKI)

Leni Stern (born Magdalena Thora in Munich, Germany) is an electric guitarist, and singer. She was interested in music from an early age, beginning piano studies at the age of six and taking on the guitar age of eleven. Forming her own acting company at the age of seventeen, Stern attracted media attention and performed her radical productions in front of sold-out European crowds. In 1977, Stern chose music over acting, and left Germany for the United States to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying film scoring. She gave up film scoring in favor of the guitar and moved to New York City in 1981, playing in various rock and jazz bands. In 1983, she formed a band of her own with Paul Motian on drums and Bill Frisell on guitar. She has released twelve solo instrumental recordings, of which 1985's Clairvoyant was the first. Her most recent releases – Alu Maye, Africa, Spirit in the Water and Sa Belle Belle Ba – juxtapose Stern's trademark inventive guitar and vocal explorations with the indigenous sounds of accomplished African instrumentalists and singers. Her cover of Laura Nyro's song "Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp" appeared on Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro, the Laura Nyro tribute album. Leni Stern Recordings (LSR) was established in 1997. The record label seeks to put out music from the most creative artists in jazz and songwriting. LSR's first release was Stern's first full-length vocal release, Black Guitar. Ted Drozdowski of the Boston Phoenix described Stern's voice sounding "something like Marlene Dietrich borrowing Billie Holiday's phrasing." She is married to guitarist Mike Stern

MORE

Leni Stern, who has received more recognition for her composing than her guitar playing, has managed to carve out her own musical personality despite being married to fellow guitarist Mike Stern (a potentially dominant influence). She began classical piano lessons when she was six, but was much more inspired a few years later when she discovered a guitar in the attic and taught herself to play jazz. Stern's early years were actually spent as an actress in her native Germany, featured on a national television show. However, she took a summer off in 1977 to enroll at Berklee, and she never returned to acting. Stern lived in Boston until 1980, moved to New York, and has worked steadily in clubs ever since, recording for Passport (now defunct), Enja, and Lipstick. Primarily an instrumentalist in the past, with 1997's Black Guitar she revealed her prowess as a vocalist, and began releasing a series of albums that mixed jazz, pop, and rock on her own LSR imprint, including Kindness of Strangers (2000), Finally the Rain Has Come (2002), When Evening Falls (2004), and Love Comes Quietly (2006). © Scott Yanow © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/leni-stern-p7609/biography

24.5.11

Jan Akkerman



Jan Akkerman - Minor Details - 2011 - Digimode

A new Jan Akkerman album is always a revelation, not least because he is not the most prolific of players in terms of album releases. Minor Details is the follow-up to 2003's 'C.U.' (yes, it is that long ago) and has been produced 'virtually' via the Internet together with his regular band mates and germinated whilst on tour in Brazil last year. The production doesn't suffer at all for this. In terms of Akkerman's hallowed guitar-ing, the Focus days do seem as distant a memory as Thijs van Leer with hair and this 70 minute plus offering continues the jazz fusion vibe of his late 1980s albums and indeed that of its immediate predecessor. Guitarophiles may debate the man's current 'tone' and technique, even the familiar motifs, but there is no denying he has never lost his way with a melody or an intriguing song title. In places there is a definite Steely Dan thing going on (notably 'Dinner Time') and a Santana-esque 'Searching For Angela'. 'Joy' - with Akkerman deploying wah - features one of two guest appearances from Dutch jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans in a Miles Davis-fuelled funk romp. But only on 'Mena Muria' is there anything approaching a Focus vibe (as in 'Focus I' and Focus II'). It's just a pity that, again, Akkerman has failed to interrogate his hard drive and offer up some arguably superior fusion work that he brought to the UK back in 2000. There may be a lack of killer melodies on this album aka 'Cotton Bay' on 'C.U.' (although the broody 'Kharmah Chantalah' comes close) but overall it smacks of a good groove and well suited to warm weather and late nights. In that context there is nothing really of revelation here, just plenty of examples of Akkerman's good taste and his cohorts' fine musicianship. It will mostly appeal to his loyal fanbase. Job done. **** Review by & © David Randall © http://www.getreadytorock.com/reviews2011/jan_akkerman3.htm

With this album Jan Akkerman opted to do without a producer, instead doing it himself. It clearly shows; resulting in a mishmash of music and some very poor sound mixing. This is particularly the case with the first half of the album. The rest of the album does somewhat settle down to a more cruisy mellow jazzy style. © http://www.recordheaven.net/index.cfm?x=browseArtist&ID=9685&iID=108801&sc=&ob=tl&so=ASC

Jan Akkerman is one of the most innovative and influential guitarists of modern times. He was once selected as the world's greatest guitarist by the influential British rock publication, Melody Maker. Often, these accolades are unmerited and artificial, and do not always reflect true ability, but in Jan Akkerman's case, the title was richly deserved. Jan has proved his greatness with bands like the Hunters, Brainbox and the great Focus. Most of his solo works are marvellous works of originality, incredible guitar technique, and cover ever musical genre. He is one of the very few guitarists who can play any style of music equally well, anything from rock and blues to Spanish and classical. As stated before on this blog, the terms, world's greatest guitarist, best guitarist of all time, etc, etc, are "bandied" around a lot. However if we take some of the definitions of great, like "of outstanding significance or importance", "superior in quality or character", "powerful; influential", or "remarkable or out of the ordinary in degree or magnitude or effect", then Jan Akkerman is truly a great guitarist, as all the aforementioned definitions apply to Jan's playing. "I just don't live a very regular life. That's true. For instance, I don't even wear a watch. But I'm very much disciplined as far as playing the guitar is concerned". "Disciplined" is just one of many words that could be applied to Jan Akkermans playing ! "Minor Details" has received mixed reviews, some calling it "run-of-the-mill" smooth jazz", and "uninspiring". "Minor Details" is not as "exploratory" as many of his other releases. Jan did not unleash his full awesome guitar prowess on the album, so naturally comparisons will be made with other albums where Jan used more complex guitar techniques. A more subdued Akkerman album, without doubt, but nevertheless, as guitar playing and musicianship goes,"Minor Details" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to his "Tabernakel" album and of course Focus' classic "Live At The Rainbow" album, and search this blog for other Jan Akkerman related releases

TRACKS

1 Free Wheeling
2 Big Sir
3 Dinner Time
4 Love Train
5 Blind Baby
6 Minor Details
7 Joy
8 Fernando's Minibar (Plat met 't ouwe wijf)
9 Kharmah Chantalah
10 Searching For Angela
11 As Long As You're Near
12 San Frisky
13 The Arrogant Frogs
14 Mena Muria

All tracks composed by Jan Akkerman

MUSICIANS

Jan Akkerman - guitars
Wilbrand Meischke - bass
Coen Molenaar - keyboards
Marijn van den Berg - drums
Eric Vloeimans - trumpet on “Joy” and “The Arrogant Frogs”

BIO

A musician of nearly legendary prowess, Jan Akkerman for a time eclipsed Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck among reader polls in England as the top guitarist in the world. Akkerman was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and showed his musical inclinations early, taking up the guitar while still in grade school. His taste and interests were extraordinarily wide-ranging, from pop/rock to classical, with room for blues, Latin, and other influences. He joined his first band, Johnny & His Cellar Rockers, in 1958, at age 11, which included his boyhood friend Pierre van der Linden on drums. Later on, the two were members of the Hunters, an instrumental group whose sound was heavily influenced by that of the Shadows. He acquired a special interest in the lute while on a visit to England during the mid-'60s, during which he saw a performance by legendary classical guitarist Julian Bream, whose repertoire of medieval works also fascinated Akkerman. This interest, which broadened to embrace a fixation on medieval England and its countryside, later manifested itself in such works as "Elspeth of Nottingham" from Focus III. During the late '60s, Akkerman, van der Linden, bassist Bert Ruiter, and singer Kaz Lux formed Brainbox, who were good enough to get a recording contract with Parlophone Records. He was involved with an early incarnation of the group Focus, founded by conservatory-trained flutist Thijs Van Leer, but didn't join until after that group had issued its unsuccessful debut album — he took Van der Linden with him from Brainbox and, with Van Leer and bassist Cyril Havermans (later succeeded by Ruiter) from the original Focus, formed a new group of that name. With Akkerman's virtuoso guitar work and arrangements coupled to Van Leer's classical influence (and his yodeling on their breakthrough hit, "Hocus Pocus"), the new group found a large international audience beginning in 1972, which transformed Akkerman into a superstar guitarist. His solo career actually dated from 1968, though his attempt at a solo album, later titled Guitar for Sale — containing his covers of numbers such as "What'd I Say," "Ode to Billy Joe," and "Green Onions" — was so primitive by the standards of the time that it was deemed unreleasable until Akkerman started topping reader surveys in the mid-'70s. Profile, released in 1972 after he'd begun making some headway with his reputation, also dated from 1969 and his days with Brainbox. Akkerman's first real solo album reflecting his music and interests at the time appeared in 1974, in the form of Tabernakel, which was recorded during the summer of that year at Atlantic Recording Studios in New York — having finally acquired a medieval lute of his own, he taught himself to play it and the results comprise more than half of this LP, made up of authentic medieval music and originals composed in a medieval mode. It was certainly the most unusual record ever to feature the playing of Tim Bogart (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums), as well as soul drummer Ray Lucas. After leaving Focus in 1976, Akkerman began releasing a stream of solo albums, which frequently embraced classical, jazz, and blues, and started leading his own bands. Much of his work during the 1980s wasn't released officially outside of Holland, but his periodic recordings with Van Leer, coupled with efforts to revive Focus with its two major stars, kept his name circulating in international music circles. The only problem that Akkerman faces derives from the sheer eclecticism of his work, which makes him very difficult to categorize — two different branches of Tower Records in the same city listed him as a jazz and a rock artist, respectively, but one could just as easily make a claim for him as a classical artist. © Bruce Eder © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

21.5.11

Ian Hunter



Ian Hunter - Rant - 2001 - Papillon

The musical statement that is Rant includes textures and ideas that pick up where Brain Capers by Mott the Hoople left off. "Still Love Rock and Roll" ignites this set; it rocks with an authority that "All the Way From Memphis" only hinted at. As Dion DiMucci's Shu Bop album redefined the position of a '60s artist and delivered the goods, Hunter's Rant reveals a '70s artist refining his philosophy. Rant he does, with eloquence and a new fire. Every track works, entertaining and enlightening, taking the listener through curves and turns, reaching the zenith in track ten, "Ripoff." From the "that's all you've got to live for" lyric to the song title itself, this song is a perfect pop tune, full of anger, passion, slashing guitar sounds, a condescending vocal, and hooks that are real magnetic grabbers. With production that is absolutely topnotch, Hunter bids adieu to his homeland. Although "Ripoff" is guaranteed to keep "Sir" from being added to Hunter's name, he should still be knighted for delivering a kick-in-the-pants rock & roll song that every car radio should be blasting. The Rolling Stones haven't injected this much majesty into a single tune, let alone an album, in over a decade. R.E.M. could learn a thing or two from "Knees of My Heart"; it has the jangle jangle guitar, but where R.E.M. seems stuck in some past groove, Hunter utilizes that Nick Lowe/Bob Dylan/Byrds melancholic musical essay to great and satisfying effect. This album smartly moves sounds from guitar to keys, shifting moods, making a grand musical statement. "No One" is Hunter delivering a ballad with drive. This isn't "Ships," his Barry Manilow hit, nor is it Mad Shadows' pre-"All the Young Dudes" composition "You Are One of Us"; this has flavors of early British pop, guitar sounds from the George Harrison textbook, and a meaningful vocal from this rock & roll troubadour. Rant is a record that transcends so much of what is going on right now in music, a record that is much too good for radio today. The Columbia/Legacy compilation Once Bitten Twice Shy delivered 38 Ian Hunter solo titles in the year 2000, giving the world a clear picture of his post-Hoople work and paving the way for this sensational recording. © Joe Viglione © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/rant-r528655/review

Ian Hunter is a true rock and roll poet in the same stratum as Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. As the focal point and leader of Mott The Hoople in the seventies he produced some of the freshest lyrics and music of that decade. As a solo artist he continued to develop and maintain his momentum right into the eighties. The nineties were very quite for Hunter; with the new millennium upon us the man brings to us another strong suite of rock and roll poetry. He is unequivocally one of the most prolific songwriters and vocalist of our time. "Rant" is a very strong album from a rock and roller that refuses to let his candle burn out. He starts things off by letting you know straight away that he is back with "Still Love Rock And Roll." It doesn't get anymore cut and dried than that. On "Death Of A Nation" he tears to shreds his homeland with cynicism and feelings of disappointment. Hunter never lacked the abilities to project his innermost thoughts and feelings in his music. He rocks out in "American Spy" and in the same breath shows off his versatility by singing a stormy, brooding, dark ballad like "No One." "Morons" doesn't hold back a thing, and he really lets go with some humor with a punk-like flavor. If you think about it, Ian really was an original punker now wasn't he? His music always reflected the angst of society while trashing the status quo. I noticed for the first time after listening to Hunter for all these years that his voice has a resemblance to Rod Stewart's at times (this is meant as compliment). While the music was outstanding, the lyrics are what really grabbed me throughout the entire recording. Ian Hunter is a living legend and icon of music, and his catalog is a pilgrimage to rock and roll. I was genuinely moved by this man's work, not to mention I rocked my ass off, which is always an added bonus and pleasure. You will find out what great music and deep lyrical content can do for a listener when you add this CD to your collection. Tell everyone Ian Hunter is back and this is no "Ripoff." This is the real deal Review by & © Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck © 1998-2002 All-Reviews.com http://www.all-reviews.com/music/rant.htm

Ian Hunter is best known as the front man for the great Mott the Hoople band. Some of the great rock'n'roll songs written by Ian, as a member of Mott the Hoople include "The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll," "All the Way From Memphis," "Roll Away the Stone," and "Honaloochie Boogie," co-written with Mick Ralphs. Many people associated MTH with overly commercial Glam Rock. In fact, Mott the Hoople were a great rock 'n' roll band, but never really achieved that identity. Even with Ian Hunter's great songwriting ability, it was David Bowie who composed their biggest hit, "All The Young Dudes." Ian Hunter was taken much more seriously as a rock artist when he left Mott the Hoople. One music critic called his "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic" album "a spectacular and perfect" album, and if you listen to it you will understand why these comments were made. The album sold very well, and is possibly one of the great neglected rock albums of the late seventies. "Rant" is an equally good album. The album is "serious" rock with great lyrics from a legendary rocker who speaks his mind. The backing musicians are superb, and the album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. All the tracks were composed by Ian. Listen to Ian's tremendous "Shrunken Heads" album, and Mott The Hoople's "The Hoople" album. Search this blog for more IH/MTH releases

TRACKS

1 Ripoff 4:50
2 Good Samaritan 4:07
3 Death of a Nation 5:35
4 Purgatory 4:46
5 American Spy 4:30
6 Dead Man Walkin' (Eastenders) 6:20
7 Wash Us Away 3:57
8 Morons 5:32
9 Soap 'N' Water 5:18
10 Knees of My Heart 3:35
11 No One 3:35
12 Still Love Rock and Roll 4:34

All songs composed by Ian Hunter

N.B:Track sequence on the Papillon CD issue differs from other editions

MUSICIANS

Ian Hunter - Vocals, Keyboard, Harmonica, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
Andy York - Electric Guitar, Mandoguitar, Groovebox, Autoharp, Organ, Zither, Keyboards, Madolin, Bass, Backing Vocals
Robbie Alter - Guitars, Bass, Piano
Rick Tedesco - Guitar, Gang Vocals
John Conte - Bass
James Mastro - Sixstring Fuzzbass, Mandolin, Electric Slide, Electric 12-string, Acoustic 12-string
Doug Petty - Organ, Keyboards
Tommy Mandel - Organ, Keyboards, Loops
Dane Clark, Mickey Curry - Drums
Steve Holly - Drums, Percussion
Rock Pagano - Backing Vocals, Bongos, Drums
Jesse Paterson, Willie Nile, Lisa Ronson - Gang Vocals

BIO

With Mott the Hoople, guitarist/vocalist Ian Hunter established himself as one of the toughest and most inventive hard rock songwriters of the early '70s, setting the stage for punk rock with his edgy, intelligent songs. As a solo artist, Hunter never attained the commercial heights of Mott the Hoople, but he cultivated a dedicated cult following. Hunter was born in Owestry, Shropshire, but was raised in cities throughout England since his father worked in the British Intelligence agency called MI5 and had to move frequently. Eventually, the family returned to Shrewsbury, where the teenaged Hunter joined a band called Silence in the early '60s. Silence released an album, but it received no attention. In the years following Silence, Hunter played in a handful of local bands and worked a variety of jobs. In 1968, Hunter began playing bass with Freddie "Fingers" Lee and the duo played around Germany. Shortly afterward, Hunter became the vocalist for Mott the Hoople. During the next six years, Hunter sang and played piano and guitar with the band, becoming its lead songwriter within a few albums. Although few of their records sold, Mott the Hoople was one of the most popular live bands in England. In 1972, David Bowie produced their breakthrough album, All the Young Dudes, which brought the band into the British Top Ten and the American Top 40. For the next two years, the group had a consistent stream of hits in both the U.K. and the U.S. Toward the end of 1973, the band began to fall apart, as founding member and lead guitarist Mick Ralphs left the band. Hunter carried on through another album, but he left the group in late 1974, taking along former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, who had just joined Mott. Just prior to leaving the group, Hunter published Diary of a Rock Star, an account of his years leading Mott the Hoople, in June 1974. Hunter moved to New York, where he and Ronson began working on his solo debut. Released in 1975, Ian Hunter spawned "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," a Top 20 U.K. hit. Following its release, Hunter and Ronson embarked on a tour. After its completion, the pair parted ways, although they would reunite later in the '80s. All-American Alien Boy, Hunter's second solo album, was recorded with a variety of all-star and session musicians, including members of Queen. Released in the summer of 1976, All-American Alien Boy was a commercial failure. It was followed in 1977 by Overnight Angels, an album that saw Hunter moving closer to straightforward rock & roll; disappointed with the completed album, Hunter decided to leave the album unreleased in America. Following the mainstream approach of Overnight Angels, Hunter became involved with England's burgeoning punk rock movement, producing Generation X's second album, 1979's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. For Hunter's next solo album, he reunited with Mick Ronson, who produced and arranged 1979's You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. The album was a hit, especially in America, where it peaked at number 35. Hunter and Ronson set out on another tour, which resulted in the 1980 double live album, Ian Hunter Live/Welcome to the Club. In 1981, Hunter released Short Back N' Sides, which was produced by the Clash's Mick Jones. Two years later, he released All of the Good Ones Are Taken. After its release, Ian Hunter became a recluse, spending the next six years in silence; occasionally, he contributed a song to a movie soundtrack. In 1989, Hunter resumed recording, releasing YUI Orta with Ronson. After its release, Hunter remained quiet during the '90s, appearing only on Ronson's posthumous 1994 album Heaven and Hull and at tribute concerts for Ronson in 1994 and Freddie Mercury in 1992. Hunter returned to recording with Artful Dodger, which was released in Britain and Europe in the spring of 1997. After a Columbia/Legacy compilation titled Once Bitten Twice Shy offered a wealth of Ian Hunter solo titles in the year 2000, much attention was paid to 2001's fine Rant. In 2002, Hunter performed a pair of semi-acoustic concerts in Oslo, Norway, which were recorded for later release on CD and home video; the resulting project, called Strings Attached, included some new songs, including "Twisted Steel," inspired by the events of September 11, 2001. Shrunken Heads, a collection of all-new material, was released in 2007 on the Yep Roc label, followed by Man Overboard in 2009 from New West Records. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ian-hunter-p4528/biography