Get this crazy baby off my head!


Maria Muldaur


Maria Muldaur - Southern Winds - 1978 - Warner Brothers Records

By the beginning of the '80s, vocalist Maria Muldaur would have gotten to the end of her rope with her big-time Warner Bros. contract, finding nothing there but the hollowed-out remains of music once every single interesting aspect has been excised. This album was cut when this process had just gotten underway, and on this album one still finds the dominate energy to be a kind of communal give and take between the songstress and her fellow musicians that harks back to her days in the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Guitarists Les Dudek and Amos Garrett are from a bit heavier and unfortunately slicker mold, but they are on their best behavior here, making positive contributions to a band sound that for the most part gels. Keyboardist Mike Finnigan is one of several extremely talented players who are on hand, along with a crack horn section that includes the feisty Ernie Watts. In terms of a songs it is an odd batch, rather consistent in a bland way, lacking a signature hit or even one of the kind of goofy novelty numbers that really liven up her albums. The emphasis here was on romance — men with cigars can be seen poking their noses into the studio — and the choice of songs that was made is not one that can be said to have a high degree of edge. In fact, the message seems to be more along the lines of mellowing out. The final third of the album is pretty heavy on the Leon Russell material, none of which is that distinguished but was sure trendy at the time. Still, if one is assembling Muldaur albums from this period, this one will begin to rise to the top simply because some of the ones that followed were so much worse. © Eugene Chadbourne © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dxfexqr5ldje~T1

"Southern Winds" is regarded by many music "critics" as one of her weakest albums. However, the great lady never made a bad album. There is an ntelligent choice of songs on this album by composers like Leon Russell, Rory Block, J.J. Cale, Deadric Malone and others. Maria's backing musicians are seasoned blues and country players, and as usual her unique, spectacular, high-pitched, jazzy voice characterizes the whole album. There is no need to go into detail about Maria's career. If you are interested in more about this living legend, search this blog for more albums and info. If anybody has any info on her "Transblucency" album, please contact blog


1 Make Love to the Music - Leon Russell 4:07
2 Say You Will - Gary Ogan/Leon Russell 3:20
3 I'll Keep My Light in My Window - Leonard Caston/Terri McFadden 4:34
4 I Got a Man - Rory Block 3:24
5 Cajun Moon - J.J. Cale 2:50
6 I Can't Say No - John Bettis/Daniel Moore 3:29
7 Here Is Where Your Love Belongs - Bill Chaplin 4:17
8 That's the Way Love Is - Deadric Malone 4:01
9 Joyful Noise - Leon Russell 3:03
10 My Sister and Brothers - Johnson, Charles 4:13


Maria Muldaur - Vocals
Les Dudek - Guitar, Slide Guitar
Thom Rotella, John Leslie Hug - Guitar
Scott Edwards - Bass
Amos Garrett - Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
Christopher Bond - Guitar, Synthesizer
Philip Aaberg - Piano, Keyboards, Piano (Electric)
Greg Prestopino, Mike Finnigan - Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
Ed Greene - Synthesizer, Drums, Syndrum
Gary Coleman - Percussion
Ernie Watts, Don Menza, Jim Horn, Chuck Findley, Bobby Bryant/Robert Bryant - Horn
Lew McCreary - Trombone, Horn
David Burgin - Harmonica
Jim Anderson, Rosemary Butler, Pepper Watkins, Wendy Waldman - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)


Melissa Etheridge


Melissa Etheridge - Brave And Crazy - 1989 - Island Records

Not a trace of the dreaded sophomore curse was to be found on Melissa Etheridge's second album. On Brave and Crazy, the throaty singer/guitarist/composer is slightly more reflective than on her first release, but no less confident. Nor is she is any less rootsy. Etheridge's earthiness is a large part of her appeal, and she uses it most advantageously on the gutsy rockers "Skin Deep" and "Let Me Go," as well as more reflective pieces such as "Testify," "You Used to Love to Dance" and "You Can Sleep While I Drive" (which, like a lot of Bruce Springsteen's songs, equates long drives with freedom and liberation). As introspective as things get on this CD, Etheridge never becomes wimpy or self-pitying. For all its vulnerability, Brave and Crazy is the work of someone who comes across as a survivor. © Alex Henderson, All Music Guide © 2010 Answers Corporation http://www.answers.com/topic/brave-and-crazy

Melissa's gravelly voice, like a cross between Maggie Bell and Bonnie Tyler, is wonderful, and "Brave And Crazy" is an intensely sincere album from one of rock's most intelligent and talented artists. Her lyrics are personal, and emotional with a universal empathy. For many years now she has combined some of today's important social and political topics with great melodies and superior musicianship. Melissa's "Lucky" album is another of her great albums. Try and listen to it sometime


A1 No Souvernirs 4:33
A2 Brave And Crazy 4:37
A3 You Used To Love To Dance 4:33
A4 The Angels 4:38
A5 You Can Sleep While I Drive 3:14

B1 Testify 4:28
B2 Let Me Go 3:56
B3 My Back Door 4:24
B4 Skin Deep 3:10
B5 Royal Station 4 / 16 6:40

All songs composed by Melissa Etheridge, except B1 "Testify", by Melissa Etheridge, and Kevin McCormick


Guitar [12 String], Vocals - Melissa Etheridge
Electric Guitar - Bernie Larsen
Guitar - Richard Wachtel, Waddy Wachtel
Bass - Kevin McCormick
Keyboards - Scott Thurston
Drums - Mauricio Fritz Lewak
Harmonica - Bono


Melissa Etheridge became one of the most popular recording artists of the '90s due to her mixture of confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, Janis Joplin/Rod Stewart-esque vocals. But the road to stardom was not all smooth sailing for Etheridge as she debated behind the scenes whether or not to disclose to the public that she was gay early on in her career. Born May 29, 1961, in Leavenworth, KS, Etheridge first picked up the guitar at the age of eight and began penning her own songs shortly thereafter. Playing in local bands throughout her teens, Etheridge then attended the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. The up-and-coming singer/songwriter and guitarist dropped out after a year before making her way to Los Angeles in the early '80s to give a shot at a career in music. Etheridge's music at this point was slightly more bluesy than her subsequently renowned folk-pop style, as a demo of original compositions caught the attention of Bill Leopold, who signed on as Etheridge's manager. Soon after, steady gigs began coming her way, including a five-night-a-week residency at the Executive Suite in Long Beach, which led to a bidding war between such major record labels as A&M, Capitol, EMI, and Warner Bros., but it was Island Records that Etheridge decided to go with. Etheridge's first recorded work appeared on the forgotten soundtrack to the Nick Nolte prison movie Weeds before her self-titled debut was issued in 1988. The album quickly drew comparisons to such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, as it spawned the hit single "Bring Me Some Water" and earned gold certification. In the wake of the album's success, Etheridge performed at the Grammy Awards the following year and contributed vocals to Don Henley's The End of the Innocence. Etheridge managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with 1989's Brave and Crazy, which followed the same musical formula as its predecessor and proved to be another gold-certified success. It would be nearly three years before Etheridge's next studio album appeared, however, and 1992 signaled the arrival of Never Enough, an album that proved to be more musically varied. But it was Etheridge's fourth release that would prove to be her massive commercial breakthrough. Tired of rumors and questions regarding her sexuality, Etheridge decided to put the speculation to rest once and for all, titling the album Yes I Am. Ex-Police producer Hugh Padgham guided the album, which spawned two major MTV/radio hits with "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" (the latter of which featured a video with movie actress Juliette Lewis); the album would sell a staggering six million copies in the U.S. during a single-year period and earned a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocalist. But subsequent releases failed to match the success of Yes I Am, including 1995's Your Little Secret, 1999's Breakdown, and 2001's Skin, the latter of which dealt with her separation from Julie Cypher. (Cypher had birthed the couple's two children via artificial insemination; CSN&Y's David Crosby was the father.) 2002 saw the release of Etheridge's autobiography, The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music, and 2004's Lucky was her celebration of a new romance. Later that same year Etheridge revealed that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. But early detection allowed for recovery, and she gave strength to many of those stricken by the disease with a powerful performance of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" at the 47th Annual Grammys, held in February 2005. That September Etheridge released Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled, a compilation of career highlights and new material. It featured a cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" as well as "Piece of My Heart" and a new song dedicated to breast cancer survivors. In 2007 Etheridge released her first studio album of new material in three years, The Awakening, on Island, following it a year later in 2008 with a holiday album, A New Thought for Christmas, also on Island. © Greg Prato, allmusic.com


Elkie Brooks


Elkie Brooks - Screen Gems - 1984 - A&M Records

Regarded by many as the most outstanding British female vocal talent of the past five decades, there is no question that Elkie remains one of the best soul/blues rock singers in the world today. Although her first love is roots blues and rock, she has recorded many albums covering a diverse range of musical genres. "Screen Gems" is a beautifully arranged album of Hollywood film songs and movie themes. Some of the songs on "Screen Gems", like "Me and My Shadow", "Blue Moon", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "You'll Never Know", and "What'll I Do?" go back a long way, and have been covered by countless artists. But Elkie's voice can still draw something new from these old movie standards. Elkie is backed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the resulting recording is really special, and HR by A.O.O.F.C. Try and listen to her "Bookbinder's Kid", and "Round Midnight" albums. Check out Elkie's "Electric Lady" album @ ELKIBRKS/ELECLA and her "Nothing But The Blues" album is @ ELKIBRK/NBTB The self titled 1972 "Vinegar Joe" album, featuring Elkie Brooks is a classic early seventies blues rock album, and worth listening to. Search this blog for other Elkie Brooks/Vinegar Joe releases


1."Once In a While" (Michael Edwards, Bud Green)
2."Am I Blue" (Harry Akst, Grant Clarke)
3."That Old Feeling" (Sammy Fain, Lew Brown)
4."Me and My Shadow" (Al Jolson, Dave Dreyer, Billy Rose)
5."Blue Moon" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
6."Some of These Days" (Shelton Brooks)
7."Ain't Misbehavin'" (Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf)
8."You'll Never Know" (Harry Warren, Mack Gordon)
9."What'll I Do?" (Irving Berlin)
10."My Foolish Heart" (Victor Young, Ned Washington)
11."Love Me or Leave Me" (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn)
12."Three O'Clock In the Morning" (Julian Robledo, Dorothy Terriss)


Elkie Brooks – vocals
London Philharmonic Orchestra – orchestra


British pop-jazz-blues crooner Elkie Brooks (born Elaine Bookbinder) dominated U.K. radio in the late '70s with a series of hit singles that established her as "the biggest-selling female album artist in the history of the British pop charts." The Manchester native, who grew up in an extremely musical family, left school at the age of 15 to join a dance band in London. She eventually mad the jump to radio, as well as numerous appearances with legendary jazz bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton, before embarking on a career in pop music. The early '60s saw the budding young singer releasing singles for Decca and EMI, as well as opening for everyone from Carl Perkins to the Beatles, but commercial success remained elusive. She joined the blues-rock band Dada in 1970, which would eventually find success through a name change (Vinegar Joe) and the arrival of a new vocalist, Robert Palmer. The popular group released three beloved records before disbanding in 1974, and after a brief stint with U.S. Southern rock band Wet Willie, Brooks decided to take another crack at a solo career. The resulting Rich Man's Woman, Two Days Away, Shooting Star, Live & Learn, Pearls, and Pearls II, as well as frequent sold-out tours and numerous silver, gold, and platinum recordings, would go on to cement her reputation well into the 21st century. © James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide


Elkie Brooks (born Elaine Bookbinder, 25 February 1945 in Broughton, Salford) is an English singer, formerly a vocalist with Vinegar Joe, and later a solo artist. She is known for her husky voice. Brooks was born to Jewish parents in Salford, England and grew up in Prestwich. She attended North Salford Secondary Modern School. A professional singer since she was fifteen, Brooks' debut, a cover of Etta James's "Something's Got A Hold On Me", was released on Decca in 1964. She spent most of the 1960s on Britain's jazz scene.It was on the jazz scene she met Humphrey Lyttelton the two remained friends till Lyttelton's death in 2008. Impressed by Steve Marriott's vocal and stage performances, she helped the mod band Small Faces with their early career by introducing them at several venues. In the early 1960s Brooks supported The Beatles in their Christmas show in London. She also toured the U.S with The Animals, among other acts and also supported Jimi Hendrix.After she met husband Pete Gage, she joined the short-lived fusioneers Dada before forming Vinegar Joe with Gage and Robert Palmer. After three albums, they split up in 1974, and Brooks and Palmer both went solo. After a time as backing singer with the American southern boogie band Wet Willie, she returned to England. Her first solo album on A&M records Rich Man's Woman (1975) came before a run of sixteen UK hit albums in twenty-five years, starting with Two Days Away, produced by the legendary duo Leiber & Stoller, who had also worked with Elvis Presley and many others (1977). Brooks wrote some tracks with Leiber and Stoller. The hits "Pearl's a Singer", "Sunshine After the Rain" came from this album. "Lilac Wine", Don't Cry Out Loud, came later. The albums Shooting Star (1978), Live and Learn (1979), Pearls (at the time, the largest selling album by a British female artist) (1981), "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" was a hit for Brooks taken from this album. Written by Chris Rea. Pearls II (1982), Minutes (1984) and Screen Gems the first album to be produced on CD in the UK (1984) were all UK chart successes. In 1986 No More the Fool gave her biggest hit single to date while the parent album reached the top 5. Following chart success ensued with the albums The Very Best of (1986), Bookbinders Kid On Bookbinders Kid, she covered "What's The Matter Baby" previously recorded by Timi Yuro. Yuro got in touch with Brooks to compliment her. (1988), Inspiration (1981), Round Midnight (1993), Nothin' But the Blues (1994), Amazing (1996) and The Very Best of (1997). In 1980 Brooks performed at the Knebworth festival with The Beach Boys, Santana and Mike Oldfield. Brooks' success has earned her recognition by the Guinness Book of Records as the most charted British female album artist of the last 30 years. Pearls stayed in the charts for 79 weeks and was still there when Pearls II charted a year later. In March 2003 she participated in the ITV music talent show Reborn in the USA, alongside musicians such as Peter Cox (Go West Singer), Tony Hadley and Leee John. The Electric Lady album (2005) saw a return to her blues and rock roots, featuring self-penned tracks alongside re-workings of numbers by The Doors, Bob Dylan, Paul Rodgers and Tony Joe White. The following year saw the release of her first official DVD, titled Elkie Brooks & Friends: Pearls featuring an array of guest musicians. Brooks is currently working on her 20th studio album. A popular live attraction, Brooks has toured almost every year during her solo career. Her 1982 UK concert tour was seen by more than 140,000 people in just three months.She has performed at every major UK theatre including sell out runs at the London Palladium, Dominion Theatre, Hammersmith Apollo, Ronnie Scott's, Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena.


Chris Farlowe


Chris Farlowe - Farlowe That! - 2003 - Delicious Records

Chris Farlowe (born in Essex, England, on 13/10/1940) remains one of the great underrated and underappreciated British soul & blues influenced singers. Chris' musical career started in the early '60's with the "Lonnie Donegan" style John Henry Skiffle Group. In the early 1960s, under the pseudonym Little Joe Cook, Chris released a R&B single "Stormy Monday Blues" which led people to believe he was a black singer. Around 1963 or 1964 'The Thunderbirds' were formed which included Chris Farlowe, plus the great guitarist Albert Lee, and keyboardist Dave Greenslade. The band's five singles on the UK Columbia label met with no success. When Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones' manager established the famous Immediate label, he signed Chris Farlowe. Chris recorded many Jagger/Richards songs and some of his records were produced by Jagger. Out of 11 singles five had covers of the Jagger/Richards songs on them. The third single, "Out Of Time" made it to number one. Many people regard Chris'version of "Stormy Monday Blues (parts 1 and 2)", featuring Albert Lee on guitar, as one of the most distinguished, pre-eminent British blues recordings. Chris was also part of the great British jazz rock band, Colosseum, and the 1971 "Colosseum Live" album is a great example of early '70's British jazz rock. "Farlowe That!" , despite being a relatively recent release, is seldom heard nowadays, but is quite good. Two of Chris' other albums, "14 Things to Think About", and "Out of the Blue" are rewarding albums and really worth listening to. There is info on Chris' "Glory Bound" album @ CHFARL/GB


1 TROUBLE (Dillon/Ahlers)
5 I'LL LEAVE THE LIGHT ON (Marling/Smith)
6 AIN'T NO BIG DEAL (Campbell)
10 LIVING IT DOWN (McClinton/Nicholson/Tench)
11 NINA (Farlowe)
13 BORDERLINE (Ry Cooder)
14 ONLY YOU (Blonde)


Chris Farlowe: Vocals (All Tracks)
Norman Beaker: Guitars (Track 1 Solo)
Miller Anderson: Guitar (Tracks 8 & 10 Solos, 13 all guitars), Harp (Tracks 3, 7)
Leigh Blonde: Guitar (Tracks 11, 14)
John Price: Bass
Paul Burgess: Drums (Except Track 9)
Tim Franks: Drums (Track 9)
Dave Baldwin: keyboards
Lenni: Saxophone (Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 Solo, 9, 10)
Damian Hand: Saxophone (Tracks 2 Solo, 4, 5, 6 Solo, 7, 8, 10)
Pavel Kosak: Flute (Track 14)
Van Morrison & Chris Farlowe: Vocals (Track 9)
Irene and Doreen Chanter: Backing Vocals (Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14)


It's always a thrill going through hundreds of songs for a new album. Listening to material from Johnny Burnett to Delbert McClinton and Doris Day to Johnny Ray, I hope you like the final choice as much as I had choosing and recording them. Many thanks to my Band, Norman, John, Paul, Lenni, Dave and Damian and special thanks to Miller Anderson, The Chanter Sisters and my friend Leigh Blonde from Holland for their contributions. Also very special thanks to Van Morrison for writing and singing with me on 'Sitting on Top of the World'. Not forgetting Adrian and Pam for all things web, Trevor for looking after the shop, Kris my manager and Kenny for the production, Ziggy for non-stop coffee, Renate Wagner for Ziggy, Fritz Lang for the beers, Judith Lanzendorf for the cheesecake, Mike Durschimdt for the tours, my fans and of course my Mum who without her, all this would not be possible…..can't wait to do the next album. - Chris Farlowe February 2003 © www.chrisfarlowe.co.uk and www.deliciousrecords.co.uk © http://www.simplyws.co.uk/chrisfarlowe/ft-details.html


Chris Farlowe always seemed destined for great things as a singer — and based on the company he kept on-stage and the people he worked with in the mid-'60s, he did succeed, at least on that level. Born John Henry Deighton in Islington, North London, in 1940, he reached his early teens just as the skiffle boom was breaking in England, and was inspired by Lonnie Donegan to enter music. His first band was his own John Henry Skiffle Group, where he played guitar as well as sang, but he gave up playing to concentrate on his voice, as he made the switch to rock & roll. He eventually took the name Chris Farlowe, the surname appropriated from American jazz guitarist Tal Farlow, and was fronting a group called the Thunderbirds, as Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds. They built their reputation as a live act in England and Germany, and slowly switched from rock & roll to R&B during the early years of the '60s. Their debut single, "Air Travel," released in 1962, failed to chart, but the following year, Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds (whose ranks included future star guitarist Albert Lee) were signed to EMI's Columbia imprint, through which they issued a series of five singles thru 1966, all of which got enthusiastic critical receptions while generating poor sales. In 1966, with his EMI contract up, Farlowe was snatched up by Andrew Oldham, who knew a thing or two about white Britons who could sing R&B, having signed the Rolling Stones three years earlier, and put him under contract to his new Immediate Records label. Immediate's history with unestablished artists is mostly a story of talent cultivated for future success, but with Farlowe it was different — he actually became a star on the label, through the label. His luck began to change early on, as he saw a Top 40 chart placement with his introduction of the Jagger/Richards song "Think," which the Rolling Stones later released as an album track on Aftermath. That summer, he had the biggest hit of his career with his rendition of the Stones' "Out of Time," in a moody and dramatic version orchestrated by Arthur Greenslade, which reached number one on the British charts. Farlowe had enough credibility as a soul singer by then to be asked to appear on the Ready, Steady, Go broadcast of September 16, 1966, a special program featuring visiting American soul legend Otis Redding — he'd covered Redding's "Mr. Pitiful" on an Immediate EP, and now Farlowe was on stage with Otis (and Eric Burdon), and got featured in two numbers. That was to be his peak year, however. The subsequent single releases on Immediate, including his version of the Stones' "Ride on Baby," failed to match the success of the first two singles, and he last charted for Immediate with "Handbags and Gladrags," written for him by Manfred Mann's Mike d'Abo. The label, always in dire financial straits, tried repackaging his songs several different ways on LP, but after 1967 his recording career was more or less frozen until the label's demise in 1970. After that, Farlowe's story became one of awkward match-ups with certain groups, including the original Colosseum on three albums, and Atomic Rooster (post-Carl Palmer). Following a car accident that left him inactive for two years, he made an attempt at re-forming the Thunderbirds in the mid-'70s, and "Out of Time" kept turning up in various reissues, but he saw little new success. Farlowe was rescued from oblivion by his better-known contemporary (and fellow Immediate Records alumnus) Jimmy Page, appearing on the latter's Outrider album in the '80s, which heralded a BBC appearance that brought him back to center stage in the public consciousness for the first time in two decades. Farlowe followed this up with new albums and touring with various reconstituted '60s and '70s groups, and although he never saw another hit single, his reputation as a live performer was enough to sustain a career — nor did the release of his Ready, Steady, Go appearance with Otis Redding on videotape and laser disc exactly hurt his reputation; indeed, that was the first time many Americans appreciated just how serious a following he'd had in England. His recent albums, including The Voice, have gotten respectable reviews, and his Immediate Records legacy was finally getting treated properly in the 21st century, as well. Along with Manfred Mann's Mike d'Abo and Paul Jones, Farlowe remains one of those voices from 1960s England that — with good reason — hasn't faded and simply won't disappear. © Bruce Eder © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=CHRISFARLOWE&sql=11:difexqe5ldje~T1


Chris Farlowe was born John Henry Deighton in Islington, North London on October 13 1940, amidst the rationing, gas masks and bombing raids of WWII. In common with many of the great British stars who emerged from the sixties, Chris's earliest hero was Lonnie Donegan and whilst still a teenager, Chris formed his own skiffle band - the modestly named 'John Henry Skiffle Group! By the late fifties Chris had gravitated more towards Rock and Roll and left off guitar to concentrate on singing. The group evolved into Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds; the Farlowe coming from guitarist Tal Farlowe and Thunderbirds from the American car of the same name. By the early sixties, Chris and The Thunderbirds were established favourites on the London and Hamburg club scene and had a growing band of enthusiastic and loyal followers. Their musical direction was also changing - becoming more R&B than R&R. November 1962 saw the first vinyl release, the intriguingly named 'Air Travel', unfortunately it didn't chart but it did bring Chris to the attention of the Columbia record label who signed him the following year; releasing five singles over the next couple of years. Apart from dance floor hit, 'The Blue Beat', commercial success was limited though critical acclaim (as always) was widespread. It wasn't until Chris signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's new Immediate label that things finally started to happen. 1966 seeing the release of Immediate's show case EP where Chris covered 'In the Midnight Hour', Mr Pitiful, Satisfaction and 'Who Can I Turn To?'. This was followed by the single release 'Think' which charted and the first Album, '14 Things to Think About'. The summer of 66 saw England winning the Football World Cup (honestly!), the USA fighting in Vietnam and the release of 'Out of Time', affectionately referred to as 'OOT'. To say it was a huge hit would be an understatement. It was a phenomenon and struck a cord with young and old alike. One of those rare records that just hit the right spot in a nation's consciousness at the right time. Against Chris's wishes, EMI followed up with the release of 'Just a Dream' and then the much better 'Ride on Baby' both of which received a luke warm reception. 'OOT' was such a tough act to follow. The latter part of the sixties saw a number of releases, none of which had any major chart success with the exception of the classic 'Handbags and Gladrags' a song penned especially for Chris by buddy Mike D'arbo of Manfred Mann fame and recently covered by Welsh rockers, the Stereophonics in 2003. Incredibly, this was to be Chris's last chart success, not counting the re-release of 'OOT' in the mid seventies. By the end of the sixties, Chris didn't have a record deal and looked set to fade into obscurity. But wait... it's 1970 and who's this in the afghan coat with long hair and fashionably flared trousers? Yep, it is our very own Chris, now playing with progressive rockers, Colosseum (hands up those who remember progressive rock?). Two albums followed before Chris moved on to Atomic Rooster (Don't ask. I don't know, remember people used a lot of drugs in the early seventies!). Not a happy time for Chris and after completing two albums, 'Made in England' and 'Nice N Greasy' the relationship was terminated. It was a bleak time; Chris was involved in a serious road accident that kept him away from recording and performing for two, long years. In 1975 Chris emerged out of the doldrums, hitting the road again with a new Thunderbirds lineup and chart success coming with the re-release of 'Out of Time' in 1975. But, it wasn't to be. Management hassles and the punk explosion (hands up who remembers punk!) saw Chris sidelined once more. The 80's saw Chris's re-emergence from semi-retirement, guesting on Jimmy Page's highly acclaimed 'Outrider' album and bringing the house down at a Radio one live show with his rendition of 'Stormy Weather'. The very worthy albums 'Out of the Blue' and 'Born Again' were released during this artistically rich and productive time. In the nineties Chris just went from strength to strength. Recording and gigging relentlessly. Tours with the newly reformed Colosseum, the Manfreds and solo dates, reawakened interest throughout the old fan base and brought a whole new generation of fans on board (me included). Colosseum and solo albums were ecstatically reviewed but didn't translate to chart success (the general public have no taste you know)! The new century is proving to be a productive time, for Chris who shows no signs of slowing down. Despite reaching 65 years of age, he continues a punishing schedule of recording and touring and runs a successful antiques business into the bargain. He has become the favoured special guest for 'Van Morrison's' live shows as well as completing annual UK and European Tours in his own right with the Norman Beaker Band. The last three albums have all been mini classics; 'The Voice', produced by Clem Clempson, saw Chris' in a contemplative and mellow mood and was followed by 'Glory Bound', a beautifully crafted collection of songs with spot on production by Norman Beaker. A solid, quality effort, typically mold breaking and denying those who would try to pigeonhole Chris as purely a 'blues' singer. 2003 saw the release of 'Farlowe That', a much more rock orientated album, which resembled more closely, the feel of a live set from Chris. The single, 'I'll Leave the Light on', from this album was released in Summer 2003. Unfortunately, despite a show stopping performance on 'Top of The Pops' and the inexhaustible efforts of Kris Gray, Chris' long standing and dedicated manager, it didn't chart. 2004, continues the Farlowe tradition of touring and record releases. The beginning of the year, saw Chris reunited with the original Colosseum line up for a short European and UK Tour. This was followed by an extensive UK Tour, with the 'Hit Makers'; Dave Dee, Chip Hawkes and Cliff Bennett. Following on from this, Chris toured the UK and Europe with the Norman Beaker Band. The year also saw the release of a 46 track anthology 'Rock n' Roll Soldier' which contains a connoisseurs selection of his work from 1970 to the present and includes nine previously unreleased tracks. And just to show the modern 'beat generation' a thing or two, he has covered 'Paul Wellers', 'Changing Man', on 'Delicious Records' 2004 compilation, 'Back To the Future' Perhaps the highlight for 2005 has been the release of a long awaited live CD, 'Hungary for the Blues'. And. once again Chris has been busy in Europe, touring in his own right and also with Colosseum. The future... Chris gives no indication of stopping; 'The Voice' is as strong as ever. A UK tour is planned for 2006 and hopefully a new studio album will be cut. For Farlowe fanatics everywhere, he is the consummate rocker, the living embodiment of the star who's seen it all and done most of it, but remains as fresh and enthusiastic as when he started out, an incredible 50 years ago. We can count ourselves fortunate to be witnesses to this living legend, and privileged to call him a friend. With a live act honed to perfection, many of today's so called superstars could learn a lot from him. Whenever we see him, wherever we see him, the audience is spellbound, gripped by every gesture, and each note in every song; the hardest act to follow I have ever seen. © 2008 iPlugYou

BIO (Wikipedia)

Chris Farlowe (born John Henry Deighton, 13 October 1940, Islington, North London, England) is a successful English pop, R&B and soul singer. Farlowe's musical career began with a skiffle group, The John Henry Skiffle Group in 1957, then The Johnny Burns Rhythm and Blues Quartet in 1958. He met lead guitarist Bob Taylor (born Robert Taylor, 6 June 1942, London) in 1959 and he joined the band Taylor was in (The Thunderbirds), recording five singles for the Columbia label, without much success. He then moved to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label and recorded another eleven singles, five of them cover versions of Rolling Stones songs; ("Paint It, Black", "Think", "Ride On, Baby", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Out of Time"). His most successful was "Out of Time" which was number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1966. His next four singles were also well received. The most famous was "Handbags and Gladrags" (which was written by Mike d'Abo), later covered by Rod Stewart and more recently by the Stereophonics). As an English R&B star of the early 1960s, Farlowe released one single, "Stormy Monday Blues", under the pseudonym, 'Little Joe Cook', which helped perpetrate the myth that he was black. His association with jazz rock group Colosseum began in the 1970s, recording a live album and three studio albums Daughter of Time, Bread and Circuses and Tomorrow's Blues (2006). Farlowe continues to tour extensively throughout the UK and Europe with band Colosseum, and also with his own band. Farlowe also deals in antiques and has a showroom in Islington. In 1972 he joined Atomic Rooster and is featured on the albums Made in England and Nice and Greasy. He also sang on three tracks of Jimmy Page's Death Wish II soundtrack 1982 and Outrider album in 1988. In the beginning, Farlowe was backed by the band 'The Thunderbirds', which featured guitarist Albert Lee and Dave Greenslade, (later with him again in Colosseum), Bugs Waddell (bass), Ian Hague (drums) Bernie Greenwood (sax) and Jerry Temple (percussion).

Procol Harum


Procol Harum - One More Time (Live In Utrecht 1992) - 2005 - Friday Music

This album was originally released in 1999 on Gary Brooker's own Gazza label. However the version here on the Friday Music label is a remastered version, and is of far better sound quality. The album was recorded live at Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands on 13 February 1992, and it's a great concert from this PH 1992 line-up. Procul Harum, despite numerous personnel changes remain a great British rock band. Many of the band's albums are a blend of classically tinged rock and blues rock. Some people still prefer the guitar work of Robin Trower to other PH guitarists. However Geoff Whitehorn's guitar work on this album is more than adequate. Besides Gary Brooker, one of PH's early members, organist Matthew Fisher plays on this concert album, and overall the line-up retain much of the early PH sound. If you are a real Procol Harum fan, you should find something of merit on this album. Up to 2009, Procol Harum were still playing, and concerts are planned for North American venues in June 2010. If you get the chance to see this legendary band, take it. The band's "Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" can be found @ PROCOLH/LIC/ESO PH's great "Home" album is @ PROCOLH/HOME and Gary Brooker's "Lead Me To The Water" album is @ GYBRKR/LM2TW


1."Bringing Home the Bacon" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
2."Shine On Brightly" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
3."Homburg" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
4."One More Time" - Gary Brooker/M. Fisher/K. Reid
5."Grand Hotel"- Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
6."Man with a Mission" - Gary Brooker/Matt Noble/K. Reid
7."The Devil Came from Kansas" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
8."Whisky Train" - Keith Reid/Robin Trower
9."The King of Hearts" - Gary Brooker/Matt Noble/K. Reid
10."A Salty Dog" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
11."Whaling Stories" - Gary Brooker/Keith Reid
12."All Our Dreams Are Sold" - Gary Brooker/K. Reid/Robin Trower
13."Repent Walpurgis" - Matthew Fisher


Matthew Fisher - Hammond Organ
Geoff Whitehorn - Lead Guitar
Dave Bronze - Bass Guitar
Mark Brzezicki - Drums
Gary Brooker - Piano, Vocals


Procol Harum, whose classic hit from 1967, A Whiter Shade Of Pale, was recently voted one of the best singles of the 20th century, reformed in 1991. After a 14-year layoff Gary Brooker got together again with Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher and Robin Trower and they made a new album called The Prodigal Stranger for Zoo Records. Among the musicians who helped out on this album were Tim Renwick (guitar), Dave Bronze (bass) and Mark Brzezicki (drums). So when Procol Harum started their Prodigal Stranger Tour in September 1991, it was no surprise that these three pros were added to the line-up, Brzezicki having the unenviable task of following up the highly-rated BJ Wilson, who had tragically died in October 1990, and Renwick replacing Trower who was unable to perform due to previous commitments. The first part of their reunion tour took place in Canada and the USA and kicked off in Toronto on 23 September. The set contained seven songs from the new album. According to Ira Band in the Toronto Sun Gary Brooker had lost none of his vocal charisma and the high point was the passionate A Salty Dog. After this 11-city tour, which finished in Los Angeles Variety Arts Center, Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher guested on the David Letterman Show. For the next leg of their Prodigal Stranger Tour Tim Renwick was replaced by Geoff Whitehorn, who made his début with the band on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. On 15 January 1992 the European part of the tour began in the Augsburg Kongresshalle. After Germany the tour went on to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Austria. After their return to Germany for one more performance (Frankfurt Music Hall) Procol headed for Utrecht. The Dutch had always had a soft spot for Procol Harum. In The Netherlands A Whiter Shade Of Pale reached the top of the singles charts twice, in June 1967 and July 1972. Homburg achieved that position in November 1967 and A Salty Dog was in the Top 3 in July 1969. It is no surprise that it was in Holland that Gary Brooker scored two solo hits with No More Fear Of Flying and Two Fools In Love. In a recent Dutch poll A Whiter Shade Of Pale was voted the best song of the sixties. Thanks to all the heavy touring, the band was in top shape for their Utrecht performance, nearly the last date of this European tour. It was their first concert in sixteen years in Holland and Gary & co. knew the gig was being recorded. The concert got off to a difficult start when due to technical problems Fisher's organ could not be heard on Conquistador. But after that it was full steam ahead. Just listen to the opening bars of Bringing Home The Bacon. Such dynamics, such power! This was a very well-rehearsed outfit, as is shown in the rousing Shine On Brightly and The Prodigal Stranger's One More Time, which features some inspired playing by Fisher and Whitehorn. Grand Hotel, the title track of their seventh album, proved to be another highlight. After the concert Geoff Whitehorn stated: "This was the best Grand Hotel we did on this tour." Listen to Brzezicki's timekeeping in Man With A Mission and the group vocals in The Devil Came From Kansas. Many consider The King Of Hearts to be the best track from The Prodigal Stranger and this version proves why. A highly-concentrated Brooker leads his troops like a true commander. Not a line missing and shining brightly on A Salty Dog. This Utrecht version was previously released on Castle's 1995 A Whiter Shade Of Pale re-release (as was the superb Repent Walpurgis, starring the genius of Matthew Fisher on organ). Whitehorn's interpretation of Trower's crunching power chords in Whaling Stories shows why rock superstars such as Pete Townshend and Paul Rodgers often ask him to join their touring bands. When listening to the rocky All Our Dreams Are Sold you hear a tight outfit, a great rock band with a lot of guts which is among the best in the universe. Of all the concerts Procol Harum did in the Netherlands since their first in October 1972 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, this definitely was their best yet. Can you think of any other concert where afterwards part of the audience spontaneously started to shake hands with the members of the band? © Frans Steensma http://www.procolharum.com/


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 © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifixqr5ldhe~T1

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.


Gary Brooker, MBE, (born 29 May 1945) is an English singer, songwriter, pianist and founder of the rock band Procol Harum. Brooker was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours on June 14, 2003 in recognition of his charitable services. Brooker was born Hackney, East London. He grew up in the seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, as did most of the other founding members of Procol Harum. As a youngster, he learned to play piano, cornet and trombone. Brooker founded The Paramounts in 1962 with his guitarist friend Robin Trower. The band gained respect within the burgeoning 1960s British R 'n' B scene, which yielded The Beatles, The Animals, The Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, and many others. The Stones, in particular, were Paramounts fans, giving them guest billing on several memorable shows in the early 1960s. In 1966, Brooker founded Procol Harum. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is the worldwide hit that Procol Harum is best known for, but Brooker's melancholy vocals and emotive, eclectic piano playing were a key part of Procol's musical mix for the entire course of the band's career. In the early years Brooker, Hammond organist Matthew Fisher, and Trower were the guiding musical forces behind the band, but after disparities in style became too much and Fisher and Trower left, Brooker was the clear leader until the band broke up in 1977. Brooker was content to lay low and became the proprietor of the Parrot Inn in Surrey. In 1979, Brooker joined friend and neighbour Eric Clapton's band. With Brooker in the lineup, they released Just One Night, a live recording from Japan and the studio album Another Ticket. Clapton fired the entire band in 1981, but he and Brooker have remained good friends since. Brooker has joined Clapton for several one-off benefit gigs over the years. They still remain neighbours in Ewhurst Surrey UK. Brooker sang lead vocal on the Alan Parsons song "Limelight", on their 1985 album, Stereotomy. A new incarnation of Procol Harum, led by Brooker, and including Fisher for most of the tours from 1991 through 2003, has continued touring the world, celebrating its 40th anniversary in July 2007 with two days of musical revels at St John's Smith Square in London, UK. Brooker also toured with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in 1997 and 1999, and he was also a member of Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings for several years, appearing on three of their albums and touring with the band. In November 2002 he was among musicians and singers participating in the George Harrison tribute concert, Concert for George, at which he took vocals on their version of "Old Brown Shoe". Brooker contributed to Harrison's albums All Things Must Pass, Gone Troppo and Somewhere in England. In April 2005, as the Gary Brooker Ensemble, he played a sell-out charity concert at Guildford Cathedral in aid of the Tsunami appeal, playing a mixture of Procol Harum and solo songs and powerful arrangements of classical and spiritual songs. His guests and supporting artists included Andy Fairweather Low and Paul Jones (ex-Manfred Mann).


Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Gary Brooker is best known as the leader of Procol Harum. Brooker's first group was the Paramounts, all of whose members turned up in the later group. Procol Harum launched in 1967 with their biggest hit, the U.K. number one/U.S. Top Ten "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which featured Brooker singing the lyrics of Keith Reid over an adaptation of a Bach cantata. Procol Harum went on to release ten albums through 1977, then broke up. Brooker launched a solo career with No More Fear of Flying in 1979, followed by Lead Me to the Water (1982), and Echoes in the Night (1985). He also played in Eric Clapton's backup band. Procol Harum reformed for a new album, The Prodigal Stranger, in 1991. © William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Kiki Dee


Kiki Dee - Stay With Me - 1978 - The Rocket Record Company

Kiki Dee's career is very similar to Barbara Dickson. They are both mainly remembered for a few huge hits, as well as TV, and stage work. Check out Barbara Dickson on this blog. In Kiki Dee's case, she is probably most famous for her "I've Got the Music in Me", and her global hit "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", a duet with Elton John. However Kiki, from Bradford, England has been recording since 1963. From the early '60's through the early '70's she sang blues, jazz, and soul, and was the first British Caucasian signed by Motown Records. She was a backing singer for Dusty Springfield, and appeared on numerous TV shows singing classic jazz, soul and R&B standards. There is a TV footage of her singing the BS&T classic "You've Made Me So Very Happy" in 1971. When she signed with Elton John's Rocket label in the mid seventies, her music became more commercial with a strong pop flavour, but pop music of the highest standard. She had already sung some backing vocals on Elton's classic GYBR album. Her connections with Elton John continued into the late '80's, but outside the EJ association she also recorded songs as diverse as The Chanter Sisters' "Star", and "What Can't Speak Can't Lie" recorded by the great fusion band, Casiopea. Again, like Barbara Dickson, she achieved much acclaim for her natural acting talent, and at one stage played the same role previously played by Barbara Dickson in Willy Russell's much heralded musical Blood Brothers, just one of her many acting credits. Kiki still performs and records. "Stay With Me" is a great example of this great lady's vocal talent, and is HR by A.O.O.F.C. There is also an album by Kiki Dee entitled "Stay With Me (The Rocket Years)" which was an 18 track compilation released in 1979. The album posted here was reissued on CD in 2008 with two bonus tracks, "The Loser Gets To Win", and "I Want Our Love To Shine". Check out Kiki's "Amoreuse" compilation CD which covers the full range of her vocal and musical spectrum.


A1 One Step - Snow, Ballard
A2 Talk To Me - Dee, Lasley, Buzby
A3 Don't Stop Loving Me - Dee, Lasley, Buzby
A4 Dark Side Of Your Soul - Dee, Lasley, Buzby
A5 Stay With Me Baby - Ragavoy, Weiss

B1 One Jump Ahead Of The Storm - Seals, New
B2 You're Holding Me Too Tight - Gold, Weil
B3 Love Is A Crazy Feeling - Boshell, Johnstone
B4 Safe Harbour - Lasley, Morrano


Kiki Dee - Lead Vocals
Steve Lukather, Davey Johnstone - Guitar
David Hungate, Bob Glaub - Bass
James Newton Howard - Synthesizer, Keyboards
Steve Porcaro - Synthesizer
Greg Phillinganes, Tom Snow, David Paich, Bias Boshell - Keyboards
Victor Feldman - Keyboards, Percussion
Jeff Porcaro, Jim Keltner - Drums
Chuck Findley, Jim Horn, Steve Madaio - Horn
Venette Gloud, Donny Gerrard, Susan Collins, Carmen Twillie, Brenda Russell, Sharon Robinson, David Lasley, Arnold McCutler - Vocals


Kiki Dee kicked around Britain as a white soul singer for the better part of the late '60s and early '70s — even becoming the first British Caucasian signed to Motown — before hooking up with Elton John, who signed her to his Rocket Records label and produced her first notable hit, "I've Got the Music in Me." In 1976, at which time John was the biggest pop star in the world, he wrote and duetted with Dee on the single "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," which promptly topped the charts all over the world. It did not, however, make Dee a long-term star, though she scored a couple of subsequent hits in England and turned to the stage with some success, especially by starring in Blood Brothers in the West End. In 1993, she and John recorded another duet, on Cole Porter's "True Love" (previously recorded as a duet by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly). © William Ruhlmann © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll


Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews, 6 March 1947, Little Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, is a singer-songwriter, with a career spanning more than 40 years. She is best known for her 1976 duet with Elton John, entitled "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", which went to Number 1 both in the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1993 she performed another duet with Elton John for his Duets album, a cover version of Cole Porter's "True Love", which reached #2 in the UK. Kiki Dee began singing with a local band in Bradford in the early 1960s. Her recording career began as a session singer. She sang backing vocals for Dusty Springfield, among others, and was regarded by other singers but did not achieve solo success in the UK for many years. However, her 1965 release "Why Don't I Run Away From You" was a big hit on Radios London and Caroline in 1965, and her 1968 release, "On a Magic Carpet Ride", which was originally a B-side, has remained popular with the Northern Soul circuit. Hit songwriter Mitch Murray came up with her stage name, and also penned her first single, "Early Night". In the United States she became the first white British artist to be signed by Motown, releasing her first Motown single in 1970. In the days before BBC Radio 1, Dee was a regular performer of cover versions on BBC Radio, and she starred with a group of session singers in the BBC Two singalong series, One More Time. She also appeared in an early episode of The Benny Hill Show in January 1971, performing the Blood, Sweat and Tears hit, "You've Made Me So Very Happy". Nevertheless, it was only after she signed with Elton John's Rocket Records that she became a household name in the UK. Her first major solo hits were "Amoureuse" (written by Véronique Sanson, with English lyrics by Gary Osborne) (1973) and "I've Got the Music in Me" (written by Tobias Stephen Boshell), the latter credited to the Kiki Dee Band (1974). In addition to her burgeoning career as a lead vocalist, she could sometimes be heard singing backing vocals on various Elton John recordings, such as "All the Girls Love Alice" on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and various tracks on Rock of the Westies. She became a household name with her duet with Elton John, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976. In 1981, Dee joined forces again with Elton John, recording a cover of the Four Tops' song "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever". In 1983, she supplied backing vocals to Elton John's album Too Low for Zero. Between 1987 and 1990 the theme music to the BBC One programme Opportunity Knocks was Dee's recording of "Star", a song written by Doreen Chanter of the Chanter Sisters. Dee also sang the song "What Can't Speak Can't Lie" (1983), composed and recorded by the Japanese jazz fusion group Casiopea, and with lyrics by Gary Osborne. She has released 39 singles, 3 EPs, 9 LPs and 3 CDs to date. Dee has also appeared in musical theatre - notably in the lead role in Willy Russell's West End musical Blood Brothers, in which she took on the role originally played by Barbara Dickson for the 1988 production and recording. She received an Olivier Award nomination in 1989 for her acting skills. In 1990, she contributed to the last recording studio collaboration between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, on the album Freudiana, performing "You're On Your Own". In 2008, Dee's first DVD was released. Under The Night Sky was a collaboration with guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, filmed live at the Bray Studios in London. That same year, several albums from her earlier 1970s-1980s Rocket catalogue were re-released by EMI Records, including an expanded edition of Almost Naked with extra tracks, including a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", and a new take on "Sugar on the Floor". The latter song had previously appeared as a full band version by Dee; a piano/vocal version (with slide guitar from Davey Johnstone) by Elton John (a bonus CD track on Rock of the Westies that was the b-side to "Island Girl"); and a jazzy version by Etta James. She also performed at Live Aid, reprising "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with John, and performing backing vocals on the other songs in his set. She still tours, and occasionally makes guest appearances on television in shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks. She has recorded with other artists such as Dave Stewart and guitarist Carmelo Luggeri.

David Bowie


David Bowie - Live Santa Monica '72 - 1994 - Golden Years

Even by the time David Bowie played Santa Monica in 1972, the great man had released brilliant albums like "The Man Who Sold the World", "Hunky Dory", and "Ziggy Stardust". In 1973 he released his "Aladdin Sane" masterpiece. Also, during the '70's, he maintained his brilliant creative power with albums like "Station To Station", "Low", "Heroes", and "Lodger". His 1980 "Scary Monsters" album can also be added to Bowie's list of classic rock albums. During the '90's he released the underrated "Buddha of Suburbia", and in 2002, he released the wonderful "Heathen" album. "Live Santa Monica '72" was Bowie’s first live U.S. radio appearance, recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 20 October 1972 during the Ziggy Stardust tour. Taken from an FM radio broadcast, by the now-defunct Los Angeles station KMET (“The Mighty Met,” 94.7 FM ). There are dozens of issues of this album on vinyl and CD. Many of the releases are unofficial, with poor sound quality. The release here is an official release and sound quality is above average. A superb live concert from Bowie and his band, including the late Mick Ronson


1."Intro"(by B. Mitchel Reed from KMET) - B. Mitchel Reed – 0:15
2."Hang on to Yourself" – 2:47
3."Ziggy Stardust" – 3:24
4."Changes" – 3:32
5."The Supermen" – 2:57
6."Life on Mars?" – 3:28
7."Five Years" – 5:21
8."Space Oddity" – 5:22
9."Andy Warhol" – 3:58
10."My Death" (Jacques Brel, Mort Shuman) – 5:56
11."The Width of a Circle" – 10:39
12."Queen Bitch" – 3:01
13."Moonage Daydream" – 4:38
14."John, I'm Only Dancing" – 3:36
15."I'm Waiting for the Man" (Lou Reed) – 6:01
16."The Jean Genie" – 4:02
17."Suffragette City" – 4:25
18."Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" – 3:17

All songs composed by David Bowie except where stated


David Bowie – guitar, vocals
Mick Ronson – guitar, vocals
Trevor Bolder – bass
Mike Garson – piano, keyboards
Mick "Woody" Woodmansey – drums


Al Stewart


Al Stewart - Time Passages Live - 2002 - BMG

Time Passages Live is the earliest extant live recording of Al Stewart, licensed from Stewart himself and derived from a 1978 concert, along the tour promoting the then new LP Time Passages — that album's title track, as well as "Valentina Way," "Life in Dark Water," and "Song on the Radio" (the latter offering a great Phil Kenzie sax solo), are all represented. Issued by BMG through its budget-priced Special Products Division, it's a genuine bargain, offering state-of-the-art sound (for its time) and a very solid song list, including highlights from the preceding pair of LPs — there's no "Nostradamus" but there's a superb "Roads to Moscow," in addition to the ubiquitous "Year of the Cat" and "On the Border." And only in 1978, at a concert by Al Stewart, would a big portion of a rock concert audience applaud enthusiastically at the mention of Kurt Vonnegut's name (in the introduction to "Sirens of Titan"). The band also breaks up the seriousness of Stewart's originals with an enjoyable rendition of Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme," spotlighting Phil Kenzie's sax. © Bruce Eder © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0ifrxqqaldhe

A great concert from the brilliant Scottish singer/songwriter and musician, Al Stewart. This album is from an Al Stewart concert recorded in Chicago, IL in November, 1978 to promote his 1978 "Time Passages" album. This recording was originally a promotional LP, which BMG officially released in 2002 on CD with added tracks. Al Stewart's songs are eclectic and diverse in the extreme, dealing with political, historical, and sociological issues, as well as normal standard rock radio favourites. Listen to his song, “Trains", from his "Famous Last Words" album, a song of sheer brilliance, which on the surface seems to be about the history of rail travel, but is, in fact a long narrative about the trains that carried refugees to concentration camps during the Holocaust. His great song, “Post World War Two Blues,” tells about the attitudes of people after WW 2, and refers to Louis Mountbatten and Jimi Hendrix. Definitely not your average song theme. Absolutely amazing lyrics, and typical of Al Stewart's eclectic songwriting. His song, “Flying Sorcery,” is the story of Amy Johnson, the brave English aviatrix who died in 1941 during WW2. Not all his songs are about war, though. Listen to his classic "Year of the Cat", Night Train To Munich", "Song On The Radio", or "If It Doesn't Come Naturally, Leave It". His songs can be humorous, melodic, rock orientated, and contain many more diverse themes and qualities too numerous to mention here. If you are not familiar with Al Stewart's work, give this album a listen. It is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Al Stewart is one of the great "unfashionable" artists who has always "done his own thing", musically. The guy is a brilliant songwriter, and a lyrical genius. Check out the man's "Down In The Cellar" album @ ALSTWT/DITC "An Acoustic Evening With Al Stewart" can be found @ ALSTWT/ACOUEVE Al's "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time... A Collection Of Demos And Outtakes" is @ ALSTWT/SLAGIATT/COD&O His 1967 "Bed-Sitter Images" album is @ ALSTWT/BSI and check out his terrific "Live Indian Summer" album @ ALSTWT/LIS Try and listen to some Roy Harper albums. "Stormcock" is one of his best. Roy is another "unfashionable" singer songwriter who has been around for a long time, and his creative brilliance is on a par with Al Stewart


1 On the Border [ on 1976 Year Of The Cat album ]
2 Sirens of Titan [ on 1975 Modern Times album ]
3 Time Passages [ on 1978 Time Passages album ]
4 Roads to Moscow [ on 1974 Past, Present and Future album ]
5 Life in Dark Water [ on 1978 Time Passages album ]
6 Valentina Way [ on 1978 Time Passages album ]
7 Year of the Cat [ on 1976 Year Of The Cat album ]
8 Pink Panther Theme [ on 1980 The Live Radio Concert album ]
9 Song on the Radio [ on 1978 Time Passages album ]

All songs composed by Al Stewart except Track 3 by Al Stewart & Peter White, Track 7 by Peter Wood & Al Stewart, and Track 8 by Henry Mancini


Al Stewart - Vocals, Guitar
Adam Yurman - Guitars
Peter White - Keyboards, Guitar
Robin Lamble - Bass, Backing Vocals
Robert Alpert - Keyboards
Krysia Kristianne - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Harry Stinson - Drums, Backing Vocals
Phil Kenzie - Saxophones

BIO (Wikipedia)

Al Stewart (born Alastair Ian Stewart, 5 September 1945 in Glasgow) is a British singer-songwriter and folk rock musician. He is best known for his 1976 single "Year of the Cat" and its 1978 follow-up "Time Passages" (both of which were produced by Alan Parsons), although albums such as Past, Present and Future [1973] and Modern Times [1975] are seen as more representative of Stewart's talent as a historical wordsmith and lyrical balladeer. His current sidemen are Dave Nachmanoff (U.S., Germany) and occasionally Laurence Juber (primarily U.K. tours). Stewart was an integral part of the folk revival in Britain in the sixties and seventies. He appears throughout the musical folklore of the age - he played at the first ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970, knew Yoko Ono pre-Lennon, bought his first guitar from future Police guitarist Andy Summers and compered at the legendary Les Cousins folk club in London in the 1960s. Stewart grew up in the town of Wimborne, Dorset, England after moving from Scotland with his mother. After that, as he sings in the song Post World War II Blues (off Past, Present and Future): "I came up to London when I was 19 with a corduroy jacket and a head full of dreams." After breaking through into the London folk scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he moved to the United States in 1977 and recorded/produced most of his best-known work in Los Angeles, California during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. The 1990s were quieter for Stewart, as he released a series of live and concept albums, although the last decade has seen Stewart revive his interest in the historical ballads that brought him to fame in the 1960s and 70s, and he has produced three studio albums since 2000. His extensive back-catalogue has been released on CD and in a number of retrospective compilations, and Stewart continues to tour extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Recordings of live concerts are often made available through his fan clubs, chronicling his 43-year career. As of February 2009[update], he has resided in Los Angeles. Stewart's first record was the single "The Elf" (backed with a version of the Yardbirds' "Turn into Earth"), which was released in 1966 on Decca Records, and included guitar work from Jimmy Page (later of the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin), the first of many leading guitarists Stewart worked with, including Richard Thompson, Tim Renwick and Peter White. Stewart then signed to Columbia Records (CBS in the UK), for whom he released six albums. The first four of these attracted relatively little commercial interest, although they contain some of Stewart's most incisive and introspective songwriting, and he became popular on the university circuit. Stewart's debut album Bed-Sitter Images was released on LP in 1967; a revised version appeared in 1970 as The First Album (Bed-Sitter Images) with a few tracks changed, and the album was reissued on CD in 2007 by Collectors' Choice Music with all the songs from both versions. Love Chronicles (1969) was notable for the 18-minute title track, an anguished autobiographical tale of sexual encounters that was the first mainstream record release ever to include the word "fucking". It was voted "Folk Album of the Year" by the UK music magazine, Melody Maker, and also features Jimmy Page on guitar. His third album, Zero She Flies followed in 1970 and included a number of shorter songs which ranged from acoustic ballads and instrumentals to songs that featured electric lead guitar. These first three albums (including The Elf) were later released as the two CD set To Whom it May Concern: 1966–70. Orange (1972) was very much a transitional album, combining songs in Stewart's confessional style with more intimations of the historical themes that he would increasingly adopt (e.g. "The News from Spain", with its prog-rock overtones, including dramatic piano by Rick Wakeman). The fifth release, Past, Present and Future (1973), was Stewart's first album to receive a proper release in the United States, via Janus Records. It echoed a traditional historical storytelling style and contained the song "Nostradamus," a long (9:43) track in which Stewart tied into the re-discovery of the claimed seer's writings by referring to selected possible predictions about twentieth century people and events. While too long for mainstream radio airplay at that time, the song became a hit on many U.S. college/university radio stations, which were flexible about running times. Such airplay helped the album to reach #133 on the Billboard album chart in the US. Other songs on Past, Present and Future characterized by Stewart's 'history genre' mentioned American President Warren Harding, World War II, Ernst Röhm, Christine Keeler, Louis Mountbatten, and Stalin's purges. Stewart followed Past, Present and Future with Modern Times (1975), in which the songs were lighter on historical references and more of a return to the theme of short stories set to music. Significantly, though, it was the first of his albums to be produced by Alan Parsons, and Allmusic regard it as his best. While it failed to produce any hit singles, it received substantial airplay on album oriented stations and reached #30 in the US. Stewart's contract with CBS Records expired at this point and he signed to RCA Records for the world outside North America. His first two albums for RCA, Year of the Cat (released on Janus in the U.S., then reissued by Arista Records after Janus folded) and Time Passages (released in the U.S. on Arista), set the style for his later work, and have certainly been his biggest-selling recordings.[7] Both albums reached the top ten in the US, with "Year of the Cat" peaking at #5 and "Time Passages" at #10, and both title songs became top ten singles in the US ("Year of the Cat" #8, and "Time Passages" #7). Meanwhile "Year of the Cat" became Stewart's first chart single in England, where it peaked at #31. The overwhelming success of these songs, both of which still receive substantial radio airplay on classic-rock/pop format radio stations, has later overshadowed the depth and range of Stewart's body of songwriting. Stewart himself has frequently expressed disappointment with the quality of his recordings during this era, commercial success notwithstanding. Stewart then released 24 Carrots (#37 US 1980) and his first live album Live/Indian Summer (#110 US 1981), with both featuring backing by Peter White's band Shot in the Dark (who released their own unsuccessful album in 1981). While "24 Carrots" did produce a #24 single with "Midnight Rocks," the album sold less well than its two immediate predecessors. After those releases, Stewart was dropped by Arista and his popularity declined. Still, despite his lower profile and waning commercial success, he would continue to tour and record albums. There was a four year gap between his next two albums Russians and Americans (1984) (which was highly political) and the upbeat pop-orientated Last Days of the Century (1988), which appeared on smaller labels and had lower sales. Stewart followed up with his second live album, the acoustic Rhymes in Rooms (1992), which featured only himself and Peter White, and Famous Last Words (1993), which was dedicated to the memory of the late Peter Wood (famous for co-writing "Year of the Cat"), who died the year of its release. Stewart followed these up with concept albums, with Between the Wars (1995), covering major historical and cultural events from 1918 to 1939, such as the Versailles Treaty, Prohibition, the Spanish Civil War, and the Great Depression and Down in the Cellar (2000), covering the aspects of wine, one of Stewart's areas of enthusiasm and expertise. In 2005, he released A Beach Full of Shells, followed in 2008 by Sparks of Ancient Light. He continues to tour the United States and Europe, along with guitarists such as Laurence Juber and Dave Nachmanoff, whilst also finding time to pursue his hobby of collecting fine wines. Stewart's historical work includes songs such as "Fields of France", from the album Last Days of the Century, about World War I pilots, "In Red Square", from Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, about the Soviet Union , "The Palace of Versailles", from Time Passages, about the French Revolution, and "Sirens of Titan", from Modern Times, a musical precis of Kurt Vonnegut's novel of the same title.


Glasgow-born Al Stewart has been an amazingly prolific and successful musician across 40 years and counting (as of 2009), working in a dizzying array of stylistic modes and musical genres — in other words, he's had a real career, and has done it without concerning himself too much about trends and the public taste. He's been influenced by several notables, to be sure, including his fellow Scot (and slightly younger contemporary) Donovan, as well as Ralph McTell, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon — but apart from a passing resemblance to Donovan vocally, he doesn't sound quite like anyone else, and has achieved his greatest success across four decades with songs that are uniquely his and impossible to mistake. Stewart was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1945, and was swept up a decade later in the skiffle boom that took young Britons by storm — he decided to take up guitar after hearing Lonnie Donegan's music. By the early '60s, his family was living in Bournemouth, and he joined a local band, the Trappers, in 1963, and was already writing songs by that time. He was an admirer of the Beatles as their fame swept out of Liverpool and across the country, and even managed once to get backstage to meet John Lennon and play a few notes for him, at one of their Bournemouth performances. He studied guitar with Robert Fripp, no less, and later played keyboards in a band called Dave La Caz & the G Men, who managed to open for the Rolling Stones at the outset of the latter's career in 1963. A true milestone for Stewart took place when Dave La Caz & the G Men recorded one of his songs, "When She Smiled," in early 1964. It was around this time that Stewart discovered the music of Bob Dylan, who was in the midst of his "protest" song phase — what he referred to as his finger-pointing songs. The mix of topicality, folk melodies, and the growing prominence of rock instrumentation that he heard in Dylan's music inspired Stewart, who was now prepared to devote as much energy to composition as he had to performing. He went so far as to cut a demo single of Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" backed with one of his originals, entitled "The Sky Will Fall Down." Though nothing came of it directly, the demo and the song, and the tenor of the times, inspired Stewart to head to London in search of success. He failed to interest anyone in recording him or his topical song "Child of the Bomb" — the "Ban the [H] Bomb" movement in England being a hugely popular and urgent cause at the time — and retreated to performing for a time, as part of the burgeoning London folk scene, which was already home to such figures as Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, and Isla Cameron. He fell in with some of the younger figures on the scene, playing shows with Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell, and Sandy Denny, and also shared living quarters for a time with a visiting American named Paul Simon, from New York, who had already recorded an album, as well as numerous singles with a partner, and was immersing himself in the English folk scene. His friendship with Simon led to Stewart's first gig as a session musician on record, playing guitar on the song "Yellow Walls" from Jackson C. Frank's album Blues Run the Game, which Simon produced. By this time, Stewart had also appeared on the BBC, and was playing better gigs and starting to be noticed. Finally, in 1966, he was signed to Decca Records to cut a single featuring an original of his, "The Elf," on the A-side (the B-side, oddly enough, was his rendition of the recent Yardbirds LP cut "Turn into Earth" — even more curiously, in terms of coincidence, future Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page was one of the players on those sessions). Stewart's single was not a success, though the composition has the distinction of being one of the earlier — if not the earliest — pop songs inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Stewart was undaunted, and he remained part of the thriving London music scene, and his efforts paid off in 1967 when CBS Records, the U.K. division of Columbia Records in America (which couldn't use the "Columbia" name in England, as it was the property of a division of EMI) signed him to record his debut album, Bedsitter Images. The latter was a superb showcase for Stewart's songwriting, but not for the sound he visualized for his music — heavily orchestrated and, in his eyes, grotesquely over-produced, he felt his voice and even his songs were lost amid the densely layered accompaniments. But the record generated a massive amount of publicity for him, and put Al Stewart on the pop music map as a contender, and someone worth watching and hearing. By then, he was known to the music journals, and at his performances he could show off his songs his way (and one of his shows in 1968 featured accompaniment by no less than his former teacher Robert Fripp and several others who would figure large in a group called King Crimson a year or so later). In 1969 came a second album, Love Chronicles, whose epic title track broke ground among respectable recordings for its use of language (a colloquial term for intercourse) as well as running-time barriers, and included Fairport Convention among the backing musicians. Stewart's writing had already showing a remarkable degree of growth from what were hardly modest beginnings, at least in terms of ambition — his songs were increasingly coming across as something akin to "sung" paintings, mixing topicality, a command of detail and imagery, and distinctive use of language. But with Zero She Flies he took a major step forward with the song "Manuscript," which was his first to draw extensively from history, and also to incorporate sea images. These were elements that would all manifest themselves ever more strongly in his work across the decades to come. Following the release of Orange in 1972, he would turn away from the deeply personal songs and devote an increasing part of his music to sources out of history, plunging into such subject matter in the first person, as almost a musical precursor to Quantum Leap. Stewart made the leap in October of 1973 with the release of Past, Present and Future, an LP's worth of songs that would explore past lives (and the future by way of the past, on "Nostradamus"). The latter song and "Roads to Moscow" also gave him his first major exposure in America, where FM and college radio stations quickly picked up on both songs. Suddenly, from being all but unknown on the far side of the Atlantic, Stewart had a serious cult following on American college campuses, especially in the Northeast (where New York's WNEW-FM radio gave all of Past, Present and Future, and especially the two songs in question, lots of airplay). He followed this up in the fall of 1974 with Modern Times, produced by Alan Parsons, which was thick with contemporary, historical, and literary references. It would be a full year before his next album showed up, but when it did, that record completely altered the landscape under Stewart's feet, and far beyond as well. Year of the Cat (1975) turned Al Stewart from an artist with a wide cult following at America's colleges into a fixture on AM radio, the title song rising into the Top Ten in the U.S. and, ultimately, around most of the world. In the United States, in an effort to capitalize on his sudden fame — as not only "Year of the Cat" but "On the Border" also charted high — a double album of tracks from his four prior British LPs was issued. And in the fall of 1978, Time Passages, his newest album, was released to great success, including a Top Ten single for the title track. A year of touring to huge audiences around the world followed, all of it very strange when one considers how far removed from the dominant late-'70s sounds of punk, disco, and new wave Stewart's music was. In the summer of 1980 came his next album, 24 Carrots, but neither it nor any of the singles pulled from it were ever able to repeat the success of those three prior LPs or their accompanying 45s. Indian Summer (1981), a mixed live and studio album, also failed to perform up to expectations. Stewart, who had been a mainstay of Arista Records in America for the last three years of the 1970s, was dropped by that label soon after Indian Summer's release. He didn't disappear, however, either on record or in concert, and continued to tour and record. The much more overtly political album Russians & Americans (1984) and the lighter Last Days of the Century (1988) kept his name out there, and he also recorded another concert album, the all-acoustic Rhymes in Rooms (1992). And in an increasingly rare sort of gesture, in 1993 he released Famous Last Words, and album dedicated to the late Peter Wood, who had co-written "Year of the Cat." He also continued to explore history in song with Between the Wars (1995), which dealt with events between 1918 and 1939. Stewart's 21st century recordings include A Beach Full of Shells (2005) and Sparks of Ancient Light (2008). When he isn't recording or touring, he keeps busy with his hobby of collecting fine, rare wines. His post-1980 work is less easy to find than compilations of his hits from the mid- to late '70s, which are downright ubiquitous, and in 2007 his British CBS albums were released on CD in America through Collectors' Choice. Stewart was also given the comprehensive box set treatment by EMI in 2005 with the five-CD set Just Yesterday. © Bruce Eder, allmusic.com