Tag Archive 'MUSIC'

OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE ~ THE SMALL FACES

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OGDEN’S NUT GONE FLAKE by The Small faces has been one of my favourite albums since I was a teenager when a mate and I used to trip out on Happiness Stan and Mad John all the time.
I think this was one of the first concept albums to be made and was certainly the first album to come out in a circular record cover.
This album is such a great piece of work that I found it confusing that not many people had heard of it but they did after they met me and my record collection.
I thought this album so special that I bought a CD copy for my son on his first birthday, hopefully when he’s older, he’ll start tripping out on it as his dad did.

Getting Stanley Unwin to narrate the story was a stroke of genius and  to this day I still haven’t managed to imitate his unusual style of talking.
One side of the album is the story of Happiness Stan and his search for the disappearing half of the moon and dangly interspersed with some fantastic songs and the other side has six great songs that are just perfect for that little trip you’ve been planning to take.
So pack your bags and take the psychedelic journey with Happiness Stan and Mad John as they teach us the secret to the disappearing half of the moon and the meaning of life.

THE ALBUM

At home in England, their career reached an all-time high with the release of their classic psychedelic influenced album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake on 24 May 1968. It is widely regarded today as a classic album, and featured an innovative round cover, the first of its kind, designed to resemble an antique tobacco tin. It stayed at number one in the UK Albums Chart for six weeks (it reached #159 in the US).

The two-act concept album consisted of six original songs on side one and a whimsical psychedelic fairy tale on side two relating the adventures of “Happiness Stan” and his need to find out where the moon went when it waned. It was narrated by Stanley Unwin, though original plans to have Spike Milligan narrating the album were dashed when he turned them down.

Critics raved, and the album sold well, but the band were confronted by the practical problem that they had created a studio masterpiece which was virtually impossible to recreate on the road. Ogdens’ was performed as a whole just once, and memorably, live in the studio on the BBC’s television programme, Colour Me Pop.

The title and the design of the distinctive packaging was a parody of Ogdens’ Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco which was produced in Liverpool from in 1899.

The A-side is a mix of early heavy rock with “Song of a Baker”; psychedelic cockney knees-up songs “Lazy Sunday” and “Rene”; and the soul influenced ballad “Afterglow (Of Your Love)”.

The B-side is based on an original fairy tale about a boy called Happiness Stan, narrated in his unique ‘Unwinese’ gobbledegook by Stanley Unwin, who picked up modern slang from the band and incorporated it into the surreal narrative.

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The Story

When Stan looks up in the sky and sees only half the moon, he sets out on a quest to search for the missing half. Along the way he saves a fly from starvation, and in gratitude the insect tells him of someone who can answer his question and also tell him the philosophy of life itself.
With his magic power Stan intones, “If all the flies were one fly, what a great enormous fly-follolloper that would bold,” and the fly grows to gigantic proportions.
Seated on the giant fly’s back Stan takes a psychedelic journey to the cave of Mad John the hermit, who explains that the moon’s disappearance is only temporary, and demonstrates by pointing out that Stan has spent so long on his quest that the moon is now full again. He then sings Stan a cheerful song about the meaning of life.

Due to the album’s complexities, Ogdens’ was never performed live, however it was performed as a whole once on the BBC’s television programme Colour Me Pop on Friday 21 June 1968.
Songs featured were “Song of a Baker”, “Happiness Stan”, “Rollin’ Over”, “The Hungry Intruder”, “The Journey”, “Mad John” and “Happy days toy town”. Although the band mimed to recordings made earlier in the studio that afternoon their microphones were left on to capture little ad libs.

In 2000, Q magazine placed Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake at number 59 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

Playbox Theatre, UK, have performed the whole album as a theatre piece in November 2008. It was directed by Stewart McGill and performed by a young cast with a Small Faces tribute band, and it was narrated by Stanley Unwin’s son, John.

The album was originally released on vinyl in a circular novelty package resembling a paper replica of a giant tobacco tin, with a gatefold cover.

The award-winning artwork for the album cover was done by Mick Swan who was a product of the sixties art school scene.

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Track listing

Side one

1.  “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake”  – Marriott, Lane, McLagan, Jones
2.  “Afterglow (Of Your Love)”  – Marriott, Lane
3.  “Long Agos and Worlds Apart”  – McLagan
4.  “Rene”  – Marriott, Lane
5.  “Song of a Baker” – Marriott, Lane
6.  “Lazy Sunday” – Marriott, Lane

Side two

1.  “Happiness Stan” – Marriott, Lane
2.  “Rollin’ Over” – Marriott, Lane
3.  “The Hungry Intruder” – Marriott, Lane, McLagan
4.  “The Journey” – Marriott, Lane, McLagan, Jones
5.  “Mad John” – Marriott, Lane
6.  “Happy Days Toy Town” – Marriott, Lane, McLagan

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Controversy

To promote the album, the record label Immediate issued an advertisement that parodied The Lord’s Prayer. It caused uproar in the British press and outraged readers wrote in and complained.

Small Faces
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d.,
Lead us into the record stores.
And deliver us Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate

“We didn’t know a thing about the ad. until we saw it in the music papers. And frankly we got the horrors at first. We realise that it could be taken as a serious knock against religion. But on thinking it over, we don’t feel it is particularly good or bad. It’s just another form of advertising. We’re not all that concerned about it. We’re more concerned in writing our music and producing our records”
– Steve Marriott on the advert for Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake that parodied the Lord’s Prayer.

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

DAVID GILMOUR (first solo album) – DAVID GILMOUR

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David Gilmour’s first solo album would have to be at the top of my all time favourites.
To this day I can still remember the first time I heard it and the affect it had on me.
I was seventeen years old and coming down from a very intensive all night trip when someone put it on and changed my life forever.

This album has traveled with me through out the years, always reminding me just how good music can be.
As usual, David Gilmour’s solo breaks are as brilliant as ever and it was good to hear what he could do without the other members of Pink Floyd.
I find the man an inspiration and a big influence when it comes to music and playing guitar.
So if you want to listen to a great album of good songs and wonderful guitar, I suggest you get yourself a copy, take the influence of your choice, lie down in a darkened room and and escape the world for a while.

THE ALBUM

David Gilmour is the first solo album from Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, released in May 1978 in the UK and on June 17, 1978 in the US. The album was produced by Gilmour himself, and consists mostly of bluesy, guitar oriented rock songs except for the ballad So Far Away.

In an interview with Circus Magazine in 1978, Gilmour said this: “This album [David Gilmour] was important to me in terms of self respect. At first I didn’t think my name was big enough to carry it. Being in a group for so long can be a bit claustrophobic, and I needed to step out from behind Pink Floyd’s shadow.”

The album was recorded at Super Bear Studios in France between December 1977 and early January 1978 with engineer John Etchells. Then the album was mixed at the same studio in March 1978 by Nick Griffiths. The cover was done by Hipgnosis and Gilmour.

The album’s only single was “There’s No Way Out of Here” which flopped in Europe but did extremely well on American FM rock radio. The song was originally recorded by the band Unicorn (which Gilmour produced) in 1976 as “No Way Out of Here” for their album Too Many Crooks and was later covered by New Jersey stoner metal band Monster Magnet on their Monolithic Baby! album.

The album is a Joker’s Wild reunion of sorts with Rick Wills and Willie Wilson joining Gilmour for the recording of the album.
Jokers Wild was the band Gilmour was in before he joined Pink Floyd.

One of the tunes he wrote at the time, but did not use, evolved into the Pink Floyd classic “Comfortably Numb” from The Wall. However, one song included on this album, “So Far Away”, used a chorus progression not unlike the chorus to “Comfortably Numb”, albeit in a different key.

The instrumental song “Raise My Rent” includes bits that would later be resurrected in the Pink Floyd songs “What Do You Want from Me?” and “Keep Talking”.

A slightly different version of the song “Short and Sweet” can also be found on collaborator Roy Harper’s 1980 album, The Unknown Soldier. Musically, “Short and Sweet” can be seen as a precursor to “Run Like Hell” (also from The Wall), with its shifting chords over a D pedal point, and a flanged guitar in Drop D tuning.
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Track listing

1.  “Mihalis”
2.  “There’s No Way Out of Here” (Ken Baker)
3.  “Cry from the Street” (David Gilmour/Eric Stuart)
4.  “So Far Away”
5.  “Short and Sweet” (David Gilmour/Roy Harper)
6.  “Raise My Rent”
7.  “No Way”
8.  “Deafinitely”
9.   “I Can’t Breathe Anymore”

All songs by David Gilmour except as noted.

“Mihalis” is Greek for Michael, and was the name of a yacht Gilmour owned at the time.
* David Gilmour – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Lap Steel Guitar on “No Way” and “I Can’t Breathe Anymore”, Producer, cover design
* Rick Wills – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
* Willie Wilson – Drums and Percussion
* Mick Weaver – Additional piano on “So Far Away”
* Carlena Williams – Backing vocals on “There’s No Way Out of Here” and “So Far Away”
* Debbie Doss – Backing vocals on “There’s No Way Out of Here” and “So Far Away”
* Hipgnosis – Cover Design, Photography

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

GREEN ~ STEVE HILLAGE

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When I first heard GREEN by Steve Hillage, I was sixteen and was starting to explore the vast ocean of music that stretched out before me into the years to come.
This album moved pieces around inside of me and I found a musical place that I have retreated to over the years when the pressures of the world begin to distort my sense of being.
There is something about this album that moves me in ways others don’t.
It is trippy, psychedelic, relaxing, interesting, innovative, hypnotic and soaring and introduced me to more of Steve Hillage’s other worldly albums and his roots in the trippiest band of all – Gong.

I can hear Steve Hillage’s influence in some bands nowadays, most notably the great Ozric Tentacles who he has worked with.
This is definitely an album to enjoy while under the influence of your choice.

THE ALBUM

Green is the fourth studio album by British progressive rock musician Steve Hillage. It was recorded December1977 – February 1978 primarily in Dorking, Surrey, and in London, and was produced and engineered by Nick Mason, of Pink Floyd fame.

The cover features a distinctive “pyramid fish” design by John Michell – an English writer and painter with a particular interest in numbers and geometric shapes. His design is based around the medieval vesica piscis shape – the intersection between two equal sized circles where the centre of each lies on the circumference of the other.

The album was initially issued on see-through green vinyl, with later pressings on normal black vinyl. The green vinyl pressing also included a poster of Hillage superimposed on a mountain range, with the pyramid fish symbol superimposed on his face. Those green vinyl pressings also came with an insert with lyrics and additional album information.
The limited edition green vinyl version of Steve Hillage’s Green album.

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Track Listing
Side One

1. “Sea Nature”
2. “Ether Ships”
3. “Musick of the Trees”
4. “Palm Trees (Love Guitar)”

Side Two

1. “Unidentified (Flying Being)”
2. “U.F.O. over Paris”
3. “Leylines to Glassdom”
4. “Crystal City”
5. “Activation Meditation”
6. “The Glorious Om Riff”

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

A NEW WORLD RECORD – ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA

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A New World Record was the first album I ever bought and it was the soundtrack through my early teen years.
I used to lie on my bed, close my eyes and listen to the song “Shangri-La” over and over, it was a magical time, puberty was changing me and this album helped me through that difficult time, opening me for the new music that was to come into my life.
Even when I listen to it today I get that magical feeling all over again.
The nucleus of E.L.O. were originally a band called The Move who had that memorable song “Cherry Blossom Clinic” and as happens to bands they evolved into E.L.O.
Roy Wood, one of the principle song writers left not long after to form a band called Wizzard and after that pursued a solo career
I’ve liked a lot of music from E.L.O. but this album would have to be their best I think.

THE ALBUM

A New World Record was the second album to be recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, the LP proved to be the band’s long awaited breakthrough in the UK: after seeing their previous three studio recordings fail to chart in their home market, A New World Record became their first top ten album in the UK.
The LP became a huge global success and would consolidate the band’s position as one of the biggest selling rock bands in the world, reaching multi-platinum status in the US and UK.
The cover art features the famous ELO logo, designed by Kosh, for the first time.
This logo would be included on several of the group’s subsequent releases.

The album included the hit singles “Telephone Line,” which became the band’s first gold US single, “Livin’ Thing,” and “Do Ya” (US); and “Rockaria!” (UK).
The focus is more on shorter pop songs, a trend which would continue throughout the rest of ELO’s future albums.
In 2006, the album was remastered and released with bonus tracks.

The band’s frontman Jeff Lynne regards his own songwriting at this point to have reached a new high.
“The songs started to flow and most of them came quickly to me. To have all those hits, it was just …I mean amazing really. Going from doing okay for probably three or four years to suddenly being in the big time, it was a strange but great thing.     ” – Jeff Lynne 2006
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Track listing

All songs written by Jeff Lynne.

Side one

1.     “Tightrope”
2.     “Telephone Line”
3.     “Rockaria!”
4.     “Mission (A World Record)”

Side two

1.     “So Fine”
2.     “Livin’ Thing”
3.     “Above the Clouds”
4.     “Do Ya”
5.     “Shangri-La”
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Personnel

* Jeff Lynne – vocals, lead, rhythm and slide guitars, percussion, piano
* Bev Bevan – drums, Minimoog drum, percussion, vocals
* Richard Tandy – piano, Minimoog, Micromoog, polyphonic keyboard, electric guitars,                                                    clavinet, grand piano, Mellotron, percussion, vocals
* Kelly Groucutt – vocals, bass, percussion, backing vocals
* Mik Kaminski – violin
* Hugh McDowell – cello
* Melvyn Gale – cello
* Mary Thomas – operatic vocals
* Patti Quatro – uncredited vocals
* Orchestra and choral arrangements – Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Louis Clark.
* Orchestra conducted by Louis Clark.

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

PLATINUM – MIKE OLDFIELD

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Platinum by Mike Oldfield is a strange little album, full of songs that listened to individually would seem worlds apart from the other yet listened together they seem to work magnificently.
I first heard this album from a friend of a friend and it got stuck in my mind so I had to find a copy so I could listen to it again.
It was summer, I was fifteen and crazy hormones were dancing around with my imagination, I couldn’t wait to be free of the suffocating blanket of school and leave home.
So I guess you could say this was a bit of a soundtrack for that part of my life.
When listening to it one time, I had the experience of my room breaking up into little squares and revolving around like a spinning circle, a bit disturbing but upon reflection perfectly understandable, considering I was stoned on hash for the first time.
There is some music that transports you no matter if you are straight or bent and for me this is one of those albums.

THE ALBUM

Platinum is a record album written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield. It was his fifth studio album and the first to feature songs and cover material. A slightly different version of the album was released in the United States and Canada and titled Airborn.

Platinum (Parts 1 – 4)

The first side of LP features the nearly twenty-minute piece “Platinum” that is divided in four parts.

The first two parts of “Platinum” can be taken as a form of instrumental progressive rock. (Those compositions rely on strong melody played mostly with electric guitar.) Part I is in a slow tempo and has many changes, while Part II introduces a simple groove rhythm and a more repetitive song structure.

Part III, “Charleston”, is humoristic and intentionally naive, with a simplistic rhythm and swinging melody that is partly played by a horn section. A female vocalist adds some “spooky” bits while Oldfield himself makes some scat vocals in whispering voice.

Part IV features an excerpt from the Philip Glass work “North Star” (hence the subtitle). The constant bass drum beat and octave-jumping bass line (both borrowed from disco music) start the part and guitar joins with the melody later. A funky guitar riff and chorus appear, and the lead guitar continues to play the melody over them.

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“Sally”/”Into Wonderland”

There is an interesting note regarding the song “Sally,” written and sung by Oldfield and Nico Ramsden as a tribute to Mike’s girlfriend at the time, Sally Cooper (who features on the album). It’s a rather silly but cute little song, with the chorus

Sally, I’m just a gorilla,
I’ll say I’ll love you ever more.
Even an ape from Manila
Couldn’t stop me knocking on your door.

“Sally” also appears to have been the start of Mike Oldfield’s fascination with voice distortion gadgets (vocoders, equalizers, etc.), which would continue through many albums, most particularly Five Miles Out.

“Sally” was removed from the album (possibly on the orders of Richard Branson) and replaced with “Into Wonderland”, sung by Wendy Roberts. Curiously though, the album covers still say “Sally” to this day. Only the earliest pressings of the LP have “Sally” included as part of the original track listing, and bootleg recordings of the song are a popular trade item with fans.

“Punkadiddle”

“Punkadiddle” is thought by many to be Oldfield’s jocular take on punk music, a genre which he has claimed in the past to be not at all impressed with. In fact, Virgin Records’ rampant signing and promotion of many punk bands while not promoting Oldfield’s albums is seen as one of the sources of the rift between him and the company. When the track was performed by Oldfield on tour, he and his band would all perform the song bare-chested.

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“I Got Rhythm”

“I Got Rhythm” is a cover version of the song by George and Ira Gershwin.

“Woodhenge”/”Guilty”

“Woodhenge” appears on the standard Platinum release of the album; however it is replaced on the Airborn release by the disco track, “Guilty”.

2010 reissue

In 2010 the album will be re-released by Mercury Records. This comes as part of a deal in which Oldfield’s Virgin albums were transferred to the label.

Instruments and recording

Oldfield seems to have utilised his Gibson L6-S Custom a lot on the album. Synthesizers that appear on the album include a Roland SH-2000 and Sequential Circuits Prophet synthesisers.

When Oldfield was in New York recording Platinum and “Guilty” he recorded a disco arrangement of his first album, Tubular Bells. A version of Free’s “All Right Now” was also recorded during these sessions. It was used as the theme for a television music programme also called Alright Now. The vocals are by Wendy Roberts, while Pierre Moerlen (from Gong) and Tom Newman also contributed.

The album was recorded at Electric Lady & Blue Rock in the USA, Througham, Denham, & The Manor in the UK. The album was mixed at Air Studios.
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Track listing

Side one

1. “Platinum Part One: Airborne”
2. “Platinum Part Two: Platinum”
3. “Platinum Part Three: Charleston”
4. “Platinum Part Four: North Star / Platinum Finale”

Side two

1. “Woodhenge”
2. “Into Wonderland” (misprinted as “Sally”)
3. “Punkadiddle”
4. “I Got Rhythm”

Airborn is the title of an alternate version of the Platinum album by Mike Oldfield released in North America in 1980. It is identical except that “Woodhenge” is replaced by “Guilty”, a fast-paced live track based on a theme from Incantations. Bizarrely, certain tracks appear to be pressed at arbitrarily higher speeds than on the original UK pressing of Platinum.
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There is also a double LP release, with one LP being a version of Platinum, the other having an alternate live version of Tubular Bells side one from the same tour that produced Exposed, and a mix of studio and live elements of Incantations and Tubular Bells side 2.

Personnel

* Mike Oldfield – acoustic guitars, electric guitars, marimba, piano, synthesizers, Mellotron, vibraphone and vocals.
* Francisco Centeno – bass guitar
* Sally Cooper – tubular bells
* Demelza – congas (credited as “Demalza”)
* Neil Jason – bass
* Peter Lemer – keyboards
* Pierre Moerlen – drums and vibraphone (credited as “Pierre Moerlin”)
* Morris Pert – drums (credited as “Maurice Pert”)
* Nico Ramsden – keyboards
* Wendy Roberts – vocals
* Hansford Rowe – bass
* Allan Schwartzberg – drums
* David Bedford – vocal arrangement
* Peter Gordon – horn arrangement
* Michael Riesman – horn arrangement
* Kurt Munkacsi – engineer
* Tom Newman – producer and engineer
* Richard Manwaring – assistant engineer
* Renate Blauel – assistant engineer

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

WATCH – MANFRED MANN’S EARTH BAND

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WATCH by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was an album released in 1978.
I used to listen to this album a lot during my time at high school.
Sometimes a friend and I would listen to this album on the way to school, a slice of freedom before the gates and doors slammed shut and imprisoned us for the next seven hours.
I loved this album then and I love it now especially the songs ‘Martha’s Madman’  ‘Circles’ and ‘Drowning On Dry Land/Fish Soup’.

Young people now a day’s (I can’t believe I’m actually said that), probably wouldn’t know who Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is but they have brought out some great albums.
It was hard to choose from them all but I think for me, WATCH is certainly the one that I regard as special.
The last track is a live version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mighty Quinn’ that is full of energy and has a great solo in it.

Funny thing is, my friend who used to listen to this album with me on our way to school had the last name of Quinn, I wonder where and how he is now?.

So if you like music from the seventies, wrap yourself in the arms of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and rock away, you won’t regret it.
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THE ALBUM

Watch was Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Seventh LP.
Released in 1978 it was the second album to feature Chris Thompson on vocals.
‘Watch’ was the album that was meant to follow up the immensely successful ‘Roaring Silence’, an almost impossible task bearing in mind the world-wide success of ‘The Roaring Silence’
‘Watch’ amazingly managed to achieve the perfect follow up but it also exceeded the sales of the previous album in many territories.
‘Watch’ became a blockbuster album in Europe eventually achieving the status of the best selling album ever for the band!

Track listing

1. “Circles” (Alan Mark)
2. “Drowning on Dry Land/Fish Soup” (Chris Slade, Dave Flett, Manfred Mann)
3. “Chicago Institute” (Peter Thomas, Mann, Flett)
4. “California” (Sue Vickers)
5. “Davy’s On The Road Again” (John Simon, Robbie Robertson)
6. “Martha’s Madman” (Lane Tietgen)
7. “Mighty Quinn” (Bob Dylan)

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Personnel

* Manfred Mann – keyboards, backing vocals
* Chris Slade – drums, percussion
* Pat King – bass guitar, backing vocals
* Dave Flett – lead guitar, acoustic guitar
* Chris Hamlet Thompson – vocals, guitar

with

* Doreen Chanter – backing vocals
* Irene Chanter – backing vocals
* Stevie Lange – backing vocals
* Victy Silva – backing vocals
* Kim Goddy – backing vocals

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

STORMWATCH – JETHRO TULL

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Jethro Tull have brought out many great albums and it was hard to choose between them all. Should I choose the first one I ever owned (Stand Up) or maybe their most well known (Aqualung) or should I choose Heavy Horses, an album I still find interesting to this day.
In the end I chose the one that had the most meaning to me and that was Stormwatch, another album that was to be a soundtrack throughout my pubescent teenage years.
Whenever I listened to it I felt the rage and expanse of the North Atlantic ocean, a certain type of freedom that called out to me, enticing me to step out of my world and into vast fury. This I willingly did and still find the same feeling whenever I listen to it.
There are some really beautiful songs on this album, some of Jethro Tull’s finest.
From what I’ve heard, the band found this album one of their most difficult to record and produce but despite that they did a fine job.
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THE ALBUM

Stormwatch (1979) is an album by the rock group Jethro Tull and is considered the last in the trilogy of folk-rock albums by Jethro Tull (although folk music influenced virtually every Tull album).

The album deals with the deterioration of the environment, warning of an apocalyptic future if mankind does not cease its drive for economic growth and pay attention to nature.

In 2004, a remastered version of Stormwatch was released with four bonus tracks.

This is the last Tull album to feature the classic line-up of 1970s. Bassist John Glascock is only featured on three tracks (“Flying Dutchman”, “Orion”, and “Elegy”). Ian Anderson played bass elsewhere on the album.

The instrumental piece “Elegy” was written by David Palmer.

Track listing

All songs composed by Ian Anderson except where noted.

1. “North Sea Oil”
2. “Orion”
3. “Home”
4. “Dark Ages”
5. “Warm Sporran”
6. “Something’s on the Move”
7. “Old Ghosts”
8. “Dun Ringill”
9. “Flying Dutchman”
10. “Elegy” (David Palmer)
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Personnel

* Ian Anderson – Vocals, Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar (except tracks 2, 9, 10).
* Martin Barre – Electric Guitar, Mandolin, and Classical Guitar
* Barriemore Barlow – Drums, Percussion
* John Evan – Piano, Organ
* David Palmer – Synthesizers, Portable Organ and Orchestral Arrangements
* John Glascock – Bass Guitar on tracks 2, 9, 10.

Also featuring:

* Francis Wilson – Spoken Voice on track 8.

Dun Ringill is the historic site of an Iron Age fort on the Isle of Skye, which served as the original seat of the Clan MacKinnon. Anderson once owned and lived in nearby Kilmarie House, until he sold the estate in 1994.
A sporran is a type of pouch traditionally worn with a kilt.

Other tracks allude to the constellation of Orion and the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

It is sometimes rumored that “Elegy” was a homage to John Glascock — who was very ill at the time due to a congenital heart defect, and would die shortly after the album’s release. Actually, it is an elegy to David Palmer’s father and is one of the few tracks on which Glascock plays.
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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION – THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT

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Tales Of Mystery And Imagination by Alan Parsons was another of my early teenage discoveries. It was an album that transported me to places within my mind that I never knew existed. I would listen to the song “To One In Paradise” and in my idyllic teenage mind, imagine myself floating through the sky towards the end of school and the start of my life proper. This was certainly one album that helped me through my difficult teenage years.
As most people from my generation who are into music would know, Alan Parsons was the engineer on Pink Floyd’s brilliant album Dark Side Of The Moon.
Anyone, no matter how talented, would probably think twice before making a progressive rock/concept album based upon the horror stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe, especially as their debut but I have to admit even the title of the album attracts and entices a person to want to have a listen.
Anyone who has heard it would agree, Alan Parsons did a great job in making this album which rocks, cradles and soothes as it takes you on a journey through its grooves.

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THE ALBUM

Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the debut album released in 1976 by the progressive rock group The Alan Parsons Project.
The album’s avant-garde soundscapes kept it from being a blockbuster, but the interesting lyrical and musical themes — retellings of horror stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe — attracted a small audience.
The title of the album is taken from a popular title for Poe’s macabre tales of the same name Tales of Mystery & Imagination first published in 1908 and many times since under this name.
Critical reaction to the album was often mixed, such as Rolling Stone, whose Billy Altman concluded that it mostly failed at reproducing Poe’s tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that “devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe’s often terrifying works”.

This album was released in U.K. originally with a different name. Simply called “The Alan Parsons Project” it was successful enough to achieve gold status but later that year the same album was released under the name of “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”

“The Raven” features actor Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, with Alan Parsons performing vocals through an EMI vocoder. According to the album’s liner notes, “The Raven” was the first rock song ever to feature a digital vocoder.

The Prelude of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, although uncredited, is based on the opera fragment “La chute de la maison Usher” by Claude Debussy which was composed in 1908-1917.

The original version of the album was available for several years on vinyl and cassette, but was not immediately available on CD. This was due in part to Parsons’ desire to rework some tracks.
In 1987, Parsons completely remixed the album, including additional guitar passages and narration (by Orson Welles) as well as updating the production style to include heavy reverb and the gated drum sound of the 80s.
The CD notes that Welles never met Parsons or Eric Woolfson, but sent a tape to them of the performance shortly after the album was manufactured in 1976.

Track listing

“A Dream Within A Dream” [instrumental]
“The Raven”  (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
3. “The Tell-Tale Heart”  (ft. Arthur Brown)
4. “The Cask of Amontillado”  (ft. John Miles)
5. “(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
6. “The Fall of the House of Usher [instrumental]
1. “Prelude”
2. “Arrival”
3. “Intermezzo”
4. “Pavane”
5. “Fall”
7. “To One in Paradise”  (ft. Terry Sylvester)
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PERSONNEL

* Alan Parsons – Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Vocals, *Producer, Engineer, Projection
* Eric Woolfson – Synthesizer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Executive Producer
* Orson Welles – Narrator (1987 version only)
* Leonard Whiting – Vocals, Narrator
* Arthur Brown – Vocals
* John Miles – Guitar, Vocals
* Jack Harris – Vocals
* Francis Monkman – Organ, Keyboards
* Kevin Peek – Guitar (Acoustic)
* Terry Sylvester – Vocals
* Laurence Juber – Guitar (Acoustic)
* Andrew Powell – Keyboards, Arranger
* David Paton – Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Ian Bairnson – Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
* Chris Blair – Assistant Engineer
* Peter Christopherson – Photography
* David Katz – Violin, Leader, Orchestra Contractor
* Burleigh Drummond – Drums
* English Chorale – Vocals
* Bob Howes – Choir, Chorus
* John Leach – Percussion, Vocals, Cimbalom, Kantele
* David Pack – Guitar
* Smokey Parsons – Vocals
* Joe Puerta – Bass
* Tony Richards – Assistant Engineer
* Jack Rothstein – Leader
* Daryl Runswick – Bass, String Bass
* David Snell – Harp
* The English Chorale and Played Ti – Choir, Chorus
* Stuart Tosh – Cymbals, Drums, Vocals, Tympani [Timpani]
* Tom Trefethen – Assistant Engineer

* Pat Stapley – Assistant Engineer

* Aubrey Powell – Photography
* Storm Thorgerson – Photography
* Hipgnosis – Design, Cover Art
* Sam Emerson – Photography
* Colin Elgie – Artwork, Graphic Design, Layout Design
* Billy Lyall – Piano, Drums, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Recorder, Fender Rhodes
* Gordon Parry – Engineer
* Jane Powell – Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Andrew Hurdle – Bass
* Christopher North – Keyboards

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(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

RA ~ UTOPIA

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I have loved this album from the first time I heard it.
RA is an album for the Utopian faithful. Anyone who likes Todd Rundgren will have heard of UTOPIA who brought some interesting albums. Todd Rundgren is one of the most interesting songwriters around with a huge volume of songs he has released over the years.
He first started in a band called “THE NAZZ” which were an o.k. rock band but even then you could hear Rundgren’s distinctive guitar sound, then he formed Utopia and then went solo, having some commercial success.
Apart from being a great songwriter, Todd Rundgren is a great guitarist and the solos on RA, especially on the song “Hiroshima”, show just how good he is.
He recently brought out a new album called “Arena” which is really good and something worth while having a listen to but first find a copy of RA and become enllightened.

THE ALBUM

Utopia was an American progressive rock band led by Todd Rundgren that toured and recorded from 1973 to 1987.
Like The Beatles, Utopia rotated lead vocals and shared writing credits, although Rundgren was a predominant influence. One distinctive feature of Utopia was its stylistic breadth, which ranged across psychedelic-progressive 1970s rock, soul-pop, blues, ‘stadium rock’ and heavy metal. Another was the band’s unabashed optimism, as evidenced by its name.

The third album Ra (1977) continued the progressive trend, opening with an electronic arrangement of the “Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise” theme (from Bernard Herrmann’s score for the film Journey to the Center of the Earth), but it also contained several shorter, more accessible songs, and the group’s subsequent albums increasingly featured more concise and ‘pop-oriented’ material that showed the influence of the prevailing New Wave trend.

Side one

1. “Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise/Communion with the Sun”
2. “Magic Dragon Theatre”
3. “Jealousy”
4. “Eternal Love”
5. “Sunburst Finish”

Side two

1. “Hiroshima”
2. “Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale)”

MUSICIANS

* Todd Rundgren – guitar and vocal
* Roger Powell – keyboards, synthesizer and vocals
* Kasim Sulton – bass and vocals
* John “Willie” Wilcox – drums, percussion and vocals

* Producer: Todd Rundgren for Alchemedia Productions, Inc.
* Engineer: John Holbrook
* Assistant Engineer: Tom Mark
* Musical arrangements by Utopia
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Songwriting Credits

* “Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise” by Bernard Herrmann (from his score for the film Journey to the Center of the Earth)
* “Communion With the Sun” by Rundgren
* “Magic Dragon Theatre” by Rundgren/Sulton
* “Jealousy” by Rundgren/Wilcox
* “Eternal Love” by Powell/Sulton
* “Sunburst Finish” by Powell/Rundgren
* “Hiroshima” by Powell/Rundgren
* “Singring and the Glass Guitar” by Powell/Rundgren/Sulton/Wilcox

(thanks again to Wikipedia for the information supplied)

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JUGULA – ROY HARPER

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ROY HARPER is my most favourite songwriters and I try to aspire, without imitating, to write songs as good or even better than he has. I use him as a challenge and teacher when it comes to writing songs. I have even invited him to drop in and have a cup of tea with me if he is ever in the country and has the time, because I would love to learn more about the man.
I know that he is respected by and has written, collaborated and performed with many well known musicians and is the only person other than the members of Pink Floyd, to ever sing a lead vocal track on a Pink Floyd song ( Have A Cigar – Wish You Were Here).
Led Zeppelin write a song for him (Hats Off To Roy Harper – Led Zeppelin 3).
Paul and Linda McCartney did backing vocals on the beautiful “One Of Those Days In England” from his wonderful album, Bullinamingvase.

One of his most hauntingly beautiful and interesting songs would have to be “Asleep At The Wheel”, a song I like to play if I get the opportunity, to people I meet because I know if they make a comment about it or look as though they’re enjoying it, then they’ve got good taste in music and I’ll probably get along quite well with them.

I was first introduced to this album by a friend who took me on a drive through the beautiful countryside in which I lived at the time.
At first it didn’t do much for me until I heard the song “Hope” and then my ears opened up and I began to listen to the album properly. What I heard were some great songs that left me feeling like “I want to write songs as good as that”.
They are interesting, funny, beautiful and a journey within themselves.
If you have never listened to Roy Harper before, then please do yourself that favour and listen to some of the most beautifully crafted songs you will ever hear.

THE ALBUM

Whatever Happened to Jugula? is a 1985 album by Roy Harper and Jimmy Page.

With a working title of Rizla due to the album’s cover art (an unravelled orange Rizla pack), Jugula, as this album is often called, was released on the Beggars Banquet label and reached the UK Top 20. The album contains a number of well crafted, original songs written by Harper.
It is recorded in a fresh and spontaneous manner, often with only the unique and beautiful sound of Ovation guitars and vocals. Occasionally, the spacious arrangements are filled with synthesizer and electric guitar.

This album in particular brought Harper to a new and wider audience, mainly due to Harper and Jimmy Page’s appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1984, an album tour and a 15 minute televised interview by Mark Ellen on the Old Grey Whistle Test.
The interview featured Harper and Page playing their acoustic guitars on the side of Scafell Pike in the English Lake District, a somewhat different and unusual interview for the time. Songs played included “Hangman” and part of “The Same Old Rock”.

The first track on the album, “Nineteen Forty-Eightish”, a reference to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, crescendos with a fine piece of lead guitar by Page.
This album was the fifth that Harper and Page had worked on, but the first entire record they made together. For those used to Page’s guitar playing, his input is quite evident throughout the album.
Page is a natural and perfect complement to Harper’s deft, fresh and unique guitar playing. Other standout tracks include “Hangman”, a powerful song that expresses the feelings of an innocent man condemned to die and “Frozen Moment”, a particularly beautiful song played entirely in the chord of C.

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The title for ‘Jugula’ came from playing Trivial Pursuit, in order to explain to everyone how they should go about answering the questions as straight and honestly as possible I’d say, “Go for the jugula”.
It was going to be ‘Harper & Page’ for a while, but that’s like selling Jimmy’s name, then it went to ‘1214’ which is the year that the Magna Carta was signed… but that was a bit esoteric. So one day we were talking and “jugula” came up, so I phoned the artist and they’d designed up to the ‘Whatever happened to…’ bit so I said leave it there and put Jugula at the end”.

David Gilmour wrote the music for the third track, “Hope”, Harper penned the lyrics, and Nick Harper (Harper’s 16 year old son at the time), played the lead guitar on this track (not Gilmour as is often mistakenly stated).
A faster tempo version of this melody with different lyrics, appears on the White City: A Novel album by Pete Townshend, entitled “White City Fighting”.

A cover version of “Hope”, with “Bad Speech” as an introduction, can be found on the album Eternity by the Liverpudlian band Anathema, an album that Harper also makes an appearance on.

Side one

1.     “Nineteen Forty-Eightish” – Harper
2.     “Bad Speech” – Harper
3.     “Hope”   Harper, – Gilmour
4.     “Hangman” – Harper

Side two

1.     “Elizabeth” – Harper
2.     “Frozen Moment” – Harper
3.     “Twentieth Century Man” – Harper
4.     “Advertisement (Another Intentional Irrelevant Suicide)” – Harper

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MUSICIANS

* Roy Harper – acoustic guitar and/or electric guitar
* Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar and/or electric guitar
* Tony Franklin – electric bass
* Nik Green – keyboard
* Ronnie Brambles – drums
* Steve Broughton – drums
* Preston Heyman – drums
* Nick Harper – semi-acoustic guitar
* Nik Green – mixing desk

(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)