Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sick things (Alice Cooper) (LP 60)

Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies (vinyl - Warner Brothers Records, 1973) ****

Genre: American pop/rock

Places I remember: RCA Record Club. There was a real thrill attached to getting a record in the mail!

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: No More Mr Nice Guy

Gear costume: Elected, Billion Dollar Babies

Active compensatory factors: It's the more straight forward rock songs that grab my interest like the ones listed above, as opposed to the shock value attached to things like I Love the Dead, Sick Things, and others.

Compared to the classic School's Out, this set was much more varied in quality. Of the two albums I listen to School's Out much much more. 

Where do they all belong? I stopped collecting Alice Cooper albums after this one and the superior School's Out. Quality became increasingly patchy to my mind and then he went all wannabe metaller on us.  Marilyn Manson, I guess, is the natural destination if you have a mind to (which I don't).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Heart and soul (Big Country) (LP 58-59)

Big Country The Crossing (CD - Mercury Records, 1983/1996) ****
Big Country  Steeltown (Vinyl - Mercury Records, 1984) ****

Genre: Scottish pop/rock

Places I remember: New Plymouth from 1983-1985

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Tough to choose the best track on the debut but I'll go for Porrohman, Just A Shadow on Steeltown.

Gear costume: Harvest Home, The Storm, Lost Patrol and Chance from The Crossing are awesome.

Active compensatory factors: I was first aware of Big Country and their main man Stuart Adamson via a Skids song on a Virgin sampler. Into The Valley has a great guitar sound.

In 1983 In A Big Country and Fields Of Fire were huge, thanks to some videos and radio play on NZ stations. 

The big sound of Steve Lillywhite seemed to be everywhere in the early eighties (Simple Minds, U2, and XTC were a few). For me, he's at his best with Big Country and these two albums.

Adamson was trying for music that could make pictures, music that could spread out wide landscapes and great dramas. Lillywhite was a perfect fit.

When I hear these songs I can't help but imagine the wide vistas in the highlands, which I love.

Where do they all belong? Big Country studio albums would become patchier but still essential purchases for me. 

Rest in peace Stuart.  Such a sad waste of immense talent.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Now I'm back in your town (Rory Gallagher) (LP 55 - 57 )

Rory Gallagher Rory Gallagher (Vinyl - Polydor, 1971) ***
Rory Gallagher  Deuce (Vinyl - Chrysalis, 1971) ****
Rory Gallagher Live in Europe (Vinyl - Chrysalis, 1972) ****

Genre: Irish pop/rock

Places I remember: First one came second hand from Real Groovy, other two from Marbecks Records (sticker to prove it).

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: In Your Town (both the studio version on Deuce and the live one on In Europe) - amazing guitar!

Gear costume: Crest of a Wave (Deuce); Can't Believe It's True (Rory Gallagher) - great sax from Rory!

Active compensatory factors: Rory's first three albums after Taste are about feet finding and getting a sound. By 1972's In Europe - there it was!

Perceived wisdom about Rory is that the live in concert stuff is the best way to approach his recorded works. No argument from me - his 1980 NZ concert remains my favourite concert experience of all time, BUT there are still many gems on the studio albums. 

Deuce is a big improvement on the tentative debut album (but even that has the excellent Laundromat and the unusually jazzy Can't Believe It's True).

For me, Irish Tour '74 knocks In Europe for six but that's just an indication of how great the Irish tour set is.

Where do they all belong? Much more Rory to come but Taste is the best destination for similar stuff to these three albums.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The real feeling (Ace) (LP 54)

Ace Five-a-side (Vinyl - Anchor Records, 1974) ****

Genre: English pop/rock

Places I remember: Slow Boat Records in Wellington

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: How Long is the brilliant single.

Gear costume: 24 Hours is a fine example of the great Ace sound - terrific beat thanks to the drums/bass combo, great organ/guitar licks, terrific Paul Carrack vocals, excellent horns.

Active compensatory factors: Ace were a great but underrated Beatles influenced band from the seventies. Most notably, they are known for Paul Carrack and his pop hit How Long (no question mark).

But the band (and this, their debut album) are way more than just that song. They played a fine funky brand of pop.

There isn't a dud track among the ten songs (five a side - ha!).

Where do they all belong? Paul eventually moved onto Mike + The Mechanics - you'll meet them along this journey!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Rock me baby (Aztecs) (LP 53)

Aztecs Live! at Sunbury (Double vinyl - Havoc, 1972) *****

Genre: Australia/NZ rock

Places I remember: St Kevin's Arcade, K Rd.,  Auckland

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: C C Ryder kicks us off, literally!! The sound isn't great on this historic video clip of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs at Sunbury, but you get the idea. The man can sing! The man can play guitar!

Gear costume: Most People I know Think That I'm Crazy was the big hit for Billy and the song is fabulous live! Momma and Be Bop A Lula are totally gear!

Active compensatory factors: Sunbury '72 was kind of Australia's answer to Woodstock (except it featured NZ/Australian bands).

It was thanks to my Aussie friend Noel Forth that I discovered the joys of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. Noel is an wonderful, altrusistic guy who loves music and loves sharing his knowledge. He sent me a couple of his self compiled best of Aztecs tapes, that I still have! 

One thing lead to another and I managed to find Billy's  double live set second hand.

This is a monster of an album. The volume must have been huge - it feels a little like Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith in that the feedback/distortion is actually captured and makes these live versions throb and breathe. 

Where do they all belong? Nambassa was the NZ version of Sunbury/ Woodstock.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Flute sonatas (LP 52)

J S Bach Flute Sonatas (Vinyl - Hungaroton) ***

Genre: Classical

Places I remember: Marbecks Records

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles:

Gear costume: The other tracks are similarly fab and gear.

Active compensatory factors: A weird one - most of the back cover is written in Hungarian, the front cover is terrible, but the music is wonderfully calming.

I used to put this on a lot when Jacky would ask for something that wasn't 'hillbilly music'.

There is something magical about the flute and harpsichord combination.

The baroque period is a great one for music. It featured many of my favourites - Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, and Arcangelo Corelli.

If I'm in need of soothing - this is where I head.

Where do they all belong? A compilation called Baroque Masterpieces.