Sunday, May 28, 2017

Forever Young (Bob Dylan and The Band) (LP 112)

The Band The Last Waltz (CD - Warner Brothers, 1978) *****

Genre: Canadian pop/ rock

Places I remember: The Warehouse CD copy replaced the cassette tape that (I think) Greg Knowles gave me.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Who Do You Love (with Ronnie Hawkins) gets the set off to a storming start after the haunting Theme from The Last WaltzBig time Bill! Big Time!

Gear costume: Plenty of other gear highlights - maybe the best Band moment is one of my favs - Life Is A Carnival. At the time, Greg and I were very taken with Van the man's spots as well.

Active compensatory factors: G.K. and I went and saw the movie in Queen Street while we were at Auckland University. I had the tape for years, thanks to him, but when I saw it going cheap at The Warehouse, I couldn't resist an upgrade. It is a classic, after all! 

The set shows off the best of both The Band as The Band and how great they were as a band, backing other talented individuals.

The special guests are very very special and his Bobness is in prime form. 

All that and Levon Helm has surely one of the best voices in rock and roll.

Only down point (still) for me is Neil Diamond. Levon was right, Robbie - you shoulda nixed that one.

Where do they all belong? As a high water mark for the seventies, it's pretty much untouchable. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ain't wastin' time no more (The Allman Brothers Band) (LP 111)

The Allman Brothers Band Eat A Peach (CD and double vinyl - Capricorn, 1972) *****

Genre: American pop/ rock

Places I remember: RCA record club catalogue/ Real Groovy/ The Warehouse Hastings.

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Blue Sky (5 plus minutes of blue sky brilliance from Dickey Betts and Duane Allman; first solo is Allman's, then Betts).

Gear costume: Mountain Jam

Active compensatory factors: This album had such an aura around it as I was growing up. First awareness of it came in a record catalogue and it was clearly different from a Hollies/ Merseybeat/ Bubblegum pop context.

This was grown up music. A double album. With ONE song spread over two sides. A picture on the cover of a truck with a giant peach. Wowsers. 

I had to wait a while, until I was more grown up, before I could appreciate its richness.

Compared to their previous albums, the interesting thing about Eat A Peach is the breadth of material from acoustic to pastoral to progressive to creative improv jam to southern boogie. All masterfully executed.

It's a peak - not only for the band, but for American music. Full stop.

Where do they all belong? This was the last of the Duane Allman influenced Allman Brothers Band albums, next up was the equally classic Brothers and Sisters album.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The metal age (Hammerfall) (LP 110)

Hammerfall Glory To The Brave (CD - NEMS Enterprises, 1997) ***

Genre: Scandinavian pop/rock

Places I remember: Virgin Megastore Dubai Mall

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Hammerfall (the best that can said about the video is that it is 'of its time and genre'; but hang in there until the chorus at least and the shredding guitar solo)

Gear costume: Child Of the Damned

Active compensatory factors: Their debut album, and the only one I own, Glory to the Brave was a purchase from the Dubai Mall. For some reason they had an awesome collection of Scandinavian metal in the racks at the Virgin Megastore.

Dream Evil and Hammerfall became firm favourites and although I wouldn't find any more of their albums, I played it often while pootling along in the Purdmobile (a.k.a. the Tiida) in Al Ain.

Where do they all belong? Similar in approach to the mighty Dream Evil but more Americanised in feel.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Du Hast (Rammstein) (LP 109)

Rammstein Sehnsucht (CD - Motor Music, 1997) ****

Genre: German pop/ rock

Places I remember: Real Groovy, Auckland

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Du Hast

Gear costume: Sehnsucht, Engel

Active compensatory factors: Du Hast on the live album clued me in to this earlier album. It's a beast of a song live and great on this album as well.

The industrial-metal tag is appropriate for this album - from the cover portraits to the use of Flake's keyboards that are playful at times, ominous at others - all coming together via superb production by Jacob Hellner.

It's one great song after another! And the fact that the band use German lyrics just adds to the whole mystery.

Where do they all belong? This is positioned just before the breakthrough Live Aus Berlin album.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I ain't no saint (Rory Gallagher) (LP 108)

Rory Gallagher Defender (CD - The Capo, 1987) ****

Genre: Irish pop/ rock

Places I remember: HMV Oxford Street, London

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Don't Start Me To Talkin'


Gear costume: Kickback City (great lead off track)

Active compensatory factors: For me, the last album of great(ish) material from Rory. All the trademark sounds are present and correct. Rory was a firm 'if it ain't broke...' believer.

Along for the ride again was the great Gerry McAvoy on bass (and even Lou Martin makes an appearance on the album). 

Spirited blues and rock guitar heros your bag? Gig Rory in something close to his prime (which is still better than 90% of other rock acts).

Where do they all belong? Sadly, there was only one more album to come - Fresh Evidence.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

King of emotion (LP 106 - 107)

Big Country Peace In Our Time (CD - Phonogram, 1988) *** 
Big Country The Buffalo Skinners (CD - Chrysalis, 1993) ***

Genre: Scottish pop/rock

Places I remember: Real Groovy (Auckland)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys)

Gear costume: Peace In Our Time.

Active compensatory factors: Mid period studio albums by Big Country can be tricky wee beasties at times. 

These two albums bookended their No Place Like Home album, which doesn't appear here because I didn't like it  much- production especially was very thin and un Big Country like, so I flicked it off.

Peace In Our Time has some cracking songs as mentioned above, so too does The Buffalo Skinners but they also contain too many lesser moments. And those late eighties production values, where the bagpipe sound is replaced by more mainstream rock guitars, don't do the band too many favours.

Where do they all belong? Big Country released further studio albums, both with and (sadly) without Stuart Adamson, but for me - the studio journey was ended with The Buffalo Skinners. Live albums! Now - that's another thing entirely as we'll see in time.