Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hot 'lanta (Allman Brothers band) (LP 132-133)

The Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band (Vinyl - Polydor, 1969) *****
The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East (Vinyl (double LP) - Polydor, 1971) ****

Genre: American pop/ rock

Places I remember: Both from Marbecks Records (Auckland)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Black Hearted Woman 




Gear costume: You Don't Love Me, Whipping Post (on both albums)


Active compensatory factors: Sorry for the lack of chronology with my Allman Brothers Band albums. Blame it on the fact that I am travelling between my CD and vinyl collections. That explains why I've covered Idlewild South and Eat a Peach before getting to the vinyl copies of these two earlier albums.

The live album has come to be regarded as a classic and although nobody talks about the stunning debut much, it is also a classic album. Funny old world innit.

I remember coming across them in an import shipment Roger got from the States along with a host of other great albums including amazing stuff by Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna/Grateful Dead. I loved the covers and just had to have them!

I love live albums that sound and feel like a whole concert - applause leads into the next track. I'm less thrilled when the applause fades and the next track starts after a pause. That's the case with this album and weirdly the chronology of the concert is off anyway - side two ends with the first bars of Whipping Post (here placed on side four!). That explains the four star rating.

That said - the playing here is breath-taking. The lyrical In Memory of Elizabeth Reed is a spectacular guitar work out by Dickey Betts and Duane Allman before Gregg Allman embarks on some brilliant organ, then it's back to Duane and Dickey for a set of ascending wig outs. 

And that's just one high point amongst many on At Fillmore East.

Their first album is another example of a band seemingly fully formed on debut. Anyone who has heard tracks by Hourglass knows that they had a history before this album but by 1969 Gregory LeNoir Allman's rich vocals are fully there, the band are tight, the songs are all there, the two drummers and two guitarists are in place as well. Duane Allman and Dick Betts are particularly there!

Sidebar: a tad sad looking at those group lineups on these two covers - only Dickey Betts and Jaimoe are still around of the six original members of The Allman Brothers Band.

Where do they all belong? Back on track chronologically speaking - Brothers and Sisters (yes, another classic five star album) is next.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stuck in the middle (Stealers Wheel) (LP 131)

Stealers Wheel Stealers Wheel (Vinyl - A&M, 1972) ***

Genre: Scottish pop/ rock

Places I remember: Slow Boat Records (Wellington)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Stuck in the Middle




Gear costume: Next to Me

Active compensatory factors: Stealers Wheel (no apostrophe employed) come with some clear Beatle connections.

  • Geoff Emerick on engineering duty
  • Recorded at Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London
  • Joe Egan/Gerry Rafferty harmonies that are very reminiscent of the Fabs at times
  • Songs that are very Beatle-esque  

Gerry Rafferty, of course, went onto some bigger hits (Baker Street anyone?) but this debut album of Stealers Wheel does have its moments. Most notably the hit song Stuck in the Middle (as it's labelled on the cover) and some lovely mid-paced songs like Next to Me and You Put Something Better Inside Of Me. 

The rest is nothing less than pleasant, distinguished by those smooth Rafferty vocals and those harmonies.

Where do they all belong? This is the only Stealers Wheel album I own. I do mean to pick up Ferguslie Park at some point though.

Monday, August 7, 2017

All around man (Rory Gallagher) (LP 130)

Rory Gallagher Against The Grain (Vinyl - Chrysalis, 1975) ****

Genre: Irish pop/ rock

Places I remember: Marbecks Records (Auckland) 

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Souped-Up Ford




Gear costume: All Around Man, Out on the Western Plain

Active compensatory factors: Another nice one Rory!

It's 1975 and Rory's been at for seven albums as a solo artist (before that he was the main man in Taste, of course). He's Mr Consistency.

The blueprint had long been established and not much had changed since 1966 - Rory is still playing amazingly varied guitar (lyrical at times, hard as nails at others), his vocals are still right on the money, the band is still tight as a fish's bum (Gerry McAvoy - bass, Lou Martinkeyboards, Rod de'Ath – drums) and the songs have always been there.

Suddenly though, Against The Grain hit the right vein with Americans and it became more well received than previous albums. 

Rory hadn't changed, it's just that critics and audiences had started catching up with a good thing.

Where do they all belong? More good times coming, Calling Card's next up.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Into the void (Black Sabbath) (LP 128 - 129)

Black Sabbath Paranoid (Vinyl/CD - Vertigo, 1970) *****
Black Sabbath Master Of Reality (Vinyl/CD - Vertigo, 1971) *****

Genre: English pop/rock

Places I remember: The RCA Record Club was a wondrous thing. I could save my pennies - pore over the catalogue, make a selection, send off a money order and get a record in the post!! Wohsers! 

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: Sweetleaf




Gear costume: War Pigs/ Paranoid/Fairies Wear Boots/Into The Void/Electric Funeral...I could go on!


Active compensatory factors: These two are lumped together because I bought Master Of Reality (their third album) first, then got Paranoid (their second album) pretty quickly afterwards.

Does that make sense?

For me, they are like Rubber Soul and Revolver - two albums that are almost Volume 1 and 2.

Sweetleaf was a revelation in 1971 (I was a very naive 13 year old, and so had no idea they were singing about marijuana). I played it loud!! A lot!! What must my parents have thought?

The sound of these two albums is quite similar, production wise. Even now, listening to the songs on the debut Black Sabbath and Vol 4, they sound weedy (no pun intended) or unfocused in comparison, whereas the two albums in between hold grungy, resonant riffermania thrills aplenty.

Ozzy was never better than here. 

Where do they all belong? Even though I loved these two albums I never bothered with the first and fourth albums. These two stand alone, and were never bettered. I stand by my decision.