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Sean Trane View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Colossal Coliseum = Colosseum
    Posted: March 20 2006 at 10:49

In this thread, I would like to develop on Colosseum (considered as one of the developpers of jazz rock, but also how the British Rhythm'n Blues scene of the mid-60's actually produced us some superb progressive moments as the decade closed and opened up a whole new alley to explore!!

JOHN HISEMEN'S COLOSSEUM

Colosseum picture  here above is the second line-up (not to be confused with the Coloseum II group) consisting of:

- Chris Farlowe / vocals
- Dave Greenslade / organ, keyboards, vibraphone
- Mark Clarke / bass, vocals
- Dave "Clem" Clempson / guitar, vocals
- Dick Heckstall-Smith / saxophone, sax (Soprano), sax (Tenor)
- Jon Hiseman / drums, producer

________________________________________________________

In this first post, I shall discuss the debut album, but pleas, if yoiu are North American and you have the original vinyl, you might just get confused over this as the first two albums came with fairly similar artwork, but the tracks were completely different.

 Colosseum - Those Who Are About To Die album review, Mp3, track listing


 

COLOSSEUM – Those Who Are About To Die Salute You

 

First article in series of five

 

Coming from the British RnB (via the Graham Bond Organization), the blues boon (John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers), the general countercultures via Beat poets (Pete Brown of Cream lyrics fame), came to be this amalgam of musicians but the group was clearly lead by drummer John Hiseman (a self-confessed control freak) and his partner in music Dick Heckstall-Smith. Joining the group was ex-Thunderbirds (Chris Farlowe’s backing band) Greenslade with his astounding organ playing and Reeves, and finally young blues singer/guitarist James Litherland. Saxman Dick Heckstall-Smith (DH-S for sort) is also known for his ability to play two wind instruments at a time, in this respect equalling VDGG’s Dave Jackson, but both being strongly influenced jazzman Roland “Rashaan” Kirk (who will also greatly influenced Tull’s Ian Anderson) actually managing three wind instruments at a time. While the brass was an important part of the Colosseum sound, over the years, critics and writer have tended to over-emphasise this aspect and some even claiming that they had invented Brass Rock, something that I would like to dispel a bit here in these reviews. Sure Colosseum had a jazzy sound (Hiseman although quite a rock drummer was also jazz-inspired and lead the group like many jazz band leaders were drummers), but jazz influences + wind instruments does not make brass rock like Chicago or B,S&T.

 

With such a RnB-rooted line-up most would not expect a very progressive group, but the chemistry that came out from those five was such that their music, that seems to flow so effortlessly, quickly became groundbreaking, while staying amazingly accessible.  Their debut record on Fontana came out and sold in good quantities and good management got them countless gigs, so these guys had an excellent chemistry plainly heard on this album. It should be noted that this album and the next came out across the Atlantic with fairly similar artwork, but with titles and track list completely shambled. The debut album in the US holds Valentyne Suite. We now will review the Cd rather than the vinyls to avoid the confusion.  Whatever the version of the vinyl, both artworks were slightly different but stunning gatefold sleeves and its title a citation of gladiators saluting the Roman emperor in the Coliseum. 

Lead-off track Walking in the Park (a cover from Graham Bond) is the band’s signature tracks with its exhilarating good moods, but so proud of its RnB roots and its very brassy feel (DH-S gets some help from a buddy). Plain-bluesy Plenty Hard Luck is a great showcase of Litherland’s vocals and Greenslade’s organs. With Mandarin, we now reach a definitely more serious level of composing with bassist Reeves showing us the way to enlightenment and the path to many rhythm changes and time sigs, this instrumental track is the first sign that this group had something really special and culminating in an unrefined (as in unpolished) guitar solo. Following tracks called debut is according to them, the first thing they played, and is again quite happily-communicative and it does sound like the ideal training ground for a band to get their stuff and tricks together.

 

Ides of March is one of the first musical crime that they commit and clearly it was a first draft of the Valentyne Suite to come in the next album. Based on the same Bach chord sequence than Procol’s Whiter Shade of pale, the tracks evolves into a harpsichord and searing bluesy guitar wailings while D H-S is wailing freely on his reeds (like a lover;-). Poly-rhythms dictate a fairly paced and atmospheric track, while remaining very swingy as the piano takes over in boogie constrasting strongly with the wordless vocals scattings. Slow blues is again showing where Litherland’s strengths were but ultimately, this would also prove his own undoing in the band as well. For a proghead, this track overstays a bit too much its welcome, but in its own genre this track is a killer. Title track closing off the album is a very up-tempoed jazzy-laced RnB with plenty of rhythm and sigs, Hiseman driving his musos like footsoldiers through marshes and swamp alike as the Roman emperor would if he was out to conquer new grounds. RnB does not really get much better than this baby, guys.

 

Although only partly interesting for the proghead, this album is a stunning debut, definitely groundbreaking but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus but more in the sense of Brass rock (without the brass section, though) like Chicago Transit Authority, The Flock or If.

 



Edited by Sean Trane - April 21 2006 at 07:50
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2006 at 12:17
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

Although only partly interesting for the proghead, this album is a stunning debut, definitely groundbreaking but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus

 

 

There was a heap of British jazz rock bands, in particular, that didn't involve from musicans who had first paid their dues playing jazz, especially Soft Machine until Elton Dean and then a run of former Nucleus players got on board -  the originals were jazz fans for sure and then Mike Ratledge had postgrad studies in modern serious music. So I would suggest "but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus" is aimed at those who know little of the history of jazz rock. And in deed  with respect to 'ground-breaking' and jazz rock, hindsight would indicate some dilution of this claim. Check out Colosseum's version of Walking InThe Park against  Graham Bond's original and there isn't much difference (although I prefer Hiseman's and Co's, just). I think the jazz rock of Colosseum is directly in line with  Graham Bond and where it had evolved since 1964 (i.e. so less ground-breaking more evolution) - although Bond himself managed to get side tracked into the 'Magick' around this time and probably chemical substances. And the great blues played by Colosseum is not that removed from the jazz-influenced blues of Mayall of the time (check out Diary Of  Band) - although Litherland's voice appeals more than Mayall's and definitely more than the growl and shriek of Farlowe. Perhaps the ground-breaking was in the minority of tunes, where the prog elements, especially with the sound and arrangements of Greenslade got the more emphasis.

 

Even so having made these comments, Those Who About To Die, is still very much a personal favourite. At the time there was little to go onfor the late 60's prog fan wrt radio exposure of jazz rock, so Colosseum would have formed and been in area hardly occupied by many other progressive music bands to offer competition. Graham Bond would have not got much radio play, Nucleus were to be heard later having broken down a few barriers, John Mayall was blues and had been so for a decade, Soft Machine were querky Canterbury (beit with jazz elements) with Volume Two, and one of the only bands to call themselves jazz rock Timebox (but you'll be very hard pressed to work out why from their own Deram CD) had just folded to become "jazz rock without brass" (that's what they claimed n the liner notes of their first Vertigo release) for the first Patto album. I think Bitches Brew and so the introduction of Miles Davis to the rock fraternity was to come a little later - Lifetime's Turn It Over possibly got earlier exposure on UK radio.  However,  the gigs and one-off by Ten Years After, the jazz with blues of the original Undead LP release does clock in ahead of Colosseum, as  early British jazzrock - but TYA went off at a tangent with the psychedelia blues rock of Stonedhenge.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2006 at 12:39

A further thought for exploration, is the chronology of musical development of UK jazz rock and associated album releases. So put the following early jazz rock or related albums in two orders: first, recording date and second, release date:

John McLaughlin: Extrapolation

John Surman: Way Back When

John Surman/John McLaughlin: Where Fortune Smiles

Mike Westbrook: Marching Songs

Soft Machine:  Volume 2, Third

Colosseum: Those About To Die

Ten Years After: Undead

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew

Tony William's Lifetime: Emergency, Turn It Over

Jack Bruce: Things We Like, Songs For A Tailor

John Mayall: Bare Wires

Johnny Almond's Music Machine

Circus

Tasavallan Presidentti's first 4 albums

Nucleus's first album

Mike Gibb's  first couple of albums, as arranger

 

(Should Igginbottom's Wrench be here??)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2006 at 08:39
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

Although only partly interesting for the proghead, this album is a stunning debut, definitely groundbreaking but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus

 

 

There was a heap of British jazz rock bands, in particular, that didn't involve from musicans who had first paid their dues playing jazz, especially Soft Machine until Elton Dean and then a run of former Nucleus players got on board -  the originals were jazz fans for sure and then Mike Ratledge had postgrad studies in modern serious music. So I would suggest "but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus" is aimed at those who know little of the history of jazz rock. And in deed  with respect to 'ground-breaking' and jazz rock, hindsight would indicate some dilution of this claim. Check out Colosseum's version of Walking InThe Park against  Graham Bond's original and there isn't much difference (although I prefer Hiseman's and Co's, just). I think the jazz rock of Colosseum is directly in line with  Graham Bond and where it had evolved since 1964 (i.e. so less ground-breaking more evolution) - although Bond himself managed to get side tracked into the 'Magick' around this time and probably chemical substances. And the great blues played by Colosseum is not that removed from the jazz-influenced blues of Mayall of the time (check out Diary Of  Band) - although Litherland's voice appeals more than Mayall's and definitely more than the growl and shriek of Farlowe. Perhaps the ground-breaking was in the minority of tunes, where the prog elements, especially with the sound and arrangements of Greenslade got the more emphasis.

 

Even so having made these comments, Those Who About To Die, is still very much a personal favourite. At the time there was little to go onfor the late 60's prog fan wrt radio exposure of jazz rock, so Colosseum would have formed and been in area hardly occupied by many other progressive music bands to offer competition. Graham Bond would have not got much radio play, Nucleus were to be heard later having broken down a few barriers, John Mayall was blues and had been so for a decade, Soft Machine were querky Canterbury (beit with jazz elements) with Volume Two, and one of the only bands to call themselves jazz rock Timebox (but you'll be very hard pressed to work out why from their own Deram CD) had just folded to become "jazz rock without brass" (that's what they claimed n the liner notes of their first Vertigo release) for the first Patto album. I think Bitches Brew and so the introduction of Miles Davis to the rock fraternity was to come a little later - Lifetime's Turn It Over possibly got earlier exposure on UK radio.  However,  the gigs and one-off by Ten Years After, the jazz with blues of the original Undead LP release does clock in ahead of Colosseum, as  early British jazzrock - but TYA went off at a tangent with the psychedelia blues rock of Stonedhenge.

Ooooooooooppppppssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!>.............

I guess I somehow forgot to save before finishing that review! I fixed it up by editing the last sentence

Thanks Dick, this exactly the kind of posts I would like to see in this section, more of informative reading like your two posts



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2006 at 08:58

 

COLOSSEUM – Valentyne Suite

Second article in series of five.

Second album from this groundbreaking quintet that had offered us much of a thrill with their debut. Again here, if you are looking for the vinyl, please be aware that this album came out with a very close-looking version in America, but a completely different track list and is titled, The Grass Is Greener 5BTW, I distinctly remember a first version of Lost Angeles on this version of the album). Again here I will review the Cd version as to not complicate things uselessly. What one must realize is that this album was the first released by progressive label Vertigo and the first vinyl to have that superb spiral spinning around the vortex of the record. A real delight to watch it spinning especially while listening to the second side of the vinyl. As if that label and that track were made for each other.

Starting in the same fashion as their debut on an incredibly positive, joyously-communicative (bordering on the epidemic contagion ;-), with Litherland stealing the show both with his superb voice and his wild guitar wailings, James "Butty" is reaching his moment of glory in this RnB-infested rock track. A real gas even if you are not that much in RnB music. Elegy has absolutely nothing to envy its predecessor both in happiness but here DH-S’s sax takes the centre-stage and the group is accompanied by a superb string section, which at times draws chills in your back. As you might have guessed, the next track is a rather slow blues with an infectious organ groove and heavy brass section, and Butty Litherland unleashing his heart onto an unsuspecting microphone and your disbelieving here. Orgasmic. Closing of the A-side is a much-more Sacrifice-Demanding Machine, which confirms the progressive qualities detected in the debut album, even if the tracks is also starting as a blues, but this time much more oppressive than previous tracks and it has mid-track fade out (well this is not yet the 70’s, so one can forgive the less successful experimentations such as this one. The track ends in a total chaos, which still shows that ideas were there, but not always perfectly laid out on wax.

But all you progheads are giving a hoot about is my coming down to describing the chef d’oeuvre that is coming out and filling (and fulfilling you) the B-side. Starting out a bit like BRubeck’s Blue Rondo a La Turc (or more like The Nice’s version of it), the track soon diverges from it as Greeenslade’s delicious vibraphone descending lines reach directly into your heart, blocks the main vein and all you have to do is wait for the vibes to return before the strokes gets to you. But Dave is a gentleman and happily obliges some more life-saving orgasmic vibes lines. Clearly, this track is Greenslade’s "Heure De Gloire", the track he will forever remembered for and as the first movement ends with him having switched to piano (McCoy Tyner-influenced) with DH-S approaching the feel of this writer’s ultimate musician, John Coltrane during A Love Supreme!!!!!! Needless to say that Hiseman was playing along as if he was Elvin Jones. 30 years down the road this passage still nails me to the floor with tears of joy flowing out uncontrollably. The main Berstein-inspired theme then takes over again with Greenslade now taking more liberties with the harmonies, while the track is only made possible by Hiseman’s wild drumming. As the track is again calming down, Butty Litherland comes in along with the others for some superb angelic vocalizing superbly underlined by D H-S’s sax lines. To say that much of this track was written on the day that mankind walked on the moon (although only 6 at the time, I remember that day vividly) is simply so telling, July 21, 69!!! The third part is letting more part to the guitar, but Greenslade is dominating the debate again, and there are some incredibly delightful exchanges between the two but DHS is never far away either. Clearly, TVS is taking off where The Ides Of March had left it on the debut album. But as orgasmic this track is, there is also a feel that the many influences it draws from, even if well-digested are a bit too obvious and this might just be the ultimate reason why Colosseum will never break the big leagues like Yes or Crimson.

Unfortunately for him Litherland was to be sacked because he was mostly a blues player, and Hiseman being the boss he was (the group’s official name is John Hiseman’s Closseum), and having the opportunity to snatch Clempson from Bakerloo. Tony Reeves left also on musical grounds but of his own. So Clempson will bring in Mark Clarke into the band also. This second album while still not completely progressive, is certainly as historically important as The Nice’s debut or Crimson’s ITCOTCK and just for that merits the fifth star. Awesome!!!

 



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2006 at 09:25

 'Bernstein’s Blue Rondo a La Turc (or more like The Nice’s version of it), '

 

Oh Dear. Brubeck not Bernstein - Lenny had his America invaded by Nice. Brubeck had significantly jazzed up Wolfie Mozart little ditty. As I've written several times before, for an allbum with heaps of precursors waiting to to be stolen by the earlier proggers,  check out Dave Brubeck Quartet's At Carnegie Hall live album

Track Listings
Disc: 1

1. St Louis Blues
2. Bossa Nova USA
3. For All We Know
4. Pennies From Heaven
5. Southern Scene
6. Three To Get Ready
Disc: 2
1. Eleven Four
2. It's A Raggy Waltz
3. King For A Day
4. Castilian Drums
5. Blue Rondo A La Turk
6. Take Five

I have to add this following for an Amazon.UK cock up wrt to track listings of the OST for West Side Story ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002MVH7/qid=1142 950891/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_11_1/026-3409414-4590000 )

 

Track Listings

1. Something's Coming
2. Boy Like That
3. Maria
4. Prologue-Jet Song
5. Tonight
6. Cool
7. Somewhere
8. America

9. I Feel Pretty
10. One Hand, One Heart
11. Gee Officer Krupke
12. I Have A Love
13. Prelude To The Rumble
14. Chick Corea's Elektric Band Vs. Steve Vai's Monsters - The R
15. Prelude To Somewhere
16. Somewhere

Whoops, wrong version of the music

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2006 at 09:32

Although only partly interesting for the proghead, this album is a stunning debut, definitely groundbreaking but not really jazz-rock in the form of Miles Davis or Nucleus but more in the sense of Brass rock (without the brass section, though) like Chicago Transit Authority, The Flock or If.

 

Does one brass/woodwind player in a band constitute a brass rock outfit??? John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with DH-S , Henry Lowther and others (e.g. on Bare Wires is closer to the real thing? DEBATE .

But then is When A Old Cricketeer by Roy Harper, (with Bill Bruford, Chris Spedding and a notable works brass band)  'brass folk rock'..............?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2006 at 03:44

60’s British Rhythm’n Blues scene (starting out more or less in 64-65)

 

Graham Bond Organization: Having played in his band are such huge future names such as Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Dick Heckstall-Smith (future Colosseum). This group ended in 66, but he also played in Ginger Baker’s Airforce. Leader Graham Bond (a good organ player) always had an interest into black magic and was one of those “Satanists” around the early 70’s. He will record two albums on the Vertigo label with his Holy Magick the first of which had a sidelong track of interest to progheads. He will also record an album with beat poet Pete Brown (who was also known for being Jack Bruce’s lyricist in Cream) once both of Pete Brown’s groups had disbanded – The Battered Ornaments and Piblokto!


Of what I know, there are no real complete studio albums of the GBO, even if there are live albums and compilations. John McLaughlin also went through that formation. Severely depressed, Gaham Bond will commit suicide by throwing himself under a subway in 74, although there are rumours he was pushed.

 

Spencer Davis Group: Always wondered why this group was called upon the guitarist and not the real star of the group Stevie Winwood (with his brother Muff on bass). Winwood will of course form Traffic, and between two line-up of this excellent group will also play on Ginger Baker’s Airforce and in Blind Faith. Also played in the SDG, drummer York and Eddie Hardin (which left to form their duo Hardin and York) and future Elton John’s band Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson.

 

Manfred Mann: this is one consistent R’nB hit maker of the mid and late 60’s, this group saw going by Jack Bruce, Tom McGuiness, and of course Mike Hugg and Manfred Mann. The last two will then form the Chapter Three and then the Earth Band (both in our Prog Archives)

 

John Mayall And the Bluesbreakers: not a R’nB band, but a seminal blues formation and another super important band in which so many future rock great went through at one point or another. The list of players is simply too long to list them all but Fleetwood Mac, Cream and Colosseum could almost be considered as offshoots had their members not actually left Mayall’s group. For the progheads, Jack Bruce, Ainsley Dunbar (latter with Zappa and early Journey), Keef Hartley (and his future group), Henry Lowther, Dick Heckstall-Smith, John Hiseman, Tony Reeves (all three of those became part of Colosseum), Johnny Almond, John Mark (the last two will form a very interesting duo Mark-Almond), Colin Allen (Stone The Crow). The Bluesbreakers evolved from a straight Blues group into a fairly progressive and psychedelic group at time. Bare Wires, Blues From Laurel Canyon and A Hard Road  and a few more are recommended to the prospective progheads.

 

The Yardbirds: having been had three of the most famous guitarist in their rank, Clapton, Beck and Page, this sometimes groundbreaking group (mostly under the period of Jeff Beck) released a few albums, but by choosing the right compilation, one can have a dynamite progressive psychedelic rock record. But their real claim to fame for progheads is that Relf, Mc Carty and Samwell-Smith went on to form Renaissance and later on Illusion.

 

Chris Farlowe And The Thunderbirds: from this outfit came Albert Lee, Carl Palmer, Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves and of course Chris Farlowe. The last three will evolve in Colosseum. Farlowe had one of the best soul voices of the UK along with Stevie Winwood. After Colosseum, Farlowe will also give Atomic Rooster two great albums.

 

The Zombies: A perennial rival to Manfred Mann, this R’nB group made tons of  singles, before disbanding just before a stunning psychedelic masterpiece Odessey And Oracle was released (posthumously). The most famous progressive member is Rod Argent (future Argent), but Colin Blunstone also remained a household name (not for progheads, though).

 

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band: another outfit to have seen a few future prog musicians in its fold: Colin Allen (Stone the Crow), Andy Summers (Soft Machine and New Animals), Paul William (future Juicy Lucy and Tempest, another Hiseman group), Johnny Almond (of Mark-Almond). In 67, the group evolved into the psychedelic Dantalion’s Chariot with a wild stage presence and good light show (for early 67). Although they never recorded and album per se, there is a compilation album of their works.

 

The Animals: Although not having real prog links, this unit was responsible to bring back the Rock into pop music and had some delightful hits such as House Of The Rising Sun and It’s My Life. A slightly later version of the group did an amazing and groundbreaking single Inside Looking Out.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, another later version of this group was a seminal psychedelic group with certain prog tendencies under the name
Eric Burden and The Animals (which to be fair was based in the US) for which played such musicians as Andy Summers (ex-Soft Machine and future the Police), Zoot Money, Henry McCullough (future Wings) and John Weider (future Family). Their four albums are full of great Psychedelia never far from prog. Especially recommended is Winds Of Change and The Twain Shall Meet.
Eric Burdon will later form a group with War (almost progressive funk) and the first two albums with him singing are recommended as well as are the next three after he left.

 

 

Other R’nB formations/groups of those years include Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames and Dave Clark Five, both of whom held no musician that would evolve in later prog bands, so they are of a lesser interest to us.



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2006 at 10:44
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

 'Bernstein’s Blue Rondo a La Turc (or more like The Nice’s version of it), '

 

Oh Dear. Brubeck not Bernstein - Lenny had his America invaded by Nice. Brubeck had significantly jazzed up Wolfie Mozart little ditty. As I've written several times before, for an allbum with heaps of precursors waiting to to be stolen by the earlier proggers,  check out Dave Brubeck Quartet's At Carnegie Hall live album

 

Yup thanks!!! I will correct that

This mistake comes from The Nice's Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack album which  has a bonus of Bernstein's America, on an album which contained Brubeck's Blue Rondo. Will fix this right away

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2006 at 10:52

Colosseum - Daughter of Time album review, Mp3, track listing

 

COLOSSEUM – Daughter Of Time

 

Third article in a series of five.

With their previous album a resounding success (artistically certainly and commercially also), but touring constantly, the line-up change seeing the two guitars of the group disappearing, being replaced by a more fitting (not necessarily more virtuoso) duo, there was no clear cut singer. Dave Greenslade then remembered his old Thunderbird days, where he was backing one of the best and strongest soul voices (along with Traffic’s Stevie Winwood) Chris Farlowe, and in a surprising and daring move offered him the job. An incredibly bold choice as Farlowe’s impressive stature (the man is tall but also had survived a polio attack, but deforming his body) was not really an obvious frontman candidate. Farlowe’s soulful voice was not that evident either to fit the group, but again the magic that had operated for the first line-up worked but at a cost: the songwriting. Bringing such a forceful singer as Farlowe in but to use him as little as there were vocals in the first two albums was of course impossible. So the main difference between this album and the previous two, is that there is a lot more singing. And as incredible as Farlowe’s voice is, it is not to everyone’s taste either, but no-one can claim that there are not some incredibly spine-tingling moments on this album and that they are mostly due to his voice. So now, Colosseum is a sextet!!

Right from the opening track, you can feel that the exuberance of the first two albums will be much absent, but not the solemnity. Greenslade’s organ is mixed much lower than previously, but still well present and countering Farlowe’s incredible vocal soaring leaps. The following Time Lament has a difficult start, but once it gets settled, Farlowe’s howling, answered by DH-S’s sax lines (he was almost absent in the opener) are pushing the track into an impressive progression (but it does need repetitive listenings to fully dig it). Doomsday is a much less impressive piano-led track, even if the lyrics should please the more Tolkien-esque appetites, and a rare flute (Barbara Thompson who gets in many sax parts also and future Mrs Hiseman) appears. Clearly Clempson (the singer on this track) is not at ease with lead singing, though. The rather short title track is slow in starting and takes it time before Farlowe pulls in another one of his tricks, but again his voice sort of dominates the rest of the players. Assuredly the mixing and engineering of the album could’ve been bettered at the time, and the remastering job has not brought the expected results (at least for this writer).

The opening salvo of side B is a Jack Bruce (Cream but also an ex-RnB colleague) and Pete Brown (the leading UK Beat poet that had links with everyone from jazz to rock) track. If Farlowe really understands what Bruce was singing and duplicates quite well, this is not one of the stronger Brown lyrics (the man had gotten us used to She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow lines ;-), but overall a cool cover of that classic track. The instrumental Bring Out Your Dead is clearly a return to old Colosseum track (Ides Of March-type) and unfortunately shows us that the integration of such a powerful voice is not an easy task: the obvious and glaring proof is here. One can recognize Louis Cennamo (Renaissance, Illusion and Steamhammer) bass lines in the track – as official bassist mark Clarke only plays on three tracks, probably due to his late arrival in the group. Downhill And Shadows is a mix and messed-up blend of again slow-starting blues with all the usual heroics from Clempson and Farlowe and the typical Clarke on bass. The last track, the cynically-titled Time Machine is not only a filler but also a throw-away drum solo (remember that the drummer is the boss in this group) recorded live, and even if the guy is clearly an ace at his instrument (the man is impressive in concert), this kind of exercise is really not my cup of tea, a fortiori even more when lasting over 8 minutes. I suspect that this is exactly the type of tracks that terminated the partnership between Vertigo and the group.

Constant touring, a shifting line-up, the lack of time to write songs (maybe even a few too ideas also), a new balance to find between the six members and maybe a lesser production, all these factors might make this album is clearly a bit of a let-down, but ultimately with repeated listenings it slowly unveils its merits.

 



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2006 at 03:59
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

60’s British Rhythm’n Blues scene (starting out more or less in 64-65)

 

 

Above Zoot Money I would suggest:

 

Georgie Fame (and the Blue Flames)

Alan Price (to a lesser extent)

 

Also remember the Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, Pretty Things,  Animals (later the Yardbirds)  lead the breakthrough of anglicised R'n'B into singles and LP charts. You can't forget the godfathers of the UK blues and R'n'B scene Cyril Davis and Alexis Korner.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2006 at 04:30
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

60’s British Rhythm’n Blues scene (starting out more or less in 64-65)

 

 

Above Zoot Money I would suggest:

Georgie Fame (and the Blue Flames)>>> chose to place them at the end of the article because of the lack of link to the prog scene via musucians

Alan Price (to a lesser extent)>>> overseen with the Animals

 

Also remember the Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, Pretty Things,  Animals (later the Yardbirds)  lead the breakthrough of anglicised R'n'B into singles and LP charts.

You can't forget the godfathers of the UK blues and R'n'B scene Cyril Davis and Alexis Korner.

^^^^

Alexis Korner's career started  prior to 64 and was relevant to the Rolling Stones mainly (and a few others also) and since the Stones kept to themselves after they formed, I chose to keep silent their role

I checked up on Cyril Davis but found nothing in Joynson's Tapestry of Delights, also maybe because Tapestry of Delights starts in 63 or 64 onwards. I could not believe I did not find anything though, so I will re-check tonight.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2006 at 06:28
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

[QUOTE=Dick Heath][QUOTE=Sean Trane]

 

I checked up on Cyril Davis but found nothing in Joynson's Tapestry of Delights, also maybe because Tapestry of Delights starts in 63 or 64 onwards. I could not believe I did not find anything though, so I will re-check tonight.

Cyril Davis should be followed up - and certainly not ignored - career was short because of premature death. As an indication of Alexis Korner's role, check out albums such as :

 

selected because of track listed to indicate cross-section of folk influenced by AK:

Disc: 1

1. Midnight Special - Colyer, Ken Skiffle Group
2. Roundhouse Stomp - Korner, Alexis Breakdown Group
3. Rotten Break - Korner, Alexis Breakdown Group
4. Kid Man - Korner, Alexis Skiffle Group
5. County Jail - Korner, Alexis Skiffle Group
6. National Defence Blues - Korner, Alexis Skiffle Group
7. Blaydon Races - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
8. 3/4 AD - Korner, Alexis & Davy Graham
9. She Fooled Me - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
10. I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
11. Rain Is Such A Lonesome Sound - Korner, Alexis
12. See See Rider - Korner, Alexis
13. Blues A La King - Korner, Alexis All Stars
14. Sappho - Korner, Alexis All Stars
15. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
16. Woke Up This Morning - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
17. Please Please Please - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
18. I Need Your Loving - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
19. Roberta - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
20. Big Road Blues - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
21. Louise - Korner, Alexis Blues Incorporated
22. River's Invitation - Korner, Alexis
23. Rosie - Free At Last
24. Mary Open The Door - Korner, Alexis
25. Steal Away - Korner, Alexis & Robert Plant
26. Mighty Mighty Spade And Whitey - New Church
Disc: 2
1. Whole Lotta Love - CCS
2. Tap Turns On The Water - CCS
3. Hellhound On My Trail - Korner, Alexis
4. Gospel Ship - Snape
5. Wee Baby Blues - Snape
6. Wild Women And Desperate Men - Korner, Alexis
7. Captain America - Korner, Alexis
8. Get Off My Cloud - Korner, Alexis
9. Robert Johnson - Back Door
10. Gambler - Korner, Alexis

11. Love You Save - Korner, Alexis
12. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie - Korner, Alexis & Bob Hall
13. Hey Pretty Mama - Korner, Alexis
14. Lining Track - Korner, Alexis
15. Hammer And Nails - Korner, Alexis
16. Key To The Highway - Korner, Alexis
17. Blood On The Saddle - Korner, Alexis
18. Juvenile Delinquent - Korner, Alexis
19. Mean Fool - Korner, Alexis

According to a documentary last year on BBC4 Mayall was even supported in the early years by AK -which does dilute the claim Mayall is the godfather of British blues. Take a look at this web page :

http://alexis-korner.net/memolive.htm

dealing with the 3 CD Alexis Korner Memorial Concert set, and take a look at the artists involved to give you an idea of Korner pivotal influence on UK R'n'B and blues.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2006 at 05:57


Colosseum - Colosseum Live  album review, Mp3, track listing

 

COLOSSEUM – Live

 

Fourth article in a series of five.

After a relatively disappointing third record (artistically only because it was still a strong seller), Colosseum hit the road, something it does best, really. Gerry Bron, their manager, was providing them still with as many gigs as humanly feasible by then, and the group was touring heavily Continental Europe and the States, but with no more recording contract, he created his own record label called Bronze Records (which Uriah Heep would soon join, too). One of the first things this new label did was issue a budget double live record of Colosseum. I believe still to this day, Colosseum is the only band to ever have had the first album of a record label TWICE.

 

Hastily produced and packaged (with one of the blandest cover for a prog act in those years), this double live record contained just six extended tracks (the shortest being almost 8 minutes) but the overall length was anything but extraordinary since the Cd reissue boasts an 8 min bonus track.  As I did with the previous album, I will review the Cd re-issue so the track sequence will not be the same as on the vinyl. Starting off in another rather interesting track from Jack Bruce and Pete Brown (after the cover of Theme From An Imaginary Western on the previous record) and a surprising rendition it is. Farlowe’s impressive vocals bring much depth to Bruce’s composition without altering its nature and the group is in fine form behind him, especially compared to the version that Clempson had sung on the North America-only The Grass Is Greener. Comes in a lenghty version of opening Colosseum track, the Graham Bond cover of Walking In The Park, quite beefed-up compared to their earlier studio version. I wish I had heard a live recording of the first line-up to compare with Farlowe is like a fish in water on tracks such as these. The 15 min Skellington (I would suppose a play on words with skeleton and Duke Ellington) is clearly not one of my favourite, as the standard blues-rock quickly goes nowhere and becomes an excuse for soloing past the first few verses Clempson clearly taking himself for Jimmy Page here. Farlowe is clearly on top of his game with this kind of track giving him plenty of room to move and yell like a madman

 

The bonus track is rather surprisingly a Litherland-penned bluesish RnB song where Greenslade is finally heard, but the track is not a standout either, but certainly fits well in the fold of the rest of the album.  Tanglewood 63 is one of those weird covers they chose to include in their shows, but I fail to see the exact reason why. I suppose this was pushed by Farlowe with DH-S, but it does no harm either. However, the use of the encore as Stormy Monday might just be the drop that overflows the bucket for the proghead, slowly losing patience on the Cd version (I remember a different track sequence on the vinyl) and it brings nothing new to the Allman Brothers Band version either.

 

But the proghead’s patience is finally rewarded as the major track of the second line-up of Colosseum is at hand. This song has been in my mind for almost thirty years, now as I first discovered it on a trip to California in the late 70’s and this legendary city (LA) being actually a real nightmare and a hell-pit and us just wanting to get the hell away but not finding the exit easily (went-up north to Frisco and Seattle while the tape was playing endlessly this track in the car on the escape), so this song is extra special to me, and I must say that aside Valentyne Suite, this ranks as their best one. But the two tracks share a few similarities, mostly being written and dominated by Greenslade (even if Farlowe is simply awesome with his growling desperate vocals. Shivers down your spine guaranteed, and Clempson’s epic guitar solo is also a textbook case of the paragon of taste. Compared to the early studio version (released on the odd album The Grass Is Greener) this track has a new life of its own here.

 

After a few more months of touring and the fun and inspiration waning, Clem Clempson will leave the group with Hiseman’s approval, but in a surprise move Hiseman will fold the band not even trying to find a replacement for him, citing today Colosseum a spent force. Most of the other musicians willingly recognize today that the end of the road was inevitable at that point. But for three years Colosseum had live a full life and all of the musos that played in the band are ready to declare that this was THE band they will remember. Knowing their respective career, I can agree with that, although Chris Farlowe will enjoy a superb stint with Atomic Rooster next. But this is another story.

 



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2006 at 06:01

BTW, Dick

As incredible as it may sound, Cyril Davies is not in Tapestry Of Delights (I double checked last night)

The last article I will write will be mostly about untangling the mess with thefirst two albums that appeared with some different track listings.

I understand the latest expanded editions have all tracks.

This could take a week or so before I have the full article ready

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 25 2006 at 13:12

 

Fifth article in a series of five

 

 

COLOSSEUM – The grass is greener

 side A

1-     Jumping Off The Sun (3:00)

2-     Lost Angeles (5:30)

3-     Elegy (3:26)

4-     Butty’s Blues (6:45)

 side B

1-     Rope Ladder To The Moon (3:42)

2-     Bolero (5:28)

3-     The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (2:48)

4-     The Grass Is Greener (7:31)

 

released by Dunhill DS 50079 in late 69

 

This hybrid album is a North American release only and a sort of b*****dised products with a mix of tracks released elsewhere but in a different version and a different line-up. It even takes the artwork from the Valentyne Suite album, and an almost similar inner gatefold also. Yet in my eyes, this album is much deserving many attention from fans (and even almost the right to be an full-blown studio album in their discography) as there are two completely new tracks , two more that were to be featured on the double Live album, and from the four remaining tracks, three are a different version than the ones you can get on the two UK releases. As this album states, Clem Clempson is now the guitarist and Butty Litherland only appears on one track, the superb Elegy. But clearly Clempson is not a good lead vocalist, although he is fine back-up vocalist), and it is no wonder the Colosseum will be hiring Chris Farlowe for the next full release.

 

Jumping Off The Sun is a very interesting tracks loaded with vibes and bells and great time sig, but Clempson’s voice can do no match to what Litherland or Farlowe would’ve done for this track. Lost Angeles is yet another very interesting but not well exploited idea, and if you compare to the extended live version of Colosseum Live, it will pale in comparison, but it is still superb on this vinyl, as you can hear the greatness of the Greenslade/DHS composition. Elegy might just be the only tracl present on this album that might come in the same previously available one, although slightly shorter. Butty’s Blues is another track from Valentyne Suite, but stick with the previous version, as Clempson’s vocals are no match for Litherland’s and there is a full blown big band on the other .

 

The Jack Bruce-track Rope Ladder To The Moon is the first of a few tracks that will have Pete Brown lyrics and if the instrumentation is great (especially Greenslade’s percussions) the greatly expanded-live version with Chris Farlowe is more impressive. Bolero is is unavailable-elsewhere track and might just be the first example of Ravel’s piece with rock instrumentation, a few months before Crimson’s and two full years before ELP’s. It is probably the best version of all three because it is the one straying farthest from the monotony of Ravel’s piece. Machine is a shorter version of the track on Valentyne Suite. The last track is the third movement of the Valentyne Suite that hat had been released in North America as The Ides Of March on the first UK release. Did you say confusing? ;-(

 

Although this album is a bit lost in the jungle, it was never released as a CD on either side of the Atlantic, but recently new expanded re-issue of Valentyne Suite with the tracks from both album was issued. I can only warmly recommend it if you do not own the album yet, and if you do already and you are a major fan of Colosseum, you might just have to dip in your pocket again.

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------

 

Studio albums that came after their historic reunions are more or less straight Blues album

the latest of which was released in Jan 03.

 

COLOSSEUM – Tomorrow’s Blues

 

Just as the studio album that was released after the ‘94-reunion concert, this one is just as unsurprising as its predecessor. This album will likely remain the last one (in studio anyway) with Colosseum’s No 2-man Dick Hecktall-Smith’s recent passing away. Although the sextet were still touring regularly around the world since that reunion (this writer saw them three times after the turning of the century) and for the last 12 years, these guys concentrated mostly on their historical tracks in concert, and they rocked solidly.

 

Much cannot be said of their latest two studio albums, even if they arte impeccably played, the songwriting is a far cry from what is used to be in their heyday. As the title will hint at you, you should not expect any thing wild or progressive on this one as their previous: you get warned it is blues and you get blues. Not that the album is bad, quite on the contrary, but their studio writings and the energy of their songs are nothing that a proghead might want to consider anything remotely close to essential. The two Greenslade-penned instrumentals being the highlights of the album, but by no means are they any prog even if Arena In The Sun has jazzy twists and . An amusing and surprising fact is that Colosseum still require Beat Poet Pete Brown’s lyrics on a few tracks (four I think), but his lyrics are not quite as impressionistic as in his heyday also

 

Do not get me wrong, if you are to acquire the album, the fan will find many good qualities to this record and as time goes by with repeated listening, he might even have a place in his heart for such an album, but the the demanding fan will likely avoid spinning this album more than a few times. Only my utter respect for these guys will make me say that I like the album enough for a three star, but by no means is it essential for the proghead in any way, shape or form!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This thread is dedicated to Dick Heckstall-Smith who sadly left this planet earlier this year!!

RIP, Dick

 

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2006 at 18:25
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

 

This thread is dedicated to Dick Heckstall-Smith who sadly left this planet earlier this year!!

RIP, Dick

 

 

Dick Heckstall-Smith died in December 2004.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2006 at 15:48
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

According to a documentary last year on BBC4 Mayall was even supported in the early years by AK -which does dilute the claim Mayall is the godfather of British blues.




I agree wholeheartedly with that - Alexis was the godfather of British Blues, not Mayall, IMHO.
    

Edited by Certif1ed - July 31 2006 at 15:48
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2006 at 18:06
Sean-- I'm must admit I haven't heard a lot of Colosseum (though I hope to). However, I absolutely f---ing love Colosseum ll. 'Electric Savage' is one of my all time favorites and though to you (I'm assuming but could be wrong) they may seem like a pale comparison to Hiseman's first C, they were one of my initial tastes of prog/fusion. I think Hiseman, Airey, Moore and Mole turn in one of the tightest and most satisfying performances of that genre. Get back to me on this, I'd really like to hear what a C1 fan thinks about C2.
    

Edited by Atavachron - October 03 2006 at 18:08
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 04 2006 at 03:58
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

Sean-- I'm must admit I haven't heard a lot of Colosseum (though I hope to). However, I absolutely f---ing love Colosseum ll. 'Electric Savage' is one of my all time favorites and though to you (I'm assuming but could be wrong) they may seem like a pale comparison to Hiseman's first C, they were one of my initial tastes of prog/fusion. I think Hiseman, Airey, Moore and Mole turn in one of the tightest and most satisfying performances of that genre. Get back to me on this, I'd really like to hear what a C1 fan thinks about C2.
    
 
I was thinking of going further into this blog by effectively talking of Col II, but the music is vastly different and I must say I lack time. Busy PA agendaEmbarrassed
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