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Topic ClosedNeil Merryweather (Canada/US)

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The Rock View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Neil Merryweather (Canada/US)
    Posted: April 05 2008 at 15:34
 
He was born in Manitoba,Canada.Not much is known about him,at least not by me!.I know he already had a career as a pop,then blues,then heavy rock guitarist,both with bands and as a solo artis, before he recorded his two albums that should get him in the Archives.
 
Space Rangers(1974) and Kryptonite(1975) are both very good psych/prog albums that features tons,and I mean TONS of heavy,foggy ,even nasty mellotron.Mostly song-oriented,or should I say, guitar/mellotron oriented songs makes up the bulk of those two albums that should appeal to those into space rock bands with floating melodies sunked in synth and 'tron such as mid period Pink Floyd,Hawkwind(Simon House era),Symphonic Slam,Nektar,Eloy,Omega,ect...They also sported a pompier(is that a word?) sound akin to Queen,Styx,Max Webster and mid period Uriah Heep,with vague(maybe not so vague) heroism/ fantasy concept.
 
The band(they were a band,actually) sported a silly and naive glam rock image and their album sleeves were of comical nature wich unfortunately had them lumped with such ''glammies'' as Kiss,Alice Cooper and Sweet,but the music didn't really fit those acts,or at least maybe very periferically early Alice Cooper and Sweet,but not Kiss!
 
I know Merryweather went on to play bass for Lita Ford in the 80's!But that shouldn't take anything away from those two albums.He did record a few other albums of progressive/psych persuation,notably Word of Mouth,in 71, I believe.
 
I would suppose either psych/space rock,cross over or at least prog related would be apropriate.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2008 at 05:07
He's often cited as US
 
Here is what PlanetMellotron has to say about him
 

Neil Merryweather  (US)

Neil%20Merryweather,%20Space%20Rangers

Space Rangers  (1974,  43.45)  ***/TTTTT

Hollywood Blvd.
Step in the Right Direction

Eight Miles High
King of Mars
Neon Man
Sunshine Superman
Road to Hades
High Altitude Hide'n'Seek
Escape
Sole Survivor
Neil%20Merryweather,%20Kryptonite

Kryptonite  (1975,  37.11/67.34)  ***/TTT˝

Kryptonite
Star Rider
Always Be You
Give it Everything We Got
The Groove

Real Life Love
You Know Where I'd Rather Be
Let Us Be the Dawn
[CD adds:
Aren't You Glad That You Know
City Boy
Dust My Blues
Flat Black
You Must Live it
Your Real Good Thing
Local 149/Are You Ready]

Current availability:

  • Space Rangers: BOD
  • Kryptonite: Green Tree (Germany)

I think Merryweather was a Canadian who migrated to Chicago fairly early on, hanging around for a decade or more, releasing several albums in the process, but never really breaking through. After a two-album detour into Mama Lion in the early '70s (Mellotron/Chamberlin use unknown), Merryweather went back to his solo career with Space Rangers in 1974. Now this is what I call a Mellotron album! Except that it's a Chamberlin. For those not in the know, the Chamberlin was the Mellotron's direct precursor, and was still in production in one form or another up to around 1980. Merryweather got a guy known enigmatically as 'Edgemont' (which I've seen written as 'Ed Gemont'...) to play one on every track on it bar their cover of the Byrds' drug anthem Eight Miles High, mostly to great effect. For some strange reason, Chamberlins tend to 'disappear in the mix' far more than Mellotrons, and are often hard to discern. Not this one; for most of the album it's really 'in your face', to the point where I'd recommend this as a Chamberlin demonstration record. Not just the expected strings (apparently identical to the Mellotron's), but choirs, sound effects etc. Sole Survivor even ends with a lonely trumpet melody (which I should probably recognise, but don't), complete with pitch-bend.

So, er, what about the music, anyway? Well, it's sort of mid-'70s transatlantic hard rock with bits of prog, funk and other stuff thrown in. Bit of a mish-mash, to be honest, but not a bad listen, more for the Chamberlin overkill than anything else, really. On the cover version front, there's also their take on Donovan's seminal (it says here) Sunshine Superman, although it's almost unrecognisable. Overall, the vocals are a bit rough, but there's some decent enough guitar playing; er, bit of a three-star effort, basically. Saying that, if you want full-on Chamberlin, buy now.

A year or two back, I stated: "Interestingly, the music for Road To Hades appears to have been ripped off hook, line and sinker by Canadian band Symphonic Slam on their sole self-titled album from two years later, retitled Universe, unless there's an untold story here? There doesn't appear to be any connection between the two outfits, unless you know better (thanks to the estimable Joe Ellis for spotting that one - hi, Joe)." There certainly is an untold story... I've just been written to by Symphonic Slam's Timo Laine himself, who tells me that he didn't rip off Merryweather - Merryweather ripped him off, and the rest of his band. Laine wrote nearly all the material on the album, but had his writing credits stolen, making him feel more than justified in re-recording his own work! Apologies to all concerned for my inadvertent faux pas, but the story's hardly common currency... Let's hope this mention (and the one I've added to the Symphonic Slam review) help to set the record straight. Oh, and all the names on the album were changed: 'Michael "Jeep" Willis' is Laine, and the mysterious 'Edgemont' is actually keyboard player Bob Silvert.

Merryweather followed-up with Kryptonite, with a similar comic-art sleeve, and a more straightforward hard rock agenda, losing most of Space Rangers' disparate influences. More Chamberlin, probably by James Herndon this time, although I can't say for sure; Star Rider has one of the most upfront parts on the album, along with the proggiest track, closer Let Us Be The Dawn, which is swamped in Chamby strings. I've highlighted the opening title track, although it sounds more like synth strings to me; very hard to tell, to be honest. The album's probably less appealing than its predecessor, but still worth hearing for its string-replay work. The CD adds the entire contents of Merryweather's Neil Merryweather, John Richardson & Boers album from around '69, although I'm not sure they should've bothered. It's a pretty tedious blues/rock workout, although, paradoxically, the best track on this otherwise dull set is the near-eleven minute jammed-out closer Local 149/Are You Ready, which at least has some energy about it, despite the lengthy and unnecessary drum solo.

So; two so-so albums, but loads of Chamberlin all round. Your choice.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2008 at 17:28

I remember listening to the "Space Rangers" album at a friend house in the 80's.  I really liked it at the time but didn't know until recent years that it was loaded with mellotron( well...Chamberlin). Since that time, I tried to purchase it in CD but didn't find it.  Did some of you, know if it's available on CD?

For the "Kryptonite" album, I never heard it but it should be good also. I think Neil Merryweather belong in the Archives maybe under the Psych/Space rock tag. The mention of this artist brings me good memories.Clap

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2008 at 21:01
Originally posted by pierreolivier pierreolivier wrote:

I remember listening to the "Space Rangers" album at a friend house in the 80's.  I really liked it at the time but didn't know until recent years that it was loaded with mellotron( well...Chamberlin). Since that time, I tried to purchase it in CD but didn't find it.  Did some of you, know if it's available on CD?

For the "Kryptonite" album, I never heard it but it should be good also. I think Neil Merryweather belong in the Archives maybe under the Psych/Space rock tag. The mention of this artist brings me good memories.Clap

 
Hi Pierreolivier,
 
Thanks for the feed-back.Yes both ''Space Rangers'' and ''Kryptonite'' are readily available on CD.I think Greg Walker has them both.
 
Kryptonite is also very good,if you enjoyed Space Rangers,it's quite similar,maybe just a tad inferior,but not much.Still very enjoyable.
 
As a matter of fact,both these albums are among my favorite ''mellotron'' albums of all time along with Crimson's first,Nursery Cryme,Cathedral's Stained Glass Stories,Moodies' Days of Future Passed,Zombies' Odessey and Oracle,SFF,BigElf's Money Machine.ect...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2008 at 22:52
 
Thanks for the information, The Rock!Wink
 
When I saw the post, I know it will be the ideal place to ask for it. I noticed that you know a good deal about that artist.
 
In fact, I searched for that album for years and never find it in any stores. Those albums will surely be next purchases.
 


Edited by pierreolivier - April 09 2008 at 22:53
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