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Non-Prog Album Reviews

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presdoug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote presdoug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2014 at 21:37


Band (Solo Artist)-Helmut Koellen

Album Information-You Won't See Me (Harvest/EMI) 1977

Rating-5 stars (70s Rock)

Prog Appeal-Strong

You Won't See Me is the debut solo album by the late Helmut Koellen, formerly a Guitar Player/Lead Vocalist for the German progressive rock band Triumvirat, and also previously a session musician/vocalist for German group Jail.
             Mr. Koellen's solo album was released in October, 1977, in both Germany and South America, after his death earlier that year. The recording is the best example of Helmut's musical inclinations after having split from Triumvirat at the end of 1975.
                 You Won't See Me has some elements from Koellen's past, combined with a direction that was somewhat new to fans. It seems as if he still had a partial connection to progressive rock, with elements of that genre evident in the rock, jazz, folk, and almost funk influences the nine songs that make up this album have at times. Though, in the same breath, this recording is not as progressive or symphonic as his previous work in Triumvirat-the numbers here are shorter, and less elaborate, instrumentally. Listening to You Won't See Me is definitely a very refreshing, and ultimately rewarding experience, though. Helmut does all the lead vocals in his unique and very special way, a truly great voice he has, and a great pleasure to hear.
               Lyrically, there is a lot going on here, from a story of a love affair gone wrong in It's Hard To Love You, to achieving something superhuman in I'll Walk On The River, to the spirit of brotherhood in Playin' This Song Together, a mutually enlightening conversation with an elderly woman on a plane in Listen Lady, to being ready to go out for the evening in Station, and the story of "living the high life" in The Story Of Life. The real "rocker" song here is Mainstreet, a song whose story is in it's title, and so catchy and infectious, well, it could have been a big Rock Anthem, for sure.
                There is one cover song here, that of the Beatles song You Won't See Me, a fairly laid back approach, complete with strings added.
                    The female background vocals on this album, sometimes by Helmut's sister, Elke, are nice, as well. Instrumentally, all songs are indicative of some very tasteful playing, which unites with the vocal parts quite excellently, and voice and instrument are never at odds with each other, but always complimentary.
                 This solo album is a splendid, and overlooked one, at that. On hearing it over and over, I marvel at it's crafty intelligence, and general accessibility. And very indicative of Helmut Koellen's unique and very special musicality, which always came straight from his heart, a truly sincere and genuine artist.


Edited by presdoug - August 09 2014 at 17:16
Mahler's 7th Symphony-like the Soundtrack to a serious operation that is going really well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tszirmay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2014 at 13:17
Originally posted by poeghost poeghost wrote:

Love An Adventure by Pseudo Echo - 1987

This 1980s new wave synth pop group were from Melbourne, Australia. They consisted of Brian Canham - Lead and backing vocals, guitars; Pierre Gigliotti - Bass guitar, bass synth, backing vocals; James Leigh - Keyboards, bass synth, backing vocals; and Vince Leigh - Drums and backing vocals. This is an excellent album. All the songs are wonderful. Brian Canham had a deep to midrange smooth voice and the group had a surprisingly heavy rockin’ guitar sound at times, yet had a smooth interesting synth sound. The album I’m reviewing is the U.S. version which includes the cover of “Funkytown”, it was added to later releases and replaced the song “Don’t Go”. I remember seeing the video for “Funkytown” back in the 80s. I thought it was a lot of fun and it rocked! The original version was a disco/dance hit for Lipps Inc. in 1980. That was a fun song too. Pseudo Echo’s music is available to listen to on Spotify. Though the album track listings are different there.

LP Record RCA 5730-1-RX
Cassette RCA 5730-4-RX

Track list - Side A:
A Beat For You
Living In A Dream
Try
Listening
I Will Be You

Track list - Side B:
Love An Adventure
Destination Unknown
Funkytown
Lonely Without You
Lies Are Nothing

Prog appeal: Light.

Rating: 5 stars!


GREAT ALBUM, long time favorite , 3 sublime tracks (Lonely without you, Love an Adventure, Living in a Dream) 
"The more I analyze the human race, the more I love my dog" Mme de Stael
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 29 2014 at 19:41
Midge Ure: Fragile. Verdict: Good return to electronic sound. StarStarStar Star

Edited by SteveG - February 01 2015 at 13:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2015 at 09:16
Tears for Fears
The Seeds of Love 1989
 
Over shadowed by it's monster selling predecessor Song From The Big Chair, The Seeds of Love comes close in quality to SFTBC due to the efforts of the band and recruiting top flight musos like Phil Collins, Manu Catche and Pino Palladino.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KingCrInuYasha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 13 2015 at 19:46
Here's my first one here!



Rocka Rolla - Originally released Sept. 6, 1974 - 3/5

Personal likes: "One For The Road", "Rocka Rolla", "Cheater”, "Never Satisfied", "Run Of The Mill"

Personal dislikes: none, but "Winter" comes close

Well... this is certainly a low key debut to one of the most flamboyant bands in rock history. If you were to play this back to back with, say, Painkiller, you would think this was two entirely different bands.

Even if I were to ignore their later glories and just focus on the album's own merits, I still think it’s kind of average. There’s nothing terrible here, but nothing that would scream "Buy this album now!", at least not enough good material to warrant it. Judas Priest was still finding its legs, going for a more hard rock and blues sound with a hint of progressive rock a la Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep and early 70s Deep Purple. Speaking of which, I almost liken Rocka Rolla to Black Sabbath’s self titled debut in terms of its bluesy nature and raw state, however Rocka Rolla doesn’t sound as focused. It doesn’t help that Roger Bain, who also produced Sabbath’s debut, was supposedly nixing some songs that Priest was considering for the album, including "The Ripper", "Tyrant", "Epitaph" and what would eventually become the first half of "Victim Of Changes", and might have also been the one to drastically shorten the closing "Cavier and Meths".

Problems aside, the album shows a band with some potential. The title track is a nice mid tempo gallop and the chorus and classical portion make it the catchiest piece on the album, not to mention the best. And Halford whips out a harmonica on there, which is a nice surprise. “Never Satisfied” is a cool hard rocking tune in the vein of Led Zeppelin and "One For The Road" and "Cheater" are bluesy stompers, with the latter having even more harmonica. Why "Cheater" had to be connected to the "Winter" suite in my copy of the album is beyond me. I guess the guy in the suite and "Cheater" is a snowplow driver who lost it after seeing his woman in bed with another man and proceeds to blow them both away a la "Hey Joe".

While Priest was able to get a grip with hard rock from the beginning, their early ventures in progressive rock were hit and miss. The "Winter" suite could have been neat, but it sounds like the band wanted to make something with an incomplete hard rock tune and an incomplete ballad they had on them and had no idea how to integrate the two into a coherent whole. In the end, Downing just connects the two with two minutes worth of guitar feedback and calls it a day and as much as I like feedback, the final result just sounds clumsy. The eight-plus minute ballad "Run Of The Mill" is a little better, at least it sounds like there was some time and thought put into the piece. The vocal melody is decent and the lyrics are surprisingly introspective. The music has a nice moody vibe, which is complemented by the guitar work and synths. "Dying To Meet You", is another suite of a ballad and a hard rock tune (title “Hero, Hero”) tacked together. Kind of like “Winter” but the effect is not as forced. It doesn’t do much for me, but at least it’s decent. Rounding out the prog tunes is "Cavier and Meths", which is pretty, but kind of fillerish, most likely due to being reduced from its much longer form.

As I said, Rocka Rolla is sort of unfocused, but I get the sense that this could have been a much better record if Priest had been given more room to breathe. Nonetheless, the album still manages to have some decent numbers and would serve as a blueprint for the next two records, for which the band would refine the ideas presented here. I want to give this a 4/5 and might in the future, but can’t bring myself to do it mainly because, well, blame Sad Wings Of Destiny and Sin After Sin for that.



Edited by KingCrInuYasha - January 13 2015 at 19:52
He looks at this world and wants it all... so he strikes, like Thunderball!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2015 at 18:28
Artist - Nicky Hopkins
Album - Jamming With Edward
Recorded - 1969, during Rolling Stones' 'Let It Bleed' sessions
Released - 1972
Producer - Glyn Johns
Track List - SIDE A : The Boudoir Stomp. 5:16 (Hopkins, Cooder, Watts)
                                  It Hurts Me Too. 5:49 (Elmore James)
                                  Edward's Thrump Up. 7:40 (Hopkins, Cooder, Watts)
                 
                   SIDE B : Blow With Ry. 11:12 (Hopkins, Cooder, Watts)
                                  Interlude A La El Hopo. 2.32 (Hopkins, Cooder, Watts)
                                  Highland Fling. 4:20 (Hopkins, Cooder, Watts)

Session Pianist/Keyboardist, Nicky Hopkins, should be familiar to many Classic Rock lovers, his talents were utilised by many of the 60's giants, appearing on albums by The Kinks, The Who, Rolling Stones etc. and even becoming a fully-fledged band member of West Coast Psych-Rockers Quicksilver Messenger Service during the later half of '69 and into '70. 'Edward' was the nick-name given to him by Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones.
The album, Jamming With Edward, sees Nicky joined by Charlie Watts (Drums), Mick Jagger (vocals/harmonica), Bill Wyman (Bass) and Ry Cooder (Guitars). Apparently waiting at the studio for Keith Richards to arrive, but he was allegedly 'still in bed'. Not wanting to waste valuable studio time, the five members here started to 'jam' while the tape was rolling.
What we get is a slab of rather straight-forward boogie/blues/rock pieces, featuring basic grooves set by Watts, lots of piano, bluegrass slide and solo guitars, some buried-in-the-mix vocals from Jagger and occasional mouth-harp, and I must say that it's somewhat exciting to actually hear what Wyman is doing on the bass for a change, and he does a decent job, too.
The impromptu songs linger around the same key and tempo (remember, these cats aren't technical Prog musos), with Hopkins' piano being the highlight, instrumentally speaking. The cover song is a typical 12 bar. Only in the album's opener can we hear Watts vary from a shuffle beat to a slower, straight beat.
So, an obscure, rare treat especially for fans of The Rolling Stones, most of whom don't even know (or care) about the album's existence.
3 stars out of 5




Edited by Tom Ozric - January 27 2015 at 18:30
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