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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Fill Your Head With Rock CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A landmark album

In the early 1970s, CBS (or Columbia as they are known in the US) had signed an enviable collection of artists. They covered the entire spectrum of music from Andy Williams to Black Widow, and all in between. The label released a number of samplers including the superbly expansive "The music people", a triple LP set featuring a wonderful cross section of artists.

Among the artists signed to CBS were a significant number of bands and solo performers considered to be progressive. "Fill your head with rock" brings together many of these artists in a double LP sampler from 1970. Since it was released at almost exactly the same time as Island Records "Bumpers", it invited direct comparison with the music emanating from that label. The most obvious difference is that while CBS had a significant allocation of British artists, they also had many American bands. Island on the other hand were almost exclusively British.

"Fill your head with rock" is well filled with 23 tracks. While none are excessively long (the longest is Argent's "Dance in the smoke" at 6 minutes) they give a fair indication of the type of music each of the artists specialises in. From a prog perspective, the relevant artists are STEAMHAMMER, SPIRIT, FLOCK (a wonderful cover of the Kinks song "Tired of waiting" featuring some exquisite violin per the front cover), BLACK WIDOW, ARGENT, AND TREES. Also included from a prog related perspective are CHICAGO (TRANSIT AUTHORITY), BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS, THE BYRDS, AL STEWART, AND JANIS JOPLIN. The most striking track of all though is TOM RUSH's "Driving wheel", a five minute slow builder with a superb organ backed climax.

The pairing of Black Widow's "Come to the sabbat" and Argent's "Dance in the smoke" cleverly emphasises the ritualistic nature of the two songs, but is a little misleading in terms of Argent's output at that time. Likewise, Al Stewart's "A small fruit song" offers little help in realising the strength of his discography.

The title track from Trees "In the garden of Jane Delawney" is one of the real jewels of this compilation and should have served to find the band a far wider audience than they enjoyed. Spirit's "Give a life, take a life" may not be an entirely accurate representation of their work, but this delicate ballad is an exercise in how to record such a song.

The well presented fold out sleeve is complemented by an 8 page LP sized booklet with details of many other CBS artists.

For many of those who were around at the time, this will have been the first sampler they purchased. In all, a landmark album in the history of rock music in general, which served to introduce many people to a type of music they had not previously encountered.

Report this review (#93688)
Posted Saturday, October 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Great album with some interesting bands that never really hit the limelight. I would have to say that Record One holds up better than Record 2. Black Widow's ' Come To The Sabbat' is pure evil and I still get goosebumps listening to the chorus. Dark people for sure!! ' Give A Life, Take A Life' by Spirit is one of the finest picks on this album. I have to say I only possess a tape of of this album and the album at the time was very worn so sound quality is pretty awful throughout.' The Garden of Jane Delawney' by The Trees is also beautiful. There is even a track from Janis Joplin to stir up the mix. It would be nice to have this on CD one day.Recommended.
Report this review (#109391)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink

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