Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Day After The Sabbath 32: Power of Zeus

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The Day After The Sabbath 32 "Power of Zeus" is a collection from Greek artists. It starts and ends with a band I really like, Aphropdite's Child, who were started by the later-famous solo electronic artist Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (aka Vangelis), and Artemios Ventouris Roussos who later shot to solo fame as Demis Roussos. By 1977, "Vavoura Band" had success in the top Athens clubs, highlighting at the Kyttaro club supporting Greece’s then top rock band 'Socrates', who also feature on this compilation, in two incarnations; Beginning life as 'Socrates Drank the Conium', and later changing name to just 'Socrates' with their final album, for which they were joined by Vangelis for his third track contribution here. There is little info on many of these bands, Kastores and Gazuama Sinchartchas especially, they produced rare singles and apparently vanished as many of these bands do. "The Sun Of Greece" were formed in Germany by three Greek expatriates and one German in 1972. After the fall of the military junta the band returned to Greece and privately released one of the rarest Greek singles "Mavra Poulia/O Listis Kai o Fonias". The fall of the Greek dictatorship had a strong effect on music, as it did in all aspects of life there. It was much easier for bands after 1974, which is around when Morka and Axis formed. Axis here present an interesting track, a repetative slew of riffs that sounds like King Crimson at their most alienatingly mechanical.

01. Aphrodite's Child - The Battle of the Locusts / Do It (1971)
02. Vavoura Band - Κατάρα (The Curse) (1979)
03. Socrates Drank The Conium - Who Is To Blame? (1973)
04. Kastores - O Ksenos Zitianos / Polemos Esti Fonias (1973)
05. Nemesis - Dreamer (1976)
06. The Sun Of Greece - O Arhigos / O Listis Kai O Fonias (1974)
07. Morka - Avenue Winter (1973)
08. Socrates - Time Of Pain / Killer (1976)
09. Axis - Materializing The Unlimited (1973)
10. Gazuama Sinchartchas - Anipsosi Apotinaksi Ekfigi (1971)
11. The 4 Levels Of Existence - Metamorphic (1976)
12. Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsemen (1971)

Special thanks to Acidfuzzzzer over at rateyourmusic.com for his invaluable assistance!
Cheers, Rich

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Day After The Sabbath 31: Lost In The World

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I begin with a couple of credits; Zischkale has helped out on this one with some essential suggestions including The Viola Crayola and Argus, and RandyRhoadsRIP made the great contribution of The Exkursions.

The Exkursions
The Day After The Sabbath 31 starts with The Exkursions' lovely fuzzy sound, seemingly Christian bands were capable of great music back then."Pretty irresistable Christian bluesy guitarpsych exkursion featuring the prolific Mike Johnson in his younger days as a bible-carrying Hendrix epigon. Has to be one of the coolest x-ian LPs of all time, with a confident powertrio groove, laidback Jimi-style vocals, and several truly great tracks like "Third Eye". Despite being a private press originals aren't difficult to find. Two tracks can be found on the "Holy Fuzz" compilation if you want a sample."

"If you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t notice that this is a Christian album, which is a good sign. Mike Johnson is a truly talented guitarist and a few songs here have a fuzz sound to die for. The songwriting doesn’t match the performances, and there are a few bluesy/hard rock clichés, but for the most part this is solid hard rock and one of the best in the Christian realm." (AcidArchives)

Steel
Steel consisted of Roland Robinson (bass-six string bass-vocal), Duane Hutchings (organ-piano-keyboard bass), Carl Sims (vocal), Steve Busfield (electric guitar-slide guitar-vocal), and Jerry Norris (drums-vocals). Great band combining a soul singer with a groovy hard rock band, excellent bass player (Roland Robinson) who worked as a studio bassist in the 60s for the STAX label, and played on the Jimi Hendrix “Nine To The Universe” album.
Goldenrod
Goldenrod is not just the backing band of Darius-it is Ben Benay, Jerry Scheff and Toxey French who were involved into several major projects, playing with Elvis Presley, 5th Dimension, supporting The Doors. Ventures to name a few. On this album they let it free wheeling running-just caring about their own passion with a magical sound in 4 long cuts which satisfy with intense and emotional sound and ultimate guitar work by Ben Benay.

From Los Angeles, Goldenrod were part of the “Our Productions” crew, along with Mike Deasy, Lee Mallory and Curt Boettcher. As part of this talented group of people, they contributed to numerous albums and sessions in addition to those released as Goldenrod. Some of these included Tommy Roe, Darius and backing the Association on their first two albums. Much of this session work was done on a “conveyor belt” system; with all the instrumental tracks being cut at Gary Paxton’s studio, and vocals for the more well known acts cut at Columbia.

All three had earlier played with Ballroom with Boettcher and together with Mallory, they formed the basis of the original line-up of Millennium. Scheff contributed Dandelion Wine to the Millennium repertoire, but all three left when it looked like Millennium would turn into a ‘proper’ band rather than a studio project. Goldenrod are also thought to have backed Lee Mallory live.

Argus were Dave Wagstaffe (drums), Mick Pearl (bass), Del Watkins (guitar), Ken Lewis (vocals) and their s/t release appears to be a retrospective from various times: "This release is a very funny stuff, one of that kind that have been compiled with a very strange sense. Credited to Argus should have be titled "Dave Wagstaffe's first bands" because comprises material of two very different groups of this drummer, actually playing in "Landmarq and The Oliver Wakeman Band, plus sessions, and drum teaching." as he pointed in his MySpace page.

The first band is Argus with material recorded in 1973, a hard rock outfit that sounds like Free, included the singing. Above average band, whose best talent is... the drummer!!!... great drumming by Mr. Wagstaffe in its 5 tracks (small solo in track 4... beautiful). Second band is Anaconda with live material recorded in 1977, a jazz-rock outfit!!!... that sound like any jazz-rock band... if we discard the horrible singing we found a good guitar playing (showing that Randy Spence plays as good as bad he sing), a little persistent participation of flute (not bad at all) and a rhythm section really competent, where the best talent is... the drummer!!!... great drumming by Mr. Wagstaffe in the 7 tracks (long solo in track 4 (9 of the compilation)... beautiful).
A good recommendation is to listen the 5 first tracks (hard-rock) go take a cup of tea and then go for the next 7 tracks (jazz-rock)."

Billy Cox
Sometimes known as Billy Cox's Nitro Function, other times simply as Nitro Function. Billy Cox is probably best known for playing bass with Jimi Hendrix, though perhaps less famous than Noel Redding. Cox was a member of Hendrix's Band of Gypsies. Here on his only solo album, as Nitro Function, he plays some excellent psychedelic rock with Char Vinnedge on guitar and Robert Tarrant on drums. A tribute to Hendrix and similar musically, but definitely with it's own flavor... a hint of funk to be heard in there too. Very spacey desert rock, as the cover would suggest.


Truth & Janey
Heavy 70s stoner rock grooves from Truth & Janey! There's a heaviness to No Rest For The Wicked that's pretty easy to love -- with dense, chunky guitars and walloping drums -- sometimes hinting at the blues based force of Cream, with a touch more darkness and brute force -- but with more grooves and psychedelia than the early metal titans. There is an interview with lead guitarist BillyLee Janey here at the Psychedelic Baby webzine.

The late-'60s power trio format made famous by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience sent inspirational shockwaves across the rock & roll universe, and among the most isolated examples of its influence must have been eastern Iowa's extremely obscure cult hard rock band Truth and Janey. Taking their name from the seminal Jeff Beck Group album, vocalist/guitarist Billy Janey, vocalist/bassist Steven Bock, and drummer Denis Bunce (original percussionist John Fillingsworth lasted less than a year) began penning original material, recorded a pair of singles in 1972/1973, and then evolved into Truth and Janey when informed that another band already held rights to the Truth moniker before them. Arduous roadwork in the neighbouring states kept the band busy in years to come, but the absence of a major record deal eventually drove them to finance their own album -- a fierce and bluesy hard rocker to be entitled No Rest for the Wicked -- at a studio in nearby Ames, IA. This they released through a local independent label, and its 1,000-unit pressing quickly sold out among their dedicated fans in the region -- but that was it. With no apparent career-advancing prospects in their near future, Truth and Janey disbanded the following year, with main man Janey turning to blues and adding a "Lee" to his name before recording several albums throughout the '80s and '90s. Truth and Janey's modest legacy was kept alive by their few cult followers and eventually lef a3  L9ial CD pressing of No Rest for the Wicked by Monster Records (which added all four of their single A- and B-sides, to boot), and a legendary live performance released in 2004 as Erupts!

Though they might be long forgotten by all but the most tuned-in of collectors, The Rats amount to little short of royalty in the enchanted world of junk-shop glam. Released in 1974 on the newly-launched Good Ear label (reportedly complete with a promotional beer mat), despite sounding at times worthy of a vintage Tony Visconti production, The Rats’ one and only album promptly disappeared from view.

And that’s where it remained, until now, of course. Fronted by singer-songwriter Dave Kubinec (formerly of mid-60s act Pieces Of Mind and psych-pop outfit The World Of Oz), The Rats were the brainchild and creation of one-time Black Sabbath associate Adrian Millar. He paired Kubinec with readymade backing band CWT, who were demoing material for a possible album. For all its unconventional origins, First Long Player Record is, in its own way, a strangely engaging album which bristles with hints of T.Rex alongside fellow period icons Mott The Hoople and Ziggy-era Bowie. Pity, then, that The Rats’ story is ultimately a dead end one of a band whose line-up splintered before the album was even released. Even with a reshuffled line-up, they were destined never to tread the boards as a live act.

"Elf is the first album by Ronnie James Dio's blues rock band called Elf. It was released in 1972. Dio at the time still went by his birth name Ronald Padavona.

After this album, Steve Edwards replaced David Feinstein on guitar, and Craig Gruber replaced Ronnie James Dio on bass. However, Ronnie James Dio continued to sing lead vocals for the band. This future lineup, minus Feinstein, became the first incarnation of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow when Deep Purple axeman Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple."

The Viola Crayola
The Viola Crayola was a Texan band fronted by the Viola brothers, Anthony on the guitar and Ron on drums, joined by the bassist Bill Jolly. The bright future of the band was unfortunately sealed by the death of very talented Anthony Viola in a car accident in San Antonio in late 1974. Before his tragedy, the band recorded their only LP in first three days of October in 1974, a short (29 minutes) album and besides a Frank Zappa influenced number, completely instrumental jazz fusion record which shows off all the talents of this trio, especially creativity and technical playing by the late Anthony Viola. Even though the album sometimes gives the impression of a jam feel, the back cover illustrates with note sheets on how the music is actually carefully structured and composed. Dedicated to Mama Viola, the LP was originally released in 1974 on a obscure label Fautna and waited for more than 30 years to be found as a lost gem and then released on an audio CD on Radioactive label in 2005. The record itself was titled after the poem Music Breathing Of Statues by Rainer Maria.

Jackal
In the late 1960s, Chris and James Kellesis formed a hard progressive-psych band called Jackal in Toronto. Organist Chris Kellesis and brother James wrote the material and were joined by singer Charlie SHANNON and guitarist Dave Bernard for their only LP 'Awake', released on obscure Canadian label Periwinkle in 1973 [reissued by Radioactive in 2004].

Reminiscent of Tempest, Warhorse, and early Lord & Blackmore, Jackal did perfectly ratty and ragged heavy prog and even evoke brethren RUSH at moments. Absolutely authentic prog/psych, 'Awake' is among the definitive LPs of the post-underground Canadian rock scene.

Los Natas
Much inluenced by Proto-Prog scene in the latter part of the 1960s like The Doors or The Who and Psych/Space Rock in the 1970s like Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath, Los Natas gave their first cry in 1993 as an Argentine Stoner Progressive Rock ensemble. Sergio Chotsourian (guitars, voices), Walter Broide (drums, voices), and Gonzalo 'Crudo' Villagra (bass) have cultivated their soundscape more widely not only with their native essence or psychedelic, experimental rock but also with the trance minimalism of the Hindu or the Futurism of the Techno-Goa-Trance music. And all their musical essence could be crystallized as their debut album 'Delmar' (recorded in 1996 and released in 1998 via an independent label Man's Ruin Records).

Los Natas are much appreciated by various genres or styles of Argentine bands, and have been persuaded to play them on a large number of stages in Argentina. Furthermore they have been on many tours to US, Europe, South America with important bands in each country, and performed as headliners in various rock festivals all around the world. Even between lots of gigs, Los Natas  invited Billy Anderson, a renowned record producer & engineer, to produce some of their albums - e.g. 'Corsario Negro' (2002), 'El Hombre Montaña' (2006), or 'El Universo Perdido' (2007) - all of that can be much approved by reviewers and fans.

Tracks

01. The Exkursions - It's Been Set Down (1971)
       from album 'the exkursions'
02. Steel - Road Runner / Eye to Eye (1971)
       from album 'steel'
03. Goldenrod - Descent Of Cyclopeans (1969)
       from album 'goldenrod'
04. Argus - Superstition (1973)
       from retrospective 'argus'
05. Billy Cox - Powerhouse (1972)
       from album 'nitro function'
06. Truth And Janey - Remember (1976)
       from album 'no rest for the wicked'
07. Rats - Child He Die (1974)
       from album 'first record'
08. Elf - Gambler Gambler (1972)
       from album 'elf'
09. The Viola Crayola - I Know You Don't Have A Car (1974)
       from album 'music: breathing for statues'
10. Jackal - Lost In The World (1973)
       from album 'awake'
11. Los Natas - Brainstorm (2002)
       from compilation 'sucking the 70s'

Thanks to all!
Rich

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