Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 63: No Sleep Til'burg (Roadburn Special)


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This and the next volume, 64, makes a two-part special. 64 is here. I will leave it to the organiser of Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland, to explain some more :-

"We're huge supporters of Rich Stonerdoom's The Day After The Sabbath blog. It's the main source in our quest for obscure heavy 60s and 70s rock. It’s Rich’s aim to reveal the secret world of bands that were inspired by the early psychedelic, doom and hard rock greats but were too short-lived, un-commercial or just plain unlucky to gain the recognition that they probably deserved at the time. Now, Rich has dedicated some of his compilations to Roadburn; these two special volumes include all the classic 70s bands that have played the festival so far, along with tracks from a host of Dutch rock obscurities, which we wholeheartedly endorse!" - Roadburn festival 2012.

Delft's After Tea was founded in 1967 by Hans van Eyck and Polle Eduard, both ex-members of the Tee Set. Before taking a decidedly heavier approach on their third album (originally self-titled but named 'Joint House Blues' on a later German print) which I used here, the group produced a few Dutch hits like "Not Just A Flower In Your Hair". They split in 1971, after which Polle Eduard and (later member) Uli Grün were joined by guitarist Frank van der Kloot and drummer Shel Schellekens, calling themselves Drama. The Hague's Q65 were a rough and ready garage rock band, notorious for their drug and alcohol intake. They had a brief dalliance with success on the back of some early singles, one of which was promoted by the band's voyage to England in a rubber boat. This proved to be a successful stunt, even though half of them got sea-sick and spent more time on the support craft which was later revealed to have been towing them. They too became heavier in later incarnations and 'Injection' / 'Love Is Such a Good Thing' are from their third album, in 1970.

Track 3 is our first from a band that has played at Roadburn 2009. They should be reasonably well-known to you as one of the original and influential 'krautrock' bands. Amon Düül II emerged from the radical West German commune scene of the late sixties and feature heavily in this great BBC Krautrock ducumentary. There is not much info on Cinderella, except for what I have translated from the cover scans of a 1970s Dutch LP called "Fantasio Daze (Dutch Psychedelic Singles 1968-1971)". There were three girls and a guy; Betty Raatgever (guitar, vox) Renee Sampignon (bass) Bernardine de Jong (keys) and Nico van Es (drums). The track here is a dreamy piece of psychedelic folk, maybe influenced by Fairport Convention, and reportedly they were backed for this single by members of a favourite obscure Dutch band of mine, Blue Planet.

Eindhoven's Mr. Albert Show created three albums and they all show diversity beyond reproach. They managed to successfully turn their hand to what ever sound they wished and my chosen track here is uncharacteristically doomy and down-beat, luckily for us, but it still has their hints of unique strangeness. The next track, from Mushroom, has been a recent recommendation from my Dutch cohort in obscurity, Marc Joseph (of  Vitamin X), and a very intriguing one, I absolutely love the track and have been looking for more information. Our best lead so far is that one stated member, Jacob 'Cocky' Akkerman, is the late brother of Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman. It is also mentioned that Jacob played in an early band of Jan's, 'Johnny & His Cellar Rockers', and drummed on his 1968 solo LP. Pantherman is a track I was saving for a forthcoming glam novelty comp, but I cannot resist using it here as a piece of big fun that fairly rocks with a great hammond and guitar groove. There's not much information to share other than the artist's name was Frank Klunhaar. I must thank Robin of Purepop blog and his tireless search for original 45s, for bringing this one to more attention.

Incredible Hog are the next Roadburn-appearance band, they played last year in 2011. They should be fairly well-known by now to most people who know my blog. I have seen them play a few times since they re-formed last year (not for the last time I hope) to celebrate Rise Above's re-issue of their only album "Volume 1". They can still rock the house down and I got some film when I saw them in London. There is an interview with band leader/guitarist Gordon Kenney here at Psychedelic Baby webzine. The John Bassman Group started life as a school band in Landgraaf, a municipality in south-eastern Limburg and also where one of Holland's biggest rock fests resides, Pinkpop. Their single album 'filthy sky' was a curious affair, a mix of country-tinged blues tracks, and west coast style psych tracks, these being the ones which frequently hit the mark with awesome fuzzy wah guitar and charismatic vox from Diana Leemhuis. John Theunissen and the 'bassman' Theo Wetzeis later joined Pussycat, who had a novelty hit with "Mississippi" in 1975.

On to track 10 with the next Roadburn band Groundhogs, who appeared at the fest in 2008. They probably don't need too much introduction so I will use these interesting quotes from guitarist Tony McPhee regarding the name of the 1970 album that 'Eccentric Man' is taken from. McPhee recalled the circumstances behind the album with the attention-grabbing title, which ran against fashionable philosophy at the time. McPhee refuses to take the entire credit for this revolutionary theory, admitting: "Well, it was forced on me a bit". Roy Fisher [Groundhogs manager] suggested that McPhee should think of something controversial for the new LP. "John Lennon had just made his famous quote about The Beatles being more popular than Christ, and everyone was up in arms. So Roy said 'Let's marry it up with the bomb. How about 'Thank Christ For The Bomb?'.  So I went home and I had to write these lyrics, and my initial thoughts were that in the First World War, if you were injured you were sent home. And that was my first idea - a soldier is blown up and his toes are blown off so he goes home again. No, that's not enough. So I thought, well, let's make it the atomic bomb, really piss people off."

Rabbit Food, from The Hague, made a single in 1970 with a nice flowing groove, a spritely bass line and sparse effective horns. Alas I can find no mention of them at all save the 45's cover image on a few web sites.

Next up; Apartment 1, who recorded a couple of albums. The first was under their original moniker 'Serpentine', named after a lake in London's Hyde Park. That had a commercial pop sound and most of the members were active session musicians at the time who contributed to acts including OPMC, California License, Big Boy & The Bouncers, The Free Soul, The Family Dog and singer Christine Holmes. For album no2, 'Open House', they turned up the riffs and excellent guitar skills of Peter van der Sande. He later moved on to bass in Focus, and then Solution.

The late pianist Rob Hoeke had an interesting career, not much of it touching on the heavy side that I usually use but it did now and again. Primarily a boogie woogie and blues player, he began in 1957 with his brother Paul in the Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet. After an opportunity to sit in on piano with The Rolling Stones in Sweden, R&B became his focus and he formed The Rob Hoeke R&B Group, and other such permutations within his circle of collaborators. The album used here, 'Celsius 232.8', included a few fine psych moments, and some of his singles rocked hard. He had a spot of bad luck in 1974 and lost a couple of fingers on an engine fan while fixing his car, but in 1975 he was back with an album humourously entitled 'Fingerprints'.

So this volume comes to an end with a band that played Roadburn 2007; Blue Cheer. I have chosen a song that was first brought to my attention by hearing Ufomammut's astounding cover on their 1999 'Satan' EP, which I used back on vol38. This brings us nicely full-circle as Ufomammut are a contemporary Roadburn live favourite. Not much needs to be said about these formative San Franciscans I’m sure, as they are frequently referenced amongst the inventors of heavy metal. There are a few interesting points to be brought up about this track though. It's from their lesser-mentioned period after 1968's Outsideinside. The power trio became a four-piece with the addition of 2nd guitarist Randy Holden (See vol2 & vol57). Renowned for his guitar volume and distortion experiments, the resulting album "New! Improved! Blue Cheer" actually came out sounding much cleaner and more restrained compared to previous efforts, this spelt a new chapter for the band and the end of their proto-metal notoriety. My opinion is that the band considered themselves to be developing as musicians, and as their proficiency increased they felt less urge to hide under thick fuzz and distortion. 'Peace of Mind' is an other-worldly track that creates an ambience of it's own just from the sheer intention of the song writing, without having to rely too heavily on effects or other bells and whistles.

Track List:

01. After Tea - You've Got to Move Me (1970)
       from album 'joint house blues'
02. Q65 - Injection / Love Is Such a Good Thing (1970)
       from album 'afghanistan'    
03. Amon Düül II - Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight (1971)
       from album 'tanz der lemminge'
04. Cinderella - From Town to Town (1971)
       single
05. Mr. Albert Show - Electronic Baby (1971)
       from album 'warm motor'
06. Mushroom - Crying For You (1970)
       single
07. Pantherman - Pantherman (1974)
       single
08. Incredible Hog - Tadpole (1973)
       from album 'volume 1'
09. John Bassman Group - Two Rings (1970)
       from album 'filthy sky'
10. Groundhogs - Eccentric Man (1970)
       from album 'thank christ for the bomb'
11. Rabbit Food - My Mind's Phantasy (1970)
       single
12. Apartment 1 - Like A Queen (1970)
       from album 'open house'
13. The Rob Hoeke R&B Group - The Rain Still Falling From Above (1968)
       from album 'celcius 232.8'
14. Blue Cheer - Peace of Mind (1969)
       from album 'new! improved!'

Thanks for listening! Rich
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 62: The DooM That Time Reprised


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Volume 62 is a collection that's been made in the name of Doom. What we have here is mostly progressive rock, from some albums that may or may not have been 'heavy' through-out but had at least one track that invokes that indefinable feeling of impending doom through it's riffs or atmosphere. Back when I started this blog, I was talking to a guy called LibertyCaps on the forum at the now defunct stonerrock.com. He made some great proto-doom comps, all of which I have posted here at some point. Since then I have received many requests for more in his series "The Doom That Time Forgot" so I have decided to make my own follow-up to his great mixes, and what cover artist's work can I use other than the amazing Virgil Finley again? His unearthly, esoteric vignettes where made to be album covers..

Life
We start with Stockholm, Sweden's Life. The band was started in 1970 and contained three guys who at that time were about 20 years old. Those three were the guitarist and piano player Anders Nordh (Trolls, King George Discovery, Blond) the bassist Paul Sundlin (Trolls, King George Discovery) and the drummer Thomas Rydberg (Rowing Gamblers). It reminds me in a way of krautrockers My solid Ground. Similarly they were all very young, just in their early 20's, but somehow managed to create a very mature sounding record with a mix of rockers and symphonic prog. 'Sailing in the Sunshine' has a feel all of its own.

Sum Pear
Sum Pear were a duo, guitarist/keyboard player Sonny Hahn and singer/keyboard player Doug Miller, who were supported by a rhythm section of bassist Bob Dorsa and drummer John Scaduto for recording their sole album, 'Sum Pear'. It's one of those transitional early 70s albums which confounded it's writers' abilities to cohesively blend what was around so it contains an equal mix of 60s west coast style psych/folk tracks, and tracks with the newer over-driven heavy sound. Orange County, CA's Supa Chief featured Bob DeMalignon on Vocals, the Shattuck brothers (Dan and James) on guitar and drums respectively, Mike Carousal (guitar) and Dennis Koker on bass. They had a particularly bludgeoning guitar sound for 1969 and it's a shame there was no more than a couple of singles from them.

Nautilus
Aarau, Switzerland's Nautilus produced an interesting debut album in 1978. Even then it was probably a little behind the times and not consistently great, but it had a few flashes of grandiose brilliance like the title track included here which succeeds perfectly in its epic pomp-prog intentions, using thick layers of hammond, guitar and vocal harmonies. Like Sum Pear, Toronto's The Cycle (who evolved out of The Magic Cycle) suffered from the pop/psych and hard rock split-identity crisis, with the hypnotising groove of track 'God' thankfully scoring a win on the hard rock side.

The Misunderstood
The Misunderstood, who's story of woe has been well documented, moved from California to the UK just at the right time in the late 60's after being championed by influential radio DJ John Peel. They were plagued by bad luck, such as losing members to the US draft, though they recorded some singles they never managed an album. Glenn Ross Campbell coaxed a maelstrom of anguished sounds from his steel guitar which can be heard on the included track 'Golden Glass'. A later member of the band, the englishman Tony Hill, went on to join the thunderously heavy High Tide, who featured a couple of tracks here including vol3 and vol27.

Czar
From Bay City, MI, Mad Dog's story seems to be another of a band who never found label favour or any other returns for the hard work peddling their heavy style, which was somewhere between the Detroit/MC5 sound and stripped-down heavy metal. They recorded two albums and reportedly played up to 250 shows a year but radio wasn't biting and they disbanded in 1983. The track here 'Strange' is one of their slower numbers that shows their idiosyncratic and fluid, understated abilities. Czar (originally 'Tuesday's Children') were an early prog band that played support for all the right names including Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, The Animals, The Nice, Hendrix, The Who and a budding King Crimson, to name a few. The track used here 'Tread Softly On My Dreams' opens their sole s/t album in an extraordinarily powerful way and taps into the subconscious with a cyclical riff that bears down on you.

Invisible
The comp takes a bit of latin direction with the next two tracks. Enigma! is hard to find info on, but I can tell you they made a self-titled album in 1972 which, apart from this brooding track 'Call Of The Woman', is quite upbeat in the "Chicano Rock" way and has great gravelly vocals from Sergio Gonzalez. Argentina's Invisible employs the distinctive guitar talents of Luis Alberto Spinetta, who has appeared here before on the south american special, vol43. The captivating main riff drifts in and out of the jam, played with Luis's effortless skills going off in any direction he pleases.

Country LAne
Country Lane, from Neuchâtel, Switzerland end the comp. They made one album in 1973 which instead of falling in with the German sounds of the time like most Swiss bands, gives a nod toward the more theatrical stuff from Uriah Heep or Deep Purple, and some say with a bit of early Genesis and their quirky humour. 'With A Sweet Whistle To My Ears' stands out, which begins in a similar way to Czar's track; a huge grinding hammond-assisted riff right up front.



Track List:

01. Life (Sweden) - Sailing In The Sunshine (1970)
       from album 'life'
02. Sum Pear (Long Island) - Bring Me Home America (1971)
       from album 'sum pear'
03. Supa Chief (Orange County, CA) - Red Brained Woman (1969)
       single
04. Nautilus (Switzerland) - 20,000 Miles Under The Sea (1978)
       from album '20000 miles under the sea'
05. The Cycle (Toronto) - God (1970)
       from album 'the cycle'
06. The Misunderstood (Riverside, CA) - Golden Glass (1969)
       from retrospective album 'the legendary gold star album'
07. Mad Dog (Bay City, MI) - Strange (1976)
       from album 'mad dog'
08. Czar (UK) - Tread Softly On My Dreams (1970)
       from album 'czar'
09. Enigma! (Mexico) - The Call Of The Woman (1972)
       from album 'enigma!'
10. Invisible (Argentina) - Suspensión (1974)
       from album 'invisible'
11. Country Lane (Switzerland) - With A Sweet Whistle To My Ears (1973)
       from album 'substratum'

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 61: In Your Room

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TDATS 61 is a Collection of Belgian bands. Firstly I must thank the invaluable resource at www.belgianmetalhistory.be which assisted this fine collection, along with suggestions from members of the TDATS fb group. I shall take a quote from the afore-mentioned 'Belgian Metal History' site: "Being in a band wasn’t (isn’t?) mostly an easy thing to do over here. Those who managed to release something on vinyl had often made a lot of sacrifices to chase/reach that goal."

It would appear, as it has done for most of the regional comps I've made, that this was the case for all countries except the UK and America. The most obvious comparison I can make to this volume is the French one I made a few months back, and I would say that this one's sound has a lot less of it's country's individuality stamped upon it, for a start every track is sung in English. This of course could be partly explained by my own taste and selection process, as I have read that Belgium had very strong jazz And progressive rock scenes (the saxophone was invented in Belgium).

We start with Brussel's Waterloo, named after the site of Napoleon's final defeat in 1815, the band was also defeated after this debut album and made no more. They had a very confident proto-prog sound with strong hammond organ. Waterloo leads us nicely to the next track; who's Bass-player Jean-Paul Janssens and drummer Jacky Mauer had been members of the Brussels-based blues-rock power trio Adam's Recital, and here is their only release, the great fuzzy psych of "There's No Place For Lonely People". Aalst's Irish Coffee (see also vol8) started out as a covers band called The Voodoos who cut their teeth with a residency at a dance hall called “El Gringo” in Hekelgem. Brussels' Carriage Company had their first recognition as a very early example of Belgian hard rock band with this b-side "In Your Room". Unfortunately they courted success by becoming less heavy later on and broke up before an album was released. On to Jenghiz Khan which included Pierre Rapsat (bass guitar/vocalist) who started out in a band which also appears later, Liege's "Tenderfoot Kids". Jenghiz Khan's only album came out of the traps sounding extremely confident, with complex multi-instrument arrangements that featured equal amounts of heavy organs and guitar.

Vacation, from Charleroi, were a heavy blues power-trio who's self-financed 1971 LP “Resurrection Of Vacation” was made with tapes from a Belgian national radio (RTB) broadcast, the tracks are very raw but convey their energetic live reputation. Tenderfoot Kids, from Liege, released a string of singles in the 70s before bass player Pierre Rapsat went on to join Jenghiz Khan, mostly pop styles, they had a few rockers too, like this b-side from their final single 'Choo-choo'. Brussels band Kleptomania (meaning: "an irresistible urge to steal items of trivial value") were another example of very early Belgian hard rock, Dany Lademacher's guitar skills being especially prominent in their sound, but alas they too softened their sound later and their only album release was posthumous in 1979, three years after breaking up. From the town of Ath, Dragon stand out in this comp as purveyors of a more polished sounding later-70s sound, changing their name from Burning Light in 1976 at the point of recording their first album, in the UK. They were all multi instrumentalists and delighted in long, considered progressive Floydish compositions like "Crystal Ball" included here.

There is little information on Georgia Brown, but it's some great power-chorded heavy fuzz like The Snap Shots, and we move on to Esperanto. Raymond Vincent was Violinist leader of the London-based Belgian pop group 'Wallace Collection' and embarked on a harder-rocking career after WC split. He played for a short period with Dany Lademacher and Roger Wollaert (who had both left Kleptomania), then with Waterloo's Dirk Bogaert. He used his solo album 'Metronomics' to demo his orchestral-rock inclinations which helped him eventually to get together with like-minded musicians and make three unique sounding albums between 73 and 75, 'On Down The Road' is the first track from the 73 debut 'Rock Orchestra'. Brussel's Doctor Downtrip (later just 'Downtrip'), previously appearing on vol46, made three albums between 73 and 79. In 1970 They gained the guitarist from another Brussels band, Michael Heslop of Burning plague, and all their albums displayed pedestrian blues numbers with flashes of hard rock brilliance, but unfortunately not really enough to credit their instrumental talents. 'Truck Driver' from their 2nd album "If You Don't Rock Now" (1976) is some relentless grinding Southern-rock.

Antwerp's 'Mothers of Track' peddled a Status Quo-style boogie rock with nice grunty guitar, albeit 5 years behind the times, and finished in 1980 when half the band split to form heavy metal band, 'Killer'. I found the 'Creative Craniums' track on a funk rock comp called "Sherm Sticks And Other Nasty Joints" (highly recommended) and there is next to no information available on this one-single band. The comp ends with Mustang, a band who's roots go back to 1966 but did not release an album until 1976's “Born And Still Alive”, while being great energetic hard rock, it was a few years behind the times, though they did build up a following over those years and played their last show on October 21st, 1995 at the Parochiezaal in Rijkevorsel.

Track List:

01. Waterloo - Lonesome Road (1970)
       from album "first battle"
02. Adam's Recital - There's No Place For Lonely People (1967)
       single
03. Irish Coffee - Masterpiece / Down Down Down (1971)
       from album "irish coffee"
04. The Snap Shots - Hip Hip Hurray (1969)
       single
05. Carriage Company - In Your Room (1970)
       single
06. Jenghiz Khan - The Moderate (1971)
       from album "well cut"
07. Vacation - No War Any More (1971)
       from album "resurrection of vacation"
08. Tenderfoot Kids - Man In Black (1970)
       single
09. Mothers of Track - Motorcycle Rock (1976)
       single
10. Kleptomania - Moonchild (1971)
       from album "elephants lost"     
11. Dragon - Crystal Ball (1976)
       from album "dragon"
12. Georgia Brown - Pollution (1973)
       single
13. Esperanto - On Down The Road (1973)
       from album "rock orchestra"     
14. Doctor Downtrip (aka Downtrip) - Truck Driver (1976)
       from album "if you don't rock now"
15. Creative Craniums - C.C.K.54 (1973)
       single
16. Mustang - Kickin' In Blind Doors (1976)
       from album "born and still alive"

Thanks for listening! Rich

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