Friday, August 28, 2015

TDATS 121: Dreams & Screams [NWOBHM-ish '70s hard rock]

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Volume 121 brings something for all heavy metal fans, with a fast, heavy set. Furthering an idea that first inspired volume 67, this latest comp is another selection of former-half ‘70s tracks (‘69-‘76) that remind me of the galloping, speedy, heavy metal sound that would be typified in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. In the UK, that was around the time of the much vaunted New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and famous bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Along with those two, groups such as Thin Lizzy made use of another band mechanic that exemplified the times, dual lead guitarists, often playing in harmony. You’ll find all these things and more in this selection.

Judas Priest pre-leather days
Judas Priest pre-leather days
I find it intriguing when I hear these types of sounds coming from bands in earlier times, perhaps the NWOBHM bands (and bands from other parts of the world – metal was getting militaristically heavy in the US at the same time) were partly inspired by some of the early ‘70s hard rock pioneers in this comp, and inspired to push the limits they set? Another important factor linking some of the bands here with the later metal bands are the producers/engineers, as we’ll see later. In the case of Tiger, there is a direct link via singer Nicky Moore, who replaced Bruce Dickinson in Samson.

There are tracks from new TDATS guests Agnes Strange, Tiger and Fuzzy Duck, along with new tracks from familiar names like Jerusalem, Tucky Buzzard and Gun. The Gun track here is from 1969 and along with Andromeda they were surely one of earliest bands to attempt this regimented stylistic attack. Although mostly English bands, we have some international wildcards in Désirée (Ger), Kleptomania (Bel), Taste (the Australian one), Left End (US) and Neon Rose (Swe). Speaking of Sweden, that country has consistently come up in TDATS comps with bands playing NWOBHM-ish sounds; Rhapsody, White, EF Band, Neon Rose, Plebb etc, and to this day lots of new Swedish bands are still doing it.


01. Tucky Buzzard - Bo-Bo's Hampton (1973)
       from album ‘Buzzard’
02. Jerusalem - Hooded Eagle (1972)
       from album ‘Jerusalem’
03. Désirée - Listen To The Radio (1976)
       from album ‘Make It With A Smile’
04. Agnes Strange - Granny Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll (1975)
       from album ‘Strange Flavour’
05. Gun - Dreams And Screams (1969)
       from album ‘Gunsight’
06. Wild Turkey - Butterfly (1971)
       from album ‘Battle Hymn’
07. Kleptomania - Cadens (1972)
       from album ‘Elephants Lost’
08. Tiger - I'm Not Crying (1976)
       from album ‘Tiger’
09. Taste - Lady of Love (1976)
       from album 'Tickle Your Fancy’
10. Left End - Spoiled Rotten (1974)
       from album ‘Spoiled Rotten’
11. Hustler - Piranahas (1974)
       from album ‘High Street’
12. Neon Rose - A Man's Not A Man (single edit) (1975)
       from album ‘Reload’
13. Geordie - Ten Feet Tall (1974)
       from album ‘Don't Be Fooled By The Name'
14. Fuzzy Duck - In Our Time (1971)
       from album ‘Fuzzy Duck’

The Bands

Tucky Buzzard was prolific for a short time, making five albums within five years. I have used a track from their fourth, the record called simply "Buzzard". Their albums were all produced by an unexpected name, Bill Wyman, Rolling Stones bassist 1962-92. Bill made musical contributions too, on piano, and brought in a number of backing musicians that had worked with the Stones. Tucky was started by three former members of The End; Dave Brown, Nick Graham and Paul Francis, however Paul Francis soon split to join Fuzzy Duck, who coincidentally also appears in this comp.

The End's sole album (1969) was also produced by Bill and is well-regarded. On the Sicilian Palermo Pop poster opposite, the band is actually described as "Bill Wyman's Tucky Buzzard". The song I used here, "Bo-Bo's Hampton", is a perfect opener with it's relentless gallop and harmonised guitar lines, a great track! Strangely, most of Tucky's albums didn't get a UK release initially, the debut s/t was US-only and "Coming On Again" was published in Spain. Maybe this lack of exposure in the UK was intentional but it might go some way to explain why they always remained under the radar, here in the UK at least. There's a detailed account for further reading here at

Jerusalem made one album that was produced by Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, who wrote these words for the s/t album's liner notes: "This is the first album by Jerusalem, a band which excites me very much; they are rough, raw and doomy with their own strong identity. As they are young and a bit green, they don't follow many rules, so their material is almost crude - but still immensely powerful in content. I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded; before inhibition and self-consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider 'uncool'. Most important though, before they might develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we'll have to wait and see......I hope you like it as much as I do".

This album has since been remastered by Rockadrome. Jerusalem's debut was surely one of the most innovative heavy albums of it's time, it's approach was raw and had a youthful, timeless, almost punk-like attack that set it apart from the bluesy goings-on of the established heavy bands like Led Zep, or even Sabbath to a degree. Unfortunately Jerusalem didn't last, and the spin-off band Pussy went in for glam pop, which did result in a couple of rocking tracks but otherwise left the sphere of music that TDATS is interested in.

Désirée - Make It With A Smile back
Make It With A Smile back
Hanover's Désirée played a remarkably ahead of it's time chugging brand of early metal, much more in line with the UK's NWOBHM bands like Judas Priest or Thin Lizzy than much else I have heard from Germany at the time. The singing, although in English, is an unfortunate weak point as it's quite high pitched and indistinct, and this is not helped by the basic production. But persevere and you will find some truly excellent galloping metal and guitar interplay. "Listen To The Radio" demonstrates this perfectly, the more I listen, the more I can overcome any short-falls.

Désirée - Make It With A Smile front
Make It With A Smile front
They really remind me of an enigmatic Luxembourg band called Cold Feet that I have used a couple of times before, back on Vol22 and Vol67.  The similarity does not stop at the sound, but also reaches to the album art which also shows a scantily-clad 'lady of the night' type character in black and white. Not an unusual theme for a band in the seventies I know, but still eerily similar taking into account the year, country's proximity and sound. I have recently spoken to the drummer of Désirée, there isn't. Apparently most of the original Désirée lineup are back together now in a new band called 'New Fancy'.

Agnes Strange
Agnes Strange
Agnes Strange are a new name in this blog, and here are the liner notes from their UK edition LP: "Agnes Strange sprang into being in 1972 in the Southampton area where they still return when gigs on Christmas Island begin to become intolerable. The band set out to create a sound of their own fusing naturally with their own material today’s feeling for Rock and a touch of Chicago style blues.

In late 1974 the band moved its base to London in order to be managed by the Dick James Organisation. Since then the band has built up a large and loyal following and I hope that this album will enhance their stature in the world of Rock. Agnes Strange has, I feel, the rare ability to not only be aware but to stay aware.

Agnes Strange - Strange Flavour front
Agnes Strange
Strange Flavour front
John Westwood was recently quoted by a newspaper as saying that he came ‘from nowhere really’. Having known John for four dreadful years I cannot recall him ever having been fully aware of his surroundings. John is dedicated to the success of ‘Agnes’ and after years of frustration his patience is bearing fruit. John is an astonishingly talented guitarist and is completely natural in his stage presentation. Alan and Dave are very fortunate that he joined Agnes Strange as he had only just failed to secure the lead in a major feature film ‘I Was A Teenage Mistake’.

Dave Bodwell could be described as a charming young man. Could be. On stage he plays drums with an eerie, almost evil absorption. Dave works hard towards a tight sound and drives a hard, regular rhythm pattern.

Alan Green off stage is an easy going cabinet maker and smiles gently most of the time. On stage he shows himself as a dedicated bass player who believes a straight solid bass line is essential to the Agnes Strange sound. The band has to be seen to be believed."

This was written by Agnes Strange's producer Dave Travis (link). As well as being a performer, Dave was a producer and mastering engineer and worked on records from the likes of Deep Purple, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly and Robin Trower.

Gun debut LP 1968
Gun debut s/t LP 1968
Gun were an important and influential English hard rock band, and one of the very first. Everyone knows about their classic 1968 top ten single, "Race with the Devil" (youtube), it has been covered ever since by famous and underground acts, right up to modern bands like Church Of Misery. The Gun was a development of guitarist Paul Gurvitz's The Knack (prev. The Londoners, formed 1963). Paul's father was road manager for The Shadows so he had a good introduction to rock and The Londoners had already played in France and Hamburg by the time they settled in London, becoming The Knack, then in 1966, "The Gun". Soon after they were playing at the UFO Club, supporting names such as Pink Floyd, Arthur Brown and Tomorrow.

Gun - Gunsight 1969
Gun - Gunsight 1969
By 1968 Paul's brother Adrian had joined on guitar, himself having already cut his teeth with Rupert's People (see Vol70) and pre-T2 bands Please/Bulldog Breed (see vols 27 & 74). Gun recorded two albums and they honed their hard rock elements further on the second LP, Gun Sight, which "Dreams and Screams" is taken from. After Gun the Guvitz brothers were in more bands together, including the excellent Three Man Army (see Vol46) and Baker Gurvitz Army with Ginger Baker, as well as separate projects. Both are still working in the music business. Paul started The New Army band in recent years, where he now lives in Arizona. He did an interview with PsychedelicBaby in 2011, and his website is (link).

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey was formed by bassist Glen Cornick after his dismissal from Jethro Tull. The first of their two albums, 'Battle Hymns' (1971), is of main interest to TDATS, as it has a few great heavy prog cuts like "Butterfly". During its life the band toured the UK and US with Black Sabbath, and included members past and present of Babe Ruth, Eyes of Blue, Man, Ancient Grease, Gentle Giant and Cozy Powell's Hammer, among many others. The second album was far less exciting, and I see them as something of a wasted opportunity as LP # 1 had some great proto-metallic prog which was very ahead of it's time, they could have been at the forefront of metal with Sabbath, Judas Priest et al with a bit more development, had they so desired... Glenn Cornick interview about Jethro Tull, Wild Turkey

Tiger debut LP 1976, back
Tiger debut LP 1976, back
The Tiger album is a fun listen with some elements of the forthcoming heavy metal sounds, but it also harks back to the past with some old hands at the helm like famous session guitarist "Big" Jim Sullivan. Jim's friend and Tiger producer Derek Lawrence had previously worked on records from names like Hackensack, The Green Bullfrog Session, UFO, Wishbone Ash, Angel and NWOBHM originators Quartz to name just a few. Tiger released two albums, a third LP was recorded in 1977, but Jim says "I felt only the last one was where I wanted the band to be. We used Simon Phillips Drums, Percy Jones Bass, Dave Lawson keyboards and Maurice Pert on percussion. Yours truly on guitar of course. E.M.I. shelved the album and our manager of that time John bought the tapes and released the album on his label. [Which became Big Jim Sullivan Band's 'Test of Time', 1983]".

Jim died in 2012 but by all accounts he leaves a respected legacy. He had been recording since 1957 and played on over 800 singles and LPs, including 54 UK Number Ones. You could write an entire book on his career, here's a printed interview (link).

Nicky Moore in Samson (left)
Nicky Moore (left)
in Samson
Tiger's singer Nicky Moore had previously been in Hackensack (see Vol66) who's best, most metallic tracks in my opinion only appeared on later archival releases, alas with terrible sound quality, and he links this comp to some more modern metal sounds. Wikipedia :- "Nicky Moore (born 1952, England) is best known as a former member of the British band Samson (link). He replaced Bruce Dickinson who left the band to join Iron Maiden in 1982. Moore left Samson in the late 1980s and rejoined in the late 1990s. After his initial departure from Samson, Moore sang in the band Mammoth, which also featured former Gillan bassist John McCoy. After two albums they split in 1989. In 2006 Moore teamed up with Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton and three musicians from the Swedish band Locomotive Breath, to record an album under the band name "From Behind". The band performed at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2006. Since 1994, Moore has helmed "Nicky Moore and the Blues Corporation", who were voted 'Top Live Blues Band' by BBC Radio 2 listeners in 2000."

Kleptomania (meaning: "an irresistible urge to steal items of trivial value") were an example of very early Belgian hard rock, Dany Lademacher's guitar skills being especially prominent in their sound, but alas they softened their sound on later singles and their only album release was a posthumous bootleg in 1979, three years after breaking up. I will quote a very interesting review by purpleoverdose over at RYM: "One of the better albums from Belgium in the 70's. Herman Brood became very popular in Holland at the end of the '70s, one part was pumped up media hysteria and one part were his ''live'' shows. He played in every shithole in Holland and as a result of the extensive touring he gained chart-success.

Danny Lademacher [Kleptomania guitarist] was part of his band. As a result of the attention in the Dutch media, a 1972 Kleptomania demo-tape once sent to FLAME Records was given to a record shop owner who in the past had released a 45 under the name of ''Bag'' (see Vol35), on FLAME Records. He was impressed by the demo and decided to press a bootleg LP. It went for sale under the counter in his record shop. He hoped to sell them quickly but it took more than 10 years to sell them.

I frequently visited his shop in those years because critics who wrote for music magazines dumped their promo albums there and he sold them for bargain prices. Just as he got rid of the boots in the early '90s, the internet & Ebay started. He saw the demand for the album rising but he had none left!". There's some more details here at

Taste - Knights of Love
Taste are up next, a Melbourne band, with Joel Witenberg (drums, vocals), Ken Murdock (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Joey Amenta (guitar, vocals), Michael Tortoni (bass, vocals) and Virgil Donati (drums). They had a histrionic approach, and at times a metallic sound. Though they are clearly indebted to Queen's melodrama, they were a much younger band, so perhaps they were also taking notice of the beginning of the NWOBHM at the time. It's said that Queen liked them and used to play Taste's 'Boys Will Be Boys' on tour before they went on stage.

Taste’s lead singer and songwriter Ken Murdoch said in a recent interview: "I started singing in shitholes when I was 15, By the time I was 17, I was a veteran of pub rock alongside Joey and Michael. We had been booed, spat upon, and ignored until we got it right and that’s something bands don’t have anymore. But once you get it right and that crowd love you something magical happens between the two of you. I don’t see that happen much anymore".

Amenta left to join Redhouse in 1977, according to Rock on Vinyl's article Taste achieved quite a lot of success with two top-twenty albums, playing to audiences as large as 13,000, so it seems a shame they called it quits early on and I have been unable to find out why as-yet, but they have reformed and gigged quite recently and even made a new ten track album.

Neon Rose
Stockholm's Neon Rose were a band clearly showing the mid-seventies development of hard rock into speedy heavy metal, as the blistering 'A Man's Not A Man' demonstrates. They were lucky enough to get signed to Vertigo almost immediately on formation. After listening through all their recorded output, it's clear they had the musical chops to make it. The problem seems to me that none of their 3 albums were quite consistent enough to adequately maintain the Motörhead-like intensity which they hinted at. A good example of where a little more quality control could have made all the difference.

Left End - Spoiled Rotten 1974
Left End
Spoiled Rotten 1974
For another curve ball entry in this volume, we go to Youngstown, Ohio to find the Left End. An excellent band that only made one LP and were a local name in the US, but could have been more widely renowned I think. They had a mix of hard rock and metal, with glam and Queen-like pomp which all made for a heady brew that sounds substantially ahead of it's time. Among the tracks on the 1974 album "Spoiled Rotten", there are some seriously heavy moves and it's a shame the band didn't produce more albums, although they did make singles sporadically until the early '80s. Front man Dennis T. Menass (real name Dennis Sesonsky) was a unique performer that you'll just have to hear, sadly he passed away a year ago.

"He turned heads with his exorbitant costumes, his makeup, his whole persona just commanded attention. He could control an audience anywhere in the country” :- Left End drummer Pat Palombo. A short local news item can be seen here (link) and there is a Left End website here (link).

High Street LP 1974
Nearing the end we have another UK act, Hustler. Their first album, "High Street" (1974) is a worthwhile hard rock set and the track Piranahas has a hammond organ-assisted urgency and relentless speed that makes it perfect for this comp. The second Hustler LP is a disappointment in regards to where the first one was going, it plumps for a staid, boring boogie rock sound which was an unfortunate decision, for us at least. One funny fact-ette is that Hustler drummer Tony Beard, being one of the more prolific members post-Hustler, surfaced briefly in Go West, a UK pop duo who had chart success in the mid-eighties.

Geordie were a Newcastle-upon-Tyne band that started in 1971 and are chiefly remembered as singer Brian Johnson's launchpad, who would later replace Bonn Scott in AC/DC. They were a band aiming for commercial success in the same area as Slade and Sweet, thus their catalogue is a varied bunch of styles with glam and boogie which we'd not be so interested in here, but they did rock out now and again as on tracks "So What" (see Vol7) and the track here; "Ten Feet Tall", which is brilliant.

Brian's trademark AC/DC scream was not fully developed at this point but you can hear it just about coming through in this long and tumultuous song, it has peaks and troughs and is a great ride, too bad the band didn't match these heights very often. The band didn't last long after Johnson left in the late '70s, initially to pursue a solo career, although sometimes he performed with his own band using the name Geordie II. The original group attempted a comeback in 1983, and again as "Powerhouse" (link) in 1986, with little success.

Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
We reach the end of this set with a belated appearance from a record that that I surely should have used by now, as it's really good. This is the eponymous Fuzzy Duck LP, one of the older entries here, recorded in 1971. They play jazzy prog rock, with excellent musicianship, driving hammond organ and plenty of rocking riffs. Bassist Mick Hawksworth had previously been in Andromeda (Vol51) with John Du Cann, another similarly cool band. He was also in other TDATS bands, Killing Floor (see Vol7) and Toe Fat (Vol2). Drummer Paul Francis had been in The End, and briefly in this volume's opening band, Tucky Buzzard. The Duck enjoyed some radio play, including "A Big Word From D" and "Double Fine Woman", which were both favoured by BBC stations.

Fuzzy Duck in the studio
Fuzzy Duck in the studio
In the Esoteric Recordings CD re-issue Paul Francis stated that one of the major things that broke the band up was internal friction with guitarist and founder Graham White, which he regrets in retrospect. They managed to turf him out and replace him with Garth Watt-Roy (Steamhammer, The Greatest Show On Earth) who was a great guitarist, but it didn't go down well with the record company. After the Duck had quacked it, Graham White joined Capability Brown (Vol54), Paul teamed up with Chris Speading and Steve Harley, playing on a couple of Cockney Rebel LPs and Mick Hawksworth worked with Alvin Lee among others.


Thanks to all these hard rock and prog pioneers, the brilliant beast that is heavy metal was born, and it looks like it's here to stay! Keep your head down, and keep it banging!
Cheers, Rich.

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  1. Great, great post.
    My favourite; Agnes Stranges.
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    Grettings from Spain