Monday, December 5, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 134: Mischief Magic and Musicians [Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia]

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Password:  tdats



Time for some more from Eastern Europe [see also: 41: Eastern Roc | 101: Poland | 120: Serbia]. With a population of around two million this is one of the smallest countries I have investigated so far. As with the other small countries appearing in this blog, they produced their fair share of musical talent but that talent tended to move around so players from what is now the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) cropped up all over the former Yugoslavia and beyond, with few harder-rocking acts being based in the FYROM itself and even less of them actually releasing official albums. Also, the distinctions between band's counties of origin is not always easy to make in areas of many close borders like eastern Europe, sometimes near impossible when a band moves around and has lineup changes, but I've tried hard to make a representative set for the FYROM, and the resulting music is great! If anyone out there can offer corrections or additional information please feel free to get in touch.

The cover image is an interpretation of the Slavic god Veles, who is associated with mischief, magic and music among other things, and has a FYROM city named after him. As with the previous Yugoslavian comp, Serbia's Vol120, a big thanks goes to Lajso of Jugo Rock Forever (link) who specialises in posting vintage Slavic records of all kinds.

TRACKS

01. Leb I Sol - Dikijeva Igra (1978)
       from album 'Leb I Sol 2'
02. Madrigali - Imeto naše e Madrigali (1977)
       Live in Skopje
03. Bis-Bez - Dal' da Plačam il' da Peam (1973)
       from 'Što e Vreva (1966-73)'
04. BT Top - BT Top (1979)
       single
05. Triangl - Jana (1976)
       from 'Triangl (1976-82)'
06. Bis-Bez - Bilo I Pominalo (1973)
       from 'Što e vreva (1966-73)'
07. Trn vo Oko - Makedonski Rok (1979)
       from 'Trn vo Oko (1979-80)'
08. Torr - Žolta Mašina (1976)
       from album 'Boom '76'
09. BT Top - Umot mi go Zede (1979)
       single
10. Republika 903 - So Maki Sum Se Rodil (1971)
       from 'Dve Pesni (1970-1975)'
11. Tihomir Pop Asanović - Majko Zemljo (1974)
       from album 'Majko Zemljo'


Leb I Sol
Leb I Sol, from the FYROM's capital Skopje, is the premiere prog rock band. The name literally translates to "bread and salt" which is a traditional hospitality in Macedonia. The music tends towards jazz fusion prog with hints of folk so isn't strictly TDATS territory but they were great musicians with a lot of variety, and the track I have chosen from the second LP is suitably jarring.

They have made over ten albums now, the last was in 2008 and most of the members have had successful solo careers.

Madrigali is one of the bands here that is well-regarded in the FYROM but don't appear to have released an official album of their own. They specialise in great guitar harmonies and the track I included, 'Imeto naše e Madrigali', exemplifies that with cool galloping rhythms. It would seem they are still around as in 2013 they collaborated in live shows with Croatian singer Dado Topić, who's career has included bands like Time & Korni Grupa from different regions of the former Yugoslavia.

The best vintage Madrigali recordings I have heard were made during a 1977 TV performance with singer/flute player Cane Nikolovski, that you can watch here:




Bis-Bez
Bis-Bez
(image @ yugopapir.com)
Bis-Bez was another Skopje band. They straddled the times of beat music and prog rock. Again, it doesn't appear they made any official releases but they appear in a few regional comps, and there's an unofficial collection of their own tracks that someone has put out on the net called 'Što e Vreva (1966-73)'. I have used two great songs from that, one of which is a 10 minute epic which lets it all hang out and explores a lot of moods, mixing Doors-like psych grooves with regional vocal melodies and hard rock/prog in an enthralling way.

It rocks and grooves, ebbs and flows. They never even made an album, but this is one of those tracks that feels like a whole album in one song anyway. I can't find solid confirmation of what year it was, it could well be late-sixties, the sound is dead in between the progressive psych of the late sixties and prog of the early seventies.

Triangl
Triangl
I have no information about BT Top, other than Jugo Rock Forever says they were from Bitola and two tracks going around are from 1979. They are both pretty good, being a novel mix of hard rock and fusion. I used both on here!

Triangl is up next. They were from Skopje and existed in the 1970s, making a single in 1982. I believe the track I have used was recorded in 1976 but haven't found confirmation....if anyone knows more about these guys drop me a line! It's a shame many of these FYROM hard rock bands didn't record much.

Trn Vo Oko is another band that Cane Nikolovski sang with, in this case a couple of years after Madrigali. Again from Bitola, Trn Vo Oko's recorded music was done for Radio Skopje and mixes rock n roll with hard rock.

Boom '76 festival LP
The next track is from a live performance at Yugoslavia's famous Rock festival, Boom, which I wrote more about on Vol120. The band is 'Torr' and it sounds like they were very heavy! Unfortunately there is only the one track left of them on record, from 1976's Boom festival compilation LP. I have attempted to improve the sound quality of it but currently this is the best I can find.

Somebody left a comment on youtube (link) regarding the Torr track I have used:
"Awesome song accompanied by great performance! Proper song title should be “Žolta Mašina” (Yellow Machine). This song was written by Torr’s bassist Aleksandar Stojanovski (inspired by Torr’s yellow VW kombi/ van used for touring). This song was co-written by Torr’s guitarist Ani and Torr’s drummer (don’t know name). The band was formed in the early 70's by Torr's bassist Aleksandar Stojanovski. Parni Valjak’s singer Aki Rahimovski was one of the original Torr members and performed with Torr at Boom 75 festival in Zagreb."

There's two tracks to go now, the first of which is another band lacking in ready information - Republika 903 from Skopje. They were apparently around from 1970 to 1975 and so far I have only heard two tracks. On the track I selected they play some great blues rock.

Tihomir Pop Asanović -
Majko Zemljo LP (1974)
The closer is from an established name, Tihomir Pop Asanović. Born in the FYROM, he is a renowned keyboard player. He started with The Generals in 1968 and played frequently across East European and German jazz clubs. He was an original line-up member of Croatia's Time, taking part in their celebrated eponymous debut album in early 1972.

He played occasionally with Yu Grupa and SMAK, while in 1974 he founded a super group called 'Jugoslovenska Pop Selekcija' (The Yugoslavian Pop Selection), which included many rock and jazz players of the era. In 1975 he he founded jazz-rock band 'September' with Selection vocalist Janez Boncina. Since the late 1970s he played as a prominent session musician and finished as a musical instruments dealer. He made two jazzy solo records in the '70s, and I used the title track from the first one.

Thanks for listening!

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 133: A Lot Of Bottle [heavy slide guitar special]

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password:  tdats



Welcome to another instalment of heavy nugget searches. This one is dedicated to the wonderful sound of guitar played with a slide, and the expressive, snarling, powerful sound that humble slide guitar can make, especially when driven through a hard-rock guitarist's amp! As usual, the tracks here are not just slide guitar, but hard rock / blues rock with slide, with Highway Robbery being one of the heaviest.

I'm happy to say this volume also brings nine new bands to the blog, with a few like Possessed and Sam Apple Pie that some may have considered conspicuous by their absence so far.

Although a technique traditionally of the afro-american blues heroes, the majority of acts here are from all kinds of places including the UK, Hungary & Australia, showing the draw that blues rock has all over the world, and still does!

TRACKS

01. Nobody's Business - Bleed Me Dry (1978)
       from album 'Nobodys Business'
02. Gun - Drown Yourself In The River (1969)
       from album 'Gunsight'
03. Jukin' Bone - Nightcrawler (1972)
       from album 'Way Down East'
04. Climax Chicago Blues Band - Reap What I've Sowed (1970)
       from album 'A Lot Of Bottle'
05. Band Of Light - The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (1973)
       from album 'Total Union'
06. SNAFU - Lock And Key (1975)
       from album 'All Funked Up'
07. Mushroom - Gulf Of Mexico (1978)
       from album 'Freedom You're A Woman'
08. Terry Stamp - Itchy Feet (1975)
       from album 'Fatsticks'
09. Castle Farm - Island In The Sun (1972)
       from album 'The Studio Sessions 1971-72'
10. Sam Apple Pie - Old Tom (1972)
       from album 'East 17'
11. Locomotiv GT - Ő Még Csak Most 14. (1973)
       from album 'Bummm!'
12. Shanghai - Let's Get The Hell Off This Highway (1976)
       from album 'Fallen Heroes'
13. Possessed - Reminiscing (1971)
       from album 'Exploration'
14. Highway Robbery - Promotion Man (1972)
       from album For 'Love Or Money'
15. Yancy Derringer - Weedburner (1975)
       from album 'Openers'

Nobody's Business was a band of old hands which lasted briefly in the late '70s, consisting of Bobby Harrison (Procol Harum, SNAFU), Tony Stevens (Savoy Brown. Foghat), Joe Jammer (Olympic Runners) and Jerry Frank (session drummer). They recorded an eponymous LP in Nice, France and some promo videos were made, which were produced by Gerry Anderson's wife, Sylvia Anderson! The Nobody's Business LP offers some good boogie rock and 'Bleed Me Dry' is filled with Joe's great slide guitar. Angel Air reissued it, including six of the promo videos on DVD, in 2007 (link).



American Joe "Jammer" Wright is one of these guys who you might've never heard of but he's played with loads of famous and not so famous names, as a roadie for Hendrix, founding member of Olympic Runners and live guitarist for Maggie Bell and Screaming Lord Such and others, You can read some more at his website (link). Joe made a decent eponymous solo record in 1973 too, which is worth hearing. Bobby Harrison is and will continue to be a bit of a TDATS regular, having appeared here in Freedom and coming up again in this volume in SNAFU...

Gun Gunsight 1969
Gun - 'Gunsight' - 1969
Gun and the Gurvitz brothers shouldn't need too much of an introduction here, I concentrated on them for vol 125 (link). I have used a track from the second Gun record, 'Gunsight'. One of those bands that were there right at the very start of hard rock and made some great music that, aside from their famous single 'Race With The Devil', didn't have the success of the big names of the time or just after. Gunsight is a great early hard rock record (1969) that can be picked up in original form for non-ludicrous prices, putting it in the reach of us mere mortals.

Sounding completely different to 'Race With The Devil' for instance, Adrian Gurvitz's performance in 'Drown Yourself In The River' sounds like something straight out of the Deep South.

Jukin' Bone - Way Down East - 1972
Jukin' Bone (1972)
Way Down East LP
Over to the US now for some Jukin' Bone (formerly 'Free Will'). Here's the bumph from the back of their final second album, 1972's 'Way Down East': "Take a rock band from the gentle, quiet, grassy green, calm-as-a-Holiday-Inn-Swimming-Pool, Finger Lakes area of upstate, rolling hills New York and you'd expect to have anything but a Jukin' Bone. Gentle and quiet they most assuredly aren't. Raunchy and steeped in the blues they are.

Out front, moving with the lissome grace of a jungle cat, is Joe Whiting, whose visage (a mixture of Marlon Brando and Paul Newman when those two were young and scarily beautiful to behold) belies the gut vocals he emits with the fervor of a Marjoe gone wild on rock and roll.

Jukin' Bone (1972) Way Down East LP
Jukin' Bone (1972)
Way Down East LP
Stoking the fire is a hard-charging yet cohesive combo at whose heart stands Mark Doyle, riffing and chording his guitar with a demonic fury and virtuosity that rates him with anybody currently playing that axe. Doyle and Whiting, who've been sharing stage and trips together for about five years are also responsible, along with the prolific George Egosarian, for much of the band's repertoire.

Laying out what can only be described as the band's "stone down funk" is John DeMaso who brings his brand of bass all the way from Caracas, Venezuela. And, underneath, down at the bottom where the beat that won't quit is, there are the two drummers, Danny and Kevin, kicking the bone along, stickin' it, so to speak, to Whiting, booting him into the physical and vocal runs that give Jukin' Bone its flavour. This Jukin' Bone is a moving, dance-to-it force. This Jukin' Bone has meat on it. How's your Jukin' Bone?" - written by: Elliot Horne, RCA press agent and jazz writer (link).

The British Climax Chicago Blues Band, which was just one variation of the name they used, now usually known as 'Climax Blues Band', are still going, as can be seen at their website (link). Through the years they've had many members and many links to other bands, too many to go into in detail here! I really like the track 'Reap What I've Sowed' which is taken from the third LP, 1970's 'A Lot Of Bottle'. I love it when that aggressive slide riff kicks in, it was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for to go in this set! The slide player on this record was Pete Haycock, who sadly passed away in 2013.

Pete Haycock circa 2008



Band Of Light
Band Of Light
Band Of Light are an Australian Sydney-based band that I first used back on the bluesy vol 54 (link). They were started by guitarist Phil Key and bassist Peter Roberts, who had both just left The La De Das, a band that originated in New Zealand and spawned other Kiwi artists that moved to Aus like Kevin Borich.

Here's a snipet from the essential Aussie rock site, Milesago (link): "Band Of Light's distinctive blues-rock sound was built around the dual slide guitar work of Key and their other superb guitarist, Norm Roue (who had come from Sydney band Gutbucket). Peter Roberts left after only three shows and was replaced by Ian Rilen, who was to become a fixture on the Australian rock scene in the '70s and '80s. The band worked consistently on the Sydney and Melbourne pub/festival/dance circuits, alongside other staple acts of the day like Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Carson, Coloured Balls, Chain, Madder Lake and Buffalo."

As it says, slide guitar was Band of Light's forte and 'The Four Horseman' from the album 'Total Union' funks and grooves along with the great combination of wah and slide that makes them distinctive. A real ass-shaker this one.

The sixth track is from another act with Bobby Harrison at the mic. SNAFU was started by Bobby (post-Freedom), along with Mick Moody fresh from Juicy Lucy and Harrison's solo record 'Funkist'. They made three records with differing lineups but never quite cracked the big time, although they did garner some success and tour widely.

One song in particular grabbed me, being 'Lock and Key', which actually appeared on both their final two records in different versions. This version is from the third and final LP 'All Funked Up', and is the heaviest, most stomping of the two. I listened through the SNAFU albums some time ago and initially wasn't that impressed, although the musicianship is top-notch it wasn't generally a sound that I liked, but some time after that Monte Conner (Nuclear Blast, formerly of Roadrunner Records) posted this live performance of Lock And Key in the tdats fb group and I realised this one is a kick-ass tune and perfect for a planned slide comp, so thanks for that Monte!

SNAFU appearing on UK TV's 'Supersonic' in 1975



Mushroom - Freedom you're a woman
Mushroom
Mushroom were a Brooklyn-based act that veered between smooth AOR and ballsy blues rock on their only record, 1978's privately-pressed 'Freedom You're A Woman'. I have used the track 'Gulf Of Mexico'. This is an interesting song! It starts out with some ambient voices and a girl propositioning a guy in a bar, followed by some boogie blues with lyrics about the usual freebird sentiments on sowing wild oats etc, but it takes an unexpectedly heavy turn soon after and some weighty over-driven riffing comes in, all the time laced with slide guitar and wah solos over the top.

Mushroom - Freedom you're a woman
Mushroom (1978)
Freedom You're A Woman
It sure is a cool development and as the song changes pace and moods again and again towards the end, you are left with one of those epic tracks that feels like a journey. Brilliant stuff! You can read some more about Mushroom and it's main man Frank Annunziata at the old reliable Badcat Records (link).

Another point of note is the art work on the album, a large hand-drawn mushroom, (phallic overtones maybe? could explain the track 'Comin For You') that doesn't give any idea of the music within, being more suited to some other mushroom-related bands, like late '60s psychedelic offering The Sacred Mushroom or the Irish folk-rockers 'Mushroom'. The same opinion could be leveled at the reason for the cover art, the band's name. It's not a name/image I would have chosen for their music, but then I guess I haven't been eating the particular variety of mushroom they presumably were at the time!

Third World War - A Little Bit Of Urban Rock
Next up is Terry Stamp's solo record from 1975, cryptically called 'Fatsticks'. I'm sure i'm being dense as usual but answers on a postcard if you know what that means, the drummer's preferred tool of his trade maybe? Singer/guitarist Terry was in Third World War, which many of you will know as that rather cool British proto-punkish band. So Fatsticks was mainly written by Terry, a collection of new and old songs of his, some from before TWW, with some assistance from Jim Avery (The Attack, Thunderclap Newman). Terry had been writing/playing since the early sixties and you can hear two of his compositions on Harsh Reality's 1969 LP, 'Heaven And Hell'.

Fatsticks has an interesting story behind it that can be read at the Terry Stamp/Jim Avery website (link) and I recommend reading it, it's a great example of talented musicians making an album in an off-the-cuff way and going about their business afterwards without thinking about it again, like it was just another day's work for a musician back then.

Terry Stamp - Fatsticks
Terry Stamp - Fatsticks
I may be a bit presumptuous there as I have only heard four tracks from Fatsticks, that's all I can find at the moment. It has not been re-issued (it should be!) and seems to command higher prices than I am prepared to pay at the moment! The four tracks I have heard from it would lead me to think it's a great album, with plenty of the proto-punk attitude that Terry injected into TWW. I have used a track from it called 'Itchy Feet' which displays some absolutely blazing lead and slide guitar work from Peter 'Ollie' Halsall (deceased 1992) who was in Boxer (also TimeboxTempest, Patto) later and covered a couple of tracks from Fatsticks with Boxer.

Castle Farm - The Sessions 1971-72
I have covered Castle Farm in an interview I did with drummer Steve Traveller a couple of years ago (link). Aside from a great single the band didn't release an album, but Steve has since made some recordings available via 'The Studio Sessions 1971-72'. They were retrieved from a low-grade tape so sound quality is not the best, but it's still good enough to enjoy Gram 'Tex' Benike's ripping guitar that propels the track 'Island In The Sun', seven minutes of slide heaven which doesn't let up and doesn't get boring.

It's certainly a shame we never got to hear a real album from these guys as it would surely have been excellent.

Sam Apple Pie - East 17
Sam Apple Pie - East 17
Walthamstow, London's Sam Apple Pie are up next and I guess some people might think it's about time they appeared on this blog. They are often mentioned in various obscure hard/blues rock forums but I must admit to being a bit under-whelmed by them myself, although not from a lack of musical ability. I have however found a great track for this comp, from their second album called 'East 17'.

The slide skills come from Andy 'Snakehips' Johnson, who seems to have been a main member of the band but I cannot uncover much else about him, other than he reportedly passed away in 2010. The track 'Old Tom' certainly displays a great array of slide and lead guitar grooving, lead coming from Denny Barnes who I haven't found much about either, other than he was previously in Portsmouth bands Blues Convention, Whiskey River and Gilbey Twiss. Two members of SAP left after their first record to join pub-rockers Help Yourself.

Locamotive GT - Bummm!
Locomotive GT - Bummm!
A bit of a change for track 11 and a talented band from Hungary called Locomotive GT. I have used them before, on the eastern Europe vol 41 (link) and they were successful in their home land, scoring many hits after being formed by two ex-members of another great Hungarian band, Omega. Slide comes from Tamás Barta who was also in formative band 'Hungaria', and unfortunately died in 1982. LGT made a range of music including hard rock to pop, as well as acting as backing-band for singer Kati Kovács, and there's no denying their skills and infectious humour. 'Ő Még Csak Most 14.' is from their third album, amusingly called 'Bummm!', which apparently translates to Bang!

Shanghai - Fallen Heros
Shanghai - Fallen Heroes
Shanghai was a band of UK guitar hero Mick Green, but the slide parts were played by Brian Alterman. The band had an almost complete change of personnel between LP no1 and no2, the first being a smooth 'n funky soul rock affair with singer to suit (Chuck Bedford) and the second, 'Fallen Heroes', being a harder-rocking set with the fantastic pipes of Cliff Bennett (Toe Fat etc) which is far more TDATS-friendly. This is a nice affordable album for those that like a bit of hard boogie blues, and Cliff is on fine form. I have used 'Let's Get The Hell Off This Highway' which really does the business with the powerful vocals and wall of guitars!

Possessed - Exploration
Possessed - Exploration
I'm glad to include another band that's been a long-time coming for the blog, Possessed from Birmingham, UK. This is one of the unreleased bands that Lee Dorian's Rise Above Relics has done the honours for (link), and here is the blurb from them. Possessed - "Mastered from original tapes, this is the story of a band whose tragic legacy could never have been predicted. Possessed were born out the thriving underground West Midlands’ Rock & Blues scene of the mid-to-late 60s. This was a scene in which band leader, Vernon Pereira, had been a key figure.

Possessed - Exploration
Possessed
The band were formed in late 1969 when Vernon (after a spell playing next to Robert Plant in The Band Of Joy) teamed up with Mick Reeves, who had been playing in Sugarstack with Al Atkins, amongst other bands. This was the band that would eventually evolve into being the first incarnation of Judas Priest.

‘Exploration‘ was originally intended for release in 1971 but ultimately never saw the light of day. The band were finally on the verge of signing a major deal when tragedy struck. Whilst returning home from a gig in Carlisle on October 21st 1976, the band’s van drove into a stationary tanker, taking the lives of all three band members."

Possessed had a nice crunchy guitar sound, unconventional chord progressions, and a funky edge, quite a unique sound with the whole band chipping in vocals to back up Vernon Pereira who sounds a little reminiscent of Lynden Williams of Jerusalem and plays some mean slide guitar on the track 'Reminiscing'.

Highway Robbery 'For Love Or Money'
Highway Robbery
'For Love Or Money'
Nearing the end now and it's another appearance from Highway Robbery's excellent 'For Love Or Money' album.

Here's the Californian's own introduction from the back cover: "Declaration. For Love Or Money, Highway Robbery hereby dedicates itself to roar, to drive, to sensitive joy and, above all, the emission of the highest levels of energy rock. Let it be known that Michael Stevens - lead guitarist, vocalist, writer of all material contained herein, child of a gypsy commune - carries out this pledge in the true manner of his forebears. Further be it known that he is in allegiance with Don Francisco, drummer, lead singer and a New York native whose main influences have been traditional New Orleans-based bands such as Robert Parker and the Royals and Deacon John and the Ivories, and with John Livingston Tunison IV, bassman, vocalsit and painter who's first sound-memories are of Muddy Waters and B.B. King........For Love Or Money: Signed, sealed and created by the aforementioned Highway Robbery, in this age, on this day, in the name of storming, beautiful rock and roll."

'Promotion Man' is a desperate and maybe satirical plea to music promoters to plug Highway Robbery like crazy, packed with V8-revving slide guitar from Michael Stevens. Drummer Don Francisco was previously in Atlee, who made a worth-hearing record in 1970. Julian Cope has written a great article about Highway Robbery at his Head Heritage site (link).

Yany Derringer - Openers
This volume is rounded off by one of my favourite tracks found in the whole time I've been looking for obscure nuggets. 'Weedburner' is the closing track from the only album made by Yancy Derringer (link), who later became known as The Vers. In comparison to Weedburner, the rest of the album is forgettable, I've forgotten it any way, and I really don't care as Weeburner is so fantastic I can forgive them for anything.

Through the power of slide guitar and constant, disorientating pitch-shifts, guitarist Boyd 'Zoid' Williamson has managed to put in a performance which dominates a song that actually has the power to make you feel like you're high. Of all the 'stoner rock' I have ever heard, this one actually is intoxicating, stoned rock, rather than just rock music for stoners. Hear it and believe it, and it's all down to the humble guitar played with a slide.

Long shall they let it slide!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

TDATS 132: Punk Rockin' Granny [Irish Punk, Hard Rock and Glam]

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Password:  tdats



Here's a fun selection of the later-seventies tracks I discovered while making last-week's Irish volume. This is decidedly punk flavoured, with a bit of hard rock, power pop and glam for good measure. The majority of tracks here are from Northern Ireland, where there was somewhat of a punk movement occurring at the time. A couple of labels to look up for these and other singles are Rip Off Records and Good Vibrations. Thanks to Clint at the tdats fb group for pointing-out the 2013 movie "Good Vibrations", about the label (link).

TRACKS

No Sweat - You Should Be So Lucky (1978)
       singleand compilation "Belfast Rock"
Xdreamysts - Dance Away Lover (1978)
       single
Rudi - No.1 (1978)
       single
Moral Support - Sin (1979)
       single and album 'Zionic Bonds'
Reform - Salt Away (1974)
       from album 'All For One'
Midnite Cruiser - Rich Bitch (1977)
       single
Detonators - Cruisin' (1978)
       from album 'Belfast Rock'
The Duggie Briggs Band - Punk-Rockin' Granny! (1977)
       single
East Coast Angels - Punk Rockin' (1977)
       single
Pretty Boy Floyd & the Gems - Rough, Tough, Pretty Too (1978)
       single and compilation "Belfast Rock"
The Outcasts - Frustration (1979)
       from album 'Self Conscious Over You'
Bernie Tormé - All Nite (1979)
       from album 'Punk Or What (77-79)'
Cobra - Graveyard Boogie (1978)
       single and compilation "Belfast Rock"


No Sweat from Belfast. Members: Clive Culbertson (vocals, bass, guitar), David Stuart (keyboards), Michael Katin (guitar), Ricky Bleakley (drums). The B-side to this single is also very good, in a style more akin to Thin Lizzy. In fact it sounds like Lizzy playing with Cheap Trick!

Xdreamysts from Derry. They made some cool singles in the later '70s, and an album in '81 with a more commercial Power Pop sound. Uel Walls (vocals, guitar), John Doherty (guitar), Roe Butcher (bass) and Brian Moffatt (drums).

Rudi from Belfast. Brian Young (guitar, vocals), Ronnie Matthews (guitar, vocals), Gordon Blair (bass guitar), Graham Marshall (drums) and Paul Martin (keyboards). Raw punk on the Good Vibrations label which released some good singles at the time.


Moral Support from Belfast. Headed by Andy McCarroll who was a Christian singer/song writer. What ever your opinion of the subject matter, Moral Support played pretty damn well!


Reform from Limerick. Appearing in the previous TDATS, here's another track from their sole album and one of the better ones. These guys are the closest I have found to an early Irish glam/proto punk band. If you know more drop me a line!

Midnite Cruiser from Portadown. Paul Maxwell (vocals), Crow (guitar), Peege (guitar), Rodney (guitar), Jimmy (bass) and Ger (drums). Another obscure Northern Irish band that made a single in the late '70s. Some good pop punk here.


Detonators from Belfast. Cruisin' is a great driving track that has a real US proto punk Stooges sound. These guys don't seem to have released anything officially, but they were included on a period compilation of Belfast Punk called "Belfast Rock" (1978). Recommended!


The Duggie Briggs Band from Portadown. Punk Rockin' Granny. I think that says it all. Duggie Briggs Band also released a worthy EP in '78 called 'The Duggie Briggs Flashes on It Again'. My rip of this single was very tinny so I have boosted the bass a bit.


East Coast Angels from Dublin. A very rare single here, apologies for the less than stella sound quality on this one, I have attempted to make it sound a bit less murky by boosting the midrange a bit. Although this is called Punk Rockin' it's more of a bonehead cruncher. Good stuff.

Pretty Boy Floyd & the Gems from Belfast. Another band I discovered on the 'Belfast Rock' album. According to various sources they were originally a show band called Candy and were still playing as such at the same time as Pretty Boy Floyd, so some people never accepted them as punk.


The Outcasts from Belfast. These guys recorded two Peel sessions and were successful enough to make three albums.

Dublin's Bernie Tormé was also on the last TDATS, here's another track from the '70s rarity album of his, "Punk Or What". You can buy it derectly from Bernie at his Bandcamp and he is still making music now.

Cobra from Belfast. The final band that were on the 'Belfast Rock' album, Graveyard Boogie is the b-side to the 'Looking for a Lady' single. Both sides of it are great, not so much punk really, they could even be described as one of Northern Ireland's first entries in the NWOBHM.



Cheers from the Punk-Rockin' Granny!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 131:Land Beyond The Wave [Ireland]

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It's about time for an Irish volume! [Edit: there is now a second one:- Vol 132] Ireland certainly did not have a lot of hard rock music in the '60s and '70s. There are the couple of internationally-known names like Thin Lizzy & Them, but making this volume was a bit like doing the New Zealand ones, in that I have had to use a fair amount of artistic license to find an hours-worth of music to satisfy this blog's remit. The country's political problems in the past certainly did nothing to help matters and during the magic period of the late '60s to the late '70s those problems were at a peak.

I have been looking for years to finish this off and have probably found enough for part 2 in the future, there are a few missing here like Horslips and Mushroom that some may protest about but I have plans to include those on the blog later.

There are a few invaluable sites for Irish rock that I must thank. rockroots.wordpress.com is a great resource with rare tracks to download, and between them irishrock.orgirish-showbands.com and irishshowbands.net detail pretty much every vintage Irish band that ever existed.

TRACKS:

- Joe O'Donnell - For Trades And Hospitality & House Of Warriors (1977)
       from album 'Gaodhal's Vision'
- Skid Row - Night Of The Warm Witch (single version) (1971)
       from album '34 Hours'
- Cromwell - Guinness Rock (1975)
       from album 'At The Gallop'
- The Radiators From Space - Electric Shares (1977)
       from album 'TV Tube Heart'
- Andwella's Dream - Sunday (1969)
       from album 'Love And Poetry'
- Reform - Back To The Wall (1974)
       from album 'All For One'
- Eire Apparent - Here I Go Again (1968)
       single
- Bernie Tormé - Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (The Who cover) (1979)
       from album 'Punk Or What'
- Fruupp - Decision (1973)
       from album 'Future Legends'
- Granny's Intentions - Maybe (1970)
       from album 'Honest Injun'
- Light - Ray's Song (1978)
       from album 'Light'
- Plattermen - Cat's Eye (1972)
       from album 'Old Devil Wine'
- Jimi Slevin & Firefly - Child Of Peace (1978)
       from album 'Getting There'
- Turner & Kirwan of Wexford - Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye (1977)
       from album 'Absolutely And Completely'


Joe O'Donnell is a classically trained violinist from Limerick. He pioneered the design and use of electric violin and his impressive CV looks like a who's who of UK prog rock, not just Irish rock. He has appeared with a few of the other acts in this volume, including Granny's Intentions and Rory Gallagher, as well as a host of prog / rock names like East Of Eden, Rare Bird, Trees, Headstone, Jade Warrior and Henry McCullough. He has also maintained a solo career and folk and ceilidh to this day with 'Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla'.

In 1977 he made a solo record called Gaodhal's Vision which featured the talents of Rory Gallagher on many of the tracks, and that is where the opener for this volume comes from. 'House Of Warriors' has some brilliant violin riffing which shows the instrument can rock just as much as guitar!

Skid Row are probably second to Thin Lizzy in status as an early Irish blues rock / hard rock band, although SR had a more experimental jam rock approach than Lizzy. Like Lizzy, the players involved during the band's short recording career include many recognisable names, such as Phil Lynott who sung in the late '60s before being thrown out by formative bass player,  Brendan "Brush" Shiels.

After Lynott was gone Gary Moore received his highest amount of acclaim by that point as SR's singer/guitarist for both the band's two official studio albums. Drummer Noel Bridgeman was in Granny's Intentions (which Moore also was) and post-Moore guitarist Paul Chapman played in many other bands including Lone Star and UFO. I have used 'Night Of The Warm Witch' from the second Skid Row album, '34 Hours'.

Brush Sheils and Noel Bridgeman of Skid Row


Dublin's Cromwell were one of the few hard rock bands to release a full album, aside from the well-known names this was quite a rarity in Ireland. They released five singles and according to irish-showbands.com they were on the road for at least five years. In '72 they supported a Rory Gallagher tour. Cromwell was Patrick "Pat" Brady (guitar, vocals), Michael Kiely (guitar, bass, vocals), Derek Dawson (drums), Mick O'Hagan (vocals), and Desmond Kiely (bass). O'Hagen replaced Kiely and himself left in '73, the band continued as a trio, sharing vocal duties.

The album 'At The Gallop' is not up to the level of Lizzy / Skid Row in terms of musicianship for instance but it's a rare example of a mid-'70s Irish hard rock LP, and it has a few decent tracks. As such it is now very collectible and commands high prices. I have used a track that was recorded a few years before the LP was released, the band's first single, 'Guinness Rock'. Brady and Kiely continued after Cromwell as an acoustic duo, 'The Establishment'.

Dublin's The Radiators From Space are described in many places as Ireland's first punk band. They had a great album called TV Tube Heart in 1977, the same year that The Boomtown Rats made their debut. Although Ireland had seemingly missed out on producing a lot of established, recorded hard rock acts in the '70s, that was certainly made-up for in the punk explosion. Suddenly punk bands were popping up everywhere and the Irish spirit certainly found an affinity with the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Damned.

According to irishrock.org The Radiators organised one of Ireland's first Punk events, The Belfield Punk festival in 1977, and played with The Undertones, The Gamblers, Revolver and The Vipers. The Radiators split in '81 with various members continuing with Eric Bell, ex-Pogues members, and have reformed from time to time, notably to support U2 in 2005.

Lead by singer/guitarist David Lewes, Andwella's Dream started as 'The Method' in Belfast. By 1968 they had moved to London and recorded their highly-rated CBS album, 'Love and Poetry'. Around 1970 there were some lineup changes and as 'Andwella' they recorded two more albums on he CBS imprint, Reflection. I have used the track 'Sunday' from Love and Poetry, it's quite heavy with some nice Hendrixian guitar.



Reform
Limerick's Reform evolved from local showbands in the late '60s, and made some of Ireland's first glam rock. They were a popular hard-working ballroom act and although they made a fair number of singles and appeared on TV more than once, they didn't release an LP until 1979. It seems by then the time had passed, and 1984 was the last time they played.

According to irish-showbands.com, Reform leader Don O'Connor complained in an interview that Irish pop magazines like Spotlight were concentrating solely on new flash-in-the-pan Dublin bands and ignoring hard-working rural bands like Reform, making it impossible for such acts to achieve national success.

Eire Apparent started out in Belfast as the final 1960s incarnation of 'The People', including Henry McCullough. After moving around (reportedly sharing a farmhouse near Blackpool at one time with Lemmy's early band The Rockin' Vicars) they found significant success in Dublin, and sought greater success by relocating to London. While there they got co-signed by Soft Machine manager Mike Jeffery and Hendrix manager Chas Chandler, after a performance in the famous UFO club. This landed them a support slot on a Hendrix/The Move/Pink Floyd tour.

Hendrix befriended them, producing and playing on their only album, 1968's 'Sun Rise', which was put out by US label Buddah Records after they made a name there supporting Hendrix, Soft Machine, The Animals etc. The band appears to have had problems caused by it's fanbase being spread too thinly and failed to really nail it in either the UK or US. After personnel changes, they disbanded in 1970. Various members would go on to play with acts such as Freedom, Sam Apple Pie, T.Rex, Pretty Things, Wings and others. My favourite track is a b-side which was not on the album, 'Here I Go Again', and that is what appears here!

Dublin's Bernie Tormé (aka Bernard Tormay) is a guitarist with an interesting career, most famous for playing with Gillan, Atomic Rooster and Ozzy. His career has spanned decades of rock including blues, punk, hard rock and metal. One of his early bands was Dublin hard rockers 'Urge' in the early '70s and in the late '70s he started forming various projects with and without his name on them. He even joined Dee Snider's Desperado (with Clive Burr ex-Iron Maiden) in the late '80s.

I have chosen a track from an album of late-'70s Tormé rarities called 'Punk or What', covering a Who classic with metallic punk aplomb. Bernie still regularly plays live and has just made a new album called 'Black Heart'. Bernie on Bandcamp.

Belfast's Fruupp were one of Ireland's only symphonic progressive rock acts, and there were very few. I have used a track from their debut album 'Future Legends'. Apparently they started out as a hard rock act before taking progressive tendencies and the weighty guitar parts in 'Decision' would seem to confirm that.

Fruupp moved to London in 1971 and were received well, supporting heavyweights like King Crimson, playing frequently in Europe and home from home, Germany, where I would say their style was very well-suited. Unfortunately it would seem that after an impressive four albums inside three years they still hadn't made it big enough to justify the efforts and they disbanded in 1976.

Belfast's Light were active in the late seventies and made a self-titled album with a couple of decent tracks. This is what the back cover says, rather hyperbolically: "Anyone who remembers THEM or Chicago-based band TRUTH cannot fail to recall the playing of one of the world's great guitarists JIM ARMSTRONG. Following the demise of TRUTH in 1971, Armstrong retreated from the international scene to gig at a more relaxed pace in native Belfast.

There was some writing and recording work with Brian Scott and Bernie MacDonald in 1973, to be followed by concert performances with an occasional band called LIGHT, which included George O'Hara and Albert Mills. The breakthrough came in March 1977 when the band came together to play regular sessions at Ireland's premiere rock venue, THE POUND. at the invitation of promoter Dermot Moffatt. The last fifteen months have seen LIGHT established as Ireland's finest rock band, possibly the best ever".

Plattermen
Omagh's Plattermen were a showband that originated in the '50s. By the early '70s they had become a BS&T style horn rock band that incorporated hard rock. After a couple in the '60s, they made the album 'Old Devil Wine' in 1972 with a couple of decent tracks including 'African Wah Wah' and the one included here, 'Cat's Eye'.

After that album, one more single was recorded. For this one they used the moniker 'Hammer', and it was released by Vertigo. Unfortunately it's not as good as Cat's Eye, but they were still attempting to continue with a heavier sound.

Jimi Slevin & Firefly made one album in 1978. Dubliner Jimi Slevin was in notable bands Peggy's Leg and also briefly Skid Row near it's end. At the age of 19 he started blues rockers Crossroads in 1969, then joined Alice in 1970, before starting Peggy's Leg in 1972. In the mid-'70s he started The Jimi Slevin Band, which made the album 'Getting There' in 1978, credited to Jimi Slevin & Firefly. He went solo in 1980. Since then he has made some solo albums and started a label/studio called Riteroad Music, but the 'Getting There' LP remains the main point of interest for hard rock fans. He shows some good talent which is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy at their melodic moments.

Turner and Kirwan of Wexford finish off this set. Both Turner and Kirwan grew up in Wexford Town. They recorded a single as Aftermath circa 1971 released on Irish Polydor which gained some airplay. This is now very difficult to locate.

The duo moved to New York City in the early 1970s and became Turner and Kirwan of Wexford, playing the Irish pubs and clubs around the city. They developed a style which mixed Irish traditional folk music with full-blown progressive rock, creating some great music in the process! Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye is a beautiful closer for this compilation! Thanks for listening.

references

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