Showing posts with label Beatnicks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beatnicks. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015


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password:  tdats

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015 by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

The blog has now reached the ripe old age of six years! The past year of doing this has been a very enjoyable one - there's been two Dutch band profiles, Panda (119) and Blue Planet (127), a special and interview on the archival label World In Sound (114), a profile on krautrock producer Conny Planck (116), two heavy metal-inspired volumes; US (126) and NWOBHM (121), Scott Blackerby of The Acid Archives and Bad Cat Records (115) and a profile on The Gurvitz Brothers (125). Regional specials have honoured Spain again (123), Serbia (120), Portugal (113), Boston (117) and Iceland (124). Other themes have included Chicano rock (118) and a special on long prog tracks (122).

A year ago I promised I would be doing more interviews; I got an exclusive with the previously mysterious psych figure of Roy Rutanen and his band (link) and an exclusive with Jim Smith of Stonehouse (link). More exclusives came with Jaap van Eik of Panda (link) and Art Bausch of Blue Planet (link) and I spoke to four of the names appearing in Volume 126; Mike Gandia of Squadran, Danney Alkana of Alkana, Darren Welch of Axxe/Impeccable and Rob Griffin of Tyranny / Graven Image.

I hope that people still enjoy reading and listening to TDATS as much as I enjoy making it, here's to the on-coming year of many new ideas which are in the pipeline. As ever, please drop me a line via email or otherwise if you have any suggestions, and join up at the fb group where you can participate even more fully. My special thanks goes to the group admins that have increased greatly in number and efforts this year and been doing a great job there - you know who you are. Keep it PROTO guys :)

For what is now an annual round-up (last year's) of some of the best tracks appearing on the blog in the last year, here is a comp of fifteen tracks, one from each of the fifteen numbered volumes posted in 2015 so far. Enjoy!

TRACKS
01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972) - from v113
       single
02. Gold - No Parking (1970) - from v114
       single and W.I.S. retrospective 'San Francisco Origins'
03. Fanny - Place in the Country (1971) - from v115
       from album 'Charity Ball'
04. Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Comeback (1975) - from v116
       from album 'Fette Jahre'
05. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby - Steel Dog Man (1969) - from v117
       from album 'Brother Fox and the Tar Baby'
06. Yaqui - I Need A Woman (1973) - from v118
       from album 'Yaqui'
07. Panda - Medicine Man (1971) - from v119
       single
08. Pop Mašina - Vreme Za Nas (1975) - from v120
       from album 'Na Izvoru Svetlosti'
09. Fuzzy Duck - In Our Time (1971) - from v121
       from album ‘Fuzzy Duck’
10. Fusion Orchestra - Sonata In Z (1973) - from v122
       from album 'Skeleton In Armour'
11. Rockcelona - Queen, Friend And Dread (1979) - from v123
       from album 'La Bruja'
12. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972) - from v124
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
13. Gun - Runnin' Wild (1970) - from v125
       single
14. Asia - Law Of The Land (1978) - from v126
       from album 'Asia'
15. Cinderella - The Love That We've Got (1971) - from v127
       single
Beatnicks


Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here.

There is an interesting article here (portuguese, english), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.



Gold

"A CD / LP combination. The CD contains 2 parts S.F. underground history with the first Gold line-up feat. lead singer Richard Coco. Their 45 record “NO PARKING” was already reissued on LP by Rockadelic and issued on the CD compilation “Nuggets from the Golden State”.

Part 1 (only on CD) are the Studio Sessions of Leo Kulka´s Golden State Recorders, 9 heavy guitar cuts (same as Rockadelic LP) with great congas and bizarre Rock´n Roll vocals and the previously unreissued 45-rpm flipside a 4:45 minute sensitive but totally unexpected version of Gershwin's "Summertime" produced by Country Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish)."

"Part 2 of the CD is the vinyl release, a live set at the Fillmore-West Audition, a qualification gig for Bill Grahams club circuit, which was successfully passed - gigs at Winterland, Fillmore-West followed. These 42 minutes reach the highest level of power and a unique kind of heavy acid rock sound (especially the 6 min. killer version of “NO PARKING”) - Ed Scott´s hypnotic rhythm guitar, a mind blowing bass and drums create an outstanding and surrounding flow, Joe Bajza´s soaring solo guitar played in a kind of aggressive Cipollina / Jeff Beck style is brilliantly intense and brings true Sixties S.F. Hell´s Angels party feeling to your home. Detailed 12 page color booklet - 78 minutes of hot music reflect the “golden sprit” of the late60's early 70's in San Francisco....15 years later bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus…..continued these powerful Bay Area guitar excesses…"


Fanny

Scott's RYM review here.  "Penned by Barclay, 'Place In the Country' was one of the album's best rockers. Nice showcase for the group's harmony vocals.   rating: **** stars"

"1971's "Charity Ball" found Fanny continuing their partnership with producer Richard Perry. Featuring largely original material (the one exception being a dynamite cover of the Buffalo Springfield's 'Special Care;), this time around the band seemed interested in showcasing their more commercial edge. Material like the title track, 'What's Wrong with Me?' and 'You're the One' seemed to have been crafted with an ear to top-40 airplay.

That wasn't to imply the band couldn't rock as hard as their male competitors. Nickey Barclay's 'Cat Fever', 'Special Care' (which I'd argue crushed The Buffalo Springfield original), and 'Soul Child' were all rockers that were worth hearing. Add to that, Jean Millington had a powerful, soul-infused voice, while June Millington was an overlooked lead guitarist with a penchant for fuzz leads. Interestingly, listening to the album for the first time in years, I guess the biggest surprise came in terms of band contributions. Jean and June Millington were clearly the band's focal points, but  being responsible for over half of the material, keyboardist Nicole Barclay was clearly the band's creative mainstay."


Lokomotive Kreuzberg

Lokomotive Kreuzberg Fette Jahre (1972)
Lokomotive Kreuzberg
Fette Jahre (1972)
Track 4 brings something a little different to the party. Lokomotive Kreuzberg was a Berlin polit-rock band that started in 1972. Not speaking German, it's impossible for me to comment on the lyrics, but the music on their 1975 album "Fette Jahre", engineered by Conny, is captivating. They mix many styles, from symphonic prog, to folk, to funk, to hard rock. At all times it is played with extreme talent, these guys sure had the chops to compare with the best. I have chosen the hardest rocking track on the album, which was recorded at Conny's studio, but you can take your pick from it. Others, such as the title track "Fette Jahre" (youtube), are equally good.

I've not had a chance to check out all of their four albums. I certainly will but they may not be the easiest band to get into for non-German speakers, especially as they use a lot of spoken-word skits to get certain points across on their agenda.


Brother Fox and the Tar Baby

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby
Track 5, "Steel Dog Man", starts as it means to go on with a stomping hard rock riff and tight playing, punctuated by glorious psych breaks, backed-up by earthy vocals that cut straight to the bone. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits guitarist Richie Bartlett, bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High and keyboardist Joe Santangelo. Dave Christiansen, Joseph Santangelo, Tom Belliveau and Richard Bartlett were previously in Front Page Review, also appearing in this volume. Belliveau  was also in Pugsley Munion (see vol59), and Bartlett was later in '80s new-wavers The Fools. They were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch-produced self-titled album. Christiansen was credited as writing all eleven tracks.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby LP
This has a commercial edge and is a polished product, but it's done right and there's more than enough heaviness here too, over half the album is hard cuts with quite a unique take on combining late-'60s heavy psych with the chunky riffs and hammond organ of the freshly-emerging hard rock sounds of the times. This is what the first Boomerang album should have been like! (see Vol9)


The countrified feel, and high production quality with orchestration, shows that this was a serious stab at a successful album. The mellow tracks and ballads are all good, so make for a nicely diverse listen. The song-writing is consistently good, and the excellent vocals deserve a mention, sounding somewhat like Robert Plant in the heavier tracks. Highly recommended!

Panda - Stranger Medicine Man

Decca 6100013
Stranger begins deceptively, with a heavy Sabbathian tri-tone metal riff, but quickly morphs into a Slade-elic glam stomper with a sing-along chorus and more flashes of flute, great fun.  B-side Medicine Man is built around a similarly heavy, lumpen riff to "Swingin' About", this time with no flute and forays into blues, it's another of their best heavy tracks.


Pop Mašina

I consider there to be a 'big three' of heavy Serbain bands from the former half of the '70s, YU Grupa and Smak have already appeared so now it's time for the last of that trio, Pop Mašina (Pop Machine). They were formed in Belgrade in 1972 by Robert Nemeček (bass, vocals - formerly of Dogovor Iz 1804 and Džentlmeni. The other formative members on their two studio albums were Mihajlo Popović (drums) and Zoran Božinović (guitar - formerly in Džentlmeni).


Na Izvoru Svetlosti LP 1975
Their 1973 debut LP "Kiselina" (Acid), had contributions from members of S Vremena Na Vreme, Grupa SOS and acoustic band Dag. Although excelling in their heavy rock tracks like "Svemirska Prièa," the band played an equal amount of acoustic pop and folk-infused songs in a similar approach to Led Zep's album 'III'. The second and final studio album "Na Izvoru Svetlosti" (At the Spring of Light) followed suit, having a little more emphasis on the hard rock, with a great opener which is the track I have used in this comp, "Vreme za Nas". Track 2 gives you a good idea of their stage show with a live-recorded blues workout. Over-all this album is more consistent and you can hear the improved arrangements and more confident playing.


Fuzzy Duck

Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
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.


Fusion Orchestra

Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour line-up, clockwise from left, Dave Bell, Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour
line-up. Clockwise from left, Dave Bell,
Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson
and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra might be of interest to Babe Ruth fans, or those of Room. Frequently-heavy prog with a great front woman in Jill Saward, who also played flute, keyboard and more. The sole album 'Skeleton In Armour' is good progressive rock, drawing in many influences from Canterbury scene to hard rock, thankfully the band has a great attack and this LP keeps up momentum throughout, as you can hear in tracks like the one appearing here, and "Have I Left The Gas On?".

On the album, she is joined by the three founding members Dave Bell (drums), Stan Land (2nd guitar) and Colin Dawson (lead guitar). Dave Cowell played bass. Later in the bands' life Colin Dawson quit, so Alan Murphy took over, he later played in English pop bands Level 42 and coincidentally, Go West, who cropped up in the last volume via Hustler drummer Tony Beard. Although the band had a good live reputation, with fans frequently enjoying Jill Saward's titillating stage antics at the Marquee in London, they did not achieve commercial success on EMI and didn't get the green light for a second album. Jill had the most successful career afterwards, in the pop group Shakatak, and surprisingly none of the other players were in notable bands later. Colin Dawson started Fusion Orchestra 2 in 2008, in which he is the only original FO member.


Rockcelona

Continuing into heavier territory, "Queen, Friend And Dread" from Barcelona's Rockcelona hits you hard.The LP it's taken from is like this all the way through, it never lets up. This unique and timeless collision between punk, heavy metal and garage rock recorded in 1979 is a real gem for anyone out there who looks for the ultimate in unrelenting fuzz. The group was founded in 1977 by Alfredo Valcárcel, and recorded only one album called "La Bruja" (The Witch).



Svanfrídur

Svanfrídur
Svanfrídur
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.


Asia

Asia 1978
Not to be confused with the British "Asia", South Dakota's Asia made two LPs of heavy progressive rock and hard rock. They have an epic, regal quality to many of the songs, somewhat reminiscent of the kind of atmosphere conjured up by Led Zep's No Quarter or Kashmir for instance. They evolved from White Wing with members Michael English on vocals and multi-instrumentalist Mike Coates. Asia achieved some success playing the club circuit in the more urban areas of the upper Midwest. Their self-titled debut was recorded in two sessions at ASI studios in Minneapolis in 1978 and was privately released the same year.


Cinderella

Following is a snippet of the interiews I conducted with Art Bausch of Blue Planet and Betty Raadgever of Cinderella.

Cinderella in 1971
Me: Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000EyelinerNasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 113: Acid Nightmare [Portugal pt.1]

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unzip password:  tdats

The first new volume for the new year, and it's a country that has had no exposure anywhere on the blog yet, Portugal. After a tricky start I found more than enough tdats-friendly cuts for one volume, so this is part 1, a selection of the heaviest offerings. The forthcoming second part will be a more eclectic set. This is all good stuff, passing through the late '60s groovy beat of Quarteto 1111, the proto-metal heavies Beatnicks and Heavy Band, the nasty prog of Tantra, to the heavy metal of Xeque Mate and NZZN. The cover art is an interpretation of Adamastor. It's a mythological character that symbolised the forces of nature that Portuguese sailors had to confront during the country's time of its explorations. It was famed by the poet Luís de Camões in his classical 1572 work, "Os Lusíadas".

In a similar way to Franco's Spain, the fascist 'Estado Novo' political regime (over-thrown in 1974) was a particular hindrance on rock music. Patriotic, traditional folk and pop music was encouraged and the PIDE security agency (wiki) was used to censor and destroy music that was deemed subversive. It is clear there were very few rock releases for a country of Portugal's size, although there seems to have been a healthy-enough beat scene in the '60s to enable the creation of the four "Portuguese Nuggets" volumes (link). Bands such as SheiksThe Chinchillas, Banda 4 and Quinteto Académico are some of the '60s bands that laid the groundwork for Portuguese rock. It would appear that after 1974 progressive rock made a belated start, with names like Tantra, Quarteto 1111, Petrus Castrus and Banda do Casaco starting to catch up with the times, the first two of those appear in this volume. Another good CD to look at if you want to investigate more seventies sounds is "Psychadelic Portugal" (link).

Festival de Vilar de Mouros
Festival de Vilar de Mouros
The first proper rock festival in Portugal was 1971's Festival de Vilar de Mouros on the 7th & 8th of August, which had between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors. The event was enjoyed by the crowds who had never seen such a thing before, but the organisers needed to sell 50,000 tickets to break-even, and it was not put on again until 11 years later.  There's lots to read in Portuguese here: link1, link2, link3. The two big international names appearing were Manfred Mann and Elton John. Quarteto 1111 and Pop Five Music Incorporated, who are both in this comp, were there. Also appearing were Objectivo and Psico, who will both be in the next one.

TRACKS
01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972)
       single
02. Beatnicks - Money (1972)
       single
03. Quarteto 1111 - Bissaide (1969)
       'Nas Terras Do Fim Do Mundo' single
04. Xarhanga - Acid Nightmare (1973)
       from single and retrospective album 'Bota Fora'
05. Xarhanga - Wish Me Luck (1973)
       from single and retrospective album 'Bota Fora'
06. Arte & OfÍcio - Lobster Society (1979)
       from album 'Faces'
07. Xeque Mate - Vampiro Da Uva (1981)
       single
08. Tantra - Maquina da Felicidade (1977)
       from album 'Mistérios e Maravilhas'
09. Heavy Band - Beggarman (1972)
       single
10. Heavy Band - Funky (1972)
       single
11. Go Graal Blues Band - The Fault Is Her Own (1979)
       from album 'Go Graal Blues Band'
12. Go Graal Blues Band - They Send Me Away (1980)
       single
13. Pop Five Music Incorporated - Stand By (1971)
       single
14. Pop Five Music Incorporated - Page One (1970)
       single
15. José Cid - Doce E Fácil Reino Do Blá, Blá, Blá (1972)
       from 'Green Windows' album and 'Cantiga Portuguesa' single
16. NZZN - Vem Daí (1981)
       single

references
Perolas do Rock'n'Roll | Euro Pop Music Rock em Portugal
Portuguese 80s Metal | RateYourMusic | Discogs.com
Whiplash.net

Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here. There is an interesting article here (portuguese, english), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.


Quarteto 1111 c. 1969
Lisbon's Quarteto 1111 did not make a lot of music of interest to tdats, but the song I've used, "Bissaide", is a grooving monster, and they were a cornerstone band in Portuguese rock. They began in the 1960s, influenced by the sounds of The Shadows, as many new bands were. According to an article at europopmusic.eu, the first Quarteto 1111 LP was banned by the PIDE for founding member José Cid's subversive lyrics and song titles. They made ground-breaking orchestral and symphonic pop singles in a similar vein to The Moody Blues, of which "A Lenda De El Rei D. Sebastião" (youtube) is particularly remembered. After the fascist regime's demise, they made an album in 1975 called "Cantamos Pessoas Vivas". It was Portugal's first proper progressive rock album. The band broke up and keyboardist/singer José Cid, who had already made some solo albums by this time, continued Quarteto 1111's prog legacy with the LP "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte" (10,000 Years Later Between Venus and Mars) in 1978. There'll be more on José later. Read Rock em Portugal's full Quarteto 1111 bio here.

Xarhanga Acid Nightmare single 1973
Xarhanga
Acid Nightmare single 1973
(l-r) Júlio Pereira (
guitar)
Rui Venâncio (drums)
Carlos Patrício 
(bass)
Carlos Cavalheiro 
(vocals)
We move on to the next crazy-heavy track, this comp's namesake, from Lisbon's Xarhanga. 'Acid Nightmare' is a screaming slab of Deep Purple worship. Carlos Cavalheiro trys to hit the high notes like Ian Gillan, and sometimes he even manages it! There's really nothing else from Portugal to compare with at the time. Their singles were recorded in the PolySom studio in Lisbon. The band was Júlio Pereira, (keyboards, piano, guitar, ex-Petrus Castrus), Carlos Cavalheiro, (vocals, to Alarm ) and Carlos Patrício (bass). Rui Venâncio drummed on the first single (included here) and Zé da Cadela (ex-Objectivo) drummed on the second single "Great Goat / Smashing Life (In a City)". There is very little additional information on Xarhanga, but Júlio Pereira and Carlos Cavalheiro made an album in 1975 called "Bota Fora" which was a different kind of affair, not hard rock but latin-flavoured progressive rock with prominent piano and keyboards. This album was re-issued in 2008, with all the Xarhanga singles as a bonus, by the 'Portuguese Progressive Pearls' label.

Arte & Ofício
Arte & Ofício
For track 6 we come to the first band that is not from the capital, Lisbon. Arte & Ofício were from the next largest city, Porto. They included veteran Álvaro Azevedo (drums, vocals) who was in Pop Five Music Incorporated and Psico, both of which will appear later. Singer António Garcez was also in Roxigénio in the '80s, who's first album I checked out and wasn't very impressed by. Arte & Ofício don't have anything in common with Pop Five Music Incorporated or Psico. They are humorous, often slickly funky, sometimes progressive, and don't rock that much other than the track I used here and a few others on the debut 'Faces' album, "Young Chicks", "Contradiction" and "All We Have To Do" are pretty good. Side one is where it's at. They do have a certain quirky something though, the playing is all top-notch and they sound like they are enjoying what they do, which goes a long way in making a record enjoyable to listen to. "Lobster Society" is funny and might be the first time I have ever heard what sounds like a genuine fart incorporated into a song, not to mention the burping and helium vocals. The recording session would have been amusing to watch at least.

Xeque-MateIt's time for some heavy metal with Porto's Xeque-Mate. They formed in 1981 and managed to get a single out the same year, making it one of Portugal's first metal releases. Many thanks to the great archive at Portugal 80s Metal (link) for the following info: Originally they were Francisco Soares (vocals), António Soares (guitar), Aurélio Santos (bass) and Joaquim Fernandes (drums). From the 6 demo tracks they recorded in Lisbon at Arnaldo Trindade studios, "Vampiro Da Uva" and "Entornei o Molho" were released as the single on label Metro-Som in 1981. The single got them an appearance on national TV RTP2. They entered the Grande Maratona do Rock Português (Great Marathon of the Portuguese Rock), along with Jarojupe (link), Bico d`Obra (link), NZZN, TNT (link). The 3 day marathon was organized by the "Musicalíssimo" newspaper, between December 18th and 20th 1981 at the Pavilhão do Cevadeiro, Vila Franca De Xira. After an album in 1985, the band split in 1989. They reunited in 2007 and have played a few times since. Read a lot more information here.

Tantra Mistérios e Maravilhas 1977
Tantra - Mistérios e Maravilhas LP - 1977
At the half-way mark now and it's time for some pure progressive rock in the vein of Yes or Genesis, from Lisbon's Tantra. Having more or less completely missed out on hard rock in the early '70s, late in the game compared to other countries, Portugal showed a flair for prog rock in the late '70s. Tantra was one of the first examples. The song used here, "Maquina da felicidade", is the centerpiece of their debut LP, "Mistérios e Maravilhas". It's a cool track, keeping the attention over its 13 minute length and getting quite nasty. The whole album is very impressive, even more so for a debut from apparently inexperienced musicians. The band was started by guitarist Manuel Cardoso and keys player Armando Gama. Cardoso was in the previously-mentioned Beatnicks for a short time. In fact, Tantra's first shows were supporting Beatnicks. The name Tantra came from Cardoso's interest in Yoga.

Final album
"Humanoid Flesh"
Maybe taking a few queues from Peter Gabriel, Cardoso started wearing rubber sci-fi monster masks on stage (you can see him wearing one of a character from "Soylent Green" on the final album). Gama was replaced by Pedro Luís for the second album, 1979's "Holocausto". This album was slicker, with less heaviness and more emphasis on electronics, prog heads may dig it but it's not as interesting as the debut to me. Things took a real nose dive in in 1981 with the final album, "Humanoid Flesh". Song titles like "Girl in my Head" and "What Have Your Eyes Done to Me" will attest that they took some bizarre U-turn into New Wave, making an album that seems to be a failed attempt to emulate the qualities of The Cars. The album totally bombed and they were finished. I guess Cardosa was trying to go with the times, and the general loss of interest in prog, but his next electro-pop project as "Frodo" was just as bad and it now appears to be totally forgotten. Read Rock em Portugal's Tantra bio here.

Heavy Band Beggarman single
Heavy Band
Beggarman single
Details regarding Heavy Band are very sketchy, especially in English. The band was Filipe Mendes (guitar), Zé Nabo (bass), João Heitor (drums) and São Paulo-born Fernando Girão (vocals). Mendes was previously in Chinchillas, and would later be in Psico and Roxigénio. Girão moved to Portugal when he was 17 and initially joined Pentágono, then Heavy Band. According to wikipedia (link) Heavy Band briefly moved to Angola in the early '70s and adopted some African influence, but I can't say I can hear it in Beggar Man. They recorded two singles, the second one was called "Your New Motel" but seems to have been made up of five 'movements' spread over both sides (link), unfortunately I haven't been able to hear it anywhere yet.

Go Graal Blues Band
Go Graal Blues Band
On to track 11, and one of the only bluesrock bands that released anything in Portugal in the '70s. Starting in 1977, by the time of their 1979 debut album Lisbon's Go Graal Blues Band had stabilised as Paulo Gonzo (vocals, harmonica), João Allain (guitar), Raul Barrigas dos Anjos (drums), Augusto Mayer (Harmonica), António Ferro (bass), J. Esteves (guitar) and João Cordeiro (lead vocals). it had mostly old school blues tracks, but there were a couple of up tempo ones like the opener "Baby, I wanna..." and the one I used here, "The Fault Is Her Own". In 1980 and '81 the band produced some singles with a tougher sound, including "They Send Me Away". "Lay Down" even had a gruff, almost punk sound to it like Dr. Feelgood. The next album was in 1982, with only Paulo Gonzo and João Allain remaining, According to the biography at Rock em Portugal (link), 1983's 'Blackmail' EP was the heaviest thing they recorded, and their final album was the "more mature sounding" So Down Train in 1987. Paulo Gonzo continued a solo career. Rock em Portugal points out that none of the Graal Band records have ever been re-issued, which is a great shame for the legacy of Portugal's bluesrock band. Read Rock em Portugal's Go Graal Blues Band bio here.

Pop Five Music Incorporated
Pop Five Music
Incorporated
Next up is Porto's Pop Five Music Incorporated (PFMI). They started in 1967 and originally had singer António Brito (later known as Tozé Brito) before he left the band for Quarteto 1111. He would also play in Green Windows with José Cid, and the pop quartet Gemini, as well as a solo career. PFMI made a wide range of music styles through their career, going from the typical Beatles/Hendrix covers that pop bands would often do, to BS&T horn rock, to heavier stuff like Hush (popularised by Deep Purple) and their own hard rock like the track I used here, "Stand By" (listen here). The group even had a European hit with one single, the incredibly groovy "Page One", which became the theme tune to the Radio Renascença (link) show called "Page One". The double CD "Odyssey - Complete Works 1968-1972" (link) is the thing to aim for, it has every song ever released by the band, including the entire "A Peça" album from 1969. The band split in 1972 and drummer Álvaro Azevedo later appeared in the previously-mentioned Arte & OfÍcio. Many thanks again to Rock em Portugal (link) for most of the details here. Read Rock em Portugal's PFMI bio here.

José Cid c.1978
José Cid c.1978
For the penultimate track, keyboard player/singer José Cid (b. 1942, Chamusca) finally makes his appearance. He was involved in many bands as you have read in this article already including Os Babies, Conjunto Orfeão, Green Windows and Quarteto 1111. He had also been writing and playing solo music and music for others since 1960. Not much of his music is suitable for tdats but I had to include his 1972 single, "Doce E Fácil Reino Do Blá, Blá, Blá", a fun and very rocking track. By 1980 he had become a household-name pop star, even entering the Eurovison Song contest, but in 1978 he made a symphonic concept prog album called "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte" (10,000 Years after between Venus and Mars) which regularly gets rave reviews over at progarchives.com (link). What's funny on that site is that many of his other solo "pop" albms are listed there too, almost all with zero reviews and 0.00 scores, then bang in the middle is the 10.000 Anos album with 142 ratings and a 4.25/5 score. As mentioned before, he was in the innovative group Quarteto 1111 and the 10.000 Anos LP was harking back to the days towards the end of that band when it branched out into prog rock. I'll go back to José Cid's and Quarteto 1111's prog for the next Potuguese volume.

The comp comes to an end, and it does so with some more heavy metal, this time from Cascais, Lisbon's NZZN. Coincidentally, their only album, from 1982, was produced by a Scotsman Mike Sergeant, who had worked with many of the other names in this comp, like Quarteto 1111, Green Windows, José Cid, and a band that will be in the next volume, Objectivo. Read some more about NZZN here. Thanks for reading!

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