Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 99: Isolation Waltz (violins)

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Welcome to The Day After The Sabbath volume 99, approaching the full century! This episode brings you heavy rock and prog that uses violins. Hearing that, some of you may be thinking of making a quick exit, expecting a lot of country and folk. While there is some classical and folk influence here, I have looked also for tracks where the riffs are rock-styled, but played on violins. Showing the international appeal of the instrument, this set includes a wide spread of nationalities, including the UK, The US, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and even Argentina.

What has the violin brought to rock music? It is certainly an instrument famed for conveying emotion, especially those of a maudlin or introspective nature. Conversely, one of the stirring qualities of violins is how they can promote speed and vitality. A versatile instrument indeed, with many available techniques like picking, bowing and strumming. Some violin runs are played so fast that they can compare easily to the most technical parts in progressive rock, or even the fastest of technical and thrash metal. Let's get fiddlin!

01. Saint-Preux - Le Gouffre Amer (1972)
       from album 'le piano sous la mer'
02. Sinto - Things I See (1972)
       from album 'right on brother'
03. Darryl Way's Wolf - Isolation Waltz (1973)
       from album 'canis lupus'
04. Asgærd - In The Realm Of Asgard (1972)
       from album 'in the realm of asgaerd'
05. It's a Beautiful Day - Creed Of Love (1971)
       from album 'choice quality stuff / anytime'
06. Esperanto - The Duel (1974)
       from album 'danse macabre'
07. Ñu - Profecia (1978)
       from album 'cuentos de ayer y de hoy'
08. Jud's Gallery - Catch The Fly (1972)
       from album 'swf-sessions volume 1'
09. Joe Soap - Get Out From Under (1973)
       from album 'keep it clean'
10. Zoo - Four Strings (Single version) (1972)
       from album 'i shall be free'
11. Raymond Vincent - Do It Now While You Can (1972)
       from album 'metronomics'
12. Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur - La Leyenda del Retorno (1975)
       from album 'miguel cantilo y grupo sur'
13. String Driven Thing - Heartfeeder (1973)
       from album 'the machine that cried'

esperanto-rock-orchestra.com | hannes-beckmann.de
darrylway.com | davidlaflamme.com
miguelcantilo.com.ar | metal-archives.com
gremmy-guitar.com | progarchives.com

le piano sous la mer'
Saint-Preux - 'le piano sous la mer'
The comp begins with an instrumental from the second Saint-Preux album. Saint-Preux (real name Christian Langlade - born 1950) is a composer of contemporary classical music and on his 1972 album he invited some guest musicians who added a hint of rock. On three of the tracks Claude Engel, who was in between stints of playing with Zeuhl legends Magma, played some great heavy guitar, and on Le Gouffre Amer (trans: “The Bitter Chasm”) it was accompanied by the violins of Michel Guyot and Patrice Mondon.

Sinto - Right On Brother LP

We move on to Sinto. They were a German (München) fusion band fronted by jazz violinist Hannes Beckmann that started in 1971. They included members of krautrockers The Rattles (see Vol49), Embryo and Between. With a diverse mix of ethnicities in the band, German to African to Cuban members that Hannes met while playing in a Brazilian ballet orchestra, they made fast music with the violin taking a leading role in the riffs. “Things I See” is a great example with it’s violin shredding right up front.

Darryl Way
Violinist Darryl Way was a founding member of UK prog band Curved Air. His post-CA band “Darryl Way's Wolf” included drummer Ian Mosley who was later a member of UK 'neo prog' band Marillion, and guitarist John Etheridge who went on to join Soft Machine. Wolf made three albums of accessible prog, all lead by Way's considerable fiddling skills, and in the later '70s he made contributions on Jethro Tull's "Heavy Horses" and Gong's "Expresso II". Darryl has continued to make solo albums and his most recent was last year. This compilation's namesake, "Isolation Waltz", is noteworthy as Darryl plays a viola, which is larger than a violin and has a deeper sound. The constantly descending riff stomps it's way along to a heavy ending.

Asgaerd were one of the first bands to be signed by the Moody Blues' label Threshold. The "Asgard" of ancient North European mythology means 'castle of the gods'. The band consisted of guitarist/vocalist Rod Harrison (ex-Please and Bulldog Breed - see Vol74), vocalist James Smith and drummer Ian Snow (who were both in the excellent 'Stonehouse' - Vol29), vocalist Ted Bartlett, bassist Dave Cook and violinist Peter Orgil. One of Rod Harrison's songs, "Austin Osman Spare'', was actually recorded separately by Bulldog Breed and Asgaerd.

In The Realm of Asgærd LP (1972)
They released a 45 in 1972 containing 4 tracks, and then a year later Threshold produced their one and only LP, entitled "In the Realm of Asgaerd", which has been likened to the early sounds of US bands Kansas and Styx. The track I have selected, "In The Realm of Asgard", is an epic tale of Thor and Asgard, and the music matches this grandueur with a powerfully-orchestrated, sweeping progressive rock ballad.

It's a Beautiful Day
It's a Beautiful Day - David LaFlamme (L)
David LaFlamme was the violinist in It's a beautiful Day. Since then he's has a sideline career as a character actor "the Annoying Fiddler", appearing in Frazier, Ellen and Wings, among other shows, as the strolling musician who stands right at your table in a restaurant, sawing away on his violin. David grew up to be a soloist for the Utah Symphony.  After serving in the army he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became an icon in the underground scene performing with people like Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin. After his short-lived Electric Chamber Orkustra, he joined It's a Beautiful Day in 1967. The their biggest hit was "White Bird" from the 1969 debut LP.

While being a very commercial sounding band, they rocked now and again, the best example being some tunes on side one of their third album called 'Choice Quality Stuff / Anytime". This is where "Creed Of Love" is taken from, David LeFlamme's roaring distorted violin sounds great over the funky riffs of guitarist Billy Gregory and the rest of the band.

Esperanto was the band that followed on from the earlier solo efforts of violinist Raymond Vincent, who's background will be filled in later when his track appears. His band Esperanto was a unique and complex symphonic prog band but that description does not do them service as they don't really sound like anything else I know. Their music is accessible but displays great technicality, with strings always at the forefront and musicianship to compare to any of the progressive greats of the '70s, as "The Duel" deftly shows. The track effortlessly turns on a dime from totally manic layered strings to enigmatic interludes with the ethereal backing vocals of Brigette Du Doit. The full-frontal violin attack is performed by no less than three fiddlers, with Tony Harris and Godfrey Salmon backing up Raymond Vincent.

Cuentos de ayer y de hoy
Cuentos de ayer y de hoy LP
Ñu started in Madrid in 1974, and had an adventurous outlook, incorporating flute, violin and folk influences into hard rock that had a hint of Sabbath heaviness too. On the first album, 1978's "Cuentos de ayer y de hoy"  (Trans: "Stories of Yesterday and Today"), from which I have used the opener 'Profecia', the violinist credited is Frenchman Jean François André. He is also credited on the second Ñu LP, after which it seems he left the band. Unfortunately he died in 2002.

Carlos Molina José
Carlos Molina José
The band still performs but with just one founding member, singer/flute player Carlos Molina José. In their early years the band's progress was stifled by label problems and other difficulties of maintaining a rock band in Spain at the time. I used an earlier Ñu single on the first Spanish comp (Vol39) and since then have discovered that the original guitarist Rosendo Mercado was annoyed to find he'd been replaced after returning to the band from military service in 1977, so he quit and formed Leño, another great Spanish band that I used on Vol39.

Ñu - Jean François André
The track 'Profecia' is a stunner, sounding like Tull and Sabbath on stage together. Alas, by all accounts, Ñu did not make another album like this and although becoming technically better they lost the heaviness on record and became a vehicle for Carlos Molina José. For their recent re-appearances however, their image seems to be cashing in on the huge heavy metal market that now exists.

Jud's Gallery
Jud's Gallery
We pass the halfway mark now and move on to some krautrock. Jud's Gallery came from Offenburg near Strasbourg. They formed in 1971 as a vehicle for singer/bassist Jürgen "Judy" Winter, with a revolving door line-up. During their three plus year history only one other member, guitarist Peter Oehler, was constant. The only music available is an archival release from Longhair records, which collects sessions that were recorded at Southwest German SWF Radio (now SWR) in Baden-Baden, 1972.

An interesting side story regarding this band is that Jurgen Winter successfully sued Gary Moore for plagiarism, accusing him of copying the guitar solo from their "Nordrach" track and using it on his 1990 hit "Still Got The Blues". The justification for this claim was that Gary's roadie, live-mixer and good friend at the time William Hindmarsh, did work with Jud's back on live shows in the seventies.

The Jud's Gallery violinist was Hannes Greminger, he was also in a band called Open Voice which made an album in 1984. On 'Catch The Fly' he does an amazing job of creating all kinds of spacey sounds over the band's hard krautrock, with different techniques like picking, this tune is a real trip.

John Tennent and David Morrison
Tennent & Morrison
Joe Soap
On to some more conventional rocking with a Stonesy number from Joe Soap. This band was a project of singer/guitarists John Tennent and David Morrison, who had released an album the year before as the duo 'Tennent & Morrison', which included a lot of musicians from Stone the Crows. Along for the ride came guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (Thunderclap Newman, Stone The Crows, Wings), violinist Mik Kaminski (ELO), drummer Gerry Conway (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, The Pentangle) and Jeff Pearce on bass.

The folk influences from some of this impressive lineup come through, but mostly the album is upbeat, fun and immediately likable rock, and rock it does in many places. Mik Kaminski's violin is not mainly at the forefront, but grooves away in perfect unison with McCulloch's cocky riffs to make it impossible to sit still listening to tracks like "Come Out From Under", which integrates the violin in a similar way to East of Eden on tracks like "Northern Hemisphere" (See Vol74).

Zoo - Hard Times, Good Times
single (1972)
Zoo was a quirky band that had elements of psych, soul, prog and jazz but is not easy to describe, having a unique sound over all. They mixed violins and a brass section in with some-times hard rock, but at all times there was a sense of fun and unpredictability. Original vocalist Joël Daydé ('68-'70) had left to start a solo career by the time of the album from which I have taken the instrumental here, "Four Strings". By now they had taken on English singer Ian Bellamy, to compete in a scene where they were sharing stages with the likes of Pink Floyd and The Nice. The violinists on Four Strings were Daniel Carlet and Michel Ripoche, and they battle it out over some heavy prog-jazz from the rest of the band.

By 1975, due to a lack of the success they had worked for, Zoo had been finished for a while. Brothers André Hervé (keyboards) and Michel Hervé (bass) started Z.O.U. with two further brothers Joel Hervé, Stephan Hervé, along with singer Maria Popkiewicz. After this André, Michel and Maria all had a spell in the afore-mentioned Magma.

Raymond Vincent
Raymond Vincent
The Belgian violinist Raymond Vincent appears twice in this volume, firstly as part of Esperanto, and here with a track from his solo album 'Metronomics'. Before both these efforts he was in the London-based Belgian pop troup "Wallace Collection". After WC split he played for a short period with Dany Lademacher and Roger Wollaert (who had both left Kleptomania), then with Waterloo's Dirk Bogaert. See the Belgian Vol61 to hear all three of these bands.

Metronomics LP
Metronomics was to signal the sound that he and keys man Bruno Libert would take further with Esperanto. Unusually, Metronomics was funded by, and used to promote, an alcoholic drink called Izarra, which is a popular sweet liqueur in French Basque Country and elsewhere in Europe. Metronomics is generally upbeat, and often likened to the Cantebury prog sound. "Do It Now While You Can" has lots of frantic fiddling, which is put through various effects and sounds really cool.

Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur
Nearing the end now and the penultimate track is from an album called “Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur” (trans: Miguel Cantilo and South Group). The first thing that struck me about it was the mesmerising psychedelic cover art. Something with a cover like that, from Argentina in 1975, was bound to be at least interesting. I wasn't disappointed, and I was surprised that the album doesn't seem to be one of the more talked-about from Argentina, a country with a great reputation for kick-ass ‘70s rock.

Miguel Cantilo
Miguel Cantilo & ‘El Bolsón’
Band leader Miguel Cantilo had been around since the ‘60s, starting out in a pop duo called “Pedro y Pablo” and continues to make music to this day. In 1975 he released the album that he was unable to realise while in the duo, making bombastic rock that he says was influenced by Led Zep and Deep Purple. As the LP’s inner sleeve pictures show, Miguel was involved with a Patagonian hippie commune called ‘El Bolsón’ at the time, and there are also lots of communally-sung folk tunes that seem to fit the imagery. In reality, only the last three tracks really rock out, but they are great! The track I have chosen, “La Leyenda Del Retorno” is one of those. It begins in rip-roaring fashion with the violin-lead riff right up front, starting as it means to go on and it does indeed have the bravado of an immediate Deep Purple track like Speed King. It reminds me strongly of another album from Argentina, "Miguel Abuelo & Nada", which I used a track from on the Latin Vol43. The Argentinian violinist was Jorge Pinchevsky. Just after this he would join Gong (there's that name again) during their Shamal LP era.

String Driven Thing
String Driven Thing - Heartfeeder LP inside
String Driven Thing is a well-known folk rock band, possibly a little too much so for TDATS, but this tune is perfect as a closer for the set. It is a dark, emotional and powerful track. The reason for this is said to be that it was written by leader Chris Adams while he was in hospital, recuperating from surgery for a collapsed lung, during which he says he was conscious while the surgeon was drilling into his breast plate.

The violinist of String Driven Thing is Graham Smith, who was also in a brief incarnation of Van der Graaf Generator simply called ‘Van der Graaf’, and contributed on the UK folk-prog Greenslade album “Spyglass Guest”.

Taken from the band’s third album, our closing track is called ‘Heartfeeder’, and that was what Chris intended the name for the album to be too. It is a harrowing track, that uses the skills of Graham Smith to beautiful, emotional effect with the ever-longing pathos of the violin. Unfortunately the record label were not happy with the disturbing direction that the music had taken compared to previous work, and the LP's title was changed to “The Machine That Cried”. They also insisted that the longer track's play times were edited down. There is an interview with Chris Adams and Graham Smith here at psychedelic baby webzine: http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/string-driven-thing-interview.html

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Electric Lounge of Aural Ecstasy - A Day After The Sabbath In 1975

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On Saturday 8th of February 2014, Scott Sroka (aka DJ Cheesus) and co-host Star Gazer dedicated an 'Electric Lounge of Aural Ecstasy' show on Core of Destruction Radio and The Razor KXRZ to music from 1975 (the year of Scott's birth) that has featured on this blog. In this download I have included the entire show, in three parts of around an hour each.

Scott and Star Gazer
Scott and Star Gazer
Scott, currently living in São Paulo, Brazil, has been presenting on Core of Destruction for a couple of years, and now also on The Razor KXRZ. He was a contributor to the excellent stoner rock community blog 'Sludge Swamp', that sadly closed its doors a while ago. Sludge Swamp helped me out in making a name for TDATS back when I started doing this, and also hosted demos for a few of the New Zealand bands that are joined up on the forum I started up when I was over there: www.stonerdoom.co.nz.

Scott broadcasts his show on a weekly basis, full details of which can be found here. He covers all eras of rock and metal with a different theme each week. He also maintains his own blog where he posts all his previous shows as podcasts and soundclouds, and has a Facebook group here.

The next TDATS comp is well under way, and will be dedicated to bands that centred on the violin, or used some nice heavy riffin' violin in their tunes.

Thanks for listening, and thanks Scott!

Part 1
Sanningsserum - Råg i Ryggen
Born Of The Wind - Cain
Breathless - Paris
Student's Idyll - Arktis
Broken Dreams - Angel
Boogimmick - Philippe Besombes
Drug Song - Janko Nilović
Speedball Morning - Tyla Gang
Burnin' Whiskey - Ruby Starr And Grey Ghost
Todos Rien De Mi - Agamenon
You May Be Religious / Junkies Lament - One St. Stephen
Can't You See - Raven
Dinosaur - Rabbit

Part 2
On The Run - Albatross
Destination Nowhere - Shaggy
30 Seconds Over Tokyo - Rocket from the Tombs
Y Gwylwyr - Brân
Biska 2 - Smak
Mikä Yö - Finnforest
Tecolote - Link Wray
Nipponjin - Far East Family Band
Liberdade Espacial - Casa das Máquinas
Electro Rock - Simply Saucer
Electric Silence - Dzyan
Reunion - Mariah

Part 3
Mover - Bullet
Neighbourhood - Schloss
Havoc - Witch
Land Of 1000 Nights - Mahogany Rush
Lady Of The Night - Fable
Night Birds - Neon Rose
Star Rider - Neil Merryweather
Face Of The Sun - Warlord
Far Side Of The Sun - Black Sheep
Let It Freeze - Zipper
6 Times - Ronnie and Natalie
Eu Não Sei de Nada - O Peso
Music's Gotta Stay - Sweet Toothe
Exit - After Life

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Monday, January 27, 2014

TDATS 98: Savage Hell (Duo Kribo special)

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TDATS 98: Savage Hell, Duo Kribo special by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

This volume focusses on an Indonesian band called 'Duo Kribo' which literally means 'frizzy duo', a name which makes sense when you look at both frontmen's wild hairdos. The band made four albums around 1977-79 and had good success, selling many thousands of cassette tapes (the predominant format in Indonesia back then). They are usually referred to as Vol. 1 to 4, though it seems some of them were sub-titled in some formats, with names like "Neraka Jahanam" ("Blasted" or "Savage Hell") and "Pelacur Tua" (Old Prostitute). The final one was a soundtrack to a rock'n'roll movie called 'Duo Kribo' that starred both singers. The movie was lost for decades but prints have been recently recovered and restored.

Duo Kribo Vol 1. cassette
I've recently been searching out bands of Southeast Asia, a region that has been greatly neglected by TDATS so far. Soon after starting, it became obvious that Indonesia and The Philippines had the largest number of suitable bands. Expect to be seeing the fruits of these searches in some typical multi-band TDATS vols to come... Many of you will have heard a couple of particularly good Indo collections in recent years; Those Shocking Shaking Days and AKA: Hard Beat, which are relevant as Shocking Days featured Duo Kribo, and one of it's singers was in the band 'AKA'.

The 11 tracks I have collected here are not definitive of Duo Kribo's sound. In a similar way to AKA's "Hard Beat" comp, this is all the heavy guitar tracks I could find from Duo Kribo though they created a wide range of sounds from pop to funk to hard rock. This diversity seems to have been a common trait of Indo and Southeast Asian bands; indicative of a market and culture that was intriguingly different from that of western rock, as was their prolific output during the band's short life span. This music is uplifting, happy and sometimes endearingly naive (maybe deceptively so), but displays great hard-rocking musicianship and above all, it's fun! Take for example the space-rocket rock of 'Mencarter Roket' or the irresistible funk of 'Kung Fu', with a typically wild vocal performance from Ucok Harahap. With the closer 'Uang' you even get some of the pomp and melodic guitar stylings of Brian May and Queen.

01. Kung Fu (1977)                                 07. Discotique (1977)
     from Vol. 1                                             from Vol. 1
02. Rumah Hantu (1978)                         08. Pelacur Tua (1978)
     from Vol. 2                                             from Vol. 2
03. Mencarter Roket (1978)                    09. Duo Kribo (1978)
     from Vol. 4                                             from Vol. 4
04. Penari Jalang (1978)                         10. Kenyataan (1978)
     from Vol. 3                                             from Vol. 2
05. Neraka Jahanam (1977)                    11. Uang (1978)
     from Vol. 1                                             from Vol. 4
06. Cukong Tua (1977)
     from Vol. 1

Duo Kribo movie poster
Ucok Harahap (L) and Achmad Albar (R)
Duo Kribo was started by singers Ucok Harahap, after he left AKA, and Achmad Albar, who was the front man of God Bless. I have been able to deduce that a lot of the Kribo guitar duties were carried out by Ian Antono of God Bless, but I'm not sure about the rest of the musicians as they are rarely mentioned or credited.

AKA was formed in Surabaya in 1967 and made many albums. They too have a diverse library of music including a traditional religious folk-tinged pop album called 'Qasidah Modern', but when they turned up the rock, they really did rock, as with 'Do What You Like' from the 1971 album of the same name. Ucok was ejected from the band and the three remaining members continued as 'SAS' group. Ucok then briefly started up 'Ucok & His Gang' (Uhisga) before Duo Kribo formed, and some of the tracks on Duo Kribo Vol 1. are attributed to Ucok & His Gang in the liner notes, including track 1 here, 'King Fu'.

Achmad continued with God Bless after the last of Duo Kribo's four albums. Sadly Ucok Harahap passed away on the 3rd December 2009, by all accounts he was a classic character of Indonesian rock and made a big impression with outlandish stage antics in bands such as AKA.

God Bless only made one album in the '70s, but as one of the only bands up to the job, they were selected to support Deep Purple's show in Jakarta in 1975, a show which had some tragic consequences. They were more active in the '80s and have issued albums sporadically up to 2009, they have also played live as recently as July 2011.


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Sunday, January 12, 2014

TDATS 97: Queen of the Neighbourhood [Female Vocals 4]

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A happy new year to you all. This is my fourth female vocals special after Vol19, Vol49 and Vol71. It's another diverse mix of new-to-tdats heavy psych, pop, blues and hard rock through the ages. All-girl The Pleasure Seekers was Suzi Quatro's first band and Martha Velèz's album had some big names playing on it like Eric Clapton, Paul Kossoff, Rick Hayward, Stan Webb and Brian Auger. Flame guitarist Jimmy Crespo later joined Aerosmith in 1979. Anne Sarofeen and Smoke's song is a cover of a track from the same Martha Velèz album that I took 'Feel So Bad' from. The Poppy Family offers a slice of creepy, ominous pop psych and Aura (not to be confused with the Aura on Vol93) was a brass funk band with great acid guitar. Cheryl Dilcher's otherwise pop-orientated album 'Butterfly' contained a couple of killer groove tracks with great guitar, 'All Woman' being one of them with it's male chauvinist-pleasing lyrics. Wild Honey were a Dutch band and their song here stands out from the rest as being part of a later-generation of rock.

01. Fear Itself - Crawlin' Kingsnake (1969)
       from album 'fear itself'
02. Made In Germany - The Arrow and the Song (1971)
       from album 'made in germany'
03. Sarofeen And Smoke - Swamp Man (1970)
       from album 'sarofeen and smoke'
04. Medusa - Medusa (1978)
       from album 'medusa'
05. Coreen Sinclair & Indiana - Hey Man (1971)
06. The Poppy Family - There's No Blood In Bone (1969)
       from album 'which way you goin' billy'
07. 60,000,000 Buffalo - Royalty Rag & Cocaine Shuffle (1972)
       from album 'nevada jukebox'
08. Flame - Queen Of The Neighbourhood (1977)
       from album 'queen of the neighbourhood'
09. The Pleasure Seekers - Where Have You Gone (1968)
       from retrospective 'what a way to die'
10. Cheryl Dilcher - All Woman (1973)
       from album 'butterfly'
11. White Honey - Nothing Going On In The City (1979)
       from album 'some kinda woman'
12. Martha Velèz - Feel So Bad (1969)
       from album 'fiends & angels'
13. Aura - Skyrocket (1977)
       from album 'aura'
14. Freedom North - Losing You (1970)
       from album 'freedom north'
15. Fort Mudge Memorial Dump - Crystal Forms (1969)
       from album 'fort mudge memorial dump'

Fear Itself was formed by Ellen McIlwaine in Atlanta, Georgia. McIlwaine sang lead vocals as well as performing harmonica, rhythm guitar and organ. Chris Zaloom performed lead guitar, Steve Cook played bass guitar, and Bill McCord was on drums. Paul Album (real surname) joined the group playing bass guitar after Steve Cook quit. The group performed at Woodstock Festival in 1969, and eventually separated after the bass guitarist Paul Album was sadly killed by a drunk driver. McIlwaine later moved to Canada and started a long-running solo career.

longhairmusic.de: When Made In Germany published their eponymous album on Metronome in 1971, this was the reward for their committed practising in grumpy rehearsal rooms for many years. All this began at Beethoven Gymnasium (College) in West Berlin. The West Berliners had started as a schoolboy band in order to play the hits of their protagonists. Under the name of "Cosmics" they still considered the "making of music" a hobby. Encouraged by the local success of competing schoolboy bands and highly infected by the general hysteria for the beat, they soon played in the 1st division. As of 1965 they caused a sensation under the name of "Take Five" in a Berlin youth club. In 1968 they won the first prize in an international beat festival together with the Chechen band "Atlantis". The bands became friends and saw each others. When the musicians of "Atlantis" split up, their guitarist (Stan Regal) stayed in Berlin, married and started to work in Audio recording studio. This was a favourable combination for the band to fulfil their dream to record their music material in a proper recording studio and to get a recording contract as they were technically well-experienced and sufficiently self-confident, too.

The musicians gave up the unpopular name of "Take Five" and called themselves Made In Germany now. Stan Regal provided them the possibility to professionally record in an audio recording studio. First of all, there was planned the recording of a single, an album should follow. A part of the recordings were already completed, when the boys got to know Rita Peuker. Rita was the singer in a local band and the boys had watched her appearing. They were enthusiastic about her and wooed away her at once. The titles were now adapted for Rita and newly produced. Rita became the front woman of Made In Germany.

First, "Don't forget the Time" was published a single recording of the album. A few months later followed an album newly recorded on a CD for the first time.

In this album Made In Germany linked positively pop and progressive rock elements. This is also shown in the duration of the individual titles lasting for within about 3 minutes and up to 9 minutes. The short titles demonstrate the ability of the musicians to compose compact, melodious songs having an unrecognisable value with high standard, in which the flute stands out as leading instrument. On the longer titles the musicians prove their talent for improvisation. They also worked in surprises in sound. In the case of "Man in History" the mag-nificent organ sounds in a church are shown. In that time, Wolfgang Schulz (guitar, vocals) studied electrical engineering and tried out a lot of technical fiddling. So he had developed a rotosizer, an equipment which is based on quadrophonic sounds. It sends sounds smoothly one after the other into 4 loudspeakers. By this, the listener gains the impression, the music is flowing around him. This effect can especially be heard to its advantage when the band appeared in live.

However, Made In Germany would not have been tied to a definitive music trend. "Our style is that we have none!", said Stephan Pade, the songwriter of the band, in a newspaper interview in 1971. "We produce our songs ourselves; presently we are somewhat progressive, but you never know what we will think over tomorrow".

Made In Germany
It is not surprising that Rita Peuker, the attractive front woman and the singer of the band, drew the most attention of the media on herself. In an article about "rock and blues girls" in the "Stern" magazine in 1972 she was honoured besides Inga Rumpf, Chris Braun and Joy Fleming because of her beautiful clear voice and it was reported about her position as the "girl in a group".

Financially, the album only had an average success. The reputation of the well-known band was especially restricted to Berlin. Indeed, the move to West Germany was repeatedly con-sidered , but, in the end, the band still stayed in their home town, Berlin, where it rather felt isolated, however. The recording company didn't support them when performing an all-German tournament so that the band couldn't sufficiently promote the album in order achieve a good turnover of their record.

In 1972 as well as in 1973 one each single was recorded for BASF which are contained as bonus tracks. In preparation for a second LP in 1974, there were other songs which were recorded in a Hamburg studio as demo version with a slightly changed team (new drummer). How-ever, this LP could never be completed, as Rita left this group shortly after the recording. From this time, there are three titles that can be heard as bonus tracks on the CD. Unfortunately, their sound quality doesn't correspond to the justified expectations. They shall not be withheld from the listeners, however, as a contemporary document.

In changing teams Made In Germany continued to play for several years. "Just for fun" the band recorded a German-language single which, however, can be ignored.

forcedexposure.com: Hailing from New York, Sarofeen and Smoke was led by singer Anne Sarofeen, who's described in the album's own liner notes as 'a lady both fierce and gentle, whose music knows truth, tragedy and beauty.' We don't really know if she's fierce or gentle, but her incredible voice has often been compared to that of Janis Joplin, Ellen McIlwaine and Mariska Veres (of Dutch stars Shocking Blue); unfortunately rock history is cruel and she never received the credit she deserves for being right at the top with other unique female singers. She has also composed half of the songs on the album. The album offers 9 songs in a bluesy, heavy psychedelic vein, which to a certain extent remind us much of Jefferson Airplane. Most of the songs are the band's own compositions, with the only exceptions being a take on Martha Velez, 'Swamp Man,' and a cover of 'Rocky Mountain Blues,' well chosen covers that fit perfectly the band's identity.

Sarofeen and Smoke LP - rear
tyme-machine.blogspot.co.uk: Sarofeen's vocal style has been compared to Janis Joplin, Ellen McIllwaine, & the Shocking Blue's (recently deceased) Mariska Veres, and if you like those vocalists you should give her a chance. Even if you don't like that heavy, bluesy 60's female vocal style you should still give it a try. Sarofeen & John Martin (especially the latter) wrote some excellent material for the album and the band is strong. Anne Sarofeen also performed on broadway in A Hard Job Being God and later recorded a second album (sans Smoke) entitled Love In A Woman's Heart, which I didn't find as good as this release. Smoke (& Sarofeen presumably) were originally from Auburn, NY, and at least one member of the band, guitarist Ed "Duke" Shanahan continues to perform in that area. He also recordedd with the band Siddhartha (for RCA) in the year before this release and has performed with blues and r&b legends like Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Bobby Comstock, & Bo Diddley.

The Poppy Family
The Poppy Family are up next with a short pop song that has an ominous feeling, especially in the lyrics. I love it! Although they are little-remembered now, they had their brief spot in the limelight with an international top-ten (#1 in Canada, #2 in the US, #7 in the UK) hit with the single 'Which Way You Goin' Billy?', which was on the same album that 'There's No Blood In Bone' is from. Here is what Allmusic.com has to say about it: "While in recent years dozens of would-be hipsters have written about the dark undercurrents to be found in the music of the Carpenters, anyone looking for a truly great bummed-out soft rock experience needs to dig up the long out of print debut LP from Vancouver's Poppy Family. While producer, arranger, songwriter, and general straw boss Terry Jacks later found fame for his hit adaptation of Jacques Brel's "Seasons in the Sun," his greatest work was with his then-wife Susan Jacks and their group, the Poppy Family. Blending moody soft pop with light psychedelia, the group hit a rich vein of gorgeous melancholy that made sadness sound positively sensual (the album's token "upbeat" tune, "Happy Island," is significantly also one of the set's weakest moments).

Which Way You Goin' Bill? LP (1969)
The album's two international hit singles, "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" and "That's Where I Went Wrong," are both tales of lovers on the run that sound as desperate as Del Shannon and as lonesome as Brian Wilson's worst nightmare, and such lost classics as "You Took My Moonlight Away" and "Beyond the Clouds" are every bit as strong, boasting clear but emotive vocals from Susan Jacks, brilliant if oddball Indian percussion from Satwan Singh, and melodramatic string arrangements from Graeme Hall. And the two side-closing "freakouts," "There's No Blood in Bone" and "Of Cities and Escapes," manage to be cheesy and powerfully effective at the same time. If the '70s were supposed to be about having a nice day, Which Way You Goin' Billy? shows the Poppy Family were one band waiting for a cloud to blot out all that annoying sunshine; at once kitschy and marvelously sincere, it's a great record worthy of rediscovery. [While Which Way You Goin' Billy? is out of print, ten of its 12 tracks appear on the Poppy Family compilation CD A Good Thing Lost: 1968-1973.]

Medusa - LP band shots with Gerry Brown and John Lee
This info is extracted the excellent Glorydaze Music: Medusa had 7 members, the core of the band was drummer Gerry Brown and bassist John Lee. They both had extensive jazz fusion backgrounds, Brown appeared with Chick Corea's Return To Forever but is now the resident drummer for Stevie Wonder and has achieved rank of master-drummer in the industry. Lee has played with Dizzy Gillespie and Larry Coryell's Eleventh House. Assembled in New York and signed to Columbia Records, the early Medusa recordings also included Dutch guitarist Eef Albers, who at one point had replaced Jan Akkerman in Focus, but had spent many years in outfits featuring both Brown and Lee. Also part of the cast were David Sancious and vocalist Eric Tagg (Beehive, Lee Ritenour).

Medusa LP front (1978)
Medusa LP front (1978)
Columbia had signed the band on the basis of their jazz fusion background, but the material presented to the label wasn't purist jazz fusion at all, the Medusa collective had wanted to pursue a more 'rock oriented' direction, which probably didn't please the label. The album failed, perhaps not helped by the fact that Medusa didn't promote it with live shows. The album disappeared into obscurity but has been rediscovered years later due to the reputation of the players. Lee and Brown reconvened the following year under the banner 'John Lee & Gerry Brown' for a joint album called 'Chaser', which continued the jazz fusion/crossover sound, and featured some of the Medusa members.

Coreen Sinclair & Indiana - For Little Birds / Hey Man

Judy Roderick & Bill Ashford
A huge thanks to Record-Fiend blog for this article on 60,000,000 Buffalo: "Upon the demise of the '60s, it was not uncommon for the folkies of that decade to embrace the rural rock movement of the early '70s. That is, if they hadn't already picked up electric instruments and started rockin' after the release of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home in 1965. In the case of Judy Roderick, who had put out two highly regarded mostly acoustic albums for Columbia and Vanguard in the mid-1960s, Nevada Jukebox was the product of a 1971 recording session with her new group, 60,000,000 Buffalo. Her signature voice was still there, although years of woodshedding in her adopted home state of Colorado throughout the latter half of the 1960s clearly had an effect on her delivery, which showed the influence of Janis Joplin and other female vocalists of similar ilk. The album photography shows her looking somewhat like a less appealing Bonnie Bramlett along with a man who is probably either bassist Brent Williamson or guitarist Don DeBacker [Edit: It's actually Bill Ashford]. What a pity that the ravages of living through the 1960s deprived Roderick of her elfin beauty that was readily apparent on the cover of her Woman Blue LP.

Nevada Jukebox - LP front (1972)
The story behind the group's name is unclear. Perhaps it has something to do with the number of buffalo that lived on the North American continent prior to their near extinction brought about by the colonization of white people. I've read that some folks compare this group with another Colorado band, Zephyr (which featured a very young Tommy Bolin on lead guitar). But other than the superficial fact that the two outfits both featured female lead vocalists (Zephyr's was the caterwauling Candice Givens), I don't think they have much in common in regard to music. While Zephyr was very much a rock and blooze band, Roderick's folk background clearly had a strong influence on 60,000,000 Buffalo's more rootsy sound.

Nevada Jukebox - LP rear (1972)
Most of the album's songs were written by Roderick and her husband William Ashford. The opening cut, the brief "Royalty Rag" segues into the cowbell-laden and quintessentially early 1970s ode to blow, "Cocaine Shuffle." "Canyon Persuasion" is a pleasant laid back piece featuring Roderick's strummed acoustic guitar and DeBacker's Leslie speaker-amplified electric instrument. "Lovely Ladies" is more of an all-out rocker with some somewhat herky-jerky time signatures, while "Denver Dame" may very well be an autobiographical piece that deals with Roderick's life experiences in Colorado. The traditional "Maid of Constant Sorrow" is definitely Nevada Jukebox's highlight and, in fact, just might be the heaviest version of this particular song ever committed to wax. Folk rock was a dying breed by the time this album came out, but bands like this weren't going to let the genre go down without a fight. Seriously, this rendition of this venerable warhorse fuckin' rocks, especially with the outstanding guitar interplay between Roderick and DeBacker. "Shake It and Break It" is a decent cover of a song originally done by prewar Delta blues legend Charlie Patton and features the boys in the band - DeBacker and Williamson - handling the lead vocal duties. More early 1970s vibes and plenty of cowbell are to be found on the rock-meets-folk-meets-country-meets-funk piece "Callin' You Down." After a fine arrangement of the traditional "Country Girl Again," there is some really nice slide guitar work on "American Money Blues." The closer, "Do What I Tell Me To," is a tune in the same bag as "Cocaine Shuffle" and "Callin' You Down" - definitely a product of its time."

Thanks to RDTEN1's review over at RYM for this information: "Flame's stomping grounds were Brooklyn. Depending on what references you believe, Flame was actually the brainchild of producer Jimmy Iovine who was looking for a platform to showcase singer Marge Raymond who had been pursuing a musical career since the early 1960s.  Raymond's career as a professional musician started when she was a teenager. She fronted Margie and the Formations who enjoyed a couple of minor early-1960s successes.  Working as a demo and background singer, in the 1970s she was a member of the group Sumagna. The trio (Raymond, Susan Collins and Nnancy O'Neill) never enjoyed success on their own, but became in-demand backing singers, supporting a wide variety of acts including Ritchie Havens and The New Riders of the Purple Sage. Raymond also did background vocals on her own, eventually catching the attention of Iovine.

With Iovine's support Raymond began working with drummer Eddie Barbato, lead guitarist Jimmy Crespo, bassist John Paul Fetta, keyboardist Bob Leone, and rhythm guitarist Frank Ruby.  As Flame the were subsequently signed to RCA Victor, releasing 1977's Iovine-produced "Queen of the Neighborhood" . The E Street band's Steve Van Zandt provided arrangements. While the band were quite an accomplished unit (particularly guitarist Crespo), from a marketing standpoint the spotlight was clearly on Raymond and her dark, sultry, slightly dangerous pout (check out the album cover). Raymond certainly had the vocal chops to attract your attention, though, like Joplin, it occasionally wasted on misguided boogie ('Everybody Loves a Winner'), or equally vapid AOR ballads ('You Sit In Darkness') that misinterpreted loud and shrill for good.

RCA made some attempts to market the band, sending them on the road opening for a host of national bands including BTO, and Foreigner.  It didn't do much for sales, though the band did hang together long enough to record a sophomore LP."

White Honey
White Honey were a melodic hard rock band from Groningen, Netherlands. The singer, Hanneke Kappen, went on to be a radio and TV personality and in 1982 she presented a hard rock radio show called 'Stampij'. Here is a 1980 clip of White Honey playing the song I used in this comp; 'Nothing Going On in the City'. Guitarist Erwin Java has been playing in Cuby + Blizzards (see Vol15) since 1996.

Martha Veléz is an American singer and actress of Puerto Rican descent. Veléz is the former wife of trumpet player Keith Johnson. Her son is performance artist, writer-poet, and singer Taj Johnson. Taj appeared as series regular for two years on Parker Lewis Can't Lose. Her brother is the percussionist Gerardo Velez, who has worked with Spyro Gyra, Patti LaBelle, Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison. Her first album 'Fiends & Angels' was a blues-psych-jazz-rock session where she was backed by the stellar line up of UK blues-jazz-rock musicians, inc. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Brian Auger, Paul Kossoff, Chris Wood, Mitch Mitchell, Johnny Almond, Rick Hayward, Chris Mercer, the whole Chicken Shack and most of the Keef Hartley Band.

Thanks for listenin! Rich

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

TDATS Top Ten of 2013

A rough top-ten of new and not-so-new discoveries that were mostly rocking TDATS towers in 2013. If they ain't been on a comp yet, they will be soon...

01. The Petards (Vols 95 & 82)

02. The Hounds (Vol 91)

03. Panda (Vol 64)

04. Warehouse (Vols 93 & 86)

05. Wildwood (Vol 94)

06. Fort Mudge Memorial Dump (Vol 95)

07. Yves & Serge & Victor

08. Haystacks Balboa (Vol IV)

09. Lynx (Vol 91)

10. Wild Turkey (Vol 94)

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

TDATS #96: Heat Exchange (with Craig Carmody)

Download from [mf] or [mg]

TDATS 96: The Heat Exchange Story [heavy 70s progressive psych pop] by Rich Aftersabbath
Four years to the day since this blog started, I have endeavoured to make this post a special treat for those that appreciate the same amazing buried prog rock finds of yesteryear as myself. This volume is dedicated to a band that I came across via a few singles they made in the early '70s. The second I heard them I was blown away by their original, and often progressive sound, and have spent the last couple of years wondering about how such a fully-formed, talented group could have sunk without trace, without album release, and with barely a footnote in rock history.

Occasionally I get a lead from someone who has come across one of the bands I have posted on Youtube, and offers me the info that I've been looking for....in this case the band is Heat Exchange, from Toronto, Canada. A son, and a grandchild, of a Heat Exchange member dropped me lines via a couple of tunes I posted. Eventually I was able to get in touch with Craig Carmody, the sax player, and by dint of age, unofficial band-leader of Heat Exchange.

Craig has stayed in music his whole life, starting a musical repair/retail business and is now happily retired, playing in a jazz/rock ensemble with some occasional session work. He has been more than helpful since I contacted him, and he set about writing this exclusive, detailed account of the rise and fall of Heat Exchange, giving me an insight into the trials and tribulations of a young struggling band. The story highlights bad management and the pitfalls and obstacles of the music business. The band was torn between the commercial expectations of a record label that did not seem to appreciate or know how to deal with Heat Exchange, and its own urge to innovate and rock out. This all-too often repeated scenario spelt the end of a band that deserved more. Some of the members went on to acclaim after Heat Exchange, notably drummer Marty Morrin, who was later in Canadian bands Truck, Goddo and Wireless, and many projects with which he is still involved. Guitarist Neil Chapman was also in Truck, and has continued with many more projects.

The download included here is six tracks in chronological order, as they appeared on three singles, released on the Yorkville label between 1972 and 1973. There is an obvious dichotomy in these songs, between the heavy prog elements shown in b-sides like Inferno, Reminiscence and Philosophy, and the accessible, funky pop fun of the a-sides. I really think the band's versatility could have propelled them to a level of fame which they unfortunately never reached. They did however record an album's worth of material, let's hope we get to hear all of it one day. If you would like me to pass any questions on to Craig, drop me a line at the usual email address or post them in comments. Following is what Craig wrote especially for TDATS.

Track list
01. Can You Tell Me (a-side)
02. Inferno  (b-side)
7" 45rpm single, Yorkville / YVM 45052 (1972)

03. Scorpio Lady (a-side)
04. Reminiscence  (b-side)
7" 45rpm single, Yorkville / YVM 45063 (1973)

05. She Made Me All Alone (a-side)
06. Philosophy  (b-side)
7" 45rpm single, Yorkville / YVM 45069 (1973)

Craig Carmody’s Origins
Craig Carmody
Craig Carmody
"I grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of eastern Toronto. My youth was filled with sports, particularly ice hockey. Like many young boys in Canada, I hoped to become a professional hockey player. Through elementary school I developed a strong friendship with Don Horsburgh, who had taken piano lessons for several years and had become a well-known performer playing at school assemblies and the like.

One Christmas I received a harmonica in my stocking and was soon playing songs on it. This was perhaps the first indicator of any musical ability. I’m not sure what motivated me, but I ordered a guitar from a catalogue and began to plunk away on it, figuring things out by ear. Leaving elementary school and preparing for high school, my friend Don suggested that I sign up for band and that saxophone would be a good instrument play, so that’s exactly what I did.

I guess I made some notable progress my first year studying the sax because (and I can't recall exactly how) I was invited to join a fledgling rock band called The Sessions. Even though my playing skills were limited, I figured out parts in the songs we performed and I had so much fun in that band that my interest in performing quickly superseded my interest in hockey, I was hooked!

My high school years were totally immersed in my new passion for music. I played in the school concert band, the school jazz band and various jazz ensembles including a group called the Studio 9 Jazz Quartet with my friend Don. I took every other opportunity to play that presented itself.

The Beginnings of the Band
I continued to study guitar and sax, and worked in a music store part time. When I left high school my guitar playing had progressed enough that I was hired to teach guitar lessons at a local music store. This was a great gig for me as I was making decent money, still living at home, and had lots of time to practice sax. Meanwhile, at my high school, a group of musicians two or three years younger than me had put together a band called 'Cloud'.

Cloud was a much better than average high school band and was quickly developing notoriety. They played mostly blues covers, but did so very well. At that point the band consisted of Neil Chapman on guitar, Gord McKinnon on keyboards and harmonica, Ralph Smith on bass and Marty Morin on drums. Ralph was dating my younger sister and therefore heard me practising at home, one day he came over to the house and told me that Cloud was considering adding horns to the band. He asked if I’d be interested in trying out. Though the members of Cloud were younger than me, I was impressed with their skills and I agreed to attend the audition. I remember the audition vividly. There was also a trumpet player there and when all was said and done I was invited to join the band; one sax, rather than a horn section. This group was the genesis of Heat Exchange.

Cloud continued to practice and scuffle about for the occasional gig while the boys finished up high school and I continued to teach guitar lessons. Our drummer Marty had been doing most of the vocals for the band and we decided that adding a dedicated singer would free him up a to concentrate on drumming. We auditioned several vocalists and chose the talents of an amazing young singer named Mike Langford.

    Craig                    Ralph                      Mike                    Neil                     Marty                  Gord   

Mike became our sixth member. Finding places to practice and opportunities to play was always a challenge, but we stuck to it. Being the eldest member, I was appointed leader of the band. In due course we signed with an agency and joined the musician’s union. We played the usual high school dances and whatever other gigs were offered to us.

Rock Hill poster 1969
Discovered While Rocking on a Hill
Our music continued to evolve and we started to introduce original songs. One of the gigs we played was a three-day outdoor music festival called Rock Hill, where we were ‘discovered’. [A lot of Rock Hill history can be read here] A few days after our performance on the big stage at Rock Hill, I received a phone call from Blaine Pritchett, who had been allowing us to rehearse in the basement of his small music store and acting as our road manager and supplier of our p.a. system.

Blaine told me that a gentleman named Roland Paquin, who managed several of the top bands in the Toronto area, had heard us play and was interested in managing Cloud. He said that if we took Roland on, the first thing he would do was find us a recording contract. A couple of days later we met Roland, he officially became the band's manager and the record deal search commenced. Cloud moved its rehearsal space to the basement of my parents’ home. Within a short time, true to his word, Roland began bringing over executives from record labels.

Rock Hill poster 1971
Rock Hill poster 1971
He would say something like "O.K. guys, tonight I am bringing over so-and-so from R.C.A. I want you to play through a few songs", he would recommend 3 or 4 tunes that he felt might impress the visitors. After we performed, Roland and the record company execs would go off for a meeting.

These were very exciting times for the band! After several of these sessions with different labels, Roland told us that he had a “pretty good offer from R.C.A." but that he wanted to bring down one more record label exec, from the Yorkville label (a small local label). We figured that having had an offer from a major label like R.C.A., Yorkville would be a let-down, but Roland insisted that we play for them. That evening Bill Gilliland and Richard Gael came to listen to the band. After our performance, Roland disappeared with the executives. Several hours later, he came back and wanted to talk to me outside.

We Had Made It!!!
With a very straight face he told me that we would not be doing any more gigs. I was, of course, dismayed. Then he laid out the details of the Yorkville offer. The offer included the following highlights, Cloud was to stop playing live gigs and to focus entirely on working on the tunes for our album. They wanted to give us the use of their recording studio to practice, to have a full-time producer work with us every day, pay us a salary to provide money to live, and give us a large sum of money upon release of our album. It was a phenomenal offer.

I was led to believe that the deal represented the largest and most lucrative recording contract that any Canadian rock band had ever signed up to that point in time. We were over the moon. The next evening we were picked up by fancy cars from the record company, taken out to dinner, then back to the offices where we all sat around a huge table in the board room and signed our recording contract!! *We had made it!!!!*

After Being Signed
Bill Gilliland was the executive producer of Arc Sound, the parent company that owned the Yorkville label. Richard Gael became producer for the band. It was his job to work with us to perfect the tunes that were going to be on our album. Arc Sound operated out of a sprawling building in a light industrial area of Toronto. Their complex included business offices at the front, a large factory area where vinyl albums and singles were pressed and a generous sized recording studio which became the band's home. [This is the same complex where Neil Merryweather recorded in early bands of his, The Just Us and The Tripp - see Vol68]

The factory part of the operation was fascinating. Many people were employed at huge machines manned 24 hours a day, pressing vinyl. It seems that they pressed records (probably under contract) for many major labels (probably supplying product for the Canadian market). They also manufactured records which were recorded in their own studio. Most of the records under their own labels were unusual things - instrumental covers of pop tunes, local country artists, small time dance bands etc.

The Ugly Ducklings - Yorkville promo shot
The Ugly Ducklings - Yorkville promo shot
The Yorkville label was reserved for their ‘rock artists’ and had their share of successful ‘hits’. The Ugly Ducklings had a monster hit with the tune ‘Gaslight’ several years before and just before we came along the band Ocean had a similar success with ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand’. The company was proud of their successes and perhaps a bit "cocky", they were convinced that Cloud would provide their next huge windfall.

For the next several months we worked on material for the album.  Every day we met at the studio in the back of the Arc Sound facility at 10:00 a.m. to practice continuously until 6:00 p.m. It was like a day job - except that we were doing what we loved to do - making music. Every Friday afternoon I'd go down to the office and pick up cheques for each of us. Our producer Richard Gael was there every day keeping us focused and making suggestions to refine the music. We were paid a meagre salary but most of us were still living at home, we were having the time of our lives. We were given a key to the studio and most evenings we were back at the studio partying and working on new music. Could life have been any better?

Cloud had an interesting way of writing new material. One of us would play a riff - an idea that person had been working on - the rest of the band would pick up on that idea and expand on it. We continued to add to the idea, each contributing an idea for the verse or the chorus, often taking the song in entirely different directions. Our music became more complex. My background in jazz surfaced through my contributions, Gord (a classically trained pianist) would often introduce classical or baroque figures. Our singer Mike would find melody lines that suited the tune and eventually come up with lyrics. It was truly a collective exercise with all of us having input. I honestly cannot remember a single time when an entire song was brought forward by one band member to be learned by the rest of the band, each song was created by the band as a whole and bore the influence of each player.

An Exchange of Names
We spent so much time playing and creating together that our individual musicianship moved ahead in leaps and bounds.  As we got closer to recording our songs, we received word that the band's name 'Cloud' might have to be changed. Apparently another band had released an album under the name 'The Clouds' and it was thought that our name was too close and could draw legal action. The search for a new name began. We were allowed to make suggestions but the record company insisted on having the final say. Heat Exchange was one of the leading contenders, we still didn't know our new name as we went in to record the album.

Recording the Album
When we were ready to start laying down the album tracks, we moved into Manta Sound which was considered the most up to date facility in Toronto at the time. The engineer/owner was David Green, he had a great reputation as an audio engineer. We later found out that much of his notoriety came from jazz and classical recordings and not so much from rock music. All of the recording/mixing time was paid for by Yorkville. They were extremely generous, allowing us to eat up hours of expensive recording time, in order to get each track just the way we wanted it. They also picked up the tab for things like renting a set of tympani because we thought it would sound neat in one of our tunes.

All the tracks were recorded and a 'rough mix' was done. As I understand it, at that time it was necessary for Canadian rock records to obtain an American label to handle U.S. sales, distribution and promotion. We were told that the rough mix had been played for the execs of several big American labels and that they were very interested in the album. However, they had some reservations and wanted to know a few things such as: How did the band go over live (we hadn't played live for probably a year) and did we have a hit AM single to generate interest in the album? So it was decided that we should release the most commercial song on the album as a single, 'Can You Tell Me' was the obvious choice.

The Heat Exchange Sound and the Singles
I'll explain a bit about the rock music scene in Canada in the early '70s. A lot of the music getting airplay on the major radio stations was very commercial (bopperish). FM stations were starting to play some 'artsy' and experimental rock music, but there was a real divide between FM and AM rock. Cloud's music was decidedly FM in style. We were influenced by bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and we were doing our version of 'theatre rock', we hadn't been focusing at all on 'commercial' potential. There also existed (and still does) the C.R.T.C. which was a government initiated program designed to assist Canadian recording acts to get airplay in Canada. Essentially the C.R.T.C. mandated that Canadian radio stations HAD to include a certain percentage of Canadian produced records in their programming. To further help the fledgling Canadian rock music scene a single new release Canadian record was picked each month and guaranteed airplay on every major radio station across the country.

Heat Exchange first single - 'Can You Tell Me' (1972)
Heat Exchange first single - 'Can You Tell Me' (1972)
The day that 'Can You Tell Me' was released, the band was called into the record company offices. We saw the first real tangible results of our efforts and learned the band's new name...'Heat Exchange'. A short time later, we learned that 'Can You Tell Me' had been picked as the single guaranteed to get national airplay. We were elated and all ran home to listen to our pop radio station (CHUM) to hear our song. We listened all evening and finally around 10:00 p.m. we heard it. There we were on the radio. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.  Over the next few days however we began to see a pattern developing. CHUM was playing our record the required 6 times a day but always in the dead of night - never during prime time. It quickly became apparent that the radio stations hated being told that they HAD to play that (or any other) song. So the initiative designed to help us and other Canadian rock bands get airplay was actually working against us.

We had decided to put the song 'Inferno' on the B side of the single. We hoped that its harder edge would better represent the band's real style and perhaps find some favour among the more alternative record buyers. Can You Tell Me/Inferno made it into the record stores and even got more attention in select cities. We heard that it made the top 10 in at least one centre. It appeared on juke boxes and probably sold some copies, but the record company was not at all impressed. They had invested many thousands of dollars in Heat Exchange and had very little to show for it. We didn't have an American label distribution agreement, nor did we have the elusive hit single.

Scorpio Lady single
Scorpio Lady single (1972)
showing typical Arc Sound logo/sleeve
Getting a hit commercial AM single became the record company’s focus. Our record contract was revised and we gave up the large amount of money that was supposed to come to us upon release of the album in favour of the right to record and release singles until we found the formula for one that was a hit. Our course had been altered considerably, now we were trying to come up with this commercial hit which really wasn't where our hearts were. We reworked one of the tunes we had written (not from the album) and our producer Richard Gael wrote a set of lyrics with a 'popier' slant and we went into a different studio with a different  engineer (hoping to get a more 'pop' sound) and recorded 'Scorpio Lady'. We needed something to put on the B side and so stuck 'Reminiscence', a track from the album, into that position. I really don't know if Scorpio Lady received any airplay but it was available in the major record shops. It's too bad, because I always really liked the song and the way it was recorded.

Cooling Off
By this time we were no longer collecting any money from the record company and were forced to go back out and play as many gigs as we could to try to keep bread on the table. We were travelling all over Ontario and parts of Quebec doing little gigs that hardly paid enough to cover our expenses. It was frustrating and when we weren't on the road we were being hassled by the record company to come up with a hit single. Several of us in the band were getting frustrated. One of the final straws came when the record company tried to talk us into rerecording The Ugly Duckling's song 'Gaslight'. It was a great song but it wasn't our song. We were not impressed!

We eventually settled on a tune to record and apparently went into a different studio again with a different engineer again, and the result was 'She Made Me All Alone'. I actually do not remember the recording session. I don't know if I blanked it out of my mind or what but it was probably 30 years before I heard that recording and I honestly had forgotten entirely ever having made the record. It's definitely me playing sax but I have no recollection of the song or the session.  One of life's little mysteries.  It must have been pressed into a single because one of the other guys in the band found a copy 30 years  later when we were trying to gather all of our recordings and have them put on to a CD.

I guess that at the time I was seriously considering leaving the band and probably did so right after we recorded the song. I needed to make some money. I was about to get married...

The End of Heat Exchange
I was getting near a decision to leave the band. I had met Laurie, my future wife, during the period of time in which we were rehearsing and recording the material for our album. She was getting tired of me being on the road and not having a reliable income and I was disenchanted with what was going on with the band so the decision to leave, while difficult, seemed logical. Laurie and I made plans to move west to Edmonton where we were married and would, in a few years, begin raising a family. I believe that Ralph Smith (bass) left the band at around the same time. He too had a girl friend who was not at all impressed with the rock and roll lifestyle.

In a rather odd twist, the rest of the band was hired to replace some of the guys in a band called Truck and did quite a bit of touring with that group. I'm not actually certain whether Gord McKinnon (Keyboards) did those tours with them or not.

Where are they now?
I guess that within the next while the rest of the guys drifted apart:

Gord McKinnon
Gord McKinnon
Gord McKinnon returned to the classical music world from which he had come. He eventually became an examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music then went on to obtain the title Dr. McKinnon and now teaches piano at the university level. "Mr. McKinnon is a former faculty member of The Royal Conservatory of Music and is currently Professor of Music at Canada Christian College in Toronto where he teaches harmony, counterpoint and analysis for the Bachelor of Sacred Music Program. He has composed many piano pieces for various RCM publications as well as contemporary gospel songs".

Ralph Smith
Ralph Smith
Ralph Smith (bass) hung up his axe and as far as I know, never went back to it. He entered the business world and didn't seem to look back. He and his family relocated to Edmonton where I was living so we saw each other from time to time and stayed friends. Ralph now lives in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Mike Langford
Mike Langford (vocals) seemed to disappear for quite a while. I do know that he continued to perform with some other bands and eventually settled in the small community of Peterborough, Ontario. I managed to track him down seven or eight years ago and he was working in a cabinet shop and doing the occasional gig. [A google search found that Mike has sung along-side a Peterborough blues band called The Channel Cats: http://www.mykawartha.com/whatson-story/3703485-soulful-channel-cats-have-market-hall-date/]

Neil Chapman
Neil Chapman
Neil Chapman (guitar) neilchapman.ca never gave up on being a rock star. Neil was a prodigal guitar player even before the Heat Exchange days and, of course, continued to make music his career. He went on to play with many bands (again, I certainly can't account for all of his endeavours) but one band I know he had great success with was called The Pukka Orchestra. I managed to touch bases with Neil four or five years ago when he came through Vernon, B.C. (where I now live) with Buffy St. Marie [see Vol76]. Neil also became a sought-after studio musician and continues to perform and record to this day.

Marty Morin performing Supertramp's 'Breakfast In America' with Classic Albums Live
Marty Morin performing Supertramp's
'Breakfast In America' with Classic Albums Live
Marty Morin (drums) similarly went on to bigger and better things. While I was living in Edmonton Marty came through performing with the band Toronto (with Holly Woods) A coliseum type tour. I caught Marty again just a few years ago when he came through Vernon with a show [Classic Albums Live] that duplicates note for note various famous albums (this particular show was The Beatles Abbey Road album) an amazing show. As far as I know, Marty is still doing those tours from time to time and also has a band that is dedicated to performing the music of Tom Waits.
Marty Morin in Wireless (1978)
Marty Morin in Wireless (1978)

Craig on stage in recent times
Craig on stage in recent times
Craig's Final Words
As for myself, after separating from Heat Exchange I moved to Edmonton, married and began raising a family. I established what turned out to be a successful music repair and retail business and learned to repair all manner of band instruments. I probably took a 5 year hiatus from playing but then drifted back into it. I played with a several bands in Edmonton including a large jazz band and an R&B showband called Cold Sweat which recorded one single (Betty Lou). In 1994 Laurie and I and our three sons moved further west to Vernon B.C. where I once again took a lengthy break from playing while concentrating on business and family interests. Eventually I was drawn back into performing and have continued to do so ever since. I currently play with a small rock/jazz group called Kath and the Tomkats as well as a large 11 piece showband called The Legendary Lake Monsters. I am happily retired from any day jobs now and only play music. My wife Laurie passed away in 2010 from cancer, but I have been blessed with a new lady (Arleen) and she has become the love of my life. I also do "casual" gigs and the occasional recording session as a studio player.

A few Final thoughts on the music of Heat Exchange. Because our album was never released, approximately half of our music has never been heard by anyone outside of our own families and friends.

From the tunes recorded for our album, the ones that made it into general distribution were:
Can You Tell Me
Inferno (B side for Can You Tell Me)
Reminiscence (the B side for Scorpio Lady)
Philosophy (the B side of She Made Me All Alone)

Remember that both Scorpio Lady and She Made Me All Alone were recorded later and thus were not a part of our album. Unfortunately, this means that some of our most interesting work has had next to no exposure. The songs that were chosen as singles or the B sides of later singles were the only songs on the album that were both short enough to put on a 45 single and (maybe) approachable enough to have some potential mass appeal. The rest of the songs on the album were much more "theatrical" and intense. The titles from the album that people have not heard are: 'Scat' , 'For Those Who Listen', 'Stopwatch' and 'Four to Open the Door'. “Four to Open the Door” is actually a suite with 4 distinct movements. So there you have a condensed story of the birth, rise and fall of Heat Exchange.

It has always been my hope to write a book about the Heat Exchange experience. I am now 64 years old and have health issues that mean I may never get around to writing that book in this lifetime. So getting at least a condensed version of the story out at this time seems appropriate."

Craig playing sax

Thanks Craig, and thanks for listening/reading. Drop me a line if you have any questions to forward to Craig.

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