Friday, April 18, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 101: Polski Hazy (Poland)

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Here's the best I could find from Poland. Stretching from 1968 to 1979, it's turned out to be another impressive array of unique hard rock, prog and psych from a country where it was not easy to make rock music in the period. I found a good article regarding communist censorship here. There's a couple of bands that appeared before on the East European comp Vol41, and the rest are all-new to TDATS. In a recent update, I have now concentrated on that part of the world again and made a volume about Serbia; 120.

The cover art here is 'Leshy', a woodland spirit in Slavic mythology who protects wild animals and forests. I have since been shown a front-page scan here of the 1906 art nouveau magazine where the image comes from, if anyone can enlighten me as to the magazine, or the artist, drop me a line!

01. Exodus - Pieśń Na Drogę (1977)
       from from 'The Most Beautiful Dream - Anthology 1977-1985'
02. Budka Suflera - Memu Miastu na do Widzenia (1974)
       from album 'Antologia I (1969 - 1975)'
03. Trzy Korony - Bierz życie, jakie jest (1972)
       from album 'Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony'
04. Klan - Mrowisko (1971)
       from album 'Mrowisko'
05. Czesław Niemen - Chwila Ciszy (1971)
       from album 'Czlowiek Jam Niewdzieczny'
06. Mira Kubasińska & Breakout - Luiza (1971)
       from album 'Mira'
07. Andrzej Zaucha & Piotr Figiel Ensemble - Księżniczka (1976)
       from album 'Piotr Figiel Music'
08. SBB - Dyskoteka (1975)
       from album 'Nowy Horyzont (bonus tracks)'
09. Niebiesko - Czarni - Purple Hazy (1968)
       from EP 'Niebiesko - Czarni'
10. Grupa Stress - Granica Zycia (1972)
       from 'Z Archiwum Polskiego Radia, Vol. 8'
11. Nurt - Piszę Kredą na Asfalcie (1972)
       from album 'Nurt'
12. Romuald I Roman - Talizmany (1970)
       from 'Z Archiwum Polskiego Radia, Vol. 5'
13. Test - W Pogoni Dnia (1974)
       from album 'Test i Wojciech Gąssowski'
14. Breakout - Ona Odeszła Stąd (1979)
       from album 'ZOL (Zidentyfikowany Obiekt Latajacy)'

Exodus was a symph-prog band from Warsaw that released its first album in 1980, but the track here was recorded in 1977 and included on 'The Most Beautiful Dream - Anthology 1977-1985'. Budka Suflera are a prog band from Lublin that made some heavy stuff early-on but soon became more commercial. The track I used here is an early recording of a later-released track and this is the heaviest version. Many thanks to Paweł at the TDATS fb group for showing me this one!

Gdańsk's Trzy Korony (Three Crowns) is here with some fine fuzzy pop. This band included singer Krzysztof Klenczon who was previously in the hugely important pop group "Czerwone Gitary" (The Red Guitars), which was equivalent to a Polish Beatles. Warsaw's Klan made a good album of progressive psych in 1972 called Mrowisko (The Hive, or "Anthill" in English)

Czesław Niemen
Czesław Niemen (born in a town called Staryya Vasilishki which used to be Polish but is now in Belarus) was an important and very productive figure in Polish prog. He made many albums from the late '60s onwards. This track is taken from his fifth album (1971) variously entitled "Red Niemen", "Niemen", "Niemen Enigmatic" or "Czlowiek jam niewdzieczny (I am an ungrateful man)" in different releases. This is the hardest-rocking of his records and probably the best one for TDATS fans to start at. Another interesting fact is that Czeslaw's supporting band in some of the the former albums went on to become a famous prog band in their own right, SBB. They appear on here too.

Warsaw's Breakout started life as the psychedelic band 'Blackout'. They became Poland's premier blues rock band and made many albums through the '70s. They had a singer called Mira Kubasińska and she made a couple of solo albums in the early '70s with Breakout as her backing band. I have used a song of Mia's for track 6, and the comp's closer is a Breakout track. Track 7 is some great funky jazz rock from Warsaw's Piotr Figiel, he made two albums that are very rare now. During my searches I found that jazz and funk were far more prevalent in Poland than hard rock!

The previously-mentioned SBB (aka Silesian Blues Band, "Szukaj, Burz, Buduj" or "Search, Break, Build") comes in at track 8, it's an awesome heavy jam, filled with growling fuzz, jazzy drumming and expert wah guitar. Dyskoteka is available as a bonus track on re-issues of their 2nd album, "Nowy Horyzont".

Niebiesko-Czarni EP (1968)
Gdańsk's Niebiesko - Czarni were a pop band that became more psychedelic and progressive as time went on. I have used their cover of Hendrix's Purple Haze, which was included on a 1968 four track EP. It's a great reinterpretation, the novel differences between this and the original may be intentional, or may be due to their inability to play it accurately, I'll let you decide! I found this on a comp of Polish beat called "Working Class Devils". In 1972 Niebiesko - Czarni made one of Poland's first double-LPs, a very adventurous rock opera called "Naga" (Naked). It used a lot of orchestration and I found a great track for the orchestral psych comp that's taking a while to make!

The tracks I have used from Grupa Stress and Wrocław's Romuald I Roman are both taken from archival releases that were recently issued by Poland's national publicly funded radio broadcasting organization, Polskie Radio. Neither band made albums, although Romuald I Roman did get an EP and a single out. Grupa Stress is the real hard rock hopeful here, and there's a few really heavy tracks from them. Romuald & Roman were more psychedelic. Here is some information, taken with appreciation from :- "This album compiles archive material by the Polish Rock group Romuald I Roman recorded by the Polish Radio over a period of several years, covering the group´s history from its formative years to its ultimate demise. The fact that these recordings exist at all are a miracle and since the group never managed to record an album they are the only source of material that tells their story. 

Romuald I Roman
In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s Polish Rock suffered from extreme limitations enforced upon the music and the artists by the Socialist regime, which considered long-haired and bell-bottom jeans wearing musicians as enemies of the state. Therefore many Polish Rock groups never managed to record even one album on the state-owned record label, especially if their songs were different from the Pop material considered safe by Government censorship. Luckily enough, the regime was also extremely bureaucratic and regionally partitioned, which allowed for some local sovereignty of some institutions, which was explored to the max by the Polish Radio, which had many regional studios and was able to record artists without asking too many questions. Thanks to the brave man and woman working at the Polish Radio all over the country many Polish Rock recordings survived the unsympathetic times against all odds. 

Grupa Stress
The band [Romuald I Roman] was formed sometime during the troubled days of early 1968, when Poland was shaken up by political unrest, demonstration and strikes, brutally quenched by the Socialist regime. The group´s founders: guitarist / vocalist / songwriter Romuald Piasecki and guitarist / vocalist / songwriter Roman Runowicz, both students at the time, met during a student strike and quickly merged their musical forces to create one of the early legends of early Polish Rock. They added a rhythm section (bass and drums) and quickly established a growing following performing many gigs around the country. Runowicz left the group by late 1971 and Piasecki continued to lead it under the same moniker until it finally disbanded in late 1976. 

These recording present the musical history of the group, which went through several phases like Psychedelic Pop, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock and eventually even Jazz-Rock Fusion. Their material was very ambitious and involved a significant element of live improvisation, which of course was most evident during their live performances. Although the sonic quality of some of these recordings is not perfect, the music is excellent from start to finish and provides a wonderful glimpse into the past, serving as a fascinating document of Polish Rock history. Definitely a must to all Polish Rock fans both in Poland and anywhere in the world. Highly recommended!"

Nurt LP 1972
Wrocław's Nurt made one album in 1972, and an archival second release appeared last year. "This is the criminally long-overdue reissue of the only album recorded by the legendary Polish Rock group Nurt. Founded in Wroclaw in 1970 by guitarist / vocalist / composer Aleksander Mrozek, it also included bassist Kazimierz Cwynar, drummer Ryszard Sroka and vocalist Waldemar Domagala. By the end of 1971 Domagala was replaced by Roman Runowicz, who was previously a member of the no less legendary group Romuald I Roman. The group performed extensively in the early 1970s but managed to record only one eponymous studio album in 1972 for the State owned Muza label and several Radio recording sessions."

Test 1974
Warsaw's Test was the heaviest hard rock band in Poland to produce an LP in the '70s, and one of the only ones too! Their 1974 s/t album has the heaviest, Deep Purple-inspired, hard rock that you're going to find from the country. To finish the volume of TDATS I will use some more information from :- "This is the only album by Polish group Test, founded and led by vocalist Wojciech Gassowski (previously with ABC), one of the greatest representatives of Polish Rock scene in the early 1970 and the first Hard Rock group in the country. The group included the talents of the great lead guitarist Dariusz Kozakiewicz (immortalized by his extraordinary performance on the "Blues" album with Breakout). Test´s instrumental sound was based on organ and brass instruments in addition to the usual lead guitar / bass / drums present in all groups at the time. In retrospect this music represents some of the best sounds of the incredible Polish music scene at the time. This expanded edition includes also the group´s early radio material. Wholeheartedly recommended!"

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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 100: Reel Ravers (at the movies)

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Welcome to the big 100! Here we have a comp of songs that appear in movies. There'll be more movie-related TDATS later with different themes, as it's a subject that interests me a lot and i've been on the look out for a long time now. You may think rock in the movies is not unusual or hard to come by, but in these examples the bands and the songs are lesser-known, good, heavy, and being seen played in the movie. Finding all these together is a harder task than I realised it would be when I started! A big thanks must go to the people who helped with some of the much-needed nuggets of information at the TDATS fb group, along with the amazing cameo lists at

Most of the films here are generally thought of as "exploitation movies"; movies that exploit a certain fad of the times, either in movie-making in general or else in popular culture at large. One example of a genre that you may think is a good source is the (road) rash of biker flicks that were popular for a few years from the late sixties onward. I certainly did find a good amount which had some great soundtrack music, but no examples where bands appear in person. I decided biker movies deserve their own volume later.

Soon after I first posted this, somebody made this comment. "It would be interesting to see not the songs in the movies, but the way Hollywood in general portrays "hard rockers". because it's cringing to watch. According to Hollywood, long-haired rockers are really the filth of the earth. dumber than poles, nasty and crazy.. Sad, really....stereotypes galore, "hairy biker rocker type" has become the villain everyone loves to hate."

My response was: "I agree, that is a subject that deserves a lot more attention.....there's a whole book right here. Most movies aimed at a general audience are about stereotypes though, what ever the subject. Exploitation movies especially, by definition. All the biker movies that had cool music and evil raping/murdering bikers - playing on the fact that rock did, and still does to some degree, play up to and thrive on the bad boy image."

Where possible I used tracks taken from the band's album or the movie's soundtrack LP. In the cases of Mystic, Luke Zane, The Bored, Atlantis, Forever More and Juicy Lucy, I extracted the audio from the best quality source (that I could get my hands on) of the movies themselves. "The Bored" suffers more than the rest from the fact that the sound quality of the movie itself was never good, and the only versions available at the moment are VHS bootlegs.

01. Mystic - The Mark Of Death (1973)
from "Horror Hospital"
02. Magic - Sorcerer's Advice (1978)
from "Trick Rock 'n Roll"
03. The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip (1967)
from "Riot On Sunset Strip" and album "Try It"
04. Luke Zane - Liar (1970)
from "Ich - Ein Groupie"
05. The Bored - Night of Bloody Horror (1969)
from "Night Of Bloody Horror"
06. The Mops - Goiken Muyo (Ilja Naika) (1971)
from "Stray Cat Rock: Wild Measures'71" and Mops album "Iijanaika"
07. Atlantis - Maybe Someday (1978)
from "The Alien Factor" and 45rpm single
08. James Gang - Country Fever (1969)
from "Zachariah"
09. David Lucas & Michael Greer - Water (1970)
from "The Secret Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart"
10. Forever More - 8 O'Clock & All's Well (1970)
from "Permissive" and album "Yours"
11. The Pretty Things - Blow Your Mind (1969)
from "What's Good For The Goose" and album "“Even More Electric Banana”
12. Michel Pagliaro - J'ai Marché Pour Une Nation (1970)
from "Finalement" and single
13. Freedom - Born Again (1969)
from "Nerosubianco" (aka Attraction)
14. Juicy Lucy - Slow Down (1971)
from "Bread"
15. Moby Grape - Never Again (1969)
from "The Sweet Ride" 

Psych-Out poster
Psych-Out poster
One of the things that makes these appearances interesting is the way they show how rock music was regarded in mainstream consciousness, or at least in that of the movie industry. The movie has been used as a vehicle for big acts from the beginning; Elvis, The Beatles, The Monkeys etc, that's common knowledge, but the counter-culture revolution of the sixties was the time for smaller bands in movies. Beat groups in light mid-'60s teen movies were a common sight, and psych bands in serious movies about the revolution like Medium Cool were too.

Often you'll see what Hollywood's idea of a psychedelic rave is; lots of naked, body-painted go-go dancers, mop-haired revellers manically thrashing their limbs around, monged-out hippies smoking joints on the periphery and bands bathed in liquid light shows trying their best to mime to a backing track and look like they're getting into it. A pair of psychedelic exploitation movies are prime examples; The Trip (1967) and Psych-Out (1968), which are available on a double-bill DVD. The Trip was written by Jack Nicholson and starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, pre-dating the trio's work in Easy Rider by a year or so. Psych-Out starred Jack Nicholson (who was also in a few low-rent biker flicks at the time, as was Bruce Dern who was also in The Trip).

The Trip poster
Both these films had psychedelic music sequences in Sunset Strip clubs. Psych-Out boasts the amusing sight of Jack Nicholson fronting fictitious band "Mumblin' Jim", miming guitar to a Purple Haze-inspired riff which was in reality recorded by Colorado band "The Boenzee Cryque". In The Trip, Gram Parsons' country rockers "International Submarine Band" were filmed in a club, but their performance was dubbed over with The Electric Flag's "Fine Jung Thing", a band which was commissioned to make the soundtrack in replacement of original contender International Submarine Band. The resulting LP was Electric Flag's first full album.

How was hard rock and heavy prog/psych represented? It came about in the lower-budget, underground movies of less mainstream appeal. Very few world-renowned heavy bands were in films in the '60s and '70s, but a young Yardbirds appeared in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up". As hard rock's popularity increased in the '70s, random band appearances became even less frequent, reflected by the lack of mid-late '70s songs in this volume.

Slade In Flame poster
Slade In Flame poster
There were a few movies made specifically about music and successful bands, in documentary format or mock-band stories for example. Some well-known examples are The Who in Tommy and "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park", but these are not TDATS territory.

A good one to check out is Slade's "In Flame" which gives an uncompromisingly honest view of the rock'n roll industry and provided more than a few queues for This Is Spinal Tap. Another is "200 Motels", which was a surreal story that revolved around Frank Zappa's band. I have avoided those and stuck mostly to movies that had character-driven plots, in which the bands are lesser-known and appear in a few scenes, like Moby Grape in "The Sweet Ride" and The Bored in "Night Of Bloody Horror", or had more central roles as characters in the plot like Forever More in Lindsey Shonteff's "Permissive" and Sorcery in Brian Trenchard-Smith's "Stunt Rock". There are a few examples here of music that was performed by musicians that did not make up an existing band but were brought together for the sake of the film, like Mystic in "Horror Hospital" and the band in "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart".

The Litter in Medium Cool
The Litter in Medium Cool
An interesting side story, and one which exemplifies the industry's sometimes fickle treatment of the rock bands themselves, is Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool. Excellent heavy psych band The Litter performed a full set for a club scene, only to have music from Frank Zappa's debut dubbed over the top in the finished movie. I contacted The Litter singer Zippy Caplan and unfortunately he cannot remember or recognise which song they were actually playing in the scene. There is a live Litter EP floating around on various archival releases which is all the tracks they recorded during the shoot. I had an idea to dub it back over the footage but I was unable to visually match any of the songs up as the flashes of the band are too brief . So it seems we'll never know now.

Horror Hospital poster
Horror Hospital poster
So let's get down to (movie) business, and track 1 of this volume. Horror Hospital is an English movie made in 1973. It was directed by Antony Balch, who is most well-known for this movie and some collaborative work with William S. Burroughs, with whom he always dreamed of bringing “The Naked Lunch” to the screen, but never did. The lead role is played by Robin Askwith, who is most famous for the “Confessions” series of sex comedies, and he still has roles in UK TV shows now. In the movie a disgruntled song writer goes for a break with a hippie-themed travel company “Hairy Holidays” and finds out the true intentions of the mad doctor who uses it to lure young people for his ominous uses…

The band shown in the film, which you can hear our protagonist Jason complaining about for using a song of his without credit, is rumoured to be three guys from UK pop/psych group Tangerine Peel: Warwick Rose (Bass),  James Gaynor (Guitar) and John Warwick (Drums). The song 'Mark of Death' was written by Warwick Rose under the pseudonym “Jason deHavilland”.

I found an unsubstantiated claim on an internet forum that The Mark Of Death was released on a single b-side under a different band/song name, but haven’t been able to establish the truth of this yet. Some cursory searching revealed that Warwick Rose was involved in a number of acts after Tangerine Peel, like Ro Ro and Warwick, in which Alan Ross (Ex-Tangerine Peel) had some involvement also.  Alan Ross had a complex post-Tangerine Peel career too, but I have not found any clues as to whether the postulated b-side was on any Rose, Warrick or Ross related singles…

Stunt Rock poster
Stunt Rock poster
In 1978 English/Australian director Brian Trenchard-Smith had the idea to sell a movie using the appeal of death-defying stunts mixed with rock music. He already had experience of making stunt documentaries, and chose Australian stunt man Grant Page as the star, who he’d worked with before. He travelled to the US and found a band. Almost recruiting Foreigner, he eventually made a deal with Los Angeles hard-rockers Sorcery, who had already developed a bombastic stage show of their own involving demons and wizards, and had been supported by the then up-coming band Van Halen.

Sorcery was made up mostly of musicians that had connections with show business and also did session/jingle work, although they were a bona-fide band, headlining their own shows. Lead guitarist/keyboardist and main song writer Richard Taylor had also played with Legs Diamond (see Vol29) Their stage show incorporated battles between costumed wizards which were complemented by extravagant stage effects and set-pieces. The movie has a thin plot which is used to hold together what is effectively a feature-length montage of quality hard rock, amusing stage antics and heroic old-school stunts. Something to get the Beavis and Buttheads in us all whooping with pleasure!

Sorcery’s efforts were cut on two LPs during their existence, which ended in 1987: Stunt Rock, and the soundtrack to 1984 slasher movie “Rocktober Blood”. The latter was a far inferior effort which apparently only had three proper Sorcery-written tracks, none of which were quite up to the standard of Stunt Rock. The quality of Stunt Rock’s music proved they had potential, and one wonders where they could have gone if they had wanted to escape the shady world of soundtrack work and become a proper signed band. There is an ancient official website here on which some DVDs and CDs of Sorcery rarities were available but it has not been updated for years.

Riot On Sunset Strip poster
Riot On Sunset Strip poster
1967’s “Riot On Sunset Strip” is one of the first and defining counter-culture exploitation movies. It was rushed for release within 6 weeks of the Sunset Strip curfew riots which occurred in late 1966. Club-going revellers who were frequenting the strip in larger and larger numbers were getting the goat of local residents and businesses by amassing on the side-walks, making noise and holding up traffic. Police were patrolling the area in larger numbers as a result, and inevitably friction occurred between the opposing sides.

It came to a head one night during a protest against the authorities’ plans to control the situation by forcing closure of one of the central coffee houses, Pandora’s Box. Revived from years past, the kids had been subjected to an archaic curfew law banning under-18s from the main drag after 10pm, and a rally about all these things was arranged for November 12 1966. Over 1000 young people attended the march and the strip ground to a standstill amid sign-waving and verbal protests. It’s suggested that the violence started after a car full of off-duty marines didn't take kindly to being held up and started throwing punches. It ended with a city bus being ransacked, rocks and missiles thrown at the police and multiple arrests. One of the detained was Henry Fonda, and Jack Nicholson was another attending representative of the Hollywood set.

The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband are two bands that performed as themselves in Riot On Sunset Strip, and the title track for the movie by The Standells is what I have included here. It’s one of the seminal garage punk songs, with the spirit of punk in every part of it, from the simple but unforgettable riff to the snotty, chanted vocals.  There are two interviews here at the great Psychedelic Baby webzine that have some comments about making the movie from members of both The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband.

Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Moving across the pond to Europe now, we have an exploitation movie called "Ich - Ein Groupie". This time it comes from the perspective of a female rock groupie, played by German actress/comedienne Ingrid Steeger. Her character travels around Europe on the trail of English band Luke Zane, because she believes she has fallen in love with the singer, Stewart West. On the way she descends into the usual excesses of drugs, lustful desires of rock musicians, devil worship and Swiss biker gangs.

Ingrid Steeger became a household name in the mid '70s due to her success in German TV comedies, the first one being a sketch show called Klimbim (Trans: Odds & Ends). Soon after, her past activities in naturist magazine photo shoots and cheap pornographic 8mm movies, as well as more professional soft material like "Ich - Ein Groupie", was revealed when distributors attempted to cash in on her fame by releasing them anew. She successfully took legal action to block them, and the public didn't take offence to her past. Her third TV series with director Michael Pfleghar (with whom it was later revealed she'd had an affair while married to a cameraman) flopped and her career nosedived. She remained well known but in parody. Her notoriety became the tabloid press kind, with stories of career failures and relationship strife, punctuated with occasional appearances in TV and theatre. After reaching a very low point in the last decade, in which she was living off unemployment benefits, the story has brightened and she has regained some professional acceptance and success in the theatre.

This movie is a bit of goldmine, as it has no less than three early and obscure hard rock bands playing in it (plus other genuine acts playing other styles), two of which have appeared in TDATS comps already; Birth Control and Murphy Blend. I chose to use the band who appear in the opening scene, credited as "Luke Zane". This is the band who's singer Ingrid's character falls for, and they play a bluesy hard rock song which I guess is called "Liar" as this is the main lyric. I attempted to find out if "Luke Zane" has any connection to real bands, but drew a blank, until..... After reading this article, front man Stuart West got touch, and had this to say: "Luke Zane was a strange band who sounded a lot better than we did in that film. Liar and Blues Train( which you can barely hear in the orgy scene in the film) where the only two tracks ever recorded. There where clashes of musical direction, I wanted to record some songs I had written, bluesy and prog rocky stuff, two of the band said it was not cool to record, so it never happened. I left the band in 72 and played with various bands. Luke Zane split up in 73.

The members where Steve Brown(guitar) Mick Melia(drums- good guy!) Steve Lynch(bass and dope!!) and myself vocals and sometimes bass/guitar. A good band when initially formed with Kevin Gorrin(drums- later to Magnum) Tiny Duncan( bass-later to many goodbands) found it difficult to get gigs due us not being "commercial" enough. We carried on doing bluesy, progy stuff and finally got a good following on Uni scene, blues clubs etc. Clem Clemson got us to play in Switzerland, which was a good move for us resulting in the film and gigs through out Europe. The name? Means nothing really. We where struggling for a name and I think Tiny was reading a Zane Grey novel and came up with Luke Zane."

 Birth Control (see Vol3 & Vol73) plays "No Drugs" from their debut LP and Murphy Blend (See Vol73) have an unidentified jam in an Amsterdam club.

From one of the worst films included in this comp comes a very obscure nugget of heavy psych, but luckily the movie is of the “So bad it’s Good” variety. The Bored play for a full 4 and a half minutes in the club scene in 1969's “Night Of Bloody Horror”, during which the anti-hero of the movie hilariously gets beaten up on the dance floor without anyone noticing. The film was an ultra-low budget slasher and the plot is an unashamed “Is he/Isn't he the killer?” Psycho rip-off about a guy who suffers from blinding blackout head-aches and an oppressive, controlling mother. The lead role of Wesley is played by Gerald McRaney, who may be known to US TV viewers as Maj. John D. 'Mac' McGillis in early-'90s TV series "Major Dad".

Night of Bloody Horror poster
Night of Bloody Horror poster
The scene in which we are interested is where our protagonist is sitting in a bar. As usually happens in these movies, luckily for us, the camera turns to a rock band for a few minutes which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. In this case we can see the band’s kick drum inscribed with the name “The Bored”, and they churn out a heavy dose of swampy-riffed, rhythmic psych, howled vocals and swirling keys. Unfortunately the sound quality of this movie is terrible, with ancient VHS reproductions being the only versions available at the moment on DVD, but maybe that suits the band fine in this case as the sludgy sound gives it an almost modern edge, boy I’d sure have liked to see this band live back in the day. If what we see here can be relied on, I think they could have held their own in a stoner-rock gig even now.

Nothing is known or documented about this gone-for-ever band, except for a few comments that I found on a forum which I hope are all true. Apparently the members were Jay Wilson (on bass), Toad, BJ and Bobby. They came from New Orleans where they used to get together in a bar called The Gunga Den, and at some point they supported Vanilla Fudge. Much later on Jay W. emigrated to Australia. Let’s hope something else comes up and I’ll certainly be doing my best to get some more facts. I found a long-defunct web page, started by Jay in Grafton NSW, but I have been unable to get any further:

For track 6 we move onto a Japanese movie. It is part of the “Stray Cat Rock” series, which was a set of 5 films made between 1970 and ’71. As many of the movies in this comp, they were exploitation movies, but their country of origin gives them a very different feel. Something that stands out is the style and quality of their execution. Urban Japan of the early seventies, in the cool hues that these films use, looks sleek and modern, even by today’s standards. Of course, the stories themselves were just as silly and nonsensical as most exploitation movies.

Wild Measures '71 cast
Wild Measures '71 cast
“Pinky Violence”  is a term used to describe the genre that these movies are associated with, which has been defined elsewhere as “sexed up, bad girl action films by the Toei studios.” It is true that all the Stray Cat Rock movies have strong female leads. The first in the series, “Delinquent Girl Boss”, is about an all-girl biker gang. The combination of director Toshiya Fujita and actress Meiko Kaji would go on to greater cult-acclaim with 1973's "Lady Snowblood", which is cited as a major influence on Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill".

Through most of the films there are appearances by real Japanese music acts of the day, which are generally not of much interest to TDATS, with one exception being a band called The Mops. The clip I have used is from the final instalment of the series, “Wild Measures '71” ( also known as “Crazy Rider '71”, “Beat '71” or “Bôsô shudan '71”)  and at one point The Mops appear randomly on the back of a flat-bed truck, seemingly in the middle of a tense part of the plot involving a sniper and organised criminals. They play their hilariously quirky piece, and drive off again just as quickly as they appeared while an amused group of on-lookers wave them off, and the bemused criminals scratch their heads, crazy! The song is great fun while still being pretty heavy, and can be found on The Mops' third album “Iijanaika” (1971).

The Alien Factor VHS cover
The Alien Factor VHS cover
I thank fellow rock obscurity enthusiast Adam Kriney, drummer in The Golden Grass, for the next piece of low-budget fun. In a great example of how these things can turn up in the least-expected places, a Maryland band called Atlantis appears in a Baltimore bar scene in monster slasher movie “The Alien Factor” (1978) and plays an entire song. Now it seems to me there’s a few reasons why directors may choose to do this. Is it a good way to pad out a few minutes of reel for the easy amusement of drive-in crowds? I’m sure it is. If you can’t afford to catch the zeitgeist with a popular band, why not use one that’s willing to offer it’s services for free in return for a little celluloid immortality.

Here’s some more info on Altantis that I patched together from a few internet sources: “The Who-like ‘Maybe Someday’ is a little-known garage single from a Baltimore band later known as The Lon Talbot Group.

Atlantis "Maybe Someday" 45
It appeared in the Don Dohler, sci-fi/horror flick The Alien Factor. The flipside ‘Moby Shark’ is a novelty fuzztone garage tune with wild stereo effects with lyrics that parody the ‘Jaws’ movies of this era. Singer/Songwriter Lon Talbot (David Aquino) recorded and gigged through the 70's as Atlantis, with various line-ups. They usually performed as a power trio, playing both original music and covers of the early British Invasion/Mod bands like The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and Manfred Mann.

The single was released around the same time as the film, receiving some college radio airplay, especially on Towson State University's WCVT. In the early 80's the band became ‘The Lon Talbot group’, and played in Baltimore's early new wave scene in clubs like The Marble Bar and No Fish Today.”

Zachariah poster
Zachariah poster
The James Gang wrote two songs for 1971’s ‘Electric Western’ Zachariah, and they appear in the movie playing both. The one I have chosen here is ‘Country Fever’. It’s a fantastic hard rocker. In my opinion easily one of the best that The James Gang ever made. Neither of the songs appear on a James Gang album, but both are on the soundtrack LP and Country Fever was included on a best-of collection. ‘Laguna Salada’ is played by the band in the opening scene, and it certainly has a Wild West feel. The image of the band rocking out in the desert while our hero Zachariah (actor John Rubenstein) practices his gun-slinging is a striking and memorable one.

A couple of other interesting musical footnotes in this movie is the appearance of jazz drummer Elvin Jones and film composer Michael Kamen when he was a member "The New York Rock n Roll Ensemble". The whole band play in a bizarre scene where Zachariah beds a girl while surrounded by the naked band as they play. In fact the whole film is quite bizarre, one of those ones where you definitely won't get very far if you wonder what's going on or why any of it is happening, you just have to go with it. The other lead role in Zachariah is played by Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame. A few of his early roles were in exploitation movies, including “A Boy And His Dog” which was a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi that I've have liked for a long time. More on Don Johnson for the next track…

The Magic Garden of Stanely Sweetheart poster
The Magic Garden of
Stanely Sweetheart poster
His first big screen role was in “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart“, a counter-culture exposé which had some cool music scenes in it. Andy Warhol himself referred to the film as "the quintessential, most truthful studio-made film about the '60s counterculture". The song I have used is from a drugged-out party scene about half-way through the movie. It shows a band playing a groovy psychedelic song called "Water", with one of the story’s characters singing in the anonymous band. From what I can gather this song was written by composer David Lucas and sung by actor/comedian Michael Greer who played the character of Danny.

Michael is remembered as being one of the first openly-gay actors in Hollywood (although not part of his character in this movie) and his great acting skills were limited to obscure movie roles as a result. He was apparently a talented singer/keyboard player too. The soundtrack LP for this movie had some other interesting tracks on it, including Crow (see Vol60)  and “Eric Burdon & War”. This movie was recommended to me by Johnny of The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, thanks man!

Permissive poster
Permissive poster
Next up is a Scottish band that has appeared in TDATS before, Forever More (see Vol25). After two albums they would morph into The Average White Band, but before that they played the role of the band at the center of 1970’s groupie exploitation film "Permissive". This movie is a desolate account of the relationships and dramas of the groupie girls that cling on to a travelling rock band. The sometimes graphic scenes are at times on the verge of soft core pornography but the real theme of the film is the hopeless and pathetic life of the girls that choose the life of groupies, competing for the affections of their favourite band members, while being taken advantage of by others in the business.

The song I used is “8 O'Clock & All's Well”. This was a track on Forever More’s first album, 1970’s “Yours”, but I chose to lift the audio out of the movie as they recorded a version for it which is faster and harder than the LP.

What’s Good For The Goose poster
What’s Good For The Goose poster
UK band The Pretty Things, who developed from a mod/r&B group into a psychedelic rock band, played a couple of songs in a club rave-up scene the UK sex comedy “What’s Good For The Goose”. The movie starred famous English slapstick actor Norman Wisdom, whose popularity was well-past its peak by the time it was made in 1969, in fact it was his last ever big screen role. It’s an awkward but endearing attempt to mix Wisdom slapstick, carry-on style sex farce, teen counter-culture and midlife crisis apologia.

The Pretty Things show up a few times, at the center of the hippie mob who descend on seaside town Southport at the same time that Norman Wisdom is driving there for a business conference. On the way he is cajoled into picking up a couple of free-spirited hitch-hiking girls, who are young enough to be his daughters. They show him a few things which disrupt his stayed life as a typical 2.4 children commuter dad.

The Pretty Things had a secret life as “The Electric Banana”, which was the name they used to record a number of library music records for De Wolfe Music, a company that syndicated recordings worldwide for commercial use in film, television and radio. Some say this was a purely money making exercise to help subsidise their ailing career and lessening record sales. The music appearing in What’s Good For The Goose was on the third of five E.B. records, “Even More Electric Banana”. Julian Cope wrote an extensive review of the album on his web site here.

Finalement soundtrack LP
Finalement soundtrack LP
Singer/guitarist Michel Pagliaro was the first Canadian artist to score top 40 hits on both the anglophone and francophone pop charts in Canada. He appeared in the movie “Finalement...”, in a dance club scene playing the song “J'ai Marche Pour Une Nation” (I Walk For A Nation). This was originally a single of his in 1969. The movie appears to have been a fairly unremarkable romantic comedy (I may be wrong as I haven’t been able to see the whole thing, and it’s in French), but the song is an excellent slice of catchy pop rock with a wicked hard rocking riff. Michel was also in Montreal bands Les Rockers, Les Chanceliers and Ouba. There’s lots of commentary on this hard-to-find film here, in French.

Nerosubianco (aka ‘Attraction’ worldwide), is an avant-garde film from experimental Italian director Tinto Brass. It was filmed in London and Tinto commissioned an English band to make the soundtrack. He chose Freedom, which had connections to a few other notable bands, Clark Hutchinson by bassist Walt Monagan (see Vol74), and Procul Harum by singer Bobby Harrison (see Vol57). Bobby Harrison (who had a later solo album that I intend to use in later vols) and early Freedom member Ray Royer had both been in the original incarnation of Procol Harum for their début 'Whiter Shade Of Pale', but were ejected soon after for Robin Trower and Barry Wilson.

What became Freedom’s first album, Nerosubianco (Black on White), was the soundtrack. I have chosen a track called Born Again. The band appeared playing it in the movie, one minute on an open top bus driving through London, then on a horse and cart. This song carries on into a surreal scene of scientists studying sexual activity. It’s a great psych track which verges on hard rock towards the end, and Freedom changed drastically on their second album to go in the direction of heavy blues rock.

Bread press book
Bread press book
Juicy Lucy was a short-lived commercial blues band that counted Mick Moody in its ranks, later of Whitesnake and other acts. The band was started by The Misunderstood (See Vol62) members Ray Owen, Glenn Ross Campbell (Steel guitar) and Chris Mercer (saxophone). 

They appeared in a movie called Bread, playing at an outdoor gig. The movie was recently restored and re-issued by the BFI as a special feature with “Permissive”, mentioned previously with Forever More. Paul Williams puts on a great vocal performance, he was the second singer for the band after Ray Owen left for a solo career. Two bands play for the home-made festival at the end of the film, Crazy Mable, and Juicy Lucy, who got involved through screen writer Suzanne Mercer’s marriage to Chris Mercer, the band’s sax player. A band called The Web also played, but did not make it into the cut of the movie that is now available.

Here is a minor adaptation of the BFI’s comments on the movie: “Five hippies pitch their tent in the grounds of a young aristocrat's estate. They end-up there unwittingly, thinking it’s a suitable camping spot for an over-night stay while hitch-hiking home from the Isle of Wight festival. During the festival they were upset by the profiteering surrounding it and their minds are on ways to make money from a similar endeavour but in a more hippie-friendly way. The aristocrat befriends the group and accepts their offer to paint his house while he is away. The group decides to use the grounds to stage a pop festival.

An unusual mixture of pop festival documentary and saucy teen comedy, Bread was exploitation filmmaker Stanley A. Long's second attempt at what he called a "counter culture gimmick movie". His first, Groupie Girl (1970), produced by Long, was based upon the real-life exploits of the film's co-writer, Suzanne Mercer. Her encounters with rock musicians, as salaciously filtered through the distinctively seedy vision of director Derek Ford, had given Groupie Girl the grimy ring of truth, and the film made a lot of money. Unfortunately, despite its title - contemporary slang for cash - the more light-hearted Bread did not.

Groupie Girl (aka I Am a Groupie) poster
Groupie Girl poster
(aka "I Am a Groupie")
I considered the movie Groupie Girl for this comp, and there was a soundtrack LP made. It contains music from real bands Opal Butterfly, English Rose and Virgin Stigma. The history of Opal Butterfly recounts that Lemmy of Motörhead was a member for a short time in his pre-HawkVVind days, as mentioned in his autobiography "White Line Fever", but this was before the movie. Opal Butterfly did not appear in the film, they just provided the theme tune and background tunes, although singer Ray Majors did have a cameo. After a bit of searching it seems that Virgin Stigma were made up for the movie. They were part of the plot and appeared playing in one scene, in a studio.

The film was a tale similar to Permissive, but in this case the story of only one groupie, rather than a competing entourage. English Rose was a short-lived London band that later included Neil Peart, when he was living in the UK before Rush existed. Neil mentions this briefly on his website here. Their contributions to the soundtrack, "Yesterday's Hero / To Jackie", were released on a single. The music for Groupie Girl wasn't of much relevance to TDATS, but it may show up again later.

The first century TDATS comes to an end, and it's been a sweet ride. Moby Grape close proceedings. They appeared in the surfer-biker-psychedelic exploitation movie The Sweet Ride, playing the great song “Never Again” at a Sunset Strip nightclub called The Tarantula. Thanks for watching, stay tuned for more! Rich

The Sweet Ride poster
The Sweet Ride poster
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

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

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Password:  tdats
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'

references | | | |

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:

Thanks for listening! Rich

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