Showing posts with label Miguel Cantilo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miguel Cantilo. Show all posts

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Day After The Sabbath 137: Tierra del Fuego [Argentina 1]

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It's time to look at Latin American rock again, this is the fifth round after Brazil (84), Mexico (89), Peru (104) and the general collection in vol 43. If you want more of the same flavour, you could also add the "Chicano and Latin rock in the USA" of vol 118 to that list too.

Argentina has always been a prolific maker of music, along with specialities like its native folk and tango scenes, it has been prolific in rock'n roll since the '50s. The country prides itself in "Rock Nacional" and singing in the native tongue of Spanish - you'll notice none of the songs in this volume are in English, which is unusual compared to any of the other national comps I have done, however exotic their location.

Some explanation of Argentina's love of rock is expressed here: "...there was no freedom in Argentina at that time. It was a time of oppression - there was a dictatorship. The police used to arrest hippies and cut their hair, or arrest them and torture them. And when they were freed a lot of them took up their guitars and began writing songs. It was a way to protest their situation. Rock Nacional became a motive to exist." - Ezequiel Abalos, DJ and Rock historian (link)

There are many old bands to find from Argentina, of the South American countries it has probably the largest amount of hard rock I have come across so far and this hour of music will definitely have to be a "part 1" for the country, as there are lots more to include later in the blog, such as Vox Dei and Orion's Beethoven and many others. If anyone wants to suggest bands for a later volume please do!

In terms of hard rock and "Rock Nacional", Los Gatos are one of the bands to mention first. They were the first to make albums solely of their own compositions, and the first to sing only in Spanish. They were established in the Santa Fe city of Rosario in 1967, with two members coming from beat band Los Gatos Salvajes. Two prominent names that came from Los Gatos are original singer Litto Nebbia and Norberto Aníbal Napolitano (aka 'Pappo') who joined in 1969. Los Gatos' final LP in 1970 was one of Argentina's first LPs to include the "hard rock" combination of hammond organ with Pappo's distorted riffs, although most of its songs still bear the hallmarks of their beat/garage origins.

B.A. Rock I in 1970
Picture source:
Argentina's first big festival when it comes to hard rock and prog was the capital's "B.A. Rock" (Buenos Aires Rock), which initially had three annual installments from 1970 to 1972. It was organised by Pelo magazine editor Daniel Ripoll and the first two were staged at the Palermo Velodrome.

Los Gatos were there, as well as Vox Dei and names showing-up in this comp such as Miguel Abuelo, Contraluz, Piel De Pueblo and Pappo's Blues. Later the festival drew international names like the UK's Spirit Of John Morgan. In 1982 there was a revival with "B.A. Rock IV".

B.A. Rock II (1971)

01. Alejandro Medina y La Pesada - Algo Muy Profundo [intro edit] (1974)
       from album 'Alejandro Medina y La Pesada'
02. Contraluz - La Sarna Del Viento (1973)
       from album 'Americanos'
03. El Reloj - Vuelve El Día a Reinar (1973)
       single - also found on "Cronologia I" (BMG 1995)
04. Miguel Cantilo y Grupo 'Sur' - Algo Está Por Suceder (1975)
       from album 'Miguel Cantilo y Grupo Sur'
05. La Banda Del Paraiso - No Lo Veo (1973)
       from album 'La Banda Del Paraiso'
06. Ricardo Soulé - Muchos Caminos y Desafios (1977)
       from album 'Vuelta a Casa'
07. Miguel Abuelo & Nada - Octavo Sendero (1973)
       from album 'Miguel Abuelo & Nada'
08. Los Gatos - Invasion (1970)
       from album 'Rock De La Mujer Perdida'
09. Piel De Pueblo - Silencio Para Un Pueblo Dormido (1972)
       from album 'Rock De Las Heridas'
10. Caballo Vapor - Sembrare Tu Piel (1976)
11. Pescado Rabioso - Sombra De La Noche Negra (1973)
       from album 'Pescado 2'
12. Plus - Apagón De Luces En La Curva (1978)
       from album 'Plus'
13. Aquelarre - Canto (1972)
       from album 'Aquelarre'
14. Luis Alberto Spinetta - Castillo De Piedra (1971)
       from album 'Almendra'
15. Pappo's Blues - Insoluble (1972)
       from album 'Pappo's Blues 2'
16. Alejandro Medina y La Pesada - Algo Muy Profundo [reprise edit] (1974)
       from album 'Alejandro Medina y La Pesada'

References | |

Alejandro Medina y La Pesada
Starting (and ending) with edits of a track from Alejandro Medina y La Pesada's eponymously-titled LP, these book-end the comp with some haunting progressive folk rock. Bass player and song writer Alejandro Medina was in a bunch of bands including forming blues rockers Manal, as well as Pappo's Blues and Aeroblus with Pappo.

La Pesada del Rock and Roll (literally meaning "The Heavy Rock and Roll") was originally formed by producer Jorge Álvarez as a backing band for Billy Bond. Throughout its changing roster it included many of Argentina's top rock musicians and backed other records such as Raúl Porchetto's Cristo Rock, and made an LP proper in 1972 as La Pesada called "Buenos Aires Blus". La Pasada has its own Spanish Wiki page (link).

Contraluz -
Contraluz - "Americanos"
Contraluz opens firing on all cylinders with the next track, they made an album in 1973 called "Americanos" which has a diverse mix of plaintive folk-tinged prog with flutes and some heavy blasters with really fierce guitar credited to Carlos Barrios.

"La Sarna Del Viento" rages along with impassioned vocals from Alvaro Cañada, it's about as heavy and foreboding as anything from 1973. The break-down at the half way point is pure over-driven heavy metal and this whole track is an absolute delight that builds and builds. Contraluz has made occasional re-appearances and recorded a new album as recently as 2011.

El Reloj - Vuelve El Día a Reinar
El Reloj 45
b/w "Vuelve El Día a Reinar"
Rosario's El Reloj ("The Clock") started in 1971 and made their name as one of Argentina's original purveyors of heavy progressive rock. They are often compared to Deep Purple, and with their swirling hammond and fast, technical style that often verges on heavy metal, they certainly deserve that comparison.

Their early singles, of which "Vuelve El Día a Reinar" is one, have a more direct hard rock approach, their subsequent albums became more symphonic and experimental, while still frequently displaying metallic speed and precision. El Reloj has sporadically made new LPs into the 2000s but has unfortunately been hindered by the deaths of some original members.

Miguel Cantilo y Grupo 'Sur'
Miguel Cantilo y Grupo 'Sur'
The Miguel Cantilo y Grupo 'Sur' LP was released in 1975 (although it would appear to have been recorded in 1973) which brought together the talents of Miguel Cantilo who had previously been one half of the folk-rock duo Pedro y Pablo, and musicians from other acts such as Piel De Pueblo (guitarist Willy Pedemonte) and La Cofradía De La Flor Solar (writer Kubero Díaz - also of La Pesada Del Rock & Roll).

Similarly to Contraluz, and seemingly many other Argentine acts of the early '70s, the record uses a base of folk songs and incorporates some wild hard-rocking when the mood fits. "Algo Está Por Suceder" is a great example of this, and hits some frantic highs with great interplay of guitar and violin with Miguel's versatile vocals. Violinist Jorge Pinchevsky (also of La Pesada) later played on Gong's "Shamal" LP.

La Banda Del Paraiso
La Banda Del Paraiso
La Banda Del Paraiso's sole LP from 1973 is a boogie-blues affair which is played very competently and in the main is a fun laid-back set featuring a horn section. The band included past and future members of Pappo's Blues (Black Amaya - also of Pescado Rabioso) and Vox Dei (Raúl Fernández) among others.

It's not heavy but on the closing track "No Lo Veo" ("I do not see it") the band lets it all hang out with a thick stoner jam full of wah wah / fuzz pedal delights and looping solo motifs that repeat until burnt deeply into the synapses.

Ricardo Soulé - 'Vuelta a Casa'
Ricardo Soulé - 'Vuelta a Casa'
Next up is a track from the debut solo LP of a founding Vox Dei member, Ricardo Soulé. One gets the impression that Ricardo is a big fan of American rock and hard southern rock especially, as 'Vuelta a Casa' ('Back Home') is largely bereft of any Argentine influences and goes straight for a mid-paced solid chugging hard rock sound with some country twang.

There's not a lot of variation between the songs but what's there is a solid reliable set of grooving riffs and if you like Blackfoot you may enjoy this one. What it also has is a hint of '70s UK metal, so maybe Ricardo was listening to some Judas Priest or Thin Lizzy back then?

Miguel Abuelo & Nada
Miguel Abuelo & Nada
Bearing resembalance to Contraluz, Jethro Tull and the Italian school of '70s heavy prog, the Miguel Abuelo & Nada LP mixes varied styles that veer between accoustic folk, Beatles playfulness, Vox/Farfisa-assisted blues improv and doomy hard rock. It makes for an interesting journey.

Miguel Abuelo started Los Abuelos de la Nada in the sixties which appears to have been a hippie collective type band with a rotating line-up that didn't officially release any records until the '80s, passing through its ranks were many well-known names including the previously-mentioned Pappo & Kubero Diaz, and La Pesada/Manal guitarist Claudio Gabis.

If you dig Jethro Tull or maybe the cello/viola-driven heavy prog of Darryl Way's Wolf you should find tracks here to like.

Los Gatos - 'Rock De La Mujer Perdida'
Los Gatos
'Rock De La Mujer Perdida'
Before we start, the story goes that Los Gatos intended to picture a plus-sized girl in a presumably provocative pose on the cover of their final album, and entitle it "Rock of the Rotten Woman", but were stopped on both counts by the label, so they went with the band's keyboard player Ciro Fogliatta dressed in drag and the toned-down name of "Rock of the Lost Woman" (link).

Pappo joined for the previous Gatos LP, and on this one his bluesy guitar, heavier than before, combined with Fogliatta's prominent hammond organ, makes for some of Argentina's earliest hard rock on the tracks "Requiem Para Un Hombre Feliz", "No Fui Hecho Para Esta Tierra" and most-noticeably the instrumental appearing here, "Invasion".

Piel De Pueblo - 'Rock De Las Heridas'
Piel De Pueblo
'Rock De Las Heridas'
Piel De Pueblo were a short-lived act that there is not a lot of info out there for but their sole album "Rock De Las Heridas" is one of the best LPs I have included here, I clearly like it as it's popped up twice before in the blog.

The whole thing has a druggy, loose feel which is somewhere dead in the middle of hard rock and heavy psych; tempos shift, pedals wah and guitar leads wail in the glorious fug of swaggering riffs, sometimes complemented by violin that's played with the same attitude.

The guitar glory of this record can be partly attributed to there being two lead players battling it out; Nacho Smilari (later of Cuero) and Pajarito Zaguri, who were presumably already in sync from playing together previously in La Barra de Chocolate.

Caballo Vapor
Caballo Vapor
"Sembrare Tu Piel"
Caballo Vapor (which amusingly translates as "Steam Horse" or "Horse Vapour") started out as a brass rock band that incorporated some hard rock, quite a unique proposition in Argentina at the time, and made a decent LP as such in 1973.

It seems they dropped the brass section and although they did not record another album, continued in a funky, commercial direction on various singles until 1977.

Admittedly I have not heard all these singles but it seems that one of them had a B-side which was one of the heaviest things they did and that's what's included here. "Sembrare Tu Piel" hits a mean groove and thuds along in a satisfyingly Status Quo-like manner, with excellent bluesy guitar licks ricocheting off the main riff.

Pescado Rabioso 2
Pescado Rabioso 2
Pescado Rabioso was the second prominent band of  Luis Alberto Spinetta after his first, Almendra, had split and he had been travelling for a while. Spinetta is regarded as one of the most important figures in Argentine rock and he appears to have been a very talented and diverse writer; the many acts he started, or was associated with, cover many types of rock from psych-pop to hard rock to fusion.

Pescado Rabioso's three LPs (which was only really two as band-efforts, as the third is a Spinetta solo record in all but name) were very diverse but had some great rocking tracks and Sombra De La Noche Negra ("Black Night Shadow") is one of them.

Plus (1978)
Plus (1978)
Plus was started around 1975 by two previous members of Escarcha; Hugo Racca (bass, vocals) and Julio Sáez (guitar, vocals).

The first LP "No Pisar el Infinito" is my favourite but as I have mined it for the blog before, here is a track from their second, which was called just "Plus" originally.

It's not quite as brooding or heavy as the great debut LP but it still has their excellent playing and good hard rock tracks, albeit in a slightly more upbeat, commercial vein. Singer Saul Blanch was later in heavy metal band Rata Blanca.

Aquelarre 1972
Aquelarre 1972
Here's a track from an off-shoot of Spinetta's Almendra, called Aquelarre (menaing 'Coven' or Witches' Sabbath). Rodolfo García (drums) and Emilio del Guercio (bass and vocals) formed it after Almendra split.

They were not a heavy rock band and certainly less-so than some of Spinetta's later bands, but the debut s/t album is where to find some nice rocking riffs with clavinet used to make them sound a bit more funky and distinctive. Héctor Starc's brilliant guitar is a joy to hear. 'Canto' (included here), 'Jugador' and 'Movimiento' are the groovy tracks but it's a good album all the way through, while their second album is more mellow.

Luis Alberto Spinetta - Almendra
Luis Alberto Spinetta - Almendra
The penultimate track is from Luis Alberto Spinetta himself, from his first solo record after Almendra. I had some confusion with this as I first heard these songs on various re-issues that have come over the years that had different names, but it appears that the original release of the record was in 1971 and called 'Almendra', which is confusing; the cover of that issue even shows the band Almendra but in fact the music was played after Almendra split, by Spinetta with guests Pappo and drummer Héctor "Pomo" Lorenzo also of Pappo's Blues, as a three-piece. Various sources infer that the record label cashed-in on the defunct Almendra's status by using their image and giving the LP that name.

So on to the music. There's some of Pappo's heavy fuzz guitar but compared to the compact, efficient blues rockers of Papo's Blues, it's balanced by Spinetta's more ambitious song-writing and some people have compared its mixture of folk and rock to Led Zeppelin. This is especially apt as Spinetta's vocals do remind of Robert Plant's vocal stylings in places.

The mellower folk-inspired tracks outnumber the heavy ones but there's two absolute nuggets of heaviness on this LP: 'Castillo De Piedra' which is included here and features Pappo's fuzzy guitar grunt, and 'Era De Tontos' (which I included on Vol43) that is slower but menacing, in a 'No Quarter'-type way if I'm going to continue with Zep comparisons.

Pappo's Blues 2
Pappo's Blues 2
On to the final band in this comp and it's the one and only Pappo's Blues. In terms of heaviness and the kind of music this blog mainly exists for, Pappo's Blues is the go-to Argentine band in this particular volume, and their first three records in particular. I have used tracks from the first and third already in TDATS so here is a track from "Pappo's Blues 2" called "Insoluble", which displays his band's chugging blues-based rock.

Pappo started his band with some guys he met while they were all in an early formation of La Pesada del Rock and Roll; Black Amaya (drums) and Vitico Bericiartua (bass - soon replaced by David Lebón). By the third LP Amaya and Lebón had left to join Pescado Rabioso, so in came Héctor 'Pomo' Lorenzo on drums and Carlos Alberto 'Machi' Rufino on bass.

On February 25th, 2005, Pappo died in an accident on his motorcycle, leaving a legacy of excellent rock and blues in Argentine history. Since Pappo's Blues he had started bands such as Aeroblus and Riff, as well as continuing a solo and collaborative career, and is sorely-missed by the rock and metal scenes that he had a huge influence on.

Further related listening:
The Day After The Sabbath 43: Transfusión de Luz [Latin rock pt.1]
The Day After The Sabbath 84: Liberdade Espacial [Brazil pt.1]
The Day After The Sabbath 89: Pipa de la Paz [Mexico pt. 1]
The Day After The Sabbath 104: Onsta la Yerbita [Peru pt. 1]
The Day After The Sabbath 118: La Fuente del Ritmo [Latin and Chicano rock in the US]

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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