Time Machine 1971 (Strange Days #4)

5-31-11

Time Machine 1971 – Strange Days #4

I will be writing a lot about 1971 this year, as it’s the 40th anniversary of 1971.  “Strange Days” magazine in Japan also writes a “Time Machine” column, and that’s what today’s list is based upon.  Strange Days is varying it’s lists a bit – last year, it only seemed to bother with UK original releases, and this year – it seems to include some US issues!

The June 2011 issue of “Strange Days” lists April 1971 album releases as:  The Doors “L.A. Woman” (Elektra US EKS       75011), The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” (Rolling Stones Records US / UK COC 59100), David Bowie “The Man Who Sold The World” (Mercury UK 6338 041), Thin Lizzy “self-titled debut” (Decca UK SKL 5082), Caravan “In The Land Of Grey & Pink” (Deram UK SDL-R1), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “4 Way Street” (Atlantic SD2-902); Procol Harum “Broken Barricades” (Chrysalis / Island UK ILPS 9158), The Nice “Elegy” (Charisma UK CAS 1013) and Captain Beefheart “Mirror Man” (Buddah US LP).

I remember April, 1971’s releases like the back of my hand!  I got the LP by The Doors ASAP, as the “Love Her Madly” single was great; Couldn’t wait to get my hands on “Sticky Fingers” – dismayed yet again, as the US & UK covers differ slightly; I did not know who David Bowie was, so missed even the US Mercury “MWSTW” release, but within a year or so, I would definitely know who he was.  Did not know anything about Thin Lizzy or Caravan.  I duly got to Caravan at the suggestion of a friend who knew I liked The Soft Machine.

I did not buy the CSN&Y double live album at the time, it was rather expensive – and I was not overly enamored of double live albums, either.  The Procol Harum was the perfect LP for me, then and now.  It’s easily my favorite PH LP.  I may have known about The Nice in 1971, but…definitely didn’t get this one right away (and it did receive a US issue, at some point).  For Don Van Vliet, I worshipped at the shrine of “Trout Mask Replica”, not “Mirror Man” – it felt like a cash-in album, being released by his previous record company, while he was signed to Straight / Reprise.

So, I own 7 of the 9 titles today!  I have deluxe editions of several, too.  The SA-CD of “Sticky Fingers” is still forthcoming.  I have a 5.1 DVD-A of “L.A. Woman”, and little paper album covers (kami sleeve CD’s) for David Bowie, Caravan and Procol Harum.  I do not own any copies of either the Thin Lizzy or Captain Beefheart albums here today.  Of the 7 that I do own today, I think the CSN&Y is the sole one I do not have a CD of.

So, I feel like I really know this particular release schedule.  Already becoming set in my adult listening habits, by April, 1971 – at age 12 – I will turn 13 on August 10, 1971.

Time Machine 1971

5-30-11

Time Machine

Phonolog Reports – New Releases

Week of May 31, 1971

Caught my eye:

BONZO DOG BAND – The Beast Of The Bonzoes (U.A. UAS-5517)

SOFT MACHINE – Fourth (Columbia C 30754) (LP)

McGUINNESSFLINT – Happy Birthday Ruthie Baby (Capitol ST-794) (CD)

AL KOOPER – New York City (You’re A Woman) (Columbia KC-30506) (LP / CD)

A Bonzo Dog Band best of for the US market, presumably at the time they broke up (?) – I own a UK version, released before this one; the final Soft Machine release with Mr. Robert Wyatt; Ex-Manfred Mann men in McGuinness-Flint (and a great single of the same name); Al Kooper’s solo career continues – I was no longer paying attention to him in 1971 – but I like him just fine in 2011.

Also of interest:

WEATHER REPORT – self-titled (Columbia C 30661)

PERCY FAITH – Theme From “A Summer Place” (Harmony KH-30607) re-issue

PETE JOLLY – Seasons (A&M SP-3033)

‘Fusion jazz’ from Weather Report, unknown in 1971; EZ hit re-issue from Percy Faith, with his early 60’s hit; “Easy Jazz” from A&M jazz pianist guy Pete Jolly.

Notable singles:

DEEP PURPLE – Strange Kind Of Woman b/w I’m Alone (Warner 7493)

FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND – Signs b/w Hello Melinda (Lionel 3213)

FREE – I’ll Be Creepin’ b/w Mr. Big (A&M 1266)

VELVET UNDERGROUND – Oh Sweet Nuthin’ b/w Who Loves The Sun (Cotillion 44107)

A good Deep Purple single, but definitely not a hit in the US; decent AM radio hit with FMEB “Signs” (sounds a bit like John Lennon, eh?); A Free single that isn’t “All Right Now”; the final vinyl 45 for VU?

This release schedule almost seems like they’re ‘holding off’ for summer to arrive, doesn’t it?  No big releases this week.

A Dream

5-26-11

A Dream

A little diversion from my usual writing about music.  A few weeks ago, I had a particularly vivid dream, which I will describe.  I was tired, and I went to bed listening to a recording of Van Cliburn, the noted pianist.

I had driven to San Jose, CA to buy a large piece of obsolete recording equipment; something like an early 70’s Sony reel-to-reel deck – a 2-channel (not a 4-channel) – but definitely a reel-to-reel tape recorder in a wooden case.  A Sony?  Not the TC-850, but more like a Sony TC-650.  By the time I arrived it was night.  I was alone.

The place I needed to go was near some places I had visited previous in San Jose – when I was visiting my friend Big Mark in the 1980’s – near Park Blvd. (or was it Park Street, where “Dedicated Record Collector” Rex’s store used to be, in the 80’s?), in what I can describe as almost an “industrial area” – warehouses, not homes or retail.  Where I was going was a ‘warehouse’ near Park Blvd.

I don’t remember knocking on the door, I believe I was “expected”.  I did find the man who was supposed to be expecting me, he was older than me.  He was alone.  We chatted a bit – he seemed to think that I would not expect it to be such a heavy piece of equipment.

I understood fully what I was buying from him.  It was inexpensive, $60 or so – the point of my dream was not about what the tape deck cost.  It was clear to me that it was more about how I had to ‘go get it’, where it was etc.

He assisted me with getting the heavy tape deck off of a loading dock and into the trunk of my car – yes, I think I was in the Suzuki SX-4 that I currently drive.  Did it fit in the trunk?  I think so.  It fit into my car, and we concluded our deal.

Then I woke up to the sound of 5:00am light rain outside of my window.  I realized that I had been dreaming – but I knew I could remember some details of my dream.  Maybe I am subconsciously thinking I need / want a working Sony reel-to-reel deck?  I do own a few, not sure if they all work or not.

But why did my dream tell me that where I had to go was San Jose, CA?  $60 for a reel-to-reel in a wooden case.  I suppose I presumed it ‘worked’, and that I perceived what I was buying was a ‘bargain’.

I haven’t dreamt a lot over the last few months, so this dream really amused me, and got my attention.  What is my subconscious telling me?  To make sure my reel-to-reel decks are working?  Do I sense a project that will involve my 70’s reel-to-reel decks?  I was quite taken with recording equipment, in the 1970’s – I learned to edit tape with an Edit-All and a razor blade.  The results were good.

Maybe I am just searching for ‘perfection’ the only way I know how?

Ryuichi Sakamoto – 80’s releases

5-25-11

Ryuichi Sakamoto – 80’s releases

In just a little over a month, I will be seeing Y.M.O. on stage at the Hollywood Bowl.  Without doubt, my interest in Y.M.O. remained after their break-up in ’84 by some of the glorious solo albums by keyboard player Ryuichi Sakamoto.

There are so darned many 80’s solo albums by him – here’s what I remember:

7″                 FRONTLINE                                                                                      ALFA JPN                   ALR-730

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve – released in England by Island Records, too

12″               BAMBOO HOUSES / BAMBOO MUSIC                                         VIRGIN UK                 VS 510-12

1982 2 TRKS with pic sleeve (with David Sylvian)

12″               ARRANGEMENT, THE                                                                     ALFA JPN                   ALR-16001

1982 4 TRKS with pic sleeve, insert (with Robin Scott)

CD                MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE (O.S.T.)                        MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1220

1983 19 TRKS from the boxed set

12″               FORBIDDEN COLOURS                                                                VIRGIN UK                 VS 601-12

1983 3 TRKS with pic sleeve (with David Sylvian)

CD                FAVORITE VISIONS                                                                         NIPPON COL JPN    COCB-53331

1983 7 TRKS (’05 issue) (kami sleeve) collection of pre-80’s material

CD                ILLUSTRATED MUSIC ENCYCLOPEDIA                                    MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1091

1984 13 TRKS (2 x bonus tracks)

CD                CODA                                                                                                  MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1221

1984 16 TRKS Solo piano, from the boxed set

12″               FIELD WORK                                                                                    MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MIS-502

1985 3 TRKS with pic sleeve (with Thomas Dolby)

CD                ESPERANTO                                                                                     MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1217

1985 8 TRKS from the boxed set

CD                FUTURISTA                                                                                       MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1218

1986 10 TRKS 1 x bonus track, from the boxed set

CD                BEST SELECTION                                                                           ALFA JPN                   32XA-52

1986 13 TRK Collection – gets some of the early 80’s single material onto CD!

CD                ADVENTURES OF CHATRAIN, THE (O.S.T.)                              MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDC7-1017

1986 13 TRKS 1 x bonus track

CD                MEDIA BAHN LIVE                                                                            MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1219

1986 17 TRKS Live, from the boxed set

CD                AILE DE HONNEAMISE                                                                   MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1222

1987 15 TRKS Anime O.S.T., from the boxed set

CD                BEHIND THE MASK                                                                         MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCZ-1223

1987 6 TRK Collection, from the boxed set

CD                WORKS I – CM                                                                                   MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCL-1437

2002 19 TRK Collection (’81 – ’84 recordings) His work for film & TV

CD                WORKS II – TV / INST.                                                                      MIDI/SCHOOL JPN   MDCL-1438

2002 13 TRK Collection (’80 – ’84 recordings) His work for film & TV

CD                NEO GEO (CD + DVD)                                                                    SONY JPN                  MHCL 1363/4

1987 10 TRKS (2 x bonus tracks) + DVD, ’09 issue, kami sleeve

I only left in the really essential singles, and I did not include his late 80’s Virgin releases – I do really like “Beauty” (1989), but the above listed titles are what holds together for an essential 80’s Sakamoto solo collection.  Very fond of his collaborations with both David Sylvian and Robin Scott (perhaps better known as “M” – the “Pop Musik” guy) – too bad there wasn’t an entire album with David Sylvian!  The only post-80’s releases I am including are the 2 volumes of Film & TV work he did for Midi / School, both really rather good…

200 Blogs on WordPress (already)

5-24-11 – 200 Blogs on WordPress (already) + Gutbucket + Pink Floyd SA-CD

Hard to believe it, but according to WordPress, I’ve already submitted 200 blogs to be published (with this one today).

Seems like only recently that WordPress was suggested to me by Jim Donato.  No complaints about the service, as yet.  Same or better than Blogger.  The stats on this blog show the readership at a much greater number than the number of folks who comment on stuff.  Yes, there are quite a few ‘spam’ comments to deal with as well.

= = =

Within the last month, I have moved towards only posting 4 times a week (instead of five).  It’s true – some days, I have a hard time thinking of what to write about!  Lately, I have been writing stuff very recently – compared to when it gets posted.  Fresh thoughts!

= = =

A short while ago, we all went and saw a New York band called Gutbucket at the Redcat Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.  Good stuff!  They vaguely remind me of my other favorite new group, Polar Bear.  Is it jazz?  Is it noisy?  I really enjoyed the show, and I am enjoying their albums “A Modest Proposal” and “Flock”.  The men of Gutbucket played all up and down the west coast recently.

I am so encouraged that there are ‘new’ acts for me to listen to and follow!  Seems like I went quite a while without adding anything new to my palette.

Gutbucket are for fans of The Lounge Lizards (John Lurie), Polar Bear, Arto Lindsay etc. – you get the picture.  Jazz that isn’t jazz.

I bought LP’s from them, so I don’t have any CD booklets that fit easily onto the scanner.

= = =

I recently read that Pink Floyd are going to make an SA-CD of “Wish You Were Here”.  I hope they also make a DVD-A for those not lucky enough to have an SA-CD player.  I bet it’s an amusing multi-channel album.  DSOTM is a reasonably good multi-channel effort.

I was amused to read Nick Mason’s comments about it being “nearing the time when physical things like records will no longer be sold”.

Old enough to know better, so – cry, baby, cry…

Yes – Fragile (DVD-Audio)

5-23-11

Yes – “Fragile” DVD-Audio

I only got my 5.1 sound system in January 2011, and I went looking for multi-channel entertainment.  In my search, I saw Yes “Fragile” mentioned as one of the better sounding multi-channel (5.1) DVD Audio titles.  My smile turned to a frown, when I saw it being sold for $150 on Amazon.com!

I frantically went to Ameoba Hollywood in search of a used copy – for a better price than $150 – but could not find a copy for sale there.  I did all of my usual L.A. record store hiding places – but…nothing.  Until…

Well, the other weekend, I found it in an un-named used CD store for $15 – bingo!

Yes, it’s a true 5.1 mix.  No, I do not consider it worth $150.  (I don’t actually consider any 5.1 mix of anything worth $150).

The booklet in the DVD-A is nice, literally re-producing all of the original color booklet in the original LP edition.  I do also have a nice stereo-only Japanese paper sleeve SHM-CD of this title, which also faithfully reproduces the entire original packaging.  The DVD-A was released by Rhino / Elektra in 2002 – doubtlessly out of print, in 2011.

The rear channels are usually keyboards / synthesizers; sometimes some vocals, percussion etc.  Rather entertaining.  It is the version of “Fragile” that boasts the bonus track “America” – a cover version of the Paul Simon tune (also remixed for 5.1!)

I was really pleased to find a copy for a reasonable price.  I wish I could find all of the 5.1 channel discs that I seek for $15 ea, used!

So, what am I still looking for on DVD-Audio?

THE BAND – Last Waltz

THE BAND – Music From Big Pink

GEORGE BENSON – Breezin’

DAVID BOWIE – David Live

ERIC CLAPTON – There’s One In Every Crowd

BILLY COBHAM – Spectrum

B.J. COLE – Trouble In Paradise

ALICE COOPER – Billion Dollar Babies

DEEP PURPLE – Machine Head

DONALD FAGAN – Nightfly

QUEEN – The Game

LEON RUSSELL – Leon Russell

TOY MATINEE – Toy Matinee

NEIL YOUNG – Harvest

NEIL YOUNG – On The Beach

August 1975

5-19-11

August 1975

I just found an August 1975 Warner Brothers US 45rpm / LP release schedule:

Jessie Colin Young – Motorhome

Seals & Crofts – Castles In The Sand

Jethro Tull – Minstrel In The Gallery *

The Impressions – Same Thing It Took

Leroy Hutson – Can’t Stay Away

Slade – How Does It Feel *

The Bang Gang – Who Said Honky’s Ain’t Got No Soul

Felix Cavaliere – Never Felt Love Before

= = =

Black Sabbath – Sabotage *

V.A. – All Meat (Sampler 2LP)

San Sebastian Strings – With Love

Chris Ducey – Duce of Hearts

Ken Hensley – Eager To Please

Waldo De Los Rios – Symphonies for the 70’s

Geoff Muldaur – Is Having A Wonderful Time *

Al Jarreau – We Got By

Rod Stewart – Atlantic Crossing *

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Nightingales & Bombers

Chip Taylor – This Side of the Big River

* I’ve got the ones with an asterisk

I came back and got the Black Sabbath after I really enjoyed “Never say Die” (1978); I got the 25 track “All Meat” 2LP sampler some years later (though not at the time); I more recently got the Geoff Muldaur LP, as I really enjoyed “Pottery Pie”, the LP he made with (his then-wife) Maria Muldaur; and I definitely did not buy the Rod Stewart at the time, but got it 20+ years later, when ‘working on my vinyl’ was in full effect.  I had neither of the two marked 45’s at the time either – I was totally ignorant of Slade in ’75, and I got off of the Jethro Tull bandwagon after “Thick As A Brick” (but am OK with ‘em in 2011).

A bit surprised to see the San Sebastian Strings and Waldo De Los Rios LP’s here – still dabbling in “EZ hits” in ’75, eh?  No idea who Chris Ducey is / was (still don’t even after reading his ‘hype sheet’).  Ken Hensley is / was from Uriah Heep (who I was not ‘doing’ in ’75).  I remember folks talking about Al Jarreau a lot in the mid-70’s, how he was so great – and undiscovered (yet).  Manfred Mann’s Earth Band didn’t make an impression on the public in the US until “Blinded By The Light” (1976).  Always been interested in Chip Taylor, the singer / songwriter – he’s the author of “Wild Thing” (and still making music / records in 2011).

P.F.M.

5-18-11

P.F.M.

I last wrote about P.F.M. (Premiata Forneria Marconi) in 2003 – before I got the chance to completely re-buy my P.F.M. CD collection in Japan once again!

Another fine Italian progressive rock band from the 1970’s!  There are many more than I will list here, but try and hear these ones first:

Storia Di Un Minuto (Numero Uno Italy, 1972) ’03 issue

Per Un Amico (Numero Uno Italy, 1973) ’03 issue

Photos Of Ghosts (Manticore US/UK, 1973) ’99 issue

L’Isola Di Niente / The World Became The World (Manticore US/UK, 1974) ’06 issue

Chocolate Kings (Manticore US/UK, 1976) ’99 issue

Jet Lag (Manticore US/UK, 1977) ’05 issue

Pretty much the first thing I ever got to hear by P.F.M. was their debut Manticore label LP “Photos Of Ghosts”, around 1974 or so.  After hearing that, I easily found their first two LP’s in Los Angeles, and determined that some of “Photos Of Ghosts” has been taken from those LP’s!  OK, some of it is re-recorded, but…there is also a good live album during this time frame (“Cook”, 1974), but what I’ve listed above are their first six studio albums.

P.F.M. were also one of the few Italian bands to be signed to a record company outside of their native Italy, Manticore Records.  Their Manticore debut, “Photos of Ghosts” even has some English lyrics by King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield!

P.F.M. were one of the few Italian bands that I ever got to see play live.  Around the time of “Jet Lag” (1977) they toured the US, and I got to see them at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA – up closeFranco Mussida is a really amazing guitarist, and I am not usually impressed by guitarists.  I also rather enjoyed meeting them, and getting vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti to sign an LP by his other band, Acqua Fragile!

Of course, P.F.M. continued after 1977, but while I continued to buy their new albums for the next few years, it was always these first six albums that captured my imagination.  Of these six albums, I probably like “Photos of Ghosts” the best, but it was what I first heard by them – and I am probably weakest on “Chocolate Kings” – as I never heard it at the time.  Also rather partial to “Jet Lag” – but that’s when I got to meet them, and see them play live.

More recently, I have been impressed with “The World Became The World” – how good it sounds, how well it’s recorded etc.  At the time, I remember being disappointed with it!  But listening to it in 2011, dang – those guys could really play in ‘74!

I think I could actually be tempted by even better masterings of these albums: SHM-CD or 24bit DSD mastering.  I’ve already got them as Japanese paper sleeve CD’s!

Le Orme

05-17-11

Le Orme

Le Orme are one of the more accessible Italian 1970’s progressive rock bands.  The core of the band is Aldo Tagliapietra (bass & vocals), Tony Pagliuca (keyboards) and Michi Dei Rossi (drums).  All of the singing is in Italian.  There are 2 x overlapping 60’s albums by Le Orme (“Ad Gloriam” and “L’Aurora”), still in the Italian pop group vein.  The list below are their 1971 – 1982 releases, and of greatest interest:

Collage (Philips Italy, 1971)

Uomo di Pezza (Philips Italy, 1972) approx. “Man of Rags”

Felona E Sorona (Philips Italy, 1973)

Contrappunti (Philips Italy, 1974)

Smogmagica (Philips Italy, 1975)

Verita Nascoste (Philips Italy, 1976) approx. “Hidden Truth”

Storia O Leggenda (Philips Italy, 1977) approx. “Story and Legend”

Florian (Philips Italy, 1979)

Piccola Rhapsodia Dell’Appe (Philips Italy, 1980) approx. “Small Rhapsody of the Bee”

Venerdi (DDD / RCA Italy, 1982) (CD issue was called “Biancavene” on Replay Italy)

Happily, there are 2009 re-mastered CD’s of the Philips titles, so if original Italian LP’s are not easy to find, you can get very good sounding CD’s.

I first went to Italy in 1979, and I got to meet Aldo Tagliapietra of Le Orme, thanks to an introduction that I was given by my late friend Tony Harrington, who knew the band (from their time in Los Angeles, recording “Smogmagica”).  When I met him, they had recently completed recording “Florian” (which is named after an old, fancy café in Venice).

In addition to their 9 x Philips albums, there were a few non-LP singles, notably “Canzone D’Amore” (1976) – I am not sure if it has turned up on CD as a bonus track or if it’s on any of the many “Best Of” CD’s.

There is also an excellent 2CD set in Japan called “Live Orme” (King Records, 1993) – which has a lot of not-entirely-professional live recordings of the band during their peak years (initially, it was a 2LP set in 1986, and expanded greatly when it became available on CD).

In 1984, Aldo Tagliapietra made his first solo album, “…Nella Notte” – which continued very much in the style of the last Orme album “Venerdi” (1982).  I do not think this album was ever issued on CD.

The original group re-formed around 1990 and recorded at least two more albums, “Orme” (1990) and “Il Fiume” (1996).  I think both Aldo and Tony have now retired from the present-day Le Orme, so I really can’t recommend anything after “Il Fiume”, as I’ve not heard any of it.