Perez Prado & Rosemary Clooney

Happy birthday singer Donna Summer (1948), singer – songwriter John Denver (1943) and Andy Summers (of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, The Animals and The Police) (1942). I also like his solo albums.

Just in time for New Year’s Eve…

 

Perez Prado & Rosemary Clooney “A Touch Of Tabasco” (RCA / Legacy JPN BSCD2) released 2014, mastered 2002, originally recorded 1959.

 

This is a perfectly recorded Perez Prado LP, mastered to a BSCD2 (Blu-ray CD) that is compatible with all CD players.

 

12 tracks, many favorites…

 

  1. Corazon De Melon
  2. Like A Woman
  3. I Only Have Eyes For You
  4. Magic Is The Moonlight
  5. In A Little Spanish Town
  6. Sway (Quien Sera)
  7. Mack The Knife
  8. Bali Ha’i
  9. You Do Something
  10. Cu-Cu-Rru-Cu-Cu Paloma
  11. I Got Plenty of Nuttin’
  12. Adios

 

I have often wondered if the Japanese group Melon was named after this song. Toshi just told me that Chica liked melons.

Afro Celt Sound System

Happy birthday Davy Jones (singer of The Monkees) (1946), singer Skeeter Davis (1931), actor Jack Lord (Hawaii 5-0) (1930) and British comedian Tracey Ullman (1959).

Afro Celt Sound System www.afrocelts.com

 

I first heard of Afro Celt Sound System on ‘Later with Jools Holland’, maybe 10 years ago. Their debut CD wasn’t difficult to find, it turned up in some Orange County store that probably had it traded in, to no avail. In fact, with only a small amount of looking, I managed to find a Japanese copy of the CD (Virgin Japan VJCP 25318; Virgin UK CDRW 61, from 1996). The cover of the debut is rather distinctive, as it is by Jamie Reid (the guy who did the cover of the debut LP by The Sex Pistols).

 

The other thing you might not know about this album is it featured Jack Bruce’s son, Jonas (“Jo”) Bruce, who passed away in 1997. They even dedicate their 2nd album to him.

 

“Volume 2: Release” came out in 1999 (Realworld US 47324.2), alas I can’t play it as often, as it has a QuickTime video on it (the CD burner doesn’t seem to like that). More Jamie Reid artwork, too! This was quickly followed by a remix album of “Volume 2”, “Remixes” (Realworld US 38746.2) – over 70 minutes!

 

“Volume 3: Further In Time”, yet another QucikTime disc, came out in 2001; my CD came in a slipcase, too.

 

“Anatomic” (Realworld US 31800) is where I get off the Afro Celts bus. Released in 2005, I am still not sure I ever even listened to it all the way through; no more Jamie Reid paintings, alas.

The Art of Noise

Happy birthday Ray Thomas (of The Moody Blues) (1941) and Marianne Faithfull (1946). I like both of them!

“Into Battle” by The Art of Noise was an anonymous 12” single by a British band, The Art of Noise. We all knew Trevor Horn from The Buggles, whose debut album sounded really good. But “Into Battle” was different. Was it entirely made up of PPG / Fairlight keyboards? Sounded that way…

 

Big groan of disappointment that Kraftwerk didn’t seem capable of making an album in 1983. This was a war we wanted the Germans to win! But others were present. “Henk” by The Nits was a Dutch band that used the PPG synthesizer in 1986, while Kraftwerk were still reading the manual for the PPG.

 

But “Into Battle” wins. The first (and best?) PPG / Fairlight recording. Mind you, I am fairly fond of Mainframe “5 Minutes”, too. But “Into Battle” wins yet again – by a few years! So, who was first to use the Fairlight? Who used it the best? Where was it invented? Wikipedia says the Fairlight comes from Australia, so maybe the British did have access before the Germans?

 

Peter Gabriel and Raymond “Boz” Burrell had the first two in England, according to Wikipedia. No matter. Loads of Fairlight devices popped up all over England / Europe by the mid-80’s.

 

It took until 2011 for there to be a ZTT / Salvo CD of “Into Battle” (together with a collaged album “Worship”, which was unreleased until 2011). There had been other Art of Noise CD’s, but never “Into Battle” until 2011. Played it the other evening, sounds great to me!

Lemmy

You will have heard that Lemmy of Motorhead has gone to a better place by now.  I was a Motorhead fan and a Hawkwind fan.  Yes, a Hawkwind fan (with emphasis on the Robert Calvert era).  When I saw Motorhead in 1980 / 1 at The Country Club in Reseda, CA – it was Lemmy who made sure that my LP’s got signed by all three members of Motorhead.  It’s not just Hawkwind or Motorhead fans that stand in solidarity at the news of Lemmy’s death.  Someone on Facebook said, “One less real thing”.  Indeed.

 

Gentle Giant

Happy birthday Johnny Otis (1921 – 2012), Edgar Winter (1947) and Alex Chilton (The Boxtops) (1950 – 2010).

 

Gentle Giant

 

“The Power & The Glory” CD + DVD packaging should still readily be available, despite having been re-released in 2014.

 

They first came to my attention with “Octopus”, “Knots” in particular (based upon an amusing book by R.D. Laing). Great drumming throughout from Mr. John Weathers!

 

However, with a new album out (“In A Glass House”) – there didn’t seem to be a U.S. issue for it. So, guess it was a ‘no-brainer’ to buy a slightly more expensive imported LP of it, with it’s plastic pane cover and ‘choppy’ music.

 

What? They signed with a US label?

 

After a flurry of releases on Capitol Records, by the time the 80’s rolled around, it seemed like Gentle Giant didn’t exist anymore. No more new LP’s? Well, not for nearly 20 years. CD’s started getting issued, new liner notes / interviews, a new label (Alucard); also seems that John Weathers ”retired” from his full-time position behind the drums.

 

The Vertigo LP’s all got done as paper (kami) sleeve CD’s in Japan; there is even a Japanese SA-CD for “Octopus”! Alucard issued a decent sounding “In A Glass House” CD and, as of 2014, a 5.1 version of “The Power and The Glory” exists. And all of the later LP’s are finally on CD.

 

Generally speaking, anything you can find on their own label, Alucard, should sound fine. I know there is at least one set of CD’s that have funky covers, but sound good.

 

I never had the chance to see them play live, alas. There are DVD’s of them, on assorted stages, “Giant on the Box” etc., not sure how many volumes.

 

They really seem to polarize fans; either you love them or are not interested. I doubt the non-Vertigo LP’s are expensive yet, so maybe you can still find some original LP’s out there, in the woods.

Jan Akkerman

Happy birthday Dutch guitarist Jan Akkerman (Focus) (1946) and billionaire Howard Hughes (1905).

Jan Akkerman is the guitarist of Dutch band Focus, but you already knew that – because of their surprise hit single, “Hocus Pocus”. I think there are about 3 proper versions of it, too – NL / UK 45’s, US 45 & LP versions – not to mention live versions.

 

I have always been a fan of Mr. Akkerman, particularly his take on disco music with his self-titled LP from 1977. He is also fabulous on the 1973 Peter Banks LP “The Two Sides of Peter Banks”. Absolutely, wow!

 

Recently, the Japanese have been re-issuing Jan Akkerman CD’s, so I’ve got a few more I can listen to now. This is really good stuff!

 

CD               3                                                          ATLANTIC JPN  WPCR-28184  1979

2015 7 TRKS stereo CD

 

LP                GUITAR FOR SALE                         EMI NL                 048-51105       1968

1973 11 TRKS stereo LP re-issue

 

LP                IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU        POLYDOR DE    2374 210          1982

1982 4 TRKS stereo LP

 

CD               JAN AKKERMAN                             ATLANTIC JPN  WPCR-28136  1977

2014 7 TRKS stereo CD

LP                JAN AKKERMAN                             ATLANTIC US    SD 19159         1977

1977 7 TRKS stereo LP

 

CD               JAN AKKERMAN AND KAZ LUX  ATLANTIC JPN  WPCR-28135  1976

2014 9 TRKS stereo CD

 

CD               LIVE                                                   ATLANTIC JPN  WPCR-28160  1978

2015 6 TRKS stereo CD

LP                LIVE                                                   ATLANTIC US    SD 19241         1978

1978 6 TRKS stereo LP Live album

 

LP                OIL IN THE FAMILY                         CNR DE               60.48                 1981

1981 6 TRKS stereo LP

 

LP                PLEASURE POINT                          DECAL UK          LIK 13                1987

1987 6 TRKS stereo LP

 

LP                PROFILE                                           HARVEST UK     SHSP 4026      1972

1972 8 TRKS stereo LP UK pressing

 

CD               TABERNAKEL                                  ATCO JPN          WPCR-28109  1973

2014 10 TRKS stereo CD

 

LP                TABERNAKEL                                  ATCO US            SD 7032           1973

1973 10 TRKS stereo LP US pressing

Luther Grosvenor

Happy birthday Luther Grosvenor (guitarist of Spooky Tooth / Stealer’s Wheel / Mott The Hoople) (1949) and Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) (1940).

For myself, I encountered the debut solo album by Luther Grosvenor when it was a new release, in the fall of 1971. That makes me about 13 years old, starting junior high school. I had already written to Island Records in the UK, and they sent me a catalogue (“The Island Big Book of Records”) and, alas, an older catalogue – which I cut-up and placed about my bedroom walls!

 

Well, “Under Open Skies” is a bit of an Island Records festival! Liner notes by Traffic’s Jim Capaldi! And glorious members of Mott The Hoople and Spooky Tooth (the group Grosvenor was most closely associated with)! And an appearance by Michael Giles of King Crimson! So, if one was a teenaged Island Records fan, this record was a ‘must have’ LP!

 

As reviews of the album clearly state, this is not necessarily a ‘guitarist’s album’, and it’s well before Luther became a Mott The Hoople player. With a wonderful cover shot by Dick Polak, you can look at who is on this LP and know it will be good. Still very much ‘men had to have long hair’ time; Luther’s yellow shirt is lovely, too. But it is Mr. Polak’s inside photo that is really impressive: Luther standing under a large tree, probably on a farm somewhere near Evesham (where both Mr. Grosvenor and Mr. Capaldi were from), in England.

 

Yes, it can be classified as ‘rock music’, British, “Island Records” early 70’s style. Produced and engineered by Tony Platt and ‘help’ from The Move’s Trevor Burton might begin to tell you this is a pop / rock LP. It’s not ‘heavy’, as such – with the success of groups like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, whether or not a record could be described as ‘heavy’ or not was a big deal in 1971.

 

The songs are wonderful. You will eagerly await the next track, just by who’s playing on it! And, yes, there is a UK 45 to ‘promote’ this LP, “Here Comes The Queen” b/w “Heavy Day”, a non-LP song that is thankfully on the current CD issue of this wonderful LP (via Gott Discs, in the UK). There is also a Demon / Edsel CD of it, but it’s missing “Heavy Day”. The original innersleeve is the standard blue Island Records sleeve, no lyrics or anything. Additionally, it was released in the US on Island Records via Capitol Records, presumably to no avail.

 

Luther Grosvenor never came to L.A. to play a show (that I am aware of). The follow-up took ages, “Floodgates” (CD) in 1996, so only 25 years! I remain a big fan of “Under Open Skies” by Luther Grosvenor, the guitarist from Spooky Tooth / Stealer’s Wheel / Mott The Hoople AKA Ariel Bender.

 

Thanks for the music, sir!

Bee Gees

Happy birthday Robin and Maurice Gibb (of The Bee Gees) (1949). The #1 song in 1962? “Telstar” by The Tornados.

Always really liked The Bee Gees. The 1st LP (on either Reaction or Atco) was one of the first records I asked for, probably about 1967/8 or so. Guess I’d heard “Holiday” on the radio, and it sounded like The Beatles! But fans of The Bee Gees’s debut album know they are all carefully crafted pop classics, and, yes, some of it sounds like The Beatles, as though The Beatles were somehow from Manchester instead of Liverpool.

 

EXPLOSION! The Rexall drug store had Bee Gees LP’s for CHEAP! My collection was made flesh by Rexall drug store! (Sadly, no longer there). But I definitely got “Horizontal” and “Idea” for less than $2 each. Same deal for the first two “Rare Precious & Beautiful” volumes, the yellow cover and the purple cover. So, now it’s the beginning of 1969, and I have 5 albums by The Bee Gees already!

 

A brief word about the Atco innersleeve, as found in most Bee Gees LP’s – it taught me to make lists. I pondered over all of what I didn’t know. Chickenman?

 

In 1969, I was 11 years old and I was still in elementary school. Not quite in junior high yet. There aren’t very many bands that I owned more than 4 LP’s of. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones…maybe Frank Zappa?

 

My late brother, Jim Kane, had already shown me about British-pressed LP’s; better quality! Some of the covers seemed flimsy, but the LP itself – TOP QUALITY. So, I set about finding British Bee Gees LP’s. The best bet was Lewin’s Record Paradise on Hollywood Blvd., in downtown Hollywood.

 

Then The Bee Gees dropped “Odessa” on the universe!

 

Well, a British copy of “Odessa” would’ve cost almost $10, an absolutely unfathomable amount! More than what 3 new US LP’s would’ve cost. So, no UK “Odessa” for me, then. My main 2LP of “Odessa” is a Japanese 80’s R.S.O. with real nice flocking. It probably cost more than US$30 @ Yen3,500! But – what an album!

 

As the original 5 Bee Gees began to splinter, a Robin Gibb solo LP appeared. So, Robin Gibb had the honor of getting a hit with an electronic drum machine!

 

Well, I love The Bee Gees. Glad that Barry Gibb is still amongst us. His O.S.T. for “Hawks” is amazing. Oh, go find UK mono copies of “Horizontal” and “Idea”, absolutely amazing, just amazing. I don’t believe I have a mono “Odessa”, but I am certain they exist. The 1st Bee Gees LP on Reaction / Atco is still a favorite.

 

I was surprised at there being HDCD releases by The Bee Gees, “Their Greatest Hits – The Record” is wonderful. And there are several others, too.

Frank Zappa re-issue LP’s

Happy birthday to Mr. Frank Zappa (1940) and Russian bad guy Joe Stalin (1879).

My heart nearly skipped a beat when Universal Japan scheduled a NEW SET of Zappa kami (paper) sleeve CD’s. But it was short-lived, and the series got cancelled quickly. Saved myself a couple hundred bucks, right?

 

“Finer Moments” was a FZ 2LP set that I knew nothing about. Even says it’s an “Official Release” (#94). But there didn’t appear to be a CD of it, then. So, I bought one.

 

Next I probably saw a new 2LP re-issue of “Roxy & Elsewhere” – a good FZ album, on many levels. Definitely a “new package” of an old favorite. Even says it’s an “Official Release” (#19). New mastering. So, I figured…better get a copy.

 

Probably the last new FZ LP I got was “Apostrophe”. For a single LP, it was a tad expensive. Totally re-designed rear cover, 180g LP, New mastering. I bought one anyway.

 

“Overnight Sensation” was not a difficult choice. The original US LP’s always seemed to have a mastering flaw, by where the LP didn’t sound great. The new Universal LP re-issue sounds great. Rear cover completely re-designed.

 

“Uncle Meat” 2LP re-issue must’ve been inexpensive, somewhere. Spine and rear cover totally re-designed. New mastering, 180g LP’s, nice printing – the booklet! An easy no-brainer for me.

 

“Freak Out” took some deciding, on my part. Most of these LP re-issues have been from “as good as possible” tapes, so I approached it via that avenue. Cover seems a little bit blurry. Really good 2LP set! It’s from original tapes, so it doesn’t have the ‘digital’ sound of the older CD.

 

I do not know where entire shows of older bands come from, but they’re here! There are 3 or 4 FZ ones, but only one I bought was “The Mothers Of Invention – Wollman Rink, Central Park, NY August 3rd 1968”. So this is a bootleg, right? Sound isn’t 100%. Perhaps not even a professional recording?

 

I hope Dweezil Zappa & Co. re-issues more quad (or 5.1) FZ, as we know Mr. Zappa mixed several albums to quad, way back when. “Apostrophe”, “Overnight Sensation” – any others? “Grand Wazoo”? A 5.1 “200 Motels”?

Emerson Lake & Palmer 45’s

Happy birthday to Paul Simonon (of The Clash) (1955) and Dave Clark (of the Dave Clark Five) (1942).

Emerson, Lake & Palmer 45’s!

7″                  BRAIN SALAD SURGERY (Excerpts) flexi                                             MANTICORE UK   LYN 2762

1973 2 TRKS flexidisc, with pic sleeve

7″                  FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN – PART 1                                     ATLANTIC US       3398

1977 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN / BRAIN SALAD SURGERY    ATLANTIC UK       K 10946

1977 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  FROM THE BEGINNING (mono) / (stereo)                                             COTILLION US     44158

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                  FROM THE BEGINNING / LIVING SIN                                                    COTILLION US     45-44158

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  JERUSALEM / WHEN THE APPLE BLOSSOMS IN THE…                 MANTICORE UK   K 13503

1973 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  LUCKY MAN (Edit) promo                                                                         COTILLION US     45-44106

1970 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                  LUCKY MAN / FROM THE BEGINNING re-issue                                  ATLANTIC US       OS 13153

1980? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, re-issue

7″                  LUCKY MAN / KNIFE-EDGE (PS)                                                            ISLAND NL            6014 041

1970 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                  NUTROCKER (mono) / (stereo)                                                               COTILLION US     44151

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                  NUTROCKER / GREAT GATES OF KIEV, THE                                      COTILLION US     44151

1972 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  NUTROCKER / GREAT GATES OF KIEV, THE (PS)                             ATLANTIC JPN     P-1128A

1972 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                  STONE OF YEARS (mono) / (stereo)                                                      COTILLION US     44131

1971 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                  STONE OF YEARS / TIME AND A PLACE                                              COTILLION US     45-44131

1971 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                  TAKE A PEBBLE (PS)                                                                                ATCO US               PR 176

1972 3 TRKS with pic sleeve, promo-only

7″                  TIGER IN A SPOTLIGHT (Live) / PETER GUNN (Live)                        ATLANTIC US       3641

1979 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                  TIGER IN A SPOTLIGHT / ALL I WANT IS YOU                                     ATLANTIC US       3555

1978 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

Perhaps not the first group you think of, in terms of 45’s. I’ve been on the lookout for ELP 45’s for a few decades now. What I have managed to find is listed above. No, not going to discuss the solo Greg Lake or Keith Emerson 45’s today, just the stuff here.

 

Some of these were “around”, and stuff like the UK flexidisc were given to me by (the late) Tony Harrington. Mr. Harrington worked in some capacity for Manticore Records.

The Dutch 45 of “Lucky Man” b/w “Knife-Edge” was found in Concerto Records in Amsterdam. The “Stones Of Years” stock copy was found at Crossroads Music in Portland, OR last year. Somewhat needless to say, the “Nutrocker” Japanese 45 was found at a Disk Union in the Tokyo area.