Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kin Ping Meh - 1973 - Kin Ping Meh 3

Kin Ping Meh
Kin Ping Meh 3

01. Come on In (5:20)
02. Random (3:46)
03. Love is the Day (4:55)
04. Rock is the Way (4:43)
05. Circus (14:06)
06. Mrs. Holmes (7:20)

- Geff Harrison / vocals
- Alan Joe Wroe / bass
- Uli Gross / electric guitars
- Gerhard Mrozeck / guitar
- Frieder Schmidt / keyboards
- Kalle Weber / drums & percussion

This is one terrific album! You won't find much in the way of prog rock or classical fugue inspired sections, but you will however come across an honest powerful hard rock band that plays close to the style of Scorpions, late Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple.

All of these tracks are wonderfully executed, and while this band stems from Germany - you'd be hard pressed to know that from the vocals, let alone the surrounding carnivorous rock n' roll attack. No the music is what I'd call a mixture of the aforementioned acts and a healthy and lovable dose of American West coast psychedelia. -Think Steve Miller Band with hair in its mouth... One could be so frank and call them a heavy hard hitting version of The Grateful Dead, but somehow that just doesn't ring true.

We're talking balls to the walls, the smell of leather - going down the highway on motorbikes with the wind in your hair. The music itself is heavy guitar rock with the complimentary hammond organ and a rhythm section that is tight as hell. David Coverdale raspy vocals belching out undying lines such as: "Come on in and taste my water. Come on in and let your hair down." Once in a while you get these snarling Lynyrd Skynyrd solos levitating from the booming rock orchestration underneath, the whole feel of the band shifts gear and comfortably puts it into overdrive.

So we've got a band doing the kind of music, that was as normal as the schlager is to Germany. I mean, this type of record was back then as common and plenty-full as a house fly in your butcher's shop or a stick of bamboo in a Chinese forest. Everybody was doing this brand of hard rock - even the prog rock deities - although they had long gone dispensed of it. All of these bands dipped their toes in the pool with differentiating results no less, yet still that doesn't change the fact that I am writing this review on a progressive rock site, and looking for prog in this offering is rather like trying to spot originality on one of those American Idol shows, It ain't gonna happen bro.

I might have to swallow my own words here or at least tone it down a nudge, because when we finally reach the 13 min long track called Circus, something stupendous and magical suddenly happens. It's not what I would call prog - not in the slightest, but the emphasis on spiralling untethered musical structures have now come to the fore. The track unfolds these playful acoustical segments sounding like a criss cross between Chinese folklore and late 60s experimentation. Not only does this track hover and glide majestically over these beautifully orchestrated sections, but now we are treated to synthesizers as well. (Damn were those even invented in 73?) There's no real illusion as to which band we're listening to. The sound is still very much like the rest of the Lynyrd Skynyrd rockers, but somehow the intro along with some aptly placed brass instruments here and there, does add to the album that little bit of "yeah allright it's 1973 - everybody around us is doing something fantastically advanced and imaginative - so we'd better make a long one with some alternating tempers as well."

If what you get out of this review is the feel of meh and yuki - hard rock is just about the most mundane of things next to cream cheese and sweaters, then you should probably stick with the odd Deep Purple slice of rock history in the back of your collection and be done with it, but if you however are interested in an album that is as out of touch to the times surrounding it, and you furthermore are fond of reckless, boisterous, sweaty, heavy and wonderfully played barbecue hard rock, then this third album by Kin Ping Meh is anything but meh. I personally enjoy listening to this when I'm in need of something earthy and robust to shake along to whilst I'm getting ready to go out on the town and drink beers in trees and shout profanities at large lawyers on bicycles.

Kin Ping Meh - 1972 - No. 2

Kin Ping Meh
No. 2

01. Come Down to the Riverside (3:13)
02. Don't Force Your Horse (3:46)
03. Come Together (6:00)
04. Together Jam (4:55)
05. Liveable Ways (8:00)
06. Day Dreams (7:56)
07. Very Long Ago (2:54)
08. I Wanna Be Lazy (2:58)

Bonus tracks on CD reissue:
09. Sometime (single version) (4:33)
10. Sunday Morning Eve (3:58)

- Kalle Weber / drums & percussion
- Torsten Herzog / bass, vocals
- Frieder Schmidt / keyboards, vocals
- Willie Wagner / guitar, vocals
- Werner Stephan / lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Uli Gross / electric & fingerstyle guitar
- Gerhard Mrozeck / guitar

Kin Ping Meh attempted to enrich their sound by adding three more members (an octet, now) and by diversifying guitar styles (three guitarists).

Their second album is much in the liner of their debut hesitating between a hard rock direction and a more middle-of-the-road version of rock. They insist on singing in English and do it relatively well. Musically the group is apt, but none of the musicians are virtuoso and don’t try to show-off either.

The notable track here is the cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” which extended into an 11 minute jam that’s got a nice underground vibe to it. This was apparently a concert favorite. There are two other long tracks, “Livable Ways” and “Day Dreams” which are both about eight minutes long. “Livable Ways” starts off with spacy organ and dark Mellotron then adds some heavy guitar doses of psychedelia. “Day Dream” is a somewhat dreamy, somewhat Beatleish tune that doesn’t really go anywhere. This is followed by a bluegrass banjo/guitar ditty. There are also a couple of acoustic guitar based tunes, as there on the first album.

Kin Ping Meh - 1971 - Kin Ping Meh

Kin Ping Meh
Kin Ping Meh

01. Fairy-Tales (10:47)
02. Sometime (5:44)
03. Don't You Know (7:24)
04. Too Many People (4:58)
05. Drugson's Trip (5:53)
06. My Dove (3:34)
07. Everything (5:10)
08. My Future (2:42)

- Werner Stephan / lead vocals
- Willie Wagner / guitar, harmonica, vocals
- Fritz Schmitt / organ, piano
- Torsten Herzog / bass
- Kalle Weber / drums

KIN PING MEH are not your typical Kraut Rock band. Although they're quite frequently labelled as such, theor sound is more akin to Art Rock, or "hard Prog," like in the case of BIRTH CONTROL. KIN PING MEH, whose name was of Chinese origin, was founded in 1970 in Mannheim as a quintet featuring Joachim Schaffer, Werner Stephan, Torsten Herzog, Kalle Weber, and Joachim Schafer. In their early years, KIN PING MEH performed many covers by bands like BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS, DEEP PURPLE, THE STEVE WINWOOD GROUP, etc... Soon, they were discovered by Polydor records, who signed them immediately. Schaffer left before the first album was recorded, but was replaced by Willie Wagner, who wrote perhaps their most famous track, "Fairy Tales." It is definitely a highlight of their recording career. Achim Reichel, Frank Dostal, and the great Konrad Plank worked with KIN PING MEH, engineering and producing some of their work. After the first album, Wagner and Herzog left, and other members were added off and on throughout the rest of their career (including some members of 2066-AND THEN-e.g. Geoff Harrison). As with many Prog bands, KIN PING MEH became much more commercial (and even more British or American sounding) as each year went on, but they still retained their fan base, at least in Germany.

KIN PING MEH's strongest efforts were those of their early years. The first and second albums are of definite interest for any fan of BIRTH CONTROL, URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE, SPOOKY TOOTH and the like. KIN PING MEH's blending of Prog and hard rock was very effective, and that definitely shows on their albums. They were also a stunning live act, so much of the live stuff is also worth investigating. I highly recommend this wonderful German band, they are certainly one of my favorites!

'Soul is dead', stated Embryo on it's debut album in 1970. Yet fellow Germans Kin Ping Meh might have proved them wrong with their pleasant eclectic rock debut. The band has a well produced and professional sound that is actually very English. On their debut Kin Ping Meh plays a mix of styles, which makes it an interesting album to listen to for the seventies rock/psych fan. Double heavy rock guitars, perfect Hammond sound, soulful approach on some tracks and some winks towards symphonic and psychedelic rock. The artwork looks great on my vinyl reprint.

'Fairy-tales', 'Don't you know' and 'Everything' are typical heavy rock tracks reminding me a bit of Uriah Heep and the like. Riff-based rock with organ runs and expressive vocals. Yet in combination with the other tracks everything works pretty well. 'Sometime' is a great minor blues track (got to love those guitars), 'Too Many People' is a nice bluesy soul track with a 'get together and sing along feel', Drugson's Trip has some nice space rock moments, whilst 'My Dove' a nice melodic symphonic track (mellotron alert) that reminds me of the best of Barclay James Harvest. My favorite is still the last track 'My future', a brilliant acoustic soultrack with perfect hippie vibes. It reminds me a bit of the never ending pleasure I get from a track like Canned Heat's 'Going up the Country'.

Conclusion. A typical product of it's time, but just very good at it.

Hickory Wind - 1969 - Hickory Wind

Hickory Wind
Hickory Wind

01. I Don't Believe 3:22
02. Time and Changes 2:19
03. Maybe Tomorrow 3:05
04. Transit Blues 1:58
05. Country Boy 2:11
06. Judy 2:46
07. The Loner 2:24
08. Mr. Man 3:24
09. New Albany Police Carnival 2:38
10. Father Come With Me 3:58

Sonny Prentice (vocals, guitar, bass, harmonica), Bobby Strehl (drums, vocals), Alan Jones (bass, vocals), Mike McGuyer (guitar, vocals)

Indiana based band who turned into legendary psych band B.F. Trike released only a handful of copies of this record (Gigantic, 1969), making it a true rarity; full of variety (although much of it sounds like acid rock era of Byrds or Buffalo Springfield, with the most psychedelic track being Time And Changes, with its great vocals and lots of fuzz guitar; features four bonus tracks as B.F Trike; beautiful package in a quality mini-LP style jacket with insert, new liner notes, lyrics, original liner notes; limited to 1000 copies.

This group took their name from the classic Byrds/Gram Parsons song.  Hickory Wind, from Indiana, were fairly young musicians when they cut this mini gem in 1969.  If you consider the limited studio technology on hand, Hickory Wind came up big, with a very good country-rock garage psych private press LP.  Initially, when you look at the record, it resembles one of those male/female folk duo LPs or maybe a private press christian rock album (note the small crucifix at the bottom of the record and the amatuer illustration).  Thankfully, it’s neither of those.   There are mild Buffalo Springfield, Byrds and Beatles echoes throughout the album but closer, more accurate references might be  Riley or Spur.

Most of the albums tracks are strong but only a handful qualify as excellent.   “Father Come With Me” and the bizarre spoken word number “Mr. Man” give the album its psychedelic folk-rock sheen – both are great tracks with lots of organ and moody garage vocals.  “Time and Changes,” a pounding garage rocker with sizzling fuzz would soon be recut by B.F. Trike, which was essentially a later version of Hickory Wind.  In some circles, ”Time and Changes” is considered a classic.  The remaining cuts have a strong country-rock/folk-rock flavor.  The bare bones production of Hickory Wind gives these compositions a unique quality that makes this album memorable – no albums I know of have quite this sound.  “Country Boy,” “The Loner,” “I Don’t Believe,” “Judy,” and “Maybe Tomorrow” are well worth hearing, all eerie slices of early country-rock/Americana.

I’ve read other reviews that describe Hickory Wind as only half a good album or not that good at all.  Don’t believe this.  Hickory Wind is a fine album – consistent throughout with lots of interesting twists and turns.  Check out the recent Beatball reissue as original vinyl LPs will be impossible to find (just 100 original Gigantic label LPs were pressed).  Rockadelic would release B.F. Trike’s only album, which is also a good post psychedelic hard rock album.

B.F. Trike - 1970 - B.F. Trike

B.F. Trike
B.F. Trike

01. Time & Changes
02. For Sale or Lease
03. Wait & See
04. Lovely Lady
05. Sunshine
06. Bench of Wood
07. Three Piece Music
08. Six O'clock Sleeper
09. Magic Making Music Man
10. Be Free

Bobby Strehl (drums, vocals), Alan Jones (bass, vocals), Mike McGuyer (guitar, vocals)

Superb 1971 album of heavy fuzzy rural psych-rock with a bit of a country-boy edge by this trio formally known as Hickory Wind. Great vocal harmonies, acidic fuzz-buzz lead guitar and innocent good ol' boy grows his hair long lyrics. Production is not perfect, but it was a different day then. For the opening track they re-record their 1969 Hickory Wind track 'Time & Changes'. Note that the Hickory Wind album is also an excellent album, but is not as heavy as BF Trike which is kind of their 'electric' phase in comparison. Play loud.

Carol Of Harvest - 1976 - Carol Of Harvest

Carol Of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest

01. Put on Your Nightcap
02. You and Me
03. Somewhere at the End of Our Rainbow
04. Treary Eyes
05. Try a Little Bit
06. River
07. Sweet Heroin
08. Brickstone - 1:14

- Beate Krause / vocals
- Axel Schmierer / guitars
- Jürgen Kolb / keyboards
- Heinz Reinschlüssel / bass
- Robert Högn / drums

This is one of the holy grails in collecting circles with an original copy easily setting you back some significant bucks (last eBay sale of an original I saw was back in April 2007 and went for over $2,700).  While the album's quite good, I can't imagine paying that much for any LP.  Luckily there are several reissues out there (not exactly cheap themselves) that bring copies within the grasp of a far wider audience.  (In case anyone is concerned, the Spanish Guerzszen label reissue I have for sale is a legitimate reissue (700 copies) that was approved by the band.)

Not to sound cynical, but my own experience is that most hyped stuff is a major disappointment so I was more than a little skeptical about this one ...  Shame on me.  This is one of the exceptions to the rule and every bit as good as the critics would have you believe !!!

Named after Walt Whitman's famed noval, this German quintet came together in 1976, but only managed to release one LP before calling it quits - 1978's self produced "Carol of Harvest".  Originally issued on the small private Brutkasten label (catalog number 850 0004), reportedly only 200 copies were pressed .  The line up consisted of then 16 year old singer Beate Krause, drummer Robert Högn, keyboard player Jürgen Kolb, bassist Helmut Reinschlüssel, and guitarist Axel Schmierer (who was credited with writing all of the material).   While some dealers have slapped the set with a psych label, that's nott a particularly accurate description.  Exemplified by material like the 16 minute plus opener 'Put on Your Nightcap' and 'You and Me' the band had clearly been listening to loads of early-1970s English folk-rock and progressive bands.  Certainly not the perfect comparison, but in several places they recalled a cross between Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention with some progressive leanings added to the mix - Annie Haslam's Rennaissance comes to mind.  Like Denny and Haslam, Krause had one of those crystalline voices that was simply breathtaking (even more stunning given her age).  The performances were all in English and  while Krause had a bit of an accent, it wasn't enough to distract from the performances.  It certainly didn't hurt to be surrounded by some major talented folks.  Guitarist Schmierer shined throughout (the solo on 'Try a Little Bit' may have been his best moment), as did keyboard/synthesizer player Jürgen Kolb who proved to be one of the few Moog players capable of turning in an understated lead on the instrument.  The rhythm section of Högn and Reinschlüssel were no slouches themselves, showing they were capable of kicking some major butt (check out the last third of 'Put on Your Nightcap').  Admittedly anyone looking for a collection of pounding, acid drench rock would clearly be in the wrong place here, but on songs like 'Somewhere at the End of Our Rainbow'  the album's mix of beautiful, dreamy melodies, melancholy lyrics, and understated performances was simply fantastic.  An album most band's would kill to have made and a perfect collection for one of those cold and rainy Sunday mornings !

Grail - 1970 - Grail


01. Power
02. Bleek Wind High
03. Day After Day
04. Grail
05. Camel Dung
06. Sunday Morning
07. Czechers
08. The Square

Recorded in spring / summer of 1970 at Tangerine Studio in east London

Chris Williams - lead vocals, autoharp
Paul Barrett - lead guitar, clarinet, backing vocals
Dave Blake - cello, sitar, flute, backing vocals
Stan Decker - bass, guitar, keyboards
Chris Perry - drums, talking drum
Produced by Rod Stewart

Originally released on Metronome Records (Germany) in November 1970

Working with the iconic Rod Stewart at the end of the 60's and into the early 70's, British psych and heavy rock outfit Grail created mind bending fusion music that leaned towards an ancient nostalgia and primitive earth tone of many eras before it was captured to tape. Another lost gem and a crowning achievement in context of that era’s musical achievements, Grail’s self titled album was first released in France in 1970 on the Barclay label and then a year later in Germany through Metronome. Finally making its way out of those original locations of release some 40+ years later, the imprint Prog Temple has brought this album back to life with a very impressive and well researched reissue. It’s very interesting to think of where Rod Stewart went with sound a few years after this, serving as a reflection of how much the cultural movements of the 1960's and early 1970's had changed some of the most well known acts in the years and decades to follow. Grail is a phenomenal record and we are very happy to see it introduced to a wider audience with such detail and care. Priced at a slightly steep $17.00 through the CD format, we can’t be mad considering how much content is presented on top of the music.

The Motions - 1993 - Impressions Of Wonderful: 1965 - 1967

The Motions
Impressions Of Wonderful: 1965 - 1967

01 (For) Another Man
02 I've Waited So Long
03 You Bother Me
04 Be the Woman I Need
05 Love Won't Stop
06 Who'll Save My Soul
07 Take Your Time
08 Everything That's Mine (Alternate Take)
09 There's No Place to Hide (Alternate Take)
10 Late Last Night
11 Too Late to Be Sorry
12 You Can't Fight It
13 You've Hurt Yourself
14 My Babe
15 Sittin' on the Top of the Roof
16 Hard Time Blues
17 I'm Wondering (Unreleased Track)
18 Ain't That Nice (Unreleased Track)
19 Love Is Good, Love Is Real (Alternate Take)
20 Suzie Baby
21 Tonight Will Be Stoned (Alternate Take)
22 Ramblin' Rose
23 Wonderful Impressions

The Motions from The Hague were one of the bigger groups of the 1960s Dutch beat explosion. They were formed out of the remnants of Ritchie Clark and the Ricochets in 1964 and went on to become hitmakers for the next several years in the '60s. The Motions were much loved abroad, even in the USA. The Walker Brothers even recorded a song The Motions had written and helped in the production of the group's second LP; The Motions were also brought to the USA in 1968 and presented to the public as one of the world's top hit-making pop groups! The single, "Freedom", reached high in the American charts.

Although the group disbanded in 1971, the most imporant members have met each other again and again in new groups such as Crossroad, Greenhorn, Jupiter and Galaxy Lin.

From 1964 till 1967, the line-up remained the same: Rudy Bennett (i.r.l. Ruud van de Berg - vocals, earlier as Ritchie Clark and the Ricochets), Robbie van Leeuwen (guitar, ex-Atmospheres & Ricochets, later the founder of both Shocking Blue and Galaxy Lin), Henk Smitskamp (bass, ex-Willy & Giants, later to Livin' Blues) & Sieb Warner (drums, ex-Ricochets, later to Golden Earrings).

In 1967, Robbie left to form Shocking Blue and was replaced by Leo Bennink (ex-Mack); Henk was replaced by Gerard Romeyn (ex-Tee-Set, later with Nico Haak, Image), who, in turn, was replaced by Paul van Melzen (ex-Haigs, later in the Mailer McKenzie Band) after just six months. The last line-up of the group (up 'til 1971) was: Rudy, Leo, Jan Vennik (sax, flute & organ, ex-Jayjays, later to Rob Hoeke & Ekseption), Han Cooper (organ, bass & vocals, ex-Bobby Green Selection, later with Leo, to Fisher & Friends) and Bobby Green (drums, ex-Bobby Green Selection, also to Fisher & Friends).

SBB - 2012 - SBB


01. Piwnica (7:00)
02. Niemen (4:36)
03. 74 (5:24)
04. Bunkry Wiedeñskie (3:05)
05. Zw¹tpienie Lakisa (4:02)
06. Aries (2:31)
07. Urodziny w Roskilde (6:55)
08. Rozstanie (2:22)
09. Ameryka (4:59)
10. Nowy Wiek (6:01)
11. Lot nad Chicago (2:37)
12. Seged (3:55)
13. Memento (3:50)
14. Muzy (6:46)
15. Zaufani (3:19)
16. Requiem (11:03)

- Józef Skrzek / bass, piano, organ, micro moog, mini moog, vocals
- Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos / guitars, drums

Release date: 02 April 2012 Europe / 05 June 2012 USA

Now officially a duo consisting of Józef Skrzek (keyboards and vocals) and Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos (guitars), SBB return with a brand new album for 2012. The pair are portrayed on the front cover in an highly effective shot by Tomasz Konior. Surprisingly perhaps, the band have not previously released a self titled album, so things are kept simple this time around. Skyzek decribes the new album as ""A new album, new sound - fresh, mature yet spontaneous and full of youthful energy". With a running time of just short of the maximum (CD) length of 80 minutes, this is indeed an album not to be rushed. While the only truly long piece is the 11 minute closer, and each track stands alone as separate number, there is a fluency to the album with each track moving nicely into the next.

As with most SBB offerings, the music sits somewhere between rock and fusion, each album shifting the balance one way or another. In this case I reckon rock has slightly the greater edge, but both styles feature strongly.

The mood of the album is set by the opening "Piwnica", a relaxed blend of vocalising, drifting synths and floating guitars. The ambience is deceptive though, with dominant percussion (played by Lakis!) driving the piece ever louder. "Niemen" and "74" make for a good sister tracks to the opener, the former picking up the pace slightly while offering a retro synth sound similar to that of ELP's glory days. The latter slows things down again with further vocal sounds.

The rock side really bursts forth on the relatively brief "Bunkry Wiedeñskie", an up-tempo guitar and synth jam. "Zw¹tpienie Lakisa" has the feel of an interlude piece, the sparse melodic percussion and ambient drones leading to the shortest track on the album, "Aries". This light, pleasant little piece features lilting synth and piano.

There is a bit of a Pink Floyd/Roger Waters feel to "Urodziny w Roskilde", one of the album's longer tracks. The unhurried setting and the call to prayer type chant are complemented by some fine synth and guitar. "Rozstanie" and "Ameryka" are paired to allows Anthimos space to display his prowess on lead guitar. "Nowy Wiek" opens softly, the Floydian influence once again being apparent, in some ways the track has the feel of a collage of "Time" and"Great gig in the sky".

Things are jazzed up slightly for the brief "Lot nad Chicago" before settling down again for the soft synth and piano of "Seged". "Memento" and "Muzy" see the return of more intrusive drumming, providing a backdrop to an extended lead guitar solos, the latter also featuring further vocalising. "Zaufani" is a light, partly acoustic number which sets the scene for the closing 11 minutes of "Requiem", a looser, more ambient piece with dark overtones and intermittent guitar and synth intrusions.

In all, while each of the 16 tracks here stand successfully as an individual piece, this album cries out to be heard as a complete collection. Only by becoming totally immersed in the flowing continuity of this superbly crafted music can one really appreciate the collective whole which is "SBB".

SBB - 2010 - Live In Opole 1976

Live In Opole 1976
A Late Night Recital

101. [Andrzej Jaroszewski - Zapowiedz] (4:13)
102. [Józef Skrzek - Zapowiedz] (2:22)
103. Wolnosc Z Nami - Final (5:04)
104. Swiatlowód [Wake Up] (4:37)
105. W Kolysce Dloni Twych [Ojcu] (10:47)
106. Odejscie (20:31)
107. Bass (3:30)
108. Pamietnik Rudigera (2:25)
109. Drums (3:38)

201. Wolanie O Brzek Szkla [Born To Die] (22:58)
202. Drums-Battle I (2:21)
203. Bierawianie (8:14)
204. Drums-Battle II (2:33)
205. Swietlik (8:15)
206. Improv (5:09)
207. Z Których Krwi Krew Moja (4:28)

- Józef Skrzek / bass, harmonica, keyboards, vocals
- Apostolis Anthimos / guitar, drums
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums

Unique, slightly controversial recording fro Opole Festival in 1976. Incredible energy, First Minimoog sounds at SBB, First drum battles and... a folk group!

SBB - 2010 - Blue Trance

Blue Trance

01. Etiuda Trance (3:18)
02. Los człowieka (4:47)
03. Red Joe (6:28)
04. Święto dioni (2:51)
05. Szczęście jak na dłoni (5:04)
06. Pentatonica (Bonus track on Limited Edition only)
07. Doliny strumieni (5:01)
08. Karida Beach (4:16)
09. Going Away (Bonus track on Limited Edition only)
10. Blue Trance (3:44)
11. Muśnięcie kalimby (3:45)
12. Pamiêci czas (4:39)
13. Coda Trance (4:57)

- Józef Skrzek / bass, piano, organ, micro moog, mini moog, vocals
- Apostolis Anthymos / guitars
- Gabor Nemeth / drums, percussion

 Diverse, or directionless? Big question.

At this point the band bears little semblance to the approach that made them famous nearly four decades earlier. It's fair to say that as musicians they've matured considerably The style however has changed quite markedly/. Not for the worse, only different.

What's on offer here is an absolute mixed bag of goodies - and a bit of an eye opener. Starting with a pleasant, organ driven symphonic piece, followed by an almost mediaeval track is in stark contrast with the title track. "Blue Trance" is like ZZ Top doing Arena Rock. Not bad at all, but the point is?

Then, we get to some tracks in the Jazz-Rock vein, reminiscent of Pat Metheny's approach. This is where Skrzek delivers his most refined keyboard runs in living memory. Fluid, yet relaxed improvisations rarely encountered before.

Apostolis also excels on guitar, focusing on sound in place of speed. These (incl. the bonus tracks) are the highlights of the album. Drummer, Gabor Nemeth, who is a seasoned musician of the Hungarian Rock scene complements the works with ease. More of a hired hand than a devotee of SBB's music, he plays with extreme precision.

This album is full of surprises, some of which are very welcome.

SBB - 2009 - Live In Opole 1974

Live In Opole 1974
Rock Przez CaLy Rok

01. (zapowiedz) (02:07)
02. Wizje SBB (32:15)
03. (walka o bis) (05:47)
04. Figo-Fago (11:57)
05. (trudne pozegnanie) (06:05)

Bonus track:
06. Zostalo we mnie (06:26)

- Józef Skrzek / vocal, bass, piano, synth, mouth organ
- Apostolis Antymos / guitar
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums

Tracks 1-5 recorded live in Opole on 'Rock przez caly rok - jazz' festival on 29.06.1974 (Saturday night).
Track 6 recorded live in Opole on 'Premiery' festival on 29.06.1974 (Friday evening).
Tracks 1, 3 and 5 are the announcements by the masters of ceremonies (Andrzej Smigielski & Jan Tadeusz Stanislawski).

A live performance of seventies decade of this Gigant Polish band. This concert it's a jam sessions with lots of improvisations in guitar and keiboards. We can listen some good moments of SBB context but de sound is nothing special and the the presenter becomes boring for his long dialogs with the public. This performance it's not only Space Rock but have some Blues and a hard rock in Deep Purple vein with some fast scale guitars and distortion moments. In global this is a good album but not the best performance of the band. We are accustomed to a space rock with moments of great duets between guitar and keyboards but in this album this is more rare but with great performances of Josef Skrzek and Apostolis Antymos.

SBB - 2009 - Live in Frankfurt 1977

Live in Frankfurt 1977
Follow My Music

101. (Józef) (1:29)
102. Ze słowem biegnę do Ciebie - intro (4:46)
103. Toczy się koło historii (5:49)
104. Funkin` (5:07)
105. Born to Die (10:11)
106. Wizje - finał (2:23)

201. (Józef) (1:12)
202. Freedom with Us (10:07)
203. Wolność z nami - temat (4:10)
204. W kołysce dłoni Twych (Pretty Face) (11:26)
205. Follow My Music (8:33)
206. Bass (3:34)
207. Odejście - finał (2:06)
208. Drums (3:34)
209. Wołanie o brzęk szkła - finał (7:10)
210. Coda (7:49)

- Apostolis Anthimos / guitars
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums
- Józef Skrzek / bass guitar, harmonica, keyboards, piano

Last show of 1977, recorded a few days before they went into the studio to record Follow My Dream.

Absolutely wonderful live appearance. Music is running with no many pauses on lot of ideas which you can often recognise by various albums such a "Nowy horizont", "Pamiec"," Ze slowem biegne do ciebie" but in different colours. There´s also pieces from forthcoming 1978´s czechoslovakian album (Wołanie o brzęk szkła) but in different ways. The band also made here lot of amazing improvisations. Whole live set looks like excellent combination between full ideas and heavy jemmings. So that´s all like one stream with no pauses but with lot of dramatic breaks which present songs from albums on one side and lot of improvisations on other side. Music is absolutely free. Sound is very well. Atmopsphere in the audience is quite quiet but quite opposite in the podium. Sound of Skrzek keyboards is electric and progressive. More colourfull than before. He applied more and more moogs, clavinets... You can also find here nice extended Antymos´s guitar solos. Whole live edition seems to presents best live albums of the "grupa" SBB. So don´t miss that!

SBB - 2009 - Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain

01. Iron Curtain (5:07)
02. Defilada (6:07)
03. Camelele (4:50)
04. Rozmowa z Mistrzem (5:13)
05. Opowie?æ (4:33)
06. B³ogos³awione dni (5:00)
07. Sunrise (3:01)
08. Góry tañcz¹ce (4:40)
09. Dopóki ¿yje matka jeste? dzieckiem (4:18)

Limited digipak edition features two bonus tracks: "Aleatoryka" (track 4) and "Nie?miertelno?æ" (track 8).

- Józef Skrzek / Bass, piano, organ, micro moog, mini moog, vocals
- Apostolis Anthymos / guitars
- Gabor Nemeth / Drums, percussion

34 years after the release of their debut album, and less than two years after "The Rock", SBB return with yet another fine album of diverse styles and sounds. The line up of the trio remains unchanged, their focus moving further away from jazz towards a more symphonic style of progressive rock. The album title is not a direct reference to the Communist East per se, but is intended to reflect divisions in society at all levels and in countless ways.

The title track, which kicks things of, demonstrates the band's commitment to this a orientation straight away, the piece building towards an anthemic repeated chant. "Defilada" also features some vocal chants, but here these are of a more spiritual orientation. The laid back "Camelele" slows things down affording Apostolis Anthymos space to slip in some fine lead guitar work against a background of piano and lush keyboards.

"Rozmowa z Mistrzem" features some fine prog synth sounds, the track containing jazz overtones while being driven by a solid rock rhythm. The quasi-instrumental "Opowieoæ" features a variety of vocalising, with voice and guitar sharing the lead theme to good effect. "B³ogos³awione dni" is probably the most straightforward rock song on the album, but it does give Gabor Nemeth the opportunity to place his percussive skills well forward in the mix. Anthymos receives a rare compositional credit for "Sunrise", a piece which would sit well on his recent solo album (it makes for a fine interlude here too).

"Góry tañcz¹ce", which translates as "Dancing mountains", is a repetitive crowd pleaser for future gigs on the band's forthcoming tour. The album closes with "Dopóki ¿yje matka jesteo dzieckiem", a song which is quite different to the rest of the album. This smooth pop ballad has hints of Santana, the emotional vocals being supported by some fine lead guitar.

At a shade over 42 minutes, the album is somewhat brief, although the digipak version does offer two further tracks. This is though another excellent release by one of Poland's finest bands. The current trio clearly work well together, approaching their recordings with consummate professionalism while not forgetting to enjoy themselves along the way.

SBB - 2009 - Malczewski


CD 1 "Muzyka teatralna":

01. Uwertura - 02:53
02. Wiosna I: Natchnienie - 08:40
03. Wiosna II: W drogê - 11:25
04. Rozk³adaniec - 12:22
05. Jesieñ: Pomnik - 05:43
06. Jesieñ: Trybuna - 10:19
07. Melancholia - 11:49
08. Zima - 08:04

CD 2 "Muzyka z widowisk TV":

01. Odejœcie - 02:14
02. Wiosna I: Natchnienie - 07:15
03. Melancholia - 03:58
04. Wiosenne chimery II - 03:55
05. Follow My Dream (I) - 03:22
06. Motto - 03:27
07. Poród - 04:43
08. Œwiat³owód - 02:46
09. Modliszek - 04:19
10. Follow My Dream (II) - 03:39
11. Wiosna I: Natchnienie - 06:58
12. Melancholia - 04:21
13. Follow My Dream (III) - 02:28

CD 3 "Jerzy Leszczynski":

01. Teatr w walizce - 41:40
02. Józef Skrzek o "Malczewskim" - 02:25
03. Na estradach œwiata - 09:23
04. Follow My Dream - 26:27

CD 1: Studio recordings, ca. 1976-1977

CD 2: Tracks 1-4 recorded in polish TV studios, Warsaw 17-18 March 1978 (night session), aired 8-9 April 1978 (night broadcast). A "Studio 2" production.
Tracks 5-13 recorded at Casino Knokke, Knokke, Belgium, ca. 15 June 1978. Aired on 22 April 1979 ("Na Estradach Świata" TV programme).

CD 3: Tracks 1-22 - Stories of Jerzy Leszczyński - archive recordings from 1970s and 1980s, mixed with selected music from SBB archives.
Track 23 - Józef Skrzek speaks about the joint performances of SBB and Teatr Wizji i Ruchu; radio recording ca. 18 March 1978.
Track 24 - short discussion preceding the broadcast of the "Follow My Dream" TV show in polish TV. Recorded on 22 April 1979.
Track 25 - recorded live in Bytom, 24 October 1979 (evening gig).

- Józef Skrzek / vocals, keyboards, synthesizers
- Apostolis Anthimos / guitar, drums, percussion
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums, percussion
- Sławomir Piwowar / guitar (last track on CD 3)

Music from the cooperation with Jerzy Leszczyński's Theatre of Vision and Movement (Teatr Wizji i Ruchu). Released in 2009 by (catalog number: ESCD 019-021) as 3-CD box. Previously unreleased material.

SBB - 2009 - Live in Koln 1979

Live in Koln 1979
In The Shadow of The Dom

101. Runnin' Around The Autumn Town (4:03)
102. Morning Lights (10:50)
103. Tower Of Humanity (6:21)
104. Demons'n'dreams (13:51)
105. Freedom Dawn Till Dusk (9:30)

201. Ships of Heaven (12:59)
202. Daybreak (3:04)
203. Mechanical Sommersault (9:29)
204. By The Way... (10:51)

- Józef Skrzek / keyboards
- Apostolis Anthimos / guitar
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums

Recorded live in Kolpinghaus, Köln-Ehrenfeld, 15.09.1979

 Another excelent live record of a big band of East Europe that made a power progressive music with powerfful progressive moments. The first cd it's an amazing space keiboards with some excelent guitars very fast and espectacular moments. The Psichedelic Space Rock have some introductions in Jazz Rock Fusion vein. This album is one of the most beautiful live recordings in East Progressive world. We can listen a extraordinary music moments qith a very good musicians. Fast guitars with melodic keiboards and fast keyboards with melodic guitars with a excelent bass and drums moments made a masterpiece of live recordings. We can think that this edition of SBB live recordings arfe boring and by one we can see the others but really, they are different and we have difficult listen who is the best.. Live in Koln is absolutely a masterpiece

SBB - 2009 - Live In Czechoslovakia 1980

Live In Czechoslovakia 1980
Three Quarters

01. Keep it cool (08:56)
02. Friendship (12:33)
03. Crash (drums solo) (02:03)
04. Sleeping partner (11:41)
05. Almost Spain (09:56)
06. Edge (drums-space-battle) (03:15)
07. Amoureux (13:39)
08. Six fountains (13:07)

- Sławomir Piwowar / Fender Rhodes Piano 73 Mark I, Hohner Clavinet D6, Minimoog, Polymoog, guitar
- Apostolis Anthimos / guitar, drums
- Jerzy Piotrowski / drums

Recorded live somewhere in Czechoslovakia, June 1980. The unique performance the band did as a trio without Józef Skrzek who couldn't get to Czechoslovakia for that gig.

Another superb live performance of this super-group from Poland. A live record with some Psichedelic Space rock Parts but with some extraordinary improvisations in Jazz Fusion vein. One part is in Rock and Roll context but we must now that this vein is very popular in East people in this time. Very beautifful and we can listen a high quality music. Superb guitar parts and a superb keiboards that made an extraordinary mature music. We can listen drum's solo and a good work of bass. This is a very important moment for Poland Progressive music, the realease of this concerts with a very good sound and a very good music performances. For those that like progressive of 70 decade (this album was played in 1980) this is a masterpiece and please, listen and enjoyed.

SBB - 2008 - Live In Neckargemund 1978

Live In Neckargemund 1978
From A Town Called N.

101. Walkin' Around The Stormy Bay (7:03)
102. Freedom With Us (9:23)
103. 3rd Reanimation (5:24)
104. Going Away (7:39)
105. (Żywiec) Mountain Melody (4:41)
106. Szczęśliwi Z Miasta N. (6:44)
107. Wake Up / Światłowód (5:05)
108. W Kołysce Dłoni Twych (Ojcu) (2:52)
109. Growin' (5:35)
110. Follow My Dream (8:57)

201. Ze Słowem Biegnę Do Ciebie - Intro (6:24)
202. Wołanie O Brzęk Szkla (Born To Die) (9:07)
203. Odejście (Final) (1:31)
204. Drums (2:16)
205. Wiosenne Chimery (II) (8:35)
206. Shake Baby (7:58)
207. Follow My Dream (3:21)

- Józef Skrzek / keyboards, vocals
- Apostolis Antymos / guitars, percussion
- Jerzy Piotrowski / percussion

An unusual gig of the "Follow My Dream" tour, played at a rehabilitation centre. Most of the audience were sitting in wheelchairs. This is where the Happy People from X. theme was born

SBB - 2007 - The Rock

The Rock

01. Ska³a (4:54)
02. P³on¹ce Myoli (7:42)
03. In Heaven And Hell (7:02)
04. Silence (6:46)
05. Sunny Day (7:03)
06. My Paradise (5:17)
07. Pielgrzym (8:16)
08. Akri (7:27)
09. Zug A Zene Mindenhol (7:06)

Bonus tracks (Limited Edition):
10. Opiewanie O Imionach (5:13)
11. Gazela (4:33)

- Józef Skrzek /Bass, piano, organ, harmonica, mini moog, clavia, vocals
- Apostolis Anthymos / guitars
- Gabor Nemeth / Drums, percussion

After a false start in 1971, SBB released their first album in 1975, following it with a succession of fine albums through to 1980. While they reformed to tour together in the 1990s, there was a gap of some 20 years before they returned to the studio in 2002. "The rock" is their third album since that reformation. Drummer Gabor Nemeth is brought in to replace Paul Vertico but the band is primarily a vehicle for the core duo of Józef Skrzek and Anthymos Apostolis.

"The rock" is an appropriate title for this album, as it is solid with a diverse range of styles including hard rock and progressive metal with neo prog and symphonic leanings. The opening "Skala" has the heavy riff of a Black Sabbath track, the song indicating that the band are not simply looking to retread in old paths.

" Płonące myśli" changes the mood completely; this reflective, almost ballad like number offering a fine counterpoint to the opener. Flexibility and diversity are the keywords throughout the album, which offers a pleasing array of sounds and styles. "In heaven and hell" for example is a 7 minute Pink Floyd like instrumental, Anthymos Apostolis' guitar work sounding distinctly Gilmour-esque. The track builds from an ambient, spacey start to an excellent lead guitar workout.

Lyrically, the album is split between Polish and English language songs. The first in English is "Silence", a softer ballad and probably the most commercial track on the album. The following "Sunny day" continues in English, the title being at odds with the sparse, downbeat nature of the song. "My paradise" completes a trio of gentler numbers.

The atmospheric "Pielgrzym" displays Celtic influences, particularly in the pipes like instrumentation and rhythmic percussion. "Akri" continues in a similar vein, Apostolis reverting to the Gilmour like guitar sounds of "In heaven and hell". Jozef Skrzek gives his strongest vocal performance here, full of passion and melody. Skrzek's keyboard work is also particularly notable on this track, as he moves between organ and synth.

The album closes with "Zug A Zene Mindenhol" an anthemic, organ based hard rock number which will surely be a highlight of the forthcoming live performances by the band.

In all, a strong and refreshingly diverse album by these Polish legends. There's plenty of life in the old dogs yet!